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Thursday, August 28, 2014

The Search for Jihadi John

Abu Abduallah al-Britani. An ISIS terrorist involved in Foley murder
John R. Houk
© August 28, 2014
 
Who is the black-hooded and robed Islamic terrorist with a British accent that decapitated James Foley?
 
As is typical Obama greeted Americans with hallow words to Foley’s beheading telling us that ISIL (I like ISIS better) is a cancer but failing to tell we Americans on how justice will be served to the Foley murderer or to ISIS.
 
Relatively soon it was discovered the grisly murder was perpetrated by a British citizen that joined the ISIS army to establish a global Caliphate, the British Prime Minister David Cameron cut short his vacation to chat with his advisors on the Foley murder. Hmm … What did President Barack Hussein Obama do at the public discovery of the beheading? O yeah, BHO told Americans of the already known evils of ISIS while Foley’s parents were doing a Press Conference on the son’s murder AND THEN the Prez darted back to his golf course to play 18 rounds of golf in continuation of his vacation.
 
If you peruse the Internet to find info on the heinous murderer of Foley you will notice the primary source for that information is the British news media. Even the American news media seems to be primarily sourcing the British. There sure is the appearance of the Brits wanting to catch their Muslim British citizen more than America desires justice for the heinous murder of an American citizen.
 
From what I have read to date the knife decapitating murderer of has been tagged with the name of Jihadi John. The thing is instead of one Jihadi John the Brits seemed to think there are several Muslim Brits that could be Jihadi John. And there are some theories out there that more than one person participated in the beheading incident. Something like a right-handed Jihadi John pronounced his ISIS indictment against the USA and another left-handed Jihadi John actually used the knife to slice away James Foley’s head from his body.
 
It seems the chief Jihadi John suspect is a London raised son of a terrorist whose name is Abdel-Majed Abdel Bary. Apparently Bary achieved some modest notoriety as a British rapper prior to joining the ISIS Caliphate movement of converting or deathly butchering of non-Muslims under their control.
 
Though the MI5 and MI6 agencies are not releasing the man's name, reports say Abdel-Majed Abdel Bary — also known as “Lyricist Jinn” or “L Jinny” — is the main suspect. According to USA Today, he was identified via voice comparisons, and Abdel Bary's music career left them plenty of samples to consider. USA Today reports that U.S. intelligence has not yet been able to confirm the results.
 
Abdel Bary's father, Adel Abdel Bari, is believed to have been an associate of Osama bin Laden's and was allegedly involved in the 1998 U.S. embassy bombings. He was extradited to the U.S. in 2012.
 
 
The others the Brits are looking at are:
 
Aine Davis
 
The … suspect is 30-year-old Aine Davis.
 
Officials said he once worked as a drug dealer in the United Kingdom before he converted to Islam and joined the fighters in Syria. (British investigators narrow down list of terrorists suspected in James Foley killing; By MEG WAGNER; NY Daily News; 8/23/14 10:55 AM)
 
Born and brought up in Hammersmith, west London, Davis was a drug dealer and gang member who converted to Islam and was further radicalised during a spell in prison.
 
Earlier this month his wife, Amal El-Wahhabi, was convicted of funding terrorism after she persuaded a friend to fly to Istanbul with £16,000 in her underwear intended for Davis who is thought to be in Syria. When police searched his London home they found speeches by hate preachers Abu Hamza and Anwar al-Awlaki on his iPod. ('British' jihadist who beheaded journalist is Londoner called John; By Gordon Rayner, and Martin Evans; The Telegraph; 8/20/14 10:04PM BST)
 
Razul Islam
 
His brother Razul, 21, also travelled to Syria and is believed to be fighting with the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (Isil), the terrorist group that murdered Mr Foley.
 
Razul Islam is understood to be on a list of suspected British Jihadists whom the security services are comparing with the footage of Mr Foley’s killer, a British man known as “John” described as the leader of a British cell of jihadists known as “The Beatles”. (Net closes on 'Jihadi John' as London pair probed; By Gordon Rayner, Martin Evans, Nicola Harley and Claire Duffin; The Telegraph; 8/21/14 10:00 PM BST)
 
Now it is reported that Shajul’s younger brother Razul is also involved, and is on the Government’s watch-list of British Citizens presently fighting with terrorist group ISIS. (NHS DOCTOR WITH FAMILY JIHAD TIES SOUGHT IN 'BLACK BEATLE' BEHEADING SEARCH; By OLIVER LANE; Breitbart; 8/23/14)
 
Dr Shajul Islam
 
The 21-year-old's older brother, 28-year-old Shajul Islam, was previously accused of kidnapping Western journalist in Syria. Investigators are grilling Shajul Islam about anything he might know about Foley's execution. (British investigators narrow down list of terrorists suspected in James Foley killing; By MEG WAGNER; NY Daily News; 8/23/14 10:55 AM)
 
 
The government believes the suspended Accident and Emergency (A&E) doctor may have met Jihadi John, the 'Black Beatle', while in Syria in 2012 and can assist in enquiries.
 
Dr Shajul Islam, 23, was interred at Belmarsh High Security Prison for a year after he was arrested and charged for the kidnap of British journalist John Cantlie and a dutch photographer. Cantlie claimed after he was shot trying to escape from jihadist captivity in Syria he was treated by a British fighter who said he was an NHS doctor. For reasons unknown Cantile was not able to give evidence at the trial, which subsequently collapsed.
 
Shajul appears to have strong family connections to Islamic terrorism. His elder brother Najul was charged in the same 2012 trial over the kidnap and shooting of John Cantile, suggesting they had been in Syria together during the tumultuous early days of the insurrection there. Najul was alleged to have engaged in acts of terrorism in 2012, and of having paid for his brothers (sic) travel to Syria and equipment including night-vision goggles and rifle optics. (NHS DOCTOR WITH FAMILY JIHAD TIES SOUGHT IN 'BLACK BEATLE' BEHEADING SEARCH; By OLIVER LANE; Breitbart; 8/23/14)
 
 Abu Hussain al-Britani and Abu Abduallah al-Britani
 
The Sunday Mirror, citing British intelligence sources, identified two other suspects as 20-year-old Abu Hussain al-Britani, originally from Birmingham, and 23-year-old Abu Abduallah al-Britani (no known relation), originally from the county of Hampshire on England's south coast.
 
The Mail on Sunday reported that the three men known as "John," "George," and "Ringo" had formed a special kidnapping gang that may have targeted Westerners like Foley. The paper reported that the hostages regarded the group as particularly vicious jailers, who routinely beat their prisoners and tortured them with Tasers. At one point, the paper reported, the "Beatles" were actually prohibited from guarding the hostages due to the level of violence they inflicted.
 
According to The Mail on Sunday, the "Beatles" also boasted that they had made millions of dollars from ransoms paid by European countries, enough to "retire to Kuwait or Qatar," as one hostage told the paper. (US, UK eye rapper as British-born militant who beheaded journalist James Foley; By FoxNews.com, Jennifer Griffin and Catherine Herridge contributed to this report; 8/24/14)
 
I found some more specific info on the ISIS Beatles from the International Business Times (India) of all places. Nonetheless they source their article as the Daily Mail. IBT lists four ISIS Beatles corresponding to Rock Classic Brit Band the Beatles:
 
JOHN:
 
Recognised among their Western captives as 'John', Abdel-Majed Abdel Bary, a 23-year-old London rapper, has been identified as prime suspect. He left his million-dollar home last year to fight for the hardliner group and once posted a picture of himself holding a severed head, the New York Daily News has noted.
 
He is one of six children of Abdel Abdul Bary, an Egyptian militant, who is currently facing terrorism charges in connection with Al Qaeda's twin 1998 at the US Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, which killed 224, reports suggest.
 
GEORGE:
 
According to the Mail, Geroge (sic) was in fact, the ringleader of the gang and spends much of his time reciting chunks from the Koran and promoting ISIS's extremist views of Islam at public events. Many of the hostages were of the view that he wasn't as smart as 'John', the British daily noted citing various interviews with the captives' family members.
 
Though it is not clear what exactly George's real name is, it has been speculated that he could be 23-year-old Abu Abduallah al-Britani, originally from the county of Hampshire on England's south coast, according to the Sunday Mirror.
 
Having fled the UK for Syria earlier this year, he was recently cited as saying that Allah makes beheading victims "easy". Speaking a day after the sickening video of James Foley's execution appeared, he was quoted by Mirror as saying he had no fears about carrying out similar atrocities in Syria. He was speaking via a messaging app and responding to an investigative journalist who posed as someone wanting to joining ISIS.
 
RINGO:
 
Ringo was also among the four-member special kidnapping squad within the group, who was frequently seen by the captives unlike 'Paul' who appeared in their cells the least, the captives were cited as saying by the Mail. "He seems to have been just a guard, not there all the time," one 'key figure' was quoted as saying.
 
Paul:
 
A new member of the Beatles group to be named by media, Paul could be one member investigated as a possible suspect. But no more details about the man have been cited by Mail on its investigative piece.
 
Also it is not clear what Ringo's or Paul's real names are, but a third person – who could be either 'Ringo' or 'Paul' – has been identified by various newspapers as 20-year-old Abu Hussain al-Britani, who is originally from Birmingham. (Bold Text Blog Editor’s - James Foley Beheading: Who Among the 'Beatles' - John, Paul, George and Ringo - is the Killer? By Gopi Chandra Kharel; IBT; 8/25/14 13:39 IST)
 
The IBT gives specific names but appears to connect the identities of Ringo and Paul by pulling a guess out of a hat. The news articles that talk about the two fellas that end with al-Britani are probably pseudonyms which may or may not be the two Brits identified as Aine Davis and Razul Islam.
 
At any rate the Brits seem to have a better handle on finding the slayer or slayers Jihadi John than does the Obama Administration. Perhaps has ordered a behind the scenes action by whatever military specialized force that could be used so yet another scandal demonstrating Obama’s incompetence in Foreign Affairs is not exposed to American voters. After all that is how he was reelected in November 2012, i.e. by lying about the Benghazi attack.
 
So GO GET’EM BRITISH SAS!
 
JRH 8/28/14
 

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Sixteen Years; Way to Prosperity

Sajid Ishaq 2 - Interfaith Christmas Dinner 2013
Sajid Ishaq - Interfaith Christmas Dinner 2013


Shamim is reporting on a remarkable solution to educate the Christian poor that treated like the scum of the earth by Pakistan’s Muslim majority. The central point of any success is the ability local Christian leadership (Clergy and Laity) unite to engage in this idea that Shamim reports is proposed by Pakistan Interfaith League (PIL) Chairman Sajid Ishaq (Link with info but might be dated).

JRH 8/26/14
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Sixteen Years; Way to Prosperity

By Shamim Masih
Sent: 8/25/2014 9:13 PM

ISLAMABAD: Christians had the largest education and health system in Pakistan at the time of partition until the civil dictator Z. A. Bhutto nationalized their institutions. Now you can see the incredulous hypocrisy of Pakistan’s school system especially as it affects religious minorities and worse, the girls of these minorities.  This segment of our society remains uneducated and indulged in household jobs. They are being sexually harassed and then being forced to convert to Islam. Girls from the minority go to public school and face discrimination. Minority students are not only forced to study Islamic studies but forced to do manual jobs like cleaning in the school while other students remain in the class rooms.  Iffat Nasim, headmistress of the Government Khadija Girls High School in Rawalpindi, is reportedly involved in extra-educational activities by indulging the Christian students in cleaning/washing classrooms, toilets, verandas/corridors for hours and preparing burgers/buns for Muslim students for earning money for her. Despite the intentions of the Pakistani government, the educational system has failed to eradicate illiteracy in the post-independence era. It has also failed to train an adequate number of professionals to meet the needs of the country in different fields, which has been a major hindrance to the nation's economic development. The above mentioned is one example as there is series of this type of characters.

But still Christian’s missionary institutions have a large network in the country and they can serve better to the nations. Sajid Ishaq, chairman Pakistan Interfaith League (PIL) is eager to educate the youth of the Pakistani Christians. Talking about the recent situation in the country and future of the Pakistani minorities, he said education is the key to save future of the Christian’s youth. The Chairman [of the] PIL shared his plan to educate the Christian youth and said that this is evident in the cities established by the British, such as the port city of Karachi where majestic St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Pakistan’s largest church, stands, and the churches in the cities of Peshawar, Lahore and Rawalpindi where the British established a major military cantonment. European and wealthy native Christians established colleges, churches, hospitals and schools in cities like Karachi, Lahore, Faisalabad, Rawalpindi and Peshawar.

He [Sajid Ishaq] said that since Christian students are being ignored and remain uneducated and thus they cannot enter into the main stream. He requested the church administrations of the country, if they [could] allow him to use their premises in the evening to educate the Christian youth throughout the country. He further claimed that he has collected the drop-out data and has planned to teach them in the evening classes. According to his plan, he can arrange the teaching classes for the poor Pakistani Christian students if the church administrations allow him to use the buildings of the schools, colleges in the evening. He said with the limited budget we can reach to the unreached children of the Pakistani Christians. And thus after sixteen years, we will have a new educated lot of the Christian youth.

Despite the fact of the differences between us, we need to focus to address the severe conditions of the Pakistani Christians. Since Christians are being persecuted under severe conditions, all the prominent Christian leadership should stand shoulder-to-shoulder with each other. Each and every person in charge or claim to be; should take the responsibility to teach at least Christian students for a better future generation. Educational institutions with a religious background should take interest and focus on the deserving students.

Be Blessed,

Shamim Masih
______________________________
Edited by John R. Houk
All text enclosed in brackets are by the Editor

© Shamim Masih
Special Correspondents
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Snapshot of Human Rights Activism from 2011
Christian Rights Activist
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Shamim Masih’s Donate/Support info:

Editor: For Americans especially, I have discovered the best way to donate to Shamim Masih is via Western Union sending to a Western Union agent in Islamabad. Include Shamim’s phone - +92-300-642-4560

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Montana Who are YOU Voting for in the U.S. Senate?

Steve Daines vs. Amanda Curtis
Steve Daines vs. Amanda Curtis

Failed Dem Policies of Obama or Future Prosperity of a Conservative?

John R. Houk
© August 26, 2014

The Big Sky State of Montana has been a mixed bag in the U.S.’s political spectrum. Since 2012 Montana voted Republican for President, has a Democrat Governor, two Dem Party Senators and since 2012 Montana’s lone Representative in U.S. House of Representatives is Steve Daines a Republican.

Dem Senator John Walsh has been exposed as a plagiarist which became scandalous enough that he opted out of a Senate reelection campaign in 2014. Which makes him a has-been.

Guess who became the GOP choice to face Walsh in 2014? Yup, Rep. Steve Daines Montana’s only House member in the U.S. Congress. The Montana Dems have selected State Senator (Montana State Congress) to face Steve Daines in the 2014 election cycle.

Daines is so Conservative that the Dems aren’t campaigning against what he votes, but rather the Dems are doing what they doo-doo best. Which is to say the Dem strategy is an absolute negative campaign of character smears much like something you might read from the Montana Leftist blog called Intelligent Discontent:


The title is fairly self-explanatory but if you are a Leftie you might enjoy how Don Pogreba explains deceitfully votes Conservative with committing to that vote in his home Montana State. Typically the Dems are counting on the Montana voters being duped while calling them stupid for not realizing a Conservative will vote Conservative in House voting roll calls.

A Helena Independent Record (IR) posted this about Steve Daines on March 24 of this year:

Montana’s U.S. Rep. Steve Daines — a Republican running this year for the U.S. Senate — has fashioned a very conservative voting record in his first 15 months on the job, independent analyses show.

He opposed Democratic President Barack Obama 87 percent of the time during 2013, according to Congressional Quarterly, a nonpartisan publication that covers Congress.

In addition, a 30-year-old rating system devised by two prominent political scientists casts Daines as the most conservative House member in Montana history.

The Montana Democratic Party, which is working to defeat Daines in this year’s election, also has called Daines “reckless” and extreme, pointing primarily to his 2013 support for House Republican budget proposals and his opposition to two key bipartisan budget deals in 2013 and early this year.

Daines, in an interview last week, said he prefers to describe his voting record as … YOU CAN READ THE REST (Daines' voting record: Pragmatic or very conservative? By Mike Dennison; IR; 3/24/14 6:00 am)

What a surprising description of the Conservative GOP Haines, right? God bless him for voting against Obama 87% of the time and God bless him for being the most Conservative Representative in Montana history.

In contrast the candidate the Dems chose to replace plagiarist Senator Walsh on the 2014 ballot is State Senator Amanda Curtis (D – Dist. 76). Walsh is so Left Wing that you can tell she sees herself in the mold of the Socialist-in-Chief President Barack Hussein Obama. Curtis is using the same kind of rhetoric that Obama used in 2008 to first fool American voters. Here’s a 2008 flashback on Obama:


Posted by potus08blog
Uploaded on Apr 11, 2008

Barack's comments that are generating all of the controversy: "You go into these small towns in Pennsylvania and, like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing's replaced them," Obama said. "And they fell through the Clinton Administration, and the Bush Administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are gonna regenerate and they have not. And it's not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations." (Bold Text Mine)

TeaParty.org put together a short montage of Amanda Curtis vlog videos wearing her Leftist rhetoric on her head like tinfoil to block out the failed policies of Obama’s Left Wing Administration:


Published: Aug 16, 2014

Just like her political hero Obama she mocks guns, religion and the traditional family base and acts like opposing Socialistic concepts is the epitome of an American moron.

So Montana voters do you want to stick with the guy who voted 87% of the time against the failed Presidency of Barack Hussein Obama while a House member or do you want to a Left Winger into the Senate to perpetuate those failed Obama policies for six years as a Senator? The choice will be yours on that first Tuesday in November 2014.

The TeaParty.org article is actually a reprint of a Breitbart.com article. Since I found the article via a TeaParty.org email I am going to cross post from that website. I am going to omit the video since I actually posted that above.

JRH 8/26/14
***********************************
VIDEO: Democrat Sen. Candidate Mocks Gun Owners, Christianity, the Bible, and the Family

August 23, 2014 11:12 am
Email Alert Sent: 8/25/2014 4:50 PM

(Breitbart) – Montana State Senator Amanda Curtis (D-76 Dist.) is running for U.S. Senate and will no doubt be trying to run away from her past statements mocking guns, Christianity, the Bible, and the family.

She just stepped into the race in place of John Walsh, the Democrat candidate who had to step down amid a plagiarism scandal.

On August 22 the Tea Party Express posted a compilation of Curtis’s statements that include laughing at gun owners who stress the importance of having a gun for self-defense. She does this by telling stories about walking home “in the dark, through parking lots and everything,” without a gun. She looks into the camera, feigning surprise, and says, “I’m glad I made it.”

She then references someone who brought up “the God almighty, and natural law, and the Bible, and biblical this and biblical that, and Christianity and fundamental Christianity.” After saying these things she looks into the camera and grimaces, like the mention of these things caused her pain.

She then makes fun of a fellow legislator who said “the most basic form of government in Montana is the family.” She grimaced again and said, “Really?”

Of course, her mockery of the family is also another mockery of Christianity, which puts forth the family as the first authority children learn to obey.


_____________________________
Montana Who are YOU Voting for in the U.S. Senate?
John R. Houk
© August 26, 2014
______________________________
VIDEO: Democrat Sen. Candidate Mocks Gun Owners, Christianity, the Bible, and the Family


About TeaParty.org

The Tea Party is a grassroots movement that calls awareness to any issue which challenges the security, sovereignty, or domestic tranquility of our beloved nation, the United States of America. From our founding, the Tea Party represents the voice of the true owners of the United States: WE THE PEOPLE.

TeaParty.org was created on: September 2nd, 2004. Many claim to be the founders of this movement; however, it was the brave souls of the men and women in 1773, known today as the Boston Tea Party, who dared to defy the greatest military might on earth. We are the beneficiaries of their courage.

The Tea Party includes those who possess a strong belief in the foundational Judeo-Christian values embedded in our great founding documents. We believe the responsibility of our beloved nation is etched upon the hearts of true American Patriots from every race, religion, national origin, and walk of life sharing a common belief in the values which made and keep our beloved nation great. This belief led to the creation of the modern-day Tea Party.

Our millions of members consist of Republicans, Democrats, Libertarians, and Independents who identify with the premises set forth by the U.S. Constitution and we are striking a chord and ringing true with the American Spirit.

We stand by the Constitution as inherently conservative. We serve as a beacon to the masses that have lost their way, a light illuminating the path to the original intentions of our Founding Fathers. We must raise a choir of voices declaring America must stand on the values which made us great. Only then READ THE REST

Religious Freedom Report

Persecution - Global Assault on Christians
You need to become aware just horrific the persecution is against Christians globally. Check out these links from the monthly Religious Freedom Report sponsored by the Acton InstituteInstitute on Religion and Democracy.

JRH 8/26/14
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Religious Freedom Report
Sent: 8/25/2014 1:19 PM
August 2014 Issue
Institute on Religion and Democracy

The Religious Freedom Report is a monthly update about the persecution of the Church worldwide. It is a joint project of The Institute on Religion & Democracy in Washington D.C., and the Acton Institute for the Study of Religion & Liberty in Grand Rapids, Mich. If you do not wish to receive this newsletter, simply click the unsubscribe button on the bottom of the page. Thanks for reading.


It happened this past June in Wuxi Village. According to the Associated Press, the government hired a crew to cut down the metal cross atop the Wuxi Christian Church in Zhejiang Province (just south of Shanghai on China’s east coast). The day after they sawed it down, a church member welded the cross back in place and was brought in for hours of questioning. A week later, down came the cross a second time only to be put back by another church member.


Why is the world silent while Christians are being slaughtered in the Middle East and Africa?


A group of 11 sick, disabled and elderly Iraqi Christians --including an 80-year-old woman with breast cancer -- defied terrorists who ordered them to convert to Islam or be beheaded, saying they preferred death to giving up their faith.


The recently-elected Archbishop of the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) the Most Rev. Foley Beach has issued a call to prayer and action on behalf of persecuted Christians in the Middle East.

If You Don't Stop Evil, Evil Spreads [Originally bad link – Found link at DetroitNews.com]

It reads like something from a history book or a class lecture about something decades and even centuries ago in a time period where we were less equipped to handle it. But it is happening right now, to our own people, in a time period where we have sophisticated military, high-tech equipment and the ability to get status updates in real time.


The new Egyptian government had pledged to rebuild the churches, but they may face too much public opposition actually to be able to do that. After all, the Muslim Brotherhood supporters in Egypt haven’t all vanished into thin air, and rebuilding the churches is just the kind of thing that could provoke them.


Indignation and outrage in the Christian community of Lahore (Pakistan) after the rape of a 12-year-old Christian girl.


Amnesty International said the victims, some just babies, were snatched from villages and face the prospect of being forced into marriage or sold as sex slaves.


Iraqi civilians are being subjected to “barbaric” sexual violence committed by Sunni Islamic State (IS) jihadist fighters, the U.N reports.


ISIS’ Islamic justice condemns women for the immorality of having their faces uncovered. Meanwhile they’re raping young boys.


"They took the women and the young girls. The men were killed with butcher's knives,” one young woman told FRANCE 24.


Saeed Abedini, a pastor who holds American citizenship and has been captive in Iran for nearly two years, faces new dangers and death threats from fellow prisoners, say his family’s representatives.


Boko Haram—a Hausa phrase meaning “Western education is a sin”—is an Islamic terrorist group whose stated aim is the establishment, by force, of a strict, sharia-law theocracy in Nigeria.
__________________________

Mission

We are Christians working to reaffirm the church’s biblical and historical teachings, strengthen and reform its role in public life, protect religious freedom, and renew democracy at home and abroad.

Vision

To lead the fight rallying Christians to champion biblical, historic Christianity and its role in democratic society, and to defeat revisionist challenges.


Christianity and Democracy
by Reverend Richard John Neuhaus

A Statement of the Institute on Religion and Democracy

Jesus Christ is Lord. That is the first and final assertion Christians make about all of reality, including politics. Believers now assert by faith what one day will be manifest to the sight of all: every earthly sovereignty is subordinate to the sovereignty of Jesus Christ.
The Church is the community of believers who bear witness to that claim. Because the Church is pledged to the Kingdom proclaimed by Jesus, it must maintain a critical distance from all the kingdoms of the world, whether actual or proposed. Christians betray their Lord if, in theory or practice, they equate the Kingdom of God with any political, social, or economic order of this passing time. At best, such orders permit the proclamation of the Gospel of the Kingdom and approximate, in small part, the freedom, peace and justice for which we hope. At worst, such orders attempt to suppress the good news of the Kingdom and oppress human beings who are the object of divine love and promise.

The First Political Task of the Church

The first political task of the Church is to be the Church. That is, Christians must proclaim and demonstrate the Gospel to all people, embracing them in a sustaining community of faith and discipline under the Lordship of Christ. In obedience to this biblical mandate, Christians have a special care for all who are in need, especially the poor, the oppressed, the despised and the marginal. The Church is called to be a community of diversity, including people of every race, nation, class, and political viewpoint. As a universal community, the Church witnesses to the limits of the national and ideological loyalties that divide mankind. Communal allegiance to Christ and his Kingdom is the indispensable check upon pretensions of the modern state. Because Christ is Lord, Caesar is not Lord. By humbling all secular claims to sovereignty, the Church makes its most important political contribution by being, fully and unapologetically, the Church.

While our first allegiance is to the community of faith and its mission in the world, Christians do not withdraws from participation in other communities. To the contrary, we are called to be leaven and light in movements of cultural, and economic change. History is the arena in which Christians exercise their discipleship. Because our hope is eternal and transcendent, Christians can participate in society without despair or delusion. We do not despair of the meaning of history, nor do we delude ourselves that our efforts are to be equated with establishing the Kingdom of God. The fulfillment of history’s travail is the promised Rule of God, not the establishment of our human programs and designs.

Towards an Open Church

God has given us no one pattern for the ordering of societies or of the world. For almost two millennia Christians have pursued their mission within a variety of social, political, and economic systems. Among Christians today, as in times past, there are significant disagreements about the most appropriate and effective ways to advance freedom, justice, and peace in the world. That Christians are to pursue these goals should be beyond dispute. Disagreements about how they are to be pursued need be neither surprising nor destructive. In making political decisions, we are all subject to error. Through prayer, we decide in the courage of our uncertainties. We strive to credit the intelligence and good intentions of those who decide differently. Especially within the believing community we must, in the words of Reinhold Niebuhr, avoid portraying our conflicts as a war between “the children of light and the children of darkness.” Our unity in Christ is greater than whatever may divide us.

Within our several churches, disagreement about the meaning of social justice should not merely be tolerated; it should be cherished. We are pledged to the goal that our churches be open churches. An open church engages sympathetically the diversity of Christian views both within and outside denominational structures. An open church welcomes dissent on contingent judgments about the right-ordering of society; this strengthens the search for truth and helps correct error. An open church makes decisions in the light of day, not in the shadowed corners of bureaucratic power. An open church has leaders eager to engage in the fullest consultation with all its members. An open church addresses social issues not so much to advance a particular position as to inform and empower people to make their own decisions responsibly. An open church understands that the Church speaks most effectively when the people who are the Church do the speaking, and leaders speak more believably when they speak with the informed consent of those whom they would lead.

Sometimes leaders can and should disagree with the views of the majority. To disagree, however, is not to disregard the views of others. Leadership in an open church is marked by READ THE REST