First the Saturday People, then the Sunday People
Lunch with a defender of Israel– During any given week in Washington, DC I meet with several congressmen, Senators, authors and conservative activists.
One of the events I attended last week was at the Heritage Foundation’s Lehrman Auditorium. Heritage frequently allows conservatives to hold meetings and events at their auditorium, and I have spoken there myself on various issues. This time I was present to hear Lela Gilbert, the author of Saturday People, Sunday People, which details many of her experiences and observations in Israel during the six years she lived there, and the historical background of events she witnessed. Her book debunks much common anti-Israel propaganda.
Gilbert got the idea for the title of the book from an Arab Muslim saying which often appears on Palestinian flags at demonstrations (and riots). The saying is: “First we kill the Saturday People, then we kill the Sunday People.” This is not some new phrase unique to the Palestinian “uprising,” but rather a chant that has existed in Islam for centuries of conquest. “Saturday people” refers to the Jews, and of course the “Sunday people” are Christians.
In her book Gilbert weaves together a rich account of past and present events that continue to shape the lives of Israelis, including the persecution and pogroms that drove more than 850,000 Jews from Muslim majority nations between 1948 and 1970. Just prior to the Islamic revolution in Iran, at least 80,000 Jews lived there. Jews in Muslim nations saw their land confiscated from them, in amounts equal to five times the total territory that Israel occupies today. Many families were descendants of Jews who had lived in these countries since before the time of Mohammed. In fact, some Jewish families in Iraq traced their ancestry to the Babylonian captivity under King Nebuchadnezzar. Gilbert says the recent experience of the Jews in Muslim areas is now being repeated in Christian communities in those same nations.
After Gilbert’s presentation I had the opportunity to have lunch with her and Dr. Hillel Fradkin, a Middle East expert from the Hudson Institute. We discussed at length the pogrom against Christians in Iraq and now the attacks upon them in Syria and Egypt. We also discussed the powerful influence of the Muslim Brotherhood in the Obama Administration and what steps could be taken to expose it.
I highly recommend Gilbert’s Saturday People, Sunday People, which is both personal and historical, as she recounts her experiences during the last “intifada” that included bombings in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.
Religious Freedom Rally
Stealing organs from Falun Gong members in prison – As a born again Christian I cannot be a supporter of the Falun Gong, which by most standards would have to be defined as a cult. However, the Falun Gong do not have as a core belief, as do the Muslims, that killing those who hold different beliefs is a ticket to heaven.The Falun Gong is a non-violent movement, and they deserve to have their basic human rights protected.
Each year the Falun Gong organization holds a rally on the West Lawn of the Capitol Building here in Washington, DC which is a sharp contrast to their situation in China, where the group is completely outlawed. The Chinese government views the Falun Gong as a dangerous political group endangering the stability of the government. For more than ten years I have been one of the invited speakers at this event.
This year my view of the overall situation in China on freedom and democracy was altered by my recent three-week fact finding mission there. My viewpoint has been somewhat changed as to the reasons the Falun Gong in China is persecuted to the degree it is. The Chinese government may still be run by the Communist Party, but it is by no means a communist system now. Most of the economy is in the private sector, although heavily controlled by the government. It is a system of government managed free enterprise which could be defined as National Socialism. Whatever system it is, one thing is clear: it is godless. Surveys and polls indicate the nation is 47% atheistic, and most of the rest of the population says, “Maybe there is a god, so what?”
The people look to the government as a quasi-god, and the Falun Gong seem to have tossed a monkey wrench in the system that Christians and Buddhists don’t. In any event, while the Communist government allows the construction of new churches and encourages the last remaining Jewish population, they imprison anyone associated with the Falun Gong. Now, serious allegations have arisen that profiteers in the prison system are stealing organs from living Falun Gong members and selling them to rich Westerners who do not wish to wait in line for transplants in their own nations. Usually the operations result in the death of the prisoner.
Also speaking at this event in defense of religious freedom were three congressmen, including two who have introduced pertinent legislation in Congress. Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairman of the Middle East and North Africa Subcommittee, and Congressman Robert Andrews (D-NJ) have introduced H.Res. 281, condemning the reported practice of harvesting organs from non-consenting prisoners of conscience, like Falun Gong practitioners, and calling for a halt to the practice.
Ros-Lehtinen said in her address: “The very thought that China may be harvesting organs from prisoners of conscience, or any other non-consenting individual, is ghoulish and must be stopped forthwith. This perverse and unconscionable practice has been largely targeting Falun Gong practitioners who have been imprisoned for their religious beliefs. This is an egregious violation of the fundamental right to life and is in wanton disregard of any moral or ethical standards of human decency. The Administration should publicly condemn and strongly urge to put an immediate end to the practice of organ harvesting, and call for China to end its persecution of the Falun Gong and other religious minorities.”
After reading Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen’s resolution and with my new understanding of the nature of China, that indeed it was a godless model of America, I delivered the following message to the large group gathered on Capitol Hill:
Capitol Hill address on July 18th, 2013
Recently I traveled on a fact finding mission to China that lasted three weeks. During that time I traveled to seven cities, plus Lhasa, Tibet. What I found is consistent with a materialistic society that surveys show is 47% atheistic. Material possessions rather than human rights or compassion are paramount concerns among the general population. In the larger cities, Bentleys and Buicks are everywhere on the overcrowded roads, and the trains and planes are full of middle class and wealthy Chinese enjoying the newly obtained trophies of their labors. Among the people there is no concern for those who fall through the cracks in the society, either economically or socially. China is a model of America without a soul.
Since my last visit to China decades ago, Christians in general have a far greater public role in the society and almost all Christians seem to face far less official persecution. Christians are not bothered at all by the non-believing public which is largely unconcerned with the religious beliefs of others. Most ‘house’ or ‘family’ churches which are not registered, are not bothered by the government unless there is some degree of activism that is viewed as political.
This new tolerance by the Chinese government and the general population of China is not, however, shown toward Falun Gong practitioners who are seen as a threat to the careful commercial web that has been built in China through what can best be described as “national socialism” or “managed capitalism.”
China, for all its modernization and newly adopted western culture, is a nation without a soul. That fact is easily reflected in the willingness of businessmen, for the sake of profit, to put cheap and dangerous fillers that can be lethal, into infant formula — and in a nation which allows just one child per family. The sale of human organs from those in prison, including Falun Gong practitioners, should come then as no surprise. Many profit from the practice of human organ sales in China, including the wealthy Americans who do not wish to wait in line for transplants in this nation, Americans who are as soulless as those who profit from the organ sale.
Democracy is a process that can only function in a Judeo-Christian environment; it is a product of that environment and would probably become mob rule in China, with minorities worse off than they are today as has been the case in Middle Eastern nations which have tried to implement democratic systems. Freedom and human rights are separate concepts from democracy and are being very cautiously explored by the Chinese government under domestic pressures. Rather than demand an unworkable democratic system in China, the West should and must be working to bring that nation’s leaders into line with the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights of which it is a party to.
In a nation such as ours where people are happy to buy Christmas lights made in prison labor camps rather than pay more for those made by free men, the process of causing change is made very difficult in China and other nations which abuse human rights such as Vietnam or Pakistan. We are here today willing to speak out, but the reality is that most of the congressmen and Senators in this majestic building behind us are unwilling to cast any vote that dampens relations with our nation’s biggest trading partner, China.
Yet it is our duty to speak out, to continue the drum beat for all those who are repressed in the world because of the manner in which they practice their faith. Although the big corporations and profiteers would prefer us to be silent, we cannot be. The Falun Gong deserves the right to practice their faith in China as freely as is seen here on the lawn of the Capitol Building today in Washington, DC. – (End address)
The Saudi Campaign
Ad Campaign Continues –Our advertising campaign to expose the evil that emanates from Saudi Arabia has now run in twelve newspapers. So far the ads have reached mostly Republicans, but in late July we will also run ads in the district of ultra-liberal Joe Kennedy in Massachusetts. The ads exposing the brutal treatment of Ethiopian Christian guest workers are targeted to congressmen on the Foreign Relations Committee.
We had one newspaper refuse an ad, the Redstone Rocket in South Carolina, not because of our content, but because they accept no ads advocating congressional action. The ad was moved to another newspaper in the same congressional district. In the next report I will go into more detail on how the program is progressing. So far our online system has generated 566 faxes to congressional offices. We have delivered about 2,500 paper copies of the petition as well. If you have not done so please go to www.StopSaudiEvil.org to send a free fax to your congressman using the system at that site.
Working with Congress –Two weeks ago I attended a small luncheon with Congressmen Louie Gohmert (R-TX) and John Fleming (R-LA). Both congressmen serve on the Armed Services Committee. In total there were only ten people present other than the congressmen, which gave me ample time to talk with both of them about various issues of concern including the status of Christians in Syria. At this meeting I brought up the murder of pastors and priests and the kidnapping of two Orthodox Bishops.
I have been working with several congressional offices to obtain a resolution calling for the release of the kidnapped Bishops, but so far we don’t have sufficient signers to move forward with it.
Congressman warns on religious freedom –In an interview last week, Congressman Randy Forbes (R-Va.) gave a chilling synopsis of the state of American religious freedom. He said that religious freedom is becoming a “second-tier” right in America.
Forbes, who has been in Congress since 2001, founded the bipartisan Congressional Prayer Caucus in 2005. He now serves as co-chair with Mike McIntyre (D-N.C.). When asked what he meant about “second-tier” rights, he responded: “The whole purpose of freedom of speech is that you can say what you want to say. . . That [freedom] works for pornography … but when it comes to faith, they come down with a sledgehammer.”
The work of the Religious Freedom Coalition continues on Capitol Hill – Please help us get the work done on behalf of social conservative Christians. Join with us on social media at Facebook.com/ReligiousFreedomCoalition.
William J. Murray, Chairman
Religious Freedom Coalition, 601 Pennsylvania Ave, NW #900 , Washington, DC 20004 * (202) 742-8990