“Litigation Evangelism”?

Two Wrongs Might Not Make a Right, But the Lawyers Get Paid Anyway..”

Former Miss California Carrie Prejean is back in the news.


If you recall, Prejean, a professing Christian, created quite a stir at the Miss USA Pageant by having the nerve to suggest that by her lights marriage should be between a man and a woman.

This seemingly innocent remark brought down the obscenity filled wrath of famous for no discernible reason personality Perez Hilton (See the Scott’s Blog article: The Vicious Voice of Tolerance).

It also generated an incredible amount of free publicity for the Donald Trump produced Miss USA television program.

Well, Carrie Prejean has apparently decided to hit back at at least three of her critics.

EXCLUSIVE: Carrie Prejean Takes Legal Action Against Miss California

USA Officials

by Big Hollywood

RANCHO SANTA FE, CA – Carrie Prejean’s attorney, Charles S. LiMandri announced today that the former Miss California USA is filing a complaint in the Superior Court of California against Miss California USA officials Keith Lewis and Shanna Moakler, and publicist Roger Neal.  The complaint cites damages to Miss Prejean including libel, public disclosure of private facts, religious discrimination, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and negligent infliction of emotional distress.

“Over the past two months we have worked hard to provide overwhelming evidence that Carrie Prejean did not violate her contract with Miss California USA and did not deserve to have her title revoked by Keith Lewis.  We will make the case that her title was taken from her solely because of her support of traditional marriage. Keith Lewis has refused to clear her good name or even to admit any wrongdoing.  Therefore, Carrie Prejean is left with no alternative but to take her case to court where she expects to be fully vindicated.”

There is no doubt that Miss Prejean has been worked over good by the self appointed guardians of proper politically correct thinking.

As we have documented in this space, she was tried and convicted of expressing a point of view that cannot be tolerated by the champions of “tolerance” in our culture.

Would you or I want to be the subject of a microscopic examination of very detail of our private lives, with the results made instantly accessible to a gawking, even leering internet audience?

Would you or I want to receive threats of violence for saying something as innocuous as:

“I think that I believe that a marriage should be between a man and a woman, No offense to anybody out there, but that’s how I was raised.”

Not hardly.

But here is the crucial question – Is the best  response to this kind of treatment a law suit?

One could easily argue from a Scriptural point of view that the words “Sue those who persecute you!” are strangely absent from Jesus’ instructions on the subject:

Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake,
For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

“Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you. (Matthew 5:10-12)

“Not so fast!”, some might say.

After all, didn’t the Apostle Paul use every legal avenue at his disposal as a Roman citizen to thwart the plans of his enemies?

For if I am an offender, or have committed anything deserving of death, I do not object to dying; but if there is nothing in these things of which these men accuse me, no one can deliver me to them. I appeal to Caesar.” (Acts 25:11)

So are Christians who are wronged to simply trust God and take their medicine?

Or are we to use every means available to see righteousness done and hopefully discourage similar attacks on others in the future?

I think the answer is “Yes”.

In the case of Carrie Prejean, she has found herself in the unlikely position of being a national example of what a young Christian woman is all about.

As such, her response will be held to a higher standard of scrutiny than any other person in similar circumstances.

It would seem that the Bible doesn’t preclude her standing up for her rights in a court of law.

But what if she wins her suit?

There will certainly be no shortage of critics who will say “See! She’s nothing special. just another bitter person playing the good old litigation lotto!”

Unless, of course, she does something radical and unexpected.

Could you imagine what would happen if Carrie Prejean turned around and gave the proceeds from the suit to a charity?

Perhaps even a charity that devoted itself to ministering to AIDS patients?

She would not only see her good name vindicated in a court of law, but also in the court of public opinion.

And the love and truth of Jesus would be the subject of discussion from the Internet to talk radio to water coolers across the country.

That kind of “Litigation Evangelism” would be a powerful thing.


Don’t Fear the Reaper?


Many people look back at life and lament, “If I only knew then what I know now!”

But if you could know now what you will someday know then, would you be interested?

No doubt we all have an innate curiosity about the future, and with good reason. We will all have to live there someday.

But what about that aspect of our future that goes beyond living?

You know – To the dying part of things?

If you could know the date of your death, would you really want to know?

If so, the researchers at Carnegie Mellon University have developed a tool that you might find handy.

Death Calculator Predicts Your Odds of Kicking the


A new web site claims to give the odds on you dying next year, or for whatever period you select, based on a few simple questions.

The site, DeathRiskRankings.com, is the brainchild of researchers and students at Carnegie Mellon University. It provides answers based on publicly available data from the United States and Europe, comparing mortality risks by gender, age, cause of death and geographic region. Put your info in, and it produces the probable causes of your demise and provides insight on the timing of that unfortunate event.

My personal review of this tool?

It’s parameters seem a little broad to provide much of a personalized  insight into an actual forecasted “death day”.

But what if someday science could determine the exact time you or I check out of this life?

Would you want to know?

The fact is, most people probably wouldn’t.

Back in 1999, the post office came up with the idea to have a countdown to the new millennium clock in its offices.

But employees complained that instead of reminding them of the coming of a major New Year’s Eve celebration, the constant counting down of time instead reminded them of their own mortality – that the hours and minutes of their lives were constantly slipping away.

The clocks were eventually removed and morale increased.

If someone could tell you the moment of your death, would you want to know?

And if you did, what would you do with the information?

Interestingly, the Bible tells us that a healthy sense of the impermanence of this life can cause us to make the most of our time here.

As he neared the time when he would be executed on the Ostian Way outside of Rome, the apostle Paul wrote:

For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.  Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing. (II Timothy 4:6-8)

Paul didn’t see the looming moment of his death as something to be depressed about.


He saw beyond this life to the promise of a better life to come.

Let’s face it, if we put all our eggs in this world’s basket we are heading for a major fall.

As it has been observed, “The statistics on death are most impressive. One out of one people die.”

But when we understand that God has created us not just to be born, consume, reproduce and die, but to live beyond this life, it changes how we live in the here and now.

Among other things, we realize that what we do in this life really matters.

And the people we meet in this life are significant and eternal.

In essence, it doesn’t matter when we check out of this life. It matters what we do with the time we have before we check out of this life.

Because after this life, we will receive an ultimate “performance review” from the One Who gave us life.

No wonder a wise man who made the most of this life named Moses gave us this piece of lasting advice –

So teach us to number our days,
That we may gain a heart of wisdom. (Psalm 90:12)

A Bungled Blood Libel


Mark Twain once wryly observed:

“A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.”

There is no doubt that in this internet age lies and slanders can get off to a rip roaring head start.

But encouragingly, truth has a funny way of catching up.

Consider the case of the bungled blood libel published by Aftonbladet, the largest circulation newspaper in Sweden.

If you are a regular reader of this space, you know that journalist Donald Bostrom made waves by writing an article accusing the Israeli Defense Forces of harvesting organs from Palestinians for sale on the black market.

This sounded suspiciously like a high tech updating of the ages old “blood libel” that Jews used the blood of Gentile children to make their Passover matzos.

Seems to this commentator that if you are going to accuse a nation made up of Holocaust survivors of Joseph Mengele-like behavior, you’d better be absolutely sure of your sources and have them back up their claims with indisputable evidence.

Or not.

Much to the chagrin of Anti-Semites around the world comes this update courtesy of the Jerusalem Post.

Palestinian family: We didn’t say organs taken

The family and relatives of Bilal Ahmed Ghanem, the Palestinian at the center of the organ-theft story in the Swedish tabloid Aftonbladet, said on Monday that they didn’t know if the accusations were true or not.

The family lives in the tiny village of Imatin in the northern West Bank. Ghanem, 19, was killed by IDF soldiers during the first intifada on May 13, 1992.

He was a Fatah activist who was wanted by the IDF for his involvement in violence.

His mother, Sadeeka, said he was shot by an IDF sniper as he walked out of his home. “The bullets hit him directly in the heart,” she said.

Ghanem’s younger brother, Jalal, said he could not confirm the allegations made by the Swedish newspaper that his brother’s organs had been stolen.

“I don’t know if this is true,” he said. “We don’t have any evidence to support this.”

Jalal said his brother was evacuated by the IDF in a helicopter and delivered to the family only a few days later.
The mother denied that she had told any foreign journalist that her son’s organs had been stolen.

However, she said that now she does not rule out the possibility that Israel was harvesting organs of Palestinians.

Jalal and two cousins who claimed that they saw the body said the young man’s teeth were missing. They also said they saw stitches that ran from the chest down to the bottom of the stomach.

“Obviously, they performed some kind of an autopsy on the body,” the brother said. “When the army handed us the body, we were ordered to bury him quickly and in the middle of the night.”

Jalal said that he and other villagers recall that a Swedish photographer was in the village during the funeral and that he managed to take a number of pictures of the body before the funeral. “That was the only time we saw this photographer,” he recounted.

Ibrahim Ghanem, a relative of Bilal, said that the family never told the Swedish photographer that Israel had stolen organs from the dead man’s body.

“Maybe the journalist reached that conclusion on the basis of the stitches he saw on the body,” he said. “But as far as the family is concerned, we don’t know if organs were removed from the body because we never performed our own autopsy. All we know is that Bilal’s teeth were missing.

If you are keeping score at home, we now know that the sum total of factual evidence behind Bostrom’s article is the presence of stitches on a body returned to relatives for burial.

A few questions for our intrepid journalist to ponder:

If the IDF did remove organs from Bilal’s body in this nefarious plot, why in the world would they return the primary evidence of their dastardly deed to the family for burial?

If the IDF had gotten involved in the organ harvesting business, they obviously missed a few basic lessons in the process.

Organ donation is a tricky business even when the donor is still living. The organ donor and potential recipient must be matched to type. This is why there are people kept on artificial hearts and kidney dialysis machines for months while waiting for a suitable match for transplant.

The fact  these so called victims of the harvesting plot were already dead compounds the unlikely nature of the story. Once a potential donor dies, the window of usefulness of major organs for transplant is a matter of hours, even with immediate and careful preservation.

What Bostrom is suggesting is that the IDF must have had fantastically keen intelligence (including organ typing) on Bilal.

They shot him in the heart (so much for the hopes of cardiac patients), loaded him on a helicopter, took his corpse to a waiting transplant team which removed the body parts and completed the proposed surgery before the needed organ could go bad.

And for good measure, they used his teeth for a sporty new set of dentures for a particularly evil Jewish recipient with poor flossing habits.

But the same Jews who were so incredibly clever they could pull off this plot were also so incredibly stupid as to return what was left of Bilal to heart broken relatives who would dutifully follow their orders to bury his remains “quickly and at night”.

Does any of this make sense?

Well, as the old saying goes  -if you believe that, I have some beachfront property in Tucson to sell you.

Looks like the specious, anti-Semitic speculations run by our Swedish friends have been eclipsed by the truth.

Will there be a retraction?

An apology from the Aftonbladet newspaper?

A statement of regret by the Swedish Foreign Service?

Judging by the angry and defensive  reactions we have received after our first posting on this journalistic fiasco, I would say the chances are slim and none.

But once again we see a promise God made to Israel coming into play in this sad situation:

No weapon formed against you shall prosper,
And every tongue which rises against you in judgment
You shall condemn.
This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD,
And their righteousness is from Me,”
Says the LORD.
(Isaiah 54:17, New King James Version)

Deterring the Demented?


NPR chimes in today with an article on whether the same Cold War principles that kept the East and West in check could also work if Iran became a nuclear power.

Could Deterrence Counter A Nuclear Iran?

Iran’s leaders insist they do not intend to acquire nuclear weapons, and there is no evidence at the moment that they possess an atomic bomb.

But if the country does eventually become a nuclear-armed state, one option available to the United States to counter that power is an approach that worked for nearly half a century: deterrence — using the threat of nuclear retaliation and complete destruction to prevent an attack.

The core argument that critics of deterrence make is that Iran is undeterrable — because Iran’s president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and other leaders are fanatics who believe in religious apocalypse. Nuclear war could suit their purposes, this argument goes, even if Iran used the bomb and the U.S. retaliated.

Thomas Fingar, former deputy director of national intelligence and now a scholar at Stanford University, disagrees.

“I don’t think this is a suicidal regime. I don’t dismiss out of hand at all the idea that they could be deterred,” he says.

The picture of Iran as a suicidal regime doesn’t work for Muhammad Sahimi either. Sahimi, a professor at the University of Southern California who writes for the Web site Tehran Bureau, is a longtime critic of Iran’s conservative government.

“They know that if they, for example, attack Israel, the Israelis and the United States would have the capability to completely destroy Iran and in the process completely destroy the regime,” he says.

For advocates of deterrence, history works in their favor.

The Soviet Union and China are cases in point. The Soviet Union acquired the bomb when Stalin was in power, and China when Mao was its leader, points out Michael Krepon, co-founder of the Stimson Center in Washington and now a diplomat-scholar at the University of Virginia.

“Mao Zedong and Josef Stalin make Ahmadinejad look like a Boy Scout. And I’m not belittling the worrisome nature of Ahmadinejad and the Iranian regime. But we have dealt with far, far worse,” he says.

The idea that Iran’s current regime could be deterred from launching a nuclear attack on Israel by the threat of Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD), or the overwhelming military intervention of the United States sounds promising.

That is, until we remove the discussion from an academic echo chamber and expose it to the clear statements of the individual who would give the go ahead to such an attack.

This post from Joel Rosenberg’s Flash Traffic Blog is particularly insightful and chilling.


The Ayatollah is signalling that he personally is the Mahdi's agent on earth. This is a significant development.The Ayatollah is signalling that he personally is the Mahdi’s agent on earth. This is a significant development.

Iran’s Supreme Leader, the Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, called on Muslims in neighboring countries this week to intensify preparations for the coming of the Islamic Messiah known as the Mahdi or the “Twelfth Imam.” He specifically urged Muslims to mobilize forces to defeat the United States and Israel.

“We have to train honest forces that can stop the obstacles that may hinder the coming of the Mahdi like the United States and Israel,” the Ayatollah said through a spokesman, in a story reported by al-Arabiya, the Arabic-language news channel based in the Gulf.

“Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s spokesman, Ali Saeedi, said countries like Turkey, Iraq, Lebanon, Pakistan and Afghanistan should gather together all their forces in order to make drastic changes to prepare for the coming of al-Mahdi al-Montazar, Arabic for ,the awaited guided one,’” reported al-Arabiya.

The story did not specify what “drastic changes” the Ayatollah had in mind.

“Saeedi also said that the supreme leader of Iran is the direct representative of the Mahdi and that obeying him is like obeying the ‘guided one,’ who is the prophesized savior of Islam,” explained the report. “‘Since the armed forces are commanded by the Supreme Leader, they are thus obeying the orders of the awaited Mahdi,’ Saeedi said, adding ‘the Revolutionary Guards and the armed forces in Iran hold religious authority to prepare for the appearance of the Mahdi.’”

The experts cited in the NPR article believe that Iran’s leadership is not “suicidal”.

And yet the favored tactic of Iran’s infantry in her war with Iraq was human wave “suicidal” assaults.

The experts believe that MAD doctrine worked on bad apples like Stalin and Mao, so it must work with Iran.

Stalin and Mao, however, did not believe that the key to paradise in the afterlife was dying as a “martyr” for their cause.

So who do we believe?

The think tank pundits or your lyin’ eyes?

But did you also catch the most frightening aspect of this article?

For the first time we see floated as a trial balloon this thesis:

“Nuclear Iran – Let’s Learn to Live With It!”

Could the appearance of such an article in a government funded media outlet like NPR be an indicator that our government has conceded that Iran will have this WMD capacity, and is beginning the attempt to make this palatable to the public?

Perhaps this is why oil rich Saudi Arabia has recently begun a fast forward project to build their own nuclear power plant for purely civilian purposes, of course.

If the Saudis know they cannot depend on the United States or the EU to deal with Iran, it would only make sense to take drastic steps to avoid being blackmailed by their Shi’a rivals to the north.

The signs don’t look promising.

CS Lewis once observed, “There is no bad man like a religious bad man.”

And if our government is betting that the religious bad men in Tehran, who have consistently demonstrated their own ruthless fanaticism at every turn since seizing power in 1979, are somehow going to put pragmatism in front of their ardently believed false prophesies –

They had better be right.

And Jesus answered and said to them: “Take heed that no one deceives you.  For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many.  And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places.  All these are the beginning of sorrows. (Matthew 24:4-8)

Manipulating Microbes, Making Dirt and Appreciating Your Appendix

Three quick takes that may effect your future..

File:The Blob poster.jpg

Take One: What Could go Wrong?

A group of biologists headed up by the noted Dr. Craig Venter announced that “artificial life will be created within months”. Venter’s team believes that by rearranging DNA components from bacteria into unrelated yeast cells they can synthesize designer organisms that could treat diseases, gobble up toxic waste or break down trash.

Very eco-friendly, but doesn’t all this sound like the start of a cheesie monster movie from 1959?

Talk about good intentions with some pretty significant down side.

As in, what if one of these manipulated beasties gets tired of eating tires and decides to sample more exotic cuisine, like, oh, say, people?

Better alert the National Department of Unintended Consequences.

Scripturally, the Lord takes a pretty dim view of man trying to exercise God-like prerogatives.

And the LORD said, “Indeed the people are one and they all have one language, and this is what they begin to do; now nothing that they propose to do will be withheld from them. Come, let Us go down and there confuse their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech.”  So the LORD scattered them abroad from there over the face of all the earth, and they ceased building the city.  Therefore its name is called Babel, because there the LORD confused the language of all the earth; and from there the LORD scattered them abroad over the face of all the earth. (Genesis 11:6-9)

The last time God judged man on a global scale it was for putting together an unsavory cocktail of pride, rebellion and technological advancement.

Could the timing of the return of Jesus also coincide with cutting man off at a similar pass?

Looks like the modern Tower of Babel may be shaped like a DNA double helix.

Take Two: Make Your Own Dirt!


Whenever we hear of man creating life in the lab we are usually led a little astray.

Dr. Venter and his team are rearranging the building blocks of already functioning life. They haven’t figured out how to generate the mysterious “breath of life” that actually animates all these chemicals.

It’s like the story of the scientist who challenges God to a show down of power.

The scientist says, “See! We have equalled You in Your abilities God!

Just as you formed creatures out of the dust of the ground, so we can form creatures from chemicals!

So let’s have a show down! You create life and we will create life! How do You like that!”

The Lord replied, “OK. I’ll take you up on your challenge. But first you have to make your own dirt.”

The best man can do is rearrange what God has already made. Only God can create all things out of nothing.

“ You are worthy, O Lord, To receive glory and honor and power; For You created all things, And by Your will they exist and were created.” (Revelation 4:11)

Take Three: Another “Proven Fact” of Evolution Bites the Dust


Remember back when you were a kid and it seemed like everyone had their tonsils out?

The adults sold us on the idea as a way of getting unlimited ice cream for two weeks.

But how were the adults sold?

The white lab coat set told our parents that tonsils, like the appendix have no function.

They are “vestigial organs”, a non functional throw back to our evolutionary past.

They are a “vestige” of a time when our knuckle dragging ancestors apparently needed such things.

But now we’ve evolved beyond them, so we might as well yank them out at the first sign of trouble.

And our parents nodded and stocked the freezer with ice cream because you can’t argue with science.

A classic example of what evolutionism assured us was a vestigial organ, well, it kind of got taken off the list.

The Appendix: Useful and in Fact Promising

The body’s appendix has long been thought of as nothing more than a worthless evolutionary artifact, good for nothing save a potentially lethal case of inflammation.

Now researchers suggest the appendix is a lot more than a useless remnant. Not only was it recently proposed to actually possess a critical function, but scientists now find it appears in nature a lot more often than before thought. And it’s possible some of this organ’s ancient uses could be recruited by physicians to help the human body fight disease more effectively.

In a way, the idea that the appendix is an organ whose time has passed has itself become a concept whose time is over.

“Maybe it’s time to correct the textbooks,” said researcher William Parker, an immunologist at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C. “Many biology texts today still refer to the appendix as a ‘vestigial organ.'”

How do you like that?

The appendix really does have a function.  A” critical” function.

Their words, not mine.

In fact their is evidence to suggest that the tonsils (loaded with disease fighting lymph nodes) serves with the appendix as infection fighting guard posts at both ends of the digestive tract.

Evolutionism, with its emphasis on accident and purposelessness leads to such unhelpful and dismissive conclusions.

Far different are those who use their intellect and scientific expertise with this principle in mind:

For You formed my inward parts;
You covered me in my mother’s womb.
I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Marvelous are Your works,
And that my soul knows very well.
My frame was not hidden from You,
When I was made in secret,
And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. (Psalm 139:13-15)

“Hey! Some of My Best Friends Are Organ Harvesters!”


Ever hear the old joke about a maniac who kills his parents and then begs the judge for lieniency because he is an orphan?

A variation on that theme is running in Sweden this week.

Only this time it’s no joke.

The dust up began when Sweden’s largest daily newspaper Aftonbladet ran a two page article with this eye catching headline:

“They plunder the organs of our sons”

The “report” quoted Palestinians from Gaza claiming that Israeli Defense Forces harvested organs of war victims for sale in black market transplant rings.

The report quotes Palestinian claims that young men from the West Bank and Gaza Strip had been seized by the Israel Defense Forces, and their bodies returned to the families with missing organs.

“‘Our sons are used as involuntary organ donors,’ relatives of Khaled from Nablus said to me, as did the mother of Raed from Jenin as well as the uncles of Machmod and Nafes from Gaza, who all had disappeared for a few days and returned by night, dead and autopsied,” writes author Donald Boström in his report.

Boström’s article makes a link to the recent exposure of an alleged crime syndicate in New Jersey. The syndicate includes several American rabbis, and one Levy Izhak Rosenbaum, who faces charges of conspiring to broker the sale of a human kidney for a transplant.

As you can imagine this article was met with a strong reaction.

The liberal Sydsvenskan – southern Sweden’s major daily – had harsh criticism for the rival paper, running an opinion piece under the headline “Antisemitbladet” (a play on the name Aftonbladet).

“We have heard the story before, in one form or the other. It follows the traditional pattern of conspiracy theory: a great number of loose threads that the theorist tempts the reader to tie into a neat knot without having been provided with any proven connection whatsoever,” writes leading columnist Mats Skogkär of Sydsvenskan.

“Whispers in the dark. Anonymous sources. Rumors. That is all it takes. After all we all know what they [the Jews] are like, don’t we: inhuman, hardened. Capable of anything,” the opinion piece says. “Now all that remains is the defense, equally predictable: ‘Anti-Semitism’ No, no, just criticism of Israel.”

The Foreign Ministry reacted angrily on Tuesday to the report. Ministry spokesperson Yigal Palmor said the newspaper’s decision to publish the story is “a mark of disgrace” for the Swedish press.

“In a democratic country, there should be no place for dark blood libels out of the Middle Ages of this type,” Palmor said. “This is an article that shames Swedish democracy and the entire Swedish press.”

A Foreign Ministry official said that Israel’s embassy in Stockholm have communicated a harsh condemnation to the Swedish government and the newspaper itself.

Initially, even the Swedish government joined in with a condemnation of the article on its Foreign Ministry web site.

Ambassador Elisabet Borsiin Bonnier issued a strong statement, saying the article was “as shocking and appalling to us Swedes as it is to Israeli citizens. We share the dismay expressed by Israeli government representatives, media and the Israeli public. This embassy cannot but clearly distance itself from it.”

But here’s where things get really bizarre.

The Swedish government has pulled a 180 degree turn.

Their Foreign Minister has disavowed Bonnier’s statement and the official condemnation of the article has been taken down from the government’s web site.


As Israel’s Jerusalem Post newspaper reports:

Bonnier’s statement sparked intense criticism in Sweden, with the Green Party spokesman Per Gahrton saying she should be recalled and taught “the basics of Swedish freedom of speech,” and the Swedish media questioning why a government-appointed official criticized an article in a newspaper based in a country where there is press freedom.

The editor of the paper where the article appeared, Jan Helin, also lashed out at the envoy, calling her statement denouncing the article an infringement on freedom of the press.

“Have you woken up in Iran?” Helin wrote. “No, it is Sweden’s Ambassador Elisabet Borsiin Bonnier in Tel Aviv, who attacks the Swedish freedom of press and freedom of expression.”

The editor, in a signed editorial, backed up the article and continued to call Israel to task. “It’s deeply unpleasant and sad to see such a strong propaganda machine using centuries-old anti-Semitic images in an apparent attempt to get an obviously topical issue off the table,” he wrote.

The Foreign Ministry’s spokesman for the Israeli press, Yossi Levy, said that Israel was “astounded and concerned” at the continued hesitation of the Swedish government to condemn an article “seeping with anti-Semitism.”

“Just as the paper has the right of freedom of the press, so too does the Swedish government have the right to clearly express in a determined manner its position against this anti-Semitic manipulation that is being used as a tool to demonize Israel,” Levy said.

Now let me see if I’ve got this straight.

A large circulation newspaper prints an article accusing Israel of atrocities reminiscent of Dr. Mengele’s death camp experiments –

The article has no proof for the claims it makes beyond the heated cries of people dedicated to Israel’s destruction –

Israel asks the Swedish government to make the minimal gesture of distancing itself from this thinly veiled terrorist propaganda –

And now Israel is the problem.

It’s a sadly familiar song.

It’s called “the blood libel”.


Blood libel, that disease which appeared in Alexandria in the first century, in Britian in the 12th century, Damascus in 1840 and Poland in 1946, has struck again in Stockholm.

Aftonbladet, Sweden’s largest-circulation newspaper, published a story this week in which it quoted Palestinian sources as saying IDF soldiers had killed prisoners to harvest their organs. The paper, which once supported the Nazis and has pursued a strident anti-Israel policy, published this latest incarnation of the blood libel myth without the benefit of investigation.

Classic blood libels have Jews killing Gentile children and using their blood in the preparation of Passover matzoh or the hamantaschen cakes of Purim. The matzoh story is more prominent among Christians. Passover coincides with Easter, has an association with Jews as the killers of Christ, and provides yet another excuse for a pogrom.

Organ harvesting, a high-tech version of the classic tale, may have borrowed some momentum from the recent case of Jews being charged illegal organ commerce in New Jersey.

The Stockholm story is not the first case of the international media reporting ugly and unverified reports by Palestinians. I once heard the BBC broadcast a claim that Israeli soldiers routinely rape Palestinian women in military prisons. A university colleague and lawyer, active in the civil rights organization B’Tselem, told me that it investigated a number of these allegations and found them all baseless. There are also tales of soldiers raping Palestinian women in order to render them victims of their own families’ honor killings.
While the essence of anti-Semitism remains the same, its manifestation changes with time. Just as organ-stealing is the most up-to-date version of blood libel, so the judgment of Israel by standards far more onerous than used against other countries – usually without reference to attacks against Israel – is a pseudo-sophisticated version of the older disease. It appears among international organizations, governments, courts and individual commentators, who condemn Israel without considering more horrendous cases found among Muslims, in numerous African countries, and the collateral damage attributed to American troops.

The Stockholm story is only the latest assault on Israeli sensitivity. It reminds us who we are, and of our vulnerability to barbarians, intellectual and otherwise.

Donald Bostrom, the Aftonbladet newspaper and now the Swedish government find themselves almost like the criminal appealing for a light sentence in the opening joke.

“Never mind the hideous expression anti-Semitism, you should feel sorry for us because Israel is holding us accountable!”

I can’t wait for the follow up article in the series.

I can see it now – “Some of my best friends are organ stealing Jews!”

Travesties like this are a reminder to us of two key principles:

We need to continue to pray for Israel as she is under physical, political and spiritual attack.

And we need to remember that even in the midst of these awful circumstances and accusations, God is watching out for His people.

He will not allow your foot to be moved;
He who keeps you will not slumber.
Behold, He who keeps Israel
Shall neither slumber nor sleep. (Psalm 121:4)

Harvest Crusades: The Bumble Bee Effect


Some times it’s tough being an expert.

Especially when you offer an expert opinion that ends up being laughably wrong.

Like the Decca Music executive who said, “We don’t like their sound, and guitar music is on the way out.”

The subject of this expert opinion?

The Beatles.

Or the forward looking take of IBM chairman Thomas Watson –

“I think there is a world market for maybe five computers.”

I couldn’t help but think of these of this hall of fame of off target assessments when I sat at a pastor’s lunch and heard a fellow say with a great deal of certainty –

“The era of mass evangelistic crusades is over.”

Well, before we consign such outreaches to the dust bin of history, take a look at this “I-Phone” level view of the Harvest Crusades that were held in Southern California last weekend.


When I was on staff at Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa, I had the chance to meet with two Japanese sociologists who were studying the phenomenon of the “Mega Church”.

Since Costa Mesa has over 40,000 people who call it their church home, it certainly fit the description.

What these researchers wanted to know was, what was the secret to Calvary’s transformation from “a little country church on the edge of town” to a fellowship that at last count had spun off over 2,000 daughter churches around the world?

Was it small groups?

Was it contemporary services with state of the art media?

Was it a keen sense of felt needs and community demographics?


I told them that instead of doing all the latest and greatest-sure fire techniques proven-positive to grow a church, Pastor Chuck Smith laid an emphasis on prayer, teaching God’s Word and loving one another.

“That’s it?”

I replied, “I know that sounds very simple, but Calvary Costa Mesa is an example of what I’d call a ‘Bumble Bee Church’.”

“Bumble Bee Church?”

“You know what biologists say about bumble bees, don’t you? They are poorly designed. Their bodies are too big and their wings are too small. By all aerodynamic principles they shouldn’t be able to fly. But no one told the bumble bees.”

“In the same way, according to all the experts this church shouldn’t be what it is. It is a work of God. It’s a bumble bee church.”

“Ahh! A ‘Bumble Bee Church!”

It is possible that experts can give a laundry list of reasons why an effort like te Harvest Crusades shouldn’t fly.

But God clearly had a different opinion.

I think the 11,000 plus who gave their lives to Christ last weekend are glad that Greg Laurie and his team didn’t listen to the “experts”!