In the Bible, on the Day of Atonement, the High Priest was instructed to sacrifice one goat for the forgiveness of sins (for a year). He laid his hands on another goat and confessed the sins of the people, and then banished it to the wilderness.
This second goat we have called the "scapegoat" in English, ever since the phrase was coined by the first major translator of the Bible into English (from the original Hebrew and Greek), William Tyndale (c. 1494-1536). (Wycliffe translated it from Latin.) Much of Tyndale's work was used in the King James Bible (1611) and thus popularized all over the world.
Christians view Jesus' death as fulfilling all the ceremonial sacrifices, including that sacrificial goat and the scapegoat---and the Passover lamb and everything else. more >>
As Egypt's Islamists blame Christians for the ouster of Mohammed Morsi, anti-Christian violence has reached epidemic levels, with an estimated 82 churches across Egypt attacked and heavily damaged by pro-Morsi supporters in a mere 48 hours.
Unfortunately, the persecution of Christians is nothing new in Egypt or other Muslim-majority countries. But thanks to the mainstream media, few Westerners understand the true scale or nature of the horrors involved.
As you read this, Christians around the world are being murdered, raped, plundered, abducted, forcibly converted to Islam, or otherwise oppressed by Muslims. Christians in Muslim-majority areas are some of the most vulnerable and horribly oppressed people on earth; they live at the mercy of the mob and receive little or no protection from the police or other government institutions. more >>
Some fifty-three percent of Americans told the Gallup Poll last spring they regarded the Iraq war as a mistake. The numbers were not evenly divided. The vast majority of Democrats (73 percent) say it was a mistake while only a minority (30 percent) of Republicans agree.
So, how should we think about this story in this week's Washington Post: "Securing Iraqi Jews' Past?" Staffers at our National Archives are restoring a "trove" of documents, photographs, books, and other records from the Iraqi Jewish community. Our troops uncovered this stash of Jewish memorabilia when we invaded Iraq in May 2003. Many of these precious items were found in the blasted headquarters of Saddam Hussein's Mukhabarat, the dreaded secret police of the Baathist regime in Baghdad.
This tranche of documents and artifacts is called the Iraqi Jewish Trove. It contains items hundreds of years old. They bear witness to an ancient Jewish community that survived until the 1960s. There had been pogroms and persecution, certainly, prior to that time. But with the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, the condition of Jews throughout the Middle East became more perilous. more >>
When Ronald Reagan was running against the hapless Jimmy Carter in 1980, a reporter challenged him. What would you do differently? Gov. Reagan, ever genial, smiled and said crisply: Everything.
And he did. That's why his administration is viewed as a smashing success and Carter's malaise is remembered with a shudder-if it is remembered at all.
President Obama is in danger of following the Carter model. He had no choice about cancelling a summit with Vladimir Putin--certainly not while Putin is providing asylum for NSA mega-leaker Edward Snowden. But Mr. Obama's comments about that summit cancellation were, to put it mildly, unhelpful. more >>
The Freedom From Religion Foundation is backing down from its opposition to Ohio building a Holocaust memorial on state capitol grounds, which includes the Star of David, following a petition in support of the memorial signed by thousands of Americans.
"A few weeks ago, FFRF, an angry atheists group with a long record of failed attempts to expunge any relic for our religious heritage from public life, demanded that the state of Ohio scrap its plans to build the first Holocaust memorial on state capitol grounds in the nation," the American Center for Law and Justice wrote on its website.
"FFRF insensitively called the inclusion of the Star of David 'exclusionary' and a 'dishonor.'" more >>
He's hardly alone, as many observers (including myself) are outraged by this move. But Danon, 42, has a unique place in this debate because he (1) sits in Israel's parliament as a member of Netanyahu's Likud Party, he (2) is chairman of Likud's powerful Central Committee, and he (3) serves as Israel's deputy minister of Defense. In American terms, his criticism resembles Gen. Stanley McChrystal's 2010 interview mocking Vice President Joe Biden. But McChrystal was gone within days whereas Danon continues to gain influence and stature.
Danon's ability to denounce his own prime minister's actions points to his not being a routine politician. Three qualities stand out: a devotion to principle, a mastery of tactics, and the ability to articulate a vision. more >>