Two Kings and “The Lord of the Rings” [on King Jan Sobieski III and the Lifting of the Siege of Vienna, 1683) | The Imaginative Conservative

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The romanticism in Tolkien’s great saga was inspired partly by the actions of King Jan Sobieski during the Battle of Vienna in 1683, when Christian Europe stemmed the advance of militant Islam… (click the link below to read the full essay by Dwight Longenecker)

Source: Two Kings and “The Lord of the Rings” – The Imaginative Conservative

Although the battle which ultimately lifted the Siege of Vienna – capital of the Holy Roman Empire, and the gateway to Europe – by the Ottoman Turks in 1683 began on the 11th of September, I want to use the date to highlight primarily the tragic, yet also at times heroic, events of 9/11/2001. Nonetheless, because the great battle that saved Europe from domination by the Muslim Turks did begin on this day, I am posting this “teaser” on the event! I’ll post more on it tomorrow.

The author of the article quotes historian and biographer Militiades Varvounis:

“Jan Sobieski was one of the most illustrious rulers ever to command an army. He gained glory and fame in his thirties through his exceptional military skills and he was acknowledged as the greatest warrior-king of his time throughout the rest of his turbulent life. His patriotism, his strong faith and hope in God, his military reputation, his taste for arts and letters, and his talents—all these were legendary in his lifetime. Since World War II, no English work has been published about the king who saved Europe from the warriors of Islam at the Battle of Vienna (1683); a battle which was the inspiration for J.R.R. Tolkien’s epic cavalry charge of the Rohirrim that lifted the Siege of Minas Tirith in the Lord of the Rings trilogy.”

Since my undergraduate, and a great deal of my graduate, studies were focused on the Middle Ages, I was not until fairly recently familiar with this battle, except as a name for an historical event. And so it was not until fairly recently that I came to realize that it was the Siege of Vienna (1683) – not the Siege of Constantinople, as I had originally thought – that served as the inspiration for J.R.R. Tolkien’s Siege of Minas Tirith, and the Ride of the Rohirrim (who, though portrayed as mounted Anglo-Saxons, filled the role of the Polish Winged Hussars which were King Jan Sobieski III’s elite shock troops) which broke it.

Of King Jan of Poland, the original poster of this link had this to say:

“Jan Sobieski was one of the most extraordinary and visionary monarchs of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth from 1674 until his death. He was a man of letters, an artistic person, a dedicated ruler but above all the greatest soldier of his time. Popular among his subjects, he won considerable fame for his decisive victory over the Ottomans at the walls of Vienna (1683). For defeating the Muslim invaders, Pope Innocent XI hailed Sobieski as the saviour of Christendom.”

Indeed! Had not King Jan Sobieski succeeded in lifting the Siege of Vienna, the history of Europe, and indeed the world, would have worked out far differently. The first among equals among our own Founders, George Washington, Father of our Country, frequently credited Divine Providence with intervening in our struggle for independence. I agree, but I also think that one of the chief agents of that intervention was George Washington himself. I think that much the same could be said of Jan Sobieski! But it was not the founding of a new nation that was the goal and the outcome, but the preservation of Christian civilization, and of the West itself.

His story should be known and recounted much more widely, in my opinion!

“Where were you when the world stopped turning, that September day…?” (Alan Jackson)

 

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9/11 – September 11th, 2001

Never forget.

Never.

From a YouTube comment:

“6th grade. Science class. I remember turning to my teacher when he put it on the big screen and asking ‘How long ago did this happen?’ He looked at me with the saddest, terrified look I had ever seen in a 65 year old Vietnam veterans face and said ‘Son, this is happening right now.'” 

I’m not 65, nor am I a Vietnam veteran – or a veteran of any sort; my military service is limited to a year in ROTC and a rather inactive stint with the US Coast Guard Auxiliary – but I, too, was teaching a 6th grade class: at the Carroll County Outdoor School. And I will never forget that, either…

Octave of Prayer for the Defense of the West

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We are approaching the anniversary, later this month, of the Battle of Vienna, 1683, in which the army of the Holy League, lead by King Jan III Sobieski of Poland and his Winged Hussars, broke the siege of the Imperial City by the Ottoman Turks – ending, for several centuries, the Muslim threat to Europe.

It is, perhaps, especially fitting, between now and 12 September (the anniversary of the breaking of the siege) that we pray for the awakening both of the Church and of Europe to the danger posed by Islam to Christianity and the West in this century: an Octave of Prayer for the Defense of the West.

Here is a suggested form which might be used each day between today, September 5th, and the 12th, which comprise eight days, or an octave:

An Octave of Prayer for the Defense of the West

Minister. O God, make speed to save us:

Answer. O Lord, make haste to help us.

Minister. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost;
Answer. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
Minister. Praise ye the Lord.
Answer. The Lord’s Name be praised.

Psalm 2. Quare fremuerunt gentes?

WHY do the heathen so furiously rage together? * and why do the people imagine a vain thing?
2 The kings of the earth stand up, and the rulers take counsel together * against the LORD, and against his Anointed:
3 Let us break their bonds asunder, * and cast away their cords from us.
4 He that dwelleth in heaven shall laugh them to scorn: * the Lord shall have them in derision.
5 Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, * and vex them in his sore displeasure:
6 Yet have I set my King * upon my holy hill of Sion.
7 I will rehearse the decree: * the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee.

The Prayers

In Time of War and Tumults.

ALMIGHTY God, the supreme Governor of all things, whose power no creature is able to resist, to whom it belongeth justly to punish sinners, and to be merciful to those who truly repent; Save and deliver us, we humbly beseech thee, from the hands of our enemies; that we, being armed with thy defence, may be preserved evermore from all perils, to glorify thee, who art the only giver of all victory; through the merits of thy Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

In Time of Calamity.

O GOD, merciful and compassionate, who art ever ready to hear the prayers of those who put their trust in thee; Graciously hearken to us who call upon thee, and grant us thy help in this our need; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

For Missions.

O GOD, who hast made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on the face of the whole earth, and didst send thy blessed Son to preach peace to them that are far off and to them that are nigh; Grant that all men everywhere may seek after thee and find thee. Bring the nations into thy fold, pour out thy Spirit upon all flesh, and hasten thy kingdom; through the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

For the Conversion of Mohammedans and all who know not Christ.

Let us pray for the conversion of Mohammedans, and all who know not Christ.

V. Let thy way be known upon earth:

R. Thy saving health among all nations.

ALMIGHTY God, our heavenly Father, who in thy goodness hast caused the light of the Gospel to shine in our land: Extend thy mercy, we beseech thee, to the nations of the world that still walk in darkness. Enlighten the Moslems with the knowledge of thy truth; and grant that the Gospel of salvation may be made known in all lands, that the heart of the peoples may be turned unto thee; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

For the Family of Nations.

ALMIGHTY God, our heavenly Father, guide, we beseech thee, the Nations of the world into the way of justice and truth, and establish among them that peace which is the fruit of righteousness, that they may become the Kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.

¶ Then may the Litany be said, or at least this portion thereof:

¶ Minister and People.

O Lord, arise, help us, and deliver us for thy Name’s sake.

Minister.

O GOD, we have heard with our ears, and our fathers have declared unto us, the noble works that thou didst in their days, and in the old time before them.

Minister and People.

O Lord, arise, help us, and deliver us for thine honour.

Minister.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost;
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
From our enemies defend us, O Christ.
Graciously look upon our afflictions.
With pity behold the sorrows of our hearts.
Mercifully forgive the sins of thy people.
Favourably with mercy hear our prayers.
O Son of David, have mercy upon us.
Both now and ever vouchsafe to hear us, O Christ.
Graciously hear us, O Christ; graciously hear us, O Lord Christ.

O Lord, let thy mercy be showed upon us;
As we do put our trust in thee.

The Concluding Collect.

O GOD, who knowest us to be set in the midst of so many and great dangers, that by reason of the frailty of our nature we cannot always stand upright; Grant to us such strength and protection, as may support us in all dangers, and carry us through all temptations; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

2 Cor. xiii. 14.

THE grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Ghost, be with us all evermore. Amen.


Nota Bene: The prayer “For the Conversion of Mohammedans and all who know not Christ” is taken from The Book of Common Prayer of the Scottish Episcopal Church (1929). The “Concluding Collect” is that appointed for the Fourth Sunday after Epiphany, according to The Book of Common Prayer 1928 (U.S.).

Europe’s Civilizational Exhaustion – Gatestone Institute

Pictured: French police eject some of the 80 migrants and pro-illegal-immigration activists who occupied the Basilica of Saint Denis, on March 18, 2018. (Image source: Video screenshot, YouTube/Kenyan News & Politics)

“In Sweden, by 2050, almost one in three people will be Muslim. The civilizational exhaustion is seen in Europeans’ falling birth rates, mushrooming public debt, chaos in the streets, and a refusal to invest in security. Islam is filling the cultural vacuum of a society with no children and which believes – wrongly – it has no enemies.”

Source: Europe’s Civilizational Exhaustion | Gatestone Institute

  • Islam is filling the cultural vacuum of a society with no children and which believes — wrongly — it has no enemies.
  • In Sweden, by 2050, almost one in three people will be Muslim.
  • The European mainstream mindset now seems to believe that “evil” comes only from our own sins: racism, sexism, elitism, xenophobia, homophobia, the guilt of the heterosexual white Western male — and never from non-European cultures. Europe now postulates an infinite idealization of the “other”, above all the migrant.
  • A tiredness seems to be why these countries do not take meaningful measures to defeat jihadism, such as closing Salafist mosques or expelling radical imams.
  • Muslim extremists understand this advantage: so long as they avoid another enormous massacre like 9/11, they will be able to continue taking away human lives and undermining the West without awakening it from its inertia.

Is this really what we want? Because it’s what we’re going to get, if we don’t – collectively – wake up, and start defending what is valuable: our history, our culture, our heritage.

This essay – which makes for sobering reading, but for that very reason should be read, marked, learned, and inwardly digested by defenders of the West – continues,

Stephen Bullivant, a professor of theology and the sociology of religion at St Mary’s University in London, recently published a report, “Europe’s Young Adults and Religion”:

“Christianity as a default, as a norm, is gone, and probably gone for good – or at least for the next 100 years,” Bullivant said.

According to Bullivant, many young Europeans “will have been baptised and then never darken the door of a church again. Cultural religious identities just aren’t being passed on from parents to children. It just washes straight off them… “And we know the Muslim birthrate is higher than the general population, and they have much higher [religious] retention rates.”

That is a very dangerous and worrying combination – to put it mildly. The situation has gotten so bad that no less a figure than Richard Dawkins, who is as this essay notes is

an atheist and the author of The God Delusion, responded to the study’s release by tweeting to his millions of Twitter followers:

Before we rejoice at the death throes of the relatively benign Christian religion, let’s not forget Hilaire Belloc’s menacing rhyme:

“Always keep a-hold of nurse
For fear of finding something worse.”

Dawkins is apparently concerned that after the demise of Christianity in Europe, there will not be an atheistic utopia, but a rising Islam.

Dawkins’ concern is well-founded. Secularists and atheists of Dawkins’ ilk – not, clearly, Dawkins himself, who though misguided is vastly more intelligent than many of his followers – have been happy enough to use Islam (*) as a foil for Christianity (and I would not be surprised if many have not rejoiced, secretly, in the deaths of Christians in the Middle East and elsewhere), believing that it is doing much of their work for them, and that they can then control and enervate it, too.

This makes about as much sense as trying to chain a dragon to boil a pot of tea. What they fail to realize is that those who passionately believe in something – whether that “something” is truth or falsehood, witness the passionate belief in Communism many still possess, despite its theoretical “defeat” in the 1980s and ’90s – will always have an edge over those who believe in nothing. And unlike the heirs of Western Christendom, Islam is not tired, not exhausted: it has had a rest of some centuries, and has awoken.

It is time, and past time, for us to awaken, too – to awaken to our peril, and to defend ourselves against it. We have a moral responsibility to do so (and as Christians, a religious duty, since Islam is a false religion, and a dangerous ideology): not only for ourselves, but for our ancestors, and for our descendants. So far, we are abjectly failing both. We are betraying our patrimony, by failing to defend it, and pass it on.

What is at stake, here? Let’s look to history: when the Iberian Peninsula fell to the Muslims, it took 700 years to reconquer it – and that was with most of the rest of Europe free. How long will the Reconquista take, if the whole West should fall? None of us will live to see it! But if we fail to wake up, we may live to see that fall.

Again I ask: is this really what we want?

 


• And more generally, multiculturalism and mass immigration, which – far from being a source of strength – weakens and breaks down cultural cohesiveness and integrity, and damages the host culture’s ability to defend itself against attacks both from within and from without. But Islam is the most significant unifying force among many of these immigrants, especially in Europe, and increasingly in the U.S., too.

Christian Persecution and Genocide Is Worse Now Than “Any Time in History,” Report Says

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“Not only are Christians more persecuted than any other faith group, but ever-increasing numbers are experiencing the very worst forms of persecution.”

Source: Christian Persecution and Genocide Is Worse Now Than “Any Time in History,” Report Says |Newsweek

Sadly, this article has caused me to add a new tag to my list: “Persecution of Christians.”

Incredibly, there are still those who believe that Christians “have a persecution complex,” that we are the ones doing the “persecuting,” and if anyone does attack us, it’s no more than we deserve. Well, it’s not a persecution “complex” if we really are being persecuted – and we are indeed, as this report makes plain.

“The persecution and genocide of Christians across the world is worse today “than at any time in history,” and Western governments are failing to stop it, a report from a Catholic organization said.

“The study by Aid to the Church in Need said the treatment of Christians has worsened substantially in the past two years compared with the two years prior, and has grown more violent than any other period in modern times…

“The report examined the plight of Christians in China, Egypt, Eritrea, India, Iran, Iraq, Nigeria, North Korea, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria and Turkey over the period lasting from 2015 until 2017. The research showed that in that time, Christians suffered crimes against humanity, and some were hanged or crucified.

“The report found that Saudi Arabia was the only country where the situation for Christians did not get worse, and that was only because the situation couldn’t get any worse than it already was.”

The Newsweek article goes on to add that

“The report put special focus on Middle Eastern countries like Iraq and Syria, where the authors argued Christians would have been entirely wiped out if it weren’t for military action and the assistance of Christian humanitarian organizations, like Aid to the Church in Need.

“The defeat of Daesh [the Islamic State militant group] and other Islamists in major strongholds of the Middle East offers the last hope of recovery for Christian groups threatened with extinction,” the report found. “Many would not survive another similar violent attack.”

Nor is the violence limited to the Middle East.

“In Africa, the report focused on countries like Sudan, where the government ordered that churches be destroyed, and Nigeria, where ISIS-affiliated groups like Boko Haram have led a surge in attacks on Christians. In Eritrea, hundreds of Christians have been rounded up and imprisoned over the past year because of their faith.

“The report also documented numerous case studies in which Christians in countries such as India and Nigeria were murdered or beaten for practicing their faith.”

The majority of these crimes are – not surprisingly – perpetrated by Muslims, whether in the Middle East or Africa, with the addition (more surprisingly, to someone like myself who since my college days had believed the assertion that “polytheists are religiously tolerant”) of some militant Hindus in India.

It is true that the situation has not yet really reached the U.S., and is only beginning to impact Europe. But we are islands in the storm, and the sea is rising. What makes the situation even more alarming is that Western governments seem all too eager to welcome in large numbers of immigrants from many of the very regions and even countries where the problem is greatest.

I am moderately confident that it is true, as is always claimed, that the majority of these are peace-loving and non-violent. But I suspect the majority are basically peace-loving and non-violent in the countries where Christians are under violent attack, too. It doesn’t take a particularly large percentage of malefactors to cause a large problem!

And the cultural and religious milieu supports the militants, whether or not the majority of the population does. Do we really wish to import this problem into the West? I don’t!

As to the belief that Christians deserve to be persecuted for their actual or alleged crimes in the past – anyone who believes that is either sadly deluded, or mentally disturbed. Yes, it’s true that some Christians have committed some unfortunate and even terrible acts in the name of their faith, over the centuries. It’s called human nature… or, in Christian terms, sinfulness. And it is far from unique to Christianity!

As a faith, however, Christianity teaches love of one’s neighbor, and even for one’s persecutors (it is possible to love someone in principle while still using whatever means necessary to prevent them from harming oneself or others, so let us set aside the idea that a Christian must be a pacifist, immediately), in a way that few other religions – and certainly not Islam – does not.

And Christians have been in the forefront of movements to end slavery, seek peaceful relations between nations and peoples, and even to provide medical, agricultural, and other assistance to less-developed nations, engage in disaster relief, assist displaced persons, and many other such activities.

Indeed, one of the great ironies of the present crisis is that through its strong support of aid to the down-trodden, Christianity has been partially responsible for the population explosion in some parts of the world that are distinctly unfriendly to Christianity, and the West! But that, unfortunately, is a chance one takes when one is trying to be decent to other people.

But here again, the question arises: do we really want to welcome into our own nations people who are unfriendly to us, or whose cultures and value systems are alien, even inimical, to ours? Particularly in large numbers? A few here and there can be assimilated, or if they are not, are unlikely to cause much trouble. But en masse… well, the “no-go” zones appearing in a growing number of European cities should serve as a cautionary tale, in my opinion.

With respect to Christianity, and our Christian responsibility to love our neighbor, and welcome the stranger: as I have commented before, in the parable of the “Good Samaritan,” even that compassionate and benevolent individual did not welcome the person he helped into his own home. He set him up in an inn, and paid the innkeeper to nurse him back to health. Nor is there any indication that he continued to support him, once health was restored. These points should, I think, serve as a model for us!

Loving your neighbor as yourself starts with loving yourself: not to excess, but in a properly ordered fashion. And loving yourself includes having self-respect, without which it is unrealistic to expect anyone else to respect you, either. It also includes the willingness and ability to protect yourself, and those you love (by extrapolation including your nation and culture), from those who would harm or assault them. Anything else is not love, but a form of self-immolation.

And even if you are willing to sacrifice yourself for another – which, if done for the right reasons, can be praiseworthy (if done for the right reasons… otherwise, it’s just foolishness) – no one has the right to sacrifice others, or to fail to defend them if that is within one’s power. And beyond individuals, we have both a right and a responsibility under natural law – which is, after all, God’s law – to protect and defend our people and our heritage, that we might pass them on, undiminished, to our posterity.

Pope Pius XII - Sacred inheritance

Again, our responsibility to those who came before and to those who will come after (*) are factors which must be taken into account. We can sacrifice ourselves, and our own possessions, if we so choose; but we do not have the right to sacrifice others, or their possessions and patrimony.

(* Remember the famous “seven generations” of Native American lore? As in, whatever we do should be considered in light of seven generations? This refers to the effect of that action, or inaction, on our own generation, plus the three generations that came before us, and the three that will follow – that is to say, ourselves, our ancestors, and our descendants – that none be dishonoured. Something even those of us who are not Native Americans might profitably keep in mind!)

It is this collective, community-focused, social and cultural responsibility which is often missed or ignored by people who have been trained by our dysfunctional culture to believe that it’s all about me, and what I want. Charity really does begin at home, with our family and our immediate community; once they are cared for, protected, etc., then we can widen the circle – carefully and advisedly, and not beyond our means – outward. But if we help others at the expense of our own (family, people, community), that is not morally virtuous, it is morally vicious.

So, to conclude: this report, from Aid to the Church in Need, makes it clear that the persecution and genocide of Christians across the world is worse today “than at any time in history,” and that Western governments are failing to stop it. We need to do what we can, and pressure our governments to do what they can, to try to protect persecuted Christians world-wise – and we need to push back against the false claim that Christians are the persecutors, and not the persecuted.

But we also need to make sure that we are not importing the problem onto our own shores, and into our own cultures. We of the West cannot be a bastion for others if we are allowing ourselves to be undermined! We need to stand strong, and limit immigration to those who we can be confident will be assets, not liabilities; who support our values, and who will be a benefit, not a detriment, to our cultures.

And not solely for our own sakes: for all our faults, the Western world is the last, best hope for freedom and opportunity. We cannot take everyone in! But we can serve as an example, an inspiration, and (cautiously) as a resource. While it’s a mistake to confuse any earthly entity or institution with the Kingdom of God, we are the closest thing the secular world has to that “shining City on a hill” mentioned in Scriptures – and the closer we cleave to our Judeo-Christian patrimony, the brighter we shine. If our light has dimmed in recent times, it is because we have fallen away from that ideal.

Should the West ever fall entirely, the outlook for the rest of the world will be bleak and dark indeed.

Richard Dawkins: Islam Is ‘The Most Evil Religion In The World’ | Interface Institute

Source: Richard Dawkins: Islam Is ‘The Most Evil Religion In The World’ | Interface Institute

I am no fan of Richard Dawkins, by any means. But it is interesting, to say the least, that although this über-“liberal” militant atheist has been largely lionized by the Left through decades of criticizing Christianity, the “PC police” jump on him when he dares to turn his critique to Islam!

Do they really think they wouldn’t be the first against the wall, or lined up on their knees to be beheaded, if the likes of ISIS or Iran’s “Revolutionary Guard” were ever to come to power in the West?

“In a speech at the Cheltenham Science Festival in the U.K., Dawkins slammed the moral idiocy of cultural relativism, arguing against the ill-conceived notion that all religions are more or less the same.

“’It’s tempting to say all religions are bad, and I do say all religions are bad, but it’s a worse temptation to say all religions are equally bad because they’re not,’ he stated.

“Refusing to submit to de facto blasphemy laws, Dawkins then dropped the bomb.

“’If you look at the actual impact that different religions have on the world it’s quite apparent that at present the most evil religion in the world has to be Islam,’ he said in no uncertain terms.”

Interesting, as a side note, that he uses the term “evil,” which is a theological term as well as a moral category (in the ancient world, from which our ideas of morality and ethics came, there was no clear-cut distinction between the two, as we sometimes like to pretend there is today).

If there were no objective moral standard, how could one speak of Islam as “evil”? It would simply be one of the best ideologies, at present, at achieving dominance – at least in certain spheres. And if there is a moral standard, where did it come from, in the absence of a Divine Lawgiver…?

Just sayin’…!

Leaked recording: Berlin police instructor calls Muslim recruits ‘enemy in our ranks’

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Source: Leaked recording: Berlin police instructor calls Muslim recruits ‘enemy in our ranks’

Sadly, this does not come as a surprise!

On the tape, the unidentified police instructor complains that many officers who come from migrant backgrounds, particularly those of Turkish and Arabic origins, refuse to pay attention in the academy classrooms and many have trouble speaking or writing German, Die Welt reported…

These Muslim recruits have put the future of the Berlin police force in jeopardy according to the instructor who said the migrant police officers would be “a second-class of police that will only be corrupt”.

“These are not colleagues, that’s the enemy. This is the enemy in our ranks and I have never felt such hostility in this class,” he added.

An English friend of mine on Facebook comments, “My son attended an Uniformed Services course at College prior to joining the Paras, and he said the same thing about the Middle Eastern [students] on his course. He said 50% of the class were made up of them, they were lazy, cheeky, stupid, bereft of discipline and he thought they were there for inside information to help them fight against us.”

Unfortunately I would not be a bit surprised. I am reminded of the fact that the 9/11 terrorists here in the U.S. learned to fly the airliners they used as weapons at American flight schools. The idea of Muslims in Germany and Britain learning information, tactics, etc., from the police and military of those countries seems all too credible, to me.

Kindness, openness, and willingness to share information has been a hallmark of Western society for centuries, and especially following the end of the Second World War – and heretofore, it has been a source of strength. But in the present environment, it seems to be more a source of vulnerability.