Tuesday, November 13, 2012

On the death of Bishop Kenneth Cragg

From the Diocese of Cyprus and the Gulf website:

We mourn the death, give thanks for the life, and pray for the soul of the Rt Revd Kenneth Cragg, who has died in England at the age of 99. 

One of the greatest scholars of the relationship between Christianity and Islam, and one of the greatest workers in the field of Muslim-Christian understanding, Bishop Kenneth Cragg served both in Britain and in the Middle East, notably as Assistant Bishop in Jerusalem with particular oversight of Egypt, and in many other places too.
His scholarly and popular published works span more than 55 years and draw deeply on lived pastoral and human encounter. He was the most gracious and shrewd of Christians.
May he rise in glory.

Bp Cragg has been very influential to me and I have blogged on him from time to time. Here are some links to quotes on this blog that I think show his brilliance and skill:

On Islam and self-idolatry

Sacramentality and Islam

Cragg, Islam, and Prison

Liturgy and the Gospel for Muslims

Cragg on the Trinity for Muslims

Kenneth Cragg on the Crusades

Cragg's Call of the Minaret

On Mission to Muslims

Cragg on Muhammad and Culture

Check this out and enjoy, and remember a great scholar and Christian leader who has fallen asleep in the Lord and who awaits the day of the resurrection.

--Abu Daoud

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

"Game Over, America" by Abu Daoud

Game Over, America
by Abu Daoud
November, 2012 

It was an interesting experiment, but all things come to an end. The American experiment is over now. The country is destined to decline and stagnate and there is no hope in the near or medium-term future for any sort of real recovery. Why do I say this? A few points:

1) A state is only as healthy as its families. American families have deteriorated very seriously. Unprecedented numbers of children are begotten out of wedlock and/or do not live in two-parent households. Want to know why American kids are doing so poorly in school? It's all about the family situation. Read more HERE.

2) A nation of takers. The stats are terrible. Read them all HERE. More and more Americans are consuming and not contributing to the government or common life of the country. There has been a huge rise in entitlement outlays and no one will talk about how to fix it.

3) Huge retirement costs. You know all about this already. (If not, check out this or this.)

4) An inferior generation of workers. People who are working now (my generation, I'm not a Boomer) are increasingly from the broken families of point 1. These people have lower educational skills and higher rates of drug abuse, imprisonment, and on and on. Yet this generation is supposed to foster a growing economy that will pay generous retirement benefits and (practically) free healthcare for old folks (Medicare)?

5) The transformation of marriage. Yes, gay marriage. It is here and is here to stay and will be enforced eventually by the Supreme Court. The value of marriage as an institution is already on the decline, with the proliferation of gay marriage, marriage will continue its slide into obscurity and away from the common good. Marriage will be increasingly seen as a contract between two people (or more, eventually) whose purpose is not the creation of and fostering of a family, but personal happiness. No fault divorce in the 70's was a big step toward this, and gay marriage (to be followed by polygamy--it's not a slippery slope, it's a matter of human rights) removes the last vestiges of Natural Law from the picture.

6) Immigration. Romney lost because he was forced to take such a hard position on immigration in the primaries (which are governed by old, white men). Republicans will soon realize that anything other than a liberal immigration policy, amnesty for illegal immigrants, and voluntarily not enforcing the laws on the books (like Obama), will mean no Latino vote (like Romney), and thus losing. The problem is the USA doesn't get skilled immigrants mostly, the USA gets 'family reunification' immigrants, including lots of people with few useful skills. The problem is not so much immigration, but the wrong kind of immigration. The wrong kind of immigration, and more of it, will continue, because it will get people votes.

7) The rise of childlessness: TFR must be at 2.1 for a steady population. After the economic wreck of the last few years TFR is now below that level, at 2.01. Nonetheless the USA population will continue to grow due to immigration (of the wrong kind, mostly, see point 6). With an economic recovery the TFR could recover as well, it is not disastrously low, like Spain or Japan, say. Still, given that the economic picture will not improve, and that each new US citizen is born with something like $43,000 in debt. And plus, when the price of raising children has gone up so much in a urbanized world, and there is no tangible benefit to having children, why bother?

Religious conservatives are now talking not about changing the culture. I think this election makes that impossible. Rather, they are forming strategies for surviving as the state deteriorates and becomes increasingly antagonistic towards Christian virtues and practices and freedom of religion. The home schooling movement is part of that, but just the beginning of it. Look for Christians do withdraw from society more, forming protective clusters of families, like monastics or the old Mormons. This is a reasonable strategy in my view. When Americans re-elected Obama they elected someone who is working hard at forcing Catholics to violate their conscience under the rubric of 'women's healthcare'. This is something new and insidious, yet many Catholics voted for him.

In the end the experiment is over. It will take a few decades for the city to decay into the wilderness. But when the wilderness is there, the Church will be there too, ready to forge a new nation and a new civilization, not based on the myths of the Enlightenment or the American strategy of taxing the unborn while simultaneously killing some of them.

It was an interesting experiment! Good run, America. But now it's Game Over for you.