Response to Presentation on the Compleat Kafir 

I want to thank Ron Abler for his interesting and provocative presentation on a very important topic to our Community Breakfast Group. While I fully agree with him that the problem of International Terrorism is very serious, I strongly (but respectfully) disagree on at least three points of his analysis. In the interest of full disclosure let me first point out that, like Mr. Abler, I am also not an expert on Islam. Perhaps unlike Mr. Abler, I have worked with Muslims in nearly a dozen countries. I’ll leave it to the reader to determine whether these experiences have added to my knowledge or simply increased my bias.

  1. First and foremost, when talking about Muslim terrorists, Mr. Abler (unlike former President George W. Bush) drew no distinction between the small minority of Muslims who were violent and the vast majority of this faith who are peaceful and law abiding. Unless someone sees no problem in creating enemies faster than we can kill them or unless they are advocating total war against the world’s nearly 2 billion Muslims, this seems like a poor strategy.
  2. While most analysts judge institutions by the totality of their experience, Mr. Abler insists on judging all the world’s Muslims based solely on his personal interpretation of his reorganized version of the Koran. Yes, as is well recognized, the Koran contains many violent passages but as Ron admits, so does the Old Testament. The difference, Ron insists, is that in the Christian Bible the Old Testament is followed by the New Testament, which he strongly suggests is what protects Christianity from being a violent religion. If that were true, however, then I would wonder why Mr. Abler refrains from labeling all Jews as would be terrorists (or all Hindus, since the Bhagavad Gita is even more violent). Unfortunately, even with benefit of the Gospels, few Christians live up to the model of Jesus. Perhaps it should then be no surprise that few Muslims live down to Ron’s view of Mohammed. With this in mind, should not Christian nations, like Muslim nations, be judged not only by their scriptures but also by their actions such as: The Crusades, the Inquisition, colonization, slavery and the Holocaust.
  3. Ron goes on to deride those who support freedom of religion (allowing Muslim prayer rooms in airports, for example) as simply “Dhimmi Collaborators” paving the way for Muslim Jihad. With these attacks, in my opinion, Ron risks undermining the foundation of our nation just as surely as the Taliban sought to destroy the remnants of Buddhist culture in Afghanistan by blasting away at ancient monuments.

 

Finally, on a personal note, my own ancestors were Catholics and Protestants living in Ireland who grew tired of fighting each other and fled to this country to escape the insanity of religious bigotry. I hope their flight was not in vain.

David Foster

 

ablerRon Abler, left, gets his CBG Speaker Award…..

Ron was a very well prepared speaker who has developed his own knowledge and understanding the Muslim religion due to his long interest in the subject.  He told us of the outer face Muslims show to the rest of the world and how it differs from the inner face of the religion says ought only show when Muslims are within their own community, or within their Mosque.  All religions have some semblance of similarity in how believers in the same religion act privately among themselves versus how they act toward the rest of society.  The same can be said for many ethnic groups acting privately in ways that outsiders others might find problematic, unusual or disturbing.    Come to think of it, most of us act quite differently when we are in public than when we are among family and friends.

We learned that Muslims do not suffer the issues of practicing the Golden Rule.  We surely did not cover the issue of Sharia law and how they perceive justice.  However, we know all too well that the violent elements of the Muslim religion do not wage war or seek to rule in a “do unto others, Golden Rule”  sort of way.  They have our attention, for sure.

Ron pointed out the differences in Muslim beliefs that might create some concern among non-Muslims.  Right now, European countries are finding out how serious that nature of the hidden sides of Muslim beliefs will alter the status quo.  Some of us think that hit or miss immigration policies here in the USA need a real update before we allow for potentially major alterations in the politics and power structures of our country.  Others urge that freedom of religion has no boundaries.  The discussions were frank and the points of view are diverse on this hot button topic.

We followed our motto:  Come learn with us!  I think we had a very successful educational session where no one fell asleep.  Not everyone agreed with one another, but on such a controversial subject, who would have expected such an outcome?  Knowledge is the key to opening up the possibilities.

 

 

 

sherwin m

Sherwin took us through a tour of the Presidential election process from the earliest stages of the US through the present time with his direct experience into the party Presidential conventions and the very unique electoral system which ultimately gives us our President.  It is quite a story of political intrigue and behind the scenes power plays which control who gets to run for the office and how they eventually get elected.

The politician and his well oiled machine. those who know the ins and outs of how conventions and their rules are formulated,  most often become the chosen candidate even when they have less than the best overall showing in public primary voting.  The electoral college can also vote in a candidate who failed to win the popular vote majority.  This is insider politics at the finest level.  The system in unique in all the world.  It sounds a bit crazy, but when you see how the USA has done up until now, maybe it is better than it looks or sounds when discussed in an open forum.  This year may be an ultimate test of our country’s election system and its political party structure.  We have some exciting months ahead.

Sherwin has seen a lot of political action from the 1950’s onward.  He was realistic about his own successes, failures and adventures in politics and conventions.  He supported a few candidates that didn’t make the cut, but he learned about how the system works from the inside in a way no outsider could ever hope to understand.

Thank you for the great insights.

 

20160407 CBG Boy Scouts Dave Atlas-Michael Link-7243Photo courtesy of Steve Atkinson

Michael Link, The Two Bays Executive Director of the BSA gave us a great education on the tenets of Boy Scouting and how well they are doing in Kent County and the surrounding areas.  The Boy Scouts build solid citizens and give lifelong training in living skills to thousand of young men who go through their programs.  It was clear to everyone in attendance that the Boy Scouts offer a great value to their participants.  We can’t help being impressed by the programs and the very reasonable costs associated with them.

This Summer the BSA hope to have a reasonably priced one week Cub Scout day camp held at the American Legion, 9155 American Legion Drive, Chestertown.  Only $99 for a solid week of camaraderie, outdoor learning, fun and growth.  OPEN TO BOYS & GIRLS, Scouts or not, grades 1 through 5.  Adult volunteers are needed to help out with the many programs.  Training for volunteers will be provided, so if you have the time from June 20 through June 24th, 2016, please email  CubPack36MD@gmail.com

Here is what scouting is all about.  It is difficult to image how ta boy brought up this way could go wrong.

Boy Scout Principles and Values

Scout Oath (or Promise)

On my honor I will do my best To do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law; To help other people at all times; To keep myself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight.

Scout Law

A Scout is:

Description:

TRUSTWORTHY A Scout tells the truth. He keeps his promises. Honesty is part of his code of conduct. People can depend on him.
LOYAL A Scout is true to his family, Scout leaders, friends, school, and nation.
HELPFUL   A Scout is concerned about other people. He does things willingly for others without pay or reward.
FRIENDLY   A Scout is a friend to all. He is a brother to other Scouts. He seeks to understand others. He respects those with ideas and customs other than his own.
COURTEOUS   A Scout is polite to everyone regardless of age or position. He knows good manners make it easier for people to get along together.
KIND   A Scout understands there is strength in being gentle. He treats others as he wants to be treated. He does not hurt or kill harmless things without reason.
OBEDIENT   A Scout follows the rules of his family, school, and troop. He obeys the laws of his community and country. If he thinks these rules and laws are unfair, he tries to have them changed in an orderly manner rather than disobey them.
CHEERFUL A Scout looks for the bright side of things. He cheerfully does tasks that come his way. He tries to make others happy.
THRIFTY A Scout works to pay his way and to help others. He saves for unforeseen needs. He protects and conserves natural resources. He carefully uses time and property.
BRAVE A Scout can face danger even if he is afraid. He has the courage to stand for what he thinks is right even if others laugh at or threaten him.
CLEAN A Scout keeps his body and mind fit and clean. He goes around with those who believe in living by these same ideals. He helps keep his home and community clean.
REVERENT A Scout is reverent toward God. He is faithful in his religious duties. He respects the beliefs of others.

Scout Motto

Be Prepared

Scout Slogan

Do a Good Turn Daily

 

 

 

 
` `