Friday, May 30, 2008

Prosecuting Terror Bombers

The following is the response of the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs to a letter from a Christians-for-Israel organization urging Israel to find and prosecute the religious Jews who planted the pipe bomb that blew Messianic teen Ami Ortiz to bits in April.

Clearly they are blaming the victims and do not have a serious intent to bring the perpetrators of this attempted murder to trial. Obviously, there has not been sufficient outcry in the Christian community to move Israel to execute justice.

Communicated via the Israeli Embassy of a foreign nation which I am choosing not to name here. I have added the bold emphasis:

Following your letter with regarding to the Ami Ortiz incident in Ariel, we submitted your comments to the relevant Israeli Authorities. Please find below information that the Embassy received from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Jerusalem.

A. The police are investigating this case and due to the fact that there main force is intelligence the details are classified and they can't reveal any details on this issue.

The officer that is in charge of this area could only give information related to the background that led to the incident.

B. There are approximately 20 people in the Jewish Messianic community of Ariel. The head of this group act in a provocative way among the Jewish and Muslim in this area and try to convince them to convert their religion. Both communities are unsatisfied from his behaviour even though Ortiz's family lives in a good relationship with the Jewish neighbours.

C. The investigation of this matter is very complex and this is why it takes a long time to reach to a conclusion.

D. However, the police maintain a preventive activity that this case wouldn't repeat itself. The officer emphasised in general that the Messianic Jews need to change their approach towards other communities to prevent extreme actions.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs will inform the Embassy once the investigation is completed.

Let me just add that the Ortiz' ministry is hardly "provocative." They live a godly life and operate in loving ministry to people in need on both the Jewish and the Palestinian sides of their region. For this good, they infuriate the anti-missionaries who hate Jewish believers in Jesus.

This letter tries to justify the attempted murder of the Ortiz family by religious fanatics in Israel by blaming the Messianic Jews for "provocative" conduct. DO NOT ACCEPT THIS LIE. Please pray for the Messianic Jews of Israel who are reporting a dramatic increase of persecution incidents by religious and anti-missionary groups over the past months.

This is a very serious situation for all the believers of Israel. Let's not fail our brothers and sisters again by remaining silent.

I just received an additional piece of information from David and Leah Ortiz:

A video report has been done on Ami and the bombing which will air on Channel one in Israel
at 8PM our time this Friday May 30th..

The police tried to stop this report from being aired and brought Channel one into court twice!! However they were defeated twice.

They say that they don't want details of the case revealed for their investigation but 9 weeks have passed with no arrests and no suspects.

This is something that needs much prayer, but please pray for the perpetrators of this attempted murder and hate crime to be apprehended and for justice to be done.

Ami still faces many surgeries, continual pain and up to the next two years in a full body stocking to repair all the damages done by the bomb blast. What if he were your 16-year old? This is a cloud hanging over the head of every believers in Israel.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Cry Out for the Children (Breaking for Local News)

This is a break from IsraelWatching for local news

Cry Out for the Children
by Donna Diorio

Today's Dallas Morning News headline read -
"Appeals court: State had no right to seize children from polygamist compound"

May 23, 2008 Who can explain what it is about a news story when the Spirit puts His finger on your heart to not just pass it by like so many other sad and outrageous news stories we are exposed to day after day?

The news story about the children the state of Texas removed from the FLDS polygamous sect ranch is like that for me. The finger of God is in my heart about it.

I know the message on my heart is that if the people of God will not cry out for the children, thousands of FLDS children across North America are doomed, never to escape their abused captivity under an abominable perversion of the Word of God. This is a spiritual battle first and foremost, and that is not to say that we should pray only, but we should pray and then cry out in the public arena.

For hours and hours I have researched what is being written in newspapers and by the new grass roots ‘free press’ of blogs and commentary websites. Sadly, the voice of the people of God is simply not being raised in the public square for the protection of these children.

Overwhelmingly the articles and reader talkbacks, web page and blog commentaries are more interested in preserving the “civil rights” of the children (not to be removed from their polygamist families) than they are seeking to protect the children from systematic sexual child abuse.

Everybody knows what the FLDS is doing in their isolated, fortressed compounds in the Western United States, Canada and Mexico. Sexual relations with minors is illegal in all those places, but the educated, engaged voices in America are crying out AGAINST the authorities in the State of Texas and Child Protective Services for removing over 400 minors from the Eldorado, Texas compound.

It is discouraging that so few believers have spoken out on behalf of the real issue at stake here - protecting the children of the sect. Marci Hamilton, author of God vs. the Gavel says the FLDS sect is a “conspiracy of adults to commit systematic child sex abuse.”

That is decidedly not the message of most commentaries and news stories the public is being bombarded with concerning these children. Few are the stories that give voice to women who have escaped life in the FLDS polygamist system. They are out there speaking up and trying to get the truth out, but pundits and reporters would rather major on the violation of civil rights angles straight out of the liberal relativism legalese playbook.

Maybe there would be a spiritual intercessory outcry and public outcry from Christians:

If Christians were exposed to interviews of Elissa Wall, victim in the Warren Jeffs trial and author of Stolen Innocence; or Polygamy’s Rape of Rachel Strong; or 17 other FLDS survivor testimonies detailed in Andrea Moore Emmett’s book, God’s Brothel; or the book Shattered Dreams by Irene Spencer, who at 16 years old became the second wife of an FLDS cult leader, who was also her brother-in-law; or Carolyn Jessop’s Escape, or Susan Ray Schmidt’s His Favorite Wife: Trapped in Polygamy.

If Christians would hear the cry from FLDS survivor and rescue advocacy websites, like Rowenna Erickson’s Tapestry Against Polygamy site. If Christians were aware of the work of Debbie Palmer (Keep Sweet: Children of Polygamy) and Daphne Branham (The Secret Lives of Saints) who has investigated the genetic family tree ties between minor girls in the FLDS compound in British Columbia and adolescent girls from the Eldorado Texas compound.

If Christians knew that watchdogs in Colorado are reporting recent Jeffs’ family purchases of large tracts of land in remote Colorado places. If Christians knew the history of unsuccessful attempts in the past by other states for legal intervention on behalf of children in the FLDS polygamist sect and how the public opinion war was won by the sect playing on public sympathies of their right of religion – and the public ignorance of the true nature of minor sexual abuse and brainwashing that is the reality of life in the FLDS sect.

Some Washington politicians have shown interest in the case but the U.S. Attorney for Utah and the FBI’s Salt Lake City field office head say there is no need for a federal polygamy task force.

As one of the few high placed newspaper editorial writers to speak out on behalf of the FLDS sect children, Ellen Goodman of the Washington Post writes in an article entitled, Sex Abuse in the Name of Religion Isn’t a Lifestyle – It’s Sex Abuse, that there has been enormous concern generated by the story but it says something about our culture that the concern has primarily been “of children taken from parents, of families wrenched apart….Is this a rescue operation or a state-sponsored attack on parents?”

“Nevertheless,” Goodman asks “what are we to make of an entire sect that has sexual abuse at its very heart?

This is the critical question, and I believe it is the question from the very heart of God for us.

Yesterday the Third Court of Appeals in Austin ruled that the San Angelo court was wrong to give CPS custody of the children because the evidence presented was "legally and factually insufficient."

Unfortunately, this is the same Appeals court where the only faith-based court brief was filed (that I’m aware of) on May 2nd, appealing to the court to be careful not to set a “dangerous precedent” for religious liberty and parental rights in the “cases over allegations of sexual abuse alleged in the polygamist ranch raid.”

This also says something about us that the case has caused Christians to voice concern and ask for prayer about potential legal precedents that might cause religious liberty issues for Christians in the future, without voicing much concern for the sect children themselves.

At times we are so on watch with self-protection, we are actually foiling the best attempts of our government to protect all us.
A salient point that was brought by a Counter-Terrorism expert, Jeffrey Breinholt in Polygamy and Terrorism: The Religion Factor in Texas, who wrote: “The question is whether a state or federal government can define what constitutes a crime, and whether that crime can be enforced where the alleged conduct is religiously-inspired.”

Since returned to a Department of Justice post, Breinholt noted, “…the Texas case involves a common issue in counterterrorism - the ability of the government to take action against religiously-inspired conduct.” Muslim defendants in terrorism prosecutions, Breinholt explains, also claim that their planned violence should be excused because it was mandated by their faith.

In the end, it is the public that decides what it is going to put up with and what it will not. We may believe that we can live with granting illegal expression of religious belief to polygamists, but can we live with that precedent being extended to jihadists?

The most critical concern is to ensure the freedom of FLDS children from sexual predators, but there are farther reaching ramifications to how the public, the media and the courts ultimately view this case.

As Ellen Goodman wrote, “… in the end, what we have on that ranch in Eldorado is not a lifestyle. It's a pedophile ring. If we cannot rescue children from that, we've already destroyed their village.”

In the end, if Christians cannot put in first priority the thousands of FLDS children currently, as well as the older generations of FLDS members who have been raised in and held captive by a gross perversion of the Word of God, then we are in default. If we don’t stand up for the weak and the oppressed now, we will not long hold onto our own strength, liberties and freedom.

Pray for the Supreme Judge of the whole Creation to arise on behalf of the FLDS children represented in the Texas case. Authorities and advocacy groups in several western states, as well as Canada and Mexico are watching carefully the developments in this case. If the state of Texas prevails in intervention to set the captives free and prosecute the illegal polygamists, then others will take courage and act in their jurisdictions. If the state of Texas fails, everyone will throw up their hands and give up on these victims of institutionalized child sexual abuse.

On behalf of the children, the girls and women, and even the “lost boys” and men who have been excommunicated by the alpha males of the FLDS, let us cry out to God for justice in this case… Then we must follow our intercession with our public outcry to holding up the arms of the authorities and sending a message to the judges: Protect the victims, not their abusers.