Sunday, November 30, 2014

Abraham Kuyper en Democratie in Amerika

Wie kent niet de naam van Alexis de Tocqueville als het over het Amerikaanse 'experiment' in democratie gaat? In zijn lezing 'Het Calvinisme, oorsprong & waarborg onzer constitutionele vrijheden' uit 1873 maakt Abraham Kuyper duidelijk hoe fundamenteel die negentiende eeuwse Amerikaanse geschiedenis in zijn denken was. Daarbij geïnspireerd door het uit 1835 daterende boek 'la démocratie Americaine' van de Tocqueville.

Herman Bavinck parafraseert de titel van die lezing uit 1873 in zijn Gereformeerde Dogmatiek aldus: 'De Klaarblijkelijkheid van de Schrift is oorsprong en waarborg van onze politieke en religieuze vrijheden'. Dat we de hoofdrol van deze stelling in de Gereformeerde politiek en theologie moeilijk kunnen overschatten blijkt uit het feit dat Klaas Schilder in 1934 de Klaarblijkelijkheid van de Schrift als hart van de afscheiding van 1834 aanwijst. Dat J.C. Baak het in 1945 nodig vindt om, met instemmend voorwoord van Herman Dooyeweerd, een artikel te wijden aan het onderuithalen van de door Abraham Kuyper aangehangen stelling, bewijst voldoende dat we hier niet te maken hebben met een onbelangrijke voetnoot uit de Gereformeerde politieke en theologische geschiedenis.

Hoe paradoxaal is het dan dat de Amerikaanse schrijvers en denkers die zo bepalend zijn geweest in die Amerikaanse geschiedenis voor de meeste mensen volkomen onbekend zijn gebleven. De Tocqueville en inmiddels ook Kuyper zelf genieten in Amerika meer bekendheid dan de Amerikaanse thoughtleaders die die geschiedenis zelf vormden.

Historicus John Fea hield onlangs een lezing over de vergeten hoofdrol van Presbyterianen in de Amerikaanse revolutie.  Een verslag van die conferentie vind je hier. Randy Barnett, hoogleraar aan de rechtenfaculteit van Georgetown schreef in 2013 een helder verhaal over de constitutional abolitionists, de vergeten hoofdrolspelers in de strijd voor de afschaffing van de slavernij die uiteindelijk leidde tot de verkiezing van Abraham Lincoln in 1860. Twee voorbeelden die de stelling van Abraham Kuyper uit 1873 ondersteunen.

Je kunt een parketvloer leggen met de biografiëen over Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Abraham Kuyper, Jonathan Edwards en George Whitefield, maar waar zijn de studies naar het werk en leven van hoofdrolspelers als John Mitchell Mason, Elias Boudinot, John Jay, William Jay, Robert Hamilton Bishop, John Finley Crowe, James Blythe, Erasmus Darwin Mac Master, Jonathan Blanchard, Samuel Schmucker, Benjamin Parham Aydelott en Chief Justice Salmon P. Chase?

Zou je de stelling kunnen verdedigen dat Abraham Kuyper, net als de dochter van één van de oprichters van de Republikeinse partij in Illinois (Jane Addams), juist worstelde met de erfenis van de constitutional abolitionists? De vraag die Jane Addams zich stelde 'how do we nurture and sustain our democratic birthright so that we... can pass it on?' illustreert in ieder geval hoe zij worstelt met Lincoln's erfenis.

Schaeffer's L'abri, vaak in verband gebracht met het Kuyperiaanse denken van Dooyeweerd, zou met netzoveel recht in rechtstreeks verband gebracht kunnen worden met de vraagstelling van Jane Addams. De naam L'Abri is in ieder geval rechtstreeks terug te voeren op Hull House in Chicago. De titel van het artikel 'Jane Addams: A Pilgrim's Progress' heeft veel weg van Herman Bavinck's 'Grace restores Nature' motief. Je zou kunnen zeggen dat het spanningsveld tussen realisme en idealisme niet specifieke een karaktertrek van het neocalvinisme is. Er is verwantschap tussen de manier waarop Abraham Lincoln zijn coalitie smeedde en de aanpak van Kuyper, Bavinck en Jane Addams. De stelling dat Abraham Kuyper slechts een vorm van idealisme promote, lijkt mij daarom onjuist. De manier waarop Abraham Lincoln het Duitse idealisme gebruikte, sommigen kunnen dat nog steeds niet waarderen, doet denken aan Abraham Kuyper. Lincoln's temperance address uit 1842 lijkt bijna een toepassing van Bavinck's 'grace restores nature' motief. Lincoln's onverwachte invalshoek uit die speech zorgt ervoor dat hij in staat was aansluiting te vinden bij de gematigde kiezer in Kentucky, vertegenwoordigd door Robert Breckenridge, the temporary chair of the 1864 Republican National Convention, en de bekende presbyteriaanse theoloog Charles Hodge. Lincoln's bekende woorden 'I hope to have God on my side, but I must have Kentucky.' staan symbool voor die strategie. Tegelijkertijd passen ze prima bij de visie zoals verwoord door Reverend Benjamin Parham Aydelott in een verwijzing naar de Apostel Paulus: 'quit yourselves like men, be strong' en zijn ze te vergelijken met het begrip discipelschap in Mark zoals uitgelegd door Hans Bayer, of zoals hij het samenvat:
'the account of Acts is intended to give a description of external and internal growth, despite external opposition and internal tension'.
Of zoals Benjamin Parham Aydelott de strijd tegen Puseyisme en slavernij in de context van discipelschap plaatst in verwijzing naar Paulus onderweg naar Rome:
'And yet there is such a thing as a manly spirit, a spirit which, recognizing equally in one's self, as in all others, the great attributes of a common human nature, refuses to bow down in abject servility to any; and dares to attempt anything to which Providence calls, whatever difficulties may lie in the way.'
Al met al genoeg aanknopingspunten om de stelling van Abraham Kuyper te toetsen aan wat er zich nu werkelijk in de Amerikaanse geschiedenis heeft afgespeeld. Het is daarvoor vandaag echt niet nodig om blind te varen op enkele observaties van Alexis de Tocqueville.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Makemie, The Strategist

After having read scattered elements of his work I come to the conclusion that he was much more than just the apostle of presbyterianism to the Colonies. He was a strategist of Empire. A comment in the Oxford History of the British Empire: The eighteenth Century, volume 2:
'in the spirit of what he saw as a new religious epoch for the Empire in the heady aftermath of the Glorious Revolution, Makemie wrote Truths in a True Light'

and in the New England Mind:
'They marked the skillful strategy of Francis Makemie, who wrote from Barbados a book published in Edinburgh in 1699, copies of which soon reached Boston, Truths in a True Light...laid down for Dissenters the line which seemed, after 1689, to be most promising: they agree with the Church of England on all essential matters, therefore, differences should not be magnified, and all Protestants should stand together.'
Too bad this short pamphlet 'truths in true light' isn't yet available online.

Friday, September 19, 2014

American Exceptionalism & Natural Rights

Senate candidate Ben Sasse from Nebraska said in an interview:
"What motivates me first is the identity we have as Americans, and we have to celebrate the Constitution, and we have to be having these discussions. And if we don’t have more people who run for office for the purposes of having that civic conversation, we will lose the republic. I don’t think that’s going to happen, because I think people are going to demand more serious leadership that talks about these issues. The next generation does not wake up in the morning understanding American exceptionalism and the fact that natural rights predate government, and government is just a tool to secure those rights. And we’ve got to teach it.”
The identity we have as Americans? Understanding American exceptionalism? Natural rights predate government? Codephrases that function as sjiboleths among today's Republicans. No wonder Marvin Olasky eagerly retweeted this interview. And it is true, you can find American Exceptionalism on the GOP website as part of the partyplatform. But is American exceptionalism really something we should teach our children? Is it really something we inherited from our parents? Does American exceptionalism represent the history of the party or the early history of America?

Intuitively to me American exceptionalism comes across as an example of the influence of 19th century Romantic nationalism on American politics. Romantic nationalism as imported by folks like Philip Schaff. Using the term American exceptionalism is equal to capitulating for attempts by folks like De Tocqueville or contemporaries like Seymour Martin Lipset. The book American Exceptionalism by Deborah L. Madsen proves that Ben Sasse can't use the term without creating confusion.

To pretend that the American revolution took place in a vacuum and had no relationship whatsoever to other events in the history of the world, like for example the slave revolt in Haïti, is untennable. In addition Ben Sasse ignores the huge role Presbyterian and Episcopalean missionaries from England and Scotland played not just in the period leading up to the American revolution, but long after. The builders of Ohio, the state where the Republican party emerged, were in part funded by the English Anglican church. John Mitchell Mason, a leading federalist pastor, started a seminary with help from Scotland. He educated hundreds of missionaries that subsequently preached across the west.

But then we get to the declaration of independence and the claim that natural rights predate government. I'm not sure exactedly what that means. First of all, the emphasis on natural rights means very little outside of the Calvinist context from which they emerged. It was the link with the right to private judgment that made the abolitionist movement so strong. And secondly, government and natural rights both have their place simultaneously. One does not predate the other.

To avoid confusion, and to avoid alienating some voters it would be best if politicians could develop a sensibility to these difficulties involved in just spreading around codephrases like 'American exceptionalism' or 'natural rights'. Instead qualify your statements, be precise and educate your electorat on history and be honest about your own position in these debates.

Monday, August 18, 2014

South Sudan: 50,000 children may die this year of war, disease, famine


Yida Refugee Camp, South Sudan, June 29, 2014
Photo: Paula Bronstein, Getty Images

The United Nations says that the humanitarian crisis in South Sudan is now the "worst in the world" and warns that 50,000 children could die this year unless aid is increased. However, South Sudan's crisis has been overshadowed by strife in Ukraine, Iraq, Syria, and Gaza. Aid agencies say they've found it difficult to raise money to fund operations in South Sudan, despite a growing threat of famine.
Peace remains out of reach, even as as famine looms and rain drenches refugee camps plagued with cholera. Riek Machar, commander of the forces fighting the government of Salva Kiir, says that the ongoing presence of Ugandan troops supporting President Kiir violates the agreement signed between the two parties.
Machar also said that mediators from the Intergovernmental Authority on Development, who include Ugandans, should step aside and let the two warring parties negotiate directly with one another.
At the conclusion of last week’s U.S.-Africa summit, President Obama announced that Uganda is one of six African countries to be included in a new military collaboration with the United States. The U.S. will invest $110 million a year for three to five years in this initiative. Ethiopia, which is widely believed to be supplying the opposition force in South Sudan, will also be one of the six partners.  

Sunday, July 20, 2014

"Quit Yourselves Like Men, Be Strong!"

Both William Jay and Benjamin Parham Aydelott were leading opponents of the high Church movement in the episcopal Church. At the same time they were both leaders in the abolitionist movement. An Aydelott quote, referencing the apostle Paul, that makes the connection:

'a spirit which, recognising.. the great attributes of a common human nature, refuses to bow down in abject servility to any'

A symptom of this same divide is the battle for and against the American Bible Society. The focus on the rights of man is equally present in Elias Boudinot's speech to the Cincinnati where he speaks of the rights of women. I also think of the divide between federalist Alexander Hamilton on the one hand and Jefferson / Washington on the other concerning the slave revolt in Haiti.

Salmon P. Chase and Abraham Lincoln's constitutional abolitionism can only be understood in this context. Barnett has written several valuable articles on the constitutional abolitionists.

Exploring this link also helps us in distinguishing federalism and constitutional abolitionism from conservatism as understood by Russell Kirk.  Rowan Strong writes:
'In 1790 Edmund Burke had published his Reflections on the Revolution in France; in which he warned that 'Rage and phrensy will pull down more in half an hour than prudence, deliberation; and foresight can build up in a hundred years.' Pusey agreed and quoted from the book in the second Enquiry. there is a lengthy passage in xhich Burke draws the distinction between the obstinate, who reject all improvement, and the thoughtless, who are tired of everything they own. This distinction Pusey applied to theology'
Isn't it curious that the son of William Wilberforce, Samuel, became a a major figure in the preservation of the Oxford Movement.

I believe this sufficiently establishes that abolitionism wasn't just a moral question, but part of a broader theological debate among protestant Americans since the revolution. Do we see this reflected in the writings of Charles Hodge? It doesn't look like Hodge was a fan of Reverend Pusey:
'In the early Church, however, there were some who held that there is no forgiveness for post-baptismal sins—a doctrine recently reproduced in England by the Rev. Dr. Pusey. The advocates of this doctrine make this passage teach that Christ was set forth as a propitiation for the forgiveness of sins committed before baptism, that is, before conversion or the professed adoption of the gospel. Rückert and Reiche, among the recent German writers, give the same interpretation. This would alter the whole character of the gospel.'

This  1836 quote from Hodge's commentary on the letter to the Romans would link Pusey to Novatianism :
'Novatian declared the lapsi blasphemers of the Holy Spirit (cf. Jerome’s Epistle XLII), an unforgivable sin'
 In Charles Hodge's correspondence Pusey and Puseyism comes up regularly, for example in a december 1855 letter by BISHOP M ILVAIN from Cincinnati who defends himself against Hodge's criticism:
'Apostolical succession is held in my opinion as much in one Church as the other the difference between the so holding and high-churchmanship in both, being when it is not held in such a sense as to exclude by the inferences drawn from it all other ministers than its own from validity and reality, nor other Churches from being real Churches of Christ whatever it may think of their defective conformity to the Apostolic pattern. Such Apostolic succession is vastly removed from that of Romanism and Puseyism, which not only makes a ministry so de- scended, essential to the being of the Church, and essential to the reality of all sacraments, but makes the communication of saving grace essentially dependent on the sacraments of that succession and thus it is the exclusive succession of the gifts of the Spirit as well as of a certain office.'
Along with John Henry Newman, Pusey was one of the most important leaders of the Oxford Movement. The contrast between Samuel Wilberforce's conservative opposition to evolution and Charles Hodge's development appropriation of evolution points to another key difference. Bradley Gundlach, in his book Process and Providence, writes:
'a close look at the course of Princetonian interaction with evolutionary notions reveals aa different pattern. Instead of refusing to think in categories of historical change, they came increasingy to see development over time as a very helpful category indeed: helpful not only in providing new insights into sacred and secular history, but also in furnishing the orthodox with potent arguments against relativizing the teachings of the Bible or revising the confession of faith. In their hands developmentalism supported calvinist orthodoxy and biblical authority.'
In an earlier post I characterized Princeton as the project that attempted to reconcile Edwardses idealism and Witherspoons realism. which in turn reminds us of Bavincks 'grace “restores” and “perfectsnature' 


Paul C. Gutjarh writes in his biography of Hodge:
 'It was the stress on the invisible, universal church that madde Hodge stand so adapmantly against theologies that emphasized the visible church like the catholics, the Oxford Movement and those at Mercersburg with their "Romanizing tendencies'
In 1860 at the General Assembly(the minutes of the GA in Pittsburgh may 1860)  Charles Hodge argued that Thornwell embraced "superlative high churchism". Taking into account the context of the looming civil war, this comment once again suggests a link between the abolitionist battle against slavery and the fight against the oxford movement. The characterization of Southern presbyterianism as 'high churchism' goes to the heart of the debate. This indicates to me that Thornwell's theory of the 'spirituality of the church' was not the central issue of contention to Charles Hodge.Thornwell, just as Episcopal Bishop Hobart opposed volontary organisations (like the American Bible Society ?) Hodge took the opposite view and argued that the larger scriptural principle of preaching the gospel message to every creature took precedent. Note that Thornwell had accused Hodge of supporting a move towards high churchism at the 1843'd general assembly. 
Albert H Freundt writes about this:
'Thornwellian polity, it seems to me, must indeed be recognized as an expression of a kind of High Church Presbyterianism. It was in part the kind of reaction which had its counterparts in other denominations.'
Note that this same controversy pops up at the Gettysburg College after Schmucker and in the discussion between Nevin and Hodge. The high church - low church question was a hotly discussed topic, as attested by Reverend Shimeall's 1852 book 'End of Prelacy: including a demonstration of the Romanism of the system, so called, of evangelical low-churchism' which mentions Aydelott's book The Present Condition and Future Prospects of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United states. Reverend William Meade(Episcopal) of Virginia is mentioned on the cover of the book:
 'the battle of the reformation is again to be fought'.
The claims of Episcopacy refuted by John M Mason is mentioned in Shimeall's book. John M. Mason(who lived between 1770 and 1828) wrote it at the beginning of the 19th century. John M. Mason's views can be learned from this short anecdote during his time as pastor in New York.

The leaders of the high-church faction inside the Episcopal church, Hobart and Onderdonk, also surface concerning black episcopaleans in antebellum New York:
'Qualified black priests faced nearly insurmountable barriers to ordination. Williams' advancement from lay reader to deacon and, finally, to ordained priest, was painfully slow due to the Hobart's paternalism.'
'Though shy and cautious, the newly consecrated leader of St. Philip's tried to balance loyalty to his bishop's High Church traditions with his growing involvement in the early abolition movement and opposition to the American Colonization Society. The result was nearly disastrous. Although Townsend does not discuss any collaboration between Williams and other African-American clergymen, such as Presbyterian ministers Rev. Samuel Cornish and Rev. Theodore Wright, an anti-abolition mob made St. Philip's Church one of its main targets during the riots of 1834. Perhaps more damaging was the response of the new Episcopal bishop, Benjamin Treadwell Onderdonk. He demanded that Williams immediate resign from the American Anti-Slavery Society and renounce all activism not related directly to his church duties'
In 1836 future Supreme Court chief-justice and member of the Episcopalean diocese of Ohio, Salmon P. Chase, was among the forty friends that came to the defense of James Birney when his press was destroyed, once more, during the Cincinnati riots. In 1834 Birney had declared himself an abolitionist. In 1835 James Birney had moved to Cincinnati to protect his anti-slavery paper. Unsurprisingly Aydelott's Ohio diocese uses the Carey affair to pass a resolution in 1843 condemning Onderdonk. So while high-church Onderdonk succeeded in having reverend Peter Williams resign from the American Anti-slavery Society('and renounce all activism not related directly to his church duties'!), his opponents inside the Episcopal diocese of Ohio took note. Peter Williams had been involved in the starting of the first African-American owned and operated newspaper published in the United States, the Freedom's Journal. Michael Hines discusses this same period in his 2013 paper on Learning Freedom: Education, Elevation; And New York's African american middle Class 1827- 1829.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Iraqi Blood and Oil 2014


Antonia Juhasz, author of The Bush Agenda and The Tyranny of Oil
KPFA Weekend News Anchor Anthony Fest: Continuing with our coverage of Iraq, Fortune Magazine recently reported that Iraq is the world's sixth largest oil producer, and that China's four oil companies buy more Iraqi oil than corporations based in any other nation in the world. Some U.S. oil executives, officials and pundits have complained that the US fought the Iraq War but China won the spoils. As the current conflict in Iraq escalated and President Obama deployed hundreds of U.S. Special Forces to Iraq, headlines pointed to China's concern over its Iraqi oil stakes. 
Oil and energy investigator and analyst Antonia Juhasz, however, says that US and British-based oil corporations' determination to gain access to Iraqi oil was decisive in the lead-up to the 2003  invasion of Iraq, but not now, in President Obama's deliberations. KPFA's Ann Garrison spoke to Antonia Juhasz spoke to KPFA's Ann Garrison. 
KPFA/Ann Garrison: In 2009, Texas oil billionaire T. Boone Pickens complained that "we," meaning the people of the United States, had sacrificed 5,000 lives, 65,000 wounded soldiers, and one and a half trillion dollars in Iraq, and that "we," meaning U.S. oil corporations, were therefore entitled to Iraq's oil, but that the oil contracts were all going to China. Oil and energy investigator and analyst Antonia Juhasz said, on the contrary, that the Iraq War served US and UK based oil companies very well. 
Antonia Juhasz: I certainly do not think that they had any reason to complain. American and British oil companies did remarkably well. Prior to the invasion, U.S. oil companies were totally shut out of operating within Iraq, and following the invasion, all of the major American and British oil companies were given incredible access to one of the largest pots of oil remaining in the world.

KPFA: Prior to the Iraq War, Yuhasz said, Iraq's oil fields were neither privatized nor open to foreign investment, but Saddam Hussein was negotiating oil contracts with China, Russia, and France, in hopes of winning their support for lifting the punishing financial and trade embargo that it had imposed on Iraq four days after the 1989 invasion of Kuwait, and then for the next fourteen years.  
Antonia Juhasz: Certainly the Chinese also got contracts, but really it's best to step back a little bit to understand why that is still a victory from the perspective of the U.S. oil companies. If you go back to the period of time when the decision making around the Iraq War was taking place, at the very beginning of the Bush Administration, we know that the Cheney energy task force was meeting and that was the oil guys within the Bush Administration and the oil guys from outside of the Bush Administration holding meetings, right at the very beginning of 2001, and one of the things that they did was look at a series of maps and lists of countries and companies that Saddam Hussein was starting to negotiate oil contracts with, and basically, what they realized was that if the sanctions against Hussein were lifted . . . and at that time there was an incredible amount of organizing going on to try and get those sanctions lifted from a humanitarian perspective, due to the humanitarian costs. . . if the sanctions were lifted, then Saddam Hussein was prepared to sign contracts, oil contracts, for the first time with foreign companies and these were companies that very much did not include American and British oil companies. So this huge oil pile was about to be opened up and American and British oil companies were about to be completely shut out.

Fast forward through the invasion, and following the invasion, and instead what we have is essentially American and British oil companies given the opportunity to move in on those contracts, get contracts of their own, and partner with the Chinese, partner with the Russians, partner with the French, in contracts Saddam Hussein had already signed. So, really, from an American and British oil company perspective, they mooched in on contracts that were already being signed and got their own contracts for Iraqi oil, so I would say they did remarkably well, and from the rest of our perspective, tragically well. Really the outcome of this war was that Iraq has been pitched into incredible suffering and instability, the Iraqis have suffered, obviously, Americans have suffered, the world has suffered tremendously but Western oil companies have really come out on top.  
KPFA: Yuhasz does not think that the Obama Administration's military deployment is motivated by U.S. oil companies dissatisfaction with their share of Iraqi oil, or with China's.
Antonia Juhasz: The current instability in Iraq and the current upheaval in Iraq isn't about the United States or the Europeans trying to get China's oil in Iraq. That is certainly not what's happening. From the perspective of western oil companies, they're doing great in Iraq. That doesn't mean that they wouldn't want more but they're certainly not, I would say, willing to risk further instability in Iraq at this point to try and get more oil. From their perspective, I would say they're doing great with what they got in Iraq.

In the current conflict, however, ISIL, is certainly. . . one of thing things that motivates its activities in Iraq . . . is gaining greater access to Iraqi oil. ISIL took over oil fields in Syria It's one of the things that's fueling, literally fueling, that movement, and they targeted oil fields and refineries and pipelines in Iraq. It's certainly been a focus of what they've been doing. But is a motivator for the Obama Administration sending military into Iraq right now to try and get the Chinese out of Iraq? I would say absolutely not. 
KPFA: And that was Antonia Yuhasz, author of The Bush Agenda and the Tyranny of Oil. For PacificaKPFA Radio, I'm Ann Garrison.

Monday, June 23, 2014

We Believe In Redemption. We Believe In A Second Chance

"It is something that is consistent with my religious beliefs as well as my lawmaking that you should get a second chance." Rand Paul reiterated today.  Sofar the implications of Rand Paul's words at a Republican convention in Iowa for the ongoing debate concerning immigration reform, his outreach to evangelicals and his effort to repair his alleged Southern racist/ civil rights act 'problem' have been overlooked.

Most commentators have focused on the effort to reach out to minorities. And that is certainly part of it. The need for change in this regard is central to his campaign as his friend and seasoned fundraiser Nate Morris said in an interview last week 'the GOP needs to change in order to succeed'. But there is more.

Rand speaks the language of Evangelical republicans while staying true to himself. Something similar happened at the faith and freedom Coalition Conference when he quoted Os Guinness: 'America's problem is not wolves at the door but termites at the floor'. His message on talkradio “I think that our country needs a spiritual cleansing, I really think we need a revival in this country — and I do need your prayers and I do need the strength to go on with this, because this isn’t always easy.” obviously resonates with anyone familar with early US history and the history of the Republican party. Folks that think they can take Rand Paul down in Iowa like they did with Ron Paul a few years ago, will have a rude awakening. But there is more.

Rand's words also draw a sharp contrast with the tea party rhetoric against illegal immigrants 'breaking the law'. He makes clear he isn't part of this 'novationist' faction inside the republican party that thinks illegal immigrants that 'broke the law' should not have a second chance. Novatianists were early Christians that followed Antipope Novatian, who refused readmission to communion of those baptized Christians who had denied their faith or performed the formalities of a ritual sacrifice to the pagan gods. The novatianists were declared heretic by Rome.

The 'we believe in redemption' approach strikes at the heart of the 'rule of law' argument used by the anti-illegal immigrant crowd (and Ted Cruz), it firmly establishes Paul's thoughtleadership among the different subgroups of the Republican big tent coalition and it adresses his own weakness.

And this last point is precisely why the 'we believe in redemption. We believe in a second chance' approach is a brilliant strategy to break away from the tea party and the libertarian groups and break in to larger segments of the Republican base and beyond.  But it is even more brilliant because it adresses his own baggage and history, his own weaknesses and shortcomings as potential candidate for President of the United States. 'We believe in Redemption. We believe in a second chance' is in the first place good news for Rand Paul himself.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Surrendering FDLR & Their Congolese Families

Lambert Mende on the Congolese family of surrendering FDRL rebels:
“Some of them are genociders really, but others are not because I visited the camp the MONUSCO set up in Kanyabayonga, 200 kilometers from Goma, and I witnessed that a majority of them are less than 20 years.  These young men of 15 years, 16, 17 you can’t call them genociders ... there is a lot of Congolese women who are linked with them, fiancé or wives and we have to take care of these compatriots.”
 Lambert Mende on the nonsense pushed by Congolese opposition and civil society concerning this process:
'On ne voit très pas bien par quelle alchimie ces actions préalables pourraient être utilement conduites d’un coup de baguette magique en quelques heures pour satisfaire ceux qui prétendent que la RDC ne devrait plus tolérer même un mois de plus des gens désarmés et en attente de départ sous le contrôle de nos forces de sécurité alors qu’elle les avait subi armés et offensifs pendant ces 20 dernières années. C’est tout simplement insensé'
On Congo - Rwanda border tensions concerning an Eucalyptus tree:

'Les Rwandais se déploient comme s'ils allaient attaquer. Ils avancent jusqu'à quelques mètres de nos positions, nous disent que cet arbre leur appartient et que nous devons le couper de gré ou de force'



Saturday, June 14, 2014

La 'Société Civile' Congolaise & Le FDLR

Le succes du désarmement du FDLR dépend des assurance du gouvernement de leur sécurité après leur reddition. Meme les théoriciens conspirationalistes les plus tetus devraient le reconnaitre. Si le gouvernement ne peut pas garantir leur sécurité après cette reddition qu'est-ce-qu'il leur poussera a rendre leur armes.

Hier la dite 'société civile' en equateur s'est ajouté à cette cacophonie:
'Le gouvernement congolais planifie de regrouper les ex-FDLR qui ne désirent pas rentrer dans leurs pays dans un camp militaire à Irebu avant leur transfert dans le centre d’instruction des Forces armées de la RDC à Irebu, dans le Territoire de Bikoro (Equateur).'
Et pendant ce temps les théoriciens de conspiration continuent de promulger leurs théses, par example:
'Joseph Kabila » est juste un pion entre les mains de l’élite anglo-saxonne et alliés.'
Voilà l'approche populistes qui n'apportera aucune stabilité au pays. 

Friday, June 13, 2014

Why Are Rwanda And Congo Fighting?

Yesterday Martin Kobler called for 'restoration of calm on the border between the DRC and Rwanda'. In reaction to the @Monusco tweet Sheikh Habimana Saleh, 'head of political parties, nongovernmental organizations, and faith-based organizations for the Rwanda Governance Board', tweeted:




SheikhHABIMANA Saleh @SheikhSalehh 22h
very simple engage the hall world against FDLR the same style used against M23,


When asked, Sheikh Habimana Saleh refused to clarify the meaning of this statement. See below:


I replied:

in other words: Rwanda attacks Congo because it disagrees with 's approach


he:

in your view , 's approach against M23 was just because of the Language


me:

so you agree with my interpretation of your words


he:

, l wish you know where BUSASAMANA is then you interpret, sorry


me:            
you don't want to confirm or deny my interpretation. Trademark of dishonesty


he:
interpretation with hate or ignorance is indeed trademark of dishonest


me:
as long as you don't clarify your statement my interpretation remains entirely plausible


he:
follow our Hon Minister for clarification, the State of Law&Order






Note that he did not contradict my interpretation but claimed instead that I was ignorant (not knowing where BUSASAMANA is, implying the problem at the border started with Congo entering Rwandan territory) and hatred (implying I have sympathy for FDLR).




Today's account in JeuneAfrique of what happened does not exclude my interpretation. Note that these incidents take place at a crucial phase of the FDLR surrender process. This process gives FDLR the option to lay down their arms. Something that was proposed to m23 as well. If FDLR decides to not surrender, it will be rooted out.  In both cases military action is the ultimate solution.


Why is the RPF unwilling or unable to defend the solution to the FDLR problem? Is it a smart strategy or just a sign of weakness?












The former(?) Mufti quoted above was also involed in the ouster by the Rwandan Governance Board(!!) of the head of the Pentecostal Church of Rwanda.