Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Dow falls by 777.7 points

Sep 29, however the Dow closed at about 680 down at the moment of 4pm and is "correcting" to 777.7 point. (It finally stabilized there).

Something very strange is going on - Even the decimal point made it memorable. Nothing is by chance.

Now you should believe that an unseen hand is behind the whole incident in manipulating the market as well as the presidency election.

Behold, the beast of the New World Order is at hand. The historic fall of Wall Street Dow following Lehman Brothers Bank bankruptcy was a prelude to a greater shock. NWO will seek to crash the Wall Street market to introduce the beast's 666 trading system.

敢怒敢言,落伍了

近来马华党选热烈,从过去几个星期看到的报道,“敢怒敢言”就成为两个巨头当选的魔咒,或护身符。候选人彼此的驳斥敌方不是敢怒敢言的人,给人的印象是一旦自己当选,就不会静默对待不利课题的。

这种现象须归功于308大选的变天,马华,民政和国大党的大败,都归罪巫统的霸权把它们拖下水。华印裔认为它们在面对权益被剥削课题时领袖不敢出声,人民不接受所谓内部协商,因为明显协商也获不得该得的权益。

其实敢怒敢言并不能证明一个政治领袖有素质,你愤怒,就是因为对方作了些不恰当的东西伤害到你。关键就是对方必须改变作风,不再伤害你,并尊重你。否则的话,你敢怒敢言也没有用。这是关乎尊重别人的问题,若一个人不尊重别人,喜欢就讲一些话或做一些事伤害别人。而受害者即使敢怒敢言也只是在作没完没了的动作。

308大变天,使到国阵失去三分之二优势,一个成员党(沙巴进步党)已经退出国阵,民政有60%党员支持退出国阵,不少马华领袖和党员也曾经发表过退出国阵的言论。国阵失败乃长期由巫统一党独大,挤压得其他成员党敢怒而不敢言。所以,国阵若不改变由巫统一党独大政治架构的话,其他成员党再怎样敢怒,再怎样敢言,它的政治形态也和过去51年一样的。

文明的国度是靠讲理由服人的,譬如一个律师在法庭辩驳,不能用理由让法官认同他的话,他即使敢怒敢言也只是在对空叫嚣吧了!同样,一国的政治还需要靠敢怒敢言来争取选民权益的话,那国的政治架构是落伍的,它还有很遥远的路要跑才可变得民主呢!

Friday, September 26, 2008

More photos from Perth - 2

This is Boab tree from the north. It takes five adults to round up its circumferance. The Aboriginals used its fruits to boil water for treating stomach problems.

Don't Let the Devil Eat Your Lunch!

In this season of spiritual shaking and financial uncertainty, we must press into the secret place of praise in order to overcome discouragement.

I’m a big fan of newspapers, but I haven’t enjoyed reading mine lately. The news has been intensely negative for the last few months. Plus, the number of advertising pages is shrinking because of the economic crisis. So when I picked up my very thin copy of the Orlando Sentinel today, I had to search hard to find anything positive. (I am happy, of course, that the Florida Gators crushed the Tennessee Volunteers over the weekend!)

On today’s front page, one article explained how the economic downturn is affecting kids. Psychologists are warning parents not to talk about job loss, foreclosures or high gas prices in front of their children because they may internalize fears, causing them to lose sleep or fail classes. Experts call this phenomenon “trickle down anxiety."

That anxiety is trickling everywhere today. How do you deal with it?

“I believe the book of Psalms is in the middle of the Bible because praise must be at the core of the Christian life.”

When discouragement hits me, I know I must fight back immediately. If I wallow in my sorrow or entertain my fears, the devil steals my joy and robs me of the strength I need to serve God faithfully. I’ve made a list of the seven most common things that tend to drag us down:

1. Difficulties. When circumstances don’t go our way, our emotional reaction to the pressure can cause severe stress and even sickness. Whether it’s a devastating hurricane, a family conflict, a wayward teenager or a bankruptcy, a trial can break us if we allow it to.

2. Disappointment. Many Christians become discouraged when they struggle unsuccessfully to overcome sinful habits. The enemy of our souls whispers, “You’ll never stop doing that.” Then he throws more temptation our way and lures us into defeat.

3. Dismay. The dictionary defines this as “a sudden and complete loss of courage because of danger or trouble.” Fear is the greatest enemy of faith. It has the power to paralyze.

4. Death. I have two friends, both ministers, who lost their sons recently in car accidents. Both young men were strong Christians, so their parents at least have the assurance that their boys are with the Lord. But this does not take away the grief. Often, the death of a loved one can trap us in depression.

5. Delays. God gave me some promises a long time ago that have not been fulfilled. As birthdays tick by, I’m tempted to think He’s playing tricks on me. When promises elude us or expectations dry up, we question if God really promised anything or if He changed His mind.

6. Daggers. I get lots of angry letters from people who don’t like something I wrote. Last week, in fact, a person who identified himself as a Christian said he hoped I would “roast in hell” and then described my spiritual condition in profane terms. Normally those kinds of off-the-wall comments don’t affect me, since I know hate mail is part of my job. But if I’m fighting discouragement on some other level and my guard is down, toxic criticism feels like a kick in the groin.

7. Darkness. Demonic opposition is invisible, but it is real. In August I preached in a city in Bolivia where the people practice witchcraft and worship frogs. When my friends and I arrived we were greeted by a row of 10 huge sculptures of the devil, all on proud display along the main avenue. The images didn’t scare me, but there was a heavy blanket of oppression over the entire place that made me feel like catching the next plane home. Thankfully I ignored the feelings and preached anyway—and several people became Christians that night.

So how do we resist discouragement? I believe we must learn King David’s strategy. We must run to the secret place.

When David returned to Ziklag and discovered that the Amalekites had raided his camp and kidnapped all the women and children, he was probably tempted to give up. He had lost everything—and his own men were threatening to stone him. Yet the Bible says: “But David strengthened himself in the Lord his God” (1 Sam. 30:6, NASB).

How did he do that? We only need to turn to the middle of our Bibles—the book of Psalms—to read what David did when he spent time with God.

I believe the book of Psalms is in the middle of the Bible because praise is at the core of the Christian life. Praise was certainly at the heart of who David was. God’s presence was the “one thing” he sought above all else (see Ps. 27:4).

David wrote: “For in the day of trouble He will conceal me in His tabernacle; in the secret place of His tent He will hide me; He will lift me up on a rock” (Ps. 27:5). To effectively encourage yourself in God, you must find the secret place, shut the door to all distractions and speak to God until the heaviness has lifted.

David was not reserved when He shut himself away with God. He prayed, sang, shouted, clapped his hands and danced. And he talked to himself. He said with confidence: “Though a host encamp against me, my heart will not fear; though war arise against me, in spite of this I will be confident” (27:3).

We normally think it strange when someone talks to himself. But the Bible actually encourages us to do so when we are praising the Lord. If you are fighting discouragement, one of the best things you can do is hide yourself in a room and begin to tell God how awesome He is. If you can’t sing well, put on some lively praise music and follow along. The important thing is that you open your mouth and speak—because by doing so you are canceling the enemy’s lies.

Many Christians only praise God in church once a week. No wonder so many of us are spiritually frail. We’ve also lost the art of true biblical confession. When our souls have been overwhelmed by bad news, we must counteract by declaring our faith out loud.

After David spent time in the secret place, he said confidently: “And now my head will be lifted up above my enemies around me, and I will offer in His tent sacrifices with shouts of joy” (27:6). Praise, when it is uninhibited, has incredible power. It paves the way for breakthrough. It cuts the cords of fear and anxiety. It unleashes holy joy and pulls us out of the pit of depression. It scatters demonic darkness.

Don’t give the devil an advantage in this day of adversity. If you are facing difficulties, disappointments, delays or any other discouraging circumstances, remember the priority of praise.

J. Lee Grady is the editor of Charisma.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Detailed Data of Attacks on Christians and Christian-related entities in India

A. Number of Districts affected:

1. Baudh
2. Bhadrak
3. Bargarh
4. Cuttack
5. Gajapati
6. Ganjam
7. Koraput
8. Kandhmal
9. Kalahandi
10. Naupada
11. Narbarangapur
12. Nayagarh
13. Sambalpur
14. Rayagada

B. Number of People Affected:

It is estimated that over 50,000 people have been rendered homeless due to the violence. Around 13,000 people are in the relief camps at Chakapada, Tikabali, G. Udaygiri, Raikia, Baliguda, K.Nuagoan and Phiringia. Many others continue to hide in the forest and elsewhere.

C. Number of Schools and Colleges Affected: 12

1. Mt. Carmel school was attacked in Balliguda.
2. St. Anne's Convent attacked in Padangi.
3. St. Joseph Convent attacked in Sankharkhole.
4. St. Anne's Convent attacked in Pobinga.
5. B D College vandalized in Koraput District.
6. Emmanuel school attacked.
7. Loyola School attacked in Bhubaneswar.
8. Schools and hostel attacked in Rayagada District.
9. De Paul School bus burnt in Ganjam District.
10. School & hostel attacked in Bargarh District.
11. William Carey School attacked in Jatni, Five school buses were broken.
12. St. Arnold school attacked in Bhubaneswar.

D. Number of NGO attacked : 4

1. World Vision in Kalahandi District.
2. Discipleship Centre's in Bhadrak District.
3. Action Ministries office ransacked in Bhubaneswar.
4. Compassion East India office ransacked and looted in Bhubaneswar.

E. Number of Deaths

1. Rajini Majhi in Bargarh
2. Christian killed in Nawarangapur
3. Four killed (one name unknown) Bikram Naik (38), Dasaratha Pradhan (38), Surendra Naik in Kandhamal
4. Meri Digal in Kandhamal
5. Sidheswar Digal Sulesaru village
6. Pastor Akbhar Digal Sulisoru (Burb) killed in Kandhamal
7. Jaka Naik killed in Kandhamal
8. Gapana Nayak killed in Kandhamal
9. Mukunda Burdhan killed in Gajapati
10. Bidyadhar Digal killed in Dugabadi, Kotagada
11. Pastor Dibya Sunder Digal killed in Baragarh
12. Sadananda Pradhan killed in Phulbani
13. Anthou Digal killed in Phulbani
14. Parikhita Nayak killed in Phulbani
15. Pastor Gayadhar Digal killed in Phulbani
16. Michel Naik killed in Kandhamal
17. Pastor Daniel Naik killed in Kandhamal
18. Seven killed in a village called Digi ,Raikia, Kandhamal
19. Daniel Naik killed in Raikia
20. Michael Naik killed in Raikia
21. Rasananda Pradhan killed in Kandhamal
22. Mishra Digal killed in Kandhamal
23. Ramesh Digal killed in Kandhamal
24. School teacher Gullu killed in Kandhamal
25. Trinath Digal killed in Kandhmal
26. Prafulla Nayak killed in Kandhamal
27. Ajuba Naik killed in Kandhmal
28. Pastor's burnt to death in Padmapur Bargarh
29. Abhimonyu Nayak killed in Nayagarh, Barapalli
30. Akbar Digal killed in Totomaha
31. Dasarath Pradhan Tiangia killed in Kandhamal
32. Dinabandhu Pradhan Limungia killed in Kandhamal
33. Gopan Nayak killed in Kandhamal. Mondakia
34. Janamati Nayak killed in Kandhamal Bakingia
35. Jecob Digal killed in Kandhamal Petapanga
36. Kamolini Nayak killed in Kandhamal, Mondakia
37. Khogeswar Pradhan killed
38. Pastor Samuel Naya killed in Kandhamal, Bakinga
39. Mathew Nayak killed in Sarangada
40. Sureshon Nayak killed
41. Sideshwar Digal killed in Kandhamal, Sisapanga
42. Sibindra Pradhan killed in Kandhamal, Sulisoru
43. Nanamati Nayak Bakingia killed in Kandhamal
44. Nabaghana Nayak killed
45. Bastina Mantry killed
46. Kumud Bardhan killed
47. Mathew Nayak killed

F. Number of Churches attacked

1. Balliguda Church building destroyed in Kandhamal.
2. Archbishop's house attacked in Bhubaneswar.
3. Churches burnt all across Orissa State.
4. Churches burnt down in Chichida, Bargarh.
5. Churches burnt in Kalisiguda, Sinaguda, Arangamala, Gumupadar, Masakapanga villages are totally burnt on 27-08-08.
6. A church was attacked in Pottangi of the Koraput District.
7. Around 55 Parish churches and chapels have been destroyed, attacked and partly burnt down in the Kandhmal district.
8. Church building destroyed in Kundra block, Jeypore in Koraput.
9. OMM Church attacked in Phupugam, Nabarangapur.
10. Church Building burnt in Jeypore, Koraput.
11. Seventh Day Adventist Campus attacked Bamanigaon.
12. JEL church damaged Jeypore, Koraput.
13. Churches destroyed Baipariguda, Jeypore, Koraput.
14. In Baipariguda, Korapur 6 churches have been destroyed and the number will increase in the days to come.
15. New life Power Gospel Fellowship church in Punda village Koraput destroyed.
16. Bible Mission burnt on Sep 1st Jeypore, Ambaguda outpost in Koraput.
17. OMM Church attacked Jeypore, Ambaguda outpost in Koraput.
18. A Catholic church attacked in Phulbani Kandhamal.
19. Baptish church attacked and all furniture burned in Kandhamal.
20. Assembly of God, Philadelphia Church attacked at Kakriguma in Koraput.
21. A Baptist Church in Akamra Jila in Bhubaneswar damaged.
22. Church attacked in Jeypore Koraput.
23. Madhupur Catholic Church attacked.
24. A Pentecostal church was attacked Sambhalpur.
25. The Church and Pastors house were burnt in Padmapur, Bargarh.
26. Lutheran Church been destroyed in Narayanpatna, Koraput.
27. Church destroyed at Dhenkanal.
28. GFA church destroyed in Kandhamal.
29. Church destroyed in Jamtangi Boudh.
30. Attempted violence on small churches in various districts, including Padampur, Sambalpur near GM College, Talsera, Dangsoroda, Narayanipatara, Muniguda, Tummiibandh, Tangrapada, Phulbani, Balliguda, Kalingia, Chakapada & Srasanranda.
31. Church damaged & jeep burnt in Rayagada.
32. Church burnt in Raikia.
33. Brethren Church attacked in Ganjam.
34. Church attacked in Bhimaguda, Nabarangpur.
35. CNI Church was torched in Murshingaon, Deogaon of Bolangir District.
36. Bible Mission Jeypore, Ambaguda outpost, Koraput.
37. OMM Church attacked in Jeypore, Ambaguda outpost, Koraput..
38. Church burnt in Mandasara, Kandhamal.
39. In Koraput District at least three churches were burnt down. A church in Daulagaon was burnt down. Another church in Kodulipadar was charred whereas the third church in Nilabari was smoldered to ashes.
40. Church burnt in Bhajiguda, Koraput.
41. Church burnt in Khodta, Koraput.
42. Church burnt Nokera under Kundra PS, Koraput.
43. JELC Church burnt& shops looted in Pandkamari under Kundra PS, Koraput.
44. Diocesan Pastoral Centre suffered heavy damages in Kanjimendi in Bargarh.
45. Church in Bidanasi, Cuttack was attacked; the cross was broken and is being taken forcefully by the fundamentalists.

G. Number of Christians and Pastors attacked

1. Pastor Jeebaratna Lima of Independent Church from Khurda was attacked
The mobs in Balliguda, Kandhamal caught hold of two boys of the Catholic hostel and tonsured their heads.
2. In Khuntapali, Padampur , Bargarh an Orphanage (Missionary House) was burnt, Father Edward was doused with petrol and set on fire but managed to escape.
3. Six Priests were attacked and are still in the hospital undergoing treatment.
4. Twenty Christian are injured in Barakhama as per Govt. report according to GCIC.
5. No less than 18,000 Catholic have been beaten up in Kandhamal alone according to Archbishop Cheenah.
6. Rev. U.C Patnayak who is the president of the Orissa Missionary Movement was attacked by a strong mob of 500. His office residence and Church were burnt by the assailants in Jeypore, Koraput.
7. A Blessing Youth Mission Pastor was beaten up and the Bike was burnt. in Ramgiri , Jeypore, Koraput.
8. Rev. Thomas Chellen, undergoing treatment at a Catholic hospital in Bhubaneswar, India, a Hindu mob lead by VHP nearly set him on fire.
9. A nun named Mina Barua was raped Nuagaon in Kandhamal and Father Thomas Clave was paraded naked. Fr Thomas, director of the Diocesan Pastoral Centre in Kanjimendi, Bargarh and another Nun were injured when the centre was attacked. They were taken to the police station in a disheveled state as the armed mob bayed for their blood.
10. A family attacked in Bhawanipatna, Kalahandi.
11. Pastor Sikander Singh attacked Bhawanipatna, Kalahandi.
12. Pastor David Diamond Pahad in Aampani, Pastor Pravin Sipka, Pastor Pradhan and Pastor Barik beaten up and chased away with their families, Kalahandi.
13. Mob surrounds village to attack Christians Naktikani, Kalahandi.

H. Number of Houses, Shops, Villages destroyed

1. In Rayagada, Gajapati district, 2 houses and one grocery shop belonged to Christians were torched by the Mob. Kumuda and Biswajeet along with their families escaped to a safe place.
2. In the district of Balangir near to Loisingha block the Hindutva radicals attacked 2 villages (Manihira and Pandrani). The activists threw stones at the house of Mr. Pramod Bedi and damaged his property to a great extent.
3. Children home was attacked at G. Udaygiri, Phulbani.
4. Thirteen villages were burnt down in the Bargarh district.
5. Around 1,800 houses have been destroyed in Kandhamal alone.
6. Fifteen organizations have been attacked. This list doesn't include the Catholics Christian houses attacked in Phulbani.
7. HM Sister's residence (Ainthapalli) has suffered damage in Sambhalpur.
8. Houses destroyed Khajurinal, Balliguda Kandhamal.
9. Three Christian shops were looted and burnt. Pastor Alok Das and Pastor I M Senapati beaten up in Kharihar ,Kalahandi.
10. Christians attacked in Naktikani, Kalahandi.
11. Three villages were burnt down in the Gagapati district.
12. Eighty-Two houses were burnt in Mandasara, Kandhamal.
13. Samvadh, a local vernacular paper, reported fresh incidents from Koraput District where a Christian house in Ramgiri was burnt completely.
14. Mr. Benjamin Nayak & Mr. Gomor Nayakin houses in Telingia, G. Udaigiri were charred to ashes. The family members somehow managed to escape and are now in relief camp.

I. Reconversion

♦ Fundamentalists are roaming the whole of Kandhamal district & threatening the Christians to reconvert to Hinduism. Otherwise they would be killed. 5 families are forcefully reconverted in Adaskupa, Kandhamal( near Udaygiri).
♦ Christian leaders said Hindu activists had forced about 3,000 Christians in riot-affected parts of the state to renounce their faith in the past few days.
♦ Reconversion drive is underway in different villages of Kandhamal namely Bogapada, Boriguda, Kutti Guda, Danniguda where 70 famililies have been brought back into Hindu fold. (Info received as on September 9, 2008).

J. Relief Camps attacked

1. The Government Relief Camps set up at Vijay High School Raikia block, Kandhamal reported that drinking water was poisoned on 3rd September 2008. Fortunately, the poisoning of water was detected in time and confirmed by a doctor just before food was served to the Christians taking refuge in the camp, resulting in their going hungry till 4pm. An attempt to poison the drinking water source of the relief camp in Habaq High School, Relief Camp at G. Udayagiri, Kandhamal was foiled by an alert security guard at 9 pm on 2nd September. On Sept 4th a group of nearly 2500 Hindutva extremists charged into the Relief Camp at Tikabali Government High School shouted at the Christian refugees and took away supplies meant for the Christian refugees, while police were silent spectators to the event.

2. In Non Government camps about 93 men, women and children from the District of Kandhamal have come to Cuttack, fleeing from the persecutions at their own villages. They have been sheltered at Peyton Sahi, Cuttack by few individuals of Cuttack Oriya Church (Independent Baptist Church). The members are taking care of the needs through the personal support of the organizers and some well-wishers. The local administration has come forward to supply them with tents & clothing and some cooking utensils.

Data supplied by:
J.David Jerald
FGBMFI-INDIA
P.O.Box 5
Tiruvattar 629177
Kanyakumari District
Tamil Nadu
INDIA.

E-mail: fgbmfi_india@yahoo.com

Priest stabber inspired by "Da Vinci Code"

Sep 25
ROME (Reuters) - A 25-year-old man who tried to kill a priest by stabbing him in a Rome church has told police that he did so after the watching the film "The Da Vinci Code" and believing himself to be the anti-Christ.

The priest, Rev. Caino Calitri, 68, was in critical condition in a Rome hospital after he was stabbed repeatedly in the neck on Tuesday by Marco Luzi, according to Italian media reports, including the Catholic paper Avvenire.

Police found a note in one of Luzi's pockets reading "this is just the beginning, 666."

The number 666 is known as "the number of the beast" in the Book of Revelation in the Bible.

Luzi, who stabbed three other people who had tried to help the priest, told police after his arrest that he had watched "The Da Vinci Code" on television the night before.

They also found various references to the novel by Dan Brown in Luzi's apartment, including a print of the "The Last Supper" fresco by Leonardo Da Vinci.

One note read "I, the anti-Christ."

The theme of the anti-Christ and Leonardo's fresco figure prominently in the best-selling book and its film adaptation, both of which have been condemned by the Vatican.

"The Da Vinci Code" outraged the Vatican and some Catholics because of its storyline that Jesus married Mary Magdalene and had children, creating a royal blood line that Church officials kept secret for centuries.

(Editing by Angus MacSwan)

Source: http://au.news.yahoo.com/a/-/odd/5038514/priest-stabber-inspired-da-vinci-code/

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Race Relations Act – Why now?

by Azly Rahman

This sounds like a good idea; but after 51 years of independence?

We should have had this act to prevent the emergence of race-based parties and to ensure that all citizens be given equal opportunity and the rights and privileges accorded to them as a result of surrendering their natural rights to the state.
After 51 years of the institutionalization of ethnocentrism and many times outright racism in terms of allocation of resources, open-secret indoctrinations, and the exploitation of racial and religious issues for political gain, we are now proposing an act to improve race-relations?

I am now puzzled – by the inherent contradictions we are confronting and will continue to confront vis-à-vis this proposed act.

Questions abound

Since the government had asked citizens like me to make suggestions and seek clarification concerning this proposed act, I have the following questions:
How will we judge the existing race-based parties that live and breathe on racial sentimentality to the point of being seditious in their pursuit of hegemony?
How will this act be used against governmental institutions such as the Biro Tata Negara whose livelihood has historically been based upon making sure that the damaging ideology of Malay (Pseudo) supremacy will forever prevail?

How will this act be used against public-funded educational institutions that promote “Ketuanan Melayu” which is clearly antithetical to our will to teach multi-racial understanding?

How many members of Parliament will be arrested under the Race Relations Act based on the nature of speeches they had given?

How many teachers and public servants will be investigated for using their position to deny their students and clients respectively the rights to be treated equally before the Constitution - rights accorded regardless of race, religion, ethnicity, color, creed, and religious orientation?

How many years of the possibility of multicultural education and intercultural understanding have we lost as a consequence of not having a Race Relations Act way back on Sept 16, 1963 during the formation of Malaysia?

How many racist policymakers in governmental and non-governmental sectors have we produced as a result of no Race Relations Act?

How many racist youth party leaders have we given birth to and how many can we afford to see “cloned” and “artificially inseminated” as a result of the absence of any act that erases racism and curbs arrogance and greed?

How will this proposed Act, if passed, abolish the Internal Security Act that has been used to crush amongst others, those who oppose race-based policies and fight for racial and social justice?

How will this act allow for the passage of a new brand of politics – one that sees a truly multiracial party ruling the country and implementing policies based on the philosophy of equality, equal opportunity, excellence and empathy?

We are proposing this act at a time when we arrest our citizens for no good reason and no trial, using the instrument of oppression no longer suitable for an ultra and hyper-modern society such as ours.

We are proposing this out of desperation and out of sync with the mass sentiment of the day; at a time when the Berlin Wall of our Balkanized race relations is crumbling by the day, each brick in the wall ripped off by the power of the digital tsunami.

We are hearing this proposal coming from a race-based coalition government that wants to ensure that the divide and conquer and sub-divide and sub-conquer policies of British colonialism prevail in the filter-funneled minds of our little brown brothers and sisters.

The need to go deeper

Perhaps what we need is not another act to add to the ambivalence of acts such as The University and University Colleges and the Internal Security Acts but to go deeper into our public institutions and ask why we have not progressed much in race relations after all these decades.

We should investigate further how the New Economic Policy itself as a grand Stalinist-inspired programme of national development has contributed not only to the deterioration of race relations but has cemented racism in newer forms – both subtle and open.

We should investigate how the topic race relations has been taught in our community centers, schools, universities, and other public institutions to see what goes into the mind of our citizens by way of schooling, indoctrination, training, and education – to see what went wrong and what is still not right.

We should examine governmental policies and see if we indeed uncover practices that promote equality, equal opportunity, and empathy in place; policies that ought to have improved race relations, inclusionary, and integrate rather than disintegrate the different races.

This will be a mind-boggling noble proposal for us to contribute ideas. Do we need a new act? Or will a new government with a brand new ideology suffice?
But as peace and justice-loving Malaysians, let us offer constructive ideas to this proposed act.

Let us propose that only a truly multiracial party that has the will, motivation, intelligence and the set of acquired skills should be given the mandate to implement a Race Relations Act. Any communal-based party is too much a contradiction to put their act together on this one.

The mark of the beast is at hand

Elites of New World Order are on their way to crash the Global Financial System. They will introduce their 666 Antichrist System in order to control the world.

Coming Economic Crisis
by Paul Weyrich
Sep 22

Judging from what I can tell of the current financial and economic woes of the nation, I am beginning to believe that this Presidential election may be a "no-win" proposition - the loser might very well be the lucky one, indeed.

We always will have our economic downturns. They basically are cyclical and we've suffered through many since World War II. There is simply no way of getting away from them. Our current situation, however, is quite different. This time the difficulties are not a few in numbers but entail a rather long list. Neither are they simplistic but instead very complex, and I believe that they will take quite a long time, perhaps even a decade, to resolve. Instead of looking at a recession, we might very well be looking at a complete economic meltdown more global in nature rather than national, something that most of us never have seen.

The problems include a very weak American dollar; a trade deficit that will come to roughly $700 billion at year-end; the cost of foreign oil that has literally tripled over the past two years; possible trade wars with countries like China, which own sizable portions of our bond markets; a ballooning Federal budget that has gone from $2.1 trillion to $3.6 trillion in just eight years - a whopping growth of 75% (!); a national debt of $9.6 trillion, closing fast on $10 trillion with a debt ceiling placed at $10.6 trillion and which cost the American taxpayer $230 billion in interest alone last year; untold numbers of jobs that are being outsourced to foreign nations through Free Trade acts adding long-term pressure to unemployment; a nation which has maxed out on credit-card debt; millions of Americans losing their homes due to the subprime lending debacle; and last but not least tens of millions of baby-boomers now coming close to retirement, which will dry-up America's tax base while adding huge amounts to Social Security and Medicare outlays. A growing number of financial institutions including banks are tanking-out with government picking up the tab in bail-outs and payments to depositors at taxpayer expense. Bear Sterns, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and IndiMac and so many other big names, believe it or not, are only the early warning signs of what I fear is yet to come.

Neither Presidential candidate, you will note, has done much talking about any of this either because he doesn't have an answer; doesn't want to give us the answers because this may only turnoff voters in the midst of a race for the Nation's highest office; or is simply afraid of panicking the Nation, thereby adding fuel to the fire. All reasons have some validity.

If and when this meltdown does occur, whoever is President, of course, will be blamed and blamed heavily for the crisis, taking his Party with him. But we should remember that successive Administrations over the past 40 years all bear a share of the responsibility. Both government and we overly consumer-minded Americans as well must realize that we cannot continue to spend what we do not have nor receive that for which we refuse to pay. Put simply, there is no free ride in this world. And government at all levels, not only in Washington, has failed to understand this. Whoever wins this election had better be prepared to show some real leadership and be willing to take strong action immediately to save the Nation from what could be tantamount to a catastrophe. A good place to begin, I believe, would be freezing the Federal budget and begin working toward some deep cuts and re-prioritizing expenses in favor of the Nation's infrastructure. Balancing our Federal budget and making some headway against an out-of-control national debt are an absolute must. There must be a return to sound fiscal policy.

Realizing that this could be political suicide for the new President, I can only say that he most likely will go down in history as the one who saved the nation.

Source: http://townhall.com/columnists/PaulWeyrich/2008/09/22/coming_economic_crisis

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

为了国家,朝野须落实两线制

大选至今已6个月,政治局势仍然风雨不断。民联正忙于部署换政府执政,而国阵老大一方面担心党选不明朗结果,另方面则落力阻挠民联夺权的攻势。国阵和民联争着执政,狭义来看是破坏国家稳定的祸首。但广义来看则是发展成两线制的必经之路。

308大选带来的转变对整个国家有利,现在我们在平衡上稍微进步了。从种族和宗教来看,平衡也稍微进步了。而从民生上来看,现在无论在朝在野的阵线都争着去听人民声音了。其实非马来人并不想争取什么特别利益,而是希望各种族能够获得公平的对待。

坦白说,我国的马来人,华裔和印裔三大民族并没有以前人家所谓的关系紧张。以前国阵的政客会发放一些言论,让各民族互相猜忌,而许多东西并不是真相。政治并不是那么可怕,往往是政客制造可怕的感觉。

现在我看到玩弄种族课题的政客是不再吃香了,人民要追求的是民主自由公平,我们必须给机会每个种族参与国家的建设。现在国家的演变逐渐明朗化了,显示人民要抛弃以前的政治压制和独裁,看起来我们或许会向两线制发展。

我想马来人必须对自己的能力有信心,这样他们才不会走回头依赖政府。他们会否走回头,关键在于巫统怎样继续它们的政治理念。现在马来人投在野党,其中功劳也在于公正党以马来人作领导多元种族。以前我们的政治状况就是“马来人就是投在朝党,华裔就是投在野党”的。

现在人民是看着民联议员的表现,如果表现得好,人民得到更公平的对待,那么我想即使这届不会变天的话,下届大选也会改朝换代也不定。虽然民联的议员都很嫩,但有时候我们必须要有新的人进来代替旧人。从心理学的角度解释的话,新人会更谦卑,更愿意学习。如果他们重犯国阵的弊病的话,我想他们就没有希望了!如果他们把弊病铲除,制造一个让各族获得公平对待之环境的话,那么谁还要回头?

现在是全球化世代,如果国家还不开始改变的话,就不能与别人竞争了!我们的竞争力向来在东盟排在第二,仅次于新加坡的,但我们在猾落中。我看到我们的东盟和东亚邻国的迅速进步,再看自己的国家真的有点担心。如果我们再搞种族政治的话,我看我国必定会被抛在后头!

大马必须摒弃不成熟的政治。搞政治的人物都在派糖果。你投我,我就会为你做什么什么事情或者让你获得什么利益。这种方式谁都会做嘛!我们应该推动一种的政治,让候选人去信服人他们能够为国家带来什么利益贡献。目前国阵要翻身的话,更加应该探讨怎样恢复人民对它的信心,国人也不希望国阵太弱。倘若巫统,马华和国大党已经没有效代表自己的种族的话,就必须探讨组织一个多元种族的政党,告别联盟阵线制。而民联也可以这样做,那么两线制的催生就指日可待了!

而在还没抵达两线制之前,这段日子当务之急是什么呢?就是国阵和民联必须巩固公正公义,种族平等,民主,宗教言论自由等,这样两线制才会有希望,否则国家还是会回到过去51年同样之问题的。

More photos from Perth - 1





Aloe Vera


This woman was waiting for her husband who was fighting in war.

These are gum trees at Kings Park. It is as though their barks were removed.

We seldom see a limousine in Malaysia

Parliament of Western Australia


Perth is a city built on sand! The Swan River divides the city. Jesus likened someone who built his house on sand was a foolish man (Mat 7:26).

This is creative. The cashier's counter is the real part of a Volswagon van.

This restaurant brews its own beer.

Look at the blue sky. It is common to see a completely blue sky in Perth. Well Malaysians need not feel dismay. As the clouds in our sky are meant to shield off the sun's harm.

Monday, September 22, 2008

弱势马币是利是弊?

近日马币猾落,目前1美元兑3.40令吉,马哈迪建议大马重新实行令吉锁定挂钩美元政策。这位前首相曾经在1997年的东亚金融风暴实行该政策,我国在2006年解锁。副首相兼财长部长纳吉声明不会使用锁定汇率政策,这是明智做法。但我想对我国币值疲弱发表看法,维持弱势马币是利是弊?

金融重创以来,我国经过了11年的挣扎,设法从经济烂摊子爬上来,但却差强人意。欲回复金融风暴前的1美元兑2.60令吉仍遥遥无期!这些年来,国家领袖宣称低马币使我国出口增加竞争力,讲得头头是道,这般论调看来却像政府掩饰自己无力振奋经济的弱点!

到底我国能从低马币获得出口的利益吗?未必,利益是在乎商家有何精明经商方法。商家做事头脑敏锐,他们除了对冲货品交易外,还走漏洞。譬如我国的公司税比香港高,我国的公司即在香港设立公司,然后把货品通过香港跟其他国家交易。譬如许多先进国给予落伍如越南,柬普寨等新兴发展中国家特别低税优惠,我国的公司即在越南、柬普寨等国家设立公司,然后通过该些国家出口。

所以,低货币政策并不是增加出口外汇的万灵丹。一个国家货币高,并不等于竞争力被削弱。不防看看邻国新加坡,隔了一条长堤,两国的经济就天渊之别。但回想以前1960、70年代两国的货币相等,新加坡还需要靠大马人往那里消费才能生存。我们有否探讨为何今天新加坡的1元币值兑我们2。40令吉,人均收入是我国的五倍?

强大币值传达尊严

其实,一国的货币强大乃可传达它的尊严,免得被别人白眼对待。我几年前在中国目睹这样的一幕情景,一个白皮肤洋人购买东西,他就拿出一大叠人民币任由职员自己抽。洋人因着货品便宜以致不知给多少,但那位中国小姐很诚实,只抽了该收的数目。那些币值高的游客来我国消费,他们比我们获益更多,因为他们兑换了我们一大叠的钞票,换取一大堆东西回家!

而我们去到他们的国家消费,却要叫苦连天。我们的尊严受创。国家币值疲弱,人民在币值强大国家很难抬起头来。当然我国大富大贵的人例外,一般的国人都不好受。我们在那里用钱都用心算兑换率,看值不值得花这笔钱。我看到澳洲这里的大马留学生,大多数是来自普通的家庭的。我也有朋友,变卖了房子让他们的孩子来澳洲深造。我们许多非马来人的学子并非一定喜欢读私人大专,而是没从政府大学获得机会。他们在大马的外国双联大专求学,通常只需在外国读一两年。但因为这些国家的币值高,读一两年对许多父母也相当辛苦的了。

我认为大马若经济蓬勃,导致马币强大,策划往高科技工业发展,可早日走入先进国行列。所以,我国有必要检讨我们的政治形态,因为我们需要建设一个拥有竞争力的国家。这没有捷径,需要很多人才配搭。我们不要只短视维护低货币政策,如果一味花费精神想办法控制货币而设法锁定兑换率并不是长远办法,因为我们或许在国际的信任会被减分。因为我国发达,虽然货币陆续强大,但若我们竞争力也相继强大,国人更能过一个有尊严和有素质的生活。(寄自澳洲)。

Saturday, September 20, 2008

The Seventh Prime Minister of Malaysia

The incumbent Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi is under pressure to quit by Oct 9. Several UMNO supreme council members have demanded Abdullah to step down now to “save him from the embarrassment” of not getting enough nominations for the UMNO presidency. The pressure on Abdullah may even be due to a more serious fear. The third Parliament sitting will resume on Oct 13, and the Opposition coalition, Pakatan Rakyat, may table the motion of no-confidence against Abdullah. UMNO puts high hope in Najib. After taking over the PM’s post, he will probably be able to win the confidence of Barisan Nasional MPs. But there is no guarantee that Najib is able to prevent his BN MPs from defecting.

Many Malaysians used to talk about the alphabetical lineup for “RAHMAN”:
R – Tunku Abdul Rahman*
A – Abdul Razak
H – Hussein Onn
M – Mahathir mohamad
A – Abudullah Badawi
N – Najib Razak?
*But I don’t know why people used Tunku’s family name of “Raman” instead of his name “Abdul”.

So could Najib be the sixth PM of Malaysia? In that case, before PR could have a chance to take over power, a change of leadership will first take place within UMNO? Then would Anwar Ibrahim become the seventh PM then?

I pointed out this thing because many people put high hope on Anwar in bringing about reform to our politics, judiciary, economy, royal police force and Anti-Corruption Agency. Moreover Anwar vows to do away with racial politics. People also hope that the new PR government would clean up corruption and do away with those “Acts” that have violated human rights. Thus eventually the country will move into justice and fairness.

Some three months ago Pastor Henry K. Pillai sent out a book called “Malaysia, the Rainbow Nation of Asia” (Publisher: High Calling Outreach Publications, 2007) to many Ministers of God. The author, Steve Ogan, is residing in Nigeria. He spent quite a long period of time in Malaysia studying about this country.

Why do I talk about the seventh Prime Minister at this moment? I do it so that you can have a clearer idea to pray according to God’s will and timing.
The number “7” is very significant to Malaysia:
God’s complete number - 7
The rainbow – 7 colors
Malaya became independent on 31.8.1957, and these numbers add up together – 7
The word MERDEKA – 7 letters
Tunku Abdul Rahman proclaimed the word MERDEKA – 7 times
Tunku Abdul Rahman – the 7th son of a Malay Sultan
The points of star in the Malaysia flag – 14 (double of 7)
The stripes in the Malaysia flag – 14 (double of 7)
– Red stripes – 7
– White stripes – 7

For your interest, let me quote a portion from the book I mentioned (with permission from the publisher in Malaysia, John Nelson Cooray).
Subtitle: MALAYSIA AS A RAINBOW ARK (pages 46-47):
“God designed Malaysia as a Rainbow Ark of mercy and grace – a place where people with the rainbow character of Noah will make room for both the clean and unclean. Noah was described as perfect. Seven is the number of perfection and there are seven colors in the rainbow. Consequently, Noah had a rainbow character.

God’s will is that all the leaders of Malaysia will have a rainbow character. The five Prime Ministers of Malaysia since independence have at least one point or the other demonstrated this character. But there will come the seventh Prime Minister who will be the supreme embodiment of beauty and balance, mercy and grace. He will bring the rainbow nation to a height never known before. He will carry the heart of Noah with the colorful disposition of the rainbow. The seventh Prime Minister of Malaysia will carry the grace of all his five predecessors in an amazing combination. He will manifest the jubilee grace with the capacity of bringing Malaysia into a new season of release, rest and restoration. Because of the significance of his leadership profile there will be an intensive contest for the position of the seventh Prime Minister of Malaysia.”

The book is really prophetic. These are some of the possibilities:

1. Abdullah will pass the baton to Najib before the next Parliament session, i.e. before Oct 13.
2. Abdullah will not contest in UMNO election. Traditionally the DPM, Najib, will take over.
3. Some people said our DPM’s full name is Mohamad Najib bin Abdul Razak. If it is so, he does not fit in the letter of “N” in the word “RAHMAN”. Then someone from UMNO will succeed Abdullah.
4. BN under the leadership of the sixth PM (Najib?) only survives for a short period of time, as PR would soon be successful in seizing government. Then Anwar will be the seventh PM?
5. PR is successful in seizing government before Abdullah could pass his baton to someone else. Then Anwar will be the sixth PM.
6. PR is not successful in seizing government. And in the next General Election, BN will lose its power to PR. Then Anwar will be the seventh PM?

Let us pray! God will bless Malaysia. God has already prepared someone who will be the seventh PM of Malaysia. Malaysia, A Truly Rainbow Nation of Asia! Malaysians will bring redemption to all the people in Asia.

Friday, September 19, 2008

种族关系法的迷思 The puzzle over Race Relations Act

The following analysis on what BN proposed “Race Relations Act” is quite interesting and revealing.

We want to pray that the politicians will not continue to use “racial conflict” as a mean to earn political mileage. We can expect this law, if successfully passed, could result in even less freedom in speech on so called “sensitive racial issues”. Anybody touches on this issue, the law becomes a natural tool to prosecute him / her. We pray for more open discussion on all so called sensitive issues, be they racial, religious, economical, political as regard to legal system. Only when we are able to discuss about them openly then could we see the factors affecting these issue more clearly and find a solution.

By the way, the writer is a Malay who was educated in China . His Chinese will put all of us to shame lah!

迦玛 9月17日

经历了826、寄居论风波和正在进行中的ISA拘捕,有人提出制定种族关系法的建议,以此来维系各族团结与和谐,此必后患无穷,实不可取。

马来亚独立至今已走过51年,马来西亚成立算起也演义了45年,虽是两三代人的历史跨度,但相对于英国殖民统治的147年,不过是这段殖民岁月的三分之一。每当庆祝独立日的时候,我们从未想过,也没去叙说为何我们要独立?为何我们要让英国人交出政权?为什么不留住英国人和我们一起治理这个国家?

之所以这样问,是想提供大家一个反向思考的模式。英国人统治马来亚、新加坡、沙巴和砂拉越期间,大肆掠夺这块土地上的资源。当然,他们也带来了西方文明,让社会精英阶层接受英文教育。

虽然英国人自认白人高人一等,(其实在许多人的潜意识中也如是认为)但他们并不曾废除各州的马来苏丹,也没有强行改变马来人的宗教信仰,而是利用马来统治者以及他们所维护的宗教,来管理马来人事务,维持等级和阶级结构相对稳定的社会生态。

英国殖民者族群分制为掠夺资源

为了更有效地掠夺资源,他们一方面引进印度劳工从事橡胶园的工作,另一方面引进中国苦力从事垦荒和开采锡矿的工作,这便是当时大量引进外劳的历史背景。相较更早期来到马来半岛的移民,有明显的不同。一、当时印度和中国国内都面对严峻的民生困境,很多人都在寻找谋生出路;二、那个时期的外来劳工数量之大是前所未有的;三、这部分新外来人口抵达半岛之后,不象之前的移民,能迅速融入到当地社会中间,而是依族群分类而居,分类而作,分类而教。

即便如此,对新生活的渴望,激起这些新外来者共同的诉求,那就是有尊严地、好好地生活在这片土地上的权利。

或许英国人当时自己也觉得,对这块土地上三个种族的人民都负有不可推卸的责任。尽管一部分马来人,特别是巫统的代表反对给予新移民宽松的公民权条件,但在英国人斡旋之下,宪法最终赋予华印移民宽松的公民权条件。与此同时,又加重了语文、族群、王权、宗教等方面,向马来人和贵族倾斜的条款。

巫统族群分制亦为滥权敛财

为了感激英国人的政权转移,联盟政府在马来亚独立后的一二十年里,都一直全力维护和满足英国政府和公司在马来西亚的经济利益。在东姑阿都拉曼之后,已经控制和掌握国家资源的巫统精英们,更利用宪法中存在的上述语文、族群、王权、宗教甚至公民权的落差,作无限放大,达致两个非常具体的成果,即滥权敛财和族群分制。这是两个相辅相成经久不衰的策略目标。

半个世纪以来,多种语言非但没有成为我国多元文化的亮点,反而成为了种族之间厮杀的触点;族群关系非但没有进步,反而比独立之前更加疏远、紧张和脆弱;王权如今不只扮演象征意义,而是能决定一个政府、一个政权,甚至还有权力膨胀的趋势,与民主国家理念背道而驰;宗教实践与普世价值之间的矛盾日渐突出,宗教被利用为政治的工具,束缚族群思维、制造恐慌和政治迫害的借口。公民权下,赋予不同待遇,把人按权贵富贱分三六九等,按族群宗教分一四七级;如此世道,虽然执政集团难辞其咎,但人民自己难道就不必深思吗?

关系法只有尴尬及后遗症

今天,我们已经在同一块土地上营造了各自不同的“小世界”(当然也有些人愿浮游于这些“小世界”之间),然后我们再以一部《种族关系法》去合理化这些“小世界”吗?

你无非是不想让别人说一些你认为是“敏感”的话,却非但不能消除敏感,只能使“敏感”的部位更加敏感,让特定的人和集团更容易在种族之间,翻手为云,覆手为雨。甚至人为地炮制一部比内安法令、煽动法令、印刷出版法令等更蔑视人权及更残酷的恶法,开历史的倒车。

坦率地说,新的《种族关系法》将如何定位种族关系?是依照宪法来定位,还是超越宪法来定位?在《种族关系法》下又如何重新诠释语言、文化、习俗、宗教、公民权、教育、马来人特殊地位等等?举个简单的例子,当回教堂的晨祷把你从睡梦中唤醒,当你的鼻孔被中元节香熏瘴气刺晕的时候,怎样用种族关系法来摆平?

马来西亚人,特别是政治人物,应当勇敢面对“敏感现实”,而不是回避或上演一出治标不治本的滑稽戏。只有说出并正视不满与要求,寻求解决途径,即便当下难以解决,也不妨先设计出未来解决方案的路线图。让一切回归宪法的源头,让一切循从普世的价值,惟有真诚的意愿和路线图可以推动人们走出种族关系的迷思。

Perth Chinese Christian Church Women Fellowship

Date: 19 Sep
Venue: Perth Chinese Christian Church, north of Swan River
Ocassion: Women Fellowship
日期:9月19日
地点:西澳柏撕中华基督教会,河北堂
性质:妇女会


After the meeting, we went to eat Dim Sum. Made by Hongkong chef.
聚会完毕我们去吃点心。香港厨师。

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Collapse of NYSE

The picture is found in the US$1.00 green back

Revelation 18 NIV

1After this I saw another angel coming down from heaven. He had great authority, and the earth was illuminated by his splendor. 2With a mighty voice he shouted:
"Fallen! Fallen is Babylon the Great!
She has become a home for demons
and a haunt for every evil[a] spirit,
a haunt for every unclean and detestable bird.
3For all the nations have drunk
the maddening wine of her adulteries.
The kings of the earth committed adultery with her,
and the merchants of the earth grew rich from her excessive luxuries."
4Then I heard another voice from heaven say:
"Come out of her, my people,
so that you will not share in her sins,
so that you will not receive any of her plagues;
5for her sins are piled up to heaven,
and God has remembered her crimes.

The collapse of Lehman Brothers, a 158-year-old investment bank in America, has caused quite a turmoil in worldwide stock markets. America was raised as a financial centre was well-planned by New World Order. Babylon the Great is an end-time nation that plays the role of end-time events.

The United Nations is located in New York city. America has become the headquaters of all nations, as well as anti-God and anti-Christ religions.

The Wall Street in New York city is only a short street, yet the financial capital. Rich men of the earth all have offices here.

The New York Stock Exchange is located here. It is the most important exchange in the world. If Wall Street falls, the whole world falls with it.

America was born as a God-fearing nation. But it turns out to be the chief instigator of the New World Order.

If you are a Christian, God said,
"Come out of her, my people,
so that you will not share in her sins,
so that you will not receive any of her plagues."

Stock Exchange is no more an investment. The financial elites will manipulate the markets. One day they will cause a collapse in NYSE in order to introduce the NWO 666 financial system.

So invest your money in the Kingdom of God. Give towards God's ministries and missions. You will surely gain.

When Christians Come Out of the Closet

Singer Ray Boltz’s shocking announcement that he’s gay offers us a chance to adjust our attitudes.

How should we respond when a fellow Christian embraces a gay lifestyle? Do we give him a hug and tell him we wholeheartedly respect his decision? Do we just keep quiet and pray? Or do we grab a Bible and offer a stern lecture?

I know it’s an uncomfortable subject, but I’m delving into it because recording artist Ray Boltz has come out of the closet. The 55-year-old singer, winner of three Dove Awards from the Gospel Music Association, told the world last Friday that he just got tired of fighting his same-sex feelings. He told the Washington Blade, a gay magazine, that he now lives “a normal gay life” and feels liberated.

I am sure the gay community rejoiced that Boltz has joined their side of this debate. Now they are waiting to see our response. Many of them expect Christians to yank Boltz’s music off the radio, stage bonfires with his CDs and send cryptic death threats. (Hint: None of these is the right reaction.)

“It’s easy to get angry at the people who are making wrong choices, but self-righteous anger does not produce the character of Christ in us or anyone else.”

Best known for a string of Christian hits in the 1990s including “Thank You” and “I Pledge Allegiance to the Lamb,” Boltz told the Blade that he disclosed his repressed homosexuality to his wife and four grown children in 2004, the year he retired from his music career. He quietly moved to South Florida and began dating. His divorce from his wife of 33 years was finalized this year.

His confession was brutally honest: “I’d denied [my homosexuality] ever since I was a kid. I became a Christian. I thought that was the way to deal with this and I prayed hard and tried for 30-some years and then at the end, I was just going, ‘I’m still gay. I know I am.’ And I just got to the place where I couldn’t take it anymore.”

When I first heard Boltz’s announcement I felt betrayed, the same way I feel when a famous preacher admits to an affair or when a good friend leaves the faith. I’ll admit I immediately began composing a biblical lecture in my head.

I was upset that Boltz chose to stop fighting same-sex temptation after all those years of marriage. I was sorry to learn that he feels “closer to God” since he embraced his suppressed gayness. Most of all I was annoyed that his decision sends a distorted message to our culture that Christianity doesn’t offer the power to overcome sin.

But as I asked the Lord to share His heart with me about Boltz’s situation, I realized that our corporate response to this is as much about a right attitude as it is about right doctrines:

1. We must weep. The prophets who called ancient Israel to repent for apostasy did so through tears. Not only did they declare the word of God, but they also spoke with His tone of voice. I pray we will refrain from speaking God’s words to gay people until we have wept long enough to internalize His heart for them.

It’s easy to get angry at the people who are making wrong choices, but self-righteous anger does not produce the character of Christ in us or anyone else. Weeping, on the other hand, tenderizes us. It adjusts our self-righteous attitudes.

It’s not enough for us to preach to people. We must pray for them first. When they meet us, they need to see our moist eyes, not scowls and pointed fingers. Compassionate prayer bathes our message in God’s mercy. It requires us to humbly identify with sinners as we recognize that each one of us battles some form of brokenness or addiction.

2. We must love homosexuals. Preachers are fond of making grand declarations of God’s hatred of homosexuality, and we are prone to cheer them on. But Tim Wilkins, a recovered homosexual who is now director of Cross Ministry in Wake Forest, N.C., pleads with Christians to tone down the angry rhetoric. He says that every time a preacher makes a demeaning remark about homosexuals in a sermon, he wounds 70 percent of his listeners who either (1) silently deal with same-sex attraction themselves; or (2) have family and friends who do.

A 2007 Barna survey showed that 90 percent of young non-Christians and 80 percent of young churchgoers believe Christians display “excessive contempt toward gays and lesbians.” Could this be one reason we are not reaching large numbers of homosexuals with the gospel? If we don’t show genuine love, we can expect them to ignore us.

It was Jesus’ offer of friendship, not a sermon, that brought the hated tax collector Zaccheus to repentance. When Jesus called the little guy down from the sycamore tree and said, “Today I must stay at your house” (Luke 19:5, NASB), He erased all the rejection Zaccheus had endured from the moralizers who had condemned his thievery. (And Jesus didn’t get more popular with religious people when He made this new friendship.) Perhaps we need more hospitality and fewer sermons!

3. We must contend for the faith. Ray Boltz’s disappointing decision represents a national trend. Many people today are embracing homosexuality as an appealing alternative. They are listening to teachers, psychiatrists, talk-show hosts, Hollywood celebrities, sympathetic family members and even some mainline Christian ministers who say sexual orientation is totally genetic—and unchangeable.

These people have bought the lie that says a person who feels same-sex attraction must always be controlled by those desires. Not true! Jesus paid the ultimate price so that we can have freedom from every kind of sinful behavior.

We don’t have the right to compromise God’s Word, no matter how many people decide to come out of the closet. But let’s remember that the message we are called to proclaim to the world is not “Homosexuality is wrong.” That’s a true statement, but it has no power to change anybody.

The gospel we must shout from the housetops is that Jesus loves all of us, no matter our condition, and that His forgiveness can heal our brokenness. I pray Ray Boltz will soon discover that truth in a fresh way—and I hope he’ll write many more songs about it.

J. Lee Grady is editor of Charisma. If you or someone you love struggles with same-sex attraction, go to crossministry.org for helpful resources and information about Tim Wilkins and Cross Ministry.

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Wednesday, September 17, 2008

安华下步策划如何?

9月16日的24小时一分一秒度过,政治没有变天,导致有人欢喜有人愁。就好像首相阿都拉与安华玩扑克牌一样,安华的底牌能不能胜过首相的那张无所谓,他拼命作威喊加注就足以让首相揣测不了!

安华声称有一份准备跳槽者名单,但这张底牌是否有分量,则只有他知道。安华之所以没有及时在9.16宣布改朝换代,可见即使有国阵议员欲跳槽,但他们仍然犹豫不决。在我国的政治环境里,任何带头对抗者都没好收场的。沙巴进步党先向国阵发难,现在才拿出勇气退出国阵,但又没有加入民联。赛益辞官对安华有利,但他一人唱反调并没有造成很大的涟漪。

未来一个多月,将是安华政治势力起落的关键时期。阿末的“寄居”论原本对民联有利,但自从巫统纪律他之后,课题冷却了许多。那么民政党和马华在10月份党大会会否强烈重新带出此课题来探讨退出国阵吗?

国阵若不要失去江山,巫统必须不可内乱。阿都拉把重要的岗位财政部长让给副手纳吉,但却微妙地取掉纳吉的国防部长职位。阿都拉虽然暂时镇住党争,但国人希望若安华真的夺权成功,阿都拉不会宣布紧急状态。与副手掉换部长职的行动是否让巫统基层满足,或许有些考验。纳吉重申等候首相交棒,或许比2010年提前交棒。马哈迪一直策动换首相的破坏,因纳吉不愿挑战阿都拉而表示另外支持拉沙里竞选主席。拉沙里能否获得30%的提名?若慕尤丁决定跟他配搭,奇迹不是不可能出现的!

首相让纳吉当财长并没有意义,因为纳吉对财务没能力,让人剖释纳吉的支持者还会破坏交棒计划的。所以阿都拉在12月的党选,地位仍然是摇摇欲坠的。

安华的机会之窗在被指鸡奸时开始关闭,到9月16日未能夺权,所以快完全关闭了。安华只能盼望几件事情出现:一)巫统党争。二)民政,马华,和一些东马政党隋沙巴进步党后尘退出国阵。这样,即使它们不加入民联,也足以让国阵脆弱,他就可以另策划下步棋。三)一些国阵的议员个人跳槽民联。

但安华有两大隐忧:一)他的肛交案在9月24日开审,到时他是否会被扣押吗?他能够在此案胜出吗?二)目前街坊流传他可能在安全法令下被扣留。因为阿都拉在掉换部长新闻发布会中,形容安华是国家经济的威胁者并国家安全的可能威胁者。其实安华本身一路来都认为政府会利用这机关来对付他。

UK’s first official sharia courts

Sep 14 2008 The Sunday Times

SLAMIC law has been officially adopted in Britain, with sharia courts given powers to rule on Muslim civil cases.

The government has quietly sanctioned the powers for sharia judges to rule on cases ranging from divorce and financial disputes to those involving domestic violence.

Rulings issued by a network of five sharia courts are enforceable with the full power of the judicial system, through the county courts or High Court.

Previously, the rulings of sharia courts in Britain could not be enforced, and depended on voluntary compliance among Muslims.

It has now emerged that sharia courts with these powers have been set up in London, Birmingham, Bradford and Manchester with the network’s headquarters in Nuneaton, Warwickshire. Two more courts are being planned for Glasgow and Edinburgh.

Sheikh Faiz-ul-Aqtab Siddiqi, whose Muslim Arbitration Tribunal runs the courts, said he had taken advantage of a clause in the Arbitration Act 1996.

Under the act, the sharia courts are classified as arbitration tribunals. The rulings of arbitration tribunals are binding in law, provided that both parties in the dispute agree to give it the power to rule on their case.

Siddiqi said: “We realised that under the Arbitration Act we can make rulings which can be enforced by county and high courts. The act allows disputes to be resolved using alternatives like tribunals. This method is called alternative dispute resolution, which for Muslims is what the sharia courts are.”

The disclosure that Muslim courts have legal powers in Britain comes seven months after Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, was pilloried for suggesting that the establishment of sharia in the future “seems unavoidable” in Britain.

In July, the head of the judiciary, the lord chief justice, Lord Phillips, further stoked controversy when he said that sharia could be used to settle marital and financial disputes.

In fact, Muslim tribunal courts started passing sharia judgments in August 2007. They have dealt with more than 100 cases that range from Muslim divorce and inheritance to nuisance neighbours.

It has also emerged that tribunal courts have settled six cases of domestic violence between married couples, working in tandem with the police investigations.

Siddiqi said he expected the courts to handle a greater number of “smaller” criminal cases in coming years as more Muslim clients approach them. “All we are doing is regulating community affairs in these cases,” said Siddiqi, chairman of the governing council of the tribunal.

Jewish Beth Din courts operate under the same provision in the Arbitration Act and resolve civil cases, ranging from divorce to business disputes. They have existed in Britain for more than 100 years, and previously operated under a precursor to the act.

Politicians and church leaders expressed concerns that this could mark the beginnings of a “parallel legal system” based on sharia for some British Muslims.

Dominic Grieve, the shadow home secretary, said: “If it is true that these tribunals are passing binding decisions in the areas of family and criminal law, I would like to know which courts are enforcing them because I would consider such action unlawful. British law is absolute and must remain so.”

Douglas Murray, the director of the Centre for Social Cohesion, said: “I think it’s appalling. I don’t think arbitration that is done by sharia should ever be endorsed or enforced by the British state.”

There are concerns that women who agree to go to tribunal courts are getting worse deals because Islamic law favours men.

Siddiqi said that in a recent inheritance dispute handled by the court in Nuneaton, the estate of a Midlands man was divided between three daughters and two sons.

The judges on the panel gave the sons twice as much as the daughters, in accordance with sharia. Had the family gone to a normal British court, the daughters would have got equal amounts.

In the six cases of domestic violence, Siddiqi said the judges ordered the husbands to take anger management classes and mentoring from community elders. There was no further punishment.

In each case, the women subsequently withdrew the complaints they had lodged with the police and the police stopped their investigations.

Siddiqi said that in the domestic violence cases, the advantage was that marriages were saved and couples given a second chance.

Inayat Bunglawala, assistant secretary-general of the Muslim Council of Britain, said: “The MCB supports these tribunals. If the Jewish courts are allowed to flourish, so must the sharia ones.”

Source: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/faith/article4749183.ece

Rowan Williams faces backlash over sharia

Feb 10 2008 The Sunday Times

Last Thursday afternoon, as the country’s Anglican bishops went about their duties, an innocuous-looking e-mail from Lambeth Palace arrived on their computer screens.

It contained a copy of a speech called Civil and Religious Law in England that was to be delivered that evening by Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, to an audience of more than 1,000 eminent lawyers, including the lord chief justice.

With what now seems like great understatement, a press officer for Williams had typed across the document: “This may be of some media interest.”

Dense though the text may have been, it contained a hand grenade: the cerebral archbishop appeared to be calling for elements of sharia, or strict Islamic law, to be adopted by Britain.

Even before he had given his speech at the Royal Courts of Justice in London, Williams had already gone on BBC radio proclaiming that such a move seemed “unavoidable”.

His comments immediately exploded into a fierce row. Not for the first time did Williams find himself at the centre of a storm – but on this occasion he was completely out on a limb.

He produced one of the most unlikely coalitions seen in Britain in recent times. He was attacked by conservatives, liberals, all three leading political parties, fellow Christians, Jews and, indeed, some Muslims.

Trevor Phillips, chairman of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, described the archbishop’s comments as “muddled and unhelpful”.

“As far as I am aware, no serious body of Muslim opinion supports the idea of special treatment, or exemption from the law of the land based on some vague ‘conscious objection’,” he said.

“Raising this idea in this way will give fuel to anti-Muslim extremism and dismay everyone who is working towards a more integrated society.”

Gordon Brown, the prime minister, quickly distanced himself from the Anglican primate, signalling that British law must be based on British values. Andy Burnham, the culture secretary, went further, suggesting that the introduction of a parallel Islamic legal system would be “a recipe for social chaos”.

Up to a third of the UK’s bishops are thought to be unhappy with Williams’s remarks and yesterday some members of the clergy were calling for him to consider his position.

“I find it hard to imagine what lies behind his comments,” said David Phillips, general secretary of the Church Society, the oldest evangelical grouping in the Church of England. “It seems to be completely irrational for a Christian leader to want to introduce a separate system which doesn’t have Christian values and would be divisive.”

The tabloid newspapers were unforgiving. On Friday, under the front-page headline “What a burkha”, The Sun claimed Williams had “handed Al-Qaeda a victory”. Yesterday it followed up with an entreaty to “Bash the bishop”.

The paper’s outrage seemed be mirrored by the public, with 17,000 viewers flooding the BBC’s online message boards with overwhelmingly hostile reaction.

In his speech the archbishop said individuals should be free to “choose the jurisdiction under which they will seek to resolve certain carefully specified matters”. These could include “aspects of marital law, the regulation of financial transactions and authorised structures of mediation and conflict resolution”.

This was taken to mean that a way should be found to run a system of sharia parallel to common law.

On Friday, Lambeth Palace tried desperately to douse the firestorm, issuing a statement on Williams’s website saying that this was not his intention.

“The archbishop made no proposals for sharia and certainly did not call for its introduction as some kind of parallel jurisdiction to the civil law,” it said in language notably clearer than that in which Williams had delivered his original remarks.

Yet the genie was out of the bottle. Any talk of sharia in the West conjures up images of thieves having their hands chopped off, murderers being decapitated and adulterous women being stoned to death. Stories began to emerge of its use in Britain.

A wider debate about Muslim culture was also sparked. Phil Woolas, the environment minister, said there was an “elephant in the room” in Muslim families as a result of the widespread practice of marriage between cousins.

“If you talk to any primary care worker they will tell you that levels of disability among the [British] Pakistani population are higher than the general population. And everybody knows it’s caused by first-cousin marriage,” Woolas said.

In the aftermath of the speech, switchboards at Lambeth Palace and Canterbury Cathedral were flooded with angry calls. Police sources said yesterday they had advised the archbishop on measures he should take to ensure his personal safety and offered him protection, which he refused.

Yesterday a somewhat shell-shocked Williams took to the pulpit at a church in Cambridge to give a sermon at a memorial service. Friends reported that he said he “had expected a critical reaction but nothing like this”.

What would his proposals actually mean? Is there a prospect of Islamic law becoming an everyday part of British society and why did the archbishop raise such an inflammatory proposal in the first place?

TRANSLATED as “pathway to the water”, sharia is derived from the Koran and the 7th-century teachings of the prophet Muhammad known as the hadiths.

It is not merely a legal code. Sharia governs all aspects of Muslim life, ranging from diet and dress code to social relationships and business transactions. For westerners it has become synonymous with the brutal punishment meted out for the most serious crimes, known as hadd offences.

In Afghanistan, where support for the Taliban remains strong in some areas, a 23-year-old journalist was recently sentenced to death by an Islamic court for downloading an article from the internet about women’s rights.

Last December a 21-year-old Saudi Arabian woman was sentenced to 200 lashes and a six-month prison sentence for having an affair with a male friend – despite having been abducted and gang-raped. She was spared by a last-minute royal pardon from King Abdullah.

In Iran, public executions of homosexuals are a regular occurrence.

An ironic aspect of the reaction to Williams’s speech was that some aspects of sharia have already been accommodated by legislation in the UK, which is home to almost 2m Muslims.

In his last budget as chancellor, Brown relaxed the law on stamp duty as a concession to Muslim homeowners. Sharia forbids the payment of interest, so many buyers obtain an Islamic mortgage. This involves a bank purchasing a property on the buyer’s behalf and then selling it back to them through monthly capital payments.

Such a transaction would technically require stamp duty to be paid twice – because the property has changed hands two times – but the law was changed so it is paid only once.

Slaughterhouse practices, which require animals to be killed with a clean cut to the throat, are another area in which concessions have been granted – not only to Muslims, but also to British Jews.

In his lecture, Williams was at pains to point out that the issues he was raising were applicable to other faiths.

Orthodox Jews already operate a well established network of religious courts, the beth din, to decide matters of divorce and to settle disputes. They are based on ancient Jewish law and run under the authority of the Chief Rabbi. However, the courts are entirely voluntary and subordinate to the British legal system.

A further irony of the row is that a dozen or so sharia courts are already operating in British towns and cities with large Muslim populations, such as London, Birmingham, Man-chester, Sheffield, Dewsbury and Milton Keynes.

One of the oldest, established in 1982 and run from an end-of-terrace house in Leyton, a suburb of east London, is the Islamic sharia council.

The court, made up of four middle-aged Pakistani “judges”, handles about 50 cases each month involving civil and personal matters.

The set-up is far removed from a typical magistrates’ or crown court. Justice is usually dispensed by one judge who sits behind a plain desk in a cramped office lined with ramshackle shelves full of battered cardboard boxes containing files from previous cases. No lawyers are present and usually no witnesses other than the petitioner. The judge listens and makes notes only after he has made his judgment.

“All manner of stuff gets referred to us, but 95% of the cases that we deal with are to do with divorce,” said Suhaib Hasan, the court’s general secretary.

UNDER sharia it is usually the husband who initiates divorce proceedings – and, in theory, can end a marriage by saying “I divorce thee”, or “talaq”, on three separate occasions. Women can apply to a sharia court for divorce only if they are able to provide a legitimate reason, such as being the victim of domestic abuse.

Although an Islamic union can be “dissolved” in this way the couple must still obtain a divorce from the civil courts if the split is to be recognised by British law.

Other cases presided over by sharia courts can be of a more personal nature. Judges are often asked to provide a fatwa, or religious edict, on whether a product or form of conduct is permissible in Islam.

Hasan recalled a recent case in which a Somali train driver who worked for London Underground wanted to find out if he had “sinned” by running overa passenger who had jumped onto the tracks in order to commit suicide.

“I deliberated over the case for two days and concluded that he was not guilty of any crime,” he said.

Other sharia courts have ruled that Ribena, organ donations and IVF treatment are all “halal”, or Islamically lawful.

While these cases seem perfectly reasonable, other sharia practices – such as a man’s right to have four wives – would directly contravene British law.

Indeed, Hasan’s court recently ruled on the case of a young man from Bradford who had tired of his arranged marriage and had taken another wife in Pakistan. He wanted to bring her to Britain and divorce his first wife, but wanted to retain access to his three children by her. He should remain married and treat them both equally, ruled the court.

For Hasan, such divergences from British law and customs are not a problem. “If people can have mistresses in this country and have homosexual relationships, then why can’t a Muslim have a second wife?” he said.

Here lies one of the main problems with Williams’s remarks, say experts. Although he was talking about “supplementary jurisdictions” for civil matters, is sharia something that can be cherry-picked?

“There is no halfway house with this,” said Khalid Mahmood, the Muslim Labour MP for Birmingham Perry Bar. “What part of sharia does he want? The sort that is practised in Saudi Arabia which they are struggling to get away from?

“Muslims do not need special treatment or to be specially singled out. This would not contribute to community cohesion.”

Hasan asserted that the wider introduction of sharia would be good for the country.

“If sharia is implemented then you can turn this country into a haven of peace,” he said. “Once a thief’s hand is cut off, nobody is going to steal. Once an adulterer is stoned, nobody is going to commit this crime at all. This is why we say we want to offer it to British society. If they accept it, that is for their good. If they don’t, they will need more prisons.”

Reports suggest that the influence of sharia may already have crept into criminal cases.

In 2006, when police arrested a group of youths on suspicion of stabbing a fellow Somali teenager, the victim’s family are believed to have told officers that the matter would be settled out of court and the suspects were released on bail.

An impromptu court – called a gar in Somali – was reportedly convened in Woolwich, southeast London, and elders from the local Somali community ordered the assailants to pay the victim compensation.

Aydarus Yusuf, a youth worker involved in setting up the hearing, said: “All their uncles and their fathers were there, so they all put something towards that and apologised for the wrongdoing.”

Critics believe the practicalities of implementing sharia in Britain, even on a partial basis, would be a minefield.

“British society and its legal traditions have developed a wholeness about them which is open to evolution, but should not be interfered with lightly,” said Michael Nazir-Ali, the Pakistan-born Bishop of Rochester.

He noted that every school of sharia law would be in conflict with British law “on matters like monogamy, provisions for divorce, the rights of women, the custody of children, the laws of inheritance and of evidence. This is not to mention the relation of freedom of belief and of expression to provisions for blasphemy and apostasy”.

The main objection for most opponents of sharia’s introduction is its inherent bias against women. Alongside the provision that women must in most cases have their husband’s permission to sue for divorce is the ruling that one man’s testimony is worth the same as the testimony of two women.

Baroness Kennedy, a leading barrister, said: “Very often traditional law in small courts doesn’t evolve to take account of changes in the world; they become very rooted in the past and that can often disadvantage women.”

Although a Muslim woman can expect to be paid back her family’s dowry if she is divorced, she has no entitlement to long-term maintenance payments or to a share of her exhusband’s property.

In Malaysia, a dual legal system operates in which sharia is used for civil, family and marriage cases involving the country’s Muslim majority. Marina Mahathir, daughter of the former prime minister, Mahathir bin Mohamad, believes that there is an “apartheid” between Muslim women like her and those of other faiths.

“Muslim men may still contract polygamous marriages, may unilaterally divorce their wives (even by text message) and are entitled to double the shares of inheritance,” she has said. She and her fellow Muslim women “can only look at their nonMuslim sisters in despair and envy”.

Nevertheless, some observers believed that formalising sharia would benefit some women in Britain.

“A woman who has not registered her marriage in a register office might be married under sharia and if there is a divorce she might lose her children and her property,” said David James, the Bishop of Bradford, whose diocese has a large Muslim population and who said he knew of a number of men who had more than one wife.

“If a form of sharia which was compliant with British law was introduced, the situation for many women and children would be improved.”

Another serious objection to Williams’s suggestions is that the professional standards of Britain’s sharia courts are questionable.

“One of the concerns that I have is the qualifications of people who consider themselves sharia judges,” said Baroness Warsi, the Tory spokeswoman for community cohesion and social action who is herself a Muslim. “At the moment anyone in their back room can set up a sharia council and start issuing fatwas.”

One such court was operated in the 1990s by Omar Bakri Mohammed, a radical preacher who is now banned from Britain. Bakri first came under the spotlight after declaring that John Major, the former prime minister, was a legitimate target for assassination. He also hailed the 7/7 bombers as the “fantastic four”.

This weekend many worshippers filing out of the mosque in Whitechapel, east London, said that they did not want sharia anyway because of the damage it could cause to race relations.

“Sharia is such an emotive word to non-Muslims and the tabloids really play on that fear,” said Ali Hassan, 42, an electronics shopkeeper. “Most Muslims have absolutely no expectation or desire to impose sharia on Britain.”

Syeed Rahman, a 25-year-old banker who had just returned from his hajj pilgrimage to Mecca, said: “This country is the best place in the world for Muslims. If you were in Saudi you couldn’t practise your religion as unrestrictedly as you do here. We don’t need sharia to be recognised as law in this country. We follow it in what we do.”

As Britain grapples with the can of worms opened by Williams, it could learn from the experience of Canada.

In 1991 the province of Ontario passed the Arbitration Act which gave people the ability to settle civil and family disputes without resorting to the courts. The move spawned a network of Jewish and Christian tribunals that were able to make legally binding decisions.

In 2003 the Canadian Society of Muslims sought to establish similar sharia tribunals under the act, but their proposals met with a public outcry, with some groups claiming that the move would violate the rights of Muslim women. This led to all faith-based arbitration being scrapped.

THE reaction to Williams’s remarks suggests that sharia is unlikely to be formally recognised within the British legal system any time soon. More significant, perhaps, may be the damage done by the affair to the archbishop’s credibility.

Critics within the church marvel that a man of such intelligence could misjudge the public reaction so badly.

“It has been an own goal,” said one bishop. “I’m disappointed because it makes Rowan look silly. People stopped at a certain point because they heard the term sharia.

“It sounds as if the Archbishop of Canterbury is saying, ‘Let these Muslim people do their own thing’, and this is, of course, not what he is saying. Who on earth was advising him? Anyone could see that a speech mentioning sharia would create its own headlines.”

As has been his habit from his days as an academic, Williams did not consult widely on the lecture, preferring to work alone. He did, however, discuss its content in the broadest terms with his fellow primate John Sentamu, the Archbishop of York, and a number of Muslim scholars.

He told friends that he found the reaction to the speech “all very unpleasant”. When pressed on why he had raised this issue now, he said it was so important to prevent further isolation of the Muslim community.

He said he had been drawn to the subject of “religious conscience” by the recent row over whether Catholic adoption agencies should have to accommodate same-sex couples and questions about Ruth Kelly’s suitability to be a cabinet minister when it emerged that she was a member of Opus Dei, the Catholic group.

Yet his erudite and heavily caveated exposition of his ideas was lost in the moment that he evoked sharia.

He regards it as part of his role as leader of the church to address issues from which others shy away and which may make him unpopular.

Indeed, this week he risks raising the ire of ministers again by voicing his opposition to plans to extend the detention without charge for terrorist suspects to 42 days.

Last year he was accused of exaggeration when he suggested that America wields its power in a way that is worse than Britain during its imperial heyday. He claimed that Washington’s attempt to intervene overseas by “clearing the decks” with a “quick burst of violent action” had led to “the worst of all worlds”.

The problem with his intervention in the debate about inter-faith relations was that his true message was almost completely obscured.

Some within the church – already upset by his favourable attitude towards gay rights – regard him as terminally wounded. In the age of quick and easy headlines, can the church be led by such an unworldly figure? This weekend there were calls for him to resign.

“He is a disaster for the Church of England. He vacillates, he is a weak leader and he does not stand up for the church. I would like to see him resign and go back to academia,” said Alison Ruoff, a Synod member from London.

That prospect is unlikely. Williams told friends this weekend he would not resign and he cannot be sacked for doctrinal or political reasons. He can, if he likes, remain in his post until his 70th birthday in June 2020.

This weekend he may look to the past for comfort. In March 1556 one of his predecessors, Thomas Cranmer, was burnt at the stake in Oxford for expressing unpopular views.

Williams may reflect that at least a media firestorm is nothing like a real one.

Additional reporting: Jonathan Oliver, Chris Gourlay and Michael Sheridan

WHAT THE ARCHBISHOP SAID

What was he talking about?

At the heart of Rowan Williams’s speech to a group of lawyers in central London was a call for more attention to be paid to religious sensitivities of all kinds in the British legal system. He said that the Enlightenment principle of one-law-for-everybody on which it was based was “not adequate to deal with the reality of complex societies”. He had concentrated on Muslim issues because he was inaugurating a lecture series on Islam in British law.

Why was there confusion about what he meant?

His academic background meant that Williams was careful to make sure everything he said was considered and caveated and he also used language that scholars, but not necessarily lay people, would understand.

For example, his main point was that a “transformative accommodation” should be reached between secular and religious legal systems. This did not involve setting up a “parallel” legal system to British law but rather a “scheme in which individuals retain the liberty to choose the jurisdiction under which they will seek to resolve certain carefully chosen matters, so that the power-holders are forced to compete for the loyalty of their shared constituents”.

That’s not very clear . . . Indeed. What Williams appears to be suggesting is that secular and religious legal traditions should co-exist and that individuals could choose which one was best for them on a case-by-case basis. They would not be denied the use of either, though. It was not clear how any formal transfer of jurisdiction would take place. Williams did admit that the solution would not be simple.

Why was there such an uproar?

Previewing his speech, Williams gave a BBC interview in which he used much clearer language. One particular phrase leapt out. Asked whether the adoption of sharia in the UK was necessary for community cohesion, he answered that it “seems unavoidable”.

THE FURIOUS REACTION TO ARCHBISHOP'S SPEECH

There can be no exceptions to the laws of our land which have been so painfully honed by the struggle for democracy and human rights. His acceptance of some Muslim laws within British law would be disastrous for the nation - Lord Carey, Williams's predecessor as Archbishop of Canterbury

I don’t think he is the man for the job. One wants to be charitable, but I sense that he would be far happier in a university where he can kick around these sort of ideas - Edward Armitstead, member of the Church of England General Synod

Who needs Al-Qaeda when you’ve got Al-Rowan? This professional fool doesn’t seem to realise that some of us came to the UK precisely to escape sharia. Those desperate to enjoy hand-chopping or women’s testimony being worth half that of a man’s can always move to an Islamic republic - Patricia, blogger, London

I am horrified by the archbishop’s remarks. My father came to the UK from India in the early 1950s and always said the UK’s robust judiciary and sense of fair play was something to be admired - Robin Sohdi, web comment, Walton-on-Thames

People should understand that it’s not Muslims asking for a parallel system of sharia. The great majority of Muslims are saying something else. The British legal system is our sharia - Professor Tariq Ramadan, Oxford University

What on earth is Rowan up to? Who does this man think he’s supposed to be representing? I can’t comprehend why he should bring this topic up. If it is a clever means to make a case for religious influence in secular society, then frankly he couldn’t have made a worse job of it - Simon Patrick, web comment, Buckinghamshire

Christmas has gone, Easter on the way. The Christian calendar drives the tempo of our lives in the UK and sometimes, like me, people may think: maybe I should go to church, rediscover what it’s all about? But then you can always count on Canterbury putting you off with his wishy-washy twaddle - Ben Wright, web comment, London

Will Dr Williams be delivering this year’s Easter sermon from Mecca? - Dominic Shelmerdine, web comment, London

PARALLEL SYSTEMS AROUND THE WORLD

■ Malaysia, which has a Muslim majority and a predominantly Chinese minority population, runs a twin-track legal system. Sharia courts have jurisdiction over areas such as marriage, inheritance, apostasy, conversion, and custody of children for Muslims. Civil courts deal with other areas

■ The Malaysian constitution does not say whether civil or sharia courts prevail in cases involving a dispute between Islam and another religion

■ In practice, many lawyers say, the system discriminates against the non-Muslim minority. In one recent case a Buddhist family tried in vain to stop the religious authorities burying their father as a Muslim after the police said he had converted

■ In Nigeria, sharia law is practised as a parallel system to English common law in the Muslim-dominated north of the country. The south of the country, which is mainly Christian, mainly follows English common law

■ In most Middle Eastern countries, there is a dual system of secular and religious courts, in which the latter mainly deal with marriage and inheritance. In Saudi Arabia and Iran sharia courts are responsible for all aspects of jurisprudence.

Source:

Testimony of Australian Church an inspiration to Malaysian Church

This morning it was raining in Perth. Rain was precious to Australia. One of the reasons why the world suffered food shortage was the drought in Australia for the past 2 years. Australia is a main exporter in rice, wheat and oats, etc.

But lately there have been lots of rain in Western Australia throughout winter till now. Other states also improved. The Christians played a great role in crying out to God.

It is time for Christians here to rise up. Prayer works! Lat year May, Christians held a combined prayer rally at the stadium praying for a good government. They unanimously agreed that God would not bless Australia till the nation seek forgiveness from the Natives for ill treating them.

Then last year November God made a godly man, Kevin Rudd, win the election and became Prime Minister. Nobody thought John Howard would lose as the economy under him was booming.

The first major thing Kevin Rudd did was to apologize to the Natives.

Malaysian Church should be inspired by this testimony. We must see God transform our nation. Well, prayer is the answer.

Christians in Perth are praying for Malaysia. Please visit the website at:
http://www.churchinperth.com/prayer/index.htm

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Preaching in dreams

This morning woke up, my left calf cramped. Good thing the car is of Auto-made.

Lately I have been preaching in my dreams including one time this morning. And in every dream I moved in compassion, urging people to turn to the Lord. Yes, the Holy Spirit groaned in my spirit, revealing to me my Lord Jesus is coming back soon.

God led me here in Perth, and kept me alone in a big bungalow house. You know Australia is very quiet at night, but I was not scared at all. It is a good place for me to wait upon the Lord.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Sep 16 at 12.01a.m.

It is Sep 16 at 12.01a.m.

What is it so special about?

Well, Pakatan Rakyat under the leadership of Anwar Ibrahim has been claiming that he will seize government on that day. There will be at least 30 MPs from Barisan Nasional shall jump ship to PR.

Let us see what will happen. Will Anwar's claim be fulfilled? Let's pray!

Toyota Camry for my use and bungalow for my stay

This evening, Tim was leaving for Cambodia for mission work via Singapore and Kuala Lumpur.

After he reached the airport, I drove the car back home. Now that Toyota Camry would be for my use for a week. And I am staying alone in a big bungalow at Fremantle. At least I'm feeling rich now! Anyway, I pursued the riches in my Father's mansion above!

Fremantle eateries

Date: 15 Sep
We went for lunch at Fremantle eateries at the seaside




The restaurant we were eating in was decorated with aquariums.

Along the corridor of Gents' and Ladies' Restrooms there were two

Even in the loos there was one! Guys, beware of Peeping Toms! Who? Fishes lah of course!

I think you don't see such packing in Malaysia

On the way back