Saturday, 29 February 2020

Apostate mainline churches support illegal blockades in Canada

For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work; II Thessalonians 2:7a (NIV)

The Coastal GasLink project is a natural gas pipeline covering approximately 670 kilometres (about 416 miles) from the area of Dawson Creek, British Columbia to the B.C. coast near Kitimat. The company, after years of consultation, has signed agreements with all 20 First Nations (i.e., Canadian Indian bands) along the pipeline route. The Trans Mountain Pipeline is an oil pipeline carrying oil from Alberta to the coast of British Columbia; 120 of 129 Indian bands support the project. Native and other organizations protesting the projects have had their days in court, and lost.

The overwhelming majority of Indians support the pipelines because the projects offer them a once-in-a-generation chance to improve their economic circumstances and escape poverty. However, the Wet'suwet'en, an ostensible First Nation in British Columbia run by allegedly hereditary chiefs, has, for several weeks, been operating an illegal blockade of the Coastal GasLink project. The blockades have spread across the country, e.g., Mohawks in Ontario are expressing solidarity with the Wet'suwet'en protest, using it as an excuse to continue several hundred years of grievances with Canada. All three levels of government in Canada have done nothing to end the lawless blockades; the police, with the notable exception of Vancouver, have been worse than useless, refusing to clear the blockades, while arresting law-abiding people who do try to clear the blockades.

It comes as no surprise to this blogger that the federal government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has done nothing to stop the lawlessness. This "government" is basically just a criminal racket, under the titular leadership of a pot-smoking puppet of evil international financier George Soros. Mr. Trudeau has finally gotten around to saying that it's time for the blockades to end, but his actions, or lack thereof, increase my suspicion that he supports the protests--especially since they have a disproportionately negative impact on the economy of western Canada, rather than his parasitical home province of Quebec.

There's nothing "grassroots" or spontaneous about the protests that are increasingly paralyzing the Canadian economy, as becomes apparent when court decisions come down in favour of the pipelines, and protest rallies magically appear in various places within minutes of the announcement of the ruling. The Wet'suwet'en aren't even a real Indian band, but are a company, with the "hereditary chiefs" actually a board of directors, while many of their sympathizers are foreign-funded non-Natives (see videos at the bottom of this post).

On February 16, 2020, geopolitical blogger Dracul Van Helsing, came across a Trotskyite World Socialist International (his description) website, and one of their leaders was boasting about his plans to take over Canada, noting that the political leaders are weak, that it was easy to take over the links of Canada's infrastructure, and that he was going to use the Wet'suwet'en dispute to do that, sending out agitators to lead groups of Wet'suwet'en supporters into blocking railways, bridges, highways, airports and various government and public buildings, bringing the Canadian economy to a virtual standstill, making it ripe for widespread anarchy and eventual violent revolution. The next day, they began doing just that, but on the following Sunday, when blogger Van Helsing to post the link for the relevant item to his own blog, the item had been taken down--which this blogger finds very suspicious.

The activities described in the item quoted by Dracul Van Helsing remind me of a book published in 1972, but still relevant. A former Czechoslovakian Communist Party official who defected to the West wrote The Subverters (or The Subverters of Liberty, depending on whether it's the British or American edition), in which he revealed that U.S.S.R. dictator Josef Stalin in 1948 had begun training "master subverters." The master subverters were carefully prepared for 10 years in specially-constructed communities made to resemble those found in the countries to which they would be sent. The master subverters spent these years in these pseudo-Western communities learning the languages (including accents) and customs of their assigned countries, and were given new identities, with all the proper documentation, so that by the time they graduated and took up their assignments, it was impossible for most of the residents in the Western countries to which they were assigned to know that their new neighbours weren't new arrivals from among their own people, but were in fact Soviet spies. Mr. Hutton argued that disruptive events that happened in Western countries in the late 1960s-early 1970s, such as race riots in America, campus protests in Western countries (especially in France), labour strikes in Britain, and skyjackings in the Middle East and elsewhere, were related, and were the result of years of work by the master subverters. It sounds suspiciously like what's going on in Canada today.

The current activities of certain Native terrorists activists also remind me of the prophetic novel The Flaming Sword (1939) by Thomas Dixon, in which Communists used Negroes as dupes in an attempt to take over the United States. Mr. Dixon wrote his novel after researching every race riot in the U.S.A. from 1900-1938.

Despite the overwhelming evidence that the protesters who are attempting to shut down Canada are a small, loud, and violent minority, it comes as no surprise to this blogger that they've attracted the support of clergy from the country's apostate mainline churches. As reported by John Longhurst of the Winnipeg Free Press, February 10, 2020 (link in original):

Two Manitoba bishops are among 71 Anglican, Presbyterian, Lutheran and United Church of Canada leaders and others from across Canada showing support for the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs protesting the $6-billion, 670-kilometre Coastal GasLink pipeline that will go through their traditional territory.

Both The Right Reverend Geoffrey Woodcroft, Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Rupertsland, and Bishop Susan Johnson, National Bishop, Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada, signed the solidarity statement that calls on the Canadian government and the RCMP "to immediately cease their occupation, arrests, and trespassing on Wet’suwet’en sovereign territory."

The statement, goes on to note "these unlawful occupations and tactics violate the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples" and violate the wishes of the Wet’suwet’en Clan Chiefs who "hold sole title to their unceded territory and unanimously do not support the construction of the pipeline."

It goes on to say the pipeline project would mar the landscape, cut down trees, harm migration patterns of animals, and put the entire watershed at risk of a leak and contamination.

"We are deeply concerned about the militarized arrests, pressure and trespassing presence of the RCMP on Wet’suwet’en sovereign territory," it states, adding this treats "Indigenous peoples like prisoners on their own territory."

The statement concludes by noting the pipeline not only tramples on the rights of Indigenous Nations, but endangers "our collective wellbeing and future."

For Johnson, signing the statement was a way to remind Canadians "we are not living in to the calls to action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, including the commitment to free, prior and informed consent."

She’s also "deeply concerned about climate justice and about responsible resource extraction. The concerns of the Wet’suwet’en overlap all of these concerns."

For her, using the RCMP is the wrong way to deal with the issue.

"If we are serious about addressing these concerns, then we need to take time to have a real consultation," she said.

By signing the statement, she wants members of her denomination, and other Canadians, to know "we stand with the Wet’suwet’en people and hold our government accountable for its actions."

As for Woodcroft, one reason he signed it because the Anglican community in Manitoba and northwest Ontario is "well connected" with Indigenous people.

He also sees signing it as a way to promote the Anglican Church’s goal of promoting reconciliation with Indigenous people, and of ensuring treaties are fulfilled.

Concern about climate change, and the future of the planet, is also on his mind.

"I am convinced that Creator, God is calling not only me, but all of goodwill, to get on with providing a better tomorrow for all people," he said.

The church has "always had a voice and a strength to care deeply for God’s creation," he added, concluding that is something "we somehow forget" until situations like this arise. Then "we are called back to exercise love, justice and humbleness."

Other signers of the statement include The Most Reverend Mark MacDonald, National Anglican Indigenous Archbishop; The Right Reverend Ron Culter, Archbishop of the Anglican Diocese of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island; The Right Reverend Andrew Asbil, The Bishop of Toronto; Jennifer Henry, Executive Director, KAIROS; Carragh Erhardt, Justice Ministries, The Presbyterian Church in Canada; Peter Haresnape, General Secretary, Student Christian Movement of Canada; The Reverend Dr. Joanne Mercer, Anglican Parish of Twillingate, Anglican Diocese of Central Newfoundland.

Find the full statement here: https://bit.ly/2uy25MQ.

In addition to the solidarity statement, members of Hope Mennonite Church in Winnipeg signed a petition sent to the Prime Minister to honour the jurisdiction of the Wet’suwet’en traditional governance and publicly affirm the demands of all five Wet’suwet’en Clan Chiefs.

In the petition, they also call on Coastal GasLink to vacate the territory of the Wet’suwet’en; that the Canadian and British Columbia governments uphold their commitments to implement the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples; and that the RCMP respect the rights of the hereditary chiefs and refrain from interfering with Wet’suwet’en law.
I'm not taking a chance that the link and the statement might disappear, so here, with the names and affiliations of the signatories, is the statement by mainline clergy in support of the small, violent minority of terrorists who are attempting to shut down Canada:

Thursday February 6th 2020

Peace be with you,

In solidarity with our Wet’suwet’en relatives, we call upon the government of Canada and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police to immediately cease their occupation, arrests, and trespassing on Wet’suwet’en sovereign territory.

In a public statement made yesterday, the RCMP have asserted that they will arrest any persons who will not leave their camps on unceded Wet’suwet’en territory. Wet’suwet’en law precedes and supersedes Canadian law on Wet’suwet’en land. The militarized forced removal of Wet’suwet’en from their own territory, for the economic benefit of fracked natural gas Coastal GasLink’s 670km pipeline is consistent with the colonial practices of genocide. These unlawful occupations and tactics violate the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Wet’suwet’en Clan Chiefs hold sole title to their unceded territory and unanimously do not support the construction of the pipeline. The pipeline project would mar the landscape, cutting down trees, harming migration patterns of animals, and putting the entire watershed at risk of a pipeline leak and contamination. Furthermore, the final report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls and 2SLGBTQQIA people found that there is a direct connection between resource extraction projects and increased violence against and within Indigenous communities. The migration of settler labourers to pipeline projects sites has been connected to increased sexual harassment, murder, rape, sexual assault, the influx of drugs and alcohol, increased conflict and policing, and the undermining of Indigenous self-determination in their communities.

We are deeply concerned about the militarized arrests, pressure and trespassing presence of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police on Wet’suwet’en sovereign territory. We are alarmed by the RCMP’s establishment of an “Exclusion Zone”- which infringes on freedom of movement of the Wet’suwet’en Nation, with the exclusion of media from witnessing and documentation, and bars clan members from accessing their own lands. These acts of intimidation, occupation, and restriction are harmful and reverses us back to the pass system era, which treats Indigenous peoples like prisoners on their own territory.

The RCMP does not hold the jurisdiction or right to arrest sovereign Wet’suwet’en peoples on their own unceded Nation and territory. The practice of forced relocation, arrest, detention, and criminalization of Wet’suwet’en, Indigenous peoples, and their allies on Wet’suwet’en land is an egregious and shameful violation of international law. We call upon the RCMP and Canadian government to respectfully honour Wet’suwet’en Clan law, whereby ceasing their surveillance, occupation, and militarized violence on Indigenous land.

The continual prioritizing of the interests of private sector and resource extraction over the rights of Indigenous Nations, laws, treaties, lands, and waters, condemns our collective wellbeing and future. We call upon the RCMP and government of Canada to immediately halt all violations and assaults on Indigenous water and land defenders. We stand with the Wet’suwet’en and their allies who have made significant sacrifices on the front lines of this violation on their territory. We honour and respect their commitment to defending the wellbeing of the waters, lands, creatures, people, and sovereignty of Wet’suwet’en.

Sincerely,

The Reverend Evan Smith
Sandra Campbell
The Reverend Leigh Kern
Toronto Urban Native Ministry

The Most Reverend Mark MacDonald
National Anglican Indigenous Archbishop

Bishop Susan Johnson
National Bishop, Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada

The Right Reverend Ron Cutler
Archbishop of the Anglican Diocese of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island

The Right Reverend Andrew Asbil
The Bishop of Toronto

The Right Reverend Geoffrey Woodcroft
Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Rupertsland

The Right Reverend Riscylla Shaw
Bishop Suffragan of Toronto

The Right Reverend Peter Fenty
Bishop Suffragan of Toronto

The Right Reverend Jenny Andison
Bishop Suffragan of Toronto

The Right Reverend Kevin Robertson
Bishop Suffragan of Toronto

Aaron Sault
Suitaakii Black
The Right Reverend Sydney Black
The Vision Keepers Council

The Reverend Canon Ginny Doctor, Mohawk Turtle Clan
Coordinator of Indigenous Ministry, The Anglican Church of Canada

Jennifer Henry
Executive Director, KAIROS

Melanie Delva
National Reconciliation Animator, The Anglican Church of Canada

Yolanda Bird
Suicide Prevention, Alberta and Saskatchewan

Carragh Erhardt
Justice Ministries, The Presbyterian Church in Canada

Judith Moses
Deputy Prolocutor, The Anglican Church of Canada

The Reverend Dr. Karen L. Egan
Prolocutor, The Anglican Church of Canada

Peter Haresnape
General Secretary, Student Christian Movement of Canada

The Reverend Dr. Jennifer Eileen Sculley
Director of Faith, Worship and Ministry, The Anglican Church of Canada

The Reverend Jasmine Hanakaulani Bostock
St. Peter’s, Honolulu

The Reverend Pamela Rayment
St. Clement’s Church

Laura Walton
Prolocutor for the Anglican Ecclesiastical Province of Ontario

The Reverend Dr. Joanne Mercer
Anglican Parish of Twillingate, Anglican Diocese of Central Newfoundland

The Reverend Valerie Kerr, Mohawk, Wolf Clan
Archdeacon

Elin Goulden
Social Justice and Advocacy Coordinator, The Anglican Diocese of Toronto

The Reverend Maggie Helwig
Social Justice and Advocacy Committee, The Anglican Diocese of Toronto

The Reverend Canon George M. Porter
Gathering Table, Thunder Bay

The Reverend Andrea Budgey
University of Toronto Chaplain

The Reverend Tay Moss
Church of the Messiah

The Reverend Samantha Caravan
All Saints’ Peterborough

The Reverend Dana Dickson
Trinity Anglican Church, Bradford

The Reverend Dr. Jason McKinney
Epiphany & St Mark, Parkdale

The Reverend Canon Brad Smith
St John the Evangelist, Peterborough

The Reverend Mark Regis
Church of St. Mary and St. Martha

The Reverend Don Beyers
Christ Church Bolton, York-Credit Valley Social Justice Officer

The Reverend Janaki Bandara
St Peter’s Evangelical Lutheran Church, Cambridge

The Reverend Dawn Leger
St. John’s West Toronto

The Reverend Stephen Kern
Dr. Anne Kern
St. Philips-on-the-Hill, Unionville

The Reverend Dr. Alison Kemper
The Reverend Canon Joyce Barnett
St. Matthias Bellwoods

The Reverend Megan Jull
St. Augustine of Canterbury

The Reverend Sherman Hesslegrave
Zachary Grant
Church of the Holy Trinity

The Reverend Alexa Gilmour
UCC, Toronto

The Reverend Sandra Fyfe
Anglican Parish of Horton, Wolfville

Lisa Alexander
Lawyer/Mediator, Victoria

Andrew Stephens-Rennie
Vancouver, BC

Canon David Robinson
Winnipeg

The Reverend Dr. Heather McCance

Caitlin Reilley Beck

Sharla Sandrock

The Reverend David J. Burrows

Kathy Wellunscheg Klassen

Belinda J. Kishimoto

The Reverend Elizabeth Boehm-Wilson
UCC minister, Kingston

Suzanne Brooks

The Reverend Anne Hoganson

The Reverend Justin Philip Cheng

Susanne Cruickshank

The Reverend Dr. Morar Murray-Hayes

Professor Alan L. Hayes

The Reverend Susanne McKim
Trinity-St. Paul, Port Credit

The Reverend Canon Nicola Skinner
Grace Church, Markham

The Reverend Erin Martin
St James the Apostle, Sharon

The Reverend Susan Spicer
St. George, Ajax

The Reverend Dr. Leigh Silcox
St. Matthias, Etobicoke

For media contact: lkern@toronto.anglican.ca
Two things from the list of signatories stick out to this blogger: the disproportionately large number of female names, especially those with religious titles in front of them--an obvious indication of apostasy; and the fact that almost all of those whose locations are identified come from oil-consuming areas, and almost none from-oil producing areas, and are far away from where the protests originated (although, the way the protests are spreading, they may already have come to experience the protests and/or their effects directly). These people are not Christians, but are liars, hypocrites, economic ignoramususes (ignorami?), and mental and moral pygmies (and I say that with all due respect). They openly support lawlessness, while having the nerve to say "Peace be with you."

As for the comment that "there is a direct connection between resource extraction projects and increased violence against and within Indigenous communities": if that's true, why are the overwhelming majority of Indians in favour of these projects? Are the majority of Indians therefore in favour of increased violence within their communities? I don't believe so, but these religious liberals apparently do, which prompts me to accuse these liberals of a racist slur against the law-abiding majority of Indians. And aren't these liberals always saying that poverty leads to violence? Now they're saying that increased prosperity is directly connected to violence. This blogger can come to no other conclusion than that the signers of this statement want the majority of Indians in the affected areas (and I think it's reasonable to infer that they they would also be opposed to such projects elsewhere in the country) to continue to live in poverty, with everyone subject to continuing and increasing anarchy. These apostates are as sincere in their professed concern for the poor as Judas Iscariot:

Then took Mary a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair: and the house was filled with the odour of the ointment.
Then saith one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, which should betray him,
Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence, and given to the poor?
This he said, not that he cared for the poor; but because he was a thief, and had the bag, and bare what was put therein.
John 12:3-6

See the following videos for more information:

SPECIAL REPORT: Foreign-funded corporation posing as a First Nation blocks pipeline (Rebel News, January 23, 2019)



Investigating the fake First Nation running the illegal Coastal GasLink blockade (Rebel News, January 15, 2020)



Coastal GasLink protester IDENTIFIED — he's from Ontario! (Rebel News, January 17, 2020)



K'omoks First Nation in BC denounce “non-indigenous” protesters for blocking highway (Rebel News, February 13, 2020)



The truth behind First Nations pipeline protests (Financial Post, February 14, 2020)



Majority of First Nations support Canadian energy (True North, February 14, 2020)



Pipeline protests have nothing to do with supporting the Wet’suwet’en people (True North, February 15, 2020)



Wet'suwet'en hereditary Chief Woos, aka Frank Alec TOOK OVER a title reserved ONLY for women! (Rebel News, March 3, 2020)



See also my post The Flaming Sword: A prophetic novel? (January 14, 2009)

See also Dracul Van Helsing's posts:

Pansy Justin Calls All Wimps’ Meeting With Pansy Jagmeet and Pansy Yves-Francois (February 18, 2020)

Renfield’s Ottawa News Broadcasts and The Arrival of Magical Mystery Tour (February 19, 2020)

Justin Trudeau’s Failed Macho Man Impersonation and The Unmasked Demon Dancer Chief Woos (February 21, 2020)

Trotskyite Anarchists Throw Burning Debris Against Canadian Trains (February 26, 2020)

HT: Dracul Van Helsing

Tuesday, 25 February 2020

100 years ago--The birth of false messiah Sun Myung Moon

For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, Matthew 24:24a (also Mark 13:22a)

Rev. Sun Myung Moon was born in what is now North Korea on either January 6 or February 25, 1920, and was raised in a Confucianist family who converted to Christianity when he was a child. He was imprisoned in a North Korean labour camp in the late 1940s, but escaped to South Korea in 1950, his internment having hardened him in to a staunch anti-Communist.

In 1954, Rev. Moon formally founded the Holy Spirit Association for the Unification of World Christianity--popularly known as the Unification Church--in Seoul. He proclaimed that Jesus Christ was divine but no God, and had redeemed man spiritually, but because he hadn't married, had not therefore redeemed man physically. Rev. Moon taught that he and his second wife Hak Ja Han (he had previously been married and divorced) were humanity's "True Parents" who had come to link married families to God; the Unification Church became internationally known for its blessing ceremonies--often referred to as "mass weddings" for married couples.

Rev. Moon moved to the United States in 1971, retaining his South Korean citizenship, and founded numerous front organizations and sponsored conferences featuring high-profile speakers, some of whom claimed unawareness of the true identity of the sponsor. The Unification Church's members, derisively referred to as "Moonies," practiced the doctrine of "heavenly deception," meaning that it was permissible to lie in order to serve the interests of Rev. Moon and the Unification Church.

In 1982, Rev. Moon was convicted of conspiracy and filing false income tax returns in the United States, and served 13 months of an 18-month prison sentence. I remember reading reports at the time of his receiving support during his imprisonment from American evangelical leaders such as Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson, but I don't remember reading that he received support from organizations such as the National Council of Churches, American Baptist Churches in the U.S.A. (the denomination that brought you such "Christians" as Tony Campolo and Ron Sider), National Black Catholic Clergy Caucus, and Southern Christian Leadership Conference. These groups have never been known for supporting the rights of Bible-believing Christians, which leads this blogger to regard their support for Rev. Moon as very suspicious. Rev. Moon also founded the Washington Times newspaper in 1982, using it to spread his views.

On March 23, 2004, Rev. Moon was honoured by a dozen members of the United States Congress in a ceremony at the Dirksen Senate Office Building in Washington, in which he delivered a speech reiterating his claim to be the Messiah. When news about the event was revealed three months later, some of the lawmakers present claimed to have been misled about the true nature of the ceremony when they accepted the invitation.

Rev. Moon appeared to be correct in predicting the eventual fall of Communism, but was very wrong in claiming to be the Messiah and the Second Coming of Christ. The true second coming of Christ will occur when the Lord Jesus Christ returns to Earth (see Matthew 24:30-31; Mark 13:26-27; Luke 21:27; Revelation 19:11-21). Rev. Moon died in South Korea on September 3, 2012 at the age of 92; he has been quiet since then, and is most likely still in his grave.

See also my posts:

Evangelicals and Moonies Together? (March 11, 2011)

30 years ago: 2,000 couples participate in Moonie mass wedding in New York (July 3, 2012)

40 years ago: California Court of Appeals rules in favour of Moonies against parents (April 11, 2017)

Thursday, 20 February 2020

Socialist-dominated Portuguese Parliament defies protests and votes to legalize euthanasia

I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live: Deuteronomy 30:19

Another example of caring and compassionate Socialists, as reported by Morgan Phillips of Fox News, February 20, 2020:

Portuguese lawmakers voted Thursday to legalize euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide for terminally ill people amid protests outside the parliament building.

The vote may add Portugal to the short list of countries that allow such practices, though the country’s conservative president could veto the legislation, sending it back to parliament.


Lawmakers in the 230-seat parliament stated their vote one by one on a series of five proposals -- instead of voting electronically -- a method only used for landmark legislation. Each bill passed by a margin of 28 and 41 votes.

In a similar debate two years ago, lawmakers rejected euthanasia by two votes.

Euthanasia — when a doctor directly administers fatal drugs to a patient — is legal in Belgium, Canada, Colombia, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Switzerland. Physician-assisted suicide — where patients administer the lethal drug themselves, under medical supervision — is allowed in a number of U.S. states.

All five bills require that a qualifying patient be over 18 years and not suffering from a mental illness, as well as suffering from “unbearable” pain “without a hope for a cure.”

The country’s governing Socialist Party previously spearheaded efforts to legalize abortion in 2007.

A Socialist lawmaker called those against euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide “radical” during debates.


Thursday, 13 February 2020

Discovery of 2,800-year-old clay jar prompts archaeologists to reconsider ancient Israel's borders

As reported by Adam Eliyahu Berkowitz of Breaking Israel News, February 12, 2020 (links in original):

A clay jar discovered in an archaeological dig on the northern border has archaeologists reconsidering their notions of ancient Israel’s borders. All because of the name inscribed on the jar which, like the names of many Jews today, identified the long-dead owner as one who worshiped the God of Israel.

Last year, archaeologists digging at the Abel Beth-Maacah dig in northern Israel discovered a 2,800-year-old jar inscribed with “LeBenayau,” meaning “Belongs to Benayau,” which researchers assume was the name of the owner of the vessel.

Robert Mullins, a professor in the Department of Biblical and Religious Studies at Azusa Pacific University in California who is co-director of excavations at Abel Beth Maacah, explained to Live Science that the name is ‘Yahwistic’, incorporating an abbreviated reference to the God of Israel.

In the north, names mentioning Yahweh generally ended in Hebrew letters that can be translated as ‘yo’ or ‘yau,’” Mullins said in the interview, noting that this implies that the man worshiped ‘Yahweh’, one of the Biblical names of the God of Israel. This is, of course, still true today as many Biblical names are similarly Yahwistic.

If true, this would redraw the map of ancient Israel since historians did not previously believe the Northern Kingdom of Israel extended so far north in the 9-10th Centuries BCE. Abel Beth Maacah was a strategically located border town. The Aramean kingdom with its capital in Damascus lay to the east, the Phoenician city of Tyre was to the west, and the Israelite kingdom, with its capital in Samaria to the south.

In II Kings, the city is listed among those conquered by the king of Assyria.

In the days of King Pekach of Yisrael, King Tiglath-Pileser of Assyria came and captured Ijon, Abel-bethmaacah, Janoah, Kedesh, Hazor—Gilad, Galilee, the entire region of Naftali; and he deported the inhabitants to Assyria. II Kings 15:29

“If the inscription is from the 8th century BCE. then it’s still important but not a big surprise, because we know that during that period, the Kingdom of Israel reached until [nearby] Dan,” Dr. Eran Arie, curator of the Iron Age and Persian Period at the Israel Museum, told the Times of Israel.

“But if it’s really from the 9th century BCE, it reopens questions on the connection of this area to Israel and may force us to rethink some of our conclusions. This is not a bad thing: it’s always important to adjust our interpretation when new evidence emerges.”

The jar was found with four others, all crushed, in the partially excavated remains of an Iron Age building. Another of the jars contained residue that may come from wine, with a grape pit sitting beside it. Researchers are still studying the jars but they believe that the vessels contained wine.

“[Benayo] may have been a winegrower,” Mullins said, noting that the land around Abel Beth Maacah is ideal for wine production.

The archaeological site, located on the northern border of Israel about one mile south of the town of Metulla, is mentioned in the Bible.

Ben-hadad responded to King Asa’s request; he sent his army commanders against the towns of Yisrael and captured Ijon, Dan, Abel-beth-maacah, and all Chinneroth, as well as all the land of Naftali. I Kings 15:20

Excavations at Abel Beth Maacah are carried out jointly between Azusa Pacific University and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. The other two co-directors are Naama Yahalom-Mack and Nava Panitz-Cohen, both researchers at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Wednesday, 12 February 2020

Interfaith forum in Abu Dhabi celebrates first anniversary of Document of Human Fraternity

This blogger somehow missed hearing of the original event a year ago, but the anniversary hasn't slipped by me. The Antichrist's agenda advances apace, as reported by Ismail Sebugwaawo in the Dubai newspaper Khaleej Times, February 3, 2020:

Abu Dhabi -- Engaging youths in campaigns for unity, intercultural dialogue and denouncing hate speech, and ensuring that schools introduce lessons on tolerance and human values are some of the strategies to ensure that the Human Fraternity document that seeks world peace becomes a reality, according to authorities.

During a media roundtable on Monday, officials from the Higher Committee of Human Fraternity, an independent body of religious leaders, educational scholars and cultural figures from across the world, said the inaugural Voices of Human Fraternity Forum will be held in Abu Dhabi today. The event is held on the anniversary of the historic Document of Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together, signed by Pope Francis and the Grand Imam of Al Azhar Sheikh Ahmed El Tayyeb, during the Papal visit to the UAE Capital in 2019.

The forum brings together more than 150 students, youth leaders, advocates and educational representatives from around the world to discuss ways to address young people's aspirations for a peaceful future.

Judge Mohamed Mahmoud Abdel Salam, general secretary of the Higher Committee, said: "On the anniversary of the Document of Human Fraternity, we want to honour those who are making human fraternity a reality. It is these people who are shaping the future and we need to hear their voices, understand their concerns and engage with their hopes and aspirations if we are to collectively enable a more peaceful future for all."

He noted that the human fraternity document is for everyone seeking good. "It encourages good deeds, denounces evil and promotes peace and intercultural dialogue," said Salam, adding that the committee is actively pursuing a plan to realise the aspirations of the document and is engaged in a number of major initiatives, including advising on the development of an Abrahamic Family House set to be located on Saadiyat Island in Abu Dhabi. The initiative launched after the signing of the document involves places of worship for three faiths including a synagogue, mosque and a church in one place and the project will be completed in 2022.

"The committee is making strategies on how to introduce lessons about tolerance and human values in schools across the globe. We are also organising workshops involving youths to educate youngsters on the importance of peace and togetherness," said Abdel Salam.

"We shouldn't consider people of other religions or those we disagree with as enemies because we are all one and we should learn to respect and love one another. This is the message youths should spread."

Mohamed Hussein Mahrasawi, president of Al Azhar University, said: "In Egypt, we have conducted various seminars and lectures to promote the human fraternity document which carries great values of peace, tolerance, equal rights for minority groups and respect for each other."

He noted that it's important to educate young people on the values of humanity and peaceful coexistence, empathy, solidarity and the negative effects of hate speech so that "we can become one family".

Officials said the human fraternity document is an absolute confluence of every religion because it calls upon unity and togetherness, advocates for education and goes to as far as dealing with human trafficking and other things that deny people of their human rights like education and living in peace.

The Human Fraternity Committee said it was also engaged in meetings with leaders and projects in vulnerable communities. Most recently, the committee met the UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, and other senior UN representatives, to discuss the group's future plans. Following the meeting, Guterres agreed to share the Human Fraternity Document with the 194 member states so that they can benefit from the principles and values it sets out.
As reported by Anjana Sankar in the Khaleej Times, February 5, 2020 (bold in original):

The Document on Human Fraternity, signed last year by Pope Francis and the Grand Imam of Al Azhar, is proof that "what unifies believers is much more than what divides them", the personal secretary to the Pope said in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday.

Monsignor Yoannis Lahzi Gaid, who is also the member of the Higher Committee of Human Fraternity Council, was speaking on Tuesday at the forum to celebrate the first anniversary of the signing of the historic document on February 4 last year.

"The document is a road map for a better future... to rebuild the torn humanity."

It is hailed as the most important document in human history and a blueprint for collaboration between faiths.

Describing the document as a 'lifeboat', Gaid also said it is a call for all thinkers, philosophers, politicians, leaders, artists, creative people and media to "reinvent the values of peace and witness peaceful coexistence".

Quoting the rich diversity of nationalities living in Abu Dhabi, Gaid said God created a diverse world and true believers will know that all creatures belong to the same source.

"Diversity is there because it is the will of God. To fight against diversity is to go against the will of God."

Gaid said the worship of God without respecting every human being, especially those who are vulnerable, is not real worship.

"Human fraternity is not just a value. It is the main root without which we cannot reach God. It is a reality."

Achieving peace

In his opening remark, Patriarch Bartholomew 1 of Constantinople of the Eastern Orthodox Church spoke about the importance of interreligious dialogue in promoting world peace.

"It is our duty to promote interreligious dialogue because there is no peace in the world without peace among religions. And there is no peace among religions without interreligious dialogue," he said.

The Patriarch raised concerns on how the unprecedented changes and challenges facing the world is spawning a reevaluation of the role of faith. "The acts of fundamentalists support the characterisation and even identification of religion with division and intolerance. So the essential dilemma of humanity nowadays is not between religion and no religion... but what type of religion."

He said the revival of religions should be based on their genuine ability and contributions to reconciliation and solidarity, and that religions can make use of their 'precious spiritual inheritance and philanthropic vision' to promote interreligious dialogue and tolerance.

"In our times, the credibility of religions depends largely on their commitment to interreligious dialogue, peace and solidarity.

"Genuine religion cannot betray earth for the sake of heaven; the present for the sake of future."

He said religions do not absolve humans of their responsibility in the world and for the world, and for true believers, faith is a peaceful approach to resist injustice and work for social cohesion and solidarity. "The solution must be based on projection of human dignity and social justice."
As reported by Wam in the Khaleej Times, February 9, 2020:

Miguel Moratinos, the High Representative for the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations, has commended the steps taken by the Higher Committee for Human Fraternity towards implementing the 'Document on Human Fraternity.' "The document is a blueprint for interfaith harmony and charts the course for promoting a culture of peace, respect of the other and religious pluralism," Moratinos said in a statement on the occasion of the first anniversary of the signing of the document.

The 'Document on Human Fraternity for World Peace and living Together' was co-signed in Abu Dhabi on February 4, 2019, by the Head of Catholic Church, His Holiness Pope Francis and His Eminence the Grand Imam of Al Azhar, Dr. Ahmed El-Tayeb.

The top UN official also "reaffirmed his commitment to collaborate with the Higher Committee in implementing the Document on Human Fraternity."
When I see all this emphasis on peace, I'm reminded of this prophecy concerning the Antichrist (emphasis mine):

And through his policy also he shall cause craft to prosper in his hand; and he shall magnify himself in his heart, and by peace shall destroy many: he shall also stand up against the Prince of princes; but he shall be broken without hand. Daniel 8:25

Tuesday, 11 February 2020

Rabbi who specializes in eschatology warns against Pope Francis

As reported by Adam Eliyahu Berkowitz of Breaking Israel News, February 11, 2020 (links in original):

Historically, the Vatican was no friend to the Jews but its new initiative aligns the Catholic Church with Islam in a one-world religion that may be the biggest threat ever to the Jewish People. A major event to advance the project will take place on the anniversary of the birth of the State of Israel which, according to one rabbi, is fitting since Judaism is the last bastion, entirely incompatible with a New World Order.

At an address to Vatican diplomats last month, Pope Francis announced that the Vatican will be hosting a global event with titled, “Reinventing the Global Compact on Education.”

“A global educational pact is needed to educate us in universal solidarity and a new humanism,” the Pope said when he first proposed the summit.

A Vatican-backed website to promote the pact added: “Educating young people in fraternity, in learning to overcome divisions and conflicts, promote hospitality, justice and peace: Pope Francis has invited everyone who cares about the education of the young generation to sign a Global Pact, to create a global change of mentality through education.”

The Pope described the need for the global alliance.

“‘Never before has there been such need to unite our efforts in a broad educational alliance, to form mature individuals capable of overcoming division and antagonism, and to restore the fabric of relationships for the sake of a more fraternal humanity,’” he said.

The Pope cited the aphorism “It takes a village to raise a child,” explaining its place in his global vision.

“All change, like the epochal change we are now experiencing, calls for a process of education and the creation of an educational village capable of forming a network of open and human relationships,” he said.

“Education is not limited to school and university classrooms,” the Pope said at the address last month. “[It is] principally ensured by strengthening and reinforcing the primary right of the family to educate, and the right of Churches and social communities to support and assist families in raising their children.”

The education initiative is a continuation of the Pope’s global vision as laid out in his Document on the Human Brotherhood for World Peace and Common Living Together signed by Pope Francis and Sheikh Ahmed el-Tayeb, Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, in February 2019 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

The agreement between the two religious leaders was criticized for its stance on the diversity of religions.

“The fact that people are forced to adhere to a certain religion or culture must be rejected,” the document read. “As too the imposition of a cultural way of life that others do not accept.”

Rabbi Pinchas Winston, a prolific end-of-times author, noted that in many surprising respects, the Vatican is now practically indistinguishable from secularism.

“It used to be that the Catholic Church was the bastion that stood against liberalism in every way, denouncing it as heresy,” Rabbi Winston said. “This was the case for as long as the Vatican could impose its will on its people and influence the rest of the world. That reality has changed because they don’t have that power anymore. Pope Francis is a result of this change. He is a ‘man of the people.’”

Rabbi Winston noted that traditional values in the Catholic Church are indeed changing in ways that would have been inconceivable not so long ago.

“They used to say that secular values and liberalism were bad but when the people changed and liberalism became widespread, the Vatican reversed that position.,” Rabbi Winston said. “How can a religion claim to be from God when a man can decide to change it?”

Rabbi Winston noted that the theme of one-world order as presented by the Pope was presented several times in the Bible.

“Seeing the world as one is how it was in the days before the Tower of Babel,” Rabbi Winston said. “This was when men joined together to take over the world and kick God out.”

Rabbi Winston noted that the counterintuitive mix of secular intellectualism and religion appeared later in Genesis.

“According to Midrash, Esau impressed his father, Isaac, with questions that seemed to relate to religion but were only leveled on the intellectual level. The real intent of the questions was to generate chaos and division. The erev rav (mixed multitude) works this way, by making it appear that their intentions are pure and that they are good people. But their real intent is destructive; to disable truth.”

“The secular present universalism as the source of all brotherhood but it is exactly the opposite. There is more diversity in the world than ever before in human history. To have one way to worship God before Moshiach (Messiah) comes and brings everyone up to speed is not realistic and harmful to anyone who does not conform. The Pope should be smart enough to realize that there are very good reasons for the differences. People are different. This new initiative by the Vatican is classic liberalism in the garb of religion.”

The date of the global educational summit is May 14, precisely 72 years after Israel proclaimed its independence. Rabbi Winston suggested that this could have a deeper meaning, indicating the inherent conflict between the Jewish People and universal religion.

“They can’t get rid of the Jews and what they represent anymore by simply attacking us, which was how it was done for 2,000 years,” Rabbi Winston said. “Are they trying to get rid of the Jews and the Torah by creating one world religion? Anyone who wants a one-world order has to get rid of the Jews because all of human history has proven that the core of Torah Judaism doesn’t change, even, when necessary, and the cost of death. We are still the same people in the same land with the same Torah.”
One lesson, as always, is: never trust a Jesuit. It speaks volumes about the lack of discernment in our time that Rabbi Winston of thirtysix.org has a better idea of what Pope Francis is up to than do many professing Christian "leaders."

Residents of small town in Delaware triumph over ban on nativity scene

An item of apparent good news, for a change; first, the bad news, as reported by the Dover Delaware State News, December 5, 2019 (bold in original):
GEORGETOWN — Unattended displays, such as nativity scenes that sparked debate in Rehoboth Beach, are no longer permitted on The Circle in Georgetown.

A 2019 change in town code regarding The Circle’s usage policy now prohibits standing or unattended structures or displays in the picturesque heart of the town.

“No unattended displays are permitted on The Circle any longer,” said Georgetown Town Manager Eugene Dvornick. “It could be anything that is unattended — posters, signs or where somebody comes up and sets up a display or a table and leaves information. It would have to be attended the entire time.”

Town code authorizes the town manager to remove any display that violates this provision.

“Most of it is from a safety standpoint, as we have been seeing more and more winds, stuff blowing out from The Circle in the traffic lane,” Mr. Dvornick said. “Most of it’s for protection and safety.”

During the 2018 Christmas season, a nativity scene was placed in The Circle by the Georgetown Wesleyan Church, Mr. Dvornick said. It was permitted at that time, but, under the revised policy enacted by council earlier this year, is no longer allowed unless it is attended.

About a year ago, controversy arose in Rehoboth Beach when the city ordered the removal of a nativity scene on the Boardwalk Bandstand because it does not permit religious displays on city property.

In late November, more than 150 people, mostly Catholic protesters, assembled outside Rehoboth City Hall to request city officials reverse the ban and allow the display. Rev. William Cocco of St. Edmond Catholic Church asked city commissioners to let the nativity return to its “proper place” at bandstand.

As of Tuesday morning, Mr. Dvornick said there has been no backlash regarding Georgetown’s policy change.
“I’m sure that it’s like anything, that there will be people that support it, people that oppose it and some people that aren’t impacted either way,” he said. “So far, I have not had any feedback.”

Georgetown’s revised code states it “is unlawful for any person to place or maintain an unattended display in The Circle (any item, including a picture, statue, symbol, or similar item, that is intended to serve or be seen as a visual depiction or expression where the person sponsoring or responsible for the placement or maintenance of the display is not in attendance or in close proximity to the item displayed).”

As a result, a person may not affix any poster, sign or other object to trees, monuments, street signs, benches and other objects in The Circe.

Georgetown’s prohibition for unattended displays does not apply to displays placed by the town or other government entities for government purposes or to signs authorized by town code. However, approval of the town manager must be obtained prior to any placement.

Elsewhere in Kent, Sussex

In a sampling of downstate Delaware, municipalities reported they have not encountered any controversy associated with religious displays on government-owned property.

Millsboro Town Manager Sheldon Hudson does not recall grappling with an issue like the one Rehoboth Beach saw.
“That has never really come up since I’ve been here. We’ve never had to deal with the issue,” he said. “Certainly, the town understands why other cities take a different approach. We tend to take the ‘more versus less’ approach.”

All displays at Millsboro Town Center are provided by the town, Mr. Hudson noted.

If the town were approached about placing a religious display on town property, Mr. Hudson said he would probably present the request “to council and have town attorney review, especially with it being such a hot potato right now and so sensitive.”

Dagsboro, Seaford, Bridgeville and Ocean View each reported no laws or past problems with religious displays.
“We just have an internal policy that we don’t allow anyone to put any signage on town property, without prior approval,” said Bridgeville Town Manager Jesse Savage. “Since I have been here no one has ever attempted or requested to put that type of display. There is no ordinance, nothing in our code that prevents it or addresses it currently.”

Kent County Levy Court does not a formal policy on religious displays, according to a spokeswoman, who said she was unaware of any related problems arising at county headquarters.

A spokeswoman for Dover wrote in an email the city has or will put up decorations for the upcoming Christmas holiday, such as lights and a Christmas tree, but lacks an official ordinance.

“Living in a diverse community we are fortunate enough to have representation from almost all organizations and churches and have confidence that they depict our community very well as a whole for the City of Dover,” Kay Sass said.

Controversy in Rehoboth

According to Rehoboth Beach Mayor Paul Kuhns, part of the issue with the nativity scene stemmed from a misunderstanding and misinformation.

“Going back to last year there was a miscommunication between the parties as far as being able to put the nativity scene — I think it was the Catholic church that put it up, St. Edmond’s — at the bandstand,” Mayor Kuhns said. “There was a conversation, and the next day the nativity scene just appeared.

“Unfortunately, the group that put up the nativity scene did not get permission and did not get a permit. Because we have a policy about religious displays on public property, we asked them to take it down and it was taken down. A lot of people were up in arms about it last year and certain facts got lost in translation.”

As a follow-up, the city met with local religious leaders in attempts to plan for 2019.

“It turned out they wanted to have the opportunity to share and be inclusive. The only thing that we heard of was that the manger, or this creche, would come up again,” said Mayor Kuhns.

Most of the leaders that met with Rehoboth City Manager Sharon Lynn “really had no inclination to go one way or the other,” according to the mayor.

For the second year in a row, the Rehoboth Beach-Dewey Beach Chamber of Commerce offered to host the nativity scene in front of a building it leases.

“The city manager made that offer from the chamber to St. Edmond’s Church back in October. They did have a protest vigil, very peaceful out in front of city hall a week or so ago,” Mayor Kuhns said. “And again, there has never been any kind of answer coming out of St. Edmond’s to the offer that was made by the chamber that was signed off on by the city.”

“What is interesting is the property that the chamber has offered is right next door to where the creche was placed for probably 12 or 13 years,” he said adding the city offered to stop parking permit in front of the chamber “so it would be very visible as you drive into town on Rehoboth Avenue.”

Before 2018, the display had not been at the bandstand for more than a decade, the mayor said.
“A lot of people have been throwing out the false facts, if you will, about historically of how it’s always been at the bandstand. That is just not the case,” said Mayor Kuhns.

“Factually, the city has never said there can’t be any kind of religious displays in the city of Rehoboth.
“I’m all for it on private property. People are entitled to do whatever they’d like on private property. However, on public property the city needs to remain neutral.”
The town's action sparked an immediate and large negative reaction, as indicated by the following comments:

• So there won’t be any display for any holiday, got it. — Erik Pepper

• Kinda goes beyond holidays, the ordinance says “no standing or unattended structures or displays.” — Brian P Slattery

• It should include political signs. — Chuck Mankin

• Just put it on visible private property. Problem solved. — Tyler Beguiler

• Remember this on Election Day. — Gene Hansen

• Then there shouldn’t be a “Christmas” tree anywhere on pubic property either – after all there is “Christ” in this display!!! — Lynne Bassett Spear Bonfiglio

• Next “In God we Trust” will be erased off money. — Anthony C. Willey Jr.

• Grabbing at straws aren’t we — looking for reasons why we can’t have a nativity scene. Of all the stupid reasons “something might be blown into the street!!” Let’s just tell it like it is: We are catering to the hateful few — Mary Grampp Brown

• People are still acting like this is going to hurt their Christmas. Christmas isn’t being canceled. You’ll still overspend for people you don’t even like. You will still go about your day-to-day life. — Paul Kennedy

• So they’re no longer going to put flags up for Memorial Day? — Monica Prettner

• Overload your homes with Christmas cheer. — Toni Thomas Bergfelder

• And people ask why I moved to Florida. Besides the great weather we have “In God We Trust” on our license plates! — Beth Rosebrooks

• Do a live one. — Tim Shockley

• Other banned under this rule should be Santa house, wreaths, pole decorations, Christmas tree, lights — this can too blow into ongoing traffic since not under constant supervision like the nativity scene. — Robert Ray

• Live nativity scenes are attended. Local churches, lets fill the calender up until Christmas. — Mack Townsend

• The “safety” issue is a coverup! Unattended displays have never been a problem before. The nativity scene has been up for years! It’s the unhinged left that pushed the mayor into a corner where they got their way. He has got no backbone. People need to start standing up for Christ! You deny Him, He will deny you! This is so sad! — Abby Fink

• So, any unattended item should be considered abandoned properly right? — Allen Cramer

• Boycotting the Georgetown celebrations, that is the only way to show this elected officials we are not happy with their decisions, then vote this people out of office. That is our problem today. No one bothers to vote and this idiots hold office for years and start to feel powerful and no longer care what we the people think or want. — Marie Cutillo Thompson

• I say we ban any Delaware official from putting up signs for their reelection campaign. — Reddy Hannum

• But they are still having a parade and the Santa house. Why is Santa OK and Jesus is not? So sad and hypocritical. I will be at the live nativity instead. — Daun Benussi Crane
The residents of Georgetown responded with more than words, as reported by the Delaware State News, December 9, 2019:

GEORGETOWN — Thanks to an avalanche of response and support spurred initially by the Good Ole Boy Foundation, The Circle in the heart of Georgetown will host nativity scene after all.

It will be a live nativity, as unattended displays of any kind on The Circle are now prohibited under a town of Georgetown policy revision approved by council earlier this year.

“It’s a ‘go’ for sure,” said Josh Wharton, Good Ole Boy Foundation spokesman.

Good Ole Boy Foundation member K.C. Conaway, with Dagsboro Church of God’s youth ministry, said, “It is going to be an awesome event from our community. We’ve got an awesome community. It is just one of those things where it is time to come together … and let the community speak for itself.

These are some of the beliefs and traditions that we hold dear.”

So, beginning Wednesday, the game plan is to have the live nativity on The Circle from 6 to 8 p.m. each night through Christmas Eve.

As of Sunday, about a dozen churches from throughout Sussex County had pledged to participate in staging the live nativity. Organizers anticipate participation requests will only grow.

“We thought that we would have enough community support. It seemed like the support was there already and they just needed somebody to take action,” said Mr. Conaway.

The live nativity idea arose after word spread through media and social media last week that unattended displays and structures, such as nativity placed on The Circle previously by the Georgetown Wesleyan Church are prohibited following the town’s revision of The Circle Use Policy. Georgetown Town Manager Eugene Dvornick said revision is primarily geared toward public safety and protection.

“We fully understand the decision made by the town of Georgetown, and after hearing the backlash of that decision, we felt our community wanted this … and we accepted that challenge,” said Mr. Wharton.

“It was a matter of just people responding to a difficult decision. We don’t know the circumstances upon which the decision had to made. We are not in their shoes,” Mr. Conaway said. “But we just decided that, ‘Hey, if you can’t do an unattended display, then we can make it attended.’”

Permission has been granted from the town.

“We are really humbled,” said Mr. Conaway. “We are appreciative of the town giving us the opportunity to do this. We had to file a permit and get it approved. We went through the proper chains. We’ve been in communication with town officials and the Georgetown police. We’re just trying to do it the right way.”

The structure – which resembles a typical stable, Mr. Conaway said – was built over the weekend. It will be broken down and totally removed from The Circle after each nativity night.

Some nights may be pending, based on weather. “But we’re going to try to get out there as many nights as we can. So, we’re looking at about 14 nights,” said Mr. Conaway.

Nativity-type clothing and costumes are in the works for participants.

Mr. Conaway emphasized that is not a protest, but an alternative, one that hopefully will bring churches of different denominations and people of all ages, races and nationalities together as participants and nativity audiences.

The GOBF opted to go through the church route for nightly staffing, which is ongoing online.

“We’ve had a lot of churches as far as membership and individuals from churches reach out to us wanting to get involved,” said Mr. Conaway. “We knew this was going to be a pretty massive effort just to try to coordinate everyone being there. So, we decided that we would just try to reach out to churches first, because they can bring a group of people.”

“We are trying to make this an opportunity where we can do something together to benefit the community. You’ve got Methodist church, Baptist church, Pentecostal churches … you’ve got all of these different denominations all coming together,” Mr. Conaway said. “We’re going to have an online signup to kind of organize the masses.”

In keeping with the season in conjunction with the live nativity, the GOBF is promoting the opportunity to give back. Each week, the plan is to feature two “real good organizations in the community,” Mr. Conaway said.

“We figure this is about Baby Jesus, so we’re going to see what we can for do for the Sussex County Pregnancy Care Center, and we’re looking at doing the Sussex County Foster Parent Association,” said Mr. Conaway. “We are asking for people to bring out donations.”

The kinds of donations needed will be posted on the Good Ole Boy Foundation Facebook page, Mr. Conaway said.
Additionally, plans are to include traditional cold-weather holiday refreshments.

“We are hoping to have cookies and hot chocolate,” said Mr. Conaway. “So, if people come by and if they want to drop off a donation, we’ll grant them with a friendly cup of hot chocolate and cookies. It’s a win for the community.”
The live nativity materialized in about seven days.

“It has been about a week birthing the idea,” said Mr. Conaway. “There was a series of phone calls that were made by a group of guys and ladies that sparked this idea. We realized very quickly that this is something that people are very passionate about. We, Good Ole Boys, are here to help our community when we are in need.”
As reported by Glenn Rolfe in the Delaware State News, December 12, 2019 (link in original):

GEORGETOWN – In what is being hailed a spectacular production, the birth of Baby Jesus was brought to life Wednesday evening on The Circle in Georgetown with the first of 14 planned live nativity events.

The live nativity became a reality in less than a week through a massive community effort spurred initially by the Good Ole Boy Foundation.

Local churches with members in costume have pledged to participate in the nativity showings, scheduled from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. each evening through Christmas Eve – weather permitting.

The live nativity comes in response to a recent town of Georgetown code change governing The Circle Use Policy that prohibits all unattended structures and displays, such as the nativity scene that was previously placed on The Circle by a church in Georgetown.

The revision was in the realm of public safety and protection, according to town officials.

The huge stable/manger – which has wheels allowing for easy movement – was built last weekend through Duke’s Lumber and a crew of skilled volunteers.

As a backdrop, the nativity also features the Christmas Star and an angel raised in the heavens above the stable.

There will be free hot chocolate and cookies nightly, plus chances for youngsters to win a special prize each evening.

In the spirit of giving, organizers welcome donations to support the Sussex County Pregnancy Care Center and the Sussex County Foster Parent Association.

For more information and updates, visit the Good Ole Boy Foundation Facebook page.

To sign up for the nativity, visit the newly created website: www.nativityonthecircle.com.
Local Satanists decided to stage their own event, as reported by the Delaware State News, December 13, 2019:

GEORGETOWN — The First State Satanists group has received permission from the town of Georgetown to hold a vigil on The Circle Dec. 21, the same date and time as a live nativity spurred by the Good Ole Boy Foundation.
Georgetown Town Manager Gene Dvornick said he received a “Circle Use Permit” request from the Delaware-based group and it has been reviewed and approved.

First State Satanists, a non-theistic modern satanic group, plan to hold a public candlelight vigil in observance of the winter solstice, the group announced in a press release Friday.

Per the request to the town, First State Satanists plan to have a vigil “celebrating their deeply held religious beliefs and religious diversity in Southern Delaware.”

The First State Satanists’ permit for The Circle was requested for Dec. 21 from 5 to 9 p.m. The group’s release lists the time for the winter solstice gathering from 6 to 8 p.m.

The First State Satanists’ vigil would coincide with an ongoing live nativity also planned on The Circle that evening. Nightly presentations began there Wednesday, Dec. 11, and are scheduled from 6 to 8 p.m. through Dec. 24.

According to the First State Satanists’ release, “the winter solstice, also known as midwinter, has historically been celebrated as the last major feast before the freeze of winter to celebrate the new solar year and is a time of light and bounty. A wide variety of ancient religions have for centuries celebrated holidays marked by midwinter, including Yule and Saturnalia.

This event will serve as an opportunity for the group and the community to come together with love and light on the longest night of the year, in celebration of the longer days to come, the closing of the current year, and the beginning of a new decade.”

The live nativity effort was spurred by the Good Ole Boy Foundation stemming from community reaction to a recent town of Georgetown policy revision that in the realm of public safety and protection prohibits unattended displays and structures on The Circle. In past years, a church had put nativity on The Circle.

In a statement the Good Ole Boy Foundation said it “is proud to have pulled our community together to bring the first ever live nativity scene to the Georgetown circle over the last few days. The community response has been tremendous, and it has been enjoyable to see everyone come out to celebrate the true reason for the season. We certainly understand that other groups with different views have the same right to express their beliefs on public property. We look forward to continuing to bring joy to Delawareans with our display each night through Christmas Eve.”

Mr. Dvornick said both organizations were notified that “should the town receive a request for other events during the same timeframe as your event, after appropriate review, approval may be granted for use of another area of The Circle.”

In both instances, as part of their permits, The Circle is to remain open to the public at all times, not to block any pedestrians, to allow people that want to come up and take pictures of the Christmas tree, walk around the Circle, etc., Mr. Dvornick said.

“It is an open public space,” he said.
I always find it amusing that atheists and Satanists can never come up with anything original of their own, but can only come up with a counterfeit variation of Christian practices.

The nativity presentation turned out to be a success, as reported by Mr. Rolfe, December 25, 2019:

GEORGETOWN – A Sussex County community was united by the presentation of the living nativity on The Circle – a nightly two-week production spurred by the Good Ole Boy Foundation and its outreach network.

“We pray the Living Nativity has blessed your family this Christmas,” the Good Ole Boy Foundation stated in a Dec. 24 posting.

It wrapped up with a candlelight Christmas Eve service.

The overall production drew requests for the live nativity’s return in 2020.

“We’ll just say this: ‘Stay tuned! Something bigger is going to happen next year,” said Good Ole Boy Foundation spokesman Josh Wharton. “We planned this in a week. Give us year.”

“We’ll see how next year plays out, but I’m sure that there is going to be pretty good public cries for us to do something again,” said Good Ole Boy Foundation member K.C. Conaway, who proposed the living nativity idea following community response to a new Georgetown ordinance that prohibited placement of unattended displays, such as a nativity, on The Circle...

...And it far exceeded expectations of organizers.

“The support from the community has been phenomenal,” Mr. Wharton said. “When you go out to public places and you overhear conversations of people talking about it, it really lets you know that you hit home.”

“Our expectations have been blown out of the water,” Mr. Conaway said. “It has just been an incredible showing of the community. And not only that just the different churches, different organizations coming together. Different cultures, different denominations, all coming together for one thing, and that is to celebrate the real reason of season – Jesus Christ.”

“It has been a fantastic event for the community,” said Mr. Wharton. “It is really nice to see our community come together not only for Jesus Christ, but just to come together in general. We live in a time … where we feel as if we have different opinions, we can’t get along. And that is not the case. You might like red, I might like blue, but we can still be friends.”

Mr. Conaway would like to see this effort expand throughout the area.

“Hopefully, some of these other churches, some of these other organizations … we’d love this to offshoot to different towns. Not just us doing it, but other people just kind of seeing the model that we have done and put together,” said Mr. Conaway. “We can have a peaceful time together. We can enjoy each other’s company, meet people that we have not seen in 20 years.”

As expected, one of the largest attended nights for the live nativity was Dec. 21, the same evening a group, First State Satanists, with permission granted by the town, held a candlelight vigil on The Circle in observance of the winter solstice.

“You know what? We love them. And Jesus loves them. We’re going to pray for them,” said Mr. Wharton. “We don’t agree with their message but we 100 percent support them being here. They can do what they want so long as it’s peaceful, just like we can. And that’s why we live in the greatest country in the world – and the greatest county.”

Estimates of 800 to 1,000, attended the Dec. 21 live nativity.

“Seeing this tonight, seeing everybody show up just kind of charges us up to do even more possibly next year,” Mr. Conaway said.

Ironically, this shining chapter in 2019 probably would never have occurred had it not been for the backlash and criticism of Georgetown officials following word of a new town ordinance governing use of The Circle that prohibits unattended display and structures.

A local church, Georgetown Wesleyan Church, had previously placed an unattended creche on The Circle.

As an alternative, Mr. Conaway approached the town with a live nativity proposal and a permit was granted. The GOBF network swung into action, support grew, a plan was put in place and within a few days, it was showtime.

But the plan was to do more than just a live nativity.

Two organizations with connections to infants and young children – Sussex Pregnancy Care Center and Sussex County Foster Parent Association – were designated as recipients of requested donations.

“It’s all about a baby. These last two weeks of December are all about a baby, Baby Jesus, and we wanted to help the babies in our community,” said Mr. Wharton...

...So, come December 2020, Sussex Countians may have an even better reason to stay in Sussex.

“Especially,” said Mr. Conaway, “if you give us a year to plan.”

“Words can’t describe how much this has meant to us,” said Mr. Wharton.

“We never imagined when we started this three weeks ago that we’d have the following and the support and the lives that would be touched through this little act that we’ve done. It was worth every minute when you come out every night and give your time during the holiday season just to show support for the true meaning of the season.”

“So, stayed tuned for next year,” Mr. Wharton added. “Because we can guarantee you it is going to be bigger and better.”
While the result of this seems like good news, there's a danger of the fellowship becoming too broad, and that real Christian churches might become unequally yoked with unbiblical churches, and that the event will become merely a community service event. I pray the Christians of Sussex County, Delaware will exercise discernment in their fellowship and actions.

Sunday, 9 February 2020

Liberal religion produces ugliness in various spheres of life, including art

Among the standards done away with by liberalism is a standard of beauty, with the result that ugliness is exalted. If the art resulting from liberal religion is any indication, liberals worship a god of ugliness. Click on the link below to see a photo of the sculpture mentioned in the following article; the United Church of Christ, of which the sculptor was a member, is as apostate a "Christian" denomination as there is.

Forgiven Man

As reported by Phil Anderson of the Topeka Capital-Journal, February 7, 2020:

Over six decades, sculptor Jim Bass lent his artistic talents to dozens of art projects that continue to bear his unique mark across Topeka and the Midwest.

Several of his bronze sculptures stand today at Topeka houses of worship, serving as a lasting legacy for Bass, who died Jan. 10 at his Topeka home at the age of 86.

A celebration of his life will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 15, at First Congregational United Church of Christ, 1701 S.W. Collins Ave., where Bass was a longtime member.

Among Bass’ most prominent pieces of art is a sculpture titled “Forgiven Man,” which stands in the Helen Mettner Courtyard on the southeast side of First Congregational Church, where it was installed in 1986.

Sculptures standing 10 feet tall and weighing more than 350 pounds usually don’t move. But “Forgiven Man” proved to be an exception.

The sculpture was gone for a few months after it was stolen on Oct. 3, 2012. Authorities said at the time that thieves unbolted the sculpture from its pedestal, then moved it to a waiting truck.

Church officials at the time said they believed the thieves had planned to cut it up and sell it for scrap metal. With bronze fetching about 80 cents a pound at the time, Bass surmised the scrap metal would only bring about $300. The sculpture, meanwhile, was valued around $40,000.

Soon after the sculpture was stolen, Bass met with church leaders to try to devise a way to get it back. A $2,000 reward was offered.

A few days later, someone came forward and gave church officials information leading to the sculpture’s discovery on Oct. 11, 2012, in the 7600 block of S.E. Croco Road. The $2,000 reward was paid, no questions asked, and the sculpture was stored for a few months until it could be repaired, then reinstalled.

This time, “Forgiven Man” was welded into place on May 10, 2013, after several men moved the sculpture from the back of a truck to its original location in the Mettner Courtyard.

“It’s on for good,” Bass said that day, looking at “Forgiven Man” as it was standing tall once again atop its pedestal. “Even we won’t be able to get it off.”

Considering all it had been through, “Forgiven Man” was in remarkably good shape, with only a few nicks.

As was typical of Bass, he saw something good in the ordeal, noting there was some significance in “Forgiven Man” being lost but later found.

″ ‘Forgiven Man’ had a little scar on the back of one of his legs,” the Rev. Tobias Schlingensiepen, First Congregational Church’s pastor, said recently. “But like Jim said, ‘Forgiven Man’ should have some scars.”

The sculpture stands as a silent testament to God’s grace and forgiveness to everyone, including those who stole it, Schlingensiepen said the day it was reinstalled.

In late 2019, about three months before he died, Bass presented First Congregational Church with five smaller sculptures that have been placed at various locations inside the church.

“He knew his end was coming,” Schlingensiepen said. “He wanted the church to have them...”

...One of his bronze sculptures, “Sword & Plowshare,” is on the south side of Temple Beth Sholom, Topeka’s Jewish congregation at 4200 S.W. Munson.

Bass also made sculptures for First United Methodist Church, 600 S.W. Topeka Blvd., and for Nebraska Wesleyan University in Lincoln, Neb.

He is survived by his partner, Connie Mills, and children Jaminda Bass Holmes and Joren Bass, along with three grandchildren.
The thieves had the right idea; Forgiven Man looks like scrap metal already, and as far as this blogger is concerned, that would have been a better use for the sculpture. Its absence from its pedestal was an example of what Branch Rickey called "addition by subtraction."

Swiss voters, in referendum, back anti-"homophobia" law

Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves:
Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.
For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:
And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.
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 which are not convenient;
Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,
Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,
Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:
Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.
Romans 1:24-32

More evidence that the promotion of homosexuality isn't evidence that God's judgement on a society isn't just coming, but is already underway; the churches are presumably as impotent in Switzerland as they are elsewhere in Europe and in much of what used to be Western civilization. As reported by Agence France-Presse, February 9, 2020:

Switzerland on Sunday voted strongly in favour of a new law against homophobia in a referendum despite opposition from the populist rightwing Swiss People's Party (SVP), according to a projection.

The projection published by GFS Bern polling and research group found that 62 percent had voted in favour of the reform, with a margin of error of three percent.

The new law will widen existing legislation against discrimination or incitement to hatred on ethnic or religious grounds to include sexual orientation.

"This is a historic day," Mathias Reynard, a lawmaker from the Social Democratic Party of Switzerland who initiated the reform, told Swiss channel RTS 1.

"It gives a signal which is magnificent for everyone and for anyone who has been a victim of discrimination," he said.

The change was passed by the Swiss parliament in 2018 but critics, who believe it will end up censoring free speech, had forced a referendum on the issue.

Eric Bertinat, an SVP local lawmaker in Geneva, told AFP before the vote that he believed the law was "part of an LGBT plan to slowly move towards same-sex marriage and medically assisted reproduction" for gay couples.

Marc Frueh, head of the Federal Democratic Union of Switzerland (EDU), a small party based on Christian values, said after the projection: "I accept defeat".

"We will keep a close eye on how the law is implemented by the courts," he told RTS 1.

All of Switzerland's major parties except the SVP, the biggest political force in parliament, support the law.
Rights campaigner Jean-Pierre Sigrist, founder of an association of gay teachers, had said before the referendum that the new law might have stopped him getting beaten up outside a bar in Geneva four decades ago.

"And maybe I would not have been laughed at when I went to the police," the 71-year-old told AFP, adding that he hoped the reform would help to counter a resurgence of intolerance against gay people.

Sigrist said he supported freedom of expression, "but not the freedom to say anything at all".

Under the new law, homophobic comments made in a family setting or among friends would not be criminalised.

But publicly denigrating or discriminating against someone for being gay or inciting hatred against that person in text, speech, images or gestures, would be banned.

The government has said it will still be possible to have opinionated debates on issues such as same-sex marriage, and the new law does not ban jokes -- however off-colour.

"Incitement to hatred needs to reach a certain level of intensity in order to be considered criminal in Switzerland," Alexandre Curchod, a media lawyer, told AFP.

But he admitted that there could be exceptions "if it can be shown that, under the cover of artistic production or joking, someone is in fact engaging in incitement".

Gay rights campaigners were divided over the legislation.

A group called "No to Special Rights!" is opposed, arguing that the gay community does not need special protection.

Switzerland is holding a referendum on a law that would ban discrimination based on sexual orientation.

Episcopal Diocese of Michigan elects openly lesbian bishop

Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. II Timothy 3:5

Maybe that should be changed to "Dykocese"--yet another example of increasing Anglican apostasy, as reported by Mark Hicks of The Detroit News, February 8, 2020 (links in original):

Since its formation in 1836, no woman or openly gay priest has ever been elected to lead the Episcopal Diocese of Michigan.

That changed Saturday, when the Rev. Bonnie Perry was ordained and consecrated as the body’s 11th bishop, overseeing more than 16,000 baptized members across the state.

She succeeds the Right Rev. Wendell N. Gibbs Jr., who had served as the diocese’s first African-American diocesan bishop since 2000 and retired in December, officials said.

While the Chicago transplant recognizes the significance of the milestone and how it offers hope to many faithful, Perry believes she is simply answering a calling.

“What we say in the faith community is: each and every one of us is made in God’s likeness,” Perry said. “If that’s the case, then God’s image and likeness has many different faces.”

As conversations about greater inclusion for women and minorities reverberate nationally and influence Protestant denominations, Perry’s advancement encourages Metro Detroit Episcopalians as a reflection of progressive steps.

“I do believe 2020 is the year of the woman,” said the Rev. Barry Randolph, who leads the Church of the Messiah on Detroit’s east side. “There are women in so many different leadership positions. Women are taking hold and rising to the ranks.”

Perry is the 39th woman bishop in the Episcopal Church, representatives reported. The church has allowed women to become priests and bishops since the late 1970s.

Before lay members and clergy elected her in June to replace Gibbs, the class “marked the first time in the history of the Episcopal Diocese of Michigan that the slate of candidates was comprised entirely of women,” officials said in a statement.

Perry noticed other women were elected diocesan or suffragan bishops in the U.S. last year.

“We’ve been doing this for a long time,” she said. “I think we’re at a point where, by and large, we’re not seen as women priests or bishops — just who we are.”

Growing up in a Marine family, Perry lived across the country before studying at the College of the Holy Cross, a Jesuit school in Worcester, Massachusetts, in the 1980s, according to her biography and resumè. She then served with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps in Oakland and Los Angeles, California.

Perry felt called to ministry but the Roman Catholic Church she was raised in does not ordain women. She attended Union Theological Seminary in New York City, where she met her now-wife, Susan Harlow, and was received into the Episcopal Church.

Ordained in 1990, she served three churches in New Jersey before relocating to Chicago with Harlow, who had accepted a seminary faculty position. From 1992-2019, Perry led the city’s All Saints Episcopal Church, which during her tenure grew from a struggling congregation in debt with about 35 attendees to an active community considered among the largest and most active in the local diocese, she said.

Among the programs launched under her leadership: a food pantry that evolved into a nonprofit, Ravenswood Community Services, which according to its website serves hundreds of neighbors each week.

All Saints members have also annually raised thousands of dollars to fund clean water and other service projects in South Sudan; created an anti-violence ministry; and worked with social justice groups, according to Perry and church officials.

A common thread was allowing her congregants to further their God-given gifts and united around “a sense of agency,” Perry said. “We can do things if we come together that are astonishing.”

Perry also was active in the Chicago Consultation, a group of lay people and religious leaders that has worked to boost inclusion of LGBT Christians in the Episcopal Church and the worldwide Anglican Communion...

...As part of initial diocesan plans, Perry intends to visit all 77 congregations statewide in her first year in office and meet with members to determine the needs in each as well as their surrounding areas.

One of the largest challenges facing the church today, she said, is forming meaningful connections. “We need to be in our community living out our faith values and hearing people’s stories. Listening to what’s going on in their lives. And beginning in that, we begin to bridge some of the differences and chasms we see in our polarized society these days.”

Another goal is “really looking at structures that perpetuate racial inequality and discrimination,” Perry said. She points to one of her favorite Biblical passages, Isaiah 58:6-7, which mentions the need to “loose the chains of injustice.”

“People in faith are not only called to lament but to act and change those structures,” said Perry, who has taught religious courses as well as contributed to the Huffington Post...
Whatever calling Ms. Perry answered to didn't come from God; and she certainly looks the type.

Russian Orthodox Church commission proposes an end to priestly blessing of weapons of mass destruction

The latest in Russian Orthodox churchianity, as reported by Tom Balmforth of Reuters, February 4, 2020:

MOSCOW - Russian priests should refrain from the practice of blessing nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction that can inflict indiscriminate loss of life, according to new guidelines being discussed by the Russian Orthodox Church.

During two decades in power, President Vladimir Putin has aligned himself with the Orthodox Church, which has also developed closer ties with the ministry of defense.

Russian priests have long appeared in images sprinkling holy water on submarines, ballistic missiles, Soyuz space rockets and other pieces of hardware as part of rituals to bless them.

But some of that is set to stop if the church approves a document drawn up by an Orthodox Church commission.

“The blessing of military weapons is not reflected in the tradition of the Orthodox Church and does not correspond to the content of the Rite,” the document, on the Moscow patriarchate’s website, says.

Blessing or sanctifying weapons that can kill an “indefinite number of people” must be excluded from pastoral practice, it says.

The proposals will be discussed until June 1 and the public should also take part in the debate, the church’s Moscow branch said.

In a striking symbol of close defense-church ties in Russia, the armed forces are building their own sprawling cathedral at a military themed park outside Moscow. It is set to be one of the tallest Orthodox churches in the world.