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The Poisoning of American Politics by Radical Christian Dominionists

dyer-hanging

Religious Liberty in the Massachusetts Bay Colony…the hanging of the Quakers…a model for the Dominionists

“When the pretended friends of religion lead infidel lives; when they carry religion to market and offer it in exchange for luxuries and honors; when they place it familiarly and constantly in the columns of newspapers, manifestly connected with electioneering purposes, and when they are offering it up as a morning and evening sacrifice of the altar of political party- these men are placing a firebrand to every meeting house and applying a torch to every Bible” Abraham Bishop in an oration at Wallingford CT on 11 March 1801

“See, the problem is, is that Satan has had too much of his way in our society because he has a government! And the only way to overthrow a government is with a government. It won’t happen otherwise.” C. Peter Wagner

Every time that I hear a politician of any party invoke God or quote scripture my stomach turns.  In our modern era this really began with Jimmy Carter. For better or worse the man wore his faith proudly. The Southern Baptist Sunday School teacher from Plains Georgia let it all out when he talked about his faith, sin, lust and adultery in a Playboy Magazine interview in 1976.

There was actually nothing wrong with what he said or that he identified himself as a “Born Again Christian.”  But Carter set a precedent and brought a previously apolitical part of the population into the political process in a way never seen before.

Urged on by politically motivated preachers like Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, John Hagee and James Robison Evangelicals like the young Michelle Bachmann rushed to the polls like flies to a honey trap.  Before long posturing political preachers were in the became a staple of conservative politics and the core of the Republican Party base.

Now 35 years later we have radical preachers openly clamoring for a Christian theocracy and brazenly advocating the complete dominion of Christians over all areas of life. The theory is called “Dominionism” or “Seven Mountains” theology.  Many of these preachers are openly allied with a number of high profile Republican Presidential candidates in a take no prisoners campaign to destroy their opposition within the Republican party and nationwide.

C. Peter Wagner a Professor of Evangelism at Fuller Seminary in Pasadena California is one of the most prominent proponents of this political theology and he wrote:

“Our theological bedrock is what has been known as Dominion Theology. This means that our divine mandate is to do whatever is necessary, by the power of the Holy Spirit, to retake the dominion of God’s creation which Adam forfeited to Satan in the Garden of Eden. It is nothing less than seeing God’s kingdom coming and His will being done here on earth as it is in heaven.” Letter dated 31 May 2007

Of course by 1980 Carter was tossed aside by his Evangelical supporters like cup of boiled peanuts gone bad. The preachers who once supported him disappointed with him over the Panama Canal treaty and the economy ditched him and whipped up Evangelical  support for Ronald Reagan.  Reagan wiped Carter off of the electoral map like Sherman marching to the sea.

With Reagan’s victory the now emboldened preachers pressed for more power.  Groups like Jerry Falwell’s Moral Majority and Pat Robertson’s Christian Coalition became major supporters and contributors to conservative candidates and politicians as did James Dobson’s Focus on the Family and the American Family Association.

Now Reagan to his credit talked a lot about faith and God but he certainly could not be considered one of the real Evangelical Christian faithful.  He was divorced and a sparse attendee of the mainline Presbyterian Church USA.  He was married to a woman who brought mediums into the White House to conduct séances.  He cut taxes but raised taxes when he needed to. He withdrew U.S.Forces from Beirut after the Marine barracks was destroyed with the loss of 241 American lives and he became Soviet Premier Gorbachev’s buddy.  Before he was President he raised the sales tax in California and signed one of the most liberal and permissive abortion laws in the nation. That was well before the Roe v. Wade decision.  In short if he was running now for any office he would already be out of the race as a Republican.

Since Reagan departed the Presidency the preachers and politicians are aided in their struggle for control by the third member of the Unholy Trinity the pundits such as serial divorcee Rush Limbaugh, the Talibanesque team lead by Joseph Farah at World Net Daily and a host of others.

Now to be fair Democrats were and are not above using preachers and scripture for their own purposes.  Some seeking to capitalize on the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and other early civil rights pioneers not only used their pulpits to further civil rights which I have no issue with but to promote themselves and a place at the table in the Democratic Party and its policies. Others minsters mainly from liberal denominations used their pulpits to promote all sorts of other agendas that were called liberal, socialist or left wing, even though most had decent scriptural support and in some cases were supported by the social teachings of both the Roman Catholic and some Protestant denominations. However Liberal politicians have never used these preachers over the years as brazenly as conservative politicians use Evangelicals, Charismatics and other conservative Christians including Roman Catholics.

Bill Clinton was a master of using scripture in his campaign as well as in enunciating his policies.  He got everyone going with his “New Covenant” acceptance speech at the 1992 Democratic Convention which was a masterful speech though it brazenly co-opted a Christian theme as its own.  Initially some of the current radical preachers we Clinton backers as the felt that President George H.W. Bush was leading the United States into the New World Order. 

What tickles me is that one of the leading Seven Mountain’s “prophets named Paul Cain spoke at my church after the election and said that “God told him that Bill Clinton would be elected and that it was because of Clinton’s “humility.” Joyner wrote in Rick Joyner’s Morningstar Prophetic Bulletin in 1993 “The Lord said that He was giving us a new president who is better than we deserve. He represents a reprieve from a New WorldOrder that the Church is not prepared to face at this time…” 

I love it when self appointed prophets catch themselves on their own tangled web of lies.  Of course the real reason had nothing to due with the Christian faith but the fact that Cain and his ilk didn’t like George Bush and believed that he was ushering in a “New World Order.  This was shameless, but then that is nothing new.  

Now as a disclaimer as a 16 year old I worked for Gerald Ford’s campaign and voted for Reagan twice.  Since I became a Republican because of the radicalism espoused by George McGovern in 1972 when my dad was in Vietnam surrounded by the North Vietnamese.  This made me a very pro-military and anti-Communist.  It was  because of Carters foreign policy flubs and weakness that  I supported Reagan. I was and still am a  Christian, but I didn’t vote for Reagan or any other Republican because of their faith or the faith of their opponent.  Now I do like it when men and women that I vote for represent the best of their faith and don’t lord it over those that are not of their faith. When I vote I vote the vote for a candidate based on what I see as their qualifications for the office and not their religious views.

Unfortunately there are a number of prominent candidates and their supporters that seem to want Theologian in Chief.  Politicians can see that and that pander shamelessly to their religious supporters often to the exclusion of all others.  If I want a theocracy I’ll go to Iran or Saudi Arabia thank you, but I don’t and you shouldn’t either unless you are planning to convert. But that is the plan of the Dominionists.

However those pursuing the radical Seven Mountains Dominionism actually want a theocracy will use any party or any President to establish it. Clinton didn’t give it to them so they went to the Republicans.  Their rhetoric is scary. Rick Joyner who is one of the big supporters of this movement within the Tea Party and Republican Party said something  that should give anyone that has a hankering for religious liberty and liberty of conscious chills.  Perry is not simply a ranting nut but a nut that has the ear of viable Presidential candidates.  Back in 1996 Joyner wrote about what was going to happen to Christians that didn’t agree with his understanding of his prophecy threatening to change “the very definition of Christianity….for the better….”

“On February 23rd of this year I was shown for the third time that the church was headed for a spiritual civil war … the definition of a complete victory in this war would be the complete overthrow of the accuser of the brethens’ strongholds in the church … this will in fact be one of the most cruel battles the church has ever faced. Like every civil war brother will turn against brother like we have never witnessed in the church before … this battle must be fought. It is an opportunity to drive the accuser out of the church and for the church then to come into unity that would otherwise be impossible … what is coming will be dark. At times Christians almost universally will be loath to even call themselves Christians.Believers and unbelievers alike will think it is the end of Christianity as we know it and it will be through this the very definition of Christianity will be changed for the better.”  Morning Star Prophetic Bulletin May 1996

Cindy Jacobs another one of these politically connected prophets made this claim on the internet back in 2000:

“For there is a radical sound that I have issued – there is a sound that has come from heaven, and it even now has come to earth. And the Lord says, these are going to be days where I am going to trouble the enemy through you. These are going to be different days than you have ever known, and I am going to require sacrifice of you that you cannot imagine. I am going to require a sacrifice of your children, says the Lord. And the Lord says, I’m going to shake everything that can be shaken…” and that “There are churches that will be command posts for revolution, and to these command posts I would say, I am going to bring a revolution. Look and see; I am calling radical revolutionaries to the church.”  http://www.elijahlist.com/words/display_word/85

If you ask me that is a threat to all Americans. One of Joyner’s friends the late John Wimber who founded the Vineyard Churches said of his neighbors at Calvary Chapel “Calvaryites are sometimes a little too heavily oriented to the written Word.”  That is something Wimber criticized Christians that he saw as too heavily oriented to the Bible.  Simply being a Bible Christian is not good enough for the Dominionists, theirs is an all or nothing take no prisoners approach that discounts 2000 years of Christian history, theology and tradition in favor of their alleged “words from God.” 

This is not about theology or faith at all.  It is about power and money. Leading Dominionist C.Peter Wagner wrote: “nine of the components of GAN {Global Apostolic Network} are on my heart, but especially those related to wealth and wealth transfer. I am in touch with 17 potential wealth transfer brokers, some of them expecting release momentarily. It is hard to comprehend, but some of them go to multiple millions, billions, and more. My task is to prepare a high integrity infrastructure for distributing these funds when they begin to flow. Zion Apostolic Network and The Hamilton Group are in place as agencies to carry this out. Our motto is “Sophisticated Philanthropy for Apostolic Distribution.” Letter from Global Harvest Ministries dated August 20, 2007

The original Dominionist was R. J. Rushdoony who was very open in what he believed:

“One faith, one law and one standard of justice did not mean democracy. The heresy of democracy has since then worked havoc in church and state . . . Christianity and democracy are inevitably enemies.” R.J. Rushdoony, The Institutes of Biblical Law p.100

Rushdoony’s son-in-law Gary North was even more blunt about the ultimate goal of Christian Reconstructionism:

“We must use the doctrine of religious liberty to gain independence for Christian schools until we train up a generation of people who know that there is no religious neutrality, no neutral law, no neutral education, and no neutral civil government. Then they will get busy in constructing a Bible-based social, political and religious order which finally denies the religious liberty of the enemies of God.”

This is the real goal of Rick Perry’s The Response prayer meeting of 2011 and the perverted gospel that these preachers use to get politicians to fulfill their agenda and Perry obliged them well. If it was simply a day of prayer then others that were not Christians would have been welcome. It has been made manifest in now countless examples of political brinksmanship motivated by uncompromising politicians, pundits and preachers who have adopted an almost “Talibanesque” view of life, faith and politics.

Some of these preachers are not above advocating or praying for death of their political opponents. There was a whole campaign of prayer against President Obama led by the discredited and court-martialed Chaplain Gordon Klingenschmitt. He and others advocated praying the imprecatory prayers of the Psalms including Psalm 109:8 which says: ‘Let his days be few; and let another take his office.’ Massachusetts based preacher Scott Lively advocates killing gays overseas and supports laws in places like Uganda to legalize that. Unfortunately the list can go on and on.

Old Abraham Bishop was right; these people are setting fire to every meeting house and putting the torch to every Bible.  Unfortunately most of their supporters will either ignore or quash what I and others write about these people. Truth doesn’t matter to them.

I had that happen to me.  Sometimes even from people that know me or have served with me at the altar.  Facts didn’t matter, all that mattered were the talking points and the agenda.  The founders of this country did not as these people say desire anything like this.  In fact Thomas Jefferson said “History I believe furnishes no example of a priest-ridden people maintaining a free civil government. This marks the lowest grade of ignorance, of which their political as well as religious leaders will always avail themselves for their own purpose.” (letter to Baron von Humboldt, 1813)

God help us all.

Peace

Padre Steve+

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The Hijacking of the National Day of Prayer

The modern National Day of Prayer was enacted by President Truman and Congress in 1952 in the 36 U.S.C. § 119 : US Code – Section 119: National Day of Prayer and various Presidents at different times have called for days of fasting, prayer or thanksgiving.  The heart of President Truman’s proclamation is contained in this section:

Now, Therefore, I, Harry S. Truman, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim Friday, July 4, 1952, as a National Day of Prayer, on which all of us, in our churches, in our homes, and in our hearts, may beseech God to grant us wisdom to know the course which we should follow, and strength and patience to pursue that course steadfastly. May we also give thanks to Him for His constant watchfulness over us in every hour of national prosperity and national peril.

Ronald Reagan eloquently stated the purpose and significance of the National Day of Prayer in his 1983 proclamation which in part read:

It took the tragedy of the Civil War to restore a National Day of Prayer. As Abraham Lincoln said, “Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us.”

Revived as an annual observance by Congress in 1952, the National Day of Prayer has become a great unifying force for our citizens who come from all the great religions of the world. Prayer unites people. This common expression of reverence heals and brings us together as a Nation and we pray it may one day bring renewed respect for God to all the peoples of the world.

From General Washington’s struggle at Valley Forge to the present, this Nation has fervently sought and received divine guidance as it pursued the course of history. This occasion provides our Nation with an opportunity to further recognize the source of our blessings, and to seek His help for the challenges we face today and in the future.

Now, Therefore, I, Ronald Reagan, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim Thursday, May 5, 1983, National Day of Prayer. I call upon every citizen of this great Nation to gather together on that day in homes and places of worship to pray, each after his or her own manner, for unity of the hearts of all mankind.

President Reagan’s 1983 and subsequent proclamations stood firmly in the American tradition of Civil Religion and was decidedly non-sectarian.  It acknowledged that our citizens “come from all the great religions of the world” and called on Americans to gather on the day “in homes and places of worship to pray, each after his or her own manner, for unity of the hearts of all mankind.”  In fact the spirit of the declaration is much like that of the hymn God of Our Fathers which is recognized as our National Hymn.  This hymn is not explicitly Christian and never mentions Christ or the Trinity yet it is widely sung in churches on days such as the Sunday nearest to Independence Day.  The lyrics to that hymn are here:

God of our fathers, Whose almighty hand, Leads forth in beauty all the starry band Of shining worlds in splendor through the skies, Our grateful songs before Thy throne arise.

Thy love divine hath led us in the past, In this free land by Thee our lot is cast, Be Thou our Ruler, Guardian, Guide and Stay, Thy Word our law, Thy paths our chosen way.

From war’s alarms, from deadly pestilence, Be Thy strong arm our ever sure defense; Thy true religion in our hearts increase, Thy bounteous goodness nourish us in peace.

Refresh Thy people on their toilsome way, Lead us from night to never ending day; Fill all our lives with love and grace divine, And glory, laud, and praise be ever Thine.

While the American religious tradition is highly Christian and even more so from the Reformed tradition this has always existed in tension with a decidedly secularist philosophy embodied by many of the Founding Fathers who were very careful to recognize the importance of religion but at the same time both sought to protect religious liberty by NOT enacting laws to establish a particular religion nor to entangle the government in the affairs of religion which could in their view be detrimental to true religious liberty.

In fact both Thomas Jefferson and James Madison were very careful about proclamations and ensuring that government was not favoring any particular religious body. Jefferson wrote to Reverend Samuel Miller in 1808 that:

Fasting and prayer are religious exercises; the enjoining them an act of discipline. Every religious society has a right to determine for itself the time for these exercises, and the objects proper for them, according to their own particular tenets; and right can never be safer than in their hands, where the Constitution has deposited it. …civil powers alone have been given to the President of the United States and no authority to direct the religious exercises of his constituents.”

Madison who was the author of the Bill of Rights and included religious liberty in the First Amendment in support of Virginia Baptists who were under pressure from those who were determined to make and keep the Episcopal Church as the state religion of the commonwealth. Madison wrote to Edward Livingston in 1822 that:

“There has been another deviation from the strict principle in the Executive Proclamations of fasts & festivals, so far, at least, as they have spoken the language of injunction, or have lost sight of the equality of all religious sects in the eye of the Constitution. Whilst I was honored with the Executive Trust I found it necessary on more than one occasion to follow the example of predecessors. But I was always careful to make the Proclamations absolutely indiscriminate, and merely recommendatory; or rather mere designations of a day, on which all who thought proper might unite in consecrating it to religious purposes, according to their own faith & forms. In this sense, I presume you reserve to the Govt. a right to appoint particular days for religious worship throughout the State, without any penal sanction enforcing the worship.”

President Obama’s 2012 Proclamation for the National Day of Prayer stands in line with the founders as well as that of Presidents Truman and Reagan. It calls Americans to join with him to

“On this National Day of Prayer, we give thanks for our democracy that respects the beliefs and protects the religious freedom of all people to pray, worship, or abstain according to the dictates of their conscience. Let us pray for all the citizens of our great Nation, particularly those who are sick, mourning, or without hope, and ask God for the sustenance to meet the challenges we face as a Nation. May we embrace the responsibility we have to each other, and rely on the better angels of our nature in service to one another. Let us be humble in our convictions, and courageous in our virtue. Let us pray for those who are suffering around the world, and let us be open to opportunities to ease that suffering.

Let us also pay tribute to the men and women of our Armed Forces who have answered our country’s call to serve with honor in the pursuit of peace. Our grateful Nation is humbled by the sacrifices made to protect and defend our security and freedom. Let us pray for the continued strength and safety of our service members and their families. While we pause to honor those who have made the ultimate sacrifice defending liberty, let us remember and lend our voices to the principles for which they fought — unity, human dignity, and the pursuit of justice.”

Even Republican Presidents such as Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush were careful to attempt to keep this in tension only holding one official event each during their presidencies.  It was not until George W. Bush that the President hosted events in every year of his presidency.  Remember the language of the law was that the President shall issue a proclamation for the people of the nation to pray.  Likewise the proclamations are a call for Americans, as Ronald Reagan and Harry Truman wrote to gather together on that day in homes and places of worship to pray, each after his or her own manner, for unity of the hearts of all mankind. The National Day of Prayer was not intended to entwine the government in exclusively religious observances by any particular religious tradition as many of the National Day of Prayer observances in many local, state and federal government agencies.

In 1982 a group of Evangelical Christians led by Shirley Dobson formed The National Day of Prayer Task Force. This organization is is not simply a Christian organization with an ecumenical purpose, but rather a decidedly Evangelic Christian organization.  It was formed to coordinate and implement a fixed annual day of prayer, the purpose of which was to organize evangelical Christian prayer events with local, state, and federal government entities.  Its ministry partners included the heavily politicized American Family Association, Alliance Defense Fund, American Center for Law and Justice, the Family Research Council and Focus on the Family. The Leadership is a veritable “Whose Who” of political preachers and ultra-conservative politicians including Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann. This organization has since grown in popularity and prominence often being the primary organizer of such events.

While I am not against the observance of the National Day of Prayer I am uncomfortable with an organization like the National Day of Prayer Committee, which is dominated not just by Evangelical Christians, but Evangelical Christian political activists sponsoring the vast majority of these observances. The group makes no pretense about not being ecumenical and being what they say is “Judeo-Christian.” However since it it has appropriated the name “The National Day of Prayer” as its moniker and has huge financial and political backing, many Christians and non-Christians alike assume that The National Day of Prayer Task Force is the official government sponsored and endorsed organizer for the event. The appearance is solidified by the fact that many of their events are held in government or military facilities. In my opinion the National Day of Prayer Task Force has hijacked the occasion to fulfill their political and religious agenda. As a Christian and member of a small Old Catholic denomination I find this frightening.

What I think has happened within the time of my military career is that many Evangelical groups have made the National Day of Prayer “their event” and use people within government agencies or the military to organize events which lean heavily toward Evangelical Christianity.  I have seen it myself at many locations. Not only has this occurred but many times the leadership of these religious groups promote the political agenda of a particular political party or philosophy and as such that political philosophy sometimes becomes part of the event.  It happens quite often and I actually think invites trouble and challenges that will eventually have a negative impact on all Christians.

In fact The National Day of prayer was ruled unconstitutional by U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb who ruled in favor of a suit brought about by the Freedom from Religion Foundation against The National Day of Prayer Task Force, former President George Bush and others.  The suit was expanded to name President Barack Obama when he requested that Judge Crabb to dismiss the case in 2009 when the administration argued that the foundation had no legal standing to sue.  The President Obama and his administration appealed the ruling and went ahead with the proclamation and observance of the National Day of Prayer in 2010 and 2011. The Obama Administration’s appeal was successful and a Federal Appeals Court overturned Judge Crabb’s ruling in 2011. The reason the appeal was granted was because the Appeals Court ruled that the Freedom from Religion Foundation had no legal standing because it did suffer actual harm from the Presidential proclamation and call to prayer.

My contention is that when a very religiously exclusive and politically partisan group virtually takes over what was implicitly non-sectarian and non-partisan that the event becomes more of a sectarian event than national event. The National Day of Prayer Task Force seems to merge Evangelical Christianity with the Federal Government.  Somehow I don’t think that Jefferson, Madison or early Baptist leaders like Roger Williams and John Leland who all saw the separation of Church and State as essential to the preservation of the civil rights of all citizens, not just Christians.

I believe in and do pray for the United States of America, our people and our leaders. I even think that a designated day of prayer for the nation is a salient reminder of the necessity of citizens of faith to pray for this country and our leaders regardless of their faith, absence of faith or political party or ideology. It is what makes the American experiment in Religious Liberty so unique in the world and why we should resist all attempts to return to the hopelessly entwined and bankrupt systems embodied by the State Religions of Europe and the Middle East.

Peace

Padre Steve+

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Republican Versus Republican: The South Carolina Showdown

 

Charleston Debate (CNN Photo)

The Republican campaign for the nomination is getting nasty.  These men do not like each other and for one man in particular, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich the battle is personal. Campaign ads, particularly those run by the various Super-PACS have been brutal on all sides because they have all mixed truth and fiction and quite often impugned the character of their opponents in addition to attacking policy differences.

The fact that our political climate is so volatile and filled with passion and emotion mean that the campaign will become filled with even more vitriol.  This week two more Republicans dropped out of the race after pledging in New Hampshire to see it through. John Huntsman dropped out followed unexpectedly today by Texas Governor by Rick Perry.  Neither had the support to do much in South Carolina nor the finances to go on. Huntsman endorsed Romney while Perry, Michelle Bachman and Sarah Palin have  all endorsed Gingrich which was probably more important.

Perry saw the writing on the wall when a sizable number of Evangelicals and conservative Catholics through their support behind for Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum who was certified as the winner of the Iowa Caucus after Governor Romney and the media declared Romney the winner.  Romney “won” by 8 votes with a total number less than he received in the same state in 2008.  However when Santorum was certified as the winner by 34 votes Republican Party officials in the state called it a draw with no clear winner.  So if Romney wins by 8 votes it is a “win” but if Santorum wins by 34 votes it is a “tie.”  Romney called his wins “historic” history has been revised.  I thought that Romney made a huge mistake when he made the claim and now he looks foolish for doing so.

Since New Hampshire the three factions of the Republican Party have fractured. Romney was anointed by the party elite as the “one that could beat Obama.” However after New Hampshire the fissures in the party between the Republican establishment represented by Romney, social conservatives championed by Gingrich and Santorum and Libertarians led by Ron Paul have opened wide. All claim that getting rid of Obama is the main priority but their personal dislike of the candidates for one another and their sometimes competing agendas have led to a deepening divide in the party.

Gingrich seems to have survived comments by his second wife regarding their divorce and his alleged desire to remain married by have an “open marriage” with the support of major hitters like Rush Limbaugh.  When asked about it by debate moderator John King Gingrich blasted King and attacked the media in an incredibly effective manner that ended the line of questioning.  Gingrich knew that the question would be asked and clobbered it like a power hitter slamming a hanging curve ball.

Romney didn’t make any great mistakes in the debate tonight but he muffed the question of releasing his tax returns in Monday’s debate on Fox News and tonight’s on CNN. He seems be unable to connect with people that don’t believe that over $300,000 in speaking fees is “not very much money.” It seems to me that he cannot connect with the populist parts of the Republican Party represented by the Tea Party. He is portrayed as a flip-flopper by conservatives and believe me there are many Evangelicals and others that will not support him or only give lukewarm support should he become the nominee because he is Mormon.  Frankly their trust of him deserved or not is only slightly better than the distrust that they have for President Obama.

I believe that Gingrich will win South Carolina and that both Santorum and Ron Paul will do better than expected. Santorum actually in my view handled the debate better and challenged Gingrich and Romney in ways that were effective and that I did not think him capable of sustaining. He could surprise especially with the endorsement of major Evangelicals but he is not a southerner and that counts for something in South Carolina.

From South Carolina the campaign goes to Florida and could continue throughout the spring as the factions of the party go all in for their candidates. It shall be interesting.

Peace

Padre Steve+

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Iowa Caucus: Media Feeding Frenzy Looking for the Un-Mormon Anti-Mitt

The votes are still being counted and with about 96% of the votes counted it will be a photo-finish between Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum with Ron Paul just a bit behind in third place. The race between Romney and Santorum  It is so close that at least one network is predicting that it may not be able to call the race until the last vote is counted.

Reporters, pundits and pollsters are trying to sort out what this means but the reality is that three quarters of Republicans in Iowa don’t want Mitt Romney as their nominee.  Romney has the money, organizations and old line GOP support to run the table if he wasn’t viewed as the member of a religious cult by half the GOP and as a out of touch rich Massachusetts flip-flopper without John Kerry’s medals.

The fact is that if you add the non-Ron Paul “Conservative Christians” Santorum, Gingrich, Perry and Bachmann together they come in at at about 53% of the total vote. This is important because Romney has to win in the South and Midwest where the conservative Evangelical and Catholic vote has to be won to win. That demographic favors whoever is the Un-Mormon Anti-Mitt.  Many of Romney’s “supporters” close to 40% have reservations about him.

What I really believe will happen is that the vote will be so close that Romney’s campaign will lose momentum no-matter how well he does in New Hampshire where as of today polls give him a commanding lead. The real test will be South Carolina where if Romney sputters despite the support of Governor Nikki Haley the race will go on for a long time.  I think that Romney probably will still win the nomination but he will be damaged goods.  Some Tea Party leaders say that they would never support Romney, influential Evangelical pastors saying that Romney is “not a Christian” while others call support for Romney an endorsement of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, or the Mormons.

The scorched earth tactics of Romney’s Super PAC will not endear him to the supporters of some of his opponents. Newt Gingrich has called Romney a “liar” and as the campaign progresses the Romney campaign tactics will alienate more of the people that he needs to win in November. Romey’s PAC will turn its guns on Santorum and Gingrich will blast Romney in the next debate. It will get nasty.

The effect of Ron Paul and the Libertarian wing of the GOP cannot be underestimated, most Paul’s supporters would not support Romney.  Paul is well funded and will not go away and because many of the delegates won in the primaries are now awarded on a proportional basis if he hangs around he can collect enough of them to be the fly in Romney’s ointment at the GOP Convention.

I expect that Michelle Bachmann is not planning to end her campaign simply just yet but  her closing speech was as anti-Mitt as it was anti-Obama.  However her campaign is toast, even Sarah Palin has counted her out. Rick Perry is reassessing his campaign and going back to Texas.  But Newt Gingrich was not completely destroyed by Romney and will live to fight another day and will have an impact in the South where he will along with Santorum and Paul will bloody Romney significantly.  Gingrich’s closing speech tonight showed that he is going to go after Romney and pretty much leave Santorum alone.  Expect Bachmann and Perry to back Santorum if Gingrich falters.

Look to an unexpectedly long and interesting campaign for the GOP nomination. That is my take on Iowa.

Peace

Padre Steve+

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The Radical Influence of the Christian Dominionism on American Politics: It’s All Jimmy carter’s Fault….Not Really but it is a Catchy Headline

Religious Liberty in the Massachusetts Bay Colony…the hanging of the Quakers…a model for the Dominionists

“When the pretended friends of religion lead infidel lives; when they carry religion to market and offer it in exchange for luxuries and honors; when they place it familiarly and constantly in the columns of newspapers, manifestly connected with electioneering purposes, and when they are offering it up as a morning and evening sacrifice of the altar of political party- these men are placing a firebrand to every meeting house and applying a torch to every Bible” Abraham Bishop in an oration at Wallingford CT on 11 March 1801

“See, the problem is, is that Satan has had too much of his way in our society because he has a government! And the only way to overthrow a government is with a government. It won’t happen otherwise.” C. Peter Wagner

Every time that I hear a politician of any party invoke God or quote scripture my stomach turns.  In our modern era this really began with Jimmy Carter, for better or worse the man wore his faith proudly. The Southern Baptist Sunday School teacher from Plains Georgia let it all out when he talked about his faith, sin, lust and adultery in a Playboy Magazine interview in 1976.  There was actually nothing wrong with what he said or that he identified himself as a “Born Again Christian.”  But it set a precedent and brought a previously apolitical part of the population into the process in a way never seen before.  Evangelicals like the young Michelle Bachmann rushed to the polls like flies to a honey trap.  Before long posturing political preachers were in the mix and now 35 years later we have radical preachers openly clamoring for a Christian theocracy and brazenly advocating the complete dominion of Christians over all areas of life. The theory is called “Dominionism” or “SevenMountains” theology.  Many of these preachers are openly allied with a number of high profile Republican Presidential candidates in a take no prisoners campaign to destroy their opposition within the Republican party and nationwide.

C. Peter Wagner a Professor of Evangelism at Fuller Seminary in Pasadena California is one of the most prominent proponents of this political theology and he wrote:

“Our theological bedrock is what has been known as Dominion Theology. This means that our divine mandate is to do whatever is necessary, by the power of the Holy Spirit, to retake the dominion of God’s creation which Adam forfeited to Satan in the Garden of Eden. It is nothing less than seeing God’s kingdom coming and His will being done here on earth as it is in heaven.” Letter dated 31 May 2007

Of course by 1980 Carter was tossed aside by his Evangelical supporters like cup of boiled peanuts gone bad as the preachers disappointed with him over the Panama Canal treaty and the economy ditched him and whipped up support for Ronald Reagan.  Reagan wiped Carter off of the electoral map like Sherman marching to the sea.  When he did the now emboldened preachers pressed for more power.  Groups like Jerry Falwell’s Moral Majority and Pat Robertson’s Christian Coalition became major supporters and contributors to conservative candidates and politicians as did James Dobson’s Focus on the Family and the American Family Association.

Now Reagan to his credit talked a lot about faith and God but he certainly could not be considered one of the real Evangelical Christian faithful.  He was divorced and a sparse attendee of the Mainline Presbyterian Church USA.  He was married to a woman who brought mediums into the White House to conduct séances.  He cut taxes but raised taxes when he needed to. He withdrew U.S.Forces from Beirut after the Marine barracks was destroyed with the loss of 241 American lives and he became Soviet Premier Gorbachev’s buddy.  Before he was President he raised the sales tax in California and signed one of the most liberal and permissive abortion laws in the nation well before the Roe v. Wade decision.  In short if he was running in 2011 for the 2012 nomination he would already be out of the race.  Since Reagan departed the Presidency the preachers and politicians are aided in their struggle for control by the third member of the Unholy Trinity the pundits.

Now the democrats were and are not above using preachers and scripture for their own purposes.  Some seeking to capitalize on the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and other early civil rights pioneers not only used their pulpits to further civil rights which I have no issue with but to promote themselves and a place at the table in the Democrat Party and its policies. Others minsters mainly from liberal denominations used their pulpits to promote all sorts of other agendas that were called liberal, socialist or left wing, even though most had decent scriptural support.  However Liberal politicians have used these preachers over the years as brazenly as conservative politicians use Evangelicals, Charismatics and other conservative Christians including Roman Catholics.

Bill Clinton was a master of using scripture in his campaign as well as in enunciating his policies.  He got everyone going with his “New Covenant” acceptance speech at the 1992 Democratic Convention which was a masterful speech though it brazenly co-opted a Christian theme as its own.  Initially some of the current radical preachers we Clinton backers as the felt that President George H.W. Bush was leading the United States into the New World Order. What tickles me is that one of the leading Seven Mountain’s “prophets named Paul Cain spoke at my church after the election and said that “God told him that Bill Clinton would be elected and that it was because of Clinton’s “humility.” Joyner wrote in Rick Joyner’s Morningstar Prophetic Bulletin in 1993The Lord said that He was giving us a new president who is better than we deserve. He represents a reprieve from a New World Order that the Church is not prepared to face at this time…” I love it when self appointed prophets catch themselves on their own tangled Web of lies.  Of course the real reason had nothing to due with the Christian faith but the fact that Cain and his ilk didn’t like George Bush and believed that he was ushering in a “New World Order.  This was shameless, but then that is nothing new.  

Now as a disclaimer as a 16 year old I worked for Gerald Ford’s campaign and voted for Reagan twice.  Since I became a Republican because of the radicalism espoused by George McGovern in 1972 when my dad was in Vietnam surrounded by the North Vietnamese.  This made me a very pro-military and anti-Communist.  It was  because of Carters foreign policy flubs and weakness that  I supported Reagan. I was and still am a  Christian, but I didn’t vote for Reagan or any other Republican because of their faith or the faith of their opponent.  Now I do like it when men and women that I vote for represent the best of their faith and don’t lord it over those that are not of their faith. When I vote I vote the vote for a candidate based on what I see as their qualifications for the office and not their religious views.

Unfortunately there are a number of prominent candidates and their supporters that seem to want Theologian in Chief.  Politicians can see that and that pander shamelessly to their religious supporters often to the exclusion of all others.  If I want a theocracy I’ll go to Iran or Saudi Arabia thank you, but I don’t and you shouldn’t either unless you are planning to convert. But that is the plan of the Dominionists.

However those pursuing the radical Seven Mountains Dominionism actually want a theocracy will use any party or any President to establish it. Clinton didn’t give it to them so they went to the Republicans.  Their rhetoric is scary. Rick Joyner who is one of the big supporters of this movement within the Tea Party and Republican Party said something  that should give anyone that has a hankering for religious liberty and liberty of conscious chills.  Perry is not simply a ranting nut but a nut that has the ear of viable Presidential candidates.  Back in 1996 Joyner wrote about what was going to happen to Christians that didn’t agree with his understanding of his prophecy threatening to change “the very definition of Christianity….for the better….”

“On February 23rd of this year I was shown for the third time that the church was headed for a spiritual civil war … the definition of a complete victory in this war would be the complete overthrow of the accuser of the brethens’ strongholds in the church … this will in fact be one of the most cruel battles the church has ever faced. Like every civil war brother will turn against brother like we have never witnessed in the church before … this battle must be fought. It is an opportunity to drive the accuser out of the church and for the church then to come into unity that would otherwise be impossible … what is coming will be dark. At times Christians almost universally will be loath to even call themselves Christians. Believers and unbelievers alike will think it is the end of Christianity as we know it and it will be through this the very definition of Christianity will be changed for the better.”  Morning Star Prophetic Bulletin May 1996

Cindy Jacobs another one of these politically connected prophets made this claim on the internet back in 2000:

“For there is a radical sound that I have issued – there is a sound that has come from heaven, and it even now has come to earth. And the Lord says, these are going to be days where I am going to trouble the enemy through you. These are going to be different days than you have ever known, and I am going to require sacrifice of you that you cannot imagine. I am going to require a sacrifice of your children, says the Lord. And the Lord says, I’m going to shake everything that can be shaken…” and that “There are churches that will be command posts for revolution, and to these command posts I would say, I am going to bring a revolution. Look and see; I am calling radical revolutionaries to the church.”  http://www.elijahlist.com/words/display_word/85

If you ask me that is a threat to all Americans. One of Joyner’s friends the late John Wimber who founded the Vineyard Churches said of his neighbors at Calvary Chapel “Calvaryites are sometimes a little too heavily oriented to the written Word.”  That is something Wimber criticized Christians that he saw as too heavily oriented to the Bible.  Simply being a Bible Christian is not good enough for the Dominionists, theirs is an all or nothing take no prisoners approach that discounts 2000 years of Christian history, theology and tradition in favor of their alleged “words from God.”

This is not about theology it is about power and money. Leading Dominionist C.Peter Wagner wrote: “nine of the components of GAN {Global Apostolic Network} are on my heart, but especially those related to wealth and wealth transfer. I am in touch with 17 potential wealth transfer brokers, some of them expecting release momentarily. It is hard to comprehend, but some of them go to multiple millions, billions, and more. My task is to prepare a high integrity infrastructure for distributing these funds when they begin to flow. Zion Apostolic Network and The Hamilton Group are in place as agencies to carry this out. Our motto is “Sophisticated Philanthropy for Apostolic Distribution.” Letter from Global Harvest Ministries dated August 20, 2007

The original Dominionist was R. J. Rushdoony who was very open in what he believed:

“One faith, one law and one standard of justice did not mean democracy. The heresy of democracy has since then worked havoc in church and state . . . Christianity and democracy are inevitably enemies.” R.J. Rushdoony, The Institutes of Biblical Law p.100

This is the real goal of Rick Perry’s The Response prayer meeting a few weeks back and the perverted gospel that these preachers use to get politicians to fulfill their agenda and Perry obliged them well. If it was simply a day of prayer then others that were not Christians would have been welcome.

Old Abraham Bishop was right; these people are setting fire to every meeting house and putting the torch to every Bible.  Unfortunately most of their supporters will ignore or quash what I and others write about these people. I had that happen with a man from my former church that actually knows me today.  Facts didn’t matter, all that mattered were the talking points and the agenda.  The founders of this country did not as these people say desire anything like this.  In fact Thomas Jefferson said “History I believe furnishes no example of a priest-ridden people maintaining a free civil government. This marks the lowest grade of ignorance, of which their political as well as religious leaders will always avail themselves for their own purpose.” (letter to Baron von Humboldt, 1813)

God help us all.

Peace

Padre Steve+

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Elvis is still Dead and Michelle Bachmann wants to Wish Him a Happy Birthday…I can’t make this Up

Let’s all wish Elvis a Happy….uh maybe not

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xTYg2Q-vDJ0

I can’t make up material like this I have a rather substantial article on the committee that is making proposals to gut the current military retirement system but want to take more time before I go final with it.  I have been been thinking about Elvis Presley’s death much of the day today. I remember how I found out that he died; it was on a car radio just outside of Stockton  California. I was with a number of kids from my church youth group with one of the kid’s father driving us out to an end of the summer youth group activity.

When the news broke over the radio, I think that we were listening to either KFRC fromSan Francisco or KJOY in Stockton, both of which were AM Top 40 stations and my friend’s dad pulled over to the side of the road and started crying.  It was strange to me as a 17 tear old to see an adult cry over the death of an entertainer but even though I knew Elvis was important I had no idea at the time just how important he was to those that grew up with him in the 1950s and early 1960s.  When I got home I found that my mom was distraught at his death.  In the years since then I have learned what they were feeling that day.

When you are young you often fail to understand the cultural impact of great musicians, especially the ones just before your generation.  Music plays to our soul and spirit and Elvis with his unique sound and style changed how we listened to music and watched musicians from that time forward.  He had a commanding stage presence that combined a boy next door innocence and hip shaking sexuality which drove his fans wild.

Elvis died at the beginning of a comeback. He had just released an album called Moody Blue and a couple of weeks before he died I won a copy pressed on blue vinyl at a different local radio station’s promotion of the album. I thought that it was amazing.  Unfortunately it disappeared during one of our military moves.

I am amazed when I listen to Elvis at the richness of his voice and the great variety of music that he performed.  When I see old videos of his performances I am equally amazed at his stage presence.

I was thinking about what to write when I read about Bachmann’s latest insertion of foot into mouth.  She played the song Promised Land and then exclaimed “Before we get started, let’s all say happy birthday to Elvis Presley today!” Since Elvis is still dead, unless like in Men in Black he just “went home” to wish him a “happy birthday” is in bad taste, it would be like wishing any other dead person a “happy birthday.”  It shows no class.  However to make matters worse she ignored a person in the audience that shouted “He died today!”  Instead she launched into her campaign talking point speech.  After the speech she corrected herself when talking to reporters and said “As far as we’re concerned, he’s still alive in our hearts.”

But this is just the latest in a series of attacks of foot in the mouth for Bachmann.  When she launched her campaign in June inWaterlooIowashe called it the home of “John Wayne” except it was not the film icon it was the serial killer, John Wayne Gacy.  Earlier in the year she stated that the battles of Lexington and Concord  were in  New Hampshire, but they happened in Massachusetts.  Instead of just admitting the mistake and going on she posted on Facebook “It was my mistake,Massachusetts is where they happened.New Hampshireis where they are still proud of it!” I guess that she doesn’t think that the people of Massachusetts are proud of it.

In January back in Iowa she discussed the issue of slavery and the founding documents of the nation, the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution saying that “the very founders that wrote those documents worked tirelessly until slavery was no more in the United States.” Wrong, a whole bunch of them owned slaves and made sure that people had a right to own slaves in states that allowed them.

Bachmann must be gold for late night comics, personally in all of my years I cannot remember a front running candidate continue to do this and not pay for it in the polls.  If she was a Democrat these gaffes would be played and parodied on talk radio 24 hours a day. Limbaugh would make a mint off of her if she was a Democrat.

This is really a Bizarro World where a leading Presidential candidate wishes Elvis a happy birthday on the anniversary of his death….well at least he’s still alive in our hearts, right?

Anyway, despite Bachmann’s latest goof we pause to remember the King of Rock and Roll who passed away 34 years ago.  Elvis was great and he will be remembered as long as music is part of our lives. May he still rest in peace, but if he’s listening somewhere I hope that he is laughing his ass off because we can’t make this up.

Peace

Padre Steve+

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Filed under Just for fun, music, Political Commentary, purely humorous

Dumb Guy Things: The Male Hormone Causes Brain Damage….I’m Proof of It

Last night my friends I violated “Shafer’s Law” which is “let’s not do dumb things.” The etymology of term goes back to my Commanding Officer while I was the Brigade Adjutant at the Academy of Health Sciences back in 1988.  Wow, that is a long time ago. Any my Brigade Commander was a good man and a man who was a common sense leader who cared for his troops. His motto was “let’s not do dumb things.” Unfortunately two months before he was to complete his command tour he with all the other senior officers on the base he attended a banquet in honor of some Chinese Generals touring the school.  I won’t go into details but he was relieved of command for an unfortunate incident where he violated his own motto, he did a very dumb thing. I leave it at that because he was a good man and cared for his troops and was human and made a grievous mistake which ended his career.

Anyway I digress but I did a dumb thing. Now there are degrees of dumb as my wife Judy sometimes known as “the Abbess” can tell you. She has witnessed me do many dumb things in our nearly 28 years of marriage and our additional 5 years of courtship and as she is apt to quite correctly say “the male hormone causes brain damage.”

What I did last night was not as dumb as other things that I have done in the past such as leaving the high pressure wand at a car wash on the ground while I put quarters in the little change slot. Of course the high pressure hose and wand got very animated at this point as she sat in our 1984 Buick Skyhawk Station Wagon watching in horror the wand reached up and smacked me square in the forehead knocking me senseless and causing her to have to rush me to the Brooke Army Medical Center ER, the first of several such trips in my tour there for treatment also for dumb things.

I could go on with incident after incident where I did dumb guy things thankfully with no lasting consequences but I know Judy’s response to each event “What the hell were you thinking?”  Of course since there was usually no good answer she would repeat her theory of male responsibility “the male hormone causes brain damage.” Of course she is correct we even see the theory demonstrated in the story of Adam and Eve when Adam who God presumed would know better than to take the apple from his voluptuous red-headed trophy wife Eve and instead took the apple, ate it and upon becoming too smart too fast, for it was the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil from which it was plucked then said something like “oh shit we’re in trouble we better get dressed.” Since we all know that the Bible is true the theory must be correct.

Well last night I did a dumb thing. I had purchased some pre-sliced cantaloupe at a local grocery chain a couple of days back as I am endeavoring to lead a more healthy life.  I must add that of itself this is not a dumb thing and with my healthy diet I am losing weight and feeling great, except last night and this morning. You see I bought the cantaloupe when it was on sale, just before the no-sale date. Unfortunately I waited a day or two too long to consume the still tasty looking fruit. I took it out of the fridge after my dinner of two low fat turkey sandwiches on low-carb whole wheat and oat Pita bread covered in lettuce, Roma tomatoes and sliced Pepperonici peppers.  Yes it was a very healthy meal indeed. Heck I didn’t even slather this healthy delight in mayonnaise. I took the cantaloupe and lovingly opened it disregarding the label which said that it was dead two days before. It didn’t look too bad and it didn’t smell bad and I didn’t see any mold or anything on it so I consumed it. It didn’t taste as near as good as it looked and by early morning I was depositing it at the great white throne in my bathroom. I felt horrible and to call in sick to work as my bowels remained in a state of agitation for much of the rest of the day.  I feel better now but have received little sympathy nor should I if  prepared cantaloupe is past the expiration date you don’t eat it and I shouldn’t have, I should have eaten more Cheez-its.  Again I have done a dumb guy thing and again, although Judy didn’t say it the male hormone must cause brain damage.

Speaking of dumb guy things, with the exception of the former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi much of our current political and economic mess is caused by guys doing dumb guy things, only on a majorly huge scale. Things that I might say that most have them and their predecessors have been doing for decades, now we are in a real live crisis where we need to do something and neither side in the political debate wants to find real answers. One side just wants to avoid making hard decisions, the other wants to make those decisions and drive home their political philosophy as the law of the land at the same time.   Both are fiddling while Rome burns and since the vast majority of these people are of the male species I have to say that they are engaging in dumb guy things. Hell it’s like watching a bunch of high school bullies and wimps playing dodge ball in gym class. Of course it is the Tea Party that are the bullies and the moderate Republicans and liberal Democrats that are the wimps. Obviously the Tea Party even it’s female leaders like Michelle Bachmann are loaded with much more testosterone than their opponents. It’s embarrassing and no matter what happens even if they somehow avoid a government shutdown for now I expect more of the same from the whole lot and since the country seems to have lost its mind in the process cheering on their favorite dumb guys I expect it to continue.

As Judy so appropriately says “the male hormone causes brain damage.” Who can argue against that?

Peace

Padre Steve+

 

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Filed under Just for fun, Loose thoughts and musings, Political Commentary