And, no - New Caledonia Won't fit them all
I was also slotted in to preach last Sunday (that audio is here if you're interested) which actually took an awful lot of effort and it was only then that I discovered that I mainly tap the space-bar with the digit that I had cut to the bone - it was quite painful & combined with the flu meant I've had a thoroughly miserable week & largely been a complete waste of space. The last couple of days being occupied with sitting in bed watching the New Zealand Tourism Board's famous promotional film trilogy The Lord of the Rings.
However, now that normal service has been cautiously resumed I have found another excellent piece by Bruce Bawer for you to ruminate on. He discusses a recent speech by French President Macron in Washington. Despite all the high-sounding rhetoric I'm afraid all I hear in this talk are the same deluded & insular sentiments demonstrated by an earlier member of the French elite: "let them eat cake".
Mr Bawer notes this recent public statement by French intellectuals:~
“Islamist totalitarianism,” they warned, is gaining ground in France by, among other things, representing itself “as a victim of intolerance.” It has demanded – and received – “a special place” in French society, resulting in an “apartheid” that “seeks to appear benign but is in reality a weapon of political and cultural conquest.”
Over the weekend I heard that segregation of public swimming pools - ladies only days, I think it was - is being sought by members of the Muslim community in the largest town in our province. Bear in mind that this town is still so small that it doesn't even have traffic lights. It also has a very small proportion of Muslims dwelling in it. However, just as has been the pattern so often elsewhere even we are being pressured into a form of apartheid for the sake of "inclusion" and "tolerance" of others' beliefs. This is how it begins...
But don't be too discouraged!
I chatted with a Swedish acquaintance the other day who had recently visited her homeland and reported that, despite all the horror stories coming out of that country, there are thousands of Muslims making genuine conversions to Christ in Sweden. Genuine conversions - not politically astute conversions, not conversions of convenience but genuine & often costly conversions because they have (finally) encountered the truth about Jesus Christ without the clutter of Islam's heretical distortions.
The other day I watched a video of Malcolm Muggeridge's from 40 years ago concerning the decline of Western civilisation. At that time he already saw the West as being in a state of decay and rapidly approaching its end. As I listened I remembered how Jordan Peterson noted that any culture that does not pass on its important beliefs and stories is already dead - it isn't in the process of dying, it is already dead. Muggeridge, it turns out, was quite right.
Jordan Peterson offers an example to us of people championing the West's cultural superiority - a superiority that is based on its founding religion (and if you still don't think Western culture is better then why is it so many people are trying to get here from every other culture?). I hope to add my little efforts as one of the people even more convinced of the superiority of the West's God.
And Muslims are still discovering Christ and turning to him. Whether or not one is a religious person this is excellent news. So as an aside to my Christian friends - have some confidence in the power & the nature of our God. There is no-one like him.
Opportunities surround us.
MACRON VS. REALITY: Slippery words from a shameless Islam appeaser.
...Yes, there was this, somewhat later in his oration [Macron stated]: “Both in the United States and in Europe, we are living in a time of anger and fear because of these current global threats, but these feelings do not build anything....Closing the door to the world will not stop the evolution of the world. It will not douse but inflame the fears of our citizens.” Qu'est-ce que c'est? The French claim to love logic. But where's the logic here? By “current global threats,” Macron presumably meant jihadist violence and Islamization. But what was Macron telling us to do about them? Nothing. Fear is bad. Anger is wrong. And stronger border controls? They won't work, because they won't stop the world's “evolution.” Is evolution his euphemism for Islamization?
Macron proceeded to denounce “extreme nationalism.” Clearly, he wasn't talking about actual far-right fascists. No, he meant “America first.” He meant Brexit. “Personally, if you ask me,” he said, “I do not share the fascination for new, strong powers, the abandonment of freedom, and the illusion of nationalism.” In short, he was equating “freedom” with rule by the EU and UN (for which he worked in a plug) and indicting ordinary folks who actually think their countries belong to them. ... Macron proclaimed that we need to save the Earth because, as he put it, “there is no planet B!” Well, I couldn't help thinking, there's no France B, either. And the fact is that his own country is going down the tubes – and fast. But if you believed his speech, the only threat to liberté, égalité, et fraternité in the West isn't Islam but “fake news.”
Yes, he actually used those words. ... Here's what he said: “To protect our democracies, we have to fight against the ever-growing virus of fake news, which exposes our people to irrational fear and imaginary risks.” Irrational fear? Imaginary risks? Plainly, here was yet another craven European pol who, even as Rome is burning, insists that the problem isn't the arsonists or the fire but the firefighters. How many of the House and Senate members applauding him on Capitol Hill knew that Macron recently called for a law in France that would summarily close down online sources of “fake news” – by which (he's made clear) he means news sources critical of Islam?
Macron's Washington speech, as it happened, came only days after the release of the most comprehensive study yet of Islam in France. Co-sponsored by the Sorbonne, it concluded that the country's second- and third-generation Muslims, who make up seven or eight percent of its population, are increasingly Islamized. Most have no respect for French law and culture; most approve of the Charlie Hebdo massacre. Researcher Olivier Galland said his results were, “to put it mildly, harrowing” – reflective of community values in stark contrast with those of la belle Republique.
France's mainstream news media reacted to the study with outrage. Galland and his team, charged Le Monde, were “stimatizing Muslims.” But for those not interested in whitewashing Islam, the study only affirmed a grim reality that has been reported worldwide for years in what Macron would call “fake news” media – a reality of no-go zones, mass car burnings, large-scale gang riots, police who are scared to arrest Muslims, firefighters who hesitate to enter Muslim neighborhoods, anti-Semitic attacks that are driving Jews from France, historians who feel compelled to write “Islamically correct” textbooks, and high-school teachers who (as Millière puts it) “go to work with a Qur'an in their hands, to make sure that what they say in class does not contradict the sacred book of Islam.” Oh, and a tiny cohort of brave fools who are put on trial for daring to speak the truth about all this.
Another recent document is of interest here. On March 19, Le Figaro published a statement signed by about one hundred French intellectuals, among them Alain Besançon, Pascal Bruckner, Alain Finkielkraut, Bernard Kouchner, Robert Redeker, Pierre-André Taguieff, and Ibn Warraq. “Islamist totalitarianism,” they warned, is gaining ground in France by, among other things, representing itself “as a victim of intolerance.” It has demanded – and received – “a special place” in French society, resulting in an “apartheid” that “seeks to appear benign but is in reality a weapon of political and cultural conquest.”
The signatories declared their opposition to this silent subjugation and their wish “to live in a world where women are not deemed to be naturally inferior....a world where people can live side by side without fearing each other....a world where no religion lays down the law.”
On the one hand, it was a powerful manifesto – nothing less than a j'accuse for the twenty-first century – whose power lay in its courageous candor about the real threat facing the Republic of France. On the other hand, my response upon reading it was: Well, good luck with that. Some of these intellectuals have been saying these things for a long time; others have joined the chorus more recently. All praise to every last one of them. But nothing will change in France until public proclamations by intellectuals give way to meaningful nationwide action by ordinary citizens – who, alas, in the second and deciding round of last year's presidential election, gave Macron, this would-be Marshal Pétain, twice as many votes as the woman who, whatever her imperfections and her unfortunate parentage, is the closest their poor broken country has to a potential Saint Joan.