I was speaking to a nemesis of mine in Texas, just about a year ago, about the war in Iraq. She went on to say, what I have heard too many Americans say, that we should go in there and kill all of those [censored]. I asked, why do you feel so strongly about this? She replied, because they came in here and killed our people.
I said, well, as I understand it individuals mostly from Saudi Arabia, and not Iraq were responsible for the attacks at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. She replied, "I don't care just kill those...". At about the same time I was speaking with a conservative friend of mine who felt and expressed pretty much the same. I said, well you know that it was not the people of Iraq who attacked America. He said, I know, but we have to show them that you don't attack America. I asked, them who?
He replied, the Muslim world. That reminded me of what many blacks experienced in the slave, post and ante-bellum south, i.e., that if 'one of them' got out of line, whites openly whipped or hung 'one or more of them' in order to instill fear and keep the others in line. Not much changed then, in terms of America's strategic and tactical policy against its enemies, much the same as it used and uses against its citizens.
I pointed out the obvious to both my nemesis and my associate. Why was it wrong when individuals from a foreign country entered into the sovereign United States, attacked, maimed, destroyed and killed Americans, however, it was okay for the United States of America to pre-emptively attack another sovereign nation, in deference to the United Nations, also with shock and awe? The United States replicated the exact behavior, of the mostly Saudi's, and proceeded to murder, destroy and maim innocent Iraqi citizens? As many as 200,000 Iraqis are believed to have either been murdered, maimed or injured by the American Killing Machine, and with the full public support of The American Right. Neither my nemesis nor by friend, both a part of the so-called Right, saw any contradiction at all in this. God help us, I thought!
There are five things, primarily, that concern me, they are as follows: (1) The fascist right and its influence on our churches, government and politics. (2) The American church and church leaders in bed with salacious and venal politicians. (3) The hypocrisy of Americans, particularly those who say that they follow Christ, the same who are advocates and supporters of this kind of nefarious and reprehensible behavior. (4) American's disregard for innocent human life. (5) The spirit of America, in conflict with the word and the spirit of Christ.
I. The Fascist Right and its influence on our church, government and politics.
It seems to me that the most dangerous group of people on the planet right now are those in America who call themselves 'The Right'. The term Right, in America, is used to identify Americans who are for morality, conservative values and justice; or so they say.
Despite the righteousness that the term suggests, are these people really wrong? The so-called self described Right, has seemingly taken control of our Federal government and the Federal Court system. This faction of Americans actually wields its influence on all 3-branches of government, not to mention our churches and media, i.e., the Pat Robertson's, Jerry Falwell's and Dobson's of the world. Many in this faction include well-known religious leaders like Dr. Dobson, Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson and others. Others like William F. Buckley, Pat Buchanan, George Will fuel their revolution through the books and the media.
There is a precursor to what the Right in America is doing. In England, its 195h century Fascist Right, as it was referred to then, took control of Parliament and pushed through its conservative form of legislation in Parliament, upon the general public. Exactly how dangerous were and are these religious zealots, politicians, members of the press and others who have joined together to purportedly stand up for right principles and to force civility back upon their nations, very dangerous? What makes them so dangerous is their duplicity and self-righteous methods and their motives.
Members of the Right define justice and morality through a very narrow spectre, their own. Although they often refer to the Bible, many of them do not adhere to the words of the Bible themselves. What is right to them, is what is right to those who are on the Right. They write the script, as they go along with their own delusions, often pretending that their shaping comes from the Bible. They then go to work to inveighle and force their vision, of what the United States, if not the world should be, on the the American populace. Their use of of religion, cunningness, the Press and venal sophist politicking is without peer, I believe.
During the he history of the world, only Satan himself appears to have been more subtle. Using wedge and other important issues, they like the Jihadist of the middle-East, will always invoke God into what they do; consider President Bush using his purported relationship with Jesus Christ when he ran for the Office Of President of the United States. When you match his policies and positions with scriptures, President Bush, like others on the Right, comes up short. Consider, social justice issues or the preservation of life, abroad, neither his attitude nor his behavior matches up with scripture.
There is a great story in the Bible that I love to refer to. It is in John chapter 8, this story reminds me so much of the duplicity of the Right. A woman is brought to Jesus who had been taken in the act of adultery. Jesus listens to the accusation that was brought by the accusers, and bends down to the earth seeingly to ignore them and give them time to escape. For these men who cited the Law of Moses, which held adultery as a Capitol crime, which was punishable by death through stoning under thee Mosaic system of Law and Jurisprudence. We all know the ending, Jesus, says, well, he that is without sin should cast the first stone, and they all went ahead because each of them apparently had sin in their lives as well. Like our conservatives friends of today on The Right, these men vouchsafed the Law; Law, Justice and meteing out sentences to those who deserve to be punished is their battlecry today. Right?
There is something else that is truly remarkable about the story. The same accusers did not bring along the, apparent, male, who participated in the adultery with this woman. Why not? I suspect that it was because it was a friend of theirs, perhaps a Pharisee himself. You know, one of their boyz! in other words. In America, many on the Right openly campaign and campaigned against homosexuals and legislation that favors benefits for homosexuals or homosexual unions. However, while they condemn the practice of homosexuality and the legislation that goes supports homosexual benefits and union, those on the Right, failed to mention or bring the friend, in this case, who supports homosexuals, Mr. John Cheney, VP of the United States of America.
And even worse than the men in our story of John chapter 8, those on the Right went out and campaigned for a ticket in the last two general elections, that included a man, who is heartbeat away from being the Presidenc himself. Once again we witness duplicity in terms of what they say is right, and their own behaviors.
This kind of duplicity plagues those on the Right on so many issues, such as race, the poor, women's rights and so on. They say one thing, but they do another. As the scripture says, with their mouths they worship God, but their hearts are from him. Clearly, the Right, as Mr. Bush once indicated when speaking about his political, is inured to and concerned about only one class of American. With regard to other Americans, I like the definition that syndicated columnist Bob Novak once gave for a compassionate conservative. According to Bob, a compassionate conservative, is one who would see a man drowning 40 feet off shore, and he would throw him a 15 foot rope. Bob repeated this definition in jest, given that he is a conservative himself, and I am certain that he considers himself a compassionate one.
(2) The American church in bed with politicians.
A new group has emerged in the church and this group has closely aligned itself with politicians. Some in the church, like Pat Robertson, have not only aligned themselves, but have run for office themselves. Despite scripture, "He that warreth, does not entangle himself with the affairs of this life...", Pat Robertson even advocates the murder of other Heads of State. I wonder if he prayed before making that statement. Pat even contradicted himself before, for in his book he once wrote that God told him to stay out of politics; he ran for office anyway. And look what a fool he is making of himself now!
President Bush threw religous groups a bone and garnered their support by introducing the Faith-Based Initiative. As altruistic as it was presented, i.e., for the benefit of the peple, the President was the one who truly benefited. Members of the clergy like Pat Robertson and Dr. Dobsen, TD Jakes and others actually consulted with the President about the war in Iraq (and many religious clerics encouraged the war). Wow, faith-based Christian ministers standing with a so-called Christian President. Whatever happened to prophets like Micaiah in scripture, who the King hated, because he would never tell the king what he wanted to hear, II Chronicles 18:7. In fact King Jehosophat hated Micaiah. I wonder why President Bush adores these ministers so much?
Ari Fleischer, in a Press Conference explained, that President Bush reads his Bible and prays. However, when asked does he listen to God when deciding what to do about American foreign policy. Ari, said, no, he doesn't listen to God but rather to his earthly advisors. Interesting? Perhaps that is how America got itself in that mess in the first place and why there are so many dead Iraqis not to mention innocent American soldiers who were obeying their Commander-In-Chief.
The teachers on the Right, in order to make their belief systems coincide with American foreign policy reached back to early Christian writers in order to explain 'just wars' to their parishioners, like St. Thomas Aquinas. They convinced their followers that in fact it was right for a nation to defend itself against an outside aggressor. Of course he was not talking about Iraq or other middle-easterner countires. He was referring only to the United States,Israel and those nations who are friendly to the United States, apparently. The problem with this explanation however, is that it has become more and more apparent that Iraq had done nothing to the United States or its people to warrant the invasion or the occupation.
In fact the United States government had been in bed with Saddam for years, and during the same time that it was in bed with American ministers (when Sadam reportedly carried on many atrocities against his own people). And still many American ministers, particulary those on the Right, stood with the politicians and encouraged the wholesale murder, maiming and destruction that took place and continues to take place in Iraq today. Some estimate that well over 100,000 human beings have been killed in Iraq, and four to five times as many have been wounded, maimed and displaced.
3) The hypocrisy of Americans, particularly those on the Right who say that they follow Christ. Christ did not advocate murder. Christ, the Prince of Peace, advocated peace and required that his followers pursue those things that make for peace. This is a principle that seems to have long been forgotten by those in America, particularly those who construct our foreign policy, or those who head up Christian media and pastor our churches. What happened to seeking a peaceful solution? Those in America and the rest of the world who preferred a peaceful rather than a military solution were either silenced or ignored. What happened to the teachings of Christ? Where do wars comes from? According to Apostle of the Jerusalem Church, wars come about as a result of lust. You want, you don't have, so you take it.
There are not many peaceful voices on the Right, who will even consider a peaceful solution, in fact they resist those who want to do the things that make for peace. As my associate said, we will show them that you don't mess with us. Christians? Americans love the swagger that goes along with carrying the biggest stick. A nation that war born in rebellion, continues to rebel against the things of God, while attempting to show itself as a servant of God. The Spirit of those who helped form this nation, invaders, killers, child-molesters, satan worshippers, rapists, tax-evaders, mutilators, white supremacists, trucebreakers and warmongers lives on in the spirit of American today. And Americans would prefer to fight than swtich, i.e., give up their freedoms.
Consider the revised teachings by the church today, i.e, instead of thou shall not kill, thou shall not commit murder. By any definition what is going on in Iraq today, is not the defense of a nation i.e, the United State, but the wholesale killing and murderering of sovereign God-fearing people who have not done anything to America. And why is it that God-fearing Americans do not feel any kinship to these descendants of Abraham, who are also the people of God?
I have referred several Christian friends of mine to the book of Genesis (chapters 16 and 21 in particular) where the angel of the Lord appeared and spoke to Hagar, Abraham's concubine, just as he appeared and spoke to the virgin Mary. God promised greatness for both nations, God was intimate with both nations. Then why do those on the Right today, particularly, Christians totally dismiss God's people who happen to be Muslim? Because they get their misinformation from the Organization of Facist Media Polls, my name for the Right's propaganda arm. Those on the Right excuse the terrorism of Israel just as they excuse it in the United States.
To criticize Israel's missetps is to be labeled anti-Semitic, Reverend Jackson, Minister Farrakhan and others have found that out. I suppose that the Apostle Paul was anti-Semitic as well, when he said that his desire for Israel, even during his time, was that Israel might be saved. For he bore them witness that they had a zeal that was not according to God.
I attended two meetings in Washington DC with two seperate groups of ministers who visited the middle East. The consensus of both groups was that the Palestinians were more in favor of seeking a peaceful solution than was the hawkish Israeli government. In fact, one group of ministers pointed out that the Israeli government was nothing more than an extension of the Conservative wing of America's Republic Right, eekkk!
There are capable ministers, and heads of states of other nations who would gladly assist in solving the problem in the middle-east between the United States and Israel, and the other Palestinian countries. Neither the Israeli Government or the United States Right-Winged controll government wants that. Unlike most Christian, I do not believe that the current Israeli government, is the apocalyptic Israel that the scripture refers to. However, our government will play upon the sympathy and romanticism of the church with respect to the current Israel in order to use Israel to maintain its presence in the middle East.
(4) American Disregard for Innocent Human Life.
American's have long since been desensitized to killing. Europeans came to this Hemisphere murdering and maiming as they went in search of trade routes and wealth. Europeans and later Americans murdered the natives, and many of the blacks that they later were to enslave the same that they brought to this hemisphere. The murder rate in this country, the abortion rate, the number of individuals who die in our penal systems, the murder of human beings around the planet by Americans, and the legacy of Americans murdering each other attest to that fact. The value of life in America is diminished. The way to solve problems, ask Pat Robertson, is simply to take people out? And I don't think that he meant out to dinner.
Americans are armed to the teeth and ready to murder or kill, at the drop of a bucket. I have never owned a weapon, however, I am surprised at the number of people that I know, who do own weapons, especially those on the Right, and especially those who are in the church. For too many it is not only a constitutional right, but a God-given right.
Many will quickly justify their ownership or use of a weapon (s), not to mention their willingness to use it if they have to. In other words they will have no qualms about acting as executioner, some have even bragged about shooting other people. It is interesting that along with its Uniform Crime Statistics that the Federal Bureau of Investigation tracks, the number of times that Americans discharge a gun when killing other Americans continues to increase. Years ago when Americans shot another American, according to the FBI, he discharged the gun one time. Today an American is likely to discharge his weapon four to five times and in some instances, they will empty the weapon.
(5) The Spirit of America Is Not The Spirit of Christ
Where the right is wrong, is that many in the so-called Right are neither adherents of the principles or words of Jesus Christ, except the ones that agree with their synkretic thinking. Many on the Right are not Christian in their thinking, like Jesus explained to Peter, they have never been converted. Many are simply members of Christian churches. Many have never known Christ, although they profess him with their mouths. Many have never been born again and much like Nicodemus and Apollos the Alexandrian teacher in the bible, many of these have neither had the experience of being born again nor do they understand what it means to be born again. I dare say that our President is misguided on the subject, for he claims to be a born-again Christian. The scripture teaches us that you can discern a tree by its fruit, and judging from the fruit that is on the treesit is evident that he has never been converted. With their mouths only do they worship him.
Conversely, the principles and teachings of Christ have been replaced with own secular conclusions, solutions and propositions. I once spent time with a very prominent minister of a very large church in Northern Virginia church who will remain unnamed. As we sat and chatted outside of a church in Washington DC, he explained that I do not believe in a 'second grace' in order to be saved. That reminded me of another pastor friend of mine on the west coast of America who once told me that the only thing that the Holy Spirit does is empower one to be a witness. Eekk!
On another occasion I was talking to a Catholic public TV host and associate of mine in the McLean Virginia area. We were discussing the upcoming election when he explained that he does not allow the teachings of the church to influence his thinking when exercising the franchise.
Another Christian friend explained that all she knows about her religion was, "we don't each fish on Friday". So no wonder it is so easy then, like Jesus's disciples, to call fire down from heaven and burn up people who are not like you and who do not see things your way. These people are all religious people, however, one can only wonder if any of them have ever been converted. The conversion that Jesus told Peter about, the same Peter who had walked with Jesus for several years, is a work of the Holy Spirit! According to Romans 8, many religious people do not have the Spirit of Christ, and if you don't have the Spirit then you are none of his. And as Jesus taught Nicodemus, and as Aquila and Priscilla taught Apollos, one can even be a teacher and not know these things.
The American Military Killing machine has always been celebrated by the general American public, but now it is being embraced and celebrated as much in our churches, 'My Eyes Have Seen The Glory Of The Coming Of the Lord...". I visited a church service around the Fourth of July in McLean Virginia, one of the largest churches if the not the largest in the area. What struck me at first about the sanctuary of the church was that there weren't any symbols of Jesus Christ in the church. There weren't any crosses, pictures or any other religious symbols (I am not referring to graven images) that I could see throughout the whole church. Rather, in this modern and steel and concrete structure were American flags and other American memorabilia.
I wondered, is this church of Christ, or should it be called the Church of The America Idol, and the idol was clearly America? As the service continued, there were songs of patriotism and the waving of the flag as the parishioners stood and joined in to the singing. What happened to the words of Christ, i.e., render unto Caesar (the Republic) that belongs to Caesar and to Christ that which belongs to Chris?. I suspected that many at this celebration would die for America before they would die for Christ or adhere to the principles of Christ. And I suspected that the true books or their bible was the American Constitution, The Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights, not the words of Jesus Christ. For me, this was American idolatry being celebrated in a church setting.
Frankly, one half hour into the service I could not take it any more. I politely gathered my stuff and began to leave. To my dismay I found myself walking out with a group of about 10 or 20 other people who may have felt the same way that I did (at least we were all heading to the exits at the same time that I did).
The bias, narrow-mindedness and self-justification by the Right in America reminds me of the group in the bible that Jesus referred to, the Pharisees. These zealots started out as adherents to the Word, but later diverged into something else other than the followers of the Word. Jesus described them as hypocrites, of the kind that would cross sea and land to convert one soul, however, he added that when they were finished with them they would be more children of hell than fit for the Kingdom.
I challenge believers in America to consider where you fit in to all of this? Are you, with the best of intentions, following those who declare that they are right, yet in your gut you know that the spirit that they advocate and the policies and positions that they advocate, run truly afoul of the spirit and the teachings of the scriptures? Are these some of those of the spirit who worship Christ with their mouths, however, their hearts are far from him as they use the church to further their own political agendas Read 2 Peter, Chapter 2 in the Holy Bible? Ask yourself, do their words match up with those of Jesus and scripture? Or has Satan set up in the temple of God showing himself to be an angel of light?
Jesus once warned Peter, who was later to become the Chief apostle and who had spent time and walked with Jesus, that his heart was not right. Jesus informed him that walking with Christ, citing his word and even doing miracles was not enough, Peter was to be converted. I submit to you that many who say that they are of the Right or Religious Right, have never been converted to Christ! And many of these Pastors, Bishops, Prelates and Presiders, over large religious organizations, are holding believers hostage according to 2 Peter the 2nd Chapter. Are you following people who really do not know Christ at all, although they sound like they do given that some of what they teach aligns with scripture, while their actions and other portions of what they advocate simply fails to align with scripture? Then has the so-called Right gone wrong, and are they taking you along with them?
Scripture warns us that, "There is a way that seems Right to a man, but the ends thereof are the ways of death". Today we have both a Right and people who are dying. I believe that the Right in America today is wrong! Will the true believers in Christ, those who adhere to the words of Christ, stand up and speak out? For we are being co-opted by people who don't seem to know Christ. They worship him with their mouths but their hearts are from him. Some, even proudly proclaim that they do not believe in a second grace. Jesus made it made it clear that one must be born again to enter his Kingdom. Some are using the church to further their political agenda(s). Believers beware even of the church where you attend. Remember that the Religious Right in the new testament was a group called the Pharisees. Jesus, constantly ran into conflict with the pharisees. And I believe that the Pharisees of our time are those in the Religious Right. For they often teach the traditions of men and not the Word of God!
The Seal of Abraham