The Two Spies Report

The "Minority Report" from J. Michael Bennett, Ph.D, Emeritus Producer of the Future Quake Radio Show, and Author of the soon-to-be-released book series The Holy War Chronicles – A Spiritual View of the War on Terror

Category: Human Rights

Conservative Role Models in the Bible – Part 1

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[EDITOR’S NOTE:  Even though I have repeatedly said that my posts here will only be sporadic due to the priority of getting my last book volume drafted and the whole Holy War Chronicles series published, the delay has been longer than normal due to a health crisis within my parents that has required me to be available out of state for much of the time over the last few months, and the foreseeable future; I would appreciate the prayers of all the readers for both of them, and for my siblings and myself.]

This post topic came to mind the other day when I was reminded of a recent project I heard about that created a “Conservative Bible” (the fact that CPAC is going on and in the news as I write this has also contributed, I am sure).  It was overseen by Andrew Schlafly, the originator of the Wikipedia variant “Conservapedia” (which only features data supporting conservative worldviews), and the son of conservative icon Phyllis Schlafly.  As a “grand dame” of the conservative movement, she shook the political world in 1964 with her book A Choice Not an Echo, and is recognized by historians by almost singlehandedly defeating the Equal Rights Amendment in the 1970s, after it had almost passed enough state legislations, by means of her aggressive organization and activism.  Her organization “The Eagle Forum” was a bastion of conservative family and moral issues and their political and legal defense, and a prototype for later conservative “family” organizations.  As a staunch religiously-conservative Roman Catholic and defender of traditional Christian family values and role models, she embraced Donald Trump as such a role model and his 2016 campaign (ironically her son was also eventually “outed” as a practicing homosexual).  Her work also promoted the conservative values of unbridled capitalism (aka the Social Darwinist credo of “each man for himself”) and privatization to corporate control of the public interest.  And true to these values of unregulated corporate behavior, Schlafly’s own beloved Eagle Forum organization was subject to some type of hostile takeover by members of her own board of directors, including her own daughter, shortly before her death in 2016.  The cited online reference from its Missouri branch wrote that “Word has come of a rogue board meeting and an upcoming hostile takeover of Eagle Forum’s board and its assets. Phyllis Schlafly’s endorsement of Trump is a likely catalyst. But you can be sure the real objective is to control the Eagle Forum bank accounts and that the Gang of 6 will present a carefully crafted excuse for public consumption”.  She told World Net Daily that the coup was real and that “this may be my Dobson moment (when the board of Focus on the Family similarly forced founder James Dobson out), was based upon her endorsement of Trump, and was led by her own daughter.

Her son, Andrew Schlafly, is a “chip of the old block” who has forged his own conservative venues, such as his online resource “Conservapedia”, which is intended to be a Wikipedia-like information source with only conservative-approved information.  A brilliant person himself with an engineering degree from Princeton and a doctorate from Harvard Law School, he founded Conservapedia in 2006 when he was alarmed to read a student assignment (as a homeschool teacher) using the now-accepted Common Era (C.E.) historical dating nomenclature, versus the Anno Domini (A.D.) earlier tradition.  Schlafly objectively explains on the “About” page on his Conservapedia site that “Conservapedia is a clean and concise resource for those seeking the truth.  We do not allow liberal bias to deceive and distort here.  Founded initially in November 2006 as a way to educate advanced, college-bound homeschoolers, this resource has grown into a marvelous source of information for students, adults and teachers alike”.   He adds that “We have received over 500 million page views!”, and notes that “A conservative approach to education is powerful and helpful in many ways. It equips students and adults to overcome inevitable obstacles, such as addiction and depression…There are few, if any, conservative schools…The truth shall set you free..No other encyclopedic resource on the internet is free of corruption by liberal untruths.”

To get a feel of the type of narrative and perspective provided on Conservapedia, a look at its front page on February 21, 2017 notes that its “popular articles” include those on “global warming”, “feminism”, “homeschooling”, “evolution”, “liberal claptrap”, “hollywood values”, “biblical scientific foreknowledge”, “Donald Trump”, “free market”, “George Patton”, “Globalism”, “Conservapedia proven right”, “Ex-homosexuals”, “Battle of Thermopylae”, “greatest conservative songs”, “counterexamples to relativity”, “liberal bias”, “liberal style”, “Chuck Norris”, “bias in Wikipedia”, “Mystery: Why do Non-Conservatives Exist?”, “Barack Hussein Obama” and “Professor Values”, to name a few.  It also features a late-breaking “In the News” segment, with story titles such as “White House Signals Reversal in Transgender Bathroom Policy, overturning another Leftist policy by Obama”, “Trump was Right: Riots Break Out in Rinkeby, Sweden”, “Conservapedia Proven Right, Again”, “More fake news by the lamestream media”, and “Melania Trump Recites the Lord’s Prayer at Melbourne Rally – CROWD GOES WILD!”, and many other such reference citations for academics and researchers.

Regarding its rival Wikipedia, its Conservapedia page dedicated to it notes that “Most of Wikipedia’s articles can be edited publicly by both registered and anonymous editors, mostly consisting of teenagers and the unemployed.  As such it tends to project a liberal – and, in some cases, even socialist, Communist, and Nazi-sympathizing-worldview, which is totally at odds with conservative reality and rationality” (emphasis added).  It notes that Wikipedia founders Jimbo Wales and “atheist philosophy professor Larry Sanger’ are both atheists, and that “its articles are a mixture of truths, half-truths and falsehoods”, quoting World Net Daily editor Joseph Farah as saying that Wikipedia “is not only a provider of inaccuracy and bias.  It is wholesale purveyor of lies and slander unlike any other the world has ever seen”.  It does fairly point out that “Wikipedia has millions of entries on trivia and mundane topics”, but smacks of that “systemic liberal bias that dominates Wikipedia”.  They also perceptively point out that “the ‘hammer and sickle’ of the leftist ideology which murdered millions in the former Soviet Union – is featured prominently on the instruction page as well as the tags that mark each uploaded image”.  They are also known at Conservapedia for taking a strong stand against what they perceive to be one of the greatest threats to political conservatism – Einstein’s general theory of relativity in physics.  Their page on the “theory of relativity” begins by warning that “The theory of relativity is defended with religious-like zeal, such that no college faculty tenure, Ph.D degree, or Nobel Prize is ever awarded to anyone who dares criticize the theory”, and its article titles within this topic comprise those such as “Lack of Evidence for Relativity”, and “Experiments that Fail To Prove Relativity”.  They note that “Despite censorship of dissent about relativity, evidence contrary to the theory is discussed outside of liberal universities”.  They add that “some liberal politicians have extrapolated the theory of relativity to metaphorically justify their own political agendas…Applications of the theory of relativity to change morality have also been common”.   The article is associated at its conclusion with other wiki topics, such as “Liberal pseudoscience”, which includes “Black holes”, dark matter” and “moral relativism”.  On the dedicated Conservapedia page “Counterexamples to Relativity”, they begin by noting that “The theory of relativity is disproved by numerous counterexamples, but it promoted by liberals who like its encouragement of relativism and its tendency to pull people away from the Bible”.  This leads the prominent scientific magazine New Scientist to state, “In the end there is no liberal conspiracy at work.  Unfortunately, humanities scholars often confuse the issue by misusing the term ‘relativity’.  The theory in no way encourages relativism, regardless of what Conservapedia may think”.

Conservapedia does provide some pages with useful definitions of popular political terms today we can use for this post.  In their page on the topic “Liberal”, emblazoned with a picture of “Barack Hussein Obama” and stated to be the ‘least successful president in history”, states at the beginning that “A liberal is someone who craves an increase in government spending, power, and control, such as Obamacare.  Liberals also support the censorship and denial of Christianity.  Liberals who are a part of the secular left prefer the atheist religion over the Christian faith, as atheism has no objective morality to hinder their big government plans”.  They add that “Liberals favor a welfare state where people receive endless entitlements without working”, and that “All liberals support, in knee-jerk fashion, the oppositive of conservative principles, while lacking an actual ideology or values of their own.  Many of them cannot understand Christian language”.  They are also known for (a) “Denial of science (especially creation science)”, (b) “Hypocrisy”, (c) “The belief that terrorism is not a huge threat, and that the main reason for Muslim extremists’ hostility towards America is because of bad foreign policy”, (d) “Hedonism”, (e) “Rejection of Biblical standards”, (f) “Hatred”, (g) “Murder”, (h) “crying instead of accepting reality”, (i) “Cessation of teacher-led prayer in classrooms”, (h) “tyranny”, (i) “Treason”, (j) “pseudo-intellectualism”, (k) “genocide”, (l) “fascism”, (m) “Destroying conservative family values and replacing them with immoral Hollywood values”, (n) “High progressive taxes as a form of class warfare against wealthy business owners”, (o) “Sadism”, (p) “racism”, (q) “slander”, (r) “Obesity”, (s) “environmentalism”, (t) pedophilia”, (u) “mutilating corpses”, (v) “enforced homosexuality”, and many more unsavory attributes.  They add that, “In practical usage, the term ‘liberal’ is more closely synonymous with ‘radical’, ‘immoral’, ‘anti-freedom’, ‘elitist’, or ‘bad'”.  Their list of ‘Notable liberal ‘intellects'” includes “Barack Hussein Obama”, “Dracula”, “David Thorstad, a founding member of NAMBLA”, “Adolf Hitler”, “Karl Marx’, “Lee Harvey Oswald”, “Benito Mussolini”, “Margaret Thatcher” (for decriminalizing homosexuality), and “Osama Bin Laden”.  Their list of “Liberal Organizations” included AARP, AFL-CIO and others.

It also has a page dedicated to “Conservatism”. On it, it notes that “A conservative is someone who rises above his personal self-interest and promotes moral and economic values beneficial to all.  A conservative is willing to learn and advocate the insights of economics and the logic of the Bible for the benefit of everyone else.  A conservative favors conserving value by not giving handouts to anyone who does not really need them”.  Regarding their “goals and principles”, they note that conservatives seek or support “capitalism and free markets”, “classroom prayer”, “the concept of retribution for crimes, including the death penalty for heinous murders proven beyond reasonable doubt”, “family values, including traditional relationships and division of labor within the household” (emphasis added), “The Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms”, “Economic allocative efficiency (as opposed to popular equity)”, “Private medical care and retirement plans”, “cancelling failed social support programs”, “enforcement of current laws regarding immigration”, “respect for our military – past and present”, “rejection of junk science such as evolution and global warming”, “a strong national defense”, “A dedication to the truth, and an ability to seek it”, and “ending entitlement programs”, amongst others.

The contribution Schlafly and Conservapedia is most known for is their origination of the “Conservative Bible” translation.  The Conservapedia page on the “Conservative Bible Project”  notes that its goal is to “render God’s word into modern English without archaic language and liberal translation distortions”.  They add that the first draft of the Conservative New Testament was completed on April 23, 2010, and many of the Old Testament books are completed as well.  It adds that “Liberal bias has become the single biggest distortion in modern Bible translations”, and that “the third – and largest – source of translation error requires conservative principles to reduce and eliminate”.  It notes that “As of 2009, there was no fully conservative translation of the Bible which satisfies the following ten guidelines”, including “Framework against Liberal Bias”, “Not Emasculated”, “Combat Harmful Addiction”, “Express Free Market Parables” (“explaining the numerous economic parables in their full free-market meaning”), “Prefer Conciseness over Liberal Wordiness”, and “Exclude Later-inserted Inauthentic Passages” (i.e., “excluding the interpolated passages that liberals commonly put their own spin on, such as the adulteress story”).  It notes that the “benefits” of the new Conservative Bible include “benefitting from activity that no public school would ever allow; a Conservative Bible could become a text for public school courses”, “political issues can become a pathway to evangelizing liberals”, and “this project has a unifying effect on various Christian denominations, and serves as an important counterweight to liberal efforts to divide conservative candidates based on religion”.  Some of the “Helpful Approaches” that are cited from the Conservative Bible include to “identify pro-liberal terms used in existing Bible translations, such as ‘government’, and suggest more accurate substitutes”, and “identify conservative terms that are omitted from existing translations”. They add that “Many consider the Conservative Bible project, as well as any other Bible translation projects, to be heretical and in opposition to Matthew 5:18, which was fulfilled in the King James Bible”.  They use as examples of censored Bible passages in the Conservative Bible such as Luke 23:34, “Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing'” (adding that, “Is this a corruption of the original, perhaps promoted by liberals without regard to its authenticity?”, since “This quotation is a favorite of liberals”), as well as Luke 16:8, where they change the “shrewd” manager of Christ’s parable to “resourceful”.  Amongst the “Advantages to a Conservative Bible” they list include “liberal bias – and lack of authenticity – becomes easier to recognize and address”, “supported by conservative principles, the project can be bolder in uprooting and excluding liberal distortions”, “the ensuing debate would flesh out – and stop – the infiltration of churches by liberals/atheists pretending to be Christian, much as a vote by legislators exposes the liberals”, “this would bring the Bible to a new audience of political types, for their benefit; Bible courses in college Politics Departments would be welcome”, and “this would debunk the pervasive and hurtful myth that Jesus would be a political liberal today”.

As example of the improvements provided by the Conservative Bible, in the Sermon on the Mount on Matthew 5 it says Jesus “began His Torah” instead of “He opened His mouth”, and states “Blessed are those who are not full of themselves” rather than “Blessed are the poor in spirit”.  In 2009 Stephen Colbert interviewed Schlafly about his Conservative Bible on his “Colbert Report” show .  There he states that Jesus’ parables were “free market parables”.  Salon Magazine actually listed verses from the Conservative Bible, where the term “Pharisees” has been changed to “liberals”, so that Mark 3:6 reads, “The Liberals then fled from the scene to plot with Herod’s people against Jesus, and plan how they might destroy Him”, and in Mark 10:23-25. they change Christ’s words “for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God” to “for an idle miser to enter into the kingdom of God”.

Political conservatism is inextricably intertwined with most of American evangelicalism like a Gordian Knot, with Biblical passages and theological doctrine and the aforementioned conservative principles irrevocably linked, and not challenged or critiqued by the Bible text itself in polite company, at the risk of alienating oneself under the most dire charges of heresy – being a liberal.   As an example of its ubiquitousness, a look at the “Ten Liberty University Distinctives” by founder Jerry Falwell on what is arguably the world’s most influential evangelical university’s website in 2015 notes that one is “An uncompromising doctrinal statement, based upon an inerrant Bible, a Christian worldview beginning with belief in biblical Creationism, an eschatological belief in the pre-millennial, pre-tribulational coming of Christ for all of His Church, dedication to world evangelization, an absolute repudiation of “political correctness,” a strong commitment to political conservatism, total rejection of socialism, and firm support for America’s economic system of free enterprise” (emphasis added) – a political and economic indoctrination paid for in large sums by parents (or vast student loans) to provide their children a life-influencing “Christian education”.  This may be why their website also notes that amongst their awards are being in the Top 10 of Newsmax‘s “40 Conservative Colleges” and number 5 on another list of “the 20 Best Conservative Colleges in America”, while being the fifth largest university in the nation.  Sometimes it requires that they stifle independent thought and free speech by their own students (presumably there to obtain an education to thus acquire such skills), in widely reported incidents such as in which the university banned the College Democrats in 2009, or in late 2016 when a writer at the university newspaper was banned from writing about Donald Trump’s sexual assault conversation with Billy Bush (University leader Jerry Falwell Jr. had already publicly endorsed Trump), apparently blocked by Falwell himself.  Sometimes they just block the online version of the local newspaper on the university computer servers, to block students from reading unsavory reports about the university’s corruption or hypocritical actions.

As is typical for this blog, the preceding long-winded expository narrative was a mere preamble for the actual point of the post itself.  Inspired by these previous references and in their general spirit, I thought I might take a shot at proposing a handful of some of the more memorable “Conservative Role Models” in the Bible itself, since the purpose of the Bible itself is to undergird and give spiritual, divine sanction to politically conservative principles both we and it hold dear.

The remainder of this post will only focus on core conservative economic principles, as embodied in the following well-known Biblical characters:

 

The “Rich Man” Who Interacted with Lazarus:  In this parable of Christ in Luke 16, a “certain rich man” was said to be “clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day” – evidently an entrepreneur and “risk taker” who was rewarded for his genius with prosperity, apparently by God Himself, and therefore worthy of our respect by his apparent success, as well as his culture and fine taste, and a role model for enterprising young Christians.  Unfortunately, he was plagued by a liberal welfare deadbeat (i.e. ‘beggar”) named Lazarus (whose name means, “whom God helps’), who used the excuse of his medical condition of body-wide sores (why doesn’t he pay to see a good doctor?) to ask for handouts, rather than earn an honest living.  The rich man knew that if he provided to Lazarus any more than what fell to the floor (a form of “trickle down Reaganomics”), (a) he would never get rid of him, and (b) Lazarus would never “pull himself up by his bootstraps”.  The blessed rich man wanted to demonstrate adherence to the conservative Biblical values of hard work and responsibility.  He did permit Lazarus an alternative to wasteful universal health coverage – he let the dogs lick Lazarus’ sores.  Accordingly, when the rich man died, he went to his proper eternal reward as God decreed.  Curiously, in the afterlife he found himself to be a helpless eternal “welfare deadbeat”, as the tables turned and he begged to Lazarus for relief.  Maybe this is why the “poor in spirit” will inherit the Kingdom, and why it is so hard for the rich to enter it.  The eternal principles the rich man then learned were said by Abraham to reside in the teachings of Moses and the prophets, and if people would not embrace them, then even one returning from the dead (such as Jesus Himself) could not persuade them otherwise.

King Ahab (acquirer of Naboth’s vineyard) and the King (acquirer of the “perfect” lamb):  In 1 Kings 21 Ahab used his power and prestige to impress upon Naboth to sell or trade his vineyard, because of its proximity to the palace, as a type of “eminent domain”, even though Naboth legally owned it.  Ahab knew the “art of the deal” many Christians so admire today in the wealthy businessmen and traders who are invited to their pulpits as guests; he exhibited the success drive and “killer instinct” to be diligent, even obsessive, in getting what he wanted, and in not taking “no” for an answer.  Most powerful men have a more powerful and cunning wife behind them, and Ahab was no exception; she forged letters in his name after notifying him that she would obtain Naboth’s property with “an offer he couldn’t refuse”, setting him up in a legal blackmail scheme that led to his death, and Ahab’s possession of his property at Jezebel’s command as a result.  In the Social Darwinistic “survival of the fittest” trait of economic conservativism, what they did was “fair game”, using power and economic clout (even paying the stooges and lawyers) to obtain from the less well-connected by force, in “free and open markets” unfettered by regulations and restrictions.  Naboth was a fool for valuing the legacy of his descendents who gave him the land for an inheritance to future generations, and “not a good businessman” which would have earned Christian respect.  In response God sent His prophet Elijah (whom Ahab called “his enemy”) to tell Ahab what he thought of his economic philosophy, and his ultimate destiny.  Similarly, in 2 Samuel 12 the prophet Nathan told King David about a rich man and a poor man, the latter having a little ewe lamb he had raised, who ate and drank from the man’s table, and was like a daughter to him (v. 3), whereas the rich man had vast flocks and herds. When the rich man wanted to impress a visitor, he did not take from his own large supply, but rather took the lone lamb of the man, and fed it to his guest.  David sought revenge because the rich man had no “pity”, but it in fact it was about his own actions with Bathsheba.  However, in conservative free market capitalism, the inevitable destiny is that almost all a society’s assets will be owned by an ever smaller circle of elites, who can leverage their wealth and influence to extract more and more.  Today the top fraction of one percent own something like half of the total wealth in America, and that upper tier is getting more elite every decade – a top political platform of that “socialist” Bernie Sanders (a man himself on the outside looking in, unlike the other political candidates).  Trump’s tax plan he proposed in his campaign would raise tax rates on the poorest tax bracket, and eliminate their credits for their children, while dropping the 39.6 and other wealthiest tax rates to 25 percent, and corporate taxes down to 15 percent (who else do you think will pick up the tax revenue slack?).  This trend in wealth concentration, if unabated by conservative calls for lesser banking and financial regulation, will become an eventual a tipping point like the French Revolution, when the masses had nothing to lose, and then everyone (including the rich) will lose.

The Ambitious Barn Builders and Wealth Retainers:  Churches extol the virtues of visionary businessmen, including those who wear clerical robes and build massive “world ministry centers” with private jets and opulent campuses, and are ever-expanding and upgrading, as role models to emulate of “the American Way”.   In Luke 12 a ‘rich man” was so blessed by his farms (obviously due to God’s grace) that he decided to tear down his perfectly good barns to build yet bigger ones, to “bestow my fruits and my goods” for public admiration, rather than sharing with others.  God was not so impressed with such displays of wealth and security, although he would have been viewed as a “model of free enterprise and investment” and to have filled his time “productively”, rather than in others’ lives.   The Conservative Bible changes how the church in Acts shared all they had sold to give to the Apostles, to being “generous with those in need”, so as to avoid allusions to socialism or communism.  A couple who embodied this change was Ananias and Sapphira.  In Acts 10 they admirably sold a possession, but kept part of it, and laid the rest at the apostles’ feet.  While many such religious leaders today toil in their ministry under modest means and with dignity, many other conspicuous examples reveal opulent lifestyles and asset accumulations from the “widow’s mites” given to their “ministries”.  A biographical book about the Rev. Billy Graham entitled Prince of War noted that by 2004 the Billy Graham Evangelical Association’s annual income was 110 million dollars, with 271 million in assets, while Graham’s annual compensation exceeded $500,000 a year, while telling radio listeners the Garden of Eden was a place “with no union dues, no labor leader, no snakes, no diseases” and saying that no Christian laborer would take advantage of his employer by aligning with a union.  Various sources list the net personal worth of the almost centarian-aged Billy Graham at over $25 million, up with the most successful prosperity gospel preachers – what will he do with “all of this in his barns” at his age?  His son Franklin, a one-time rebel who avoided the ministry, has done even better; the Charlotte Observer – the bane of the Graham family – reported in 2015 that Franklin Graham made more than $620,000 in salary from Samaritan’s Purse – that’s a quite a haircut off the top of the “widow’s mites” donated by poor Christians, and means a lot more kids will grow hungry today that could otherwise be fed at a dollar a day – which also makes him the highest paid CEO of any international relief agency, even more than the CEO of the American Red Cross.  They add that his total compensation from Purse was $880,000 plus another $258,000 for working full-time for the Billy Graham Evangelical Association.  To be fair, this is far less than the $1.2 million he received in 2008.  Is it any wonder that these religious leaders hang out with high roller businessmen and Wall Street bankers, and guys like Donald Trump, with whom they can so identify?  People love a “winner” and particularly a conspicuous one – that is why the Pharisees publicly gave their money at the temple to great adulation and respect, while the widow’s mite was the greater portion of her essential resources, which only caught the Lord’s eye; we make much ado over rich Americans who give a small portion of their excess to a charity of their choosing to assuage their conscience and take on a pious stature with the public, not considering the treacherous ways in which much of this money was accumulated, as they put their names on buildings and hospitals; meanwhile having contempt for the poor who give a lesser amount monetarily to the public good by taxation and otherwise, but actually a larger share of their own minimal means, as Christians bemoan the high tax rates of the idle rich, who have numerous tax schemes to avoid their expected proportion of taxes anyway.  This environment is why a rich young ruler could live a very pious life and seek to follow the Lord, and only be inhibited by his “higher” calling to wealth and its prestige.

The Ultimate Manifestation of Capitalism – The Rider on the Black Horse and The Great City Babylon.  In Revelation 6 we see a rider on a black horse (as in being “in the black” financially) who controlled the global exchange rates of critical assets with a balance in his hand, announcing the cost of essential foodstuffs, while protecting oil (the Greek suggests the type that is used for fuel) and the luxurious items such as wine, which would be “untouched” and protected for the wealthy elites.  History has shown that physical weapons are not the most powerful methods of control – the control of wealth and money and raw materials is.  The Knights Templar arose out of nowhere to be Europe’s bankers (as “pious soldiers of Christ”) with sudden power that rivaled kings and the Pope, and could bring any of them to their knees by the control of capital as premier capitalists, soon to be followed by the Jewish House of Rothchild, House of Morgan, Rockefeller and others.  Even Joseph found out that by confiscating and then controlling for the State the only commodity of value in a world of famine -food – it could be used to confiscate all the wealth, and even freedom of the subjects of Pharoah.  In Revelation 18 we see it globalized institutionally in the Great City Babylon, where “the merchants of the earth have waxed rich” and “the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her” – i.e., pursued their mutual interests with the global financial cartel rather than being faithful to the interests of their own citizens.  It’s Social Darwinistic attribute derived from capitalism has them dispassionately yet immorally trading in all goods of value, even the souls of men as mere possessions of labor.  Good conservatives today (and most American Christians) also see little value in the dignity of the laborer, disfavoring minimum wage laws, a living wage, labor rights and jobs programs, as being “bad for business” and corporate profits, as the Christians are the ones who put in office a political party that clearly rather answers to the Wall Street bankers and corporations who finance it (when have you seen them aggressively fight Roe V. Wade in their 28 years since in power, although they campaign so heavily on it, for example?).  Christians have swallowed one of the biggest conservative “whoppers” of the last century – that more money for the rich in reduced taxes and corporate welfare and government contracts and inducements will actually help the poor and middle class, followed only by the promise that the reduction in inheritance and other corporate taxes are for the “small family business”, or that it will produce “more jobs”.  We now have a President largely elected by Christians to look out for the “little guy” as he promised, who has staffed all his cabinet positions with oil company CEOs, and billionaire and millionaire Wall Street hedge fund executives.  Christians are dazzled by their robber barons and tycoons just as Jerry Falwell Jr. was when getting to sit in Donald Trump’s airplane, but evidently God is not as nearly impressed, and will see to it that this system of exploitation will not prevail – that of the “Golden Rule”, or “He who has the gold makes the rules”.  The passage says to God’s people to “Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues” (v. 4).  The question is – will America’s Christians listen?

That’s enough examples for now – let us know further examples in this vein.  The next part will include good conservative Biblical examples of patriotic nationalism, exceptionalism, and a “strong Judeo-Christian nation” that “projects force globally” as a “global leader”.

[NOTE: Please link this and other posts to Facebook, other social media and in emails, to invite either widespread denouncements, praise or enlightenments in a wider circle – all of which are encouraged – and at least some food for thought and a good conversation piece.]

 

 

 

Finally – Worthy Candidates of “Enhanced Interrogation”

Lifewaterbaording

Those readers familiar with me and my work know that I have staunchly been against the use of torture, or anything that smacks of it – Joseph Farah, head of the Christian-oriented media site World Net Daily virtually hung up on my Future Quake radio co-host and myself because I raised issues about Guantanamo Bay and the callous views he and other Christians have about the innocence of many of the detainees, much less their treatment.  The first volume of my soon-to-be-released book series, The Holy War Chronicles – A Spiritual View of the War on Terror, focuses in its first volume on the documented nature and ramifications of the torture protocols of the War on Terror on both the torturer and the tortured.  I have reiterated my opposition to torture on a number of radio interviews as well.

However, I think I have found a situation now and an associated group of people for whom I can make an exception.

A movement is now underway within Congress, supported by members of both parties, to finally insist on the declassification of the 28 missing pages from the 2002 9/11 Commission report.  Although Congressmen “in the know” have been forbidden to exactly reveal its contents until now, it has been a worst kept secret that it reveals evidence of Saudi Arabian direction behind the 9/11 attacks.

It has just been now revealed in an April 15, 2016 New York Times report that

“Saudi Arabia has told the Obama administration and members of Congress that it will sell off hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth of American assets held by the kingdom if Congress passes a bill that would allow the Saudi government to be held responsible in American courts for any role in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.”  It continues by saying that “The Obama administration has lobbied Congress to block the bill’s passage…Saudi threats have been the subject of intense discussions in recent weeks between lawmakers and officials from the State Department and the Pentagon. The officials have warned senators of diplomatic and economic fallout from the legislation.  Adel al-Jubeir, the Saudi foreign minister, delivered the kingdom’s message personally last month during a trip to Washington, telling lawmakers that Saudi Arabia would be forced to sell up to $750 billion in treasury securities and other assets in the United States before they could be in danger of being frozen by American courts.  ‘It’s stunning to think that our government would back the Saudis over its own citizens,’ said Mindy Kleinberg, whose husband died in the World Trade Center on Sept. 11 and who is part of a group of victims’ family members pushing for the legislation…President Obama will arrive in Riyadh on Wednesday for meetings with King Salman and other Saudi officials…Suspicions have lingered, partly because of the conclusions of a 2002 congressional inquiry into the attacks that cited some evidence that Saudi officials living in the United States at the time had a hand in the plot.  Those conclusions, contained in 28 pages of the report, still have not been released publicly.”

“Families of the Sept. 11 victims have used the courts to try to hold members of the Saudi royal family, Saudi banks and charities liable because of what the plaintiffs charged was Saudi financial support for terrorism. These efforts have largely been stymied, in part because of a 1976 law that gives foreign nations some immunity from lawsuits in American courts.”

“The Senate bill is intended to make clear that the immunity given to foreign nations under the law should not apply in cases where nations are found culpable for terrorist attacks that kill Americans on United States soil. If the bill were to pass both houses of Congress and be signed by the president, it could clear a path for the role of the Saudi government to be examined in the Sept. 11 lawsuits.”

“Obama administration officials counter that weakening the sovereign immunity provisions would put the American government, along with its citizens and corporations, in legal risk abroad because other nations might retaliate with their own legislation. Secretary of State John Kerry told a Senate panel in February that the bill, in its current form, would “expose the United States of America to lawsuits and take away our sovereign immunity and create a terrible precedent.”

“In a closed-door briefing on Capitol Hill on March 4, Anne W. Patterson, an assistant secretary of state, and Andrew Exum, a top Pentagon official on Middle East policy, told staff members of the Senate Armed Services Committee that American troops and civilians could be in legal jeopardy if other nations decide to retaliate and strip Americans of immunity abroad.”

“…the administration has supported Saudi Arabia on other fronts, including providing the country with targeting intelligence and logistical support for its war in Yemen. The Saudi military is flying jets and dropping bombs it bought from the United States — part of the billions of dollars in arms deals that have been negotiated with Saudi Arabia and other Persian Gulf nations during the Obama administration.  The war has been a humanitarian disaster and fueled a resurgence of Al Qaeda in Yemen, leading to the resolution in Congress to put new restrictions on arms deals to the kingdom.”

Today’s (April 17, 2016) New York Post had further details to add:

“In its report on the still-censored “28 pages” implicating the Saudi government in 9/11, “60 Minutes” last weekend said the Saudi role in the attacks has been “soft-pedaled” to protect America’s delicate alliance with the oil-rich kingdom… the kingdom’s involvement was deliberately covered up at the highest levels of our government. And the coverup goes beyond locking up 28 pages of the Saudi report in a vault in the US Capitol basement. Investigations were throttled. Co-conspirators were let off the hook.”

“Case agents I’ve interviewed at the Joint Terrorism Task Forces in Washington and San Diego, the forward operating base for some of the Saudi hijackers, as well as detectives at the Fairfax County (Va.) Police Department who also investigated several 9/11 leads, say virtually every road led back to the Saudi Embassy in Washington, as well as the Saudi Consulate in Los Angeles.  Yet time and time again, they were called off from pursuing leads. A common excuse was ‘diplomatic immunity.’  Those sources say the pages missing from the 9/11 congressional inquiry report — which comprise the entire final chapter dealing with “foreign support for the September 11 hijackers” — details “incontrovertible evidence” gathered from both CIA and FBI case files of official Saudi assistance for at least two of the Saudi hijackers who settled in San Diego.”

“Some information has leaked from the redacted section, including a flurry of pre-9/11 phone calls between one of the hijackers’ Saudi handlers in San Diego and the Saudi Embassy, and the transfer of some $130,000 from then-Saudi Ambassador Prince Bandar’s family checking account to yet another of the hijackers’ Saudi handlers in San Diego.  An investigator who worked with the JTTF in Washington complained that instead of investigating Bandar, the US government protected him — literally. He said the State Department assigned a security detail to help guard Bandar not only at the embassy, but also at his McLean, Va., mansion.  The source added that the task force wanted to jail a number of embassy employees, ‘but the embassy complained to the US attorney’ and their diplomatic visas were revoked as a compromise.”

“Former FBI agent John Guandolo, who worked 9/11 and related al Qaeda cases out of the bureau’s Washington field office, says Bandar should have been a key suspect in the 9/11 probe.  ‘The Saudi ambassador funded two of the 9/11 hijackers through a third party,’ Guandolo said. ‘He should be treated as a terrorist suspect, as should other members of the Saudi elite class who the US government knows are currently funding the global jihad.’ But Bandar held sway over the FBI.”

“After he met on Sept. 13, 2001, with President Bush in the White House, where the two old family friends shared cigars on the Truman Balcony, the FBI evacuated dozens of Saudi officials from multiple cities, including at least one Osama bin Laden family member on the terror watch list. Instead of interrogating the Saudis, FBI agents acted as security escorts for them, even though it was known at the time that 15 of the 19 hijackers were Saudi citizens.”

‘The FBI was thwarted from interviewing the Saudis we wanted to interview by the White House,’ said former FBI agent Mark Rossini, who was involved in the investigation of al Qaeda and the hijackers. The White House ‘let them off the hook.’  What’s more, Rossini said the bureau was told no subpoenas could be served to produce evidence tying departing Saudi suspects to 9/11. The FBI, in turn, iced local investigations that led back to the Saudis.  ‘The FBI covered their ears every time we mentioned the Saudis,’ said former Fairfax County Police Lt. Roger Kelly. ‘“It was too political to touch.'”

“Even Anwar al-Awlaki, the hijackers’ spiritual adviser, escaped our grasp. In 2002, the Saudi-sponsored cleric was detained at JFK on passport fraud charges only to be released into the custody of a ‘Saudi representative.’  It wasn’t until 2011 that Awlaki was brought to justice — by way of a CIA drone strike.  Strangely, “The 9/11 Commission Report,” which followed the congressional inquiry, never cites the catch-and-release of Awlaki, and it mentions Bandar only in passing, his named buried in footnotes.”

“Two commission lawyers investigating the Saudi support network for the hijackers complained their boss, executive director Philip Zelikow, blocked them from issuing subpoenas and conducting interviews of Saudi suspects.  9/11 Commission member John Lehman was interested in the hijackers’ connections to Bandar, his wife and the Islamic affairs office at the embassy. But every time he tried to get information on that front, he was stonewalled by the White House.’They were refusing to declassify anything having to do with Saudi Arabia,’ Lehman was quoted as saying.”

 

 

 

What are some of the conclusions can we draw from this?

  1.  Beyond the contents of the classified pages and other investigative work by the FBI and others, the simple fact that Saudi Arabia is now threatening economic terrorism by destabilizing world markets if this investigation is released, is in fact a tacit admission of guilt by them in my view, and not there being investigative findings they feel they could dispute or disprove if released.
  2. The connections between the Bushes and Prince Bandar and the Saudi royal family, including cozy meetings mere hours after thousands of Americans had died, is fodder for detailed hearings and subpoenas to determine how this has influenced world events, and how this has been kept from the public (this does not even mention Bush Sr.’s meeting with the entire Bin Laden faily, his business partners through the Carlyle Group, of whom he was meeting with on the day of 9/11, and leading to their discreet flights home as the only planes in the skies in the hours after the attacks).
  3. Although the “buck stops” at the President’s desk, the tentacles of collaboration to provide protection for the Saudis goes through the Justice Dept., Defense Dept., FBI, CIA and other groups.
  4. President Obama, like Bush, is protecting the Saudis to protect lucractive miltiary contracts with them, and to protect Blackwater, the intelligence and military members from reciprocal challenges to diplomatic immunity due to their torture tactics and other atrocities overseas, as well as other key big business figures whose actions cause harm to those in other countries (like Union Carbide, etc.)
  5. It is likely we have attacked innocent parties in countries like Afghanistan, while the masterminds go free.  This is why we have world courts (as the Taliban agreed to turn Al Qaeda over to originally), to settle out the true culprits, unless our government did not want the true culrpits exposed.
  6. I guess government officials are supposed to have “diplomatic immunity” from actions of our government to otherwise hold them accountable, even if they are suspected in terror acts, but that did not stop Bush & Co. from denying the same to Saddam Hussein and his boys.
  7.  In effect, our senior government officials are “accessories to the crime”, and may well have been part of masterminding it.  As Bush himself said in defining the “Bush Doctrine” in a Joint Session of Congress on Sept. 20, 2001, ” we will pursue nations that provide aid or safe haven to terrorism…From this day forward, any nation that continues to harbor or support terrorism will be regarded by the United States as a hostile regime.”  Saudi Arabia has provided safe haven to those who assisted the terrorists if not from the very top, and the U.S. Government officials have given safe haven to them, so all are considered “enemies” of the interests of the American people.
  8. Those nutty “conspiracy theorists” who have pointed out these things for years, even about our “messianic” George W. Bush, aren’t wrong all the time.

 

In light of point #6, I think it is apparent that senior officials in the Bush administration, other agencies, and even President Obama know much more than they are telling us, and it appears they may have complicity (or centrality) in these crimes.  One other point to note:  My research for years concerning events in the Middle East in the last 50 years has shown consistently that if either Saudi Arabia, Israel or the United States are involved in some initiative, the other two are usually involved as well, or at least well aware of it.  For one example, published reports from major newspapers  I cite from the early days of the Arab Spring reveal American, Israeli and Saudi coordinated training and arming of ISIS and others in Jordan and Turkey, to assist in the overthrow of Syrian President Assad – in the days before all the press turned on ISIS and they became the new “boogeyman”.

To get to the bottom of what they know about the plans and culprits of these terror attacks, I think we only have at our disposal the very tool they each claimed was “not torture”, and very effective in getting “actionable intelligence” that “saves lifes”.  Although many (including me) have disputed these assertions, one way to prove their point would be to submit them to waterboarding and other forms of torture (er, “enhanced interrogation”) to find out truly what they know.

Here’s a list of people I would have our authorities start to detain and interrogate in “enhanced fashion”:

  1.  George W. Bush
  2. Dick Cheney (a must; they better hurry)
  3. Donald Rumsfeld
  4. Atty. General John Ashcroft
  5. George H.W. Bush (as a bonus, he might also reveal under torture why he was sent to Dallas as a CIA agent right before JFK was shot, but says he can’t remember why)
  6. CIA chief (all of them)
  7. John Yoo (Justice Dept. official behind the “Torture Memo” authorizing waterboarding and other torture, as well as approving warrantless wiretaps and denial of Geneva Convention protection to detainees; wanted for war crimes in Spain; might know something)
  8. Atty. General Alberto Gonzales (also authorized torture, NSA eavesdropping, punished govt. attorneys who would not do political dirty work, forced from office, also wanted for war crimes in Spain, hired by Nashville Baptist Belmont University as their Dean of their College of Law, and instructor on “Constitution Law” and “Separation of Powers”, as a representative of the school)

I would assign them under the care of former military member Lynndie England, who can stack them naked in pyramids and take pictures of them, until we have the information we need.  After the dogs are through with them (to loosen them up), I suggest they spend some time alone in a room with family members of those who lost loved ones in the 9/11 terror attacks, or in military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq; I am sure in no time they would be pleading to be taken to the interrogation rooms.  If we need to get rougher, we can always hand them over to our allies in the Middle East and Eastern Europe to finish the deal (this may be needed for post-office President Obama, since to be fair he did not approve of American personnel torturing detainees).  If we expect resistance from them or their supporters, we may need to do “old school”, War on Terror-style rendition, by sweeping them off the street, giving them an enema, slapping a diaper on them and sending them blindfolded by unmarked private plane to parts unknown.  This would probably be necessary to pick up Bandar and the rest of the Saudi family; its no more illegal to do than the others we have done the same to, and it will give our CIA guys and SEALs something to do.

Of course this is only a dream, and not an intention; but it if did happen, it would give us all, including the whole world, better odds of preventing future terror attacks, rather than doing it to turbaned villagers in the Third World.

ADDENDUM:  As a further example of US/Saudi complicity (in particular regarding the 9/11 Terror attacks), I quote an excerpt from Volume 1 of my book series, The Holy War Chronicles – A Spiritual View of the War on Terror:

“Before that, in October 2001 French intelligence told the French newspaper Le Figaro that CIA agents went to see bin Laden in Dubai at the American-run hospital there in July 2001, while he was being treated for 10 days by the urology department, as well as Prince Turki al Faisal, then head of Saudi intelligence (the news wire United Press International further added [Bryant, Elizabeth, “Radio reports new CIA-Bin Laden details”, United Press International, Nov. 1, 2001, http://www.upi.com/Business_News/Security-Industry/2001/11/01/Radio-reports-new-CIA-Bin-Laden-details/UPI-49911004627280/ (retrieved June 12, 2013).] that Radio France International identified one of the CIA agents as Larry Mitchell, an Arab specialist and “consular agent” from Dubai’s expatriate community, who met with bin Laden on July 12, two days before he checked out of the hospital).  The London Guardian newspaper also reported on this meeting of CIA and Saudi intelligence officials with bin Laden just before 9/11 [Sampson, Anthony, “CIA agent alleged to have met Bin Laden in July”, Oct. 31, 2001, London Guardian (UK), http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2001/nov/01/afghanistan.terrorism (retrieved March 15, 2013).], and noted that “Bin Laden has often been reported to be in poor health.  Some accounts claim that he is suffering from Hepatitus C, and can expect to live for only two more years”, having had delivered a mobile dialysis machine to Kandahar in Afghanistan.”

 

Building Walls or Building Bridges – Trump and the Pope

482295313.0.0_2.0.0Sorry, friends, that I am been absent for a while here, but I have been busy trying to wrap up the next-to-last volume of my book series, and other personal matters.  However, there has been buzz recently concerning a unique scrap between two major public figures concerning a religious matter, for which I just had to add my two-cents as food for thought.

As most of you know, a few days ago the Pope was asked to comment about popular Presidential candidate Donald Trump and his comments about the Mexicans that the Pope was visiting at the time at the border.  The interchange has been famously misquoted on television and on line almost everywhere, but you can read the actual comments, in context, here.  The key points of question to the Pope and his response are taken from this cited reference and the Catholic News Agency transcript, and include the following:

Phil Pullella, Reuters: Today, you spoke very eloquently about the problems of immigration. On the other side of the border, there is a very tough electoral battle. One of the candidates for the White House, Republican Donald Trump, in an interview recently said that you are a political man and he even said that you are a pawn, an instrument of the Mexican government for migration politics. Trump said that if he’s elected, he wants to build 2,500 kilometers of wall along the border. He wants to deport 11 million illegal immigrants, separating families, etcetera. I would like to ask you, what do you think of these accusations against you and if a North American Catholic can vote for a person like this?

Pope Francis: Thank God he said I was a politician because Aristotle defined the human person as ‘animal politicus.’ At least I am a human person. As to whether I am a pawn, well, maybe, I don’t know. I’ll leave that up to your judgment and that of the people. And then, a person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be, and not building bridges, is not Christian. This is not in the Gospel. As far as what you said about whether I would advise to vote or not to vote, I am not going to get involved in that. I say only that this man is not Christian if he has said things like that. We must see if he said things in that way and in this I give the benefit of the doubt.”

Trump subsequently took the media bait in twisting the Pope’s words, and said that someone challenging whether another person was a Christian was “disgraceful”; nevermind that less than 24 hours before Trump himself was publicly challenging Ted Cruz’ true Christianity because of his alleged deceit.  Trump also would love to give the Catholic leader a “black eye” on the eve of the South Carolina primary, which is overwhelmingly evangelical and distrustful of the Pope anyway.  His gambit paid off; numerous polls showed that his comments about the Pope raised his standing with voters, and in his vote returns, as the most popular candidate today amongst evangelicals, according to polls, and with major endorsements such as Liberty University head Jerry Falwell Jr. and Franklin Graham.  Trump added that any reservations the Pope had a about the wall in Mexico were due to his ignorance, and that one day when ISIS attacks the Vatican he will wish there had been a President Trump.

It is important to look carefully at the words the Pope chose to use in his forced off-the-cuff response to a reporter, for he is a real thinking person.  He did not say that someone who wanted a wall for a specific instance and justification was in question (for example, for a prison); rather, he responded to the reporter’s description of a man who spoke poorly of him and others that seek diplomacy, and sought to deport large numbers and split up families, in the reporters view.  In response, the Pope carefully said that one who only thinks about building walls and not building bridges, is not a Christian, adding that “This is not the Gospel”.  In other words, it is a matter of the nature of the person and their first “gut level”, reactionary responses to any conflict and disagreements, that defines their connection to Christ, or “abiding in the Vine”.  The choice between “building bridges” or “building walls” is at the heart of the Gospel; it’s the same as the choice between Jesus od Nazareth or Jesus Barabbas.

I believe the Pope is on sound Biblical foundation in his assertion here.  There are only a handful of uses of the word “wall” itself in the New Testament.  Their is a reference to a wall in Damascus in which Saul of Tarsus was let over in a basket to prevent his capture, and the “whited wall” that Paul used to describe the chief priest, similar to a comparison Christ made, but with neither in a favorable intention.  There is also the wall in the New Jerusalem.  However, it has numerous wide gates that never close, that the free people are free to pass through, as they take refreshment from the Tree of Life, the River from the Throne and God’s presence, all taken freely and without restriction – the “end game” God wants for His people.  The only other reference in the entire New Testament is a doctrinal one, from the Apostle Paul in Ephesians 2, when he told the Gentile Ephesians that

“That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.  For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition [between us]; Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, [even] the law of commandments [contained] in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, [so] making peace; And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby.” (Ephesians 2:12-16)

At the time (at least for a decade or two more), the Temple stood, as it had for centuries, with a separate outer courtyard for Gentiles, and an inner court for the Jews; if a Gentile strolled in the inner area, signage was posted that said he was to be killed.  When Jesus died on the Cross, He first tore down the first “wall” between God and man when the Holy of Holies curtain was torn; a generation later, the entire Temple complex, with its “wall of separation” between Jew and Gentile, would be visibly broken down.  Meanwhile, the Holy Spirit broke down other barriers between Jew and Gentile, with the visions for Peter and the salvation of Cornelius and other Gentiles.  When the Pope mentions people who think only of building walls or building bridges, he is referencing this Biblical teaching: “And all things [are] of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation” (2 Cor 5:18).

I have witnessed a number of pro-Trump pastors come to his defense (Trump’s, not the Pope’s, the latter having been lambasted by many Christians for his comments), saying that building walls was Biblical, and cited Nehemiah as their sole example.  I find it curious to note that Nehemiah himself (aside from his own singlular book) was mentioned only in one verse in the book of Ezra (a similar book), and no where else in the Old Testament, and certainly not in the New.  Neither Christ nor the Apostles found any cause or reason to ever cite Nehemiah, and his fellow armed wall builders, as a spiritual model for their teaching of the New Covenant and Kingdom of Heaven – I wonder why?

I’ll conclude by noting the irony that the other Republican candidate popular with evangelicals – Ted Cruz – is using David Barton as head of Cruz’s “Keep the Promise” Super-PAC.  Barton is a former Texas Republican Party vice chairman, and a political consultant to the Republican National Convention on wooing evangelicals.  However this man, armed with his sole Bachelor’s Degree in Christian Education from Oral Roberts University, is a household name (at least in Christian households) for being “an expert in historical and constitutional issues”, at least according to his own claims in his own organization biography. You may already know that many fellow Christian historians of legitimate historian academic credentials have debunked many of his assertions concerning the spiritual faith fo the Founding Fathers and their documents, including those he excises and omits, and his exoriation of the separation of church and state, and original intentions. What is the name of his organization? Wallbuilders.  On the same web page he says the organization name comes from “the Old Testament writings of Nehemiah, who led a grassroots movement to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem and restore its strength and honor.”  By the way, what happened to Nehemiah’s walls they so painstakingly built?  Well, due to their own internal corruption within the walls, first the Greeks and then Romans took them over at God’s pleasure for their disobedience, and the walls did them no good.  Later, when they insisted on internal civil war and rebellion from Rome (following Zealots like the Jesus Barabbas they chose, and as American evangelicals choose today), even these walls were thrown down, along with those of the Temple itself.  Only the Western Wall fragment remains as a testament to their futility.  If a people aren’t pure at heart, walls will do them no good.  One day the Jews may build these walls again, along with the Temple (likely with evangelical help), just like their dubious wall to keep out Palestinians, to help facilitate the coronation of their “messiah” the Anti-Christ as God in their Temple.  Walls do more to keep evil in, than keep evil out.

Cultural “wall-building” is big business today in conservative and Christian circles, and has been for a long time.  It requires a Chicken Little propaganda arm to keep saying “the sky is falling”, and “barbarians are at the gate”, be they Muslims, Mexicans, Communists or secularists.  Gold and survival food is always ready for sale at Christian ministries concurrent with these messages; they follow the adage of the old Fuller Brush door-to-door salesmen: “First create a need, and then fill it”.  It requires the demonization of those who are the least bit different culturally from us, and use of the old Klan warning that “they’re coming to rape our white women”.  Intelligence agencies, defense contractors and other big businesses (even individual billionaries from casinos, gas fracking and the like) can provide all the money they need for paid airtime, first-class accommodations and facilities, and a prominent position at the National Religious Broadcasters conventions.  It violates many premises of New Testament teachings, including to love your neighbor, love your enemy, and the Golden Rule.  It also is a fundamental expression of unbelief in God and His goodness and power, to properly protect His own, and the mission of the Church in their world until it is completed.  And it is embraced by “Bible believing Christians” that are weekly church attenders now more than ever.  In contrast, “bridge builders”, be they with Muslims, the poor, minority groups and the like, are always starved for funds, and people to help.  They seek to better understand people who see things from a different perspective or experience, and even those who may claim to have gotten a raw deal by us or our ancestors, and are bitter about it.  “Bridge builders” humbly listen to others, and don’t try to butt in and defend their own culture or faith, and rather listen and be respectful to them.  They make the first move to make contact and to bless the “stranger”, who may rightfully be skeptical of them, and are patient to let trust build, even to the point of extending more grace to them than to their fellow Christians.  They take the effort to do this face-to-face, but also listen to others worldwide and in the media, and endorse their concerns (when justified) to their elected officials and their Christian leaders and friends.  While they toil away, slowly building trust with other groups, they are called “naive”, “misguided” and even unpatriotic “traitors” (the most serious of spiritual offenses) by their own Christian kindred.  These Christian scoffers are the “Sanballats” and “Tobiahs” that sew discouragement and grief in those building Christian bridges of reconciliation.  

Of course, practical yet merciful measures to secure borders, to vet entrants as to their being criminals or terrorists, is a legitimate concern of Caesar (i.e., government). However, this is not the issue here.  The real question is what do you want to be the focus of your thoughts and deeds, and instinctive “nature” over your very brief life – as a “wall builder” or a “bridge builder”?  What do you want to be?

I look forward to your enlightening comments!

 

 

 

 

 

“Coming Out of the Closet” With Thoughts on the Ongoing “Christian-Gay” War

Friends, this is another one of those blog posts I may live to regret, but I think we now live in the days when we as followers of Christ need to speak openly and plainly on difficult topics.  We need more honest “thinking out loud” (even speculating, with the expectation of changing or modifying views upon further contemplation) and humbly challenging ourselves as well as others to compare our reflection (and its culture) to that of Christ.  We need to attempt to rightly judge how well we resemble His mindset and mission, and the spirit of His priorities and values, while understanding the Gospels and words of the Apostles in that light.  The ironic “coming out of the closet” title refers to the feeling a Christian believer in our culture often feels when they ask “questions that should not be asked”, and express sympathies for “unthinkable thoughts” and “depraved individuals”, knowing that they will be misunderstood, castigated, marginalized and ostracized as a result – leading them to sympathize with others who announce their personal views and convictions with the knowledge they will experience the same as well.

A very good Christian friend of mine included me in an email chain with an attached article from the Lousiville newspaper, as yet another article about the need for Christian resistance to the gay “agenda”, written by Albert Mohler Jr., President of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, you can read the article here.
The following are a few “off the cuff” comments I have concerning the article, and the general (but very difficult) topic of how America’s Christian community might deal with the “gay” issue, and some other food for thought:

  1.  First of all, I need to acknowledge who Dr. Mohler is, what is his foundational doctrinal belief and how it influences him on this issue.  Dr. Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (the denomination in which I was raised and active for four decades) and other popular theologians such as John Piper and R.C. Sproul (and thirty percent or more of Southern Baptist churches, evidently) are prominent Calvinists. Any churches or Christians who claim to be “reformed” almost always embrace the tenets of Calvinism.  In case you are not aware, Calvinists worship a demiurge-type god of mal intent (such as was acknowledged but resisted by the Gnostics) that intentionally created the majority of mankind to be sent without recourse eternally to the Lake of Fire, for His expressed pleasure – in essence, having the same desires and agenda as Satan himself.  God intentionally withholds the lifeline of saving irresistable grace of salvation because He wants to withhold it.  This is described as a “predestination” in which God irresistably foreordains the destiny of most people to eternal agony.  The rest of Calvinism’s “TULIP” beliefs – including the irresistibility of man’s salvation of the “elect” (i.e., those eternally lucky enough to win the “pre-natal lottery” but having no merit OR even desire of their own), or their assertion that Jesus did not die with the intention or will to save “all men”, inevitably follows from this view of the “sovereignty” of God being a bullying bulldozer that programs all of us and the universe as automotons.  This means that God made Satan fall and rebel, and Adam and Eve to fall, and all who obey such programming from God will be rewarded with a one-way trip to the Lake of Fire.  This means that any challenge by God in scripture to “choose ye this day whom ye will serve” or any other decision posed ot man is a cruel joke from God that cannot be asserted, because man is unable to make such choices, his total fate having been already preordained; it also makes evangelism a farce amongst the masses of unchangeably pre-saved or pre-lost.  This view of the “total depravity” of men rather than just being fallen (even though they are created in God’s image, and proclaimed “good” at the time) and the lack of any hope for the many “non-elect” helps such believers view suspected non-elect as animals and cannon fodder, because God has the same agenda and lack of value of them.  For just one example, popular national Christian media host and Reformed pastor Kevin Swanson stated on air recently that God is “kind” to gays by giving them AIDS.   They also insist that this view is the only way to interpret Scripture; in general, they tend to be argumentative and view themselves as more savvy with Scripture as its lawyers where doctrine supercedes mercy, and are very harsh in tone toward those who disagree or live differently, desiring to impose their values on others much as Calvin did upon pain of torture or death in his totalitarian rule in Geneva.  In effect they make God “depraved” as the author of mankind’s wretched state and fate, to which I assert that the only “depraved one” is Calvin himself, and those who follow him.  I believe that this doctrine is a fundamental blasphemy of the foundational character of God, “who is not willing that any should perish”.  Having said this, I ask myself that if I believe that Calvinists, including Dr. Mohler, so misunderstand the fundamental character of God, His perspective on humanity and their state, as well as what the Bible reflects on these matters, why should I regard anything he has to say on this matter?
  2. I continue with the following comments with the understanding that I do not believe Scripture indicates that God desires homosexual relations for mankind; He did mention spiritual covenants He acknowledges as marriage that describe those between a man and a woman (although same-sex marriage as opposed to their sexual activity was not addressed directly, to my knowledge), while New Testament writings allude to it being an analogy of the relationship fo Christ and the Church.  Having said that, Dr. Mohler goes so far as to suggest that opposition to the gay lifestyle is the “the essence of the Gospel of Jesus Christ”.  Is that a wee bit of a stretch?  Is that the reason Jesus came to earth to die on the cross – to stop gay marriage?  Is that what “sets men free”?  In fact, beyond His opinion on the matter, do we have evidence that this topic is a “front burner” issue for God at all, as His primary concern?  Is that the main message we want to send to a dying world about the Church – that our main focus is stopping people outside the Church from having civil rights such as gay marriage?  Is this approach and reputation with its public emphasis really being effective in winning more people to Christ as “fishers of men”?  If Christian leaders want to tell the world that this is the main focus the Church has, then they are being very successful with it, because that appears to be about all they talk about in the public, to the point that those outside the church see them as paranoid and obsessive.  I understand why many Christian ministries would beat this drum, because scaring people about those who are different has always been an effective way to raise money and become quite a “war profiteer” in the process, whether it be a “culture war” variety or some other; however, in terms of the Church in America at large, their desire to “win” on this issue is a battle that has caused them to lose a “war” of their higher calling in their “ministry of reconciliation”, not by disagreeing on homosexual activity but rather their excessive hostility and desire to control what others do with their own lives, often by the the use of Caesar’s civil statutes.
  3. Regarding scriptural exhortations, I concede that there are severe measures in the Mosaic Law for such homosexual behavior (particularly since Jewish men at the time seem to have a proclivity for debased sexual behavior with the Canaanites and their other neighbors), on par with penalties for disobeying parents, but being under a New Covenant, law and priesthood I look only to the teachings of Christ and His Apostles for my authority, and I am bound to them alone (as since I violate much of the Ten Commandments (i.e. the Sabbath) and sacrificial and dietary laws, I myself would be subject to death as well as gays if I used such criteria to judge me (as well as rejecting Christ my priest)).  Jesus interacted with many people involved in sexual immorality, developing relationships and interacting.  He acknowledged that the Woman at the Well had a very serious and unacceptable track record with marriage as well, (as well as living in a sexual sin relationship at the time) but did not dwell on it or browbeat her; He rather dropped the subject and focused on offering her “living water”.  Jesus did not condemn the immoral graft of Zaccheus, rather affiliating Himself and fellowshipping with him; in response, Zaccheus took the act of making things right as a result of exposure to Jesus’ holiness and acceptance.  Regarding homosexuality, I don’t think Jesus ever mentioned it; is that consistent with it being the “essence of the Gospel”?  Jesus did defend another woman charged by the religious leaders with sexual sin, and suggested that they were the problem and not her, while still afterwards privately speaking to her directly (and not through the mouthpieces of the religious establishment), directing to “go and sin no more” once the religious leaders no longer meddled or got between them.  He spent most of His indignance and concern about the hypocricy of the Religious Establishment.  I think Jesus would still do these same things today.
  4. I further concede that Romans 1 is probably the strongest New Testament passage used to condemn homosexual behavior, where men “left the natural use of the woman”.  However, what is usually not pointed our in the context of this passage is that this occurs because God sent this persuasion amongst the people in question because they had previously rejected God’s ‘truth” in nature by adopting pagan idol worship of stones, etc.  Is that the exact circumstances where we find ourselves today?  Furthermore, Paul adds that the other equal sinful behaviors God sends as a result are “Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful” (Rom. 1:29-31).  Thank goodness we have purged all of these companion behaviors equally deserving judgment from the halls of our churches!  Thank goodness our Christian leaders have rallied the nation and churches to stop the behaviors God equally hates such as “covetousness, envy, deceit, whisperers, boasters, without understanding, disobedient to parents, backbiters, etc.”, and worked Congress and lobbyists to eradicate it by statute to preserve the integrity of the Church and God’s blessings!  We wouldn’t be playing “favorites” with opposing the sins we are least susceptible to, would we?  
  5. Furthermore, Christian leader alarmists do not continue Paul’s continuation of thought from the end of Chapter 1 to the beginning of Chapter 2, where he confronts the Roman church Christians with this list and says, “Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things.  And thinkest thou this, O man, that judgest them which do such things, and doest the same, that thou shalt escape the judgment of God?  Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?  But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God” (Rom. 2:1, 3-5).  I understand this passage to be about Paul exposing the hypocrisy of church members who condemn others for these things, and then practice similar unacceptable behavior of their own kind itself; Paul says that a “hardness and impenitent heart” is the motivation for this, which is what I view in Christian media and on the Internet today, and God says that in addition to their punishment for thier sins there will be added for their hypocritical, judgmental behavior and attitude.
  6. God is not implying that the behaviors that are listed are acceptable, including homosexuality, and neither are they to me nor should they be to you, but the key verse is verse 4, that people mired in such behavior are graciously subject to the “riches of his goodness and forebearance and longsuffering”, with such “goodness of God” leading to eventual repentance, which the Church members having had received from God before, but are unwilling to grant to others.  Words such as “forbearance and longsuffering” are not in the vocabulary of most American evangelicals today; some good translations even use the world “tolerance”, which is anathema to conservative Christians but is described as an attribute of a supremely holy God, and one for which all Christians have had their “fat saved out of the fire” previously.  Christians today seem to think that God either “accepts” or “rejects” a person in their state today, with no “shadow of turning”, but scripture shows that God does a lot of tolerating of us and our behaviors that He hopes to see changed in time, and for which He gently and patiently helps us with.  For example, God permitted writs of divorcement even in the the Mosaic code, because of the “hardness of men’s hearts”, and commended kings even when they took multiple wives or did not tear down all strongholds, and even “winked” at man’s idolatrous worship (Acts 17:30); Jesus had a disfunctional apostle group (including a leader who denied Him), and disfunctional churches then and now, but He accomplishes His mission even with their shortcomings that are not resolved.  As such, there are rare behaviors and strongholds for which I do not believe we as a Church have to take immediate actions toward others, and thus give active “blessings” or “curses” against,  but rather take a “third way”, exhibiting patient forebearance, encouraging them to draw close to Jesus and His word,  while God works behind the scenes to guide and deliver.  If any of the churches I have attended had said that liars would not be tolerated and allowed to participate, I would have been out of luck, because I have told an occasional whopper, justifying it all the way, even as an adult.  Have you?  Hopefully God has helped me with the strongholds in my life, while I was in fellowship at church, and they never did protest me once.  Sometimes it was for things that I did not recognize as wrong for a long time, but in time God showed me the light, all while I was in church fellowship, and I was welcomed and nurtured during that time.  Has that happened to you?
  7. I think it is important (but even more controversial) to make a note concerning the argument from Christian leaders and pastors that the purportedly pervasive “gay agenda” will one day force churches to compromise scriptural passages on the topic of “Biblical marriage” in sermons, and modify the operation and state of the “family” from its “scriptural norms”.  Well, I hate to tell them, but “those cows have already left the barn”.  I’m sorry, but I can’t help but see such arguments of Christian groups as hypocritical, since they have already allowed feminism to accomplish all these “worst fears” to change the home and church far more than homosexuals ever will.  The feminist movement of the mid to late twentieth century has caused pastors to talk around Bible passages, from the same Bible books and authors that they quote on homosexuality, that guide women to be silent in church, asking their husbands for spiritual insight, and following his guidance as “unto the Lord”, seeing such subjection and obediance as obediance to God, and expecting God’s direction through their husband, possibly even more than through prayer itself.  I have witnessed countless sermons that in effect derived nervous laughter from pastors and statements to the effect of, “what God really meant to say was…” on female subjection, rather than sticking with the plain text, such as they do with veiled references to homosexuality.  I have witnessed Christian women, including pastor’s wives, demean their husbands at church and elsewhere, mocking them and intentionally disregarding their views or superceding them on matters large and small – a state that would shock Christ and the Apostles if they were to hear it, as being of far more concern than a stray homosexual couple that has wandered in the flock.  The family and sanctity of marriages has taken a big beating as a result, and in fact the divorce rate for Christians is about the same as outside the Church – are they to be talling the world that they are the “experts” om marriage, Biblical or otherwise? The irony is that in ignoring this clear guidance in scripture regarding Biblical male-female marital relations, these Christian leaders have evidently decided that the “sky will not fall in”, and they comfortably proceed along with their mission while disregarding or explaining away specific scripture guidelines; so then, why are they panicked about doing the same on the homosexual equation?  I certainly do not recommending going to some state of tyrannical domination over females or cruel subjugation, and I believe that God can bless marriages to a degree that are more egalitarian, even if a departure from His Biblical ideal (because of His “forebearance”), but I suspect that the greatest blessings are for those couples who conform to the Biblical model, which would make them a rarety in most churches, and subject to a lot of criticism from its prominent members. So why are they so rabidly aggressive and paranoid regarding gay relationships?  I now suspect that the masculine insecurity in Christian men today probably makes them overcompensate in being repelled by homosexual behavior, after seeing themselves as less masculine while inside today’s “feminized” Church.  They see shadows of themselves, and a subconscious mandate to compensate by being “macho” in the face of it, to the point of being “homophobic”.  That is a popular charge by those outside the church, and our general cultures also contribute (I know, coming from the South) but it is hard to explain otherwise the irrational paranoia expressed publicly from church officials and their followers, which makes the issue “front burner” rather then more legitimate menaces.  They do act such that if a homosexual person or couple would be permitted in their midst, their sexual preferencet would thus spread like smallpox amongst the flock, and engulf their youth; that’s why many choose to homeschool rather than being exposed to others who are different.  It reflects an insecurity about one’s own gender identity and the strength of traditional values in the face of others, and a senseless suspicion that the masses might discover they prefer the “alternative”.  I for one do not plan to change my heterosexuality regardless of others.  If parents are so concerned about the choices of their children, then they need to start to demonstrate healthy husband-wife relationships in their own homes to model – is that too much to ask?  
  8. The talk I hear amongst Christian leaders and officials is that a “militant gay lobby’ (which I have yet to see, but maybe exists in California and some strongholds) wants to take over every church, and probably will soon.  I am not surprised to find out that almost all of these Christian decision-makers have no gay friends; probably because they are terrified of them that it would rub off, and that they would be rotten, preachy friends tp them anyway.  While my circle of gay friends is also sadly limited as well as my knowledge, I find the knowledge of these Christian church leaders to be based solely on profiteering Christian scaremonger demogogues in the Christian media and Internet.  You will find almost universally that Christians who have some number of gay friends look at addressing this issue completely differently, even if they don’t condone the behavior, because they know these are real prople of substance and worth, and do not have horns.  These paranoid leaders never seem to ask themselves – what if some gay group gets a church – what would they do with it?  Honestly, even today any Christian, leader or otherwise, can retain their own views on the matter, if they are willing to pay the price for it (which now is basically nothing, and may never be on this issue).  However, the real issue is in trying to protect the “stuff” of the church – real estate, bank accounts and paychecks – which they think are worth fighting for from lawsuits.  “Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also”.  If churches met ad hoc in rented spaces of homes, without fat assets to protect from rivals, sending their collections right out the door in total to serve the field, this would not be an issue.  Could it be that God sends threats like this to liberate church people from the assets that weigh them down, and take up all their time to manage rather than minsiter?  Has this prospect (which has occurred in Israel and in the Church historically many times) ever crossed their minds?  Meanwhile, while the church is obsessed with fighting the gay boogeyman and in protecting their stockpile, destitute refugees from the world’s war zones have left all and have no where to lay their heads, black kids are gunned down in the streets, the gulf in the superwealthy and those barely surviving continues to grow, and the church has no such alarm or even time for these issues.
  9. A last point to make is that this topic is yet another one where the church and its (I hate to say it) incompetent leadership shot itself in the foot yet again, by not encouraging secular “civil unions” long ago, to give others similar civil legal rights of inheritance and property transference, tax treatment, visitation rights for the ill, etc.  Their “holier than thou” attitude could not exhibit the Golden Rule, which is way down on their list of spiritual imperatives, and did not care about these civil injustices.  In effect, they insisted on making what had been a sacred concept of “marriage” into a “government issue”, and then reaped the inevitable whirlwind for their lack of wisdom and foresight.  To be real honest, to a large extent even the Church should not be in the “marriage business” – marriage existed long before the Church, and is a covenant between two and God for which the Church has no Biblical say as to its legitimacy.  In fact, there is no Biblical citation for church weddings, or church “blessings” of them, and in particular pastor’s functioning as State officers in signing marriage licenses within the church itself.  These same enlightened Christian “leaders” not long ago said it was unbiblical for those of difference races to marry, or different social standings.  If pastors did not officiate church weddings, contrary to scripture but only in obedience to cultural tradition, they would otherwise not have to wring their hands over whot to marry, and who to restrict, gay or otherwise.  I have seen churches “bless” many a marriage which looked like a bad idea from the start, and many more for whom the wheels come off soon thereafter.  So are they the real experts on the matter?  For that matter, these are the same Christian leaders on a local or national scale (many of them) who have led us to nominate some of the most dumb, incompetent or crooked politicans – like many of them.  So why do we trust their spiritual insight on all of these harder things?  I recently read a paper from 1834 from the head of the South Carolina Baptist Convention to its governor, showing from scripture alone that slavery was acceptable to God, along with practical reasons why enslaved blacks were better off.  You better beware when religious leaders string up arguments with a daisy-chain of scripture, using “sola scriptura” to bully us into positions that run counter to and violate our own consciences – which God says He placed in all of us in nature as just a reliable a witness (if not better) as these Bible-slingers.  If you cannot look at the victims of these purported “Bible policies” in the eye and defend them and practice them in their midst, then it is probably a wrong thing to do, and these spiritual “experts” may not be hearing from the Holy Spirit.                                          

So that’s my rant for now.  It’s all stream-of-consicousness and I am sure the activists out there can pick apart any of the ideas expressed herein, but I sure feel better getting it off my chest.  There is much more to say on this matter, and I may add to this or post further on it as circumstances permit.

To God be the glory.

ADDENDUM:

After having uploaded this original post, I have noticed from some of the comments and commenters, even though it is a mixed bag of supporters, detractors and mixture, that some have taken great offense to my initial comments concerning my deep concerns about the influence of Calvinism on how some Christians look at others, and how it might influence Albert Mohler who wrote the article on homosexuality that I have commented on.  I am sorry if I offended any of you fellow Christian readers – I did not intend that. I know I expressed strong words, but I am sure I have been influenced by my studies for the current book volume on church history as it relates to holy wars I am writing, and in particular the section I recently finished in commenting on the era of Calvin and the aftermath. I could not help but observe that when Christians accept the idea that the majority of mankind has been hated by God before they breathed their first breath and will forever be hated with no recourse they have, it seems natural that such people will pursue a theocracy like Calvin’s Geneva to impose their will using a similar irrestible force they claim God uses on people per Calvinism doctrine. Per the writings I have read from Calvin and his apologists, it accordingly seems shy of mercy, empathy, and the subjection to the Golden Rule, which still applies even toward the “damned unelect”. Not only did this create an era of tyranny even against other Christians, the killing of Baptists like me and others, but also fueled the demeaning and genocidal treatment of Indians by the Puritans, by giving spiritual sanction for their eradication. I did not invent these observations; they have been pointed out by large numbers of prominent conservative Christian thinkers and historians. It is also clear that it fuels the current Calvinist-based Restoration Movement which seeks to establish a modern theocracy in America, and according to Gary North intends to eliminate the “heresy” of religious liberty.

I see how people with some degree of connection or empathy to Calvinism have become offended and taken my comments personally, and I did not mean to make it personal. However, while I have been called many bad names, having bad motives and distorting the issues, I still have not heard any direct refutations of the major tenets of Calvinism concerning God’s intention to create the majority of mankind merely to send them to Hell for His pleasure, with the other tenets of TULIP inevitably extending from it. I understand why Calvinists would not want to dwell on this, as well as the obvious conclusion that this motive matches Satan’s, and would like to re-frame it. I do not need to be held accountable for this statement; the people who believe this should be held accountable. If they deny this central aspect of predestination in Calvinism, I don’t see why they would even bother calling themselves Calvinist, because not much is left.

I also want to clarify that I do not have contempt for the little old lady who brings her covered-dish entree to the local Presbyterian church, serves her fellow members and community, and loves God the best she knows; I rather hold accountable the church leaders and other men who I believe should know better, and for whom I would like some answers on how they justify this conviction while saying that God is love and that they love their fellow man. I may have bitten off too much in explaining Mohler’s harsh position against the homosexual community as being at least partially explainable given his Calvinist connection within one post, but I still believe that a danger of considering a “damned without hope” class of people leads one to take a Pharisee-like hard line to those outside their ranks, with little empathy or mercy in many cases.

My only intention is to give food for thought and contemplation – and dialogue.

New Bombshell Investigative Report Ties Gen. Boykin to Military Intelligence Use of Christian Aid Organization in North Korea as a Funded Cover

Friends,

I just heard on CNN today a report on a new investigation by a journalistic organization called “The Intercept” that just released their findings that Gen. Jerry Boykin and his military intelligence group took over a Christian aid organization to fund and use to place intelligence gear and collect data in North Korea and elsewhere as a cover.  I found the actual amazing report, which you can read here:

Intercept Report Linking Boykin to Christian Group/Intelligence Cover

The front organization, the Humanitarian International Service Group (HISG), was founded the day before the 9/11 attack (you can see it explained here); the first website shows a video of the founder Kar Hiramine’s “Christian” calling to found it.  In 2003 Gen. Jerry Boykin, original member and eventual chief of Delta Force and Special Forces Command and now well-known evangelical speaker, joint chief with Rick Joyner of the Oak Initiative, and Executive Vice President of the Family Research Council, took over the DoD Defense Intelligence Group in 2003, and decided to develop intelligence capabiltiies to rival the CIA, by using faith based front organizations, which the CIA and rest of the government had been forbidden to do after they had been caught doing it in the 1975 Church Committee hearings.  They set up other front organizations to fund it to provide cover that it was a DoD intelligence front.  One funding organization, the New Millennium Group, was operated by Army Colo. Robert Lujan, who was the legal counsel for Delta Force when Boykin operated it; he also wrote a paper called “Legal Aspects of Domestic Employment of the Army” (which you can read here from a military training site) that talks about the use of the military in the U.S., and mentions the Waco siege (where Boykin advised Janet Reno on the assault that immolated scores of civilian victims) by using Delta Force to help the BATF clear a meth lab from the Branch Davidian house and to conduct  “‘room clearing discriminate fire operations,’ termed ‘close-quarter combat’ by the military”, and Presidential use of the military to take over Los Angeles after the Rodney King verdict.  He concludes by saying that “Civilian and military leaders need to expect an increase in domestic deployments of US military forces…America’s leaders should recognize that the relationship between America’s Army and the American people is strong but may be compromised.”

The article also notes that the money was also funded through a small outfit called the “Working Partners Foundation”, run by Robert Simses and Yale King.  Simses is a lawyer whose bio says he worked for the Navy in the White House during the Nixon years.  Yale King was the primary man, and was said by Boykin in his book Never Surrender as being a long-time “dear friend”; he was often featured on the Oak Initiative videos with Boykin and Joyner, talking about how the govt. had stolen his car dealership, when at the same time it appears evident that the government was sending him large sums to be a laundering organization.  The article notes that the ‘Christian” organization HISG received $15 million from the Pentagon, operating in 30 countries, until a new intelligence director shut them down at the end of 2012.  The new commander, Adm. McRaven, was said to have said to “shut it down because he was nervous about the flap if it ever got out that the Pentagon had used a bunch of evangelicals and missionaries as spies”.  My review of their tax records show that the groups shut down subsequently at the beginning of 2013, and according to the tax files I have (and the article attests), the remaining assets were given back to the U.S. Treasury (!).

I had already planned to have Gen. Boykin “star” in the last book volume for me to draft of my book series The Holy War Chronicles.  I document his involvement in the torture activities at Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib, his Delta Force activities and his “Christian” activities to turn the War on Terror into a “holy war”, where he (alongside Kanasas City Prophet Rock Joyner) advised the church to train our youth “with a Bible in one hand and a gun in the other”, as he also pontificated on Jesus’ return sporting an AK-47.  I thought that this, plus his recent book allegorizing a secret organization of retired pastors and special forces soldiers that assassinated Muslim leaders and other illegal acitivities were evidence of a corrupt work of wolves masquerading as Christian sheep.  I have seen all this evidence as “red flags” that Christian leaders have not seemed to acknolwedge to date.  I have been willing to speculate that the anti-sharia movement and Religious Right para-church community at large is rife with CIA and other intelligence operatives using the Church to accomplish its agenda (the documents I have obtained from the 1975 Church Committee hearings confirm this likelihood as well), since their agendas coincide, and this piece of data strongly bolsters this possibility.  If it is true, God help us all.

I hope this concerns you as much as it does me.

Important Updates to the Kim Davis Soap Opera

Friends,

I highly recommend you read ALL the links in the following article regarding the Pope’s “meeting” with Kim Davis:

Links to Stories That Explain Papal Visit

If you notice that the site is critical of “right wing” politics, please do not swoon and dismiss it entirely.  The links it highlights are all to high-quality news sources, that help clarify what happened there concerning the Pope’s “brush with greatness” (i.e., Kim Davis), and separates facts from fiction.

It appears that the Papal Ambassador to Washington DC has a old score to settle with the Papal Office, and “pulled a fast one” on the Pope (he is also an ardent Davis supporter).

The most important facets to me are the two times documented in these links that Davis’s “Christian” council Matt Staver of the Liberty Council (tied to Liberty University) lied to the public about the extent of Davis’ support overseas, and the death threats from The View.  Not only did he not even validate the data IF it was not intentional as an attorney, but none of the other Christian sources had as well.  Where is the due diligence from the Christian media?

Liberty University has a track record with this.  For a long time they covered for the fraud Ergun Caner, who was the head of their seminary, slandering and belittling his whistleblowers until they no longer could, then quietly shelved the issue.

The Religious Right cannot figure out why their evangelical message does not “work” anymore, and assume that any who point out their hypocrisy and disingenuity are merely “Christian persecutors”, and try to spread their illicit reputation to innocent Christians at large as fellow subjects of attack.  They have not grasped yet how irrelevant they are, caused by their own hand, and evidently do not have use of a mirror when seeking causes for their plight.

For this reason I agree with most of the public in seeing no credibility with the Religious Right or most Christian media.  These days when they speak I assume they are lying and/or I am being conned (to their monetary benefit), and it is sad to feel that way; I liked it better when I was in blissful ignorance.

Don’t let these jokers fool you into thinking that critics of them like me have “forsaken Christ” and have just become an “enemy of the Gospel”; today I love, worship and follow Jesus stronger than I ever have, have good and trustworthy pastoral leadership in a local church (and hope you find such as well), and find the Bible the only valid voice of God’s will, worthy for instruction, reproof, etc. when used in a responsible and wise way, and subject to the Holy Spirit’s unique direction with every person and situation I encounter. I no longer seek or regard “their” guidance, just like my “old school” Baptist forbearers centuries ago, who would be just as befuddled and dismayed at their hijinx as I am.  Spiritual “buyers” beware – listen to all their rantings with a high degree of skepticism, and keep your hand on your wallet (and electoral ballot).

“Boss Hogg” Runs The Kentucky County Clerk’s Office

For those discriminating readers of similar distinguished tastes (and vintage) as myself, it is well-known that a singular powerful figure controls the official county business and approvals in a rural Kentucky county.  Of course I speak of one “Boss” Hogg, the all-powerful county commissioner of Hazzard County, and extolled in the high-brow television series The Dukes of Hazzard.  “Boss” controlled all the major government offices in his county, and there were no approvals of any official actions in the county without his authorization, and thus consistent with his aims.  This position of local control made him quite wealthy.  The only other power figures were his wife Lulu, who placed her brother Roscoe P. Coltrane as “Sheriff” since he could not acquire other work, and “Boss”s nephew Hughie, who had his own schemes.  Another powerful figure venerated in the media was the legendary “Inspector 12” who had to approve each pair of Hanes underwear before they left the factory.  As she powerfully stated in this Youtube-preserved commercial, “They don’t say ‘Hanes’ until I SAY they say ‘Hanes’!”

We find a similar situation in another rural Kentucky county – Rowan County.  To consider the similarities we should first acquaint ourselves with its county clerk, Kim Davis.  According to a 2011 article in the Morehead News, at the time Kim was an assistant county clerk, while the current county clerk (who set Kim’s wages) was Jean Bailey – her mother.  Ms. Bailey was noted to have served 32 years in that position by that time, and served 3 more years to well exceed a third of a century in that taxpayer-paid position.  Kim worked for her mother in that office for 24 of those years.  This article notes that in this county of less than 23,000 people, in 2011 her mother had set her daughter’s taxpayer-funded annual wages at over $63,000, while the county Chief Deputy Sheriff was paid $38,000 and the Deputy-Judge executive $36,000.  Jean expressed extreme disappointment that county residents had complained about the wages she had set for her daughter, and thought it was unfair.

As most of you certainly know, newly serving County Clerk (replacing her mother) Ms. Davis has been in the national news for not only refusing to issue county marriage licences to gays and lesbians in compliance with new law, but also refusing to issue any marriage licences to anyone in the county, and also forbidding any of her six assistant clerks to do so either, to the point of ignoring a court order and appearing before a judge, who could not fire her but had to jail her as the only legal recourse for an elected official who refused to perform the duties for demanded by law and for which they were paid.  She declared it to be a case of “religious liberty” violation in inhibiting the expression of her views, and obtained legal counsel to represent her from the law firm Liberty Counsel, which is affiliated with Liberty University.  According to the Lexington Herald-Leader, five of the six deputy county clerks under her told the court that they would comply with the law and issue marriage certificates; the sixth deputy said he would not, who happened to be Nathan, her son who works for her in the office.

One could say that she was well experienced in the matter of the “sanctity of marriage” – in fact, four times, to be exact.  The U.S. News and World Report magazine reported that Kim Davis had obtained four marriages and three husbands over a fourteen year period, and gave birth to twins five months after her first divorce, with the father being her third husband, and adopted by her second husband – all while she was working in the clerk’s office, defending “traditional marriage”. They further note that she was afraid that being involved in the approval of a gay marriage could send her to hell; obviously she feels that her multiple broken marital covenants and adultery can be forgiven, but not for merely acknowledging the marriage of another.

The New York Times noted that Ms. Davis told a couple outside the courthouse desiring a marriage certificate that she was denying them this request as a state official based upon “God’s authority”.  A supporter of hers outside as well, 72-year-old Flavis McKinney, said that the longsuffering Ms. Davis reminded him of the prophet Daniel in the lion’s den.

The allusion to Daniel is an interesting one.  I believe that Daniel is probably the most consistently pious and wise man of the entire Old Testament.  The thing that distinguishes him from his peers was his ability to cheerfully work in a pagan society for a pagan leader and boss, work with pagan peers and serve pagan citizens.  His Jewish faith was certainly more strict and socially exclusionary than that of the New Covenant Christian faith.  Furthermore, his Jewish brethren were taken in hostile fashion to a faraway pagan land, and resided as a conquered minority.  However, he was devoted to the success, prosperity and well-being of his pagan kings and nation he served – even Nebuchadnezzar, whose fate he feared for when prophesying.  I am sure he was immersed in a place and city with pagan rites and talk going on all around him, but scripture suggests that he served them faithfully regardless, only offering resistance in a single case when his own personal worship of Jehovah would be compromised.  Even then, he did not seek counsel, start a protest movement or a violent resistance; he calmly agreed to “pay the price”, without adding malice to their charges against him.  When sent to apparent certain death in the lion’s den, he met the king’s inquiry the next morning from the bowels of the den with only a cheerful, “O King, live forever!”.  His prayers were in contrition for the sins of his own religious community, and not for the pagan nation he served, nor calling curses upon them.  Thus he was highly regarded in heaven, as well as the pagan nations he served – be they Babylon of their conqueror Persia – which led to their praise for the God of Daniel.  Why is he not cited within this context as a role model by our American Christian leaders?

Jesus acknowledged the earthly jurisdiction of pagan nations and their leaders when He said to “render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s, and unto God what is Gods” (Mark 12:17), as well as acknowledging that His kingdom was not of this world, lest His followers would fight for it (John 18:36).  He saw earthly government as more of a distraction to be tolerated and not provoked, as he produced a coin from a fish’s mouth to pay their taxes to not resist the government (while a Christian leader in Florida has sat in a jail for not doing the same).  When Jesus talked to a Samaritan woman with “marriage sanctity issues” like Ms. Davis, he did not continue to chide her or protest her while in such state, but rather focused on giving her the “living water” she truly needed.  Jesus told soldiers employed by and serving the State not to use the State power to advance the agenda of the Church and Kingdom, but rather to not do violence, not do unjustly and to be content with your wages (Luke 3:14).

Paul had some guidance concerning sexually immoral behavior that was going on in the church in Corinth that was so bad that even the pagans complained.  But regarding the local church and its Christian members interacting with the greater community and its lifestyle “issues”, he said:

“I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators: Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world. But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat. For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? do not ye judge them that are within? But them that are without God judgeth.” (1 Cor. 5: 9-13 KJV)

Paul is telling these Christians to hold to standards amongst those equally yoked to Christ within their own body, but not to judge the world itself in these matters, rather leaving it to God Himself.  He further recommends that they cavort with some of the worst “sinners” of their society, just like their Founder Jesus before, because of the Church’s mandate from Him to “go out into the world”, which means one will be exposed to such behavior and values.  If we followed Paul’s guidance here to “not judge the world”, it would eliminate the missions of most para-church organizations, and eliminate the “culture wars”, and most other “wars”.

The Apostle Peter also gave advice on the proper circumstances for Christians to endure persecution, as well as the improper:

“If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy [are ye]; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified.  But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or [as] a thief, or [as] an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men’s matters.” (1 Peter 4:14-15, KJV)

It is interesting to note that Christ never directed His followers into a “culture war” against the Roman State to transform it as a tool to accomplish Kingdom business, nor the conquering of the “Seven Mountains” of societal influence to dominate over the wishes of those not yoked to Christ; His Apostles likewise do not mention any such directives, unlike most of our prominent American Christian leaders.

I imagine Ms. Davis is a sincere follower of Christ, and is trying to follow Him the best she knows how, along with her many hangups like we all have.  She is also probably genuinely thinking she is bravely being a “soldier for Christ” and a martyr, while also motivated by other cultural and historical aversions to homosexuality which cause many Christians to take a harder line on this issue compared to similar ones.  She is also likely going to be exploited as a partially-witting tool of those “Christian” zealots who seek to accomplish those societal objectives mentioned in the last paragraph in opposition to the stated methods of Christ and His Apostles, which if followed would keep the American Church in “good report” with the society it is called to minister to and reach.

Nowhere in the Bible is authority granted for a third person to have the power to “grant” or permit or refuse a covenant between two consenting people, of sufficient mental capacity and judgment and without fraud discovered between the two parties, and which does not conflict with other covenants they are subject to; neither does the State.  The role of any third party, if any, is merely to witness the covenant they made at the time, if its occurrence were to be placed in doubt by others, or even disputed later between the two; the role of the State similarly is to document such transactions, their basic structure, parties and date and to confirm that it is not in conflict with other covenants either party is privy to (to the extent of State knowledge and records), with the purpose to judiciously resolve possible later disputes.  When the Department of Motor Vehicles acknowledges a transaction between buyer and seller in the trade of a car, we know it is not acceptable for the clerk to withhold the granting of the new title subject to their personal approval of the wisdom of both parties in making their private decision to covenant together.  The moral acceptability of the nature of a covenant between two parties in terms of permitting it is not the jurisdiction of the State nor even the Church (both of whom would have prevented mix-race marriages a mere generation ago based on moral grounds), the latter being only authorized to discipline members by disassociation for outward Bible-specified sinful behavior while in their own ranks, and for the limited jurisdiction of its own activities.  The ultimate “approval” or “disapproval” of a covenant is between the two parties and God Himself; otherwise, many churches would not even grant approval of marriages even between those of differing religious denominations (or remarriages, like with Ms. Davis)!  Why voluntarily give up the ancient, God-given right of two people to covenant together without interference from third parties, and transfer such a sacred right to the State or the Church?  Thus, I believe this recent public incident that is the subject of this article is not one of the moral acceptability of homosexual marriage, but a case of the personal abuse of governmental and institutional power.             

It appears to me that Ms. Davis, like many, thinks her taxpayer-paid civil position is somehow “sacred” because of her residence in it, and rather than doing the business of the taxpayers she was elected to serve to honor the laws their elected representatives passed and the judges appointed by them, she feels that it offers her the authority of endorsing or rejecting state-sanctioned marriages based upon her personal perception of the moral acceptability of the circumstances surrounding it.  This is a power not enumerated in her state’s constitution or elsewhere for her position, or for anyone else for that matter.  How would we fare if a Seventh Day Adventist bureaucrat forbid the rest of us to worship on Sundays, which they find “offensive”, or a Jewish one prohibiting the public display of a cross for similar reasons?  What if some of you who like to down a beer or glass of wine from time to time were forbidden to by a strict Baptist in a state or local office, for their own conscience sake?  Better yet – what if Ms. Davis had been denied her fourth marriage license by a good Christian clerk who rightly saw the history of adultery and string of broken marital covenants in her past?

I submit that Ms. Davis, no matter how well-intentioned, is just another “Boss Hogg” over Rowan County, or “Inspector 12”.

Blast From The Past: Joe Friday Defends Police Brutality to the Hippies and Blacks

As I said in the blog description, I have a soft spot for culture from the 60s to early 80s, be it a “good ol’ boy” country music song from the 60s about hippies and the war, to this gem from the 1969 edition (the season premier) of the iconic TV series Dragnet.  It focuses on Detectives Friday and Gannon being asked to defend police brutality and profiling on a controversial, confrontational TV show, and it is a classic (the Hulu link should play, but you might have to sit through a commercial):

Hulu: Dragnet 1969 E1 – Public Relations

For you youngsters out there, Dragnet became one of the early mega-hits on TV in the 50s, lasting for eight seasons and making star Jack Webb a TV mover and shaker.  He became, post WWII, the quintessential defender of the “Greatest Generation” and its values, warning of the risk of Commies taking over our towns in many works, and defending the actions of authoritarian figures such as the military and cops, and the “American Way”.  He brought back Dragnet for what I feel is its most interesting era, in early color from 1967 to 1970, probably because it was TV gold monetarily, but also I suspect because he was worried about the emerging “hippie culture” and youth movement that was really impacting his home town of Los Angeles.  He starts each show with some iconic words about “carrying a badge” and the virtues of LA – with its recurring elements, such as the “bad guys” being sentenced at the end in some type of police line up, becoming iconic and being parodied on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson and elsewhere (Dan Ackroyd also did a spot-on impression of Joe Friday in the 1980s movie Dragnet).  His first show of 1967, “The LSD Story”, has some of the most classic engagement scenes between square oldsters of the establishment, and “flower children” and junkies, as caricatured by his older generation as he wrote their parts.  It is must-see TV for fans of unintended satire.  Jack Webb, and his character of Joe Friday, is THE archetype of that generation and those who ran the Establishment, with views and characteristics for better or for worse.

In the episode I linked above, Friday and his partner Gannon get roped into defending the cops on a confrontational show that must have emulated the 1960s Los Angeles “Joe Pyne Show” (with episodes itself you should watch on Youtube), which became a confrontational forerunner of the “Morton Downey, Jr.  Show” and Jerry Springer.  They get ambushed in debate by a hippie (played by the great Howard Hesseman, later to achieve fame as “Johnny Fever” in WKRP In Cincinnati), a leftist human rights professor, and blacks, Hispanics and others from the poor neighborhoods who hurl questions to them about police brutality and profiling.  Joe Friday makes an eloquent and heart-rending appeal on behalf of the beat cop, but never really addresses tangibly how to solve the problems they cite.  Although it is obvious these antagonists are stereotyped by Jack Webb through the lens he saw them through when he wrote their parts, the debate shows that the issues have NOT changed in the last half century, and even this contrived debate is more eloquent than what we see in the public sector today (at least they had a dialogue, and acknowledged the problems then; how would today’s Religious Right and conservatives be accurately portrayed in such as show?).

Hope you enjoy this as much as I did, and I look forward to your comments!

P.S. As a bonus, a Youtube link to “The LSD Story” is here: