Trinity, 74 Years On

Trinity from the Department of Defense

On Tuesday we spoke of Americans on the moon, and safely home again. And by the way, the first thing done on the moon that day, 50 years ago, was to thank God and take communion. A very American response.

Then, yesterday we spoke of just how revolutionary America was, and how that idea has spread in the last 80 or so years.

But there was another anniversary, last Tuesday, an amazing thing, which ties into each of the above stories because last Tuesday was the 74th anniversary of the Trinity Test.

Nobody talks much about it, because it, like the Minutemen silos standing guard, and the boomers patrolling, are an ugly fact of life. That there are people out there who don’t want you to be free, they would, in fact, prefer you dead.

J. Christian Adams over at PJ Media does a good job of explaining.

Today is the anniversary of one of the most significant events in human history. While later this week we will celebrate the Apollo 11 visit to the moon, July 16 stands apart.

But Google “Trinity” or nuclear, and you’ll hardly find a mention today about what happened on July 16, 1945, in a remote corner of New Mexico.

On that day, America detonated the first atomic bomb. The Trinity test was successful. The world would never be the same.

One observer of the blast felt they were at the “bottom of an ocean of light. We were bathed in it from all directions. The light withdrew into the bomb as if the bomb sucked it up. Then it turned purple and blue and went up and up and up.”

Cyril Smith, a British scientist eyewitness to the blast had “a momentary question as to whether we had done more than we intended.”

Yet the popular culture has obscured other ramifications of the Big Bang in New Mexico. The history of Europe is a history of marauding armies. So is the history of the world. While pop culture is filled with tales of madmen and madness, like Dr. Strangelove or the absurd ABC special The Day After, the opposite has been true. While Ultravox and Peter Paul and Mary sang of looming nuclear destruction, it hasn’t happened. […]

But that’s the point of today’s anniversary. Trinity was 74 years ago. Seventy-four years. Find another period of seventy-four years where the world has enjoyed the peace and stability between major powers that has endured since that hot July day in 1945. Perhaps this was America’s blessing to the world. Had Hitler, Hirohito, or the murderous Stalin obtained it first, the world would be a very different place today. And for that, July 16 is a day of profound historical importance for which the entire world can be thankful.

And so, here we are, only four lifetimes from being hardscrabble, subsistence farmers along the Atlantic coast, going barefoot in the snow, into battle against the greatest empire of the age, to being the keeper of the greatest secret of the age, the ability to destroy all the people in the world.

And the result of that gift of God? For 74 years, the major powers of the world have not been at war. To be sure there have been people killed, skirmishings, and minor powers squabbling. But there has been no Franco Prussian War, no Crimea, no Great War.

Pretty good sheriff, America has been so far. So we’ll see if it continues, or if the enemies of freedom, who gather their forces, all around the world, can overthrow the Pax Americana, or if the free peoples of the world can contrive to stay that way. Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition.

 

Hell in a Handcart: The European Report

The British continue their fall from being a free country. Tommy Robinson, their most famous political prisoner, is back in jail, with the establishment no doubt hoping their moslem allies kill him in prison, as has happened to other people railroaded by the government. Bruce Bawer in FrontPage Magazine tells us about it.

Trial by trial, imprisonment by imprisonment, dishonest news report by dishonest news report, the miserable bastards who make up the British establishment are steadily transforming Tommy Robinson, a working-class husband and father from Leeds, into an imperishable symbol of the quiet determination, indomitable courage, and love of liberty for which Britain used to be known but which that selfsame establishment has labored effortfully to stamp out during these opening chapters of the Islamization of that once-great nation.

Even those of us who have been closely following Tommy’s treatment by the British courts during the past couple of years – and who, perusing the charges against him, have recognized just how outrageously he has been treated by a judiciary committed not to justice but to the silencing, and if possible personal destruction, of this latter-day Jeremiah – were stunned by the verdict handed down on Friday after a two-day trial.

This was a rehearing of the same case that last year landed Tommy in prison (more specifically, in what amounted, in violation of the Geneva Convention, to solitary confinement), an ordeal from which he emerged, after two months, looking physically and psychologically all but broken. The charges themselves were absurd to begin with: he was taken into custody near the courthouse in Leeds, where he was doing a live report on Facebook video about an “Asian grooming-gang” (i.e. Muslim child-rape) prosecution that was underway inside. He didn’t do or say anything that any BBC or Guardian journalist in similar circumstances might do; but he was arrested anyway – on the grounds that his reporting from out on the street had somehow threatened to prejudice the trial going on inside the building – and was charged with contempt of court.

The speed with which he was tried, convicted, and incarcerated after his arrest in Leeds – the whole process took just a few hours – shocked observers who still thought of British justice as something serious and worthy of respect. His release from prison two months later came after the Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales, in an unusually blistering ruling, declared that the court proceedings against him had been illegitimate in a number of ways, and ordered his immediate release.

Keep reading at the link above. This travesty will probably stand long enough to kill a brave man, which is the judge’s intention.

In news from Scotland, a student has been expelled for stating that there are only two genders, which as anybody with any sense at all knows, is plain fact. Here is Sofia Carbone in Human Events to explain.

According to the 17-year-old student known only as Murray, the events unfolded after the teacher pulled up a website in front of the whole class that only gave two gender options.

“If I am [entitled to my own opinion], then why did you kick me out of class? It’s not very inclusive.” – Murray, 17

“[The teacher] basically started going off on a tangent about how bad that was, and how old fashioned it was,” Murray told a YouTube account known as ‘I, Hypocrite’.

This is when the student stated the scientific fact there are only two genders. In turn, he was removed from class, later given the reason his ‘opinion’ was ‘not inclusive’. However the teacher stated his own opinion, that there are more than two genders, is “acceptable” in contrast.

After sitting outside the classroom for thirty minutes, the teacher finally came out to speak with Murray, who recorded the entire encounter.

“You’re entitled to your opinion,” the teacher told Murray.

“If I am, then why did you kick me out of class? It’s not very inclusive,” Murray inquired.

Meanwhile, in the UK…. pic.twitter.com/9ATvHuUQ1P

— Paul Joseph Watson (@PrisonPlanet) June 14, 2019

Within a day of the video being posted, it had gone viral.

The school came across the video and called Murray and his mother in for a meeting.

According to Murray, during the meeting the school officials made clear he was not getting in trouble for his comment. Rather because he recorded the teacher which is a direct violation of one of the school’s rules.

The lesson to take from that, I think is that do not ever, tell the British schools the truth, tell them what they want to hear. This is, of course, the country that indoctrinates 5-year-olds with LGBTQWERTY nonsense, after all. And above all, don’t tell the world what these twits are doing. Family? what’s that? The State will raise you so that you too can be a confused twit.

No place left in (formerly great) Britain for honest people.

Noted in passing that the British Ambassador to the United States has been doing a very good job of smearing the President to his government. I thought that was the BBC’s job, but I guess he wanted to help out.

And in Europe, the EU keeps digging. David Wojick writing in PAPundits International tells us about that.

A month ago I predicted political turmoil in EU HQ and here it is. The strong (American like) showings by both the left and right in the parliamentary elections have destabilized the old, comfortable, left wing center.

The issue is who gets the top political positions? It is sort of like who will now be president? Except under the EU’s Byzantine structure there are several presidents, or sort of, I think.

As I understand it there is the President of the EU Commission, the President of the European Parliament, the President of the European Council (whose members are the EU countries), plus some other bigwig posts.

Britain having its own internal turmoil, with May on her way out, has left Germany (with Merkel probably also on her way out) and Macron’s France to defend the liberal center and that defense is decidedly weak, to say the least. Amusingly, Spain is now being cited as a power.

What is happening is actually pretty simple, but the liberal media simply does not want to report it. Trump-like populism is advancing. The old rules gave these top posts to the parties with the most votes but these are not centrist liberal parties so the liberals do not want to give up power.

And so that’s the salient reports from Europe lately. Hell, Handcarts, some easy travel required. After all, it’s downhill from here.

Godless Commies

Open  Blogger over at Ace’s wrote the other day that:

Mark Levin recently focused on the American Left’s love of communism, and how the media props it up. He began with an article from City Journal by Harry Stein, The Red Decade, Redux: 

It may be that the best book that will ever be written about today’s progressive mind-set was published in 1941. That in The Red Decade author Eugene Lyons was, in fact, describing the Communist-dominated American Left of the Depression-wracked 1930s and 1940s makes his observations even more meaningful, for it is sobering to be confronted with how little has been gained by hard experience. . .

Do read that link, yes, it is long, but I learned much from it, I suspect you will as well.

R.S. McCain picks up the story yesterday, as well.

Ed Driscoll last week called attention to an essay by Harry Stein about the continuing relevance of Eugene Lyons’s 1941 book The Red Decadebecause of its eerie parallels to the Stalinist tendencies of the 21st-century Left. A complete and cynical dishonesty was one of the hallmarks of Stalin-era Communism, as the Soviet regime engaged in grossly false propaganda to defend its power and conceal its bloody crimes.

One of the reasons younger people — and by “younger,” I mean, under 40— are so vulnerable to leftist “progressive” propaganda is because they aren’t old enough to remember the Cold War. Today’s 35-year-old was in kindergarten when the Berlin Wall fell, and thus has no personal memory of what it was like to live during the decades when we were faced with the possibility of annihilation by Soviet aggression. The permanent sense of terror inspired by the menace of Communism, a godless creed of murderous hatred, was so deeply embedded into American culture during my youth that my children (the oldest of which was born some six months before the fall of the Berlin Wall) can scarcely understand what it was like. When my oldest was a teenager, I was driving her and her friend to a Christian music festival and, to pass the time, began talking about politics and history. I tried to explain to them how, growing up in a Baptist church in Georgia, I was horrified by stories of how Christians were persecuted in the Soviet Union, in Red China and wherever else Communist regimes came to power. The worldview of Communism — “historical materialism,” or “dialectical materialism” — was based explicitly in atheism, and Communists everywhere were determined to destroy Christianity. Imagine what it would be like to live in a dictatorship where you could go to prison for possessing a Bible!

He goes on from there. and it, like Open Blogger’s, and Ed Driscoll’s, is very good and adds something to the story, to the point that there is little for me to say.

But there is this, McCain makes the point that for those of us who grew up during the cold war, the fear of annihilation was never far away. When from the time you’re six years old and practicing ‘Duck and Cover’ more often than fire drills and tornado warnings, it goes very deep in you. You don’t forget, ever.

Sure you laugh and you smile, and you live a pretty normal life, but always in the back of your mind is the fact that you and your country itself are 30 minutes from destruction. You think of it as you go into the city and see the anti-aircraft missiles around Chicago, you think of it sometimes when you see contrails overhead. You really think of it when you happen to see a wing of B-52s taking off at 15-second intervals. “Probably only a drill,” you think and carry on. Same thing as when you watch another B-52 come over your worksite at about 500 ft at full speed. You think about it as your friends join the navy and a few end up on boomers, or when you drive through Great Falls and see the security police in their armored cars patrolling the Minutemen sites.

It’s a way of life, and once learned never forgotten. We too are veterans of the home front, in a sense. Some of us remember when most of the Air Force and a few Army divisions were prepared to take out Cuba.

But, hey, all that ended in 1990, even history did or so said Fukuyama. Yeah, well, play stupid games and win stupid prizes. History goes on, until either we or God, end it. And bad ideas do too, and so, much ink has been spilled over the weekend on a book written in the 1930s that is the best description going of America in 2019. Funny how that works!

How bad is it? Well, I read last week that the CPUSA is proposing a merger with the Democrat Party since they have the same goals.

If you’re interested, here is another link for the book, a different edition and somewhat cheaper.

Juneteenth

Click to enlarge

Robert Maranto, writing in Frontpage magazine reminds us of one of the holidays that we don’t celebrate much (but maybe should). It’s called Juneteenth, as fits neatly between Memorial Day and Independence Day, both of which it is related to. It’s the day the last slave in America was freed, in Texas, on 16 June 1865. It only cost more than 300,000 American casualties (Union only) and 4 years of total war on ourselves.

A nation with substantial economic ties with the U.S., Saudi Arabia, only got around to ending slavery in 1962. Yet I would never define Saudi Arabia by its history of slavery, and I bristle when people define America that way. Virtually all peoples have histories of enslaving and brutalizing others, so obsessing over America’s sins while ignoring everyone else’s is anti-American in the purest sense. Alas, such views proliferate in the media, academia, and politics.

Remember that, the next time some fool starts denigrating America.

For that reason, I commemorate Juneteenth by re-reading Thomas Sowell’s classic essay, “The Real History of Slavery,” written in part to debunk popular misconceptions spread by the likes of Alex Haley’s Roots. A part of his collection of mainly original essays in Black Rednecks and White Liberals, Sowell’s essay teaches politically incorrect lessons no longer taught in higher education or pop culture.

First, slavery impoverished rather than built societies, by stigmatizing work and thrift while exalting as role models a slave-owning leisure class. In some respects, slave owners were like Hollywood stars, widely envied, and notorious for their conspicuous consumption and reckless disregard of others. Within places as distinct as China, Brazil, the Middle East, and America, locales with high concentrations of slaves were the poorest and most backward.

More important was the evolution and spread of Western ideas about individual worth and self-determination. As Sowell writes, slavery pitted “Western civilization against the world” at a time when the West had the power to prevail. Non-Western people generally did not end slavery on their own; indeed, most fiercely resisted abolition. Great Britain played the indispensable role in ending slavery, choosing ideals over interests in the process.

18th century Britain was the world’s largest slave trader, with powerful interests profiting from human trafficking. Yet under religious pressure, 19th Century British parliaments abolished slavery and increasingly employed the Royal Navy and colonial governance to erode the global slave trade, at enormous cost in blood and treasure.

In Sudan, for example, British General G.C. Gordon fought slavery, imposing the death penalty on those convicted of castrating enslaved men to market them as eunuchs. After Mohammad Mahad defeated Gordon at Khartoum, human trafficking again went untroubled until British soldiers returned, among them a young Winston Churchill. Under British pressure, Sudan eventually formally abolished slavery, though informally it exists there to this day.

Sowell attacks the hypocrisy of criticizing the 19th century West for falling short of modern standards, while far more culpable non-Western societies get a free pass. Today, universities rebrand buildings named after long dead slave owners, while courting wealthy sheiks who may have owned people in their youths. President Obama, who removed a bust (in fairness, one of two) of Winston Churchill from the White House, probably never learned at Harvard that Churchill fought slavery in traditional Sudan, Nazi Germany, and Communist Russia.

Always remember that there are two countries in the world that paid most of the price for ending slavery in the west, they are Great Britain and the United States. Britain mostly but not completely in Gold, and the US mostly but not completely in (its own) blood. Does that carry a lesson about why the US and UK are still hated all over the world?

Yes, yes it does.

Simple really, Evil always has and always will hate good.

Dawning of the Pelagian Age

Senator Josh Hawley

The other day, in trying to sort out the various types of conservatives, here, we mentioned Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri, as one of the rising stars of conservatism, in the Post Liberal group. I’m not the only one who noticed his article in Christianity Today So did Gene Veith over at Cranach, my favorite Lutheran blog. Here’s some of what he said.

That we are unused to hearing this level of analysis from an election official is itself telling, but Sen. Hawley, the youngest member of the Senate at 39, is being hailed as a rising star of the conservative movement and the Republican party for his ability to bring together conservatism and populism, as in the way he is leading the charge to apply anti-trust law to Google, FaceBook, Apple, and Amazon.

At any rate, consider what he says:

Pelagius held that the individual possessed a powerful capacity for achievement. In fact, Pelagius believed individuals could achieve their own salvation. It was just a matter of them living up to the perfection of which they were inherently capable. As Pelagius himself put it, “Since perfection is possible for man, it is obligatory.” The key was will and effort. If individuals worked hard enough and deployed their talents wisely enough, they could indeed be perfect.

This idea famously drew the ire of Augustine of Hippo, better known as Saint Augustine, who responded that we humans are not achievement machines. We are fragile. We are fallible. We suffer weakness and need. And we all stand in need of God’s grace.

But Pelagius was not satisfied. He took his stand on an idea of human freedom. He responded that God gave individuals free choice. And he insisted that this free choice was more powerful than any limitation Augustine identified. . . .Pelagius said that individuals could use their free choice to adopt their own purposes, to fix their own destinies—to create themselves, if you like. That’s why a disciple of Pelagius named Julian of Eclanum said freedom of choice is that by which man is “emancipated from God.”. . . .

Perhaps the most eloquent contemporary statement of Pelagian freedom appears in an opinion from the United States Supreme Court, in a passage written by former Justice Anthony Kennedy. In 1992, in a case called Casey v. Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania, he wrote this: “At the heart of liberty is the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life.”

It’s the Pelagian vision. Liberty is the right to choose your own meaning, define your own values, emancipate yourself from God by creating your own self. Indeed, this notion of freedom says you can emancipate yourself not just from God but from society, family, and tradition.

The Pelagian view says the individual is most free when he is most alone, able to choose his own way without interference. Family and tradition, neighborhood and church—these things get in the way of uninhibited free choice. And this Pelagian idea of freedom is one our cultural leaders have embraced for decades now.

But here’s the paradox. For all the big talk about individual freedom, Pelagian philosophy has made American society more hierarchical, and it has made it more elitist.

This is no accident. Pelagius himself was most popular with the old senatorial families of Rome—the wealthy, the well-connected. The aristocrats. They were his patrons. And why? He validated their privilege and their power.

Because if freedom means choice among options, then the people with the most choices are the most free. And that means the rich. And if salvation is about achievement, then those with the most accolades are righteous, and that means the elite and the strong. A Pelagian society is one that celebrates the wealthy, prioritizes the powerful, rewards the privileged. And for too long now, that has described modern America.

[Keep reading. . .]

Sen. Hawley goes on to explore the political and economic implications of Pelagianism.  Let’s think some more about the moral and cultural issues.

A question presents itself:  If we reject Pelagianism, doesn’t that mean we reject freedom?  Not at all!  Freedom is a good thing.  It is a moral necessity, since there can be no virtue if a person is forced to do the right thing.  An action must be taken freely if it is to have moral significance.  The will is a crucial faculty of the mind and the personality.

But for all of their importance, freedom and the will are not determinative.  They do not save us.  They do not determine what we should do.  They do not determine what is real.

But this is exactly what we are seeing in the Age of Pelagius.

As I have often pointed out, postmodernist ethics are built around the will.  Advocates of abortion call themselves “pro-choice.”  Whatever the woman chooses in regards to her pregnancy and her child is right for her.  If she is forced to have a child she does not want (another “will” term), that would be evil (which is why those who seem to be moral relativists can still demonize pro-lifers).  What determines the rightness or wrongness of an action is the presence of a willful choice.  This applies also in other issues, such as euthanasia (“if the patient chooses to die, who are we to say ‘no’?”).

Indeed, Keep Reading, including the comments

Sometimes with an article like this, I feel like I’m cheating, giving you someone else’s views rather than my own. That could be true, but it is not, because I completely agree with Dr. Veith (as I usually do, and do here) and he is a better writer than I am, so why hurt the message by trying to rephrase it. It’s the classical case for reblogging, of course, which I, like most of us, occasionally do. I dislike reblogging though because it is not particularly fair to the article you are reblogging because the snippet used is usually not enough to make sense of the author’s point

What Senator Hawley says (or what I say comparatively quietly) doesn’t do much of anything about solving the problem, of course, except that to solve a problem, first you need to figure out the basics of what the problem is. This moves along that course.

The other thing about this is that it is analysis by an elected official of a type not seen in the US in at least 150 years, since the heirs of the Founders, the generation of Clay, Calhoun, and Webster, culminating in Lincoln. It’s been sorely missed.

Heroes

A fairly quiet week for a change, so let’s back off a bit today and look around. A while back Gene Simmons of Kiss was visiting the Pentagon. He has some things to say. They are worth remembering. From Breitbart.

A remarkable story isn’t it? And yet it is not, that view of America is fairly common all around the world. Something to remember, and something to live up to.


I grew up in Northwest Indiana, and this man was on the news a lot in those strangely calm although noisy days. From Front Page Magazine.

I was checking the new releases in a local theater when I saw the title HesburghSounds like a Dracula spin-off, I thought. I had never heard the name before and I knew nothing about the movie. [ How sad is that, Fr. Theodore Hesburgh is, arguably one of the greatest men of the last 100 years. Neo] Curious, I did a quick Google search and discovered that Hesburgh is a documentary about a Catholic priest. A documentary about a Catholic priest running in a suburban multiplex? I had to see it.

Father Theodore Hesburgh was president of Notre Dame for thirty-five years, 1952–1987. He also played a role in the Civil Rights Movement, the effort to limit nuclear arms, and immigration reform. He had close, personal relationships with Presidents Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Carter, Clinton, and Obama, Popes Paul VI and John Paul II, Martin Luther King Jr and Ann Landers. Much of the film consists of grainy, decades-old film footage of the Space Race, The Civil Rights Movement, and the Vietnam War. A few scenes are reenactments of key moments in Hesburgh’s life. There are also contemporary interviews with people who knew Hesburgh, including Leon Panetta and Wyoming Senator Alan Simpson. Speakers at Hesburgh’s memorial service included Mike Pence and Condoleezza Rice.

Hesburgh sounds like a priestly Kardashian, no? Listen, I walked into the theater knowing nothing about Theodore Hesburgh and by the end of the film my face was sloppy with tears. I cry no tears for Kardashians. Why did this film move me so much?

The film depicts Hesburgh as a remarkably humble man. As a man who, yes, wined and dined with the rich and powerful, but who never lost the personal touch, and who was almost supernaturally humble, and relentlessly committed to his priestly vocation. In every scene I can remember, from the time he took his vows to his 2015 death at age 97, Hesburgh is wearing the exact same clothing: the unadorned, dark suit and white collar of a priest of the Congregation of the Holy Cross. Selecting personal dress and adornment is a fundamental human choice. Hesburgh surrendered that choice at 18 and never took it back. In a clip from an interview, TV host Phil Donahue presses Hesburgh. How have you lived your life alone, without a wife? Hesburgh’s visage is severe but calm. “I made that choice at 18.” It’s remarkable to witness a man of his word.

Pope Paul VI presented Hesburgh with his own emerald ring as a gift. The implication was that the pope hoped to elevate Hesburgh to cardinal. Hesburgh put the ring in a drawer. His vocation was as a priest, not a “prince of the church.” Former students from Notre Dame testify on camera that Hesburgh was like a father to them. Journalist Robert Sam Anson, a Notre Dame alum, was taken prisoner in Cambodia during the Vietnam War. Hesburgh phoned the Vatican to help broker his release. Anson is visibly moved when discussing Hesburgh.

Hesburgh’s most sustained effort in public affairs, at least as depicted in the film, was in the field of Civil Rights. In one of the most famous images of Hesburgh, he is linking arms with Martin Luther King Jr. at Soldier Field in Chicago in 1964, as they sing together “We Shall Overcome.” Hesburgh was no mere fellow traveler. When Civil Rights Commission members were stonewalling each other, the Northerners against the Southerners, Hesburgh kept his eye on the individual human soul. His faith taught him that each Commission member, no matter how obstructionist, was made in the image and likeness of God. With that perspective, Hesburgh recognized that one thing all these diverse combatants had in common was a love of fishing. He arranged for a Notre Dame donor’s private jet to transport them to a secluded lake. There they could connect as human beings, and make progress. Hesburgh was willing to stick his neck out even when the presidents who counted him among their friends dropped the ball. The Kennedy administration had concluded that pushing Civil Rights would cost Kennedy votes in the South, and, thus, the election. They decided to “slow walk” progress. Hesburgh at this instance, and at other key moments as well, took it upon himself to press for an end to Jim Crow. Sorry, Hollywood and film critics cum social justice warriors, but yes Hesburgh was one of many white allies without whom the Civil Rights Movement would have been an historical blip that reached the same dead-end of a thousand other liberation movements in societies without conscience.

Like any serious Catholic, Hesburgh faced criticism from the right and the left. The Catholic Church opposes abortion, and, thus, gains approval and allies on the right. Other stances on poverty and immigration earn approval and allies on the left.

He faced more than criticism really, it was more like vilification as we see it today, and yes from both the right and the left. And the author is right, it was because he was a Catholic, an authentic and dare I say orthodox one. That may be one of the most difficult things to be in the world today.

The author found another interesting movie:

Franciszka Halamajowa died in obscurity. Few outside her immediate family had any idea of her heroism. She never rubbed elbows with the rich or the powerful. When Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia invaded Poland in 1939, Halamajowa was a 54 year old Polish, Catholic farm woman, her gray hair brushed back into a simple bun. She was plump, with apple cheeks and kind eyes. She wore simple, loose, cotton dresses. She lived on a small plot of land with fruit trees and pigs in the small town of Sokal. Sokal was then in Eastern Poland; it is now in Ukraine. In 1939, it had a mixed population of Poles, Ukrainians, and 5,200 Jews. Only thirty Jews survived the war. Sixteen Jews were sheltered by Franciszka Halamajowa. The documentary No. 4 Street of Our Lady tells the almost unbelievable story of Halamajowa’s heroism. This ninety-minute, 2009 documentary is currently available on Vimeo.

One can’t begin to understand Halamajowa’s feat without understanding the Nazi and Soviet approach to Poland. Both were genocidal, and their hostility to the continued existence of Poland had begun centuries before. Under German and Russian occupation beginning in the eighteenth century, at times and in places, Poles could not build permanent dwellings on their own land, could not speak their own language in school, and were subject to mass deportations to Siberia, where many died. The Nazi Generalplan Ost called for the genocide and occupation of Slavic nations. In his infamous August, 1939 “Armenian speech,” Hitler said, “I have placed my death-head formation in readiness … with orders to them to send to death mercilessly and without compassion, men, women, and children of Polish derivation and language. Only thus shall we gain the living space (Lebensraum) which we need.”

Soviet Russians, Sokal’s first World-War-Two-era occupiers, deported between 500,000 and 1.7 million Poles to Siberia. Soviet Russians arrested and imprisoned hundreds of thousands of other Poles. Many were tortured and executed, including 22,000 Polish Army officers shot in the Katyn Massacre. Soviet propaganda depicted Poles as enemies of the people. Polish land was seized and redistributed, most to collective farms. An estimated 150,000 – 500,000 Polish citizens died during the Soviet occupation.

In June, 1941, as part of Operation Barbarossa, the Nazis arrived. Scarred by the 1932-33 Soviet-orchestrated Ukrainian famine, interwar Polish rule, and Soviet occupation, some Ukrainians collaborated with the Nazis. In addition to persecuting Jews, Ukrainians tortured, mutilated, and massacred Polish Catholics. Historians estimate that approximately 100,000 Poles were murdered by Ukrainians.

All this bloody history swirled around Franciszka Halamajowa as she tended her fruit trees, chickens and pigs. Ukrainians knocked on her door and told her to leave. Sokal was now Ukrainian territory, and no longer safe for a Polish woman alone with a young daughter. Nazis could kill Poles for infractions so minor as owning a radio. Poles were regularly rounded up and sent to slave labor or concentration camps. Any aid given to any Jew, even something so simple as offering a drink of water, was a capital crime, not just for the one giving the aid, but for her entire family. This punishment was unique to Poland. Miep Gies, who aided Anne Frank in Holland, for example, survived betrayal and discovery. One list of Poles killed for helping Jews includes 704 names. No doubt many more were killed but their accounts cannot be documented.

Jews escaping a Nazi aktion asked Halamajowa for help. Yad Vashem reports that Halamajowa and her daughter Helena “believed that it was G-d who had brought the Jewish refugees to their door to test their faith. They considered it their religious duty to protect the Jewish refugees, and never demanded payment of any kind.” It was not until after the war that the Jews Halamajowa was hiding in a pigsty discovered that she had another Jewish family hiding in a specially built dugout under her kitchen floor. Indeed, Halamajowa was also hiding a renegade German soldier in her attic. He did not want to participate in Nazi killing.

This post is already ridiculously long, so I’m not going to comment on it other than to say that this is what the left is trying to destroy when the attempt to destroy Christianity, for Gene Simmons’ story is not really that different, except in outcome to millions of others. If not for Christianity, and in a sense the last gasp of European culture, America, it may well have been lost by now, and very likely would be.

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