Friday, January 27, 2012

A Parent's Worst Nightmare Come True

It was about seven years ago that I heard the most beautiful sound I have ever heard, or ever expect to hear before the trumpets of the Heavenly Host announce the Second Coming; an angelic voice on the phone saying, “Daddy is that you?” It was my daughter: Ashley Netterville.

Her name is Netterville and not Powell because after she got pregnant and I proposed marriage, my girlfriend had what I would come to learn from her parents was only the latest in a long series of freakouts and left me; when Ashley was born, my name was never put on the birth certificate. Adding insult to injury, she left me for the pastor of the church we were attending who was giving us required premarital counseling. Talk about a wolf in sheep’s clothing! This is one reason why organized religion holds little appeal for me.

I wasn’t present for the birth of my firstborn, nor was I present for any of her birthdays during her childhood or early teen years. I searched the country for my daughter for 15 years, even hiring private investigators to find her. Every time I found out where she was, her mother packed her up and left for a new city just ahead of the court papers demanding some type of joint custody or visitation.

Unlike many fathers who do whatever they can to avoid taking responsibility for their children, raising my daughter was the most important thing to me. All I ever wanted was to be a part of her life, but that opportunity was repeatedly torn away from me by her mother. Eventually, I had to accept the fact that I would never find my little girl.

Still, hoping against hope for 17 years, every time I moved or got a new phone number I made sure that Ashley’s grandparents were the first people I called. They knew their daughter Barbara - my one time fiance - was a nutjob, and they always did whatever they could to send me pictures and keep me up to date with what they knew, which unfortunately was very little more often than not. I prayed that one day she would come looking for her real father, and seven years ago that prayer was answered with the best phone call I could possibly receive.

For the next couple of years my daughter and I got to know each other over Myspace and the telephone; when Yahoo came out with their video chat program we graduated to face to face conversations that would sometimes last hours. Hell, sometimes we would just turn on our cameras and watch TV together, or do nothing at all. I was just happy to spend time with my baby girl.

Two years ago Ashley broke up with her boyfriend and I got another phone call. “Daddy, would it be OK if I came to live with you?” My jaw hit the floor and I started crying. “OK!?!? You have GOT to be kidding me Baby Girl. It’s more than OK; it’s all I ever wanted!” I dropped what I was doing and drove to Charleston to get her that very night, and we lived together happily until I moved to Michigan last June. I asked her to come with me, but she had found love in the arms of a young man and wanted to stay with him in South Carolina. I was torn between leaving the daughter I had just come to know and doing what I knew was best for my family.

Had I known that in just a few short months my little girl would be gone I would have made some different decisions. Had I known that she would be torn out of my life once again, I would have called her every single day to tell her “I love you,” and ask about her day. Had I known that she would be taken at such a young age, I would have been more insistent on sharing the Gospel with her.

I tried to tell Ashley about Christ on a couple of occasions, but I was always gently rebuffed, “Dad, you know I don’t believe in that kind of thing” she would say with a smile. Having just gotten her into my life after two decades of trying, I was afraid of pushing her away. I thought there would always be another time, another day, another situation where she might be more receptive. Oh my God. I couldn’t have been more wrong, and the guilt is killing me.

Last Sunday, I got a message on Facebook from the mother of the boy Ashley had moved in with. Ashley was in the hospital after suffering a seizure and going into cardiac arrest. For nearly two hours, her boyfriend, paramedics, and emergency room doctors gave her CPR and shocked her heart attempting to get a rhythm. They were finally successful in getting her heart to beat again, but an EEG revealed that she had gone without oxygen for too long; my little girl was showing no brain activity whatsoever, but her body was still alive.

I told her doctor that I was going to leave Michigan right away and head for Greenville, and I asked him to make sure that her mother did not turn off the life support before I got there. I wanted to be able to say goodbye to my baby before she was really, truly dead. An hour before I left I called to check on her and I was told that her mother had indeed ordered the doctor to disconnect Ashley’s life support.

They won’t even allow me to attend the memorial. Here is a Facebook conversation I had with Ashley’s sister...

*EDIT 3/10/11 - It really doesn't matter what was said, or the anger I was expressing with a previous version of this post. The pain I was feeling was raw and visceral and I had no idea how to let it out. I'll just say that the last month and a half has been the hardest of my life; at least I have some of my daughter's remains with which to hold a proper memorial service.

This was not how I wanted to lay my daughter to rest, and I will not make a memorial out of this post. But just so that my readers can put a face to my beautiful, talented, and loving daughter, here is a picture of her as I will always remember her: Laughing and Happy.

Tell Jesus "HI" for me Baby Girl. Daddy will be there soon. I love you.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

The Truth Is Viral: Tyranny in the U.S

Writing as Publius in Federalist Paper #47 James Madison proclaimed, “The accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive, and judiciary, in the same hands… may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny.”

This week, I begin a series of reports on the "End Game" in the United States, exposing recent legislation designed to restrict the freedoms of average Americans, enabling the military to arrest them without a charge and detain them indefinitely, leading to possible enslavement in FEMA camps.

Well I don't want to live in a tyranny, and I don't want my children to grow up slaves of the state. It's time to speak out, it's time to take a stand, it's time to TAKE OUR REPUBLIC BACK!

Thank you so much for your support,

Friday, January 6, 2012

Lay Leaders Of Iraqi Anglican Church Kidnapped And Killed; Churches Bombed; Entire Congregations Slaughtered Since '03; 400,000 Christians Flee Iraq

During my interview with Syrian Opposition Leader Malik al-Abdeh, portions of which will be posted as part of a brand new The Truth Is Viral this weekend, we spoke about the demographic makeup of Syria and how it factors into the unrest facing the regime of Bashar al-Assad. I asked Malik if he thought another Islamist government like those that have sprung up in Tunisia, Egypt, and now Libya, could take over Syria in the aftermath of Assad's ouster. So far, every government overthrown in the so-called "Arab Spring" has been taken over by Islamist parties like the Muslim Brotherhood and al-Nour.

"In regards to Syria," Malik explained, "I don't think the Muslim Brotherhood will be able to take over the country, or even enjoy particular prominence in Syrian political life. First of all, you have to realize that there is a considerable non-Muslim population in Syria; the Christian minority makes up almost 10 percent of the population. In addition there is a very significant number of non-Sunni Muslim minorities - the Muslim Brotherhood is a Sunni Muslim organization - in Syria, equal to about 13 percent of the population. You also have another nine percent of the population that is Kurdish, so (Syria is) a very diverse and secular country. It is a lot more secular than other countries in the Middle East."

So was Iraq before the U.S. invasion.

Iraq was fairly secular as well under the boot of Saddam Hussein. He wanted absolutely no competition for control of Iraq, especially from Mullahs claiming the authority of the Almighty, so Hussein kept a lid on religious strife - brutally. With Saddam's authoritarian security services out of commission, for a time after the invasion it appeared as though the Iraqi insurgency was going to devolve into a full-scale, three-sided, civil war between the Sunni, Shia, and Kurds - a sectarian religious war - with Christians caught in the middle.

Since the beginning of Operation Iraqi Freedom, nearly half of the one million Christians in the predominately Muslim country have either been killed by Muslim extremists, or they have fled the country to avoid being killed. Since 2003, four to six hundred thousand Iraqi Christians have fled to Jordan, Syria, Europe, and the United States.

For Christians living in Iraq, every day is filled with apprehension, worry, and sometimes outright terror; assaults, kidnappings, and murders - individually and en masse' - have claimed the lives of entire congregations. Over the past few years attacks by Sunni and Shia Muslim sects, both with well-armed militias at their disposal, have claimed thousands of lives with scores of churches blown up, sometimes while packed with worshipers. Christian churches now operate with armed guards at the entrances and on their Sunday School buses. One, St. George's in Baghdad, has been particularly hard hit; this post is from their Facebook page:

St. George’s Church in Baghdad is one of the few functioning churches left in Iraq. The church serves all denominations of Iraqi Christians from the surrounding neighborhoods. The congregation comes from Christian traditions that include Roman Catholic, Syriac Orthodox, and a mix of Protestants such as Anglican, Presbyterian and evangelical.

Because of the security situation in Iraq, several armed guards keep watch over the building and safeguard during services. A bus brings most members to the church helping to avoid the threat of kidnapping. Despite preventive efforts, the reality of violence remains.

Tragically, in September 2005 all of the lay church leaders were kidnapped and killed. Yet, despite the loss, the church members keep in good heart and continue to develop as a church body. It is a most wonderful gathering of people from many different backgrounds. Following the death of the initial leadership, a new team has been established in which women are playing a central role. ST. GEORGE'S ANGLICAN CHURCH - FACEBOOK WALL

From another post by St. George's:

I just spoke to our churchwarden -his nephew and his father had just been shot dead outside their house in Nineveh. The nephew Alhassan was due to be engaged on Friday. As I left church yesterday I was phoned again by church members, they had just heard that their family home in Nineveh had been totally blown up.

None of our people are traditionally Anglican but now in the midst of trauma denominations do not matter, all that matters is that that we believe in Jesus. In the last service I told our people what I regularly tell them: "There are no guarantees that we will not be killed this week, but there is one guarantee that when we see Jesus we will be like him." At this the people always cheer.

We cannot deny the success of the Surge; violence is still down in Baghdad. The sad reality though is that many of the terrorist groups like Al Qaida have moved north to places like Mosul. Who is responsible for the violence is still not clear. There is agreement that the violence is Sunni, some say it is Al Qaida types, others are placing the blame on the Kurds. This seems quite unlikely as many of the Christians have now escaped Nineveh / Mosul and are seeking refuge in Kurdistan.

Added to these many problems and dangers that the Christians are facing, there has also been the recent dismissal of the parliament to allow minorities to have representation reserved in the regional governments. So life is very hard at this time for the remaining Christians in Iraq. The majority of this minority have already fled. Those left are the ones who can't afford to leave or are refusing to. ST. GEORGE'S ANGLICAN CHURCH - We thought it could not get worse, it has.

The church has not updated its Facebook page since 2008. I have no idea if any of the congregants are even alive. I have sent emails to the listed contacts and even to some FB users who posted on the church's page, but have not yet received a reply.

Here is a short PBS documentary about Iraq's "Disappearing Christians."

Watch Disappearing Christians of Iraq on PBS. See more from Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly.

Christians are facing religious persecution in many Islamic countries. We're not talking about being called names now, this is honest-to-goodness life and death. People are being killed in the most horrible ways for the the crime of professing faith in Jesus Christ, and some of them are just children; like this young girl who was beheaded in Indonesia simply because she was a Christian.

This past Christmas Day in Nigeria three churches were blown up with worshipers inside, killing at least 40 of them. The following information comes from John Hinderaker's post at "A Month of Christian Persecution."

The so-called “Arab Spring” continues to transition into a “Christian Winter,” including in those nations undergoing democratic change, such as Egypt, where the Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafis dominated the elections—unsurprisingly so, considering the Obama administration has actually been training Islamists for elections.

Arab regimes not overthrown by the “Arab Spring” are under mounting international pressure; these include the secular Assad regime of Syria, where Christians, who comprise some 10% of the population, are fearful of the future, having seen the effects of democracy in neighboring nations such as Iraq, where, since the fall of the Saddam regime, Christians have been all but decimated.

Meanwhile, it was revealed that “Christians are being refused refugee status [in the U.S.] and face persecution and many times certain death for their religious beliefs under Sharia, while whole Muslim communities are entering the U.S. by the tens of thousands per month despite the fact that they face no religious persecution.”

Categorized by theme, November’s batch of Muslim persecution of Christians around the world includes (but is not limited to) the following accounts, listed according to theme and in alphabetical order by country, not necessarily severity.

Hindraker's blog goes on to detail attacks on Christians - just for the month of November, 2011 - in countries throughout the Muslim world: Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Indonesia, Nigeria, Kenya, Pakistan, Kashmir, Iran, Algeria, and Afghanistan where Afghani Abdul Rahman narrowly escaped execution - by the AFGHAN GOVERNMENT - for apostasy; abandoning Islam for Christianity. According to, there are still 10,000 more Afghan Christians literally living under the knife. has a much more inclusive list, though admittedly not complete as "many incidences of violence go unreported," of attacks on Christians since 9/11. I had toyed with the idea of embedding that list in this post, but on further reflection, aesthetically it's probably not a good choice. Check out the list for yourself and you will see why.

What is it about those Muslims who choose violence as a way to get their point across? They murder their victims when they are at their most vulnerable (at prayer,) the age and sex of their victims seems not to matter one bit (old ladies, little girls, babies,) and it is all too shockingly apparent that the ways they choose to murder their victims is as horrific as they can make it.

If you have never seen a beheading video, please don't go looking for one; trust me, it is the most horrible thing you will ever witness. I've seen a few of them, and the sounds and images that were seared into my brain will haunt me until my dying day. Funny thing is - funny odd, not funny haha - 99 times out of a hundred the victims of Islamic extremism are other Muslims; but I digress. Sunni vs. Shia violence is a topic for another day.

So what does this disturbing trend bode for Christians in Syria? Ironically, the only protection that Christians have had in Middle-Eastern countries are dictatorships that have kept an iron boot on the neck of Islamist parties. In all fairness to Malik, when we spoke he was unaware of the fact that Hakim Abdel Belhadj, the al-Qaeda terrorist that helped overthrow Moammar Gadaffi (with help from the CIA and Qatari government,) was slipping into Syria with a cadre of 1,000 battle-hardened terrorists fresh from the Libyan killing fields.

However it is my belief that TPTB, using the CIA and al-Qaeda terrorists as their muscle, have embarked on a program of sweeping change in the Middle-East. They are setting up a new paradigm, a new source of income for the next 50 years for the Miitary-Industrial-Complex: The Abrahamic Wars.

For those who are unaware, al-Qaeda is the military arm of the Muslim Brotherhood. Ayman al-Zawahiri, AQ's Top Dog, was a member of the Brotherhood from the age of 14. When Sayidd Qutb was executed by the Egyptian government, Zawahiri swore to spread the Brotherhood's message - and Islam - all over the world.

But if what's been happening across the Muslim world repeats itself in Syria, then hundreds of thousand of Syrian Christians may find themselves having to make the same decision that their Iraqi counterparts have had to make: Flee or die.

Since the MSM has done their best to ignore this issue, I guess it now falls under my purview. I'll keep an eye on developments and keep you updated.