Owned and published by UMHB, The Bells is a biweekly publication. This content was previously published in print on the Opinions page. Opinions expressed in this section do not necessarily reflect the views of the staff or the university.

One nation, under Jihad: The Bells on the Islamic State
Oct13

One nation, under Jihad: The Bells on the Islamic State

America under fire   AK-47 bullets ricochet off the metal framework of a once-bright, red merry-go-around. A five-year-old boy scrambles from its bars, trapped by the dissonance of war. His memory flashes to the joys of recess and freedom, before breathing his last breath.   Sound like far-fetched fear-mongering? Ask Israel. Radical Islam never rests.   Old enemy, new face   Talks of ISIS, ISIL and the quest for an Islamic State are on the minds of most Americans. And if you think the West is safe from their reach, you’re wrong.   ISIL (the Islamic State in the Levant), as we’ll refer to them from here on out, is no new enemy, and they’ve hurt us before.   In 2010, “Caliph Ibrahim,” under the nom de guerre of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, asserted himself as leader of ISIL.   ISIL found fertile soil for harvesting a new caliphate when America withdrew.   The group’s origins flashback to the Second Gulf War in 2003. With Saddam Hussein’s dictatorship in disarray and al-Qaida on the run, the United States conceded a major victory against her terrorist foes.   But radical Islam is a bacteria, and when the U.S. pulled out in 2011, it was like failing to finish a medication — the enemy came back harder and more determined than ever.   ISIL spun off of al-Qaida, but its atrocities proved so horrendous, even ravenous members of al-Qaida reprimanded its actions.   A coming caliphate?   ISIL has called for radical Muslims worldwide to join them in their quest to create a caliphate, or Islamic State.   They adhere to a convert or die world view. Enemies like ISIL, Hamas and Boko Haram, a group declaring its own caliphate over Nigeria, push for a world governed by Sharia law.   Even at home, our own countrymen fight for jihad. Some estimates suppose as many as 300 Americans now wave the black flag of ISIL.   In his new book, Rise of ISIS: A Threat We Can’t Ignore, Jay Sekulow wrote, “America must commit to destroying ISIS, not just ‘managing’ it or limiting its influence.”   He suggests we work together with our “true allies” to defeat ISIL.   All opposed to this jihad, whether Shiite Muslim, Orthodox Christian, Yazidi or Sephardic Jew, must intercept this threat. The United States and other Western nations should provide arms to forces like the Pershmerga, Kurdish fighters opposing ISIL in northern Iraq.   A coalition drives us all together to win this war.   United, we [all]...

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U.S. Responds
Oct13

U.S. Responds

President Obama may have brought home all the ground troops from Iraq, but make no mistake, the war in the Middle East continues. Islamic extremists have reared their heads in the form of another terrorism group: ISIL.   How has the United States been combating this new threat? Since early August, the U.S. has been carrying out airstrikes against the group in Iraq. In retaliation, ISIL began beheading people and videoing the acts.   In late September, the U.S. teamed up with a handful of ally nations and began airstrikes in Syria with the U.S. and Great Britain doing the brunt of the work … again. Obama made it clear that air attacks are the sole strategy we will employ for combatting ISIL. But the question lingers — is it enough?   According to the White House, no troops will return to Iraq, and the president said he will not allow us to be dragged into another Iraq-style war. While these words are reassuring to many citizens of a nation that has grown tired of the never-ending war against terrorism, which has claimed the lives of thousands of troops, others argue airstrikes alone will not be enough.   Initially, it makes sense to launch strategically–pointed attacks by air against ISIL because we obviously have a distinct military advantage in the sky. But this tactic will likely drive the militants into hiding, where they will stay and plot until we leave, at which point they will reemerge to continue acts of ruthless violence.   ISIL is radical. To defeat an opponent so brutally dedicated and loyal, one must resort to radical measures. I’m just not sure that airstrikes will be enough to finish the job.   A former senior British general said ISIL could not be defeated without sending ground soldiers to finish what the airstrikes have begun.   Obama doesn’t want another Iraq war. Well, ISIL is not like al-Qaida in the way they present themselves. They have tanks, artillery, wealth and troops who form up in rank.   They don’t operate out of caves. They are an army. And to defeat an army, we must make them face the greatest army in the...

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Letter from the editor
Sep17

Letter from the editor

Words are so powerful. That’s not something new to me. But these past two weeks have  reminded me just how much the things we say and do effect other people. The power of the tongue, whether in print or through word of mouth, can change someone’s day.   After running “Gay: Not the New Black,” last issue, a barrage of social media posts have been directed at this publication and staff.   First, I want to thank everyone who commented and shared the story — Thank you for illustrating the powerful impact of free speech. While going to UMHB has many perks, exercising the ability to express myself on a lot of different platforms is one of my favorites.   Many terrible things have been directed at me and the people I care about because of one writer’s opinion. To answer any doubts, yes I love the Lord with all my heart and would not want to compromise my love for Christ by allowing something hateful to be published, which brings me to my real point.   The previously published article did not, seek to condemn or disapprove of any people group. Instead, it sought to present a comparison brought up by publications like The Huffington Post. Comparing gays and African Americans did not start with The Bells. It’s an old and unfair weighing of two very different struggles, brought to our writer’s attention by larger media outlets.   The point of “Gay: Not the New Black” was not to deem either struggle as right or wrong. It wasn’t to question or mock any group of people. The only wrongness pointed out was in reference to the comparison of these two very real struggles. The writer provides his own opinion via his commentary, stating that he believes the physical violence inflicted on the black community cannot be compared to that of the LGBT community. Not to say that both groups haven’t suffered terrible, unfair and unnecessary hurt — they definitely have.   Yes, I believe in treating every single human being with kindness and courtesy. And even more so, I love this university and would never do anything to make people think otherwise.   It saddens me to hear that some alumni are ashamed to be affiliated with their alma mater because of one opinion piece.   Whether it’s a Facebook group or a comment, rather than lashing out at the people who published a sensitive story, I think we should all take a step back and remember what matters, and why so much disagreement has arisen.   Love. We should love each other. I don’t care who you...

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Cold challenge in hot water
Sep17

Cold challenge in hot water

Every morning, as people wake up and log onto Facebook, it’s increasingly difficult to ignore the growing number of videos in their news feed showing friends having buckets of ice water poured over their heads and then nominating others to do the same.   As some scroll, they dread the day they’ll become the newest nominee dragged into the phenomenon known as the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.   Where does the money go? Well-meaning donors, many of whom believe in the sanctity of life should know that large portions of their donations are going to fund stem cell research, to which they may have a moral objection.   In the process of bettering human lives that cope with ALS, money is going to the recreation and destruction of human cells for hit-and-miss scientific analysis––what many consider a most literal crime against humanity.   Also, there’s the breakdown of the funds the ALS Foundation receives. According to data provided by the ECFA, an organization founded in 1979 with the mission to promote the transparency of non-profit organizations, it’s not even a charity.   By that group’s definition, to be a charitable organization it must prove that 80 percent of its funds go to projects directly linked with its cause. In the case of the ALS Foundation, only 27 percent of donations go toward helping victims.   Also potentially disturbing is that the leadership of the ALS Foundation does quite well for itself in the non-profit business.   President and CEO Jane Gilbert makes nearly $400,000 a year, and Chief Financial Officer Daniel Renzikov makes more than $200,000 a year. Aside from the questionable salaries, what many express frustration with is the feeling of being forced against their wills. No one should be nominated for a charitable activity.   Generosity is a personal conviction. Individuals should be able to choose freely if they want to donate and what causes or organizations they donate to.   Further, one could argue the Ice Bucket Challenge is inherently disrespectful as it shifts the attention from ALS, its victims and possible solutions to the admittedly entertaining antics of screaming, gasping, shivering participants and their unsuspecting friends who must now give into peer pressure to continue the frigid cycle.   Another problem with the idea of nominating people for charity is the lack of consideration for others’ finances. What if someone who received that dreaded notification simply didn’t have the money to participate? What if he or she had already allotted an amount to give to an equally noble effort?   Guilt should never be motivation for giving. This leads to an unhealthy environment in which...

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The college struggle: It’s real
Sep17

The college struggle: It’s real

“My textbooks were so affordable!” — Said no one ever.   With a new semester comes another round of textbooks. Whether you’re paying $780 per credit hour at UMHB or $4,538 at Harvard, college is an investment. After attaining thousands of dollars for school loans and contributing all of the money made from summer jobs, many students enter each new semester with a feeling of financial uncertainty, worry and stress. The last thing they need is to fork out is the rest of their life savings for over-priced and sometimes unnecessary textbooks.   Students everywhere are feeling the pain of a broken textbook market. According to an article from U.S. News & World Reports, the price of textbooks has increased 82 percent over the past decade. We all know how expensive the books are, but how are they getting away with continually increasing the prices? The answer lies in a simple economic equation.   This problem stems from a lack of competition. Due to mergers and buyouts, there are basically three publishing companies in control of the majority of the market. Publishers take advantage of this unique market where college students will always need textbooks, encouraging them to make prices artificially high. Often times, professors are unaware of the price of the textbooks that are required for the course. Isn’t that scary?   Consumers (students) have no control over the textbook market. Because there isn’t much competition, publishers can keep costs up by printing new editions every few years.   They even make “custom” editions, preventing students from finding them used. There goes your chance of selling that $272 Business Driven Technology textbook back to the bookstore. Sorry.   Hopefully you chose to rent it for $153 instead.   According to U.S. News  & World Reports, 65 percent of students choose to risk a lower grade by avoiding the over-priced textbooks altogether. They are knowingly setting themselves up for an uphill battle to save their hard earned cash. That’s kind of sad if you ask me.   We need to stand up for ourselves and avoid giving in to the money-hungry textbook industry. Do your research and rent or share a textbook. It’s time to show textbook publishers that we will no longer be puppets in their vicious cycle.   I have one last word for you Crusaders.  ...

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Ray Rice: The bigger issue
Sep17

Ray Rice: The bigger issue

  “Ray Rice is a heck of a guy that made a mistake…” a comment from Baltimore Ravens head football coach John Harbaugh shortly after the arrest of his star running back in late July.   Not only did the Ravens organization drop the ball on this incident, but so did the Atlantic City police department and the NFL.   Roger Goodell, NFL Commissioner, made the decision to suspend Ray Rice for the first two games of the 2014 season. This immediately raised eyebrows on the lack of repercussions for domestic violence cases within the league. Just as it seemed everything was going to blow over for Rice, the Ravens and the League, TMZ released the whole video of Rice punching his then fiancé, now wife, Janay Palmer in an elevator at the Revel Hotel in Atlantic City, New Jersey.  The video is hard to watch. Hours after the video was released, the Baltimore front office made the decision to terminate Rice’s contract and cut him from their roster. The NFL quickly followed suit and suspended him from the league indefinitely.   They washed their hands of Rice, trying to say that they hadn’t seen the video until it was released by TMZ.   This brings me to the major issue I have with the NFL. Athletes have been notorious for seeming to be above the law. Although the NFL has become more strict over the last five years, they have failed terribly with their domestic violence policy … or should I say, lack thereof.   Players are getting suspended for an entire season, for violating a very picky and particular substance policy, and then you have notable players getting arrested for domestic violence, only getting a two game suspension.   There is obviously something wrong with this equation.   As big as the NFL is in American culture, it has been a trailblazer when it comes to dealing with issues such as this. They have ultimately dropped the ball. They had a chance to prove to the world that football is more than just a game and how you perform in society means much more than the 60 minutes of play Sunday afternoons.   Since the video was made public, the league has made plans to revise its’ domestic violence policy.   They have already come out and said that a domestic violence infraction will result in a six-game suspension for first time offenders and a possible lifetime ban for repeat offenders.   A more detailed policy is a must for the league. If they want to save face, they need to make a conscious effort to rework...

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