Military expert presents a timeless Christmas audio-story
In a uniquely told version of the 2,000-plus-year-old Christmas story of the wise men and the star, writer and military technical consultant W. Thomas Smith Jr., combines his love of Scripture and historical research with his Marine infantry land-navigation skills, his experience traveling across the Middle East and his quest for thoroughness, simplicity and truth. Smith’s THE MAGI AND THE STAR was recorded Oct. 23, 2018.
LISTEN NOW – [click here for the audio-story]
“I am thankful for W. Thomas Smith, Jr.’s thoughtful and worshipful look into the incredible phenomena, both natural and supernatural, that accompanied the glorious arrival of the Son of God,” says Dr. Tony Myers, senior pastor of St. Paul’s Presbyterian Church in Somerset, PA. “May it cause us to also think and worship deeply.”
Christian missionary Henry Clay agrees.
“What an inspiring and informative presentation of the details and context of the well-known Christmas stories,” says Clay, who serves with The Navigators, a global discipleship-building ministry. “Take some time this season to reflect again on these beautiful scenes that launch God’s great story of redemption.”
Smith is a former U.S. Marine rifle squad leader, counterterrorism instructor, and SWAT (tactical) team officer in the nuclear industry. A retired Col. in the S.C. Military Dept., Smith is a military analyst and a military technical consultant for films airing on The Military Channel. He is an author and a New York Times bestselling editor whose travels have taken him across the globe and whose work has appeared in many of the world’s top-tier publications.
COLUMBIA, S.C. – INTERSECT: WHERE CHURCH MEETS CULTURE – a Christian-based podcast series [see INTERSECT] addressing the nexus where, as the billing says, church encounters popular culture – is reaching out to an ever-expanding audience in the Midlands of S.C. and beyond. And hosts, the Rev. Josh and Betsy Desch, say the newfound popularity of the twice monthly series reflects both the need for informative local Christian programming and the program’s filling a niche wherein the episodes are less sermon-like, less Bible study, less newscast, and more talk-show format; though everything discussed is from a Biblical perspective.
Josh says the catalyst for launching INTERSECT several weeks ago was two-fold: “First, [my wife] Betsy and I are both huge readers with a particular interest in the intersection of culture and the Christian life. Culture is the air we breathe, so naturally most of us never think about it. Fish don’t think about water. They just swim. That’s what culture is to humans.”
Josh adds, “We also felt like there was a niche that was not being filled by the available podcasts out there, and we are big podcast listeners.”
According to Josh, there are many Christian podcasts that are political, theological, leadership-focused, among other topical approaches. “But we are not aware of any series that takes the approach we are taking in terms of examining the intersection of culture and the life of the average Christian,” he says.
The Department of Justice released their 2010 hate crime statistics. Once again, we see that “Islamophobia” is not even close to anti-Semitism.
“Since we cannot defeat Israel in war, we do this in stages. We take any and every territory that we can of Palestine, and establish a sovereignty there, and we use it as a springboard to take more. When the time comes, we can get the Arab nations to join us for the final blow against Israel.”
– Yasser Arafat
“The Palestinian people does not exist. The creation of a Palestinian state is only a means for continuing our struggle against the state of Israel for our Arab unity. In reality today there is no difference between Jordanians, Palestinians, Syrians and Lebanese. Only for political and tactical reasons do we speak today about the existence of a Palestinian people, since Arab national interests demand that we posit the existence of a distinct “Palestinian people” to oppose Zionism.
“For tactical reasons, Jordan, which is a sovereign state with defined borders, cannot raise claims to Haifa and Jaffa, while as a Palestinian, I can undoubtedly demand Haifa, Jaffa, Beer-Sheva and Jerusalem. However, the moment we reclaim our right to all of Palestine, we will not wait even a minute to unite Palestine and Jordan.”
– Zahir Muhsein
Palestine Liberation Organization executive committee member
March 31, 1977 in Dutch newspaper Truow
Bill DOES NOT violate rights of Muslims, though Jihadists would have us believe otherwise
The South Carolina Senate is currently debating legislation that would ban the enforcement of foreign and religious laws – including Islamic sharia law – but opponents claim the bill would violate the constitutional rights of Muslims. Nothing could be further from the truth.
In April, a Judiciary subcommittee conducted two hearings (on two separate days) on Senate Bill 444, which would prevent foreign and religious law from violating an individual’s constitutional rights. A third subcommittee hearing is in the offing.
S.C.’s bill does not mention sharia law, and appears to avoid religious infringement altogether, unless the religious law would violate the rights of another: “A court, arbitrator, … or enforcement authority may not enforce a foreign law if it would violate a constitutionally guaranteed right of this State or of the United States. The provisions of this section apply only to actual or foreseeable violations of the constitutional rights of a person caused by the application of the foreign law.”
Howard Stravitz, a professor at the University of South Carolina School of Law, testified at the South Carolina subcommittee hearing that the bill would violate Muslims’ freedom of religion. Stravitz did not respond to The US Report’s request for clarification.
“The backers of these discriminatory proposals realize if they put specific references to Sharia or Muslims, it won’t pass constitutional muster,” said Ibrahim Hooper, Director of Communications at the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).
When The US Report contacted Hooper to clarify which elements of S. 444 he considered unconstitutional, Hooper instead sent material related to Oklahoma’s attempt at banning sharia rather than South Carolina’s legislation. Senate Question 755 was approved by 70 percent of voters before being blocked by a federal judge.
It bears noting that CAIR recently made headlines when the Department of Justice scuttled pending terror-financing prosecutions against the organization and one of its co-founders. Both were listed as un-indicted co-conspirators in the trial against the Islamic charity group, Holy Land Foundation, which sent over $12 million in donations from the U.S. to the Palestinian terrorist group, Hamas. CAIR is linked to both Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood, which seeks to establish sharia law not only in the U.S., but worldwide.
David Yerushalmi, a lawyer and expert on Islamic law, called Oklahoma’s Senate Question 755 “poorly drafted” as sharia was left open for vague interpretation. Yerushalmi wrote that “There are patently constitutional ways to legislatively preclude sharia from raising its ugly head in our legal system and to do so in clearer, more legally precise ways than was achieved by Question 755.”
It appears that the stumbling block is to what degree each state defines foreign laws: a federal judge blocked Oklahoma’s ban when a plaintiff from CAIR contended that by blocking sharia in state courtrooms, Muslims’ were essentially denied their freedom of religion as the plaintiff defined sharia as a religious practice rather than an authoritative legal-political-military system.
The underlying problem is that many Muslims consider Islamic religious laws to be divine commandments which trump man-made laws such as the Constitution.
In 2007, the Assembly of Muslim Jurists of America (AMJA) issued a fatwa, or Islamic legal ruling stating that “Islamic law does not recognize [man-made law], either fully or in part.” While not all U.S. Muslims may agree with the supremacy of sharia, the fact remains that a Muslim legal organization within the United States commanding Muslims to follow sharia and not federal and state laws.
The AMJA has issued other rulings which call for the execution for apostasy and blasphemy, as well as condone marital rape, female genital mutilation, and the stoning of adulterers.
How could a law preventing an individual from violating the rights of another be unconstitutional? No one seems to have a substantive answer. Instead of answering the question, the bill’s opponents continue to put forth strawmen like “the bill would adversely impact international trade,” which it would not in any way shape or form.
Moreover, according to our sources, when questions by the opponents were fully and adequately answered by the bill’s proponents during the hearings, the answers were ignored and the same questions were repeated by the bill’s opponents later in the hearings.
Perhaps the focus should be shifted from legislation that aims to protect constitutional rights to the imported legal system that undermines constitutional rights.
In a sane world, advocating for the undermining of our Constitution would be called sedition.
General David Petraeus, the top commander of both U.S. and international forces in Afghanistan, says that the recent Qur’an burning in Florida has inspired multiple deadly riots in Afghanistan. Afghan President Hamid Karzai called last month’s Qur’an burning by the Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, Fla. “a crime against the religion and the entire Muslim nation,” and demanded that Pastor Terry Jones be brought to justice.
This incident demonstrates that in Afghanistan, we are fighting a war against an enemy who often has few ideological differences with the population we are trying to protect. The Taliban and the Afghan people both seek the establishment of Islamic sharia law, which explains President Karzai’s demands to bring Jones to justice. Under sharia law, burning a Qur’an is considered blasphemy – anything disadvantageous to Islam can be considered blasphemous – and may be punishable by death.
While the Qur’an burning has destabilized the security situation for our troops in Afghanistan, it only provided the catalyst for those whose sensitivities are on a hair-trigger anyways. The problem isn’t burning books – it’s the ideology that inspires people to take to the streets, injuring and killing innocent Afghans (including at least one child) and aid workers in retaliation for the burning of a book.
Americans should read books instead of burn them, but when something so simple can inspire riots and murders around the world, pyrophilic “outreach centers” aren’t the ones with the problem.