All posts by rollanmccleary

About rollanmccleary

I'm a published author writing here on a range of controversial themes some of which I still can't easily get to talk about publicly or have published. I'm currently living in rural S.E.Queensland, a beautiful and sub-tropical part of Australia. This blog continues with some of the issues dealt with on and off since '08 in Rollan's Censored Issues Blog.

BEING GAY AND NOT FOR MARRIAGE EQUALITY

BEING GAY AND NOT FOR MARRIAGE EQUALITY

“The gay marriage issue captures brilliantly how degraded the notion of equality has become. If you listen to government ministers and gay-rights campaigners, you will believe that gay marriage is all about equality, all about equal rights. It is referred to as “equal marriage”, to drum the point home. And of course, this means that anyone who criticizes gay marriage can be written off as a friend of inequality, and no one wants to be thought of in that way………Writing in the 1950s, the great liberal thinker Hannah Arendt said: “[The] right to free association, and therefore to discrimination, has greater validity than the principle of equality.” What she meant is that if freedom and equality were put to battle, we should cheer freedom rather than equality”.     (Journalist Brendan O’Neill in talk to the British House of Lords in 2013)

THE EQUALITY AND RIGHTS LESS NEEDED

When Ireland went to referendum on same sex marriage, a leader of the No movement was a gay activist, Ken Mills. Like many people including even gays, he didn’t believe it is the function of same sex partners to be parents. It is actually possible to be gay and to hesitate, however reluctantly, in the face of what some gay activists are claiming and promoting and just how as in Australia.

I happened to be in Ireland at the time of the referendum campaign and what I saw on TV gave me a few misgivings I didn’t expect to have. It was too apparent the campaign was overly sentimental, blithely ignorant of a century or so of theory about who, what and why gays are who they are, and the laws were being chiefly treated as what atheist journalist Brendan O’Neill would call “therapy” (making gays feel good about themselves, healing wounds, preventing suicides) which it is not really the function of the laws to do. Something of the same is occurring here in Australia with activist actor Magda Szubanski getting emotional about love and toleration as though only tears could and should have authority in what is a complex, sensitive issue which will never just by itself heal wounds. Another similarity is the influence of big money and corporations like Qantas behind Yes

As an expert on aspects of the gay question (my doctorate on gay spiritualities published in UK as A Special Illumination was a world first from any religious studies dept and an associate of the Archbishop of Canterbury said it included probably the best survey of gay theology to date ( https://goo.gl/1Pr94i), I suggested an article or interview with The Irish Times on the gay and other issues. I was told it would be considered but I was never as promised got back to despite a polite reminder. Though I believe the religion writer I had dealt with was just inconsiderate and indifferent, undeniably there have been complaints Irish media was strangely hostile to anyone questioning the marriage equality movement. Supporters of No felt intimidated under the force of the massive publicity given to Yes which it was said had been flooded with funds from American multimillionaire gay activist, Tim Gill.

BE CAREFUL, YOU MIGHT GET BITTEN BY “LOVE IS LOVE”

The intimidation of No voters like the poor or irrelevant arguments proceeding from the Yes party should be noted. Too many gays are still victims, (sometimes even thrown out of their homes} but other gays, and they seem over represented in advocacy groups, can be little dictators, intent on having their way, refusing to be crossed or criticized. Two years on from Ireland and here in Australia even solicitors are claiming to feel intimidated if they express anything contrary to the ideal of marriage equality (“Solicitors afraid to speak out” The Australian 30.9.17), while a leading gay activist, Michael Barnett, is intemperately describing Australian Christian Lobby opponents as “murderers of children” and a church to which the member of a No campaign TV ad belongs has been threatened with violence. Such gays are a type that thinks of their community as so righteous and wronged none among them ever exploited inexperienced, sometimes homeless adolescents seeking affirmation and guidance, and never got them entangled in drugs and prostitution rather than love. Persons of that kind hide behind superficial individuals inside and outside their community who keep everything to sound bytes and chant mantras like “Love is Love”.

But since we do all want rights, could there really be any reason for a gay person to be against voting for marriage equality today? Actually there is; and no matter how much one might disagree with groups like The Coalition for Marriage about homosexuality per se, given the tide of events and the tenor of values in society there is some substance to No party claims about the dangers to freedom of speech, a parent’s right to choose, freedom of religion etc.

There is some drive at work that potentially undermines democracy in or through gay issues of which marriage equality is only the latest and perhaps strongest example. Politicians like Labour leader Bill Shorten have no right to say, and it’s even highly insulting, that what is being claimed on the No side is everything from “rubbish” to “cruelty”. That’s lies, ignorance or political opportunism speaking. It involves confusion about different types of rights as they apply to public and private spheres, and it involves what Brendan O’ Neill would call “phoney equality”, the type which allows no proper “discrimination” like the right of an institution or club to debar the plainly unqualified. (Gays demanding religious organizations must employ them regardless of their beliefs is rather like persons demanding on the basis of “equality” they must be entered to a music academy though they can’t and don’t wish to read music).

DIFFERENT OR SAME?

For over a century the first gay liberationists protested the rights of gays on the basis of their perceived difference from the norm but a difference that society needed and gays should work with. While plainly not all gays are Leonardo da Vinci or Alan Turing, there are qualities that sets them apart and which they and society are bound to recognize. Any equality should be about equality in difference. Gays, or at least their leaders, want to have their cake and eat it. They are happy to be seen as different, special and cutting edge and almost outside or above common laws and custom, yet they also demand to be seen and treated as completely same.

For a long time gay difference was called Uranian (including because German astrologers found Uranus strong in the birth patterns of gays). But it was generally accepted same sex orientation was somehow innate. It is conservative Christians and against Christ’s own teaching that some people are born different – the eunuch word could cover the nearest thing to gay in Jesus’ times – who like Queer theorists assume that orientation and gender are malleable. Queer theory is about identity without essence.

The Christians want the gays made straight, the Queer theorists, rather as in the Safe Schools programme, want the toleration and teaching of an endless chosen diversity and it is  the Safe Schools programme that  will almost certainly be imposed if the Yes campaign succeeds. And let no one mistake the fact the proposed change in the laws is “therapeutic” and an open sesame to many things beyond the immediate gay rights pretext. The Australian Psychology Society makes it clear enough that the marriage equality debate “is an opportunity” to discuss the varieties of sexual difference with children https://goo.gl/LBGtDt    Of course, there should be some kind of basic awareness among the young, but how much and at what age?   

I agree with anti-feminist feminist Camille Paglia in regretting how much the silly convolutions of French Queer theory with its false glamour has conquered academe. From there It has become the highly political advocate of gay causes and much else. It does so under a rainbow “diversity” and “inclusion” umbrella which is as undermining of all values as liberating and at times can be as totalitarian as the cultural Marxism to which it is linked and which positively relishes the upheaval and chaos of culture wars. You don’t easily oppose these dangerous and hypocritical people. Very recently in America a popular blogger mother who criticized Teen Vogue magazine for its bizarre advice to girls on being sodomized by boyfriends was banned from the same Twitter that lets through videos of child abuse.

UNIONS MIGHT BE BETTER

In a sense, vocally conservative Christians by never originally giving gay identity or rights an inch and remaining unrepentant of all the bullying and discrimination they had turned a blind eye to, have brought the extremer, more wide ranging,  secular, political and amoral Queer policies to the forefront. Between Christians insisting upon conversion cures and secularist Queers pushing the “choices”  and “inclusions” conservatives are sure anyone can and should make, one can finish between the devil and the deep blue sea where rights and sensible attitudes are concerned. And both parties  again seem blind to the extent at least some of the newer trans issue they are divided over is likely a culturally influenced one.

American culture especially has long held such rigid stereotyped gender divisions of a “me Tarzan, you Jane” type that if they diverge from them individuals cannot accept themselves as they are but believe they must be of the opposite sex. In California, of course and inevitably, there is already a trans kindergarten but even in Australia children under ten are receiving therapy and treatments for conditions that adolescence and more flexible cultural attitudes might alter with time.

For long centuries especially the eastern churches had ceremonies for the union of brethren which looks as though this at least sometimes covered for gay unions. (Ironically England first invaded Ireland to help stamp out the supposed evil of such unions!). There should have been and long ago a legal form of union for the same sex orientated but not called “marriage” which is to upset mainstream sensibilities and traditions unnecessarily while it is to accord gays a social sameness they don’t quite have, and perhaps don’t quite want and perhaps today won’t in many instances quite practice once the knot is tied.  Civil unions do of course already  exist which  gays in Australia can have recourse to, but whether from the religious or secular standpoint this is not a particularly distinctive, gay specific arrangement and attitudes towards unions among gays seems wrong. One Irish Yes voter said on TV about Australian issues that unions left him feeling only 80% equal. Which is ridiculous. What is needed is some rite that lets him feel 100% involved in society as  gay and responsible as such.

Indeed, author Douglas Murray, himself gay, has pertinently hoped that gays who married would observe the laws and have understanding as regards the meaning of adultery. Clearly he doubts too many fellow gays won’t have it. Homosexuality has only just emerged culturally from a twilight zone of often necessarily fleeting encounters which hasn’t been any preparation for more solid relating. When I think of the lifestyles of the more partying kind of gays (the only type conservative Christians seem to see), I can’t imagine how they would make responsible parents even though I do seriously believe many gays can make better parents than many straights today – too many seem to have lost the plot where children are concerned. But over the years I have observed part of being gay is usually a desire to be independent and not have offspring.

Obviously some gays, especially lesbians who perhaps have more difficulty than gay males recognizing or affirming their true orientation, will have had offspring and the laws must cover for this. But whether society should accept gay parentage as so normal as to be irrelevant to or almost encouraged by any reformed marriage laws is questionable. One can encounter the parent of four children who decides they must always have been gay really (though surely they must be bisexual?) to the point of abandoning their family for the same sex partner and there are thrice married persons with children from each marriage who suddenly decide they were always of the opposite sex. It is not unreasonable and should not be deemed semi-criminal under the laws to raise questions about what is getting accepted due to “diversity” and “equality” ideals which brook no hierarchy of values……similarly to “love” if love is never allowed to distinguish between its types of expression, marital, parental, filial etc which may be in contention and require choices if they are not to end up in hopeless subjectivity and selfishness.

HOW MUCH INCLUSIVITY CAN AND SHOULD YOU TAKE?

Many would be shocked if they were aware just how inclusive queer is, including among those who pass for Christian like the late bisexual professor of Contextual Theology at Edinburgh University, Marcella Althaus-Reid, who dismissed the Ten Commandments as elitist and associated religious inspiration with adultery. This author of such books as Indecent Theology and The Queer God, wowed readers and audiences with talk of “Transcendence in Brothels”, “Mary Queer of Heaven and Mother of Faggots”, “French Kissing God”, “The Gospel and Inculturation: God the Sodomite; Leading God by a dog collar; “Find God in Dark Alleys” and much more of the kind.

I cite this profane craziness because it is a warning of how, when queers secular and religious say religion is safe under any changes they promote, it isn’t. It’s not that queer will abolish religion so much as it will offer, allow or encourage its own version of spirituality which can finish almost unrecognizable and unprecedented (unless as the prophet Jezebel of Ephesus in Revelation who teaches believers anything goes!). If there is identity without essence and in the post modern style and everything is anyway just “text”, then almost anything, including morally is admissible.

The corollary of this is that likewise every belief is acceptable, except whatever makes for any exclusive truth claim. What seems like mere paranoia from Christian lobbies is well enough supported by what has happened in England and Europe where diversity has produced a situation in which religious freedom is freedom to worship but not to endorse, promote or discuss one’s particular view without risk of legal intervention.

Jobs have been lost, court hours wasted arguing over whether Christians can wear a cross to work, needn’t bake a gay wedding cake, can offer to say a prayer for a patient, or even offer a non Christian a Christian book without its being “harassment”. And of course, no one is allowed to say they believe homosexuality is wrong. Arrests have pursued street preachers. I realize it could of course be irritating for gays to have whatever precisely St Paul may have meant about “homosexuality” (a word the bible does not contain), thrust at them. Surely it is not more of an inconvenience than living among people telling you you shouldn’t smoke or take too much alcohol? How sensitive are and should gays be, and are not some being spiteful to press charges in which people’s businesses and livelihoods are under threat ? It’s not the same as religion preventing you from getting a job or housing or, as in Russia or some Muslim societies suffering violence for who you are. (But noticeably gays like feminists have been extraordinary politically correct or plain cowardly in not criticizing Muslim societies while bullying the milder Christian ones). In democracies beliefs like opinions vary and must just be tolerated even when they displease. To  undermine  too freely and easily the  freedom of conscience principle is dangerous  even if and when you question the convictions involved.

THE UNCERTAIN FUTURE

Plainly Australia will soon go the way of England and much of Europe if it doesn’t put its foot down and perceive the very real secularist and Big Brother threat to religion and freedom of speech more generally occasioned by claims whose ultimate basis is in cultural Marxism and/or the related relativistic Queer theory. Already in recent weeks there has been the scandal of a Queensland Education proposal that children should not mention Jesus in a playground though (kind concession!) a Christmas card is OK, and now the scandal of a Sikh father in Qld bringing a sword to school because it’s his religious duty. That situation is then permitted (despite any weapon being absolutely prohibited in any school area anywhere) because provided it can be concealed beneath clothes it can be respected as a tradition.

In short, if religion poses as colourful tradition, rather in the way that LGBTQI can make inroads as identity politics, that is acceptable; but if it expresses itself as any idea, as doctrine, it risks serious disapproval, even legal action especially if it is Christian and associated with the host people who should always give down to the guest people. The post modern way is to banish all question of truth in favour of the rights of custom.

Though I believe conservative Christians have painted themselves into a corner and their theology is inadequate and not nearly as justified on the subject of difference as they imagine, I am forced to recognize the larger legal and political ramifications that their current position opens upon. Education, charity and adoption organizations all stand to be effected in the long run. Gays already enjoy a reasonably high level of acceptance within society. Unions without the marriage word could and should suffice and even be more meaningful.

Not all that glitters is gold. The equality demands that sound just and dominate the marriage equality push risk eroding truth and transparency in society and I refuse to support what makes for that erosion. Though I believe same sex partnerships should be acknowledged and legally supported in some fashion, I will not vote for gay marriage in its present form and I would warn well-meaning but arguably sentimental Christians and others who think it’s fair and trendy to vote for it: the effects of your action may come back to bite you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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HOW TO BE A FALSE PROPHET OF THE RAPTURE ETC

AN ANCIENT BELIEF FOR NEW (FALSE) PROPHETS

There is a sure fire way to anticipate and judge if a person is a major candidate for the role of false, date setting prophet of the last things especially of the so-called Rapture, Great Disappearance or Snatching Away of the believing prepared. And it isn’t because of believing in the idea itself. Belief in a time when “one shall be taken and the other left” (Luk 17:36) and the (Last) Trump will sound (1 Cor 15:52) – an occurrence whose general season might be recognized though its precise day and hour cannot be known (Matt 24:36) – is something established from the first.

It is even an error in its own right to declare like many today that the doctrine of Rapture is wholly an invention of the early nineteenth century and especially a bible teacher, John Nelson Darby (1800 – 1882). However vaguely and unsystematically, the early church did always own some notion of being delivered, rather like Noah before the flood, from a time of extreme and final “Tribulation” upon earth under an Antichrist or false messiah. As Ephraem the Syrian had it c. 373 ….all saints and Elect of the Lord are gathered together before the tribulation which is about to come and are taken to the Lord, in order that they may not see at any time the confusion which overwhelms the world.

AMERICA AND APOCALYPSE

American Christianity has nonetheless been exceptional for its emphasis upon apocalypse (Seventh Day Adventism is a faith native to America); but this fits not simply the nation’s originally very Protestant and biblical faith roots but its entire orientation towards the future for which it plans and on which it speculates. Periodically Europe too has had apocalyptic concerns and theories; modern dispensationalism itself can even be traced back less to Nelson Darby than to a Renaissance era Jesuit and Portuguese source but the history of end times theory is not the concern here. I shall keep with three Americans who have confused or misled many and why.

The strange and pertinent fact is that not only can we know something about the end of Christianity (or at very least how the first Christians thought of its end) by looking at the time of the faith’s origin, but that if we do this it can be clearly seen how those who stand at variance with the original pattern are demonstrably the chief candidates to be false prophets on the theme.

An obvious and celebrated case is the shockingly perverse false prophet, Harold Camping (b.19th July 1921), who put millions into advertising a false Rapture date on bill boards across America and didn’t dream of compensating those who lost homes and businesses under his influence.

Lacking a specific birth time we can only know – but in this case only need to know – that Camping’s natal sun at somewhere between 25 and 26 of Cancer was in afflicting, inharmonious square (90 degrees) to the 26 degree Aries Venus which is sign and “ruler” for the whole strange issue of Christianity’s endings.

But not to run ahead of matters, how and why could this Venus ever be sign and ruler of this controversial question?

TIMING THE BEGINNING TO UNDERSTAND THE END

The birth time and chart of Christianity is rather easy to establish from its 30 AD Pentecost inception. Its pattern has been working across history and it still works. This is demonstrated in irrefutable detail in my Christianity’s Destiny, The First and Lasting Signs https://goo.gl/BsB663  and everyone could usefully know about it except that American Christians are great vilifiers of astrology while most astrologers tend to be New Agers disinterested in Christianity while publishing and media are too wise in their own eyes to believe astrology could register anything at all.

The Spirit descended on the first disciples some time around 9 am (Acts 2:15) according to St Peter’s sermon. Since clearly watery Cancer would not be rising over the horizon it becomes obvious that the time had to be a little past 9 am with fiery Leo beginning to rise followed by extreme and revolutionary Uranus in conjunction with such asteroids as Isa (Jesus) Charis (Grace) Coelum (heaven) and Aeternitas (Eternity) and Semper (for ever). In an era without clocks the apostle’s “third hour “  had to be around 9.15 am with 2 Leo rising. And this supplies the pattern that works for the religion to this day. Conjunct the event’s Midheaven (destiny point) event was Venus, sign of doves itself conjunct Columbia (dove), in fiery, cardinal Aries. The Spirit is like a fiery dove descending.

But endings and grave places are connected to a birth chart’s fourth house cusp. At Pentecost this cusp was bordering 23 and 24 Libra, an aerial, cardinal (fast moving) sign. The sector was ruled by the mentioned fiery Venus/dove in cardinal Aries.

This alone is suggestive of how believers will be inclined to believe their end must be : extremely sudden and likely up in the skies (the notion of actual disappearance is well covered by the way that Moon in royal Leo conjunct Church,  clear imagery for the royal bride, through this same  moon “rules” the sector of any disappearances).    But the fact that Venus is also squared by a conjunction of Neptune (any disappearance and mystery) with Mars (any violence and destruction) also fits the picture. It even agrees with the claim “behold I show you a mystery” but that this sudden, and confusion-inviting disappearance mystery could occur when the talk is of Venusian “peace and security/safety)” and  that despite this concern with peace destruction breaks out (1 Thess 5:3).

THE 1988 FALSE CALL

Edgar C Whisenant was born 25th September 1932 and wrote an American evangelical bestseller 88 Reasons Why the Rapture Will Be in 1988.  He assumed the Rapture would take place in early September that year.  Whisenant’s Pluto at 23 Cancer (i.e.again from the sector of hidden enemies and what undermines that marked Camping ) affliction squared the 23/24 Libra endings point.

This makes interesting comparison with someone who without any heretical date setting nonetheless rather fortunately and lucratively touched a raw, chiefly American nerve writing Left Behind novels about Christianity’s End, Rapture, Tribulation and Antichrist. This was Tim LaHaye (b. 27 April 1926) who shows a Mars  conjunct fortunate Jupiter in Aquarius at 23 and 24 Aquarius respectively  making fortunate trine to that crucial endings point in Libra.  Likewise Nelson Darby set no dates but his natal Saturn to Venus trine from 23 Leo to 23 Sagittarius has the endings point of the Pentecost chart for its midpoint which must be considered positive.

But in some respects, the origin of modern date setting (though he did that reluctantly and began with a possible year rather than a day date) was William Miller (b.15 Feb 1782), founder of Seventh Day Adventism. With his Mars conjunct Pentecost’s destiny and endings Venus plus his sun and Uranus aspecting it his obsession with apocalypse is easy to understand. At the same time,  Miller’s natal Venus opposite Neptune would not assist clear thinking on a variety of subjects. But almost amusingly for someone associated with what came to be called “The Big Disappointment”, his restrictive and disappointment inclined Saturn was in organized religion sign Sagittarius, extreme at 29 degrees of the sign from where it conjuncts Pentecost’s Part of Illusion !

2017 AND A GREAT SIGN

I don’t know the birth data of Scott Clark whose speculations about the Great Sign of September 23rd this year have led many to assume it could be a Rapture date. Though he doesn’t positively declare it to be such, it is possible that here is another false prophet whose suggestive speculations could disappoint many. But this time round the context is a bit different and it is worth mentioning. Indeed, the sign itself is worth understanding because it surely means and signals something even if not quite what is generally thought (limited views being helped by the fact that Christians foolishly reject as “divination” the same astrology and study of cycles that was crucial in even the birth of Christ, and  that the rabbis did not consider verboten and which could help interpretation.

The Great Sign of Sept 23rd is thought to correspond to features of the Great Sign in the heavens of Revelation 12 about the woman and the dragon and the snatching of the woman’s man child to the heavens – the woman being understood to be Israel who first gave birth to the church, not Mary and Jesus – Jesus was never suddenly snatched to heaven.

The problem with  interpretations following Scott is that it regards the woman (the constellation Virgo) as soon to be crowned with twelve stars (as per Revelation) when rarely – once in seven thousand years – three transiting planets join the two constellations of Virgo and Leo to make the nine visible fixed stars of Leo into twelve stars.

Since Virgo has always been considered to possess twelve stars crowning her at Berenice’s Lock, and because fixed stars and transiting planets are separate entities (and surely a whole constellation can’t anyway be another constellation’s crown!), it would seem there is no great sign. Except…..at another level there arguably is. What is being joined is an ancient zodiac beginning at Virgo and ending at Leo and such as was once used in Egypt. It has also been appropriated in recent times for so-called “biblical astronomy” and some believe as though on a heavenly frieze its length describes a kind of salvation history stretching across seven thousand years.

A case can therefore be made – and especially if one disposes of a range of astrological signs and data that Great Sign followers don’t know and include – that September 23rd’s sign could well be marking out a period of  completion or a new phase,  new beginnings.  And that could be for Christianity, Judaism or both. (While needless to say  if a Rapture occurred any time in the last months of 2017 that would be crisis-making; but other beginning and ending crises and phases could be precipitated by anything from a major Mid-East war to a go-ahead for building of the Third Temple).

THE GREAT AMERICAN ECLIPSE: GATEWAY TO JUST WHAT?

The so-called Great American Eclipse of August 21st  has itself carried a heavy load of strange coincidences or apparent ones. This genuinely is a Great Eclipse because it is the first time since America was founded in 1776 that a total eclipse has crossed only America, a possible hint, especially as the maximum strength of any empire tends to be around two and half centuries (itself approximately a cycle of Pluto), that America will soon lose much influence if not fall altogether. But this is far from all.

For example, the path of totality began over Salem (a name for Jerusalem) in Oregon at the same time as the sun set above Jerusalem; and totality passed over Salems in six or seven US  states, (if it was seven that number is supposedly the number of perfection and completion). The 21st of August happens to be the day that 120 years previously the Zionist movement was founded bringing about the Jewish return to Israel.

According to Jewish tradition if a solar eclipse falls on the first day of the repentance month Elul (21st August this year), that spells upcoming misfortune for especially rulers of the East (could that involve Asia and North Korea?!). Totality began over the 33rd state and ended on the 33rd parallel and so it goes. This is without taking into consideration beyond geography and number symbolism, how the same eclipse has hit Mars in the birth chart of both modern Israel and PM Netanyahu, has also hit the moon conjunct Church in the birth chart of Christianity, and even hit the fixed star I of fame and power, Regulus, Uranus and Achristou in the birth pattern of the Antichrist – if that person exists – of the late seeress Jeane Dixon’s visions . This eclipse looks to be busy and major for world events!

IS SCOTT CLARK THE LATEST FALSE PROHPET?

Years ago and long before Scott Clark and Great Sign obsessions, I considered the latter part of 2017 as likely to be quite significant for world affairs. That was before I had even heard of what is now being seen as the year of convergence. i.e. the year in which different biblical definitions of a “generation” meet. The last apocalyptic generation is involved  …..if  the parable of the budding fig tree is rightly understood (Luk 13:16-19) with this year. 2017 year is 120 years (longest possible biblical generation) from 1897 and the foundation of Zionism, it’s seventy years since the UN declared for a state of Israel in 1947 and it’s fifty years (a Jubilee called a generation and a time of owed things returning) since 1967 and the Six Day War which returned East Jerusalem and more to Israel.

Sometimes there is prophecy; sometimes it’s just a case of “coming events cast their shadows” as the Chinese say and things are sensed within the so-called collective unconscious. While the Net is filling up with overly suggestible, over-sensitive people and a rash of new false prophets forecasting, and largely from dreams, everything from the time of the Rapture and the Tribulation to the Last Judgement, one must allow something to those who believe 2017 could be major in many ways, a turning point. Sometimes things are just in the air and are sensed.

Not because I know little but because I know quite a lot of facts that apocalypse watching  Christians don’t know and  take into account, I am not going to engage in the preciser kind of forecasts that are quite possible. I would only state that while we must and can reject false prophets, neither should we reject all signs, feelings and coincidences. Discernment is required in times when there are more than usual signs to take into account.

For interest, I shall conclude by presenting the riddle of a near gone viral youtube statement that takes emphasis upon the importance of this year to higher than usual levels of meaningful coincidence or whatever you care to call it. Here we leave behind the world of suggestible end of days dreamers that youtube has rather too many of at present. This is to make wide awake claims and though I don’t have the person’s data, it would seem that either he’s a crazy liar, a victim of remarkable coincidence or someone who without precise date setting is telling the truth.  Which is a serious matter if so.

https://goo.gl/PFFC2k

 

 

 

JOE CASSIDY, DIVINER: AN IRISH PHENOMENON

                

The Celts are often credited with more second sight than the average. To the extent that’s true, it’s unsurprising that those who can really claim gifts of a psychic nature will be real standouts and rather spectacular like Co Clare’s Biddy Early historically who fascinated many from Lady Gregory to Mary Daly. One such standout today is Joe Cassidy.

Cassidy does not consider himself a psychic, rather a person with a strong sixth sense whose strength it took him a long time, illness and his father’s death to take seriously and turn into a career. It was a case of “difference”, (like being gay) and of fate rather than any vocation. And he doesn’t, like his son who inherits his father’s sensitivity, report assistance shaman-style from any animal totem familiar.

Cassidy’s life as a diviner and healer within modern Ireland is recorded through his own words in The Diviner, published by Penguins. It makes fascinating reading and plainly Joe, who is a person of sympathy and integrity has something going for him. It is impossible he and so many people from different walks of life are just lying about their changed health, houses, horses and situations generally. Nevertheless a few questions can be asked and some objectivity and surprising data can be obtained via another esoteric source, the astrological pattern unexamined so far as I know.

SETTING THE FATED TIME

We know Cassidy’s birth date because he supplies it at the outset of his account. It was 25th March 1961 in Naas, Kildare but no time is given except at night when he was rushed to a Dublin hospital in danger of his life. A doctor said if he didn’t die he would be a vegetable for life but his mother went to church to ask God he would be saved. He was saved after some months in an incubator. As with many healers and shamans there are health problems and weaknesses. Cassidy is dyslexic like another “amazing” and controversial Irish psychic, Lorna Byrne (like Cassidy also born under Aries) who claims to see angels and the other world continuously.

Even without a birth time which I will show can be easily and plausibly determined for the night in question, there are some things we can expect to find and do. For a water diviner who detects “geopathic stress”, we would expect strong water sign input plus some strong earth input too. For a career healer we could expect some factor in the sixth house of health and healing. We would also expect to find one or all of the intuitive houses (the 4th, 8th and 12th somehow emphasized. All this we can see and coherently if we set the chart for around 10.15 pm or a bit later. (1)

At this time water sign Scorpio rises conjunct sensitive and mystical Neptune from where within the 12th house of the unconscious and dreams it sets up a powerful and fortunate grand trine to Mercury in one direction and Mars in the other. It does this in respectively the fourth “house” of houses, homes and the earth and the eighth house of the secret or occult. And there’s the added flourish of the planetoid, Chiron, the wounded healer, in the fourth house too making conjunction with Mercury – mind and understanding can be brought to bear on matters of healing.

I think there can be no question the right time should place Neptune in the twelfth house (which requires a birth around 10.15 pm or after), rather than rising in the first  including because the twelfth is a position many photographers share. Cassidy often speaks of either seeing people and events like so many photos in his head or requiring people to send him photos to work on for distance healing. Neptune is moreover naturally powerful in the twelfth its house of affinity and strong in Scorpio too. I would point out that my data for Christ likewise shows Neptune in Scorpio but in the sixth house of healing and sacrifice rather than the Cassidy’s twelfth. See Testament of the Magi   https://goo.gl/I28aCm

With so much work, often demanding work being done in homes, fields and farms it is unsurprising to find busy, earthy, Saturn in its natural sign, Capricorn, in out of sign conjunction with a fortunate Jupiter in surprising and oddball Aquarius.

Fortunate and peaceful Venus is in the sixth house of health and healing (as for Jesus) and patients do find Cassidy’s presence and his clinic unusually peaceful. Reflecting an unusual career and reputation, Uranus is within conjunction of the Midheaven of destiny, career and reputation and, if my time is correct, from within the ninth house of beliefs and religion too. This is something about which one can well comment in the context of Ireland’s beliefs and traditions because there looks to be something unusual and notable here. I shall broach the subject from its least controversial aspect first.

A MONEY PROBLEM

Cassidy who takes money and originally with reluctance for services, has described himself as lacking a good business sense. This is true and belongs with his Jupiter, the planet of any religion ruling his second house of money in erratic Aquarius – and in fact it was for a suitably eccentric reason that he first began taking money in good conscience.

A very “traditional nun” came for healing and to Cassidy’s embarrassment insisted on paying. Her rationale was Jesus didn’t work for nothing. He must have been paid to have afforded his bed and board, but anyway God has to be paid. This is tribute to Irish Catholic biblical illiteracy. Luke 8:3 records Jesus was accompanied by the twelve along with certain women, some apparently rich like the wife of Herod’s steward, Joanna, and whom it is said Jesus had healed. While this suggests financial support on perhaps an ongoing, appreciative “love offerings” basis, that this was far from everywhere and always available is indicated by Jesus’ complaint the Son of Man had nowhere to lay his head (Matt 8:20). So it was hardly a case for God regularly “getting something for what he did” and there is no recorded instance of Jesus or the apostles either directly accepting or charging for healings.

A FLY IN THE OINTMENT OF DIVINING GIFTS

Since however Cassidy, even with his Scorpio Neptune, is not Jesus and he does need to live, what is more controversial is that the nun applied for healing without apparently inquiring or caring what the source of his healing might be or to what ends the gifts are used – his work includes sometimes addressing assumed spirits of the dead and ghosts, witch of Endor type activities, biblically forbidden. (The nun’s role in the story is a bit like the situation which has Lorna Byrne, who advocates praying to your angel and the deity of almost any tradition – she forecasts that one day Christians will be praying at Mecca – attending charismatic prayer services).

That there is some tension for Cassidy in relation to beliefs is well mapped by the way that his sun is in opposition to asteroid Church and perhaps more significantly and personally for him, his Venus in the health and healing house is in square to his moon in the ninth sectpr of religion and beliefs.

In light of this and especially as Cassidy tends to thank “the universe” rather than God for his gifts and life path, it is not unreasonable to consider what is least positive in an otherwise strong natal chart, namely a possible flaw which, if it isn’t a fluke, could be pointing to something. I am not about to suggest that Cassidy is anything but well intentioned, or that people have not been helped by him; but that he is not religious like his mother – his “difference” derives from his father’s line which used it less – may count for something in this case. Because the awkward fact remains that at the centre of the obviously divining-relevant grand trine in water stands Mercury (conjunct wounded healer Chiron) directly trine asteroid Lucifer, itself loosely conjunct Mars.

Neither Mercury nor Mars directly link to various possible deity asteroids like Theotes (Divinity/Godhead) or Isa (Jesus), so it’s not possible to suggest there is some kind of connection with Lucifer via struggle in service of deity which would be one way of reading the pattern. (There is if anything some similarity to the pattern of Lorna Byrne who shows Lucifer within conjunction of Mercury and exact trine Saturn ).

If it’s not a fluke, what might this awkward indication mean when so obviously both the medium and recipients of the telluric adjustments and bodily healings are not Satanists and only good appears to occur? It’s the kind of riddle I made some effort to unravel in much more detail in Temple Mysteries and Spiritual Efficiency when I analyse reported patterns of success and failure in healings and exorcisms. https://goo.gl/Xi1jv8

While I think we must accept some healing capacity in people is natural and spiritually neutral (rather like the powers of intuition almost everyone has), in the case of frequent and spectacular cases of gifting a meaningful distinction  will often be made between outright, so-called divine healings and the rest. In the former something may be added, anything from new bodily tissues to spiritual gifts, while the latter healing has more to do with something being withdrawn like a growth disappearing.

THE USE OF GIFTS

Two details do rather dissociate Cassidy from divine healing. First he admits to be occasionally willing to “play” with his gifts like spooking people by telling then to turn off a mobile phone and to wait and they will hear it ring in a couple of minutes. If this is not tall stories it sounds like intervention from tricksy spirits. (Actually Casssidy says this helps keep him sane. Really?). Second he can feel some illnesses he treats; while this is not unknown of divine healers the kind of extremes indicated like sometimes being in agony and staggering about, is not on record so far as I know. It is also a little disconcerting, albeit Cassidy is not his son, that his son’s totem spirit familiar is a wolf, biblically on several occasions a symbol of the dangers of evil and wrong belief.

Lucifer is the being and principle who can masquerade as an angel of light (2 Cor 11:14), deals in lies and deception, the thief who takes away rather than gives (Jn 8:44, 10:10). In order therefore to direct attention and praise away from the divine, what is Luciferean may simply withdraw the effects of what it has already interfered with and imposed.

There seems little doubt that extreme situations like battles and murder do leave psychic imprints on floors, walls and open land and sensitive persons can pick them up like air waves. Because evil spirits almost eat fear and are fear, they gather in accursed places. They are not ghosts of the deceased. As liars, the forces of evil simply assume the ghost role and need more to be outright exorcized to the deep rather than dismissed leaving them to wander elsewhere as they will.

CASSIDY AND CONTEMPORARY IRISH SPIRITUALITY

The popular phenomenon that is Joe Cassidy, similarly to that of Lorna Byrne with her now large international following, is one that cannot be dissociated from the spiritual condition of contemporary Ireland at large. In many respects “holy” and long super-Catholic Ireland has been de-Christianized by everything from the indulgence of the Celtic Tiger years to revelations of clerical abuse and corruption so shockingly extreme they have produced an understandably disillusioned reaction. Unlike other European societies however, Ireland has become less secularist than broadly spiritual, New Age or even neo-pagan, a bit like post-Catholic James Joyce obsessed with numerology and omens.

Serving almost like gurus and prophets to the new mood and further encouraging it, are the likes of Cassidy and Byrne who without usually, or even at all, addressing the big questions, rely on the Universe or more angels than can be counted, to sort things out. But do they really and who do their mediums help?

I am aware than many exorcists would warn that dealing with spiritual forces of any occult nature regularly places binds upon future generations (to the biblical third and fourth generation). What seems to work out well on a temporary basis in one generation may not be any kind of blessing upon their grandchildren but rather the source of a whole variety of maladies and obsessions. Noticeably Cassidy, who believes his gifts are inherited, respects and wouldn’t interfere with any fairy thorn (they have a history of curses and disasters around them in Ireland). If he were an exorcist obviously he would seek to exorcize the apparent evil of the thorn, not tell people to just avoid and respect them (It speaks poorly for both average Irish Catholic teaching and authentic spiritual gifting that the problem of the thorns was not sorted out long ago!).  Somewhere something is wrong here in relation to spiritual power.

I concentrated upon Cassidy over Lorna Byrne because I can’t get clues to the latter’s birth time to see her chart well, but I do find some of her past forecasts like a coming Christian/Muslim merge credible. Chrislam is a real movement now in especially America and Pope Francis (who the St Malachy prophecy, almost more known and cited today by Protestants than Catholics, would claim Francis was the last Pope) is well on the way to Chrislam.

It is unwise to believe everything you read on the Net some of which would make out Pope Francis to be a  heretic who regards Christianity and Islam as similar. But even from an article like the following taken from the mainstream Italian press and a notable journalist, https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/9716/christian-clergy-islam  , it is apparent that the Pope  may be moving  into uncharted waters in the wake of his predecessor John Paul 11’s kissing of a Koran, whose authority is too often used today to oppress Christians and other minorities in Muslim majority nations whose rights the Pope should be defending.

What is happening in religion is quite simply end of (Piscean) era confusion and decadence and Ireland now partakes in that after its own fashion. I have written about current spiritual issues and likely pending developments in various articles on McCleary’s Alternatives, most recently in Sense and Nonsense about the Signs of 2017 http://wp.me/p2v96G-TW. It’s a related but different subject  however. So too is Douglas Murray The Strange Death of Europe, a work that can hardly be recommended enough and which the present, very eccentric Pope needs to read for a reality check.

(1)  For the specialist....Lacking dates and times in the life to test for rectification purposes, a case can be made for birth at around 10. 15 pm with the last degrees of Leo on the Midheaven career angle and around 10.30 pm with early Virgo there. Leo is in accord with a famous career (late Leo conjunct Regulus the fame star) while Virgo is ruled by Mercury of the healer’s caduceus. About the only date I can use is the 4th Oct 2012 which the UK Book Depository lists as publication date for at any rate one edition of The Diviner. This date will supply some transiting aspects to late Leo. But it’s not enough to certify a time strongly. Either way the basic pattern is not upset by either time with whichever sign at the Midheaven. Venus remains in the healing house and Neptune remains in its house of affinity the 12th.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“TANTRIC JESUS”: A RAPID CRITICAL RESPONSE

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A new book by James Hughes Reho, Tantric  Jesus (published 27th Jan in America, 9th March in UK), is the only study I shall have characterized, if not exactly reviewed, after reading blurbs and net excerpts. Though I shall probably get round to reading the whole in due time, I don't feel a strong urge as this is less a work to absorb and critique at leisure than in all seriousness to warn against, even condemn without further ado.

Christian notions of the body as temple is the author’s reasonable enough starting point. For years and in the course of inquiries like Temple Mysteries and Spiritual Efficiency, Solomon’s Tantric Song and The Great Circle: Asia, David and God Consciousness,   and even in poetry like Jeremiah’s Loincloth: A Poem of Faith and Phallos (1), I have attempted to draw attention to an overly ignored biblical fact and its implications for a more “occult” or “magical” anthropology of the person. There exists what many systems call the aura or body electric and understanding concerning it does affect how we should read our bibles - like Ezekiel's out of body journey to Jerusalem. I have also pointed to implications of this for the understanding and management of sex and sexuality, something which in such as The Kosher Sutra Schmuley Boteach does more specifically for Jews. 

Even as a published author, even as a doctor of religious studies, and even as someone who lived many years and extensively travelled in Asia, I have usually been dismissed and ignored by good Christians if I have so much as tried to raise these issues and start conversations in groups, in magazines, anywhere. Publishing has been so closed to this line of thought I gave up on it and my above mentioned books have been indie issued.

Now that there is a book on the market from an (of course American) Episcopalian priest, a book so ultra-occult but also idolatrous it can describe and even promote visionary union with Hindu deities, there are Christians to rush out of the woodwork to compliment the priestly author. They declare his work a revolution in religion and theology, a basis of new interfaith, an advance in self realization etc etc.

No one points out that Durga with whom (after being lain upon by Ramakrishna and with Jesus looking on approvingly) Rev Reho has union so intense normal sex is like a handshake in comparison, is the goddess Kali herself. This figure is just about the most feared creature of the Hindu pantheon, the inspiration of some of the darkest, most deadly manifestations of Hinduism across time. The religion has, moreover, in recent years begun a new war upon Christianity in states like Orissa, physically attacking, even killing Christians at worship while police and the laws mostly ignore it. Tradition has it the apostle to India, Thomas, was himself martyred by the priests of Kali.

What Reho has done is equivalent to St Paul deciding against all and any evangelical imperatives to worship rather than reject the cult of Diana of the Ephesians or the early Christian martyrs deciding they would see truth after all in emperor worship. Reho represents the kind of thing early Christianity suspected and condemned in Gnosticism - much of this idolatry and peculiar rites masquerading as the truest initiated faith, a kind of confused, indulgent acceptance of most everything to the point of spiritual pollution. A rationale of its and certainly Reho's all-embracing claims belong with the old, via negativa “mystical” one. Because we can never fully, precisely know or describe God it follows that none of us have the complete truth either, hence other traditions, other gods, can help us and we can join with them.
 
The argument is as false and even absurd as maintaining because we can’t know everything about those nearest and dearest to us, we can’t really know them better than anyone else or at all. Yet the fact is we can - sufficiently - know them and we can and do name them. And in the Judaeo-Christian tradition one must name God aright; outside the revealed covenant name is the false, the illusionary, even the demonic. Boteach was of course right enough to insist as I would myself, that any recourse to something like Hindu/Buddhist techniques must divest them of their idolatrous associations.

Ignorant, disloyal Christians are the current plague of the churches in a time of crisis and persecution. The same kind of “Christians” like Matthew Fox who praise Reho’s revolution will also support Chrislam tendencies and make noisy protest for Muslim immigrants while they are shockingly silent on the chronic persecution of Christians in most Muslim majority countries. First things first is a principle simply not understood and adhered to. Christians are supposed to do good to all but first and especially the house of faith (Gal 6:10). This is not evidenced in current policies and attitudes which seek to be as globalist....as perhaps the one world of the Antichrist.

That reference is not gratuitous. Arguably there is a sign of the times element to Reho’s production. Heavenly signs and symbolism, the astrology which was good enough for the Magi of the gospel but not the mindset of American Christians whether conservative or liberal, is another aspect of Christianity’s “occult”, unexamined dimensions. And according to astrology we stand at the end of the same era, Pisces, that Christ’s birth may be said to have introduced. 

Accordingly and in harmony with known features of the fatal last degree of the sign Pisces, the end of era will produce not the revolution perceived in Reho’s theories but the meltdown,  confusion, pollution, muddy waters, decadence and black magic of endings. Tantric Jesus is not good news for anyone or anything at this time.

NOTE

1) All these titles are available on Amazon or from the Book Depository. The Jeremiah poem is at goo.gl/uDvOUE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AN ASTRONOMER SAYS THERE WAS NO BETHLEHEM STAR

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MATTHEWS ON MATTHEW: NO BETHLEHEM STAR

Just in time for Christmas, an astronomer and astrophysicist at Notre Dame University, Grant Matthews, is stating that Matthew’s narrative of Jesus birth got it wrong about the Star. He holds that it was a rare alignment of stars – among which was Saturn, symbol of the giving of life (a description of Saturn that would be news to astrologers modern and more ancient!). Aries, sign of the outgoing era and a bellicose sign with less natural affinity than some with Jesus’ character and role, is deemed important within this picture of 6 BC

I think the public should know that differing opinion in this area is increasingly liable to be censored by the Elite.  Before it got to the popular press  and the Daily Mail as here goo.gl/k1hyBZ  my informed response to the first news article https://goo.gl/ckWpon was removed from the site, yesterday 2nd December within a few hours. A doctor of religious studies, author and astrologer, I first  studied and understood basics of the solution to the Bethlehem Star Mystery thirty years ago, but in more recent times with further information I have come to regard the solution as complete and by now even irrefutable.

To combat this and other censorship I needn’t detail here but which must be told and known one day, I give the public the opportunity here to read what I believe is the truth being withheld and obscured from general knowledge. It is people’s right to know that there is a well-researched and indeed ultra-proven theory to the identity of the Star and a lot more than just that……

The blurb for my book, “Testament of the Magi” https://goo.gl/I28aCm  states… “Not just a star rose at Jesus’ birth….the wider range of information now available includes a whole micro-astrology of asteroids  for remote dates  and covers names, places and concepts…….It shows how one time, and one time only in history, would inscribe across the heavens the main situations, persons and beliefs that would feature in the Messiah’s life….The pattern is as distinct as a fingerprint…It has always been working and still works for Jesus issues [some example of this is given on this blog http://wp.me/p2v96G-ip ]….it is now possible to be certain of many things from the date of the crucifixion to whether or not Jesus married the Magdalene.

testament1

Helping to prevent knowledge there  is  a  shameful “No room in the inn” situation in our increasingly godless society whose scientists can only be offended at the possibility of miraculous skies which as the Psalms indicate ”utter knowledge” (Ps 19:2); and it’s “no room at the inn” either among timid, conservative Christians who abominate the astrology they are supposed to understand and which is not the Torah forbidden study they maintain (unless they think the Essenes and the Talmudists got it wrong).

I am not surprised to hear that Matthews is writing a book to prove the star wasn’t a star and I don’t doubt it will be accepted and promoted by publishers in contrast to the sometimes hostile, dismissive, ironic responses I have received for presenting any Christ based theme at all. It’s the old story in which truth is passed over, ignored and despised.  Truth must and will however get out and as Christ said “the Stone which the builders rejected has become the head of the corner” (Matt 21:42).

This being the end of the era Christ’s birth introduced, I say without doubt or question that the mystery of the Magi  is finally uncovered. It should be recognized (and promoted) by the discerning for its truly historic and prophetic information.

 

 

 

 

 

QUAKES, GAYS and SOME ITALIAN ECCENTRICITY

italyquake

CENTRAL ITALY SUFFERING LIKE SODOM ?!

The recent quakes in central Italy, a quake prone area but suffering its most destructive tremors in thirty seven years, was promptly blamed on Italy’s recent legal toleration of gay unions by Fr Giovanni Cavalcoli.

The Vatican soon answered back in condemnation of such a charge – it dismissed the notion that God would punish in vengeance this way as “pagan”, pre-Christian and not part of the Church’s teaching .

Not to be cowed or outdone Fr Gionvanni, who believes all quakes are the result of human sin, riposted that the Vatican needed to read its own catechism (which disapproves homosexuality).

Not long before this a priest in Trento, Fr Gino Flaim, was suspended for the embarrassment caused the Church for apparently defending paedophilia on the radio, suggesting that it occurs because “children need affection”. It has therefore to be  accepted as a sin just as all other sins must be accepted (a quite common view among Italian clergy) but by contrast he is unsure about tolerating homosexuality because that is a “disease”.  It seems that right now one folly answers another in Italy.

ARGUMENTS BIBLICAL AND PAGAN

There’s a radical, eccentric Protestantism like that of the late Rev Ian Paisley which will attribute almost any evil to Rome and the Papacy. But if proof were needed that Catholicism really can be a blind guide, muddled and pagan to the point of being almost outside the Judaeo-Christian tradition itself, the above proves it and let’s be clear why.

1) For a start, it is unbiblical nonsense or biblical illiteracy to propose all notions of divine judgement are merely pagan or pre-Christian. The judgement idea is certainly – some would say notoriously – present in the Bible and not just in the Old Testament but also the New as in the book of Revelation which depicts the world after the times of grace. However, most essentially the Bible’s messages of wrath delivered by its Hebrew prophets, though sounding violent with the violence of their era, are not to the effect that God throws thunderbolts like Zeus. Their  message is that on account of persistent, serious evil a certain divine protection is withdrawn so that the demonic forces of chaos of a fallen world more fully take over.

This understanding is behind Jesus’ response to the question about those who died when the tower of Siloam fell (Luk 13:4). Jesus denies people there died because they were more sinful than others but that such destruction could happen to any and everyone if they failed to repent their sins. For Jesus all are basically condemned before God due to sin, (original and other) and thus in need of grace, a word of relatively little weight in Catholicism which stresses earning one’s way on earth and/or in a supposed purgatory.

Even so and popularly, it is of course  held that God judged Sodom and Gomorrah for “homosexuality” and Fr Cavalcoli echoes that tradition. But that is not what even the prophet Ezekiel declares was the case  – he saw rather pride, gluttony, indolence and ill treatment of the poor (Ezek 16:49) as the sin of Sodom. To the extent the non-biblical word “homosexuality” was involved in Sodom at all (and the men to whom Lot offered his daughters would surely be bisexual rapists in modern terms), their sin was desiring “other flesh“ (Jude 7) i.e. seeking to rape angels.

2). In making any claims of a would-be “prophetic” nature, clergy should be citing the Bible before the Catechism. But the extent to which Catholicism is not listening to, understanding or citing the Bible at all, is represented by the way it has treated its monstrous sex abuse scandals.

If the Church read the Bible it would know that while Jesus and the New Testament on such subjects as divorce and homosexuality can be and have been a matter for some degree of interpretation and debate, the abuse of children is non-negotiable. Jesus appears to consider it among the very worst of sins, something it would be better to be drowned in the depths of the sea than to commit (Luk 17:3). The idea that a priestly sex abuser be passed on to the next parish rather than be outright dismissed could only be countenanced in a milieu where the Bible is not assimilated and the whole notion of sin is taken very lightly and even common reality is not seen. A lot of paedophilia is not involved with childish desire for affection as Fr Flaim imagines but perverted adults’ desire to prey on the young, use and even terrify them.

A CONFUSED ITALIAN SPIRITUALITY

Italy and its Catholicism is still chained to a degree of refined paganism through Aristotle. His legacy via medieval philosophers still supplies a series of rationalizations of biblical teachings and ethics often so inappropriate and irrelevant they can only muddle and muddy the entire spiritual atmosphere to the point of  allowing it the sort of compromises which have left the nation victim to the mafia itself.

No matter precisely what one thinks and believes about gays and homosexuality, Fr Cavalcoli was wrong. A democratic society must tolerate its minorities and Italy was not wrong to grant gay unions. God won’t send quakes and in a historically known quake area besides for just that. Religiously and socially “marriage equality” (which Italy hasn’t passed) will always be more controversial because of various implications  especially as regards the adoption and rearing of offspring. Even notable gays, including in Italy Dolce and Gabbana and in Ireland the gay activist Ken Mills, have raised questions about this. It’s not a social change that can and should be argued from “equality” alone.

Although undeniably “marriage equality” raises questions for both Christians and gays, it is and will always remain a minority issue. It is nothing like as important as the massive corruption and mafia involvement in Italian life. These truly would constitute issues for the biblical prophets. While individual priests and even popes may now and again address this endemic problem, unfortunately Italian Catholicism is so entangled in the legacy of scholastic philosophy and a cult of saints that it looks set to continue along its muddled way now under the guidance of a well meaning but contradictory, eccentric Pope.

Pope Francis has so reduced his faith to a modern quasi-Marxist ritual of good works that, once again against all biblical basics and norms (which declare that without faith it is impossible to please God Heb 11:6), he has decided that good atheists and in effect everyone who does their bit of charity is bound for eternal bliss. This new, weak and confused Catholicism, plainly unable to face the Islamic challenge in any serious way, looks set to drag Italy down with it. It is a Christian virtue to forgive enemies, but the smiling Francis can’t even see who are the enemies to forgive in the first place. While Christians suffer genocide in parts of the world and Catholics like Aasia Bibi continue to languish in Pakistan’s jail for the “blasphemy” of daring to protest her Christian identity against bullies, Francis  will speak of “our Muslim brethren” like some kind of post-Christian globalist.

It is quite possible like Tobias Jones in The Dark Heart of Italy both to love and admire Italy and to be appalled at its corruption. I didn’t make a long article longer by speculating upon possible upcoming dangers for Italy, but I do think my unusual and revealing summary of Italian life and mind, including its religion (http://wp.me/p2v96G-OA) is and will prove well justified.

 

 

 

FIVE REASONS AMERICA’S EVANGELICALS ARE UNPOPULAR INSIDE AND OUTSIDE THE CHURCHES

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FIVE REASONS AMERICA’S EVANGELICALS ARE UNPOPULAR INSIDE AND OUTSIDE THE CHURCHES

I am not about to endorse Pope Francis’s radical suggestion that fundamentalism in any religion is a disease (some of the bible should be taken literally and some symbolically, it depends) and I am neither Catholic nor American. I am an Australian who hopefully has some outsider objectivity on something that’s more important for religion than might be supposed. Because unfortunately and despite its current (moderate) decline, to many around the world American Evangelicalism is still what American religion is, and even what Christianity itself is. Here are five aspects of Evangelicalism which are either false or unattractive to the young, to thinking persons of faith, or to those who may be left hurting from the effects of evangelical religion on their upbringing.

1).

To start with what’s most obvious, to almost anyone but the most convinced evangelical, it must seem  unreasonable and oppressive, even granting the Bible to be inspired,  to preach and justify every social policy on the notion scripture is  completely infallible and inerrant as though all of it dictated from heaven. The impossibility of the inerrant position is certified by statements like Ps 147:9 which declares “Happy shall they be who take your little ones and dash them against a rock”. Are we to believe this spontaneous, vengeful outburst was written under divine inspiration? Obviously not; the psalms are full of very human feelings as are St Paul’s epistles with their personal asides from the more doctrinal statements. While exclamations like that of Ps 147 are the exception rather than the rule, such are enough to remind us there is a culture-bound, historically influenced, human  dimension to scripture. This is true even of the New Testament where St Paul on divorce can say he thinks he has the spirit of God on the matter (1 Cor 7:40) which in a way is perhaps inspiration of another sort, an agnostic one, that might allow for the use of discrimination and having opinions in special cases. (Is no one divorced ever to be remarried?). As soon as extremes of infallibility are admitted and the Bible becomes one’s paper Pope, selective reading and casuistry follow as surely as night follows day. And one finds casuistry often enough among evangelicals or none of them would be divorced and their women would be silent and with covered heads in church. It is wiser and makes for more all-round integrity to claim a little less for the bible to let its true inspiration shine through. Also to let the Spirit speak as in “Hear what the Spirit says to the churches” (Rev 2:7) rather than to hear only what the Bible says to the churches.

2)

Exaggerated, knee jerk, easily offended patriotism that imagines America is “God’s country”, specially chosen and covenanted with “the American Dream” specially privileged. This is a position which often entails a lot of questionable mythologizing about the founding fathers of the republic who, unlike the Pilgrim Fathers, were more Deists and Free Masons than Christians. There is no need to deny that some Americans may have been specially chosen to spearhead various meaningful political and missionary movements that have touched the world; but if America is specially chosen, God would have to have made a strange choice. The America of history rather than myth is stained by a past in which native Americans have been exploited, abused and sometimes decimated while slavery, segregation and race hatred have thrived. Both trends have been too often supported by a selective, literalistic, conservative reading of the bible which falsely identified taking America with settling the Holy Land more than three thousand years ago under very different historical conditions and values. Amid concern to save souls or build churches, such issues have rarely been “prophetically” addressed by evangelicals, similarly to the money greedy legal system and the sometimes cruel related penal system – just recently prisoner Chelsea Manning was punished by solitary for having been depressed and attempted suicide.

America is, and has been long riddled with, not only unusually high levels of political corruption – wealth is almost essential to being in politics at all – but unacceptable, even exceptional levels of crime and violence never helped by conservative Christian attachment to the second amendment which sanctions the possession of fire arms. Those countries like Australia that ban guns prove the point that bans control crime. Why are followers of the mostly pacifist Jesus wanting to arm citizens? It is all part of an evangelical myopia and the kind of wrong thinking that gives Christianity a bad name in the world.

3)

The latter point leads to the next which is that implicit in Evangelicalism is a kind of supremacist, boss church politics that in modern times has manifested in certain attitudes and politics of the so-called Christian Right. Although belief in the gospel is preached as a choice, the reality is the believers frequently aim to impose their beliefs and/or the values derived from those beliefs, on everyone. Separation of church and state is paid lip service to but is scarcely believed in. No one has the right not to accept Christian values which should be established by everything from local laws to Supreme Court judges. In special cases where basic truth and justice is concerned, a matter I will touch on later, this may be appropriate. However, as a general rule it only dilutes and confuses the gospel to preach – in effect:- “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and be saved…. or be subject to our rule and legislation in the here and now”.  Such is virtually the position of the high profile, noisy Franklin Graham, and it can leave Christianity uncomfortably like a kind of Islam with its would-be imposition of Sharia, or the system of an oppressive, church-supported Russian state whose Putin Graham has egregiously approved.

4)

Boss church Evangelicalism is suitably accompanied by another this-worldly assumption inherited from and enlarged upon from an early Calvinist legacy – that the good Christian should make their way in the world and be outright exemplars of “The American Dream”. They should be successful, not least and even especially in purely financial terms as this is supposed to certify divine grace and favour. For Calvin success certified  predestined election itself. Money is never far away from the evangelical mindset, yet nothing is further from the biblical standard represented by the mission of the Twelve (Mk 6:7-13). This company is to go out almost wholly unequipped: “take nothing except a staff…no bread, no bag, no money”; and though they are to give serious warning to those who refuse their message, there is no expectation of gain from the message whether accepted or refused, nothing apart from the welcome that travellers of the period might expect”. By contrast, there are elements within Evangelicalism today, especially its Prosperity Gospel wing, which reckons to arrive in private jets, roll up in limousines and have congregations paying for luxurious megachurches with cash that would better serve charities and overseas missions.

Logically and inevitably evangelicals have been identified and over-identified in politics with the Republican party. As it’s traditionally the party of the rich it’s a strange choice seeing the gospels do state “woe to you who are rich…” (Luk 6:24). Wealth, though not biblically despised, is more an incidental than an automatic, necessary blessing. But given their money friendly position, evangelicals have regarded anything less than adherence to full blown capitalism as “Communism” itself. One recent contributor to Charisma magazine invited to contribute advice to voters on the presidential race, opined that while Trump could be wrong on some things,  Hillary was 100% wrong including because she represents Socialism. And Socialism is nothing but “Communism without a gun”. Really? There’s Socialism and socialism. While one may object to much that Hillary Clinton stands for, it is not Socialism on her part but common justice of a sort recognized throughout most of the free West that, for example, higher education should be free. And it’s time Christians realized that its being free helps avoid known alternatives like students paying their fees through work in prostitution or the porn industry while the offspring of the rich indulge themselves at frat parties. Let us anyway be clear there are elements of socialism in the gospels (the parable of the vineyard workers Matt 20:1-16)). Quite simply, much by way of American evangelical politics is just eccentrically prejudiced and poorly informed.

5)

The same might be said about two difficult subjects which almost obscure the gospel itself whose declarations  in some circles can finish little removed from “Repent and believe and be against abortion and gay rights” because those who would presume to do otherwise are effectively murderers or abominations before God. These topics are almost beyond present scope and I don’t suggest that Christians can uncritically accept either “a woman’s right to choose” or the full blown secularist queer agenda, but there are some points to consider all the same. And if evangelicals had ever been more generous, democratic and realistic in the first place, they might not be on the horns of the dilemma where they now find themselves opposed by the extremer secularist legislations.

Re the Right-to-life obsession that evangelicals have largely borrowed from Catholics under ecumenism, biblically they will support it by especially God’s declaration he knew  Jeremiah before he was born (Jer 1:5). We may well ask at what stage of womb life was that, though  really the statement seems more like a declaration of knowing Jeremiah as more as  an idea or spirit even before conception. The fact is that even the church fathers were never agreed when the spirit entered the foetus  – it is  a modern and Catholic notion influenced by late declared Immaculate Conception doctrine, that life must be sacred and spiritual  from the instant of conception. The awkward fact remains that before modern medicine changed the picture, infant mortality could be up to one in four with death occurring at birth or in early years. If every foetus was so known and precious to God as  Jeremiah, why did God allow so much death according to an uncorrected “fallen”  nature, and will anyone then call God anti-life for allowing the situation? At any rate the OT is anything but manifestly pro life. Theoretically or actually (it’s hard to tell) death should be meted out as penalty for many misdeeds while a state of impurity should be avoided for many things. Is it not to impurify the womb for it to carry the fruit of rape, the sort of action for which the Torah would prescribe death? And if adulterers were to be executed, would that not entail the death of foetuses? The churches have rarely talked sense or charity on this issue – some church fathers extremely taught that a woman’s soul itself was lost with the infant’s life.

Clearly any blanket, absolute ban on abortion cannot be supported logically, humanely or biblically – the abuses and misery caused to women in a country of absolute ban like Catholic Chile where doctors dismiss the most ghastly health situations with “just pray”, is terrible to hear and unacceptable.   At the same time we have to affirm so too is any mere disregard for life – to abort for convenience, such as to further a career, is obviously something where a woman’s right to choose should not be allowed to apply. But since it is well known that the legal bans on abortion so often support backstreet illegal abortions anyway, the churches’ engagement with secular laws in this area is always going to be a difficult balancing act to be wise and just. Life must be protected but not infinitely so in an imperfect world, and one feels that those who so passionately appeal for life should be forced to adopt and devote their whole lives to what can be the soul-destroying labour of raising the extremely deformed and incapacitated. As it is, a lot of Right-to-life protest with its sloganism  is too often just a feel good, substitute gospel activity. Typical of its dubious nature, as I write this, tele-evangelist, Kenneth Copeland, himself guilty as hell for promoting a Prosperity Gospel that has perverted the life of the churches in Asia and South America, declares that those who refuse to vote in the presidential election: “…are going to be guilty of murder,” …. You’re going to be guilty of an abomination of God. You’re going to be guilty for every baby that’s aborted from this election forward.” What can one say to such arrant nonsense which is almost but not quite funny? Even if abortion-liberal Hillary becomes president, there is nothing to prevent independent protests against her values and rulings while in power. But Evangelicalism loves the sensational and this kind of inflammatory rhetoric will always grab headlines.

Similarly complex and also liable to hurt persons, especially the young to the point of suicide, is homosexuality. This is something evangelicals routinely and stubbornly dismiss as just a ”lifestyle”. The claim is misleading and far more is involved psychologically and spiritually than how straights see in  the human interactions of the gay bar or the exhibitions of some gay parades (both of these partly productions of the ghettos that until quite recently traditional religious prejudice in especially America favoured). Much could be said but here but as with “socialism” there is homosexuality and homosexuality. I shall limit myself to noting that the evangelical approach is much a matter of words and perspectives whose error is signalled by the way in which Evangelicals will state that God, or “God’s word”, condemns “homosexuality”, a term that doesn’t exist in the Bible. To some extent gay liberation, which originated in America, marked a reaction to a whole range of social discriminations and bullying that anyone a bit different, let alone gay, suffered in Christian America. In Texas police could enter your bedroom to insure you weren’t doing gay things. Until quite recently persons of all stripes could be abusively treated for not fitting within an American tribalism where the prevailing view of gender was little better than “Me Tarzan, you Jane”.

This was a society in which the Bible (and the Bible according to KJV translation alone!) determined what whole multitudes would think about “homosexuality”. A tendency to parochial, small town culture in America meant that few knew or absorbed just how much towering figures of western culture like Plato in philosophy, Michelangelo in art, Turing in science, had in fact been gay. Homosexuality whatever someone knew or just thought it meant, could never amount to more than “abomination” whatever in turn that signified; and that word was actually not what we mean in modern English (to Jews it meant something more like “idolatry”, heathen religious practices, by no means all sexual and not all regarded by Christians as wrong like eating shell fish or rabbit). The fanatical adherence to this kind of broadly generalizing but ungenerously narrow view of reality lingers on and is betrayed in the kind of statements from Franklin Graham in support – of all people – of Putin of Russia because of that president’s hard line (much exploited on the ground) against “homosexuality”. Some radical evangelicals have been active in opposing freedom for gays  – which in practical terms has meant they contribute to the actual harassment of gays –  in some African nations. I don’t write here in favour of secular legislative overwrites of all religious liberties; I even question laws which would impel Christians to contribute to gay ceremonies they don’t believe in – or else what happens to democracy? – but in the final analysis it is hard not to feel current evangelical problems with the laws are much self-inflicted, the end product of a long history of wrong thinking and injustice insufficiently examined or repented. Leading evangelicals and charismatics like Perry Stone can still get away with saying you are biblically illiterate if you don’t know and understand that Paul has said it all as regards “homosexuality” in Romans 1.  Well, St Paul  hasn’t and the real ignorance is to assume so. You might as well say the apostle’s vivid experiences on the high seas can tell us all we ever need to know about maritime  transport.

With that I can conclude these observations coloured by years of experience trying to deal with or even just contact and speak with American Evangelicals. If I were merely vengeful I could tell tales and name some familiar names, but I won’t. I will only say my impression is that some are little better than bullies and bar room brawlers, arrogant and dismissive in their behaviour as some cultists. In Gal 5:15, St Paul refers to Christians who bite and devour one another. Read material from an evangelical quarter – for example The Christian Post which is a good enough source for some general news – you might have the impression that too many Christians are doing just what the apostle referred to. There is a sort of free for all, a rush to tear down or criticize whatever has just been said in a kind of religious theatre of chaos. I am left unimpressed, and because the spiritual life of many is affected by this, rather troubled too. It’s not the business and not usually the fate of therighteous to be merely popular, but one doesn’t want to be unpopular because of behaviour within religion fit for the fools that St Paul said he didn’t gladly suffer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE INCREASING SILLINESS IN THE BILLY GRAHAM CLAN

 graham-and-family

THE INCREASING SILLINESS IN THE BILLY  GRAHAM CLAN

According to a report in The Christian Post, the now elderly Billy Graham is advising Christians not to be discouraged or offended by pastors asking for money. In so many words perhaps they shouldn’t be, but it doesn’t sound as though in his advanced years the retired Graham senior is aware of the scandal being caused by the Prosperity Gospel teachings which are destroying lives and faith and bringing the church generally into disrepute in the world.
This oversight is mild and nothing in comparison with some of the embarrassingly eccentric notions proceeding from his offspring and which only get heard because of their revered father’s reputation.
I haven’t time to follow up half the wild things  Franklin Graham has been saying in recent times about “homosexuals” . They are  the Enemy one shouldn’t allow into homes and churches or near your children and that because they can’t have children they may steal them and so on.  Right wing Franklin is notoriously on record as having anachronistically praised Putin’s Russia for what is its internationally criticized, draconian treatment of the gay rights issue which has infected the mind of the nation spawning many abuses– any youth even looking effeminate is at risk of being beaten up on the streets by gangs who won’t be charged for their crimes.
The fact about gays is that most are not even notably inclined to either marriage or having children, their own or other people’s; but they do want a measure of acceptance and equality, the reason there has been a considerable push towards a marriage equality many will never personally put to use. But to suggest gays are child stealers, perhaps snatchers, frustrated around parenthood is crazy.
But now, and as though Franklin wasn’t enough, the daughter, Ann Lotz Graham is off on another tack. She believes God is judging and removing the divine pleasure from America and allowed 9/11 because of “the transgender silliness”. (UK Telegraph 14.5.2016). It’s not to question or deny that divine favour can be removed from a nation (or that there can be plenty of silliness around gender issues) to ask did mainstream America really even know much about transgenderism, sane or silly before Bruce Jenner transitioned last year and Obama made an issue about transgenders and bathrooms? Back in 2001 America was nearly wholly innocent of such things.
The Graham children remind one of a British figure of the sixties and seventies, Mary Whitehouse. She campaigned for things many people supported like getting sex off early evening TV, but unable to see the wood for the trees or perhaps just growing vain, eccentric or over confident in her authority, she proceeded to campaign against just anything like insisting the word “damn” should never be heard in media until people laughed at and ignored her.
Franklin especially and assisted by the authority of his father’s name, is fast becoming America’s Mrs Whitehouse, ready to rise to almost any and all occasions whether they or he are strictly relevant and whether he is informed in his judgements or not. It is painfully obvious he regards himself or would like to be regarded as a fearless Elijah against a corrupt world towards which he is prepared to be the martyr. But it won’t do.
People can see through it. The very effects he fears for America he increases as people turn away from Christianity disillusioned at sensationalism and gratuitous intolerance. Few would deny there are very major problems at stake for America in many directions. Even some gays have been questioning where PC ism and litigious attitudes are taking the country, some have even contributed to funds for Christians in trouble with gay intransigents.
But whatever is wrong one doesn’t take sledge hammers to crack nuts and/or mix your sermonizing with serious disinformation. If you increasingly do so, expect the negative reactions which emphatically do not help the Christianity you seek to defend and still less any kind of authentically “prophetic” warnings.

A POETIC RANT IN A SEASON OF ZIKA VIRUS

Abortion

The following quickly composed poem is not one about “freedom of choice” or “a woman’s right to choose” where abortion is concerned. It’s about common sense and basic justice which in this area a form of Christian idealism is undermining. It’s common error to suppose all Christians are opposed to abortion in all cases. For a start the Methodists  accept and in America the Southern Baptists accepted it before ecumenical cooperation brought evangelicals and charismatics under the influence of absolutist Catholic beliefs. Catholic views are however often more philosophical than strictly biblical/prophetic with the result that having declared against  abortion, capital punishment must be invariably wrong too – Pope Francis declares it a Christian duty to  oppose it always, everywhere – a position the bible could hardly be used to endorse.

A POETIC RANT IN A SEASON OF ZIKA VIRUS

True Believer

It’s Pope and Bible clear, don’t kill.
All life’s so sacred from the first to take
The breath from murderers and torturers
Can only multiply the sin. By faith I say
All being’s fully sacred from its start
Although I know there are miscarriages and
Still births everywhere. There always were
So that before new medicine cured, God let
Good mothers in their thousands die with
Foetuses concerning which church fathers
Wondered when the soul might enter in
To quicken what and who they were. Even so…

Conservative Evangelical

Quite right, agreed…
I’m evangelical American, accept the bible
At its word and since the prophet Jeremy
Said God had known him in the womb that means
He must know everyone who’s growing there.
So what have I to do with you who want
Relief, who say you’re traumatized by rape,
Or know that lifelong you must nurse a child
One born to suffer, hideous out of shape?
Begone foul murdering women who will bear
No cross and who in insolence would tell me
How my bible’s record is that God commanded
Life be taken, not preserved, for many a sin….. [1]

Traditional Catholic

…..Just as indeed in times gone past too many
Christians would be moved and in God’s name
To war and for its cause too many died.
Even so, have faith, do rest assured, we’ve changed
Your Catholic bishop that I am, speaks out
For law, for  reason and obedience.
Our mother Mary was immaculate, therefore
Do what she’d do which never is abort.
All life is sacred in its way even when not all
Immaculate. And since our blessed Pope holds
True that womb life is a sacred charge, it’s serves but
Logic to insist no criminal should lose his
Life. For are you not, as are we all, but sinners?

Layperson

Enough you babbling hypocrites – away!
You’ve said too much and far too loud and long
Declared  your  gospel substitute which is  [2]
Scarce more than rigid law that cannot treat
Of human need nor live or manage with
Exception. You have no right to cite
Your Lord who rules the punishment of sin
And death for it. You neither know your scripture’s
Spirit nor tradition, (itself quite changed
At your own will). Down with those banners
Unless you are prepared yourselves to nurse
The child of incest, rape and each child
Cursed with pain and great deformity.

Even at the worst (and granting true
That rarely can abortion make for good)
Still what is done is not the same as
What you call infanticide, does not compare
As you maintain with ancient Molech’s cult,
Which would receive direct into its angry fires
Live infants, not beings still within the womb.
How dare you cheat each term, make accusation
In this way in God’s own name. Learn to
Control your words, your vision and your
Abstract ramblings in the fields of faith,
Your talk self-righteous in “defence of life”
By which you only make belief more hard
And all believers more despised. Enough
And find more fitting reasons to be kind!

NOTES

[1} A scholarly/historical case can be made that the OT laws which demand capital punishment for many sins were not at their origins wholly or largely intended to be literally taken but were instead more symbolic or “utopian”. However…. to the extent one takes them literally at all, it is quite apparent that women charged with various sexual sins would have died with their infants in the womb. This in itself proves the foetus was never regarded as totally sacrosanct, indeed if anything the results of sin are usually seen as making impure and something to be cast out. A case for abortion in the situation of rape trauma – which the child may even inherit psychologically – would seem rather strong. Then too, if pre-natal life were so absolutely sacred, why would the deity permit so many deaths in childbirth prior to our times in which modern medicine alone permits the luxury of moral obsessions with preserving life  both before birth and at the end of life in the effectively brain dead.

[2] It has become apparent that for some members of the churches, anti-abortion campaigns have become their religious obsession and  raison d’etre, Practically what this means is a gospel is less preached than Imposed as a political/legal policy. Even the present Pope who is anti abortion has observed what is almost an over-emphasis on the subject leading to very unforgiving attitudes.  And of course as has often been said, there are limits to what anti-abortion campaigns can achieve. They only increase illegal abortions which often means much loss of life anyway. Sometimes it’s meaningful compromise is the holiest policy.

WHEN NOT TO BE A GOOD SAMARITAN

migrants

A QUESTION OF LIMITS

Are there occasions when people, especially Christians, are not called upon to be proverbial Good Samaritans, not founts of mercy? And why might our bibles, especially the OT (which admittedly for Christians belongs to another and older covenant), often demand the refusal of mercy.

There’s a poem I’ve had in mind which I now doubt I shall ever write because though it could carry its message at the level of feeling it would be hard to cover things sufficiently at the level of argument. The failure at the poetic level would be excusable, but I should want to be as fair as possible in the face of fact and complexity and also remain clear as possible given the barrage of criticism any original or non PC treatment of a theme can engender today.

Not that my approach and main facts supporting it would be entirely original – anyone wanting more of the facts can go to the writings of such as ex-Muslim Ayaan Hirsi Ali, British author and journalist Douglas Murray and articles of the Gatestone Institute which regularly reports news that especially Germany, Sweden and Britain don’t want people to hear and sometimes controversially suppress. Only the spiritual/theological perspectives would be more particular to myself.

LAMENTATION FOR EUROPE

The poem, a variation on the Lamentations of Jeremiah, would be about what I believe to be radically the case, an inconvenient truth not seen (or not admitted), namely the end of Europe as we know it  – Murray would speak of Europe’s “suicide” – something symbolized and partly triggered by the migrant crisis. The latter phenomenon, which both is and isn’t a genuine “migrant” crisis, involves far more than the PC political class and a by and large would-be generous public cares to recognize.

Poetry which transcends norms of expression offers an opportunity to question and rewrite reality. Sometimes its treatment is closer to those prophetic style perceptions of events which assume spiritual laws of life that post-Enlightenment rationalism and even religion won’t consider and have largely forgotten.

As with Lamentations this can include difficult concepts like the “wrath” or “jealousy” of God, expressions which don’t automatically mean quite what is popularly assumed. They are more metaphorical and bespeak rather a divine withdrawal from events which allows natural chaos to take over and the need for an exclusive attachment to the divine in order to hear anything from that source.

So, any poem in the style of Lamentations would speak to the more spiritual dimensions of the current crisis, but what might that mean? And how would the perspective differ from the rationalist Christian and/or secularist line in the West for whom events are simply a call to be  a  good Samaritans to suffering people (assuming, as is not always the case, that the migrants, usually male and some over fifty but claiming to be “unaccompanied children”, are authentic refugees, not opportunists seeking a new life and benefits).

GOOD SAMARITANS TO WHOM AND WHY?

The Good Samaritan is defined by Jesus’ parable of Luk 10:25-37 as a social outsider ( to Jews of Jesus’ time) who has mercy upon someone when  it would not be customary to have automatic interest in or sympathy with . The aided victim is a man who has been attacked by thieves and left for half dead – to that extent comparison could be made with tortured victims of President Assad’s regime which has suppressed opposition and reform – the president is largely responsible for the entire Syrian crisis. The parable implies almost anyone is a potential neighbour to everyone else and here comparison of gospel ethics with Islam’s  injunction  to terrorize and subjugate the outsider/infidel  wherever they are found (Sura 9:5) could hardly be greater. (Converts to Christianity from Islam are usually persuaded by the theme of forgiveness within the religion. The popularity of jihad  with  martyrdom in Islam  is due precisely to its being the only sure  way to secure divine acceptance and thus paradise ).

The person the Samaritan assists is helpless and in need of aid. This is not the same as someone, victim or otherwise, who does not consider outsiders to be any kind of world citizen but who still demands assistance from others as of right, which at least some migrants have done, demanding to be let in, passing barriers and protesting if they are not  allowed to enter  the rejecting society is criminal and doesn’t understand humanity – ironically an ideal they have at least partly learned from the West they often despise or oppose.

This situation with the attitudes it throws up is between strange and unprecedented. When nations suffer war and internal dysfunction, normally they fight and put up with it. Some populations like the Jews have fled specific persecution to more tolerant places but they have usually brought wanted skills with them rather than expected host nations to support them on the scale migrants often expect and indeed need when they require language and other training to cope.

The idea that war suffering and internal chaos gives the right to populations to migrate by the million is historically exceptional. It is something that perhaps more readily occurs to members of a highly political faith which believes in its ultimate right to universal rule and reducing resisting inhabitants to servant status, despised paying dhimmis,   and even the right to practice a degree of conquest by migration. That such is an established Islamic principle even an orthodox Muslim freely admits (see http://goo.gl/25QYXr. We may suppose the readiness of Turkey and the Gulf States to let Europe be swamped is not without the hope of furthering precisely expansion.

Does this mean that Christians have the right to ignore an influx of people desperate as at any rate some threatened Syrians are, but whose nonetheless alien beliefs and values could over time pose a threat to host lifestyles – an assumption not merely “racist”(as even the very pro-refugee Archbishop of Canterbury has insisted) but based on the kind of things preached in some immigrant circles and actions already observed to have occurred where migrants have recently settled.

No, we should not ignore….but in this instance assistance should be given with proper caution and safeguards. The Christian rule in this case would be closer to the NT dictum, “if your enemy hungers, feed him” (Rom 12:10). Enemy? Do Christians have them? Are they supposed to be looking for them and  regarding people as such? Are those refugees, some of whom really have lost everything and are hopeless, but who are not waging war and quite likely are peace loving, actual “enemies”? No…..but to be realistic, they do still cling to and represent a culture, faith, values and laws that have failed them and many more in modern times; and wherever Muslims are a majority their rulers from Sudan to Afghanistan  have proved relentlessly hostile and discriminatory towards Christians and other minorities. The mixture of corruption and persecution that is, for example, modern Pakistan is disturbing and within Britain where immigrants of that nation have  settled in great numbers, everything from archaic treatment of women to persecution of Christian converts has been reported.

SHARIAH

WHO ARE MY BROTHER AND SISTER?

No matter how worthy many individual Muslims may be, practically and politically regarded they cannot be simply called “our brothers and sisters” as a well-meaning, naive papacy is ready to call them. It’s the Christians, women and gays persecuted by Muslims who are our brothers and sisters. The Chinese classic The Art of War insists that one must understand the mind of the enemy to win any advantage,  something which if the West is not to founder or just suicide, it needs to do pronto. It is short-sighted, naïve and even  disloyal to the suffering of minorities in Islamic societies, to be anything but cautious and provisional in welcome.

Horror was inevitably expressed when the blustering, pot-stirring Donald Trump described Islam as having a hate problem, but something of the kind seems almost undeniable. It is notorious that Palestinians were dancing in glee at  9/11 and recent murders of Israelis can engender the same response. The hatred of some Muslims for Christians is so intense that Syrian and Iraqi Christians have been physically attacked and refused food and drink as impure untouchables even in refugee camps in Europe. Escaping refugees have thrown Christian refugees from their boat to drown them. Others are not so needy or friendly they have not thrown away offered food and drink https://goo.gl/E1lnGv

Only because the West is largely secular (despite the fact Muslims inaccurately call  Europeans “Crusaders”)  has it insufficiently cared and protested for persecuted Christians; but failing to care it also fails to read the writing on the wall for itself as constituting also “infidels” who later may receive no better treatment. The perverse secularism of Sweden has in the past sent Christians refugees from such as Iran back into certain persecution  http://goo.gl/ElxWYN while opening its arms to refugee Muslims by the thousands. Some of these refugees are now harassing women (including minors) and ordinary citizens to a degree press and politicians scarcely dare admit and have so far mostly tried to hide http://goo.gl/kBREej Multiculturalism and fears of being called “racist” have Swedish police and people in shackles unable to defend themselves in the face of persons who have no appreciation for the old adage “When in Rome, do as Rome does”.

This ungrateful or presuming guest response recalls another parable of Jesus to which I turn presently and whose message must be set against that of the Good Samaritan because of the way it addresses the  response to a compassion scorned.

THE ETHICS OF NO MERCY

The Old Testament has two attitudes towards the stranger/refugee: welcome provided they become part of the society observing its laws (Lev 24:22), or in the case of peoples like Moabites and Amorites who have distinctly opposed Israel or whose beliefs are so perverse they would contaminate, simple extinction. Deut 7: 2-7 is summary of the general principle and style and can be quoted:

And when the Lord your God gives them over to you and you defeat them, , then you must utterly destroy them. Make no covenant with them and show them no mercy. Do not intermarry with them, ….for that would turn away your children from following me….break down their altars, smash their pillars, hew down their sacred poles….”.  

The ruthlessness of this has understandably troubled and bewildered Christian readers of the age of Pisces looking back to the blood and iron of the age of super-patriarchal Aries, bolstered as this was by customs of the some of which still survive into our times, like the kind of honour killings now and again surfacing among peoples of the Middle East, not to say the radical ethnic and cultural cleansing of IS. Even in that earlier age Israel itself hesitated to be so absolute, though it was later seen as a cause of their vulnerability in many ways especially its idolatries.

It is perhaps only in the face of the intransigence and ruthlessness we see in IS and which seems almost a speciality of the Middle East,(Hitler and Nazism despite –  Hitler was inspired by the still denied Ottoman genocide of the Christian Armenians!), it makes a little more sense.

It would obviously be wrong in this era and for Christians to annihilate enemies (just this has been the crime of Orthodox Serbs upon the Muslims of Bosnia from fear of what Islam means and has done in Eastern Europe), but in any age or clime, aggressive intransigence may need to be dismissed or ignored or somehow quarantined so that any kind of peace and order can flourish.

If beyond a certain point people and societies value vengeance and make children imbibe it with their mother’s milk, then this leads to total paralysis on the moral plain. We see something of the kind in the (again minimally reported) policies and attitudes of Palestinians today. Given millions to rebuild their society the money gets poured instead into building more tunnels into Israel because the real desire is not a good and safe life but vengeance upon the nation for existing at all with the desire, freely expressed everywhere from media to classroom, to have those supposedly descended from pigs and monkeys, destroyed before Judgement day.  Likewise  Iran openly declares and plans for the total annihilation of Israel as its aim – it recently launched missiles with notices attached declaring the need to destroy all Jews. The easy going West conveniently ignores and doesn’t believe it (after all trade is involved!) but why not?

Let us speculate and try to imagine. If God is love (Islam never says this, only that Allah is “merciful”) and represents certain absolutes that need to be established for the general good but cannot be so because those values are threatened by persons so committed to hatred after the manner of violent tribes as depicted in the OT, then in the interests of progress a case can perhaps be made for a new beginning. This is achieved not by reconciliation when none is possible, but by annihilation. With certain root principles established and the spirit of the age different Christians cannot possibly think this way, but in other times and places……?

I can now turn to that other parable that differs from the Good Samaritan, namely the parable of the unforgiving servant (Matt 18: 23-35). A king demands owed payments from persons who cannot repay. One of them risks losing family and everything. Upon appeal the king forgives the servant his debt. The servant goes straight out and starts bullying a fellow slave who owes him far less than he himself had owed. The victim’s fellow slaves report him to the ruler. The parable ends,

“Then his lord summoned him and said to him ‘You wicked slave! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. Should you not have had mercy on your fellow slave, as I had mercy on you?’ And in anger his lord handed him over to be tortured until he would pay his entire debt. So my heavenly Father will also do to everyone one of you, if you do not forgive your brother or sister from your heart”.

With this in mind, finally we may turn to a few poetic/prophetic parallels to our times.

PROPHETIC VERDICTS?

SHARIAH 2

In one of my poems I observed

Religion knows no vacuum
Nor end of tides, its nature
Is it will return to fill the empty
Rock pools of the secular sands….  (Beyond Dover Beach)

Quite simply society does not get rid of God by denial, indifference or forgetting. The God issue returns, if need be in another form; and if God is not the friend, God becomes however reluctantly the enemy. The rejected, uninvoked God withdraws protection in a way which makes him as though the enemy itself. “He has taken away the covering (protection) of Israel” says Isaiah (Is 22: 8) with the result as chaos mounts “I am laying before this people stumbling blocks against which they shall stumble” (Jer 6:21).

The situation and attitude of Europe today is painfully similar to that of Judah before its fall to enemies – decadent and complacent, assured that no evil will come (Jer 5:12) “no evil shall come upon us/and we shall not see sword or famine”, declaring “peace, peace and there is no peace” (Jer 6:14). It’s the reckless even arrogant spirit of Angela Merkel’s wir schaffen es   (we’ll deal with it). Yet, says the prophet, those will come who “will eat up your harvest and your bread” (Jer 5:17). Do we need to spell it out that the migrant crisis is so large it is likely to wreck the economies of Europe, especially proudly wealthy Germany as increasingly the tax payer must fund those who arrive?

“The mills of God grind slowly but they grind exceeding fine”. It’s not a biblical saying but it might as well be so. Germany who in the last century was an exponent of racial purity and a persecutor of Jews, (which last is declared to invoke the curse of God , Gen 12:3) finally is held to ransom by what promises to be a virtual end of any kind of racial purity and ongoing wealth. The sins of the fathers stand to be visited on the children. Though not themselves Nazi bigots, those children might as well be atheists as regards any spirituality, mistaught in Christianity as they are by the likes of Bultmann popularizer and author Uta Ranke-Heinemann whose Putting Away Childish Things, is in many respects an insult and mockery to everything divine. Where the theologians are concerned it’s a case of “they have spoken falsely” (told lies) about the Lord” (Jer 5:13).

An oracle against Sweden could rather easily be composed in view of what has happened and is likely to happen to that bastion of secularism and “liberalism” where some citizens are now paying for private protection because they can no longer trust their police to guard them against migrant thefts and assaults and attacks on their homes – most of which you will never have heard of because the political class can’t admit to the rank failure of its almost totalitarian multicultural policies and plays the old “racist” card to critics. Swedes are abandoning the swimming pools because of the dangers of being there.

Sweden is the country where God is scarcely mentioned unless as something embarrassing and the lesbian bishop of Stockholm removes crosses from her church lest Muslims not feel welcome in her country (whose flag has a cross). Sweden almost invented modern permissiveness and pioneered in postmodern treatments of sex and gender so blatant they would have children no longer referred to as “he” and “she”. The nation is far beyond any justifiable modern reforms in favour of women and gays. Ever since films like I am Curious Yellow in the sixties Sweden has been banishing any concepts of sacred from life, sex and marriage which last is almost the exception and not the rule in the country. The sudden reversal of the nation’s fortunate situation inevitably rather recalls words like:

And if you say in your heart
“Why have these things come upon me?”
It is for the greatness of your iniquity
That your skirts are lifted high
And you are violated…..
This is your lot….because
You have forgotten me and believed in lies. (Jer 13:22,28).

Whether or not one feels there is a connection here, I can only say that when I read a year or so ago that liberal Sweden, so ready to assimilate almost anyone or anything had turned away desperate Iranian Christian asylum seekers, something registered with me. I felt a line in hypocrisy and injustice by the “liberal” nation  had been crossed and the country would pay for it. God is patient, but not infinitely and establishment Sweden has gone far enough with its lies and hypocrisy.  I didn’t however suspect the reversal would arrive quite so fast and strong.

If we were to look at the rest of Europe for a rewriting of oracles against or lamentations over nations it’s interesting to note that the countries which the migration crisis has hit most hard, Britain, Germany, Sweden and France , are not simply those nations that have most appeal for the fleeing multitudes on account of wealth and lifestyle, but they are the nations most obviously alienated from God. It is they who have been most prone to export their unbelief – France has been doing it since the so-called Enlightenment. Few have pointed out just how radical in its contempt of the sacred Charlie Hebdo was – what it threw at Islam was mild in comparison with its blasphemies of Christianity – while those who died at the Bataclan theatre did so when a song welcoming the devil started up. We have to consider with the prophets it really is possible to lose divine protection. France is also an offender in its perennial dismissiveness ands coldness of its social attitudes which by making its immigrants feeling unwanted builds up resentments which foster extremist views. France is simply a thoroughly unchristian country in more ways than one;  even the era of its religion held much that was objectionable.

If Europe does not care to accept the Christian God, then they and their children in the schools (where as in Britain it has just been ruled early Islamic history will be taught before even 1066 and the British history that becomes optional), it will find itself ever more subject to the Muslim God and laws of Sharia. (Migrant population alone in the face of relative European infertility will make for rapid change while democracy, if not defended and respected, will just cave into an insistence upon Sharia inroads)). It will be a case of  “Ah Assyria, the rod of my anger” ( Is. 10.5) .  And despite some wishful interfaith thinking, Allah cannot be readily and automatically identified George Bush style with the Judaeo-Christian deity; there is too much contradiction between statements and claims of the different scriptures for that. If the Pope thinks otherwise and kisses the Koran (has he read it?) that is part of the confusion of the times and could even belong with long standing prophecy which would make the current Pope the last of the Christian era.