Saudis Order Review of Mohammed’s ‘Teachings’ to Combat Terror

Saudi Arabia's King Salman
Saudi Arabia’s King Salman (Photo: GIANLUIGI GUERCIA/AFP/Getty Images)

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman issued a decree ordering the establishment of a body to review the interpretations of the teachings of the Islamic prophet Mohammed that are being used to justify violence and terrorism.

These teachings, known as the hadiths (reports or narratives) comprise accounts of the sayings, habits and actions of Mohammed written many years after his death. Different sects of Islam accept different collections of hadith. Some Muslims who call themselves Quranists, only accept the validity of the Quran and none of the hadiths.

Salman directed the Saudi Culture and Information Ministry to establish a body to investigate the hadiths that are being used by extremist organizations to justify their actions.

The ministry said the aim of the new authority would be to “eliminate fake and extremist texts and any texts that contradict the teachings of Islam and justify the committing of crimes, murders and terrorist acts.”

The body will include Islamic scholars from around the world and be headed by SheikhMohammed bin Hassan al-Sheikh, a member of the Saudi Arabia’s Council of Senior Scholars, the kingdom’s highest religious authority.

Earlier this year, during a visit by U.S. President Donald Trump, Salman inaugurated the Global Center for Combating Extremist Ideology “to expose, combat and refute extremist ideology,” according to the center’s Twitter account.

While Saudi Arabia has made moves against extremism, it is, at the same time, spending billions of dollars to spread its own extremist version of Islam, Wahhabism, throughout the world through the funding of mosques staffed with Saudi-approved imams. The kingdom has also made enormous donations to U.S. and Western universities to establish Middle Eastern study departments.

Wahhabism has inspired terror groups from ISIS to al-Qaeda and others. The September 11 attacks were carried out mainly by Saudis.

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Kill Them All: France on French ISIS Fighters

An Iraqi counter terrorism forces member stands guard in the Mosul. (Photo: AHMAD AL-RUBAYE / AFP / Getty Images)

The question of what to do with captured ISIS fighters has vexed many European countries who have nationals fighting for the terrorist group. With the fall of Raqqa, the de facto ISIS capital and reports of 400 ISIS fighters surrendering, that question has become more urgent.

France has a simple solution, as reported in The Times of Israel: Kill them.

“We are committed along with our allies to the destruction of Daesh (Islamic State) and we’re doing everything to that end,” French Defense Minister Florence Parly told reporters. “What we want is to go to the end of this combat and of course if jihadists die in the fighting, then I’d say it’s for the best.”

This fits with reports of previous French policy. When asked if the government of Emmanuel Macron would continue French policy of killing ISIS fighters with French citizenship, French government spokesman Christophe Castaner told reporters, “I say to all fighters who join the Islamic State group and then go abroad to wage war that waging war brings risks, and they must accept those risks.”

The Times of Israel also reported an understanding between the Iraqi army and the French to kill any French citizens fighting for ISIS that are caught: “We will prevent as much as possible any French person leaving Mosul alive,” said Abdelghani al-Assadi, a top commander in the Counter-Terrorism Service, quoted by Paris Match. “Our aim is to kill them so that no one from Daesh can flee.”

Religion and Morality Drive Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Say Media Experts

“Do what is right and good in the sight of Hashem, that it may go well with you and that you may be able to possess the good land that Hashem your God promised on oath to your fathers.” Deuteronomy 6:18 (The Israel Bible™)

The Palestinian-Israeli conflict is a “religious, spiritual and moral conflict,” said David Parsons, vice president and senior international spokesman for the International Christian Embassy in Jerusalem (ICEJ), on Tuesday. “If you ignore that, then you ignore the heart of the problem.”

Parsons, who was addressing a group of Christian journalists during a panel discussion about media bias on Tuesday as part of the government’s Christian Media Summit in Jerusalem, said he believes faith still motivates and drives people in the region far more than the mainstream media understands.

“Most reporters completely ignore it,” Parsons said.

In the last decade, several media outlets have come under fire for their anti-religious attitudes and for hiring correspondents with little understanding of religious issues. Brexit and the victory of President Donald Trump highlighted the liberal, elite media’s struggle to understand “ordinary people.”

From left: Chris Mitchell, CBN News bureau chief in Jerusalem; David Parsons, Vice President, International Christian Embassy in Jerusalem; Judy Maltz, reporter, Ha’aretz; Amy Kaufman, freelance reporter; and Caroline Glick, contributing editor, Jerusalem Post. (Maayan Hoffman/Breaking Israel News)

Author and former Associated Press (AP) correspondent Matti Friedman agreed the situation in Israel is even more complex than in the rest of the world, but emphasized the moral aspect over the religious one.

“The Israel story is not a political story, not a violence story, not a Middle East story – it’s a story about morality,” said Friedman. “Stories about Jews are always stories about morality – Jews are the moral actors that fail.”

Friedman, also speaking to Christian media on Tuesday, said Jews have forever claimed to have a moral mission from God. He said the claim that God has given the Jews a special job is “annoying” to some members of the liberal, Western world, and has led to anti-Semitism.

Jews, he explained, have been characterized as acting with unforgiving hostility toward Christians, as greedy,  tribal, or too cosmopolitan.

“It’s a deep-thought virus and I think that is what is going here,” said Friedman about the unbalanced focus the media puts on Israel.

Friedman backed up his claim with numbers. While he was working for AP in 2006, the bureau had 40 full-time news staff covering Israel, which, Friedman pointed out, makes up one-one-hundredth of the surface of the world, 0.2 percent of the Arab world, and has only around 8 million citizens.

In contrast, there were far fewer reporters in China (1.4 billion people) or India (1.3 billion people), and more reporters in Israel than in all the sub-Sahara African states and in Africa combined. There was only one AP reporter in Syria in 2006.

Friedman emphasized that interest in Israel goes beyond the perceived high rate of violence and conflict in the region. The entire city of Jerusalem, with its 830,000 residents, had only 18 violent fatalities in the last year, including all people killed in stabbing attacks, assailants nabbed by security forces, Israelis and Palestinians. In contrast, the city of Jacksonville, Indiana had 119 homicides.

Motti Friedman (Maayan Hoffman/Breaking Israel News)

“But you won’t see those numbers spelled out because it would undermine the idea that this is a very important story,” Friedman said.

As an example of where anti-Semitism has been leveraged in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Caroline Glick at the summit recalled when in 2016 Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas claimed rabbis had called to poison Palestinian water in a speech to the Parliament of the European Union. The incident, which was condemned as promoting blood libels and anti-Semitic tropes, was underreported by the mainstream press.

Chris Mitchell, Christian Broadcasting Network News bureau chief in Jerusalem, said one reason for the under-reporting might have been media fatigue.

“We so often hear these blood libels by the PA that the media might just say, ‘Well, here we go again,’” he told the Summit.

Parsons, however, was not willing to let the media off so easy. He said that these types of blood libels are a “Christian import” to the Middle East. As such, reporting on such statements “is important for us as Christian journalists.”

“I am motivated to tell the Muslim world, ‘We got it wrong about the Jewish world before. We are here to tell you what’s wrong,’” Parsons said.

Parsons and Mitchell both said Christian reporters have a Biblical mandate to report the truth from Israel, based on verse 12:33 in 1 Chronicles.

Men who knew how to interpret the signs of the times, to determine how Yisrael should act. 1 Chronicles 12:33

Mitchell added that in order for Christians to pray for Israel, they need to know the truth. “Our role is to make a complex, complicated region understandable,” he said. “Our audience wants to pray and they want to know how to pray.”

Speaking to Breaking Israel News, Mitchell said Christian media looks at the conflict from a different worldview than its secular counterparts, and he feels that puts those reporters at a disadvantage.

“You cannot understand the situation unless you understand the Bible and the Koran,” said Mitchell. “The Bible informs the situation and the Bible should inform your coverage.”

Returning ISIS Jihadists Pose Long, Uncharted Challenges for US And Europe

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BY ABIGAIL R. ESMAN/ALGEMEINER.COM OCTOBER 19, 2017

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For months now, Western counterterrorism experts have sounded the alarm: as ISIS loses ground, foreign fighters from America and Europe may try to return home. 

When they do, the experts cautioned, they will carry the terror threat with them, ready and willing to strike in Western countries. And law enforcement agencies must be prepared.

Now, with the fall of the Iraqi city of Harija — the Islamic State’s last major stronghold — and the impending collapse of its Syrian capital, Raqqa, the time has finally come. But is law enforcement prepared?

Not really.

An estimated 5,000 Europeans have joined ISIS and other terrorist groups since fighting first broke out in Syria. While some surviving members may choose to remain in the region, or travel to other conflict areas like Afghanistan, a few thousand others will likely try to make their way back home. 

In countries such as France, Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands, most of them will be taken into custody and ultimately tried for terror-related offenses.

But that only covers those who re-enter through legal means. Most will try clandestine paths. And porous borders make such illegal re-entry disturbingly simple, as the rampant smuggling of refugees has already made abundantly clear.

An ongoing lack of coordination of intelligence and security agencies across Europe will further enable terrorists to slip in unnoticed. That’s what happened with Mehdi Nemmouche, who shot and killed four people at the Brussels Jewish Museum in 2014. 

The same is true of Reda Kriket, who travelled to Syria twice, before being arrested in March 2016 on suspicion of plotting “at least one” attack in France. And Brussels airport bomber Ibraham El Bakraoui had previously been arrested by Turkish officials as he attempted to reach the Islamic State.

“Despite improvements since 9/11, foreign partners are still sharing information about terrorist suspects in a manner which is ad hoc, intermittent, and often incomplete,” a 2015 report of the Task Force in Combating Terrorist and Foreign Fighter Travel said.

Such critical intelligence failures also pose risks outside of Europe. “The larger concern is that some European extremists might be able to make it to the United States undetected once they have left the battlefield,” the report’s authors said.

With visa-free entry into the US allowed for European citizens, such fears are not unfounded — and compound the threats posed by returning US nationals.

Even so, some US officials caution against overreacting to the threat that American returnees may cause. Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper argues that most of the 40 Americans who have returned from the Islamic State did so for reasons “that don’t relate to plotting” — such as homesickness and family matters. 

Others, like analysts at the New America Foundation put a greater emphasis on the danger from jihadists who never actually left the US, but were radicalized locally or online.

But not everyone agrees.

“Whether or not returning fighters carry out attacks, they return with the prestige of warriors and credibility on the street,” a 2014 RAND report observed. “They are able to recruit other fighters to go to the Middle East and they can gather like-minded groups around them.”

RAND political scientist and International Center for Counterterrorism fellow Colin Clarke agrees, writing in The Atlantic that some returnees, both in the US and in Europe, may “attempt to resuscitate dormant networks, recruit new members, or conduct lone-wolf style attacks,” as some Europeans have already done.

Tackling the threat, US and European officials agree, depends heavily on European authorities’ ability to improve their intelligence capabilities — a daunting task at a time when rising crime rates, concerns about existing terror threats, logistically complex bureaucratic systems and international rivalries continue to draw on the intelligence agencies’ reserves.

Moreover, not all European states agree on the best way to handle returnees. While most of these jihadists are jailed and tried on terror charges, returnees to Denmark, for instance, are placed in rehab programs that offer schooling, job training and housing, among other benefits — with the hope being that they will rejoin society and reform.

Moreover, the EU Radicalisation Awareness Network put forth a series of recommendations in July for all member states. Countries, they said, should:

Create “re-socialization” programs for detainees, even pre-trial.

Provide religious guidance through “trustworthy chaplains.”

Employ mental health experts to work with those who may suffer from PTSD or “disillusionment.”

“Be aware that many returnees — even if not engaged in criminal behavior — may still strongly support ideologies opposing apostates, other religions, so-called infidels, women’s rights and even EU societies as such. Most have been subject to severe indoctrination. Consider dialogue, mentoring and other techniques for returnees with such strong beliefs.”

In part, this careful handling reflects the reluctance of countries like Denmark to treat returnees as criminals. But as RAND points out, it also comes as a result of difficulties in assessing “which returnees pose a terrorist threat and which do not.” These uncertainties could require monitoring all returnees for indefinite periods, raising civil rights questions as well as economic and other practical concerns.

Whether such careful handling will effectively thwart radicals remains to be seen. Meantime, US officials are taking a different, more punitive approach. Sentences in the US are longer — and can include the death penalty, which is banned in Europe.

Moreover, EU laws can be vague regarding which potentially terror-related activities constitute a crime. By contrast, RAND says, American courts are better prepared for the challenges of convicting returnees, thanks in part to the fact that, in the United States, “providing material support to a terrorist organization, which includes joining or attempting to join a terrorist group, is already a crime.”

But for both Europe and America, RAND suggests another alternative: encouraging returnees to cooperate with intelligence agencies in exchange for lighter sentences, thereby becoming valuable resources in the battle against jihadism in their homelands, and helping to locate and convict other terrorists returning from abroad, especially those who have entered illegally. These are the hardest people to find, and pose the greatest danger.

But even without cooperation from within, there may be other strategies. RAND’s Colin Clarke calculates that approximately half of all Islamist terrorists involved in attacks in Europe had criminal pasts. In contrast, others put the figure closer to 22 percent.

“Many foreign fighters began as criminals,” Clarke wrote on Lawfare, “and many might turn to crime on their return.” Indeed, those seeking to finance attacks are likely to look to criminal activity — such as drug trafficking — to secure it.

Hence, Clarke notes, “To root out returning foreign fighters, authorities should first look to the underworld from which the fighters originally emerged. Criminals inevitably return to what they know best.”

Clarke’s approach for Europe applies equally to America. Yet for all its practicality, the criminal element of these terrorists’ backgrounds also points to an additional danger. 

As Canadian counterterrorism analyst Mubin Shaikh has noted, “prisons are a factory for radicalization. The jihadis themselves say prison is the university of jihad.” Should those trained in militant jihad find their way back into the criminal circuit, that situation could only worsen.

Ultimately, the problem of returning jihadists promises to be a complicated one across the West, likely for years to come. In the face of an unprecedented terror threat, we have no map to travel by.

Originally published by Algemeiner.com – reposted with permission.


PROFIT at any cost: Big Pharma’s bribery and kickback schemes led to deaths of U.S. soldiers

Image: PROFIT at any cost: Big Pharma’s bribery and kickback schemes led to deaths of U.S. soldiers

(Natural News) The families of U.S. troops who have been killed or injured while fighting overseas in Iraq have filed a lawsuit against multiple U.S. and European pharmaceutical and medical supply companies after accusing the corporations of knowingly financing the Mahdi Army, an anti-American militia, through a series of bribes and kickbacks.

The lawsuit, which was filed against some of the biggest and most well-known names in the industry – including GE Healthcare, Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer, AstraZeneca and Roche Holdings – claims that the corporations sent financial aid to Iraq’s Ministry of Health through their local agents. Allegedly, these funds were then used by officials at the ministry to assist the militia as they carried out attacks against U.S. troops in Iraq.

Needless to say, if the accusations made in the lawsuit really are true, then it would be one of the most egregious acts ever committed by pharmaceutical companies to date, and would even border on treason.

The money was sent in the form of “commissions” or “free goods,” and at times amounted to as much as 20 percent of the total value of a contract with ministry officials. In addition, the lawsuit alleges that the defendants included specific language in their contracts that promised Iraq’s Ministry of Health after-sales support and other services related to the product that was sold to them.

“In reality, such services were illusory and functioned merely to create a slush fund the local agents could use to pass on ‘commissions to corrupt (ministry) officials,’” the lawsuit states.

While the lawsuit claims that the money that was sent from these pharmaceutical companies to Iraq’s Ministry of Health violated the U.S. anti-terrorism act, Pfizer released a statement explaining that the company “categorically denies any wrongdoing.” In addition, GE said that they were “thoroughly reviewing the allegations,” and a spokeswoman for Roche declined to comment because the company had yet to be officially served with the lawsuit. AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson also refused to comment on the matter.

“Defendants did not intend for the ‘free goods’ provided to Kadima (health ministry’s pharmaceutical importing agency) to serve any legitimate charitable or medicinal purpose,” the lawsuit alleges. “It was widely understood in Iraq that MOH (Ministry of Health) operated more like a terrorist organization than a legitimate health entity, and no rational company would have viewed MOH as a suitable object for charity.”

Back in 2007, the global intelligence company Stratfor reported that U.S. led forces in Iraq had arrested the deputy health minister after he was accused of “selling health services and equipment in return for millions of dollars that he later funneled to Shiite militias.”

Unfortunately, this is hardly the first time that global brands have engaged in backdoor deals and shady transactions in exchange for special privileges from and relationships with politicians and lawmakers. In August, for example, Lee Jae-yong of Samsung was sentenced to five years in prison after it was revealed that he had paid almost $8 million in bribes to win over the support of South Korean President Park Geun-hye in the midst of ongoing corporate negotiations. In 2012, Walmart was accused of sending millions of dollars to the Mexican government in hopes of speeding up construction of their stores there, an issue that the company is still dealing with to this day.

Indeed, while these allegations against these pharmaceutical companies are certainly serious and warrant further investigation, it would be inaccurate to say that this sort of thing is rare and uncommon.

Attorneys working for law firms of Sparacino & Andreson and Kellogg, Hansen, Todd, Figel & Frederick stated that they have spent thousands of hours so far reviewing transactions that were made between the pharmaceutical companies in question and the Iraqi Ministry of Health between the years 2004 and 2013.

Ami Neiberger-Miller, whose 22-year-old brother was killed in a roadside bomb allegedly planted by the Mahdi Army in Baghdad back in 2007, explained that she wants the companies to be held accountable for providing them with financial aid. “I had always pictured my brother’s killers as faceless,” she said. “I wouldn’t have thought U.S. companies would have anything to do with his death. Those funds went directly from those companies to terrorists who had a mission to kill U.S. troops like my brother. They should be held accountable. Companies should know what is done in their name.” (Related: The US government admits that Agent Orange that was sprayed on GMO farms poisoned troops.)

Whether its U.S. corporations sending money to terrorists in Iraq, or even the disastrous and poorly run Department of Veterans Affairs, something needs to be done to improve the way veterans and military individuals are treated in this country. It’s sad, but far too often these brave men and women don’t receive the amount of respect and care that they deserve, and if U.S.-based pharmaceutical companies really did put our troops in danger for money, then it really is a sad day in America.

TRUMP GETS VICTORY OVER ISIS IN IRAQ AND SYRIA AND ALL THE NEW YORK TIMES CAN DO IS COMPLAIN ABOUT ‘BUILDING DAMAGE’

Five months of American-led airstrikes left conditions in the city dire, knocking out water and electricity. American officials have promised to help bring back basic services, but the scale of the damage is clear. When soldiers of the Syrian Democratic Forces, a coalition of rebel militias, raised their yellow flags in one of Raqqa’s central junctions this week, all that was left of the buildings that once surrounded it were bombed-out shells.
new-york-times-complains-about-trump-victory-over-isis-syria-iraq-fake-news

THE DECLARATIONS OF VICTORY OVER ISIS PLAYED OUT ACROSS IRAQ AND SYRIA: THE LONG CAMPAIGNS TO RETAKE CITY AFTER CITY FROM ISLAMIC STATE MILITANTS HAD COME TO AN END.

EDITOR’S NOTE: When Obama was president it seemed there was an ISIS beheading every couple of months, and seemingly nothing could stop it. Trump promised to “wipe out” ISIS, and in little under a year, he has done exactly that. Instead of celebrating this hard fought win against the world’s deadliest terror group, the New York Times whines and complains that the people are going home to bombed out cities. Hey, NYT, guess what? Those people should be glad they are going home in something other than a body bag, and so should you. If Donald Trump found a cure for cancer, the headlines the very next day would read “Trump Discovery Decimates The Chemotherapy Business As Hundreds Of Chemists Now Out Of Work”. You’re nothing but fake news, NYT, that’s why no one reads you anymore. 

But the hard-won battles left vast destruction in their wake, and the celebrations from atop the rubble of once-grand buildings are ringing hollow for hundreds of thousands of displaced residents.

Iraqis and Syrians return to cities that are ghosts of their former glory, lacking the infrastructure for normal life to begin again. Now they must grapple with how to rebuild.

The ousting of Islamic State militants this week from Raqqa was filled with symbolism. Raqqa was the de facto capital of the militants’ self-declared caliphate, and now it has fallen from their grasp.

But there wasn’t much city left to save.

WHILE THE FULL EXTENT OF THE DAMAGE IS STILL BEING ASSESSED, DRONE FOOTAGE AND SATELLITE IMAGES REVEAL MILE AFTER MILE OF DAMAGED BUILDINGS, RUBBLE-FILLED STREETS AND DESTROYED LANDMARKS.

Raqqa was once home to 300,000 people, but tens of thousands fled when the militants solidified control of the city in early 2014 and began staging public executions of those who ran afoul of their strict interpretation of Islam. By the dwindling days of the group’s rule, only about 25,000 residents remained.

THE ANTI-TRUMP CULTURE OF THE FAKE NEWS NEW YORK TIMES:

At least 1,000 civilians were killed in the airstrikes, according to tallies by local activists and international monitors. American officials put the civilian casualties much lower, and say coalition strikes have killed at least 735 civilians in Iraq and Syria since operations against the Islamic State there began in 2014.

Five months of American-led airstrikes left conditions in the city dire, knocking out water and electricity. American officials have promised to help bring back basic services, but the scale of the damage is clear.

When soldiers of the Syrian Democratic Forces, a coalition of rebel militias, raised their yellow flags in one of Raqqa’s central junctions this week, all that was left of the buildings that once surrounded it were bombed-out shells.

Similar scenes played out in Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city.

Backed by American-led coalition airstrikes, Iraq government forces celebrated their recapture of the city in July. But Mosul’s recovery is a tale of two cities. source

THE NEW LAODICEAN ‘MUSEUM OF THE BIBLE’ HAS A WHOLE LOT OF TECHNOLOGY BUT HARDLY ANY JESUS OF NAZARETH

The Washington Post article has outraged some conservatives. Newsmax sputtered out, “God’s word seems to have been watered down in the new Museum of the Bible.” Financed in large part by the Green family of Hobby Lobby fame, the Museum of the Bible has been eagerly anticipated by conservative evangelicals since the announcement of the coming museum in 2010. The Washington Post article may put a damper on some evangelical excitement though. The criticism that will probably ring the loudest in conservative evangelical ears is the seeming exclusion of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
museum-of-bible-washington-dc-hardly-any-jesus-church-laodicea

IT HASN’T EVEN OPENED, AND YET THE MUSEUM OF THE BIBLE IS ALREADY EMBROILED IN CONTROVERSY (AGAIN). THE CONSERVATIVE BLOGOSPHERE POUNCED AFTER THE WASHINGTON POST PUBLISHED AN ARTICLE TITLED, “SNEAK PEEK: D.C.’S HUGE NEW MUSEUM OF THE BIBLE CONTAINS LOTS OF TECH – BUT NOT A LOT OF JESUS.”

“For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:” 1 Corinthians 15:3,4 (KJV)

EDITOR’S NOTE: The builders of the brand-new Museum Of The Bible in Washington, DC, want you to be enthralled with the “stories” of the Bible. It dazzles the viewer with an 21st century infusion of technology, and will be a big hit with the “disney” Christian set. But absent from this million dollar boondoggle are just about anything to do with the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the most miraculous event in human history to date. This museum will serve very nicely as the new temple of Laodicean Christianity, and should make tons and tons of money for its investors. But Jesus of Nazareth won’t be within a million miles of the place. 

Planning to open its 430,000 square feet of space on November 17, the Museum of the Bible will “provide guests with an immersive and personalized experience as they explore the history, narrative, and impact of the Bible. Museum of the Bible will be an unparalleled experience, using cutting-edge technology to bring the Bible to life. It will span time, space, and cultures, inviting everyone to engage with the Bible.”

Worrying some conservatives, the Washington Post points out that the Museum of the Bible “doesn’t say a word about the Bible’s views on sexuality or contraception. The museum doesn’t encourage visitors to take the Bible literally or to believe that the Bible has only one correct form.” The article added, “And on floor after gleaming floor of exhibitions, there is very little Jesus.”

This isn’t the evangelism that the billionaire Green family first promised a decade ago when they set out to build a museum dedicated to Scripture. At the time, the museum’s mission statement promised to “bring to life the living word of God . . . to inspire confidence in the absolute authority’ of the Bible, the book at the institution’s center.”

THE WASHINGTON POST ARTICLE HAS OUTRAGED SOME CONSERVATIVES. NEWSMAX SPUTTERED OUT, “GOD’S WORD SEEMS TO HAVE BEEN WATERED DOWN IN THE NEW MUSEUM OF THE BIBLE.”

Financed in large part by the Green family of Hobby Lobby fame, the Museum of the Bible has been eagerly anticipated by conservative evangelicals since the announcement of the coming museum in 2010. The Washington Post article may put a damper on some evangelical excitement though.

The criticism that will probably ring the loudest in conservative evangelical ears is the seeming exclusion of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

JESUS IS ALSO CURIOUSLY NOT CENTRAL TO THE MUSEUM’S PRESENTATION OF THE BIBLICAL STORY. VISITORS WALK THROUGH A MULTIROOM SAGA OF THE OLD TESTAMENT, AND THEY CAN VISIT A RE-CREATION OF A 1ST-CENTURY VILLAGE IN GALILEE WHERE ACTORS WILL TELL THEM WHAT THE VILLAGERS THINK OF THIS CONTROVERSIAL PREACHER JESUS. THEY CAN WATCH A MOVIE ABOUT JOHN THE BAPTIST. BUT THE STORY OF JESUS’ CRUCIFIXION AND RESURRECTION IS ALMOST ABSENT.

AS TO BE EXPECTED, PROGRESSIVE CHRISTIANS BELIEVE THAT THE MUSEUM OF THE BIBLE CONTAINS TOO MUCH EVANGELICAL PROSELYTIZING.

Speaking to the Washington Post, secretary of the Society of Biblical Literature Steven Friesen confesses that “there is debate in the academic community about whether to do research involving the Greens’ collection.” He is advising fellow scholars to steer clear.

Friesen hasn’t seen the museum, but he believes from reading the website that its materials subtly promote a singular version of Scripture; indeed, the museum mostly omits discussion about how the Bible was compiled and which religious traditions believe which disputed books belong in the Bible. Museum staffers say the place for discussing issues such as sexuality and abortion, which aren’t mentioned in the exhibits, might be at events hosted at the museum. Friesen thinks those events are meant to draw in influential people to hear the Greens’ opinions on the culture wars.

MY GUESS IS THAT THEY’VE WORKED VERY HARD AT COVERING WHAT THEY WOULD LIKE TO DO, TRYING TO HIDE THE AGENDA THAT IS BEHIND THE MUSEUM, DEFINING THAT AGENDA AS THE PROMOTION OF THEIR DEEP FAITH IN THE LITERAL TRUTH OF THE BIBLE.

Friesen’s negative response to the Museum of the Bible reveals far more than the conservative hand-wringing does. It would be impossible for the Museum of the Bible to satisfy every corner of evangelicalism; like most things this large, everyone can probably find something that they wish was done differently if they look hard enough. The fact that a progressive “Christian” like Steven Friesen believes that conservative Christian theology and ethics are brimming just under the surface of the Museum of the Bible should be all the reassurance that conservatives need. source

“And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God; I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.” Revelation 3:14,15 (KJV)