Dr. John MacArthur on American Religion
Segment 1 (00:00) In Touch with Reality
Segment 2 (08:51) Cultural Clarification
Segment 3 (17:22) An Offense Beyond Politics
Wretched Surprise! (25:27) Phil Phrenzy – Psalm 138:7-8
Dr. John MacArthur on American Religion
Segment 1 (00:00) In Touch with Reality
Segment 2 (08:51) Cultural Clarification
Segment 3 (17:22) An Offense Beyond Politics
Wretched Surprise! (25:27) Phil Phrenzy – Psalm 138:7-8
In October of last year the HB noted the release of the documentary American Gospel, an exposé of the so-called “prosperity gospel,” as well as the widespread confusion in evangelicalism over the nature of justification. I noted then, for far too many American and global Christians, the “prosperity gospel” is all they know of Christianity. For far too many Christians what the Scriptures actually teach about the law and the gospel is almost entirely unknown. Their leaders and influences are complete charlatans such as Kenneth Copeland, Benny Hinn, and Joel Osteen. As Mike Horton showed years ago, for many Christless Christianity is Christianity. It takes other forms too but the “health and wealth” message is perhaps its most garish form. In this new film Brandon Kimber tackles this topic and related questions. Is Christianity really about “being a good person”? What is salvation? How are people saved and what consequences does this have for their life? What hath Oprah to do with Christianity? For that matter, what hath Norman Vincent Peale to do with Christianity?
One of the other topics the film takes up is the Roman doctrine of salvation:
Scripture reading: John 13:1–17
Key verse: John 15:15
No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you.
The highest proof of true friendship,” emphasizes Andrew Murray, “is the intimacy that holds nothing back and admits the friend to share our inmost secrets. It is a blessing to be Christ’s servant; His redeemed ones delight to call themselves His servants. Christ had often spoken of the disciples as His servants. In His great love our Lord now says, ‘No longer do I call you servants, but I call you friends, for all things I heard from my Father I have made known to you.’ ”
Since the beginning of time God has sought ways of revealing Himself to mankind—first in the Garden of Eden and later to the prophets. With the birth of His Son, God initiated an intimacy with man that can never be destroyed. Jesus’ love for us was so great that He laid aside His royal robe in heaven and took up a towel and basin to serve those He came to save.
The next time you are tempted to think that God doesn’t care if you hurt or if you are lonely, think about what it cost Him to come to earth. He did not come to judge or condemn; He came to demonstrate His personal love for you. Before He left heaven, He knew there would be a Cross, and still He was willing to come to you.
God continues to reveal Himself even when you are captivated by the things of this world. Ask Him to make you sensitive to His great love.
Lord, make me sensitive to Your great love. Thank You for Your personal love for me, for leaving heaven and coming to earth to die for my sin.
This morning as I opened my emails, my eyes went immediately to one which was sure to surprise me.
Without using the woman’s name, here is what the email said (my comments to the reader indented in blue):
“The pastor begins every service holding up and exalting the Bible: “This is my Bible, I am what it says I am.” The pastor ends every service: “Make Jesus your personal Lord and Savior.” The words of Satan? No. The words of Osteen!
How about the Words of Christ?
In between is a Bible based WONDERFUL message like I was reminded again this weekend. Seated is the mother and wife of his dad, the founding pastor, who is testimony of HEALING Jesus. Love and healing abound. Sin is gone and WHO would even kill a fetus surrounded by such ABOUNDING HOPE!
View original post 1,006 more words
by Mike Ratliff
35 Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst. 36 But I said to you that you have seen Me, and yet do not believe. 37 All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out. John 6:35-37 (NASB)
Human reason is nothing more than worldly wisdom which is useless for anyone to rely on in order to be saved. On the other hand, our salvation is a work by all three persons in the Holy Trinity. God the Father chose his people before the foundation of the world. He set into motion all of the circumstances that would result in all of them becoming part of the Family of God. The Son, Jesus Christ, became…
View original post 1,417 more words
The Prophet now adds, that the likeness of a celestial bow was presented to him, which profane men call Iris, and imagine that she performs the commands of the gods, and especially of Juno. But Scripture calls it the bow of God, not because it was created after the Deluge, as many falsely suppose, but because God wished to stir up our hope with that symbol, as often as thick vapours cloud the heavens. For we seem as if drowned under those waters of the heavens. God therefore wished to meet our distrust, when he wished the bow in the heavens to be a testimony and pledge of his favour, because it is said by Moses, I will put my bow in the heavens. (Gen. 9:13.) Now some distort this as if the bow was not in existence before: but there is no doubt that God wished to inscribe a testimony of his favour on a thing by no means in accordance with it, as he freely uses all creatures according to his will. The bow in the heavens is often a sign of continued rain, and seems as if it attracted the shower. Since then its very aspect may cause terror, God says in opposition to this feeling, as often as the bow appears, it is clearly determined that the earth is now safe from a deluge. But the opinion of those who consider it in this place a testimony of favour does not seem to me proved, for the whole vision is opposed to it. This is indeed plausible that a bow appeared because God now wished to show himself propitious to his servant, just as they interpret that verse in the fourth chapter of Revelations, (verse 3,) when John saw the throne of God surrounded by a bow, because God was reconciled to the world by Christ. As far as this passage is concerned, I do not dispute it, but to interpret it so here would be altogether out of place, because the whole of this vision was formidable, as I said at the beginning. Thus to mingle contrary things would pervert the whole order of the vision.
What, then, is the object of this bow in the heavens? We have said that heaven appeared to the Prophet as he ascended by degrees to comprehend the glory of God, because the marks of deity are more conspicuous in heaven than on earth. For if we look back upon what we have formerly explained, God is never without witness, as Paul says, (Acts 14:17,) but yet his majesty shines clearer in the heavens. But when the bow appears, a new reason occurs for magnifying the glory of God. For in the bow we have the image of deity more clearly expressed, whilst we reflect on the magnificent workmanship of heaven, and whilst we turn our eyes round to all the stars and planets. In this way, I allow, God compels us to admire his glory, but the bow presents an addition not to be despised, as if God would add something to the bare aspect of heaven. Now therefore we see why the Prophet saw a celestial bow,—that he might be more and more affected when God presented such signal appearances to his view, and that he might be more induced to contemplate his glory. Hence what interpreters bring forward about a symbol of reconciliation is altogether out of place.
I saw, says he, the form of a bow which is placed, or which is in the cloud on a rainy day. If any one should ask if those colours are without substance, it is certain that colours arise from the rays of the sun on a hollow cloud, as philosophers teach. Therefore when the Prophet says, a bow appears on a rainy day, he simply means, exists or appears in the midst; not that the colours have any substance, as I have just said, but the rays of the sun, whilst they are mutually reflected on the hollow cloud, occasion the manifold variety. Afterwards he adds again, like the appearance of brightness round about. Again the Prophet confesses that his eyes were blinded, because he could not bear such great splendour. And God manifests himself familiarly to all his servants, yet so as not to foster our curiosity, to which mankind are far too inclined. God then wished to manifest himself as far as it was useful, but not so far as the desire of mankind—which is always immoderate—would carry them. Since mankind so eagerly strain themselves that they easily become weakened, we must remark what the Prophet inculcates a second time, namely, that the appearance of brightness was seen round about. Of what sort, then, was that brightness? Why, such as to blind the Prophet’s eyes, and to render him conscious of his weakness, so that he should not desire to know more than was lawful, but submit himself humbly to God.
At length he says, this was a vision of the likeness of the glory of Jehovah, and by these words confirms what I have said before, that the glory of God was so beheld by the Prophet, that God did not appear as he really is, but as far as he can be beheld by mortal man. For if the angels tremble at God’s glory, if they vail themselves with their wings, what should we do who creep upon this earth? We must hold, then, that as often as the Prophets and holy fathers saw God, they saw as it were the likeness or aspect of the glory of God, but not the glory itself, for they were not fit for it; for this would be to measure with the palm of our hands a hundred thousand heavens, and earths, and worlds. For God is infinite; and when the heaven of heavens cannot contain him, how can our minds comprehend him? But although God has never appeared in his immeasurable glory, and has never manifested himself as he really exists, yet we must nevertheless hold that he has so appeared as to leave no doubt in the minds of his servants as to their knowing that they have seen God. And this is the purport of those phrases which sometimes appear difficult. I have seen God face to face, says Jacob. (Genesis 32:30.) But was he so foolish as to think that he saw God like a mortal? by no means; but that appearance convinced him of its certainty, as if he had said that no spectre by which he could be deceived was presented to his view; for the devil deludes us unless we are attentive and cautious. Therefore Jacob here distinguishes the vision which he enjoyed from all prodigies in which profane nations delighted. Familiar knowledge, then, is the meaning of seeing face to face. At the same time, as I have said, God never gave the Fathers a sight of himself except according to their capacity. He always had respect to their faculties, and this is the meaning of the phrase, this was a vision of the splendour of Jehovah’s glory. Since, then, it is certain that Christ was beheld by him, he is Jehovah, that is, Eternal God; and although he is distinct from the person of the Father, yet he is entirely God, for the Father is in him: for the essence cannot be divided without impiety, although the persons must be distinguished. The rest I shall put off till to-morrow.
Grant, O Almighty God, since of thine unbounded goodness, thou hast counted us worthy of such honour as to descend to earth in the person of thine only-begotten Son, and to appear familiarly to us daily in thy gospel, in which we contemplate thy living image:—grant, I pray thee, that we may not abuse so great a benefit to vain curiosity, but may be truly transformed into thy glory, and so proceed more and more in the renewal of our mind and conduct, that we may at length be gathered to that eternal glory which has been obtained for us by thine only-begotten Son our Lord. Amen.
After the Prophet has recited the Vision, the object of which was to confirm his mission, he now adds, I fell upon my face, by which words he expresses his persuasion that God’s glory was manifested to him. For the knowledge of God does truly humble us, while the Prophet also teaches that men cannot be brought to order unless they are laid prostrate: for he does not say that he was only prepared to receive the commands of God, nor does he commend his own teachableness, but rather signifies that he was violently thrown down. For he had not all at once put off the affections of the flesh; but we know that confidence is born with us. Therefore, because the Prophet was not naturally disposed to obey God, he ought to be cast down with fear, that at length he might be really humbled. 
28 For the relation of Yahweh’s glory to earlier revelation, see Allen, Ezekiel 1–19, 36. For helpful theological implications, see Block, Ezekiel 1–24, 106–109.
1:27–28. His body looked like glowing metal and something like fire, surrounded by a radiance, like the appearance of the rainbow. This dazzling image of the beauty of the Lord is described by the apostle John in his vision of God’s heavenly throne (Rv 4:3).
This figure is identified as having the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord. Therefore, Ezekiel responded in worship and awe. He fell on his face (cf. Ezk 3:23; Gn 17:3) and heard a voice speaking. This should always be a believer’s attitude toward the Lord when considering His glory and majesty.
Ezekiel did not see the Lord God Himself (cf. Gn 16:13; Ex 3:6; 33:20; Jdg 13:22; Jn 1:18), but certain manifestations. It was an indescribable likeness of Him or a theophany (cf. comments on Ezk 1:5; 8:2), symbolically communicating the revelation of the glory, power, and majesty of the Lord (cf. Ex 40:34; Is 6:3). The Lord’s glory is a key idea in Ezekiel (see Introduction: Themes).
1:27, 28 Fire like burning metal (amber, v. 4) and rainbow-like brightness surrounded the One on the throne (v. 26). the likeness of the glory of the Lord: Human likeness here may reflect the personal nature of God’s revelation of Himself. Further, it points forward to the plan of a more personal revelation of God coming as the Messiah (John 1:1–18). The glory indicates the wonder, majesty, and worthiness of the living God. Amid the wheels, the creatures, the colors, and the dazzling light was a figure who appeared like a man (v. 26). Compare the vision of Daniel who saw One “like the Son of Man” (Dan. 7:13). I fell on my face: The prophet’s response was to fall down in worship and submission. All believers should recognize God’s great glory and fall down in humble submission before Him (Phil. 2:10, 11).
1:28 — … This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord.
It is impossible to fully describe the splendor that is God. The best Ezekiel can do is to say, “it looked something like an expression of something else.” God’s glory is radically different from everything in the universe.
1:28 the glory of the Lord. That glory shines fully in the person of Jesus Christ (cf. 2Co 4:6), which is a constant theme in Ezekiel. fell on my face. John, in Rev 1:17, had the same reaction (“fell at His feet”) to seeing the glory of the Lord.
1:28 The bow … on the day of rain could signal the covenant rainbow of Gen. 9:13–16. Given the ominous message that follows, the more likely symbolic reference is to the bow that is the Lord’s weapon from the storm, which shoots arrows of lightning (see Ps. 7:12–13; Hab. 3:9). The glory of the Lord is his manifested presence with his people, visible in the wilderness (Ex. 16:7) and then accessible through the sanctuary (Ex. 40:34–35); in Ezekiel the term appears in Ezek. 1:28; 3:12, 23; 8:4; 9:3; 10:4, 18–19; 11:22–23; 43:2–5; 44:4. This glory will leave the temple (chs. 9–11) and then will return to the restored temple (43:2–5). See note on Isa. 6:3. I fell on my face. In the NT, John’s vision of the risen Christ (Rev. 1:9–20, esp. v. 17) stirred a similar response.
1:28 the appearance of a bow Compare Rev 4:3.
the likeness of the glory of Yahweh Ezekiel acknowledges that he’s been describing a vision of Yahweh in His glory (see note on Isa 6:3; compare Exod 16:7 and note; 16:10 and note).
I fell on my face He acts out of reverence and fear, a typical response in human encounters with the divine (see Ezek 3:23; 43:3; 44:4; compare Gen 17:3; Josh 5:14; Dan 8:17; Rev 1:17).
1:28 bow. The rainbow not only reflects the splendor around God but testifies to His dominion over the sea and His promise to Noah (Gen. 9:16, 17). See theological note “The Glory of God” on page 1148.
1:28 Ezekiel was a faithful witness to all that he saw. A good witness is marked by five essential characteristics: (1) he has a sense of divine call which gives him his commission and authority (1:28–2:8); (2) he must be saturated with the message of God (2:8–3:3); (3) he shares the message, and does not receive it solely for personal enjoyment (3:4–11); (4) he shares the word with compassion, identifying with the plight of the hearer (3:12–15); and (5) he understands and accepts the responsibility to warn those who are out of God’s will, and to call them to repentance (3:16–21). The “rainbow” is a sign of God’s mercy and covenant love (see 10:1ff.; Gen. 9:11–17; Rev. 4:3).
1:28 The mention of the rainbow is an echo of God’s covenant with Noah (Gn 9:11–13). Just as God restored the world after the flood, He promised to restore fallen Israel. This vision is an early hint that the message of Ezekiel would be one not only of judgment but also of hope and restoration. It was this message of hope that answered a crucial theological question for Ezekiel and every exile in Babylon—and Judeans still left in Jerusalem—namely: Is there any hope of restoration?
1:28 The rainbow in Ezekiel’s vision recalls the ancient covenant God made with Noah and the human race (Gn 9). The glory of the Lord is a visible manifestation of God (Ex 16:7; 24:16–17; 40:34–35). The glory of the Lord also refers to the “pillar of fire” that accompanied the Israelites in their desert wanderings (Ex 13:21–22; Nm 14:14). Clouds, like fire, are frequently associated with the appearance of God (Ex 19:16; Jdg 5:4). Ezekiel declared that he fell facedown. This is the posture a person assumed before a king in ancient times. The Bible teaches that man cannot see God and live (Ex 33:18, 20); thus, God must reveal himself in a way that dims his full glory. What Ezekiel saw was not God in his essence, but a representation; hence, words like likeness and appearance pervade descriptions of God throughout the chapter. God did not manifest his full glory, but revealed as much as could be beheld by a mortal man. Even this partial unveiling of God’s glory was enough to overwhelm Ezekiel. When God visibly manifests himself, reverence and worship must follow, as biblical testimony from Moses onward makes clear (Ex 3:6; cp. Mt 17:1–9). The sound of God’s voice was like the voice John heard in his vision (Rv 1:15).
 Calvin, J., & Myers, T. (2010). Commentary on the First Twenty Chapters of the Book of the Prophet Ezekiel (Vol. 1, pp. 104–107). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.
 Stanley, C. F. (2005). The Charles F. Stanley life principles Bible: New King James Version (Eze 1:28). Nashville, TN: Nelson Bibles.
 MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2006). The MacArthur study Bible: New American Standard Bible. (Eze 1:28). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.
 Sproul, R. C. (Ed.). (2005). The Reformation Study Bible: English Standard Version (p. 1146). Orlando, FL; Lake Mary, FL: Ligonier Ministries.
 Criswell, W. A., Patterson, P., Clendenen, E. R., Akin, D. L., Chamberlin, M., Patterson, D. K., & Pogue, J. (Eds.). (1991). Believer’s Study Bible (electronic ed., Eze 1:28). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.
 Kaiser Jr., W. C. (2007). How Has Archaeology Corroborated the Bible? In T. Cabal, C. O. Brand, E. R. Clendenen, P. Copan, & J. P. Moreland (Eds.), The Apologetics Study Bible: Real Questions, Straight Answers, Stronger Faith (p. 1191). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
Scripture Reading: Psalm 16:7–11
Key Verse: Psalm 16:11
You will show me the path of life;
In Your presence is fullness of joy;
At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
Men often have a bad reputation for refusing to request directions while driving. At the root of the issue is the fact that we do not like to admit that we do not know something. Even if it means going in circles for hours, many of us would rather stumble upon the right answer ourselves than to ask for help. This method works for us as long as we know the general area. However, if we must get to a specific destination in a strange town, we need to know how to get there!
The same can be said of our lives. We may believe that God has something specific set aside for us, and yet we may not seek His guidance for leading us safely into His plan. How can we arrive at God’s destination if we do not consult the only One who can see where we are going?
The Lord has promised to give us direction. Psalm 16:11 says, “You will show me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” God’s will is not something that we find “out there” through trial and error. Rather, it is something that we find “in Him,” through prayer and Bible study as we strive to know His heart more clearly.
If you have been on a quest to “find God,” stop your searching and simply talk to Him. He knows where you are, and He knows exactly where you need to go. No roadmap could promise more.
May I not waste precious time wandering, Lord, when I can come directly to You and seek direction for my life.
Scripture reading: John 15:12–17
Key verse: Proverbs 18:24
A man who has friends must himself be friendly,
But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.
Do you remember having a best friend as a child? This person went everywhere with you, from recess in the schoolyard to adventures around the neighborhood. You had small fights and squabbles occasionally, but you stuck by each other when a difficulty came along.
As an adult, you may have a friend like this today, but you are certainly aware that such friends are rare indeed. The blessing of a friend who understands your deepest thoughts and needs and loves you through the hard times is a gift from the Lord. It is important to recognize, however, that the best friend in the whole world can still let you down at times. It is not a clichéto state that Jesus is your only true Friend.
Joseph Scriven, an Irishman born in 1819, discovered this truth in a powerful way. The night before he was to be married, his beloved fiancée drowned. Grieving deeply, Scriven decided to move to Canada and begin a new life, dedicated entirely to letting the Lord use him in others’ lives. Out of this experience and several others, he penned the words to the favorite hymn “What a Friend We Have in Jesus.”
Can you imagine writing this poetry after going through such pain? Scriven saw the Lord’s faithfulness. He knew firsthand that when all earthly supports and emotional props disappear, Jesus is there to love and comfort eternally.
Jesus, You are the best Friend I will ever have. Thank You for Your faithfulness and this wonderful relationship we share.
U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi asked President Donald Trump on Wednesday to reschedule his annual State of the Union speech before Congress because of partial federal government shutdown, citing security issues.
U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, part of a new crop of Democrats swept into office this year on a stronger liberal platform, said she is poised to serve on a key congressional panel overseeing Wall Street, a potential setback for the financial services industry.
President Donald Trump has been briefed on the situation in Syria, White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said in a statement on Wednesday after a blast struck near a U.S.-led coalition patrol that a war monitor said killed 16 people.
President Trump on Wednesday is expected to sign legislation providing 800,000 federal employees with back pay when the partial government shutdown ends, even though a conclusion to the impasse remains nowhere in sight.
The U.S. economy is taking a larger-than-expected hit from the partial government shutdown, White House estimates showed on Tuesday, as contractors and even the Coast Guard go without pay and talks to end the impasse seemed stalled.
Democratic lawmakers will grill U.S. President Donald Trump’s new pick to run the Environmental Protection Agency on Wednesday over his past coal lobbying, but have little hope of blocking his confirmation in the Republican-controlled Senate.
Several hundred Honduran migrants in a new U.S.-bound caravan crossed into Guatemala on Tuesday, as U.S. President Donald Trump seized on news of the advancing group to try to build support for a wall along his country’s border with Mexico.
U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand told CBS’ “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert” that she would file paperwork on Tuesday night to explore a run for the Democratic presidential nomination in the 2020 election.
A bomb attack claimed by Islamic State killed four U.S. troops in northern Syria on Wednesday, weeks after President Donald Trump said group was defeated there and he would pull out all American forces.
The United Nations Security Council on Wednesday unanimously approved a resolution calling for the deployment of up to 75 observers to Yemen’s port city of Hodeidah for six months to monitor a ceasefire and redeployment of forces by the warring parties.
AP Top Stories
Big Pacific storms are set to dump up to seven feet (2.1 meters) of snow in California’s Sierra Nevada Mountains and several inches of rain elsewhere in the state, forcing evacuations in areas at risk to mudslides.
A vote in Britain’s parliament on Tuesday crushing Prime Minister May’s deal to leave the European Union has made a softer, later Brexit, or even no Brexit at all, slightly more likely, Goldman Sachs said on Wednesday.
The announcement by the nation’s largest utility that it is filing for bankruptcy puts Pacific Gas & Electric Co.’s problems squarely in the hands of Gov. Gavin Newsom and state lawmakers, who now must try to keep ratepayer costs down, ensure wildfire victims get the money they’re owed and rethink California’s energy picture in the face of climate change.
Israel’s new military chief took office Tuesday, pledging to lead a “lethal, efficient and innovative army” into the future as it faces grave challenges along its borders.
Thailand is set to deploy rainmaking planes to seed clouds in an effort to tackle the pall of pollution that has shrouded the capital in recent weeks.
Netflix increased the prices of all three of its US plans on Tuesday, some by as much as 18%, which makes this the most substantial price jump since the streaming service debuted in 2007.
A deadly siege by suspected militants in Nairobi killing at least 14 people, has ended after all the attackers were “eliminated”, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta has said.
Police in Israel have arrested a top lawyer as part of an investigation into claims that judicial appointments were traded for sexual favors.
A woman, Dhanya Sanal, has climbed Agasthyakoodam, a mountain in India, where only men were allowed until now for religious reasons.
One in three UN workers has been sexually harassed in the past two years, a UN report has revealed.
YouTube clips that depict dangerous or emotionally distressing “pranks” have been banned from the platform. The move comes in response to so-called “challenges” that have sometimes resulted in death or injury.
Former Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto accepted a $100m bribe from drug cartel kingpin Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán, a witness has testified.
Ethnic violence in four villages in western Democratic Republic of Congo left at least 890 dead over just three days last month, the UN said.
Gillette is facing serious backlash one day after debuting its “We Believe” ad campaign combating “toxic masculinity.”
New York Mayor Bill De Blasio, the leftist politician “is rolling out a new plan that would potentially allow the city government to seize buildings of landlords who force tenants out.”
“On Religious Freedom Day … we commemorate the … anniversary of the passing of a State law that has shaped and secured our cherished legacy of religious liberty.” – proclaimed President Donald J. Trump, Jan. 16, 2018.
Israel may need to invade Iran, says strategic report
Israel needs to prepare for the possibility that its battle to keep Iran from entrenching itself militarily in Syria may have to be expanded to Lebanon or to Iran directly, according to an assessment by the Institute for National Security (INSS). That is one of the recommendations that appeared in INSS’s Strategic Assessment for Israel 2018-2019 that was released and rolled out by the Tel Aviv-based think tank at a ceremony at Beit Hanasi on Wednesday.
U.S. signs Elie Wiesel genocide prevention act into law
President Donald Trump signed a law Monday declaring that the prevention of genocide and other atrocities is “a core national security interest” of the United States, adding that it is also “a core moral responsibility.” The Elie Wiesel Genocide and Atrocities Prevention Act…was signed into law by Trump after it passed with an overwhelming bipartisan majority in both the House of Representatives and the Senate in December last year.
Malaysia reaffirms ban on Israeli swimmers for Paralympic qualifier
Malaysia has imposed a blanket ban on all Israelis participating in events hosted by the Southeast Asian nation, as the government maintains its decision to ban Israeli athletes from taking part in the World Para Swimming Championships in July. Malaysia’s cabinet decided last week that Israelis will not be allowed to enter the country for any event, Foreign Minister Saifuddin Abdullah said on Wednesday.
How one heatwave killed ‘a third’ of a bat species in Australia
Over two days in November, record-breaking heat in Australia’s north wiped out almost one-third of the nation’s spectacled flying foxes, according to researchers. The animals, also known as spectacled fruit bats, were unable to survive in temperatures which exceeded 42C. In the city of Cairns, locals saw bats toppling from trees into backyards, swimming pools and other locations.
Germany steps up monitoring of far-right AfD party
Germany’s domestic intelligence agency is to step up monitoring of the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party for suspected extremism. But the BfV agency is not yet going as far as to use informants or phone taps in its nationwide watch on AfD. AfD is the main opposition party. It entered the federal parliament for the first time in 2017, winning 94 seats in the 709-seat lower house (Bundestag).
The IRS is recalling 46,000 workers to handle tax returns
The Internal Revenue Service is recalling about 46,000 of its employees furloughed by the government shutdown…to handle tax returns and pay out refunds. The employees won’t be paid during the shutdown. With the official start of the tax filing season coming Jan. 28, the Trump administration has promised that taxpayers owed refunds will be paid on time, despite the disruption in government services caused by the partial shutdown now in its fourth week.
More chaff? Evansville-area radar blips had an answer. These don’t
Back on Dec. 10…mysterious radar blips appeared over Southern Illinois and Western Kentucky. The long lines baffled the National Weather Service… The War Zone eventually confirmed…a C-130 traveling to West Virginia from a military exercise out west released over our area huge plumes of military chaff – radar-jamming material mostly composed of aluminum. Sounds reasonable. But it does nothing to explain what happened in Maine and Florida around the same time.
Chinese schools scanning children’s brains to see if they are concentrating
Headbands that monitor concentration by reading brain signals have been trialled on thousands of Chinese schoolchildren. The devices could soon be used on millions of students across China, according to the US tech company which designed them. Massachusetts-based start-up BrainCo says its Focus 1 headbands can help teachers identify pupils who need extra assistance.
Driving out the Devil: what’s behind the exorcism boom?
As of the past few decades, it is clear that Catholic clergy are witnessing a mushrooming demand for exorcisms. An astonishing number of people undergo deliverance from demonic forces every week, not only in the developing world but also in Britain and the United States. Pope Francis, who regularly speaks about the Devil, has told priests that they “should not hesitate” to call on exorcists if they hear confessions or see behaviour indicating satanic activity.
Iran says it will keep military forces in Syria despite Israeli threats
Iran will keep military forces in Syria, the head of the elite Revolutionary Guards said on Wednesday, defying Israeli threats that they might be targeted if they do not leave the country. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Tuesday that Israeli forces would continue to attack Iranians in Syria unless they quickly get out of there.
US Army seeks to buy 2 Iron Dome batteries from Israel
The United States Army has asked Congress for $373 million to buy two batteries of the Israeli-made Iron Dome missiles defense system, which has been protecting residents of southern Israel from Gaza rockets for over a decade. The Americans rarely buy weapons systems from other countries, mostly due to national security considerations but also because the US normally has the technological advantage.
CERN plans huge new $15 billion particle collider
Scientists behind the world’s largest atom smasher have laid out their multibillion-euro vision to build an even bigger one, in hopes of unlocking even more secrets of matter and the universe in the coming decades.
Report: Iran is likely setting stage for international phishing campaign
Phishing attacks only work when the target takes the bait. The email containing the link or attachment that will compromise the target’s computer has to look legitimate, from a recognizable domain. A new report says that someone — likely Iran — has been hijacking domains related to entities across the Middle East and North America, which could allow Iran to launch more, and more successful, cyber attacks.
4.4 Earthquake Rattles Garfield County Tuesday
The 4.4-magnitude earthquake was reported at 7:28 a.m. Its epicenter was about four miles southwest of Hayward, about 21 miles east-southeast of Enid, 26 miles north-northwest of Guthrie, and about 29 miles west-northwest of Stillwater.
3.0 Earthquake near Alcoa
The U.S. Geological Survey has recorded a 3.0 magnitude earthquake that hit eastern Tennessee early Monday morning. The USGS said the earthquake struck at about 4:00a.m. EST near the town of Alcoa, just southwest of Knoxville.
4.7 magnitude earthquake strikes near Ocean City
According to the United States Geological Survey, a 4.7 magnitude earthquake struck near the Ocean City area on Tuesday evening. The earthquake was about 136 miles southeast of Ocean City, Maryland around 6:30 p.m. with a depth of 10.0 km.
Alternative for Germany monitored by intelligence service as possible extremist threat
The nationalist Alternative for Germany party (AfD) was placed under extended monitoring by German domestic intelligence as a possible extremist threat on Tuesday. The AfD became the first nationalist party to sit in the German parliament since the 1960s after making dramatic gains in 2017’s election on an anti-migrant and anti-Muslim platform
‘El Chapo’ paid ex-Mexican president $100 million bribe: trial witness
Accused Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman once paid a $100 million bribe to former Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto, an ex-Guzman associate testified on Tuesday that he previously told U.S. authorities. Asked if he told authorities in 2016 that Guzman arranged the bribe, he answered, “That’s right.” Reuters could not immediately reach Pena Nieto or his former spokesman for comment. He has previously denied taking bribes.
Mexicans BLASTS New Honduras Caravan — You’re Not Welcomed Here!
“Mexico is just like your country,” Gonzales added. “There are many problems and needs, and you’re not going to be much better off than you were in Honduras. Please don’t trust these manipulative agitators who are encouraging you to risk everything for nothing.” Luis Mendez was far more unwelcoming. “We do not want caravans of (emojis of rats). Fight conditions in your own country. You are not welcome here.”
For Earth’s Magnetic Field, a Rare Update
Nature reports that the Earth’s northern magnetic pole has moved so quickly since the last update of an official guide known as the World Magnetic Model in 2015 that scientists are jumping in early to update it again instead of waiting until 2020. The move was supposed to happen on Tuesday, but it will now wait until Jan. 30 because of the government shutdown. It seems the pole, whose movement is notoriously difficult to predict, is speeding away from the Canadian Arctic on its way to Siberia much faster than scientists predicted three years ago.
Strong earthquake, 6.8 mag has occurred near Sola in Vanuatu
A earthquake magnitude 6.8 (ml/mb) has struck on Wednesday, 114 kilometers (71 miles) from Sola in Vanuatu. Exact location of earthquake, longitude 166.619 East, latitude -13.396 South, depth = 10 km. Exact time and date of earthquake 15/01/19 / 2019-01-15 18:06:38 / January 15, 2019 @ 6:06 pm UTC/GMT. A tsunami warning has been issued near Sola in Vanuatu (Does not indicate if a tsunami actually did or will exist).
Earth Catastrophe Cycle | SOLAR MICRONOVA
A solar micronova satisfies all the catastrophe evidence, including the cyclical nature, the disaster sweet-spot, AND impactor-like evidence. (Video)
23 guns seized from anti-gun politician’s City Hall offices in FBI raid
Federal prosecutors revealed in a court hearing Thursday that recently-arrested Chicago Alderman Edward Burke, a powerful city councilman known for his opposition to gun rights, possessed 23 guns in his City Hall offices, the Chicago Tribune reports. The guns were discovered by the Federal Bureau of Investigation during a November raid. …the discovery was ironic, as Burke is known as one of Chicago’s leading anti-gun rights advocates.
Iran launches satellite into space, fails: report
Iran has admitted that it tried to launch a satellite into space but that the experiment failed, Israeli media reported Tuesday. Iranian Communications Minister Mohammad-Javad Azari said the rocket carrying the satellite “failed to reach the required speed in the third stage,…
Atomic Chief: ‘Iran could enrich uranium up to 20 percent within 4 days
Iran can enrich uranium up to 20 percent within four days, its atomic energy chief said on Tuesday, a comment apparently aimed at showing Tehran could quickly expand its enrichment program if its nuclear deal with world powers collapses. Iran’s 2015 accord with world powers caps the level to which it is able to enrich uranium to 3.67 percent purity, well below the 20 percent it was reaching before the deal, and the roughly 90 percent suitable for a nuclear weapon.
Democrats drop Women’s March support
The Democratic National Committee has dropped its partnership in the Women’s March over anti-Semitism concerns, the Jewish News Syndicate reported Tuesday night. The Women’s March, slated for January 19, has come under fire in recent months due to its leaders’ handling of allegations of antisemitism, with celebrities and activists openly criticizing the organizers’ actions.
Laura Loomer Brings Illegal Immigrants To Nancy Pelosi’s Home. Pelosi Has Police Remove Them.
Pelosi — who has been unwavering in her opposition to funding a wall along the southern border, which she’s classified as an “immorality” — reportedly had Loomer and the illegals removed from her property. The controversial journalist even went to check if the Pelosis had locked their front door, since, according to a sarcastic Loomer, “only bigots lock their doors.” “Come on, you can’t say everyone is welcome here and then lock your door,”
CALLOUS: New York Gov Cuomo Demands Bill Allowing Abortions Up to Birth, Or He Won’t Sign State Budget
Cuomo, a Democrat, promised to add abortion protections to the state constitution and vowed to reject a budget that doesn’t include expanded abortion access while speaking at Barnard College in New York City. Members of the state legislature and abortion advocates attended the event, CBS News reported.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau Trashes Pro-Life People: You’re “Not in Line With Society”
An organization that has the explicit purpose of restricting women’s rights by removing rights to abortion, the right for women to control their own bodies, is not in line with where we are as a government and quite frankly where we are as a society,” Trudeau said in answer to a question about free speech.
OUTRAGEOUS: Judge forces nuns of Little Sisters of the Poor and other Christian groups to fund abortions
The ruling by Judge Haywood Gilliam, a nominee of pro-abortion President Barack Obama, blocks the Trump administration from enforcing rules that provide wider religious exemptions to groups like Little Sisters of the Poor, the Washington Examiner reports.
The World Council of Churches is training its followers to hate the Jewish State of Israel and be on the front lines of the boycotts against it
The World Council of Churches (WCC) is training volunteers to promote boycotts of Israel and engage in antisemitic rhetoric, with funding from several Western governments and the EU, as well as support from the United Nations, a new report by research institute NGO Monitor has found.
Pedophile Grooming Gang Receive Over $1M In Legal aid To Fight Deportation
Members of the Pedophile Asian grooming gang responsible for trafficking children for sex in the UK have received over $1 million in legal aid to help them defend criminal charges and fight deportation.
French Minister Calls on Police to Shoot and Kill Yellow Vest Protesters
A senior French politician has called on police to use “shoot-to-kill” tactics against France’s Yellow Vest protesters.
De Blasio Goes Full Commie – Introduces Plan to Allow Government to Seize Private Property
New York City Mayor De Blasio introduced a plan this week that would allow the government to seize private property from “bad landlords.”
JUST IN: Federal Court Orders Discovery to Begin on Clinton Email Scandal – Susan Rice and Ben Rhodes Must Respond Under Oath
Once again Judicial Watch is doing the heavy lifting. A federal judge ruled on Tuesday that discovery can begin in Hillary Clinton’s email scandal. Judge Lamberth also ordered senior Obama officials to provide written answers to Judicial Watch under oath. Susan Rice and Ben Rhodes will be deposed under oath on the Benghazi scandal.
Britain’s ‘First Transgender Family’ Now Transitioning Their 5-Year-Old Son To Female
A family dubbed Britain’s “first transgender family” has announced that they are encouraging the gender transition of their five-year-old son, Jayden. According to the family, Jayden, a biological male, likes dresses and hates “everything about being a boy.”
Al Qaeda Claims Responsibility for Attack in Nairobi
The al Qaeda terror group’s al Shabaab affiliate is claiming responsibility for a deadly attack in Nairobi Tuesday at a five-star hotel, according to messages sent by the group’s media outlet.
West Bank Palestinians strike against social security law
Thousands of Palestinians in the West Bank joined a strike on Tuesday against their government’s proposed new social security law, fearing the fund will be mismanaged.
Jerusalem braces for rare winter snowstorm
A rare winter snowstorm is expected to hit Jerusalem Wednesday, weather forecasters said, prompting the municipality to launch snow emergency preparations.
“Green New Deal” pushed by Democrats would cost 3,600 times the price of a border wall
The up-and-coming Democratic Party has many ambitious plans for the country. First, they want a “Green New Deal” which would force the economy to run on 100 percent renewable energy. This multi-trillion-dollar plan would provide taxpayer-funded incentives for wind and solar, while shuttering American coal, oil, and steel independence.
California Insurrection Will Lead to “Food As a Weapon”
Back in 2013, the EBT card system failed. It began with the EBT cards going down for a couple of hours, which prevented many of the poor from buying food. The net result was that it didn’t even take a day for civil unrest to rear its ugly head before the riots began. The Federal government received a quick answer about how long it would take for the poor to riot and it was mere hours. I contend that this was a beta test designed to gauge future behavior when Obama uses food as a weapon for real. Now that time is upon us.
Pentagon: Another Round of Troops Will Head to the Border
The Pentagon on Monday announced a mission to extend the length of time active duty troops remain on the Southern border. Troops will continue to assist border patrol with and provide security through Sept 30, Reuters reported. The decision was made based on a request from the Department of Homeland Security, the agency that over sees the border patrol.
FOR FIRST TIME EVER Opioid Deaths Top Deaths from Car Crashes in US — Democrats STILL Won’t Pay for Border Wall
For the first time ever opioids killed more than car crashes in the United States last year. According to the CBP government website illicit fentanyl is smuggled across the border to reach the US.
Truth2Freedom Blog Disclaimer
This post was originally posted on: https://truth4freedom.wordpress.com
(Alternative News, Apologetics, Current Events, Commentary, Opinion, Theology, Discernment Blog, Devotionals, Christian Internet Evangelism & Missions Activist).
“In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; in all things, charity.”
This blog is an aggregator of news and information that we believe will provide articles that will keep people informed about current trends, current events, discussions and movements taking place within our church and culture.
In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107,material here is distributed without profit for research and educational purposes.
A headline link on this blog post doesn’t necessarily mean that there is agreement or approval with all the views and opinions expressed within the headline linked article. Caution is also warranted with regards to the advertisements and links that are embedded within the headline linked article.
*Please note that the preceding blog post content is formed by my personal conviction, values, worldview and opinion. It is not necessarily the opinion of any entity by which I am employed, any church at which I am a member, any church which I attend. Any copyrighted material displayed or referenced is done under the doctrine of fair use.
Black Americans are recognizing that Democrats have turned MLK’s dream into a nightmare.
“Dependence begets subservience and venality, suffocates the germ of virtue, and prepares fit tools for the designs of ambition.” —Thomas Jefferson (1781)
In 1983, Republican President Ronald Reagan signed into law a bill designating the third Monday in January a national holiday honoring the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., who was born on 15 January 1929. King, like his father and grandfather before him, was a Baptist minister. He was pastor of Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama, and Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia, and he founded the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.
Next Monday is the official federal observance of the MLK holiday.
However, this week, there was another King in the news.
The Republican Party took swift action against one of its own, Iowa Rep. Steve King, for remarks that reflect a profound insensitivity, if not abject ignorance, to our nation’s history of racial intolerance. King, lacking any modicum of self-awareness, asked, “White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization — how did that language become offensive?”
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) stripped King of his committee assignments, stating, “We will not tolerate this type of language in the Republican Party … or in the Democrat Party as well.” He noted that King’s remarks “call into question whether he will treat all Americans equally, without regard for race and ethnicity. … Let us hope and pray earnestly that this action will lead to greater reflection and ultimately change on his part.”
In the midst of Rep. King’s condemnation by both Republicans and Democrat leaders, Republican National Committee chairwoman Ronna McDaniel called on Democrats to deal with racism within their own ranks, noting, “I hope Nancy Pelosi also takes action against all the Democrats who continue to associate with prominent anti-Semite Louis Farrakhan.” That would include, among others, Demo newbie Rep. Rashida “motherf—er” Tlaib (D-MI), who recently entertained Abbas Hamideh, a man with a long history of expressing anti-Semitic views, such as, “Yes, the Nazis are still around with a different name: Zionists!”
Of note, due to conservative media attention highlighting the racist associations of those Demo leftists leading the Women’s March in DC this weekend, some Democrats have quietly declined to attend or support the confab of their largest constituency, female voters.
Fact is, Democrats have long cultivated and courted haters like Farrakhan and Hamideh and have become dependent on racial and ethnic division as the foundation of their party platform.
The Democrats’ de facto leader, Barack Obama, was himself a disciple of the Afrocentric and anti-Semitic hate spewed by “Reverend” Jeremiah Wright and other Marxist mentors promoting black supremacy. Of course, Obama got a free pass from a shamefully spineless mainstream media.
Obama, though, was merely the latest of the Demo race hustlers and their supporting cast of race-bait profiteers who, in the years since MLK’s assassination in 1968, have betrayed his dream, most recently under the disingenuous pretense that only black lives matter.
The lack of Democrats with the guts to call out the haters within their own ranks comes as no surprise, because more than half a century after MLK’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech, racism is king, and “color” still trumps “character.”
Obama was elected both because of his unspoken promise to assuage the “white guilt” of his leftist patrons and because of his “color” rhetoric: “A deep distrust exists in communities of color. … There are still problems and communities of color aren’t just making these problems up. … Frustrations have deep roots in many communities of color. Too many individuals, particularly young people of color, do not feel as if they are being treated fairly.”
In the five decades since MLK’s death, “color” differentiation and racial division — in fact, division of all sorts — has become the common denominator in the Democrats’ constituent-building strategy.
The propagation of this insidious race-bait charade was apparent long before MLK’s generation, most notably in the writings of his two most famous civil-rights predecessors, Frederick Douglass and Booker T. Washington.
Douglass escaped slavery and became the 19th century’s most noted and articulate abolitionist. In 1855 he asserted, “I would unite with anybody to do right; and with nobody to do wrong.”
In 1876, commemorating the legacy of Abraham Lincoln on the occasion of our nation’s first centennial, Douglass noted:
“That we are here in peace today is a compliment and a credit to American civilization, and a prophecy of still greater national enlightenment and progress in the future. I refer to the past not in malice … but simply to place more distinctly in front the gratifying and glorious change which has come both to our white fellow citizens and ourselves, and to congratulate all upon the contrast between now and then, the new dispensation of freedom with its thousand blessings to both races, and the old dispensation of slavery with its ten thousand evils to both races, white and black.”
Douglass wrote of the “past, the present, and the future, with the long and dark history of our bondage behind us, and with liberty, progress, and enlightenment before us.”
But Democrats aren’t willing to put “bondage behind us,” and they refuse to focus on the “liberty, progress, and enlightenment before us,” which is where Republicans have set our nation’s sights for decades.
In 1901, King’s most notable predecessor in the fight for civil rights, Booker T. Washington, founder of the famed Tuskegee Institute, wrote in his seminal work, Up From Slavery:
“[I] resolved that I would permit no man, no matter what his color might be, to narrow and degrade my soul by making me hate him. … I pity from the bottom of my heart any individual who is so unfortunate as to get into the habit of holding race prejudice. … In the sight of God there is no color line, and we want to cultivate a spirit that will make us forget that there is such a line anyway.”
He added, “Great men cultivate love. … Only little men cherish a spirit of hatred.”
Washington was a critic of his contemporary, W.E.B. Du Bois, who made a practice of fomenting racial division.
In his 1911 book, My Larger Education, Washington wrote of Du Bois and other racial agitators words that are even more applicable to their present-day brethren:
“There is [a] class of colored people who make a business of keeping the troubles, the wrongs, and the hardships of the Negro race before the public. … Having learned that they are able to make a living out of their troubles, they have grown into the settled habit of advertising their wrongs — partly because they want sympathy and partly because it pays.”
“Some of these people do not want the Negro to lose his grievances, because they do not want to lose their jobs. … There is a certain class of race-problem solvers who do not want the patient to get well, because as long as the disease holds out they have not only an easy means of making a living, but also an easy medium through which to make themselves prominent before the public.”
And that pretty much sums up today’s Democrat Party haters, those who want the patient to remain ill at all costs.
In April of 1963, Dr. King wrote in his letter from a Birmingham jail about those who foment hatred, specifically those adherents to the hatred embraced by Farrakhan’s mentor, Elijah Muhammad:
“I stand in the middle of two opposing forces in the Negro community. One is a force of complacency. … The other force is one of bitterness and hatred, and it comes perilously close to advocating violence. It is expressed in the various black nationalist groups that are springing up across the nation, the largest and best-known being Elijah Muhammad’s Muslim movement. This movement is made up of people who have lost faith in America, who have absolutely repudiated Christianity, and who have concluded that the white man is an incorrigible ‘devil.’ … I have tried to stand between these two forces, saying that we need emulate neither the ‘do-nothingism’ of the complacent nor the hatred of the black nationalist. … For there is the more excellent way of love and non-violent protest. I am grateful to God that, through the influence of the Negro church, the way of nonviolence became an integral part of our struggle.”
King is perhaps best remembered for his “I Have a Dream” speech to hundreds of thousands of Americans gathered on the Washington Mall for the August 1963 Civil Rights March. That speech was, and is today, considered one of the most pivotal masterpieces of 20th-century rhetoric.
In that speech, King declared:
“Now is the time to open the doors of opportunity to all of God’s children. … In the process of gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence.”
He famously concluded:
“I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident; that all men are created equal.’ … I have a dream that one day … the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together. This will be the day when all of God’s children will be able to sing with new meaning, ‘My country ’tis of thee, Sweet land of liberty, Of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, Land of the Pilgrims’ pride, From every mountainside, Let freedom ring.’ When we let freedom ring … we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children — black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics — will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, ‘Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, We are free at last!'”
But the Democrat Party of the 1964 Nobel Peace Prize recipient’s era, which simultaneously embraced freedom and bondage, has now devolved into a political machine fueled by fear, hate, and division — one that has turned the wisdom of King’s iconic words upside down.
Long after the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Democrats are still focusing on “color” rather than “character.” It’s as if King had said, “I have a dream that my children will be judged only by the color of their skin, not the content of their character.”
Today, more than five decades after King was murdered by a racist sociopath from Illinois, the Democrats’ so-called “Great Society” has effectively enslaved poor black Americans, and those of other ethnic backgrounds, on modern-day Democrat-controlled urban poverty plantations. The Democrats’ so-called “War on Poverty,” in which more than $22 trillion has been spent, ostensibly, to “lift up the poor,” has been an abysmal failure in human terms, but an extraordinary political success.
Democrat President Lyndon Baines Johnson, at the time he launched his populist social-welfare programs, outlined the political success he anticipated. In a conversation with two Democrat governors, Johnson said of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, “I’ll have those niggers voting Democratic for the next 200 years.”
While that may not have been the political motivation of other Great Society do-gooders, to paraphrase Virgil’s Aeneid, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.”
In today’s caustic political climate, there are few Beltway Democrats who are motivated by “good intentions.” The current breed of leftists have proven to be the masters of hypocrisy, and they have successfully subjugated their black American constituency to their political will, convincing them that they’re victims and dependents and that they must rely on the state for their salvation.
As Thomas Jefferson observed, “Dependence begets subservience and venality, suffocates the germ of virtue, and prepares fit tools for the designs of ambition.”
Of the current generation of race-bait agitators, Stanford economist Thomas Sowell, whose brilliant cultural observations are informed, in part, because he was born black, observed, “Racism is not dead, but it is on life support — kept alive by politicians, race hustlers and people who get a sense of superiority by denouncing others as ‘racist.'”
Fortunately, there is growing evidence that black Americans are awakening to the Democrats’ generational charade — realizing that those politicians betrayed MLK’s grand vision of freedom and equality.
Something odd happened on the way to the midterm elections last fall. The loyalties of constituencies once assumed to be the Democrats’ exclusive and unchallenged base began to shift toward, of all people, Donald Trump.
As was the case in the 2016 presidential election, blue-collar optimism soared.
But there has also been a notable shift in support for Trump and Republicans among black Americans, who are among the major beneficiaries of the GOP’s economic policies. In recent months, that approval rating reached a record level for any Republican president — 36% — almost twice what it was in 2017. Household income among blacks is increasing, while unemployment is at a record low. (Hispanic Americans are also reaping the benefits of the Trump economy.)
Clearly, many blacks are recognizing that Democrats turned King’s dream into a nightmare.
Despite the Trump administration’s extraordinary economic record, this modest racial awakening wasn’t enough to offset the Democrat Party’s pervasive “Hate Trump” campaign theme, as relentlessly promoted by its Leftmedia propagandists. Indeed, it’s evident that perpetuating that theme, even if it means plunging the economy into recession, is paramount to the Left’s political agenda.
On July 4th, 1965, preaching at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, MLK declared, “Love is the only absolute. … I’ve seen too much hate to want to hate myself; hate is too great a burden to bear. … Hate does something to the soul that causes one to lose his objectivity. The man who hates can’t think straight; the man who hates can’t reason right; the man who hates can’t see right; the man who hates can’t walk right. And I know now that Jesus is right, that love is the way.”
One of the most outspoken detractors of the Left’s orthodoxy is King’s niece, Alveda. She was 17 at the time of her uncle’s assassination, and she recently recalled a conversation with her father, King’s younger brother Alfred, on the day MLK died.
Alveda told him, “I hate white people. They killed Uncle ML.”
Her father, also a pastor and civil-rights leader, replied, “No, white people didn’t kill my brother; white people didn’t kill your uncle. White people march with us, pray with us, go to jail with us, live with us, die with us. No, no, the devil did this. You have to forgive; you have to forgive.”
Such forgiveness is anathema to most of today’s Democrat leaders — and the black community leaders in their stable.
Alveda added, “Acts 17:26 says, ‘Of one blood God made all people, to live together on the face of the earth.’ So we can be brothers and sisters because we are one blood; we are the human race. And I believe if my uncle were here today, he’d like for us to consider ourselves as human beings, not different races. One race, colorblind.”
As for me and a hundred million grassroots Americans across our nation, we reject the politics of fear, hate, and division, and we honor Martin Luther King’s dream for Americans of every race, creed, and background.
Semper Vigilans Fortis Paratus et Fidelis
Pro Deo et Libertate — 1776
“The Patriot Post” (https://patriotpost.us)
In what Judicial Watch describes as a “major victory for accountability,” a federal judge ruled Tuesday that former national security adviser Susan Rice and former deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes must answer written questions about the State Department’s response to the deadly 2012 terror attack in Benghazi, Libya, as part of an ongoing legal battle over whether Hillary Clinton sought to deliberately evade public record laws by using a private email server while secretary of state.
As Fox News’ Samuel Chamberlain reports, the judge’s order amounts to approval of a discovery plan he ordered last month. In that ruling, Lamberth wrote that Clinton’s use of a private email account was “one of the gravest modern offenses to government transparency” and said the response of the State and Justice Departments “smacks of outrageous misconduct.”
Judicial Watch announced last night that United States District Judge Royce C. Lamberth ruled that discovery can begin in Hillary Clinton’s email scandal. Obama administration senior State Department officials, lawyers, and Clinton aides will now be deposed under oath. Senior officials – including Susan Rice, Ben Rhodes, Jacob Sullivan, and FBI official E.W. Priestap – will now have to answer Judicial Watch’s written questions under oath. The court rejected the DOJ and State Department’s objections to Judicial Watch’s court-ordered discovery plan. (The court, in ordering a discovery plan last month, ruledthat the Clinton email system was “one of the gravest modern offenses to government transparency.”)
Judicial Watch’s discovery will seek answers to:
Discovery is scheduled to be completed within 120 days. The court will hold a post-discovery hearing to determine if Judicial Watch may also depose additional witnesses, including Clinton and her former Chief of Staff Cheryl Mills.
Judge Lamberth ordered written responses under oath to Judicial Watch’s questions from Obama administration senior officials Rice, Rhodes and Sullivan, and former FBI official Priestap. Rice and Rhodes will answer interrogatories under oath on the Benghazi scandal. Rejecting the State and Justice Department objections to discovery on the infamous Benghazi talking points, Judge Lamberth reiterated:
Yet Rice’s talking points and State’s understanding of the attack play an unavoidably central role in this case: information about the points’ development and content, as well as their discussion and dissemination before and after Rice’s appearances could reveal unsearched, relevant records; State’s role in the points’ content and development could shed light on Clinton’s motives for shielding her emails from FOIA requesters or on State’s reluctance to search her emails.
Judicial Watch also may serve interrogatories on Monica Hanley, a former staff member in the State Department’s Office of the Secretary, and on Lauren Jiloty, Clinton’s former special assistant.
According to Lamberth’s order, regarding whether Clinton’s private email use while Secretary of State was an intentional attempt to evade FOIA, Judicial Watch may depose:
Eric Boswell, the former Assistant Secretary for Diplomatic Security.… Boswell’s March 2009 memo to Mills … discusses security risks Clinton’s Blackberry use posed more generally. And Boswell personally discussed the memo with Clinton. So, he plainly has relevant information about that conversation and about his general knowledge of Clinton’s email use. Judicial Watch may depose Boswell.
Justin Cooper. the Clinton Foundation employee who created the clintonemail.com server. In its proposal, Judicial Watch noted Cooper’s prior congressional testimony “appears to contradict portions of the testimony provided by Huma Abedin in the case before Judge Sullivan.” … Cooper repeatedly told Congress that Abedin helped set-up the Clintons’ private server, e.g., Examining Preservation of State Department Federal Records: [before a Congressional hearing] Abedin testified under oath she did not know about the server until six years later.… Judicial Watch may depose Cooper.
Clarence Finney, the former deputy director of State’s Executive Secretariat staff…. [T]his case’s questions hinge on what specific State employees knew and when they knew it. As the principal advisor and records management expert responsible for controlling Clinton’s official correspondence and records, Finney’s knowledge is particularly relevant. And especially given the concerns about government misconduct that prompted this discovery, Judicial Watch’s ability to take his direct testimony and ask follow-up questions is critical.
Additionally, Judicial Watch states that it seeks to go beyond cursory, second-hand testimony and directly ask Finney what he knew about Clinton’s email use. This includes asking about emails suggesting he knew about her private email use in 2014, and emails he received concerning a December 2012 FOIA request from Citizens for Responsible Ethics in Washington (CREW) regarding senior officials’ personal email use-topics State’s 30(b)(6) deposition in Judge Sullivan’s case never addressed. Judicial Watch may depose Finney.
4. Heather Samuelson. the former State Department senior advisor who helped facilitate State’s receipt of Hillary Clinton’s emails.… [T]his case turns on what specific government employees knew and when they knew it. Judicial Watch must be able to take their direct testimony and ask them follow-up questions. Judicial Watch may depose Samuelson.
5. Jacob Sullivan. Secretary Clinton’s former senior advisor and deputy Chief of Staff. The government does not oppose Sullivan’s deposition.
Regarding whether the State Department’s settlement attempts that began in late 2014 amounted to “bad faith,” Judicial Watch was granted depositions from the State Department under Rule 30(b)(6); Finney; John Hackett, the former deputy director of State’s Office of Information Programs & Services; Gene Smilansky, an attorney-advisor within State’s Office of the Legal Advisor; Samuelson; and others.
“In a major victory for accountability, Judge Lamberth today authorized Judicial Watch to take discovery on whether the Clinton email system evaded FOIA and whether the Benghazi scandal was one reason for keeping Mrs. Clinton’s email secret,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton.
“Today, Judicial Watch issued document requests and other discovery to the State Department about the Clinton email scandal. Next up, we will begin questioning key witnesses under oath.”
The court-ordered discovery is the latest development in Judicial Watch’s July 2014 FOIA lawsuit filed after the U.S. Department of State failed to respond to a May 13, 2014 FOIA request (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of State (No. 1:14-cv-01242)). Judicial Watch seeks:
The Judicial Watch discovery plan was in response to a December 6, 2018, ruling by Judge Lamberth.
Incredibly, Justice Department attorneys admit in a filing opposing Judicial Watch’s limited discovery that “Counsel for State contacted the counsel of some third parties that Plaintiff originally included in its draft discovery proposal to obtain their client’s position on being deposed.” This collusion occurred despite criticism from the Court that the DOJ engaged in “chicanery” to cover up misconduct and that career employees in the State and Justice Departments may have “colluded to scuttle public scrutiny of Clinton, skirt FOIA, and hoodwink this Court.”
Judicial Watch countered that “[t]he government’s proposal, which is really nothing more than an opposition to [Judicial Watch’s] plan, demonstrates that it continues to reject any impropriety on its part and that it seeks to block any meaningful inquiry into its ‘outrageous misconduct.’”
As a reminder, this Judicial Watch FOIA lawsuit led directly to the disclosure of the Clinton email system in 2015.
In December 2018, the Center for Immigration Studies dispatched Senior National Security Fellow Todd Bensman to Panama and Costa Rica to investigate President Donald Trump’s widely ridiculed assertions that suspected terrorists had been apprehended among Middle East migrants through Latin America. Panama is a geographic chokepoint, or bottleneck, through which migrants from countries of the Middle East, who are moving out of South America, must push on their way to the U.S. border.
The following article is based on Bensman’s on-the-ground research over two weeks. His video reports, photos, and writings from the trip can be found here.
Golfito, Costa Rica — It was here in March 2017, at the main aluminum structure of a government migrant camp, that federal Costa Rican police arrested Ibrahim Qoordheen of Somalia as a suspected al Shabaab terrorist operative on his way to the U.S. southern border.
Qoordheen had been smuggled from Zambia to Brazil, passed through Panama, and was making his way north through Costa Rica when the Americans had him arrested here, 20 miles inside Costa Rica, according to an American intelligence official with knowledge of the case who spoke on condition of anonymity. The Golfito camp, with a capacity of 250, was set up as a two-day rest station for South America-exiting migrants whom the governments of Panama and Costa Rica register and help move through northward to Nicaragua.
|Golfito migrant camp, Costa Rica where Ibrahim Quoordheen was arrested in 2017. Photos by Todd Bensman.|
|Golfito migrant camp, Costa Rica.|
Luckily, the Somali stayed long enough for an American intelligence analyst working with the name he had provided in Panama to unscramble it and match it to a pre-existing intelligence file that identified him as intertwined with an al Shabaab cell and smuggling network in Zambia, the U.S. intelligence official said.
The Americans interviewed Qoordheen at length, but the Somali gave up nothing, the U.S. officer said. The Americans then arranged to have him deported to Zambia, the officer said. It turns out the Qoordheen case was only one of other such episodes about which the American public was never told, where terrorist suspects were discovered migrating through Latin America to the U.S. border.
Terrorists Know the U.S. Border Is Not Secure
A Costa Rican immigration service official whose jurisdiction includes the Golfito camp disclosed that at least several other U.S.-bound suspected terrorists also were pulled from this camp since Qoordheen’s March 2017 arrest, likewise based on significant derogatory U.S. counterterrorism intelligence. The Costa Rican official declined to provide specifics of the intelligence beyond that it involved terrorism, offering only that: “Most are good, but some are bad.”
The American public was never told that Qoordheen and other suspected terrorists were pulled off U.S.-bound migrant routes in distant Costa Rica and Panama because such information is usually classified or not disclosable, in line with standard practice to protect ongoing investigations and operations.
That necessary opacity, unfortunately, seems to have given life to denialism about President Trump’s claims that terrorists are among migrants from countries of terror concern, like the Middle East. The skeptics have demanded proof then cited Trump perfidy when protected intelligence wasn’t provided. Trump’s assertions were thus ridiculed and dismissed as unsupported fear-mongering.
But the rejectionists, many of whom obviously do not know that a central homeland security practice is threat preemption, are wrong. Down here, on the southern-most leg of migrant routes to the American border, it is they who invite ridicule and eye rolls.
American, Panamanian, and Costa Rican law enforcement and intelligence officials are engaged in actual programs here to hunt, investigate, and deport real terrorist suspects who are, in fact, discovered among the thousands of migrants from the Middle East, Horn of Africa, and South Asia funneling through this section of Latin America—as President Trump said and as I saw and heard on the ground.
|Migrants from Bangladesh and Sri Lanka processing through Costa Ricans customs at Paso Canoas on the Panama border.|
They are working at it here because sheer geography pushes tens of thousands of U.S.-bound migrants from all over the world who pass from South America landing zones through these two countries as they push north. Panama and Costa Rica are chokepoints on the migrant trail where “extra-continental” travelers, as they are sometimes called at the American embassies, can become known in the greatest concentrations.
Terror Migrants Pulled From U.S. Border Routes
Some acknowledgements of terror travel through these countries—and of the American efforts to mitigate it—are in public evidence, even if the underlying reporting remains confidential.
A December 19 Immigration and Customs Enforcement statement, for instance, announced the deportation of U.S.-convicted Brazil-based smuggler Sharafat Ali Khan after time served for transporting at least 100 aliens from Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh through South and Central America to the United States. The statement offered this nugget, with the usual lack of elaboration: “Several of the individuals smuggled by Khan’s organization had suspected ties to terrorist organizations.”
The new statement seems to comport with earlier reporting by The Washington Times that one of these individuals was an Afghan involved in a plot to attack in the United States or Canada and had family ties to members of the Taliban.
Also in December 2018, an INTERPOL statement announcing the arrests of 49 human smugglers in the multi-nation “Operation Andes,” networks that funneled migrants from places like the Middle East into Panama and out of Costa Rica en route to the U.S. border, said four arrestees were linked to fraud, homicide, “and terrorism.”
Clearly, even if we can’t know all the details, something has been happening in this part of the world involving migrants who show up in terrorism intelligence reporting databases.
Dozens of migrants suspected of terrorism involvements are also reaching the U.S. border. As reported for CIS in a paper titled “Have Terrorists Crossed?” intelligence community sources said more than 100 migrants caught at the American southern border, or caught en route, were on U.S. terror watch lists between 2012 and 2017. More than half were first noticed at the American border; many of the rest were caught en route, like Qoordheen.
Fifteen terrorists are listed and described in the CIS report, including a Somali migrantwho passed unnoticed through Panama in 2011, crossed the Mexico-California border, and went on to commit two 2017 vehicle ramming attacks in Alberta, Canada while carrying an ISIS flag.
Governments Assist in Human Smuggling
The terrorist travel threat associated with migration through this area (from the Middle East, Horn of Africa, and South Asia) is regarded as a primary American law enforcement and intelligence preoccupation in Panama, intelligence officials say. The U.S. effort is purposefully centered on the migration through Panama and Costa Rica because homeland security professionals, some of whom agreed to talk anonymously, regard the migration danger as real, present, and most visible here.
One reason migration from countries of terror concern is visible here is that Panama and Costa Rica follow a catch, rest, and release policy, virtually unknown to the American public, locally called “Controlled Flow.” The 2016 policy has Panama’s military collecting special interest migrants hiking in from Colombia’s wilderness borderlands. These migrants number about 700 per week these days, according to one Panamanian military official.
The military’s Central Battallion’s Oriental Brigade based in Yaviza, the last town on Panama’s Highway 1, places them in camps where they are fed and medically treated. The military then provides them with temporary legal status and commercially buses them north to the Costa Ricans, who likewise provide the means and resources for the migrants to pass north again on through to Nicaragua, where smugglers often take things in hand again. (See video report about Controlled Flow here).
“There is a thing the world does not see, and it is the work we do,” said a ranking Panamanian military commander who spoke on condition of anonymity. “No other country, or, I believe, any country in all of Latin America, does what Panama does. And that is to receive [foreign citizens], to aid them, give them medication and to organize them” for transport to Costa Rica. Asked if terrorists may be placed on this human conveyer belt, the officer offered, with a knowing chuckle, “Maybe!”
The Panamanian central government declined repeated interview requests and decided not to reply to a list of CIS questions about its this policy, saying only that “We can assure you that Panama and the U.S. are strong partners in ensuring we have secure migration flows and inpromoting regional security.”
Several Panamanian national Assembly members explained how the policy works in the interests of both Panama and most of the migrants. For Panama, they said, the policy removes the cost burdens of interdicting, detaining, processessing legal asylum claims, and deportation. It also protects migrants from smugglers while exploiting what most want: to reach America.
“Panama is like a bridge or a passway to another country,” said Juan Carlos Arrango, of the ruling coalition Panamanian Popular Party. “Wherever they come from, by boat, plane, or walking through the Darien jungle, they’re very vocal in saying, ‘We don’t want to stay in Panama. We want to pass through, to the north.” So, Arrango said, the government is happy to see to that.
Middle East Migrants and Terrorist Suspects in Panama
American law enforcement has taken some advantage of controlled flow to filter the migrants for terrorism history or connections, even though unknown numbers of migrants choose illicit smuggling through the region instead. American officials declined requests to discuss these efforts on the record. Others, however, did speak anonymously.
Panama and Costa Rica follow a catch, rest, and release policy.
“This is national security,” the American officer said of the programs filtering terrorists from the migrant flows through in Panama. “We’ve extended our border.”
The publicly available annual U.S. State Department Country Reports on Terrorism, released most recently in September 2018, provided one confirming peek at the American counterterrorism partnership with Panama. It said one program objective there now was “to detain and repatriate individuals for whom there were elevated suspicions of links to terrorism.” This is significant because it means America has intercepted terror suspects flown to their home countries from Panama, as was done with Qoordheen, rather than to gamble with a U.S. border entry and an attack on the homeland.
An illustrative August 2016 case involved six Pakistanis who entered Panama from Colombia on their way to the American border and were pulled off the route then deported home. The deportations of the six were publicly reported but not the reasons why, so it attracted almost no notice. But Juan Carlos, political editor for La Prensanewspaper in Panama City, said his paper was told the Pakistanis were arrested on suspicions that they were associated with al Qaeda and after they were seen taking photos of sensitive sites around the city, including the Panama Canal.
“The government closed out all information about that news,” the journalist said, adding that this wasn’t the only such case. “Other (terrorism suspect) cases were shut down too. So officially, we have no news to report.”
Terror List Hits Trigger ‘Deep Dive’ Investigations
The American intelligence officer quoted earlier in this report also described processes that launch in Panama when migrants hit on terror watch list databases or otherwise come to U.S. attention. Such hits are fairly common, and when they occur, trigger in-country “deep dive,” investigations and analyses that might involve foreign intelligence services and agencies, as well as interviews with the suspected migrants, the U.S. official said.
Of course, there’s no publicly reportable metric for something that doesn’t go boom.
Some of these investigations clear things up pretty quickly with no terrorism finding, or maybe just a distant association to someone that wouldn’t warrant deportation. But enough other cases surface that warrant hard effort, vigilance, and deportations from Panama that reduce terror attack risks the American public would never know about.
For example, the deep dive process had to be applied to one Pakistani pulled off the route in Panama when he was found to have a long history with a terrorist organization, the American security official said. The Pakistani remained in Panamanian custody, at the behest of the Americans, for about a full year during the investigation. The investigation turned up no specific terrorism plot, but because of his confirmed history as a terrorist, the Pakistani was deported by plane anyway to reduce risk, the officer said.
The Costa Rica immigration official also cited earlier in this report explained that American counterterrorism officers in the region pay close attention to the migrant traffic coming through the camp in Golfito and maintain “close contact” about the Costa Rica services.
The Americans, the Costa Rican official said, are mainly interested in interviews of migrants from Iraq, Iran, Syria, Pakistan, and countries like those, because of the elevated chance those migrants are terrorists. The Americans sometimes call the Golfito migrant camp and have immigration officers interview such migrants—in an interview room I saw—and ask that the intelligence reports be forwarded to the U.S. embassy where the Americans work. That’s how other suspected terrorists were caught here, the Costa Rican official said.
“It’s important if they suspect there is a person traveling to the U.S. for terrorism, they need to know where they are staying and to know who they are,” the Costa Rican official said.
|Author with Costa Rica’s Policia de Frontera border guard.|
One way migrants with terrorism intelligence records are getting noticed is through another major American-backed counterterrorism program here known by the shorthand “BitMap.” Americans supplied equipment and trained the Panamanians and Costa Ricans to collect retinal eye scans, fingerprints and facial photography of migrants moving through the countries, the State Department country reports on terrorism document said. I watched as U.S.-trained Costa Rican immigration officials collected biometrics on Iranians, Pakistanis, Eritreans, and Iraqis. This allows homeland security to run the information against international terrorism databases where perhaps the migrant’s biometrics had been enterered somewhere else previously.
|An African migrant in Costa Rica submits to providing fingerprints that will end up in American databases. Costa Rican immigration officers were trained to administer the collections, 12/18.|
None of this, of course, is communicated to the American public, for reasons of operational security that enable skeptics to mock the dearth of “evidence.” And, of course, there’s no publicly reportable metric for something that doesn’t go boom.
Foreigners Pour Through the Darien Gap
Let no one ever again say that migrants from countries of terror concern, to include the Middle East, aren’t moving in significant numbers through Latin America to the U.S. border, or that the risk of terrorists or those predisposed toward terrorism would mix with this traffic. American homeland security certainly believes so, due in no small part to the discovery of terrorist suspects in this flow.
In both Panama and Costa Rica, I observed hundreds of mostly young male migrants from countries of terrorism concern, of often unverifiable identity and backgrounds, traveling toward the U.S. border. I photographed and spoke to them. Some told me they were from Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Eritrea. I interviewed an Iranian, an Iraqi, a Pakistani, and a Bangladeshi. Some of their interviews are posted here for all to see.
At issue is that American authorities don’t know who many of them are and can’t verify their stories. All of those I interviewed said they had no identification with them. At the main bus station in Panama, one day, I met two travelers who initially identified themselves to me as Indonesian, a nation riven with violent Islamist groups, then rushed away from me when I identified myself as an American. Thousands like them are on the move through here, heading for the southern border every year, where they will show up as complete strangers.
Todd Bensman is a Texas-based senior national security fellow for the Center for Immigration Studies. For nearly a decade, Bensman led counterterrorism-related intelligence efforts for the Texas Intelligence and Counterterrorism Division.
“The poll, which randomly selected and surveyed 1,066 American adults about their opinion exclusively on abortion, found that 83 percent of Americans agree that laws can protect both the health and well-being of a woman and the life of the unborn.”
(Courtney Joyner – The Daily Signal) A poll released Tuesday just ahead of the 46th March for Life demonstration in Washington, D.C, shows the majority of Americans support tighter restrictions on abortion, and would even like to see the landmark Roe v. Wade decision “reinterpreted” to allow more restrictions.
The annual survey conducted by Marist in partnership with the Knights of Columbus, a Catholic fraternal organization, reveals that three-quarters of Americans oppose taxpayer funding for abortion abroad, even though 55 percent of Americans polled identify as pro-choice.
Additionally, 75 percent of Americans—including those who identify as Republican (92 percent), Democrat (60 percent), and independent (78 percent)—said abortion should be limited to the first three months of pregnancy.
“As in past years, this poll shows that the pro-choice label on the abortion issue is simply insufficient,” said Knights of Columbus CEO Carl Anderson in a statement.
“The majority of Americans—in both parties—support legal restrictions on abortion,” Anderson added. “Two-thirds of Americans want Roe revisited to allow for state regulation of abortion or to ban it altogether. The majority of the American people deserve to have their opinions heard.”
“The software engineer noted that the change had occurred following an inquiry from a left-wing Slate journalist about the prominence of pro-life videos on YouTube, and that pro-life videos were replaced with pro-abortion videos in the top ten results for the search terms following Google’s manual intervention.”
(Breitbart) In sworn testimony, Google CEO Sundar Pichai told Congress last month that his company does not “manually intervene” on any particular search result. Yet an internal discussion thread leaked to Breitbart News reveals Google regularly intervenes in search results on its YouTube video platform – including a recent intervention that pushed pro-life videos out of the top ten search results for “abortion.”
The term “abortion” was added to a “blacklist” file for “controversial YouTube queries,” which contains a list of search terms that the company considers sensitive. According to the leak, these include some of these search terms related to: abortion, abortions, the Irish abortion referendum, Democratic Congresswoman Maxine Waters, and anti-gun activist David Hogg.
The existence of the blacklist was revealed in an internal Google discussion thread leaked to Breitbart News by a source inside the company who wishes to remain anonymous. A partial list of blacklisted terms was also leaked to Breitbart by another Google source.
At one time, the G3 Conference was – along with the Shepherds’ Conference – considered by many of us to be the benchmark of the solid Christian conference. With names that are almost venerable to conservative evangelical believers – Paul Washer, Voddie Baucham, et al – the conference was seen largely as a flashy display of brilliant orthodoxy. The climate in evangelicalism has changed – as well as the speaking roster at the popular Atlanta conference – and many are questioning whether it’s prudent to attend the get-together happening this week and others are asking if it’s proper for certain speakers to speak alongside others who they themselves admit are theologically problematic.
My contention, as with the Shepherd’s Conference, is that the compromise (there is no other word to describe it) of good and honorable men to take the stage with those guilty of teaching subversive theology (for surely this how men like Josh Buice, Phil Johnson, Justin Peters, and other signers of the Dallas Statement have already described the social justice taught by David Platt, John Piper, and Mark Dever, although perhaps afraid to speak their name) is inexcusable. My use of the term inexcusable does not mean damnable but merely means that their claiming that social justice is subversive and dangerous for our Gospel witness while simultaneously locking arms with the greatest proponents of said error cannot be defended intellectually or honestly. It can only be answered (as it has thus far been) with guffaws and eye-rolls rather than their characteristically thoughtful argumentation.
My invoking of the name Spurgeon in this article is not because I believe him the thirteenth Apostle and not because the Prince of Preachers is the infallible rule of faith and practice. I invoke the name Spurgeon because I believe it’s a name revered by many of the men speaking at G3 who ought to know better than to do what they’re doing. Surely if they respect our elder brother, Spurgeon, they ought to care about what that man would think about their stance (or lack thereof) on the topic of doctrinally ecumenized compromise. If they are going to quote the man (which they have and will continue to), they should at least give a farthing of thought about what he would think about them.
Spurgeon, you see, was a separatist. There is not a better word to describe him. It is my contention than in spite of the adulation of the 19th century preacher among the more solid brethren at G3, none of them seem to grasp the very thing about Spurgeon that made him who he was.
Far too many want to profess the faith of Spurgeon without undergoing the agony of Spurgeon. Therefore, they rationalize their ungodly allegiances and remain with the crowd. – Charles Pickering
I hang this quotation about Spurgeon around the necks of my friends speaking at G3 like an albatross, and pray they repent. Surely it stings.
Will they really profess the faith of Spurgeon but not undergo his agony? Are the Dallas Statement signers really willing to draft and sign a document about the dangers of social justice but unwilling to suffer the agony from disinviting Dever, Piper, Platt and (in the case of Shepherd’s Conference) Mohler from their conferences? Are they unwilling to suffer the agony of losing mortal friendship for the sake of their immortal Savior?
Such unwillingness to suffer the passion of Charles Spurgeon should shame them to utter his name from off their lips.
As Pickering says in his book, Biblical Separation, Charles Spurgeon was “one of the great separatists of all time.” Speaking of the creep of liberalism into the British Isles, Pickering writes:
Liberalism was present among the Baptists of the British Isles, but it was covered over by professions of loyalty to the evangleical faith and not publicly debated. Charles Spurgeon…was not easily fooled by outward appearances, however. Not only was he a great preacher, but he possessed a deep understsanding of doctrine and a strong commitment to the old fashioned faith of the apostles.
Liberalism, of course, is always “covered over by professions of loyalty to the evangelical faith.” In polemics today, we call that being website orthodox. As when Phil Johnson and Todd Friel (two wonderful men) recently assumed that Beth Moore was a sister in Christ (while commendably encouraging people to avoid her, to their credit) based upon nothing but her profession, many in Spurgeon’s day fell for the shallow, false confessions of the most subversive teachers. In the great theological crisis of every age, believers have to re-learn the Biblical teaching that wolves come in sheep’s clothing, which is nothing but a spirit-inspired way of saying “false professions.” Sadly, those with short historical memories only seem to learn the hard way. Such undeserved charity at taking every false teacher at their word is not only foolish, it’s biblically ill-advised.
Spurgeon wanted the Baptist Union to adopt a doctrine platform that would clearly articulate what was and was not the Gospel (as well as the other foundations of the evangelical faith) in order to “smoke out” those false professors who were a part of the Baptist Union only to maintain employment or spread their heresies. His attempts at his “proto-Dallas Statement” were rebuffed, however, because the liberals of Spurgeon’s day (like the liberals of our day) fear clear statements of doctrine lest their real beliefs be exposed.
When it became clear that his contemporaries would draft or sign no such doctrinal statement, Spurgeon dealt with the topic of separation:
It now becomes a serious question how far those who abide by the faith once delivered to the saints should fraternize with those who have turned aside to another gospel. Christian love has its claims, and divisions are to be shunned as grievious evils; but how far are we justified in being in confederacy with those who are departing from the truth?
No doubt, the brothers speaking at G3 would claim that the social justice warriors – Platt, Dever, Piper – are not guilty of infringing upon some kind of “Gospel issue” (such a defense has been provided of a similar roster at ShepCon). The problem with this argument is the long line of quotations from these men stating that social justice is a Gospel issue. If for these subversive teachers it’s a Gospel issue, it must be a Gospel issue to all of us for someone, somewhere, misunderstands the Gospel.
Spurgeon would leave his friends in the Baptist Union because they would not separate from error. About this he wrote:
It is our solemn conviction that where there can be no real spiritual communion there should be no pretence of fellowship. Fellowship with known and vital error is participating in sin.
Keep in mind that all those who Spurgeon criticized in the Baptist Union – all of them – professed loyalty to the evangelical faith. Spurgeon, however, didn’t have to buy what they were selling. He did not suffer from the same naivety under the guise of charitability as the speakers at G3.
As Spurgeon withdrew from the Baptist Union, the Baptist Union retaliated by censuring him on the way out. In the end, they voted by a margin of (roughly) 2 thousand against a mere seven to censure Spurgeon for (essentially) being a curmudgeon. In reality, he was just a separatist who valued holiness over unity.
And ultimately, this is what it comes down to for so many who turn a blind eye to the G3 Conference or Shepherd’s Conference or wink at such error because it’s committed by so many well-meaning and kind-hearted brothers. It seems that Buice and company at G3 value unity regarding this odd assortment of Calvinisty people who represent the Reformed Resurgence. The rest of us more highly value holiness. Unity is important, I would argue, but it is not more important than holiness. Here, I would agree with Spurgeon, and let the speakers at G3 agree with the Baptist Union who censured him.
Spurgeon would write:
Above all things, these prudent brethren feel bound to preserve the prestige of ‘the body,’ and the peace of the committee. Our Unions, Boards, and Associations are so justly dear to the fathers that quite unconsciously and innocently, they grow oblivious of evils which are as manifest as the sun in the heavens.
Some have misguidedly – in a way that I think is intellectually beneath them – believed that partnering with the Social Justice Warriors in such an endeavor will provide an “opportunity for discussion,” as though the only way for them to interact with one another is in the green room at a conference. Certainly, we should pray for opportunities to discuss Rob Bell’s errors but I couldn’t imagine him being invited to speak at G3. And the moment anyone says “social justice isn’t that bad,” I’ll just bang you over the head a thousand times with the word of the Dallas Statement drafters themselves and demonstrate you’re moonwalking. Or perhaps you’ve forgotten John MacArthur saying that this was the biggest polemical battle of our day?
Certainly, Josh Buice and the G3 have felt the criticism of so many of their attendees regarding the invitation of at least three wrong-headed men to speak, and so they are attempting to quiet that distemper by having a pre-conference event to discuss social justice. Surely this is enough to silence opposition?
As Spurgeon would preach:
I have taken a deep interest in struggles of the orthodox brethren, but I have never advised those struggles, nor entertained the slightest hope of their successs. My course has been of another kind. As soon as I saw, or thought I saw, that error had become firmly established, I did not deliberate, but quitted the body at once. Since then my counsel has been, ‘Come out from among them.’ I have felt that no protest could be equal to that of distinct separation.
I would ask the question, has the error of Piper, Platt, and Dever not been firmly etablished when it comes to the greatest polemical battle of our day? Certainly, it has. To argue that their error is still unclear is intellectual dishonesty that I can’t tolerate. The best protest against error is to separate from it entirely.
The brothers at G3 may quote Spurgeon this week, but if Spurgeon were alive, he wouldn’t be in the room to hear it.
Wheaton College is so theologically messed up that it has handed over the Billy Graham Center to Ed Stetzer, who has subsequently trotted in the Mystichicks (Moore, Voskamp, Caine) to disciple and teach the students. Ed Stetzer has been on the wrong side (and the money-making side) of every evangelical controversy in the last fifteen years. And most recently, Stetzer is defending pro-choice Wheaton students who melted like snowflakes over a pro-life speaker giving them the facts on abortion.
In an article at Christianity Astray, Stetzer begins by clarifying that Wheaton’s official position is pro-life. This is called being website orthodox, referring people to a statement, confession, or hyperlink, that supposedly proves your orthodoxy. This is Stetzer’s way of defending pro-choice students and their pro-choice point of view while saying to anyone questioning the decision, “We are all pro-life here, so there’s nothing to see, Citizen…move along.”
Of course, Stetzer’s proposition that Wheaton faculty are all pro-life because they abide by a document on Wheaton’s website somewhere is spurious. Remember the hijab-wearing Muslim professor who claimed that Muslims and Christians worshipped the same God? Yeah, that was at Wheaton. So I think it’s safe to assume that their “our college officially believes this, so that’s all there is to it,” stops at hijab-wearing Muslim professors. You’ll have to forgive us for being incredulous.
For those who don’t know, Ryan Bomberger was recently asked to speak at Wheaton on the topic of abortion and race at the request of the College Republicans. His talk was entitled, “Black Lives Matter In and Out of the Womb.” It’s here that you can cue the outrage, and as you can imagine among Generation Snowflake, it went over like a lead balloon.
The weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth could be heard all the way from Stetzer’s Beth Moore lined office.. The Student Government Association, with the help of two staff members (Peter Hansen and Crystal Cartwright) of the Office of Student Activities, sent out an email denouncing Bombgarner. It was signed by students, Lauren Rowley (Student Body President), Tyler Waaler (Student Body Vice President) and Sammie Shields (EVP of Community Diversity), and the letter claimed that his comments “made many students, staff and faculty of color feel unheard, underrepresented and unsafe on our campus.”
Bomberger, by the way, is black. So then, the news media picked up the story because it’s pretty hilarious that someone considerably more “black” than Kyle J. Howard would make students of color feel “underrepresented.” To which all God’s people said under their breath, idiots.
,Who comes to the rescue but Ed Stetzer?
Rushing in on his gallant white surf board upon which he rides all the major waves of culture, Stetzer claimed that Bomberger’s message wasn’t the problem but something (he doesn’t know what) that he said afterward must have been the problem and that he must have been “provocative.”
But Stetzer is not defending the pro-choice position. No, sir. He’s pro-life because that’s the official position of Wheaton College. He’s only defending the snowflake students swooning on the fainting couches in their safe spaces because the pro-life speaker gave them emotional boo-boos.
Of the pro-life speaker, Stetzer wrote…
If disagreement is unsafe, then Wheaton is unsafe. If you don’t like people challenging your ideas when you are intentionally provocative, this is not the place to come and speak.
What a Judas Priest, that guy.
You see, we debate ideas here at Wheaton, and our students felt that some of Bomberger’s comments after the talk were unhelpful and dismissive, not about abortion, but about other issues of concern to them.
Honestly, I would not have used the charged word “safe” that the students used in that email, but it does convey the kind of place we want Wheaton to be—a safe place to debate ideas and a safe place for people of color.
It doesn’t really sound like ideas are debated at Wheaton. It sounds like they’re raising a generation of fragile crybabies, whose professors stick binkies in their mouths instead of making them grow up and deal with facts like black babies being slaughtered at enormously disproprotionate rates.
James MacDonald, the embattled pastor who for so long seemed to have been able to get away with just about anything and everything, is finally out as pastor of Harvest Bible Chapel. The decision follows a failed lawsuit against bloggers who did little more than tell the truth and report the news about his ministry.
In a statement made by Harvest Bible Chapel today, MacDonald will go on an “indefinite sabbatical” (read that: off duty with pay) from his position at the church.
After explaining that the church is going through an official “peacemaking” process, they announced…
While we had hoped that successful audits and re-examined/confirmed ECFA compliance would help heal some relational wounds, it simply hasn’t happened. As part of the peacemaking process, Pastor James is taking an indefinite sabbatical from all preaching and leadership at our church in Chicago. He has recused himself fully from any direction of this peacemaking process, other than to participate when and how requested. He may continue preaching at Harvest Naples through some of the winter months and will be on sabbatical, pending the completion of the reconciliation process and a full report to the congregation. Please be in prayer for Pastor James and Kathy through this season.
MacDonald also released a public statement in which he admits to sin…
I have carried great shame about this pattern in certain relationships that can only be called sin. I am grieved that people I love have been hurt by me in ways they felt they could not express to me directly and have not been able to resolve. I blame only myself for this and want to devote my entire energy to understanding and addressing these recurring patterns.
I have long known and taught it is not about the messenger, it is about the message and I am grateful for a time of extended sabbatical, during which Harvest will be in capable hands. I may continue preaching at the Naples Campus through some of the winter season and have postponed all writing and leadership to begin in earnest now. I will continue this focus as long as it takes and participate wholeheartedly as requested in the process shared above.
Rocked by allegations of financial impropriety and abuse, Harvest Bible Chapel today announced that founding and senior pastor, James MacDonald, is taking an “indefinite sabbatical from all preaching and leadership in Chicago.” (MacDonald will continue to preach and teach from Harvest’s newest campus in Naples, Florida.) The church also announced it is launching a “peacemaking process,” which will seek to “identify and address our personal failures, sins, and errors in leadership.”
The announcement comes a week after Harvest dropped its lawsuit against me and four other defendants, following a judge’s refusal to keep all documents subpoenaed in the case private. It also comes about a month after my exposé in WORLD Magazine revealed allegations of financial mismanagement and a culture of deception and intimidation at the church.
“James will still run the gang from prison. There needs to be an objective new appointment of EC (executive committee) . . . They are all pawns of James.”
According to an email elders sent to staff and members, Harvest will be partnering in the peacemaking process with two “highly respected ministries” modeled after a book by Ken Sande called, “The Peacemaker: A Biblical Guide to Resolving Personal Conflict.” The email, however, did not name the specific ministries that will be brought in.
The elders added that the church would reach out to individuals who “have complaints against us,” and would thoroughly examine the church’s financial and leadership policies and make “whatever changes necessary.” They also claimed that MacDonald had “recused himself fully from any direction of this peacemaking process.”
Former elder Earl Seals, who resigned from Harvest’s board in 2017, expressed dismay about today’s announcement. “James will still run the gang from prison,” he said in a text to me. “There needs to be an objective new appointment of EC (executive committee) and even old elders like Mark Hopwood and (Mike) Dunwoody have to go. Even recently, Robert Jones stepped back onto the EC. They are all pawns of James.”
Former campus pastor R.T. Maldaner, whose children were kicked out of Harvest Christian Academy because Maldaner planted a church near Harvest’s Elgin campus, had similar feelings. “I remain hesitant and cautious because James will soul search in Naples, while preaching to a people who haven’t figured out the disqualified nature of the man they have ‘leading them’ in the Word,” he said. “This decision perpetuates spiritual abuse in another geographical location and . . . is no good for the people at Harvest Naples, Chicago, or James himself.”
“I remain hesitant and cautious because James will soul search in Naples, while preaching to a people who haven’t figured out the disqualified nature of the man they have ‘leading them’ in the Word.”
In an addendum to the elder email, MacDonald wrote a short note admitting to battling “cycles of injustice, hurt, anger, and fear which have wounded others without cause.” He added that he has “carried great shame about this pattern” and added that he wants to address “these recurring patterns” and looks forward to a “welcomed time of sabbatical rest.”
Dave Corning, who served as chairman of Harvest’s elder board for 21 years said MacDonald’s statement falls far short of the repentance he believes is required. Corning and seven other former elders wrote a letter to the elder board in 2013 accusing MacDonald of being disqualified for ministry because of serious character flaws. “Nothing has changed,” Corning said, “just trying to maneuver around the real issues. Not even close to repentance or godly sorrow. . . . Sad and very disappointing.”
The email concluded by stating that the “lead/campus pastors will continue to lead the day-to-day ministry of the church” and asked for peoples’ support.
The full text of the email is below. As I wrote last week, Harvest leaders and MacDonald have consistently lied and deceived, so I join those who are skeptical about this announcement. Given all that’s occurred, including a baseless lawsuit for which Harvest has still not apologized, what’s required now is not a “peacemaking process,” but confession, repentance, and resignations. There can be no true peace without it.
Dear Harvest Family,
We have tried a variety of different strategies to address external criticisms over the past several years. It has become apparent that these efforts have failed to fully identify and address our personal failures, sins, and errors in leadership, thus perpetuating a continuation of the criticism. In prayerful reflection upon all that has happened and how we got here, a private meeting of the Executive Committee of the Elders on Monday, January 14, led to the decision to be part of a peacemaking process that seeks both reconciliation and change where needed, which was reviewed by the entire Elder Board last night.
We are reminded of these biblical imperatives:
“So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.” Matthew 5:23-24
“Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.’ Matthew 7:3-5
In an effort to invite others to join us, we are working with two highly respected ministries (modeled after “The Peacemaker: A Biblical Guide to Resolving Conflict,” though not directly aligned with the organization of that name) that specialize in helping churches resolve issues in God-honoring ways. The peacemaking process will include:
· The selection of a team of experienced and highly respected conciliators and organizational consultants who will guide us through an objective and comprehensive review process.
· Reaching out to individuals who have left our fellowship or have complaints against us, listening carefully to their insights and correction, and asking God to enable us to confess our sins and make needed changes in our leadership.
· Thoroughly examining our church’s organizational, financial, management, and leadership policies and practices, and making whatever changes are necessary to ensure that every area is being managed according to professional best practices and in a way that honors God.
While we had hoped that successful audits and re-examined/confirmed ECFA compliance would help heal some relational wounds, it simply hasn’t happened. As part of the peacemaking process, Pastor James is taking an indefinite sabbatical from all preaching and leadership at our church in Chicago. He has recused himself fully from any direction of this peacemaking process, other than to participate when and how requested. He may continue preaching at Harvest Naples through some of the winter months and will be on sabbatical, pending the completion of the reconciliation process and a full report to the congregation. Please be in prayer for Pastor James and Kathy through this season.
We are asking the Lord to lead us as we engage in this peacemaking process. The Lead/Campus Pastors will continue to lead the day-to-day ministry of the church, and we ask for your support as they do so. Campus Pastors will be present and available during normal Wednesday ministry tonight on all campuses.
– The Elders of Harvest Bible Chapel