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Neo-theocracy as a False Drive to a Simpler Society

(understanding  new neo-theocratic movements in a context of theological voluntarism)

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"I believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute, where no Catholic prelate would tell the President (should he be Catholic) how to act, and no Protestant minister would tell his parishioners for whom to vote, where no church or church school is granted any public funds or political preference. . . . I believe in an America that is officially neither Catholic, Protestant, nor Jewish, where no public official either requests or accepts instructions on public policy from the Pope, the National Council of Churches, or any other ecclesiastical source, where no religious body seeks to impose its will directly or indirectly upon the general populace or the public acts of its officials."

 JFK's Sept 12, 1960 address
to the Greater Houston Ministerial Association



"Doublethink means the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one's mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them."

- George Orwell'



'I am an American and a Catholic; I love my country and treasure my faith. But I do not assume that my conception of patriotism or policy is invariably correct, or that my convictions about religion should command any greater respect than any other faith in this pluralistic society. I believe there surely is such a thing as truth, but who among us can claim a monopoly on it? . . . (Women and men of religious faith) may be tempted to misuse government in order to impose a value which they cannot persuade others to accept. But once we succumb to that temptation we step onto the slippery slope where everyone's freedom is at risk . . . Let us never forget: Today's Moral Majority could become tomorrow's persecuted minority."

- Senator Edward Kennedy
Drawing contrasts, setting standards



"The new conservatives see our democratic government as the enemy. And if they plan to destroy democracy, they must have something in mind to replace it with...What conservatives are really arguing for is a return to the three historic forms of tyranny that the Founders and Framers identified, declared war against, and fought and died to keep out of our land. Those tyrants were kings, theocrats, and noble feudal lords....These new conservatives would have us trade in our democracy for a corporatocracy, a form of feudal government most recently reinvented by Benito Mussolini when he recommended a 'merger of business and state interests' as a way of creating a government that would be invincibly strong. Mussolini called it fascism."

- John Laughland

From the theological perspective theocracy is a sin that inevitably lead to the false allure of simple solutions and lack of appreciation of limits of power.  In a way you can view is as a reaction against an overcomplexity of modern society. It is a false solution to the problem, though, but it is a variant of the reaction to the same set of problems as resurgence of far right parties in Europe and elsewhere and emergence of Tea Party in the USA.

As Kevin Phillips noted "Economic conservatives often warm up to the sects in which preoccupation with the personal salvation turns lower income persons from distracting visions of economic and social reform."  This observation was never more true the during the administration of George W Bush.  And such an "excessive zeal" in courting "Dominionists and friends" alarmed even some theologians.

"Every Christian hopes to find a vocation and calling that is faithful to Christ. But a president who believes that the nation is fulfilling a God-given righteous mission and that he serves with a divine appointment can become quite theologically unsettling."

Theologian Martin Marty voices the concern of many when he says, "The problem isn't with Bush's sincerity, but with his evident conviction that he's doing God's will." 

In reality there was a big problem with Bush sincerity and not only with sincerity.  The key problem is that religion is used as a cement for creation and recruiting people for a  "for-profit" theologically driven corporation (aka sect)  with some not so clean goals. By appointing John Ashcroft to the position of attorney general Bush essentially make a move toward neo-theocracy as a political platform and elevated Christianity of obscure Christian fundamentalists sects (such as Pentecostal) to the level of national ideology.

The simplest definition of theocracy is a government which claims to be immediately directed by God in a form of particular religious doctrine, and divinely blessed. The religious doctrine can represent mainstream religion (or some religious sect, like ISIS), or can be secular like Communism doctrine was.   Or as neoliberal doctrine is now.

But in any case, Bush regime behavior was anticonsitutional as it has open and distinct theocratic leanings. As Christianity Today put it, "... Bush is confusing genuine faith with national ideology."  And that's the key. When the boundary between faith and national ideology became fuzzy we have an instance of theocratic state.  As the corollary from this thesis any government that does not adhere to the principle of separation of religion and state (for example the government of Israel) is a theocratic government.

But Bush regime really moved the country to the situation, in which the state powers tends to be intolerant either passively or overtly to faiths other than that recognized by the state.  The country identifies itself and its laws within religion and religious doctrine.  That eliminates the legal separation between church and state, and citizens of other faiths are often excluded or hampered from participation or expelled.  Because a theocracy is exclusionary, it can never be a democracy which requires inclusion without exception of all equally.  It cannot be a republic because a republic requires the separation of church and state and equal rights to all. 

The page tries to analyze a dangerous new phenomenon that yet has to be named, the (all time shifting) alliance between Christian Right and neoconservatives (who are by-and-large atheists or even militant atheists like Randists), the alliance that might threaten or destroy the separation of the church and the state.  And already greatly influenced the nation (with the election of George Bush as a president).  For absence of better terms we will call it neo-theocracy. 

The demands for religiosity and Bible classes in White house in Bush administration were not funny and cannot simply be attributed to just Bush's desire to exploit religious fundamentalists as foot solders of the Republican Party (although this desire was evidently present).  Kevin Phillips in his book American Theocracy noted that conservative republican ideology is an eclectic mix of fundamentalist religious  fervor, fiscal insanity, and  personal greed. This is a perfect mix for any fundamentalist sect.

Conservative republican ideology is an eclectic mix of fundamentalist religious  fervor, fiscal insanity, and  personal greed

Here is a quote from one of the Amazon reviews that articulates his position well:

Phillips sees three interlocking tendencies as now reaching a critical point in defining and even threatening the future of the polity.

First is the rise of the corruptive influence of oil on both domestic and foreign policy; second is the rise of an intolerant form of radical Christian doctrine into key areas of public life; and third, the incredibly irresponsible increase in the level of both public and private debt.

Each of these trends threatens to undermine both the short-term and long term stability of the nation, and each in its own way is a key factor in the way that describes how it is that both the Executive branch and the Congress are becoming increasingly beholden to special interests and are increasingly undemocratic. In particular, the fashion in which President Bush and the Congress have used permanent tax cuts for the wealthy as a device to transfer responsibility for future debt away from the wealthy and toward those with less means and less political voice, while at the same time insanely increasing that public debt, defies both morality and logic. Moreover, Phillips finds that the ways in which these trends are unfolding makes us as individual citizens and as members of the larger collectivity substantially less likely and immensely less able to determine our own future in anything resembling a rational and progressive fashion.

This introduction and the collection of materials below was created by a non-specialist and should be treated as such. Still I think that it is an obligation of every citizen to defend the separation of church and state. As Madison and Jefferson noted, separation protects religion from trivialization as much as it guards nonbelievers from subtle or blatant coercion.

And dangers  are real. According to Phillips (p 119):

In other words, the role of conservative and fundamentalist Christian sects in the USA political life should not be underestimated.

The key observation that is promoted here is that while nobody doubts that Christian Right is a powerful and popular theocratic movement, few people see neo-conservatism this way, and thus do not see that those two movements are natural allies. But such an alliance represents new and powerful political force, essentially it was the alliance which put George W Bush so high and made the second George W Bush term possible.  This might help to understand the common voting block of Christian fundamentalists and neoconservatives on the basis of "moral values" despite differences in their attitude to individual issues behind this broad term. It was evident during first Bush administration and is a well documented phenomena. 

Like is/was the case with Lysenkoism "people are better then institutions" and individual neocons can be a well educated people that has nothing to do with people who deny Darwin theory of evolution  (for example Paul Wolfowitz got a bachelor's degree from Cornell University (1965) in mathematics, and a doctorate in political science from the University of Chicago (1972)). That does not change the similarities between the two.  

Both neo-conservatism and Lysenkoism share the same basic mechanism: an attempt to convert an ideology or a particular pseudo-scientific doctrine into a religious cult and to enforce the "cult-style regime"  by openly using large dozes of disinformation and complete mass media control (with or without the repressive power of state.). The key slogan in both cases is "who are not with us are against us". 

In this case for non-conformists not only answers, but question itself  became a danger (and that's exactly what should be expected if separation of church and state is weakened enough.) Please note that the academic community was, by and large, complicit in this mixture of direct political pressure and absurdity that accompanied Lysenkoism. And academic community is somewhat more advanced that a larger society. Also history tends to repeat itself. 

That means that humanity might not have an adequate immune response to this danger. Erich Fromm, one of the first researchers of conformism in modern society (he created 'F-scale' ) in his famous book 'Escape from Freedom' (compare with We by Eugene Zamiatin(1921), Brave New World and the most famous of dystopian novels, 1984) wrote that the "organization man is not aware that he obeys; he believes that he only conforms with what is rational and practical"

Organization man is not aware that he obeys; he believes that he only conforms with what is rational and practical.

So if effect he is religious in its own peculiar way. That's why we can call the USSR neo-theoretical state.  And we can call randism (aka positivism) an obscure religious cult. Cult of Greed.

The main idea of the Zamiatin's book is that most humans seek comfort from the burdens from responsibility. Unfortunately "to be rational and practical" is a rationalization of the desire to conform to a system that rewards obedience to power even you know that this power is openly and blatantly misinform/disorient people in order to reach its dubious goals. 

Most humans seek comfort from the burdens from responsibility

Any current political discussion can not be structured only in the terms of platforms, for example in terms of  the advantages and limits of  "free market"  versus "people's government" like in old "republicans vs. democrats" platforms.  The important overlooked dimension is the "doze" of disinformation and pressure that a particular political force is ready and willing to use to achieve its goals.  I recognize that any politician needs to stretch the truth to accomplish political goals. It may be the necessary evil of creating and maintaining public opinion.  The same is applicable for press. But the key question is the doze and here at some point "quantity turns into quality":  what in small doze might be a cure for problems in a large doze can became poison. Fifty-two years ago, Orwell warned us about this danger in his essay "Politics and the English Language."  And the USSR is a vivid example of consequences of this qualitative shift.

In other words neo-fascism in the USA can prosper only in as a Christian fundamentalism fueled by theocratic movements.  See American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War On America. In "American Fascists," Hedges never makes the simplistic claim that the Christian Right is the Nazi party, or that Bush is Mussolini, or that America will inevitably become a fascist state. His investigation is much more nuanced, identifying the incipient stirrings, invisible to many Americans, of a complex, mass political movement that is mobilizing and gaining strength and support beneath the surface of our democracy. The Christian Right, led by the dominionists, is directly aligned with imperial (aka corporatist)  presidency of George W Bush.

Merge of Christian fundamentalism and corporatism  has important political advantage -- the ability to turn the illegal, inhuman orders into  "God's will", with the exciting twist that we are heading for the apocalypse when only the saved will attain heaven. Because these so-called Christians are heavily funded and control a disproportionate number of radio and TV outlets, their influence far exceeds their numbers. He points out that they have a lot in common with such important historical movements that committed mass autocracies as Bolsheviks and nationalist of various kinds:

"The radical Christian Right calls for exclusion, cruelty and intolerance in the name of God. Its members do not commit evil for evil's sake. They commit evil to make a better world. To attain this better world, they believe, some must suffer and be silenced, and at the end of time all those who oppose them must be destroyed. The worst suffering in human history has been carried out by those who preach such grand, utopian visions, those who seek to implant by force their narrow, particular version of goodness. This is true for all doctrines of personal salvation, from Christianity to ethnic nationalism to communism to fascism. Dreams of a universal good create hells of persecution, suffering and slaughter. No human being could ever be virtuous enough to attain such dreams, and the Earth has swallowed millions of hapless victims in the vain pursuit of a new heaven and a new Earth. Ironically, it is idealism that leads radical fundamentalists to strip human beings of their dignity and their sanctity and turn them into abstractions. Yet it is only by holding on to the sanctity of each individual, each human life, only by placing our faith in tiny, unheroic acts of compassion and kindness, that we survive as a community and as individual human beings."

Here is one interesting review from Amazon:

By Alan Broomhead

As a student of politics twenty or so years ago, I was warned by my professors to beware when the word 'fascist' was used against an individual or group. The word was too easily bandied about, too frequently employed to damn enemies without a good understanding of the meaning of the word. Then we were taught the meaning of fascism through a study of some of the movements that had made it real: Nazi Germany, Mussolini's Italy, Franco's Spain.

One reason this book drew me in was the use of the word "Fascists" on its front cover. I thought this was a strong claim to make about the object of its study, the Christian right in the US. Chris Hedges doesn't simply sling the word at the Christian right. He includes a six-page description, by Umberto Eco, of the "Ur-Fascist" or "essential fascist" - meaning the boiled-down traits of all fascist movements - at the beginning of the book. But I don't think he goes far enough to tie his thesis into a coherent whole. He doesn't refer to Eco's analysis (or tell us what expertise Eco has), and readers are left to make the connections for themselves.

Certainly some of the chapters in the book implicitly attempt to make the connection between the Christian right and other fascist movements.

Both these chapters could have been related to Eco's discussion, or to historical examples of fascism, to clarify the similarities. But I feel that Hedges makes the reader do too much of the work to fill in the gaps. That is, if it's his intention to convince readers that the Christian right are fascists.

But then if that were the case, you might expect him, in an introduction to the book, to lay out his thesis and anticipate how he was going to demonstrate it. In the chapters which followed, you might expect him to develop his argument, and to tie things up in a concluding chapter. This book is not like that, and this is my biggest complaint about it, and about books of its kind.

Perhaps because Chris Hedges is a journalist, I wonder if he has trouble thinking and writing in book-length units. His chapters are really extended journalistic articles, each one separate from all the rest, and relying heavily on his encounters with individuals he meets at conferences plus his commentary, which tends to be his opinion not supported by evidence. It wouldn't matter which order you read this book in, or even whether you read the whole thing or not. The chapters don't really advance an argument, they simply look at the Christian right from various angles. What it adds up to might be described as reports from the frontlines of the liberal/conservative-religious culture war, but not a strong case that the leaders of the right-wing Christian movement - ugly and evil as they most probably are - are to be regarded as fascists.

On the other hand, I enjoyed reading this book, and found it engaging. Hedges, apparently a liberal Christian, is clearly angry about how the dominionists depict Christianity and damn to the flames anyone who doesn't share their view. The book leaves me with a question, though. It's one that stems from Karl Popper's quotation right at the beginning of the first chapter: "We should claim the right to suppress them, if necessary even by force; for it may easily turn out that they are not prepared to meet us on the level of rational argument, but begin by denouncing all argument." If Hedges is right that the Christian right wants to suppress the rest of us, if necessary by force, and if Popper is right that we may have to suppress them, if necessary by force, where is this going to lead us?

It is important to understand important analogy between Lysenkoism, neo-conservatism and neo-theocratic movements. All three operate a deliberate distortion of reality. In other words they rely on lies. And this way , like Bush said,  they create their own reality.

In all three cases the distortion of reality created by deliberate lies is not shared by the ministers of the cult and is just for the mass consumption, for the achievement of a political goals. Which makes all three close and Christian fundamentalists especially dangerous. 

If this is a right hypothesis, then there is something very sad and even tragic that the seeds of the phenomena originated in Stalinist state mutated into a powerful political force in the USA, the winner of the Cold War...  

But there are important differences with Stalinism too. And they are related to the preferred methods of suppressing dissent. Unlike Stalinism (and by extension Lysenkoism),  neither neo-theocratic movements nor neo-conservatism need the repressive power of totalitarian state to suppress dissent, as Academician Lysenko successfully used in the Soviet Union to suppress all research in genetics for almost three decades(1935-1965). It looks like just media control is enough and media empires like Fox (News Corp), NBC (GE), ABC (Disney), CBS (Viacom), CNN (AOL-Time Warner),  could serve as a suitable replacement of a totalitarian state for this particular purpose. They project this false reality 24x7 and as such is as efficient mechanism for suppressing dissent as KGB was in the USSR.  

A fact that supports this hypothesis is that that Straussian philosophy that is the philosophic foundation of  neo-conservativism  explicitly approves unlimited disinformation. Moreover Strauss considered disinformation a necessary tool to regulate lesser mortals.  It's naive to assume that disinformation can be totally eliminated. Like background noise is always present in any political process. But an important question arises: at what level disinformation produce side effects that irrevocably corrupt the society and in a subtle way transforms the political system. One of the most frightening things about  Straussian philosophy is that it permits withholding any and all facts from the public.

I am not a sociologist and you need to do your own research to answer this question. I just want to stress the importance of this question in view of existence of neo-theocratic movements as an important political force. I might be wrong and mischaracterized the phenomenon. You need to do your own research.  If you are not well versed in neo-conservatism as a philosophic-political trend please you can get just start by reading a short essay from Asia Times,  then compare it with left-wing views on the same subject. It's also make sense to take the CSM quiz  (look into the questions, ignore the results ;-). For additional material see Recommended Links.

The key idea here is that citizens outside the elite should be forced to be religious to remain controllable. Lysenkoism was the first attempt to move methods of religious cult into academic environment. .  It probably can be viewed as the first cult-style attempt to use distorted, based of open deception view of a particular phenomenon, the view that was distrusted and ridiculed inside "knowledgeable elite" itself, but still enforced on "unwashed masses" (institualized hypocrisy).  Institualized hypocrisy is actually an important feature of all neo-theocratic movements and it is present in neo-conservatism in several forms. One of them is the concept of "esoteric texts". Here is a relevant quote from a pro-neocons paper by Robert Locke in the  FrontPage magazine:

The key Straussian concept is the Straussian text, which is a piece of philosophical writing that is deliberately written so that the average reader will understand it as saying one ("exoteric") thing but the special few for whom it is intended will grasp its real ("esoteric") meaning. The reason for this is that philosophy is dangerous.

Philosophy calls into question the conventional morality upon which civil order in society depends; it also reveals ugly truths that weaken men’s attachment to their societies. Ideally, it then offers an alternative based on reason, but understanding the reasoning is difficult and many people who read it will only understand the "calling into question" part and not the latter part that reconstructs ethics. Worse, it is unclear whether philosophy really can construct a rational basis for ethics.

Therefore philosophy has a tendency to promote nihilism in mediocre minds, and they must be prevented from being exposed to it. The civil authorities are frequently aware of this, and therefore they persecute and seek to silence philosophers. Strauss shockingly admits, contrary to generations of liberal professors who have taught him as a martyr to the First Amendment, that the prosecution of Socrates was not entirely without point. This honesty about the dangers of philosophy gives Straussian thought a seriousness lacking in much contemporary philosophy; it is also a sign of the conviction that philosophy, contrary to the mythology of our "practical" (though sodden with ideology and quick to take offense at ideas) age, matters.

Strauss not only believed that the great thinkers of the past wrote Straussian texts, he approved of this. It is a kind of class system of the intellect, which mirrors the class systems of rulers and ruled, owners and workers, creators and audiences, which exist in politics, economics, and culture. He views the founding corruption of modern political philosophy, which hundreds of years later bears poisonous fruit in the form of liberal nihilism, to be the attempt to abolish this distinction. It is a kind of Bolshevism of the mind.

Some dispute whether Straussian texts exist. The great medieval Jewish Aristotelian Moses Maimonides admitted writing this way. I can only say that I have found the concept fruitful in my own readings in philosophy. On a more prosaic level, even a courageous editor like my own can’t print certain things, so I certainly write my column in code from time to time, and other writers have told me the same thing.

According to Strauss, Machiavelli is the key turning point that leads to modern political philosophy, and Machiavelli’s sin was to speak esoteric truths openly. He told all within hearing that there is no certain God who punishes wrongdoing; the essence of Machiavellianism is that one can get away with things. Because of this, he turned his back on the Christian virtue that the belief in a retributive God had upheld. Pre-Machiavellian philosophy, be in Greco-Roman or Christian, had taught that the good political order must be based upon human virtues. Machiavelli believed that sufficient virtue was not attainable and therefore taught that the good political order must be based on men as they are, i.e. upon their mediocrity and vices. This is not just realism, or mere cynicism. It amounts to a deliberate choice as to how society should be organized and a decided de-emphasis on personal virtue. It leads to the new discipline of political science, which is concerned with coldly describing men as they actually are, warts and all. It leads ultimately to Immanuel Kant’s statement that,

"We could devise a constitution for a race of devils, if only they were intelligent."

... ... ...

The interesting question is why Strauss chose to "spill the beans" about Straussian texts if they are supposed to remain a secret. The answer is that he felt he had to, given the severity of our crisis. Admittedly, the concept of the Straussian text is one susceptible to intellectual mischief in the form of wild claims about the esoteric meaning of texts, not to mention rather off-putting for anyone who doesn’t like know-it-all elites. But before getting too huffy about this elitist view of the good society, it is best to remind oneself that it is strikingly similar to the view cultivated for centuries by the Catholic and Orthodox churches and by Orthodox Judaism, not to mention other religions: there is a small number of men who know the detailed truth; the masses are told what they need to know and no more. Free inquiry outside the bounds of revelation is dangerous.

... ... ...

Strauss believed that the great competitor of philosophy is revealed religion. He believed that reason and revelation cannot refute each other. He believed that religion was the great necessity for ordinary men. For him, religion is in essence revealed law, and he took his native Judaism to be its paradigm.

Please note the key idea "Free inquiry outside the bounds of revelation is dangerous.".  An expert on Straussians  philosophy Dr. Shadia B. Drury put this much less diplomatically in her Saving America paper, although she incorrectly in my opinion accused them to be "compulsive liars". They are more like "rational liars", in her own words they believe that "society needs an elite of philosophers or intellectuals to manufacture "noble lies" for the consumption of the masses":

The trouble with the Straussians is that they are compulsive liars. But it is not altogether their fault. Strauss was very pre-occupied with secrecy because he was convinced that the truth is too harsh for any society to bear; and that the truth-bearers are likely to be persecuted by society - specially a liberal society - because liberal democracy is about as far as one can get from the truth as Strauss understood it.

Strauss's disciples have inherited a superiority complex as well as a persecution complex. They are convinced that they are the superior few who know the truth and are entitled to rule. But they are afraid to speak the truth openly, lest they are persecuted by the vulgar many who do not wish to be ruled by them. This explains why they are eager to misrepresent the nature of Strauss's thought. They are afraid to reveal that Strauss was a critic of liberalism and democracy, lest he be regarded as an enemy of America. So, they wrap him in the American flag and pretend that he is a champion of liberal democracy for political reasons - their own quest for power. The result is that they run roughshod over truth as well as democracy.

It should however be pointed out that being a critic of liberalism or democracy or both does not make one automatically an enemy of America. On the contrary, freedom and democracy can only be strengthened by intellectually confronting their critics. Strauss has no special antipathy for America. He is the enemy of liberty in general. It was for love of America that he wished to save her from her disastrous love affair with liberty, as I will explain.

... ... ...

Strauss is not as obscure or as esoteric as his admirers pretend. There are certain incontestable themes in his work. The most fundamental theme is the distinction between the ancients and the moderns - a distinction that informs all his work. According to Strauss, ancient philosophers (such as Plato) were wise and wily, but modern philosophers (such as Locke and other liberals) were foolish and vulgar. The wise ancients thought that the unwashed masses were not fit for either truth or liberty; and giving them these sublime treasures was like throwing pearls before swine. Accordingly, they believed that society needs an elite of philosophers or intellectuals to manufacture "noble lies" for the consumption of the masses. Not surprisingly, the ancients had no use for democracy. Plato balked at the democratic idea that any Donald, Dick, or George was equally fit to rule.

In contrast to the ancients, the moderns were the foolish lovers of truth and liberty; they believed in the natural rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. They believed that human beings were born free and could be legitimately ruled only by their own consent.

The ancients denied that there is any natural right to liberty. Human beings are born neither free nor equal. The natural human condition is not one of freedom, but of subordination. And in Strauss's estimation, they were right in thinking that there is only one natural right - the right of the superior to rule over the inferior - the master over the slave, the husband over the wife, and the wise few over the vulgar many. As to the pursuit of happiness - what could the vulgar do with happiness except drink, gamble, and fornicate?

... ... ...

So, what is to be done? How can America be saved from her dangerous fascination with liberty? Irving Kristol came up with the solution that has become the cornerstone of neoconservative policies: use democracy to defeat liberty. Turn the people against their own liberty. Convince them that liberty is licentiousness - that liberty undermines piety, leads to crime, drugs, rampant homosexuality, children out of wedlock, and family breakdown. And worse of all, liberalism is soft on communism or terrorism - whatever happens to be the enemy of the moment. And if you can convince the people that liberty undermines their security, then, you will not have to take away their liberty; they will gladly renounce it.

Similar to Marx, neocons consider the religion to be an opiate for masses, but unlike Marx they claim it to be a useful and necessary opiate. That's why despite their personal atheism they support and promote Christian Right efforts in reforming the United Sates so that it becomes a "Christian nation" (which is a politically correct term for theocracy)  and try to present both domestic opposition as well as external enemies and foreign states in religious terms ("evil").  This overuse and abuse of the word "evil" and attempts to present essentially secular issues in religious terms instead or ethical framework (right and wrong) might serve as a litmus test for a skeptical reader or listener.  Their implicit alliance with the Christian right is also a matter of great concern: there are alarming links between Christian fundamentalists and Wahhabis:

Unfortunately there is a similar group of bigoted religious fundamentalists in America who are undermining the secular character of America, subverting the peaceful message of Christianity and polluting the socio-cultural environment of America.  These American Wahhabis like their Muslim counterparts are intolerant of homosexuality, feminism, civil rights (ACLU), do not believe in the separation of Church and State and hate people of other faiths. Rev. Jerry Falwell, Rev. Pat Robertson and Rev. Franklin Graham are three of the most prominent, powerful and vocal representatives of American Wahhabis.

Readers may recall that in the immediate aftermath of September 11, Reverend Jerry Falwell blamed abortionists, homosexuals, and the ACLU for angering God and indirectly causing the attacks of September 11. He later apologized for his statements when there was uproar from all sides of the political spectrum, including the President who called Farwell’s comments as “inappropriate”. His statement was a shameless and insensitive example of political opportunism that sought not only to politicize the tragedy of September 11 but also to incite hatred towards the groups that Rev. Falwell and his associates habitually target. If he was not strongly rebuked by nearly everyone who mattered, his crusade against ACLU, gays and feminists would have fed on the emotions related to September 11 and gained significant momentum.

In the past few weeks American Wahhabis have unleashed a verbal assault on Islam and its religious symbols unmindful of the hate it is inciting against Muslim in America and the anti-American sentiments it is generating in the Muslim World. Rev. Falwell and Rev. Pat Robertson have called The Prophet of Islam a terrorist and argued that Islam and its teachings itself are the sources of violence. Rev. Franklin Graham has announced that Islam and its teaching are evil and wicked. Between them they have maintained a continuous discourse of hate against Islam and Muslims for the past few months. The refusal of American leadership, especially the President to rebuke them, has emboldened them to ratchet up the decibel levels of their theology of hate.

Their comments have caused anger among Muslims worldwide, including religious riots in India that have led to five deaths. Many Pakistanis have reacted angrily and expressed their dismay by voting strongly in favor of a pro-Taliban and anti-American alliance in the recent elections in Pakistan.

The problem with the American Wahhabis is not just their ideas and their hate mongering but the fact that they have a reasonably large following – sufficient to influence the electoral outcomes in American elections. By virtue of their votes and their fund raising capacity they exercise more power directly on American Congress and the President than the Mullahs of Saudi Arabia can over the decisions of their King.  Furthermore the close relationship between the President himself and Rev. Franklin Graham and other members of his administration, such as Attorney General Ashcroft, is extremely disturbing. It is not a coincidence that the first group to financially benefit from George Bush’s impulse to finance faith based programs was that of Rev. Pat Robertson. Is it possible that the very purpose of the Federal initiative to support faith based programs is to allow the American Wahhabis to intertwine its operations with those of the Federal government?

Osama Bin Laden attacked America hoping to incite a massive retaliation against Muslim nations to actualize the false prophesy of a clash of civilizations. He was hoping that by inciting a brutal response from the US, he would succeed not only in uniting the 1.4 billion global Muslim community, but also winning them over to Wahhabism and its anti-western, anti-Christian posture.

It seems that the American axis of hate – Revs. Falwell, Robertson and Graham – by repeatedly making hateful and abusive comments about Islam and Prophet Muhammad are determined to precipitate an Armageddon between America and the Muslim World.

As Mathew Simond  observed religious fundamentalism is the banner of Evangelicalism in America

The modern interpretation of religion is that it is always in decline because of modernization. As most people agree, modernity leads to secularization and secularization leads to religious apathy in certain circles. This belief is caused by the experience that history has taught us. Christianity was once the intellectual, spiritual, and ethical guidebook for all of life. The church used to play an essential role in almost all public affairs. The secularization of faith has forced Christianity to compete with other powerful religious and nonreligious worldviews. An analysis of the revival of American fundamentalism is the key to understanding why this common belief is false and that, through the years, religion has survived quite well in a pluralistic setting. Instead, it should be seen as a religion that can adapt to the changing ideals of modernity. Protestantism uses evangelicalism and fundamentalism in America as their way of relating to modernity. For example, modern society has placed an emphasis on choice making and individuality, while at the same time, evangelicalism preaches a personal religious experience and fundamentalism stresses freedom, usually from government. As we emphasize voluntarism, evangelicals respond by recruiting more followers and creating institutions to ensure the development of the church's place in everyday life.

Evangelical movements, in the past, have consistently adapted to the world in which they were operating. In fact, they have even benefited from the forces of social change. The Puritan and Pietist awakenings that took place in the seventeenth century stressed a personal experience of God during a time of growing literacy, literature, and experimental science. After the American Revolution, populist revival preachers began to challenge older denominations in their interpretation of the Bible and encouraged people to read the Bible and form church's for themselves. Finally, in the late nineteenth century, Dwight L. Moody, along with many other evangelists looking for innovative ways to perform, developed the fundamentalist perspective around a religious life that welcomed all people during a time when urban Protestantism was not welcome to the common people.

Out of all the factors that have influenced the evangelical movement in the past, fundamentalism has had the most powerful impact. Not only did fundamentalism dominate evangelicalism in the twentieth century, but it also permeated other traditional religious sects. The dispensationalist movement was created within the Southern Baptist Convention and many Wesleyans accepted the fundamentalist interpretation of biblical inerrancy. Fundamentalism, after surviving the controversies of the 1920's and rising as a charismatic movement in the 1960's, has undoubtedly had the strongest influence on American evangelicalism. In the second half of the twentieth century, Billy Graham, who has become the most prominent evangelical leader in modern times, led the neo-fundamentalist movement. The pattern in this rise and fall tends to be pieces that overlap and pieces that change and fundamentalism is no different. This was a movement that survived through hardships and adapted to welcome every human being, but it appears that it will remain mainly a twentieth century phenomenon as new forms of the pattern take its' place.


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[Oct 15, 2019] Everything -- even astrophysics -- is subordinated to Mao's warped ideology.

Notable quotes:
"... Hitler's Third Reich was obliterated by massive military force in 1945. It lasted just 12 years. Stalin's Soviet Union bore the brunt of beating Hitler, but later succumbed to economic sclerosis. It fell apart in 1991, after 68 years. The mystery of the People's Republic of China is that it is still with us. ..."
Oct 15, 2019 | economistsview.typepad.com

Fred C. Dobbs , October 13, 2019 at 06:28 AM

(It's Niall.)

China's three-body problem
https://www.bostonglobe.com/opinion/2019/10/07/china-three-body-problem/p5xK2i5zBWdkkor0JRyjwM/story.html?event=event25 via @BostonGlobe

Niall Ferguson - October 7

The 70th anniversary of the People's Republic of China was not a birthday I felt like celebrating. As Dutch historian Frank Dikötter has shown in his searing three-volume history of the Mao Zedong era, the Communist regime claimed the lives of tens of millions of people: 2 million in the revolution between 1949 and 1951, another 3 million by the end of the 1950s, up to 45 million in the man-made famine known as the "Great Leap Forward," and yet more in the mayhem of the Cultural Revolution, Mao's campaign against the intelligentsia, which escalated into a civil war.

Hitler's Third Reich was obliterated by massive military force in 1945. It lasted just 12 years. Stalin's Soviet Union bore the brunt of beating Hitler, but later succumbed to economic sclerosis. It fell apart in 1991, after 68 years. The mystery of the People's Republic of China is that it is still with us.

Now, I could give you a rather boring explanation of why I think China's bid to "catch up and surpass" (ganchao) the United States will fail. But maybe a more interesting answer can be found in Liu Cixin's astonishing 2008 novel, "The Three-Body Problem," which I read for the first time last week.

The problem of the title is introduced to the reader -- and to the nanotechnology scientist Wang Miao, one of the central characters -- as a virtual reality game, set in a strange, distant world with three suns rather than the familiar one. The mutually perturbing gravitational attractions of the three suns prevent this planet from ever settling into a predictable orbit with regular days, nights, and seasons. It has occasional "stable eras," during which civilization can advance, but with minimal warning, these give way to "chaotic eras" of intense heat or cold that render the planet uninhabitable The central conceit of Liu's novel is that China's history has the same pattern as the three-body problem: periods of stability always end with periods of chaos -- what the Chinese call dong luan. The other key character in the book is Ye Wenjie, who sees her father, a professor at Tsinghua University, beaten to death by a gang of teenage Red Guards during the Cultural Revolution.

Banished from Beijing to a labor camp in benighted rural backwater, Ye is rescued when she is given a lowly job in a mysterious observatory known as Red Coast. But nothing can undo the emotional damage of witnessing her father's murder. Nor can she escape the chaos of Communism. She watches in horror as the entire area around the observatory is deforested. Everything -- even astrophysics -- is subordinated to Mao's warped ideology.

Disillusioned completely by the madness of mankind -- a sentiment reinforced by a chance meeting with an American environmentalist -- Ye stumbles on a way of beaming a message from Earth deep into space by bouncing it off the sun. When, after years of empty noise, a clear message is received in reply, she does not hesitate. Even though the message is a warning not to communicate with Trisolaris -- the name of a real planet with three suns -- Ye sends another message, ensuring that the Trisolarians can locate Earth, and initiate their long-planned relocation.

Rehabilitated in the political thaw that follows Mao's death, Ye Wenjie returns to Beijing, following in her father's footsteps as a physics professor. But she leads a double life, for she also becomes the Commander of the Earth-Trisolaris Movement, a radically misanthropic organization dedicated to helping the Trisolarians conquer earth. Acute readers will notice that this group's ideology is a subtle parody of Maoism.

"Start a global rebellion!" they shout. "Long live the spirit of Trisolaris! We shall persevere like the stubborn grass that resprouts after every wildfire! ... Eliminate human tyranny!"

Little do they know that the Trisolarians are even worse than humans. As one of the aliens points out to their leader, because of their world's utter unpredictability, "Everything is devoted to survival. To permit the survival of the civilization as a whole, there is almost no respect for the individual. Someone who can no longer work is put to death. Trisolarian society exists under a state of extreme authoritarianism." Life for the individual consists of "monotony and desiccation." That sounds a lot like Mao's China.

There is one scene in "The Three-Body Problem" that sticks in the mind. An adult and a child stand looking at the grave of a Red Guard killed during the factional battles that raged during the Cultural Revolution. "Are they heroes?" asks the child. The adult says no. "Are they enemies?" The adult again says no. "Then who are they?" The adult replies: "History."

True, the hero of the story is the foul-mouthed, chain-smoking Beijing cop Shi Qiang. Chinese readers doubtless relish the scene when he lectures a pompous American general about how best to save the world.

But the deeper meaning of the book is surely that Trisolaris is China. The three bodies in contention are not suns but classes: rulers, intellectuals, masses. Right now, China is in one of its stable phases. But, as the contending forces shift, chaos will sooner or later return. Perhaps it already has, in Hong Kong.

If it spreads, I -- and history -- will win that bet.

Fred C. Dobbs said in reply to Fred C. Dobbs... , October 13, 2019 at 06:41 AM
The Three-Body Problem is a hard science fiction novel by the Chinese writer Liu Cixin. It is the first novel of the Remembrance of Earth's Past trilogy, but Chinese readers generally refer to the whole series by the title of this first novel. The second and third novels in the trilogy are titled The Dark Forest and Death's End. The title of the first novel refers to the three-body problem in orbital mechanics. ...

The English translation by Ken Liu was published by Tor Books in 2014. It was the first Asian novel ever to win a Hugo Award for Best Novel, in 2015 and was nominated for the 2014 Nebula Award for Best Novel.

(An amazing trilogy. Inspired by Arthur Clarke (*). Looks like Niall has read the first book.)

* 'The Songs of Distant Earth' is a 1986 science fiction novel by British writer Arthur C. Clarke, based upon his 1958 short story of the same title. He stated that it was his favourite of all his novels. ... The novel tells of a utopian human colony in the far future that is visited by travellers from a doomed Earth, as the Sun has gone nova. The Songs of Distant Earth explores apocalyptic, atheistic, and utopian ideas, as well as the effects of long-term interstellar travel and extra-terrestrial life. (Wikipedia)

('Songs' is optimistic; 'Remembrance of
Earth's Past is not.)

[Sep 27, 2019] Watch "The Family" on NETFLIX to see how religion has secretly infiltrated our politics and that of other nations, especially developing nations.

Sep 27, 2019 | economistsview.typepad.com

ken melvin -> anne... , September 25, 2019 at 04:35 PM


Amendment I

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

It was meant protect the right to exercise one's religion of choice, and to protect the nation from becoming a theocracy. States like Alabama are more a theocracy than a democracy. The evangelicals so important to Trumps election would impose an evangelical theocracy on the nation.

im1dc -> ken melvin... , September 25, 2019 at 04:43 PM
Good point about religion in USA poliitics today, Melvin.

I suggest, again, that anne and everyone here watch "The Family" on NETFLIX to see how religion has secretly infiltrated our politics and that of other nations, especially developing nations.

RC (Ron) Weakley said in reply to im1dc... , September 26, 2019 at 05:00 AM
Agreed except I am not sure about the "secretly" part. It depends upon how you mean it. More precisely though reactionary social conservatives have wore religious pretense as an effective stalking horse to elevate their agenda in US politics. This has never been about religion per se, but rather just a tool to fool the tools.
RC (Ron) Weakley said in reply to RC (Ron) Weakley... , September 26, 2019 at 05:08 AM
Religion was the earliest cloaking device ever employed by the ship of state to conceal its own agenda going all the back to tribal Shamans even before the Divine Right of Kings. The 1st Amendment to the US Constitution only ever provided very weak defense from the state's misuse of religion, but more so protected individual's freedom of religion. In God We Trust, so to speak.
RC (Ron) Weakley said in reply to RC (Ron) Weakley... , September 26, 2019 at 05:34 AM
It was religious influence in the US political sphere that was the primary vehicle for promulgating the political views that lead to the abolition of slavery (e.g., Quakers), the social welfare movement (e.g., Robert Hunter's 1912 book "Poverty"), women's suffrage (see link below, but not so much in the South), and alcohol temperance (obviously enough). OK, three out of four is good.

https://religionnews.com/2019/06/04/the-complex-role-of-faith-in-the-womens-suffrage-movement/

The complex role of faith in the women's suffrage movement


June 4, 2019

7 Min Read...

Mr. Bill , September 26, 2019 at 10:04 PM
America has forgotten it's roots, the trouble that religion created. Ignorance.

This country was created in opposition to religion.

Look what we have done. Killed xxx million people in the name of GW's sins.

Mr. Bill -> Mr. Bill... , September 26, 2019 at 10:14 PM
Hell has no fury like a rehabilitated whore.
Mr. Bill -> Mr. Bill... , September 26, 2019 at 10:16 PM
Especially a whore that wraps themselves in the make believe cloak of religion.
Mr. Bill -> Mr. Bill... , September 26, 2019 at 10:18 PM
Kind of like Romer ?

[Sep 25, 2019] Does not federal support of religious studies at the universities violate the key principle of separation of the church and the state?

"... Why should federal funding support religious studies? Does not this violate the key principle of separation of the church and the state? ..."
"... Looks like a clear waist of taxpayers dollars for me. So Trump administration is right in withholding the funds, IMHO. ..."
Notable quotes:
"... Why should federal funding support religious studies? Does not this violate the key principle of separation of the church and the state? ..."
"... Looks like a clear waste of taxpayers dollars for me. So Trump administration is right in withholding the funds, IMHO. ..."
Sep 20, 2019 | economistsview.typepad.com

EMichael , September 20, 2019 at 06:14 AM

Another demonstration of the potential authoritarian state being built by the Gop and trump. H/T to Kurt.

"The Trump administration has threatened to withdraw federal funding for a Middle East Studies course jointly taught by Duke University and the University of North Carolina because it believes it is too positive in its depiction of Islam in comparison to its portrayal of Judaism and Christianity.

The Department of Education said the consortium had failed to offer a "balance of perspectives" on the religions and ordered the universities to remake the course to provide a more "positive" portrayal of Judaism and Christianity or lose its federal funding. The consortium received $235,000 in federal grant money last year.

There is "a considerable emphasis placed on the understanding the positive aspects of Islam, while there is an absolute absence of any similar focus on the positive aspects of Christianity, Judaism or any other religion or belief system in the Middle East," the Department of Education said in its letter to the schools."

https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2019/09/trump-devos-duke-unc-curriculum-islam-judaism-christianity.html

likbez -> EMichael... , September 20, 2019 at 07:16 AM
"The Trump administration has threatened to withdraw federal funding for a Middle East Studies course jointly taught by Duke University and the University of North Carolina because it believes it is too positive in its depiction of Islam in comparison to its portrayal of Judaism and Christianity."

That's funny as this is coming from Slate. Since when Slate depends on Gulf monarchies dollars. I thought it was bankrupt long ago.

Why should federal funding support religious studies? Does not this violate the key principle of separation of the church and the state?

Why such studies can't be supported by Catholic church, rich Jewish donors, or Gulf monarchies? Say, 33.3% each ;-)

Looks like a clear waste of taxpayers dollars for me. So Trump administration is right in withholding the funds, IMHO.

kurt -> likbez... , September 20, 2019 at 11:43 AM
"Why should federal funding support religious studies? Does not this violate the key principle of separation of the church and the state?"

No - it would only do that if it was a theology class or specifically supported one religion over another. Most uni religious studies classes are secular classes that discuss and compare various religious sects from a dispassionate, sociological point of view. In fact, I think that a comparative religious studies should be a core curriculum. It would greatly reduce the religious bigotry that has infected parts of our nation. This is coming from someone who hasn't believed in God since I went to a religious university.

likbez -> kurt... , September 25, 2019 at 07:59 AM
OK, I am wrong here.

and I agree with your suggestion:

In fact, I think that a comparative religious studies should be a core curriculum. It would greatly reduce the religious bigotry that has infected parts of our nation. This is coming from someone who hasn't believed in God since I went to a religious university.

But then it should be done in Sociological department as an additional obligatory sociology course:

Religious studies originated in the 19th century, when scholarly and historical analysis of the Bible had flourished, and Hindu and Buddhist texts were first being translated into European languages.

Early influential scholars included Friedrich Max Müller in England and Cornelius P. Tiele in the Netherlands. Today religious studies is practiced by scholars worldwide.[1]

In its early years, it was known as "comparative religion" or the science of religion and, in the USA, there are those who today also know the field as the History of religion (associated with methodological traditions traced to the University of Chicago in general, and in particular Mircea Eliade, from the late 1950s through to the late 1980s).

[Sep 22, 2019] Britain's Grooming Gangs: Part 3 by Denis MacEoin

Notable quotes:
"... Not all mosques agreed to read Karmani's sermon, and some claimed -- quite incorrectly, as it happened -- that the grooming issue was a thing of the past. ..."
"... Many of those deeper aspects are directly related to the persistence of religious fundamentalism and a wide refusal among many to integrate within British society. Despite the efforts of moderate Muslims, mosques and institutions to stop young men and women travelling abroad to take part in jihad or bring back wives from abroad, many have done so. Sermonizing, even with good intentions, may not address the underlying reasons for seemingly anti-social behaviour. ..."
"... Also in 2013, Taj Hargey, imam of the Oxford Islamic Congregation, and a controversial reformist, spoke out following the trial and conviction of six members of a child sex ring from Oxford. He contended that some imams were indirectly inspiring the grooming gangs through their contempt for non-Muslim women ..."
"... True Islam preaches respect for women but in mosques across the country a different doctrine is preached - "one that denigrates all women, but treats whites with particular contempt" ..."
"... Their dress code, from miniskirts to sleeveless tops, is deemed to reflect their impure and immoral outlook. According to this mentality, these white women deserve to be punished for their behaviour by being exploited and degraded. ..."
"... Hargey's link between the grooming gangs and hard-line religious leaders is borne out by an article published in 2018 by the serious liberal newspaper, The Independent . The author is Ella Hill, one of the girls abused in Rotherham and now part of the largest child sexual abuse investigation. ..."
"... Sexual and gender-based violence is used as a tactic of terrorism by a range of today's violent extremist groups. This makes it essential to address violence against women and girls as an integrated part in countering and preventing violent extremism. ..."
Oct 26, 2018 | www.gatestoneinstitute.org
Authored by Denis MacEoin via The Gatestone Institute,

Read Part 1 here...

Read Part 2 here...

Not all Muslims remained silent about the grooming gang problem. We have already seen how the new Home Secretary, Sajid Javid, a Muslim of Pakistani origin, took rapid action to open an enquiry into the crimes. A number of Muslim organizations and individuals have spoken out against the gangs, and condemned them for bringing their faith into disrepute. The integrative Islamic Society of Britain (ISB), for one, has spoken out strongly about grooming culture.

In May 2013, Julie Siddiqi, chief executive of the ISB, coordinated a Muslim-led coalition to campaign against offenders, known as The Community Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation, which, in turn, was launched in Bradford with the backing of the Bradford Council of Mosques. The following month, a Muslim group called Together Against Grooming (TAG) declared that a Friday prayer sermon ( khutba ) would be read out in around 500 mosques across the country to draw attention to the grooming issue.

The sermon was written by Alyas Karmani , an imam who has a background in psychology and serves at several mosques around Bradford. Karmani specializes in sexual counselling from a non-fundamentalist perspective and has worked on a PhD entitled, "The Crises of Masculinity and Urban Male Violence". His detailed understanding of the grooming gangs and their various motivations are perhaps the most sophisticated yet advanced by a Muslim expert and should be taken into account by any present or future investigation.

Some other Muslim organizations such as the progressive Islamic Society of Britain have sent out sermons on the same issue. There can be no question that there is an important and growing range of Muslim reaction to the shame brought on the communities by the grooming gangs and the reluctance in many places even to talk about sexual matters. This reformist activity in the migrant community needs to be encouraged and backed by government resources.

There are, however, other, sometimes deeper aspects to the problem that still remain to be explored. Not all mosques agreed to read Karmani's sermon, and some claimed -- quite incorrectly, as it happened -- that the grooming issue was a thing of the past.

Many of those deeper aspects are directly related to the persistence of religious fundamentalism and a wide refusal among many to integrate within British society. Despite the efforts of moderate Muslims, mosques and institutions to stop young men and women travelling abroad to take part in jihad or bring back wives from abroad, many have done so. Sermonizing, even with good intentions, may not address the underlying reasons for seemingly anti-social behaviour.

Also in 2013, Taj Hargey, imam of the Oxford Islamic Congregation, and a controversial reformist, spoke out following the trial and conviction of six members of a child sex ring from Oxford. He contended that some imams were indirectly inspiring the grooming gangs through their contempt for non-Muslim women:

On one level, most imams in the UK are simply using their puritanical sermons to promote the wearing of the hijab and even the burka among their female adherents. But the dire result can be the brutish misogyny we see in the Oxford sex ring.

He wrote at length about the ways in which fundamentalist attitudes influenced some men:

True Islam preaches respect for women but in mosques across the country a different doctrine is preached - "one that denigrates all women, but treats whites with particular contempt"....

The men are taught that women are "second-class citizens, little more than chattels or possessions over whom they have absolute authority"...

The view of some Islamic preachers towards white women can be appalling. They encourage their followers to believe that these women are habitually promiscuous, decadent, and sleazy -- sins which are made all the worse by the fact that they are kaffurs [sic for kuffar , pl. of kafir ] or non-believers.

Their dress code, from miniskirts to sleeveless tops, is deemed to reflect their impure and immoral outlook. According to this mentality, these white women deserve to be punished for their behaviour by being exploited and degraded.

The largest and most influential of all UK mosques are those of the Deobandis, a highly conservative majority denomination in Pakistani Islam that also dominates the seminaries within the UK and in which future imams are trained.

According to the author and Investigations editor at BBCNewsnight, Innes Bowen:

What most Deobandi scholars have in common is a conservative interpretation of Islamic law: television and music for the purposes of entertainment, for example, are frowned upon if not banned; attitudes towards women are deeply conservative, with, for example, some scholars advising Muslim women that their religion does not permit them to travel any distance unless accompanied by a close male relative. That this description of such an austere brand of Islam sounds similar to that propagated by the Taliban in Afghanistan should not be surprising – the Taliban movement grew out of the Deobandi madrasas of Pakistan.

Many Deobandi and other fundamentalist preachers and online fatwa sites promulgate the doctrine of al-Wala' wa'l-Bara' , which may be roughly translated as "loyalty [to Islam] and avoidance [of unbelievers]". This belief reinforces the need to stay away from, and even to have enmity towards, the inferior non-Muslim world. It is not far-fetched to see how, through this doctrine, a sense of total difference from, and contempt for, non-Muslims in general -- and non-Muslim girls and women in particular -- may have given many of the grooming gangs a debased level of justification, even self-righteousness in the members of the grooming gangs.

Hargey's link between the grooming gangs and hard-line religious leaders is borne out by an article published in 2018 by the serious liberal newspaper, The Independent . The author is Ella Hill, one of the girls abused in Rotherham and now part of the largest child sexual abuse investigation. She begins:

As a teenager, I was taken to various houses and flats above takeaways in the north of England, to be beaten, tortured and raped over 100 times. I was called a "white slag" and "white c***" as they beat me.

They made it clear that because I was a non-Muslim, and not a virgin, and because I didn't dress "modestly", that they believed I deserved to be "punished". They said I had to "obey" or be beaten.

Later, she refers to a Swedish government meeting in 2017, when it was stated that:

Sexual and gender-based violence is used as a tactic of terrorism by a range of today's violent extremist groups. This makes it essential to address violence against women and girls as an integrated part in countering and preventing violent extremism.

She then argues that:

Religious indoctrination is a big part of the process of getting young men involved in grooming gang crime. Religious ideas about purity, virginity, modesty and obedience are taken to the extreme until horrific abuse becomes the norm. It was taught to me as a concept of "othering".

"Muslim girls are good and pure because they dress modestly, covering down to their ankles and wrists, and covering their crotch area. They stay virgins until marriage. They are our girls."

[Author's note: Italicized in the original, but should probably have been in quotation marks. The passage is evidently meant to be words spoken by gang members who used her.]

She also emphasizes this religious background to her treatment, stating that "My main perpetrator quoted scriptures from the Quran to me as he beat me." Nevertheless, she goes on to say that "Most grooming gang survivors I know absolutely condemn anti-Islamic hate, and we're uncomfortable with English Defence League protests. We certainly don't want random attacks on 'all Muslims'. You can't cure harm with more harm."

The connection between fundamentalist religiosity, terrorism and gender crime is not as fanciful as it might have seemed at first. There are decent Muslims everywhere who work hard to counter all the anti-social and criminal activities in which so many of their co-religionists engage and the theological positions through which they try to justify what they do. But terrorist attacks, anti-Semitic hate speech, and sexual harassment of young white women are real crimes committed by a different kind of Muslim and must be addressed as such.

In a report published on December 12, 2017, the important Muslim counter-extremism think tank, the Quilliam Foundation, addressed at length the problem of the grooming gangs. Written by Quilliam's CEO, Haras Rafiq with media strategist and researcher Muna Adil, the report , "Group Based Child Sexual Exploitation: Dissecting Grooming Gangs", consists of a comprehensive data analysis of grooming gang cases identified in the UK since 2005. Ten case studies from 2010-2017 are also analysed in depth to help determine any similarities and identify any patterns that exist across the cases.

At the root of the problem seems to lie the fact that many Muslim men have failed to integrate into British society. According to Muna Adil :

There are elements from within the British Pakistani community that still subscribe to outdated and sexist views of women embedded within their jaded interpretations of Islam. These backward views are passed down from generation to generation until the lines between faith and culture dissolve, making it increasingly difficult to criticise one without being seen as a critic of the other.

Quilliam's findings echo a number of earlier reviews and surveys of the British Muslim community as a whole. In her 2016 government-commissioned review into integration and opportunity in isolated and deprived communities, Dame Louise Casey found evidence that the hardest group to integrate was the Muslim community. In her Executive Summary , she notes (paragraph 30) that:

People of Pakistani and Bangladeshi ethnicity tend to live in more residentially segregated communities than other ethnic minority groups. South Asian communities (people of Pakistani, Indian and Bangladeshi ethnicity) live in higher concentrations at ward level than any other ethnic minority group. These concentrations at ward level are growing in many areas.

She adds that that, "Compared to other minority faith groups, Muslims tend to live in higher residential concentrations at ward level". She continues:

[Paragraph] 32. The school age population is even more segregated when compared to residential patterns of living. A Demos study found that, in 2013, more than 50% of ethnic minority students were in schools where ethnic minorities were the majority, and that school segregation was highest among students from Pakistani and Bangladeshi ethnic backgrounds relative to other ethnic groups.

Again:

[Paragraph] 44. Polling in 2015 also showed that more than 55% of the general public agreed that there was a fundamental clash between Islam and the values of British society, while 46% of British Muslims felt that being a Muslim in Britain was difficult due to prejudice against Islam. We found a growing sense of grievance among sections of the Muslim population, and a stronger sense of identification with the plight of the 'Ummah', or global Muslim community.

She also highlights problems with the national language:

[Paragraph] 52. English language is a common denominator and a strong enabler of integration. But Pakistani and Bangladeshi ethnic groups have the lowest levels of English language proficiency of any Black or Minority Ethnic group and women in those communities are twice as likely as men to have poor English.

Finally, we should note her statement on gender equality, which is clearly linked to the Muslim communities:

[Paragraph] 57. ... in many areas of Britain the drive towards equality and opportunity across gender might never have taken place. Women in some communities are facing a double onslaught of gender inequality, combined with religious, cultural and social barriers preventing them from accessing even their basic rights as British residents. And violence against women remains all too prevalent in domestic abuse but also in other criminal practices such as female genital mutilation, forced marriage and so-called "honour" based crime.

Casey was not the first to draw attention to most of these issues. In 2007, the British think tank Policy Exchange, published a detailed report titled "Living apart together: British Muslims and the paradox of multiculturalism", written by three young Asian researchers. Their most striking finding, drawn from a survey, was that the youngest generation (16-24 year olds) were more radical in their beliefs than their grandparents (55+ year olds). Thus, 37% of the youngest would prefer to live under shari'a law than British law, compared to only 17% of their elders ; 36% of the youngest believe that if a Muslim converts to another religion they must be punished by death, compared to only 19% of the oldest; a high 74% of 16-24 year olds prefer Muslim women to wear the veil, compared to a mere 28% of 55+ year olds -- an astonishing reversal. Most immigrant communities -- notably Jews, Italians, Irish, Poles and others in the United States' "melting pot" -- come to identify with their host country within the second and third generation, and that has been largely true of the United Kingdom.

One particular feature that distinguishes Muslims from the rest of the increasingly secular UK population is the extent to which religion plays a major role in people's lives. Figure 2 of the report shows that 66% agree strongly and another 20% of Muslims tend to agree that "My religion is the most important thing in my life". In Figure 1, 49% say they pray the full 5 times a day, and 22% 1-3 times a day, with a tiny 5% replying "never". It is important to read the report in full. for it has many supportive things to say about British Muslims:

However, there is also considerable diversity amongst Muslims, with many adopting a more secular approach to their religion. The majority of Muslims feel they have as much, if not more, in common with non-Muslims in Britain as with Muslims abroad. There is clearly a conflict within British Islam between a moderate majority that accepts the norms of Western democracy and a growing minority that does not. For these reasons, we should be wary of treating the entire Muslim population as a monolith with special needs that are different to the rest of the population.

An extensive poll of Muslim opinion conducted in 2016 by ICM showed that things were much the same or worse than in 2007. It was reported on by Trevor Phillips, a son of Caribbean immigrants and former chairman of Britain's Equality and Human Rights Commission. In an article for the Sunday Times , he expressed his deep frustration with the Muslim failure to integrate:

...for a long time, I too thought that Europe's Muslims would become like previous waves of migrants, gradually abandoning their ancestral ways, wearing their religious and cultural baggage lightly, and gradually blending into Britain's diverse identity landscape. I should have known better.

Another 2016 survey , carried out by a Czech think tank, European Values, found that some 44% of Muslims held views corresponding to radical Islamic fundamentalism.

"The survey discovered 57 percent of Muslims reject homosexuals as friends, 45 percent said they don't trust the Jews and 54 percent think of the West as an enemy of Islam . Among fundamentalist Muslims, 72 percent of respondents said they would use violence to defend Islam. Among regular Muslims, that number amounted to 35 percent.

"An incredibly large number of Muslims want Islamic Sharia law to dominate over local laws. For instance, 72 percent of Muslims in France want to see Sharia as the main or only source of law in the country. That figure remains astonishingly high in the United Kingdom at 69 percent."

[Sep 16, 2019] The Untold Story of Christian Zionism's Rise to Power in the United States by Whitney Webb

Notable quotes:
"... the private influence of Christian dispensationalists was nonetheless present, as seen through the role of dispensationalist preacher and Third Temple advocate Billy Graham and his close relationships to several presidents including Dwight Eisenhower, Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon. ..."
"... Then the political power of dispensationalist theology dramatically moved from the private quarters of the halls of power into the mainstream American political discourse with the founding of the Moral Majority by evangelical preacher Jerry Falwell in 1979. ..."
"... In the early 1970s, Falwell's growing ministry was bringing in millions of dollars annually, especially his nationally broadcast program "The Old Time Gospel Hour," which ran on several major cable networks at the time. ..."
"... The Moral Majority is widely credited with turning the Christian evangelical right into a major political force in the United States, promoting extremely pro-Israel policies, increased defense spending, a Reaganite approach to the challenges of the Cold War, as well as conservative domestic policies. Falwell frequently utilized his gift from Begin in traveling and promoting the new organization, as well as himself as a major public figure. ..."
"... The Moral Majority marks a clear turning point in the Israel-U.S. evangelical relationship, as it made fervent support for Israel an area of major importance to evangelical voters and also led many evangelical voters to pay closer attention to events going on in the Middle East. Yet, given Falwell's strong promotion of Christian Zionism, many evangelicals who became increasingly politically active following the organization's founding not only supported Israel's policies of the era but also supported many of the future ambitions of Begin and the Likud Party. This support was solidified by the beginning of the Israeli Ministry of Tourism's ongoing practice of offering U.S. evangelical leaders free "familiarization" tours to Israel in the early 1980s. ..."
"... Falwell framed Begin's expansionist ambitions as a religious belief in "the inerrancy of the Old Testament," a sentiment Falwell shared. Falwell also pushed for a U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and felt that construction of a Third Temple on the Temple Mount was necessary to usher in the end times and the second coming of Christ. ..."
"... In addition, Falwell frequently met with Begin, whom he later called a personal friend, and these meetings often overlapped with Begin's official meetings with Reagan. A year later, Begin gave Falwell Israel's Jabotinsky award, making Falwell the first non-Jew to receive the honor for his advocacy on behalf of Israel and, more specifically, Likud policies and ambitions. ..."
"... Another prominent dispensationalist with great political and literary influence is Hal Lindsey, the author and co-author of several books, including The Late Great Planet Earth . Lindsey's work greatly influenced many prominent U.S. politicians like Ronald Reagan, who was so moved by Lindsey's books that he invited Lindsey to address a National Security Council meeting on nuclear war plans and helped make Lindsey an influential consultant with several members of Congress and the Pentagon. ..."
"... For instance, significantly more American Christians (55 percent) than American Jews (40 percent) believe that God gave Israel to the Jews while that sentiment is shared by only 19 percent of Israeli Christians. In addition, with regards to the Trump administration's pro-Israel policies, only 15 percent of evangelical Christians believe that President Trump favors Israel too strongly while 42 percent of American Jews hold the view that Trump is biased in favor of Israel. ..."
"... In a 2017 speech to the Christian Zionist group CUFI, Netanyahu made it clear that much of this "absurd" support came from American evangelicals, stating that "America has no better friend than Israel and Israel has no better friend than America, and Israel has no better friend in America than you." ..."
"... As a result of these meetings, CUFI aligned itself tightly with the neoconservatives that were well represented in the Bush administration, even appointing neoconservative and Christian Zionist Gary Bauer to its board and naming Bauer the first director of its lobbying arm, the CUFI Action Fund. Bauer is a founding member of the highly controversial and now-defunct neoconservative group, Project for a New American Century (PNAC), and has also served on the executive board of the neoconservative group Foundation for the Defense of Democracies (FDD). ..."
"... In addition, CUFI has close ties to casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, the top donor to President Trump and the entire Republican Party. Adelson even received a special award from Hagee at a 2014 CUFI event. "I've never had a greater warm feeling than being honored by Pastor Hagee," said a beaming Sheldon Adelson at the time. ..."
"... Efforts by prominent politicians to court Hagee were once numerous, until evidence of Hagee making remarks about the Holocaust that were widely considered anti-semitic surfaced during the 2008 presidential campaign. In those remarks, Hagee asserted that Adolf Hitler had been sent by God to act as a "hunter," and force Jews by means of the Holocaust to resettle in Palestine as a means of fulfilling Biblical prophecy. Then-Republican presidential candidate John McCain, who had aggressively courted Hagee's endorsement, was forced to distance himself from Hagee after those comments resurfaced. ..."
"... More recently, Hagee was part of an exclusive group of evangelical leaders who met with White House officials this past March prior to the partial release of the so-called "Deal of the Century," aimed at bringing "peace" to the Israel-Palestine conflict, which is widely viewed as greatly favoring Israel and is expected to be rejected outright by Palestinian leadership. ..."
"... After the meeting, Hagee issued an urgent prayer request. "Our topic of discussion was discussing the forthcoming peace plan concerning Israel. Israel and the Jewish people need our prayers and our advocacy like never before," Hagee said in a video posted to the CUFI Twitter page soon after the meeting. "The Bible gives the command, 'For Zion's sake, I will not keep silent, and for Jerusalem's sake, I will not keep my peace.' I urge you tonight to pray for the peace of Jerusalem." ..."
"... While Hagee's influence and the influence of his organization CUFI are stronger than ever with Trump in the White House, his political clout with the Trump administration is, at least partially, due to the presence of staunch Christian Zionists in two of the top offices in the executive branch: vice president and secretary of state. ..."
"... After Trump chose his running mate, Pence's religious fervor came under media scrutiny , with several outlets noting that he was known to be an ardent Christian Zionist. Pence's faith gained particular attention owing to his past statements on Israel, which he has often described in prophetic terms. ..."
"... Though raised Catholic, Pence gradually transitioned to an "evangelical Catholic" and then to an evangelical Protestant and has since become a key political figure representing the fundamentalist Christian movement that promotes "dominionism," an ideology that varies in its interpretations but ultimately seeks to see the secular nature of the U.S. government shift towards one governed by "Biblical law." Pence's association with this movement has led prominent voices in the media to accuse him of supporting a theocratic form of government. ..."
"... Christian Zionism has a long history in American politics, but it has never captured the bully pulpit of the White House. Past administrations often used general biblical language in reference to Israel, but never has the evangelical theology of Christian Zionism been so close to the policymaking apparatus of the executive branch. ..."
"... Concerns that the U.S. is under the influence of extremist religious Zionism and Christian Zionism that would prevent the country from acting as an "honest broker" in the Israel-Palestine conflict have, unsurprisingly, been proven true . In fact, Pence's religious beliefs are believed to have been a major factor in Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and to move the U.S. Embassy to the contested city. ..."
"... For much of his political career, Pompeo has framed U.S. counterterrorism policy as a " holy war " between Christianity and Islam, which he believes is the earthly equivalent of a cosmic battle between good and evil. In 2017 ..."
"... Pompeo, like many Christian Zionists, believes that war between the United States and Iran is part of the end times, a belief that is outright alarming given his prior control over CIA covert operations and his focus on Iran, as well as his current role as the U.S.' chief diplomat, in which he has also been laser-focused on promoting an aggressive policy towards Iran. ..."
"... In addition to his views on "holy war," Pompeo also frequently discussed his views on the rapture while serving as CIA director. TYT reported last year that Pompeo had spoken about the rapture so frequently that it had reportedly frightened top CIA officials. ..."
"... Well before Theodore Herzl founded political Zionism and published The Jewish State , Christian Zionists in the United States and England were already seeking to direct and influence the foreign policy of both nations in service of a religious obsession with ushering in the end times. The historical record clearly shows how Christian Zionists have influenced events throughout history, particularly in regard to the founding of the state of Israel and subsequent developments in the Israel-Palestine conflict. ..."
"... Yet, the Trump administration's ties to this apocalyptic ideology go even deeper than has been discussed in this article, as many other influential members in the Trump administration -- especially top Trump advisers Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt, and U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman -- also share and actively promote this extremist religious Zionist ideology that seeks to rebuild a Third Temple. As will be seen in the next installment of this series, this ideology is also a driving factor for top Trump and Republican Party donors such as Sheldon Adelson. ..."
"... Organized religion -- like organized politics, organized labor and organized crime -- cannot be trusted to have anyone's interests at heart but those of its leadership. Hell I'd personally trust organized crime (my family's Sicilian -- and all that implies) more than the other 3 I mentioned -- organized religion least of all. ..."
"... The best thing Christian Zionists could do is to perform their own aliyah and move en masse to the West Bank, specifically Bethlehem and other Christian spots. Learn some Aramaic or Samaritan. Breed like crazy. ..."
"... How cynical is it for Likud to be taking advantage of these mentally slow Christians? It's pathetic. I would imagine Pence is a true believer. Pompeo may be just acting the part as I would guess many to be doing. ..."
"... I refuse to believe Mike Pompeo gives a rat's ass what the bible says about anything. His flattery of Hagee and his followers is purest cynicism. ..."
"... Israel has always been run mostly by secular Jews. Netanyahu is a good example. In his non-observant hands, orthodox Jewish theology becomes an excuse for simple ethnic chauvinism. ..."
"... Christian zionists are crazy and numerous, but I don't believe that they are the driving force behind U.S. policy towards Israel. ..."
"... The GOP supports Israel because of AIPAC and Jewish blackmail, not Evangelicals. ..."
"... So called Christian Zionism is a kind of ersatz religion that is based not on the worship of God but rather the state of Israel. ..."
"... As one raised in a Christian Zionist church I can tell you the brain washing and mind control is very effective on young children and is quite difficult to free yourself from. ..."
"... When you look back at the "teachings" in the Old Testament, and how it is presented in these churches, it is nothing more than trauma based mind control. ..."
"... Speaking of private jets, if you haven't seen it, I recommend watching the video of the late billionaire "Christian" minister Kenneth Copeland (with private runway, too) and the Rev Jesse Duplantis explain why the need private jets costing tens of millions. Altho it's a little bit of a spoiler, it's so they can talk directly to God without being trapped in "a tube with them demons," meaning the mostly Christian passengers they'd be flying with in an airliner. If there are in fact demons roaming this world. . . ..."
"... Pence, Pompeo, Bolton and the CUFI's are the antithesis of what it means to be Christian. ..."
"... driving through the rural South, you see house flags of the Star of David in the yards of modest homes. ..."
"... Most churches in America have organized as "501c3 tax-exempt religious organizations." This is a fairly recent trend that has only been going on for about fifty years. Churches were only added to section 501c3 of the tax code in 1954. We can thank Sen. Lyndon B. Johnson for that. Johnson was no ally of the church. As part of his political agenda, Johnson had it in mind to silence the church and eliminate the significant influence the church had always had on shaping "public policy." ..."
Jul 12, 2019 | www.unz.com

Well before Theodore Herzl founded political Zionism and published The Jewish State, Christian Zionists in the United States and England were already seeking to direct and influence the foreign policy of both nations in service to a religious obsession end times prophecy.

The largest pro-Israel organization in the United States is not composed of Jews, but of Christian evangelicals, with a total membership of 7 million, more than 2 million more members than the entirety of the American Jewish community.

Members of this organization, Christians United for Israel (CUFI), met in Washington on Monday, attracting thousands of attendees and featuring speeches from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Secretary of State and former CIA Director Mike Pompeo, Vice President Mike Pence, and National Security Advisor John Bolton. CUFI's leader, controversial evangelical preacher John Hagee, has met with President Donald Trump several times and was recently part of an exclusive White House meeting in March on the administration's upcoming "peace plan" for Israel and Palestine.

CUFI is but one of many organizations throughout American history that have promoted the state of Israel and Zionism on the grounds that a Jewish ethnostate in Palestine is a requirement for the fulfillment of end-times prophecy and necessary for Jesus Christ to return to Earth -- an event Christians often refer to as "the Second Coming."

While organizations like CUFI and its predecessors have long seen the creation of the state of Israel in 1948, and the later Israeli victory and conquest of Jerusalem in 1967, as the fulfillment of Biblical prophecy, there is one prophecy that this sect of evangelical Christians believes is the only thing standing between them and the Second Coming. There are estimated to be more than 20 million of these Christians, often referred to as Christian Zionists, in the United States and they are a key voting bloc and source of political donations for the Republican Party.

As was explored in previous installments of this series, these Christian Zionists, much like religious Zionist extremists in Israel, believe that the Al Aqsa mosque and the Dome of the Rock must be replaced with a Third Jewish Temple in order to usher in the end times.

These two groups of different faiths, since the 19th century, have repeatedly formed an opportunistic alliance in order to ensure the fulfillment of their respective prophecies, despite the fact that members of the other faith are rarely if ever on the same page in their interpretations of what occurs after the temple's construction.

This alliance, based on a mutual obsession with hastening the coming of the Apocalypse, continues to this day and now, more than at any other time in history, these groups have reached the heights of power in both Israel and the United States. Parts I and II of this exclusive series explored how this branch of religious Zionism has come to dominate the current right-wing government of Israel and has led Israel's current government to take definitive steps towards the destruction of the Al Aqsa mosque and the imminent construction of a Third Temple.

Now this installment (Part III) will show how this movement's Christian counterpart in the United States, Christian Zionism, has likewise become a dominant force in American politics, particularly following the election of Donald Trump to the presidency, where this apocalyptic vision is a major driver behind his administration's Middle East policy.

Yet, this fire-and-brimstone vision of the end times has long been a guide for prominent figures in American history and the American elite, even predating Zionism's founding as a political movement. Thus, Christian Zionism's influence on Trump administration policy is merely the latest of a long list of examples where prophecy and politics have mixed in American history, often with world-altering results.

Puritans, Prophecy and Palestine

Accounts of the role of European and North American Christians in the creation of the state of Israel often begin with the Balfour Declaration of 1917, but the efforts of certain Christian groups in England and the United States to create a Jewish state in Palestine actually date back centuries earlier and significantly predate Zionism's official founding by Theodore Herzl.

Among the first advocates for the physical immigration of European Jews to Palestine were the Puritans, an offshoot of Christian Protestantism that emerged in the late 16th century and became influential in England and, later, in the American colonies. Influential Puritans devoted considerable interest to the role of Jews in eschatology, or end-times theology, with many -- such as John Owen , a 17th-century theologian, member of parliament, and administrator at Oxford -- believing that the physical return of Jews to Palestine was necessary for the fulfillment of end-time prophecy.

While the Puritan roots of what would later become known as Christian Zionism are often overlooked in modern accounts of where and why American evangelical support for Israel began, its adherents still clearly acknowledge its legacy. For instance, on Monday at the CUFI conference, Pompeo, himself a Christian Zionist known for his obsession with the end times, told the group the following:

Christian support in America for Zion -- for a Jewish homeland -- runs back to the early Puritan settlers, and it has endured for centuries. Indeed, our second president [John Adams], a couple years back, said 'I really wish the Jews again in Judea an independent nation.'

These Puritan beliefs, which persist today and have only grown in popularity, became more entrenched in England and colonial America with time, especially among the monied political class, and led to a variety of interpretations regarding exactly what the Bible says about the end times. Among the most influential was the development of Christian "dispensationalism," an interpretive framework that uses the Bible to divide history into different periods of "dispensations" and sees the Bible's prophetic references to "Israel" as signifying an ethnically Jewish nation established in Palestine.

Charles Russell's visual interpretation of Darby's 'dispensations' circa 1886

Dispensationalism was largely developed by English-Irish preacher John Nelson Darby, who believed that the God-ordained fates of Israel and the Christian church were completely separate, with the latter to be physically removed from the Earth by God prior to a foretold period of earthly suffering known as the Tribulation.

In Darby's view, the Tribulation would begin following the construction of a Third Jewish Temple on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. This belief in the physical removal of Christians from the Earth prior to the Tribulation, widely known as "the rapture," was invented by Darby in the 1820s and its lack of scriptural support has been widely noted by theologians of various denominations as well as biblical scholars. However, it is important to point that there are differences among dispensationalist Christians as to whether the rapture will occur before, during or after the Tribulation period.

Yet, despite its relatively short existence as an idea and lack of support in the Bible, the rapture was enthusiastically adopted by some churches in England and the United States, particularly the latter. This was largely thanks to the work of highly controversial theologian Cyrus Scofield.

Notably, Darby's brand of Christian eschatology coincides with similar developments in Jewish eschatology , namely the ideas of Rabbi Zvi Hirsh Kalisher and the creation of a new branch of Jewish messianism that believed that Jews must proactively work to hasten the coming of their messiah by immigrating to Israel and building a Third Temple on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. Darby's beliefs, and those he inspired promoted something similar in the sense that Christians could hasten the coming of the rapture and the Tribulation by promoting the immigration of Jews to Israel as well as the construction of a Third Jewish Temple.

Christian Zionists pave the way for Theodore Herzl

Darby traveled to North America and several other countries to popularize his ideas, meeting several influential pastors throughout the English speaking world, including James Brookes, the future mentor of Cyrus Scofield. His travels and the spread of his written works popularized his eschatological views among certain circles of American and English Christians during the religious revival of the 19th century. Darby's beliefs were particularly attractive to the elite of both countries, with some English noblemen placing newspaper advertisements urging Jews to immigrate to Palestine as early as the 1840s.

Another prominent figure influenced by Darby's end-times doctrine was the American preacher Charles Taze Russell, whose church later gave rise to several different churches, including the Jehovah's Witnesses. Decades before the founding of modern political Zionism, Russell began preaching -- not just to Christians, but to Jews in the United States and elsewhere -- about the need for mass Jewish immigration to Palestine.

As Rabbi Kalisher had done a few decades prior , Russell penned a letter in 1891 to a wealthy member of the Rothschild banking family, Edmond de Rothschild, as well as Maurice von Hirsch, a wealthy German financier, about his plan for the Jewish settlement of Palestine. Russell described his plan as follows:

My suggestion is that the wealthy Hebrews purchase from Turkey, at a fair valuation, all of her property interest in these lands: i.e., all of the Government lands (lands not held by private owners), under the provision that Syria and Palestine shall be constituted a free state."

The same plan was to resurface a few years later in arguably the most influential Zionist book of all time, Theodore Herzl's The Jewish State , which was published in 1896.

Russell addresses an audience of American Jews in New York in 1910. Photo | Public Domain

It is unknown whether Rothschild or Hirsch was influenced at all by Russell's letter, though Russell's ideas did have a lasting impact on some prominent American Jews and American Christians with regard to his promotion of Jewish immigration to Palestine.

The same year that Russell wrote his letter to de Rothschild and von Hirsch, another influential dispensationalist preacher wrote another document that is often overlooked in exploring the role of American Christians in the development and popularization of Zionism. William E. Blackstone, an American preacher who was greatly influenced by Darby and other dispensationalists of the era, had spent decades promoting with great fervor the immigration of Jews to Palestine as a means of fulfilling Biblical prophecy.

The culmination of Blackstone's efforts came in the form of the Blackstone Memorial, a petition that pleaded that then-President of the United States Benjamin Harrison and his secretary of state, James Blaine, take action "in favor of the restoration of Palestine to the Jews." The largely forgotten petition asked Harrison and Blaine to use their influence to "secure the holding at an early date, of an international conference to consider the condition of the Israelites and their claims to Palestine as their ancient home, and to promote, in all other just and proper ways, the alleviation of their suffering condition."

As with Russell's letter to de Rothschild and von Hirsch, it is unknown exactly how influential the Blackstone Memorial was in influencing the views or policies of Harrison or Blaine. However, the Blackstone Memorial petition is highly significant because of its signatories, which included the most influential and wealthiest Americans of the era, the majority of whom were Christians.

Signatories of the Blackstone Memorial included J.D. Rockefeller, the country's first billionaire; J.P. Morgan, the wealthy banker; William McKinley, future president of the United States; Thomas Brackett Reed, then speaker of the House; Melville Fuller, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court; the mayors of New York City, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Boston and Chicago; the editors of the Boston Globe, New York Times, Washington Post, and Chicago Tribune , among others; and numerous other members of Congress, as well as influential businessmen and clergymen. Though some rabbis were included as signatories, the petition's content was opposed by most American Jewish communities. In other words, the primary goal of Zionism, before it even became a movement, was widely supported by the American Christian elite, but opposed by American Jews.

The Blackstone Memorial would later attract the attention of Louis Brandeis, one of the most prominent American Jewish Zionists, who would later refer to Blackstone as the real "founding father of Zionism," according to Brandeis' close friend Nathan Straus. Brandeis would eventually succeed in convincing an elderly Blackstone to petition then-President Woodrow Wilson with a second Blackstone Memorial in 1916 that was presented in private to Wilson nearly a year later.

Instead of gathering signatures from prominent members of America's elite class, Blackstone this time focused on shoring up support from Protestant organizations, namely the Presbyterian Church, in keeping with Wilson's Presbyterian faith. According to historian Jerry Klinger, president of the Jewish American Society for Historic Preservation, this change in focus had been Brandeis', not Blackstone's, idea.

Alison Weir, author of Against Our Better Judgment: The Hidden History of How the U.S. Was Used to Create Israel , described Brandeis as "one of the most influential" American Zionists and a key figure in the efforts to push Wilson to support the formation of a Jewish state in Palestine, of which Blackstone's second petition was part. However, Weir asserted that Blackstone's second petition was secondary to a so-called "gentleman's agreement" whereby English officials promised to support a Jewish state in Palestine if American Zionists, led by Brandeis, were able to secure the United States' entry into World War I.

Wilson ultimately supported Blackstone's new document, which was never presented publicly to the president, but privately by Rabbi Stephen Wise. This second Blackstone Memorial was a key component of the Brandeis-led campaign that eventually guaranteed American support -- i.e., private support -- for the Balfour Declaration, which established British intentions to support a Jewish ethnostate in Palestine. Notably, the Balfour Declaration is named for the then-English Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour, himself a Christian dispensationalist , though Weir told MintPress that Balfour was more likely influenced by political imperatives than religious motives. The only person in the British cabinet to oppose the Balfour Declaration was its only Jewish member, Edwin Montagu.

The Balfour Declaration was addressed to a member of the Rothschild banking family, Lionel Walter Rothschild, the last in a series of letters written to members of the Rothschild family urging them to use their wealth and political influence to favor the creation of a Jewish state in Palestine: from Rabbi Kalisher, who wrote to Baron Amschel Rothschild in 1836; to Charles Taze Russell, who wrote to Edmond de Rothschild in 1891; and finally to the Balfour Declaration, written to Lionel Walter Rothschild in 1917.

Weir told MintPress that the Rothschilds figure so prominently in these early efforts to establish a Jewish state in Palestine owing to "their wealth and the power that goes with it," making them very sought after by those who felt that a Jewish state could be formed in Palestine by the purchase of the territory by wealthy European Jews, as both Kalisher and Russell had proposed. However, the Balfour Declaration was addressed to the Rothschilds because, at that time, members of the Rothschild family, Edmond de Rothschild in particular, had become among the strongest supporters of the Zionist cause.

Though the declaration carries his name, it is unclear whether Balfour himself actually authored the document. Some historians -- such as Michael Rubinstein, former president of the Jewish Historical Society of England -- have made the case that the declaration itself was written by Leopold Amery, then-political secretary of England's War Cabinet and a Zionist who, despite his commitment to the Zionist cause, obfuscated his Jewish roots for much of his career for reasons that are still the source of speculation.

As shown by the Balfour Declaration and the lobbying efforts that led to its creation, support for what would soon become known as Zionism among the nobility of England and the United States was already formidable before Herzl even began work on The Jewish State. It is worth considering that the power and influence of this religiously-motivated class of Christian elites had an influence on Herzl and his ideas, particularly given the fact that dispensationalist Christians had been promoting a Jewish ethnostate in Palestine at a time when the idea was unpopular among many prominent Jews in Europe and the United States.

Furthermore, the role of Christian Zionists, as they would later become known, continued well after Herzl began his Zionist activities, and resulted in many of the most influential acts that led to the establishment of the State of Israel, including the Balfour Declaration.

Notably, Herzl's own success in promoting his views following the publication of The Jewish State was largely due to English dispensationalist pastor William Hechler. Hechler, while serving as chaplain at the British Embassy in Vienna, forged an alliance and later close friendship with Herzl and was critical to negotiating meetings between Herzl and prominent members of the German government, including Kaiser Wilhelm II, which lent necessary political legitimacy to Herzl's Zionist movement.

A largely overlooked figure in the rise of Zionism, Hechler is mentioned in Herzl's diary more than any other person and passionately felt that the creation of a Jewish state in Palestine would bring about the end times. Hechler is also known to have been extremely interested in the construction of a Third Jewish Temple on the Temple Mount, having devoted considerable time to creating models of that Temple, some of which he prominently displayed in his office and showed to Herzl with great enthusiasm during their first meeting.

Herzl gives Kaiser Wilhelm II a tour of an early Jewish settlement near Jaffa, Palestine in 1898. Photo | Israel GPO

The Hechler-Herzl alliance is one early example of how Christian Zionists and Jewish Zionists each used the motivations of the other for political gain despite the fact that Christian Zionists often hold anti-Semitic views and secular Zionists, as well as religious Zionists, do not hold Christianity in high regard. This opportunism on the parts of both Christian and Jewish Zionists has been a key feature in the rise of Zionism, particularly in the United States, and the case of Cyrus Scofield, the man more responsible than any for popularizing Christian Zionism among American evangelicals, offers another important example.

The surprising story of Cyrus Scofield

There is perhaps no other book that has been more influential in the dissemination of Christian Zionism in the United States than the Scofield Reference Bible , a version of the King James Bible whose annotations were written by Cyrus Scofield. Scofield -- who had no formal theological training, though he later claimed to have a D.D. (doctor of divinity degree) -- originally worked as a lawyer and political operative in the state of Kansas and eventually became the district attorney of that state.

Soon after his appointment to the position, he was forced to resign as a result of numerous allegations of corruption, including bribery, forging signatures on banknotes and stealing political donations from then-Senator of Kansas James Ingalls. During this time, Scofield abandoned his wife and two daughters, an action since blamed on the burgeoning scandals he was facing as well as his self-admitted heavy drinking habits.

Amid this backdrop, Scofield is said to have become an evangelical around the year 1879 and soon became associated with prominent dispensationalist preachers of the era, including Dwight Moody and James Brookes. Local papers at the time, such as the Atchison Patriot , regarded Scofield's conversion and career change with great skepticism, referring to Scofield as the "late lawyer, politician and shyster generally" who had disgraced himself by committing "many malicious acts."

Scofield went on to pastor relatively small churches, moving from Kansas to Dallas, Texas, and later Massachusetts. Yet, despite his lack of renown and his troubled history, by 1901 Scofield had managed to gain entrance to an exclusive men's club in New York, the Lotos Club, whose members at the time included steel magnate and multi-millionaire Andrew Carnegie , members of the Vanderbilt family , and famous American writer Samuel Clemens, better known by his pen name, Mark Twain.

Pastor Scofield, center, with the Deacons of the First Congregational Church of Dallas, circa 1880s

Scofield's membership in this exclusive club -- as well as the club's patronage of his activities, which granted him lodging and financing to produce what would become the Scofield Reference Bible -- has been the subject of considerable speculation. Indeed, many have noted that the presence of a fundamentalist, dispensationalist small-town preacher with a disgraced political past in a club stuffed with some of the country's most elite academics, writers and robber barons just doesn't add up.

Joseph M. Canfield, in his book The Incredible Scofield and his Book , asserted that "the admission of Scofield to the Lotus Club, which could not have been sought by Scofield, strengthens the suspicion that has cropped up before, that someone was directing the career of C.I. Scofield."

Canfield puts forth the theory in his book that the person "directing" Scofield's career was connected to New York lawyer and Zionist activist Samuel Untermeyer, who was on the club's executive committee and was a close associate of Louis Brandeis and influential in the administration of Woodrow Wilson. He then notes that Scofield's annotated bible was later "most helpful in getting Fundamentalist Christians to back the international interest in one of Untermeyer's pet projects -- the Zionist Movement."

Other scholars, such as David Lutz, have been more explicit than Canfield in linking Untermeyer's Zionist activism to his role in financially backing Scofield and his work on his annotated Bible. Ultimately, like the Blackstone Memorial before it, the Lotos Club's patronage of Scofield's work again reveals the interest of the American elite of the era, Christian and Jewish alike, in promoting Christian Zionism.

Untermeyer and the Lotos Club notably also funded Scofield's numerous travels to Europe, including one fateful trip to England where Scofield met with Henry Frowde, publisher of Oxford University Press. Frowde was taken with Scofield's work, largely owing to the fact that Frowde was a member of the "Exclusive Brethren," a religious group founded by John Nelson Darby, the father of dispensationalism. Oxford University Press subsequently published the Scofield Reference Bible in 1909. Twenty years after its publication, it became the first-ever Oxford publication to generate over a million dollars in sales.

Scofield's Bible became spectacularly popular among American fundamentalists soon after its publication, partly because it was the first annotated bible that sought to interpret the text for the reader as well as because it became the central text of several influential seminaries that were set up after its 1909 publication. Among Scofield's many annotations are claims that have since become central to Christian Zionism, such as Scofield's annotation of Genesis 12:3 that those who curse Israel (interpreted by Christian Zionists to mean the state of Israel since its founding in 1948) will be cursed by God and those that bless Israel will similarly be blessed.

Modern Christian Zionists, like Pastor John Hagee of Christians United for Israel (CUFI), have frequently cited this interpretation that originated with Scofield in defending extreme pro-Israel stances. For instance, Hagee made the following statement in 2014:

You have to go back to basics, with the fact that in Genesis (chapter 1), God created the world and made a very solemn promise (brought in Gen. 12:3), 'I will bless those who bless you and I will curse those who curse you.' From that moment on, every nation that ever blessed Israel has been blessed by God. And every nation that has ever persecuted the Jewish people, God crushed. And so He will continue."

Falwell and Likud: a friendship or something else?

Despite the widespread dissemination of the Scofield Reference Bible and its popularization among American evangelical churches and seminaries, the public influence of dispensationalist eschatology and Christian Zionism on American politics was relatively limited for much of the 20th century. However, the private influence of Christian dispensationalists was nonetheless present, as seen through the role of dispensationalist preacher and Third Temple advocate Billy Graham and his close relationships to several presidents including Dwight Eisenhower, Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon.

Then the political power of dispensationalist theology dramatically moved from the private quarters of the halls of power into the mainstream American political discourse with the founding of the Moral Majority by evangelical preacher Jerry Falwell in 1979.

In the early 1970s, Falwell's growing ministry was bringing in millions of dollars annually, especially his nationally broadcast program "The Old Time Gospel Hour," which ran on several major cable networks at the time. Despite -- or perhaps because of -- the spike in donations, Falwell was soon targeted by the federal government, specifically the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), for "fraud and deceit" and "gross insolvency" in the financial management of his ministry, particularly the ministry's sale of $6.6 million in church bonds. The SEC lawsuit was eventually settled when a group of businessmen in Lynchburg, Virginia -- where Falwell's ministry was based -- took over the ministry's finances for the next several years, until 1977. Falwell blamed his ministry's financial problems on his "financial ignorance."

Jerry Falwell travels with his son Jonathan, right, aboard his private jet in 2004. Todd Hunley | Thomas Road Baptist Church

One year after his ministry appeared to be on a better financial footing, Falwell received an invitation to visit the state of Israel and was personally invited on the all-expenses-paid trip by Menachem Begin, then the prime minister of Israel and leader of the Likud Party. The trip would mark the beginning of a long friendship and close relationship between Falwell and Begin and, more broadly, a relationship between American evangelical leaders and Israel's Likud Party. As Israeli historian Gershom Gorenberg notes in his book The End of Days: Fundamentalism and the Struggle for the Temple Mount , the Begin administration "was the first to tap evangelical enthusiasm for Israel and turn it into political and economic support."

Soon after returning from Israel, Falwell's finances again came under federal scrutiny after a federal investigation found that Falwell had transferred the health insurance policies of his employees to an unlicensed shell company with just $128 in assets and hundreds of thousands in dollars in unpaid claims. Just as Falwell's financial troubles began to mount yet again, he received a generous gift from none other than Begin in the form of a private Learjet valued at $4 million . Shortly thereafter, Falwell went on to found the Moral Majority organization, " after consultations with theologians and political strategists ."

The Moral Majority is widely credited with turning the Christian evangelical right into a major political force in the United States, promoting extremely pro-Israel policies, increased defense spending, a Reaganite approach to the challenges of the Cold War, as well as conservative domestic policies. Falwell frequently utilized his gift from Begin in traveling and promoting the new organization, as well as himself as a major public figure.

The Moral Majority marks a clear turning point in the Israel-U.S. evangelical relationship, as it made fervent support for Israel an area of major importance to evangelical voters and also led many evangelical voters to pay closer attention to events going on in the Middle East. Yet, given Falwell's strong promotion of Christian Zionism, many evangelicals who became increasingly politically active following the organization's founding not only supported Israel's policies of the era but also supported many of the future ambitions of Begin and the Likud Party. This support was solidified by the beginning of the Israeli Ministry of Tourism's ongoing practice of offering U.S. evangelical leaders free "familiarization" tours to Israel in the early 1980s.

Begin's vision of "Greater Israel" -- the complete annexation of Palestine as well as large parts of Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Egypt by Israel -- was also shared and promoted by Falwell. In 1983, Falwell stated that "Begin will quickly tell you, 'We don't have all the land yet we're going to have,'" and further predicted that Israel would never relinquish control over the occupied West Bank because Begin was determined to keep the land "which has been delivered to them (the Israelis)."

Falwell framed Begin's expansionist ambitions as a religious belief in "the inerrancy of the Old Testament," a sentiment Falwell shared. Falwell also pushed for a U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and felt that construction of a Third Temple on the Temple Mount was necessary to usher in the end times and the second coming of Christ.

As Falwell helped turn Christian Zionism into a major political force in the United States, he also made himself a key political figure in the Reagan era and an important go-between for U.S.-Israel relations. In 1981 Begin informed Falwell of his plans to bomb an Iraqi nuclear facility before he informed the Reagan administration with the hopes that Falwell would "explain to the Christian public the reasons for the bombing." According to Canadian academic David S. New, Begin told Falwell during that phone call: "Get to work for me."

In addition, Falwell frequently met with Begin, whom he later called a personal friend, and these meetings often overlapped with Begin's official meetings with Reagan. A year later, Begin gave Falwell Israel's Jabotinsky award, making Falwell the first non-Jew to receive the honor for his advocacy on behalf of Israel and, more specifically, Likud policies and ambitions.

Though the Moral Majority officially shuttered its doors in 1989, its political legacy persisted long after, as did Falwell's political clout. Indeed, following Begin's model, Benjamin Netanyahu, during his first term as prime minister, also made a habit of visiting Falwell, meeting with the controversial pastor even before he met with political officials in his visits to Washington.

Netanyahu, left, meets Falwell at a hotel in Washington, Jan. 19, 1998. Greg Gibson | AP

During one trip to D.C. in 1998, Netanyahu's first visit was to an event co-hosted by Falwell, where the pastor praised Netanyahu as "the Ronald Reagan of Israel." The New York Times described the purpose of Netanyahu's U.S. visit not as a visit aimed at meeting with government officials, but rather one intended "to shore up his base of traditional support in the United States. Conservative Christian groups have long been ardent supporters of Israel because of its religious importance to Christianity."

However, this relationship between Christian Zionists like Falwell and prominent right-wing Israeli politicians has not been without its controversy, especially given that pro-Israel evangelicals like Falwell have a history of making anti-semitic statements.

For example, during a 1999 sermon, Falwell discussed his interpretation of end-times prophecy, widely shared by Christian Zionist evangelicals, that the Second Coming would follow not just the creation of the state of Israel but the construction of a Third Temple on the Temple Mount, from which a figure known to Christians as the "Antichrist" would reign. In responding to his own rhetorical question as to whether the Antichrist is "alive and well today," Falwell stated that "Probably because when he appears during the tribulation period he will be a full-grown counterfeit of Christ. Of course, he'll be Jewish."

Falwell's comments were immediately condemned by a variety of Jewish groups, including the pro-Israel Anti-Defamation League (ADL). Rabbi Leon Klenicki, then-director of interfaith affairs for the ADL, noted that Falwell's view is a "common theological position" among American evangelicals and that Falwell was "an influential voice among evangelical and charismatic Christians" who "only supports Israel for his own Christological ends." "He sees us only as the ones who prepare the coming of Jesus," Klenicki stated at the time. "It is a great disappointment after more than 30 years of dialogue; he's still in the Middle Ages."

Another prominent dispensationalist with great political and literary influence is Hal Lindsey, the author and co-author of several books, including The Late Great Planet Earth . Lindsey's work greatly influenced many prominent U.S. politicians like Ronald Reagan, who was so moved by Lindsey's books that he invited Lindsey to address a National Security Council meeting on nuclear war plans and helped make Lindsey an influential consultant with several members of Congress and the Pentagon.

As noted by Israeli historian Gershom Gorenberg , Lindsey sees Jews as serving "two central roles" in Christian dispensationalist eschatology:

[T]he first -- despite his insistence of love for Jews -- is the classic one of Christian anti-Jewish polemic: They are 'the Jewish people who crucified Jesus' and the archetype of those who ignore the truth of prophecy. The second role is to fulfill prophecy despite themselves."

Gorenberg further notes that Lindsey believes that Jews have fulfilled two of the three crucial prophecies that will usher in the end times, with the first being the creation of the state of Israel in 1948 and the second being the Israeli conquest and occupation of Jerusalem after the Six Day War in 1967. According to Lindsey : "There remains but one more event to completely set the stage for Israel's part in the last great act of her historical drama. That is to rebuild the ancient Temple "

As Falwell's and Lindsey's comments reveal, the eschatological views of dispensationalism frequently perceive the Jewish people as little more than pawns that must fulfill certain requirements -- e.g., establishing the state of Israel, conquering Jerusalem, building a Third Temple -- in order to hasten the salvation and "rapture" of evangelical Christians. Meanwhile, Jews in Israel who do not convert to Christianity are expected to die horrible deaths, though some Christian Zionists in recent years, as will be seen shortly, have sought to adjust this still common theological position.

Despite the anti-semitic motivations underlying evangelical support for the state of Israel and the Likud-supported vision of "Greater Israel," the politically active Christian Zionist movement that Falwell helped create translated into a strong support base for Israel and right-wing Likud policy that has made it crucial to prominent Israeli politicians.

For instance, significantly more American Christians (55 percent) than American Jews (40 percent) believe that God gave Israel to the Jews while that sentiment is shared by only 19 percent of Israeli Christians. In addition, with regards to the Trump administration's pro-Israel policies, only 15 percent of evangelical Christians believe that President Trump favors Israel too strongly while 42 percent of American Jews hold the view that Trump is biased in favor of Israel.

In a video recorded in the early 2000s -- later broadcast on Israeli TV -- Netanyahu, speaking to a family of Jewish settlers, described the mass support among Americans, particularly evangelicals, for Israel as "absurd," saying:

America is something that can be easily moved. Moved in the right direction. They won't get in our way; 80 percent of the Americans supprt us. It's absurd."

In a 2017 speech to the Christian Zionist group CUFI, Netanyahu made it clear that much of this "absurd" support came from American evangelicals, stating that "America has no better friend than Israel and Israel has no better friend than America, and Israel has no better friend in America than you."

https://content.jwplatform.com/players/8zTCANil-YuKiCfZc.html

Richard Silverstein -- an academic and journalist whose work has been published in Haaretz and MintPress, among other outlets -- has argued that Israeli politicians, particularly Netanyahu, have sought out support from evangelical groups despite their anti-Semitic undertones and the fact they the act out of self-interest in pursuing their political objectives.

In a 2017 article , Silverstein stated that for Israel's nationalist right-wing:

Judaism is not a spiritual value, it is a physical manifestation of power in the world. These Israelis understand that not all Jews are their "brothers." Some Jews are too effete, too liberal, too humane, too universalist. These Jews are the detritus which will be washed away by the tide of history. Israeli nationalists need to replace these traditional Jewish allies and have done so by finding new ones: Christian evangelicals, African dictators, European neo-Nazis. Zionism as they define it is less a movement dedicated to ethics and more one dedicated to self-interest."

A "vital part of Israel's national security"

As Falwell began to fade from public view in the early 2000s, his legacy has largely fallen to a handful of preachers now at the forefront of Christian Zionism and Christian Zionist political activism, with Falwell's son, Jerry Falwell Jr., ranking prominently among them. However, of the preachers that followed in Falwell's footsteps, one stands out: John Hagee.

Hagee is the pastor of Cornerstone Church in San Antonio, Texas, which has an active membership of over 22,000. A charismatic Christian who believes in dispensationalist eschatology and thinks that Christians are biblically required to support Israel, Hagee has long been a major advocate for Israel within evangelical and charismatic Christianity circles and has raised over $80 million for Israel since he first began hosting "A Night to Honor Israel" events in the early 1980s.

In 2006, Hagee sought to create the "Christian AIPAC" and revived a then-defunct organization previously founded in 1975 known as Christians United for Israel, or CUFI, mentioned at the beginning of this installment. Since its re-founding, CUFI has grown exponentially, now counting 7 million members , a figure that exceeds the Jewish population of the United States, which stands at around 5.7 million. Hagee chairs its executive board, which included Jerry Falwell up until Falwell's death in 2007.

Vice President Pence, left, greets Hagee at CUFI's annual summit, July 8, 2019, in Washington. Patrick Semansky | AP

CUFI is exempt from paying U.S. taxes and from publicly disclosing its finances because it is officially registered as a church, though it is often likened to an arm of the pro-Israel lobby in the United States and actively promotes and funds illegal West Bank settlements. CUFI also advocates for Israeli sovereignty over all of Jerusalem and the Temple Mount and the construction of a Third Temple.

Much has been written about CUFI's influence in the Republican Party, which began under the George W. Bush administration soon after its founding. As journalist Max Blumenthal noted in a 2006 article for The Nation: "Over the past months, the White House has convened a series of off-the-record meetings about its policies in the Middle East with leaders of Christians United for Israel (CUFI)."

As a result of these meetings, CUFI aligned itself tightly with the neoconservatives that were well represented in the Bush administration, even appointing neoconservative and Christian Zionist Gary Bauer to its board and naming Bauer the first director of its lobbying arm, the CUFI Action Fund. Bauer is a founding member of the highly controversial and now-defunct neoconservative group, Project for a New American Century (PNAC), and has also served on the executive board of the neoconservative group Foundation for the Defense of Democracies (FDD).

CUFI has since won powerful allies and counts neoconservative Elliott Abrams; former CIA director James Woosley; neoconservative archon Bill Kristol; former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee; Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Tom Cotton (R-AR) and Ted Cruz (R-TX); Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu; and U.S. Vice President Mike Pence among its staunchest supporters. At a CUFI summit last year, Netanyahu described CUFI as a "vital part of Israel's national security."

In addition, CUFI has close ties to casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, the top donor to President Trump and the entire Republican Party. Adelson even received a special award from Hagee at a 2014 CUFI event. "I've never had a greater warm feeling than being honored by Pastor Hagee," said a beaming Sheldon Adelson at the time.

At the most recent CUFI summit, held on Monday, the Trump administration sent Pence, Pompeo, U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, Assistant to the President and Special Representative for International Negotiations Jason Greenblatt, and National Security Advisor John Bolton, all of whom spoke at the summit.

In addition to its own influence as an organization, the group has made Hagee himself a major political player. In 2007, then-Senator Joseph Lieberman (D-CT) compared Hagee to Moses , stating:

I want to take to opportunity to describe Pastor Hagee in the terms the Torah used to describe Moses. He is an Ish Elohim. A man of God. And those words really do fit him. And I have something else. Like Moses, he's become the leader of a mighty multitude. Even greater than the multitude that Moses led from Egypt to the Promised Land."

Efforts by prominent politicians to court Hagee were once numerous, until evidence of Hagee making remarks about the Holocaust that were widely considered anti-semitic surfaced during the 2008 presidential campaign. In those remarks, Hagee asserted that Adolf Hitler had been sent by God to act as a "hunter," and force Jews by means of the Holocaust to resettle in Palestine as a means of fulfilling Biblical prophecy. Then-Republican presidential candidate John McCain, who had aggressively courted Hagee's endorsement, was forced to distance himself from Hagee after those comments resurfaced.

Yet, the stigma around Hagee has since worn off and his influence is again on the rise following Trump's election to the presidency, as evidenced by the attendance of numerous top Trump officials to the 2019 CUFI Washington Summit earlier this week.

Though he was not included on the official board of Trump's evangelical advisers early in Trump's presidency, several slightly less controversial allies and associates of Hagee were, including Tom Mullins, Jerry Falwell Jr., and Kenneth Copeland. Then, a few months after Trump's inauguration, Hagee "dropped by" the White House unannounced and met with Trump in the Oval Office to discuss U.S. support for Israel. He also met with Trump a few weeks before Trump announced plans to move the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, a meeting at which Trump had reportedly promised Hagee that the embassy would soon be moved and told the pastor "I will not disappoint you." Hagee described Trump's announcement on Jerusalem as having "biblical timing of absolute precision."

More recently, Hagee was part of an exclusive group of evangelical leaders who met with White House officials this past March prior to the partial release of the so-called "Deal of the Century," aimed at bringing "peace" to the Israel-Palestine conflict, which is widely viewed as greatly favoring Israel and is expected to be rejected outright by Palestinian leadership.

After the meeting, Hagee issued an urgent prayer request. "Our topic of discussion was discussing the forthcoming peace plan concerning Israel. Israel and the Jewish people need our prayers and our advocacy like never before," Hagee said in a video posted to the CUFI Twitter page soon after the meeting. "The Bible gives the command, 'For Zion's sake, I will not keep silent, and for Jerusalem's sake, I will not keep my peace.' I urge you tonight to pray for the peace of Jerusalem."

As the final installment of this series will show, the shared apocalyptic visions of extremist religious Zionists and Christian Zionists regarding a Third Jewish Temple on the Temple Mount is a major driver behind the Deal of the Century and was also a major factor in the Trump administration's decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital, despite Palestinian hopes that East Jerusalem would serve as the capital of their future state. Notably, Christian Zionists believe that Palestinians must be expelled from the state of Israel. In addition, these end-times beliefs are also a factor in the administration's push for war with Iran, which Christian Zionists like Hagee and Pompeo believe is also a requisite for the fulfillment of Biblical prophecy.

While Hagee's influence and the influence of his organization CUFI are stronger than ever with Trump in the White House, his political clout with the Trump administration is, at least partially, due to the presence of staunch Christian Zionists in two of the top offices in the executive branch: vice president and secretary of state.

Pence and Pompeo push "holy war"

Though several Trump officials spoke at the recent CUFI summit, two stand out -- not just for their high-ranking positions but also for their open admissions that their Christian Zionist beliefs guide their policies. These officials are Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State and former CIA Director Mike Pompeo.

After Trump chose his running mate, Pence's religious fervor came under media scrutiny , with several outlets noting that he was known to be an ardent Christian Zionist. Pence's faith gained particular attention owing to his past statements on Israel, which he has often described in prophetic terms.

Though raised Catholic, Pence gradually transitioned to an "evangelical Catholic" and then to an evangelical Protestant and has since become a key political figure representing the fundamentalist Christian movement that promotes "dominionism," an ideology that varies in its interpretations but ultimately seeks to see the secular nature of the U.S. government shift towards one governed by "Biblical law." Pence's association with this movement has led prominent voices in the media to accuse him of supporting a theocratic form of government.

Though many of the initial concerns about Pence revolved around his likely effects on domestic policy, much of his influence has instead been seen in foreign policy, including the administration's Middle East policy . His public identification as a Christian Zionist and his speech to the 2017 CUFI summit, the first vice president to ever speak at the annual event, have led some to worry that the Christian Zionist view of prophecy is guiding Pence's political actions.

Pence visits the Western Wall, Judaism's holiest site in Jerusalem's Old City, Jan. 23, 2018. Oded Balilty | AP

Following Pence's first speech at CUFI, Daniel Hummel, a scholar and fellow at Harvard's Kennedy School, told the Washington Post :

Christian Zionism has a long history in American politics, but it has never captured the bully pulpit of the White House. Past administrations often used general biblical language in reference to Israel, but never has the evangelical theology of Christian Zionism been so close to the policymaking apparatus of the executive branch.

By identifying with Christian Zionism while in office, Pence risks the Trump administration's ongoing search for an 'ultimate deal' to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and erodes the U.S.' claim that it can be an 'honest broker' in the Middle East."

Concerns that the U.S. is under the influence of extremist religious Zionism and Christian Zionism that would prevent the country from acting as an "honest broker" in the Israel-Palestine conflict have, unsurprisingly, been proven true . In fact, Pence's religious beliefs are believed to have been a major factor in Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and to move the U.S. Embassy to the contested city.

Though Mike Pence is the highest-ranking member of the Trump administration who is openly a Christian Zionist, it is Pompeo that is the most overt and open about how his religious beliefs regarding the end times guide his decision-making as head of the U.S. State Department.

For much of his political career, Pompeo has framed U.S. counterterrorism policy as a " holy war " between Christianity and Islam, which he believes is the earthly equivalent of a cosmic battle between good and evil. In 2017, as CIA director, Pompeo claimed:

Radical Islamic terror [will] continue to press against us until we make sure that we pray and stand and fight and make sure that we know that Jesus Christ is our savior [and] truly the only solution for our world."

That same year, Pompeo created a new CIA "mission center" targeting Iran headed by Michael D'Andrea, whose CIA nickname is " The Prince of Darkness ." Pompeo, like many Christian Zionists, believes that war between the United States and Iran is part of the end times, a belief that is outright alarming given his prior control over CIA covert operations and his focus on Iran, as well as his current role as the U.S.' chief diplomat, in which he has also been laser-focused on promoting an aggressive policy towards Iran.

In addition to his views on "holy war," Pompeo also frequently discussed his views on the rapture while serving as CIA director. TYT reported last year that Pompeo had spoken about the rapture so frequently that it had reportedly frightened top CIA officials.

According to Michael Weinstein -- founder of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation , a watchdog group on issues of religious freedom in the military and intelligence community -- who was quoted in the TYT report:

He [Pompeo] is intolerant of anyone who isn't a fundamentalist Christian. The people that worked under him at the CIA that came to us were never confused -- they never had time to be confused. They were shocked and then they were scared shitless."

A 2015 video of Pompeo that surfaced while he was CIA director also shows the former congressman describing politics as "a never-ending struggle until the rapture."

More recently, a New York Times article published in March again brought Pompeo's obsession with the end times back into public view. Titled " The Rapture and the Real World: Mike Pompeo Blends Beliefs and Policy ," the article detailed how Pompeo has made it standard operating procedure to mix his Christian Zionist views with his approach to foreign policy. That article also referenced the statement Pompeo made earlier this year, in which he opined that it was "certainly possible" that President Trump had been sent by God to "save the Jewish people from the Iranian menace."

Pompeo made those statements during an official trip to Jerusalem that was also controversial for other reasons. Indeed, in a state department video shared on social media and meant to publicize Pompeo's trip, footage of a model of the Third Jewish Temple was included while footage of the Al Aqsa mosque was notably excluded, despite it being the most iconic building in Jerusalem.

https://content.jwplatform.com/players/a8oVV0SC-YuKiCfZc.html

Given that Pompeo had also visited the tunnels that have worn away the historic mosque's foundations, many Palestinians took the video as a sign that the Trump administration was colluding with the Temple Activist movement in Israel, which was discussed in detail in Part II of this series.

Joining forces to target Jerusalem

Well before Theodore Herzl founded political Zionism and published The Jewish State , Christian Zionists in the United States and England were already seeking to direct and influence the foreign policy of both nations in service of a religious obsession with ushering in the end times. The historical record clearly shows how Christian Zionists have influenced events throughout history, particularly in regard to the founding of the state of Israel and subsequent developments in the Israel-Palestine conflict.

In the pursuit of these dispensationalist end-times prophecies, Christian Zionists have forged alliances with Jewish Zionists and each has opportunistically used the other in order to usher in the common events that are believed to facilitate the coming of their respective apocalypses or to aid more secular, political goals. From Hechler and Herzl, to Scofield and Untermeyer, to Begin and Falwell, these alliances have shaped the policy of Western governments, particularly the U.S. and England, for over a century.

Today, only one such prophecy has yet to be fulfilled, the construction of a Third Jewish Temple on the Temple Mount, which is currently occupied by the Al Aqsa mosque compound. Now, more than ever before, Israel's government, as shown in Part II, is filled with high-ranking officials who openly call for Al Aqsa's destruction and seek to hastily construct a Third Temple. Similarly, as this report has shown, the Trump administration is greatly influenced by Christian Zionists who also seek the mosque's destruction, in hopes that the Third Temple will soon be built.

Yet, the Trump administration's ties to this apocalyptic ideology go even deeper than has been discussed in this article, as many other influential members in the Trump administration -- especially top Trump advisers Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt, and U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman -- also share and actively promote this extremist religious Zionist ideology that seeks to rebuild a Third Temple. As will be seen in the next installment of this series, this ideology is also a driving factor for top Trump and Republican Party donors such as Sheldon Adelson.

The end result is that the hold of this apocalyptic ideology on both the governments of Israel and the United States appears to be stronger now than ever, meaning that the danger currently facing Al Aqsa mosque, and with it world peace, looms large.

Correction | An earlier version of this article stated that Hal Lindsey was a co-author of the popular Left Behind book series. This was incorrect, as that series was co-written by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins, both of whom were influenced by Lindsey's earlier books including The Late Great Planet Earth .

Feature photo | Texas evangelist John Hagee of Christians United for Israel addresses a crowd of his followers and Israeli supporters at a rally at the Jerusalem convention center, April 6, 2008. Sebastian Scheiner | AP

Whitney Webb is a MintPress News journalist based in Chile. She has contributed to several independent media outlets including Global Research, EcoWatch, the Ron Paul Institute and 21st Century Wire, among others. She has made several radio and television appearances and is the 2019 winner of the Serena Shim Award for Uncompromised Integrity in Journalism.


Anthony Aaron , says: September 16, 2019 at 4:41 am GMT

I have told friends and others who would listen when we discussed these matters that the Old Testament is the biggest, most powerful and destructive post-hypnotic suggestion in all of human history used by the jews to simultaneously manipulate part of Christianity (the fundamentalist/pro-zionist part) to do the bidding of jews in general and israel in particular as well as the Epistles of St. Paul who corrupted the teachings of Christ in his personal crusade to turn those teachings into a proselytizing and missionary 'religion' for the good of its leadership.

We've witnessed the fruits of those destructive elements for hundreds of years, but never to the extent of what has happened in the 20th and 21st Centuries.

Organized religion -- like organized politics, organized labor and organized crime -- cannot be trusted to have anyone's interests at heart but those of its leadership. Hell I'd personally trust organized crime (my family's Sicilian -- and all that implies) more than the other 3 I mentioned -- organized religion least of all.

I've never understood the degree of attachment that fundamentalist/pro-zionist Christians have towards the jews they never seem to really look at the reality of modern life and see just how detrimental -- if not downright destructive -- they have been of our nation and every other nation that's thrown them out.

Strangeness and it's destroying our modern world.

Reg Cæsar , says: September 16, 2019 at 4:50 am GMT
The best thing Christian Zionists could do is to perform their own aliyah and move en masse to the West Bank, specifically Bethlehem and other Christian spots. Learn some Aramaic or Samaritan. Breed like crazy.

We helped destroy Christianity in the Middle East, and we can help bring it back to life.

Christian truth Project , says: Website September 16, 2019 at 5:04 am GMT
https://destinedtoberevealed.com/covenant-replacement-theology/

Replacement theology and dispensationalism

According to one of the most popular dispensationalism theories, God has a special and unique plan of redemption for an earthly people referred to as Israel, and a heaven-bound group of people known as His church. The prominent view is that there are two peoples of God, with Israel realizing special earthly promises during the millennium, and His church receiving heavenly treasures. However, regardless of what manmade term is utilized, this thinking represents a dual-covenant doctrine that is simply not Biblical.

The theological rhetoric in relation to replacement theology also includes covenant theology. This teaching separates Gods relationship with mankind by a multitude of covenants instead of unique dispensational ages. Again, these convoluted systems of belief represent the commandments and doctrines of men and are not at all Scriptural.

There are several prevalent schools of thought regarding replacement theology expressed within the teachings of Judeo-Christianity that paint a false picture concerning the truths of Judaism. This brief synopsis will examine some of these beliefs within the context of replacement theology.

[MORE]

In this article, we will not be viewing Judaism through the narrow prism of propaganda that has captured the minds of those who have been infected with a Judeo-Christian ideology.

For those who are able to escape the false gospel programming, the reality with regards to replacement theology or the profound differences between the Old and New Covenants becomes strikingly apparent.

Judeo-Christianity and replacement theology

Although there are variances, the Judeo-Christian dual-covenant doctrine is not an actual replacement theology as such. It is more of a dualistic yet separate plan of redemption for both the Jewish people and the Christians. Many theologians teach that the New Testament church will be raptured before the commencement of the Great Tribulation. Apparently, at the end of this age, there is a period of seven years in which many Jews will come to know Christ as their Messiah.

Within Christian eschatology, it is almost exclusively taught that the Antichrist will confirm a covenant with the Jews for seven years. And in the middle of this week, he causes the sacrifices and offerings to cease. Then on a wing of the temple, he sets up the abomination of desolation.

The prominent view is that God has promised to save all of Israel. As the story goes, He will bless those who bless Israel, and His everlasting promise to them is unconditional. Unfortunately, most so-called scholars simply do not understand the identity of the true Israel of God.

Gal 3:29 And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.

It is taught that we cannot exclude the Jewish people from their original and permanent covenant promises, as they represent the natural seed of Abraham.

If the covenant promise was made to Abraham and his seed, who does this seed refer to?
Gal 3:16 Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ.

Are the Jewish people synonymous with Spiritual Israel, or does this family consist of all who are in Christ?
Gal 3:26 For ye are all the children of God by faith in Yahshua the Messiah

Is it not clearly defined that the righteousness of God is only possible through faith in Yahshua the Messiah without the works of the Law (Rom 3:22, 28, Rom 9:32).
Romans 4:13 For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith

The Judaizers would claim that we can never combine the Church with Israel, as the two are forever separated with unique identities and purposes.

Romans 4:14 For if they which are of the law be heirs, faith is made void, and the promise made of none effect

Mark James , says: September 16, 2019 at 5:18 am GMT
How cynical is it for Likud to be taking advantage of these mentally slow Christians? It's pathetic. I would imagine Pence is a true believer. Pompeo may be just acting the part as I would guess many to be doing.

We are going to be paying more for gas soon. Fifty percent of the Saudi refinery capacity is down. But has anybody been thinking what could happen if Iran were hit and taken off-line as well? Would there be US gas shortages and $5 per gallon fill up prices? Maybe this would focus the minds of the daft Christian Zionists.

The GOP needs to get real and stop treating Israel domestic and foreign policies with support at all costs zealotry, only because, it is backed by Christian fundamentalists in their party. It's time to just say no. Like to the nitwit talk about a mutual defense policy.

Al Liguori , says: Website September 16, 2019 at 5:39 am GMT
While convention finds these Zionists called "Christian," there is nothing Christian about Zionism.

The scriptural underpinnings are a complete fraud: http://judaism.is/assets/rapture.pdf

Wally , says: September 16, 2019 at 5:39 am GMT
"Christian evangelicals, with a total membership of 7 million, more than 2 million more members than the entirety of the American Jewish community ."

No chance.

The alleged number of this "American Jewish community" is intentionally misleading nonsense. There are many, many more then they let on. Most Jews are not religious so they do not say they are "Jewish" in questions about religion. They consider themselves Jews nonetheless. They want you to think they are so few & helpless victims when in fact they create massive resentment towards themselves by their owns actions.

And they practically all heavily support "that shitty little country" and whatever is "good for Jews" at the expense of others.

see more at: Predators United : http://www.unz.com/gatzmon/predators-united/ – comment #77

renfro , says: September 16, 2019 at 5:41 am GMT
Will the 'good' Christians care about Falwell and wife's life with a pool boy, a personal tennis trainer, a gay hostel in Miami , naked pictures, calling in Cohen for pictures retrieval, lol, probably not.

Donald Trump Met The Miami Pool Attendant Whom Jerry Falwell Jr. Backed In A Business Venture

Michael Cohen, Trump's fixer and Falwell's friend, was also at Liberty University when Trump and the pool attendant met.

turtle , says: September 16, 2019 at 5:53 am GMT
Why is it that so many of these so-called "Christian Zionists" are:
a) disgustingly obese, and
b) filthy rich?
A private jet? Really? Didn't Jesus say something about a rich man's chances of getting into Heaven being extremely poor? That's how I remember it, but, hey, that was a long time ago. Besides that:

https://www.youtube.com/embed/zKqDx3RDCos?feature=oembed

Exile , says: September 16, 2019 at 5:54 am GMT
@Anthony Aaron It's ironic that Christian Zionism is often considered "fundamentalist" considering that outright hostility to Jews (see Luther) or at least supercessionism (Jews deicide = no longer Chosen, Christians now Chosen) was the theological norm in Christianity until WWII and the advent of Holocaustianity. Given the track record of atheist or "post-religious" society to date, I'd suggest you reconsider the blanket condemnation of all organized faith. Non-kosher, muscular, Germanized Christianity is the model for how to reform the modern church, or build something better in its stead. The Orthodox have their own strong tradition to build on. Both are syncretisms of some of the better elements of Christianity and pre-existing pagan and cultural elements from Europe, and both are proven to advance human happiness. "Judeo-Christianity" on the other hand is a Frankenstein theology that mocks and subverts transcendent and human values alike.
EliteCommInc. , says: September 16, 2019 at 6:02 am GMT
Oy.

The restoration of the state of Israel or the Jews is neither a creation Quakers, Puritans, Baptists, Mennonites, Anglicans, Catholics, Church of Christ, Calvary Chapel, etc. The principle of restoration is not even an idea created by Jews.

One could start at Jer. 16:14-16.

https://www.reconciliationoutreach.net/advanced-bible-studies/end-times/the-restoration-of-israel-is-gods-idea–the-scriptures-that-prove-it/

Now there are lots of evangelicals that say the restoration has come and that it is through the saving grace of Jesus Christ.

https://www.christiancourier.com/articles/120-dispensationalism-and-zechariah-14

-- -- -- --

Pierre Papier , says: September 16, 2019 at 7:28 am GMT
@Anthony Aaron It's not the Old Testament that's the problem, it's the Talmud. Jews hardly read the Old Testament. If they did, they would understand that God has punished them for their subversive behavior for centuries. The Christian religion is the reason the West elevated itself in the first place, which is why it is constantly attacked by the Jews.
jack daniels , says: September 16, 2019 at 7:32 am GMT
This bit about Christian Zionism is just a distraction from the reality of Jewish power. When people raise the issue of Jewish control of congress, how convenient to have the Christian Zionists (7 million? 20 million?) to point to. But they have no real power at all.

Consider: How much power do these pastors and their flocks have when they address any subject other than Israel? Christian Zionists are historically opposed to abortion rights, gay rights, pre-marital sex, sex education, and secularism generally. They come from a demographic that supported segregation in the 1950s and is opposed to affirmative action, immigration, gun-control, and other social policies that secular Jews overwhelmingly support. During the Cold War southern evangelicals were strongly anti-communist, leading to tension with a Jewish community where pro-Soviet sympathies were not uncommon. How much support have they gotten on any issue other than the need to serve Israel? How many evangelicals are on the Supreme Court?

None!

That the ADL would call Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell "Masters of Hate" on the cover of their newsletter shows just how much respect the evangelicals can count on when they aren't plugging Israel. And I refuse to believe Mike Pompeo gives a rat's ass what the bible says about anything. His flattery of Hagee and his followers is purest cynicism.

Note that the founders of Israel were NOT religious Jews but Bolsheviks. They created some of the most radical communes ever, with their collective child-rearing system, the kibbutz. Their leaders were happy to weaponize the 'God gave us Palestine' crowd for their purposes, but Israel has always been run mostly by secular Jews. Netanyahu is a good example. In his non-observant hands, orthodox Jewish theology becomes an excuse for simple ethnic chauvinism.

Jews are perfectly correct in thinking the southern Christian friends of Israel do not have Israel's true interests at heart. But it doesn't matter, since they are only fostered to camouflage the power of the secular Zionist lobby.

Again: On EVERY ISSUE OTHER THAN ISRAEL these voters and their pastors get their butts kicked. And even on Israel, if they ever push for something the secular Jewish lobby doesn't like they will get their butts kicked on that too.

Whoever promotes the myth of Christian Zionist power is playing into the hands of AIPAC in its effort to disguise the power of the Jewish lobbies.

Pierre Papier , says: September 16, 2019 at 7:35 am GMT
It's not the Jews, goyim! It's the Evangelicals! Blame them, not us!

Jews love using Evangelicals as human shields. The author fails to mention that The Puritans, as well as all other Judaizing movements, were encouraged and propagated by Jews themselves.

The Jewish/Puritan alliance was born in a mutual rejection of the cross and all it stood for, and the substitution of King David or Simon bar Kokhba or Sabbetai Sevi or Oliver Cromwell or Napoleon Bonaparte as an alternative to the suffering Christ. The Jews were so enamored of Cromwell as a potential Messiah that they sent a delegation to examine his baptismal records in Huntington, to see if he were descended from the lineage of King David. Cromwell, as Graetz points out, was driven to consummate this revolutionary alliance between Jews and Puritans on both the theoretical and the practical level:

G Lordon Giddy , says: September 16, 2019 at 9:40 am GMT
Dispensationalism is based on the misinterpretation of the New Testament references to Israel and the Jews. It's not the Apostle Paul's fault that his words are twisted and misinterpreted. The Christian Church is the new Israel and the new Jerusalem is that which is above and not below. And all who are of Israel are not Israel.
Jesus was also very clear that He was the new temple and even if it was destroyed it would be raised up in three days.

Christianity in the United States has been hijacked by judaizers now in some of the highest offices in our nation. It's very dangerous as we are seeing right now in our dealings with Iran.

Dennis Gannon , says: September 16, 2019 at 9:41 am GMT
I would not call them "Christians". Anyone who holds to the heresy of Premillennialism today is suspect. Most are them are deceived and are fake Christians. A few may be very new immature Christians and a few are backsliders. Today most churches are fake, and called Churchianity, not Christianity. One sign of that a church is fake, it takes the 501 C 3 tax exemption. They don't preach against sin or sinners for money. There are only shallow pep talks only from the pulpit. They entertain goats instead of feeding the sheep. Before the internet, more Christians were in ignorance because they did not have access to the right books or teachers. Now, since the internet, tons of books and teachers are available online for free, so there is no excuse to remain stupid and blind and hold to the heresy of dispensationalism or premillenialism, unless you are just spiritually deceived.
A.R. , says: September 16, 2019 at 10:01 am GMT
I was under the impression that the photo of Hertzl and Kaiser Wilhelm ll was a fake?
Isabella , says: September 16, 2019 at 10:47 am GMT
If true and accurate this explanation could illuminate a long standing mystery to many of us: the source of the power that little, disliked, natural – resources poor "Israel" [better known as Occupied Palestine] has over vast, powerful America.

It can't be "it buys Congressmen" because America has to fund Israel to the tune of billions of dollars. Israel may, indeed, just send the money around in some crazy carnival roundabout, whereby America is funding it's own slavery to a foreign power, but it seems not enough to explain the paradox.

I wondered if it had to do with America wanting a foothold in the Middle East in order to attack Russia from a strong local supply base. However, the largest US base in the ME is in Qatar, with a small local facility in Israel of a few hundred personnel opened in 2017 only. So -- no. this doesn't answer.

For a long time, it seemed that maybe Israel just found ways and means to own American rulers in order to have a strong backing for it's invasion and theft of land belonging largely to Arabic people located among Arab nations. But why they wanted to destroy what had been a peaceful co-existence between Muslims and Palestinian Jews for centuries was not explained. Again, neither did this explain why America would want to do it.

The Religious angle does seem to hold a rational answer – but for an irrational belief. That there could be so many people clinging to an ancient, unsubstantiated belief system as recorded in the Old Testament, and want to kill millions in order to see it re-enacted, seems to totally beggar belief. Is it possible there are so many adults who believe in fairy stories?

There is so much about America and its' people that is a mystery to the rest of the world. How can so many act so irrationally, and hold so many contradictory, irrational beliefs, like "American Exceptionalism".

If this [Christian Fundamentalism] is the answer, then it's horrifying and terrifying; because such people have no rationality with which to deal and understand; no ability to hold any understanding of different viewpoints; and no fear of totally destroying the world to gain their insane ends.

America has long been the land of Cults. This seems to be the worst. What the world will do about it remains to be seen – but if the writer here is correct, then the first step has been taken; to rip the veil of secrecy off and shout the truth to the world in the light of stopping that which we have finally realised exists.

Robjil , says: September 16, 2019 at 10:53 am GMT
@Pierre Papier Cromwell and his Judaziers were planning to genocide the Irish to create a new Israel in Ireland.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/e4BVOKIOYJU?start=1085&feature=oembed

Kolya Krassotkin , says: September 16, 2019 at 11:03 am GMT
@Mark James Oh, but Gawd! gave John Hagee XXXL Italian silk suits, a nubile young secretary to bang and his own private jet. Surely he intended all these as clear signs of his blessing.
lgordon25 , says: September 16, 2019 at 11:10 am GMT
The whole "rapture" thing is a homo-erotic fantasy. The normal man fights, works, suffers, and struggles in life, hoping that his strength dedication, sacrifice and meager accomplishments are worthy of God's acceptance, thus gaining admittance to paradise.

These homo-erotics adopt an abduction-rape fantasy where the powerful man-god swoops down from the heavens, beats down all opponents, then grabs up the believers who are actually nothing more than cheerleaders laying on their backs with the legs in the air ready and willing to be "raptured" into paradise.

OilcanFloyd , says: September 16, 2019 at 11:18 am GMT
Christian zionists are crazy and numerous, but I don't believe that they are the driving force behind U.S. policy towards Israel. I can't believe that such a powerful group would lose on almost every other issue, but can control every branch of the government and media on the issue of Israel. That doesn't make sense to me.
Pierre Papier , says: September 16, 2019 at 11:37 am GMT
@Mark James

The GOP needs to get real and stop treating Israel domestic and foreign policies with support at all costs zealotry, only because, it is backed by Christian fundamentalists in their party.

The GOP supports Israel because of AIPAC and Jewish blackmail, not Evangelicals.

ivan , says: Website September 16, 2019 at 11:39 am GMT
@Colin Wright Sir the so-called Temple Mount may not even the site of the original temple. If one needs a wall to piss against while in Israel, the Wailing Wall fits the bill. Considering that the Jewish hordes that came with the caliph would rather slaughter Jerusalem's Christians than build the so-called Temple, we know what the main priority of the Chosen was at that time.
Pierre Papier , says: September 16, 2019 at 11:43 am GMT
@Exile

Both are syncretisms of some of the better elements of Christianity and pre-existing pagan and cultural elements from Europe, and both are proven to advance human happiness.

Neither Orthodoxy nor Catholicism are syncronistic. The idea that they were was promoted by judaizing Protestants. In truth, Jews have been allies with Pagans since Julian the Apostate.

anon [683] Disclaimer , says: September 16, 2019 at 11:47 am GMT
@TellTheTruth-2 Christian Zionism is an oxymoron -- to those who have never read the Jew Testament.

• Matthew 21:5 "Say to Daughter Zion , 'See, your king comes to you." • John 12:15 "Daughter Zion , see, your king is coming." • Romans 9:33 "See, I lay in Zion a stone." • Romans 11:26 "The deliverer will come from Zion ." • Hebrews 12:22 "Mount Zion , to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem." • 1 Peter 2:6 "See, I lay a stone in Zion ." • Revelation 14:1 "Standing on Mount Zion ."

It's time to go medieval on the asses of anybody who reads, owns, prints, or otherwise bitterly clings to the Holy Hook . It's time True Christians once again burn at the stake Bible-thumpers like William Tyndale. It is well documented that Medieval Christendom banned that Jewish-authored book as brutally as any atheist Communist regime.

Decree of the Council of Toulouse (1229 C.E.): "We prohibit also that the laity should be permitted to have the books of the Old or New Testament; but we most strictly forbid their having any translation of these books."

Why Christians Were Denied Access to Their Bible for 1,000 Years
http://www.huffpost.com/entry/why-christians-were-denied-access-to-their-bible-for-1000-years_b_3303545

ivan , says: September 16, 2019 at 11:49 am GMT
The historical moment for rebuilding the so-called temple passed when the marauding Jews who accompanied the invading Arabs in 620 or thereabouts, made it clear that they would rather slaughter the Christians than waste their with the Temple stuff.
Pierre Papier , says: September 16, 2019 at 11:54 am GMT
The author pulled a "Fred Reed" and found a way to pin all the awful things the Jewish lobby has done on Conservative Christians.
ivan , says: September 16, 2019 at 11:55 am GMT
So called Christian Zionism is a kind of ersatz religion that is based not on the worship of God but rather the state of Israel. For all too many Americans, they could be addicted to opoids, two months away from payday loans, their daughters could be running riot, but as long as Holy Israel's interests are taken care of : God is in his high heaven and everything is all right with the world.
anon [683] Disclaimer , says: September 16, 2019 at 12:02 pm GMT
@Pierre Papier > other Judaizing movements

Oops, you forgot one. "To the Jews 'belong the sonship, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship '" ( Catechism of the Catholic Church ) Or just ask the Pope, who told an interviewer that "inside every Christian is a Jew."

anon [683] Disclaimer , says: September 16, 2019 at 12:09 pm GMT
@jack daniels Note that the founders of Christianity were also Bolsheviks, as recorded in Acts, "not one of them claimed that anything belonging to him was his own but all things were common property to them." And Ludgwig von Mises wrote, "primitive Christianity is Bolshevism."
Commentator Mike , says: September 16, 2019 at 12:36 pm GMT
Why no mention in the introduction of the influential 19th century Christian Zionist Henry Wentworth Monk "The Prophet"? He even sought an audience with President Lincoln to ask him to ship the Jews to Israel.
England patriot , says: September 16, 2019 at 12:54 pm GMT
A lot of Brexiteers think along those lines. They think America is still run by WASPs and that the Zionists are their allies.
Anon [381] Disclaimer , says: September 16, 2019 at 12:56 pm GMT
Christian Zionism is, at its core in the consciousness of the masses, redirected White ethnic nationalism without another permissible home. Harnessed to work for the nationalism of the primary enemy of White people in the West, the Jewish group, that is the primary bulwark against White nationalism.

When people are desperate to have their base political needs met, its seemingly simple to give them a poison pill as a surrogate political position.

Jews are quite good at psychologically replacing political positions of the goyim, which do not benefit the Jews, with positions that do benefit Jews and are fatal for non-Jews:

a. Jewish Christianity, mixed with some reworked older doctrines to coat the pill, for the original European religions.

b. Fraudulent economic nationalism (Marxism) for ethnic-cultural nationalism.

c. Christian Zionism (Jewish nationalism) for European (White) nationalism and European Zionism.

d. "Neoconservatism" (a mix of Marxist social doctrine for the non-Jews and Jewish Zionism) for Conservatism (White ethnic nationalism).

e. Americanism (reworked by Jews from Republicanism to mean Marxist social internationalism, in the modern age) for any type of nationalism.

Coming back from this will require a single, fast, and decisive rejection of all of it. It will not happen by debating the always-treacherous, deceitful, and ultimately murderous kikes in these comments sections.

There is literally nothing to lose by doing so. Without doing so, everything of any real worth is lost regardless.

Johnny Walker Read , says: September 16, 2019 at 1:12 pm GMT
@Anthony Aaron

As one raised in a Christian Zionist church I can tell you the brain washing and mind control is very effective on young children and is quite difficult to free yourself from.

When you look back at the "teachings" in the Old Testament, and how it is presented in these churches, it is nothing more than trauma based mind control. Many will never see the absolute insanity of the teachings that Yahweh is a kind and loving God who, all the while, preaches death and destruction to all who fail to fall in line with his every wish. The Old Testament is one of the most violent and bloody text you will ever read.

When it comes to the New Testament, it is just a kinder, gentler version of the O.T. which still preaches tribe worship, but adds submission to the state as well (thanks Romans).

For those who want to break the spell of this evil force which is about to this nation into its third world war, I suggest the pod cast series by Charles Giuliani:
http://www.renegadebroadcasting.com/hosts/charles-giuliani/

Bardon Kaldian , says: September 16, 2019 at 1:13 pm GMT
So, after having created all those multiverses, matter, anti-matter, galaxies, galactic clusters, stars, quasars, red dwarfs, black holes .. God turned His attention to a shitty planet of a shitty solar system in a shitty part of a shitty galaxy. And with His almighty wisdom, He then focused on a shitty strip of land on that planet & became increasingly worried about some two-legged groups of morons, actually evolved apes, who had been wandering around that shitty piece of land- and proclaimed He had a special interest in well-being & future of those evolved apes- who, by the way, constituted a negligible fraction of all evolved apes.

From Big Bang, multiverse, hyper-dimensional .. to a shitty strip of land. Not a progress for God, definitely not

DESERT FOX , says: September 16, 2019 at 1:25 pm GMT
Christian zionists are useful idiots for the zionist NWO and they are supporting a satanic zionist one world government agenda that if it comes into being will purge these useful idiots just as they did in the Soviet Union, for the fact is zionists hate Christians and will destroy them!
Anon [121] Disclaimer , says: September 16, 2019 at 1:26 pm GMT
@Pierre Papier

The Puritans, as well as all other Judaizing movements,

The Congregationalists are the closest modern heirs of the original Puritan group. For entertainment, peruse any Congregationalist congregation on the web in any major city. Just don't have lunch first. In Dallas, for one example of any that you could use, I believe the major Congregationalist congregation is explicitly one for homosexuals if memory serves. It sees its primary role to be a promoter of all things LGBT. In any other random Congregationalist "church", a typical written expression of their "faith" will be a listing of social justice demands.

Though, I might recommend that if you wanted to observe Power you might also attend a Congregationalist Church. The essence of all things is found at their origin.

A Quaker meeting in a central meetinghouse in a major urban location would be second best. A similarly positioned Synagogue, of course, would be equal to or better than both.

Andrei Martyanov , says: Website September 16, 2019 at 1:28 pm GMT
Excellent piece. As per this:

Local papers at the time, such as the Atchison Patriot, regarded Scofield's conversion and career change with great skepticism, referring to Scofield as the "late lawyer, politician and shyster generally " who had disgraced himself by committing "many malicious acts."

This is basically also what WASP "political science" field is–a collection of shysters. In general, however, all this is a complete madness which passes under the nominal "Christianity" title, while being anything but.

Anonymous [895] Disclaimer , says: September 16, 2019 at 1:30 pm GMT
@turtle Your points start to make sense when you recognize CUFI-ism as the continuation of Southern Freemasonry, now dispensing with the aprons and going directly for the kill with their floppy bibles to undermine Christendom, or what's left of it, from their Jewish-funded podiums on cable TV. As for Rev Hagee, with a wife and two little kids at home, this man was at the office laying more than the cornerstone of his church while singing his alleluias between the legs of the other woman he dumped his family for, like Scofield before him.

Speaking of private jets, if you haven't seen it, I recommend watching the video of the late billionaire "Christian" minister Kenneth Copeland (with private runway, too) and the Rev Jesse Duplantis explain why the need private jets costing tens of millions. Altho it's a little bit of a spoiler, it's so they can talk directly to God without being trapped in "a tube with them demons," meaning the mostly Christian passengers they'd be flying with in an airliner. If there are in fact demons roaming this world. . .

CUFI-ism and the rest of these Masonic groups parading around in the trappings of Christianity are very much like Puritanism, as the author points out. They reject the New Testament and its unambiguous replacement covenant with mankind, relying on the Old Testament covenant to interpret the new using lumpish proof texting that's heretical by definition, ultimately waving away two millennia of the ascendency of Christendom with that verse from Genesis.

Less anyone miss the more general connection between CUFI-ism and evangelicalism as the American religion, I'd point out that in general their ersatz religion uses the trappings of Christianity to flaunt Christ's word. Their "churches" are really civic centers of statolatry, using rock, or the rhythms of sexual orgasm, to capture their highest aspirations. They believe material prosperity is a measure of God's blessing of their righteousness, as their real lives make clear. Instead of pictures reminding Christians theirs is a faith in another realm and do no harm, these temples feature Israeli flags and photos of the sons in uniform sent to die and be mailed if need be, ironically serving Israel-American globe-homo imperium over the world. If their deity provides a dispensation, it's revocation of the sixth and seventh commandments as a reward for CUFI's sanctioning the incineration and dismemberment of several hundred thousand Arabs annoyingly in the way of Eretz Israel.

Pence, Pompeo, Bolton and the CUFI's are the antithesis of what it means to be Christian. There is no possible justification for the incineration of God's innocent children on the grounds that -- as the CUFI's and Fox News like to brag -- we'll kill them over there before they kill us over here. When such ends justify the means, any evil is possible in the hands of such evil men. Right after 9/11 Wendell Berry wrote, Don't kill one Muslim child and dare say you did it to protect my children and grandchildren. This should have been the rallying cry of evangelicals if they believed in Christ's word, not singing alleluia as children's skin was burned off them alive, making those Arab children, as were the 3,000 Americans cremated alive on 9/11, burnt sacrifices to an empire of evil based on lies.

Hans , says: September 16, 2019 at 1:35 pm GMT
Search engines used to readily turn this up: Chaim Weizmann Tells Churchill to Arm the Jews in Palestine and the Jews Will See that America Enters WWII – http://www.fpp.co.uk/History/Churchill/Weizmann_Zionists/WSC_100941.html

"I t has been repeatedly acknowledged by British Statesmen that it was the Jews who, in the last war (WWI), effectively helped to tip the scales in America in favor of Great Britain . They are keen to do it – and may do it – again . But you are dealing with human beings, with flesh and blood, and the most elementary feeling of self respect sets limits to service, however willing, if the response is nothing but rebuffs and humiliations. American Jewry waits for a word – a call – from His Majesty's Government. The formation of a Jewish fighting force would be that signal. Equipment cannot be the determining factor; there will always be some alternative use for whatever equipment is available; and fresh recruits are all the time being called up in the British Commonwealth by their hundreds of thousands, while we are being told to wait for one single division because of lack of equipment. If the spirit of American Jewry is roused, the influence which this will exercise on America's rather sluggish production will return to you that equipment with manifold gains." (minus the usual cut, graft, theft, and overcharges)

See David Irving's Churchill's War Vol. 1 – http://www.fpp.co.uk/books/Churchill/1/

A short and essential text is History of the Balfour Declaration – https://barnesreview.org/product/a-short-history-of-the-balfour-declaration/

typeviic , says: September 16, 2019 at 1:35 pm GMT
Stay in Chile, Whitney. Also, dont board any Cessna planes. I can count on one hand, on how many investigative journalists that are worth their weight in gold. You are amazing.
Hans , says: September 16, 2019 at 1:40 pm GMT
MUST listen – Zionist Insider Benjamin Freedman's 1961 Willard Hotel Speech – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HhFRGDyX48c
Johnny Walker Read , says: September 16, 2019 at 1:44 pm GMT
Truly smart men who helped found this country were well aware of tyranny caused not only by monarchies, but by the church as well. It is why many of them settled on a belief system(not a religion)called Deism.

The words of Thomas Paine:

"The Calvinist, who damns children of a span long to hell to burn forever for the glory of God (and this is called Christianity), and the Universalist who preaches that all shall be saved and none shall be damned (and this also is called Christianity), boasts alike of their holy [revealed] religion and their Christian faith.

"Something more therefore is necessary than mere cry and wholesale assertion, and that something is TRUTH; and as inquiry is the road to truth, he that is opposed to inquiry is not a friend to truth. "The God of truth is not the God of fable; when, therefore, any book is introduced into the world as the Word of God, and made a groundwork for religion, it ought to be scrutinized more than other books to see if it bear evidence of being what it is called. Our reverence to God demands that we do this, lest we ascribe to God what is not His, and our duty to ourselves demands it lest we take fable for fact, and rest our hope of salvation on a false foundation.

"It is not our calling a book holy that makes it so, any more than our calling a religion holy that entitles it to the name. Inquiry therefore is necessary in order to arrive at truth. But inquiry must have some principle to proceed on, some standard to judge by, superior to human authority.

"When we survey the works of creation, the revolutions of the planetary system, and the whole economy of what is called nature, which is no other than the laws the Creator has prescribed to matter, we see unerring order and universal harmony reigning throughout the whole. No one part contradicts another. The sun does not run against the moon, nor the moon against the sun, nor the planets against each other. Everything keeps its appointed time and place.

"This harmony in the works of God is so obvious, that the farmer of the field, though he cannot calculate eclipses, is as sensible of it as the philosophical astronomer. He sees the God of order in every part of the visible universe."

"Here, then, is the standard to which everything must be brought that pretends to be the work or Word of God, and by this standard it must be judged, independently of anything and everything that man can say or do. His opinion is like a feather in the scale compared with the standard that God Himself has set up."

Moi , says: September 16, 2019 at 1:48 pm GMT
@Anthony Aaron "Among the first advocates for the physical immigration of European Jews to Palestine were the Puritans "

No further proof is needed to show that this land was nutty from the time that whitey set foot on it. But I find it hard to believe that Hagge and these other mega-preachers are doing the work of Jesus, peace be upon him.

Johnny Smoggins , says: September 16, 2019 at 1:53 pm GMT
Jesus Christ (followed by Freud, Marx and many others) was just the first in a long line of Hebrew con men who have dazzled the goyim. If you pray to Jesus, you are literally worshiping a Jew. Enough. If you're of a spiritual mind, why not explore your own pagan roots and beliefs? Other than that the bible told you so, how do you know that Odin is not the creator rather than the god of the Israelites?
Johnny Walker Read , says: September 16, 2019 at 2:08 pm GMT
And the consequences of all this insanity: Perhaps the final destruction of western civilization as these clowns in D.C. lead us right into WWIII.

https://www.zerohedge.com/geopolitical/insane-and-ill-advised-trumps-future-war-iran-part-1

Alden , says: September 16, 2019 at 2:24 pm GMT
@Robjil Very true. But it began about 30 years before Cromwell when James 1 deported the wild Scots Puritan border bandits to Ireland with the express purpose to genocide the native Irish. Once the natives were eliminated or subdued English settlers were given land grants and established what cane to be known as the Anglo Irish Protestant Ascendancy.

The Scots border bandits were later sent to America to settle in the frontier to fight the Indians to keep the coastal merchants shipping interests and planters safe.

Descendants of those Scots border bandits known in America as the Scotch Irish are the heart soul and core of the fundamentalist evangelical Christine Zionists today 450 years later. John Knox lives on in Hagee and the rest of the Christian Zionists.

Malla , says: September 16, 2019 at 2:31 pm GMT
What did Hagee and his Christian Zionist idiots do for Arab Christian communities destroyed by Mossad ..sorry er ISIS? All they do is cry for Israel. Don't they realize that many Palestinians are Christians too?

What is surprising is that most of the powerful nations on earth are Christian (or kind off Christian), USA, Russia, Great Britain, Germany, Italy etc yet nobody could do much to save those Middle Eastern Christians. Very strange.

Priss Factor , says: Website September 16, 2019 at 2:38 pm GMT
Did Bolton leave because Trump himself went Full Bolton? https://summit.news/2019/09/16/rand-paul-warns-trump-against-needless-escalation-of-war/
Hans , says: September 16, 2019 at 2:43 pm GMT
@Johnny Smoggins If that were so, the Jews would not have worked so tirelessly to infiltrate, corrupt, and destroy the Catholic Church and others. Neither would his life have provoked the demented commentaries about him and his mother found in the Talmud. See http://www.come-and-hear.com/dilling/chapt03.html

You might dip into St. John of Chrysotom's homilies against the Jews and The Plot Against the Church by Maurice Pinay

anon [683] Disclaimer , says: September 16, 2019 at 2:46 pm GMT
@Anonymous "Relying on the Old Testament" is exactly what the New Testament does, as the Old Testament is referenced 4,105 times, including 695 direct quotations.* The only path back to the good times of Medieval Christendom is to ban the reading, owning, and printing of the Holy Hook , and root-out the Bible-thumping bitter-clinger heretics with fire . Deus Vult!
[MORE]

* How many times do the writers of the New Testament quote the Old Testament? An index in the Jewish New Testament catalogs 695 separate quotations from the books of the Old Testament in the New (Jewish New Testament Publications, Jerusalem, 1989). There are many other passages where the Old Testament is referred to , as in cases where an Old Testament figure is mentioned, but no specific scripture is quoted. Depending on which scholar's work you examine, the number of quotations and references in the New Testament to the Old may be as high as 4,105 .

The Expositor's Bible Commentary
Zondervan, Grand Rapids, 1979, Vol. I, p. 617

Isabella , says: September 16, 2019 at 2:46 pm GMT
@England patriot Absolute rubbish. Just about no-one in Britain thinks a thing about America and it's people, apart from the odd "celebrity" garbage. Brexiteers all think having a load of unelected tyrants on a gravy train in Brussels laying down the law to the nation that was once sovereign, telling them they are obliged to allow the uneducable low lives of Africa and Arabia in to make London the knife murder capital of the world, is not a Britain they ever voted for or wanted.

So they have the guts to say "we can make it without a rotted tyrannical Europe about to be ruled by Macron and Le Garde in France's favour" [a nation never with a good word to say for Britain at the best of times, and currently turning armed police onto desperate demonstrators].
Rather be struggling on your knees and free, than sitting at a rich mans table begging for crumbs.

TKK , says: September 16, 2019 at 2:59 pm GMT
@ivan I pulled up to a gas station a few weeks ago in South Carolina.

A pick up, well used and dusty, was there driven by a woman with a mullet. Looked like a get your hands dirty female "get 'er done." Somebody that would help you move. Her lone bumper sticker: I Stand With Israel.

Further, driving through the rural South, you see house flags of the Star of David in the yards of modest homes.

Knowing the Jews that I do, this strikes me as sad.

England patriot , says: September 16, 2019 at 3:27 pm GMT
@Isabella The hope that America is going to give Britain a lucrative trade deal is one of the most central ideas of Brexit. To say that Brexiteers never think about America is simply not accurate, the post-Brexit trade deal with America is seen by most Brexiteers as probably the most vital part of the whole process.

The main figureheads of Brexit are Nigel Farage and Boris Johnson and both have clearly pro-American, "trans-Atlantic" outlooks. Nigel Farage clearly sees the Brexit movement as closely related to the Trump movement in the US and has made statements to that effect many times. Unfortunately I would say that many Brexiteers over-estimate the willingness of the US to offer Britain a lucrative deal.

The US is no longer the WASP-ruled, pro-Britain country it once was in the past. The former WASP elite has largely given way to a Catholic elite, bolstered by Hispanic mass immigration, and they are more likely to be politically hostile to Britain than pro-British. If the Irish border problem is not solved and the Irish are unhappy about it, I don't think Britain will be getting anything from America at all.

In fact, even Trump himself is hardly that enthusiastic about Britain and he is about as good as it gets for pro-Britishness in the US these days. Many American politicians are much more overtly anti-British than he is.

anon [683] Disclaimer , says: September 16, 2019 at 3:35 pm GMT
@Malla Nobody should build one of those things without Rabbi Jesus' architectural advice: "For which of you, intending to build a pyrgon [towering pyramid], sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it?"
wiggins , says: September 16, 2019 at 3:39 pm GMT
@Johnny Walker Read Kind of reminds me of this:

https://www.youtube.com/embed/QZ8hefESt7c?feature=oembed

Ris_Eruwaedhiel , says: September 16, 2019 at 3:50 pm GMT
@Anthony Aaron I think that it was Gregory Hood who observed that evangelicals have gone from worshipping a savior of Jewish blood to worshipping Jewish blood.

I agree that Paul created what's incorrectly called "Christianity," but I think that he had his own motive, whatever it was. The Church leaders were good Jews, except that they believed that Jesus was the messiah. Modern-day evangelical Christianity is pathetic – say, "Jewish is Lord," support Israel and oppose abortion, and you're in.

Beau Glenn , says: September 16, 2019 at 3:56 pm GMT
@Dennis Gannon The 501-3c is a good acid test, indeed.

The mark of a true prophet or bible teacher is not a hatred of money or a vow of poverty, but most false teachers love money and use the gospel for personal gain. (2 Corinthians 2:17, Titus 1:7, 1 Timothy 3:3).

Whoever would apply for a 501-3c, is also surrendering their first amendment rights, which seems unpatriotic, to say the least.

Most churches in America have organized as "501c3 tax-exempt religious organizations." This is a fairly recent trend that has only been going on for about fifty years. Churches were only added to section 501c3 of the tax code in 1954. We can thank Sen. Lyndon B. Johnson for that. Johnson was no ally of the church. As part of his political agenda, Johnson had it in mind to silence the church and eliminate the significant influence the church had always had on shaping "public policy."

Although Johnson proffered this as a "favor" to churches, the favor also came with strings attached (more like shackles). One need not look far to see the devastating effects 501c3 acceptance has had to the church, and the consequent restrictions placed upon any 501c3 church. 501c3 churches are prohibited from addressing, in any tangible way, the vital issues of the day. Now, that being said, how can a 501c3 legally participate in the modern day politics of foreign countries, i.e. Israel? I've read the code and I did not see this as an exemption.

For a 501c3 church to openly speak out, or organize in opposition to, anything that the government declares "legal," even if it is immoral (e.g. abortion, homosexuality, etc.), that church will jeopardize its tax exempt status. The 501c3 has had a "chilling effect" upon the free speech rights of the church. LBJ was a shrewd and cunning politician who seemed to well-appreciate how easily many of the clergy would sell out.

Did the church ever need to seek permission from the government to be exempt from taxes? Were churches prior to 1954 taxable? No, churches have never been taxable. To be taxable a church would first need to be under the jurisdiction, and therefore under the taxing authority, of the government. The First Amendment clearly places the church outside the jurisdiction of the civil government: "Congress shall make NO LAW respecting an establishment of religion, nor prohibiting the free exercise thereof."

Religion cannot be free if you have to pay the government, through taxation, to exercise it. Since churches aren't taxable in the first place, why do so many of them go to the IRS and seek permission to be tax-exempt? It occurs out of:

Ignorance ("We didn't know any better")
Bandwagon logic ("Everyone else is doing it")
Professional advice (many attorneys and CPAs recommend it)
Does the law require, or even encourage, a church to organize as a 501c3? To answer that question let's turn to what the IRS itself has to say:

Churches Need Not Apply

In order to be considered for tax-exempt status by the IRS an organization must fill out and submit IRS Form 1023 and 1024. However, note what the IRS says regarding churches and church ministries, in Publication 557:

Some organizations are not required to file Form 1023. These include:
Churches, interchurch organizations of local units of a church, conventions or associations of churches, or integrated auxiliaries of a church, such as a men's or women's organization, religious school, mission society, or youth group. These organizations are exempt automatically if they meet the requirements of section 501(c)(3).

Jake , says: September 16, 2019 at 3:59 pm GMT
@Anthony Aaron The Old Testament is not "the biggest, most powerful and destructive post-hypnotic suggestion in all of human history " Confusing Christian heresy (any form of Judaizing is heretical) or Second Temple and post-Temple Jewish perversion of the Law of Moses and the faith of Abraham (which perversion Jesus said made its adherents the children of Satan) with the Old Testament is itself a gross perversion that only aids the heretics.

This is a spiritual, religious problem, and it can be addressed properly only by non-heretical theology. We have what we do today because:

1. The Reformation unleashed a horde of heresies, most of them partaking significantly in the revival of Judaizing heresies of Late Antiquity.

2. The Anglo-Saxon Puritans were thorough-going Judaizers, and they imposed their sense of the world on all English culture, which means that WASP culture is the direct product of a Judaizing heresy. A secularized culture given final shape by a Judaizing heresy will be pro-Jewish in almost all things, including in being violently antagonistic to white cultures that have not been made part of the new Judaized post-Christendom imperial culture. They will ally eventually with Jews against the vast majority of whites, against all whites who resist being culturally Judaized.

3. In forging the largest and wealthiest empire in world history, the WASPs spread their form of Judaizing culture around the globe.

4. Judaizing has been ingrained into the heart of WASP culture by the successes of Anglo-Saxon Puritans so thoroughly that it cannot be removed without killing the host. English-speaking culture that is de-Judaized will stop being WASP and revert to something that the peoples of Catholic 'jolly ole England' would recognize as akin to them. It will want to revive Christendom.

You cannot solve the Jewish problem without also solving the WASP problem.
In fact, without the WASP problem, there is no way that the Jewish problem of the past century or so could have become so menacing to so many. If you doubt that for a second, recall the opening of this article: at a minimum, in the US today, with Christian identification at its lowest ever, there are at least 3 and a half times more Judaizing self-proclaimed Christians than there are Jews.

Johnny Walker Read , says: September 16, 2019 at 4:00 pm GMT
@Malla Great points one and all. I have long agreed with Carlon when he stated: It's one big club and you ain't in it.

Why else would the Russian Generals at the U.N. know the plans of our military before our commanders did in Vietnam?

Why else would Hitler pull up short at Dunkirk when he could have annihilated the retreating British forces?

World leaders put on a great puppet show for us on the world stage. While they play their parts as bitter enemies, in reality they work closely together, with their only purpose being the survival of their ruling class.

The problem is real wars are fought and real people die, all for the pleasure of these oligarchs.

Ris_Eruwaedhiel , says: September 16, 2019 at 4:00 pm GMT
@anon One of the issues that I have with both Christianity and Islam is that believers are supposed to identify with a genetically-alien people.

I read the Bible as a child, but while some of the stories were interesting, I simply couldn't identify with a desert people. On the other hand, I loved stories of the old gods and goddesses of Europe and read the Iliad at age 9. I could identify with them – they were my people.

Johnny Walker Read , says: September 16, 2019 at 4:06 pm GMT
Some problems with "Christianity" and the "Holy Book" for those who wish to become enlightened.
Anon [727] Disclaimer , says: September 16, 2019 at 4:06 pm GMT
@Agent76 So called unrestricted religious freedom allows mafias to hide under the guise of religion and then to operate with impunity.

No amount of such social corruption, which eventually bleeds into total corruption, is worth that "first freedom". Precisely because its fatal to the State. The process that we are now realizing.

No State = no protection of any Freedom from mafia groups. What will remain are those "protected religions" as totalitarian organizations that can dominate peoples, as instructed in their doctrines, who are undefended by the State.

In a perfect world, all so called religion would be actual religion and not plans for sociopolitical dominance disguised in pseudo-religion. That's not the world in which we live.

As the world threatens to shrink the value of religious beliefs, people of faith show that religious freedom is at the heart of what makes the world a better place.

This is not the place for pure, unfounded propaganda lines.

From the Middle East to the sociopolitical conflicts being realized throughout the West, Semitic religion and the groups organized around it are at the heart of it all.

The lack of such a protective umbrella would allow group intentions to be stated in their secular context and not be protected when they are openly corrosive and hostile to the nation in which they operate. Which at least two out of three of the major Semitic religions openly are.

We do not have to give this nation up because one or two groups learned to exploit its laws to destroy it. We have a duty to reinforce this nation's defenses against those hostile to its broad existence.

Anonymous [203] Disclaimer , says: September 16, 2019 at 4:07 pm GMT
@anon You cite biblical justification of the New Testament and its new covenant as evidence of its denial? You're an idiot.
Ris_Eruwaedhiel , says: September 16, 2019 at 4:08 pm GMT
@anon Oswald Spengler observed that, "Christian theology is the grandmother of bolshevism."

Christianity began as an end-of-the-world cult. Many Palestinian Jews, including John the Baptist, Jesus and Paul (at least at first) believed that the messiah(s) would come soon. Share everything in common, turn the other check, etc., made sense when you thought that the world would end any day now and God and the messiah would set everything right.

Jake , says: September 16, 2019 at 4:11 pm GMT
@Alden The theology of John Knox was not directly Judaizing. It was like the theologies of Luther, Calvin, and Zwingli, and Thomas Crnamer and a host of pre-Anglo-Saxon Puritans English, broadly Judaizing. The Anglo-Saxon Puritans were a different kettle of fish, and their cultural overlordship changed England permanently, which cultural changes were exported to the world.

There was virtually no direct Judaizing brought to the American frontier by the Scots-Irish. You will find virtually none in their writings and actions, whether in VA or SC or TN or MS or TX or the lower midwest, until you get past World War 1.

What changed? They got fully Americanized. They accepted the story that their spiritual fathers were the Anglo-Saxon Puritans. And they began to act what they had embraced. They became WASPs in cultural terms.

Malla , says: September 16, 2019 at 4:11 pm GMT
@Andrei Martyanov Oh yeah, I forgot about the Russians in Syria. You are right. But not much could be done for Christians in Iraq.
Malla , says: September 16, 2019 at 4:12 pm GMT
@England patriot What WASP elites helping Britain? The US elites played a big role in dismantling the British Empire.
anon [683] Disclaimer , says: September 16, 2019 at 4:14 pm GMT
@Wally Evangelical Christians do " owe it to the Jews " for their salvic spiritual blessings that can be sourced only " from the Jews ." What are you, some sort of heretical tightwad? One should not muzzle the ox that tramples out the vintage !
Jake , says: September 16, 2019 at 4:18 pm GMT
@Robjil No different from today: WASP Elites would see the utter destruction of the vast majority of whites in order to give to Jews.
Robjil , says: September 16, 2019 at 4:19 pm GMT
@OilcanFloyd Useful Idiots is what they are.

Zionist Jews are at the Top of the human species in the western world.

The Christian Zionists are the best order followers of the Top Zionist Jews.

None of the Top Zionist Jews care a whit a about their useful Idiot Zionist Christians.

It is all a charade.

Zionist Christians are being taken for a ride.

Jake , says: September 16, 2019 at 4:19 pm GMT
@Malla You mean by saving the UK in WW1, the American WASP Elites acted to kill the Brit Empire?

The Brit Empire is not dead – it is now run from DC and NYC rather than from London.

Ris_Eruwaedhiel , says: September 16, 2019 at 4:20 pm GMT
@Saggy Yet, evangelicals are fervently anti-abortion.
Twodees Partain , says: September 16, 2019 at 4:23 pm GMT
@Kolya Krassotkin "Surely he intended all these as clear signs of his blessing."

As you probably already know, financial success as proof of godliness was/is a tenet of the New England heretics. Good point.

Malla , says: September 16, 2019 at 4:23 pm GMT
@anon It is not only pyramids, Iran's sworn enemy Saudi Arabia is on this Illuminati symbolism too.
[MORE]

Saudi police Badge with the "all seeing eye".

What is strange is that Muslims should know this stuff. Islamic eschatology talks about a one eyed anti-christ/dajjal in the end times, with Jesus (Hazrat Isa) coming down from the heavens to fight the evil forces of dajjal (the Jewish massiah). Yet most Saudi muslims accept such symbols.

anon [683] Disclaimer , says: September 16, 2019 at 4:30 pm GMT
@Jake > all whites who resist being culturally Judaized

That's me! Which is why I'm not Catholic either. Ever read the Catechism? Here's a screenshot of it:

Jew, Jew, Jew, Jew! That's what I call culturally Jewdaized. It ain't just the Protestants.

Franklin Ryckaert , says: September 16, 2019 at 4:32 pm GMT
@anon Was Christ an animal?
Robert Dolan , says: September 16, 2019 at 4:33 pm GMT
Christianity was not the inspiration for Bolshevism.

Marx and Hess and Trotsky were obviously not Christians.

Christianity was aware that jews are the enemy of the Gospel for 1900 years until Darby and Scofield produced their well known heresy.

Martin Luther didn't mice words about the tribe.

Christian zionism is so stupid, so heretical, so the OPPOSITE of the Gospel .you really have to give the nose a lot of credit when they make up shit they go all the way.

Pierre Papier , says: September 16, 2019 at 4:37 pm GMT
@JoannF You sound like another false-flagging kike.
Johnny Smoggins , says: September 16, 2019 at 4:37 pm GMT
@Hans Jews hate Whites, this is why they attack Christianity with such ferocity. I'm sure you've noticed though that they have no problem with the primitive forms of it practiced by blacks and hispanics.

Who but an enemy would plant the idea that if you're attacked, you should "turn the other cheek" to allow yourself to be attacked again rather than fighting back?

Christians may have been more Jew wise in the past but so what? For centuries now they've been worshiping them.
But back to my point; if you're a spiritual person, why not explore your own pagan roots? Is it because the Jews told you that your gods were stupid, but their god is supreme?

Pierre Papier , says: September 16, 2019 at 4:39 pm GMT
@Ris_Eruwaedhiel

Oswald Spengler observed that, "Christian theology is the grandmother of bolshevism."

Oswald Spengler was a Jew born of a Jewish mother who deliberately obscured the roll of Jewish Bolsheviks in establishing communism, put you pagan retards keep falling for it.

Pierre Papier , says: September 16, 2019 at 4:40 pm GMT
@Johnny Walker Read >UFO TV
More Jewish disinfo.
Twodees Partain , says: September 16, 2019 at 4:40 pm GMT
@Pierre Papier True. The support of evangelicals for Israel is a fig leaf justification for what would otherwise be an obviously illogical and even treasonous devotion to another country.
Twodees Partain , says: September 16, 2019 at 4:44 pm GMT
@Pierre Papier No, I don't think so. She has pointed out the use of the evangelicals by politicians and their allies and handlers within the US government, and is providing examples to support that point.
Anon [170] Disclaimer , says: September 16, 2019 at 4:53 pm GMT
@Robjil

Zionist Jews are at the Top of the human species in the western world.

That's not a smart comment. You made a biological reference. The Jewish race is largely defined by their highest-level of Western Neanderthal (non-human / pre-human / monkey) genetic admixture that they attained from living around the primary Neanderthal cave-hives in Israel and Armenia. They're literally less human than people with lower hominid mixtures. The rest of their genetics are from us (the most unmixed group in the world) and as well as high-hominid admixture groups like Arabs.

Jews are on top politically because of the manner in which small group mafia politics works when embedded within larger groups. The smaller groups will always tend toward superior political effectiveness because it is easier to have a higher degree of interpersonal political cooperation in a smaller than a larger group.

This last dynamic is why so called "religious freedom" has to be abolished. Some time ago, religious adherents figured out that you could embed secular sociopolitical goals and political plans within religion, and then champion religious freedom to protect their mafia.The "religious freedom" system was long ago corrupted and its no longer viable in its present form. The cost of doing nothing is that of losing the Western nations to the domination of pseudo-religious mafias.

Twodees Partain , says: September 16, 2019 at 4:55 pm GMT
@Moi The Puritans were not the first white people to set foot upon this continent. They were just the nuttiest. So much of what they wanted to bring about was opposed by the others who came before them that the division became one of north versus south and led to a war between the two major factions.

The worse side won, IMO.

Anonymous [251] Disclaimer , says: September 16, 2019 at 5:03 pm GMT
Do these Christian Zionists care if Christians are being marginalized and ethnically cleansed from teh ME holy lands?

Vladimir Putin's Russia has quietly become the protector of remaining Christians in places like Syria and Iraq. American Conservative Christians don't seem to care anything about remaining Christians in the places the original Christianity first spread under the missions of St. Paul the former Jewish Pharisee Saul of Tarsus.

Pretty much all the news I hear out of Russia, Hungary, Central and Eastern Europe is positive, encouraging, sensible.

In contrast most everything I hear out of USA/UK/England is negative, terrible, insane.

I have to go to Russia Today to get any honest political commentary about our USA, Christians trying to survive in the place that Jesus Christ and St. Paul lived, preached.

How much did these Christian Zionists get paid for their unconditional support for Israel and their promotion of the New Conservative/Zionist war mongering in the ME?

Maybe it was 30 pieces of silver.

anon [683] Disclaimer , says: September 16, 2019 at 5:04 pm GMT
@Anonymous New Covenant, say you? This is who it's for: I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Jewdah . [ source ] Are you one in "the house of Israel and the house of Judah" or not? Let us know, we're all curious. Myself, I think any White trying to identify with a New Covenant assigned specifically to Israeli Jews is as pathetic as Elizabeth Warren trying to identify as an Injun squaw. Maybe you're 1/1024 Jew?
Kolya Krassotkin , says: September 16, 2019 at 5:09 pm GMT
@anon "Inside every Christian is a Jew."

Those who assert that, including Popes, are either liars or idiots.

GogMagog2u , says: September 16, 2019 at 5:11 pm GMT
Christians will certainly be 'physically removed from the Earth' after the Third Temple and arrival of the False Messiah.

Just not in the manner so many of them were expecting.

Ron Unz , says: September 16, 2019 at 5:11 pm GMT
@jack daniels

This bit about Christian Zionism is just a distraction from the reality of Jewish power. When people raise the issue of Jewish control of congress, how convenient to have the Christian Zionists (7 million? 20 million?) to point to. But they have no real power at all .Again: On EVERY ISSUE OTHER THAN ISRAEL these voters and their pastors get their butts kicked. And even on Israel, if they ever push for something the secular Jewish lobby doesn't like they will get their butts kicked on that too.

Well, I'll admit I haven't actually read the article itself, but I happened to notice this comment, and certainly agree.

I think the clearest evidence comes from other countries like Britain and France, which certainly have no sort of significant "Christian Zionist" religious movement these days, but are nearly as much in thrall to pro-Israel policies as the U.S., and for much the same reason, namely the existence of a powerful and cohesive (and heavily Jewish) "Israel Lobby."

anon [683] Disclaimer , says: September 16, 2019 at 5:21 pm GMT
@Twodees Partain How do we deal with obviously illogical and even treasonous devotion to another country, when the majority of Americans have accepted a "hundredfold" bribe from a Rabbi to forsake their own blood and soil [1], and openly identify as dual citizens? [2,3,4]
[MORE]
_________
Holy Hook References:

[1] "And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name's sake, shall receive an hundredfold , and shall inherit everlasting life." -Matthew 19:29

[2] "But our Citizenship is in Jewheaven." -Phil. 3:20 (Jewheaven being Jerusalem, Rev. 21:2)

[3] "So now you Goyim are no longer strangers and foreigners; you are Citizens along with all of Jewgod's holy Jewpeople." -Ephesians 2:19

[4] "I'm actually a Citizen of Israel." Pastor Anderson, Faithful Word Baptist Church, Tempe, AZ youtube{.}com/watch?v=NFk2SQfoBio

sharkey , says: September 16, 2019 at 5:23 pm GMT
So Jewish Zionists and Christian Zionist are on the same page up to the point where the temple is built and after that they aren't on the same page anymore. Then what? Is that when Christian Zionists take there age old turn to anti-semitism? The hebes will be ready you can be sure.
sharkey , says: September 16, 2019 at 5:27 pm GMT
@Johnny Smoggins Christians will turn against Jews when the shekels stop coming and their tummies are empty. Of course Jews know all that and will be ready as they usually are.
anon [683] Disclaimer , says: September 16, 2019 at 5:29 pm GMT
@Pierre Papier Jesus was a Jew born of a Jewish mother, but you pagan retards keep falling for it. Glass houses, stones, and all that.
Kolya Krassotkin , says: September 16, 2019 at 5:30 pm GMT
@Malla Did you mean to write "Aretz Israel" or "Ersatz Israel"?

Your misspelling "Eartz Israel" left your comment slightly unclear.

sharkey , says: September 16, 2019 at 5:31 pm GMT
@Robjil I have felt for a long time that when the time comes that a bolshevik style roundup of us goyum starts the christian zionists will be the first victims.
Art , says: September 16, 2019 at 5:32 pm GMT
Real World: Mike Pompeo Blends Beliefs and Policy," the article detailed how Pompeo has made it standard operating procedure to mix his Christian Zionist views with his approach to foreign policy.

Clearly Pompeo is mixing "church and state" – he is not honoring his Oath of Office.

Pompeo needs to follow the US Constitution – not shape US actions around the bible.

Will anyone call him on this?

Think Peace -- Art

Robjil , says: September 16, 2019 at 5:34 pm GMT
@Johnny Walker Read The term Deism was messed up in the French Revolution. Another term should be used for a religion on based on empathy for all, respect for all, and that deals with present realities with rationality.

https://alphahistory.com/frenchrevolution/cult-of-the-supreme-being/

"One observer reported: "After the ceremony [the people] went to their homes with the tranquility and the propriety of a nation truly free. Today they have rejoiced at the change of place of the guillotine. I have heard a great number of citizens say: 'With this change, the sword of the law will lose none of its effect, and we can enjoy a promenade which will become the finest in Europe'. According to Michelet, other people believed that the new cult also signalled an end to the executions. But far from signifying [this] it preceded, by just a few hours, the onset of what has been called the Great Terror. Indeed, two days after the Festival of the Supreme Being, the Convention voted the Law of 22 Prairial, submitted by Couthon (and generally thought to have been inspired by Robespierre)."

Kolya Krassotkin , says: September 16, 2019 at 5:36 pm GMT
@Andrei Martyanov God bless and protect Russia. God bless and Protect V. Putin.

-signed, a very patriotic American

Scripted Reality , says: September 16, 2019 at 5:38 pm GMT
Christian Zionists, Christians united for Israel – reality creates best jokes ever,

America is already occupied, annected and a protectorate.

All important things are in the hand of 1-2% of a small minority who is over-represented in media, internet,Hollywood,banks,big business,Wall Street,FED,Supreme Court,NGO's,Lobby like AIPAC,ADL, lawyers etc.

Even Trump is behaving like a Vice-president, as a self chosen King of Israel etc.

Johnny Walker Read , says: September 16, 2019 at 5:39 pm GMT
@Pierre Papier Try this one on for size:
anon [683] Disclaimer , says: September 16, 2019 at 5:39 pm GMT
@Anonymous Q: How much did these Christian Zionists get paid?
A: 100x value of their earthly possessions -- but payable only after death. (Quite the scam, isn't it?) Please see comment #111 for contractual details.
Malla , says: September 16, 2019 at 5:44 pm GMT
@Jake Not WW1 but after the great depression. And may not be the WASP elites but the Jewish elites. The British Empire had put restrictions in trade in between the USA and the entire Empire after the Great Depression to protect the empire from future such actions with the support of all the colonies.

From the book: The New Unhappy Lords

https://ia800500.us.archive.org/23/items/TheNewUnhappyLords/TheNewUnhappyLords.pdf

[MORE]
" As far as is known "America's" anti-British policy was first given concrete expression in the brief that General Marshall took with him to the Quebec Conference in 1943.
This was to the effect that the greatest single obstacle to the expansion of America's export-capitalism after the war would be not the Soviet Union but the British Empire. What this meant, in practical terms, was that as soon as the enemies in the field had been disposed of would come the turn of the British Empire to be progressively destroyed and that means to this end would be shaped even while hostilities raged. The moment they were over the campaign could begin in real earnest, the signal for which was to be Truman's abrupt dropping of Lend-Lease to an ally whose economy had been so closely geared to war production that many markets for her goods had been systematically referred to U.S producers.
The British Empire was not the only ally marked down for liquidation. The Dutch Empire in the East Indies and the French Empire in Indo-China and Africa were also high on the list "
My comment:
What many people do not know is that the after the damage done by the Great Depression, The British Government put restrictions on trade in between the British Empire and USA to protect the economies of Britain and all of her colonies from the wall street pigs.

In Page 22 of the book we read

"However, as has happened time and again throughout history, the money-lenders had tended to overplay their hand. The six million German unemployed who were the victims of the "Great Depression" resulted in a formidable revolt against the Money Power -- the revolt of Adolf Hitler. There was also a rebellion, although of a much milder kind, in Great Britain and the British nations overseas, whose representatives met in Ottawa in 1932 to hammer out a system of Imperial Preferences calculated to insulate the British world against Wall St. amok-runs. These Preferences, as we shall see, incurred the unrelenting hostility of the New York Money Power and the only reason why a show-down was not forced was the far more serious threat to the international financial system implicit in the economic doctrines of the Third Reich."
My comment:
In other words, the Wall street greedy pigs came to the conclusion that they faced a major threat from Third Reich Germany (the barter system used by the regime) as well as to a lesser extent from the British Empire (and other Empires). Hence the war to destroy Third Reich Germany, Japanese Empire and Italy and then after the war the eventual slow destruction of the European Empires, especially the British Empire. And hence we suddenly see 'independence movements' sprouting all over the world and succeeding. Even before the war we had 'independence movements' and 'communist movements' all around the world thanks to their pet 'Soviet Russia's' agents going all around and 'radicalizing the masses', all with the blessings of Wall Street Banker pigs.

From
The Forging of the American Empire: From the Revolution to Vietnam
by By Sidney Lens, Howard Zinn
Pages 327 & 328

" For Roosevelt, the "new era" meant a shift from the imperialism of the past, in which Britain and France ruled great colonial empires, to a softer imperialism, in which the United States was pre-dominant. He articulated his particular vision of the future on many occasions. Commenting on the good-neighbour policy in 1940, for instance, FDR defined a new approach to underdeveloped countries-"give them a share"-while simultaneously expressing the opinion that it was "a terribly interesting idea" that Britain would have to sell much of its holding in Latin America to finance its war-holdings of course would end up in the hands of American entrepreneurs. "We've got to make very clear to the British from the very onset," Roosevelt remarked to his son Elliot, "that we don't intend to be simply a good-time Charlie who can be used to help the British Empire out of a tight spot, and then be forgotten forever." His bias against the old colonialism was so evident that during an informal dinner at the Atlantic Conference in August 1941, Churchill pointed as stubby finger at the American chief executive and exclaimed: "Mr. President, I believe you are trying to do away with the British Empire. Every idea you entertain about the structure of the postwar world demonstrates it."

Yet, Roosevelt's opposition to the old imperial system was not predicated on idealism but on the practical and materialistic desire to enhance American trade and investment. As Richrad Hofstadter observes in his American Political Tradition, it "was not simply altruistic; American commercial interests for instance the vast oil concessions that had been made . Roosevelt appears to have believed that the ruthless imperialism of the older colonial powers might be replaced by a liberal and benevolent American penetration that would be of advantage both to the natives and to American commerce. He believed that British and German bankers had had world trade pretty well sewn up in their pockets for a long time,' to the disadvantage of the United States. Arguing that 'equality of people involved the utmost freedom of competitive trade' he appealed to Churchill to open markets 'for healthy competition' and dissolve the British Empire trade agreements'. "

TKK , says: September 16, 2019 at 5:44 pm GMT
@wiggins There are people who still tithe. The "preacher"is driving a Mercedes, and works 2 hours a week for a big salary and free home and they give him 10% of their income.

When you challenge them to help them save their money, they tell you with arrogant surety that if they tithe, they have more money at the end of the month. They say it's blessed, i.e magic.

Here is a disgusting article on it. To fall for this con is tragic and catastrophic stupid.

https://pushpay.com/blog/20-bible-verses-about-tithing/

Malla , says: September 16, 2019 at 5:46 pm GMT
@Kolya Krassotkin Yes I misspelled. Thanks for the correction.
Kolya Krassotkin , says: September 16, 2019 at 5:48 pm GMT
@Ris_Eruwaedhiel "Divine" revelation always apears to happen in deserts and among people under extreme physical and mental duress. Fasting for 40 days and 40 nights in the wilderness and then NOT meeting the "devil" would be surprising.
Robjil , says: September 16, 2019 at 5:52 pm GMT
@Anon I agree. I say the Top, not that they deserve to be there. They are at the Top. They give us tons of evidence of that for the past 70 years with their full control of our MSM. 24/7 Jewish MSM spouts that Jews never did anything wrong in history and the biggest wrong ever was done to them in WWII.

Aldous Huxley mentioned that Darwin said the following: Humans are a wild species. Why? They are led by Top people who are wild, who will always be wild. They keep replacing each other as they go to the Top. The only way that humans can solve this problem is for the Top humans to be tamed by an alien species. Huxley and Darwin could not mention who these Top people are, otherwise, both would never be know by us. Our Jewish Top Rulers would have crushed them if they did.

Well, no aliens or Jesus is coming soon, for all we know, to tame our Top Jewish Rulers. The best way to tame them is "Free Speech". This is most frightful thing of all to them. Notice Jewish MSM's mass hysteria of "Fact Speech", what they call "hate speech". Free speech is our greatest weapon against our Top Rulers. They know it, so that is the reason for massive clamping down of websites, books, and anyone who speaks up about them and what they do to our planet.

Agent76 , says: September 16, 2019 at 5:55 pm GMT
@Anon I do know history very well and I am a born again Christian and I have yet to veiw a true Christian violating scripture. The MIC is a very different story all together.

January 26, 2019 CIA Was Aiding Jihadists Before Soviets Invaded Afghanistan

According to recently declassified documents [1] of the White House, CIA and State Department as reported by Tim Weiner for The Washington Post, the CIA was aiding Afghan jihadists before the Soviets invaded in 1979.

https://www.veteranstoday.com/2019/01/26/cia-was-aiding-jihadists-before-soviets-invaded-afghanistan/

July 07, 2014 57 Years Ago: U.S. and Britain Approved Use of Islamic Extremists to Topple Syrian Government

BBC reports that – in 1957 – the British and American leaders approved the use of Islamic extremists and false flag attacks to topple the Syrian government.

http://www.globalresearch.ca/57-years-ago-u-s-and-britain-approved-use-of-islamic-extremists-to-topple-syrian-government/5390279

Robert Dolan , says: September 16, 2019 at 5:56 pm GMT
@Ron Unz CZ's don't really have any power. They are not major donors and they wield very little influence.

AIPAC is the elephant in the room.

As mentioned above, our government does nothing to further the interests of the dumb CZ's; we have abortion, open borders, gay marriage, etc., against the wishes of the goofy CZ's, while our military does the bidding of a foreign state.

John Hagee is a traitor to the United States because he puts "IZRUHL" first, and so does Trump.

You have to give the nose credit for having both smarts and balls. Their tiny little crew has been running the world for the last hundred years, almost without resistance.

Malla , says: September 16, 2019 at 5:57 pm GMT
@Johnny Walker Read

Why else would the Russian Generals at the U.N. know the plans of our military before our commanders did in Vietnam?

Wow I did not know that one. Very interesting.
I have always find it hard to believe that the USA which could defeat the Japanese Empire would lose out to North Vietnamese. Agreed that the Vietnamese were great fighters, the shorted thinner Vietnamese could go down small tunnels, knew the terrain better, had some popular support etc But still .
Similarly I find it hard to believe that the Soviet Army which defeated the Wehrmacht would lose in Afghanistan. Well I know the Afghans are brave fighters, local support, mountainous terrain made it hard for mechanized troops etc , but still .

Why else would Hitler pull up short at Dunkirk when he could have annihilated the retreating British forces?

Didn't Hitler want friendship with Britain. He though his magnanimous gesture will make the British people realize he is not the monster as portrayed in the British press. He even sent Rudolf Hess to Britain to find a way to end a war in between the British Empire and the Third Reich. But of course the British people never reacted positively to these gestures, they believed their press and radio.

The problem is real wars are fought and real people die, all for the pleasure of these oligarchs.

Sad but true. International politics is a stage with nations as actors. But for the common man the suffering is real.

anon [683] Disclaimer , says: September 16, 2019 at 6:05 pm GMT
@Anon > their highest-level of Western Neanderthal (non-human

So Africans, who have the least Neanderthal genes of modern humans, are the most human of all hominids? It's an interesting hypothesis you have there. It does correlate with the fact that Neanderthals had bigger brains (1410 cm3, 6 cups) than modern humans (1350 cm3, 5.7 cups), and Africans have the smallest (1267 cm3, 5.3 cups.) Although Al Sharpton's is slightly bigger.

Agent76 , says: September 16, 2019 at 6:14 pm GMT
@Anon This is a good informative read minus emotions and is factual.

September 13, 2019 The 9/11 Deception Remains In Control Of America's Destiny

The 18th anniversary of 9/11 is over, but 9/11 isn't. September 11, 2001, is the defining event of America's 21st century.

https://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2019/09/13/the-9-11-deception-remains-in-control-of-americas-destiny/

Malla , says: September 16, 2019 at 6:19 pm GMT
@Johnny Walker Read I have come across this theory of Christianity as a Roman invention. The reality is most likely to be exactly opposite. Christianity was a Jewish invention to infect the Roman Empire, a movement on which they lost control but attempted to bring under control from time to time in history. The ideology eventually infected the Northerners (Celts, Germanics, Slavs etc ) and spread all the way down to Africa (North Africa, Ethiopia).
Professor Revilo Oliver (Professor of the Classics; University of Illinois) wrote about this in his book 'The Origins of Christianity'.
You can read it for free here.
http://www.revilo-oliver.com/rpo/RPO_NewChrist/toc_ol.htm
Also his 'Reflections on the Christ Myth'
http://www.revilo-oliver.com/rpo/Reflections.html

From the above:

"The Christ myth is puzzling, an historical problem that is still unsolved. Indeed, if considered a priori as an historical phenomenon, it is astounding. The Jesus of the composite legend was a would-be christ, who anticipates the basic doctrine of the Talmud, that Jews are a unique form of life, vastly superior to all other peoples, who, at best, if totally submissive to God's People, may aspire to the status of dogs. He boasts that he brings not peace, but a sword, so he probably wanted to rouse the Jews scattered throughout the world as well as those in Palestine to start slaughtering the civilized peoples, as did his successors in the great Jewish Conspiracy of 117. Yet this implacable enemy of the Aryans was transformed by the Christ myth into a god that Aryans worshipped!"
snip
"Now, if, in the coming century, say by the year 2100, the Jews begin to venerate Hermann Goering or Alfred Rosenberg or Julius Streicher as their divinely inspired Saviour and worship him as a Son of God and an incarnation of their Yahweh, that would be astounding, wouldn't it? Yes, but not more incredible than the transformation of a Jewish christ into a Saviour of Aryans and a god."

Check it out.

GogMagog2u , says: September 16, 2019 at 6:21 pm GMT
@Isabella Whilst I agree with your sentiment I must point out that beneath the surface of Brexit are powerful and organised Anti Muslim and Pro Israel actors positioning themselves to take advantage of what's left of a friendless, broken apart Britain.

See Tommy Robinson and his Jewish backers fomenting anti Islamic sentiment so the Sun Newspaper doesn't have to keep pushing daily stories about how Sharia Law is upon us and no go areas are everywhere. I am from Northern England and its a shit hole. A Crime infested, drug addled rat race through concrete and dog shit. I don't blame Muslims for that. I blame Lawyers, Bankers and Globalists for they're the ones who encoraged Globalist Economics, created Israel, who allow immigration from victims of Israeli wars, who let criminals run free with pathetic sentences and fostered a general sense of lawlessness in all circles.

To blame Muslims is cowardly, shortsighted and rather dumb considering they are natural allies against Zionism. There are no-go areas in Britain but they're multi ethnic and rarely Muslim only. I'm not blind to Muslim criminality like BBC and MSM in general. Muslims are involved in as much crime as anyone else. To single them out is scapegoating them and playing to Israels benefit.

Britain was left with a shit sandwich by Globalists that have rigged the outcome as usual.

A) Remain in the EU and be drowned in immigrants, loss of identity, low wages, high crime, zero punishment leading to the destruction of the Nation State.

B) Leave and join the US decent into madness. Flailing its arms about blindly striking out at whichever Muslim Country Zionism tells her too until the world erupts in flames leading to the destruction of the Nation State.

Soft Nexit v Hard Nexit.

We wanted Sovereignty but we are nothing but the US's bitch now and the US is a failure in every sphere! So strap in and wind down your window because this is going to get very bumpy and very hot.

Britain should have limped off the Global Stage, secured itself into some kind of Scandinavian Economic and Social restructuring program. Live to fight another day. Instead she booked herself an active front row seat in the biggest collapse since Ancient Rome.

freedom-cat , says: September 16, 2019 at 6:24 pm GMT
@Anthony Aaron All 3 Abrahamic religions are supremacist in nature and completely mis-leading to the masses.
I finally relinquished my entire Christian background (which was not fundamentalist) because the entire religion is overly concerned with form and doctrine.

Christian fundamentalists, like the ones in this article, are just as supremacist as the Jews; both believe they are the "blessed" and the only ones in Gods favor.

Christianity did a bad number on Europeans. Best to let go of it entirely. Jesus's message was not anything like what the "church" teaches. He discovered the "experience" of God and tried to teach others without getting himself killed.

Paganism, Pantheism, Taoism, Zen .are much better philosophies to live by. Jesus was actually more in line with some of those philosophies than anything the Catholics, Protestants, or Evangelicals prescribe.

"if you can name it, it's not Tao" Tao te Ching
(If you can name what God is, it is not God)

Robert Dolan , says: September 16, 2019 at 6:59 pm GMT
@freedom-cat Christians do not believe in supremacy. Christianity is universal and open to all of mankind. It's the very rare (and misinformed Christian) that believes in supremacy. Roman's 11 warns against such pride.

Judaism and Islam are both supremacist religions. The Talmud in particular preaches a virulent form of supremacism and this is why the western world is in so much trouble today. If Christians believed they were superior, they wouldn't be getting replaced. If anything, Christians today believe they are obligated to serve the entire non-white world, thanks to the brainwashing of marxist jews. Christians in the past might have felt some pride in their faith but that was destroyed a long time ago.

anon [683] Disclaimer , says: September 16, 2019 at 7:14 pm GMT
@freedom-cat > Christianity did a bad number on Europeans.

I agree, and I also think the foreign desert religion was best adapted to European culture when reading, owning, or distributing the Bible was as strictly forbidden as it was in the Soviet Union. Once that damned Holy Hook got printed -- and European society's "Tradition" became secondary to the Jewish authors -- all Heck broke loose.

> Pantheism

Suits me! Classical (Stoic/Epicurean) naturalistic pantheism is already embedded into the most popular Western document of all time, the Declaration of Independence, invoking the Laws of Nature and Nature's God, i.e., "Deus, sive Natura." Sadly, there are few who understood him. "I am of a sect by myself, as far as I know." ( T. Jefferson, 1819 )

Robjil , says: September 16, 2019 at 7:23 pm GMT
@Johnny Walker Read

A religion can't be made up that easy. Christianity was an underground religion for three hundred years. It spread by the means of Pax Romana, its great roadworks and its great sea transport system. This is the only time that the Mediterranean Sea area was so peaceful in all its history. The ZUS never created a Pax Americana anywhere in the world. The ZUS has only created Pox Americana everywhere. Today it is more obvious than the cold war era.

https://www.ancientworldreview.com/2014/07/book-review-shakespeares-secret-messiah-by-joseph-atwill.html

In Caesar's Messiah, Atwill argues that Christianity was invented by the Flavian Roman emperors as a kind of counter-propaganda to prevent the spread of militant Jewish messianism. The book has a lot of problems, but the most serious flaw with his argument is that there is documentary evidence that Christianity was already in existence before Vespasian, the first Flavian emperor, ever came to power. According to Tacitus and Suetonius, there was a large Christian community already living in Rome during the reign of Nero, who blamed them for starting the Great Fire of Rome that occurred in 64 AD. Vespasian didn't become emperor until after Nero's death.

Kolya Krassotkin , says: September 16, 2019 at 7:34 pm GMT
@Malla Well, "Aretz Israel" and "Ersatz Israel" do both work.

Based on what I know of history, to call the modern country of Israel "Ersatz Israel" is more accurate and honest than to call it "Aretz Israel."

Kolya Krassotkin , says: September 16, 2019 at 7:35 pm GMT
@Hans And a meme is born.
anon [683] Disclaimer , says: September 16, 2019 at 7:38 pm GMT
@Malla > Yet this implacable enemy of the Aryans was transformed by the Christ myth into a god that Aryans worshipped!

You nailed it; that is the key concept. It doesn't matter if it was Romans Jewing the Romans (Johnny Walker's theory) or Jews Jewing the Romans (your theory), it was quite the Jewing of Roman society, i.e., a corruption. And the part of Classical Greek/Roman society most corrupted was Epicureanism. The Jewish authors of the Bible copied and turned-on-its-head much of Epicurus' teachings, for example

" an Epicurean sage will on occasion will even perform what may be termed the ultimate act of self-sacrifice; he will die for a friend."

Warren, J. (2004) Facing Death: Epicurus and his Critics. Oxford University Press. pp. 186-187.

But Christianity cheapened the self-sacrifice of laying down one's life for a friend; Rabbi Jesus had only a bad weekend for our sins. Well halle-fukkin-lujah, I had a buddy endure more suffering in traction recovering from a rolled-over tractor accident.

anon [683] Disclaimer , says: September 16, 2019 at 8:03 pm GMT
@Robert Dolan

> Christians do not believe in supremacy.

You're contradicted, straight out of the Bible:

Christians do believe they are superior in the fantasy afterlife realm, and that getting replaced in this life does matter one whit, because it's just another one of those "cares of this world" they're taught to ignore. If you actually care about your family, you're definitely not one of Rabbi Jesus' disciples, and he specifically says so in Matthew 19:29 and Luke 14:26.

anon [683] Disclaimer , says: September 16, 2019 at 8:12 pm GMT
@Anonymous You're confused about the time of day because you can't calculate sidereal time. Geesh, kids these days! Humor aside, it looks like you're quite upset discovering that the "New Covenant" pitch you're shilling comes straight from the Old Testament, Jeremiah chapter 31. The NT is nothing but warmed-over OT, with some paganism and corrupted Greek philosophy in the mix. Why settle for stale left-overs from Jewish authors?
Robert Dolan , says: September 16, 2019 at 8:59 pm GMT
@anon Well .you do have a point that Christians are told not to worry too much about this world because life is temporary. We are just passing through. Actually this is a standard concept for many of the world's religions.

But Christians do not see themselves as supreme. They see Christ as supreme. But Christ set the standard for behavior when He washed the Disciples feet, and modeled the sort of sacrificial mind set that He expected of His followers.

The problem is that some people take it too far, and the term for this is "doormat Christianity."

The scripture you quote about the family is meant as hyperbole to make people understand that God comes first. You have to remember that honoring your father and mother is one of the Ten Commandments.

While it's true that many Christians have turned into pussies, I do not think it's the fault of the Bible. Doormat Christianity means that people have lost touch with basic common sense.
This was not always the case, as Christians found the balls to fight muslim invasions, and Germany tried to fight against communism.

Again, the nose is to blame for the demise of Christendom, and it's fairly obvious if you take a bit of time to look into it. KMAC says that Christianity was the only cohesive group strategy that white people had and I think this is correct. That is WHY the nose worked overtime to destroy Christianity and banish it from the public square. Christianity provided the social infrastructure for whites to prosper, fostering high trust cultures, solid two parent families, high investment parenting, etc.

If Christianity wasn't such a powerful force, the nose wouldn't have bothered to wreck it.

Alden , says: September 16, 2019 at 9:32 pm GMT
@Jake Those Scots Calvinist followers of Knox were just as insane as the Puritans. They made " "covenants" with God, just as the OT jews did. They spoke with God (lol) and God spoke with them. Their one and only God ordered them to genocide the native catholic Irish because the Catholics were pagan idol worshippers, not wanna be jews

450 years later they are still the heart and soul of the Christian Zionists. And they were a lot more vicious than any Puritan ever was because of centuries of cattle and sheep rustling, kidnapping for ransom, extortion of both villages and warlords treason murder for hire I don't know what the Scots Gaelic term for how they made a living was. Italian term for how they made a living is mafia.

[Sep 15, 2019] Judaism wasn't really invented till around 800BC - maybe 1000BC being generous.

Sep 15, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

snake , Sep 14 2019 15:27 utc | 66

intp , Sep 14 2019 13:29 utc | 59

@Igor and Rancid re. Jews building pyramids

The pyramids (at least the great Pyramids at Giza) were not built by slaves. The free settlements where the workers lived are excavated.

The earliest possible evidence of the Jews potentially being in existence (A pottery fragment which may mention the house of David, or the mention of a roaming bandit-like people called the Hibirru by the Egyptians) is around 1300 BC. The pyramids were built way before that (2600-1750 BC) apart from 2 small ones.

john , Sep 14 2019 14:07 utc | 62
intp says:

The pyramids (at least the great Pyramids at Giza) were not built by slaves. The free settlements where the workers lived are excavated

question is, who built the boxes at the Serapeum of Saqqara ?

Charlie , Sep 15 2019 1:12 utc | 70
@intp 59

Even if King David existed - problematic - he certainly wasn't a Jew. Judaism wasn't really invented till around 800BC - maybe 1000BC being generous.

The Torah records David worshipping EL and Baal and Astarte, not Yaweh.

Judaism is a result of the cult of Yaweh - a minor diety in the Caananite pantheon - making Yaweh the top God and forcing worship of other gods to be discontinued "I am a jealous God". The cult wrote the Torah to make it seem like Jews had been around since time immemorial - plus they stuck in God granted land titles to Canaa. You can see an echo of this with the Mormons who are really busy in genealogy so they can retrospectively baptize ancestors into the Mormon faith

whistle blower Assange to remain in jail past sentence

First they join the Union, then they vote to leave, and their remains say hell no, we are not leaving.. so now no one knows. if I were the EU I would eject Briton.. from the Union without a deal..

Where are the videos showing the Jews were forced to build the Pyramids? Not even one lawsuit seeking money damages? Where are the armbands, where are the pictures, books, images, advertising, hats, tee shirts of those who were buried alive or entombed to care for the Pharaohs. ? Where are the memorials? Unless I see a fake video of the slaves driving the Jews to build the Pyramids, I refuse to believe Jews built the Pyramids. or slept in the Pyramids, or climbed on the Pyramids or even viewed them after someone else built them. If you had said they Jews bombed the Pyramids I might have believed that...

Norwegian , Sep 14 2019 16:02 utc | 67

snake @66
There is no evidence even the Pharaohs built the Giza pyramids, they contain no hieroglyphs at all, and they just did not have the technology to build it using millions of 2 ton limestone blocks. It is almost certain the pharaohs found the Giza pyramids which had been built thousands of years before. The Sphinx enclosure shows clear signs of water erosion over a very long period, but the Giza plateau has not received much rain at all the last 10 000 years.

Any claim the jews built the pyramids is nonsense.

[Sep 14, 2019] Women in theocratic state are usually slaves but the degree of oppression varies beween different states. One extreme definitely is Saudi Arabia but how far Iran is form it is unclear

Sep 14, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

See Women's rights in Iran - Wikipedia . Iran ranked 116 out of the 153 countries in terms of legal discrimination against women. 90% of women in Iran use cellphones and have "access to financial accounts" in Iran. In other South Asian regions, "less than 2 in 5" have this access, and a similar high share of women using cellphones

Under Reza Shah women were banned the wearing of the Islamic hijab in public. It was announced that in the beginning of 2018, women would no longer be arrested for wearing 'bad hijab' in public. In August 2019, Iranian civil rights activist Saba Kord Afshari was sentenced to 24 years behind bars, including a 15-year term for taking off her hijab in public, which Iranian authorities say promoted "corruption and prostitution." [30] [31]

WTFUD , 8 minutes ago link

You're Crackers!

Persian women are FREE. Saudi women are SLAVES.

Einstein101 , 6 minutes ago link

Persian women are FREE

I heard Persian women are not allowed to attend stadium sports events, like soccer games. Is this true?

[Sep 14, 2019] The End of Israel by Gilad Atzmon

Theocratic of neo-theocratic states do not last long. So Gilad Atzmon is probably right. The writing for theocratic Israel might well be on the wall, much like it was for the USSR. At some point the majority of population just became sick and tied of the theocratic elite and stops believing the official propaganda. .
Trump strong connecting and deference to Zionists means that he will lose certain strata of voters that previously voted for him. Will money form Zionist billionaire donors outweigh this factor is difficult to say.
Sep 14, 2019 | www.unz.com

This conflict at the heart of Israeli politics is a window into the Jewish state and its fears. Israel is rapidly becoming an Orthodox Jewish state. Israel's Orthodox Jews are the fastest growing group in the country. They are also the country's poorest population, 45 percent live below the poverty line in segregated communities. Ordinarily, one would expect the poor to support the left, but Israeli Torah Jews are rabid nationalists and openly lend their support to Benjamin Netanyahu and his party.

Prof. Dan Ben-David of Tel Aviv University warned recently that Israel could cease to exist in a couple of generations. He pointed to the astonishingly high birth rate among ultra Orthodox Jews and predicted that, based on current trends, they will comprise 49% of Israel's population by 2065. The ultra Orthodox parties are destined to dominate the Knesset within a generation or less. Ben David predicts that their dependence on Israel's welfare system will lead to a rapid decline is Israel's economy. This is economically damaging enough and is made worse by the refusal of most rabbinical schools to incorporate standard Western subjects such as mathematics, science and English into their core curriculum. Consequently, Israel is educating a growing percentage of its population in a fashion that fails to equip them to contribute to the needs of a hi-tech society that is immersed in a conflict for survival.

The picture that comes across is peculiar. As Israel becomes increasingly Jewish and fundamentalist in its nationalist and religious ethos, it has also become more divided on everything else. The Russian immigrants find it impossible to live alongside the ultra Orthodox and vice versa. The secular enclave in Tel Aviv is committed to seeing their metropolis as an extension of NY.

The Israeli Left has morphed into an LGBT hasbara unit. It has practically removed itself from the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. Jewish settlers adhere to the concept of a 'Two Jewish States Solution.' They want to see the West Bank become a Jewish land. Orthodox Jews are barely concerned with any of these political issues. They well know that the future of the Jewish state belongs to them. All they need to do is sustain a productive secular Jewish minority to serve as their milk cow. On top of all of that we face Bibi's survival wars that threaten to escalate any minute into a world conflict.


Altai , says: September 12, 2019 at 8:49 pm GMT

This is why I'm more optimistic the more Trump embraces Israel. He seems to have clearly decided not to get caught in Syria and so has to keep them off his back in some other way, moving the embassy and presumably giving Netanyahu the greenlight for annexation of more of the West Bank is a good thing.

It means Israel incorporates more and more Palestinians that it can't disengage from by keeping within it's existing borders and it means damaging the bi-partisan consensus with Trump's polarising association.

Everything Netanyahu does is just pulling back the sinews for the final reckoning. Instead of staying within reasonable borders and seeking a reconciliation with neighbours, Israel just gets more demanding, more unreasonable, breaks more promises and makes itself impossible to negotiate with and runs headlong into more and more Palestinian citizens.

What's unfortunate is that Europe and the US will be forced to put up with the millions of vagrant Sabras when it all goes kaput. Instead of becoming less anti-social, the Sabra became a magnificent compilation of every annoying and anti-social habit of the nations. Israelis make Sicilians look like Swedes.

Priss Factor , says: Website September 12, 2019 at 9:53 pm GMT
@Robert Dolan Israeli power is the consequence of Jewish-American Power.

It's like the princeling brat can romp around and make all kinds of trouble because his father is the king.

The King of Jewish Power is the hold over America.

Gilad Atzmon , says: September 12, 2019 at 9:56 pm GMT
@Altai I agree Altai . at the end of the day this entire mess will fall on Europe and The USA but if I read the map correctly the tolerance and empathy to the primacy of Jewish suffering is running out..the situation is getting complicated
Gilad Atzmon , says: September 12, 2019 at 9:56 pm GMT
@Altai I agree Altai . at the end of the day this entire mess will fall on Europe and The USA but if I read the map correctly the tolerance and empathy to the primacy of Jewish suffering is running out..the situation is getting complicated
niteranger , says: September 13, 2019 at 1:41 am GMT
@Robert Dolan Absolutely correct. If not for the US and it's Jewish Controlled Congress that never met a money bill for the Magic Jews Israel would be under water already. Our infrastructure is collapsing but we continue to find money for Israel no matter that we have cities with thousands of homeless people with the threat of disease and Middle Age plagues on our door step. Orthodox Jews are like Muslims in many ways because they love the "Welfare State" and they stay on it forever. Sections of New York are saturated with these Orthodox Welfare Jews and idiots like DeBlasio caters to them.

There is now a backlash by both blacks who hate them and want to kill them for their business practices in real estate and upper middle class residents that refuse to allow them to build their so called "Jewish Orthodox Communes" and take over the areas.

Israel may have overplayed their hand but that doesn't mean they will just disappear. They are sick enough to take mankind with them with their eternal wars. Hopefully Netanyahu is crazy enough to start a conflict with Iran who will bomb the shit out of them and then Hezabollah will destroy the wimp military the IDF.

We can only hope and perhaps mankind will have a chance .

Dennis Gannon , says: September 13, 2019 at 2:27 am GMT
It is more accurate to call them Talmudists. They are not "Jews". Jew is a recent abbreviation of Judean. The Ashkenazi came from Asia. They don't follow the Old Testament. They follow the Talmud, which is Maciavellian to the core. Pure evil. Since God made the man Jesus to be Lord, eventually, their works will be judged, they are headed for destruction morally, you reap what you sew. Israel is the most anti-Semitic country on earth. Which makes them hypocrites. The Arabs and Palestinians are a Semitic people and no one hates and kills them more that Israel.
Gilad Atzmon , says: Website September 13, 2019 at 4:10 am GMT
@Colin Wright As you may know Zionism was born as a reaction to antisemitsm and this fact alone suggests that people including Jews were aware of the problem before Israel was formed
Giuseppe , says: September 13, 2019 at 4:34 am GMT
@Gilad Atzmon

I don't want to ruin the party but as far as I can tell Israel is not the problem it is just a symptom of the problem peculiarly, Israel was born to fix the problem

Interesting point of view, actually, one of the most profound things I have ever read. If this is their calling, and I too somehow believe it is, they need to turn around, because they are kind of falling down on the job. So I look forward to that great day of turning. However, when they call you names, anti-Semite, self-hating Jew, or whatever else they might dig up, they greatly err, because you are a watchman on the wall.

Frankie P , says: September 13, 2019 at 4:57 am GMT
@Saggy Gilad has expressed his views on this topic many, many times. The early Zionists desired a Jewish State to make Jews human. By this, I mean that they were well aware of the Jewish Question and the repeated bad behavior of Jews in host societies, both Muslim and Christian. They were conscious of the economic role of powerful Jews, particularly with their usurious financial practices, but also as tax collectors and enforcers for the aristocracy. This, along with their tilted ethnocentric business practices, favoring their own while fleecing the goyim, invariably led to their control of what were traditionally local businesses, creating a growing resentment in local societies that reached critical mass. What followed were pogroms and expulsion. This occurred in both Muslim and Christian lands, but were especially pronouncrd in Christian Europe, which took more aggressive protective actions to shield itself.

The early Zionists wanted to be the midwives of a Jewish State that would solve the JQ by making a nation of Jews, in which Jews carried out all of the work, took all the jobs, from garbage collecting to farming, from street cleaner to bank president. They wanted to stop the pogroms and expulsions, but at the same time they were keenly aware that these were effects of Jewish behavior and actions, not senseless anti-Semitism of the goyim. So, yes Israel was conceived and born to solve the problem.

It didn't.

refl , says: September 13, 2019 at 6:10 am GMT
@Gilad Atzmon

As you may know Zionism was born as a reaction to antisemitsm and this fact alone suggests that people including Jews were aware of the problem before Israel was formed

Was it? Or was antisemitism the solution by the jewish leadership to the dissolution of their community in modern arreligious society? Was antisemitism the virtual ghetto wall?
Tell the people within that those outside want to kill them, at the same time having a small faction of very cunning Jews who go outside and produce trouble that then by necessity falls back on the whole community?

I find it quite astonishing when I read how privileged certain Jews were in European states, compared to what was the norm for regular Christian folks.
And indeed, also Christians were butchered, expelled etc in more religious times.

mena , says: September 13, 2019 at 7:50 am GMT
peculiarly, Israel was born to fix the problem

I have heard you say this before and remain surprised that you seem to believe this. The whole " people like any other people" hasbara may have been a sales approach tailored to a particular audience at some point, but any sincerity behind it has been demonstrably beside the point. Israel has been a projection of raw power from the start.

sally , says: September 13, 2019 at 8:16 am GMT
@niteranger Are you sure => "we continue to find money for Israel" <=unless you are among the elected 527 that run the USA you probably are not included in the WE.. did you vote (either yes or no) to send money to Israel?

Three votes (one to select a person to fill one of (1/425) jobs in the house of representatives, and 1 vote to select each of 2 persons to fill two senate jobs (2/100) does not make most Americans into deciding members of the USA. Not only that, at election time, American votes for President or VP do not count, because the electoral college vote decides who shall be President or vice President? So why do the candidates spend billions on the presidential elections?

350,000,000 Americans are governed by 527 salaried persons, who are elected to work at the USA.

Israel is a product of the bankers and their corporations; it began in earnest in 1897 in Switzerland.

The great success of Zionism (not racially or religiously connected) has been its networking ability. It can identify and intercept opposing forces, transport resources($, and people) in invisible ways, to/from multi many places, to focus on and to support a target project (local, regional, national or international) . The network that facilitates this "always win intention" works like a newspaper on one side, keeping all elements informed, and on the other side, like a powerful, but invisible government; seeking or willing to invade, protect or promote a place, project or person on the other side.

The network can concentrate fire power, vote power, impose political pressure, control the media, and develop the means to take advantage of, or put down, situation or opportunity or it can protect a friend in need. In a few days, a local situation or a massive opportunity can be "crowd funded" or "petition protected" via the network. For hypothetical example, say the NYT comes up for sale, in a short while a person with meager credit, tenders a multi-billion dollar offer backed with financing sufficient to acquire the opportunity? So how did the credit come to make this possible?

Its not Israel per se..that the USA congress supports: its the banking establishments and their powerful multi nation corporations, seeking to control the middle east, seeking to use "in the course of commerce" as their excuse for invisible weapon, mind control, and spy technology development. Its Economic Zionism that explains the foreign nation state support for Israel. IMO except for the propaganda value, race or religion has little to do with it.

Germanicus , says: September 13, 2019 at 8:28 am GMT
@Gilad Atzmon Why not infuse Israel with the tons of fanatical leftist(godless) Jews we have in Germany and Europe? They could counter the orthodox leeching by providing work force, and could additionally work their bottoms off on "racism", transform settlements in gay discos and do all the other professional complaints they make in Europe, like open borders.
The Jews in Europe are always scared, if Netanyahu calls them to Israel due to "anti-semitism". If a non Jew says something similar, its evil and "anti-semitic" of course.

It is quite interesting to note, that Israel develops in a theocracy(always has been in my view), while the Jews outside Israel seek to disprove/kill god and are in rebellion against god, nature, more or less play god.

Antares , says: September 13, 2019 at 8:45 am GMT
@FvS "It is the patriotic duty of all American Jews to relocate to Israel and help their nation thrive. Remember the holocaust. Also, democracy is garbage."

You could be an American patriot who doesn't want to pay 3.8 billion per year.

gotmituns , says: September 13, 2019 at 9:22 am GMT
Theodor Herzl said, "Where there is no anti Semitism, there are no Jews."
Lol , says: September 13, 2019 at 9:25 am GMT
@Gilad Atzmon The issue is that regular Europeans have diminishing rates of sympathy for Jews and the only reason European politics don't trash Israel is largely vassalage to America and not having an independent foreign policy.

With Americans ruining their relations with everyone, this will most likely change since there's no real reason for Europeans to source military equipment from outside the EU, have sanctions on Iran or Russia instead of backing their infrastructure projects, not back China in the Pacific if it offers a better deal etc.

Essentially, Jews will be America's problem and rightfully so considering right wing Americans can't seem to stop sucking Jewish dick.

Lol , says: September 13, 2019 at 9:34 am GMT
@A123 The only realistic plan would probably involve Israel not violating the fourth Geneva convention anymore which would mean the Jewish settlements on territories outside the pre-1967 borders will cease to exist as Jewish in any way.

Once you reject international law, you can't appeal to it anymore, but you must be Jewish if you think you can pick and choose what suits you. Lol

Johnny Walker Read , says: September 13, 2019 at 12:19 pm GMT
@Rational The "Holy Hook" is being exposed on a level never imagined. Charles Giuliani has a great series out exposing the "Tribe". This is one of my favorites:
http://www.renegadebroadcasting.com/truth-hertz-pimp-daddy-abrahams-adventures-in-egypt-6-17-19/
Greg Bacon , says: Website September 13, 2019 at 12:24 pm GMT
The loonie Avi Lieberman is salivating at the thought being Israeli PM, and the loonie Nuttyahoo is salivating at the thought of staying PM and using that power to keep his sorry ass out of prison.

Presented with those two choices is like a robber asking its victim, "Do you want to be stabbed with a knife or shot with a gun?"

Johnny Walker Read , says: September 13, 2019 at 12:25 pm GMT
@Robert Dolan America will never be shed of this parasite until the fundamentalist Christian Zionist/NeoCons are swept from power. They are every bit as insane as the radicalized Muslims. You tell me which country this clown truly servers!!

https://www.youtube.com/embed/UYEF8y7IZYc?feature=oembed

anonymous [420] Disclaimer , says: September 13, 2019 at 12:29 pm GMT
@Anon

Few goyim will make the leap to figure out the modern implications of the Moses mythology.

You should discuss that with @ Dennis Gannon, who appears to be tangled in a ball of misunderstanding or ignorance, especially of Machiavelli, evident when he wrote:

The Ashkenazi came from Asia. They don't follow the Old Testament. They follow the Talmud, which is Maciavellian to the core. Pure evil.

Crack open The Prince: Machiavelli "figured out the modern implications of the Moses mythology." Of three candidates Machiavelli considered, he selected Moses as the model Prince. Certain "evil" behavior that became necessary to save his beloved city, Florence, and make it a Republic of and for the people of Florence, was acceptable, inasmuch as Moses, whose chief counselor was god himself, used whatever means necessary to achieve the wellbeing of the conquerors of Canaan.

If only the people of the USA had a Prince as evil, and as dedicated to the wellbeing of the American people, as Machiavelli was to Florence.

Frankie P , says: September 13, 2019 at 12:50 pm GMT
@Brewer "Zionism was born as a reaction to antisemitism." Gilad is correct, but I believe that implicit in his statement is the understanding that the "antisemitism" is reactionary: it is born out of the anti gentile behavior and actions of Jews in gentile host societies. Gilad, please correct me if I've misrepresented you.
DESERT FOX , says: September 13, 2019 at 12:59 pm GMT
Israel is a terrorist state ran by terrorists for terrorists and its goal is to destroy the mideast for its greater Israel agenda and with the help of the zionist controlled zio/US government and the American taxpayers funding of these wars and providing the military muscle the zionists are now their way to armageddon!
Twodees Partain , says: September 13, 2019 at 1:45 pm GMT
@Brewer My definition of antisemitism is any pushback against crimes of the Ashkenazi.
Charles Pewitt , says: September 13, 2019 at 2:06 pm GMT
Israel is not an ally of the United States of America.

Israel is a client-state millstone of the American Empire that uses diasporan Jews such as Shelly Adelson to buy off politicians such as President Trump.

Andrew Jackson and George Washington would immediately sever all ties to Israel and they would make sure that diasporan Jews that put the interests of Israel over and ahead of the interests of the USA were strongly encouraged to permanently leave the USA. Those Jews who put the interests of Israel over and ahead of the interests of the USA should be disallowed from gaining entry into any other European Christian nation such as Canada, Australia, Germany, France, England, Italy, Spain etc.

It would also be a no-go Blavatsky for these diasporan Jews who put the interests of Israel ahead of the interests of the USA to go to South America or Asia or anywhere else. Israel must be made into a receptacle that will contain and constrain the ability of diasporan Jews and Israeli Jews from interfering in the governmental affairs of any other nation.

One of the reasons I will not vote for Trump and the Republican Party is that Trump and the Republicans put the interests of Israel over and ahead of the interests of the United States of America.

Trump seems to get the fact that the American Empire is a completely and totally separate entity from the United States of America. Trump seems to understand that resistance to Shelly Adelson's demands about foreign policy decisions regarding Israel is the best way to show patriotism to the USA.

The JEW/WASP ruling class of the American Empire is a clear and present threat to the safety, security and sovereignty of the United States of America

THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA FIRST!

Charles Pewitt , says: September 13, 2019 at 2:18 pm GMT
Jew billionaire Shelly Adelson puts the interests of Israel ahead of the interests of the USA.

Jew billionaire Shelly Adelson has donated hundreds of millions of dollars to President Trump and the Republican Party over the years.

What has all that loot bought for diasporan Jew Adelson?

Is Adelson buying the foreign policy of the USA?

How come that dumb boob Chris Christie used the word "occupied" in front of Adelson when Christie was trying to pry some loot out of Adelson's checkbook? DUMMY!

Tweet from 2015:

Charles Pewitt , says: September 13, 2019 at 2:21 pm GMT
The ruling class in Israel wants to continue to use the US military as muscle to fight wars on behalf of Israel.

The ADL puts the interests of Israel ahead of the interests of the United States of America.

The ADL is an evil and immoral JEW PRESSURE GROUP that pushes mass legal immigration and mass illegal immigration and REFUGEE OVERLOAD and ASYLUM SEEKER INUNDATION and multicultural mayhem and all manner of other anti-White crud.

DESERT FOX , says: September 13, 2019 at 2:34 pm GMT
@Charles Pewitt Agree, the zionists have controlled the American people since 1913 when they fastened their privately owned central bank aka the FED and IRS on to the American people and then came the foreign wars and debt and total control of the American people by the zionists and their banking kabal.

Nathan Rothschild infamously said; I care not what puppet is place on the throne of England for the man who controls the money supply controls the British Empire, and I am that man!

The same holds true here in the zio/US the zionists have control of the money supply via the FED and we are slaves on the zionist plantation aka America, and a central bank and the income tax are 2 of the 10 planks of the communist manifesto, and zionism = communism!

Anonymous Snanonymous , says: September 13, 2019 at 3:05 pm GMT
So the Orthodox will turn Israel into a big shtetl within the span of next fifty years with the financial help of the "secular" Jews in the West and then they would want to do away with the LGBTQ crowd out of Tel Aviv you reap what you sow!
Wally , says: September 13, 2019 at 4:07 pm GMT
@J said:
"Under all that noise there is country growing and strengthening very fast"

Dream on.
Without US taxpayers money "that shitty little country" wouldn't last a month.

The True Cost of Parasite Israel
Forced US taxpayers money to Israel goes far beyond the official numbers
.
http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/the-true-cost-of-israel/

How Zionist Israel Is Robbing America Blind !:
http://www.unz.com/gatzmon/how-zionist-israel-is-robbing-america-blind/

[Sep 01, 2019] Iranian Women Fight for Freedom by Uzay Bulut

Sep 01, 2019 | www.gatestoneinstitute.org

• August 29, 2019 at 4:00 am

Three Iranian women held in Tehran's notorious Qarchak prison were sentenced recently to what could amount to more than 10 years in prison. Their "crime"? Failing to wear headscarves, thereby defying the country's Islamic dress code.

The women were apprehended after a video they posted online during International Women's Day went viral. In the clip, they are seen walking bear-headed on a Tehran metro and distributing flowers to female passengers.

"The day will come when women are not forced to struggle," one of them is heard saying, while another expresses hope that one day women in hijabs will be able to walk side-by-side with women who choose not to wear them.

The battle on behalf of a woman's right not to cover her head spurred Iranian-American journalist and award-winning activist Masih Alinejad – author, most recently, of The Wind in My Hair: My Fight for Freedom in Modern Iran -- to found a social-media movement called "My Stealthy Freedom."

[Aug 15, 2019] The Evangelicals Trying to Turn America Into a Theocracy"

Aug 15, 2019 | economistsview.typepad.com

im1dc , August 14, 2019 at 08:35 AM

...

https://www.thedailybeast.com/the-family-on-netflix-the-shadowy-christian-cabal-puppeteering-american-politicians

"The Family': The Evangelicals Trying to Turn America Into a Theocracy"

'Netflix's new five-part series "The Family," now streaming, explores an elite coalition of Christians with enormous influence in American politics'

by Nick Schager...08.14.19...7:07AM ET

"According to The Family, Netflix's unnerving new five-part documentary series, the most powerful club in America is a consortium of religious true believers bound by their fanatical love of Jesus. It has no official membership and requires no dues. It works overtime to avoid publicity. Its ranks are comprised of both Republicans and Democrats.

And it seeks the eradication of the separation of church and state in its quest for its most coveted asset: power...

...Think of it as a Christian mafia endeavoring to create a global theocracy under Jesus, with grassroots enclaves around the USA (and planet) and a commitment to conducting "non-consensual diplomacy" with tyrants -- by elected American officials who claim their overseas efforts are just "Jesus stuff" -- as part of a "worldwide spiritual offensive." With a depth and breadth that amplifies its terrifying conclusions, The Family lifts the veil of secrecy surrounding this shadowy outfit, and what it reveals is a new world order that's not only on its way -- it's already here."

[Aug 13, 2019] The Satanic Temple, an organisation masquerading as a Satan-worshipping religion, whose members stage various stunts that expose the hypocrisy of governments and mainstream religious organisations in pushing for greater freedoms and rights for themselves but denying freedom of speech and freedom of religious worship to others, and in the lip service these institutions pay to the separation of religion and the state.

Aug 13, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Jen , Aug 12 2019 10:54 utc | 83

Aye, Myself & Me @ 44:

You should try watching the recent documentary "Hail Satan?" by Penny Lane. It's about the founding and evolution of The Satanic Temple, an organisation masquerading as a Satan-worshipping religion, whose members stage various stunts that expose the hypocrisy of governments and mainstream religious organisations in pushing for greater freedoms and rights for themselves but denying freedom of speech and freedom of religious worship to others, and in the lip service these institutions pay to the separation of religion and the state.

The only disappointing aspect of the documentary is that most of the in-fighting amongst the different chapters of The Satanic Temple was edited out of the film to preserve its flow and emphasise the documentary's main themes. You only get a hint of the differences that developed among the members in how they interpret the organisation's agenda and tenets, and in their attitudes towards working within the system to change it or not working within it but challenging it instead. You do get a sense though that many people around the world must have been waiting for an organisation like TST to come along, that the organisation taps into a deep yearning among people for something or someone to challenge the authorities, and that the organisation grew very quickly, perhaps too quickly for its founder members to get a handle on.

Interestingly, the director became a member of The Satanic Temple after she completed filming and editing the documentary.

[Aug 12, 2019] One bright side of our malignant political moment is that you never have to listen to Political Christians again

Aug 12, 2019 | economistsview.typepad.com

EMichael , August 12, 2019 at 12:40 PM

Populists, my a$$.

"One bright side of our malignant political moment is that you never have to listen to Political Christians again. Any moral authority these folks might've claimed prior to becoming the number-one constituency for Donald Trump, American president, is gone. What principles of Jesus Christ does the current president embody? Of course, that question assumes the Son of God's words ever played a particularly prominent role in an Evangelical political movement that for decades has devoted nearly all its energy to opposing marriage equality and getting abortion banned. Matthew 25:35 has never been high on the list of priorities, and Trump -- as he has in so many other areas of our social and political life -- merely laid that truth bare.

Still, it is...something to see a report in Politico outlining what some members of the Evangelical movement found sickening about Trump' recent rally in North Carolina. You know, the one where his fans started chanting, "Send her back!" about a sitting member of Congress who just happened to be a woman of color whom Trump himself had told to go back to where she came from. These Constitutional Conservatives were appalled at the idea of stripping someone of her citizenship because she exercised her First Amendment rights to criticize the country that her constituents had duly elected her to help run. They were gravely offended at the prospect of expelling Ilhan Omar, who came here as a refugee from Somalia as a child, in breach of Christ's edict about inviting in the stranger, the least of my brothers and sisters.

Just kidding! They didn't like the salty language.

'The nation was gripped after the rally by the moment when a "send her back" chant broke out as Trump went after Somali-born Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar, an American citizen. But some Trump supporters were more fixated on the casual use of the word "goddamn" -- an off-limits term for many Christians -- not to mention the numerous other profanities laced throughout the rest of the speech.

The issue has recently hit a nerve among those who have become some of the president's most reliable supporters: white evangelicals...Coarse language is, of course, far from the president's only behavior that might turn off the religious right. He's been divorced twice, faced constant allegations of extramarital affairs, previously supported abortion rights and has stumbled when trying to discuss the specifics of religion, once saying "two Corinthians" instead of "Second Corinthians." Yet to this point, Trump has maintained broad support from evangelicals, including the unwavering backing of prominent conservative Christian leaders.'

Did tearing children from their parents "hit a nerve"? It appears not, at least among the 73 percent of white Evangelicals who approve of the president's job performance. Neither, as Politico pointed out, does the president's blatant non-religiosity that borders on outright disdain for his religious audiences. After all, "Second Corinthians" doesn't tell the whole story. Here's the line in full: "Two Corinthians, 3:17 -- that's the whole ballgame," he said, adding: "Is that the one you like? I think that's the one you like." It's hard to imagine a more condescending delivery.

The simplest explanation is that the most important part of White Evangelical Christian is "white," and that the movement has always been about maintaining the United States as a country by and for white people. No wonder these folks overlooked Trump's many affairs and divorces and vulgarities. He might have "joked" on television about dating his own daughter, or OK'd calling her a "piece of ass" on the radio, but he's on their side on the truly important things, like federal judge appointments. It's kind of like how no one cares that Trump employs -- and has always employed -- large numbers of undocumented immigrants while railing against illegal immigration. He enforces the racial hierarchy, and that's what matters. It's not really that no one should come. It's that they should be ruthlessly exploited and forced to live in fear as a societal underclass.'

https://www.esquire.com/news-politics/a28675460/donald-trump-evangelicals-goddamn-send-her-back/

[Jul 24, 2019] The Left Burns a Heretic Nancy Pelosi

Jul 24, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

We might pause over those last two words, "true enemies," and make a larger point about the dynamic at play here. Politicos with an historical frame of reference look at a situation such as this -- when an ally is harshly scourged for not being allied enough -- and recall the distinction between "infidels" and "heretics."

In this reckoning, an infidel is someone who never believed what you believe. For instance, over much of the last 13 centuries, a Muslim might say of a Christian, "He's an infidel," and the Christian would say the same thing. On either side of such a divide, there can be plenty of hostility, yet it tends not to be personal -- after all, the infidel is a stranger.

By contrast, a heretic is someone who once believed the same thing you do, but now does not. And so heresy is more wounding, and threatening, because the heretic challenges one's innermost beliefs.

In history, civilizations have fought wars against infidels, sometimes wars of annihilation, yet even so, heretics are often treated worse, because there's that intense personal edge: you betrayed me . That's why civilizations have often launched inquisitions against heretics, cheerfully torturing them to get them to confess and recant -- and then killing them. For the orthodox believer, there's a grim logic here: the infidel is an external enemy to be opposed. But the heretic is an internal cancer to be eradicated.

Nowadays, America's politics isn't so vicious as, say, Europe's during the Thirty Years War. Yet still, in our time, we can see the infidels/heretics dichotomy: in the eyes of the Wokerati, Trump and the Republicans are infidels. Yes, they're the enemy, and so of course they must be crushed. Yet for the most part, it's nothing personal

[Jul 23, 2019] Jewish Women Suffer Under Israel's Theocracy by Malka Himelhoch

Jul 23, 2019 | blogs.timesofisrael.com

Last Monday, the Pew Research Center published a report classifying Israel as one of the 20 most religiously restrictive countries in the world, in the company of countries like Syria, Saudi Arabia, and Iran. While this might strike some as shocking, it doesn't surprise me at all.

In Israel, a majority of the citizens don't identify as religious, and yet every marriage, divorce, and Jewish conversion are under the exclusive jurisdiction of the Ultra-Orthodox Rabbinate. This means that every divorce must take place in accordance with the Ultra- Orthodox interpretation of Jewish Law. Anyone who is familiar with this interpretation of Jewish Law knows that it is extremely patriarchal, heavily favoring the rights and desires of men over those of women. This is also true in the realm of divorce. According to Jewish law, a divorce is only legal if a man freely and willingly grants his wife a bill of divorce. Until a man gives his wife a bill of divorce she has no choice but to remain married to him.

If you think that this sounds like a serious violation of basic civil freedoms, you're right. Not only is the lack of civil marriage an infringement on the freedom of Jewish Israelis to express their religion as they choose but more specifically the monopoly of the rabbinical courts on divorces in Israel represents an abuse of the freedoms of women. In Israel today 1 in 5 women involved in divorce cases are a gunot (women whose husbands are unable to give a writ of divorce because they are "missing," either physically or mentally) or m esoravot get (women whose husbands refuse to grant them divorces).

One woman, physically and emotionally abused by her husband, was told by the rabbinical court to book a hotel for the weekend in order to reconcile with her husband. Even though she had a restraining order against her husband and a social worker offered to testify to the abuse she had faced at the hands of her husband, the rabbinical judges refused to acknowledge that there was a legitimate reason for divorce and closed the case. Only after five and a half years, and a lengthy legal battle did she succeed in getting a divorce.

Another story is that of a woman trapped in a marriage to a man who after a head injury only has the mental capabilities of a three year old. When the rabbis asked him if he wanted to give his wife a divorce he keeps changing his mind, sometimes saying no and sometimes saying yes. The traditional methods used to convince a husband to give his wife a get are impossible to use in this situation because he is so disabled. The rabbinical court can't send him to prison, or confiscate his driver's license because he is mentally the equivalent of a child, so the case is stalled. She cannot get a divorce and the rabbinical court cannot help her.

I could go on and on.

Clearly even when there is no miscarriage of justice, divorce under Jewish law as interpreted in the rabbinic court is inherently biased against women...

Malka Himelhoch is a rising Junior at Princeton University and is interning this summer at Mavoi Satum.

[Jul 18, 2019] Israel Has Almost as Many Religious Restrictions as Iran, Pew Report Finds

Notable quotes:
"... The report, published Monday by the Pew Research Center, tracks the rise of religious restrictions globally. Israel was one of the top 20 most religiously restrictive countries in the world, according to Pew. It also has the fifth-highest level of "social hostilities related to religious norms," and the sixth-highest level of "interreligious tension and violence" -- a worse score than Syria . ..."
"... Israel self-defines as a Jewish state. Its haredi Orthodox Chief Rabbinate controls all recognized marriage, divorce, burial and Jewish conversion in the country, which means that non-Orthodox weddings, divorces, funerals and conversions are not recognized by the state. The state likewise does not recognize intermarriages conducted in the country. Most cities do not run public transit on Shabbat. ..."
Jul 18, 2019 | www.haaretz.com

Israel is one of the top 20 most religiously restrictive countries in the world, research center says

JTA and Ben Sales Jul 17, 2019 9:40 AM 10 comments Zen Subscribe now

A Jewish man waves an Israeli flag as he participates in a march marking "Jerusalem Day", near Damascus Gate in Jerusalem's Old City June 2, 2019. Amir Cohen / REUTERS

When it comes to restrictions on religious freedom, Israel is in the company of countries like Saudi Arabia, Syria and Iran, a new report says.

The report also noted a rise in restrictions on Jewish practice in Europe, as well as an increase of attacks on Jews. It said Jews were harassed in 87 countries in 2017, the third-highest figure for any religion.

The report, published Monday by the Pew Research Center, tracks the rise of religious restrictions globally. Israel was one of the top 20 most religiously restrictive countries in the world, according to Pew. It also has the fifth-highest level of "social hostilities related to religious norms," and the sixth-highest level of "interreligious tension and violence" -- a worse score than Syria .

>> Read more: Smotrich's 'Laws of the Torah' are as delusional as the Christian right's 'Judeo-Christian values' | Opinion ■ Not the Palestinians, the economy or even Netanyahu: Election will test Israel's Jewish character | Analysis

The report cited incidents in Israel like harassment of people who drive cars near haredi Orthodox neighborhoods on Shabbat , or government officials who "defer in some way to religious authorities or doctrines on legal issues."

Israel self-defines as a Jewish state. Its haredi Orthodox Chief Rabbinate controls all recognized marriage, divorce, burial and Jewish conversion in the country, which means that non-Orthodox weddings, divorces, funerals and conversions are not recognized by the state. The state likewise does not recognize intermarriages conducted in the country. Most cities do not run public transit on Shabbat.

Regarding restrictions on Jews worldwide, the report pointed out government interference in circumcision in Germany and Slovenia. And the report noted rising anti-Semitic and neo-Nazi activity, including assaults on Jews, in Europe and the United States.

[Jul 18, 2019] On origins of Wahhbism

Jul 18, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Jen , Jul 17 2019 22:31 utc | 65

Uncle Jon @ 38:

Would you happen to be familiar with a report that former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein commissioned from the Iraqi intelligence agency on the story he must have heard flying about back in the early 2000's on the origins of Wahhabism in the Arabian Peninsula, the genealogy of its founder Mohammed ibn Wahhab (1703 - 1792) and his supposed ancestral link to a messianic cult in 17th-century Ottoman Turkey whose members converted to Islam?

During his life Mohammed ibn Wahhab was persecuted for his preaching and he found shelter in an oasis area governed by the Saud family. The report also states that the Saud family itself is descended from a Jewish merchant.

Wahhabism became a large enough movement in the southeastern parts of the Ottoman empire during the late 1700s / early 1800s that Ottoman authorities in Istanbul became alarmed. Due to their own internal issues, they had to rely on Muhammad Ali Pasha in Egypt to supply the troops to crush Wahhabism in the second decade of the 19th century. From this point on, Egypt more or less became an independent state under Muhammad Ali Pasha's rule to the late 1840s.

The Iraqi report also makes much of a collaboration between the Wahhabi movement, the Saud family and a British spy.

The document (which you can take or leave) later came into the possession of the US military and was translated into English.

[Jul 06, 2019] In practice, the USSR behaved exactly like a brutal totalitarian theocracy

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Maher was right. I've been saying for decades -- since Brezhnev was still alive -- that the Soviet Union was a functional theocracy. ..."
"... In practice, the USSR behaved exactly like a brutal totalitarian theocracy would. They had an impersonal god (the theory of history that would lead inevitably to heaven on Earth) which the government treated as the source of their authority and their justification for everything they did in the name of the Revolution. ..."
"... They had a state church (the Communist Party -- no rivals allowed) that you needed to join to get anywhere in society. They had prophets (look what they did with Lenin after his death), saints (heroes of the Revolution), idols, sacred texts that could not be challenged, brutal suppression of other religions, witch hunts for heretics (anyone who opposed the Revolution). ..."
"... So yes: the USSR turned "communism" into their de facto state religion. ..."
Jul 03, 2019 | theamericanconservative.com

Douglas K 3 days ago • edited

To this day, Maher's response still leaves me dumbfounded: "I would say that's a secular religion." Before Douthat could ask what the hell a secular religion is, Maher changed the subject. The meaning of Maher's nonsensical statement was clear: everything Maher doesn't like is religion.

Maher was right. I've been saying for decades -- since Brezhnev was still alive -- that the Soviet Union was a functional theocracy. Sure, they didn't use God or angels or miracles in their rhetoric, but that's just surface trappings.

In practice, the USSR behaved exactly like a brutal totalitarian theocracy would. They had an impersonal god (the theory of history that would lead inevitably to heaven on Earth) which the government treated as the source of their authority and their justification for everything they did in the name of the Revolution.

They had a state church (the Communist Party -- no rivals allowed) that you needed to join to get anywhere in society. They had prophets (look what they did with Lenin after his death), saints (heroes of the Revolution), idols, sacred texts that could not be challenged, brutal suppression of other religions, witch hunts for heretics (anyone who opposed the Revolution).

So yes: the USSR turned "communism" into their de facto state religion. No, they didn't include personified invisible spirits in their ideology. But if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and quacks like a duck ....

[Oct 21, 2018] Jack Keane doesn t know that the Al as-Saud ARE the Wahhabis

Notable quotes:
"... citation needed ..."
"... citation needed ..."
"... wilayet al faqih ..."
Oct 19, 2018 | www.sott.net
"Muhammad ibn Saud and Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab had concluded a formal agreement in 1744: according to one source, Muhammad ibn Saud had declared when they first met,

"This oasis is yours, do not fear your enemies. By the name of God, if all Nejd was summoned to throw you out, we will never agree to expel you." Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab replied, "You are the settlement's chief and wise man. I want you to grant me an oath that you will struggle with me against the unbelievers. In return you will be imam, leader of the Muslim community and I will be leader in religious matters."[12]

Ibn Saud accordingly gave his oath.[12] The descendants of Muhammad ibn Saud, the Al Saud, continued to be the political leaders of the Saudi state in central Arabia through the 19th and into the 20th centuries, and eventually created the modern Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in 1932.[9] The descendants of Ibn Abd al-Wahhab, on the other hand, have historically led the ulema, the body of Islamic religious leaders and scholars,[13] and dominated the Saudi state's clerical institutions.[14]

The agreement between Ibn Abd al-Wahhab and Muhammad ibn Saud of 1744 became a "mutual support pact" and power-sharing arrangement between the Al Saud and the Al ash-Sheikh, which has remained in place for nearly 300 years.[15][16][17][18] The pact between the two families, which continues to this day,[citation needed] is based on the Al Saud maintaining the Al ash-Sheikh's authority in religious matters and upholding and propagating the Wahhabi doctrine. In return, the Al ash-Sheikh support the Al Saud's political authority [19] thereby using its religious-moral authority to legitimize the royal family's rule.[20] In fact, each legitimizes the other.[citation needed]This alliance formed in the 18th century provided the ideological impetus to Saudi expansion and remains the basis of Saudi Arabian dynastic rule today. [21] wiki on Wahhabism

-------------

General (ret) Jack Keane Fox News' "Senior Strategic Analyst" said on the air yesterday that the Saudi government "needs to distance itself from the Wahhabis." this statement displayed a breathtaking lack of knowledge and understanding of Saudi history and actual religiopolitics.

A few thoughts:

1. Islam as an idea system does not recognize the legitimacy of secular rule. Most majority Islamic countries have secular government of some sort. These governments are the result of exposure to Western political thought through colonial experiences or prolonged exposure to such thought by education in Europe or America. That admixture of ideas does not replace the ideal of theocracy in Salafi (purist) Islamic thought which continues to hold secular rule to be impious.

2. Islamic culture does not normally legitimize the concept of kingship. (malikiya) or rule by a sultan or shah (Iran). Islam as such seeks a worldwide Islamic community ruled by scholars and judges of the Islamic law (sharia). A sultan is someone who merely holds actual power to control land, population and territory. The term does not denote legitimacy from the Islamic point of view. Islamic history is dotted with individuals with title of secular rule who claimed Islamic legitimacy because they were also head of some dissident Islamic sect. An example would be the Sultan of Oman who protects the dissident and from the Sunni point of view heretical and apostate Ibadhi sect. The Jordanian and Moroccan kings are generally accepted as legitimate rulers only because they are believed to be Alids, descendants of the Prophet Muhammad, and endowed with a special barakat (grace) from God. The Ottoman Sultan derived his supposed legitimacy from being both sultan and caliph (commanders of the faithful) The Ottomans created this dual status in the 16th Century CE precisely because they sought a plausible claim of Islamic legitimacy as head of the 'umma. The lack of a plausible claim to Islamic legitimacy was IMO the major weakness of the Pahlavi dynasty in Iran This weakness made possible effective resistance to them that eventually resulted in the rule of the mullahs and wilayet al faqih (rule of the scholars).

3. The Al as-Saud (the Saudi royal family) have none of that. As stated in the text quoted above, their claim to Islamic legitimacy derives entirely from their 300 year old relationship with the Wahhabi cult. They and the Wahhabi 'ulema are locked in an embrace that has been until now utterly unbreakable because the general internal consent to their "kingship" is based altogether on the Al as-Saud's role as protectors of what has been seen among the Wahhabi masses as the only true form of Islam. They and the Al as-Sheikh family are a kind of moiety, a duopoly related by function and often marriage in the control of what became Saudi Arabia in the early 20th Century.

4. Saudi Arabia is a medieval state adorned with modern infrastructure. Their society never experienced anything like the Renaissance that brought Europe out of the medieval mindset. The Saudi rulers think the ideas of statehood that emerged following the Treaty of Westphalia to be a joke that the Europeans and Americans claim to believe in. They see the rest of the world, including non-Wahhabi Muslims as "the other," enemies to be thwarted, tricked ad exploited . The notion that they will be shamed by what Mister Bone Saw did is ludicrous.

5. IMO Trump, Pompeo et al are seeking a way to preserve the relationship of the US with this demoniacal relic of the medieval past. My WAG on this is that MBS and company will construct a suitable fall guy group from whom confessions will be extracted claiming them to be "rogues" and then the "conspirators will be executed, probably in public.

6. The Al as-Saud will then wait to see if the West is mollified. IMO they will not accept any form of punishment for what they see as just retribution visited upon Khashoggi. If threatened they will try to retaliate.

For those who would actually wish to understand all this I would recommend "The Social Structure of Islam" by Reuben Levy and "The Venture of Islam" 4 vols. by Marshall Hodgson. Both these works are concerned with the high culture of Islam.

pl


A.Trophimovsky -> TTG , 6 hours ago
Could not it be that this story was "performed" so as to provoke embarrassment on all those going to participate in the purchase of Aramco public offering, with the goal of capitalizing on their "non appearance", based on harsh criticism that would be provoked by public opinion, especially in Europe?

That way, those who have much lesser shame, or, simply, have never known it, could appropiate of a majority of shares...After all, are not these wars we witness since years ago mainly for oil resources?

Of course, at the same time, they achieve scaring their dissidents and critics to death....Two birds at one shot.....one would say....

Fred -> TTG , 16 hours ago
That cover story is unbelievably stupid. "So let it be written. So let it be done." It didn't work out too well for the Pharoh. We'll see Trump's principles in action soon; and sadly it looks like he'll go along with this pile from Prince m(ore)BS.
blue peacock , an hour ago
"IMO Trump, Pompeo et al are seeking a way to preserve the relationship of the US with this demoniacal relic of the medieval past."

Col. Lang, with Trump it seems he values the Saudi cash for business deals more than any moral stands. Of course business being primarily arms sales. He's talked about the $100 billion dollars of apparently forthcoming weapons sales. I suppose Bibi supporting his relationship with MbS makes it doubly simple and easy.

My question is would this have been any different if Hillary was POTUS or any of the crop of potential presidential candidates from Nikki Haley to Joe Biden, Cory Booker, Kamala Harris and even Pocahontas?

George Bush did not take the al-Sauds to task for sending the majority of terrorists to attack us on 9/11. Neither did Obama when he had the opportunity. Nor Tony Blair, David Cameron or Theresa May. In fact Tony Blair is on the payroll of the Gulf Arabs to the tune of tens of millions of dollars annually.

Patrick Armstrong , 8 hours ago
BTW what PL has said is hardly hermetic knowledge: anyone who opines on SA on the idiot box or idiot page should know it. Anyone who says Saud should move away from Wahhab has just disqualified himself. As PL says the Saud legitimacy that is not just bags of money is the alliance to restore Islam to its proper purity. Take that away and it's just Don Corleone without the kindness.

From the ur-source itself

"Muhammad bin Saud and Imam Muhammad bin Abdul Wahhab found they had interests in common, pre-eminently a desire to see all the Arabs of the Peninsula brought back to Islam in its simplest and purest form. In 1744, they therefore took an oath that they would work together to achieve this end. Muhammad bin Saud's son, Abdul Aziz, married the daughter of Imam Muhammad. Thus, with an oath and a marriage, the two leaders sealed a pact between their families which has lasted through the centuries to the present day."

http://saudinf.com/main/b22...

(in my last two years of employment I did a number of papers on the ideology of jihadism and that gets you pretty quickly to ibn Taymiyya, Qutb and Wahhab.) PS I have actually read Wahhab's book and you can too http://saudinf.com/main/b22...

FB Ali -> Patrick Armstrong , 3 hours ago
Islam in its "simplest and purest form" had no place in it for any royalty ruling over a subject population. The al Saud misused the Wahhabi movement to install themselves in power. The present Wahhabi creed is a travesty of the original Islam.

The Saudi royals' claim of being the "guardians of Islam and the Holy Places", and therefore deserving of a special place in the Muslim world, is only a cover for the real reason, their oil wealth (which they lavish on Muslim and other rulers, and use to spread their twisted Wahhabi creed).

Walrus , 14 hours ago
So for western consumption, the story is rogue element theatre. Erdogan is going to personally receive billions from KSA to suppress the tape and go along with it. Internally in KSA the story is "don't act up or you will get the same".

Privately the western diplomatic message is "don't do that again, we might act next time." .......and Kashoggi is forgotten in the next news cycle.

blue peacock -> Walrus , an hour ago
Privately the western diplomatic message is "don't get caught again." And please send us checks too!
Barbara Ann -> Walrus , 8 hours ago
Walrus

If it were not for the personality of Erdogan I would agree with you unconditionally. But I think there is still a chance that he could throw a hand grenade into the "let's all move on" narrative by releasing a tape. It comes down to whether he is, as you imply, simply another money-motivated political animal and/or whether he really does drink his own neo-Ottoman bath water. If he truly believes it is Turkey's manifest destiny to again lead the 'umma and to return custody of Mecca and Medina to its rightful place we could be in for a surprise. If it takes down Trump too, so much the better from his POV.

dilbert dogbet , 17 hours ago
In the long arc of history, the oil will run out. Also, in the long arc of technology Saudi oil may become better left in the ground. What then? What is going on in the Mid East is a mere blip on the screen of time. Yes in the long run we are all dead but not my grand children and their children.
PRC90 , 19 hours ago
Does Fightin' Jack Keane, General (ret) and Senior Strategic Analyst actually believe that gunk after his decades of service and countless briefings, or is he just making up stuff to say that fits in with what Fox wants to pay him to put on the screen.

After all, not reading the script never works:

Pat Lang Mod -> PRC90 , 19 hours ago
He is a dumbbell who was always good at sucking up.
piroozp , 19 hours ago
Outstanding cliff's notes on the Saudi regime and Arab modus operandi and approach to governance .
exSpec4Chuck , 21 hours ago
Assuming the the scenario you predict plays out, how will MBS & Co. mollify the families of the newly headless "rogues?"
Pat Lang Mod -> exSpec4Chuck , 21 hours ago
They will pay them off. My scenario is already playing out. See the arrest of the hideous 18.
Barbara Ann , a day ago
Sir, thank you for another very educational post. Doubtless you are correct that an attempt will be made to saddle 'rogue elements' of some sort with this. Will it work?

The dynamic is fascinating; Saudi arrogance and intransigence meets Art of the Deal plus a largely partisan media plus the Borg* happy to use anything to get at Trump. And in the middle Erdogan is holding the ace card close to his chest. No wonder Trump wants to hear/see the evidence they have. Until he does he cannot firmly back any concocted story in case the Turks later blow it out of the water by releasing evidence that it is phony.

By using personnel from his own bodyguard MbS has another dilemma. I doubt their sacrifice would go down well with their comrades - the very people keeping MbS safe. And the notion of Saudi retaliation is an extraordinary one. If Congress is split on the affair now I can see that changing very rapidly for the worse (from MbS POV) if they decide to get medieval on the US of A. Albeit, as you suggest, this may be the in-character response we can expect.

Most events are run of the mill and a very few have the capacity to define eras. This one more and more looks to be in the latter category to me.

* see my last comment on TTG's post.

Pat Lang Mod -> Barbara Ann , a day ago
The Borg is the foreign policy establishment, not the Deep State. Other than that ...
robt willmann , a day ago
The Saudi "family" might be having some internal discussions about how Mohammed bin Salman has been playing his cards--

http://www.lefigaro.fr/inte...

Perhaps Khalid bin Salman (a brother), who has been the Saudi ambassador to the U.S., is being considered as a "new face".

FB Ali -> robt willmann , 16 hours ago
I doubt very much that MbS will be replaced. He has made sure that his father, the Sultan, is sufficiently isolated from outside influence. In any case, the old man is quite far gone with dementia, and MbS is the ruler in all but name. He has left no rivals standing.
Philippe Truze -> robt willmann , 10 hours ago
Groupe Dassault owns Le Figaro. And Dassault is not totally neutral (euphemism) when Arab kingdoms are concerned.

[Jul 06, 2018] I frankly do not think that communism requires redemption.

I a way communism was a new religion and extermination of non-believers are typical for religious wars.
The emergence of neoliberalism was a death sentence for Soviet communism. In this sense the USA did won the Cold War. The triumph of neoliberalism over communism was complete. The USSR elite changes sides and became turncoats.
Communism as practiced by the Soviets was nether a sustainable ideology, not a sustainable political system. As such it was doomed as any quasi theocratic state is doomed. It can' convert itself into something else. So the collapse was inevitable although efforts of "collective West" to speed up this collapse by manipulating oil prices and withholding critical technologies should not be underestimated. As well as bribing key players which by some estimates cost the USA one billion in cash.
Also in 90th the level of degeneration of Soviet elite was staggering and that open a way for neocons. The country was in deep cultural, ideological and political crisis. West supported nationalist movements became important shadow players in several of former USSR republics. Supported by Soros foundation among others. I always wonder about the level of connections between Soros and CIA.
Notable quotes:
"... Regarding new found religious feelings. it is obviously all fake. ..."
Jul 06, 2018 | www.unz.com

Sergey Krieger , June 15, 2018 at 9:25 am GMT

@AnonFromTN

I frankly do not think that communism requires redemption. It was first attempt at moving humanity towards next step in social evolution and it did not happen under the best conditions. It happened in the country ridden with accumulated problems from previous regime mishandling the country for a couple of centuries with those issues coming to a head and after so much pressure it resulted in massive eruption of violence which would have been even worse without Bolsheviks as it would lead to Russia disintegration and Russian state death., There would have happened something similar to modern Ukraine. Basically there were real issues behind those color revolutions in Ukraine and elsewhere but without progressive force caring about people there were ulterior forces that led those eruption of real grievances and these grievances are caused by the system of capitalism you have just described. Yours and other former Soviet citizens excellent education is another testament to communism regime.
Current Russian regime got bad roots and I do not believe anything good will come out of these bad roots. The system is freakish and rotten at the core. It care s not for people. Current increase of retirement age is another testament to this. Bolsheviks when they started made their intentions rather obvious in destroyed and poor country. They assured real human rights while current system removed those rights and there is no guarantees that we as a soviet citizen used to enjoy. Obviously things were not perfect. They never are.

Regarding new found religious feelings. it is obviously all fake.

I also wonder what do you think of spontaneous life appearance? I read some books on this issue including Dawkins' and Behe, but considering your experience and professional background it would be very interesting to hear your thoughts.

AnonFromTN , June 15, 2018 at 4:20 pm GMT
@Sergey Krieger

Communism (at least as implemented in the USSR) had its severe faults. The main of these was that they built a loser-oriented society: no matter how little you contribute, you get quite a bit, with inevitable other side of this coin – no matter how much you contribute, you don't get much more. People are quite different, and a difference in compensation on the order of 5-10-fold would be appropriate. Naturally, the difference on the order of 50-500-fold, like in current Russia or the "liberal" West, is thievery, pure and simple: advantageously born or smarter people without conscience robbing regular folks blind, and using their control of MSM to convince suckers that any other system is for losers. On top of that, some (party numenclatura) were a lot more equal than others (to borrow Orwell's expression). There were also tactical blunders: Soviet authorities did not allow most citizens to travel and work abroad, where they could find out for themselves that huge material advantage of the West is a propaganda myth. In fact, in material terms Russians now live much better then Italians, Greeks, Spaniards, not to mention the majority of Eastern European countries. In the USSR this myth festered and eventually lead to the downfall of the USSR, as there were no serious forces ready to defend it from traitors at the top, who just wanted to steal more than the party rules allowed them. I remember believing in that myth until I got my personal experience working in the US. Here I learned how true is the American folk wisdom that "there is no such thing as a free lunch" and "free cheese is only in the mousetrap".

AnonFromTN , June 15, 2018 at 4:21 pm GMT
@Sergey Krieger

However, Soviet education system was way superior to American, and possibly better than in many European countries (I have no personal experience there). I know for a fact that Soviet school gave a lot better education than the school in the US, even though the US spends enormous amounts of money on schools, much more than USSR did per pupil. The difference in college education was huge in the USSR and is huge in the US. I know that Moscow State or Phystech gave education that was not worse, possibly better than Harvard, Yale, Caltech, UPenn, and other best schools in the US. But most colleges in the USSR were way below MSU level. Similarly, most colleges in the US aren't worth the name, and only 2% of US college students attend really good schools. However, I remember that when we graduated from Biofak MSU, which trained the students mostly to do research, I had a feeling that they taught us to swim but never put water into the pool. After moving to the US (I did not lie to pretend being a persecuted refugee, I found a job via mail and went to work) within months of working in the lab I got a reputation of a star post-doc, a "go to" person in anything related to molecular biology and biochemistry. Besides, it became my unofficial duty to fix the scintillation counter, which was regularly screwed up by the Italian post-docs working in another lab. So, I published many strong papers as a post-doc, found my independent position after 4 years, and got my first NIH RO1 grant a year later.

AnonFromTN , June 15, 2018 at 4:21 pm GMT
@Sergey Krieger

I can't say that today's Russia is all bad or all good. I think open borders is a huge achievement. People have a chance to see the reality with their own eyes: wherever you go in Europe or Asia now, you meet lots of people from Russia, which means that they have the money to travel and an interest in other cultures, as you meet them in museums and at historical sites all over Europe. I do resent what current authorities did to the education system: they degraded it, ostensibly in an attempt to reform and make it more Western-like. I think these "reforms" were extremely ill-conceived, the school is becoming much worse (in fact, American-like, although it must be degraded a lot more to sink all the way down to the US level). I resent than instead of improving Russian Academy of Sciences (it was pretty bad in the USSR) they essentially emasculated it. If you go by publications, there is less decent research in Russia now than there was in the USSR. Huge inequality is another negative, especially considering that most oligarchs got rich by looting state property, and now continue to enrich themselves the same way (heads of most Russian corporations, state-owned and private, are nothing but thieves). That made Russia more US-like, but I consider that regress rather than progress. On the other hand, I consider it a huge achievement that in international affairs Russia today is pursuing its own interests, rather than engaging in a thankless task of saving the world. I subscribe to the Protestant dictum that "God helps those who help themselves", so whoever is worth saving will save themselves, and the rest be damned.

AnonFromTN , June 15, 2018 at 4:22 pm GMT
@Sergey Krieger

Finally, life. As a biochemist, I see no other option than the idea that life appeared spontaneously. The best book about evolution is Dawkins' "The blind watchmaker". People who don't know even elementary biology would tell you that the probability of an emergence of any protein by chance is virtually nil. That is true, but no protein emerged that way. Proteins consist of parts, sequence motifs and domains, each much smaller than the whole thing. Modern proteins (ours and bacterial alike – we all evolved for billions of years) emerged as combinations of these parts. You can find the same domain or sequence motif in dozens, sometimes hundreds, of proteins, attesting to the combinatorial nature of evolution of complex things. When you mutagenize your protein and look at the sequence, you can see how protein families evolved in the sequence of nucleotides (most amino acids can be encoded by many, up to 6, different codons, which makes the evolution clearly traceable). Our ribosomes (machines that make proteins by translating messenger RNA sequence) are a lot bigger and slower than ribosomes in eubacteria, yet we have those better and more efficient ribosomes in mitochondria (plants also have them in chloroplasts). Creationists can't explain this, but this is just the result of eukaryotic cell being a symbiosis of anaerobic archaebacteria with "bad" ribosomes and aerobic eubacteria with better ribosomes, that became mitochondria and chloroplasts. There are many other clear traces of evolution (constantly developing antibiotic resistance of disease-causing bacteria being one of the most obvious), but the funniest argument for evolution I know is this: "Bush junior is the best argument against intelligent design: nobody intelligent would ever design that".

[Jun 10, 2018] Bernard Lewis The Bush Administration's Court Intellectual by Gilbert T. Sewall

Notable quotes:
"... Wall Street Journal ..."
"... American Scholar ..."
Jun 08, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com

He was brilliant, but his vanity turned him into a reckless alarmist and a pro-Israeli partisan.

I encountered the late Bernard Lewis (1916-2018) during the 1990s culture wars, when historians and educators met full-frontal multiculturalism, a thematic force beginning to reshape U.S. and world history curricula in schools and colleges.

The two of us shared early, firsthand experience with Islamist disinformation campaigns on and off campus. Using sympathetic academics, curriculum officers, and educational publishers as tools, Muslim activists were seeking to rewrite Islamic history in textbooks and state and national standards.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations, created in 1994, was complaining of anti-Muslim "bigotry," "racial profiling," "institutional racism," and "fear-mongering," while trying to popularize the word "Islamophobia," and stoking the spirit of ethnic injustice and prejudice in Washington politics.

Lewis and I were of different generations, he a charming academic magnifico long associated with Princeton University and the Institute for Advanced Study. He had just retired from teaching and was widely regarded as the nation's most influential scholar of Islam. "Islam has Allah," he said sardonically at the time. "We've got multiculturalism."

Washington's Pax Americana Cartel Christopher Columbus: At the Center of the Culture War

Long before I met him, Lewis had alerted those who were listening to rising friction between the Islamic world and the West. This was, in his mind, the outcome of Islam's centuries-long decline and failure to embrace modernity. In thinking this way, Lewis had earned the fury of the professor and Palestinian activist Edward Said at Columbia University, who wrote Orientalism in 1978.

Said's influential book cast previous Western studies of the Near and Middle East as Eurocentric, romantic, prejudiced, and racist. For Said, orientalism was an intellectual means to justify Western conquest and empire. Bernard Lewis's outlook epitomized this approach and interpretation. Said's line of thought profoundly influenced his undergraduate student Barack Obama, and would have an immense impact on Obama's Mideast strategies and geopolitics as president.

For some years, Lewis had warned of the ancient feuds between the West and Islam: in 1990 he'd forecast a coming "clash of civilizations" in Atlantic magazine, a phrase subsequently popularized by Harvard professor Samuel E. Huntington.

Throughout his long career, Lewis warned that Western guilt over its conquests and past was not collateral. "In the Muslim world there are no such inhibitions," Lewis once observed. "They are very conscious of their identity. They know who they are and what they are and what they want, a quality which we seem to have lost to a very large extent. This is a source of strength in the one, of weakness in the other."

Other examples of Lewis's controversial, persuasive observations include:

During the run up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq, Lewis suddenly gained immense political influence, love-bombed by White House neocons Richard Cheney, Richard Perle, and other policymakers to a degree that preyed on the old man's vanity and love of the spotlight.

Anti-war feeling in official Washington then was unpopular. Among Republicans and Democrats alike, to assert that Israel and oil were parts of the equation appeared uncouth. Insisted the neocons and White House: the aim of the war was to bring democratic government and regional order to the Mideast. Rescued from despotism, Iraqis would cheer invasion, Lewis and his allies claimed, as Afghanis welcomed relief from Taliban fundamentalists.

In 2004 the Wall Street Journal devised what it called a Lewis Doctrine, which it defined as "seeding democracy in failed Mideast states to defang terrorism." The Journal clarified that the Lewis Doctrine "in effect, had become U.S. policy" in 2001. The article also revealed that Lewis had long been politically involved with Israel and a confidant of successive Israeli prime ministers, including Ariel Sharon.

"Though never debated in Congress or sanctified by presidential decree, Mr. Lewis's diagnosis of the Muslim world's malaise, and his call for a U.S. military invasion to seed democracy in the Mideast, have helped define the boldest shift in U.S. foreign policy in 50 years. The occupation of Iraq is putting the doctrine to the test," the Journal proclaimed.

And so it has gone. After 15 years of many hard-to-follow shifts in policy and force, with vast human and materiel costs, some analysts look upon U.S. policy in Iraq and the Mideast as a geopolitical disaster, still in shambles and not soon to improve.

In other eyes Lewis stands guilty of devising a sophistic rationale to advance Israel's security at the expense of U.S. national interests. In 2006, Stephen M. Walt and John J. Mearsheimer accused Lewis of consciously providing intellectual varnish to an Israel-centered policy group inside the George W. Bush administration that was taking charge of Mideast policies. The same year, Lewis's reckless alarmism on Iranian nukes on behalf of Israeli interests drew wide ridicule and contempt.

A committed Zionist, Lewis conceived of Israel as an essential part of Western civilization and an island of freedom in the Mideast. Though, acutely aware of Islam's nature and history, he must have had doubts about the capacity to impose democracy through force. Later, he stated unconvincingly that he had opposed the invasion of Iraq, but the facts of the matter point in another direction.

Lewis thus leaves a mixed legacy. It is a shame that he shelved his learned critiques and compromised his scholarly stature late in life to pursue situational geopolitics. With his role as a government advisor before the Iraq war, academic Arabists widely took to calling Lewis "the Great Satan," whereas Edward Said's favored position in academic circles is almost uncontested.

Yet few dispute that Lewis was profoundly knowledgeable of his subject. His view that Islamic fundamentalism fails all liberal tests of toleration, cross-cultural cooperation, gender equality, gay rights, and freedom of conscience still holds. Most Islamic authorities consider separation of church and state either absurd or evil. They seek to punish free inquiry, blasphemy, and apostasy. Moreover, it is their obligation to do so under holy law. Wearing multicultural blinders, contemporary European and American progressives pretend none of this is so. As has been demonstrated since 2015, Europe provides opportunities for territorial expansion, as do open-borders politics in the U.S. and Canada.

In 1990, long before his Washington adventures, Lewis wrote in the American Scholar , "We live in a time when great efforts are being made to falsify the record of the past and to make history a tool of propaganda; when governments, religious movements, political parties, and sectional groups of every kind are busy rewriting history as they would wish it to have been."

On and off campus, Islamists today use Western progressive politics and ecumenical dreams to further their holy struggle.

Lewis would point out that this force is completely understandable; in fact, it is a sacred duty. What would disturb him more is that in the name of diversity, Western intellectuals and journalists, government and corporate officials, and even military generals have eagerly cooperated.

Gilbert T. Sewall is co-author of After Hiroshima: The United States Since 1945 and editor of The Eighties: A Reader .


Ray Steinberg June 8, 2018 at 12:56 am

Why the long spiel when this article could have conveyed its thesis in the single line:

"Among Republicans and Democrats alike, to assert that Israel and oil were parts of the equation appeared uncouth "

Fayez Abedaziz , says: June 8, 2018 at 2:10 am
This article is exactly what this so-called intellectual Lewis is:
opinion.
All that's said by this Lewis guy is his opinion and his goal was hatred of Islam, therefore, he wanted it to then have people follow along with hatred for arabs and Palestinians.
This was, of course, because then, people would keep supporting Israel!
How 'bout that?
Who are we kidding?
When talking about the history of this nation or that religion, Lewis offers mostly his opinion and takes whatever event out of context to try to prove all this anti-Islam
rubbish. There are nations that have a majority of people of the Moslem religion, that have different systems of government and so, we have free voting, and had for decades, in Turkey, Pakistan, Iran, Lebanon and so on.
Pakistan and Turkey had female Prime Ministers decade ago how 'bout that! And so did Indonesia, the nation most populated by Moslems, in the word, and so did Senegal, in Africa.
These nations are thousands of miles apart, with different languages and cultures.
What is not pointed out, but I will, since I know, is that whenever there was turmoil in an election in a mostly Moslem populated nation, why it was the meddling by the U.S. covertly and with bribes and trouble making.
Like when the CIA did that in Iran in 1953 after a fellow, Mosaddegh was freely elected and he was stopped and the dictator Shah was put in.
The U.S. constantly either installed or supported anti-democratic leaders in the Middle East and Asia.
By the way, that's how you put the subject of Edward Said- that he was a professor and a Palestinian activist? That's it?
How come you didn't tell us readers that he is a Christian?
Lewis knows no more about the makings, origins or history of religions that do many dozens of thousands of professors in the U.S. alone.
But, he has been is given a lot of media, and still is, because he is liked by the neo-cons. Also, I know more than Lewis did.
dig what I'm saying
undertakings , says: June 8, 2018 at 6:12 am
"In 2004 the Wall Street Journal devised what it called a Lewis Doctrine, which it defined as "seeding democracy in failed Mideast states to defang terrorism." The Journal clarified that the Lewis Doctrine "in effect, had become U.S. policy" in 2001. The article also revealed that Lewis had long been politically involved with Israel and a confidant of successive Israeli prime ministers, including Ariel Sharon."

In laymen's terms, Lewis was an Israeli operative working the academic beat. His American citizenship meant about as much to him as his earlier British citizenship had, a matter of convenience, nothing more. Stripped of the spurious Ivy League gloss, his "scholarship" was tendentious; it served to advance a political agenda and was consistently tainted by his entanglements with politicians and political institutions. Circa 2018 it reads as badly dated, often wrong, and generally wrong-headed.

I see he died a few weeks ago. Good riddance. "Intellectual father of the Iraq War" isn't the epitaph of a decent human being.

Saint Kyrillos , says: June 8, 2018 at 8:00 am
The consensus I'm aware of is that Obama's foreign policy was just a continuation of the foreign policy pursued by Bush during his second term. How does Obama continuing the foreign policy positions of Bush, who was influenced by Lewis, indicate that Obama's views on the middle east were influenced by Said? It should similarly be noted that while academics are practically universal in siding with Said over Lewis, they did not universally support him against other orientalists. While I'm likely butchering his claims, I seem to recall that Robert Irwin criticized Said's Orientalism for focusing too much on Bernard Lewis, ignoring the work of German orientalists who would complicate Said's claims about the West's portrayal of the middle east.
George Hoffman , says: June 8, 2018 at 9:23 am
I admire his spirited defense of the Western canon in literature and culture based upon Judeo-Christian values. But he lost me when he joined forces with the campaign to blacklist Professors John Meanshimer and Steven Walt with their book The Israel Lobby. The book originally was an article that was expanded into their book. But because of the blacklist against them, they coildn't ge their critique published in America and had to go to The London Review of Books. And of course the article was smeared as anti-Semitic because it was critical of the Israeli lobby (namely AIPAC) and its influence over our foreign policy.
mrscracker , says: June 8, 2018 at 9:53 am
"He was brilliant, but his vanity turned him into a reckless alarmist and a pro-Israeli partisan."
*****************
I'm missing how vanity & supporting Israel are connected?
polistra , says: June 8, 2018 at 10:51 am
Islamic "fundamentalism" was rare and insignificant until we funded it, armed it, and trained it. Our purpose was not to defang Islam but to superfang it, so we could have a new enemy to justify ever-increasing budgets and power for Deepstate.

Now that we've switched back to Russia as the official enemy, our focus on Islam is fading.

Frank Healy , says: June 8, 2018 at 11:46 am
Saying that Lewis fell prey to vanity is easier than saying he, like the rest of the neocons, was a hypocritical ethnic chauvinist.

In other words:

"Ethnic chauvinism is a sin and a great evil, or evidence of dangerous mental illness, except for the Zionists who you need to support uncritically and unconditionally."

Myron Hudson , says: June 8, 2018 at 1:04 pm
One thing to remember about zionists is that many of the christian ones are expecting to trigger the second coming once certain things come to pass and this includes geography in that region. I grew up with that. Anyway, to them it's not reckless, it's speeding the prophecy along to its rightful end.
ed , says: June 8, 2018 at 2:20 pm
Lewis' so-called analysis and historiography was politicized and deeply flawed, so much so that he showed himself to be a bigot against Arabs and Armenians – he was a scholar of Turkish history, who had been, wined, dined, bought and sold, and corrupted by the Turkish and Israeli governments to serves as their genocide denialist- and of Islam, and anything else Middle Eastern, that did not serve Israel's interests. He offered himself to the neocons as a willing academic and did much damage by 'legitimizing' their bogus 'war on terror'.
He should not be allowed to rest in peace or escape accountability in the judgment of history.
EliteCommInc. , says: June 8, 2018 at 5:54 pm
i guess is the question . . . to decipher the depth and scope that islam poses to the US.

There are just not that many non-Muslims shooting people over cartoons, and insults in the name of god. I have some very fine relational dynamics with muslims, but on occasion, i can't help but wonder which one is going take me out because i don't use the term honorable when I say mohammed's name.

The Nt doesn't even advocate throwing stones at people who steal my coat, I am supposed to offer up the other.

Janwaar Bibi , says: June 8, 2018 at 7:10 pm
Islamic "fundamentalism" was rare and insignificant until we funded it, armed it, and trained it.

Islamic fundamentalism blighted and extinguished the lives of millions of Armenians, Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists and others in the first half of the 20th century, long before dumb Westerners funded it or armed it. The fact that people in the West are clueless about this history does not mean it did not happen.

BillWAF , says: June 9, 2018 at 2:21 am
Obama had an English class with Said as an undergrad at Columbia. So did Leon Wieseltier years earlier, as did many other Columbia students. Interestingly enough, Wiesaltier remained an aggressive zionist. The claim that Said had any effect upon Obama's foreign policy ideas; policies; or actions is profoundly silly.

To support your claim that "Said's line of thought profoundly influenced his undergraduate student Barack Obama, and would have an immense impact on Obama's Mideast strategies and geopolitics as president," you need a great deal more evidence. Currently, you have none.

Donald , says: June 9, 2018 at 3:01 pm
Cheer up Janwaar -- most of us are clueless about fascist Hindus and Buddhists as well.
Philly guy , says: June 9, 2018 at 3:04 pm
Islamic fundamentalism was created and funded by Israel and the US to compete with the then Marxist PLO and the Russian invasion of Afghanistan.You thought Marxist terrorism was problematic,look at Islamic terrorism.

[Jun 05, 2018] Emic and Etic Knowledge of Reform - Re-published 5 June 2018

Jun 05, 2018 | turcopolier.typepad.com

"Emic" and Etic" Knowledge of Reform - Re-published 5 June 2018 Emic

"Once you get the genie out of the bottle, you cannot predict what will happen," says Mohamed Kamal, a political science professor at Cairo University and a member of the influential Policies Secretariat in the ruling National Democratic Party. "When you use a religious discourse, no one can counter your argument or argue against you," he says. "In that case, you'll be arguing against Islam and against the Koran. You'll no longer be a political opponent. Rather, you'll be an infidel."" Shadid

Salman Rushdie recently wrote that the time is ripe for a transforming "Reformation" within Islam. He said that the time had come for Muslims to see their revelation as occurring within history rather than above it. Rushdie is probably more directly interested in the possibility of this kind of Reform than most people since he has been the target of several "fatwas" declaring him to be outside Islam, an "apostate" and therefore not protected from the wrath of the Believers.

One might ask if his opinion in this matter is shared by many of the Believers, especially since the opinion is his. There have been any number of attempts in Islamic history to place Islam on a more "rationalist" and less "pietist" course. In the first centuries of Islam, one of the most powerful competing schools of philosophy, theology and law in the Abbasid Caliphate of Baghdad was that of the "Mu'taziliin" (my own peculiar transliteration). They sought to relate the message of the Revelation to the knowledge they had acquired of classical Hellenistic and Byzantine learning through their conquests. For a time they prospered, and there was at least one Caliph who was a member of their school of thinking. Then, the forces of reaction came to the fore, the "Mu'taziliin" were overthrown with much bloodshed, crucifixions, beheading etc, and "pietism" became the guiding force of Sunni Islam and has remained such to this day. Oddly enough, the thinking of the "Mu'taziliin" survives only among the Zaidi Shia of Yemen and in Indonesia. As I mentioned, there have any number of attempts at reform, some of them claiming large numbers of adherents, and having the protection of princes lucky enough to live beyond the reach of majority opinion. All of them failed in the end. As a result, Sunni Islam remains a faith so closely wedded to scripture, precedent and a consensus of conformity that it has changed little in form or doctrine in a thousand years. It is not surprising that pious Muslims still speak of the Crusades, they are still living in the mindset of that time. Some will argue that we are as well. I think not.

The recent American wars against what is euphemistically called "Islamic Extremism" have placed Islam under great stress. The survival and prosperity of the Islamic Community is always at the front of the minds of Muslims. The level of pressure and violence against Jihadis is seen by a lot of Muslims as something that threatens to spill over into a general hostility to Muslims. This frightens them. As a result, there is now great ferment among the 'Ulema (scholars) of the Sunni world to include such centers of fermentation as al-Azhar and al-Zeituna in Cairo and Tunis respectively. The relevant discussion there seek a new consensus (Ijma') centered around the question of what it means to be a Muslim in the 21st Century CE. What could be a more important question?

Are the "moderate" Islamists of the type described in this article also seekers for a "reasonable" answer to the same question or are they just "shamming" in order to reach power so that they can impose their constipated view of religion and law on the unfortunate inhabitants of Islamic countries? There are a lot of Islamists (both Sunni and Shia) who wear nice, Western clothes. A lot of them are "shamming." The goal of every Islamist I ever met was ultimately to impose Sharia law. Those of you who were trained in anthropology know the difference betwee "Emic," and Etic" knowledge. This distinction is particularly important in this case.

Let us not be so foolish as to believe what they say of themselves. Let us find the truth before we accept their words.

Pat Lang

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/08/07/AR2005080701000.html

[Dec 11, 2017] I am not saying Trump is a closet atheist, but he is no evangelical

The US official religion is neoliberalism not Christianity. Christianity is in sharp decline.
Notable quotes:
"... Where evangelicals emphasize asking God for forgiveness, Trump says, "I am not sure I have. I think if I do something wrong, I think, I just try and make it right. I don't bring God into that picture. I don't." ..."
"... Compare these remarks to the more earnest faith of President George W. Bush, who claimed divine consultation before invading Iraq, or the incessant God-talk of candidates like Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee, Rick Perry, Rick Santorum, Sarah Palin and Ben Carson ..."
"... Since then, it's hard to see what benefit America's strong leaning toward theocracy has had. Comparing 17 first-world prosperous democracies on a number of societal health measures, social scientist Gregory S. Paul found that the most religious country of them all-the United States -- had by far the worse measures on a number of criteria, including the highest rates of homicides, suicides, incarceration, STDs, teen pregnancies, abortions, divorce, alcohol consumption, corruption, poverty and income inequality. Correlation is not causation, of course. ..."
"... "Seems to me Donald has been doing a lot more God talk since taking office, " I agree 1,000% – which just validates my view that Trump is all bullsh*ter. Elmer Gantry comes to mind ..."
"... And another point – it strikes me that those saying Trump is a liar misses the point – Trump is more like a parrot in that Trump will say (parrot) whatever he believes is necessary to get the cracker (though I didn't intend "cracker" to mean racists, but merely a reward, I note one can interpret that as one wishes .). ..."
"... PAUL JAY: Under the protection of God, America, we'll use the Mother of All Bombs and fight without restraint. That's the message Donald wanted to send, and perhaps that's the message this bomb was meant to deliver in Afghanistan. ..."
"... Pointing out hypocrisy misses the point because it's never been about religious doctrine as much as trying to belong to something and have purpose. Trump can miss every question about angels dancing on heads of pins, and it won't matter. Trump in his own way embraced the evangelicals. In effect, Hillary said she wanted the non-evangelical republicans who are so smart and moderate. ..."
"... In "The Merchant of Venice" (Act 1, Scene 3), Antonio says, "even the devil can cite scripture for his own use." This is all they need because it's not about scripture and never has been. ..."
"... You and Marx: "Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people" ..."
Apr 19, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
fresno dan , April 17, 2017 at 7:28 am

http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2017/04/donald-trump-religion-215033

This Sunday [Easter], tens of millions of American Christians will celebrate Easter, and thousands of children and their families will descend on the White House to take part in the annual Easter Egg Roll. As the festivities spill over the grounds of 1600 Penn., I wonder if anyone will stop to note the obvious irony: That President Donald J. Trump is very likely the least religious president to occupy the White House since Thomas Jefferson.

I'm not saying Trump is a closeted atheist, but he's no evangelical. As a self-proclaimed Protestant, or Presbyterian, or something he describes as "a wonderful religion," Trump nominally attends the nondenominational Marble Collegiate Church in New York City.

Where evangelicals emphasize asking God for forgiveness, Trump says, "I am not sure I have. I think if I do something wrong, I think, I just try and make it right. I don't bring God into that picture. I don't."

Compare these remarks to the more earnest faith of President George W. Bush, who claimed divine consultation before invading Iraq, or the incessant God-talk of candidates like Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee, Rick Perry, Rick Santorum, Sarah Palin and Ben Carson.

Since then, it's hard to see what benefit America's strong leaning toward theocracy has had. Comparing 17 first-world prosperous democracies on a number of societal health measures, social scientist Gregory S. Paul found that the most religious country of them all-the United States -- had by far the worse measures on a number of criteria, including the highest rates of homicides, suicides, incarceration, STDs, teen pregnancies, abortions, divorce, alcohol consumption, corruption, poverty and income inequality. Correlation is not causation, of course. But if religion is suppose to be such a powerful force for societal health, then why is America-the most religious nation in the Western world-also the unhealthiest on all of these important social measures?***
===================================================

I almost posted this yesterday, but I thought that would be churlish. I read Trump's "religious" remarks and find them extremely off putting. Than I read the religious remarks of other repubs, and I find them EVEN MORE off putting .

***Teen pregnancy – so much for the solemn pledges of abstinence made by teenagers .*** ***
*** *** What is it with the US? How can anybody in hypersexualized America really believe American teens are gonna keep it in their pants?

fresno dan , April 17, 2017 at 8:41 am

Linda
April 17, 2017 at 7:59 am

"Seems to me Donald has been doing a lot more God talk since taking office, " I agree 1,000% – which just validates my view that Trump is all bullsh*ter. Elmer Gantry comes to mind.

And another point – it strikes me that those saying Trump is a liar misses the point – Trump is more like a parrot in that Trump will say (parrot) whatever he believes is necessary to get the cracker (though I didn't intend "cracker" to mean racists, but merely a reward, I note one can interpret that as one wishes .).

RWood , April 17, 2017 at 9:44 am

Playing to the sanctity of slaughter:

PAUL JAY: Under the protection of God, America, we'll use the Mother of All Bombs and fight without restraint. That's the message Donald wanted to send, and perhaps that's the message this bomb was meant to deliver in Afghanistan.

https://zcomm.org/znetarticle/deadly-propaganda-events/

NotTimothyGeithner , April 17, 2017 at 10:55 am

From my experience with Catholic school and church, I've long since determined "god talk" isn't as relevant as "us v. them" talk. Hillary's "deplorable" statement was just an affirmation of a view many "Christians" believe is held about them.

Pointing out hypocrisy misses the point because it's never been about religious doctrine as much as trying to belong to something and have purpose. Trump can miss every question about angels dancing on heads of pins, and it won't matter. Trump in his own way embraced the evangelicals. In effect, Hillary said she wanted the non-evangelical republicans who are so smart and moderate.

In "The Merchant of Venice" (Act 1, Scene 3), Antonio says, "even the devil can cite scripture for his own use." This is all they need because it's not about scripture and never has been.

grayslady , April 17, 2017 at 2:14 pm

Why were enslaved Africans in the American South so religious?

Actually, they weren't all that religious. The slave owners allowed them time off on Sunday for religious services. The slaves were savvy enough to make sure that "services" were an all-day affair. Even meals and socialization were woven into the Sunday religious celebrations. That practice is the genesis of many AME and AME-Z all day (or most of the day) Sunday services today. (I learned that bit of information in my Black Religion college course many years ago.)

witters , April 17, 2017 at 7:03 pm

You and Marx: "Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people"

[Dec 11, 2017] Religion has de-legitimized itself with its hypocrisy

Should probably be "neoliberal religion has de-legitimized itself with its hypocrisy
Notable quotes:
"... Sorry, as a church-attending person, I object. Religion has de-legitimized itself with its hypocrisy. One example: Jerry Falwell, a "battler" against abortion actually supported it before his plutocratic masters told him it was a wedge issue. ..."
"... Michael Hudso says Jesus' first appearance in the Jerusalem temple was to announce just such a Jubilee Boy is that ever ignored! ..."
"... Your correlating the hypocritical actions of the leadership with the ideals of a religion. Corrupt leadership may delegitimize those individuals but does not delegitimize the ideals of the religion. Is the ideal of America totally dependent on the actions of its political leadership? Personally, I think there is far more to America than just the president and congress whether corrupt or not. ..."
"... What is or are the ideal(s) of "America?" Get rich quick, violence on all fronts, anti-intellectualism, imperial project across the planet? "Democracy?" If you trot that out as a "feature", you better explain what you mean, with some specificity. More to America? If youtube is any guide, try searching it for "syria combat" or "redneck" or "full auto," or all the really sick racist and extreme stuff - a pretty sorry place. But we all recite the Pledge so dutifully, don't we? and feel a thrill as the F-22s swoop over the football stadium? ..."
Apr 18, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
Adam Eran, April 17, 2017 at 1:31 pm

Sorry, as a church-attending person, I object. Religion has de-legitimized itself with its hypocrisy. One example: Jerry Falwell, a "battler" against abortion actually supported it before his plutocratic masters told him it was a wedge issue.

Positions on the wedge issues (abortion, the gays) are actually difficult to prove with scripture–not that it has the kind of authority it did before 35,000 variations on old manuscripts were discovered in the 17th century. (Marcus Borg is the scholar to consult here).

Meanwhile, the big issues - e.g. covetousness, forbidden very explicitly in one of the 10 commandments - is an *industry* in the U.S.

I'll believe these evangelicals are guided by the bible when I see them picketing Madison Avenue for promoting covetousness, or when I see them lobbying for a debt jubilee.

Michael Hudso says Jesus' first appearance in the Jerusalem temple was to announce just such a Jubilee Boy is that ever ignored!

Jagger , April 17, 2017 at 2:32 pm

Your correlating the hypocritical actions of the leadership with the ideals of a religion. Corrupt leadership may delegitimize those individuals but does not delegitimize the ideals of the religion. Is the ideal of America totally dependent on the actions of its political leadership? Personally, I think there is far more to America than just the president and congress whether corrupt or not.

hunkerdown , April 17, 2017 at 5:00 pm

Ideals only serve in practice to create primordial debts, buttress power differentials, and enable selective malfeasance. I fail to see the social utility of any of those products and believe humanity would be better off repudiating them and their vectors. Disease is not a public good.

Jagger , April 17, 2017 at 7:57 pm

Well I am using this definition of ideal: "a person or thing conceived as embodying such a conception or conforming to such a standard, and taken as a model for imitation". I guess you are welcome to your definition.

JTMcPhee , April 17, 2017 at 5:10 pm

I think "America" is maybe a shibboleth of some sort, but there is not a dam' thing left of the stuff I was taught and brought to believe, as a young person, Boy Scout, attendee at the Presbyterian Westminster Fellowship, attentive student of Mrs. Thompson and Mr. Fleming in Civics, Social Studies and US History classes, and all that. I was well enough steeped in that stuff to let "patriotism" overcome better sense, strongly enough to enlist in the Army in 1966.

Maybe you think "The Birth of a Nation" captures the essence of our great country?

What is or are the ideal(s) of "America?" Get rich quick, violence on all fronts, anti-intellectualism, imperial project across the planet? "Democracy?" If you trot that out as a "feature", you better explain what you mean, with some specificity. More to America? If youtube is any guide, try searching it for "syria combat" or "redneck" or "full auto," or all the really sick racist and extreme stuff - a pretty sorry place. But we all recite the Pledge so dutifully, don't we? and feel a thrill as the F-22s swoop over the football stadium?

[Dec 03, 2017] Islamic Mindset Akin to Bolshevism by Srdja Trifkovic

Highly recommended!
Actually it was the West, especially the USA which created political Islam to fight Soviets. They essentially created Osama bin Laden as a political figure. The USA is also the main protector of Saudi Arabia were Wahhabism is the official religion. Then they tried to partition Russia by supporting Chechen islamists and financed the jihadist groups in Russia (especially in Dagestan).
Obama administration flirted with Muslim Brotherhood and unleashed the wars in Lybia and Siria were islamists were trying to take down the legitimate governments.
So Political Islam despite its anti-Western message used as a tool as a patsy for the destabilization of "unfriendly", the dogs that could be unleashed when weapons and money started to flow.
Now it looks like boomerang returns home.
Notable quotes:
"... I'd say that in modern times the main culprit was Zbigniew Brzezynski, who freely admitted in an interview with the French weekly magazine Le Nouvel Observateur in 1998 that he had this, as he called it, "brilliant idea" to let the Islamist genie out of the bottle to fight the Soviets in Afghanistan following the Soviet occupation in 1979. At that time he was President Carter's National Security Advisor. The transmission belt, from the CIA and various other U.S. agencies to the jihadists in Afghanistan, went via Pakistan. The ISI, the all-powerful military Inter-Service Intelligence-an institution which is pro-jihadist to boot-was used by the U.S. to arm elements which later morphed into al-Qaeda. The breeding ground for the modern, one might say postmodern form of jihadism, was Afghanistan-and it was made possible by U.S. policy inputs which helped its development. ..."
"... Instead of utter anarchy, I think we are more likely to see the ever more stringent control of the social media. The German government has already imposed on Google and Twitter which is based on the German draconian "hate speech" legislation, rather than on the universally accepted standards. On the whole we see everywhere in Europe that when you have a political party or a person trying to call a spade by its name, to call for a moratorium on immigration or for a fundamental change in the way of thinking, they will be demonized. ..."
"... The answer is fairly simple, but it would require a fundamental transformation of the mindset of the political decision-makers. It is to start treating Islamic activism not as "religious" but as an eminently political activity -- subversive political activity, in the same way as communist subversion was treated during the Cold War. ..."
"... To start with, every single potential U.S. citizen from the Islamic world needs to be interviewed in great detail about his or her beliefs and commitments. It is simply impossible for a believing Muslim to swear the oath of allegiance to the United States. None of them, if they are true believers, can regard the U.S. Constitution as superior to the Sharia-which is the law of God, while the U.S. Constitution is a man-made document. ..."
"... If there is to be a civil war in Europe, it would be pursued between the elite class which wants to continue pursuing multiculturalism and unlimited immigration --for example Germany, where over a million migrants from the Middle East, North Africa etc. were admitted in 2015 alone-and the majority of the population who have not been consulted, and who feel that their home country is being irretrievably lost. ..."
Feb 01, 2016 | chroniclesmagazine.org
View all posts from this blog

On January 23 Freedom and Prosperity Radio , Virginia's only syndicated political talk radio show, broadcast an interview with Srdja Trifkovic on the subject of Islam and the ongoing Muslim invasion of Europe. Here is the full transcript of the interview. ( Audio )

FPR: Your book The Sword of the Prophet was published back in 2002, yet here we are-15 years later-still scratching our heads over this problem. Defeating Jihad you wrote ten years ago, and yet we are still fumbling around in the dark. It seems like we don't have the ability to say what is right and what is wrong. We've lost the ability we had had during the Cold War to say out way is better than their way . . .

ST: I'm afraid the problem is deeper than that. It is in the unwillingness of the ruling elite in the Western world to come to grips with the nature of Islam-as-such. There is this constant tendency by the politicians, the media and the academia to treat jihadism as some sort of aberration which is alien to "true" Islam. We had an example of that in 2014, when President Obama went so far as to say that ISIS was "un-Islamic"! It is rather curious that the President of the United States assumes the authority of a theologian who can pass definite judgments on whether a certain phenomenon is "Islamic" or not. Likewise we have this constant repetition of the mantra of the "religion of peace and tolerance," which is simply not supported by 14 centuries of historical experience. What I've tried to emphasize in both those books you've mentioned, and in my various other writings and public appearances, is that the problem of Islam resides in the core texts, in the Kuran and the Hadith , the "Traditions" of the prophet of Islam, Muhammed. This is the source from which the historical practice has been derived ever since. The problem is not in the jihadists misinterpreting Islam, but rather in interpreting it all too well. This mythical "moderate Islam," for which everybody seems to be looking these days, is an exception and not the rule.

In answer to your question, I'd say that "scratching one's head" is-by now-only the phenomenon of those who refuse to face reality. Reasonable people who are capable of judging phenomena on their merits and on the basis of ample empirical evidence, are no longer in doubt. They see that the problem is not in the alleged misinterpretation of the Islamic teaching, but rather in its rigorous application and literal understanding. I'm afraid things will not get better, because with each and every new jihadist attack, such as the Charlie Hebdo slaughter in Paris a year ago, or again in Paris last November, or the New Year's Eve violence in Germany, we are witnessing-time and over again-the same problem. The Islamic mindset, the Islamic understanding of the world, the Muslim Weltanschauung , world outlook, is fundamentally incompatible with the Western value system and the Western way of life.

FPR: . . . It seems obvious, regarding Islam, that its "freedom of religion" is impacting other people, and it's dictated to do so-it must go out and fight the infidels. And that's where we have the disconnect. Maybe there is some traction to the statement, as you put it, that fundamentalism reflects a far more thorough following of Islam, and that it is simply incompatible with the Constitution?

ST: It is inevitable, because if you are an orthodox, practicing, mainstream Muslim, then you necessarily believe in the need to impose Sharia as the law of the land. Sharia is much more than a legal code. It is also a political program, it is a code of social behavior, it is the blueprint for the totality of human experience. That's why it is impossible to make Sharia compatible with the liberal principle of "live and let live": it is inherently aggressive to non-Islam. In the Islamic paradigm, the world is divided in the Manichean manner, black-and-white, into "the World of Faith," Dar al-Islam , literally "the world of submission," and "the World of War, Dar al-Harb .

It is the divine duty of each and every Muslim to seek the expansion of Dar al-Islam at the expense of Dar al-Harb until the one true faith is triumphant throughout the world. In this sense the Islamic mindset is very similar to Bolshevism. The Bolsheviks also believed that "the first country of Socialism" should expand its reach and control until the whole world has undergone the proletarian revolution and has become one in the march to the Utopia of communism. There is constant inner tension in the Islamic world, in the sense that for as long as non-Islam exists, it is inherently perceived as "the other," as an abomination. In that sense, Muslims perceive any concession made by the West-for instance in allowing mass immigration into Western Europe-not as a gesture of good will and multicultural tolerance, but as a sign of weakness that needs to be exploited and used as a means to an end.

FPR: The Roman Catholic Church has its Catechism which decides the issues of doctrine. Until there's an Islamic "catechism" which can say "no, this is no longer the right interpretation, this is not what it means any more"-and I don't think this would be a short-term thing, because you'd still have the splinter groups dissenting against the "traitors"-but is this the only way to go to the center of theological jurisprudence in the Islamic world?

ST: The problem is twofold. First of all, there is no "interpretation" of the Kuran . Classical Islamic sources are adamant that the Kuran needs to be taken at face value, literally. If it says in Sura 9, verse 5, "fight the infidels wherever you find them, and let them go if they convert," or if it says time and over again that the choice for a non-Muslim is to accept Islam, or to live as a second-class citizen-the dhimmi -under Islamic supremacy, or else to be killed it is very hard to imagine what sort of authority in the Islamic world would be capable of saying "now we are going to relativize and soften the message."

The second part of the problem is that there is no single authority in Islam. It is not organized in a hierarchical way like the Roman Catholic Church, where if the Pope speaks ex cathedra his pronouncements are obligatory for all Catholics everywhere. Islam is a diffused religion, with various centers of learning and various ullema who may or may not agree on certain peripheral details. Yet any any one of them who'd dare say "look, now we rally need to reinterpret the fundamental sources, the Kuran and the Hadith, so as to make it compatible with the pluralist society"-they'd immediately be condemned as heretics. We've seen attempts at reform in the past. In the end the orthodox interpretation always prevails, because it is-sadly-the right interpretation of the core texts. With neither the hierarchy capable of imposing a new form of teaching on the faithful, nor the existence of alternative core texts which would provide grounds for such reinterpretation, it is very hard to see how it could be done.

FPR: How do we go forward? . . . How does the end-game play out?

ST: I'd say that in modern times the main culprit was Zbigniew Brzezynski, who freely admitted in an interview with the French weekly magazine Le Nouvel Observateur in 1998 that he had this, as he called it, "brilliant idea" to let the Islamist genie out of the bottle to fight the Soviets in Afghanistan following the Soviet occupation in 1979. At that time he was President Carter's National Security Advisor. The transmission belt, from the CIA and various other U.S. agencies to the jihadists in Afghanistan, went via Pakistan. The ISI, the all-powerful military Inter-Service Intelligence-an institution which is pro-jihadist to boot-was used by the U.S. to arm elements which later morphed into al-Qaeda. The breeding ground for the modern, one might say postmodern form of jihadism, was Afghanistan-and it was made possible by U.S. policy inputs which helped its development.

But if we look at the past 14 centuries, time and over again we see the same phenomenon. The first time they tried to conquer Europe was across the Straits of Gibraltar and across the Iberian Peninsula, today's Spain. Then they crossed the Pyrinees and were only stopped at Poitiers by Charles Martel in 732AD. Then they were gradually being pushed back, and the Reconquista -- the reconquest of Spain-lasted 800 years, until 1492, when Cordoba finally fell to the Christian forces. Then came the second, Ottoman onslaught, in the XIVth century, which went across the Dardanelles into the Balkan Peninsula. The Turks were only finally stopped at the gates of Vienna in 1683. Pushing Turkey out of Europe went all the way to 1912, to the First Balkan War.

So we may say that we are now witnessing the third Islamic conquest of Europe. This time it is not using armed janissaries, it is using so-called refugees. In fact most of them are healthy young men, and the whole process is obviously a strategic exercise -- a joint venture between Ankara and Riyadh, who are logistically and financially helping this mass transfer of people from the Turkish and Middle Eastern refugee camps to the heart of Europe. The effect may be the same, but this time it is far more dangerous because, on the European side-unlike in 732, or 1683-there is no political will and there is no moral strength to resist. This is happening because the migrants, the invaders, see Europe as the candy store with a busted lock and they are taking advantage of that fact.

FPR: When you see the horrors of rapes and sexual assaults that took place across Germany, and now we see the Germans' response . . . vigilantes on their streets . . . this is something that we either control politically and with leadership, or else it falls apart into anarchy, Prof. Trifkovic?

ST: Instead of anarchy I think we will have a form of postmodern totalitarianism. The elite class, the government of Germany etc, and the media, will demonize those who try to resist. In fact we already have the spectacle of the minister of the interior of one of the German states saying that "hate speech" on the social networks and websites was far worse than the "incidents" in Cologne. And the Mayor of Cologne-an ultra-feminist who is also a pro-immigration enthusiast-said that in order to prevent such events in the future women should observe a "code of conduct" and keep distance "at an arm's length" from men. It's a classic example of blaming the victim. The victims of Islamic violence should change their behavior in order to adapt themselves to the code of conduct and values of the invaders. This is truly unprecedented.

Instead of utter anarchy, I think we are more likely to see the ever more stringent control of the social media. The German government has already imposed on Google and Twitter which is based on the German draconian "hate speech" legislation, rather than on the universally accepted standards. On the whole we see everywhere in Europe that when you have a political party or a person trying to call a spade by its name, to call for a moratorium on immigration or for a fundamental change in the way of thinking, they will be demonized. The same applies to Marine Le Pen in France and to her party, the Front National , or to Geert Wilders in Holland, or to Strache in Austria. Whoever tries to articulate a coherent plan of action that includes a ban or limits on Islamic immigration is immediately demonized as a right-wing fanatic or a fascist. Instead of facing the reality of the situation, that you have a multi-million Islamic diaspora in Europe which is not assimilating, which refuses even to accept a code of conduct of the host population, the reaction is always the same: blame the victim, and demonize those who try to articulate some form of resistance.

FPR: Dr. Trifkovic, how does a country such as ours, the United States, fix this problem . . .

ST: The answer is fairly simple, but it would require a fundamental transformation of the mindset of the political decision-makers. It is to start treating Islamic activism not as "religious" but as an eminently political activity -- subversive political activity, in the same way as communist subversion was treated during the Cold War. In both cases we have a committed, highly motivated group of people who want to effect a fundamental transformation of the United States in a way that is contrary to the U.S. Constitution, to the American way of life, and to the American values. It is time to stop the Islamists from hiding behind the "freedom of religion" mantra. What they are seeking is not some "freedom of religion" but the freedom to organize in order to pursue political subversion. They do not accept the U.S. Constitution.

To start with, every single potential U.S. citizen from the Islamic world needs to be interviewed in great detail about his or her beliefs and commitments. It is simply impossible for a believing Muslim to swear the oath of allegiance to the United States. None of them, if they are true believers, can regard the U.S. Constitution as superior to the Sharia-which is the law of God, while the U.S. Constitution is a man-made document. I happen to know the oath because I am myself a naturalized U.S. citizen. They can do it "in good faith" from their point of view by practicing taqqiya . This is the Arab word for the art of dissimulation, when the Muslim lies to the infidel in order to protect the faith. For them to lie to investigators or to immigration officials about their beliefs and their objectives does not create any conflict of conscience. The prophet of Islam himself has mandated the use of taqqiya if it serves the objective of spreading the faith.

FPR: Can a civil war come out of this? Is it conceivable?

ST: If there is to be a civil war in Europe, it would be pursued between the elite class which wants to continue pursuing multiculturalism and unlimited immigration --for example Germany, where over a million migrants from the Middle East, North Africa etc. were admitted in 2015 alone-and the majority of the population who have not been consulted, and who feel that their home country is being irretrievably lost. I do not believe that there will be many people fighting on the side of the multiculturalists' suicide, but nevertheless we still have very effective forces of coercion and control on the government side which can be deployed to prevent the articulation of any long-term, coherent plan of resistance.

FPR: Where can people continue to read you writings, Dr. Trifkovic?

ST: On Chroniclesmagazine.org where I publish weekly online commentaries, and also in the print edition of Chronicles where I have my regular column.

[Dec 03, 2017] Islamic Mindset Akin to Bolshevism by Srdja Trifkovic

Actually it was the West, especially the USA which created political Islam to fight Soviets. They essentially created Osama bin Laden as a political figure. The USA is also the main protector of Saudi Arabia were Wahhabism is the official religion. Then they tried to partition Russia by supporting Chechen islamists and financed the jihadist groups in Russia (especially in Dagestan).
Obama administration flirted with Muslim Brotherhood and unleashed the wars in Lybia and Siria were islamists were trying to take down the legitimate governments.
So Political Islam despite its anti-Western message used as a tool as a patsy for the destabilization of "unfriendly", the dogs that could be unleashed when weapons and money started to flow.
Now it looks like boomerang returns home.
Notable quotes:
"... I'd say that in modern times the main culprit was Zbigniew Brzezynski, who freely admitted in an interview with the French weekly magazine Le Nouvel Observateur in 1998 that he had this, as he called it, "brilliant idea" to let the Islamist genie out of the bottle to fight the Soviets in Afghanistan following the Soviet occupation in 1979. At that time he was President Carter's National Security Advisor. The transmission belt, from the CIA and various other U.S. agencies to the jihadists in Afghanistan, went via Pakistan. The ISI, the all-powerful military Inter-Service Intelligence-an institution which is pro-jihadist to boot-was used by the U.S. to arm elements which later morphed into al-Qaeda. The breeding ground for the modern, one might say postmodern form of jihadism, was Afghanistan-and it was made possible by U.S. policy inputs which helped its development. ..."
"... Instead of utter anarchy, I think we are more likely to see the ever more stringent control of the social media. The German government has already imposed on Google and Twitter which is based on the German draconian "hate speech" legislation, rather than on the universally accepted standards. On the whole we see everywhere in Europe that when you have a political party or a person trying to call a spade by its name, to call for a moratorium on immigration or for a fundamental change in the way of thinking, they will be demonized. ..."
"... The answer is fairly simple, but it would require a fundamental transformation of the mindset of the political decision-makers. It is to start treating Islamic activism not as "religious" but as an eminently political activity -- subversive political activity, in the same way as communist subversion was treated during the Cold War. ..."
"... To start with, every single potential U.S. citizen from the Islamic world needs to be interviewed in great detail about his or her beliefs and commitments. It is simply impossible for a believing Muslim to swear the oath of allegiance to the United States. None of them, if they are true believers, can regard the U.S. Constitution as superior to the Sharia-which is the law of God, while the U.S. Constitution is a man-made document. ..."
"... If there is to be a civil war in Europe, it would be pursued between the elite class which wants to continue pursuing multiculturalism and unlimited immigration --for example Germany, where over a million migrants from the Middle East, North Africa etc. were admitted in 2015 alone-and the majority of the population who have not been consulted, and who feel that their home country is being irretrievably lost. ..."
Feb 01, 2016 | chroniclesmagazine.org
View all posts from this blog

On January 23 Freedom and Prosperity Radio , Virginia's only syndicated political talk radio show, broadcast an interview with Srdja Trifkovic on the subject of Islam and the ongoing Muslim invasion of Europe. Here is the full transcript of the interview. ( Audio )

FPR: Your book The Sword of the Prophet was published back in 2002, yet here we are-15 years later-still scratching our heads over this problem. Defeating Jihad you wrote ten years ago, and yet we are still fumbling around in the dark. It seems like we don't have the ability to say what is right and what is wrong. We've lost the ability we had had during the Cold War to say out way is better than their way . . .

ST: I'm afraid the problem is deeper than that. It is in the unwillingness of the ruling elite in the Western world to come to grips with the nature of Islam-as-such. There is this constant tendency by the politicians, the media and the academia to treat jihadism as some sort of aberration which is alien to "true" Islam. We had an example of that in 2014, when President Obama went so far as to say that ISIS was "un-Islamic"! It is rather curious that the President of the United States assumes the authority of a theologian who can pass definite judgments on whether a certain phenomenon is "Islamic" or not. Likewise we have this constant repetition of the mantra of the "religion of peace and tolerance," which is simply not supported by 14 centuries of historical experience. What I've tried to emphasize in both those books you've mentioned, and in my various other writings and public appearances, is that the problem of Islam resides in the core texts, in the Kuran and the Hadith , the "Traditions" of the prophet of Islam, Muhammed. This is the source from which the historical practice has been derived ever since. The problem is not in the jihadists misinterpreting Islam, but rather in interpreting it all too well. This mythical "moderate Islam," for which everybody seems to be looking these days, is an exception and not the rule.

In answer to your question, I'd say that "scratching one's head" is-by now-only the phenomenon of those who refuse to face reality. Reasonable people who are capable of judging phenomena on their merits and on the basis of ample empirical evidence, are no longer in doubt. They see that the problem is not in the alleged misinterpretation of the Islamic teaching, but rather in its rigorous application and literal understanding. I'm afraid things will not get better, because with each and every new jihadist attack, such as the Charlie Hebdo slaughter in Paris a year ago, or again in Paris last November, or the New Year's Eve violence in Germany, we are witnessing-time and over again-the same problem. The Islamic mindset, the Islamic understanding of the world, the Muslim Weltanschauung , world outlook, is fundamentally incompatible with the Western value system and the Western way of life.

FPR: . . . It seems obvious, regarding Islam, that its "freedom of religion" is impacting other people, and it's dictated to do so-it must go out and fight the infidels. And that's where we have the disconnect. Maybe there is some traction to the statement, as you put it, that fundamentalism reflects a far more thorough following of Islam, and that it is simply incompatible with the Constitution?

ST: It is inevitable, because if you are an orthodox, practicing, mainstream Muslim, then you necessarily believe in the need to impose Sharia as the law of the land. Sharia is much more than a legal code. It is also a political program, it is a code of social behavior, it is the blueprint for the totality of human experience. That's why it is impossible to make Sharia compatible with the liberal principle of "live and let live": it is inherently aggressive to non-Islam. In the Islamic paradigm, the world is divided in the Manichean manner, black-and-white, into "the World of Faith," Dar al-Islam , literally "the world of submission," and "the World of War, Dar al-Harb .

It is the divine duty of each and every Muslim to seek the expansion of Dar al-Islam at the expense of Dar al-Harb until the one true faith is triumphant throughout the world. In this sense the Islamic mindset is very similar to Bolshevism. The Bolsheviks also believed that "the first country of Socialism" should expand its reach and control until the whole world has undergone the proletarian revolution and has become one in the march to the Utopia of communism. There is constant inner tension in the Islamic world, in the sense that for as long as non-Islam exists, it is inherently perceived as "the other," as an abomination. In that sense, Muslims perceive any concession made by the West-for instance in allowing mass immigration into Western Europe-not as a gesture of good will and multicultural tolerance, but as a sign of weakness that needs to be exploited and used as a means to an end.

FPR: The Roman Catholic Church has its Catechism which decides the issues of doctrine. Until there's an Islamic "catechism" which can say "no, this is no longer the right interpretation, this is not what it means any more"-and I don't think this would be a short-term thing, because you'd still have the splinter groups dissenting against the "traitors"-but is this the only way to go to the center of theological jurisprudence in the Islamic world?

ST: The problem is twofold. First of all, there is no "interpretation" of the Kuran . Classical Islamic sources are adamant that the Kuran needs to be taken at face value, literally. If it says in Sura 9, verse 5, "fight the infidels wherever you find them, and let them go if they convert," or if it says time and over again that the choice for a non-Muslim is to accept Islam, or to live as a second-class citizen-the dhimmi -under Islamic supremacy, or else to be killed it is very hard to imagine what sort of authority in the Islamic world would be capable of saying "now we are going to relativize and soften the message."

The second part of the problem is that there is no single authority in Islam. It is not organized in a hierarchical way like the Roman Catholic Church, where if the Pope speaks ex cathedra his pronouncements are obligatory for all Catholics everywhere. Islam is a diffused religion, with various centers of learning and various ullema who may or may not agree on certain peripheral details. Yet any any one of them who'd dare say "look, now we rally need to reinterpret the fundamental sources, the Kuran and the Hadith, so as to make it compatible with the pluralist society"-they'd immediately be condemned as heretics. We've seen attempts at reform in the past. In the end the orthodox interpretation always prevails, because it is-sadly-the right interpretation of the core texts. With neither the hierarchy capable of imposing a new form of teaching on the faithful, nor the existence of alternative core texts which would provide grounds for such reinterpretation, it is very hard to see how it could be done.

FPR: How do we go forward? . . . How does the end-game play out?

ST: I'd say that in modern times the main culprit was Zbigniew Brzezynski, who freely admitted in an interview with the French weekly magazine Le Nouvel Observateur in 1998 that he had this, as he called it, "brilliant idea" to let the Islamist genie out of the bottle to fight the Soviets in Afghanistan following the Soviet occupation in 1979. At that time he was President Carter's National Security Advisor. The transmission belt, from the CIA and various other U.S. agencies to the jihadists in Afghanistan, went via Pakistan. The ISI, the all-powerful military Inter-Service Intelligence-an institution which is pro-jihadist to boot-was used by the U.S. to arm elements which later morphed into al-Qaeda. The breeding ground for the modern, one might say postmodern form of jihadism, was Afghanistan-and it was made possible by U.S. policy inputs which helped its development.

But if we look at the past 14 centuries, time and over again we see the same phenomenon. The first time they tried to conquer Europe was across the Straits of Gibraltar and across the Iberian Peninsula, today's Spain. Then they crossed the Pyrinees and were only stopped at Poitiers by Charles Martel in 732AD. Then they were gradually being pushed back, and the Reconquista -- the reconquest of Spain-lasted 800 years, until 1492, when Cordoba finally fell to the Christian forces. Then came the second, Ottoman onslaught, in the XIVth century, which went across the Dardanelles into the Balkan Peninsula. The Turks were only finally stopped at the gates of Vienna in 1683. Pushing Turkey out of Europe went all the way to 1912, to the First Balkan War.

So we may say that we are now witnessing the third Islamic conquest of Europe. This time it is not using armed janissaries, it is using so-called refugees. In fact most of them are healthy young men, and the whole process is obviously a strategic exercise -- a joint venture between Ankara and Riyadh, who are logistically and financially helping this mass transfer of people from the Turkish and Middle Eastern refugee camps to the heart of Europe. The effect may be the same, but this time it is far more dangerous because, on the European side-unlike in 732, or 1683-there is no political will and there is no moral strength to resist. This is happening because the migrants, the invaders, see Europe as the candy store with a busted lock and they are taking advantage of that fact.

FPR: When you see the horrors of rapes and sexual assaults that took place across Germany, and now we see the Germans' response . . . vigilantes on their streets . . . this is something that we either control politically and with leadership, or else it falls apart into anarchy, Prof. Trifkovic?

ST: Instead of anarchy I think we will have a form of postmodern totalitarianism. The elite class, the government of Germany etc, and the media, will demonize those who try to resist. In fact we already have the spectacle of the minister of the interior of one of the German states saying that "hate speech" on the social networks and websites was far worse than the "incidents" in Cologne. And the Mayor of Cologne-an ultra-feminist who is also a pro-immigration enthusiast-said that in order to prevent such events in the future women should observe a "code of conduct" and keep distance "at an arm's length" from men. It's a classic example of blaming the victim. The victims of Islamic violence should change their behavior in order to adapt themselves to the code of conduct and values of the invaders. This is truly unprecedented.

Instead of utter anarchy, I think we are more likely to see the ever more stringent control of the social media. The German government has already imposed on Google and Twitter which is based on the German draconian "hate speech" legislation, rather than on the universally accepted standards. On the whole we see everywhere in Europe that when you have a political party or a person trying to call a spade by its name, to call for a moratorium on immigration or for a fundamental change in the way of thinking, they will be demonized. The same applies to Marine Le Pen in France and to her party, the Front National , or to Geert Wilders in Holland, or to Strache in Austria. Whoever tries to articulate a coherent plan of action that includes a ban or limits on Islamic immigration is immediately demonized as a right-wing fanatic or a fascist. Instead of facing the reality of the situation, that you have a multi-million Islamic diaspora in Europe which is not assimilating, which refuses even to accept a code of conduct of the host population, the reaction is always the same: blame the victim, and demonize those who try to articulate some form of resistance.

FPR: Dr. Trifkovic, how does a country such as ours, the United States, fix this problem . . .

ST: The answer is fairly simple, but it would require a fundamental transformation of the mindset of the political decision-makers. It is to start treating Islamic activism not as "religious" but as an eminently political activity -- subversive political activity, in the same way as communist subversion was treated during the Cold War. In both cases we have a committed, highly motivated group of people who want to effect a fundamental transformation of the United States in a way that is contrary to the U.S. Constitution, to the American way of life, and to the American values. It is time to stop the Islamists from hiding behind the "freedom of religion" mantra. What they are seeking is not some "freedom of religion" but the freedom to organize in order to pursue political subversion. They do not accept the U.S. Constitution.

To start with, every single potential U.S. citizen from the Islamic world needs to be interviewed in great detail about his or her beliefs and commitments. It is simply impossible for a believing Muslim to swear the oath of allegiance to the United States. None of them, if they are true believers, can regard the U.S. Constitution as superior to the Sharia-which is the law of God, while the U.S. Constitution is a man-made document. I happen to know the oath because I am myself a naturalized U.S. citizen. They can do it "in good faith" from their point of view by practicing taqqiya . This is the Arab word for the art of dissimulation, when the Muslim lies to the infidel in order to protect the faith. For them to lie to investigators or to immigration officials about their beliefs and their objectives does not create any conflict of conscience. The prophet of Islam himself has mandated the use of taqqiya if it serves the objective of spreading the faith.

FPR: Can a civil war come out of this? Is it conceivable?

ST: If there is to be a civil war in Europe, it would be pursued between the elite class which wants to continue pursuing multiculturalism and unlimited immigration --for example Germany, where over a million migrants from the Middle East, North Africa etc. were admitted in 2015 alone-and the majority of the population who have not been consulted, and who feel that their home country is being irretrievably lost. I do not believe that there will be many people fighting on the side of the multiculturalists' suicide, but nevertheless we still have very effective forces of coercion and control on the government side which can be deployed to prevent the articulation of any long-term, coherent plan of resistance.

FPR: Where can people continue to read you writings, Dr. Trifkovic?

ST: On Chroniclesmagazine.org where I publish weekly online commentaries, and also in the print edition of Chronicles where I have my regular column.

[Jun 17, 2017] The Essence of the Jihadist Evil

Jun 11, 2017 | assets.cambridge.org
Introduction

I will assault and kill, assault and kill, assault and kill. Hamas "Charter of Allah," Article Fifteen

In his analysis of modern Islamic Jihadism, Laurent Murawiec writes,

"Jihadis of all stripes in the modern age share the same highly toxic mix of messianism, revolution, and the cult of blood and violence. Modern jihad is the tapestry resulting from the weaving together of different warps and woofs: Pan-Islamism and Bolshevism, Nazi and fascist ideology and practices, and Gnostic-Manichean beliefs within Islam."1

Commenting on Pan-Islamism, he rightly underscores the universal scope of the fanatic call to jihad. Like the Bolshevists, the Jihadists believe that any means can be justified to achieve their aim – namely, the Islamization of the world.

As for Nazi and fascist ideology, Murawiec notes a similar glorification of force and power in the Jihadist movements. What he has in mind by "Gnostic-Manichean beliefs" is their view of the human condition as a war between absolute good (the Muslims) and absolute evil (the rest of humanity). As in the case of the Nazis, however, the reverse may be the case: although the rest of humanity may not fall into the category of absolute good, Islamic Jihadism certainly falls into the category of absolute evil.

2 A Genealogy of Evil

One thing Murawiec all but leaves out of his otherwise insightful analysis is Jew hatred. "Jihad and Jew-hatred belong together," Matthias Kuntzel correctly observes. "Approval of antisemitism strengthens jihadist barbarism. Any variety of anti-capitalism that wittingly or unwittingly has recourse to antisemitic forms of thought strengthens jihadism as well. The struggle against jihadism therefore requires zero tolerance for antisemitism.

Were Jew-hatred to be ostracized, isolated, prosecuted and punished on a global scale, then jihadism would be a thing of the past."2 The "evil" that the Jihadists oppose through murder is the Jewish presence in the world. "Just like National Socialism was propelled by a utopia which advocated salvation through destruction," explains K¨untzel, "Islamism is propelled forward by a similar utopia. In both cases, it is the distorted image of a perceived enemy which provides the perpetrator with his own identity. In both cases, the annihilation of evil is considered to be the precondition for the realization of an idealized dream of homogeneity. In both cases this evil is projected onto 'the Jew. . . . '

Fighting Islamism demands zerotolerance of antisemitism."3 The resemblance to National Socialism that Kuntzel notes is not accidental; among the most prominent contributors to this Jihadist thinking are the Nazis.

Serge Trifkovic argues convincingly that

"the most potent heirs to the Nazi worldview in our own time as regards the Jews are not skinheads and Aryan Nation survivalists. They are schools, religious leaders, and mainstream intellectuals in the Muslim, meaning primarily Arab, world."4

There can be no doubt that Jihadist movements have had a huge impact on mainstream Muslim culture. Anyone who has followed the developments in the tensions between the Jewish state and Islamic terrorists is familiar with scenes of Palestinian toddlers dressed as suicide bombers ready for martyrdom. There are the photographs of kindergarten kids, hands raised and painted blood red, imitating the gesture of the blood-covered Muslims who butchered

In the Behesht Zahra (Paradise of Flowers) in Tehran, there is a fourteenfoot Fountain of Blood, "symbolizing the essence of Islam's message."5 (In what other capital of the world can one imagine the creation of a glorified Fountain of Blood?) Furthermore, there are the music videos with lyrics calculated to incite acts of murder and hatred, such as the one broadcasted from Hezbollah's Al-Manar ("The Beacon") Television Station: "We will wear coffins until every inch of our world is liberated." Of course, "our world" means the world, the world inhabited by all humanity. Liberated from what? The lyrics explain: from the international Jewish conspiracy to take over the world,6 liberated by the Jihadist Islam that is determined to rule the world.

The Jew hatred that characterizes Islamic Jihadism is not about Zionism or the Jewish presence in the Middle East; it is about the Jewish presence in the world. As Salafist Sheikh Muhammad Hussein Yaqoub (b. 1956) declared in a broadcast aired on Egypt's Al-Rahma TV, 17 January 2009,

If the Jews left Palestine to us, would we start loving them? Of course not. We will never love them. Absolutely not. The Jews are infidels – not because I say so, and not because they are killing Muslims, but because . . . it is Allah who said that they are infidels. . . . Your belief regarding the Jews should be, first, that they are infidels, and second, that they are enemies. They are enemies not because they occupied Palestine. They would have been enemies even if they did not occupy a thing. . . . Our fighting with the Jews is eternal, and it will not end until the final battle . . . , until not a single Jew remains on the face of the Earth. . . . As for you Jews, the Curse of Allah upon you, you pigs of the earth!7

Islamic scholar Ziad Abu-Amr has correctly pointed out that in keeping with – and informed by – Nazi thinking, "the Islamic Jihad theoreticians believe that the danger of Israel lies . . . in the spread of Jewish corruption." Because of "Israel's evil," Israel "was born to be annihilated." All Muslims must "eliminate the element of corruption, Israel." They must fight the "Torah adherents to the bone."8 For Torah, in the minds of the Jihadists as well as the Nazis, is the source of the "corruption" of all humanity.

5 Amir Taheri, Holy Terror: Inside the World of Islamic Terrorism (Bethesda, MD: Adler & Adler, 1987), 125.

6 See Avi Jorisch, Beacon of Hatred: Inside Hizballah's Al-Manar Television (Washington, DC:Washington Institute for Near East Policy, 2004), 75. The name of the Hezbollah station is taken from the Salafist journal published by Rashid Rida (1865–1935), which promoted murder as a means of "purifying" and spreading Islam; see Murawiec, 30–31.

7 Muhammad Hussein Yaqoub, "We Will Fight, Defeat, and Annihilate Them," Al- Rahma TV (17 January 2009): http://memri.org/bin/latestnews.cgi?ID=SD227809. © in this web service Cambridge University Press www.cambridge.org Cambridge University Press

As far as "Palestine" is concerned, even a faithful Muslim could argue that the Muslims should support a Jewish presence in Israel because the Quran designates the Land of Israel as a dwelling place for the Jews, to which the Jews in exile will be returned when the last days approach (17:104). The fact that this verse is seldom mentioned by the Jihadists underscores their rebellion against God and what they view as "the Holy Quran," against the spirit and the meaning of Islam itself, which they do not follow but rather exploit to suit their own ends. (Nevertheless, as Chapter 2 shows, it is not for nothing that this exterminationist Jew hatred has sprung up within Islam.)

With their accent on killing, moreover, Islamic Jihadists transgress the Quran's prohibition against killing Muslims (4:93) by placing the "virtue" of killing Jews above the prohibition. Al-Qaeda operative and spokesman Abu Musabal-Zarqawi (1966–2006), for example, declared, "The shedding ofMuslimblood. . . is allowed in order to avoid the greater evil of disrupting jihad."9 Once again, the exterminationist agenda of Islamic Jihadism eclipses what other Muslims deem the holy word of Allah. The Jihadists' transgression and exploitation of the Quran is a form of the appropriation and usurpation of God used not only to justify but to sanctify the murder of Jews. They engage in a similar exploitation of holy days to serve their ideological agenda, as when Ramadan, a holy month of fasting, is transformed into "a month of jihad and sacrifice."10 This means that Islamic Jihadism entails far more than terrorism. It is no more reducible to terrorism than the Nazis' extermination of the Jews is reducible to genocide. Beyond committing genocide, the Nazis set out to commit deicide.11 Similarly, the radical anti-Semitism that defines Islamic Jihadism far exceeds the parameters of mere terrorism: it is a usurpation of God that assumes other forms more horrific than those dreamt of by any terrorists that history has ever seen.

8 Ziad Abu-Amr, Islamic Fundamentalism in the West Bank and Gaza: Muslim Brotherhood and Islamic Jihad (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1994), 101–2. 9 Quoted in David Aaron, In Their Own Words: Voices of Jihad (Santa Monica, CA: Rand Corporation, 2008), 103.

10 See Meir Hatina, Islam and Salvation in Palestine: The Islamic Jihad Movement (Tel Aviv: The Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies, 2001), 126.

11 Recall passages such as the one from Judith Dribben's memoir in which a Nazi beholds a synagogue in flames and declares, "The Jewish God is burnt to ashes!" See Judith Dribben, And Some Shall Live ( Jerusalem: Keter Books, 1969), 24.

Some people are horrified by the sounds and the images of Muslim children whose upbringing is so steeped in Jew hatred that they declare their adamant desire to murder themselves in the process of murdering Jews, duped into the belief that by doing so, they become martyrs and thus have purchased their ticket to paradise. This Islamic Jihadist morphing of murder into martyrdom is a new turn in the history of evil.12 In most other sacred traditions, the martyrs among the faithful do not take themselves to have purchased anything; for them, martyrdom is not a commodity for which they expect due compensation – it is a summons from on high, to which they respond. True martyrs offer all to God, without expectation of reward. They choose martyrdom not by committing murder but instead of committing murder. The Jihadist evil, to the contrary, represents a radical perversion of the most ancient, most fundamental evil – murder – into the highest good. Whereas in Jewish tradition, as in other traditions, martyrdom means dying in a refusal to commit murder and thus to sanctify life, in the Jihadist teaching it means dying precisely to commit murder for the glorification of God. But the Jihadist martyrs neither glorify God nor sanctify life. Rather, they glorify an ego made into Allah and thereby sanctify murder made into martyrdom – including the murder of their own children.

In the Torah decried by the Islamic Jihadists, who insist on choosing death over life, it is written, "I set before you this day life and death, blessing and curse; therefore, choose life" (Deuteronomy 30:19). To choose life is to choose holiness, to choose the good, to choose loving kindness toward the other human being, including the stranger in our midst. It means making one's own life a blessing to the lives of others. It means choosing not to murder. In a stark contrast to this Jewish teaching, Islamic Jihadism not only chooses death but venerates it, 12 It should be noted, however, that Jihadists have ancient precedents to justify this innovation. An official Chinese source from the tenth century reads, "Every seventh day the king [of the Arabs] sits on high and speaks to those below, saying, 'Those who are killed by the enemy will be borne in heaven above; those who slay the enemy will receive happiness.'" Quoted by Michael Bonner, Jihad in Islamic History: Doctrine and Practices (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2006), 72.

6 A Genealogy of Evil

in a show of an idolatry with an appetite for human sacrifice that is insatiable. Murawiec explains: "The constant repetition of the same stock phrases that prescribe and exalt killing and the veneration of death means that Allah wants blood, needs blood, that blood pleases Allah, whether the blood is that of His martyrs or that of His enemies. Allah demands blood as evidence of worship. In turn, society must be organized according to what Allah demands. A society that needs blood in so fundamental a way is a society whose mind is set on human sacrifice."13 Such a mind-set is a defining characteristic of Islamic Jihadist society. And it is characteristic of evil.

In his seminal study of the Muslim Brotherhood, Richard P. Mitchell writes of Hasan al-Banna saying, "Death, as an important end of jihad, was extolled by Banna as a phrase which came to be a famous part of his legacy: 'the art of death' (fann al-mawt)."14 Indeed, al-Banna declared that "the Muslim Community . . . excels in the art of death."15 Article Eight of the Charter of Hamas, a branch of al-Banna's Muslim Brotherhood, sets forth the Hamas slogan: "Allah is its target, the Prophet is its model, the Quran is its constitution: Jihad is its path and death for the sake of Allah is the loftiest of its wishes."16 Hassan Nasrallah (b. 1960), head of Hezbollah, boasts that Islamic Jihadists choose death over life.17 Said Osama bin Laden (b. 1957) to CNN reporter Peter Arnett in March 1997, "We love. . . death. . . asmuch as you love life."18 In a sermon delivered on 25 May 2001, the Palestinian Liberation Organization's mufti of Palestine from 1994 to 2006, Ikrima Sabri (b. 1939), declared, "We tell them [the Jews]: in as much as you love life – the Muslim loves death."19 Thus, not only is the Torah's summons to choose life abrogated, but so is its prohibition against murder.

The evil that surrounds the Jihadist love for death lies in a love for the death of the other human being – specifically, the death of the Jew. That is what they love – not the death of oneself for the sake of another, not the death that affirms life in an affirmation of the One who commands us to choose life and forbids us to murder. No, the Jihadists love inflicting death: witness the mass celebrations that occurred throughout the Muslim world over the murders committed on 9/11. The Jihadists love inflicting death so much that they are literally dying to kill – or rather, they are bent on indoctrinating their children in the desperate longing to kill, as stipulated in Article Eighteen of the Hamas "Charter of Allah."20 Here and elsewhere their discourse makes it clear that they have no love for the One who forbids both self-murder and the murder of others. Simply stated, the Islamic Jihadists' love for death is a love for murder, a love for making their children into murderers. Murder is as much a defining feature of Islamic Jihadism as, in the words of Emil Fackenheim, it was the "pure essence" of "the Nazi empire."21 There lies the essence of the Jihadist evil.

Inasmuch as Hamas's referring to its charter as the "Charter of Allah" implies an equivalence between itself and Allah, it becomes clear that the declared love of death, which is a love of murder, on the part of Islamic Jihadists amounts to a rebellion against God, against Allah. Here, too, lies the evil: crying out "Allahu Akbar! – God is great!" in the process of murdering the children of God amounts to a radical eclipse of God. If Islamic Jihadists are religious fanatics, they are the fanatics of a false religion, fanatics of a self-styled idolatry, who bow to the false god of their own ego. When God gave the world the Ten Commandments, He divided them into two categories, two tablets – not because He could not write small enough to get them onto one but so that He could reveal to humanity the sanctity of two realms of relation. The first five pertain to the relation between God and 20 See Yonah Alexander, Palestinian Religious Terrorism: Hamas and Islamic Jihad (Ardsley, NY: Transnational Publishers, 2002), 58.

8 A Genealogy of Evil

the human being, beginning with the utterance of "I am the Lord your God." The second five pertain to the relation between human and human, beginning with "Do not murder." The two parallel one another, as the sages have taught: to transgress the most basic of the human-to-human commandments, "Do not murder," is to deny the divine affirmation "I am God."22 To which the Jihadist replies, "No, I am God. And I command the faithful to murder."

In reply to the God who chose the Jewish people to be a light unto the nations – a light that forbids murder – the Jihadists choose the Jewish people for extermination, thus extinguishing such a light for the sake of their own dark aim of dominating humanity and usurping divinity. Usurping God, the Jihadist murderer undertakes an assault on God. His is an evil as old as Cain. Feeling rejected by God, Cain set out to murder God by murdering his brother: he took the place of God by making his brother a sacrifice unto himself. Further, as in the case of Abel, the murdered victim is always our sibling: homicide is fratricide – another teaching jettisoned by the Jihadist. The one form of rebellion against God that is more radical than murder is suicide, the murder of oneself. To be sure, the seeds of suicide lie in the act of murder: killing my brother, I kill my own soul. The Jihadist evil takes up this radical rebellion against God by merging these two forms of unseating God – murder and suicide – into one. Like all evil, it preys on what is highest within us, on the selfless desire for meaning and purpose, on the readiness to serve something holy, for the sake of humanity. Like all evil, its first victims, its designated targets, are children, both from within and from without. Like all evil, its lure is deadly to all. What exactly is Jihadist about this evil, other than the fact that the perpetrators invoke the word jihad? It is said that jihad pertains to an inner spiritual struggle to purify the soul. In the discourse of Islamic "purist" movements, however, jihad is an outward, violent endeavor aimed primarily at Jews and those who have been "Jewified."23 If the true meaning of jihad lies in an inward struggle, then this movement of turning it outward is a perversion of the concept from a struggle to 22 See, for example, the Mekilta de-Rabbi Ishmael, Vol. 2, trans. Jacob Z. Lauterbach (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1961), 262–64. 23

Nonie Darwish, who grew up as a Muslim in Egypt and Gaza, has told me that in all of her experience, the word jihad never pertained to an inner struggle but only to the violent struggle of Islam against the world.

serve God into a struggle to kill God. The Islamic Jihadists' invocation of God to justify their actions echoes the inscription on the Nazi SS belt buckles: Gott Mit Uns – "God [is] with us." In both cases we have a struggle – a Kampf – to oppose God by becoming as God, even as the murderer invokes the name of God. To be sure, the assault on God is nearly always undertaken in the name of God. It is the most ancient temptation to the most ancient evil. The Nazi influence on Islamic Jihadist ideology is not accidental: the Jihadist program of the modern Jihadist ideologues is, as we shall see, very much informed by National Socialism. Chapter 1, then, begins by examining the numerous echoes of National Socialism in Islamic Jihadism, both as parallels and as points of influence.

Forging murder and suicide into a single action of "martyrdom," the Islamic Jihadist evil exceeds the Nazi evil. For the Nazi assault on God took the form only of mass murder, with no mutation into martyrdom; in their deadly assault on Jews and Judaism, they were bent on destroying the teachings of Judaism in the process of destroying not only the body but also the soul of Israel. Whereas the Nazis made the Fuhrer into God, the Jihadists make God into the Fuhrer, and not the Father, a god whose commandment is not merely to choose death but to love death, as the Jihadists themselves boast. Once the "divine" injunction is to pursue death over life – death through murder – we face an evil even more radical than the Nazi evil.

Hannah Arendt once declared that "we cannot conceive of a 'radical evil.'" Unable to accommodate the Nazi evil, writes Arendt, all we can say is that "radical evil has emerged in connection with a system in which all men have become equally superfluous."24 With the Jihadist evil, not only are all men equally superfluous – all men must be enlisted into the project of making all men equally superfluous. Facing this radical evil, we are compelled to address its genealogy, so that, understanding where it comes from, we may see where it is going – and respond to it.

"Our world seems not unlike a pit of snakes," writes Abraham Joshua Heschel. "We did not sink into the pit in 1939, or even in 1933. We had descended into it generations ago, and the snakes 24 Hannah Arendt, The Origins of Totalitarianism (New York: Harcourt Brace & Company, 1979), 459.

have sent their venom into the bloodstream of humanity."25 Referring to the years 1933 and 1939, Heschel has in mind, of course, the evil of National Socialism: on 30 January 1933, Adolf Hitler (1889– 1945) became chancellor of Germany, and on 1 September 1939, the Germans invaded Poland. But National Socialism, with the Jew hatred that defined it, was not just a cause of the evil that plagues the world today – it was the outcome of a long philosophical process of thinking God out of the picture and situating man at the center.

Commenting on the rise of modern thought, Fackenheim has rightly said that "the denial of the living God was an essential aspect of man's scientific and moral self-emancipation. If man was to be fully free in his world, God had to be expelled from it."26 Further, "The moment the living God became questionable, Jewish existence became questionable."27

The same egocentric thinking that helped to pave the way to Auschwitz now plays into the hands of the Islamic Jihadists. Like the Nazis, the Jihadists introduce their own absolutes, determined by the ostensible obedience not to the divine commandment but to the murderous, ego-centered will to dominate. "Now that Marx has failed," writes Serge Trifkovic, "Islam offers a helping hand to those who want to subvert the tradition of the West."28 Yet the tradition slated for annihilation is far older than the West. It is the tradition of Judaism and of the Christianity that stemmed from Judaism, both of which Islam believes it has superseded. The supersessionism that fueled centuries of Christian Jew hatred has added to the fire of Jihadist Jew hatred, which deems anything that falls outside of Dar al-Islam, the "realm of Islam," to be either illegitimate or evil. In the post-Holocaust era, the world has become filled not so much with the venomous Nazi Jew hatred as with the anti-Semitism that defines Islamic Jihadism.

Chapter 2 shows that the world did not descend into this pit in 1928, with the founding of the Muslim Brotherhood, or in 1979, with the Islamic Revolution in Iran. Rather, the teachings and texts that feed the Jihadists' Jew hatred are centuries old.

[Jun 14, 2017] You Cant Understand ISIS If You Dont Know the History of Wahhabism in Saudi Arabia by Alastair Crooke

Notable quotes:
"... Abd al-Wahhab demanded conformity - a conformity that was to be demonstrated in physical and tangible ways. He argued that all Muslims must individually pledge their allegiance to a single Muslim leader (a Caliph, if there were one). Those who would not conform to this view should be killed , their wives and daughters violated, and their possessions confiscated, he wrote. The list of apostates meriting death included the Shiite, Sufis and other Muslim denominations, whom Abd al-Wahhab did not consider to be Muslim at all. ..."
"... There is nothing here that separates Wahhabism from ISIS. The rift would emerge only later: from the subsequent institutionalization of Muhammad ibn ʿAbd al-Wahhab's doctrine of "One Ruler, One Authority, One Mosque" - these three pillars being taken respectively to refer to the Saudi king, the absolute authority of official Wahhabism, and its control of "the word" (i.e. the mosque). ..."
"... It is this rift - the ISIS denial of these three pillars on which the whole of Sunni authority presently rests - makes ISIS, which in all other respects conforms to Wahhabism, a deep threat to Saudi Arabia. ..."
"... What Ibn Saud perceived in Abd al-Wahhab's novel teaching was the means to overturn Arab tradition and convention. It was a path to seizing power. ..."
"... Their strategy - like that of ISIS today - was to bring the peoples whom they conquered into submission. They aimed to instill fear. In 1801, the Allies attacked the Holy City of Karbala in Iraq. They massacred thousands of Shiites, including women and children. Many Shiite shrines were destroyed, including the shrine of Imam Hussein, the murdered grandson of Prophet Muhammad. ..."
"... Osman Ibn Bishr Najdi, the historian of the first Saudi state, wrote that Ibn Saud committed a massacre in Karbala in 1801. He proudly documented that massacre saying, "we took Karbala and slaughtered and took its people (as slaves), then praise be to Allah, Lord of the Worlds, and we do not apologize for that and say: 'And to the unbelievers: the same treatment.'" ..."
Jun 14, 2017 | www.huffingtonpost.com

BEIRUT - The dramatic arrival of Da'ish (ISIS) on the stage of Iraq has shocked many in the West. Many have been perplexed - and horrified - by its violence and its evident magnetism for Sunni youth. But more than this, they find Saudi Arabia's ambivalence in the face of this manifestation both troubling and inexplicable, wondering, "Don't the Saudis understand that ISIS threatens them, too?"

It appears - even now - that Saudi Arabia's ruling elite is divided. Some applaud that ISIS is fighting Iranian Shiite "fire" with Sunni "fire"; that a new Sunni state is taking shape at the very heart of what they regard as a historical Sunni patrimony; and they are drawn by Da'ish's strict Salafist ideology.

Other Saudis are more fearful, and recall the history of the revolt against Abd-al Aziz by the Wahhabist Ikhwan (Disclaimer: this Ikhwan has nothing to do with the Muslim Brotherhood Ikhwan - please note, all further references hereafter are to the Wahhabist Ikhwan, and not to the Muslim Brotherhood Ikhwan), but which nearly imploded Wahhabism and the al-Saud in the late 1920s.

Many Saudis are deeply disturbed by the radical doctrines of Da'ish (ISIS) - and are beginning to question some aspects of Saudi Arabia's direction and discourse.

THE SAUDI DUALITY

Saudi Arabia's internal discord and tensions over ISIS can only be understood by grasping the inherent (and persisting) duality that lies at the core of the Kingdom's doctrinal makeup and its historical origins.

One dominant strand to the Saudi identity pertains directly to Muhammad ibn ʿAbd al-Wahhab (the founder of Wahhabism), and the use to which his radical, exclusionist puritanism was put by Ibn Saud. (The latter was then no more than a minor leader - amongst many - of continually sparring and raiding Bedouin tribes in the baking and desperately poor deserts of the Nejd.)

The second strand to this perplexing duality, relates precisely to King Abd-al Aziz's subsequent shift towards statehood in the 1920s: his curbing of Ikhwani violence (in order to have diplomatic standing as a nation-state with Britain and America); his institutionalization of the original Wahhabist impulse - and the subsequent seizing of the opportunely surging petrodollar spigot in the 1970s, to channel the volatile Ikhwani current away from home towards export - by diffusing a cultural revolution, rather than violent revolution throughout the Muslim world.

But this "cultural revolution" was no docile reformism. It was a revolution based on Abd al-Wahhab's Jacobin-like hatred for the putrescence and deviationism that he perceived all about him - hence his call to purge Islam of all its heresies and idolatries.

MUSLIM IMPOSTORS

The American author and journalist, Steven Coll, has written how this austere and censorious disciple of the 14th century scholar Ibn Taymiyyah, Abd al-Wahhab, despised "the decorous, arty, tobacco smoking, hashish imbibing, drum pounding Egyptian and Ottoman nobility who travelled across Arabia to pray at Mecca."

In Abd al-Wahhab's view, these were not Muslims; they were imposters masquerading as Muslims. Nor, indeed, did he find the behavior of local Bedouin Arabs much better. They aggravated Abd al-Wahhab by their honoring of saints, by their erecting of tombstones, and their "superstition" (e.g. revering graves or places that were deemed particularly imbued with the divine).

All this behavior, Abd al-Wahhab denounced as bida - forbidden by God.

Like Taymiyyah before him, Abd al-Wahhab believed that the period of the Prophet Muhammad's stay in Medina was the ideal of Muslim society (the "best of times"), to which all Muslims should aspire to emulate (this, essentially, is Salafism).

Taymiyyah had declared war on Shi'ism, Sufism and Greek philosophy. He spoke out, too against visiting the grave of the prophet and the celebration of his birthday, declaring that all such behavior represented mere imitation of the Christian worship of Jesus as God (i.e. idolatry). Abd al-Wahhab assimilated all this earlier teaching, stating that "any doubt or hesitation" on the part of a believer in respect to his or her acknowledging this particular interpretation of Islam should "deprive a man of immunity of his property and his life."

One of the main tenets of Abd al-Wahhab's doctrine has become the key idea of takfir. Under the takfiri doctrine, Abd al-Wahhab and his followers could deem fellow Muslims infidels should they engage in activities that in any way could be said to encroach on the sovereignty of the absolute Authority (that is, the King). Abd al-Wahhab denounced all Muslims who honored the dead, saints, or angels. He held that such sentiments detracted from the complete subservience one must feel towards God, and only God. Wahhabi Islam thus bans any prayer to saints and dead loved ones, pilgrimages to tombs and special mosques, religious festivals celebrating saints, the honoring of the Muslim Prophet Muhammad's birthday, and even prohibits the use of gravestones when burying the dead.

Those who would not conform to this view should be killed, their wives and daughters violated, and their possessions confiscated, he wrote.

Abd al-Wahhab demanded conformity - a conformity that was to be demonstrated in physical and tangible ways. He argued that all Muslims must individually pledge their allegiance to a single Muslim leader (a Caliph, if there were one). Those who would not conform to this view should be killed , their wives and daughters violated, and their possessions confiscated, he wrote. The list of apostates meriting death included the Shiite, Sufis and other Muslim denominations, whom Abd al-Wahhab did not consider to be Muslim at all.

There is nothing here that separates Wahhabism from ISIS. The rift would emerge only later: from the subsequent institutionalization of Muhammad ibn ʿAbd al-Wahhab's doctrine of "One Ruler, One Authority, One Mosque" - these three pillars being taken respectively to refer to the Saudi king, the absolute authority of official Wahhabism, and its control of "the word" (i.e. the mosque).

It is this rift - the ISIS denial of these three pillars on which the whole of Sunni authority presently rests - makes ISIS, which in all other respects conforms to Wahhabism, a deep threat to Saudi Arabia.

BRIEF HISTORY 1741- 1818

Abd al-Wahhab's advocacy of these ultra radical views inevitably led to his expulsion from his own town - and in 1741, after some wanderings, he found refuge under the protection of Ibn Saud and his tribe. What Ibn Saud perceived in Abd al-Wahhab's novel teaching was the means to overturn Arab tradition and convention. It was a path to seizing power.

Their strategy - like that of ISIS today - was to bring the peoples whom they conquered into submission. They aimed to instill fear.

Ibn Saud's clan, seizing on Abd al-Wahhab's doctrine, now could do what they always did, which was raiding neighboring villages and robbing them of their possessions. Only now they were doing it not within the ambit of Arab tradition, but rather under the banner of jihad . Ibn Saud and Abd al-Wahhab also reintroduced the idea of martyrdom in the name of jihad, as it granted those martyred immediate entry into paradise.

In the beginning, they conquered a few local communities and imposed their rule over them. (The conquered inhabitants were given a limited choice: conversion to Wahhabism or death.) By 1790, the Alliance controlled most of the Arabian Peninsula and repeatedly raided Medina, Syria and Iraq.

Their strategy - like that of ISIS today - was to bring the peoples whom they conquered into submission. They aimed to instill fear. In 1801, the Allies attacked the Holy City of Karbala in Iraq. They massacred thousands of Shiites, including women and children. Many Shiite shrines were destroyed, including the shrine of Imam Hussein, the murdered grandson of Prophet Muhammad.

A British official, Lieutenant Francis Warden, observing the situation at the time, wrote: "They pillaged the whole of it [Karbala], and plundered the Tomb of Hussein... slaying in the course of the day, with circumstances of peculiar cruelty, above five thousand of the inhabitants ..."

Osman Ibn Bishr Najdi, the historian of the first Saudi state, wrote that Ibn Saud committed a massacre in Karbala in 1801. He proudly documented that massacre saying, "we took Karbala and slaughtered and took its people (as slaves), then praise be to Allah, Lord of the Worlds, and we do not apologize for that and say: 'And to the unbelievers: the same treatment.'"

In 1803, Abdul Aziz then entered the Holy City of Mecca, which surrendered under the impact of terror and panic (the same fate was to befall Medina, too). Abd al-Wahhab's followers demolished historical monuments and all the tombs and shrines in their midst. By the end, they had destroyed centuries of Islamic architecture near the Grand Mosque.

But in November of 1803, a Shiite assassin killed King Abdul Aziz (taking revenge for the massacre at Karbala). His son, Saud bin Abd al Aziz, succeeded him and continued the conquest of Arabia. Ottoman rulers, however, could no longer just sit back and watch as their empire was devoured piece by piece. In 1812, the Ottoman army, composed of Egyptians, pushed the Alliance out from Medina, Jeddah and Mecca. In 1814, Saud bin Abd al Aziz died of fever. His unfortunate son Abdullah bin Saud, however, was taken by the Ottomans to Istanbul, where he was gruesomely executed (a visitor to Istanbul reported seeing him having been humiliated in the streets of Istanbul for three days, then hanged and beheaded, his severed head fired from a canon, and his heart cut out and impaled on his body).

In 1815, Wahhabi forces were crushed by the Egyptians (acting on the Ottoman's behalf) in a decisive battle. In 1818, the Ottomans captured and destroyed the Wahhabi capital of Dariyah. The first Saudi state was no more. The few remaining Wahhabis withdrew into the desert to regroup, and there they remained, quiescent for most of the 19th century.

HISTORY RETURNS WITH ISIS

It is not hard to understand how the founding of the Islamic State by ISIS in contemporary Iraq might resonate amongst those who recall this history. Indeed, the ethos of 18th century Wahhabism did not just wither in Nejd, but it roared back into life when the Ottoman Empire collapsed amongst the chaos of World War I.

The Al Saud - in this 20th century renaissance - were led by the laconic and politically astute Abd-al Aziz, who, on uniting the fractious Bedouin tribes, launched the Saudi "Ikhwan" in the spirit of Abd-al Wahhab's and Ibn Saud's earlier fighting proselytisers.

The Ikhwan was a reincarnation of the early, fierce, semi-independent vanguard movement of committed armed Wahhabist "moralists" who almost had succeeded in seizing Arabia by the early 1800s. In the same manner as earlier, the Ikhwan again succeeded in capturing Mecca, Medina and Jeddah between 1914 and 1926. Abd-al Aziz, however, began to feel his wider interests to be threatened by the revolutionary "Jacobinism" exhibited by the Ikhwan. The Ikhwan revolted - leading to a civil war that lasted until the 1930s, when the King had them put down: he machine-gunned them.

For this king, (Abd-al Aziz), the simple verities of previous decades were eroding. Oil was being discovered in the peninsular. Britain and America were courting Abd-al Aziz, but still were inclined to support Sharif Husain as the only legitimate ruler of Arabia. The Saudis needed to develop a more sophisticated diplomatic posture.

So Wahhabism was forcefully changed from a movement of revolutionary jihad and theological takfiri purification, to a movement of conservative social, political, theological, and religious da'wa (Islamic call) and to justifying the institution that upholds loyalty to the royal Saudi family and the King's absolute power.

OIL WEALTH SPREAD WAHHABISM

With the advent of the oil bonanza - as the French scholar, Giles Kepel writes , Saudi goals were to "reach out and spread Wahhabism across the Muslim world ... to "Wahhabise" Islam, thereby reducing the "multitude of voices within the religion" to a "single creed" - a movement which would transcend national divisions. Billions of dollars were - and continue to be - invested in this manifestation of soft power.

It was this heady mix of billion dollar soft power projection - and the Saudi willingness to manage Sunni Islam both to further America's interests, as it concomitantly embedded Wahhabism educationally, socially and culturally throughout the lands of Islam - that brought into being a western policy dependency on Saudi Arabia, a dependency that has endured since Abd-al Aziz's meeting with Roosevelt on a U.S. warship (returning the president from the Yalta Conference) until today.

Westerners looked at the Kingdom and their gaze was taken by the wealth; by the apparent modernization; by the professed leadership of the Islamic world. They chose to presume that the Kingdom was bending to the imperatives of modern life - and that the management of Sunni Islam would bend the Kingdom, too, to modern life.

On the one hand, ISIS is deeply Wahhabist. On the other hand, it is ultra radical in a different way. It could be seen essentially as a corrective movement to contemporary Wahhabism.

But the Saudi Ikhwan approach to Islam did not die in the 1930s. It retreated, but it maintained its hold over parts of the system - hence the duality that we observe today in the Saudi attitude towards ISIS.

On the one hand, ISIS is deeply Wahhabist. On the other hand, it is ultra radical in a different way. It could be seen essentially as a corrective movement to contemporary Wahhabism.

ISIS is a "post-Medina" movement: it looks to the actions of the first two Caliphs, rather than the Prophet Muhammad himself, as a source of emulation, and it forcefully denies the Saudis' claim of authority to rule.

As the Saudi monarchy blossomed in the oil age into an ever more inflated institution, the appeal of the Ikhwan message gained ground (despite King Faisal's modernization campaign). The "Ikhwan approach" enjoyed - and still enjoys - the support of many prominent men and women and sheikhs. In a sense, Osama bin Laden was precisely the representative of a late flowering of this Ikhwani approach.

Today, ISIS' undermining of the legitimacy of the King's legitimacy is not seen to be problematic, but rather a return to the true origins of the Saudi-Wahhab project.

In the collaborative management of the region by the Saudis and the West in pursuit of the many western projects (countering socialism, Ba'athism, Nasserism, Soviet and Iranian influence), western politicians have highlighted their chosen reading of Saudi Arabia (wealth, modernization and influence), but they chose to ignore the Wahhabist impulse.

After all, the more radical Islamist movements were perceived by Western intelligence services as being more effective in toppling the USSR in Afghanistan - and in combatting out-of-favor Middle Eastern leaders and states.

Why should we be surprised then, that from Prince Bandar's Saudi-Western mandate to manage the insurgency in Syria against President Assad should have emerged a neo-Ikhwan type of violent, fear-inducing vanguard movement: ISIS? And why should we be surprised - knowing a little about Wahhabism - that "moderate" insurgents in Syria would become rarer than a mythical unicorn? Why should we have imagined that radical Wahhabism would create moderates? Or why could we imagine that a doctrine of "One leader, One authority, One mosque: submit to it, or be killed" could ever ultimately lead to moderation or tolerance?

Or, perhaps, we never imagined.

This article is Part I of Alastair Crooke's historical analysis of the roots of ISIS and its impact on the future of the Middle East. Read Part II here .

[Jun 12, 2017] Pan-islamism And Bolshevism

Jun 12, 2017 | archive.org

I have openly preached religion (and undoubtedly the most acceptable religion to Allah is Islam) and have clelibciatcly advocated universal and international Brotherhood which in its best form is Pan-Islamism indeed, therefore I think I had better explain what I mean by Religion and Pan-Islamism.

I wrote on page 54 of Islam and Socialism : -

By religion is meant that moralising factor whicli carries man above the narrow limits of materialism and egoism and gives him a pleasure in living not only for his own good but for that of the others. By religion is meant that inner force which separates what is animal and carnal in man from what there is godly and altruistic in him - ^which makes him feel tire difference between the feelings of satisfaction when lie has satiated his own hunger and the feelings of inward happiness when he has relieved the suffering of his fellowbeing - nay that of e\'en an animal, a bird or an ant. By religion is meant that power which restrains people from committing any crime or sin even in the darkest and loneliest place, concealed from society and individuals. By religion is meant that impelling power which makes one do good to others without any expectation of return ; that strong sense of right and wrong which perfects morality. By religion is meant that relation which exists between the Creator and the created and which intuitively makes the created soar aloft in actions and aspirations to imitate the Creator in His All-Lofty Attributes and Power, as Maulana Rumi - the great Sufi poet, has said: -

Khalk ma bar siirate khud katd Hak,

Wasje ma as wasf oo ghad sabak,

(God created us after His own Image and we take inspiration from His attributes for our ideals). By Religion is meant that discriminating intellect which demarcates the position of man in the economy of the world and makes him realize the responsi- bility that rests upon the shoulders of the Creator's Vicegerent on the earth and the relations that he should have with his fellow-being. To a scientist and naturalist there is but little difference between man and animal and according to that eminent Indian scientist, Professor Bose, even between man and plants so far as the responsive- ness and vibration is concerned. T'he greatest materialist of the age, Haeckel, has declared material monism to be the rule in creation, yet there is clearly a difference between man and oilier creatures; there is an inexplicable, undefinable, yet plainly manifest consciousness in man which is distinctly his own, the teaching of that consciousness is Religion and it is that very consciousness which enables man to deal with othei men with sympathy, magnanimity and

I said '

Materialism teaches selfishness and egoism. One ivho has nothing beyond this worldly existence to look to, one whose only object in life is to secure for himself the most luxurious life possible, cannot tolerate any subordination of his interests and of his pleasures to any other person or body of persons.

And to impress the importance of religion I quoted Renan and Mazzini as follows.

Renan wrote: -

"Why, it will be said, take account of these chimeras ? Let the future take care of itself, and have to do wdlh the present. My answer is that nothing can be done without chimeras. Man needs in order that he may bring into play all lus activity to place before himself an object capable of rousing his energies. What is the use of labouring for the future if the future is to be colourless and insignificant ? Would it not be better to think of ease and pleasure in this life-time to sacrifice himself for avoid?"

Joseph Mazzini's words might carry more ^veight with the modern Socialist Reformers and therefore they are ctuoted below. He says : - >

"And I have seen, with deep sadness, the sons of the people, educated in mate- rialism by those men, turn false to their mission and their future ; false to their country

( 473' )

and themselves, betrayed by some foolish, immoral hope of obtaining material happi- ness, through furthering the caprice or interest of a despotism.

''I have seen the working-men of France stand by, indifferent spectators of the coup d'etat of the 2nd December, because all the great social questions had dwindled in their minds into a question of material prosperity; and they foolishly believed that the promises, artfully made to them by him who had destroyed the liberty of their country, would be kept. Now they mourn their lost liberty, without having acquired even the promised material well-being.

"No : without God, without the sense of a moral law, without morality, without a spirit of sacrifice, and by merely following after men who have neither faith, nor reverence for truth, nor holiness of life, nor aught to guide them but the vanity of their own systems - I repeat it, with deep conviction - you will never succeed. You may achieve temporary benefits, but you will never realize the true Great Revolution, you and I alike desire - a revolution, not the offspring and illusion of irritated egotism, but of religious conviction. Your own improvement and that of others, this must be the supreme hope and aim of every social transformation.

"You cannot change the fate of man by merely embellishing his material dwelling. You will never induce the society to which you belong to substitute a system of Association for a system of salary and wages, unless you convince them that your association will result in improved production and collective prosperity. And you can only prove this by showing yourselves capable of founding and maintaining association through your own honesty, mutual goodwill, love of labour, and capacity of self-sacrifice."

By Pan-Islamism is meant that International link and National vigour which is established not through animal instincts of only material advantages and benefits but as a human duty and moral obligation to be ready with even some sacrifice on the part of each Nation to obtain general peace and happiness and goodwill of all Mankind irrespective of colour oi coui^try, etc., and to make each individual fit to take a prominent part in internal Progress and Prosperity by his superior merits both mental and spiiituah Keeping this Islam and Pair-Islamism in view I say it, and say it as a chellenge that if Civiliza.tion can be saved for man it can be only when Communism (Bolshevism) works hand in hand with Islam (Pan-Islamism).

But the ultra orthodox Muslims must not make Islamic laws as rigid as are the Jewish and their formalities and rituals as un- elastic as those of Hinduism. They should remember the always uptodate such Sayings of the Everliving Teacher and Guide : - ''Verily, ye are in an age in which he among you who shell abandon one-tenth of what is bidden will be ruined ; then will come a time when he among them who shadl act upon one-tenth of what is bidden, will be saved". (Abu Hurairah.)

[Jun 11, 2017] From Communism as "The 20th Century Islam," to "Islam as the 21st Century Communism" Dr. Andrew Bostom

Jun 11, 2017 | www.andrewbostom.org

From Communism as "The 20th Century Islam," to "Islam as the 21st Century Communism?"

Posted on 5th December 2009 | Comments Offon From Communism as "The 20th Century Islam," to "Islam as the 21st Century Communism?"

Jules Monnerot's, 1949 "Sociologie du Communisme," was translated into English and published as "Sociology and Psychology of Communism," by The Beacon Press, Boston, in 1953. Monnerot elaborated at length upon a brief, but remarkably prescient observation by Bertrand Russell, published already in 1920, which compared emerging Bolshevism to Islam. Russell had noted in his "The Practice and Theory of Bolshevism," (London, 1920), pp. 5, 114-115:

"Bolshevism combines the characteristics of the French Revolution with those of the rise of Islam Those who accept Bolshevism become impervious to scientific evidence, and commit intellectual suicide. Even if all the doctrines of Bolshevism were true, this would still be the case, since no unbiased examination of them is tolerated Among religions, Bolshevism is to be reckoned with Mohammedanism [Islam] rather than with Christianity and Buddhism. Christianity and Buddhism are primarily personal religions, with mystical doctrines and a love of contemplation. Mohammedanism and Bolshevism are practical, social, unspiritual, concerned to win the empire of this world."

Monnerot made very explicit connections between pre-modern Islamic and 20th century Communist totalitarianism. The title of his first chapter dubbed Communism as "The Twentieth Century Islam". He elucidates these two primary shared characteristics of Islam and Communism: "conversion"-followed by subversion-from within, and the fusion of "religion" and state. But Monnerot's brilliant, remarkably compendious analysis in chapter 1 also introduces the modern Western reader to apposite examples from Islam's enduring Legacy of Jihad-Mahmud of Ghazni, Togrul Beg, Alp Arslan, the Fatimids of Egypt, the Shiite Persian Safavids, and even the ostensibly "pacific, benevolent" Sufis. Here are extracts from pp. 15, 18-20, of the first chapter:

"[p.15]: There is a resemblance between the use made of Marxism by the present masters of the totalitarian world and the conversion of nomadic barbarians such as the Turkish mercenaries Mahmud of Ghazna [Ghazni; modern Afghanistan], [and the Turcomen of Asia Minor] Togrul Beg, and Alp Arslan to the universal religion[s] of the civilization[s] they threatened, namely Islam Like Stalin's Marxism, their conversion gave them the pretext for disrupting civilization from within [emphasis in original]; as converst they were able to attack in the name of the true Faith the very societies which had brought the Faith to them. In the same way the Marxist chiefs of totalitarian Russia attack Western society from within, attempting to destroy the social structure of European countries for the sake of the socialism to which these countries themselves gave birth."

[pp. 18-20]: "Communism takes the field both as a secular religion [emphasis in original] and as a universal State [emphasis in original]; it is therefore comparable to Islam Soviet Russia (to use the name it gives itself, although it is a misdescription of the regime) is not the first empire in which the temporal and public power goes hand in hand with a shadowy power which works outside the imperial frontiers to undermine the social structure of neighboring States. The Islamic East affords several examples of a like duality and duplicity. The Egyptian Fatimids, and later the Persian Safavids, were the animators and propagators, from the heart of their own States, of an active and organizing legend, an historical myth, calculated to make fanatics and obtain their total devotion, designed to create in neighboring States an underworld of ruthless gangsters. The eponymous ancestor of the Safavids was a saint from whom they magically derived the religious authority in whose name they operated. They were Shi'is of Arabian origin, and the militant order they founded was dedicated to propaganda and 'nucleation' throughout the whole of Persia and Asia Minor. It recruited 'militants' and 'adherents' and 'sympathizers'. These were the Sufis. [emphasis added] As rulers, their sympathies were recognized by other sovereigns in the same way that Stalin, head of the State, is recognized by other heads of States, and rightly, as the leader of world communism. This merging of religion and politics was a major characteristic of the Islamic world in its victorious period. It allowed the head of a State to operate beyond his own frontiers in the capacity of the commander of the faithful (Amir-al-muminin); and in this way a Caliph was able to count upon docile instruments, or captive souls, wherever there were men who recognized his authority. The territorial frontiers which seemed to remove some of his subjects from his jurisdiction were nothing more than material obstacles; armed force might compel him to feign respect for the frontier, but propaganda and subterranean warfare could continue no less actively beyond it.

Religions of this kind acknowledge no frontiers. Soviet Russia is merely the geographical center from which communist influence radiates; it is an 'Islam' on the march, and it regards its frontiers at any given moment as purely provisional and temporary. Communism, like victorious Islam, makes no distinction between politics and religion To an educated European or American, unless he is himself a communist, it appears that communists are religious fanatics in the service of an expansionist empire which is striving for world dominion. But communists see it differently: for them communism is what ought to be, and the whole of history, the whole past of humanity, takes its meaning from this future event Communism is a faith, and it has in Russia a sort of fatherland; but such a fatherland cannot be a country like any other. Russia is to communism what the Abbasid empire was to Islam. Communism is a religious sect of world conquerors for whom Russia is simply the strongpoint from which the attack is launched."

Monnerot returns briefly to Islam's paradigmatic fusion of religion and state in chapter 12, entitled, "Twentieth Century Absolutism," invoking [on p. 219] another relevant historical example-the Ottoman empire, and its brutal jihad enslavement and forced conversion to Islam of subjected Christian children for the slave soldier devshirme-janissary system.

"Islam has provided the type of society in which the political and the sacred are indissolubly merged. The law of the Koran was religious, political, and civil all in one; and an infidel could be no more than a tributary [emphasis in original]. In history and in law he appeared as an object, but not as a participating subject; and the Ottoman empire was interested in the children of infidels only because they could be recruited as janissaries. During the great period of Islamic conquests the State, in so far as it existed in our sense of the word, participated [emphasis in the original] in the sacred doctrine of the prophet [Muhammad] and was its embodiment and life. The companions of the prophet, partakers in the revolutionary legitimacy, did not constitute a Church; nor do the secular religions inherent in 20th century absolutisms, but the power of the prophetic elite (which is what the party's 'summit' is at the moment when the new State is created) is all the more absolute for being, as it were, a condensation of the power of the whole society. And the leader represents the extreme point of condensation."

Elsewhere, I have demonstrated that contemporary jihadism-despite certain prevalent but very misguided understandings-possesses, critically, no serious ideological affinity with the practical world order envisioned by Communist totalitarians, who clearly do not long for a Shari'a (Islamic Law)-based global "Caliphate." Consider the most recognizable modern Shiite jihadist, Ayatollah Khomeini. Khomeini's 1942 speech "Islam Is Not a Religion of Pacifists," is a modern vision of the classical formulations of jihad, which states plainly, and accurately,

" those who study jihad will understand why Islam wants to conquer the whole world. All the countries conquered by Islam or to be conquered in the future will be marked for everlasting salvation. For they shall live under [Allah's law; the Sharia] .Those who know nothing of Islam pretend that Islam counsels against war. Those [who say this] are witless. Islam says: Kill all the unbelievers just as they would kill you all! Does this mean that Muslims should sit back until they are devoured by [the unbelievers]? Islam says: Kill them [the non-Muslims], put them to the sword and scatter [their armies]. Does this mean sitting back until [non-Muslims] overcome us? Islam says: Kill in the service of Allah those who may want to kill you! Does this mean that we should surrender [to the enemy]? Islam says: Whatever good there is exists thanks to the sword and in the shadow of the sword! People cannot be made obedient except with the sword! The sword is the key to paradise, which can be opened only for holy warriors!

There are hundreds of other [Koranic] psalms and hadiths [sayings of the prophet] urging Muslims to value war and to fight. Does all that mean that Islam is a religion that prevents men from waging war? I spit upon those foolish souls who make such a claim."

Thus despite whatever transient "alliances" Khomeini may have forged with Iranian Communists to remove the Shah in the late 1970s, he found their views anathema, and eventually purged these erstwhile "allies." Moreover, even during the early 1970s, as detailed in Mahmood Davari's "The Political Thought of Ayatullah Murtaza Mutahhari" ( Routledge Curzon, London, 2005, pp.76-77) Khomeini disputed the views of a group of Communists-the "Mujahidin Khalq"-seeking his support at a private meeting with him in Najaf.

"Khomeini listened to the delegations' explanations about their ideology, in a series of secret audiences (probably 24 sessions). He also tried to test their religious beliefs by asking them some questions on theological issues, but they failed to present satisfactory replies. Furthermore he urged them to change their views about Marxism and international communism "

Following the Islamic takeover of 1979, and the subsequent assassination of his close student Ayatollah Mutahhari-another avowed anti-Communist cleric-Khomeini, during a public speech on June 25, 1980 which was entitled, 'A hypocrite [munafiq] is worse than an unbeliever [kafir],' made reference to the Najaf encounters with the Communist Mujahidin Khalq in 1971. According to Davari,

"He [Khomeini] then disclosed that the Mujahidin representatives had come with a mouthful of dangerous lies, claiming to champion Islam but all the time planning secretly to use their 'irresponsible talk of armed struggle' to destroy Islam and the ulama. He concluded his attack by mentioning that he had not been fooled by these compulsive liars, for he had kept in mind the old parable of the recent Jewish convert in Hamadan who incessantly quoted the Quran without having the faintest notion about Islam."

On the other hand it is very plausible that the nearly 1400 year old menace of Islamic jihadism is currently exploiting 20th century Communist tactics during Islam's ongoing triumphant revival, which has extended into the 21st century.

A concluding observation from Jules Monnerot (which invokes the scholar Ernest Renan [d. 1892], in chapter 10, "The Psychology of Secular Religions", p. 141) underscores how incoherent Western "intellectual" apologists for totalitarianism-whether Communist or Islamic-promote the advance of these destructive ideologies.


Andrew G. Bostom is the author of The Legacy of Jihad (Prometheus, 2005) and The Legacy of Islamic Antisemitism " (Prometheus, November, 2008) You can contact Dr. Bostom at @andrewbostom.org

[Jun 11, 2017] Bolsheviks and Islam Religious Rights Socialist Review

Jun 11, 2017 | socialistreview.org.uk
Lenin talked about the 'gigantic, all-historical' importance of setting things right. In 1920 he ordered 'sending to concentration camps in Russia all former members of the police, military, security forces, administration etc, who were products of the Tsarist era and who swarmed around Soviet power [in Central Asia] because they saw in it the perpetuation of Russian domination'.

Sacred Islamic monuments, books and objects looted by the tsars were returned to the mosques. Friday - the day of Muslim celebration - was declared to be the legal day of rest throughout Central Asia. A parallel court system was created in 1921, with Islamic courts administering justice in accordance with sharia laws. The aim was for people to have a choice between religious and revolutionary justice. A special Sharia Commission was established in the Soviet Commissariat of Justice.

Some sharia sentences that contravened Soviet law, such as stoning or the cutting off of hands, were forbidden. Decisions of the sharia courts that concerned these matters had to be confirmed by higher organs of justice.

Some sharia courts flouted the Soviet law, refusing to award divorces on the petition of a wife, or equating the testimony of two women to that of a man. So in December 1922 a decree introduced retrials in Soviet courts if one of the parties requested it. All the same, some 30 to 50 percent of all court cases were resolved by sharia courts, and in Chechnya the figure was 80 percent.

A parallel education system was also established. In 1922 rights to certain waqf (Islamic) properties were restored to Muslim administration, with the proviso that they were used for education. As a result, the system of madrassahs - religious schools - was extensive. In 1925 there were 1,500 madrassahs with 45,000 students in the Caucasus state of Dagestan, as opposed to just 183 state schools. In contrast, by November 1921 over 1,000 soviet schools had some 85,000 pupils in Central Asia - a modest number relative to the potential enrolment.

The Muslim Commissariat in Moscow oversaw Russia's policy towards Islam. Muslims with few communist credentials were granted leading positions in the commissariat. The effect was to split the Islamic movement. Historians agree that a majority of Muslim leaders supported the soviets, convinced that Soviet power meant religious liberty. There was serious discussion among Muslims of the similarity of Islamic values to socialist principles. Popular slogans of the time included: 'Long live Soviet power, long live the sharia!'; 'Religion, freedom and national independence!' Supporters of 'Islamic socialism' appealed to Muslims to set up soviets.

Alliances

The Bolsheviks made alliances with the Kazakh pan-Islamic group the Ush-Zhuz (which joined the CP in 1920), the Persian pan-Islamist guerrillas in the Jengelis, and the Vaisites, a Sufi brotherhood. In Dagestan, Soviet power was established largely thanks to the partisans of the Muslim leader Ali-Hadji Akushinskii.

In Chechnya the Bolsheviks won over Ali Mataev, the head of a powerful Sufi order, who led the Chechen Revolutionary Committee. In the Red Army the 'sharia squadrons' of the mullah Katkakhanov numbered tens of thousands.

At the Baku Congress of the Peoples of the East in September 1920, Russian Bolshevik leaders issued a call for a 'holy war' against Western imperialism. Two years later the Fourth Congress of the Communist International endorsed alliances with pan-Islamism against imperialism.

Moscow deliberately employed non-Russian troops to fight in Central Asia - Tatar, Bashkir, Kazakh, Uzbek and Turkmen detachments were pitted against the anti-Bolshevik invaders. Tatar soldiers in the Red Army exceeded 50 percent of the troops on the Eastern and Turkestan fronts of the civil war.

The Red Army was only one aspect of thoroughgoing efforts to ensure indigenous peoples themselves controlled the new autonomous republics in the former colonies.

Firstly this meant kicking out the Russian and Cossack colonists - in the Caucasus and Central Asia colonists were encouraged to return to Russia, and in some places forcibly evicted. The Russian language ceased to dominate, and native languages returned to schools, government and publishing.

A massive programme of what would now be called 'affirmative action' was introduced. Indigenous people were promoted to leading positions in the state and communist parties, and given preference for employment over Russians. Universities were established to train a new generation of non-Russian national leaders.

However, efforts to guarantee religious freedom and national rights were constantly undermined by the weak economy. The isolation of the Russian Revolution meant that desperate poverty dragged the regime down. Already in 1922 Moscow's subsidy to Central Asia had to be cut and many state schools had to close. Teachers abandoned their jobs because of failure to pay salaries. This meant Muslim schools were the only alternative. 'When you can't provide bread, you don't dare take away the substitute,' said commissar for education Lunacharsky.

Sharia courts had all their funding removed in late 1923 to early 1924. But economic factors already obstructed Muslims from bringing their grievances to court. If a young woman refused to enter an arranged or polygamous marriage, for example, she had a slim chance of being able to feed herself because there were no jobs and nowhere else to live.

On top of this, the Stalinist bureaucracy was gaining a stranglehold on the revolution. Increasingly it attacked so called 'nationalist deviations' in the non-Russian republics and encouraged a rebirth of Russian chauvinism. From the mid-1920s the Stalinists began planning an all-out attack on Islam under the banner of women's rights. The slogan of the campaign was khudzhum - which means storming or assault.

The khudzhum entered its mass action phase on 8 March 1927 - international women's day. At mass meetings women were called upon to unveil. Small groups of native women came to the podium and threw their veils on bonfires. This grotesque plan turned Marxism on its head. It was far from the days when Bolshevik women activists veiled themselves to conduct political work in the mosques. It was a million miles from Lenin's instruction that 'we are absolutely opposed to giving offence to religious conviction'.

Inevitably there was a backlash against the khudzhum. Thousands of Muslim children, especially girls, were withdrawn from Soviet schools and resigned from the Young Communist League. Unveiled women were attacked in the street, including ferocious rapes and thousands of killings.

[Jun 11, 2017] The Religious Foundations of Bolshevism

Jun 11, 2017 | berdyaev.com
NIKOLAI BERDYAEV (BERDIAEV)

The Religious Foundations
of Bolshevism

(From the Religious Psychology of the Russian People)

(1917-#275)

I.

Such a setting of theme might evoke astonishment. What relationship has Bolshevism to religion? The Bolsheviks, just like the overwhelming majority of the Social Democrats, -- are materialists, positivists, atheists, foreign to them is every religious interest, and they mock at any religious setting of themes. Everyone tends to say, that Bolshevism is a phenomenon totally non-religious and anti-religious. All this is indeed so, if we stay at the surface and regard as conclusive those word formulas, in which people tend to cloak their consciousness. But I think, that the Bolsheviks themself, as so often transpires, know not the final truth about themself, do not perceive, of what sort of spirit they are. To recognise about them a final truth, to recognise, of what sort of spirit they are, is possible only for people of a religious consciousness, endowed with a religious criterion of distinction. And here, I am wont to say, that Russian Bolshevism -- is the manifestation of a religious order, in it are active certain ultimately religious energies, if by religious energy be understood not only that, oriented towards God. A religious substitute, an inverted religion, a pseudo-religion -- is indeed likewise the manifestation of a religious order, in it there is its own absoluteness, its own final end, its own all-encompassing aspect, its own pseudo and phantasmic plenitude. Bolshevism is not merely politics, not simply a social struggle, it is not a partialised and differentiated sphere of human activity. Bolshevism is a state of spirit and a phenomenon of spirit, an entire world-sense and world-outlook. Bolshevism has pretentions to seize upon the whole of man, all his powers, it seeks to give answer to all the questions of man, upon all the human torments. Bolshevism seeks to be not merely some-thing, not merely a part, not some separate sphere of life, but rather the all, and all-encompassing. As a fanatic faith-confession, it does not tolerate anything alongside it, does not want to have anything separate from it, it wants to be the all and in all. Bolshevism indeed is socialism, having reached a religious disposition and a religious exclusiveness. In this it is akin to the French revolutionary syndicalism. In all its formal signs Bolshevism displays religious pretentions, and it is necessary to define, of what sort is this religion, of what sort is the spirit that it conveys with it into the world.

Revolutionary Social Democracy has become subject to a process of fading intensity, of becoming bourgeois, of differentiation, it gradually is becoming transformed into a practical social politics of the evolutionary-reform type. The pathos of revolutionary socialism imperceptibly has become weather-beaten. The European Social Democrats have become cultural people, they have acknowledged such "bourgeois" values, as nationality and the state, and their teleological world-concept has become transformed into a partialised matter. Only within the consciousness of the Russian Bolsheviks does the revolutionary socialism remain a religion, with which by fire and sword they want to thrust upon the world. This is something upon the order of a new Islam, in which they want to merit themself paradise by the killing of unbelievers. The Bolsheviks, just like all religious fanatics, divide all the world and all mankind into two realms -- the realm of God, the realm of the socialistic proletariat, in opposition to the realm of the devil, the bourgeois realm. But all the while I shall be speaking about the sincere, the believing Bolsheviks, since in this medium there are also many dark elements, provocateurs, spies, the corrupt, and moral idiots.

The religious basis of Bolshevism for the time being is very unclear and for many unnoticed. But a Christian, believing in the Christ having come and awaiting the Christ to come, has to assume the audacity to declare, what sort of spirit it is that enters the world with the fanatical revolutionary socialism of the Bolsheviks. The Russian great writers -- Dostoevsky in the "Legend about the Grand Inquisitor", and Vl. Solov'ev in his "Tale about the Anti-Christ" -- help us to solve the riddle of this spirit. Russian religious thought has done much for exposing the ultimate religious foundations of socialism, for making apparent its twofold nature, it has done this moreso, than has Western thought. Within Russian religious thought there has always been an apocalyptic disposition and striving. And therefore it has succeeded in making clear, that this is the spirit, of one who is to appear at the end times and who will tempt with his semblance to Christ, who will act in the name of the happiness and well-being of people, in the name of a million happy infants, not knowing sin. This spirit desires to leave people happy, having deprived them of spiritual freedom. For the renouncing of their spiritual birthright, the renouncing of the image of God in man and his Divine destiny, the Grand Inquisitor promises happiness, bliss, world-unity and tranquility. "He sets about to the merit of himself and his, that the final thing is that they shall have vanquished freedom, and rendered things thus, that they have made people happy". "Yes, we shall force them to work, but in their hours free of toil we shall arrange their life, as child's play, with childish songs, with choruses and dancing. Oh, we shall absolve them also their sins, for they are weak and without strength". "And all will be happy, all the millions of beings". "If it were to be in that light, then certainly already it is not for such, as they are". And the hero of the "Legend about the Anti-Christ" -- is a great philanthropist, he likewise wants to make people happy, he ultimately resolves the social question and installs a social paradise, but all this at a terrible price.

II.

Dostoevsky and Solov'ev prophetically and with genius revealed this twofold image of suchlike future alluring millions of infants. When one ponders what at present is occurring, one tends to remember then the truth of the words of the Legend of the Grand Inquisitor: "Nothing ever for man and human society has been more unbearable than freedom". Both the "Legend of the Grand Inquisitor" and the "Tale about the Anti-Christ" posit the problem concerning the Anti-Christian connection with the problem of socialism. And truly within socialism, as a worldwide phenomenon on a massive scale, there is something twofold and divided -- within it truth is mixed together with lie, Christ with the Anti-Christ, a principle liberating together with a principle enslaving. Socialism -- is a very complicated phenomenon, complicated both in idea, and complicated in life. And it is impossible simply to be a friend of socialism or its enemy. The alluring temptation of the Anti-Christ is grounded upon this, that the ultimate evil manifests itself under the guise of seeming good, that this ultimate evil is impossible to distinguish on the surface, that the evil power acts in the name of the well-being of mankind, in the name of lofty, just, beautiful aims, in the name of equality and brotherhood, in the name of universal happiness and felicity. Upon this basis rests all the whole seductive dialectics of the spirit of the Anti-Christ, as revealed by Dostoevsky. This spirit accepts all those temptations, spurned by Christ in the wilderness. This spirit conducts the Inquisitor's acts of violence in the name of the well-being and happiness of people, in the name of justice and equality. Socialism, as a religion, is first of all also the acceptance of the first temptation in the wilderness, the temptation of the loaves of bread. "And see Thou these stones in this barren and scorched wilderness? Turn them into bread, and Thou wilt win over mankind, like an herd, grateful and obedient, though also eternally trembling, lest Thou hold back Thine hand and cease Thine bread for them". And the obedient herd is won over by those, who would tempt it with the turning of stones into bread. Bolshevism follows in the footsteps of the Grand Inquisitor. In the name of happiness and equality this spirit would destroy everything uplifting, everything of quality, everything of value, all freedom, all individuality. This spirit preaches a worldwide equality of bliss in non-being. This spirit hates being, as qualitative, as uplifting, all in the name of equality and blissful tranquility it would destroy and subject it to non-being. Hateful to this spirit is that ontological aristocratism, which sets at the basis of every religion and most of all -- Christianity, an aristocratism of spiritual freedom and spiritual birthright, of the Divine descent of man. This spirit of Hamism affirms instead a lower descent of man's origin. People for it -- are not sons of God, but rather sons of the world. From a verymost low matter and material darkness it seeks to arouse revolt and rebellion in the name of a leveling down and equating being with non-being, in the name of submerging all the qualities of being into a qualityless non-being. This -- is a mystical Communism.

This spirit accepts not only the first temptation with the loaves of bread, but also the two other temptations, and upon them it desires to create a kingdom of this world. This spirit consents to worship the kingdom of this world and plunges into the abyss. The worldwide revolutionary socialism of the Bolsheviks wants to transform stones into bread, to plunge headlong into the revolutionary abyss in the hope of a revolutionary miracle and to found a forever kingdom of this world, replacing the kingdom of God. This religion of socialism is opposite in everything to the religion of Christ, which teaches, that not by bread alone doth a man live, but also by the word of God, it teaches to worship the Lord God alone, and not the kingdom of this world, it repudiates the temptation for a miracle, in the name of freedom. The religion of socialism wants to destroy everything qualitative of being, everything uplifting, and to drown it in non-being. It spurns freedom, the freedom of the sons of God, and it accepts the necessity and coercion of the sons of this world, of the children of lower matter. The temptation of a world social cataclysm, "of a leap from the realm of necessity into the realm of freedom", is also the allure with the temptation to plunge into the abyss, the temptation for a social miracle. The social revolution, having taken on a mystical hue, is also the third temptation, spurned by Christ in the name of the spiritual freedom of man. To this temptation has to be opposed a social sobriety, as a demand for ascetic religious discipline. Socialism, as a problem of social politics and social ethics, as social reformism, as a real bettering of the lot of the toiling, providing daily bread, is religiously neutral and can comprise an inalienable part of the Christian attitude towards life. In socialism there is its own great truth. But this true socialism issues forth from the freedom of the human spirit and does not permit of the enslaving of the human spirit at the price of bread and the dark abyss, the promises of a miraculous bliss in an earthly kingdom. Socialism however, in its dreaming about the creation of a worldwide kingdom by mechanical revolutionary miracles, is a temptation of the Anti-Christ, it denies the freedom of the spirit and deprives man of his filial relationship of sonship to God.

III.

Russians by their feminine nature readily fall subject to the allures of twofold images, to the temptations of evil, masked under the guise of good. Imposters and pretenders are so characteristic in Russian history. Within it have often appeared twofold images, the nature of which are indeterminate, not as a person, but as a mask. In our mystical sects amongst the people there have been no little of such masks, twofold images, pseudo-Christs and pseudo-Mothers of God. In the Russian people there is a very peculiar element, the Klysty element, submerged within the depths of the pagan roots of the life of the people. Russian Klystyism in the final end is bound up with an incorrect and impaired interrelationship of the masculine and feminine principles in the soul and the character of the Russian people. Within the mystical depths of the Russian people there has not occurred as it were a marital consummation, a true union of the masculine and feminine principles within the people's character. The soul of the people remains feminine, separated from the masculine principle, eternally awaiting a bridegroom and eternally not accepting any as her destined one. Upon this basis has developed a metaphysical hysteria in the character of the Russian people. Dostoevsky discerned it. Upon this basis blossoms forth every sort of obsession. The obsession with Bolshevism is a new form of the age-old Russian Klystyism. This Klystyism can alike be both black, and red, the Klysty-like hero can alike be either Grigorii Rasputin, or Lenin. And all this would be thus a manifestation of the passivity, and not the activity of the Russian soul, its sickly ugly and hysterical femininity. The Bolsheviks, certainly, are under the domination of a sort of spirit unrecognised by them, they are passive to the core and they mislead otherwise only by their revolutionary shouting on the outside. A masculine and active spirit would never be dominant in such elements.

With the more masculine peoples of the West, having received a Catholic or Protestant upbringing, there is a sharper sketching out of the boundaries, moreso a separating apart good from evil, God from the devil, than in the Russian indistinctness. The Catholic world has been tempted by the devil, as evil, but this is a distinctness of form, a crystalised world perceptive of its boundaries, and is not so readily tempted by the Anti-Christ -- by evil, having assumed the guise of good. Satanism, the demonic aspect has always been a specialty of the Catholic and Romance world; the Anti-Christ however is a specialty of the Orthodox Slavic world, with its indistinctness and unlimitedness. The devil is not a temptation for the Russian soul, but the Anti-Christ can quite readily be a temptation for it. The devil presupposes distinctness, the Anti-Christ however is grounded in confusion and substitution. This -- is a very interesting contrast in religious psychology. The satanic sects are impossible in the Russian Orthodox East, but very possible there is a confusion of pseudo-Christs with the true Christ, and in the Russian mystical sects this is always occurring. The piously pure cult of the Virgin Mary readily gets jumbled together with Astartism, and the Mother of God gets identified with a pagan goddess of the earth.

The West has everything set within its place, has in place all its religion, its culture, all its activity, its manly history, its chivalrous past, its free submission to law and norms. This makes the West little sensitive to the mystical impulses of the spirit of the Anti-Christ. The feel of the Anti-Christ is a religious specialty of Russia. It was there always in the religious life of the people and also at the heights, in Russian literature, in Dostoevsky and Solov'ev, and in the modern religious searchings. Within the Russian nature there is no sharp separation of good and evil. Russians tend to be captivated by evil, under the guise of good, whereas that selfsame evil, in not assuming the guise of good, rarely tends to captivate them. Here is why for Russians the dread thing is not the devil, but rather the Anti-Christ -- an ultimate and approaching manifestation of evil. And with Russians particularly strong has taken hold the religion of revolutionary socialism, of a magical socialism, the religion of Bolshevism, captivating with its equality, justice and world triumph of an ultimate social truth and social paradise. Western socialism -- is a matter of laws; the Russian socialism however -- is lawless. Bolshevism is a Russian, a national phenomenon, and this -- is our national ailment, which also in the past has always existed in Russian history, but in different forms. Germany is making use of this sickness of the Russian spirit, turning it into its own obedient tool. The manly German spirit is committing violence over the feminine Russian soul, abusing its sick passivity and hysteria. Germanism has presumptions to be the bridegroom in marriage to the Russian earth. To conquer this Russian sickness is impossible merely by rational, state, political methods of doctoring. To conquer it is possible only religiously, only by opposing against the false semblance of the Good with rather the authentic power of the Good -- of Christ. In this world the kingdom of the Anti-Christ can occur only as the result of the non-success of the matter of Christ in the world, -- it proposes to unite by violence this world, which is not being united in the love and freedom of Christ. If the principle of the Anti-Christ triumphs, then the blame will fall upon the Christian world, upon Christian mankind, upon its spiritual bourgeoisness. Christians do not show even an hundredth part of the energy, that the Bolsheviks show. In truth, the energy of the latter -- is misleading, is illusory, it is only an obsession. But a most important matter is the uniting of all the powers of the Christian world against the coming evil, since the struggle with it has to be conducted not only on the external, the political and social plane, but also in the inward, the spiritual and religious plane.

Nikolai Berdyaev.

11 July 1917

© 2007 by Fr. S. Janos

(1917-275-en)

RELIGIOZNYE OSNOVY BOL'SHEVIZMA. Article originally published in the weekly Journal "Russkaya svoboda", Petrograd-Moskva, 8 aug. 1917, No. 16/17.

Republished in Tom 4 of Berdiaev Collected Works by YMCA Press, in the collection of 1917-1918 Berdyaev articles under the title, "Dukhovnye osnovy russkoi revoliutsii (Stat'i 1917-18)" ("Spiritual Grounds of the Russian Revolution (Articles 1917-18)", Paris, 1990, p. 29-37.

[Dec 06, 2015] Republican presidential candidates associated with the New Apostolic Reformation, the Seven Mountains Mandate, and the Manhattan Declaration

Notable quotes:
"... A lot of modern fundagelicalism seems pretty fake to somebody who was raised Christian or read the Bible. Prosperity gospel particularly gets my goat. But they still get a lot of kowtowing from Republican candidates at all levels. ..."
"... I think that's more a matter of both paying obeisance to the same oil money. The oil industry puts a lot of effort into keeping Christian churches from taking God's instruction to be stewards of the earth seriously. ..."
"... Actually, they are far more susceptible to scams and hacks than non-religious folks, as scammers and hackers claim to be of the same or similar faiths, to get otherwise sensible folk to fall for less than credible schemes. ..."
"... Churches are no different than any social group. It is a business just like a country club or that $20 box of popcorn you bought from a school youth group. ..."
hoocoodanode.org

merchantsofmenace

Antipodes:

Why are so many past and present Republican presidential candidates associated with the New Apostolic Reformation, the Seven Mountains Mandate, and the Manhattan Declaration?

Because they are nuts? You tell me. You have looked into it. I got sidetracked on some other things but do want to look at these connections. I'm not just looking into one thing like you are.

merchantsofmenace

Antipodes:

Why are so many past and present Republican presidential candidates associated with the New Apostolic Reformation, the Seven Mountains Mandate, and the Manhattan Declaration?

When I looked into some links about the 'Seven Mountains Mandate', I found 3 current candidates involved with this. Are you saying they all are? Trump included. And Christie. And Kasich. And Rand Paul. Give me the links. Be quicker if you already have them.

Antipodes

The Manhattan Declaration website:

http://manhattandeclaration.org/#0

Ever wonder why so many Republicans are climate change deniers? Turns out there is also a Manhattan Declaration on Climate Change. Just a coincidence? You tell me.

THE MANHATTAN DECLARATION ON CLIMATE CHANGE 3

FairEconomist2

merchantsofmenace:

I am. That's why I looked at the 7 mountains mandate. It even seems like fake Christianity. :laughing:

A lot of modern fundagelicalism seems pretty fake to somebody who was raised Christian or read the Bible. Prosperity gospel particularly gets my goat. But they still get a lot of kowtowing from Republican candidates at all levels.

FairEconomist2

Antipodes:

Ever wonder why so many Republicans are climate change deniers?

Turns out there is also a Manhattan Declaration on Climate Change.

Just a coincidence? You tell me.

THE MANHATTAN DECLARATION ON CLIMATE CHANGE

I think that's more a matter of both paying obeisance to the same oil money. The oil industry puts a lot of effort into keeping Christian churches from taking God's instruction to be stewards of the earth seriously.

Antipodes

FairEconomist2:

A lot of modern fundagelicalism seems pretty fake to somebody who was raised Christian or read the Bible. Prosperity gospel particularly gets my goat. But they still get a lot of kowtowing from Republican candidates at all levels.

The Prosperity Gospel stems from the New Apostolic Reformation.

New Apostolic Reformation ideology is almost unheard by many people, even within the church, yet this ideology has taken over churches of many different denominations.

Antipodes

FairEconomist2:

I think that's more a matter of both paying obeisance to the same oil money. The oil industry puts a lot of effort into keeping Christian churches from taking God's instruction to be stewards of the earth seriously.

Rick Warren preaches New Apostolic Reformation ideology.

Antipodes

YoringeTBE:

Well Antipodes. Take Solace in the Fact that these Clowns will be occupied fighting it out with the Akbar Fundies.....

The New Apostolic Reformation ideologues are the very ones who want to start another Crusade...

YoringeTBE -> Antipodes

Dont Overheat. There are Scientology, Western Borough Baptists & whatelse to worry too...

Antipodes

Darkaura:

Oh, please. We've been quasi-theocracy for so long, I find it hard to get too bent out of shape about it. What makes this flavor of nuttery, worse?

And you should probably lead with that, instead of the bunch of quackery you have been harping on.

Why are so many Republican presidential candidates so visibly involved with this quackery?

Darkaura

merchantsofmenace:

Here is one of the BIG Cheese preacher evangelists

I've already watched enough Benny Hinn, Tilton, Olsten and the Bakkers to last a lifetime. I don't care to watch any more. Why is [stupid use of retarded description of nothing new under the Sun] worse.

Fucking start with, "New spin on an old fundie scam, is worse because..."

merchantsofmenace

Antipodes:

Why are so many Republican presidential candidates so visibly involved with this quackery?

Again Anti, I found 3 current candidates who can be associated. Nobody in their right mind who wants to win anything will be up front with this fringe religious movement... now if they can be 'associated' with these weirdo spin off groups... yes, guilt by association.

Darkaura

Antipodes:

Why are so many Republican presidential candidates so visibly involved with this quackery?

Why should I care? What makes this flavor of quackery any worse than any of the others?

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/andrewbrown/2009/aug/10/religion-george-bush

FairEconomist2

merchantsofmenace:

Again Anti, I found 3 current candidates who can be associated. Nobody in their right mind who wants to win anything will be up front with this fringe religious movement... now if they can be 'associated' with these weirdo spin off groups... yes, guilt by association.

Cruz doesn't want to win? Could have fooled me.

Lobbyist_Ben_Dover

They need money and votes.

YoringeTBE

Why dont they ask God for Money?

merchantsofmenace

FairEconomist2:

Cruz doesn't want to win? Could have fooled me.

I think this Apostolic movement is being blown up to be much bigger than it is to scare people into hatin' on these redteamer candidates who are going to lose anyway without being associated with more nutty stuff. It's not new. It's not's apostolic. It's not a reformation. In 2001, we entered into the new apostolic age. yeah right. wtf? :laughing:

If Cruz or Rubio want to sign up for this all the way, he's done as he'll lose the majority of evangelical support or votes.

Lobbyist_Ben_Dover:

God gave them a brain just like everyone else, most religious people are not the dupes you want to think they are.

Darkaura

Lobbyist_Ben_Dover:

most religious people are not the dupes you want to think they are.

Actually, they are far more susceptible to scams and hacks than non-religious folks, as scammers and hackers claim to be of the same or similar faiths, to get otherwise sensible folk to fall for less than credible schemes.

http://www.consumeraffairs.com/news04/2009/06/church_scams.html1

Lobbyist_Ben_Dover -> Darkaura

Churches are no different than any social group. It is a business just like a country club or that $20 box of popcorn you bought from a school youth group.

You can have religion with out the organization and expense. I just see projecting of hate for not agreeing with a very narrow point of view. Obama had to dump his Christian Preacher when the going got rough. Always the Repug and never a Dem double standard. Carry on.


Darkaura

Lobbyist_Ben_Dover:

Always the Repug and never a Dem

What? Faith, independent of party affiliation, is the belief in something lacking evidence. For a potential scammer, would you rather try to rip-off the guy who has looked at religeon and said, "that looks a little hokey to me, I'll pass." or work on the guy who thinks there are thetans in volcanos?

I expect that the subscriber list of nPoic's Loss Diversification Newsletter, is much sought after by Nigerian 419 scammers.

CONFIDENTIAL

Dear nPoic,

Good day and compliments. This letter will definitely come to you as a huge surprise, but I implore you to take the time to go through it carefully as the decision you make will go off a long way to determine the future and continued existence of the entire members of my family.

Please allow me to introduce myself. My name is Mr. J. D. Albert, the CEO of SRS Energy, Inc.

My ordeal started immediately after...

Independent, of course, of the likelihood that the thetan believer, is likely already well fleeced.

More info on this sect:
Dominion Theology: Extremist Right-Wing Christianity

Dilbert_Dohfen

merchantsofmenace:

More info on this sect:

Interesting to think how they are going to dominate the rest of the world after the dominate Murika? World cleansing? Hitler had a bit of trouble with his try at it. Maybe like the Green Lantern they will just use will power?

[Nov 01, 2015] Erdogan's party enjoys decisive election victory in Turkey

Looks like neo-Islamism = neoliberalism and radical Islam is a part of neoliberal fifth column... a definition of neo-Islamism includes these key characteristics: non-traditional religiosity, gradualism, Islam modernization, nationalism and pragmatic relations with the West. They are trying to rally a larger constituency than hard-core devout Muslims, recasting religious norms as more vague conservative values (family, property, work ethic, honesty) adopting a neoliberal approach to the economy, and endorsing a constitution, and parliament and regular elections. (Roy 2011a 31. Roy, O., 2011a. The paradoxes of the re-Islamisation of Muslim societies, 10 years after september 11. Available from: http://essays.ssrc.org/10yearsafter911/the-paradoxes-of-the-re-islamization-of-muslim-societies/ [accessed 14 October 2014]. See also Neo-Islamism in the post-Arab Spring - Contemporary Politics - Volume 20, Issue 4 The Turkish ruling party AKP provided an interesting example of this trend which changed their priorities merging "shariatization" with the nationalism and expansion of nation state (Nationalist Islamism)
Notable quotes:
"... I share the frustration expressed by other posts with WAPO and other Western journalism on Turkey. Luckily for me, the strategy behind the AKP victory was explained to me several days priors to the election by a fellow with intimate knowledge of Turkey. Erdogan looked at the Nationalist MHP and Islamist SP and figured out that his only way for strengthen his support would be by moving as many of their voters to the AKP. ..."
"... He figured that a rift with the Kurds will attract the nationalists and more Islamist positions will attract the latter. If you compare the results of the Nov 1 elections with the June 7 elections, you can see that it worked brilliantly. ..."
"... The great experiment in westernized Islam is dead. ..."
"... I would be only relieved if Turkish government would come up and speak all of those words you have mentioned. Iran did it. I have to respect that. They said what they stood for and that they do not like any others very clearly. This is at least honest and brave. If Turkey can pronounce its standing in between West and East, if you will, I will the most proud person even though I will be standing against here. Very well said. ..."
"... byetki - Exactly! At least a snake has dignity. A rat will do anything to survive! ..."
"... Remember the cynical adage about Democracy? Many of us rooted for, supported the campaign of, and voted for Obama. And what did we get? Obama and Erdogan and King Salman: and ongoing wars as far the eye can see. ..."
"... Bombing your own people wins elections. The Americans taught us this.. ..."
The Washington Post

Josh26

I share the frustration expressed by other posts with WAPO and other Western journalism on Turkey. Luckily for me, the strategy behind the AKP victory was explained to me several days priors to the election by a fellow with intimate knowledge of Turkey. Erdogan looked at the Nationalist MHP and Islamist SP and figured out that his only way for strengthen his support would be by moving as many of their voters to the AKP.

He figured that a rift with the Kurds will attract the nationalists and more Islamist positions will attract the latter. If you compare the results of the Nov 1 elections with the June 7 elections, you can see that it worked brilliantly.

Thus, Erdogan moved Turkey even further from the Western/democratic world in order to realize his unrelenting ambition for more and more power.
The US needs now to rely much more on the Kurds to defend US interests in the area, but it will be a real surprise if the current WH will do it.

Oscargo, 9:38 PM EST [Edited]

Turkey has chosen a religious Islamist state and an intolerant regime that jails reporters and journalists, even foreign, and does not accept dissent, over the pluralism, inclusiveness and freedom of speech of the European democracies.

Bye Bye EU!

Steve Willer

Who says corruption, murder, nullifying elections that don't come out your way, jailing the media etc doesn't pay? It did for Erdogan. Turkey should be removed from NATO as long as Erdogan is Sultan.

realityboy

The great experiment in "westernized" Islam is dead.

byetki

I would be only relieved if Turkish government would come up and speak all of those words you have mentioned. Iran did it. I have to respect that. They said what they stood for and that they do not like any others very clearly. This is at least honest and brave. If Turkey can pronounce its standing in between West and East, if you will, I will the most proud person even though I will be standing against here. Very well said.

ed_bx__

byetki - Exactly! At least a snake has dignity. A rat will do anything to survive!

MACLANE

Optimist on Democracy. Remember the cynical adage about Democracy? Many of us rooted for, supported the campaign of, and voted for Obama. And what did we get? Obama and Erdogan and King Salman: and ongoing wars as far the eye can see.

FalseProphet

So Turkey moves closer to being a autocratic theocracy. can't be good

ed_bx__, 4:14 PM EST

Bombing your own people wins elections. The Americans taught us this..

ed_bx__, 4:06 PM EST

It's not too late to get behind Al Assad. He is a more natural ally to the west than Erdogan.

[Jul 18, 2015] Faithocrats

Paul Krugman:
One of the ideas floating around in the aftermath of the sack of Athens has been that of, in effect, deposing Syriza from outside and installing a "technocratic" government. It wouldn't be the first time in this dismal saga, and I won't be surprised if it happens, for a few months anyway.
But let me note, as I have before, that what Europe calls technocrats aren't people who know how the world works; they're people who subscribe to the approved fantasies, and never change their minds no matter how badly wrong things go. Despite the overwhelming evidence that austerity has exactly the dire effects basic textbook macro says it will, they cling to belief in the confidence fairy. Despite a striking lack of evidence that "structural reform" delivers much of a growth boost, especially in an economy suffering from a huge output gap, they continue to present structural reform - mainly in the form of disempowering workers - as a sovereign remedy for all ills. Despite a clear record of past failure, they continue to push for asset sales as a supposed answer to debt overhang.
In short, what Europe usually means by a "technocrat" is a Very Serious Person, someone distinguished by his faith in received orthodoxy no matter the evidence. ...

Posted by Mark Thoma on Tuesday, July 14, 2015 at 09:01 AM in Economics | Permalink Comments (19)

My horrible right-wing past Confessions of a one-time religious right icon

Salon.com
I am a white, privileged, well-off, 61-year-old former Republican religious right-wing activist who changed his mind about religion and politics long ago. The New York Times profiled my change of heart saying that to my former friends I'm considered a "traitorous prince" since my religious-right family was once thought of as "evangelical royalty."

You see, only in the Mafia, the British Royal family and big time American religion is a nepotistic rise to power seen as normal. And I was good at it. And I hated it while hypocritically profiting from it - until, that is, in the mid-1980s, I quit. These days I describe myself as an atheist who believes in God.

Ironically I helped my father become famous in the religion sector. In the 1970s I directed and produced two film series featuring Dad with book companions that became evangelical bestsellers: "How Should We Then Live?" and "Whatever Happened to the Human Race?" By the time Dad and I completed two nationwide seminar tours launching those projects, I was being invited to speak at the biggest religious gatherings, including the Southern Baptist Convention and the annual meeting of the National Religious Broadcasters.

The leaders of the new religious right were gleefully betting on American failure. If secular, democratic, diverse and pluralistic America survived, then wouldn't that prove that we were wrong about God only wanting to bless "Christian America?" If, for instance, crime went down dramatically in New York City, for any other reason than a reformation and revival, wouldn't that make the prophets of doom look silly? And if the economy was booming without anyone repenting, what did that mean?

What began to bother me was that so many of our new "friends" on the religious right seemed to be rooting for one form of apocalypse or another. In the crudest form this was part of the evangelical fascination with the so-called end times. The worse things got, the sooner Jesus would come back. But there was another component. The worse everything got, the more it proved that America needed saving, by us! Plus, it was good for fundraising.

Some 30 years later, what we helped start - I am sorry! - continues. With the Republicans in control of the House and Senate the question arises - again - Where does the American far right find the energy to oppose everything and everyone again and again?

[Feb 19, 2014] Old Testament Armed Forces By Philip Giraldi

February 12, 2014 | The American Conservative

Religious zealotry runs rampant in the U.S. military, and among those wishing to deploy it.

The connection between America's wars in the Middle East-and its wars more generally-with the more fundamentalist forms of Christianity in the United States is striking. Opinion polls suggest that the more religiously conservative one is, the more one will support overseas wars or even what many might describe as war crimes. Fully 60 percent of self-described evangelicals supported torturing suspected terrorists in 2009, for example. That is somewhat puzzling, as Christianity is, if anything, a religion of peace that only reluctantly embraced a "just war" concept that was deliberately and cautiously evolved to permit Christians-under very limited circumstances of imminent threat-to fight to defend themselves.

To be sure, some Christian conservatives who might be described as Armageddonists regard America's Asian wars as part and parcel of the precursor events that will lead to the Second Coming of Christ, which they eagerly look forward to. Also, a non-interventionist friend of mine who comes from a religiously conservative background explained to me how the contradiction partly derives from the fact that many evangelical Christians hardly relate to the New Testament at all. While they can recite scripture and verse coming from the Old Testament, they are frequently only marginally conversant with the numerous episodes in the New Testament that attest to Jesus's extolling the virtues of peacemaking and loving one's neighbor. If true, that means that many evangelicals are much more imbued with the values of an eye-for-an-eye or smiting Philistines than they are with the Sermon on the Mount.

There has undeniably been pushback coming from some evangelical leaders as well as from many younger religious conservatives against America's constant diet of God-anointed warfare, but given that those who describe themselves as evangelical Christians tend to disproportionately support America's wars, it is perhaps no surprise to learn that fundamentalist viewpoints prevail in certain quarters in the military. There has indeed been considerable media reporting on the impact of evangelical Christians on the armed services, to include a bizarre account of US military sniper sights being inscribed with citations from the Bible, leading one critic to suggest that the soldiers were being issued "Jesus rifles."

A prominent General, William Boykin, was until recently the best known Christian fundamentalist in the U.S. military. Boykin held prayer breakfasts when he commanded Delta Force and, when Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence under George W. Bush, was widely criticized for appearing in churches and other public gatherings in his uniform. He would describe his personal war against Islam, claiming that "My God is bigger than yours," possibly suggesting that size really does matter, at least in theological circles. He also called the Islamic God an "idol." At some church gatherings Boykin would produce a photo taken in Mogadishu which, he claimed, included a mysterious dark shadow that he described as a "demonic presence," adding that "spiritual enemies will only be defeated if we come against them in the name of Jesus." Boykin, who advocates "No Mosques in America," is currently Executive Vice President of the Family Research Council, which lobbies the Pentagon to complain that there is a "war on Christianity" within the military.

[Feb 13, 2013] Nothing Sacred The Truth About Judaism by Douglas Rushkoff

Amazon.com

Raymond Jepson

Fresh look at old ideas

In the world which I inhabit, that of progressive secular college educated types, the bible is about as popular to read as the latest Rush Limbaugh book. I understand how this happened. The religious traditions and interests of the Christian churches and Jewish synagogues are antiquated. These religions no longer speak to the fears and concerns of modern people. That's what makes Nothing Sacred so refreshing. Douglas Rushkoff takes the basic ingredients of Judaism and reinterprets it to speak to the contemporary.

Rushkoff's basics for Judaism is abstract mono-theism, iconoclasm and social justice. He makes a compelling case for this foundation. The author then gives a brief history of how each ingredient has been interpreted and re-interpreted throughout history. The last section, he lays out his ideas on how to make Judaism (and in my opinion, Christianity) valid today.

A few notes, Rushkoff is best known for his books on marketing, culture, market research. This book reflects that, in how he is arguing for Judaism to abandon a Microsoft business plan, for one more like Wikipedia.

Also, the author notes how many Jews are turning to Buddhism and other eastern religions. I believe this is because it doesn't come with the historical baggage of Abrahamic religions (church scandals, sex scandals, fascism, holocaust, inquisition, etc. all in the name of god). Also, when these religions are introduced to westerners, the introductions don't include all of their baggage. Therefore, westerners are welcome to read what they want into zen tales or the Tao Te Ching. Rushkoff is really pushing for the same kind of fresh look at the Torah, minus our baggage.

To sum up, I didn't think someone could inspire me to want to read the old testament...but Rushkoff has.

Keith G. Cascio - See all my reviews

Douglass Rushkoff's understanding of software development often strikes me as profound, none more so than on page 222 "Many lines of code apply to situations that may no longer exist, but the essential purpose of the program must remain intact." Any experienced software developer recognizes the universal insight expressed there.

In fewer places, he reveals his unfamiliarity with the fundamentals of computer technology, for example on page 141 when he writes about "top-level machine language", where it would have suited his metaphor better to mention circuitry and processor design, or at least call it "low-level machine language".

But he hits the bull's eye when he identifies the revision control system as one of software development's most powerful concepts. Import Torah's revision history into github -- that's what he basically recommends. A fine recommendation indeed!

On page 133 he writes "A key premise of the open source software development model is that programmers relinquish ownership of their code." This statement seems to me not entirely accurate. Thanks to the revision control system, we never relinquish *credit*. And credit is the motivation that drives the majority of contribution to open source software. Let's not forget about `/usr/bin/git blame`.

After all, Git never forgets about us, which is the whole point.

John R. Sedivy (Cape Cod, MA)

An Intellectual Reflection on Judaism, November 28, 2009

Nothing Sacred is a fascinating look at the Jewish faith through the eyes of Douglas Rushkoff. Rushkoff's writing is characterized by a combination of deep intellectual reflection, systems and chaos theory, and media commentary - and Nothing Sacred is no exception. This book is worth a read if you're a Rushkoff fan, but is targeted towards those interested Judaism or of Jewish descent.

Personally, I fall into neither category, but read this book as a result of my being a fan of Rushkoff's Life Inc.: How the World Became a Corporation and How to Take It Back and Media Virus!. That being said I found the book to be interesting and felt that I learned quite a bit about the Jewish faith in terms of both benefits and shortcomings. Not being the target audience much had likely gone over my head and it was admittedly, a challenging read at times. I respect Rushkoff's willingness to share his spiritual journey and his reflection on that journey and commend him for his courage to write such a book, especially since the content may have ostracized him from members of his community.

If you are fan of Douglas Rushkoff, interested in religious discussion, or of Jewish descent this book is worth a read. Otherwise you may want to pass.

jenna randolph (USA)

On Youtube, the author brags about Jews being a "corrosive force" in the cultures they reside in while in "exile". The author says he feels Jews "break down the gods of all other nations." It is sad, in watching this, to be forced to acknowledge that Jews see their role as hate in other cultures. I feel extremely sorry for this young man, and also feel people should read his book---to see how some Jews view their role in other cultures.

He does not understand that people could just as easily pick apart his culture. Many refrain from doing so, of course, and don't even hate in this way at all. Yet, this young man voices the right, the imperative, and so forth, to destroy human beings whose cultures he does not understand, nor respect.

He really seems to believe that the brilliance of "pushing the envelope" in ripping down cultures, makes him superior at times. Nor does he seem to consider that such attitudes aren't entirely acceptable everywhere, by everyone.

Please watch him on Youtube and read the book, for how he believes Jews view other cultures. Just search on Youtube, using his name and book title. His voice speaks for itself. The book's value lies in the voice of the author and should be a warning to those interested in human rights (and the right to have them).

Jeff (Raleigh, NC USA)

This book is a great learning tool -- for teaching HS students how to spot logical fallacies, January 1, 2008

There is little I can say that hasn't already been said in previous negative reviews of this book. So I will just provide a single example, using an excerpt straight from the book, to demonstrate how Mr. Rushkoff jumps from conclusion to conclusion with no basis in fundamental logic:

"The intellectual tradition of European Judaism was frowned upon by Zionists and other ardent Jewish protectors. New York radical Meir Kahane, founder of the Jewish Defense League, berated 'yeshiva boys' for their passivity and encouraged a more macho, warlike posture for his people. He organized night patrols in Brooklyn to protect Yiddishe bubbes from black youth, and he launched campaigns to send money and weapons to Israel. The Jewish biblical word for inner spiritual strength -- uzi -- became the brand name for an Israeli-made machine gun"

I kid you not, the above text is a direct, uninterrupted quote from the 2nd chapter. Rushkoff does this throughout the book. He states a claim as a fact (that we are expected to accept merely on the basis of the claim itself or on the attribution to a famed psychiatrist) and then supports it with non-sequiters. We are told to accept the fact that Zionists (presumably all of them) frown upon the intellectual tradition of Eastern European Jews. Is this a generalization or a universal truth? He cites no source. But he then provides three subsequent sentences to support it. The actions of a single radical Brooklyn-man named Meir Kahane. And the fact that the Jewish biblical word "uzi" is a brand name for an Israeli-made machine gun.

To say this book is an insult to a critical thinker is an understatement. But it may serve as a great learning tool for teaching 9th graders the art of developing critical and analytical thinking skills while critiquing a "non-fiction" book of generalizations. In a single statement on the top of page 78, Mr. Rushkoff identifies his underlying subconscious motivation for his failed attempt to sum up 3000+ years of tradition as an "idea" when he states:

"But what was in it for us?"

Can Mitt Romney Serve Two Masters by Tricia Erickson

What is really interesting about the reviews below is that far right (RWA) such as "K Mac" and MrCellophane (a single review under this nickname ) are so critical of Rombey... Othe other hand a pro-life catholic Eric M. Brown (15 reviews) stated that the book "Proves that Mitt Romney is a Mormon version of Obama."
Amazon.com
About the Author
Tricia, as a former Mormon Bishop's daughter and Mormon wife, went through the cultic, violent and bizarre Mormon secret temple ceremonies of which Mitt and Ann Romney continue to attend to this day. As a former Mormon, it took Tricia many years to deprogram herself from the lies, strange ceremonies and strategic misinformation that continues to be fed to all Mormons.

Tricia is President of Crisis Management, Incorporated and a media, political and image consultant. She has appeared on numerous national television and radio shows on the subjects of Mormonism, Image Projection, Islam, All Things Political and more. This nation cannot afford to make another mistake in 2012. By the next Presidential Election, our country will not even resemble what our forefathers fought for in order that we as a nation could prosper and enjoy life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The recent change of power in congress, the hopeful change in the senate and the upcoming presidential election is the only hope we have of turning our country back to the Constitution and to the great nation it once was. If you read this book, you will know why Mitt Romney is not "the one" to lead us out of the recession, much less, to put our country back together. With what is at stake, it is essential to gain knowledge of Romney's record as a public servant and the shocking beliefs of this man who could become our next president. If the American people posses the information in this book, it very well may avert a similar fate suffered under the Obama Administration and clear the way for an authentic and trustworthy candidate to take the very office that is crucial to lead us back to the nation that once was, and still could be.

Sage

The true 'skinny' from an Insider October 29, 2012

This lady, having been the daughter of a Bishop, does not come across as just another disgruntled ex-Mormon. She started being skeptical when she was just about nine. Her mother sensed she did not buy into all the Mormon claptrap, and asked her about it, one day, when they were getting ready for church. "You don't really believe in our religion, do you, Pat" To which she answered "No, Mommy, I don't."

In Chapter 5, she challenges her father on his bias against black people, which, although the spokes holes for the Mormon Church claim no longer exists, does in the actual rules, according to the author. So, if they have not actually changed the wording, the attitude has not really changed, just for PR purposes. In critiquing Mitt Romney, she states he is a carefully groomed 'package' by the Mormon Church, designed to appeal to the Masses, as a clean living guy, with the perfect family, and a successful 'businessman'. PR is big in the Mormon Church, it seems.

She does not omit criticism of Obama either. She said he is the biggest BS-er she has ever seen; even better than Mittens Romney. I would recommend this book to those who would be discerning and might want to know about the candidates put up there for mass consumption.

R. Smith

Book Review "Can Mitt Romney Serve Two Masters?" October 12, 2012

In my opinion a very accurate and informative analysis of Romney and the Mormon church. I hope we can do better for choices of presidential candidates in the future. Update 10/12/12. If anyone is interested I would highly recommend listening to Mrs Tricia Erickson on a radio talk show called "The Power Hour" on the internets Genesis Communications Network. Google GCN then go to "Listen", next scroll down to Power Hour-Host Joyce Riley (The different programs and hosts are in alphabetical order), next go to "archives", click on September 2012,then down to Sept.26 Hrs 1,2,and 3.

Mrs Erickson comes on in the second and third hours. This is very informative since you can actually listen to the author.

Also, on October 10 you can listen to a follow-up program on the Mormon topic from another author named "Paul Drockton" and a "Sheriff Richard Mack" a Mormon giving his views on Mormonism. All Good Info. You can also google "Power Hour" to find past shows and guests. Between the "Power Hour" and the GCN network there is a wealth of information on many different topics for those interested in "truth" instead of the "mainstream medias" talking heads.

K Mac "K Mac

"Eye opening must read!, July 27, 2012

I knew a lot about Romney's religion, so I wasn't really all that surprised to read about the blood oaths he made in the temple to first and foremost serve the church. Of course, that concerns me - I honestly would be more impressed with someone who would be forthcoming and acknowledge (like Mike Huckabee) that OF COURSE his personal beliefs will have an influence on how he governs. There wasn't much new information there, but for anyone who is not familiar with the Masonic rituals, oaths and doctrines of the LDS church, the first part of the book is certainly informative and accurate.

Knowing that the LDS church teaches that "god" was once a man and than man can become a god is troubling, of course, but that isn't really teaching they emphasize until people have committed to the church.

The SECOND part of this book, however, was what was MOST informative and THOROUGHLY documented. Romney's record shows him to be FAR from the conservative he is trying to be today.

  • FACT: his Romney-care was the blueprint for Obama-care and includes $50 abortion on demand for any reason.
  • FACT: Romney did NOTHING to thwart and actually much to support gay marriage in MA.
  • FACT: MA was the third LOWEST state in job growth under his watch.

It seems everything he has done up to this point has been to try to gain support from the left and now he expects the right to believe him when he claims to be conservative.

If you want to make an informed vote in Nov. this is a MUST read to see who Romney REALLY is. Scary.

MrCellophane

Besides this current book I have read books by two other ex-Mormons, and I wondered how Mr. Romney could possibly keep religion out of his bid for the oval office, because knowing what "faithful Mormons" have had to take oaths to would seem to AUTOMATICALLY DISQUALIFY any such Mormon from holding most any PUBLIC OFFICE because that would require such a person to swear to put his allegiance to the church below that required by the office he is presuming to occupy.

Yes, this is not just another JFK kind of concern - by any stretch of the imagination.

The documents declare ABSOLUTE OBEDIENCE TO THOSE 15 "RULERS" of the LDS Organization, and that, as you can see, represents a total "oxymoron" and make the title of this book the first thing that comes to one's mind under the circumstances.

Like what other title could be more appropriate and accurate? I can't imagine how any non-Mormon who knows the truth about what church members pledge themselves to follow could even consider putting a Mormon in any governmental position of great responsibility to the citizens under his area of responsibility ( let alone OF CONTROL!).

It only makes some sense, just a little at that, in a place like the Great Salt Lake area. The Christian world has no choice but to label the "denomination" as a cult which is why they always have. It's called, simply, telling the TRUTH. For God sakes read this book or some of the others that have been published by those who have had identical experiences and say precisely the very same things about what they know to be true about this, in my opinion (one that's shared by others who read as well) MOST DANGEROUS ORGANIZATION to American's founding fathers intent for this nation.

It should NEVER be allowed in a place of such authority and power. NEVER!!! As a lifestyle a lot of what is practiced in Mormonism is to be praised. Would that everybody cherished their family like they do. It's clear to those of us who have researched the true history of this "sect", we can't possibly believe most Mormons know "REST OF THEIR STORY". The Mountain Meadow massacre of an entire wagon train in the Utah area in the 1800's is a prime example of what can happen when "Faithful, OBEDIENT, followers" of the Presidency of the church do ONLY WHAT THEY HAVE SWORN TO DO, in spite of any sense or NORMAL, HUMAN DECENCY". EVIL!!! The book and the video some years ago called "The God Makers" is one place to start if you are serious about learning, and the recognized authority about Mormonism are ex-Mormons, the Tanners, WHO HAVE REPRODUCED ALL THE DOCUMENTS NECESSARY TO PROVE WHAT HAS BEEN ALEDGED BY OTHERS.

Eric M. Brown

Proves that Mitt Romney is a Mormon version of Obama., February 23, 2012

This book exposes the Real Mitt Romney. It is completely documented and proven from external sources. Tricia Erickson has no manifest ax to grind but only seeks to expose the truth of the Real Mitt Romney. However, the national media ignores this book because he is their Republican candidate of choice.

If perchance Obama loses, then the Mormon version of Obama will take his place. Net Effect: Change from D to R in the WhiteHouse but no other change will occur as admitted by George Soros.

Ann Coulter was right: Romney tricked liberals into voting for him in Massachussetts. Now he is lying to conservatives to trick them into voting him into the presidency. Contrary to the Romniacs, it is not those who refuse to vote for him in a primary or general election that are airheads. They are the lemmings who are following their lead lemming over the cliff and into the abyss! If Obamney is the nominee of the Democratic-Republican party, then the election will be boycotted by many people knowing that these candidates were selected and handpicked by the ruling class.

[Nov 03, 2012] Lying for the Lord - Bob Millet - BANNED CLIP RE-UPLOADED!

zappadogg

Though he doesn't say that you should lie, he is saying that dodging direct questions is acceptable. That's pretty damn close to lying or misleading. The church has a history of simply writing off the more contentious articles of their faith and ignoring historical and geographical facts. For someone who considers themselves an educator, this is disgraceful. I swear this guy must have been Mitt Romney's debate coach

Kay Bell

This bafoon is teaching innocent young Mormon Missionaries how to LIE! I read the book, "Can Mitt Romney Serve Two Masters?" and it explains how MORMONS "LIE FOR THE LORD". I hightly reccommend this book to everyone. You need to protect yourselves, your children and everyone from this horrific Mormon cult that literally steals souls.

[Nov 03, 2012] Mitt, Set Our People Free! A 7th Generation Mormon's Plea for Truth - Michael D. Moody

Google Books

In an open letter to Mitt Romney, Michael D. Moody, a former BYU classmate of the 2008 presidential contender, discusses the hypocrisies of Mormonism and delivers an insider?s look at politics and the Church.Moody reveals the challenge in determining where Mormon hyperbole ends and hypocrisy begins. How outlandish is it, for example, that after early Mormons defended polygamy, contemporary Mormons crusade against nonstandard marriage in America? Although it?s not out of character, Moody contends that in the grand tradition of lying for the Lord, Mormons have been untruthful about polygamy for decades. These hypocrisies relate directly to the conniving mind of Joseph Smith and the evil he incorporated into his cult. Millions of Mormon descendants are psychologically trapped in a multigenerational compound dating back to the very founding of Mormonism. Families are bitterly divided when some members escape over the emotional barbed wire but reach back to grasp the hands of those they love. As a contemporary war rages between those who know the "New Mormon History" and those who live in a programmed state of denial, only the dynamic leadership of a highly qualified, educated, and savvy man like Mitt Romney can free members from the Great American Cult.

[Nov 03, 2012] Mormon Lying for the Lord

This is part of the larger package of things that lead many to describe Mormonism as a cult. "Lying for the lord" is part of Mormonism's larger deceptive mainstreaming tactics, and conversion numbers would drastically lower if important Mormon beliefs were fully disclosed to investigators.
Christian Truths

One Mormon blogger writes, "When I was a missionary, the church's official Missionary Guide instructed missionaries to avoid providing direct answers or solutions to investigators' questions or concerns." On his mission, he "fell back on rhetorical tricks or even outright denials."

"What a thing it is for a man to be accused of committing adultery, and having seven wives, when I can only find one. I am the same man, and as innocent as I was fourteen years ago; and I can prove them all perjurers. I labored with these apostates myself until I was out of all manner of patience." - Joseph Smith [1]
"A half-truth presented as the whole truth is a complete untruth." - J.I. Packer[2]
"Even sharing the truth can have the effect of lying when we tell only half-truths that do not give the full picture. We can also be guilty of bearing false witness and lying if we say nothing, particularly if we allow another to reach a wrong conclusion while we hold back information that would have led to a more accurate perception. In this case it is as though an actual lie were uttered." - Robert J. Matthews[3]
"In matters of honesty, there are no shortcuts; no little white lies, or big black lies, only the simple, honest truth spoken in total candor... Being true is different than being honest." - Gordon B. Hinckley[4]

Lying for the Lord refers to the practice of lying to protect the image of and belief in the Mormon religion, a practice which Mormonism itself fosters in various ways. From Joseph Smith's denial of having more than one wife, to polygamous Mormon missionaries telling European investigators that reports about polygamy in Utah were lies put out by "anti-Mormons" and disgruntled ex-members, to Gordon B. Hinckley's dishonest equivocation on national television over Mormon doctrine, Mormonism's history seems replete with examples of lying. Common members see such examples as situations where lying is justified.

For the Mormon, loyalty and the welfare of the church are more important than the principle of honesty, and plausible denials and deception by omission are warranted by an opportunity to have the Mormon organization seen in the best possible light. This is part of the larger package of things that lead many to describe Mormonism as a cult. "Lying for the lord" is part of Mormonism's larger deceptive mainstreaming tactics, and conversion numbers would drastically lower if important Mormon beliefs were fully disclosed to investigators.

[Nov 03, 2012] Mitt Romney and the Politics of Passing

Stuart Parker is a postdoctoral fellow with the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada. He holds a PhD in History from the University of Toronto where he wrote a dissertation entitled, "History As Seen Through Seerstones: Mormon Understandings of the Past, 1890-2000″ to be published by Greg Kofford Books. Active in Canadian politics (and a former Green Party leader, the youngest in its history) Stuart is also a former Bushman Fellow at BYU for the Joseph Smith Summer Seminar of 2007.

A recent Gawker.com article, only slightly hyperbolically, characterized Mitt Romney as follows:

"Mitt Romney, though, is an insult even to the process of being insulted-a giant, grainy Xerox of a forgery of a human being. The problem voters have with him isn't that he's fake; it's that he's inauthentically fake…The fakeness is Romney's all the way down, layers of opaque lacquered bullshit poured onto plexiglass or Lucite or another unnatural transparency."

I want to suggest, perhaps uncomfortably for some, that Romney's palpable fakeness arises from his Mormon identity. This is not to generalize his deceptiveness to all Mormons or even to make the case that there is something about Mormonism that magnifies personal inauthenticity. Instead, I want to suggest, that the times and places Romney has found himself in the course of his career have interacted with his Mormonism to produce this uniquely stiff, robotic disingenuousness. As Matthew Bowman has pointed out elsewhere, none of Romney's stiff, unnatural deportment was evident in fellow LDS GOP presidential candidate Jon Huntsman.

Bowman is very much on the right track in identifying the difference between the two men's style and deportment as being generational. But whereas Bowman's piece concentrated on generational differences within the LDS, I would suggest that we might gain more understanding by casting our eyes to generational differences within the larger US culture within which Mormonism is situated.

Although a generation younger, Romney shares something important with my great aunt Connie that may help us to make sense of his startling inauthenticity. The daughter of a black father and a white mother, Connie was abandoned by her mother in the early 1930s after the death of her father and was sent away to reform school. Reform school didn't just separate Connie from her family; it taught her a number of skills that enabled her to become a professional woman and work as a telephone operator in Chicago, where she lived in a white neighbourhood. In other words, reform school taught my aunt Connie to act white, to take advantage of the improbably white skin that she and I shared, to "pass."

Many of us today think that the phenomenon of racial passing, which remained a significant black social strategy into the 1980s (and persists today in pockets), was held in place by Jim Crow state laws and corporate policies. But the reality is that passing, concealing one's membership in a subaltern or underprivileged group, was woven into the cultural fabric of America for more than a century following the Civil War. And that, as America's most successful gerontocracy, this culture has persisted longer in the LDS Church than elsewhere.

Thomas Monson and his quorum of apostles are not much younger than my great aunt. They too came from a time when passing was an important part of American life. Passing for white was just the riskiest and most rewarding form of passing; until not long ago, passing for straight was common, as was passing for Christian. Jews barred admission to universities passed for white Christians; gay Americans settled down and married people of the opposite sex. Mormons, who academics have variously described as a colonized people, an incipient ethnicity, and a non-Christian religion had as many reasons to pass as anyone and, from the days of resisting federal anti-polygamy policies, they had a cultural tradition of "lying for the Lord" that gave them excellent equipment for passing successfully.

The wave of racial persecution that swept the South following the collapse of Congressional Reconstruction was contemporaneous with the crescendo of anti-polygamy persecution in the Intermountain West. And I would argue that LDS culture responded more self-consciously and thoroughly in adopting passing as a social strategy in the Gilded Age than did black or Jewish Americans. While black and Jewish passing was common, Mormon passing was more systematic.

Passing was not about barefacedly lying about one's racial, sexual or confessional identity. If things reached the point where one was being questioned about such things, you had already failed to pass. To pass was to so perfectly fit the mold of an upstanding white/straight/Christian American that it would not occur to anyone to even suspect that you were passing. Passing was not about lying in response to questions; it was about conducting oneself in such a way that difficult questions of identity would never be asked, that one's Christianity or whiteness was a self-evident truth. Populated, as it is by people much like Romney, educated men with prestigious degrees from eastern universities, selected for their business (as opposed to theological) acumen, today's Mormon decision-making elite is filled of men who have spent significant portions of their lives passing in order to achieve their financial and educational success.

It is for this reason that we see ongoing efforts by Mormons to prove themselves just like their evangelical neighbours and sometime allies. Beginning with Joseph Fielding Smith's realignment of the LDS with the creationist movement in the 1920s, Mormons elites have sought to pass among conservative evangelicals by immediately joining the next bandwagon to round the corner, hoping that by being more shrill and vehement in their performance of conservative religiosity than Christian fundamentalists, they could blend in with the angry mobs denouncing evolution, communism, miscegenation or gay marriage.

But until his recent alignment with religious conservatism over the past five years, Romney was engaged in a subtler and far less shrill form of passing, the kind that involves strategically segregating one's social spheres so that Family Home Evening never overlaps with the Board of Trade breakfast meeting, so that one is just the guy who happens not to drink for health reasons when the hiring committee takes an applicant out for drinks. It is this kind of passing that has taken place in the nation's board rooms, universities and professional conferences that shaped Romney and the Mormon success stories of his generation, the kind that involves extra care to conceal one's temple garments when changing at the health club.

Bowman speaks of Huntsman moving with ease as a Mormon through a non-Mormon world, an ease that Romney repeatedly tries to convey and fails to. No matter how relaxed one's exterior, someone who has passed for decades is never really at ease; there is a vigilance to many successful passers that can never be fully disguised. That stated, passing is never a wholly conscious process – because those who pass are more successful than those who do not, many inevitably internalize the host culture's discriminatory beliefs. Thus, many black people who passed came to believe that the whiteness of one's skin was a proxy for virtue and competence; their own lives were testimony to this self-evident truth. The vigilance we associate with passing is as much about remembering that one is not straight, white or Christian even as one internalizes the superiority of these identities as it is about remembering to act straight, white or Christian.

Conservative evangelicals are neither crazy nor bigoted for their gut reaction to what Democrats are branding Romney's lack of a "core." Tone, body language, cadence – it is these things from which conservative evangelicals are deriving much of their discomfort; what is happening is that they are literally watching Romney pass and not enjoying the experience, because the mask is slipping. And unlike conventional pandering and other more common and accepted forms of political dishonesty, the way that he is now representing himself, after many grueling months of campaigning, has a pervasive defensiveness that Newt Gingrich is masterfully contrasting with his consistently shameless public persona.

Of course that is not to say that much evangelical opposition to Romney's candidacy is not simply religious discrimination. Among opinion leaders within the South Carolina GOP anonymously polled by CNN two days before the state primary, 13% listed the candidate's Mormon faith as their main reason for not supporting him. And likely, this number was higher, not lower, amongst rank and file conservative evangelicals, closer to the rates approaching 20-30% rates Gallup and other pollsters have measured.

Unfortunately for him, the Romney campaign does not have the capacity to forcefully hit back against apparent religious bigotry on the part of key opinion leaders in the GOP primaries as in the case of the notorious Robert Jeffress' denunciation of Mormonism at the Values Voters Summit in the way that the Obama campaign was able to respond to instances of racial prejudice in 2008. This incapacity, I would suggest, arises from the ways in which the culture of passing has infused the LDS Church, especially at the top of its leadership structure.

The greatest act of Mormon political passing in the past generation has not been either of the Romney presidential bids; it was, I would suggest, the notorious 2008 Proposition Eight referendum on gay marriage in California. Strongly backed and well-funded by the LDS Church, the campaign's supporters were overwhelmingly evangelical Christians and not the tiny Mormon minority in the state. Here was a great opportunity for Mormons to pass politically, as part of the conservative evangelical movement, because if there is one reliably-employed strategy amongst people who are passing, it is to direct the attention of the community in which they are passing towards persecuting or excluding other, more hated, outsiders. By being the most enthusiastic in attacking gay marriage, Mormons not only sought to direct attention away from their own difference but to demonstrate group loyalty by leading the charge against the latest scapegoats, homosexuals, for the persistent imperfection of the American family.

Others have written about the delicious irony of the LDS Church declaring that marriage has always been between one man and one woman and that this eternal order was mandated by God. That his view should be forwarded through the Republican Party, founded to extirpate the "twin relics of barbarism," slavery and polygamy, through the power of the federal government, is not an accidental irony. Rather, it dates back to the early twentieth century, when the prophet Joseph F. Smith encouraged Mormons to move from the Democrats to the GOP as part of an explicit, programmatic strategy of passing. That Romney, a descendant of polygamous refugees who fled to Mexico to escape the federal government's persecution, would today support an amendment to the Constitution to define marriage as "between one man and one woman," is not bizarre or hard to explain but the epitome of rational behavior by someone habituated to passing.

One of the things that makes passing such a dangerous yet tantalizing strategy for achievers like Romney is the fact that it undercuts appeals to community solidarity or collective morality; it is a self-centered and individualistic approach to bigotry and inequality. A passer feels that they get by on their merits and their merits alone.

As such, it stands in sharp contrast to the response of the black church to bigotry and persecution.

Cornell West reminds us that the power of the black voices in contemporary America comes from a civil rights heritage in which black people described their efforts at equality as something greater than protecting their community from discrimination. It took on the hue of a transnational, multiracial crusade for a shared freedom that would elevate everyone, including former oppressors. Whereas passing directs shame inwards as passers instinctively absorb the dominant group's sense of what is shameful about their identity, discourses in the black church do the opposite and direct shame outwards, instilling pride while shaming dominant groups for their bigotry.

In the aftermath of 9/11, discrimination against religious minorities and discrimination on religious grounds has become increasingly acceptable in America. No doubt fearing, at least subconsciously, that resurgent evangelical bigotry could place Mormons in the national crosshairs again, the LDS culture of passing has not permitted Mormons to respond with the necessary moral authority or outrage when they are on the receiving end of religious discrimination. Emblematic of this was senate majority leader Harry Reid's advice to Muslims associated with the so-called Ground Zero Mosque controversy to halt construction in order to avoid the wrath of their neighbors, despite their constitutional right to proceed. Like Romney, Reid comes from a generation of Mormons for whom passing was synonymous with success.

No matter how bad things get for Romney on the religious front this year, he and his supporters lack the moral authority necessary to denounce whatever bigotry they might suffer. And this lack of authority does not merely stem from his own strategy of passing; it is because his faith community has made passing rather than shaming their response to the rising tide of religious bigotry in America. Indeed, as vigorous campaigners against the Equal Rights Amendment, as a group that sponsored Proposition Eight and whose congregants overwhelmingly support a national constitutional amendment banning both gay marriage and polygamy, and as the last major church in America to admit black people to its hierarchy (fifteen years after the passage of the Civil Rights Act), Mormons would be well-advised to look to the oft-quoted words of Martin Niemöller to understand how few allies Romney will have when Mormonism comes under more serious attack in the next eight months. Passers, at their best, are silent when it is risky to denounce another's persecution and, just as often, see that persecution as an opportunity to fit in with the bullies. As such, they elicit little sympathy when their time inevitably comes.

[Oct 17, 2012] The Spiritual-Industrial Complex America's Religious Battle against Communism in the Early Cold War by Jonathan P. Herzog

Amazon.com

"Jonathan Herzog skillfully illuminates how religion shaped the rhetoric, symbols, and policies of the early Cold War. In the United States, battling Communism became a purposefully orchestrated campaign for the soul of humankind." - Melvyn P. Leffler, University of Virginia

"Thoroughly researched and engagingly written, The Spiritual-Industrial Complex makes a valuable contribution to our growing understanding of the important role of religion in U.S. politics and foreign relations in the twentieth century. With an eye for vivid detail, Jonathan Herzog shows how politicians, priests, ministers, businessmen, editors, and other civic leaders defined the United States in contrast to the atheistic Soviet Union, sincerely exhorted Americans to revive their religious faith, and employed religion as a weapon in the conflict between democracy and communism." -- David S. Foglesong, author of The American Mission and the "Evil Empire"

"This detailed account of the uses American politicians made of religion during the early Cold War casts much needed light on the dynamics of secularization and anti-secularization. Herzog also shows how the religion-in-general enthusiasms of the Eisenhower era were supplanted by the more sectarian impulses of the Religious Right of the Reagan Era."-David A. Hollinger, University of California, Berkeley

"Jonathan Herzog's The Spiritual-Industrial Complex is an eye-opening account of the role organized religion played in fomenting anti-communism in early Cold War America. Every chapter is anchored by brilliant new research. This book is destined to be a Cold War history classic." -Douglas Brinkley, Rice University

"Herzog's insights into the early years of the cold war are impressive, and the meticulously researched work represents a solid contribution to both the history of that era and the history of religion in America." -Publishers Weekly

Jonathan P. Herzog is a member of the U.S. Foreign Service. Prior to joining the State Department, he held positions at Stanford University, the Hoover Institution, and the University of Oregon. He holds a Ph.D. in American history from Stanford.

[Oct 17, 2012] Fundamentalism and Evangelicalism in America

... The modern interpretation of religion is that it is always in decline because of modernization. As most people agree, modernity leads to secularization and secularization leads to religious apathy in certain circles. This belief is caused by the experience that history has taught us. Christianity was once the intellectual, spiritual, and ethical guidebook for all of life. The church used to play an essential role in almost all public affairs. The secularization of faith has forced Christianity to compete with other powerful religious and nonreligious worldviews. An analysis of the revival of American fundamentalism is the key to understanding why this common belief is false and that, through the years, religion has survived quite well in a pluralistic setting. Instead, it should be seen as a religion that can adapt to the changing ideals of modernity. Protestantism uses evangelicalism and fundamentalism in America as their way of relating to modernity. For example, modern society has placed an emphasis on choice making and individuality, while at the same time, evangelicalism preaches a personal religious experience and fundamentalism stresses freedom, usually from government. As we emphasize voluntarism, evangelicals respond by recruiting more followers and creating institutions to ensure the development of the church's place in everyday life.

Evangelical movements, in the past, have consistently adapted to the world in which they were operating. In fact, they have even benefited from the forces of social change. The Puritan and Pietist awakenings that took place in the seventeenth century stressed a personal experience of God during a time of growing literacy, literature, and experimental science. After the American Revolution, populist revival preachers began to challenge older denominations in their interpretation of the Bible and encouraged people to read the Bible and form church's for themselves. Finally, in the late nineteenth century, Dwight L. Moody, along with many other evangelists looking for innovative ways to perform, developed the fundamentalist perspective around a religious life that welcomed all people during a time when urban Protestantism was not welcome to the common people.

Out of all the factors that have influenced the evangelical movement in the past, fundamentalism has had the most powerful impact. Not only did fundamentalism dominate evangelicalism in the twentieth century, but it also permeated other traditional religious sects.

... In the second half of the twentieth century, Billy Graham, who has become the most prominent evangelical leader in modern times, led the neo-fundamentalist movement. The pattern in this rise and fall tends to be pieces that overlap and pieces that change and fundamentalism is no different. This was a movement that survived through hardships and adapted to welcome every human being, but it appears that it will remain mainly a twentieth century phenomenon as new forms of the pattern take its' place.

Mathew Simond is a journalist and copywriter. He is also a webmaster of many websites including http://www.psychologycolleges.net and http://www.religiousstudiesonline.org. He aims to provide healthy information and advice on academic degrees.

[Aug 28, 2012] Profile of Pat Robertson Scam-artist and Sinner

August 5, 2011 | Joelx

Pat Robertson is a legendary scam artist on a scale most people can't even imagine. If you visit his website, you will find one of his most recent scams. Pat Robertson is trying to sell his "age-defying protein shake", which he claims gives him the energy to continue in his criminal religious enterprises. On his page he claims to have leg pressed 2,000 pounds.

To put this claim in perspective, Ronnie Coleman who has won 8 Mr. Olympia competitions (best bodybuilder currently on earth) has an all-time max leg press of 2,300 pounds.

This is just a goofy, ridiculous claim that doesn't really harm anyone, except for Pat Robertson's reputation. Unfortunately, that is not the case with the rest of Pat Robertsons scam enterprises:

-Pat Robertson is extraordinarily wealthy with some estimating his net worth at a quarter of a BILLION dollars. Isn't he supposed to be a Godly man who works for non-profit Christian organizations? How do you amass the kind of wealth that allows you to live on top of a mountain in Virginia in a magnificent mansion with your own private airstrip? Ooooh yeah, I forgot, he's not just a cheesy televangelist ripping off senior citizens; he is a man who supports and does business with evil dictators.

-In 1960, Mr. Robertson founded CBN (Christian Broadcasting Network) , later renamed the Family Channel and eventually sold to the News Corporation for $1.9 billion. He became massively wealthy by running non-stop fundraising "praise-a-thons" on this channel.

-Pat Robertson ran for President in 1998 and lost the Republican nomination to George H.W. Bush. After his campaign he wrote a book about his experience and here is a quote from it "

"When I said during my presidential bid that I would only bring Christians and Jews into the government, I hit a firestorm. `What do you mean?' the media challenged me. `You're not going to bring atheists into the government? How dare you maintain that those who believe in the Judeo-Christian values are better qualified to govern America than Hindus and Muslims?' My simple answer is, `Yes, they are.'"

-from Pat Robertson's "The New World Order," page 218.

Pat Robertson is as bad as the Islamic theocracies in the Middle East; if he could have his way this country would be run under a Christian dictatorship.

-Pat Robertson used his powerful influence in Washington D.C. to help support the vicious reign of Zaire Mobutu Sese Seko. Mobutu was one of the most horrible dictators in modern times who kept his people starving and dying from rampant disease while he became wealthy beyond imagation. Mobutu outlawed public demonstrations, ordered the killings of opposition and journalists and banned most religious groups. So why would Pat Robertson support such an evil man? One word: Money. Pat Robertson had a partnership with Mobutu running a diamond mining operation, using his television company's non-profit aircraft to fly in mining equipment. When Pat Robertson sees an opportunity to profit, no amount of human suffering and misery will stop him. Below are some quotes directly from the mouth of the devil himself:

-"You say you're supposed to be nice to the Episcopalians and the Presbyterians and the Methodists and this, that, and the other thing. Nonsense. I don't have to be nice to the spirit of the Antichrist. I can love the people who hold false opinions but I don't have to be nice to them."–Pat Robertson, The 700 Club, January 14, 1991

Pat Robertson is a Pentecostal Christian and only believes those who are evangelical Pentecostal Christians are going to heaven. This means that all Catholics and most Protestant denominations are out-in fact, not only are they not Christian, they're downright evil.

-talking about apartheid South Africa) "I think 'one man, one vote,' just unrestricted democracy, would not be wise. There needs to be some kind of protection for the minority which the white people represent now, a minority, and they need and have a right to demand a protection of their rights."–Pat Robertson, "The 700 Club," 3/18/92

Pat Robertson has a carefully concealed racist side.

-"The feminist agenda is not about equal rights for women. It is about a socialist, anti-family political movement that encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism, and become lesbians." - Pat Robertson, fundraising letter, 1992

HAHHAHAHAHHAHHAHHAHAHHAA… What an animal.

-"We want…as soon as possible to see a majority of the Republican Party in the hands of pro-family Christians by 1996." –Pat Robertson, Denver Post, 10/26/92

Terrifying… Pat Robertson succeeded in this goal. What other goals will he accomplish?

-"I think we ought to close Halloween down. Do you want your children to dress up as witches? The Druids used to dress up like this when they were doing human sacrifice… [Your children] are acting out Satanic rituals and participating in it, and don't even realize it."–Pat Robertson, "The 700 Club," 10/29/82

Pat Robertson believes Halloween is evil… are you f'in kidding?

Pat Robertson is one of the craziest, most wicked men alive today. Pat should check out the Bible sometime and see what it says about men like him:

"For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness"

The Rise of Christian Fascism and Its Threat to American Democracy

Alternet

Adams understood that totalitarian movements are built out of deep personal and economic despair. He warned that the flight of manufacturing jobs, the impoverishment of the American working class, the physical obliteration of communities in the vast, soulless exurbs and decaying Rust Belt, were swiftly deforming our society. The current assault on the middle class, which now lives in a world in which anything that can be put on software can be outsourced, would have terrified him. The stories that many in this movement told me over the past two years as I worked on "American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America" were stories of this failure -- personal, communal and often economic. This despair, Adams said, would empower dangerous dreamers -- those who today bombard the airwaves with an idealistic and religious utopianism that promises, through violent apocalyptic purification, to eradicate the old, sinful world that has failed many Americans.

These Christian utopians promise to replace this internal and external emptiness with a mythical world where time stops and all problems are solved. The mounting despair rippling across the United States, one I witnessed repeatedly as I traveled the country, remains unaddressed by the Democratic Party, which has abandoned the working class, like its Republican counterpart, for massive corporate funding.

The Christian right has lured tens of millions of Americans, who rightly feel abandoned and betrayed by the political system, from the reality-based world to one of magic -- to fantastic visions of angels and miracles, to a childlike belief that God has a plan for them and Jesus will guide and protect them. This

"American Fascists- The Christian Right and the War On America ...

[Aug 28, 2012] Pat Robertson: Preacher? Prophet? Politician? Con-man? Fascist? Yes And So Are The Rest Of Those Phoney So-Called "Christians."

Of course the Catholic Church has Molestation down to a Science.

They have created a hugly powerful; wealthy organization that is granted special priviledges due to their status as a Religion and has used that priviledge or I should say misused that priviledge to shelter and protect the many twisted Fucks who have been forever drawn to the Church for it's protection from prosecution in such cases.

Only in the past few years has any real effort been made to force the Church to turn over suspected Child Rapists to the Secular Authorities for prosecution. And then only when they are caught or reported to Police by the already traumatized victims.

The Catholic Church is very aware that there are hundreds if not thousands of these sick Bastards still woking as Priests and they are aware of who they are in many cases.

But they are not required to report such crimes on their own because they claim it as a Confidence of the Confessional and therefore get away; once again; with protecting these viscious vermin from detection.

Often the response of the Church to complaints has been to transfer the offending priest to a new parrish where he can begin anew; with a clean slate; and the same filthy; totally ungodly behavior and criminal practices until another complaint is heard; then; it's off to another fresh group of young victims to torture and sodomize.

And let's face it. of all the "Christian" Denominations out there today; the Catholic Church is the most un-christian organization with the most Pagan Religious pratices and rituals of any of them; not even considering their lengthy and blood stained record of criminal activity of one type or another.

... ... ...

Wow; that doesn't leave many Religions with credibility does it?

Well; that's alright too because if you believe God; the Political Governments will tire of this intrusion into their realm as well and will turn on Religion and destroy all of these Phoney Churches that teach Politics in place of religion and Faith

If you don't believe in God; that's Ok because if you are right; Religions have even less right to intrude in Politics than if you do believe.

If you are wrong and God exists; then what he said will occur and that'll work out right from your point of view as well; and mine because I do believe in God but I don't believe in any religion that practices Politics to any degree and I believe; as I am sure you do; that they should be ousted from the Political proccess completly.

Of course the most repulsive of these festering, mailgnant puss-pockets that call themselves men of God are those like Pat Robertson who not only preach trash and lies but run for political office; supposedly to bring God into Government. Do you think if God does exist that he would need a Pat Robertson to get into Government if that was his desire?

Of course Pat does know who the next President will be.

God told him just a couple of weeks ago.

Of course Pat can't say who.

God told him to keep it secret.

Strange how Pat can go on TV and slobber all over the stage telling us about the other things God told him.

You know. Things that can't be verified.

But the one time God decides to tell Pat something juicey that might actually go towards proving his Devine Chit-Chats are authentic and that he is talking to God; God says, "Shhhh; don't tell anyone Pat. It;s our little secret.

You know that act has worked well for most of mans time on Earth.

American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War On America by Chris Hedges

5.0 out of 5 stars When Unquestioned Obedience Is The Only Test Of Faith

January 25, 2007

By W. Szewai

Most great artists and thinkers are outsiders in some sense or another. This ability to observe from the outside often uncovers patterns that are invisible because they are too close. Chris Hedges spent most of his adult life outside of the United States, covering wars and despotic regimes. On his return to America, he was able to see our society with an eye unblunted by habit or assumptions, which, combined with his theological education and visceral experience and understanding of totalitarian systems, gives him a uniquely penetrating perspective into the growing movement known as the Christian Right.

In "American Fascists," Hedges never makes the simplistic claim that the Christian Right is the Nazi party, or that Bush is Mussolini, or that America will inevitably become a fascist state. His investigation is much more nuanced, identifying the incipient stirrings, invisible to many Americans, of a complex, mass political movement that is mobilizing and gaining strength and support beneath the surface of our democracy.

In characteristically muscular and clear prose that fuses the minister and veteran reporter, Hedges not only details multiple facets of the movement, but also examines the ideological undercurrents that drive them and how they translate into political consequences.

At The Creation Museum in Petersburg, Kentucky, which "prove[s] that God's word is true," Hedges writes "The danger of creationism is...that it allows all facts to be accepted or discarded according to the dictates of a preordained ideology."

At a Love Won Out conference, an organization founded to "cure" those who suffer from "same sex attraction," and which denounces and warns against unrepentant homosexuals who seek to corrupt children and destroy the family, Hedges observes that "This cultivated sense of persecution - cultivated by those doing the persecuting - allows the Christian Right to promote bigotry and attack any outcry as part of the war against the Christian faith. A group trying to curtail the civil rights of gays and lesbians portrays itself, in this rhetorical twist, as victims of an effort to curtail the civil rights of Christians."

Of the gospel of consumerism relentlessly peddled by televangelists on massive Christian broadcasting networks, which promises its 141 million viewers that all they need to fix their lives is belief in Jesus and a regular "love offering" in American dollars to the network, Hedges writes, "...when faith alone cures illness, overcomes emotional distress and ensures financial and physical security, there is no need for...social-service and regulatory agencies to exist. There is no need for fiscal or social responsibility... To put trust in secular institutions is to lack faith, to give up on God's magic and miracles. The message...dovetails with the message of neoconservatives who want to gut and destroy federal programs, free themselves from government regulations and taxes and break the back of all organizations, such as labor unions, that seek to impede maximum profit."

Among other events and interviews, we also see an Evangelism Explosion workshop run by D. James Kennedy at his Coral Ridge mega-church which trains participants to convert non-believers, an anti-abortion weekend organized by the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation, an Ohio Restoration Project rally where the Christian cross is superimposed upon a huge American flag.

The collective portrait is that of a non-reality-based movement, based on magic and miracles, which no rational argument can penetrate. The leaders of the Christian Right claim they speak for God, and as such, can brook no dissent. Unquestioned obedience to these ambassadors of God becomes the only test of faith. In totalitarian movements, the responsibility of making decisions about right and wrong is lifted from the people, along with the anxiety that attends that responsibility. But the surrender of conscience only comes with the abdication of democratic power and civil rights.

Yet it would be a mistake to view "American Fascists" as nothing but a frontal assault on the Christian Right. It is also an unexpectedly compassionate hearing of the stories of despair and pain that are the hidden, private side of this movement. Hedges clearly makes a distinction between the leaders and the followers, and his anger at how the movement exploits the shame and guilt of its followers for political and economic purposes is one of the driving forces of the book. The Christian Right is built on economic and personal despair, Hedges argues. Again and again, he encounters followers whose lives were shattered by sexual abuse, drug addiction, child abuse, domestic violence, alcoholism, extreme poverty, multiple abortions, broken families, and profound alienation and loneliness. It was this despair that drove them to embrace the Christian Right, which promises them miraculous solutions and apocalyptic revenge against those who had destroyed their lives. These stories of despair turned to rage are vital to understanding this mass movement and its power.

The Christian Right seeks to destroy that which it claims to defend. Hedges accords them no religious legitimacy, as they trample the core values of Jesus' teachings, love and compassion, and seek to use the veneer of religion as a route to political power. There is a vast difference between the "religion" of the Christian Right and the true meaning of faith. Near the close of the book, Hedges writes:

"The radical Christian Right calls for exclusion, cruelty and intolerance in the name of God. Its members do not commit evil for evil's sake. They commit evil to make a better world. To attain this better world, they believe, some must suffer and be silenced, and at the end of time all those who oppose them must be destroyed. The worst suffering in human history has been carried out by those who preach such grand, utopian visions, those who seek to implant by force their narrow, particular version of goodness. This is true for all doctrines of personal salvation, from Christianity to ethnic nationalism to communism to fascism. Dreams of a universal good create hells of persecution, suffering and slaughter. No human being could ever be virtuous enough to attain such dreams, and the Earth has swallowed millions of hapless victims in the vain pursuit of a new heaven and a new Earth. Ironically, it is idealism that leads radical fundamentalists to strip human beings of their dignity and their sanctity and turn them into abstractions. Yet it is only by holding on to the sanctity of each individual, each human life, only by placing our faith in tiny, unheroic acts of compassion and kindness, that we survive as a community and as individual human beings."

[Sep 17, 2010] Republican Gomorrah Inside the Movement that Shattered the Party Max Blumenthal Books

Amazon.com

Frank Schaeffer

For me reading Max Blumenthal's Republican Gomorrah is a look into a mirror. That might be because Blumenthal extensively interviewed me and drew rather heavily on my book "Crazy for God: How I Grew Up as One of the Elect, Helped Found the Religious Right, and Lived to Take All (or Almost All) of It Back" as a reference for his in-depth exposé of what has gone so very wrong with the Republican Party. He's on my turf so I happen to know he's telling the truth as its not been told before. But there's more.

Republican Gomorrah is the first book that actually "gets" what's happened to the Republican Party and in turn what the Republicans have done to our country. The usual Democratic Party and/or progressive "take" on the Republican Party is that it's been taken over by a far right lunatic fringe of hate and hypocrisy, combining as it does, sexual and other scandals with moralistic finger wagging. But Blumenthal explains a far deeper pathology: it isn't so much religion as the psychosis and sadomasochism of the losers now called "Republicans" that drives the party. And the "Christianity" that shapes so much "conservative" thinking now is anything but Christian. It's a series of deranged personality cults.

The Religious Right/Republicans have perfected the method of capturing people in personal crisis and turning them into far right evangelical/far right foot soldiers. This explains a great deal that otherwise, to outsiders, seems almost inexplicable--the why and wherefore of "Deathers" "Birthers" et al. Blumanthal brilliantly sums up this pathology as:

"...a culture of personal crisis lurking behind the histrionics and expressions of social resentment. This culture is the mortar that bonds leaders and followers together."

Tracing the thinking of the fathers of the Republican Party, including my dad, the late Francis Schaeffer, who I teamed up with when I was a young man to help launch the Protestant wing of the "pro-life" movement, along with other such as Rousas John Rushdoony and the philanthropist Howard Ahmanson -- who used to donate generously to my far right work -- Blumenthal explains where the current Republican Party came from. He also details who it's foundational thinkers were, and just why it's still so dangerous. (A threat proved again this summer as the gun-toting fringe derailed the health care reform debate.)

He has their number. For one thing this book -- at last! -- will forever put James Dobson where he belongs: onto the top of the list of the American national rogue's gallery of mean-spirited, even sadistic, cranks.

Blumenthal first came to my attention when he was doing his in-depth reporting on Sarah Palin. He was a guest on a TV program I was on too. There was something accomplished and in depth about the quality of his reporting on religion that I hadn't seen from other progressive sources. I've been following his work since. Blumenthal understands the philosophy, psychology and religion of Religious Right figures like Palin, Dobson, Robertson et al in a way that no other reporter (with the exception of the always amazingly perceptive Jeff Sharlet author of <em>The Family</em>) does.

Now, having read Blumenthal's book I know why he seems to really understand the nuances of far right religion. No one else has ever investigated this subject with as much insight into the psychological sickness that is the basis of the Religious right's power to delude other people who are also needy and unstable.

In another time and place the despicable (and sometimes tragic figures) Blumenthal describes would be the leaders of, or the participants in, local lynch mobs, or the followers of the Ku Klux Klan. But today figures such as James Dobson, Pat Robertson, (the late) Jerry Falwell, Newt Gingrich, and Sarah Palin have led a resentment-driven second American revolution, not just against Democrats and progressives but against the United States of America itself. And this group of outsiders (in every sense of that word ) now control one of our major political parties.

As I explained to Blumanthal when he interviewed me, one of the reasons I left the far right movement in the 1980s was because I perceived20it becoming the bedrock of anti-Americanism. The worst things got the better we right wing activists liked it. We loved crisis. We<em> manufactured </em>crisis! Crisis (public or personal) would force the country to embrace our radical solution: a radical turn to Old Testament law that would put homosexuals to death, see adulterers stoned at the city gates and so forth.

There were exceptions to the hard edge, my late father Francis Schaeffer was one. And Blumenthal (in his chapter on Dad and I) describes how my father was a compassionate man who opened his ministry to all before something "snapped" after the Roe v. Wade decision when he became a leader in the pro-life movement.

But with a few exceptions (like my late father) most of the people described in Blumenthal's book have no "other side" to them. They are the sick bedrock of what, at any moment, may become a full-blown American fascism. (Sharlet has done great work on showing how these Religious Right folks have also invaded the US Military, especially the chaplaincy ranks.)

My one -- very slight -- criticism of Republican Gomorrah is that Blumenthal neglected to do something that would have bolstered his arguments and given them deeper credibility: introduce a bi t of paradox and nuance into his book. He could have made a better case for the left by frankly looking at some of the extremism on the left that has played into the hands of the cynics who control the Religio us Right: for instance the the way Roe v. Wade was (in the view of many liberal pro-choice advocates) a tactical mistake preempting what was already happening in states including California and New York, in terms of legalizing abortion, and thereby galvanizing the culture war as we know it. And in the same vein perhaps when it comes to the current ethics of abortion and porn Blumenthal's case would be stronger if he had pointed out that there are many progressives, who have serious moral qualms on these issues as well.

That said Blumentha's case against the Religious Right is breathtakingly damning. What these folks want -- to destroy our pluralistic democracy and replace it with theocracy -- appears so far-fetched to most Americans that unfortunately their agenda is not taken seriously. The great service Blumenthal performs is to not only enlighten those who didn't grow up in the movement (as I did, sad to say) but to offer a genuine warning as to the seriousness of what these people will unleash if not stopped, then stopped again and again--because they are here to stay. And they just happen to control the republican Party!

Why should Blumenthal's book to be taken seriously? Take it from this former "insider" he knows what he's talking about. Hi s thesis is less about politics than about the deviant psychology that people like Dobson have cashed in on by feeding delusion, victimhood and failure as a means through which to build a political movement. What Blumenthal reveals20is the heart of the most dysfunctional and truly dangerous -- not to mention armed -- darkest reaches of our country.

What should we "do"? Read the book! Then fight like hell to keep Republicans out of power come what may. And maybe (note to progressives!) be a little less critical of President Obama and a little more grateful that he's in the White House!

Once in a while a book comes along about which one can say: If you love our country read this! Republican Gomorrah is one such book. One other thing: if you know any sane Republicans that would like to save what's left of their party <em>beg them to read this book</em>. If you have to beg them in the name of Jesus!

L. Mickelsen "Blue Loon"

September 8, 2009| A riveting, romping and truly original analysis of the Republican Christian Right

I just want to second the Amazon review of this book by Frank Schaeffer. Amen, Frank and bravo to Max, who really has written an amazing book.

I also grew up in the evangelical culture. With the exception of my immediate family, most of my relatives are part of Christian right. I graduated from a conservative, evangelical college where, as one of the few politically liberal students, I probably met more gay and lesbians than I later did at my Ivy League graduate school. As Max Blumenthal shows in his book.....this is not a strange coincidence.

I was born into an evangelical home, as were my parents. In fact, most of the hundreds of evangelicals I met at church or college were the second, third or fourth generation of conservative Christians. I left the evangelical world at age 22 and have spent years wondering what makes it so angry and reactive. Main-line Protestants and Catholics have their own faults and odd tics. Ditto for the reform and conservative branches of Judiasm. But with the exception of certain fundamentalist Muslims, none of these groups seem to have the same weird, sado-masochistic vibe of the Christian right.

In fact, evangelical Republicans act so much like untreated trauma survivors or dry drunks that I've really come to view them more as a psychological phenomenon as opposed to a religious movement. They're obsessed with gays, pornography and sexuality because, as Blumenthal shows, so many are closeted gays, porn addicts and/or men who can't relate to women in a healthy, equal way.

It's a very strange sub-culture. Conservative Christians tend to cut themselves off from a huge spectrum of human emotions (with the usual dismal, whack-a-mole results.) They insist on ignorance, attempting to shackle any natural intellectual curiosity. In order to remain in a conservative Christian world, you have to censor your thoughts and emotions to the point where the result is a serious case of arrested development.

Which is why so many right-wing Christians can't seem to think or process feelings like normal adults. Instead they operate in a very child-like world of good or evil, heaven or hell, salvation or damnation, all or nothing, with us or against us. Which is why they're absolutely fixated on creating scapegoats (Commies, gays, liberals, Islamic terrorists, dark-skinned people, feminists, hippies, or whatever else is handy.) as a way to project their fears and darkness onto some other group.

This is not a new sub-culture---these people have been part of the American landscape for hundreds of years. What's new is their seizure of a major political party and being able to rule one of the largest, most powerful countries in the world, certainly from 2000-2008 and probably going back to the Reagan presidency as well.

I'm a former tribe member and I'm still asking....why are they like this? What's the point of this mass phenomenon of violent psychological self-mutilation? What the hell are they so afraid of?

Max Blumenthal is the first reporter who goes deep enough into the movement to ask these kind of questions. It's a phenomenal, riveting, hilarious and yet deeply serious analysis. You won't be able to put it down.

American Fascists The Christian Right and the War on America (9780743284462) Chris Hedges Books

Amazon.com

W. Szewai

January 25, 200 | When Unquestioned Obedience Is The Only Test Of Faith

This review is from: American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War On America (Hardcover) Most great artists and thinkers are outsiders in some sense or another. This ability to observe from the outside often uncovers patterns that are invisible because they are too close. Chris Hedges spent most of his adult life outside of the United States, covering wars and despotic regimes. On his return to America, he was able to see our society with an eye unblunted by habit or assumptions, which, combined with his theological education and visceral experience and understanding of totalitarian systems, gives him a uniquely penetrating perspective into the growing movement known as the Christian Right.

In "American Fascists," Hedges never makes the simplistic claim that the Christian Right is the Nazi party, or that Bush is Mussolini, or that America will inevitably become a fascist state. His investigation is much more nuanced, identifying the incipient stirrings, invisible to many Americans, of a complex, mass political movement that is mobilizing and gaining strength and support beneath the surface of our democracy.

In characteristically muscular and clear prose that fuses the minister and veteran reporter, Hedges not only details multiple facets of the movement, but also examines the ideological undercurrents that drive them and how they translate into political consequences.

At The Creation Museum in Petersburg, Kentucky, which "prove[s] that God's word is true," Hedges writes "The danger of creationism is...that it allows all facts to be accepted or discarded according to the dictates of a preordained ideology."

At a Love Won Out conference, an organization founded to "cure" those who suffer from "same sex attraction," and which denounces and warns against unrepentant homosexuals who seek to corrupt children and destroy the family, Hedges observes that "This cultivated sense of persecution - cultivated by those doing the persecuting - allows the Christian Right to promote bigotry and attack any outcry as part of the war against the Christian faith. A group trying to curtail the civil rights of gays and lesbians portrays itself, in this rhetorical twist, as victims of an effort to curtail the civil rights of Christians."

Of the gospel of consumerism relentlessly peddled by televangelists on massive Christian broadcasting networks, which promises its 141 million viewers that all they need to fix their lives is belief in Jesus and a regular "love offering" in American dollars to the network, Hedges writes,

"...when faith alone cures illness, overcomes emotional distress and ensures financial and physical security, there is no need for...social-service and regulatory agencies to exist. There is no need for fiscal or social responsibility... To put trust in secular institutions is to lack faith, to give up on God's magic and miracles. The message...dovetails with the message of neoconservatives who want to gut and destroy federal programs, free themselves from government regulations and taxes and break the back of all organizations, such as labor unions, that seek to impede maximum profit."

Among other events and interviews, we also see an Evangelism Explosion workshop run by D. James Kennedy at his Coral Ridge mega-church which trains participants to convert non-believers, an anti-abortion weekend organized by the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation, an Ohio Restoration Project rally where the Christian cross is superimposed upon a huge American flag.

The collective portrait is that of a non-reality-based movement, based on magic and miracles, which no rational argument can penetrate. The leaders of the Christian Right claim they speak for God, and as such, can brook no dissent. Unquestioned obedience to these ambassadors of God becomes the only test of faith. In totalitarian movements, the responsibility of making decisions about right and wrong is lifted from the people, along with the anxiety that attends that responsibility. But the surrender of conscience only comes with the abdication of democratic power and civil rights.

Yet it would be a mistake to view "American Fascists" as nothing but a frontal assault on the Christian Right. It is also an unexpectedly compassionate hearing of the stories of despair and pain that are the hidden, private side of this movement. Hedges clearly makes a distinction between the leaders and the followers, and his anger at how the movement exploits the shame and guilt of its followers for political and economic purposes is one of the driving forces of the book. The Christian Right is built on economic and personal despair, Hedges argues. Again and again, he encounters followers whose lives were shattered by sexual abuse, drug addiction, child abuse, domestic violence, alcoholism, extreme poverty, multiple abortions, broken families, and profound alienation and loneliness. It was this despair that drove them to embrace the Christian Right, which promises them miraculous solutions and apocalyptic revenge against those who had destroyed their lives. These stories of despair turned to rage are vital to understanding this mass movement and its power.

The Christian Right seeks to destroy that which it claims to defend. Hedges accords them no religious legitimacy, as they trample the core values of Jesus' teachings, love and compassion, and seek to use the veneer of religion as a route to political power. There is a vast difference between the "religion" of the Christian Right and the true meaning of faith. Near the close of the book, Hedges writes:

"The radical Christian Right calls for exclusion, cruelty and intolerance in the name of God. Its members do not commit evil for evil's sake. They commit evil to make a better world. To attain this better world, they believe, some must suffer and be silenced, and at the end of time all those who oppose them must be destroyed. The worst suffering in human history has been carried out by those who preach such grand, utopian visions, those who seek to implant by force their narrow, particular version of goodness. This is true for all doctrines of personal salvation, from Christianity to ethnic nationalism to communism to fascism. Dreams of a universal good create hells of persecution, suffering and slaughter. No human being could ever be virtuous enough to attain such dreams, and the Earth has swallowed millions of hapless victims in the vain pursuit of a new heaven and a new Earth. Ironically, it is idealism that leads radical fundamentalists to strip human beings of their dignity and their sanctity and turn them into abstractions. Yet it is only by holding on to the sanctity of each individual, each human life, only by placing our faith in tiny, unheroic acts of compassion and kindness, that we survive as a community and as individual human beings."

R. Daniels (California) :

January 25, 2007 | I could not recommend this book more highly

As a Christian with experience in both conservative and liberal evangelical congregations, I found useful insights into the political and religious shifts I've witnessed since the 1970s and that we've all seen accelerate after 9/11. How is it that well intentioned churches and their members have come to believe that homosexuality is THE problem facing the U.S. today? How can self-professed Christians become unabased cheerleaders for war? How do Christians get so caught up in television personality cults masquarading as Christian ministries?

These and many many other questions are asked and answered by Hedges. The historic background and his logic in reaching those answers are accessibly presented. Where those answers eventually lead is a cause for concern to all U.S. citizens and, as a Christian, the author makes it clear that the responsibility for standing up to the unholy rise of Christian Fascism falls squarely on the shoulders of Christians.

The more "religous" you are, the more important I think it is that you consider the points made by the author. You're not going to like most of them. But I think you will come to agree with too many of them to ignore his overarching concerns.

David R. Cook:

February 8, 2007 | Progressive Christian confronts the Christian Right fringe

This review is from: American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War On America (Hardcover) Chris Hedges has all the personal and experiential credentials to take on the Christian "dominionists" that pose a danger to our democracy and, by extension, the world. First, he is a fine writer. Second, he has covered from the ground most of the wars of the second half of the 20th Century. And third, he thinks deeply and personally about religion, theology, ethics and morality. His admired father was a Presbyterian minister who cared deeply about tolerance and community. Having said all that, Hedges does not pull any punches in equating the small group of dominionists (about 7% of Christians) with the behavior and belief systems that were part and parcel of fascism. He has read deeply in analyses of fascism, such as Hannah Arendt, and, being the good reporter that he is, has attended some of the different gatherings of dominionists and talked to those who have been affected by their involvement in the cult like movements that pass for Christianity.

America today faces many internal threats to our democracy. Not least of these threats comes from the imperialistic presidency with which we have been inflicted by Bush and Cheney. Would they were the only purveyors of American imperialism, but they have only taken this bent to a new level. The Christian Right, led by the dominionists, is directly tuned in to this imperialism, turning it into "God's will", with the exciting twist that we are heading for the apocalypse when only the saved will attain heaven. Because these so-called Christians are heavily funded and control a disproportionate number of radio and TV outlets, their influence far exceeds their numbers. Elsewhere, it has been observed that history shows that nations cannot maintain an empire abroad and democracy at home. Preserving democracy at home will eventually require giving up the empire. Hedges argues that it will take many acts of faith in the political realm to counter these fascists, two examples of which are passing hate crimes legislation and universal healthcare legislation. Ending the Iraq war will help also.

This is a book intended for consciousness raising about a threat within our democracy that we ignore or placate to our peril. I urge my "mainstream" Christian and secular friends to read this book.

[Sep 16, 2010] American Theocracy: The Peril and Politics of Radical Religion, Oil, and Borrowed Money in the 21st Century

K. Johnson

Kevin Phillips is one of the most widely read and acclaimed in this field. Of his many works, "The Emerging Republican Majority" written 40 years ago in 1969, gives him the credibility, as well as his 13 other books since. "American Theocracy" discusses the 5 decades of growth many recent developments occurring in the US political, economic, religious and cultural realm in the GOP. He supports his points with lots of research and referencing.

Phillips states the GOP and US government are "a fusion of petroleum-defined national security; a crusading, simplistic Christianity; and a reckless credit-feeding financial complex."

At one time, the GOP was the party of stability, order, low taxes, low spending, and small government (in theory at least).

The author notes the transition of the GOP to what many others think and believe today: In 2006, it's over. The Republican party can never argue again that it's the party of low taxes and spending, and small government. The 'big-government GOP' began long before The G.W . Bush administration, but Bush 43 has greatly exacerbated to shift to big spending, big government, conglomerate control, and the erosion of personal liberties and freedom of speech. Today there is a Cult of Personality and a lack of critical thought and even disdain -- to the slightest questioning or criticism of American domestic and foreign policy: Bushbots. Federal bureaucratic interference in education with the "No Child Left Behind," Act, and the promulgation of the pseudo-scientific "Intelligent Design." The federal government's interference in the Schiavo case is another clear example of many, noted in "American Theocracy."

Borrowed Prosperity:

"a preference for conspicuous consumption over energy efficiency and conservation,"

"Never before have political leaders urged . . . large-scale indebtedness on American consumers to rally the economy,"

It was Phillips who coined the well-know term "The Sunbelt". Well, here's another: "National-Debt Culture." Federal deficits, Social Security, Corporate debt, state & Local bonds, and massive trade imbalances. "The Financialization of America."

American Per Capita Debt Ratios at Historical All-Time Highs:

On a per capita level, the real estate boom was in part caused by the 1997 "no roll-over" capital gains tax, subsequent tech crash in 2000, and the lowed interest rates in decades.

So what did people do as a result of the boom? Buy more stuff. How? By using their home equity as an ATM machine as they falsely believed they were "wealthier." Will there be consequences?
Perhaps. Perhaps, not.

Petro-Politics and the Military-Industrial Complex:

The U.S. government learned during WWII that high military and defense spending helps the US economy, provides jobs which in turn, spur consumer spending, while redistributing wealth to corporations (defense contracting companies).

Petro-Warriors:

When troops first went into Iraq, what was the first thing they secured? the Iraqi Oil Ministry, and several oil refineries. One of the primary and public arguments for the invasion of Iraq by the US government was 1. it would help the U.S. economy and 2. it would cause oil prices to decline.

Potential Impact:

As for Phillip's latest, even more convincing is his perspective. He isn't a fan of the Royal Bush family, NOR does he see Hillary as a viable and effective alternative. If Americans can stop pretending that parties are really that different on the political spectrum they can realize, that American culture, habits and behaviour, will be the deciding factor. However I don't see it happening.

This is a breakthrough book that will receive attention. It's not the first book published recently, that offers these opinions. But it's the credentials of the author, Kevin Phillips that will spur discussion. Things won't change; but things will be discussed. His objective historical notes about previously fallen Empires involved several historical facts that have occurred to other great powers in the past: global usurpation, religious intransigence, debt, and dependency on resources that are *outside* of the nation.

What Phillips is describing is not Earth shattering, bold, nor brave. Because it's a truthful observation based on statistical facts, not necessarily just opinion. And, it's a concept that happens to ALL empires over the course of world history. The Roman Empire declined over a period of 300 to 400 years. The United States does not seem to have that long. I suspect when it starts, which may be now, it will take 50 to 100 years. However, when it will begin exactly , is what we don't know. Like all of history, time moves on, and so does Earth's civilization.

Worth noting again, readers must disassociate themselves from their own natural biases. Like all books regarding the current political, cultural, and religious landscape: don't focus on opposing sides and viewpoints. Focus on the book's various perspectives and then apply to your perceptions. Then, deconstruct this book by yourself.

Robert D. Steele
March 29, 2006 | Brilliant integration of oil, debt, religion, Bush, and crime

This is a five-star book that offers up two very serious values:

1) There is no other author who has written in such depth, over the course of four books, on the Republican party, the Bush dynasty, and the inter-relationship between the religious right and corporate wealth. This Republican is as serious an analyst as any that can be found. he joins Clyde Prestowitz, Paul O'Neil, and Peter Peterson as "go to guys" for when Senator John Edwards forms the American Independence Party and breaks away from the idiot Democrats and the Clinton mafia.

2) The author has done his homework and very ably integrated, with all appropriate footnotes and index entries, three broad literatures, two of which I have read multiple books on (oil and debt), one on which I have not (radical US religion--fully the equal of Bin Laden and suicidal terrorists, these folks just send others to do the dying for them).

So I have to say, given that this is a serious book by a serious author, why so many obviously loosely-read individuals writing short dismissive reviews? I have to conclude he has touched a nerve. When I used to appear on NPR, before I was kicked off for condemning Israeli lobbyists and suggesting that the common Arabs (the real people, not the sadistic opulent corrupt House of Saud or the other dictators) never got a fair shake from the US, I would get hate calls and mail from what I now realize were know-nothing radical right-wing religious nuts. We'd get into the issues, and I would ask, "what books have you read on this?" only to be told, "There is only one book that matters, the Bible."

Well, this author has helped me understand where the Bush constituency comes from: these are the folks that graduated from rote reading of the Bible to the "Left Behind" fiction series. They are the intellectual equals of the Islamic kids learning to be suicide bombers by reciting old Arabic they don't understand.

If you do not have the time or money to buy all the other books I have reviewed, spanning emerging threats, the lack of strategy and the inappropriate force structure, the anti-Americanism that we spawn, the corruption of Wall Street and the shallowness of white collar law enforcement, the end of cheap oil, the end of free water, the rise of pandemic disease, the coming date with destiny when the 44 dictators we support are overthrown and the US pays the price for its long-term nurturing of all but three of them....this book brings a lot together. It avoids only two really important topics: the environmental implications such as covered by TIME Magazine in the 3 April 2006 cover story on Global Warming; and the minutia of how America is no longer a real democracy--not only do most voters not vote, but once elected, most Congressman are corrupted immediately by lobbyists.

The author, who is uniquely qualified to sum this all up in this book because of his three prior books centered on the Bush Family, oil, and wealth, does a tremendous job of outlining how oil money ultimately bought the White House and Congress.

If you have time for two other books, I recommend Crossing the Rubicon: The Decline of the American Empire at the End of the Age of Oil in which a former LAPD investigator makes a case for indicting Dick Cheney for fabricating the march to war on Iraq under the delusion that we would get another ten years of "cheap oil" and Twilight in the Desert: The Coming Saudi Oil Shock and the World Economy in which it is clearly documented that both Congress and the White House knew in 1974-1975 that Peak Oil was over, and they concealed this for another 25 years in order to keep the bribery coming--this was nothing less than a treasonous betrayal of the public interest worthy of retrospective impeachments for all concerned.

The books by moderate Republicans Prestowitz (Rogue Nation: American Unilateralism and the Failure of Good Intentions) and Petersen (Running on Empty: How the Democratic and Republican Parties Are Bankrupting Our Future and What Americans Can Do About It) should be read as well as Brand Hijack : Marketing Without Marketing which is about why Paul O'Neil quit the Bush Administration--he realized that ideological fantasy and Dick Cheney had displaced a reasoned policy process, the Cabinet, and Congressional concurrence.....

This is a very bad time. This book is as good as any at setting the stage for intelligent people to campaign and vote in 2006 and 2008.

EDIT 7 Dec 07: Since I wrote this review, several gems are newly available:

Gary Schroeder:

April 22, 2006 | Be worried. Be very worried

I usually avoid political books of this type, viewing them as mostly disposable and irrelevant once thier two-month topical shelf-life has expired. However, I was tempted into buying it for two reasons: the author is well-known for charting a course for the Republican party back in the 1960s which led to its current reliance on a southern, religious base (so he knows more than just a little about his topic). Second, I heard author Kevin Philips inerviewed on several different programs and I was intrigued by the authority and pragmatism with which he presented his thesis. Namely, that Americans have three things to fear: religious rule, dependence on a foreign product without which our current lifestyle and economy is impossible (oil) and, finally, crushing debt.

The book can get a little dry at times, but the background and the recitation of facts is necessary to truly put the present situation in perspective. This is no sensational name-calling book, it's simply an attempt to explain how American politics got to where it is today and what the practical implications are for the future. Philips provides such a well-costructed argument, that it's hard to ignore his concerns. If you're not concerned for our national future by the time you're through, you probably weren't reading carefully.

If you're looking for repetitious Bush-bashing, skip this book. While there are certainly indictments of Bush policy, Philips traces a much longer arc than simply the most recent administration. There's plenty of blame to go around...and it's been decades in the making. Beyond the already troubling issues of possible theocracy, future oil shortages and a ballooning debt economy, Philips draws many parallels to other historical superpowers which folded. America is charting a very close course with countries such as Spain and Great Britain, both of which ceased to produce actual goods that poeple could buy and which, towards the end of their reign, also shyed away from rational thinking in favor of a religious fervor which held that each was special in the eyes of god and, therefore protected from failure...a view that is, with benefit of hindsight, delusional.

Larry Shallenberger:

September 14, 2007 Sharp, Not Balanced, But An Important Read

Former Republican strategist, Kevin Phillips, believes he knows what is wrong with our nation. Chances are, by very virtue of your reading a book review on a Christian e-zine, you contribute to the erosion of our national health. American Theocracy: The Politics and Peril of Radical Religion, Oil, and Borrowed Money in the 21st Century is at times scathing and at times coolly analytical in its survey of dangers Phillips sees threatening our superpower status.

Part I examines the effects of America's dependency on oil. Our industry, automobiles, and military have an insatiable appetite for oil. Phillips argues that this energy dependency gives Big Oil too much sway over our domestic and foreign policies. At home we lax our environmental laws to accommodate oil drilling. And abroad we resort to international thuggery to secure control of Iraq's mostly untapped oil fields. "The war on terror?", "Importing democracy to the Middle East?" Phillips sees these as slogans to sell an imperialistic war.

In Part II: "Too Many Preachers", Phillips takes aim at Christian Fundamentalism, a movement the he sees embodied by the Southern Baptist Convention, Pentecostals, and the charismatic movements. Phillips chronicles these denominations rise to prominence and how they shape national politics. The culture wars are provoked by radical Christians attempting to establish a theocracy--a Christian America governed by God's rules. "Disenlightenment" is Phillip's descriptor for the effect that these empowered believers have on our country: They value faith over science and a literal Armageddon over peace.

Phillips closes his diatribe with Part III on our national and individual debt. Again, Phillips provides a valuable historic context at how debt played a role in the decline of England, Spain, and the Netherlands as superpowers. Phillips offers an undeniable outline of the depths of our national debt as well as personal credit lodes. He argues that our increasing debt and decreasing hard industry has created a thin ice that will eventual give in under our largesse.

American Theocracy finds its value when Phillips is able to sustain his analytical voice, and he's able to do so for extended periods of time. His historical perspective on our oil dependency, the changing face of American religion, and our national debt demand your attention. I'll confess, as an evangelical with political tendencies a few notches right of centrist, this was uncomfortable stuff to read. Even so, Phillips places important issues on the table.

However when Phillips slips into his polemic voice the book becomes tedious. Phillips has open contempt for people superstitious enough to buy into the Biblical creation account, Noah Arc, or a literal interpretation of Revelation, such as the one popularized by the Left Behind franchise. Phillips also makes too many gaps in his evidence with clauses like, "Although the evidence is weak." He's on a mission to connect the dots and is willing to supply any missing points along the way.

Make no mistake; Kevin Phillips wields too much anger and bias to be objective. But are there any takeaways for the evangelical and fundamentalist Christian communities?

I think so. American Theocracy provokes us to ask several poignant questions:

  • Have we developed what Phillip's calls "American Exceptionalism"; a belief that America has an exclusive blessing from God? How does this belief influence our foreign policy?
  • Does our theology concerning the end times make us overly tolerant of military interventions in the Middle East? ("The faster we get to Armageddon the faster we get to heaven.")
  • Should the political arena our primary method of advancing God's kingdom on Earth? Does Jesus truly expect that we establish an "American Theocracy?"

I won't pretend to offer the final word on these questions. Instead, I just note that in spite of all the book's weaknesses, American Theocracy provides the agenda for an important conversation that's long overdue.

[Sep 10, 2010] The taming and domestication of religious faith is one of the unceasing chores of civilization By Christopher Hitchens

Sept. 6, 2010 | Slate Magazine

A recent blizzard of liberal columns has framed the debate over American Islam as if it were no more than the most recent stage in the glorious history of our religious tolerance. This phrasing of the question has the (presumably intentional) effect of marginalizing doubts and of lumping any doubters with the anti-Catholic Know-Nothings, the anti-Semites, and other bigots and shellbacks. So I pause to take part in a thought experiment, and to ask myself: Am I in favor of the untrammeled "free exercise of religion"?

No, I am not. Take an example close at hand, the absurdly named Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. More usually known as the Mormon church, it can boast Glenn Beck as one of its recruits. He has recently won much cheap publicity for scheduling a rally on the anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.'s March on Washington. But on the day on which the original rally occurred in 1963, the Mormon church had not yet gotten around to recognizing black people as fully human or as eligible for full membership. (Its leadership subsequently underwent a "revelation" allowing a change on this point, but not until after the passage of the Civil Rights Act.) This opportunism closely shadowed an earlier adjustment of Mormon dogma, abandoning its historic and violent attachment to polygamy. Without that doctrinal change, the state of Utah was firmly told that it could not be part of the Union. More recently, Gov. Mitt Romney had to assure voters that he did not regard the prophet, or head of the Mormon church, as having ultimate moral and spiritual authority on all matters. Nothing, he swore, could override the U.S. Constitution. Thus, to the extent that we view latter-day saints as acceptable, and agree to overlook their other quaint and weird beliefs, it is to the extent that we have decidedly limited them in the free exercise of their religion.

One could cite some other examples, such as those Christian sects that disapprove of the practice of medicine. Their adult members are generally allowed to die while uttering religious incantations and waving away the physician, but, in many states, if they apply this faith to their children-a crucial element in the "free exercise" of religion-they can be taken straight to court. Not only that, they can find themselves subject to general disapproval and condemnation.

It was probably the latter consideration that helped impel the majority of American Orthodox Jews to give up the practice of metzitzah b'peh, a radical form of male circumcision that is topped off, if you will forgive the expression, by the sucking of the infant's penis by the rabbi or mohel so as to remove any remaining blood or debris. A few tiny sects still cling to this disgusting ritual, which in New York a few years ago led to a small but deadly outbreak of herpes among recently circumcised babies. On that occasion, despite calls for a ban on the practice from many Jewish doctors, the vastly overrated Mayor Michael Bloomberg chose an election year to say that such "free exercise" should not be interfered with.

We talk now as if it was ridiculous ever to suspect Roman Catholics of anything but the highest motives, yet by the time John F. Kennedy was breaking the unspoken taboo on the election of a Catholic as president, the Vatican had just begun to consider making public atonement for centuries of Jew-hatred and a more recent sympathy for fascism. Even today, many lay Catholics are appalled at the Vatican's protection of men who are sought for questioning in one of the gravest of all crimes: the organized rape of children. It is generally agreed that the church's behavior and autonomy need to be modified to take account both of American law and American moral outrage. So much for the naive invocation of "free exercise."

One could easily go on. The Church of Scientology, the Unification Church of Sun Myung Moon, and the Ku Klux Klan are all faith-based organizations and are all entitled to the protections of the First Amendment. But they are also all subject to a complex of statutes governing tax-exemption, fraud, racism, and violence, to the point where "free exercise" in the third case has-by means of federal law enforcement and stern public disapproval-been reduced to a vestige of its former self.

Now to Islam. It is, first, a religion that makes very large claims for itself, purporting to be the last and final word of God and expressing an ambition to become the world's only religion. Some of its adherents follow or advocate the practice of plural marriage, forced marriage, female circumcision, compulsory veiling of women, and censorship of non-Muslim magazines and media. Islam's teachings generally exhibit suspicion of the very idea of church-state separation. Other teachings, depending on context, can be held to exhibit a very strong dislike of other religions, as well as of heretical forms of Islam. Muslims in America, including members of the armed forces, have already been found willing to respond to orders issued by foreign terrorist organizations. Most disturbingly, no authority within the faith appears to have the power to rule decisively that such practices, or such teachings, or such actions, are definitely and utterly in conflict with the precepts of the religion itself.

Reactions from even "moderate" Muslims to criticism are not uniformly reassuring. "Some of what people are saying in this mosque controversy is very similar to what German media was saying about Jews in the 1920s and 1930s," Imam Abdullah Antepli, Muslim chaplain at Duke University, told the New York Times. Yes, we all recall the Jewish suicide bombers of that period, as we recall the Jewish yells for holy war, the Jewish demands for the veiling of women and the stoning of homosexuals, and the Jewish burning of newspapers that published cartoons they did not like. What is needed from the supporters of this very confident faith is more self-criticism and less self-pity and self-righteousness.

Those who wish that there would be no mosques in America have already lost the argument: Globalization, no less than the promise of American liberty, mandates that the United States will have a Muslim population of some size. The only question, then, is what kind, or rather kinds, of Islam it will follow. There's an excellent chance of a healthy pluralist outcome, but it's very unlikely that this can happen unless, as with their predecessors on these shores, Muslims are compelled to abandon certain presumptions that are exclusive to themselves. The taming and domestication of religion is one of the unceasing chores of civilization. Those who pretend that we can skip this stage in the present case are deluding themselves and asking for trouble not just in the future but in the immediate present.

[Mar 28, 2010] Their beliefs are bonkers, but they are at the heart of power by George Monbiot

April 20, 2004 | The Guardian

US Christian fundamentalists are driving Bush's Middle East policy

To understand what is happening in the Middle East, you must first understand what is happening in Texas. To understand what is happening there, you should read the resolutions passed at the state's Republican party conventions last month. Take a look, for example, at the decisions made in Harris County, which covers much of Houston.

The delegates began by nodding through a few uncontroversial matters: homosexuality is contrary to the truths ordained by God; "any mechanism to process, license, record, register or monitor the ownership of guns" should be repealed; income tax, inheritance tax, capital gains tax and corporation tax should be abolished; and immigrants should be deterred by electric fences. Thus fortified, they turned to the real issue: the affairs of a small state 7,000 miles away. It was then, according to a participant, that the "screaming and near fist fights" began.

I don't know what the original motion said, but apparently it was "watered down significantly" as a result of the shouting match. The motion they adopted stated that Israel has an undivided claim to Jerusalem and the West Bank, that Arab states should be "pressured" to absorb refugees from Palestine, and that Israel should do whatever it wishes in seeking to eliminate terrorism. Good to see that the extremists didn't prevail then.

But why should all this be of such pressing interest to the people of a state which is seldom celebrated for its fascination with foreign affairs? The explanation is slowly becoming familiar to us, but we still have some difficulty in taking it seriously.

In the United States, several million people have succumbed to an extraordinary delusion. In the 19th century, two immigrant preachers cobbled together a series of unrelated passages from the Bible to create what appears to be a consistent narrative:

Jesus will return to Earth when certain preconditions have been met.

  • The first of these was the establishment of a state of Israel.
  • The next involves Israel's occupation of the rest of its "biblical lands" (most of the Middle East), and the rebuilding of the Third Temple on the site now occupied by the Dome of the Rock and al-Aqsa mosques.

The legions of the antichrist will then be deployed against Israel, and their war will lead to a final showdown in the valley of Armageddon. The Jews will either burn or convert to Christianity, and the Messiah will return to Earth.

What makes the story so appealing to Christian fundamentalists is that before the big battle begins, all "true believers" (ie those who believe what they believe) will be lifted out of their clothes and wafted up to heaven during an event called the Rapture.

Not only do the worthy get to sit at the right hand of God, but they will be able to watch, from the best seats, their political and religious opponents being devoured by boils, sores, locusts and frogs, during the seven years of Tribulation which follow.

The true believers are now seeking to bring all this about. This means staging confrontations at the old temple site (in 2000, three US Christians were deported for trying to blow up the mosques there), sponsoring Jewish settlements in the occupied territories, demanding ever more US support for Israel, and seeking to provoke a final battle with the Muslim world/Axis of Evil/United Nations/ European Union/France or whoever the legions of the antichrist turn out to be.

The believers are convinced that they will soon be rewarded for their efforts. The antichrist is apparently walking among us, in the guise of Kofi Annan, Javier Solana, Yasser Arafat or, more plausibly, Silvio Berlusconi. The Wal-Mart corporation is also a candidate (in my view a very good one), because it wants to radio-tag its stock, thereby exposing humankind to the Mark of the Beast.

By clicking on www.raptureready.com, you can discover how close you might be to flying out of your pyjamas. The infidels among us should take note that the Rapture Index currently stands at 144, just one point below the critical threshold, beyond which the sky will be filled with floating nudists. Beast Government, Wild Weather and Israel are all trading at the maximum five points (the EU is debating its constitution, there was a freak hurricane in the south Atlantic, Hamas has sworn to avenge the killing of its leaders), but the second coming is currently being delayed by an unfortunate decline in drug abuse among teenagers and a weak showing by the antichrist (both of which score only two).

We can laugh at these people, but we should not dismiss them. That their beliefs are bonkers does not mean they are marginal. American pollsters believe that 15-18% of US voters belong to churches or movements which subscribe to these teachings. A survey in 1999 suggested that this figure included 33% of Republicans. The best-selling contemporary books in the US are the 12 volumes of the Left Behind series, which provide what is usually described as a "fictionalised" account of the Rapture (this, apparently, distinguishes it from the other one), with plenty of dripping details about what will happen to the rest of us. The people who believe all this don't believe it just a little; for them it is a matter of life eternal and death.

And among them are some of the most powerful men in America. John Ashcroft, the attorney general, is a true believer, so are several prominent senators and the House majority leader, Tom DeLay. Mr DeLay (who is also the co-author of the marvellously named DeLay-Doolittle Amendment, postponing campaign finance reforms) travelled to Israel last year to tell the Knesset that "there is no middle ground, no moderate position worth taking".

So here we have a major political constituency - representing much of the current president's core vote - in the most powerful nation on Earth, which is actively seeking to provoke a new world war. Its members see the invasion of Iraq as a warm-up act, as Revelation (9:14-15) maintains that four angels "which are bound in the great river Euphrates" will be released "to slay the third part of men". They batter down the doors of the White House as soon as its support for Israel wavers: when Bush asked Ariel Sharon to pull his tanks out of Jenin in 2002, he received 100,000 angry emails from Christian fundamentalists, and never mentioned the matter again.

The electoral calculation, crazy as it appears, works like this. Governments stand or fall on domestic issues. For 85% of the US electorate, the Middle East is a foreign issue, and therefore of secondary interest when they enter the polling booth. For 15% of the electorate, the Middle East is not just a domestic matter, it's a personal one: if the president fails to start a conflagration there, his core voters don't get to sit at the right hand of God. Bush, in other words, stands to lose fewer votes by encouraging Israeli aggression than he stands to lose by restraining it. He would be mad to listen to these people. He would also be mad not to.

· George Monbiot's book The Age of Consent: a Manifesto for a New World Order is now published in paperback

What's the Matter with Kansas How Conservatives Won the Heart of America Thomas Frank Books

Amazon.com

In an oft cited quote Frank sums up the situation well "

  • Vote to stop abortion; receive a rollback in capital gains taxes.
  • Vote to make our country strong again; receive deindustrialization.
  • Vote to screw those politically correct college professors; receive electricity deregulation.
  • Vote to get government off our backs; receive conglomeration and monopoly everywhere from media to meat-packing.
  • Vote to stand tall against terrorists; receive Social Security privatization.
  • Vote to strike a blow against elitism; receive a social order in which wealth is more concentrated than ever before in our lifetimes, in which workers have been stripped of power and CEOs are rewarded in a manner beyond imagining."
4.0 out of 5 stars Every Christian Conservative needs to read this book..., July 29, 2004
By E. Martin "scalawagg" (US) - See all my reviews
This review is from: What's the Matter with Kansas? How Conservatives Won the Heart of America (Hardcover)

Thomas Frank is a "progressive," most probably a democratic socialist. He doesn't "get" the "family values." He doesn't "get" christianity. He doesn't "get" why a member of the working class would give themselves over to fighting against abortion or gay marriage or evolution, instead of labor organizing. Nonetheless, he throws light the way only an outsider can on why the "religious right" does yoeman service year in and year out for the Republican party and has so little to show for it.

In an oft cited quote Frank sums up the situation well "

  • Vote to stop abortion; receive a rollback in capital gains taxes. Vote to make our country strong again; receive deindustrialization.
  • Vote to screw those politically correct college professors; receive electricity deregulation.
  • Vote to get government off our backs; receive conglomeration and monopoly everywhere from media to meat-packing.
  • Vote to stand tall against terrorists; receive Social Security privatization.
  • Vote to strike a blow against elitism; receive a social order in which wealth is more concentrated than ever before in our lifetimes, in which workers have been stripped of power and CEOs are rewarded in a manner beyond imagining."

What Frank forgets is it doesn't always go according to plan. The Pat Robertson/Pat Buchanan insurgencies shook the Republican party and Buchanan deserves credit for a Republican congress voting for a raise in the minimum wage. Gary Bauer almost single handedly torpedoed Social Security privatization proposals in 1998. These achievements usually draw backhanded praise from the left, who are if anything more concerned with ideological purity than the "religious right."

Frank decries the "culture wars" and fundamentalist zealots being sucked up into them, but he neglects the extent the left has been sucked up as well. While he discusses the DLC strategy of of hanging to abortion and gay rights as defining issues. He doesn't discuss how the NAACP's crusade against the confederate flag distracts from more substantial political and economic issues or how the "anti-racist/diversity-valuing/multiculturalist" politics of identity that so dominates academic discourse alienates the left from the very people who they purport to be in solidarity with. Nor does he mention the extent to which the Democratic party has systematically purged "pro-life" members from any public forum.

Nonetheless Frank deserves credit he show how "social conservatives" cannot be dismissed a mere racists. And he shows how they engaged in grassroots politics of the sort that unions and other "progressive" entities have forgotten or gotten too lazy to do.

The great unasked question is what would happen if we tried to reverse the formula Frank describes, what if by trying fighting media concentration we can stem the debasement of popular entertainment; by seeking to keep manufacturing at home, we can promote strong families; what if we had instant voter runoff or proportional represenation, christian conservatives wouldn't be stuck with the rotten "lesser of two evils" option that those on the left complain about; what if by forcing a debate on the virtues of the Market, we lead to a reconsideration of neo-Darwinism (and the Malthusian economics it rests upon).

In other words instead of just dismissing "family values" as a purely "private concern" we could frame them within the larger, menacing developments of the new, global economy. But such thinking is far beyond the average lefty who's busy arguing the merits of vegan versus lacto-ovo. This is a job the much maligned "religious right" may have to do. And as many of the best union songs used to be spirituals, so to there might be a rebirth a an real populism of the sort that set Kansas abaze a little over 100 years ago.

4.0 out of 5 stars Great analysis. It's the suggested cure that bothers me., March 25, 2005
By Jack Lechelt "Jackyred" (Virginia) - See all my reviews
This review is from: What's the Matter with Kansas? How Conservatives Won the Heart of America (Hardcover)

Frank offers a great explanation for why so many regular folks back a party that will not help them economically. By substituting social issues that will not address the regular Joes' needs in place of economic issues, the right is able to see their economic concerns addressed. Those concerns are, and have always been, tax cuts, deregulation, and laissez-faire capitalism. Amazingly, the regular folk never really see much policy progress on the social-issues front.

My major concern is that Frank believes the modern Democratic Party is too moderate and business-friendly. There are many on the left who agree with him. As I see it, if the Democrats are to embrace Frank's remedies and move the party further to the left, the Democrats will only see more election losses. Whether or not a moderate Democratic Party is good or bad is a secondary matter. Stopping a conservative-led government from enacting its policy preferences should be far more important to the Democratic Party than having proud liberal-Democratic losses. The only Democrat to win - and that was with pluralities, not majorities - was Clinton. Perhaps he was not liberal enough for most Democrats, but having him as president sure beat losing!

As the country continues to face mounting deficits, federal court nominations of conservative justices, and further retreats from modest social safety net protections, hopefully future party squabbles will be minimized so that we can keep our eyes on the prize.

A final note: many liberals believe that moderates do not have firm beliefs and are too willing to compromise important values. I can't speak for all moderates, but I know that my beliefs are firmly held. And one of those important beliefs IS compromise. The idea that one must "give to get" is of core importance to me. That does not mean that I care less or that I am willing give away anything for next-to-nothing. In politics we must pick and choose wisely. Unfortunately, for the past few elections, we have not done too much with any wisdom. Maybe better times lie ahead. Hell, they can't get any worse (gulp).

4.0 out of 5 stars The Cynical Exploitation of Working Class Obsession; 4.5 *s, June 30, 2004

By One Man's View (Lawrenceville, GA USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: What's the Matter with Kansas? How Conservatives Won the Heart of America (Hardcover)

The central concern of this book is the seemingly irrational flocking of sizeable segments of the working and middle classes to the Republican camp in the last two decades. Economically, that political shift makes no sense. By focusing on the particulars of this political development in his native state, Kansas, Frank provides keen insight into what appears to be the self-immolation of the working class.

The author begins by pointing out that Kansas was in the forefront of the populist movement of the 1890s. The largely farming population was aggrieved by low crop prices and exorbitant costs imposed by furnishing agents and railroads. They found business interests to be their primary oppressors and called for governmental intervention in the economy. It was a decidedly leftist movement of "producers versus parasites."

The 1990s also were not kind to "producers." Heartland America was subjected to deindustrialization, off shoring, and stagnating wages, while elites prospered. But strangely, these disruptions no longer generated withering economic critiques; market forces were seen as perhaps causing dislocations but were held to be blameless. Instead working people began to feel strongly that such cultural issues as abortion, gay liberation, vulgarity in entertainment, and even public education were to blame for disturbances in their lives and in society at large. But these same people are unwilling to squarely pinpoint the origins of culture in the U.S.

Huge corporations largely dictate culture in the US. Unsurprisingly, cultural directions set by media and entertainment concerns are determined by what sells. Universities and government mostly reinforce business interests. But these structural connections are generally not the concern of those feeling socially besieged. These new populists are most concerned with the imagined lifestyles of the so-called liberal elites of these despised institutions. The influence of latte drinking, wine and cheese tasting, European vacationing, and liberal sexual practicing snobbish liberal elites, who of course are staunch Democrats, must be vigorously resisted by supporting conservative political forces. The fact that business elites share the same cultural background of the loathed liberal elites goes unnoticed. Those business elites further obscure their role in culture by making the claim that they too are helpless against the liberal cultural assault.

The alliance of moderate business elites, from whom the leaders of the Republican party are frequently drawn, with a conservative base of working people is one of convenience if not outright cynicism. Business leaders and their spokespersons tolerate, and sometimes join in, conservative railings against liberal culture thereby gaining the voting support to carry out a pro-business political program. It can hardly be doubted that the deregulation, privatization, and union-busting agenda of corporate America has been greatly harmful to their base of supporters. As the author notes, the fanning of the flames of cultural discontent have make good business sense. But it is also interesting that the political process seldom delivers on conservative promises to roll back morality practice.

Perhaps this turn to cultural issues is not too surprising. The producerist ethic was well on its way out by the late 1920s. An economic analysis of society based on class was replaced by classless consumerism where everyone had equal rights to consume. Markets are now regarded as neutral, if not benign. Discontent must be due to reasons other than economic structure. The author also notes that both the media and entertainment industry perpetuate this sanitized, mechanistic version of economic workings, where people cannot be blamed for disruptions. The theme of working stiff as a victim of cultural perversity and excess has become a very powerful rallying cry. The strength of that explanation is maintained by the continual feeding of examples of cultural decadence by conservative spokesmen, especially talk-show hosts.

The author, in the end, finds that the deterioration of the economic landscape for a working class obsessed with cultural issues will continue in any foreseeable future. As he says, "Kansas is ready to lead us singing into the apocalypse. It invites us all to join in, to lay down our lives so that others might cash out at the top; to renounce forever our middle-American prosperity in pursuit of a crimson fantasy of middle-American righteousness." This book is a strong indictment of the strength our democracy. If people cannot get beyond delusions, no way can a society operate in a coherent, rational manner.

What's the Matter with Kansas How Conservatives Won the Heart of America

Amazon.com

The author writes a somewhat satirical look at middle America 's political affliations. He has two major thesis.

  • The first being that by the Democrats trying to copy Republicans-and money interests have turned their backs on blue collar workers. These workers have only the social issues to make their political choices.
  • The second part of the thesis, is that the money interests of the backlash movement (as he calls conservative Republicans) have just paid lip service to ending abortion and gay marriage etc.

So the effect of this is to have a reverse French Revolution in which the common man votes Republican and against his/her economic interests. So farming communities shrivel up, unions die, people go without health care.

Frank a native Kansan explores with humor and interviews peeople of the backlash movement.He bemoans the fact that populism -a left wing philosophy born in the mid west is dead. William Jennings Bryan a fundamentalist Christian was a liberal Democratic Senator from Nebraska. He explores this transformation and his diagnosis would make Clinton supporters and free market libertarians both angry. Since he offend both ends of the spectra his observations should be taken seriously.

Certainly their are flaws in his thesis. if the Republican party is only paying lip service to social issues ,why are Democrats so afraid of their Supreme Court picks. If Clinton was in the pay of moneyed interests why was the right so mobilized against Hillary's health care plan ?

This is a provocative book that explains Red and White state differences and the psychology of political self delusion (Blue collar people voting for big money interests)

The Wrecking Crew How Conservatives Rule by Thomas Frank

Amazon.com
Steve Koss (New York, NY United States)

A Depressingly Compelling Review of Conservatives' Philosophy of Government in Practice , August 15, 2008 B

Following up on his masterly examination of the paradox under which Red Staters consistently vote Republican against their own economic self-interest (WHAT'S THE MATTER WITH KANSAS?), Thomas Frank sets out to trace the present-day conservative Republican approach to government in THE WRECKING CREW. What he demonstrates is deeply disturbing even though it has remained on display virtually every day of the entire Bush II administration.

According to Frank, the conservative worldview is totally committed to "the ideal of laissez faire, meaning minimal government interference in the marketplace, along with hostility to taxation, regulation, organized labor, state ownership, and all the business community's other enemies. "The conservative movement promotes the interests of business exclusively over all else in accordance with the motto, "More business in government, less government in business." So-called "big government," also tagged as the liberal state, is the enemy; in fact, virtually all government is the enemy, other than the national defense.

Mr. Frank follows the conservative movement from the turn of the Twentieth Century through the Depression and New Deal, focusing most heavily on the movement's rebirth under Ronald Reagan and on into the new millennium. Along the way, he discusses the growth of lobbying as a major force in converting the nation's capital into a massive feeding ground for corporate special interests. Frank also highlights the manner in which conservatives have repeatedly run the country into huge spending deficits in order to "defund the left" while simultaneously politicizing government management positions by favoring ideology over competence. The end result under Republican conservative stewardship is government that demonstrates itself as ineffectual and incompetent, offering but further proof that big government is inherently incapable of working and needs to be outsourced to private, professional concerns who can do the job correctly (and then inevitably failing to do so).

THE WRECKING CREW is filled with fascinating side observations, such as its note that the movement has always lionized bullies, from Joe McCarthy to Bill O'Reilly, from Jack Abramoff and Tom DeLay to George Allen and Michelle Malkin (whom Frank describes hilariously as "a pundit with the appearance of a Bratz doll but the soul of Chucky"). The book's most effective and outrage-generating section has to be its chapter on the Marianas Island of Saipan. Frank casts Saipan, with all its corruption, nepotism, income inequity, slave labor sweatshops, and local political control exercised in the name of big business as the perfect and ultimate model of the conservative movement ideal, a truly horrific prospect. He also notes, properly, that the morass that is today's Iraq is equally a product of the attempt to force fit these same free market ideals to a foreign country, implemented (so the Bush Administration hoped) by inexperienced, wet-behind-the-ears young idealogues, home-schooled ultra-Christians with college degrees from the likes of Patrick Henry College, Jerry Falwell's Liberty University, and Pat Robertson's Regent University. Saipan and Iraq constituted "laboratories of liberty," modern-day "capitalists' dreams" whose realizations are (or at least should be) shameful American nightmares.

There is little good news in THE WRECKING CREW.

Author Frank shows that our national government has been hollowed out under Republican conservative control, savaged into an ineffectual husk. Furthermore, he illustrates clearly that this was no mistake, that it is part of a deliberate process not just to privatize government and eradicate government regulation but to make these changes permanent by destroying the liberal left (and with it, of course, the Democratic Party). Frank demonstrates well that present day politics has truly become, to invert von Clausiwitz's famous maxim, "a continuation of war by other means." Regrettably, one side of the battle continues to play the game as politics, as elections won or lost and citizens swayed or not, while the other side approaches it as an act of war, a no-holds-barred contest in which the only goal is the complete and utter destruction of the other side.

THE WRECKING CREW is compelling and informative even as it paints a bleak picture of an America being driven rightward and increasingly toward the excesses and inequities of the pre-New Deal era. We all know how that era ended in October, 1929.

[Mar 18, 2009] Religion in USA

Belgium May Prosecute the Church of Scientology

Slashdot

by AnalogDiehard (199128) on Tuesday September 04, @05:16PM (#20469989) in the US it is officially recognized as a religion.

That is not true.

Co$ and IRS fought a battle for years over religious tax exemption. The IRS revoked the exemption with the justification that it was a profit earning business. Every court supported the view of the IRS.

The IRS submitted only after it was blanketed with thousands of petty Co$ lawsuits and it did not have the resources to defend all those lawsuits. The Co$ also infiltrated IRS staff at their offices. This is just one of thousands of examples how Co$ abuses the legal system through deception and half truths. Hubbard encouraged his members to abuse the legal system and to lie.

The agreement between IRS and Co$ remained confidential until it was brought to light via a FOI filing from the WSJ. When it was published there was a lot of outrage over the perks that the IRS granted to Co$ which are not available to other religions.

The Holy Bible is free to anyone who asks for one. Co$ is the only cult who charges their members for access to their "scriptures" which are split into multiple tiers and the charges increase exponentially as you advance through each tier. They pressure their brainwashed members to sell their homes, cash in their retirement accounts, deplete their children's inheritances, and go into crushing debt through credit cards to pay for their "scriptures".

One of the terms of the IRS agreement is that all Co$ course and scripture expenses could be deducted from income taxes. No other organization enjoys this perk and the IRS is forbidden to extend it to anyone else. That's just one of the terms that has raised a lot of outrage over the Co$.

The Co$ extorted the religious tax exemption from the IRS, plain and simple. Once that was in their hands, they waved that tax exemption at other countries hostile to their interests, but they were not easily fooled.

Hubbard filed for the exemption way back in the 50s to shield his quackery from government agencies like the FDA. Hubbard has been well established as a charlatan, a professional liar, and a barrater who has exploited the system at any opportunity...

[July 31, 2007] Scientology may be a bizarre faith invented by a sci-fi hack. But it's not a cult By Mark Oppenheimer

Some interesting observations about high demand cults created for enrichments of higher priests ;-)
Slate Magazine

Scientology, the controversial religion whose adherents include John Travolta, Tom Cruise, and Jenna Elfman, can't seem to stay out of the news. Sometimes the church would rather not have the publicity, as when Germany, which considers Scientology a cult, recently refused to let Tom Cruise shoot scenes for his new movie in government buildings. Other times, Scientologists court the attention-as when the same Mr. Cruise brought his Scientology-influenced anti-psychiatry crusade to the Today show in 2005.

Some Americans may consider Scientology perhaps a cult, maybe a violent sect, and certainly very weird. And, like many, I find the Church of Scientology odd, to say the least. But Scientology is no more bizarre than other religions. And it's the similarities between Scientology and, say, Christianity and Judaism that make us so uncomfortable. We need to hate Scientology, lest we hate ourselves.

But reaching such a conclusion, as I have discovered, isn't bound to win a religion writer any friends. I recently wrote an article (subscription required) for the New York Times Magazine about Milton Katselas, the acting teacher of Giovanni Ribisi, Anne Archer, Tom Selleck, George Clooney, and many other stars. Katselas is a Scientologist, and there are those in the acting community who steer clear of his school because of its perceived connection to Scientology. (Although, to be fair, Elfman broke with Katselas because he wasn't Scientologist enough.) I also posted a podcast interview with John Carmichael, president of the Church of Scientology in New York. We talked about church founder L. Ron Hubbard, the church's hostility to the psychiatric profession, and Carmichael's own conversion, among other topics. I did not have time to ask him about many of the controversies surrounding the religion, including allegations of financial improprieties and cultlike behavior. (These charges have been aired most extensively in a Rolling Stone article that I found very persuasive, as well as in series in the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times.) Having decided that I'd failed to air these charges sufficiently in my article or my Carmichael interview, the anti-Scientologists pounced.

The podcast, in particular, brought me heaps of scorn, eliciting posts like: "This interview was a complete abomination. … [Y]ou are ... gullible and naive. … [T]he rest of us will pay for these weaknesses," and "This is really an infomercial. You are a two-bit wanna-be entertainer & butt kisser and John Carmichael knows one when he sees one."

My podcast and article were not meant to attack Scientology. Not every article about a Catholic mentions the church's pederasty scandals or its suborning of fascism under Hitler and Franco. An article about Yom Kippur observance in Hackensack need not ask Jews for their views of illegal West Bank settlements. All religious groups have something to answer for, but religion writing would be quite tedious, not to mention unilluminating, if every article were reduced to the negative charges against some co-religionists.

But when it comes to Scientology, there's a hunger for the negative. I suspect that's because Scientology evinces an acute case of what Freud called the narcissism of small differences: We're made most uncomfortable by that which is most like us. And everything of which Scientology is accused is an exaggerated form of what more "normal" religions do. Does Scientology charge money for services? Yes-but the average Mormon, tithing 10 percent annually, pays more money to his church than all but the most committed Scientologists pay to theirs. Jews buying "tickets" to high-holiday services can easily part with thousands of dollars a year per family. Is Scientology authoritarian and cultlike? Yes-but mainly at the higher levels, which is true of many religions. There may be pressure for members of Scientology's elite "Sea Organization" not to drop out, but pressure is also placed on Catholics who may want to leave some cloistered orders. Does Scientology embrace pseudoscience? Absolutely-but its "engrams" and "E-meter" are no worse than what's propagated by your average Intelligent Design enthusiast. In fact, its very silliness makes it less pernicious.

And what about the "Xenu" creation myth anti-Scientologists are so fond of? Scientologists have promised me that it is simply not part of their theology-some say they learned about Xenu from South Park. Several ex-Scientologists have sworn the opposite. Given his frequent conflation of science fiction, theology, and incoherent musings, I think that Hubbard may have taught that eons ago, the galactic warlord Xenu dumped 13.5 trillion beings in volcanoes on Earth, blowing them up and scattering their souls. But I'm not sure that it is an important part of Scientology's teachings. And if Xenu is part of the church's theology, it's no stranger than what's in Genesis. It's just newer and so seems weirder.

Religions appear strange in inverse proportion to their age. Judaism and Catholicism seem normal-or at least not deviant. Mormonism, less than 200 years old, can seem a bit incredible. And Scientology, founded 50 years ago, sounds truly bizarre. To hear from a burning bush 3,000 years ago is not as strange as meeting the Angel Moroni two centuries ago, which is far less strange than having a hack sci-fi writer as your prophet.

That's not to say that all religions are "equal" or equally deserving of respect. I'm no more a Scientologist than I am a Swedenborgian or a member of the Nation of Islam, and I do have two criticisms of Scientology that one rarely hears from Xenu-obsessed detractors.

First, while the introductory Scientology costs are not outlandish (for example, a member may pay about $200 for a dozen sessions of "auditing," to start out), the fees increase as adherents gain new knowledge through advanced course work (going "up the bridge to total freedom," in Scientology-speak)-and it does make the religion resemble a pyramid or matrix scheme. More than one Scientologist explained to me that they don't have the financial resources of the Catholic Church that come from thousands of years of donations. They have to charge. Well, that's not the whole truth. The secrecy surrounding Scientology's higher levels of knowledge has no apparent analog in the Abrahamic faiths, and the steep financial outlay to get higher knowledge seems also unique. Catholicism doesn't charge people to become learned, nor does Judaism. In fact, the greatest scholars in those faiths are often revered paupers: penniless rabbis and voluntarily poor priests, monks, and nuns.

Poverty is not Scientology's style, to say the least. That leads me to my second criticism: bad aesthetics! I have never been less religiously moved by ostensibly religious spaces than in Scientology buildings. Whether the Celebrity Centre in Los Angeles, the New York church off Times Square, or the local branch down the street from my house, Scientology buildings are filled with garish colors, flat-screen TVs showing silly, dull videos, and glossy pamphlets recycling the legend of the overrated L. Ron Hubbard, whom Scientologists revere as a scientist, writer, and seer of the first rank. In my opinion, Hubbard's books are bad, the movies they inspire are bad, and the derivative futuro-techno look that Scientology loves is an affront to good taste on every level. It's a religion that screams nouveau–Star Trek–riche. For those of us who seek mystery, wonder, and beauty in our religions, Scientology is a nonstarter.

But good taste, as art critic Dave Hickey says, is just the residue of someone else's privilege. Catholicism has its Gothic cathedrals, Judaism its timeless Torah scrolls. Scientology is brand-new, but it has played an impressive game of catch-up. In its drive to be a major world religion, it will inevitably go through a period when its absurdities and missteps are glaringly apparent. But someday it will be old and prosaic, and there may still be Scientologists. And when some of those Scientologists embezzle, lie, and steal-as they surely will-they'll seem no worse than Christians, Jews, or Muslims who have done the same.

Steve Kowit -- Review Of Radicals, Rabbis, And Peacemakers Conversations With Jewish Critics Of Israel -- Logos 5.2 Spring-Summer 2006

In the Jewish-American community one can exhibit complete indifference to Jewish culture and be an outspoken atheist and yet remain a perfectly acceptable member of the tribe. On the other hand, any Jew who openly disapproves of the State of Israel is at risk of being branded a traitor, a dupe of the ubiquitous anti-Semitic enemy, and a self-loathing Jew. Most of the writers and activists represented in Seth Farber's Radicals, Rabbis and Peacemakers are unapologetic anti-Zionists, and thus "traitors" in precisely that most honorable sense.

Farber's book, lively and provocative, reflects not only the author's commitment to social justice, but, according to a brief biographical note, "his faith in prophetic Judaism as a medium of spiritual/social transformation." So these conversations serve a dual purpose: on the one hand they explore the Palestinian/Israeli struggle from a progressive Jewish point of view and, on the other, they engage the question of contemporary Judaism itself, a post-Holocaust faith that has largely replaced the love of Yahweh with the worship of Israel.

Noam Chomsky, in his conversation with the author, asserts that the very concept of a state that is not the state of its citizens but of the Jewish people is an illegitimate principle upon which to have founded the nation of Israeli. He clarifies his advocacy of the two-state solution by explaining that he conceives such a political configuration to be no more than a stepping stone toward a binational state, but just how the creation of a tiny Palestinian state can lead to Israel and Palestine becoming a single binational nation Chomsky does not make clear, and it is not impossible that his current position reflects his own ambivalence about that issue. He also hedges his bet on the right of return: the Palestinians must not be forced to give up that right, he declares, "but the expectation that it will be implemented is completely unrealistic. And to advocate that is just to cause pain and disaster to the refugees." Although this is a common enough position among progressive Zionists, it is much the sort of logic Alice encountered after tumbling down the rabbit hole. In similar fashion, Chomsky admits that the Jews had no more right to establish a state on land that was not theirs than did the American colonists, but then dismisses this most sticky and fundamental of issues with the casual comment that he doesn't "see a lot of point in these discussions."

Joel Kovel, author and former psychoanalyst, is less equivocal: "Zionism is a horrible mistake." Israel is illegitimate in much the way Apartheid South Africa was illegitimate. Because of its privileging of one racial group above others, it is not capable of "joining the community of nation states that are grounded in universal human rights." Nor does Kovel have a particularly high opinion of ancient Judaism, observing that despite the "transcendent ethical potential" of its beliefs, ancient Judaism had "not just a sense of superiority but a rejection of everybody else."

Adam Shapiro, one of the founders of the International Solidarity Movement, who became momentarily newsworthy in the United States when his parents were threatened by outraged Brooklyn Zionists, observes that "any anti-Semitism that you find in Muslim countries today is the direct result of the policies of Israel vis-à-vis Palestinians." When Farber suggests how ironic it is that the Jews turned into oppressors, Shapiro replies that he does not find it at all surprising. "Over and over and over in human history those who have been oppressed have turned into the oppressors." And when Farber suggests that something in Jewish ethical tradition might have kept them moral for all those centuries, Shapiro reminds him that those supposed Jewish values are nowhere in evidence in those colorful biblical stories in which various peoples are exterminated by the pious Hebrews under God's mandate.

[Jul 29, 2006] Reasonable Doubt

The internal instability of religion-infested politics and states was understood by Spinoza 350 yrs ago
New York Times

THURSDAY marked the 350th anniversary of the excommunication of the philosopher Baruch Spinoza from the Portuguese Jewish community of Amsterdam in which he had been raised.

Given the events of the last week, particularly those emanating from the Middle East, the Spinoza anniversary didn't get a lot of attention. But it's one worth remembering - in large measure because Spinoza's life and thought have the power to illuminate the kind of events that at the moment seem so intractable and overwhelming.

The exact reasons for the excommunication of the 23-year-old Spinoza remain murky, but the reasons he came to be vilified throughout all of Europe are not. Spinoza argued that no group or religion could rightly claim infallible knowledge of the Creator's partiality to its beliefs and ways. After the excommunication, he spent the rest of his life - he died in 1677 at the age of 44 - studying the varieties of religious intolerance. The conclusions he drew are still of dismaying relevance.

The Jews who banished Spinoza had themselves been victims of intolerance, refugees from the Spanish-Portuguese Inquisition. The Jews on the Iberian Peninsula had been forced to convert to Christianity at the end of the 15th century. In the intervening century, they had been kept under the vigilant gaze of the Inquisitors, who suspected the "New Christians," as they were called even after generations of Christian practice, of carrying the rejection of Christ in their very blood. It can be argued that the Iberian Inquisition was Europe's first experiment in racialist ideology.

Spinoza's reaction to the religious intolerance he saw around him was to try to think his way out of all sectarian thinking. He understood the powerful tendency in each of us toward developing a view of the truth that favors the circumstances into which we happened to have been born. Self-aggrandizement can be the invisible scaffolding of religion, politics or ideology.

Against this tendency we have no defense but the relentless application of reason. Reason must stand guard against the self-serving false entailments that creep into our thinking, inducing us to believe that we are more cosmically important than we truly are, that we have had bestowed upon us - whether Jew or Christian or Muslim - a privileged position in the narrative of the world's unfolding.

Spinoza's system is a long deductive argument for a conclusion as radical in our day as it was in his, namely that to the extent that we are rational, we each partake in exactly the same identity.

Spinoza's faith in reason as our only hope and redemption is the core of his system, and its consequences reach out in many directions, including the political. Each of us has been endowed with reason, and it is our right, as well as our responsibility, to exercise it. Ceding this faculty to others, to the authorities of either the church or the state, is neither a rational nor an ethical option.

Which is why, for Spinoza, democracy was the most superior form of government - only democracy can preserve and augment the rights of individuals. The state, in helping each person to preserve his life and well-being, can legitimately demand sacrifices from us, but it can never relieve us of our responsibility to strive to justify our beliefs in the light of evidence.

It is for this reason that he argued that a government that impedes the development of the sciences subverts the very grounds for state legitimacy, which is to provide us physical safety so that we can realize our full potential. And this, too, is why he argued so adamantly against the influence of clerics in government. Statecraft infused with religion not only dissolves the justification for the state but is intrinsically unstable, since it must insist on its version of the truth against all others.

Spinoza's attempt to deduce everything from first principles - that is, without reliance on empirical observation - can strike us today as quixotically impractical, and yet his project of radical rationality had concrete consequences. His writings, banned and condemned by greater Christian Europe, but continuously read and discussed, played a role in the audacious experiment in rational government that gave birth to this country.

The Declaration of Independence, that extraordinary document first drafted by Thomas Jefferson, softly echoes Spinoza. John Locke, Spinoza's contemporary - both were born in 1632 - is a more obvious influence on Jefferson than Spinoza was. But Locke had himself been influenced by Spinoza's ideas on tolerance, freedom and democracy. In fact, Locke spent five formative years in Amsterdam, in exile because of the political troubles of his patron, the Earl of Shaftesbury.

Though Spinoza was already dead, Locke met in Amsterdam men who almost certainly spoke of Spinoza. Locke's library not only included all of Spinoza's important works, but also works in which Spinoza had been discussed and condemned.

It's worth noting that Locke emerged from his years in Amsterdam a far more egalitarian thinker, having decisively moved in the direction of Spinoza. He now accepted, as he had not before, the fundamental egalitarian claim that the legitimacy of the state's power derives from the consent of the governed, a phrase that would prominently find its way into the Declaration.

Locke's claims on behalf of reason did not go as far as Spinoza's. He was firm in defending Christianity's revelation as the one true religion against Spinoza's universalism. In some of the fundamental ways in which Spinoza and Locke differed, Jefferson's view was more allied with Spinoza. (Spinoza's collected works were also in Jefferson's library, so Spinoza's impact may not just have been by way of Locke.)

If we can hear Locke's influence in the phrase "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness," (a variation on Adam Smith's Locke-inspired "life, liberty and pursuit of property"), we can also catch the sound of Spinoza addressing us in Jefferson's appeal to the "laws of nature and of nature's God." This is the language of Spinoza's universalist religion, which makes no reference to revelation, but rather to ethical truths that can be discovered through human reason.

Spinoza had argued that our capacity for reason is what makes each of us a thing of inestimable worth, demonstrably deserving of dignity and compassion. That each individual is worthy of ethical consideration is itself a discoverable law of nature, obviating the appeal to divine revelation. An idea that had caused outrage when Spinoza first proposed it in the 17th century, adding fire to the denunciation of him as a godless immoralist, had found its way into the minds of men who set out to create a government the likes of which had never before been seen on this earth.

Spinoza's dream of making us susceptible to the voice of reason might seem hopelessly quixotic at this moment, with religion-infested politics on the march. But imagine how much more impossible a dream it would have seemed on that day 350 years ago. And imagine, too, how much even sorrier our sorry world would have been without it.

Rebecca Newberger Goldstein is the author, most recently, of "Betraying Spinoza: The Renegade Jew Who Gave Us Modernity."

Is there a stronger word than "hypocrisy"? , By WILLIAM BLUM

There are times when I think that this tired old world has gone on a few years too long. What's happening in the Middle East is so depressing. Most discussions of the eternal Israel-Palestine conflict are variations on the child's eternal defense for misbehavior -- "He started it!" Within a few minutes of discussing/arguing the latest manifestation of the conflict the participants are back to 1967, then 1948, then biblical times. I don't wish to get entangled in who started the current mess. I would like instead to first express what I see as two essential underlying facts of life which remain from one conflict to the next:

1. Israel's existence is not at stake and hasn't been so for decades, if it ever was. If Israel would learn to deal with its neighbors in a non-expansionist, non-military, humane, and respectful manner, engage in full prisoner exchanges, and sincerely strive for a viable two-state solution, even those who are opposed to the idea of a state based on a particular religion could accept the state of Israel, and the question of its right to exist would scarcely arise in people's minds. But as it is, Israel still uses the issue as a justification for its behavior, as Jews all over the world use the Holocaust and conflating anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism.

2. In a conflict between a thousand-pound gorilla and a mouse, it's the gorilla which has to make concessions in order for the two sides to progress to the next level. What can the Palestinians offer in the way of concession? Israel would reply to that question: "No violent attacks of any kind." But that would still leave the status quo ante bellum -- a life of unmitigated misery for the Palestinian people forced upon them by Israel. Peace without justice.

Israel's declarations about the absolute unacceptability of one of their soldiers being held captive by the Palestinians, or two soldiers being held by Hezbollah in Lebanon, cannot be taken too seriously when Israel is holding literally thousands of captured Palestinians, many for years, typically without any due process, many tortured; as well as holding a number of prominent Hezbollah members. A few years ago, if not still now, Israel wrote numbers on some of the Palestinian prisoners' arms and foreheads, using blue markers, a practice that is of course reminiscent of the Nazis' treatment of Jews in World War II.

Israel's real aim, and that of Washington, is the overthrow of the Hamas government in Palestine, the government that came to power in January through a clearly democratic process, the democracy that the Western "democracies" never tire of celebrating, except when the result doesn't please them. Is there a stronger word than "hypocrisy"? There is now "no Hamas government," declared a senior US official a week ago, "eight cabinet ministers or 30 percent of the government is in jail [kidnapped by Israel], another 30 percent is in hiding, and the other 30 percent is doing very little." To make the government-disappearance act even more Orwellian, we have Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, speaking in late June about Iraq: "This is the only legitimately elected government in the Middle East with a possible exception of Lebanon." What's next, gathering in front of the Big Telescreeen for the Two Minutes Hate?

In addition to doing away with the Hamas government, the current military blitzkrieg by Israel, with full US support, may well be designed to create "incidents" to justify attacks on Iran and Syria, the next steps of Washington's work in process, a controlling stranglehold on the Middle East and its oil.

It is a wanton act of collective punishment that is depriving the Palestinians of food, electricity, water, money, access to the outside world ... and sleep. Israel has been sending jets flying over Gaza at night triggering sonic booms, traumatizing children. "I want nobody to sleep at night in Gaza," declared Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert; words suitable for Israel's tombstone.

These crimes against humanity -- and I haven't mentioned the terrible special weapons reportedly used by Israel -- are what the people of Palestine get for voting for the "wrong" party. It is ironic, given the Israeli attacks against civilians in both Gaza and Lebanon, that Hamas and Hezbollah are routinely dismissed in the West as terrorist organizations. The generally accepted definition of terrorism, used by the FBI and the United Nations amongst others, is: The use of violence against a civilian population in order to intimidate or coerce a government in furtherance of a political objective.

Since 9/11 it has been a calculated US-Israeli tactic to label the fight against Israel's foes as an integral part of the war on terror. On July 19, a rally was held in Washington, featuring the governor of Maryland, several members of Israeli-occupied Congress, the Israeli ambassador, and evangelical leading light John Hagee. The Washington Post reported that "Speaker after prominent speaker characteriz[ed] current Israeli fighting as a small branch of the larger U.S.-led global war against Islamic terrorism" and "Israel's attacks against the Shiite Muslim group Hezbollah were blows against those who have killed civilians from Bali to Bombay to Moscow." Said the Israeli ambassador: "This is not just about [Israel]. It's about where our world is going to be and the fate and security of our world. Israel is on the forefront. We will amputate these little arms of Iran," referring to Hezbollah.

And if the war on terror isn't enough to put Israel on the side of the angels, John Hagee has argued that "the United States must join Israel in a pre-emptive military strike against Iran to fulfill God's plan for both Israel and the West". He speaks of "a biblically prophesied end-time confrontation with Iran, which will lead to the Rapture, Tribulation, and Second Coming of Christ."

The beatification of Israel approaches being a movement. Here is David Horowitz, the eminent semi-hysterical ex-Marxist: "Israel is part of a global war, the war of radical Islam against civilization. Right now Israel is doing the work of the rest of the civilized world by taking on the terrorists. It is not only for Israel's sake that we must get the facts out -- it is for ourselves, America, for every free country in the world, and for civilization itself."

As for the two Israeli soldiers captured and held in Lebanon for prisoner exchange, we must keep a little history in mind. In the late 1990s, before Israel was evicted from southern Lebanon by Hezbollah, it was a common practice for Israel to abduct entirely innocent Lebanese. As a 1998 Amnesty International paper declared: "By Israel's own admission, Lebanese detainees are being held as 'bargaining chips'; they are not detained for their own actions but in exchange for Israeli soldiers missing in action or killed in Lebanon. Most have now spent 10 years in secret and isolated detention."

Israel has created its worst enemies -- they helped create Hamas as a counterweight to Fatah in Palestine, and their occupation of Lebanon created Hezbollah. The current terrible bombings can be expected to keep the process going. Since its very beginning, Israel has been almost continually occupied in fighting wars and taking other people's lands. Did not any better way ever occur to the idealistic Zionist pioneers?

But while you and I get depressed by the horror and suffering, the neo-conservatives revel in it. They devour the flesh and drink the blood of the people of Afghanistan, of Iraq, of Palestine, of Lebanon, yet remain ravenous, and now call for Iran and Syria to be placed upon the feasting table. More than one of them has used the expression oderint dum metuant, a favorite phrase of Roman emperor Caligula, also used by Cicero -- "let them hate so long as they fear". Here is William Kristol, editor of the bible of neo-cons, "Weekly Standard", on Fox News Sunday, July 16:

"Look, our coddling of Iran ... over the last six to nine months has emboldened them. I mean, is Iran behaving like a timid regime that's very worried about the U.S.? Or is Iran behaving recklessly and in a foolhardy way? ... Israel is fighting four of our five enemies in the Middle East, in a sense. Iran, Syria, sponsors of terror; Hezbollah and Hamas. ... This is an opportunity to begin to reverse the unfortunate direction of the last six to nine months and get the terrorists and the jihadists back on the defensive."

Host Juan Williams replied: "Well, it just seems to me that you want ... you just want war, war, war, and you want us in more war. You wanted us in Iraq. Now you want us in Iran. Now you want us to get into the Middle East ... you're saying, why doesn't the United States take this hard, unforgiving line? Well, the hard and unforgiving line has been [tried], we don't talk to anybody. We don't talk to Hamas. We don't talk to Hezbollah. We're not going to talk to Iran. Where has it gotten us, Bill?"

Kristol, looking somewhat taken aback, simply threw up his hands.

The Fox News audience does (very) occasionally get a hint of another way of looking at the world.

Iraq will follow Bush the rest of his life

Here comes now our Glorious Leader, speaking at a news conference at the recent G8 summit in St. Petersburg, referring to Russian president Vladimir Putin. "I talked about my desire to promote institutional change in parts of the world like Iraq where there's a free press and free religion, and I told him that a lot of people in our country would hope that Russia would do the same thing."

It's so very rare that Georgie W. makes one of his less-than-brilliant statements and has the nonsense immediately pointed out to him to his face -- "Putin, in a barbed reply, said: 'We certainly would not want to have the same kind of democracy as they have in Iraq, I will tell you quite honestly.' Bush's face reddened as he tried to laugh off the remark. 'Just wait'," he said.

It's too bad that Putin didn't also point out that religion was a lot more free under Saddam Hussein than under the American occupation. Amongst many charming recent incidents, in May the coach of the national tennis team and two of his players were shot dead in Baghdad by men who reportedly were religious extremists angry that the coach and his players were wearing shorts.

As to a "free press", dare I mention Iraqi newspapers closed down by the American occupation, reporters shot by American troops, and phony stories planted in the Iraqi press by Pentagon employees?

The preceding is in the same vein as last month's edition of my report in which I listed the many ways in which the people of Iraq have a much worse life now than they did under Saddam Hussein. I concluded with recounting the discussions I've had with Americans who, in the face of this, say to me: "Just tell me one thing, are you glad that Saddam Hussein is out of power?"

Now we have a British poll that reports that "More than two thirds who offered an opinion said America is essentially an imperial power seeking world domination. And 81 per cent of those who took a view said President George W. Bush hypocritically championed democracy as a cover for the pursuit of American self-interests." The American embassy in London was quick to reply. Said a spokesperson: "We question the judgment of anyone who asserts the world would be a better place with Saddam still terrorizing his own nation and threatening people well beyond Iraq's borders."

They simply can't stop lying, can they? There was no evidence at all that Saddam was threatening any people outside of Iraq, whatever that's supposed to mean. It may mean arms sales. Following the Gulf War, the US sold around $100 billion of military hardware to Iraq's "threatened" neighbors: Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the Gulf States, and Turkey.

As to the world being a better or worse place ... only Iraq itself was and is the issue here, not the world; although if the world is a better place, why am I depressed?

The peculiar idea of tying people's health to private corporate profits

Steven Pearlstein is a financial writer with the Washington Post, with whom I've exchanged several emails in recent years. He does not ignore or gloss over the serious defects of the American economic system, but nonetheless remains a true believer in the market economy. In a recent review of a book by journalist Maggie Mahar, "Money-Driven Medicine", Pearlstein writes that the author tries to explain "why health care costs so much in the United States, with such poor results." She has focused on the right issues, he says, "the misguided financial incentives at every level, the unnecessary care that is not only wasteful but harmful, the bloated administrative costs." However, "in making the case that the health-care system suffers from too much free-market competition and too little cooperation, Mahar means to drum up support for a publicly funded national system. But in the end, she mostly makes a convincing case that no health-care system will work unless we figure out what really works and is cost effective and then get doctors, hospitals and patients to embrace it."

"Unless we figure out what really works and is cost effective" ... hmmm ... like there haven't been repeated studies showing that national health plans in Western Europe, Australia, Canada, and elsewhere cover virtually everyone and every ailment and cost society and individuals much less than in the United States. Isn't that "working"? I spent five years in the UK with my wife and small child and all three of us can swear by the National Health Service; at those times when neither my wife nor I was employed we didn't have to pay anything into the system; doctors even made house calls; and this was under Margaret Thatcher, who was doing her best to cripple the system, a goal she and her fellow Tories, later joined by "New Labor", have continued to pursue.

And then there's Cuba -- poor, little, third-world Cuba. Countless non-rich ill Americans would think they were in heaven to have the Cuban health system reproduced here, with higher salaries for doctors et al., which we could easily afford.

It should be noted that an extensive review of previous studies recently concluded that the care provided at for-profit nursing homes and hospitals, on average, is inferior to that at nonprofits. The analysis indicates that a facility's ownership status makes a difference in cost, quality, and accessibility of care.

Sale! Western Civilization! New, Improved! $99.99, marked down from $129.99. Sale!

There's currently a call in the United States to get rid of the one-cent coin because it costs 1.2 cents to make the coin and put it into circulation and because many people find the coins a nuisance. I have another reason to get rid of the coin -- hopefully, doing so would put an end to the ridiculous and ubiquitous practice of pricing almost everything at amounts like $9.99, $99.99, or $999.99. Or $3.29 or $17.98. What is the reason for this tedious and insulting absurdity? It began as, and continues to be, a con game -- trying to induce the purchaser to think that he's getting some kind of bargain price: Less than $10! Less than $100! In my local thrift shop, catering almost exclusively to poor blacks and Hispanics, virtually all prices end in .97 or .98 or .99. Every once in a while, when the nonsense has piled up to my nose level, I ask a shop manager or corporate representative why they use such a pricing system. They scarcely have any idea what I'm talking about. Sometimes in a shop when I'm discussing with a clerk the various price options of something I'm thinking of buying, and I say, "Okay, let's see, this model is $60 and ..." S/he'll interrupt me with: "No, it's $59.99."

And let's not forget gasoline. Priced at $2.60.9 per gallon. Or $3.24.9 per gallon. That's 9/10. It's been suggested that it was the oil companies that began this whole silliness.

Is this any way for people to relate to each other? Comes the revolution, and we write a new constitution, Paragraph 99 will ban this practice.

You can't make this stuff up

"The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread." Anatole France, 1844-1924

On April 14 a federal appeals court ruled that the Los Angeles Police Department cannot arrest people for sitting, lying or sleeping on public sidewalks on Skid Row, saying such enforcement amounts to cruel and unusual punishment because there are not enough shelter beds for the city's huge homeless population. Judge Pamela A. Rymer issued a strong dissent against the majority opinion. The Los Angeles code "does not punish people simply because they are homeless," wrote Rymer. "It targets conduct -- sitting, lying or sleeping on city sidewalks -- that can be committed by those with homes as well as those without."

William Blum is the author of Killing Hope: U.S. Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II, Rogue State: a guide to the World's Only Super Power. and West-Bloc Dissident: a Cold War Political Memoir.

Bush Watch Home

Faith-Based Cupidity: Eight Degrees of Evangelical Hypocrisy (excerpts) Frank Rich

[Bush to Reed:] ...While Mr. Bush's Iraq project threatens to deliver the entire region to Iran's ayatollahs, this month may also be remembered as a turning point in America's own religious wars. The president's politically self-destructive stem-cell veto and the simultaneous undoing of the religious right's former golden boy, Ralph Reed, in a Republican primary for lieutenant governor in Georgia are landmark defeats for the faith-based politics enshrined by Mr. Bush's presidency. If we can't beat the ayatollahs over there, maybe we're at least starting to rout them here.

[...to Robertson to Abramoff:]...Hypocrisy among self-aggrandizing evangelists is as old as Elmer Gantry - older, actually. But Mr. Reed wasn't some campfire charlatan. He was the religious right's most effective poster boy in mainstream America. He had been recruited for precisely that mission by Pat Robertson, who made him the frontman for the Christian Coalition in 1989, knowing full well that Mr. Reed's smarts and youth could do P.R. wonders that Mr. Robertson and the rest of the baggage-laden Falwell generation of Moral Majority demagogues could not. And it worked. In 1995, Mr. Reed was rewarded with the cover of Time, for representing "the most thorough penetration of the secular world of American politics by an essentially religious organization in this century." Actually, the Christian Coalition was soon to be accused of inflating its membership, Enron-accounting style, and was careening into debt. Only three years after his Time cover, Mr. Reed, having ditched the coalition to set up shop as a political consultant, sent his self-incriminating e-mail to Mr. Abramoff: "I need to start humping in corporate accounts!" He also humped in noncorporate accounts, like the Bush campaigns of 2000 and 2004.

[...to Rove to Lieberman:]...By 2005 Mr. Reed had become so toxic that Mr. Bush wouldn't be caught on camera with him in Georgia. But the Bush-Rove machine was nonetheless yoked to Mr. Reed in their crusades: the demonization of gay couples as boogeymen (and women) in election years, the many assaults on health (not just in stem-cell laboratories but in federal agencies dealing with birth control and sex education), the undermining of the science of evolution. The beauty of Mr. Reed's unmasking is the ideological impact: the radical agenda to which he lent an ersatz respectability has lost a big fig leaf, and all the president's men, tied down like Gulliver in Iraq, cannot put it together again to bamboozle suburban voters. It's possible that even Joe Lieberman, a fellow traveler in the religious right's Schiavo and indecency jeremiads, could be swept out with Rick Santorum in the 2006 wave. Mr. Lieberman is hardly the only Democrat in the Senate who signed on to the war in Iraq, but he's surely the most sanctimonious. He is also the only Democrat whose incessant Bible thumping (while running for vice president in 2000) was deemed "inappropriate and even unsettling in a religiously diverse society such as ours" by the Anti-Defamation League. As Ralph Reed used to say: amen.

Lexington American theocracy Economist.com

YOU cannot get more brazen than holding a political rally in a church. Last week, more than 1,000 religious activists gathered in a splendid old one in Washington, DC, to talk politics. They discussed their spiritual agenda for America, swapped stories about power struggles within their party and travelled to Capitol Hill to lobby congressmen.

But this was not another example of the religious right on the march. A striking number of the men looked as if they were taking part in a beard-growing competition. Many of the women were in shocking pink. The speakers included a wilderness guide-cum-meditation teacher and a shaman who specialises in helping activists to "access spiritual wisdom". One speaker worked the crowd into a frenzy with rhetorical questions (Does God believe in invading Iraq? Does God believe in cutting taxes for the rich?) before urging them to "hug your neighbour" and "show some love". The Southern Baptist Convention this was not.

The religious left is more energised than it has been for years. The number of new-wave "values voters"-who loathe, rather than love, the values embraced by George Bush-is growing rapidly. They range from blacks and Latinos (who are among the most churchgoing people in the country) to left-wing evangelicals to a hotch-potch of Buddhists and gurus, and they are coming together to make their voices heard. The religious left has acquired spokesmen in the form of Jim Wallis, the author of "God's Politics", and Michael Lerner, a rabbi and the organiser of last week's conference. Several topical themes are giving it momentum, from immigration reform, where the Catholic church has been particularly outspoken, to Iraq.

Hence the reappearance of one of those questions that has been bugging Democratic strategists for decades. Can the religious left become a force in American politics comparable to the right-wing version? Religious leftists point out that a growing number of people are disillusioned with the choice between a pious right, which thinks that Jesus cared more about gay marriage than poverty, and a secular left that believes religion has no role in the public square. They also argue that the religious left has a proud history in America, from the Social Gospel wing of the Progressive movement to civil-rights campaigning. The political marriage between religion and the right, they argue, is the exception rather than the rule.

The Democratic high command has at last worked out that it does not have much chance of thriving in one of the most religious countries in the world if it cannot close the "God-gap". Yet, if anything, the God-gap is growing. In 2004 Mr Bush won 64% of the votes of people who go to church more than once a week and 58% of people who go once a week. The proportion of people who regard the Democratic Party as less "friendly" towards religion than the Republican increased from 12% in 2003 to 20% in 2005. Fully 67% of people think that liberals have gone too far in keeping religion out of schools.

The growing God-gap has set off a flurry of activity in Democratic circles. Two of the most left-wing members of the leadership-Nancy Pelosi and Howard Dean-have courted "values voters", Ms Pelosi by visiting Lakewood mega-church in Houston and Mr Dean by appearing on Pat Robertson's "700 Club". The Democrats have fielded a pro-life candidate, Bob Casey, to take on Rick Santorum in the Pennsylvania Senate race. Both Hillary Clinton and Edward Kennedy have gone out of their way to argue that abortion is a tragedy as well as a right. Messrs Wallis and Lerner have become familiar figures on Capitol Hill.

But is this truly a sea-change in American religious politics? Or is it a brief "hallelujah moment"-born of Bush fatigue and political opportunism-that will bring no lasting change? The betting is on the latter. The religious left suffers from two long-term problems. The first is that it is building its house on sand. The groups that make up the heart of the religious left-mainline Protestants, liberal Catholics and reform Jews-are all experiencing long-term decline. Most of the growth in American religion is occurring among conservative churches. And the constituent parts of the religious left are also at odds over important issues. Middle-of-the-road Catholics are happy to march hand-in-hand with mainline Protestants over immigration and inequality. But they often disagree over abortion and gay rights.

The secular left usually wins

Serious doubts also persist about how much the Democratic Party is willing to change to embrace religion. Some influential Democrats want real change. Others think that all they need to do is drop a few platitudes to religious voters and the God-gap will disappear. Mr Dean's performance on Pat Robertson's television programme was as telling as it was laughable. He not only chose to talk to a man who plays a much bigger role in the liberal imagination than among evangelicals; he also let slip that Democrats "have an enormous amount in common with the Christian community."

The biggest problem for the religious left is that it is badly outgunned by the secular left. The Democratic Party's elites-from interest-groups to funders to activists-are determinedly secular. So are many of its most loyal voters. John Kerry won 62% of the vote of people who never go to church; and that group is the fastest-growing single "religious" group in the country. These secular voters don't just feel indifferent to religion. They are positively hostile to it, regarding it as a embodiment of irrationality and a threat to liberal values such as the right to choose. These crusading secularists are in a particularly militant mood at the moment, as the sales of Kevin Phillips's Bush-bashing book, "American Theocracy", testify. The last thing they want is a religious left to counterbalance the religious right

[Apr 10, 2006] Christian Coalition shrinks By Alan Cooperman and Thomas B. Edsall Organization owes more than $2 million

MSNBC.com

In an era when conservative Christians enjoy access and influence throughout the federal government, the organization that fueled their rise has fallen on hard times.

The once-mighty Christian Coalition, founded 17 years ago by the Rev. Pat Robertson as the political fundraising and lobbying engine of the Christian right, is more than $2 million in debt, beset by creditors' lawsuits and struggling to hold on to some of its state chapters.

In March, one of its most effective chapters, the Christian Coalition of Iowa, cut ties with the national organization and reincorporated itself as the Iowa Christian Alliance, saying it "found it impossible to continue to carry a name that in any way associated us with this national organization."

"The credibility is just not there like it once was," said Stephen L. Scheffler, president of the Iowa affiliate since 2000. "The budget has shrunk from $26 million to $1 million. There's a trail of debt. . . . We believe, our board believes, any Christian organization has an obligation to pay its debts in a timely fashion."

At its peak a decade ago, the Christian Coalition deployed a dozen lobbyists on Capitol Hill. Today, it has a single Washington employee who works out of his home. Its phone number with a 202 area code is automatically forwarded to a small office in Charleston, S.C.

The Christian Coalition is still routinely included in meetings with White House officials and conservative leaders, and is still a household name. But financial problems and a long battle over its tax status have sapped its strength, allowing it to be eclipsed by other Christian groups, such as the Family Research Council and the public policy arm of the Southern Baptist Convention.

Although some of those groups have begun moving into the coalition's specialty -- grass-roots voter education and get-out-the-vote drives -- none is poised to distribute 70 million voter guides through churches, as the Christian Coalition did in 2000.

Built around two men

The coalition's decline is a story that can perhaps best be told along biblical lines: It is the narrative of a group that wandered after the departure of its early leaders, lost faith in some of its guiding principles and struggled to keep its identity after entering the promised land -- in this case, the land of political influence.

From its inception, the coalition was built around two individuals, Robertson and Ralph Reed. Both were big personalities with big followings.

"After the founders left, the Christian Coalition never fully recovered," said James L. Guth, an expert on politics and religion at Furman University in South Carolina. "The dependence on Robertson and Reed was really disastrous."

Reed left in 1997 to become a Republican political consultant and is now seeking the Republican nomination for lieutenant governor of Georgia. Once a golden boy of GOP politics, he has recently tarnished his reputation with ties to lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

Robertson resigned as the Christian Coalition's president in 2001 after defending China's one-child policy in a CNN interview that fellow conservatives viewed with horror. It was among the most damaging in a series of remarks that have hurt Robertson's standing among evangelical Christians -- and may have hurt the Christian Coalition as well.

"He kind of constantly makes people wonder whether the organizations he was involved with really are fringe organizations when he does things like explain Ariel Sharon's stroke as an act of God," Guth said, referring to a comment Robertson made about the Israeli prime minister earlier this year.

Roberta Combs, the South Carolina coordinator for Robertson's 1988 bid for the Republican presidential nomination, replaced him as head of the Christian Coalition five years ago. She says the organization was in worse financial shape then, with debts approaching $4 million. She cleaned house and, she says, made enemies.

"I had to let a lot of staff go, and they all got upset with me because they were close to Ralph [Reed]. Of course they said bad things about me. But we got a lot of that [debt] paid down over time," Combs said.

IRS records show that the Christian Coalition's red ink has remounted. Its debts exceeded its assets by $983,000 in 2001, $1.3 million in 2002, $2 million in 2003 and $2.28 million at the end of 2004, the most recent year for which it has filed a nonprofit tax return.

Lawsuits for unpaid bills have multiplied. The Christian Coalition's longtime law firm -- Huff, Poole & Mahoney PC of Virginia Beach -- says it is owed $69,729. Global Direct, a fundraising firm in Oklahoma, is suing for $87,000 in expenses. Reese & Sons Inc., a moving company in District Heights, is trying to recover $1,890 for packing up furniture when the Christian Coalition closed its Washington office in 2002. The list goes on.

Michele Combs, the Christian Coalition's spokeswoman and Roberta Combs's daughter, described the organization as "a victim of our own success."

Money flowed to the coalition in the mid-1990s, when Bill Clinton was president. But, Michele Combs said, with a conservative president and a conservative Congress, things are different. "It's harder to raise money when the agenda you've been working for all these years is moving forward and you have a place at the table," she said.

Core principles

According to some former employees, however, the Christian Coalition stumbled because it lost touch with core conservative principles.

Despite Robertson's denials, fellow conservative Christians viewed his 2001 CNN interview as a defense of forced abortions. "The Christian Coalition was already on life support. Robertson's remarks probably mean its demise," former Christian Coalition lobbyist Marshall Wittmann predicted at the time.

In 2003, Roberta Combs defied conservative orthodoxy when she campaigned in Alabama in support of a state tax increase. Leaders of the Christian Coalition's Alabama chapter said the national organization had "dramatically departed from a 13-year traditional core values platform."

Combs also drew charges of nepotism by hiring her daughter and former son-in-law, Tracy E. Ammons, a schoolteacher who became a $6,000-a-month Senate lobbyist. When the couple divorced two years ago, he claimed the Christian Coalition owed him $130,000 in unpaid salary.

"On the financial end, I was privy to everything from counting money to going and talking to the landlord when we couldn't pay the rent," Ammons said in a recent interview. "Lots of times we wouldn't pay until someone sued. I did it to others. Then [the Christian Coalition] did it to me."

Change in voter guides
The group's identity is now tied to its voter guides, which are about to undergo a substantial change.

After years of battling the IRS, the Christian Coalition reached a settlement a year ago that secures its status as a tax-exempt 501(c)(4) lobbying and educational institution.

But the settlement requires the Christian Coalition to allow candidates to write up to 25 words of explanation on each issue. In the past, the guides listed topics such as "unrestricted abortion on demand" or "adoption of children by homosexuals" and described the candidates' positions simply as "supports" or "opposes."

In a letter to its state chapters in February, Roberta Combs warned that they, too, must follow the 25-word rule when they publish voter guides for state elections, or else stop using the Christian Coalition's name and logo. The settlement has irritated some conservative activists, who think it will make the guides less effective.

Combs said that although some chapters are upset, it was vital to resolve the dispute with the IRS and that "it won't be hard to find new people" to form chapters in Iowa or any other state that balks. She also said the Christian Coalition needs a new face on television and is looking for an executive director who can play that role.

"People have been writing our obituary for years," she said. "But you go out in the hinterlands and talk to the grass roots, and it's a whole different story. People call us every day and want to be involved

[Feb 08, 2006] The Australian News/Running up the white flag in the face of clerical fascism An interesting term "clerical fascism".

British columnist Melanie Phillips, at Realclearpolitics. com, on the folly of Anglo-American appeasement

THE still escalating confrontation over the Danish cartoons dramatically illustrates the now pathological reluctance of the leaders of Britain and America to face up to the blindingly obvious and the extent to which they have already run up the white flag in the face of clerical fascism.

With holy war declared openly upon the West, with death threats being issued against cartoonists and editors, with Danes, Scandinavians and other Europeans being hunted for kidnap and in fear of their lives, with blood-curdling intimidation, with mob demonstrations, calls to behead westerners and rallying cries for holy war by Islam against Europe, the governments of Britain and America are busy prostrating themselves before this terror, apologizing for causing offence and blaming the victims of this assault.

Meanwhile, their intelligentsia earnestly debates whether it is wrong to insult someone else's religion, as if this were a university ethics seminar rather than a world war being waged by clerical fascism against free societies and with people in hiding and in fear of their lives for having exercised the right to protest at religious violence and intimidation ...

The cartoon jihad has made one thing crystal clear. No more alibis. The roots of global terror do not lie in Iraq, nor in Israel/Palestine, nor in Chechnya, Kashmir or any of the other iconic conflicts that are said to be its cause.

They lie instead in the Islamists' rage that their religious culture is not in power across the world, their determination to subordinate that world to its tenets and their truly pathological belief that it is they who are under attack if their victims dare defend themselves. Twelve scribbled drawings have lifted the veil - on both the nature of the threat and the disarray that greets it.

Rush Limbaugh Debunked

Bill Rentz, discusses Rush Limbaugh's 1992 opus, The Way Things Ought to Be. It's kind of interesting to compare Rush with some well-known Wahhabi preachers...

RUSH: "I believe ... that there is one God and that this country was established with that foundational belief...."

BILL: It is a historical fact that this country was established by Christians who believed in the Christian God. It is also a historical fact that those men were the bearers of – and in founding our nation and its governing institutions, they were strongly influenced by – values of secularism and morality in government that were passed on to them by the European Enlightenment. Those Enlightenment values held by the Founders led directly to many of the values now held by us liberals and secular humanists.

I grew up with Christian values and ideas. I studied religion while in college. I still cherish those values and ideas, but I have also come to believe that what is most important in the world of government and politics is that there is one human family whose members are of many colors and many cultures, and all of us somehow or other find our way to a spiritual connection with the universe, however inarticulate we may be about it.

Some people want something more concrete upon which to base their spiritual life, and I do not fault them for that. However, I have a problem with them when they tell me – as when, like Rush, they proudly trumpet their belief in one God, saying that is the way things ought to be – that their way is better than mine, and when they tell me – as Rush is about to do – that because I do not believe in their one God, I have no moral values.

RUSH: "I believe that our morality emanates from our Divine Creator, whose laws are not subject to amendment, modification, or rescission by man...."

BILL: I believe our morality appears to us through our humanity – through the intelligent consciousness with which we human beings are endowed and through the experiences we have with our fellow human beings. Human beings are born with the drive to make life better, with the capacity for empathy, with the need to live in harmony with other human beings, and with the capacity for self-criticism. These and other qualities of our intellect and our human condition lead us inevitably to discover and attempt to live by moral values. Through our humanity, through our contact with people of other cultures, and through the writings passed down through the ages, we discover that there are enduring values that guided people in ancient times as well as today. The values taught by Jesus, Socrates, the Buddha, and other wise ones of the ancient world are as good today as they were in those times, and they are as much disregarded today as they were then.

I also believe that many of our values change over time – even in the space of my own lifetime, values that society has espoused have changed, and my own values have changed. In all of this process of change, I trust that we hold on to what is most important.

RUSH: "I believe ... that certain fundamental differences between men and women exist in nature; that men and women are not at war and that their relationship should not be redefined by those who believe that we are...."

BILL: I agree with that. However I do not think that the relationship between men and women is being defined by those who believe that there is a war between men and women, and I do not believe that there is any risk of that happening. The relationship between men and women is being redefined by forces much larger than that. It is being redefined by the reality of the universal education of women and by the encouragement that such education gives to women to do most of the things previously reserved to men. It is being redefined in large part by economic forces that make it necessary for women to work outside the home in order to make ends meet for the family. It is being redefined by the on-going sexual revolution that came along with the birth control pill, as modified by the advent of AIDS. It is being redefined by the growing demands for equal treatment of the sexes. At the same time, the popularity of a book such as "Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus" recognizes and validates the differences between men and women that have been recognized for a long time.

RUSH: "I believe ... that the meaning of the establishment clause of the First Amendment should not be stretched beyond its intended dimensions by precluding voluntary prayer in our public schools...."

BILL: Rush, here is what the establishment clause says:

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof...."

That's all there is to it, in its entirety. As you may notice, this clause says nothing specific about school prayer, so its supposed "intended dimensions" with respect to school prayer are in no way obvious. Rush's statement about not stretching the clause beyond its intended dimensions is just what Rush says it is – a belief. There are some good constitutional scholars who believe that the establishment clause does prohibit voluntary school prayer. For me, it is enough to know that voluntary school prayer has the potential of deeply offending some, in a way that has no bearing on what the school should be doing. The potential for that offense – even it be only one child who is offended – is not worth the trouble. There are more than enough subjects for public schools to teach, there are more than enough ways for schools to inculcate fundamental values, without teaching religion by teaching how to pray. If parents want their children to get a religious education, they should make sure they get it in church.

Actually, I think Rush believes this, too – that people should get their religious training at home or in church rather than in the public schools. In his chapter on Multiculturalism, he endorses this idea pretty explicitly.

RUSH: "I believe ... that the United States was founded on the beliefs that I have just enunciated...."

BILL: Whether or not the United States was founded on the beliefs that Rush has just enunciated misses the point. Of greater concern should be whether the beliefs that drive one's political views are relevant in today's world and are consistent with fundamental moral values. For example, our obligation to protect the environment today is far different from what it was in 1776, because our ability to damage the environment permanently today far exceeds the potential for damage in 1776. For another example, the relationship between the races today is worlds away from what it was in 1776. For another example, the relationship between the sexes is worlds away from what it was in 1776. I do not think that Rush's beliefs pass the test of current relevance and fundamental morality, but you, the reader, are free to decide that for yourself.

RUSH: "I believe ... that it [the United States] is the greatest nation in the history of the world; and that the USA is the greatest nation, not because Americans are inherently superior but because its government was founded on principles which seek to allow maximum individual achievement."

BILL: I think the United States is a damn good country. I love being a citizen of this country. I am proud of the things that are country has done that are consistent with our highest values. This land is my home.

At the same time, I deplore the actions we take that are inconsistent with those values, and I reject the blind patriotism of the kind articulated by Rush. I do not feel the need to endorse the idea that the United States is the greatest nation in the history of the world.

I also disagree with the idea that we are great because our government was founded on principles which seek to allow maximum individual achievement. The truth is that the United States is a great nation because we excel in the development of private, commercial, public, non-profit and governmental organizations, at the same time as we allow a great deal of freedom for the individual. We are a pragmatic lot, and we excel in finding many different ways to make our lives better, through individual as well as through cooperative and intricately organized efforts. We are great because we are always seeking to find that balance between freedom and regulation that will enable us to make better lives for ourselves and for future generations. We are great because, when we are at our best, we value education that is acquired through formal schooling as well as through practical experience, and because we seek to honor and apply what we learn. We are great because we seek new and better ways of doing things, and because we willingly accept changes that are brought to us by others. We are great because, when we are at our best, we value what is best in the human spirit, wherever and in whomever it might be found.

RUSH: "I also believe that the dominant media culture is composed of liberals who seek to push their view on society without admitting they are doing it."

BILL: I believe that the dominant media culture tries to stay in the middle of the road by avoiding any offense to those in the middle of the road. Inevitably, at times, those in the middle of the road espouse liberal views, and at other times, espouse conservative views. If the mainstream media deviates at all away from conservative or moderate views, conservatives like Rush, will accuse the media of being liberals. If the mainstream media deviates away from moderate or liberal views, the liberals will accuse the media of going conservative. My own belief is that all too often, on too many issues, the mainstream media does a very poor job of reporting stories simply because they do not want to offend, because they do not want to be seen as supporting one side or the other, or because they do not want to take the time or spend the money to become informed about the issues before they do the story. The progressive takeover of major broadcast TV by large corporate conglomerates has only increased this tendency.

With the advent of the three cable news channels – Fox, MSNBC, and CNN – Rush's complaint has lost any validity that it might have had in 1992. Fair and Balanced Fox is unabashedly right wing and claims to be quite the news powerhouse. MSNBC and CNN try to portray themselves as objective and CNN sometimes succeeds in presenting a balanced view of events, but conservative views are strongly and regularly represented on all three of these channels, while liberal views are weakly presented or missing altogether. The cable news channels are pushing the middle of the road to the right, and so in order to remain in the middle of the road, the mainstream media drifts to the right, also.

RUSH: "I believe conservatives are indeed the silent majority in this country and that they prove that every four years at the polls."

BILL: Democrat Bill Clinton won the popular vote in 1992 and 1996. Democrat Al Gore won the popular vote in 2000, despite being weighed down by Clinton's second term sexual stupidity – although Bush won the electoral college vote that year. In 2004, Bush – benefitting heavily from the fact that he happened to be our leader when we were hit by the 9-11 attacks and from the fact that he, as any marginally decent leader would have done, talked tough in that time of crisis – won the popular vote by a slim margin. Bush's victories in 2000 and 2004 were accompanied by more complaints against the winning side for unlawful interference with the vote than in any election since Kennedy's election in 1960. Those facts speak for themselves.

RUSH: "Finally, I believe that certain liberals have become painfully aware that they do represent the minority position in society. That they are losing, so to speak. They have read the writing on the wall and have made subtle adjustments in order to reposition themselves for another run at reestablishing control. These subtle adjustments have taken the disguised form of popular, sentimental political causes which are difficult for people to oppose, such as environmentalism, animal rights activism, and feminism. Although each of these groups superficially advocates the specific programs within their particular causes, a common broad sweeping theme underlies all of these 'movements.' Unmistakably, that theme is anticapitalism, secular humanism, and socialism."

BILL: Sometimes, Rush cannot contain himself, and he has to let loose with invectives, or what he thinks are invectives – "liberals are losers," liberals operate under "disguises," liberals adopt "sentimental" causes, liberals endorse "anticapitalism, secular humanism and socialism." Name-calling may have its place in politics, but in this essay I wanted to – and I thought in Rush's book, he was going to – talk seriously about values, ideas, beliefs, and reality.

Taking a serious discussion of values, ideas beliefs and reality as the point of this essay, I look at Rush's beliefs and I find them seriously wanting in a number of respects.

Rush looks at the issue of freedom vs. regulation. He rejects the idea that it is best to achieve a balance between these two ideas. He says that he supports freedom and rejects regulation. In actual practice, however, he (like many conservatives before and after him) comes down hard in favor of using governmental power to restrict individual behavior when he does not like what individuals are doing, and he favors as much freedom for business interests as possible, even when they are doing demonstrable harm.

Similarly, on the issue of individuality vs. organization – Rush praises individuality to the skies and ignores the value and importance of social organization.

Rush looks at the question of family values. He says that strong family values are at the core of a strong society. At the same time, he resists extending the application of family values beyond the confines of the nuclear family. Should businesses apply family values? In Rush's view, probably not. Should politicians adhere to family values in their behavior as politicians? In Rush's view, probably not. Should we extend any of our family values into the relations between races, or into the arena of international relations? In Rush's view, probably not. In other words, family values are good to keep people happy in the family, but at some point outside the nuclear family we find that it is a dog-eat-dog world and we need to structure our entire society around the need to compete in that world outside the family.

My broader criticism of Rush's beliefs is that in every case, he focuses on only a small part of reality and bases his core belief on that small part of reality. He fails to see the big picture. He fails to see the elements in the big picture which have an important bearing on the issues he is trying to resolve.

Take the environment. He focuses on the power we humans have to dominate nature – to build, to move, to rearrange, to restructure nature. From this he derives his moral belief – God gave us dominion over nature, and we should exercise that dominion. He ignores the other powers we have with respect to nature and he ignores the intelligence we have with which to guide our actions in nature – our power to experience awe and wonder, our power to destroy nature, our power to refrain from destroying nature, our power to plan our actions thoughtfully and with foresight to avoid harming nature. He also ignores the over-riding fact about nature – that nature is the only place where we get the air we breathe, the water we drink and the food we eat, and that nature is the only place where our grandchildren and our grandchildren's grandchildren will get their air and their water and their food.

Take race relations. He focuses on the competitive aspects of life, and he ignores the value of self-sacrifice to enable others to get ahead and on the value of giving others an advantage when that appears to be needed to bring about a fairer distribution of social benefits.

Take his view of history – he focuses on the Founding Fathers' religious beliefs, and he ignores the secular philosophies that they also brought to bear on the formation of our government.

Take his view of individual freedom. He focuses on the value of individuals being free from any restraint, and he fails to acknowledge the ways in which structure, organization, cooperation and restraint can invigorate individual actions and make individual