Obama gives a lead to Trump

There has been much media coverage of Donald Trump’s use of social media and mis-calling main stream media.

Let us remember that it was Obama who used social media to galvanise support for his successful campaign to reach the White House. It looks like sour grapes to complain that Donald Trump did the same.

“President Barack Obama is a master at limiting, shaping and manipulating media coverage of himself and his White House,” wrote Jim VandeHei and Mike Allen in February 2013.

The Week 2/3/2013 carries an article How Obama keeps the press at bay that states: “the White House has strongly cut back reporters’ access to the president, while exploiting social media and other new technologies to ruthlessly control its message.  The White House press corps is now denied direct access to Obama, his cabinet or other top officials.  Months go by without a real press conference.  The administration, meanwhile, churns out plenty of flattering ‘content’ of its own – photos, social media messages and interviews with naive journalists – feeding hungry TV stations and websites.”

Feb 2013 Obama the puppet master

30 Nov 2013 Editorial – Obama administration works hard to keep press at bay

29 Mar 2016 Obama’s hypocritical journalism lecture

 

What is Islamic Reformation?

Tonight, 14 Feb 2017, BBC Newsnight’s Viewsnight carried an opinion that Islamic State is a Reformation in islam.

Canadian author Graeme Wood compared the similarities of the rise of Islamic State (ISIS) with the Protestant Reformation under Martin Luther, pointing to 1. the call to return to the original sources (the Bible and Quran) to read it for oneself, bypassing the priestly class and mainstream clerics, giving back power to the people, and 2. using the latest technology to appeal to the masses against officialdom (the printing press in the 16th century and the internet and social media in the 21st century).

Thus Islamic State (ISIS) was compared to the Protestant Reformation, an intellectual convulsion that is re-making the muslim world, calling muslims back to the original sources in the Quran. He called them Islamic Protestants.

However, Wood makes an important mistake. He pointed out that the Protestant Reformation led to a bloodbath, and so has ISIS, as if there was not only moral equivalence but also causative equivalence between the two. He failed to point out that the bloodbath at the Protestant Reformation was at the hands of officialdom, but the bloodbath by ISIS is at the hands of conservative muslims against officialdom – an important difference.

It is astonishing that this mistaken historical perspective is so easily publicised on national television.

Rather, Islamic State is the death-throes of koranic islam as it feels threatened by more rational islamic voices interacting with the love and toleration of Christianity. The islamic reformation is on the other foot and began many decades ago. Salman Rushdie’s Islamic Verses was a challenge to the authenticity of certain verses in the Quran. This led to a fatwah against him. Interaction with western civilisation over several decades has diminished islamic attachment to the details of koranic teaching, so that westernised islam distances itself from the blood-thirsty teaching in the koran.

ISIS is actually a bloody Counter-Reformation to moderating and reforming muslim teachers, comparable to the 16th century Roman Catholic bloody Counter-Reformation with its Inquisition and manipulation of the authorities to do its dirty work for it.  It is not comparable to the liberating Protestant Reformers who gave to the world modern Parliamentary democracy, the right of private judgment and the freedom of thought and religion.

Addendum:
15/2/2017: Tariq Ramadan gave another perspective on Viewsnight tonight in which he contradicted Wood’s view and claimed that quiet reform is already happening among muslims, who “are trying to liberate themselves from both Arab and Asian patriarchy and Western cultural imperialism.” At least it confirms to some extent what I have written above.

Morality and women in politics

The Women’s Equality Party is the new lassie on the block. It does not like Donald Trump’s victory in the USA. Its spokeswoman on the Daily Politics today complains that his election means that one can demean woman and ‘it doesn’t matter’. Secular morality is offended.

The secular elite is now discovering how Christians have felt for decades about the absence of morality in politics. We have complained for long enough that successful politicians can support abortion ‘and it doesn’t matter’.

The creation of the Women’s Equality Party is the latest stage in feminist politics and the feminist agenda.

It is another example of single issue politics – like the SNP, the Greens, UKIP, etc.

It reminds Christians that our ‘single issue’ is worth making the basis for the Christian Party.

The difference is that Christianity is not going away any time soon – but single issue parties either attain their aim (as UKIP) and lose their purpose, or their issues are taken on by other parties (the Tories took on UKIP issues and various political parties have taken on Green issues).

How does the Women’s Equality Party become a majority concern? Look at how many cows are in the field compared to the bulls – and think – IVF, feminism, redefining the family, and imagine their future.

We look forward to Christian Party issues and policies being further adopted by other political parties.

Patrick’s Places – the difference between Law and Gospel

Patrick’s Places – the difference between Law and Gospel
by Patrick Hamilton, 1527.

Patrick Hamilton was Scotland’s first Reformer and martyr, burned at the stake by Roman Catholic cardinal Beaton at St Andrews in 1528 for preaching the Gospel. Of noble birth, he graduated MA from the College of Montaigu, Paris, in 1520 and enrolled in the University of St Andrews on the same day that John Major was received as Principal of St Mary’s College on 9/6/1523. In 1527 he was one of the first students in the new University of Marburg founded in 1527 by Landgrave Philip I of Hesse. The same year he wrote Patrick’s Places in Latin, translated by John Frith into English who named it Patrick’s Places ‘for it treateth exactly of certain commonplaces, which known, ye have the pith of all divinity.’

The nature and office of the law and of the gospel

The law showeth us our sin, Rom. iii. 9-20.
The gospel showeth us remedy for it, John i. 29.
The law showeth us our condemnation, Rom. vii. 23, 24.
The gospel showeth us our redemption, Eph. i.
The law is the word of ire, Rom. iv. 15.
The gospel is the word of grace, Acts xx. 24.
The law is the word of despair, Deut. xxvii. 15-26.
The gospel is the word of comfort, Luke ii. 10.
The law is the word of unrest, Rom. vii. 24.
The gospel is the word of peace, Eph. vi. 15.

A disputation between the law and the gospel; where is shown the difference or contrariety between them both.

The law saith, Pay thy debt.
The gospel saith, Christ hath paid it.
The law saith, Thou art a sinner; despair, and thou shalt be damned.
The gospel saith, Thy sins are forgiven thee, be of good comfort, thou shalt be saved!
The law saith, Make amends for thy sins.
The gospel saith, Christ hath made it for thee.
The law saith, The Father of heaven is angry with thee.
The gospel saith, Christ hath pacified him with his blood.
The law saith, Where is thy righteousness, goodness, and satisfaction?
The gospel saith, Christ is thy righteousness, thy goodness, thy satisfaction.
The law saith, Thou art bound and obliged to me, to the devil, and to hell.
The gospel saith, Christ hath delivered thee from them all.

Dr Donald M. Boyd
3/10/2016

Missing the Wood for the Trees

The Labour Party Conference begins tomorrow for four days.

But…its website doesn’t tell us the agenda nor timetable.

Its conference page tells us a host of activities and details but not its agenda nor timetable!

no-agenda-or-timetable-for-labour-party-conference-2016

I hope those who booked to attend this conference know what they have signed up for.

Yes – it is not available if you search around the site and if you google it…which simply takes you to this page.

I suppose in the interests of balance I should post the link for the Tory Party Conference agenda which begins a week later. This is not an endorsement!

BT and identifying cold callers

Following my blogpost on cold calling, another issue is the problem of identification.

Occasionally British Telecom (BT) phone me. The most recent call was to remind me to renew my broadband with them. This needs serious consideration because tonight I sent an email which did not go through. What was the reason? This is what the email said:
“Technical details of temporary failure:
Google tried to deliver your message, but it was rejected by the relay smtp.btinternet.com.
The error that the other server returned was:
421 Too many messages (1.3.5.2) from …”

So one email is ‘too many messages’. This is not uncommon, and it is sporadic and unpredicable. This deserves investigation and consideration before I renew my contract with BT.

So when the BT caller phoned about renewing my broadband, I was ready to ask some questions, but before we could begin, the caller wanted to go through some ‘security questions’ with me first. Could I confirm my name, address and postcode for identification.

So I reminded the caller that I would like to confirm their identity. She repeated that these questions were simply for security. So I pointed out: “If I answer them, you have a name, a telephone number and an address – very useful for cold callers and others.” So I repeated by question: “You claim to be BT. Of all people, you should be able to confirm your identity on a telephone.” As I probed who they were, I discovered that it was not BT but a sub-contracted business claiming to do BT’s work for them.

So I pointed out to them that as they cannot prove their identity to me, and I cannot establish their identity either, the call will need to end.

I periodically have this phone call with BT personnel, or their subsidiaries. If BT cannot address this issue, why should we bother? Telecommunication is their business, and it is their responsibility to prove their identification in their cold calls. Let BT and other cold callers address this.

The Ark of Noah – and The Unsinkable Dream

I have just finished reading The Unsinkable Dream by Johan Huibers, the Dutchman who has built a full-sized replica of Noah’s Ark. Its Dutch title is Let Your Dream Sail.

It is a wonderful read about an amazing project with so many lessons that you should simply purchase the book for yourself.

The Ark is currently on a tour around the ports of South America, such as Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where the Olympic Games are being held at present.

You can read about it and support it here: www.arkofnoah.org.

Ark Of Noah Foundation video on Vimeo; more Ark of Noah Foundation videos here.