1.12.2014

Prayer Breakfast with the Rwandan Dictator, 2014 Edition

On New Year's Day in South Africa, a Rwandan defector (Patrick Karegeya) who has spoken out forcibly against the tyrannical nature of the Kagame regime was found in a hotel, strangled to death with a curtain cord. He had been led there by a "friend" visiting from Rwanda. It is reasonably certain that the Rwandan government ordered his assassination as they have multiple dissidents over the years.
At first, Rwandan sycophants and high-ranking government officials took to Twitter to deny any connection to the killing. But lately, they have started saying that Karegeya had it coming. This culminated today at the annual Prayer Breakfast in Kigali, where Church officials came to hear President Kagame essentially defend this extra-judicial murder in glowing terms. He said:
I was elected and sworn in as the leader of this nation so I can aggressively defend it. But each Rwandan has their role to play. My job as President is to confront and defend Rwanda against people who want to destroy what we have been building. 
Let's see some other things he said and see who attended this insane ceremony:
Archbishop Rwaje with the Dictator, Paul Kagame
Kagame continued:
There are those who have forgotten so soon, who were made who they are by this country but turned against it. Our faith should be lived, we should see it in your actions. The God who gave us power to build our nation also gave us power to protect it. 
Bishop Mbanda in the rear, Rucyahana of M23 fame in the front
The dictator who recently ended support for the terrorist M23 said:
Those who are actively plotting against this country stand no chance; with God's grace we have the ability to defend it. Every Rwandan has got a stake in our progress, through quality service. God blesses us but we should be thankful while guarding our progress...
The notorious Antoine Rutayisire with the Dictator
The mass murdering Kagame said:
betraying your country and wishing the worst for it is costly. We should have the strength and courage to do good things and defend your country. There is no politeness when it comes to people who commit treason against their own country. A country makes you who you are you betray it? 
Sharing a laugh
According to a news report, the dictator said when news of Karegeya’s death broke; several government officials were “busy on Twitter denying. That was unnecessary. People must be ready to pay for their action.”

Applause for a madman


Kagame continued:
We should not be blamed for those whose interest is to destroy what Rwandans have built. Those who criticize Rwanda know how far they go to protect their own nation. Those who forget how far they have come from should remember they cannot put themselves above nation and people of Rwanda.
And lest we forget, American bishops have said not a word in protest of this cozy relationship with a wicked regime.
American and Rwandan bishops in the USA, 2013
Rwandan Bishops in Roanoke, Virginia
Rucyahana and Archbishop Duncan
Americans and Rwandans together
Here are some more pictures from this event, which is a testimony in pictures to what I have been saying for almost two years now:














1.10.2014

The Sacramental Side of Coronation

Queen Elizabeth at her coronation
Commenting on the coronation of Queen Elizabeth in 1953, C.S. Lewis wrote:
You know, over here people did not get that fairy-tale feeling about the coronation. What impressed most who saw it was the fact that the Queen herself appeared to be quite overwhelmed by the sacramental side of it. Hence, in the spectators, a feeling of (one hardly knows how to describe it)–awe–pity–pathos–mystery. The pressing of that huge, heavy crown on that small, young head becomes a sort of symbol of the situation of humanity itself: humanity called by God to be His vice-regent and high priest on earth, yet feeling so inadequate. As if He said ‘In my inexorable love I shall lay upon the dust that you are glories and dangers and responsibilities beyond your understanding.’ Do you see what I mean? One has missed the whole point unless one feels that we have all been crowned and that coronation is somehow, if splendid, a tragic splendour.

1.06.2014

The Ambitions of Octavian

Ronald Syme describes the future Augustus Caesar (Octavian) as a young man in a hurry:

The rhetoric of the ancients and the parliamentary theories of the moderns sometimes obscure the nature and sources of political power at Rome. They were patent to contemporaries. For the ambitious Octavianus, the gradual advancement of a Roman noble through the consecrated order of magistracies to the consulate, the command of an army, the auctoritas of a senior statesman, all that was too long and too slow. He would have to wait until middle age: his laurels would repose on grey hairs or none remaining. Legitimate primacy, it is true, could only be attained at Rome through many extra-constitutional resources, bribery, intrigue, and even violence; for the short and perilous path that Octavianus intended to tread, such resources would have to be doubled and redoubled.
(The Roman Revolution, page 119)

1.02.2014

Rwandan Recruitment for M23 in 2013

The latest report of the United Nations Group of Experts on the DRC says this about ongoing Rwandan support for the murderous M23 "rebellion" in 2013:
20. The Group interviewed 23 people from Rwanda who served in M23. Of these, 18 were Rwandan citizens and five were Congolese citizens living in Rwanda. The Group also interviewed 31 ex-combatants from DRC, Uganda, and Burundi who told the Group there were Rwandan citizens and/or Congolese refugees from Rwanda serving with them. Between 1 January and 8 December 2013, MONUSCO repatriated 78 Rwandan citizens who had served with M23.
21. Of the 23 recruits from Rwanda, 18 were adults and 5 were children. They ended up serving with M23 through a variety of means. The Group interviewed 3 Rwandan citizens who were forced to join M23, including one 16-year-old boy. The Group also interviewed 13 Rwandan citizens who joined M23, including boys aged 13, 15 and 17, who were recruited either as volunteers or through false promises of employment. The Group interviewed one RDF Special Forces soldier who deployed at the Rwanda-DRC border in August 2013 during an RDF deployment into DRC in support of M23, and later deserted.
The Group also interviewed 5 Congolese citizens recruited in Rwanda, including one 17-year-old boy.
22. The Group has confirmed that some of the M23 recruits from Rwanda were demobilized RDF soldiers. Former M23 officers and soldiers told the Group that demobilized RDF soldiers served in M23 as trainers and operators of heavy weapons. Four ex-M23 combatants told the Group that Maj. Kalissa Rwema is one ex-RDF officer who served as a trainer for M23 at Rumangabo. UN sources and two ex-M23 officers told the Group that an ex-RDF soldier known only by his nickname “Kifaru” was a crewmember in the T-55 tank that M23 used in combat.
23. The Group previously reported that Rwandan nationals who deserted M23 and returned directly to Rwanda were forcibly sent back to M23 by RDF officers. Two RDF officers who had deserted, a demobilized RDF officer, a former M23 officer, and a M23 recruiter of Rwandan nationality told the Group that RDF officers have also recruited for M23 and have facilitated recruitment by M23 recruiters by allowing them safe passage in Rwanda.
24. M23 paid Emmanuel Ngabo $750 to help cadres recruiting for M23 in Gisenyi, Rwanda. Gaspard Karemera, the M23-appointed Administrator of the Nyragongo Territory, also travelled to Rwanda to recruit and facilitate the crossing of the recruits through the Kabuhanga border. After M23’s military defeat in November, MONUSCO officials informed the Group that they had recovered Rwandan national identity cards in former M23 positions at Rumangabo. FARDC also recovered such cards. The Group is investigating reports of continued recruitment in Rwanda after M23’s defeat.

1.01.2014

Carson on Evangelical Longing for Approval

D.A. Carson says of younger evangelicals (written in the mid 90's):
It is reflected in the widely recognized clamor for academic recognition among many of the younger evangelical intellectuals, in their drumming criticism of evangelical "fathers" (like immature adolescents who cannot allow any opinion other than their own to be respected), in their persistent drift from biblical authority, and, increasingly, from other doctrines as well. But most of them still want to call themselves evangelicals: that is their power base, that is their prime readership, and it is that group that funds many of the colleges and seminaries where they teach.

Lincoln and the Constitution

Garry Wills says of Lincoln:
[Lincoln] altered the document from within, by appeal from its letter to the spirit, subtly changing the recalcitrant stuff of that legal compromise, bringing it to its own indictment. By implicitly doing this, he performed one of the most daring acts of open-air sleight-of-hand ever witnessed by the unsuspecting. Everyone in that vast throng of thousands was having his or her intellectual pocket picked. The crowd departed with a new thing in its ideological luggage, the new constitution Lincoln had substituted for the one they brought there with them...Lincoln had revolutionized the Revolution, giving people a new past to live with that would change their future indefinitely.

12.31.2013

Reads, 2013

Refutation of the Koran, Riccoldo of Monte Croce
The Private Life of Chairman Mao, Dr. Li Zhisui
The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius
Totalitarianism, Hannah Arendt
Submergence, J.M. Ledgard
Pascal, Thoughts
Going Clear, Lawrence Wright
The Coming of the Rain, Katharine Makower
Bobos in Paradise, David Brooks
The Age of Sacred Terror, Daniel Benjamin and Steven Simon
No Man Knows My History, Fawn Brodie
Brigham Young, Pioneer Prophet, John Turner
Inside the Mind of Joseph Smith, Robert D. Anderson
The New Mormon Challenge, Beckwith, Mosser, Owen
Contemporary Muslim Apocalyptic Literature, David Cook
Anglican Communion in Crisis, Miranda K. Hassett
Genocide in Rwanda, Complicity of the Churches? Ed. Carol Rittner, John K. Roth and Wendy Whitworth
Committed to Conflict, Laurent Mbanda
Citizens, Simon Schama
The Trial of Socrates, I.F. Stone
The Shadow of the Antichrist, Stephen N. Williams
On Marriage and Family Life, St. John Chrysostom
Pagans and Christians, Robin Lane Fox

12.26.2013

Funding the Clergy

Robin Lane Fox addresses how the early church funded its clergy:
...both the bishop and the clergy depended on the good will of the laity for funds in the first place. At first, they were supported by a "dividend system," financed by the total of their Christians' offerings: the sum seems to have been paid monthly, and a bishop's share was probably twice as big as an Elder's. The offerings included first fruits from crops and produce: Christian polemic against the letter of the Mosaic law did not extend to its rules on first fruits and tithes: tithes, on one view, were payable to the minor clerics, widows, paupers and virgins. The notion of fixed clerical salaries was considered an outrage as late as c. 200, in both Rome and Asia. It was the shocking practice of Christian sectarians and heretics. In the Christian Empire, however, it became the orthodox system in the East. Salaries are the heretics' one lasting legacy to Christian life.

12.20.2013

Theophilus

Robin Lane Fox provides an interesting take on the addressee of Luke and Acts:
Acts and its companion volume, the third Gospel, were dedicated to "most excellent" Theophilus, who wished to "know more exactly" about the faith "of which he had heard." Only one other type of person is called "most excellent" in the two books: a Roman provincial governor. The usage of contemporary Emperors and the incidence of the title in inscriptions and the papyri confirm that "most excellent" people were people of very considerable rank and position: Theophilus, then, is the cover name for a highly placed figure in Roman circles. Acts' abrupt ending is explained if "Theophilus" knew the sequel to Paul's years of arrest. "Theophilus" had heard of Paul's trial and execution: perhaps he had attended both. He wished to know the truth of a faith which had interested him but now lay under this recent cloud. Acts and the third Gospel are the first, and greatest, of Christian apologies to be addressed to highly placed pagans.

12.19.2013

French Researcher Ejected from Rwanda

In an article translated from French, researcher Guillaume Nicaise relates how doing research in Rwanda led to some frightening results. At the end of an interview with a Rwandan citizen:
at the end of the interview, he called his friends the police because he thought my questions too harmful or dangerous to his country.
The entire team of the police chief of the district and local RG made the move to end my day of research and ask me questions. Unfortunately, their efforts did not stop there.
I later learned from a reliable source than my movements and communications were monitored. In addition, the direction of the Department of Education was summoned by the criminal police to find out why I got a research permit allowing me to speak and inform me about the police. My affiliate organization asked me to report my actions.
Next, a courtesy interview with the chief of police led to more problems:
After the interrogation, he informed me that now I had problems with immigration. So we proceeded to immigration where I was accused of "forgery", having usurped my work permit to search (yet approved by the highest authorities of the State). This incredible accusation of a complete fabrication by the head of the criminal police allowed him to justify a search of my home. 
He was given twelve hours to leave the country:
This departure meant losing our work and our friends in Rwanda, but also the end of the continual anxiety of being [one of the] "missing" of the regime. So we took the first plane back to France...