Special Policy For Israel

Special Policy For Israel
Vol: 107 Issue: 31 Tuesday, August 31, 2010

A recently-filed lawsuit claims the existence of a special IRS unit charged with using tax-exempt status selectively to enforce compliance with the administration’s Israel policy.  If the application comes from a pro-Israel group, they can forget about it.

According to the lawsuit, the special unit is responsible for examining the political positions of pro-Israel non-profit groups.   The suit claims that one group, known as “Z Street” was denied tax-exempt status under a ‘special policy’ for Israel.

“Z Street was informed explicitly by an IRS Agent on July 19, 2010, that approval of Z Street’s application for tax-exempt status has been at least delayed, and may be denied because of a special IRS policy in place regarding organizations in any way connected with Israel. . . And further that the applications of many such Israel-related organizations have been assigned to ‘a special unit in the D.C. office to determine whether the organization’s activities contradict the administration’s public policies.’ “

Z Street quoted an IRS agent who told them that the refusal was based entirely on the fact that Z Street’s pro-Israel advocacy was at odds with the administration’s Israel policy.

Neither the White House nor the IRS has yet admitted the existence of the ‘special unit’ or acknowledged any ‘special policy’ for Israel’s supporters.    The lawsuit hopes to force the administration to come clean.

“We don’t know if there are other organizations that have received the same treatment or even if this is a new policy,” Z Street president Lori Lowenthal Marcus said. “People don’t talk about this. But I can guarantee you that they didn’t establish this unit just for Z Street.”

The suit, filed law week, lists IRS commissioner Douglas Shulman as defendant.  demands tax-exempt status as well as full public disclosure of what Z Street termed “the application of Israel special policy.”

“These statements by an IRS official that the IRS maintains special policies governing applications for tax-exempt status by organizations which deal with Israel, and which requires particularly intense scrutiny of such applications and an enhanced risk of denial if made by organizations which espouse or support positions inconsistent with the Obama administration’s Israel policies, constitute an explicit admission of the crudest form of viewpoint discrimination, and one which is both totally un-American and flatly unconstitutional under the First Amendment.”

In January, Z Street applied for a 501(c)(3) exemption as an educational organization.  The IRS responded with requests for personal information about Z Street’s board members instead.

According to the lawsuit:

“On July 19, 2010, Z Street’s corporate counsel called again, and this time spoke with IRS agent Gentry who advised Z Street’s counsel that she had two concerns regarding the application. . . “  

“One: the advocacy activities in general; and Two: the IRS’s special concern about applications from organizations whose activities are related to Israel, and that are organizations whose positions contradict the U.S. administration’s Israeli policy.”

The IRS said it denied the application because Z Street could be termed an “action organization dedicated to lobbying rather than education,” — which would be all well and good except that policy does not exist for other lobbying organizations.  

The lawsuit quoted IRS Agent Diane Gentry saying the IRS would scrutinize the methods used by the organization to develop and present its views. 

“Agent Gentry also informed Z Street’s counsel that the IRS is carefully scrutinizing organizations that are in any way connected with Israel.”

Assessment:

It is hard to say which is creepier; that the IRS is letting the White House use it to censor political opposition or that it is using something called the “Israel Special Policy” to accomplish it.  

It isn’t as if Obama’s anti-Semitism should surprise anybody.  Obama’s 20-year relationship with his rabidly anti-Semitic and anti-white race-baiting pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright wasn’t merely a clue – it was a giant billboard warning.

Recall last March when Obama humiliated the Israeli Prime Minister by walking out of a meeting but inviting Netanyahu to stay at the White House, consult with advisors and “let me know if there is anything new” — dumping him while the Obamas had dinner in private.  

One Israeli newspaper called the meeting “a hazing in stages”, poisoned by such mistrust that the Israeli delegation eventually left rather than risk being eavesdropped on a White House telephone line. Another said that the Prime Minister had received “the treatment reserved for the President of Equatorial Guinea”.

Obama appointed Hannah Rosenthal as his anti-Semitism ‘czar’ naming her the State Department’s new special envoy to combat anti-Semitism. 

Rosenthal serves on the board of “J Street” a lobby group that claims to be pro-Israel but supports talks with Hamas, opposes sanctions against Iran and is harshly critical of Israeli anti-terrorism efforts.   

(It is worth noting at this point that J Street’s 501(c)(3) application sailed by the IRS so quickly that Z Street’s lawsuit singled out J Street’s IRS experience by name.)

A typical example of Rosenthal’s anti-Semitic efforts is found in her speech to the OSCE High Level Conference on Tolerance and Non-Discrimination in Kazakstan.  The entire speech was about what she saw as the troubling rise of Islamophobia!

“We welcome the opportunity to speak here today, as the problem of intolerance and discrimination against Muslims is an issue across the OSCE region. The United States strongly supports combating all forms of discrimination and intolerance against Muslims and is taking efforts to build mutual respect between people of all faiths.”

At a time when Jews have begun to leave Europe in fear of a rising tide of anti-Semitism unseen since the 1930’s, Obama’s anti-Semitism czar’s speech did not mention Israel or Jews even once.   

Israel’s Ambassador to Washington refused an invitation to J Street’s annual dinner on the grounds that Jerusalem “fears J Street policies could impair Israel’s interests.”

The United States and Israel have always had a ‘special relationship’ that everybody in officialdom recognizes, even as they refuse to admit it, is based on the Biblical relationship between Christians and Jews.  

Most presidents have respected that relationship — until this administration came to power.  It is clear that, whether or not Obama is himself a Muslim, that is certainly where his sympathies are.   

According to Bible prophecy, in the last days two major political shifts take place.  The first is already well underway.  The Scriptures say that eventually, Israel will stand alone against the whole world.  

Indeed, it isn’t until they stand completely alone that the Lord takes up the battle on their behalf.

“And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it.” (Zechariah 12:3)

The second political shift is that Israel’s current protector, the United States, is totally absent from the prophetic record.    Neither of these scenarios was even remotely likely even two decades ago when George Bush the Elder was taking a victory lap after the first Gulf War.

America was at the zenith of its power and prestige.  Israel, having just endured thirty-nine Scud attacks without responding in order to keep the coalition together, was being hailed for its courage under fire.   

Just twenty years later, America’s future has never been bleaker.  Her infrastructure is crumbling, her economy is in shambles, the population is so polarized that words like ‘revolution’ and ‘civil war’ are being bandied about as real possibilities.

Israel has been pushed back inside the 1948 Armistice Lines, totally surrounded and in the weakest strategic position she has been in since the 1948 War of Independence.  

It would take a miracle for her to survive Syria’s chemical and biological arsenal, Hezbollah’s and Hamas’ rockets, Iran’s nuclear threat and America’s indifference – and that is exactly the scenario that Bible prophecy outlines. A miraculous one.

Israel’s future is outlined by Zechariah

 “And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem.” (Zechariah 12:9)

America’s is outlined in 2nd Timothy 3:1-7.  Unless you are a Blood-bought child of the King, it isn’t a very cheerful one.

It begins; “This know also, that in the last days, perilous times shall come.”  Things go downhill from there.

 “And now I have told you before it come to pass, that, when it is come to pass, ye might believe.” (John 14:29)

It’s all pretty scary, but it would be a lot scarier — if we didn’t know, in advance, how it all turns out in the end. 

Glenn Beck, Blasted Lies and Birth Certificates On Foreheads?

Glenn Beck, Blasted Lies and Birth Certificates On Foreheads?
Vol: 107 Issue: 30 Monday, August 30, 2010

There were two competing headlines on this morning’s Drudge Report that seemed to say it all. The first was President Obama Blasts Lies, Disinformation and the second was Obama Says He Ignored Beck Rally.

According to the MSNBC interview Obama gave to Brian Williams, President Obama is tired of the lies and disinformation, saying that “I can’t go around with my birth certificate plastered on my forehead” – as if he had already dealt with that question by producing a valid birth certificate.  (He has not).

Then in almost the same breath, he told Williams that he ignored the anti-Obama rally that drew a larger crowd than MLK drew 47 years ago on that same spot. MLK’s crowd filled both sides of the reflecting pool all the way to the Washington Monument – historians estimate it at about 250,000 people.Beck Rally At Lincoln Memorial

The turnout on Saturday was much larger, which is why Obama’s claim he ignored it sounds so contrived, particularly in the context of it being Obama that is railing against lies and disinformation.  

The mainstream media did its best to help Obama. 

While MSNBC was setting him up with his softball interview, CBS News estimated the anti-Obama crowd at just 87,000, NBC News at 350,000  while the New York Times said it was closer to 500,000.

The New York Times is characterizing the Beck rally as a ‘religious revival’ rather than political.  Why is that?  Because it is an effective tactic.  

I explained over the weekend why it could be either religious or political but in no case could it be called ‘Christian’ because Christianity isn’t a religion, but a relationship.

The event drew Christians, Jews, Mormons, agnostics and even atheists, despite the frequent references to God throughout the event.  Calling it a ‘religious revival’ instead of the political revival that it was, alienated both the political Left and the Christian Right. 

Suddenly we are all beating up on Glenn Beck. Christians, liberals, socialists and the godless all in ecumenical agreement.   For different reasons, but if the goal is to marginalize the opposition, then the reasons are irrelevant if the goal is met.

The political Left recoiled at the mention of ‘religion’ and the Christian Right recoiled because Beck is a Mormon.  So the Left hammered away at the ‘religious’ aspect of it, describing it as having “the feeling of a church picnic, with people, many from the South or Midwest, sitting on lawn chairs and blankets.”

Christians . . .  and people from Flyover Country and the Redneck South – and did anybody mention that Beck was a Mormon?   

Assessment:

That’s right.  As many as a half-million Americans gathered together to express their displeasure at the direction the Far Left is leading the country . . . but the big story is that Beck is a Mormon?

I am familiar with Mormon theology – I’ve read the Book of Mormon, just as I’ve read the Koran – I’d be a poor apologist for Christianity if I didn’t know what the other guys teach.

Mormon theology has as much in common with Christianity as Islam does.  Both claim Jesus — but neither claim the Jesus of the Bible.     The Mormon god is not the same God as the God of Scripture.  Mormon doctrine bears little, if any, resemblance to Christian doctrine.

But Glenn Beck wasn’t preaching a Mormon revival.  He wasn’t even preaching a Christian revival.  Beck was preaching a revival of the American religion — upon which America was founded.

The majority of the Founders were Anglicans, Presbyterians, and so on, but many others were Unitarians, Quakers, Deists, agnostics and so on.   The ‘American religion’s’ primary doctrine is that America is founded under the authority of “Nature and Nature’s God”.

The Founders realized that in a room with ten Christians one can usually find at least eleven different doctrines, so they abandoned the concept of doctrinal unity and settled instead on political unity as ‘one nation under God’.

Had the effort been labeled,  “one nation, under Jesus” America would probably still be a British colony.  Nobody would have been able to agree on anything.

Jesus Christ is not a politician, He is the Savior of mankind.  Jesus Christ is the Prince of Peace — hardly a fitting national symbol — especially for a nation born out of a bloody Revolutionary War.

Most Americans are Christian, but America itself cannot be.  If it could be, then what kind of Christian would it be?  Anglican?  Catholic? Presbyterian?  Non-denominational? Who would decide what America’s doctrinal position would be?

If Glenn Beck were a Jew, I doubt that the issue of his religion be an issue at all.

If Glenn Beck were to start making doctrinal statements of any kind,  Mormon, Christian or otherwise, then I would jump on board with the growing number of my colleagues that are calling for Christians to reject Beck’s call for political revival.  

But if Beck has made any doctrinal statements of any description, apart from acknowledging the existence of a Creator God upon Whom America should depend, I haven’t located them. 

And since I agree that there is a Creator God upon Whom America should depend, I find little reason to object to that characterization.

When you get right down to it, there are but two possible positions one can take.  The first is the fatalist position that says that everything is pre-ordained and that the best we can do is prepare for what is to come, according to Bible prophecy.

In this view, there isn’t really anything that can be done to change man’s future, since what is on the horizon is God’s righteous judgment.  At best, what we can do is observe and give the warning that judgment is coming.

The second and more optimistic view is that there is something that we can do to save ourselves from the judgment to come by turning from our wicked ways and turning back to God.  

I am a fatalist — in the end there is nothing that will forestall judgment.  When the time has come, judgment will fall.  But that doesn’t mean I oppose Glenn Beck’s efforts — if nothing else, it sends a message to the Left that not everybody has abandoned the values that prevent them from turning America into a socialist republic.

If it did nothing else, the Beck rally demonstrates — once again — what an unrepentant, unabashed and unvarnished liar the President of the United States is.  

A half million protestors march on Washington and Obama claimed he ignored them? 

I am aware of how controversial my position is compared to that of most of my colleagues.  But in the final analysis, the difference between Glenn Beck’s religion and that of the President of the United States is that I know what Beck’s religion is.

And as far as I can tell, it isn’t the one that calls for America’s destruction as a doctrinal imperative.

That Fishy Smell Is The Giant Red Herring

That Fishy Smell Is The Giant Red Herring
Vol: 107 Issue: 28 Saturday, August 28, 2010

If you were planning to attend Glenn Beck’s “8/28 Restoring Honor Rally” at the Lincoln Memorial and you used Google to map it, you’d end up a half-mile away at the FDR Memorial instead.

It seems that Google suffered some kind of ‘glitch’ that PC World notes has been happening for two days now.   It has nothing to do with the fact that it is a conservative rally and internet bully Google is run by Silicon Valley liberals. Honest.

PC World questions whether Google was sending Tea Partiers to the wrong site or if it was just letting Glenn Beck know who is really boss. 

Beck has publicly expressed his disgust with FDR, so redirecting from the Lincoln Memorial to the FDR memorial is intended as a jab at Beck personally.

Google has long practiced internet censorship; the Omega Letter was bounced from Google’s news aggregator five years ago because Google said the OL didn’t meet Google’s ‘standards’. 

Since then, pretty much all overtly Christian conservative websites were bounced for not meeting Google’s standards, which evidently had morphed into ‘no Christian websites and hardly any conservative websites’.

I hate to use Google because it enriches them and seemingly rewards them for bad behavior.  

There are lots of other search engines  — and I use them too – but Google is the biggest game in town.   I would dump them on principle, but that would only affect me  –in that it would cut me off from a source of information. 

All information is valuable, even if the only information gleaned is that the information gleaned isn’t trustworthy – that’s valuable information to have.

I recall once being five minutes late at the video store and being charged another day’s rental as a late fee.  With great pomp and ceremony, (I was much younger then) I paid the late fee, tore up my membership card, threw the pieces on the counter and strode out indignantly. 

The video store remained in business, despite my principled stand.  (And henceforth, I had to drive ten miles to the next closest video rental store.)

“He that controls the news, makes the news,” to paraphrase the old cliché.  Staying on that theme (for one sentence too long),   “Give me control of the world’s news aggregator and I care not who makes the rules.”

Google’s aggregator pulls in thousands of news stories concerning the Beck rally – almost all of them from liberal news sources either questioning Beck’s patriotism or his agenda.  

But I note that suddenly, Google has found some Christian-oriented news sites that DO meet Google’s ‘standards’ for inclusion.  

All a Christian website has to do in order to be rehabilitated into a legitimate news site again on Google is go after Glenn Beck because he’s a Mormon.

Assessment:

First off, I am not mounting a defense of Glenn Beck or of Mormonism.   Having said that, I am amazed at how many Christian websites have made Beck’s religious persuasion a major issue. 

Or maybe I am just amazed at how gullible we are because of our principles. Since the other side doesn’t have any, they have no problem using ours against us.

Beck says that the “Restoring Honor” rally isn’t a “political event, it is a God event” – which I admit would give me pause if I weren’t a Christian.  But because I am a Christian, it doesn’t shake me like it seems to shake some of the others. 

If Beck’s a Mormon and somebody else is a Hindu and somebody else a Muslim and somebody else a Christian and they all attended the “Restoring Honor Rally” at the Lincoln Memorial because they share the same conservative Deist political view, it’s not a religious event. 

Pretty much every religion has a god of some kind.  Almost all religions call their god, “God.”  That doesn’t mean because they call him ‘god’ it makes him God.  

Get a grip!  I know a Spanish guy named Jesus.  That doesn’t make him the Savior.   The bone of contention is that Beck claims Mormons are Christians and Christians say they are not.

Before beginning to sputter at me as an ecumenist, would it make any difference at all if Glenn Beck were a practicing Jew?  Jews aren’t Christians, either.   And by and large, Jews don’t have a much higher view of Christianity than Christians have of Mormonism.

The rally in Washington IS political.  If it is religious, it is the uniquely American religion of Constitutionalism. Glenn Beck’s god and mine don’t have to be the same for us to religiously observe the same Constitutional law.

Let’s take a step back and take a sniff of the Big Picture.   That fishy smell is the giant red herring in the center of the frame.  It is difficult for any conservative American to find fault with Beck’s political views on the Constitution.

And Beck has systematically exposed the infiltration of Marxism and national socialism in government, the machinations and manipulations of the Money Trust throughout the 20th century and the historical consequences of the progressive movement.   

All true.  All unchallenged.  Beck’s invitation to correct the record is issued repeatedly throughout the program – nobody takes him up on it.  

Beck’s program is repeatedly assailed, his attitudes, his persona, the way he cries on-air, his goofy haircut, but NEVER the facts in his material.  If Keith Olbermann,  or even a real journalist, could prove Beck was lying on the facts, they’d be all over them. 

But they don’t.  

So clearly, they have investigated Beck’s claims about Wilson, the Federal Reserve, the Money Trust, the League of Nations, Col. Edward Mandel House, FDR, etc.  They MUST have investigated Beck’s claims about the Marxist, socialist and communist backgrounds of the various czars and czarinas of the current administration.  

If one assumes they HAVE investigated and one assumes that since the anti-Beck efforts are aimed at Beck and NOT the facts underlying his “outlandish” claims, then it can only mean that their investigation ALSO shows it is all true. 

Or they knew all along, and don’t want to rock the boat because they share the agenda, which is the most likely case.  

In any case, there is little doubt that among the mainstream liberal media,  “Get Glenn Beck” is the standing order of the day.   But how to attack the messenger without highlighting the message? 

Divide and conquer.  

How does one do that?  Beck has effectively inoculated himself against somebody smearing him by bringing up some past indiscretion – he regularly admits he is a recovering alcoholic with a bad history.

Calling the Tea Party ‘racist’ isn’t really working out too well.   Invoking Sarah Palin hasn’t paid off.   Attacking the Tea Party leadership doesn’t work too well when the Tea Party doesn’t have an organized leadership. 

If there is one thing that unites the Tea Party more than politics, it is faith.   And that is where the Left has found their Achilles’ heel.   Divide them on faith.  

Glenn Beck is a Mormon.  If he’s a Mormon, he can’t be a Christian.  So what’s the deal with him using all these Christian symbols, talking about God and the Christian faith of the Founders? 

Look at the list of news organizations that mention Beck is a Mormon in conjunction with today’s rally.   (From Google’s news aggregator, of course)

The Star Ledger. The Associated Press. The Washington Post.  Salon. USAToday. CNN. Does anybody think any of these guys care a fig about whether or not Beck is a Mormon?   They probably didn’t know Mormons weren’t Christians until somebody told them that it might be useful information.

Let me shock you all.  I don’t care that Beck is a Mormon anymore than I care that Jackie Mason is a Jew or that Dinesh D’Souza or Ann Coulter are Catholics.  Conservative writer and Fox News contributor S. E. Cupp is an avowed atheist.

The Tea Party Movement terrifies the Establishment structure.  They can’t attack its message without admitting they oppose America’s founding principles.  They can’t attack the movement’s political leadership, since it doesn’t have one.

THAT is the red herring that is designed to break the back of the Tea Party movement. 

Pay no attention to the issues at hand.   Don’t get sidetracked by the fact that several hundred thousand Americans are so furious with their government that they dropped everything to gather in Washington to express their displeasure.

The important thing to remember is that Glenn Beck is a Mormon.  The rest of you are racists.   So if you aren’t a racist, you’re an apostate Christian.  Birds of a feather flock together, you know.  

Divide and conquer.  Works every time.

Angry? Who’s Angry?

Angry? Who’s Angry?
Vol: 107 Issue: 27 Friday, August 27, 2010

A number of alleged civil rights leaders have denounced TV host Glenn Beck’s plans to hold a rally on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial on August 28th, forty-seven years to the day after Martin Luther King gave his famous “I have a dream” speech.

According to Beck, the purpose of the rally, dubbed “Restoring Honor” is to pay tribute to American military families and to honor Dr. Martin Luther King’s dream, as articulated on that day forty-seven years ago, when a person would be measured by the content of their character rather than the color of their skin.

Forty-seven years later, Dr. King’s dream has yet to be realized.  The alleged civil rights leaders that are objecting to the rally are objecting on the grounds that Glenn Beck is white and Martin Luther King was black. 

The ‘civil rights’ leaders claim that by holding the rally on that date, Beck is attempting to hijack the civil rights movement, which evidently has been misunderstood to mean civil rights for all, instead of only for people who are non-white.

Beck responded to the criticism by explaining that the choice of the MLK anniversary was coincidental.  He said he had originally planned to hold the rally on September 12 but realized it fell on a Sunday.   

“I’m not going to ask anybody to work on the Sabbath,” he said, so he rescheduled it for August 28th because it worked best for everybody’s schedule.

Having said that, Beck went on to say that even if he hadn’t intended it, it turned out to be Providential:

“I believe in divine providence. I believe this is a reason [the date was chosen], because whites don’t own the Founding Fathers. Whites don’t own Abraham Lincoln. Blacks don’t own Martin Luther King. Humans, humans embrace their ideas or reject their ideas. Too many are rejecting the Founders’ ideas. Too many have forgotten Abraham Lincoln’s ideas and far too many have either gotten just lazy or they have purposely distorted Martin Luther King’s ideas of judge a man by the content of his character. Lately, in the last 20 years, we’ve been told that character doesn’t matter. Well, if character doesn’t matter, then what was Martin Luther King asking people to judge people by?”

According to ‘civil rights leaders’ (which is here used as a euphemism for race-baiting rabble rousers) the choice of August 28th for Beck’s “Restoring Honor” rally is “insulting” to black people and especially to Martin Luther King, who dreamed of a day when skin color would be irrelevant.

Beck doesn’t get it, says Marc Morial, president of the National Urban League:

“August 28 is something special. It is a day that means something in American history because it was the demonstration in the United States in support of civil rights.”

Rabble rouser, er, I mean, Civil Rights Leader Reverend Al Sharpton was equally incensed that a white guy would dare to even speak Dr. King’s name, let alone attempt to honor him.   According to Sharpton, the rally is really

“an effort to embarrass and poke a finger in the eye of the civil rights community because Glenn Beck and his public utterances don’t necessarily demonstrate a consistency with the vision of King.”

Sharpton doesn’t detail how Beck’s utterances are inconsistent with Dr. King’s, primarily because it would sound racist for Sharpton to say it is because of the color of Beck’s skin.

Sharpton has his own rally, entitled “Reclaim the Dream” that he swears is not intended as a “countermarch” to Beck’s “Restoring Honor” rally.    National Urban League president Morial says their rally will convey a ‘positive message’ that America belongs to everyone. 

Everyone, presumably, except Glenn Beck, that paragon of intolerance. (And his racist Tea Party friends.)

“It is very important we convey a positive message that America belongs to everyone,” Morial said. “Our rally is not an ‘us against them.’ We want no confrontation with Glenn Beck. But we want a confrontation with the ideas he espouses. His ideas seem to be ideas of intolerance.”

So because Glenn Beck’s ideas seem to ‘civil rights’ leaders to be intolerant, the only tolerant thing to do is to try and prevent them from being heard.

Civil rights aren’t for white people.  They are too intolerant to be tolerated.   And they are all racists, you know.

That’s why they don’t support the great job Obama is doing with the economy, foreign policy, the war and the domestic jobs front.

Because they’re all intolerant racists. 

Assessment:

The Washington Post notes that Freedom Works is sponsoring a convention in Washington today (Friday). Freedom Works is an organization started by former Republican Majority Leader Dick Armey to support the Tea Party. 

Because the Tea Party is so racist and intolerant,  US News and World Report’s Washington Whispers is reporting that Freedom Works has been the recipient of so many death threats and harassing and profane phone calls that it is moving its operation to a more secure location.

The number and intensity have reached such heights that the organization is leaving its downtown location near the FBI and moving to a high-security building near the U.S. Capitol.

“FreedomWorks and Dick Armey receive dozens of threatening and harassing calls and E-mails each day. Many imply violence and use of weapons,” spokesman Adam Brandon tells Whispers. “As we get closer to the election we expect the harassment to increase.”

FreedomWorks provided some of the recordings of the threatening calls to Whispers and they include physical threats and profanity aimed at the group, Tea Party spokesmen and even conservative talkers.

“You guys better watch it,” says one caller. “Now, we are going to destroy and obliterate Rush [Limbaugh] and Sean Hannity,” said another. “Those two guys are dead.”

Typical of the tolerance of the Left, former DC Congressional representative Rev. Walter Fauntroy says that the Tea Party is no different than the KKK.

“We are going to take on the barbarism of war, the decadence of racism, and the scourge of poverty, that the Ku Klux — I meant to say the Tea Party,” Fauntroy told a news conference today at the National Press Club.  “You all forgive me, but I — you have to use them interchangeably.”

They are white, so they are all racist KKK-types.  But Rev. Fauntroy’s prejudice against all whites as KKK members isn’t racist because . . . ?

Reverend Fauntroy is glad you asked.  He says it is because the organizers of the “Restoring Honor” rally are – I’m not kidding – “the same people who cut audio cables from a sound system before the historic March on Washington and Rev. Martin Luther King Jr’s “I Have a Dream Speech” at the Lincoln Memorial.”

The same white supremacists from forty-seven years ago?   No, Rev. Fauntroy isn’t a racist.  White people are devils.

Fauntroy said right-wing conservatives have “declared war on the civil rights movement of the 1960s” that brought together a Coalition of Conscience for a march on jobs and freedom in 1963. He called for a new Coalition of Conscience rally on the Mall in August 2012. 

Why 2012, do you think? 

“I don’t want you to think I’m angry,” Fauntroy said. “[But] when this right-wing conservative exclusionary group comes to highjack our movement, we have got to respond. And I’m looking forward to that Coalition of Conscience, in defense of jobs and freedom for women.”

The right-wing conservative exclusionary group that the not-angry Rev. Fauntroy is soooo not angry about includes Democrats, Independents, blacks, Latinos and women.  Oh, and also whites and Republicans.

It is as if there are two separate but parallel realities in America. One reality is the one you see, experience and live in.  The other reality is the one we keep hearing about. 

In that reality,one simply speaks something into existence. Al Sharpton says Glenn Beck is racist and bingo! Glenn Beck is racist.  

Barack Obama says that the Tea Party is racist and bingo! The Tea Party becomes as racist as the KKK. Glenn Beck says that Barack Obama is racist and bingo!  Glenn Beck is racist.

“Racism” is when you lump all members of a particular group together according to skin color and assume that because of their skin color they are all the same. 

When Rev. Al Sharpton or Rev. Jesse Jackson or Rev Walter Fauntroy (read the whole ABC report — they are ALL “Reverends”) does exactly the same thing, it is called defending civil rights.    

“You all forgive me, but you have to use them (KKK, Tea Party) interchangeably.”  Try turning that statement around and you will soon find out if its racist or not.

Beck’s rally is called “Restoring Honor.”  He has his work cut out for him.

But What If It IS?

But What If It IS?
Vol: 107 Issue: 26 Thursday, August 26, 2010

Every morning, my 88 year-old mother-in-law reads three newspapers with her coffee; The Buffalo News, USAToday and the Toronto Globe and Mail.   She says it keeps her sharp. 

Keeps me sharp, too. Otherwise I might have missed a full page story in USAToday’s “The Forum”entitled, “What if The End Isn’t Near?”  But Granny spotted it and made sure that I saw it, too.  

 The print version led off with this ponderous subtitle:

“Too many evangelical Christians welcome the Biblical Rapture with an unsettling eagerness. This fatalistic view serves neither fellow humans nor the planet. A new breed of believers is thankfully taking another path toward Jesus.”

The column was written by Tom Krattenmaker, whom USAToday identifies as “a writer based in Portland Oregon who specializes in religion in public life.” 

And if you had any questions about where Tom Krattenmaker stands on religion in public life, they should have already been answered by the end of the third paragraph.

If you believe Bible prophecy, you are a fatalist.  Your worldview is a disservice to the rest of the planet. 

But fortunately, there are good Christians out there, like 33 year-old Tyler Wigg-Stevenson, whom Tom Krattenmaker hails as a ‘new breed’:

“Less encouraging is the shape of the initial resistance Wigg-Stevenson often encounters as he travels around the country urging Christians to join the nuclear abolition cause — a mind-set that coaxes many believers to accept, even welcome, the imminent end of the world. As signaled by the runaway success of the Left Behind books, end-time expectations hold undeniable sway in evangelical America, which makes long-term investments in a better future seem utterly beside the point.

Thankfully, Wigg-Stevenson and many new-breed evangelicals like him are refusing the kind of end-times bait that lets believers off the hook — off the hook of inspired social action that can make their faith a powerful blessing to their society and their time.”

So, how do you feel about yourself, now, you selfish, fatalistic loser?  But don’t worry.  There’s still hope. 

(Not for you, loser, but maybe for the new-breed of ‘good Christians’ whose new and enlightened worldview serves both mankind and the planet.)

You can side with screwball crazies like my friend Todd Strandberg at Rapture Ready, whom Krattenmaker notes ‘opposes environmental protection on fatalistic ground’s:

“The Bible predicts that during the tribulation hour, the world will come to near complete ruin,” Strandberg writes. “I am strongly against Christians embracing the environmental movement.”

No wonder Krattenmaker has such a low opinion of evangelicals.  They hate the planet.

“For liberal religionists or non-believers, this kind of stance is one of the least appealing aspect of evangelicals’ popular image. It’s as if one group is rowing the boat in the direction of species betterment (or, at least, survival), while another group sits idly as the vessel drifts closer to the precipice of the waterfall, convinced that the divine hand will pluck them and their religiously correct fellows from disaster.”

We should all join up with the good, tolerant Christians like Tyler Wigg-Stevenson.  The USAToday piece goes on to explain why:

“When it comes to apocalyptic visions, Wigg-Stevenson has had his share. But as he began grappling with the nuclear weapons a decade ago as a newly minted college grad and a not-yet-Christian, his were visions of searing white atomic flashes burning up the surface of the planet and millions of people.

His soon-to-follow Christian conversion didn’t free him from the nuclear nightmare but bound him to its prevention.

Understanding that liberal and secular arguments have formed the main rhetorical front in the campaign against nukes — and that these can leave many Christians cold — Wigg-Stevenson has developed a Scripture-based case that lays it all out on an evangelical’s terms.”

Krattenmaker notes that, “Wigg-Stevenson takes pains not to criticize those who read Revelation as a blueprint for rapture and apocalypse in our time” — which makes it pretty clear that Krattenmaker doesn’t really know much about what he’s talking about.

The Revelation isn’t a blueprint for the Rapture.  It has nothing to do with the Rapture.  And ‘apocalypse’ is a Greek word that means Revelation. 

Committed young Christian action-takers such as Wigg-Stevenson . . . represent a hopeful new current in evangelical America. What a refreshing counterpoint to those who eye an imminent cosmic endgame, one replete with mass death and destruction, and seem to say, “Bring it on!”

If end-times acceptance is losing credibility among the new generation of Jesus followers — and many signs say it is — this is good news for us all.

Taking Wigg-Stevenson’s two-futures paradigm a step further, Christians might see a choice concerning their approach to the future as well. They can bet on a supernatural rescue for themselves and their kind and wait for the cataclysm. Or they can dedicate themselves to compassionate action to alleviate suffering and injustice, to creating a better world.

Krattenmaker concludes his column with what he no doubt thought both a penetrating and searing question:

“Which would their savior have them do?”

Assessment:

Of all the challenges that somebody who knows nothing about Jesus could throw at a Christian, the “What would Jesus do?” is the dumbest.  But I’ll rise to the bait and take a stab at the answer.

“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart and lean not unto thine own understanding.  In all thy ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct thy paths,” (Proverbs 3:5-6)

Now that we’ve answered Krattenmaker’s searing and penetrating question of what our Savior would have us to do, let’s move along to the point at hand. 

I never tire of that question, “What would Jesus do?” because by definition, if you have to ask, you wouldn’t recognize the answer if you heard it.  

But I digress. . . . 

What I want to highlight first here is that this column is in USAToday –not Christianity Today or Charisma or some other publication with a focus on Christian religiousity.  

Secondarily, look at the challenge contained in the column’s title.  Hear it in your mind . . .  “What if the end ISN’T near?” – what does the question suggest to you?

It suggests that there is a high degree of probability approaching the point of certainty . . . BUT, what if it’s not?    What if its not what?

Within the wording of the question is the unspoken assumption that it probably is.

Frankly, I welcome the question and the whole debate as proof we’re coming down to the wire. Ten years ago, the question from a secular newspaper like USAToday would have been asking the question, “What if it is

Twenty years ago, the question would have never occurred to them.

There was a sense of desperation one could detect between the lines of Krattenmaker’s tome. When the secular world starts looking to Christians for evidence that the Lord isn’t about to return, we have crossed some invisible line.

It used to be a joke. Christians were parodied as long-haired nutbars wearing sandwich-board signs proclaiming “Repent! The end is near!” 

Now the secular world is desperate to find some Christians that will tell them they still have plenty of time. So too, are many Christian churches.

“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears and they shall turn away their ears from the truth and be turned unto fables.” (2nd Timothy 4:3-4)

The standard advice for students of Bible prophecy is to live like the Lord will return tomorrow but to plan like He won’t return in your lifetime.  It is the only logical way to live, since nobody can know the day or the hour when the Lord actually will return.

But for young Christians like Wigg-Stevenson, whom I believe is perfectly sincere, the prophecies of the end leave them without much to live for, hence his “Two Futures” point of view.   

I don’t blame Krattenmaker for his desperation. I don’t blame Wigg-Stevenson for rejecting the signs of the times.   It IS fatalistic, from the perspective of this world. 

Whether it is you going to heaven or heaven coming to you, it means the end of life as you know it on this earth.

As is often observed, everybody wants to go to heaven, but nobody wants to die.  That is certainly the way I feel about it.   I want to go to heaven. I expect to go to heaven.  In fact, I am as sure of heaven as I am that I am writing these words.

I don’t have a soul. I am a soul.  I am not a body, I have a body.  But despite that, I’m the first to admit I don’t want to die, either.  

That’s what playing out here with Wigg-Stevenson and the Two Futures Project.  But with Krattenmaker, it is something a bit more remarkable.  In Krattenmaker one can sense his fear; the whole piece puts me in mind of someone whistling past the graveyard. 

He doesn’t want to believe it and he’s building a case for himself so that he doesn’t have to believe it, but the fact that it is a topic worthy of a full page story at USAToday says it is a lot more real than he wants it to be.

I deliberately don’t take an advocacy position on the events of this generation.  It is not my calling to oppose, but rather, it is to observe and report.  Thank God that others are called to exhort and advocate and work for a better future.

Wigg-Stevenson is not a bad Christian because he doubts the timing of the Rapture or the last days.  If everybody believed, as I do — which that we are in the waning hours of human government and that the Lord is about to return — we’d be in a real mess.

But as an observer, my calling is to observe and share those observations from the perspective of Bible prophecy.  For the past twenty years or better, it has been my job to overcome the scoffers of whom the Apostle Peter wrote in the last days.

“Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, and saying, Where is the promise of His coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.”(2nd Peter 3:3-4)

That prophecy is pretty general, and while it certainly resonates with this generation, it could have applied to any generation in history.  Every generation since that of the Apostles looked for the return of the Lord as the Blessed Hope of the Church.

But there is one generation for whom this equation gets turned on its head.  My mother-in-law’s generation fit the scoffers,  so did her parents, and so forth going back as far as there have been Christians wearing sandwich boards proclaiming, “Repent, the end is near!”

Now look at the focus of this USAToday column again — in its overall context. 

We have the secular guy nervously speculating that maybe the end isn’t near after all, pointing to the new generation of Christians for whom “end-times acceptance is losing credibility.” 

And the whole thing is about how the new generation of Christians are coming to their senses finally and rejecting the fatalism of end-times’ prophecy.  

THIS is unique.  The scoffers used to be the mainstream and the prophecy nuts used to be ‘the fringe’. The USAToday column reflects how that equation has shifted. 

What if the end ISN’T near?  (Hint: If it wasn’t, we wouldn’t be talking about it in the newspaper!!)

“Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.” (Matthew 24:44)

Maranatha!

Mahdi Rising (This Time For Real)

Mahdi Rising (This Time For Real)
Vol: 107 Issue: 25 Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Iran officially became a nuclear power over the weekend when it loaded the Russian-supplied nuclear fuel rods into its reactor in Bushehr and throwing the switch that took the plant online.  

The event capped a years-long countdown to the dreaded point of no return.

The ‘point of no return’ is that time after which Israel or the West will be unable to take conventional military action against Iran without the risk of nuclear fallout or a nuclear response. 

Now that the Bushehr reactor is online, a direct hit could release deadly radioactive fallout that could threaten the whole region, if not the whole Northern Hemisphere.   

An Israeli strike is made even more complicated by the additional nuclear risk posed to Iran’s neighbors; Iraq, Turkey, UAE, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Pakistan, Russia, China, (Iran lives in a crowded neighborhood) etc. 

So we can now tick off that ‘point of no return’ as being realized. 

It is still difficult to determine with any degree of certainty if it is because of the Obama administration’s naiveté and incompetence, or if the administration is deliberately looking the other way.  

After all, this is an administration that claims to be more plugged in and knowledgeable about Islam than any previous US administration in history.

The president once claimed America’s 0.7% Muslim population made it ‘one of the world’s largest Muslim countries.’   He called the Muslim call to prayer “one of the prettiest sounds on earth at sunset.”

His top terrorism advisor, John Brennan, feels qualified to teach Islamic doctrine, explaining on a number of occasions the true meaning of ‘jihad’ as being an ‘internal struggle’ and the true face of Islam being the peaceful, loving, kindly and respectful religion. 

The planners of the Cordoba Mosque exemplify Brennan’s Islam.

The White House’s policies are so seemingly Islamocentric that fully one voter in four believes Obama is really a Muslim, despite the fact he denies it and does not openly follow Muslim teachings.

Obama doesn’t fast at Ramadan. He doesn’t interrupt his schedule five times a day to pray.  He doesn’t observe any applicable Islamic laws that I can see.   I don’t honestly believe Obama is a Muslim — any more than I believe he is a Christian. 

In my view, if Obama worships anybody, it is the current President of the United States.

Obama continues to place his faith in economic sanctions against Iran. Consequently, I am still not certain if he is merely incredibly incompetent or so brilliant that he is pretending to be incompetent to mask his true agenda.    

Neither possibility is particularly comforting, under the circumstances. I can’t discern what his true agenda really is. I only know it isn’t to advance the doctrine of American exceptionalism.

On June 9th, the Five Permanent Members of the Security Council, the US, Russia, France, the UK and China voted unanimously to impose an even more draconian series of economic sanctions on Iran.

Together with Germany the five countries are often referred to as the P5+1 countries, which try to negotiate with Iran as a united block.  

So how’s that working out?

Well, Russia signed on to the sanctions regime in June and over the weekend, it supplied Tehran with nuclear fuel despite the global outcry.    But that’s not the worst of it.

Iran says that of the P5-1 countries, only one nation has actually decreased the level of trade since the imposition of the latest round of sanctions.  

Only one.  Which?

Russia.

Assessment:

For its part, Israel has called developments in Iran “unacceptable” but despite intense rumors of an imminent military strike, Israel appears increasingly ready to consider accepting the unacceptable.

The US also called it unacceptable, but the Obama administration has accepted all kinds of unacceptable things it said it would never accept — like North Korea’s growing nuclear stockpile or Iranian or North Korean proliferation in the Arab Middle East.

Evidently, nobody in Tehran or Moscow really cares what Obama thinks is acceptable.

Noted an editorial in the Washington Times:

“The cliche of the day from the Obama administration is that “Iran’s nuclear clock has slowed,” but this would be news to the mullahs. Iran is producing enough weapons-grade material to make a bomb every nine months, and this rate is accelerating. In February, the Islamic republic began enriching uranium to higher and more dangerous levels than it had previously. There is no evidence that Iran’s technical capacity to make nuclear weapons has diminished, the strategic logic of nuclear weapons has not changed, and Tehran’s desire to pursue regional hegemony is undiminished. Absent solid evidence to the contrary, the notion that Iran is moving less rapidly toward its nuclear goals is simply the O Force’s hope masquerading as change.”

“The new Iranian drone bomber, which looks strikingly like a modified version of a Nazi V-1 rocket, was hailed by Tehran in Orwellian terms as “an ambassador of death for the enemies of humanity, [which] has a main message of peace and friendship.” Iranian drones are an increasing threat. In March, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said in congressional testimony that Iranian drones are “a concern because it is one of these areas where, if they chose to – in Iraq, in Afghanistan – they could create difficulties for us.” The Tehran Times gloated that Mr. Gates was just “envious” of Iran’s drone program.”

Iran has stopped pretending that the quest for nuclear power is a peaceful one; the day before it flipped the nuclear switch it announced it successfully tested a new missile, the Qiam-1, which launched with the words ‘al Mahdi’ on its side. 

The word Qiam means ‘rising’ and so the message of “Mahdi Rising” rings through loudly and clearly. 

The Mahdi is a reference to the 12th Imam, a mystical figure in Islamic eschatology who will awaken from the state of ‘occultation’ he been in since the 7th century. 

The role of the Mahdi is to lead a victorious Muslim jihad against the West that will usher in a period of Islamic-ruled paradise on earth.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is a True Believer in the Mahdi rising from his state of occultation and said openly and repeatedly that he believes that he (Ahmadinejad) was called by Allah to start the conflict that will bring about the Mahdi rising. 

So the symbolism behind al-Mahdi Qiam was not lost on the Israelis, the Europeans, or the Muslim world.  About the only one that doesn’t seem to get it is the Obama administration. 

The day after Iran’s Mahdi Qiam was announced, Iran and Russia jointly thumbed their noses at the West and flipped on the Bushehr reactor.  

The following day, Iran unveiled its new “Ambassador of Death” — an unmanned, long range drone bomber capable of delivering nuclear warheads anywhere in the Middle East or Europe.

“The scope of Iran’s reaction will include the entire the earth,” said Ahmadinejad. “We also tell you — the West — that all options are on the table.”

According to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the main message of the Ambassador of Death is peace and friendship.  Honest.

“The jet, as well as being an ambassador of death for the enemies of humanity, has a main message of peace and friendship,” said Ahmadinejad at the inauguration ceremony, which fell on the country’s national day for its defense industries.

 (“Hello?  I am the new Iranian Ambassador of Death, here to deliver a message of peace and friendship. And death.”)

This morning, Iran reported the test fire of another new missile, the Fateh-110 with an advanced guidance system.

The White House responded by expressing its willingness to engage Iran in “constructive dialogue.”

That’s a great idea!  I’m sure Iran has an ambassador all fueled up and waiting to engage at a moment’s notice.

The Lesser of Two Evils Usually Isn’t

The Lesser of Two Evils Usually Isn’t
Vol: 107 Issue: 24 Tuesday, August 24, 2010

I anticipated that yesterday’s OL would generate a lot of controversy. I was surprised that the reaction was as subdued as it was.

At issue was the question of whether or not smoking pot is prohibited by Scripture or whether it is a cultural issue of relatively recent pedigree.   There are those that argue that pot is less harmful than either alcohol or tobacco.

On the other side are those that argue that pot is a ‘gateway’ drug that leads to harder drugs, that the only reason for smoking pot is to get high, that pot separates a person from God,  and (most convincingly to my way of thinking), that it may cause somebody else to stumble.  

I was never particularly interested in this question — it is near impossible to find any unbiased information about it.  What I found particularly interesting is that nobody is neutral on the subject.

If one researches sources that are either connected to the government or government funded, then one can learn that pot is dangerous and that it has absolutely no medical value.   

On the other extreme, one finds that pot is harmless and that it is useful for a whole myriad of ailments ranging from chronic pain to cancer.

There are very few sources of information that are simply information sources rather than advocacy programs dedicated to advancing one perspective or the other.

That’s one of the things I noticed in the forums (and it was inevitable, I guess).   Either pot is harmful, sinful and useless or it is harmless, neutral and sinless.    From what I’ve been able to learn, the truth sits somewhere between these two extremes.

Another thing I found interesting is how pot just suddenly appeared in history.  I have in my library collections of sermons by the great preachers of the past, primarily those of the late 19th and early 20th centuries;  Spurgeon, Moody, Criswell, Billy Sunday and others.  

Spurgeon liked cigars – I didn’t find any sermons on the evils of tobacco.  D.L. Moody liked to eat – he didn’t preach much against gluttony.  Billy Sunday preached against Demon Rum around the time of Prohibition.   To listen to Billy Sunday, alcohol was pure sin distilled in hell by the devil himself.

In the autumn of 1874 Dr. Charles Haddon Spurgeon invited an American guest preacher, a Dr. Pentecost, to preach at Spurgeon’s Metropolitan Chapel. 

Dr. Pentecost preached on his struggle with tobacco, particularly cigars.

The local newspaper (this was 1874, remember) published its critique of the meeting thusly:

“At the close of his useful sermon the minister introduced an American clergyman who, he said, was anxious to address a few words to the congregation. This reverend gentleman ‘improved the opportunity’ by inveighing fiercely against the sin of smoking tobacco, especially in the form of cigars, and told his hearers how he had struggled and fought against the pernicious habit, and how at last, by the blessing and with the assistance of Providence, he had conquered his addiction to the weed.

 “Then uprose Mr. Spurgeon and, with quiet humour, remarked that he would not allow the congregation to separate without telling them that he did not consider smoking to be a sin, and that, by the grace of God, he hoped to enjoy a good cigar before going to bed that night.

“Hypercriticism should discern no irreverence in the conclusion of those remarks. We should be thankful for all things; and in observing that he hoped to enjoy a cigar through the Divine grace, he was but echoing the natural piety of Charles Lamb, who asked why we should not say grace before going out for a walk in the fields as well as before and after meat. Dr. Johnson said grace before he began the ‘Rambler’; and if Mr. Spurgeon be a smoker, he only adds another and most excellent name to the long catalogue of distinguished English divines of the Established and the Dissenting Churches who have solaced themselves with that Indian weed.”

The preachers of the 18th and 19th century did not preach against alcohol, although they preached against drunkenness.  The Temperance Movement of the late 19th century was primarily driven by the Women’s Temperance Union.  (Ironically, ‘temperance’ means ‘moderation’ or ‘self-restraint.’ )

The Temperance Movement strove to ban alcohol in all its forms and was the leading force behind the 18th Amendment (Prohibition).  It preached that alcohol was itself a sin.

The Temperance Movement united theological liberals with theological conservatives in an unholy alliance.  While the Church was consumed by its war against alcohol, the theological liberals walked in and took over the denominations.

The Temperance Movement failed to curb alcohol abuse.  But it was one of the distractions that allowed for the introduction of the social gospel into the Church. 

The church was right to preach against drunkenness, but it went beyond that to declare alcohol itself to be a sin.  In other words, they considered alcohol to be a greater evil than false doctrine. 

Marijuana doesn’t become an issue in the US, from what I can find, until an incident in El Paso in 1914.  Some white men were allegedly attacked by a Mexican man who had gone crazy on ‘loco weed.’

Following the incident, the El Paso City Council passed an ordinance prohibiting possession of marijuana, but the law was more about controlling the local Mexican population than it was about controlling pot.

During Prohibition, the Treasury Department was responsible for both liquor and illegal drugs.   When Prohibition was repealed, Treasury agents (“revenooers”) were essentially out of a job.  Harry J Anslinger was named head of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics in 1937.

Anslinger simply transferred the war on alcohol over to the war on drugs, lobbying for marijuana’s inclusion in the Uniform State Narcotics Act.   The liquor agents were out of work, but Anslinger’s ‘revenooers’ survived the repeal of Prohibition by reinventing themselves as narcotics agents.

Until the 1930’s, marijuana was considered less harmful than liquor.  Anslinger campaigned for seven years against pot as a ‘Mexican drug’, finally getting marijuana included as an illegal drug in 1937. 

Anslinger launched a nation-wide anti-pot campaign, financing such anti-drug movies as 1938’s hilarious “Reefer Madness.”

In 1961, Anslinger used America’s considerable influence at the United Nations to get 100 countries to consolidate their drug agreements into a single international convention that made marijuana illegal around the world.  

And somewhere along the way between the end of Prohibition and Harry Anslinger’s retirement in 1962, marijuana was upgraded to join alcohol as sin forbidden by the Bible. 

Assessment:

“I sometimes wonder if all pleasures are not substitutes for joy.” – C. S. Lewis

I got a lot of email about yesterday’s OL in addition to the comments posted in our forums.  Let me repeat one more time that it was not about pot; it was about Scripture vs. culture.  There are so many good reasons for Christians to abstain from pot that listing them all is an exercise in redundancy.

So I won’t bother.   You already know them.  So what is the point, here?  It isn’t that I am trying to make a case that it doesn’t matter if Christians smoke pot, although I suspect that is what many of you are taking away from this.  Step back with me and try and see the bigger picture.

All the same reasons why a Christian should abstain from alcohol and tobacco apply in spades to pot.  It was J. Harry Anslinger who pronounced pot ‘sin’.  The Church was convinced that a thing was more evil than a false doctrine and embraced the theory that a thing can be a sin.  

Once that slippery slope was breached, the slide began.  If a thing can become a sin, then the sinner’s responsibility is diminished. The sin of drunkenness became the disease of alcoholism. 

AA operates on the principle that habitual drunkenness is, at least in part, the result of an allergy to alcohol.  Consequently, an alcoholic can never drink alcohol again, lest the allergy be rekindled.  It is the alcohol that is the sin.

I don’t disagree with that, by the way.  An alcoholic that never drinks again will not have to worry about getting drunk.   But not all drunks are alcoholics with an allergy to alcohol that makes them drink uncontrollably.

Some drunks are just irresponsible louts who now have an excuse to remain irresponsible louts.  “The bottle made me do it.”  

Some, but not all.  Don’t get mad at me for this, too.  The point is that it isn’t alcohol that is sin. Alcohol is a thing.  Used to disinfect wounds it is a good thing. Used to drink oneself to death, it is a bad thing.

Absent the interaction of a free-will human being, it is simply a thing.   Calling it sin is deciding that false doctrine is less evil than alcohol.   Now that it is evil, alcohol is capable of being blamed. 

Think about how many times you’ve heard the phrase, “alcohol was to blame for the crash.” (Or fire, or suicide or divorce or pregnancy or bar fight or murder.) 

Once the Church embraces the false doctrine that a thing can be responsible for evil,  is it not incumbent upon good Christians to stamp out evil?  Stamping out evil is certainly a good thing for Christians to do, even if they have to, er,  bend the Scriptures to do it.

This is why the average Christian would agree that money is the root of all evil.  If it is the root of all evil, then it isn’t too far a stretch to argue that Christians shouldn’t mind if the government takes some of it and distributes it to the poor.  

It’s the social Gospel:  “What would Jesus do?”  Jesus certainly wouldn’t associate with evil. That’s why He turned over the money-changers tables in the Temple. Because money is the root of all evil. 

The thing becomes the sin.  Remove the thing, you are not only removing temptation, you’re doing the sinner a favor.  

The Bible really says the love of money is the root of all evil but having once accepted as doctrine that a thing can be evil, there’s no backing away. 

Now it becomes an issue of what society considers a social evil.  Once society decides, the church will follow.  

Smoking kills, so smoking is a sin.  It wasn’t a sin 100 years ago, before the Surgeon General’s warnings.   But it is now. 

Drinking wasn’t a sin, drunkenness was.   But the social gospel takes stock of the damage done by drunks, couples it with the intemperate “Temperance League” and outlaws alcohol.

Gun control operates on the principle that guns are capable of killing people, not on the obvious principle that people with guns kill people.  The result is that only people that want to kill people have guns. Everybody else is defenseless.

Some people should never drink.  Some people shouldn’t own guns.  Some people shouldn’t smoke. (Heck, nobody should smoke.)   But advancing a doctrine that isn’t there, no matter how noble the purpose, always turns out the way it did the first time.

God told Eve not to eat of the fruit of the tree.   Eve added a new doctrine extending the command to even touching it.  Satan turned it around on Eve and next thing you know, Adam’s blaming God for putting Eve there to tempt him.

Prohibition was an effort to stamp out sin by banning alcohol. The result was the Roaring 20’s, flappers, bathtub gin, Treasury raids, bootleggers, Al Capone and the rackets.

The Marijuana Stamp Tax of 1937 was an effort to stamp out drug abuse by banning pot.  The result was an immediate increase in marijuana use, the Sixties, hippies, Timothy Leary, pot farms, drug raids, the Mexican drug cartels, murder, mayhem and a multi-billion dollar international drug trade.

The Brady Bill was an effort to stamp out gun violence by banning private gun ownership.  The result was an increase in violent crime against newly-disarmed citizens by criminals who logic says wouldn’t obey the gun laws anyway.

All with the blessing of the Church which decided sometime around the turn of the last century that false doctrine was a lesser evil than alcohol, then pot, then guns.  

Now the last two evils that need stamping out are “the rich” and conservative Christians, closing the circle the church began drawing around itself a hundred years ago.

Was pot-smoking a sin for European Christians who lived 1,000 years ago?  There is nothing in the Bible that would tell them that back then.  How is it intrinsically sinful today?

The Book of Revelation uniquely translates the Greek word pharmakea — meaning “the use or administration of drugs” as ‘sorceries’ in explaining the reasons for Tribulation judgment in Revelation 9:21 and Revelation 18:23.

“Neither repented they of their murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their fornication, nor of their thefts.”

“And the light of a candle shall shine no more at all in thee; and the voice of the bridegroom and of the bride shall be heard no more at all in thee: for thy merchants were the great men of the earth; for by thy sorceries were all nations deceived.”

In the first instance, we have judgment upon the unrepentant for their crimes, murder, drug abuse, sexual immorality and theft.

In the second, we have the judgment against the merchants and the mighty men of the earth who through a number of agencies, including the use or administration of drugs, deceived the nations.  

Deceived them how?  Do you see it?  The false doctrine of demons?    

“And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things that are not convenient.” (Romans 1:28)

If things can be evil, then evil is something man can fix. Man can control things.   So who needs God?