Ergun Caner Loses ‘Fair Use’ Lawsuit In Failed Attempt To Silence Critics

 

Ergun Caner

Ergun Caner

Ergun Caner Loses ‘Fair Use’ Lawsuit In Failed Attempt To Silence Critics

Rev. Deacon Robert Spencer translates Arabic into gibberish and Ergun Caner speaks gibberish claiming it to be Arabic. Seems that the Islamophobes are learning from each other.

For those familiar with the website, fake ex muslims, Ergun Caner is the poster child for “fake ex-Muslims.”

Ergun Caner Loses ‘Fair Use’ Lawsuit In Failed Attempt To Silence Critics

Submitted by Brian Tashman

Ergun Caner has lost his lawsuit against a blogger who criticized the Religious Right figure as a fraud, with a federal judge ruling last week that Caner’s case had no merit.

After the September 11 attacks, Caner built a career around his purported conversion from Islamic extremism to Christianity, but his testimony was later exposed as fictitious. Not only did he completely fabricate details about his background — including facts about his birthplace, upbringing, and his family — but he also spoke gibberish during his speeches, which he claimed was Arabic.

Caner led Liberty University’s theological seminary at the time but the university cut ties with him following the revelations and he now heads Brewton-Parker College, which is affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention.

A federal judge dismissed Caner’s lawsuit, a thinly veiled attempt to shut down criticism, against blogger Jason Smathers, as the Associated Baptist Press reports today:

Ergun Caner, president of Brewton-Parker College in Mount Vernon, Ga., filed a lawsuit last summer claiming ownership of two videos that Smathers posted of Caner speaking as an expert on Islamic culture in training for U.S. Marines preparing to deploy in 2005.

U.S. District Judge Terry Means, however, said Caner failed to make a case and that Smathers used the material fairly, as copyright law permits, for “purposes such as criticism, comment, [or] news reporting.”

“His sole purpose was to expose the inconsistencies in Dr. Caner’s biography and criticize a public figure,” the judge determined. If the unauthorized reproduction of his lectures caused Caner any financial loss, he continued, it was the result of “legitimate criticism” of his words.

The misuse of video “takedown notices” — the same method employed by another Religious Right activist who tried to shut down Right Wing Watch’s YouTube page — was one of the focuses of the trial. As the judge notes in his ruling [PDF], the blogger’s actions are protected as fair use.

In 2013, Dr. Caner filed a “takedown notice” with Viddler.com, claiming that the videos were posted without authorization and in violation of his copyright. Smathers challenged the removal of the videos, which ultimately resulted in the present lawsuit by Dr. Caner, alleging copyright infringement in violation of 17 U.S.C. §§ 106,506.

Smathers claims that he posted he videos featuring Dr. Caner as a religiously based criticism of a public figure and, thus, his posting constituted fair use.

The Court notes that Dr. Caner has apparently conceded this issue since he has offered no argument in his response with respect to Smathers’s assertion of fair use.

Dr. Caner’s concession notwithstanding, the facts of this case support the application of fair use.

The affirmative defense of fair use is codified at 17 U.S.C. § 107 and provides that “the fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies . . . , for purposes such as criticism, comment, [or] news reporting . . . , is not an infringement of copyright.”

All of Dr. Caner’s claims of copyright infringement against Smathers are hereby DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE.

- See more at: http://www.rightwingwatch.org/content/ergun-caner-loses-fair-use-lawsuit-after-attempt-silence-critics#sthash.o2ab5fwk.dpuf

New York: Man Killed 2 Women He Said Were Witches

Lina Castaneda, a victim.

Lina Castaneda, a victim.

There have been numerous witch hunts in Africa  in the name of Jesus and Christianity, in America not so much, at least since the Salem Witch trials but now a man has killed two women with a hammer because he believed they were witches–he was later found clutching a Bible. (/t: Greg)

What if he were Muslim? Rev. Deacon Spencer’s JihadWatch would be all over it.

Man Admits Killing 2 Women With Hammer, Officials Say

(NewYorkTimes)

A woman and her daughter were bludgeoned to death in their Queens home by the woman’s live-in boyfriend, who called 911 and confessed that he had “killed them because they are witches,” law enforcement officials said on Wednesday.

The suspect, Carlos Amarillo, 44, has been charged with two counts of first-degree murder.

The Queens district attorney’s office said that when police officers arrived at the house at 24-10 87th Street in East Elmhurst around 12:15 a.m., they found the victims, identified as Estrella Castaneda, 56, and her daughter, Lina Castaneda, 25, in their bedrooms. The younger woman’s 7-year-old daughter was found unharmed on the bed in her mother’s room.

The women had severe head trauma and were pronounced dead at the scene, the police said.

The district attorney, Richard A. Brown, said Mr. Amarillo told a 911 operator: “Two females are dead, they were assassinated, hurry they are dead. I killed them because they are witches. I want the police to kill me. I killed them with a hammer.”

A woman and her daughter were bludgeoned to death in their Queens home by the woman’s live-in boyfriend, who called 911 and confessed that he had “killed them because they are witches,” law enforcement officials said on Wednesday.

The suspect, Carlos Amarillo, 44, has been charged with two counts of first-degree murder.

The Queens district attorney’s office said that when police officers arrived at the house at 24-10 87th Street in East Elmhurst around 12:15 a.m., they found the victims, identified as Estrella Castaneda, 56, and her daughter, Lina Castaneda, 25, in their bedrooms. The younger woman’s 7-year-old daughter was found unharmed on the bed in her mother’s room.

The women had severe head trauma and were pronounced dead at the scene, the police said.

The district attorney, Richard A. Brown, said Mr. Amarillo told a 911 operator: “Two females are dead, they were assassinated, hurry they are dead. I killed them because they are witches. I want the police to kill me. I killed them with a hammer.”

Reza Aslan, a Typo, and the Petty Vindictiveness of Robert Spencer

Reza

Reza Aslan, a Typo, and the Petty Vindictiveness of Robert Spencer

by Ilisha

As we’ve noted before, Robert Spencer seems to have an unhealthy obsession with Reza Aslan. Sadly for Spencer, his interest is not reciprocated.

In this case, serious engagement would elevate Spencer and give him a veneer or credibility he does not deserve. The best response to irredeemable loons is laughter and ridicule. Aslan has responded by teasing Spencer about a man crush:

1. You don’t actually think I read the drivel you send me do you? You’re a clown and the only proper response to clowns is laughter. Unless of course your obsession with me is motivated by something else. In that case, I must tell you that I’m flattered but you’re really not my type.

2. I don’t know how else to tell that I’m just not attracted to you. You and I are never going to get together Robert. You should stick to men your own age and weight.

3. I told you. I’m into women not walruses.

4. Ok. Fine. I’ll think about it. But first you have to shave and lose some weight.

5. If I send you a picture will that satisfy your lust for a while?

Undeterred, it seems Spencer continued, and received this response:

Dear Mr. Spencer. This is Mr. Aslan’s assistant. You seem to be under the impression that Mr. Aslan is actually opening, reading, and responding to your emails. I assure you he is not. The email responses you are receiving are automated responses set to respond to your emails indefinitely. You can’t actually think he is interested in reading anything you have to say. Mr. Aslan is a world renowned, best selling scholar. There is nothing about you or your “work” that would interest him in the slightest. Still, we hope that you will keep up your writings about him. Not only does everything you say validate Mr. Aslan’s importance. But you are a source of immense amusement for our team. Thank you.

Roshi

Spencer actually posts these responses on his website, apparently proud he managed to get a response at all. Undeterred, he recently attempted once again to engage Aslan.

His latest onslaught was sparked by an interview with Sarah Harvard in DL Magazine. Spenceraccused Aslan of being an “Islamic supremacist” who thinks Christianity teaches reincarnation:

ASLAN: It has to do with the symbolism and metaphors that Islam provides to think about God. All of that actually made more sense to me. When I think of God, I think about it in the terms of radical unity, which Islam talks about, and less in the terms of the trinity and reincarnation, which Christianity talks about. That’s it. My faith hasn’t changed. The language in which I use my faith has changed.

Reza Aslan responded to Spencer’s accusation on Twitter:

Twitter Aslan

In turn, Spencer described Aslan as an “immature, foul-mouthed creep,” and wrote [emphasis mine]:

Stung by my noticing that he thinks Christianity teaches reincarnation, Islamic supremacist Christianity-debunker Reza Aslan is claiming that it was just a typo and slinging his usual invective. Only an imbecile, apparently, would be fool enough to believe that Reza Aslan would be fool enough to believe that Christianity teaches reincarnation.

This is at least the second time Spencer has made this accusation, having devoted a previous articleto the topic of Aslan’s alleged belief that Christianity teaches reincarnation.

Reza Aslan wrote an entire book devoted to the life and times of Jesus. If he believes that Christianity teaches reincarnation, it seems likely he would have said so in his book. A search on Kindle reveals his book mentions the word “reincarnation” only once, and the reference is not literal:

Malachi’s prophecy explains why the courtiers at Tiberias see in Jesus thereincarnation of Israel’s quintessential end-times prophet. Zealot, The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth, p.130

In contrast, the word “incarnation” is mentioned six times, on pages 12, 36, 105, 138, 170, and 213. In reference to the trinity, Aslan mentions the notion of Jesus as God “incarnate,” which in fact is a widespread Christian teaching:

The Incarnation in traditional Christianity is the belief that the second person of the Trinity, also known as God the Son or the Logos (Word), “became flesh” by being conceived in the womb of a woman, the Virgin Mary, also known as the Theotokos (God-bearer). The incarnation, then, is the God-Man ‘Jesus Christ’.

If Aslan really “thinks” Christianity teaches reincarnation, why did he neglect to mention this throughout his entire book? The word “incarnation” is clearly more consistent with his work. Still, could it be that Aslan is lying about the typo?

In fact, Reza Aslan was clearly vindicated when DL Magazine has posted a correction [emphasis mine]:

CORRECTION 12/29/13: The original published version of this interview stated that Reza Aslan rejected “reincarnation”. That is incorrect; he states that he rejected “incarnation”. DL Magazine regrets the transcribing error. Thank you.

Spencer also tried to take a swipe at Aslan’s best-selling book, Zealot, The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth. Rather than challenging the content, he suggested the book was ghost written because:

…so obvious is Aslan’s abysmal ignorance of the subject matter and only dim awareness of how to write a grammatically correct sentence.

Is that the best he can do? Instead of offering a substantive critique of Aslan’s work, Spencer has now devoted two articles to huffing and puffing about something spectacularly petty.

At the time of this writing, Spencer has not updated his article. If the past is any indication, he will not post a correction. He will let his false accusation stand, and when the mood strikes, he will no doubt challenge Aslan again–and invite another round of ridicule.

Related:

Exclusive Loonwatch Interview with Reza Aslan

Robert Spencer: “I have exactly the same credentials as [Reza] Aslan”; Oh, Really?

Reza Aslan’s “Zealot” Has Islamophobes/Fox News Outraged

Zealot_Reza_Aslan

By Garibaldi

(Video Below)

Reza Aslan is one of my favorite authors and religion scholars. There aren’t many who are as capable as Aslan of igniting religious debate and dialogue within our broader culture today.

Aslan’s most recent book, Zealot, is a look at Jesus in light of the historical context in which he lived.Zealot posits the very interesting thesis that Jesus was actually a revolutionary Jewish nationalist who sought to cleanse the Holy Land of pagan Roman rule.

The book has outraged Islamophobes such as Rev. Deacon Robert Spencer, the Fox News propaganda machine and some Christians who can’t believe a Muslim scholar of religion has the temerity to pen a book on Jesus. Legions of Christians have taken to the Amazon page for Zealotwhere they are submitting rather reactionary, petulant, and mean reviews that have the embarrassing common feature of deriding Reza’s faith, a lack of awareness about Islamic theology regarding Jesus and ignorance of the actual content of the book.

Many of the one star Christian reviewers are simply copying and pasting from a Fox News opinion piece by senior pastor John Dickerson of Cornerstone Church in Arizona titled, Liberal Media love new Jesus book, ‘Zealot,’ fail to mention author is Muslim. Despite the fact that some media outlets, including the very liberal Salon.com have pointed to Aslan’s Muslimness, Dickerson’s article is high on rhetoric and low on substance, its central point is the stupefying and groundless assertion that,

Zealot is not new work from a historian. It is a sophisticated presentation of views that Muslims have held about Jesus for more than 1,000 years. [It is] selling to America the core Muslim beliefs about Jesus—that he did not claim to be God, that Christians made up his divinity, that the Gospels are ‘myth,’ and so forth.”

This is especially stupefying because Dickerson does not seriously attempt to back up his assertions with a serious engagement of either Aslan’s work or Islamic theology regarding Jesus.

Reza Aslan’s book on Jesus is purely academic, as was his previous work, No god but God: The Origins, Evolution and Future of Islama work that by no stretch of the imagination can be viewed as hewing to “Orthodoxy.”

Pastor Dickerson’s ignorance is revealed in the fact that there are major differences between the historical Jesus presented in Reza’s work and the Orthodox Islamic Jesus. Aslan’s Jesus is born of a man and woman and dies on the cross whereas the Orthodox Islamic Jesus is that of a great Prophet of God, born of a virgin, who did not die on the cross but instead ascended to heaven.

On a side note, is it really surprising that Dickerson exposes his own biases when he presents the“Christian” view of Jesus? In fact, as Dickerson should know quite well, early on and for many centuries Christians also disputed about the divinity of Jesus, the status of the various gospels and the role of Paul–such controversies are still a part of Christian scholastic debate.

Video:

Kookie Pastor Pat Robertson Babbles About ‘Demonic Islam’

pat_robertson_earthquake_in_haiti

Poor Pastor Pat, everywhere he goes he sees devils and evil. (h/t: JD, KP)

Pat Robertson Claims Islam Is ‘Demonic’ And ‘Not A Religion’ But An Economic System (VIDEO)

(Huffington Post)

Controversial conservative Christian Pat Robertson doubled down Tuesday on claims that Islam is not a religion.

According to Right Wing Watch, Robertson, an elder statesman of the evangelical movement, made the inflammatory claim during an episode of his TV program, “The 700 Club.”

“Every time you look up — these are angry people, it’s almost like it’s demonic that is driving them to kill and to maim and to destroy and to blow themselves up,” Robertson said of Islam. “It’s a religion of chaos.”

He went on to say, “I hardly think to call it a religion, it’s more of — well, it’s an economic and political system with a religious veneer.”

Exclusive: Reverend Deacon Robert Spencer of Our Lady of the Cedars Church

robert_spencer_exposed (1)

by Garibaldi

For quite some time it has been known that Robert Spencer, according to his own testimony, is a Catholic of the Maronite Melkite tradition. However what has not been discussed has been the extent of his involvement with the Church. Spencer attempts to portray himself as a “freedom fighter” (nothing could be further from the truth), fighting “Islamization” and the “savage” Muslims. Presenting himself as an “objective” scholar (though he has no qualifications when it comes to Islam) and a blogger while downplaying his other prominent roles in life.

In light of the recent and welcomed news that the Catholic Diocese of Worcester uninvited Spencer from a speaking engagement at an upcoming Men’s Conference, it is clearer why he was invited in the first place: he is an active Catholic deacon.

In a 2002 article by Shawne K. Wickham, a certain Robert Spenser (his name is spelled wrongly) is cited as studying to become a Melkite deacon. Spen(s)er discusses the idea of “bringing heaven to earth,”

Robert Spenser, who is studying to be a Melkite deacon, recalls an old story of the emissaries who were sent out into the world by the Slavic king to investigate various religions, and happened upon a Byzantine church service in Constantinople. “We didn’t know if we were on heaven or on earth,” they would report back.

“I think the idea of bringing heaven to earth, and having a taste of heaven on earth is one of the reasons people come here,” Spenser said.

In 2002 Spencer (this time with his name spelled properly) is listed as “Associate director of Educational Services” at Our Lady of the Cedars Church:

Associate to the Director of Educational Services – Robert Spencer of Manchester, NH.
Robert Spencer is in the Diaconal Formation Program and has been active in the home-school movement.

A 2006 discussion thread titled “Deacon Robert Spencer on C-Span tonight” on the Byzantine Forum leaves no doubt that Deacon Robert Spencer and JihadWatch Robert Spencer are one and the same.

A 2011 official Melkite Greek Church directory lists Spencer as “Rev. Deacon Robert Spencer”

Spencer, Deacon Robert
Our Lady of the Cedars
E-mail :
robtspencer@myfairpoint.net

In 2011, Spencer also wrote an article for Crisis Magazine, a Catholic publication on his Church titled “We are Non-Roman Catholics.

A 2012 PDF document from Our Lady of the Cedars lists Spencer’s ordination at the top of the masthead.

This information also provides further insight into the reasoning behind Spencer’s anti-Muslim/Islam hate activism. What has been known for quite some time through Robert Spencer’s own statements and declarations (such as his 2003 interview with the Washington Times and his “debate” with his former college Professor Peter Kreeft) is that his Crusade against Islam and Muslims is colored by an extremist Christian supremacist theology that views Islam and Muslims as the ultimate existential threats to “Christendom.”

Additionally, and this is perhaps the real question, it speaks volumes about the Our Lady of the Cedars Church. Why would they have someone ordained who is designated as a hate group leader? Why would they have someone in their ordained clergy who makes a living telling people that Muslims are violent criminals bent on destroying the West?

Is this what the Catholic church is all about? I happen to believe it is not, especially considering that surveys of Catholic Americans show that the majority have positive views of Islam and Muslims. The fact that Spencer is out of step with mainstream Catholicism is also underscored by the fact that the National Catholic Reporter applauded the cancellation of his speech by the Worcester diocese.

If anyone should understand what it feels like to be discriminated against based on religion, it is Catholics. They have faced a history of prejudice in the United States, thus it is odd that such a hostile, and at the least, very controversial figure would assume a leadership role in their church.

And presumably, a portion of his income from his anti-Muslim rants goes to the church. There is one link that shows him as a “platinum” donator to a church function, and another one where he gives a “generous” gift to have a Pantocrator icon installed in the church.

Lastly, we must call out Deacon Spencer’s hypocrisy: In the Melkite tradition, women are not allowed to enter the Holy Place, where the altar stands, and girls are not allowed as altar servers. But of course Spencer rails about discrimination against women in Islam yet he doesn’t notice such blatant discrimination happening in his own tradition. A case no doubt of,

Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye. (Matthew 7:5)

Update: Robert Spencer kneeling before the altar, decked out in full green regalia?

pentecost-kneeling-vespers-05-4fc4c67a2786f

The Growing Christian Movement Pushing Back Against Islamophobia

The growing Christian push back against Christianity’s Islamophobes is gaining steam. This has long been a reality that we are now seeing become more visible and strongly represented. This is the type of movement we’ve hoped would emerge for a long time.:

The Growing Christian Movement Pushing Back Against Islamophobia

by Amy Sullivan (The New Republic)

The loudest Christians making waves about Islam for much of this year have not been terribly, well, Christian. There have been the protests against plans to build mosques in places like Tennessee and New Jersey, and arson attacks on mosques in Joplin, Missouri and Toledo, Ohio. The anti-Muslim posters placed in New York City and Washington, DC subway stations by Pamela Geller’s organization. And that crude now-infamous video that sparked riots across the Middle East.

These contentious activities have garnered headlines and defined for many the “Christian” take on Islam in the U.S. And that’s been too much for a growing number of Christian organizations who are fed up with Islamophobia. Just in the past month, four separate campaigns have started to push back against extreme Christian voices and to preach a message of tolerance and love.

Sojourners—the community founded and led by evangelical author and speaker Jim Wallis—responded to subway ads calling Muslims “savages” by purchasing space to post its own posters in the same subway stations. The message is simple: “Love Your Muslim Neighbors.” After the mosque attacks in Joplin and Toledo, Sojourners bought billboards in both communities to broadcast the same message. “It’s only an extremist fringe that would ever attack another religion’s place of worship in this country,” explained Sojourners spokesman Tim King to the Christian Post. “But unless we offer up an alternative voice, it will be the message and acts of extremists that most across the country and the world hear.”

Geller’s subway ads also prompted a response from an interfaith coalition called Shoulder-to-Shoulder. The group worked closely with the United Methodist Women to produce a letter signed by 168 Washington-area clergy and religious organizations calling on the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority to donate any proceeds from Geller’s ads to charity. It also countered with its own Metro advertisement: “Hate speech is not civilized. Support peace in word and deed.”

Two other religious campaigns are focused on educating Americans—and particularly Christian communities—about Muslims and Islam. On October 11, the Interfaith Alliance led by Baptist minister Welton Gaddy, along with the Religious Freedom Education Project of the First Amendment Center, released a guide called “What is the Truth about American Muslims? Questions and Answers.” The online document addresses topics such as the role of mosques in Muslim life, whether U.S. courts can ever substitute religious law for civil law (spoiler alert: no), and the meaning of Muslim words like “jihad” and “Taqiyya.”

The New Evangelical Partnership for the Common Good, which was founded by Rev. Richard Cizik, is also undertaking a massive effort to broaden American perceptions of Islam and challenge stereotypes. The group produced and released an hour-long documentary called “Islam in America: The Christian Truth,” which tells the stories of American Muslims, but also of conservative Christians who have exchanged their fear of Islam for tolerance and understanding. Cizik and his colleagues intended the film to prompt discussion of Islamophobia in Christian communities, and they released it after the deadly attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi in the hope that churches and other religious communities could discuss honestly their fears and beliefs.

Efforts like these too often go unnoticed or uncovered by journalists because they are earnest and have the goal of bringing people together instead of tearing them apart. That’s a sad commentary on journalism, but also on all of us who react to stories of religious hatred but flip past stories of religious cooperation with a “meh.” Too many of my colleagues also question whether campaigns to promote education or civility are actually representative of American Christians, because these efforts don’t fit the assumptions they have about who American Christians are. At the same time, they rarely ask whether Pamela Geller or Terry Jones of Qur’an-burning infamy represent anyone other than a small pitchfork-wielding band of followers. Until they do, the antics of Geller and Jones will make the front page while the efforts of Christians to push back against them will remain mostly exiled to the religion pages.

Kamal Saleem tells Values Voter Summit that Clinton plans to ‘Shut Down’ Churches, College Professors work with Terrorists

Kamal Saleem has his scared face on

It seems ex-terrorist fraud Kamal Saleem is up to his old over-the-top lying tricks again. (h/t: Critical Dragon)

Kamal Saleem tells Values Voter Summit that Clinton plans to ‘Shut Down’ Churches, College Professors work with Terrorists

Submitted by Brian Tashman on Fri, 09/14/2012 – 6:00pm (Right-Wing Watch)

We have been covering the absurdbizarre and paranoid rantings of phony ex-terrorist Kamal Saleem as he emerged on the Religious Right scene, and today he had his biggest platform yet at the Values Voter Summit, where he was preceded by Ohio congressman Jim Jordan and a video message by Mitt Romney. Saleem told conference goers his made-up story about his time as a terrorist working for Lebanon, Syria, the PLO, Libya, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and even Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan, until he moved to the U.S. to wage “cultural jihad.” He claimed he and his fellow terrorists “met the professors” at American universities and colleges, which “were our playgrounds,” in order to help “the professors to establish new curriculum purposefully” to brainwash students to change “your children to hit your nation with everything they’ve got.”

Later, Saleem said Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is working with Islamic countries to eviscerate the Constitution and ”subjugate American people to be arrested and put to jail and their churches and synagogues shut down,” which he says will happen early next year!

 

From the Looniverse: Terry “Quran Burner” Jones Hangs Effigy of Barack Obama Outside Church

It’s Friday, and time for some good, hearty laughs.

We know Pastor Terry Jones Yosemite Sam, is the male equivalent of Pamela Geller, and hence we know him as: The Looniest Pastor Ever.

Jones most recent attention-seeking gimmick was to hang an effigy of President Barack Obama outside of his Dove World Outreach Church (which is still for sale!). Jones’ bid for attention was successful, and he’s likely going to get a call from the Secret Service as well.

By hanging Obama’s effigy, the Qur’an burning Jones was more or less killing two birds with one stone: combining his hatred for Muslims and his racist attitude towards Blacks. (Terry Jones and his ilk believe that Obama is a secret-Mooslim seeking to Islamize and conquer the “Christian United States,” and by hanging his effigy he was essentially provoking comparisons to the lynching of Blacks.)

Of course there will be those who see this and applaud, or say it is benign, but they are the very same people who are most outspoken in castigating and linking Islam to protests in the Muslim world that involve the burning of an American flag or an effigy of a Western leader.

So, for the purposes of lightening up your day, here’s the looniest pastor’s most recent sides-splitting antic:

(Huffington Post)

The Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, Fla., has hanged an effigy of President Barack Obama from a gallows on its front lawn, a move DWOC pastor Terry Jones said was in response to Obama’s recent endorsement of same-sex marriage, as well as his stance on abortion and what Jones called his “appeasing of radical Islam.”

According to the Broward-Palm Beach New Times, the U.S. Secret Service is currently investigating Jones in response to the display.

“The Secret Service is aware of this incident and will conduct appropriate follow-up,” Secret Service spokesman Brian Leary told the paper’s “The Pulp” blog.

The effigy is suspended from a makeshift gallows with a noose of yellow rope, has a doll in its right hand and a rainbow-colored gay pride flag in its left.

In a telephone interview with The Huffington Post, Jones said the flag was meant to call attention to Obama’s stance on same-sex marriage and that the baby doll is there because the president is “favorable toward abortion.”

Jones also said that radical Islam is “the most dangerous threat to life and national security in America.”

There is also an Uncle Sam dummy standing at the base of the gallows outside the DWOC. Jones told HuffPost that the Obama effigy had originally been positioned to be hanging Uncle Sam when the display went up two weeks ago, but that the church changed the display on Wednesday.

The words “Obama is Killing America” are printed on a trailer nearby.

The DWOC came under intense scrutiny in 2011 after Jones burned the a copy of the Quran, a move which sparked three days of violent rioting in Afghanistan that resulted in the deaths of at least 21 people, including seven U.N. workers.

In addition to its higher profile controversial moves, the Dove World Outreach Center has also been criticized for its internal rules, which The Smoking Gun has called “cult-like.”

In the church’s Academy Rulebook, written by Jone’s wife and published in 2007, prospective ministers are directed to cut off most contact with family members.

This is not the first time that an effigy of the country’s first black president has been hanged.

In March 2010, a teacher at a failing Rhode Island school hanged an effigy of Obama in his classroom. That same month, another dummy was found hanging on Main Street in the Georgia hometown of President Jimmy Carter.

In 2009, a Kentucky grand jury refused to indict two men who hanged an Obama effigy on the campus of the University of Kentucky. The men had been charged with burglary and disorderly conduct, the latter count associated with hanging the effigy. The lawyer for the two men said that the disorderly conduct charge violated his clients’ rights under the First Amendment.

What ever will the good pastor come up with next?

Members of Greece’s Neo-Nazi Golden Dawn Party Took Part in Srebrenica Genocide

Golden_Dawn_Neo-Nazi
Golden Dawn

Robert Spencer likes to deny the genocide that took place in Bosnia, since he himself is aligned with such unsavory radicals, and is prone to defend even the worst massacres motivated by Christian extremists.

The Greek neo-Nazi party, The Golden Dawn has won 7% of the vote in Greece. According to Neni Panourgia, members of the Golden Dawn were also a part of the massacres in Srebrenica, Bosnia (h.t: HSMoghul),

Golden Dawn gained notoriety after 1991, when it started attacking the first Albanian immigrants and after some of its members participated in the Srebrenica massacre. The organisation registered as a political party in 1993 and first won political representation in 2010, when Michaloliakos was elected to the Athens City Council.

Neni describes the Golden Dawn as a “European problem”:

Greece’s neo-Nazi Golden Dawn is a European problem

by Neni Panourgia (AlJazeera English)

New York, New York - By now, nearly everybody has been exposed to the phenomenon of Golden Dawn (Chrysi Avgi in Greek), the neo-Nazi organisation that received almost 7 per cent of the vote in the Greek elections of May 6.

After the initial shock, the question “How is this possible?” was followed by the legitimate worry: “Are Greeks becoming fascists?” Some commentators on various blogs (many of them from northern and western Europe) even left messages urging the Greek electorate to feel shame, the deeper the better, for this unsightly and frightening development.

But let’s set a few things straight. First of all, Golden Dawn, despite its recent claims, is indeed a neo-Nazi party. Their ideology, which they describe on their website as “Popular and Social Nationalism”, gives their precise coordinates within Nazi ideology.

So do the origins of their party, which was founded by Nikolaos Michaloliakos in 1985 under a direct order from the imprisoned leader of the Greek junta, George Papadopoulos. And so do their self-representation, language and tactics. The official publication of Golden Dawn runs articles praising the Nazis and often places photographs of Hitler, Himmler, and Nazi gatherings on its front cover. The members of the organisation have the same uneducated, invented, and highly idiosyncratic understanding of ancient Greece as the Nazis did.

And their tactics are virtually indistinguishable from Nazi terrorist tactics: they terrorise immigrants, leftists, and journalists; they beat and maul teachers and students; they have infiltrated athletic clubs and have introduced hooliganism to the Greek landscape; and they have assumed the role of vigilantes and protectors of the general public. Some of those attacks have been documented, and the Golden Dawn-affiliated perpetrators have gone on trial and been imprisoned.

The history of the organisation is inextricably connected to the history of Michaloliakos, whose first public intervention in 1976 was an attack on journalists who were covering the funeral of the junta torturer Evangelos Mallios, who had been executed by the urban guerrilla organisation 17 November. Arrested and briefly detained, Michaloliakos met the leaders of the military junta in jail. Two years after his release he engaged in a series of bombings of public places in Athens, for which he was indicted. Golden Dawn gained notoriety after 1991, when it started attacking the first Albanian immigrants and after some of its members participated in the Srebrenica massacre. The organisation registered as a political party in 1993 and first won political representation in 2010, when Michaloliakos was elected to the Athens City Council.

It is doubtful, however, whether the 21 Golden Dawn deputies will ever enter the Greek parliament (legally, that is). We now know that no coalition government can be formed (without a gross violation of the Constitution), which means that new elections will be held, probably on June 17. Yesterday’s polls showed that 76 per cent of the Greek electorate expects Golden Dawn to lose most of its vote, with a large number of those polled expressing doubts that it would even win the 3 per cent needed to enter parliament.

Two questions remain, however, regardless of whether Golden Dawn ever enters parliament. The first one is a question of democracy: namely, what sorts of legitimate steps are available to democratic polities when they face the development of a totalitarian, racist, exclusionary formulation that actively engages in violent acts that severely restrict the civil and human rights of others? I argue that when a state is faced not simply with ideas but with themateriality of actions, then the state is obligated to outlaw them and the media are obligated to report on them. In Greece this is a multiply complex issue, since what I suggest was used from the beginning of the 20th century as the groundwork upon which the elimination of the left took place, based on fabricated accusations.

A second question remains: Why would Greeks, who fought against totalitarianism in massive numbers and paid one of the heaviest tolls in Europe for their participation in the resistance against Nazi Germany, vote for this despicable, emetic, and deeply anti-political formation, even as a protest?

What we need to keep in mind is that this tolerance of violence in the public sphere, especially violence that is directed towards the unarmed and the unprotected, is the result of the state’s long-term suppression of dissent and the collaboration of the police forces with right-wing extremists whose violent tactics the police have used. This tolerance is evident even in mundane instances, such as when, in 1999, the ludicrous Gerasimos Yakoumatos, a deputy and member of the centre-right New Democracy party, wanting to show the Minister of Public Order that he “meant business”, walked into Parliament brandishing his (legally obtained) revolver as protest for his house having been burglarised by immigrants the previous evening. Not only was this tolerated, but he was not arrested and was not in any way reprimanded.

The Greek polity has always found itself in a tug-of-war. On one end, there is a wide, democratic, proceduralist, but largely powerless (and ultimately apathetic) body politic. On the other end, there is a small but powerful authoritarian class that constitutes the core of state structures. Decades of brutal suppression of dissent has relied upon various para-state and paramilitary organisations. Police brutality, hooliganism, and the deep-seated intimacy between fragments of the police force and Golden Dawn have made the organisation’s temporary surge possible.

There is no right, centre, or left distinction in this, if by left one means the nominally socialist PASOK party. All post-junta Greek governments have availed themselves of this intimate relationship, as all Greek governments, at least from the early years of the 20th century, have invested more energy and resources into producing a polity that relies on snitches and turncoats than in producing responsible, accountable, and democratically minded citizens. For example, in the summer of 2002, as the dismantling of 17 November was taking place, the Greek prime minister – clearly at the behest of the British and the American antiterrorist secret services – asked the citizens to report anyone who appeared to be suspicious and dangerous.

A month ago I wrote in the Anthropology Newsletter about the claim that under the current circumstances in Europe, in which the social welfare state is being eviscerated and the destitute are pitted against the poor, the distinction between right and left is no longer useful. I argue, however, that it is precisely now that the elision of such a distinction is pregnant with dangers that the world has faced before.

The neo-cons, the neo-fascists, and the neo-Nazis have been selectively appropriating leftist discourses and practices in order to obscure and obfuscate the distinctions between left and right. Michaloliakos, the coddled child of the junta, uses the term “junta” pejoratively (to indicate the totally inept but democratically elected Greek government, the press, and the memorandum), calls the actions of Golden Dawn “national resistance” when he instigates violence against immigrants and politicians, and has warned about an “uprising of the masses”.

Europe stands on the head of a needle, steeped in a crisis that threatens the foundational premises of democracy, self-determination, and autonomy. Golden Dawn is a European problem, not a limited and containable Greek one. It is a European problem because its ideology developed and flourished in Germany and Italy of the early 20th century. It is not a “natural”, essential, ontological property of Greece, and it is intractably connected to the moralistic and punitive positions that have organised the actions of the troika that put the bailout packages together.

When people are pushed to the brink, ugly things happen, and the troika (and particularly Merkel) ought never to forget the warning of George Santayana: “Those who forget history are condemned to repeat it”.