Monday, December 31, 2012

I was Deceived by Bob Thiel

I first encountered Tomorrow's World, LCG's telecast, in early 2000. I became persuaded that they were the true religion and that God is working through them. I should follow them, I thought.

But I knew absolutely nothing about them. I knew nothing about Armstrongism, HWA or WCG. Later a saw a news report about a cult. In the course of this report it mentioned that the cult was started by ex-WCG members. This greatly agitated me. Because I this I decided I needed to know what this religion was.

I learned about HWA and his WCG, that his successor had changed WCG and that there were literally hundreds of Armstrongite COGs out there.

Because there were others it was difficult for me to decide which one I should align myself with. All I knew was from LCG, but their website did not provide information to decide what set LCG apart from the other COGs.

I went looking around and discovered Bob Thiel. I was informed before I visited that he supported Meredith. But I went there. He compared the major COGs (UCG, PCG, RCG, and many others) with LCG and confidently argued that LCG was where God is working today.

UCG votes among themselves unlike old WCG, but LCG has one man rule as HWA recommended, he said.

PCG has all these bizarre and crazy doctrines so God cannot be working through them.

RCG teaches that HWA was the end time Elijah, but LCG does not dogmatically assert this.

After reading things such as these I decided that LCG must be where God is working and gave my heart to LCG, thinking I was giving it to God.

Oh, what a cruel mistake that was. One of the worst decisions of my life. I did not suffer financially but it was terrible. I sacrificed peace of mind to follow what dictates of theirs as I could, straining relations with family and friends, only to later learn I was but chasing the wind.

Later, in late 2008, I discovered that HWA was a liar. I discovered that the failed predictions he made proved that HWA was a false prophet. I learned that he made many false predictions that Christ would return in 1936, after World War II, 1975, by 2005, etc. I was aware of some of these failed predictions before 2008, but being brainwashed as I was, I simply assumed he was off in his timing and that these events would occur later. I did not see that his many false predictions proved that God was not working through him.

Knowing this I had no choice but to renounce that wicked false prophet Roderick C. Meredith and his predecessor HWA.

Then I discovered about Divorce and Remarriage which Roderick Meredith enforced under HWA's dictates, the anti-medicine superstition he took from the Jehovah's Witnesses that killed many WCG members (and continues to do so in some COG splinter groups like PCG), that HWA took three tithes from WCG members and LCG continues to do so (second and third tithes were never mentioned in LCG's deceptive recruitment writings), that HWA had a ten year incestuous relationship with his own daughter, that there is no difference between the moral law and ceremonial law in the Old Testament (HWA took this idea from Seventh Day Adventists and related groups) and many other things that made me deeply ashamed to be a part of this false and disgraceful religious movement.

Now Bob Thiel has created his own COG. How I wish he broke away from LCG before. He would have saved me a lot of trouble.

He complains that Meredith said 'factually inaccurate' answers in response to his queries. The evidence that Meredith was a liar has been around for decades. He deluded himself into not seeing it. He should have seen through him during the split of 1998.

It is terrible that he has gone against just about all that he has said before to support LCG and decided, in his overweening arrogance, that Meredith and LCG are not good enough for him so he has started up his own COG as though he were another HWA or Roderick Meredith, and trying to get followers to give him tithes.

This Bob Thiel deserves absolutely no financial support from anyone. He has rebelled against the organization he has so long claimed to be the one true church. By his own previous standards he is a Laodicean hindering the effort of the so-called one true church in spreading its deceptive propaganda to lure people, like me, into a web of deceit and fear to get their money.

Bob Thiel must repent and renounce Armstrongism. I will not tell what he should convert to, but he certainly have no moral right to arrogantly and rebelliously set himself up as another little HWA to further delude and abuse deceived followers just like Meredith and HWA.

What a disgrace this man is. 

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Bob Thiel Breaks Away from LCG

It has happened. Bob Thiel has now broken away from Spanky's so-called Living Church of God and is seeking to establish a new COG. Hat tip: Mr. Gavin Rumney.

It is hard for me to have any sympathy for Bob Thiel. Alas, I am embarrassed to say this, but he was one of the main reasons why I aligned myself with LCG, when I encountered his blog in 2000 while looking for information about the COGs.

In mid-2000 I saw a news report about a cult started up by ex-WCG members. I was greatly agitated by this and went looking around for information about the COGs, as by this time all I knew was what was presented to me in the Tomorrow's World telecast and in LCG's official website, which was not much. I then learned that there were many COGs around. With so many around which one should I choose? Alas, while looking around I found Bob Thiel's blog. He argued why all the other COGs were less acceptable than LCG. Alas, I found his arguments persuasive. I was already predisposed to LCG because they were how I first learned of Armstrongism and therefore I felt thankful to them.

His writings helped convince me to make one of the most terrible decisions of my life: to accept LCG as the true church in which God in working through. Alas, it was only in 2008 that I learned this was not the case and had to leave behind the lies of Armstrongism.

Because of his role in making me accept LCG I have no sympathy for him. His conduct in this dispute only confirms once again the complete spiritual and moral bankruptcy of Armstrongism. As far as I am concerned his conduct, spreading propaganda in favor of deceptive lies (which he may have honestly believed in) have earned him this set back. Like many Armstrongites he has refused to see the truth that HWA is a false prophet despite knowing that he made many false prophecies throughout his career and continues to uphold the lie that HWA was a man sent by God. This latest split are the wages of the terrible lies, strict dogmatic views and deceptive legalism that he has long spread.

How Bob Thiel expect anyone to follow him considering that he was never ordained is beyond me. I think very few will follow him. No doubt his past LCG self would have dismissed him as merely another sower of division among 'God's people' to be safely ignored.

As for his family, his wife and children, I do feel sorry for them. As Mr. Gavin Rumney points out, no doubt this will negatively impact them through no fault of their own and that is wrong.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Meredith's Fruits Revealed

Brilliant article from Banned by HWA detailing the terrible fruits of Roderick C. Meredith.

Living Church of God's Brotherly Love

Also note this comment:

I have a friend whose aunt and uncle work at LCG headquarters. From the stories I hear, LCG even at the top seems to be a very unhappy cult, full of crazy ideas and nasty politics and fear and meanness and nepotism and an overall mood that sounds to me alot like widespread chronic depression. People suck up to Rod to gain his favor, while Rod manipulates and uses people until he decides it is time to discard them.

From my own experience, I would say that my relatives in "the world" are much more Christian in their conduct than my relatives who follow the teachings of HWA.

PCG Serializing Basil Wolverton's Bible Story

If you look at PCG's website, the church one, and look at its For Youth and Teens section and look around you will find Basil Wolverton's Bible Story serialized in that part of the website.  The latest installment is of Chapter 95, 'The King is Dead'. (Unhelpfully it is not numbered at PCG. I had to look it up.) It details events surrounding the death of king Saul.

It includes the illustrations. There is a logo using the same typeface as used on the covers of the original publications.

Curiously there is absolutely no acknowledgement that it is made by Basil Wolverton.

Personally I wonder why PCG even bother. Anyone who knows where to look can easily read or download the whole thing. You can do it here. (Warning: page includes colorized versions of Basil Wolverton's infamous 1975 in Prophecy illustrations.) No need to wait for installments. If they can't, it's because the PCG ministers have intimidated them into not looking around on the Internet (or have no Internet access). 

I recall Mr. Gavin Rumney mentioned this when they apparently first started serializing it. That was literally years ago. It seems PCG is still going with it.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

If the Holy Spirit is a Thing, How Does "It" Intercede for Believers?

"The Scriptures give clear evidence that the Holy Spirit is a person, not an impersonal force. The Holy Spirit has intellect (He knows the deep things of God-1 Cor. 2:10), sensibility or emotions (He can be grieved-Eph. 4:30), and will (He gives gifts as He wills-1 Cor. 12:11). No impersonal force has intellect, emotions and will. He also does things no impersonal force can do-He teaches (John 14:26), intercedes (Rom 8:26), calls (Acts 13:2), directs (16:6,7), and empowers (Rom. 15:19). The deity of Christ is also clearly established in the Scriptures. He is the Creator of all things (John 1:3; Col. 1:16), which reveals His omnipotent power as the eternal Son of God. However, He voluntarily gave up the manifestation of His attributes in order to take on Himself the form of man and to die on the cross for the sin of the world (Phil 2:5-8)."

Source: Armstrongism: Is It The Plain Truth? by Harold Berry, 1974, Back to the Bible, Lincoln, Nebraska, p. 6, as hosted on Banned by HWA.

When I read this I thought this has to be one of the most elegant rebuttals against Herbert Armstrong's anti-Trinitarianism I have ever read.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Cults Surviving Failed Prophecies

Just read this fascinating article from the BBC, Mayan prophecies: Life after the (non) end of the world.

For those who paid heed to their dire warnings, learning that life will in fact carry on as normal might be expected to be a deeply traumatic experience.
Surprisingly, however, groups which predict the end of the world have quite a good record of carrying on after the world is supposed to have ended, says Lorne Dawson, an expert in the sociology of religion at the University of Waterloo.
"The vast majority seem to shrug off the failure of prophecy fairly well," he says.
Of 75 groups identified by Dawson which predicted the apocalypse, all but six remained intact after catastrophe failed to materialise.
Indeed, many have gone on to flourish. Jehovah's Witnesses are viewed as having predicted some form of end several times and yet still have more than seven million followers.
The Seventh Day Adventists, who have an estimated 17 million members, grew out of the Millerites, whose failed apocalyptic forecast in 1844 became known as the Great Disappointment.

I would add that often failed prophecies caused much turmoil within these groups, but some remained within the group and kept it going. After the failed prophecies of 1914, 1925, and 1975 the Jehovah Witnesses saw many of their members leave after becoming disillusioned because of the failed prophecies.

Also within the old WCG there was a lot of turmoil after HWA's failed prediction that the Great Tribulation would begin in 1972. No doubt once WCG members were no longer worried about an immanent end it gave them the freedom to question what they were taught by HWA and many saw through HWA's deceptions and courageously strived to change the situation in old WCG.

The article also states this:

For Jenkins, the appeal of leaders preaching the impending apocalypse down the ages has always been about far more than the specifics of their prophecies.
"It's a kind of rejection of the order of the world as it is," he says. "It's to do with imagining something far better. After it becomes apparent that the new order isn't going to come, there are ways of adjusting the message."

Indeed the hope for a better world arising out of the destruction of the old world seems to be a very common trope of end of the world beliefs.

Monday, December 17, 2012

LCG's Purpose: One Man Rule

Thanks to Banned by HWA I rediscovered this link to a website which extensively discusses the 1998 split between Global Church of God and the Living Church of God.

I find it very sad to read the Board's account of events. I so wish I read these things before choosing to follow Meredith. It could have saved me a lot of trouble.

Member's Comments noting that Roderick Meredith's behavior during the split contradicted his earlier agreement and support for collegial government. Bolding is mine.

IF there was no takeover attempt by the Board then they would have been justified to remove him after he initiated the split by telling people to leave with him and join his new group in his first crisis letter since such an act would consititute church division.

IF there was no takeover attempt by the Board then they would have been justified to remove him after he initiated the split by telling people to leave with him and join his new group in his first crisis letter since such an act would consititute church division. 

Such an action is ONLY justified in this case if there is proof that the board was trying to take over the church. I haven't seen any clear proof so far. If there is proof on the tapes I'm more than honest enough to change my views since we have nothing to fear from the truth and looking fully at both sides of the story.

After saying he still intended to leave on the day, he chose not to give a written resignation in order to induce the board to terminate him so they would look bad in the members' eyes. They accepted his crisis letter and spoken intention that he was still going to leave as his resignation or they fired him depending upon the semantic point of view one decides to take.

Dr Meredith has contradicted his own written statements at least 10 times from the documented evidence that I've seen. Some of those include:

- Saying repeatedly that there is no voting or committees in Global when the Board and council has always voted on motions proposed and there was an executive committee(not to mention the council which fits the definition of a committee also).

- Saying we have had complete unity and harmony at HQ's weeks before the split and then saying they had been plotting for a year or two to take over.

- In his first crisis letter saying he was already starting to incorporate and then in the next letter saying that he hadn't started to incorporate when he wrote his first letter.

- In the October 30, 1998 Journal paper he said that the council, including the other board members, were spirit-led and filled and then the next month says that they are "misguided" and "very political individuals" in November? You have to wonder how men change that fast if that is true? 

- Four times he and the council unanimously agreed that rule by the council is how the church should be run and now he says the Bible never supports that point of view when he wrote so much different to that in the June 1998 co-worker letter. 

If he changed his beliefs the proper thing he should have done was to put that new idea of how the council is ONLY to advise him and not rule on motions to the doctrinal committee and then for the whole council to decide on the matter rather than try and by- pass that established procedure in the church.

These plain written contradictions should bring one point to all the members' attention - do not take Dr Meredith's words at face value - PROVE ALL THINGS AS THE BIBLE SAYS ABOUT WHAT ANYONE SAYS, NOT JUST RCM! 

The number of people I have ran across and heard about who just take Dr Meredith at face value without any back up and who won't thoroughly look at both sides is amazing. I mean, what can it hurt to do just as the Bible says and thoroughly look at both sides and then make an objective decision? I don't mind people eventually deciding to go the opposite way than me just as long as they've thoroughly looked at both sides of the issue. 

There's far too much emotion involved and not enough sound logic being applied in the decision-making going on. I hope we can all be thorough and make calm rational decisions in all of this and love and respect each other regardless on how we all choose and who's side we end up on. I, for one, want to be on God's side whoever I see that He is with regardless of who it is, what people say and whether they have a majority of members or not!

Also here is Raymond McNair's account of the GCG-LCG split.

Raymond McNair noting how Meredith used to support collegial government then rejected it.

Compare Dr. Meredith’s own words regarding Church government—as found in the 1993 booklet titled Church government and Church Unity—with statements he recently made. "Very SELDOM a Central Government in God’s Church Mr. Armstrong knew and many of us who have studied church history know, that in fact very seldom in its 2000 year history has God’s Church ever had one administration, with ONE MAN in charge [including] the Paulicians… the Bogomils of Bulgariathe Petrobrusians of Provencal, the Henricians, Albigenses and Waldenses…. There was NEVER ONE MAN in charge of all these scattered groups, never any central government—though some of those groups were contemporaneous" (p. 8).
Now compare the above quote with a recent statement by Dr. Meredith: "God has virtually ALWAYS worked primarily through ONE MAN in leading or guiding any particular phase of His Work down through the ages" ("Dear Brethren" letter, Nov. 21, 1998). Which of these statements are we to believe?

Here R. McNair notes how Meredith would not listen to criticism and became increasingly autocratic.

In our November 1997 Council of Elders’ meetings, members of the Council (D. Apartian, C. McNair, D. Pack and R. McNair) pointed out to Dr. Meredith numerous instances in which his autocratic decisions were eroding the ministers’ confidence in his leadership. Would he accept this criticism gracefully? No! Instead, he repeatedly accused those who brought this grave matter to his attention of "attacking" him.
By the time the Council again convened in February 1998, it was becoming quite clear to most of us on the Council and the Church Board that the [Presiding Evangelist's] increasingly autocratic approach toward certain important matters was not only contrary to the teachings of the BIBLE (cf. Mt. 20:25-28; 1 Pet 5:3), but also ran counter to our Church Government BOOKLET, and was in direct violation of the BYLAWS of the GCG! During those February Council meetings, we had a two- day discussion on the subject of the proper form of N.T. Church government—and all 13 members unanimously concluded that our "collegial" approach to Church government was correct, according to the Bible. We, therefore, unanimously agreed to support such government in Global. Then, in May, we re-visited this subject, again unanimously agreeing to employ Church government by CONSENSUS, as explained in Dr. Meredith’s booklet.

Here R. McNair notes several instances in which Meredith acted unwisely and the Board tried to save him from his own foolishness.

Did the Board ever attempt to "oust" him from his job, as he [Meredith] charged? Never! Neither did members of the Board of the GCG ever "tie his hands," or "put him in a box," as he claimed. Though we did not "tie his hands," or "put him in a box," we did do certain things to try to protect both him and the Church:

Example # 1 We held back one TV program that he wanted to send out. Why? Because it contained unduly offensive language. In fact, WGN later informed us that they would not air that particular program unless the offending words were removed.

Example # 2 On occasion, we insisted on removing certain offensive or inaccurate statements from his sermon tapes. During one such Headquarters sermon, a couple of ladies actually walked out in disgust.

Truly that Meredith is a scoundrel.

If the Board is right it would appear that Meredith decided he wanted to rule alone. The split was really a plot by Meredith to destroy the collegial government within GCG so that Meredith would be able to rule alone.

Alas, his plot succeeded brilliantly. He foresaw that in such a contest he was able to get most GCG members to follow him. About 80% of GCG's membership chose to follow Meredith and set up the Living Church of God, one of the most largest Armstrongite splinter group there is.

Meanwhile the Board, with only 20% of members remaining, was saddled with unpayable debt and inevitably quickly disintegrated, while Meredith had bought himself a get out of jail free card by simply starting another group free from any liabilities GCG had acquired under his watch.

I am disgusted that I associated myself with an organization created specifically to destroy collegial government and establish one man rule.

LCG is a dictatorship and was created for that very purpose.

LCG is the daughter of Meredith's authoritarianism.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

M. John Allen's Aliens and Other Heretical Nonsense

From Banned by HWA, M. John Allen: Yahweh is a Reptilian Extraterrestial from the Planet Nabiru.

Apparently M. John Allen now believes God is the Universe, and that Yahweh is not God but a leader of a bunch of space aliens who live on a planet called Nabiru.

I ran into M. John Allen's website early on when I decided to look for information about HWA's WCG beyond the little that LCG wrote. This was around mid-2000, less than two years since the split within the Global Church of God. I have discussed of him before here and here.

I know I am wasting my sympathies but I feel sorry that he has fell into such craven nonsense. It is terrible that he is tries to lure people into believing these absurd and ridiculous ideas.

Monday, December 10, 2012

My Debt to Rudyard Kipling's Rikki-Tikki-Tavi

I was just going through some of my old blog posts and found this one, Fiction is Not Stupid, HWA. In it I wrote this:

I am sorry to say this but I was so taken in by HWA that after I read these words [of his which criticized fiction as 'lazy man's reading'] I very seriously considered giving up reading fiction all together. I shudder at the thought of how much power his words had over me.

Thankfully after reading a particularly exciting story I decided that reading fiction and dreaming up your own fictional scenarios was perfectly fine and did not contradict God's will.

I am surprised I did not mention the story by name. It is Rudyard Kipling's

I shall always remember with fondness how this story made me reject HWA's narrow minded view on fiction. I have no doubt that my experience with Armstrongism would have been even more miserable than it was if I avoided fiction because his HWA's words.  

Deceased Serial Killer Linked to Christian Identity

Just found this story from the Southern Poverty Law Centre's Hatewatch blog about a recently deceased serial killer's links with "Christian Identity", a racist off shoot of British Israelism which claims that white Europeans are the lost tribes of Israel and that Jews are not descended from the Biblical Israelites but are imposters who are literally descended from Satan the Devil. I have discussed "Christian Identity" in other posts here and here.

Hatewatch Exclusive: Alaska Serial Killer Exposed to Christian Identity

A confessed serial killer and bank robber who took his own life in an Alaska jail cell on Sunday was exposed to the racist and anti-Semitic beliefs of Christian Identity theology during his childhood in a rural corner of Washington state, Hatewatch has learned.
Israel Keyes, 34, now linked to at least eight murders throughout the United States in the past 11 years, was a childhood friend and neighbor in Stevens County, Wash., of terrorists Chevie and Cheyne Kehoe — two racist brothers now serving lengthy prison sentences for murder and attempted murder.
“The two families, the Keyeses and the Kehoes, were neighbors and friends and lived about a half mile apart off Aladdin Road north of Colville” in Stevens County, Wash., a source with direct knowledge of the situation said. “The kids in both families were home-schooled and they sometimes attended a Christian Identity church called The Ark, just up the road from their homes,” the source said.

More Links Between Alaska Serial Killer and Racist Theology Emerge

The Keyeses, who homeschooled their children, were neighbors and friends of Kirby Kehoe and his large family, including sons Chevie and Cheyne Kehoe, whose white supremacy beliefs in the 1990s led to a notorious series of violent crimes.
At some point, various sources say, the Keyeses and the Kehoes attended Christian Identity services at a church near the Canadian border, north of Colville, Wash., called The Ark. The Ark, which is now known as Our Place Fellowship, is headed by Pastor Dan Henry. The Keyes and Kehoe families also attended services at another nearby Christian Identity church, the Christian Israel Covenant Church, headed by Henry’s neighbor and friend, Pastor Ray Barker, sources say.
Christian Identity is an anti-Semitic theology that sees Jews as an evil force and claims the Bible is the history of white people. The most virulent Identity followers believe that Jews are biological descendants of Satan and are working to prepare the earth for the return of their progenitor, the Devil.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

A Vintage Tale of Escape from Armstrongism Before the 1970s

The bibliography of the 1984 edition of Walter Martin's Kingdom of the Cults contained the following source.
Leyendecker, Ruth and Wayne, with Roger F. Campbell. "We Escaped from Armstrongism." In James R. Adair and Ted Miller, eds. We Found Our Way Out. Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1965.
Thanks to Banned by HWA this resource is now online.

We Found Our Way Out (1964, 1975) by Ruth and Wayne Leyendecker, with Roger F. Campbell.

When I looked at Walter Martin's bibliography the one thing I wanted to see most was this one, because it is set before the turmoil began within WCG in the early 1970s.

I am sorry I did not comment on this before. This is a humble attempt to correct my omission.

Monday, November 26, 2012

HWA and the Kennedy Assassination

You want to know how dependent I was on Herbert W. Armstrong? I was reading this, The Other Shooter: The Saddest and Most Expensive 26 Seconds of Amateur Film Ever Made, discussing the Kennedy assassination. (Warning: Contains graphic content.)

I remember when I was reading his book, The Missing Dimension in Sex, and at one point in Chapter 12 HWA discusses the assassination.
WHY did Lee Oswald shoot and kill President Kennedy? Frustrated VANITY! He sought status. He sought it the wrong way. America turned him down. Russia turned him back. He was a little man, incapable of greatness, yet he desperately craved to do something that would make him stand out in history -- make the world take notice of him! Even the Warren Commission could find no other motive!
In times past I had been exposed to theories that other people were involved in the Kennedy assassination. Now HWA simply mentioned this and immediately I dismissed any contrary opinion.

Today I happen to believe that the Kennedy assassination was actually a murder committed by just one man, but I believe this using my own reasoning, not blindly believing what some man from Pasadena believes.  

The great reverence one is taught to give to this man will lead people to act in this way.

I know that HWA's defenders will blame me and say that I am unfairly blaming HWA for my own decisions. Such persons hide the fact that the old Worldwide Church of God and their imitators are designed to make people believe that their leaders are extraordinarily wise and one can trust their judgement. HWA, Flurry, Meredith, Pack, Weinland, etc, are revered so excessively that it becomes impossible to question them and one is persuaded to let them decide for you.

I and many others have discovered that this trust we gave them have been horribly and viciously betrayed by HWA and his imitators who have lied to us about many things and deceptively persuaded us to support them under false pretenses.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Personal Catch Up

I have not been following developments in the COG universe lately because life is beautiful and the sight of ravenous shepherds living off of a deceived and eternally fleeced flock gets boring after awhile. So I've been looking at Banned by HWA to see what has happened.

Meredith and Bob Thiel have been arguing over the Great Falling Away. I am not surprised at all. It was only a matter of time before they would clash in this manner. With guys having egos that large it they were bound to start contending with each other. I find it hard to be sympathetic to either Meredith or Thiel.
Dave Pack Also Speaking Out Against Bob Thiel
Bob Thiel on "Persecution" Another Embarassment For LCG. Very good post. Highlights true persecution of actual Christians around the world. (Warning: Contains graphic images at the end.)
Did Bob Thiel Rock the Boat at LCG HQ and Now Paying For It?
Meredith Letter on LCG Member Page
Bob Thiel SURPRISED That Rod Meredith Has Concerns About His Books
Rod Meredith Responds to LCG Members Concerns About Bob Thiel
Bob Thiel Comments About Meredith's Concerns

Dave Pack's group have remodeled their website. I doubt it will change anything.

Love this headline: Apostle Malm and Prophet Thiel: Despisers of the Cross.

What a sorry excuse for a human being:Arthur Ferdig (HWA Assistant) and His Angel Metatron Rip Off Investors

 Tragic Life In Armstrongism Made Good. Beautiful story of a woman who has moved on away from the darkness of Armstrongism.

How fittingly ironic. Rod Meredith and Those Damned Crosses! A newspaper places a picture of crosses in an article written by Meredith.

Kay Hawkins Writes About Life In House of Yahweh Cult. A window into one of the darkest cults within the USA, the infamous cult led by Yisrael Hawkins.

Close To 1000 People Show Up For GCI Minister Funeral. Sad to hear of Jessup Bahinting's passing. I never knew of him till his tragic death but clearly he a good man whose passing is deeply regretted.

HWA Films Preserved Forever In Library of Congress. I am not sure what to feel after hearing about that.

More Doom, Gloom and Sex From Rod Meredith
Samuel Martin on the Feminine Voice In Scripture. Proverbs 31:1-10 is an abecedian poem. The link explains all.

M John Allen: Passive Aggressive Prophet Calls It Quits (Again). I remember that guy. He was one of the first other COGs I encountered on the Internet. Also the only place that bothers to have Stanley Rader's book online.

Rod McQueen: Former Evolutionist? Critic Says "What A Load of Crap."

The Master. Sounds like a good movie.

Is Your Salvation At Risk If You Use Gel Caps? This sort of superstition will probably kill people.

McFlurry and Jr. McFlurry Want Your Money! PCG's overloads trying to get members to send them money.

Totally Demolished

Demolition of AC Library Pasadena, Where It All Started

Living Church of God Humiliates Dave Pack

Bob Thiel: Pretending To Be Catholic In Order To Sell Books?

Church of God Eternal: Satanic Ministers On The Loose in COG's

Your Guardian Angel Is Actually YOU Who Has Come Back In Time To Protect Yourself

Ron Weinland: Certain Salutations Are Restricted To Ministers Only

UCG's Latest Creepy Video. Critique of a promotional video for the Feat of Tabernacles produced by UCG.

A Fine Example On How The Church of God Regarded It's Members. Tale of a WCG minister's inheritance being seized by the cult after his death.

The Rats Are Jumping Off Ron Weinland's Felonious Ship. Pack boasting of getting a few converts from New Zealand after Weinland's conviction.

Mormons Excited About UCG's Drift Towards LDS Teachings. Exposes Joe Kovacs as a fellow traveler of Armstrongism.

Flurry Cult Archeology Dig. Others are starting to note PCG's involvement in archeological excavations in the Holy Land.

Ex-COG Street Musician Says: “The paradigm stopped working for me.” Inspiring story of ex-WCG member.

Rod Meredith on Whether You Should Vote For A Mormon Or A REAL Christian (LCG of Course)
Meredith once again telling people not to vote.

Conservative Christian Ministry Calls Out Joe Kovacs For His Armstrongite Heresies. Good on them.

Facebook and the Feast of Tabernacles

Another Splinter Cult COG Leader Who Says He No Longer Sins. Another crazy Armstrongite cult.

Jehovah's Witnesses and Halloween

God Lowers Gas Prices So LCG Members Can Travel To The Feast

Feast of Tabernacles: Desperately Trying To Relive The Glory Days?

Rod Meredith Says He Is Commanded By God To Correct You

Craig White Says: " Massacre and Butchery Unimaginable Soon To Be Unleashed on US, Australia and New Zealand"

Bricket Wood, England Campus For Sale (Again)

Ron Weinland Court Documents. Weinland's corrupt spending habits exposed.

Terrace Villa On Pasadena Campus Soon to Go Up For Sale

Is Imitation the Best Form of Flattery?

Chinese Buy Ambassador College Pasadena Hall of Ad With 2 Day Escrow. Why does this news amuse me?

God Punishes U.S. For LCG's Arrogance

Is An Expose About Abuse in Armstrongism Soon to Hit Syndicated TV? Hopes this works out and sees the light of day.

Dave Pack: "My Life and Ministry—Rumors and Lies vs. Facts and Truth". The arrogance of this man is astounding, even by COG standards.

UCG Money Problems Curtail HQ Travel

COGWA Kicks Out Elder Who Said Church Was Too Lax On Sabbath Requirements

Living in Fear With the Living Church of God

Is It Wise For Foreign COG Members To Invest In U.S. Properties Before It's Soon Coming Destruction?

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Is "Gospel of Jesus' Wife" Fragment a Fraud?

There has been news recently that a fragment of papyrus written in Coptic tells a story which states that Jesus had a wife.

Now Francis Watson of Durham University has come out and has argued that the fragment in question is most likely a modern day fraud in which the author has simply taken phrases from other Coptic Gnostic writings and stitched them together to make a provocative statement.

Richard Backman also notes that the fragment in question is composed in Coptic, which is unlike the well known Nag Hammadi writings, which were translated from Greek into Coptic. Thus suggesting that even if the fragment is from ancient times it is derivative of writings translated from Greek and hence is a late text.

Watson also notes in his summary (p. 6) that one of the eight lines within the fragment follows a line break which is identical to how it is presented in another text which is preserved in modern editions.

In its time Coptic had no spaces between words, and when a word reached the end of the line unfinished it simply continued in the next line without any hyphen. Seems odd this fragment exactly follows the one other example known to scholars of these Coptic writings. Here are Watson's words:
The impression of modernity is reinforced by the case in line 1 of dependence on the line-division of the one surviving Coptic manuscript, easily accessible in modern printed editions.
Unless this impression of modernity is countered by further investigations and fresh considerations, it seems unlikely that GJW will establish itself as a “genuine” product of early gospel writing.
This story has already reached the Guardian.

Also here is a blog about this which, while I certainly don't agree with everything he says, provides a complete transcript of the fragment in question.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Thoughts About the Innocence of Muslims Protests

Regarding this wave of protests over that formerly obscure 'film' trailer for Innocence of Muslims I must say that I view this whole fiasco with regret and sadness.

While the Syrian people go through unimaginable suffering due to a bloodthirsty dictator's determination to murder as many people as possible just to stay in power, the Muslim world is rocked, instead, by a badly made 'movie' that almost no one knew about or saw until protests denouncing it began.

Tragically people have died in these protests and that is the main reason why I view these protests with fear.

When something like this happens I always remember what I read in Princess Sultana's Circle by Jean Sasson. As related in a previous post describing a similar wave of protests against a Facebook group that offended Muslims:

Second of all I don't think the people responsible for that Facebook group understand just how passionately many Muslims hate to see this happen to Muhammad.

Now those of us who live in 'the West' (whatever that is) have grown used to living in a world where people say outrageous things and we, for the most part, let them do this. They may say things we believe are profoundly wrong or offensive. But we accept that this is the necessary price we pay to live in a free society.

But those are Western concepts which, while they seem perfectly natural to us, like water to a fish, are somewhat meaningless in the dar al-Islam.

(I'm scared I might be saying something that might be interpreted as being patronizing here. I don't intend to do so, but I must speak about this.)

I remember one story mentioned in Princess Sultana's Circle (2002) by Jean Sasson. Sultana, the Saudi Princess at the center of this book, related a story of how she met a female relative (if I remember correctly) who was highly agitated. Sultana asked another lady what was wrong with her.

She then told Sultana how something absolutely horrible happened to her. I can't recapture the story in its dramatic sense, but essentially she was walking around, had to hide temporarily (I think) and then when she returned to the street she saw to her utter horror a poster that depicted Muhammad in an offensive manner.

After seeing this poster she was still even now being plagued by thoughts of that poster. She couldn't get that image out of her head. She was very disturbed by it.

And at the end of the chapter Sultana said that despite all the horrible things that had happened earlier in the book, a niece's unwanted marriage, discovering a millionaire's dark secret, Sultana said to herself, (I can't quote, this is from memory) I am so glad I do not have to deal with that.

So when I saw the protests over the Danish cartoons I was not that surprised because I thought about that woman who so horrified by what she saw in that poster. Whenever something like that happens I think of that woman.

So now we can better understand why so many Muslims have taken to the streets let me add my few words regarding this tragic situation.

How dare that Nakoula Bassely Nakoula make such a hateful 'film'. How dare he deceptively recruit actors into working on his film under false pretenses. We now know the actors thought they were staring in a movie that had nothing to do with Muhammad and Islam. The movie lines regarding Muhammad and Islam were crudely dubbed over after filming without the actors' knowledge.

This reminds me all too clearly of how Herbert W. Armstrong and his imitators lured people into the deceptive web of Armstrongism. They claimed Jesus would return in 1975, and then once that prophetic scenario inevitably fell apart they just continued their cruel work of deception as though nothing happened.

How dare the idiots behind this hate film make the astoundingly stupid decision to make an Arabic dub of their 'film' trailer. They probably now wish they never did that. Did they not realize that nothing but trouble could come from this? Were they not thankful that no one had yet complained about them?

I am disgusted at people like Sheikh Khalid Abdullah who, in a horrific example of what is called the Streisand effect, broadcasted this obscure and previously unknown movie to Arabic speaking audiences inciting these unfortunate protests. I fail to see how people like him benefited anyone by giving publicity to something so obscure.

One Egyptian man, Amr Imam, has responded to this inflammatory TV host by filing  a complaint that Sheikh Khalid Abdullah “instigated and committed blasphemy and discrimination.”
In the complaint, Abdullah is accused of using his Sept. 9 show to create sectarian tension and instigate unrest. He could face jail time if convicted, but Imam says he doesn’t expect a legal win. Instead, he seems more concerned with making a point—that someone who uses religion as a weapon could just as soon find it used against himself. “This is a way of accusing him of insulting religion,”  Imam says.
The complaint alleges that the furor surrounding the film has resulted in a blowback against Egypt’s Coptic Christians, who make up an estimated 10 percent of the population. It cites three additional men for related crimes—Abdullah’s co-host on the day the film was aired, another controversial religious personality accused of burning a Bible during the embassy protest, and a sheikh who allegedly uploaded the film to his YouTube channel. In seizing on the film, the complaint states, Abdullah and the others “instigated and committed blasphemy and discrimination.”... Some observers have noted that Abdullah’s defense sounds something like an argument for freedom of expression, even where blasphemy is concerned.

The whole point of offensive material such as this is to cause offense and produce a bad reaction. By publicizing this 'film' Sheikh Khalid Abdullah and those like him played right into Nakoula Bassely Nakoula's hands and gave the film far more prominence than it would have received otherwise.

They would have been far wiser to simply not mention it. Far fewer people would have known about it and gotten offended over it. (Of course Nakoula could have done that by not making this abomination in the first place and then stupidly dubbing it into Arabic.)

Would so many people have protested if they realized how utterly obscure and utterly unknown this film was among Americans? Did Sheikh Khalid Abdullah tell the people that hardly anyone even knew this thing existed?

But once the genie was out of the bottle there was no turning back.

The Muslim world have had a long and painful history of interaction with the West. Painful memories of foreign domination in times past no doubt revive and further inflame tensions in times such as this.

I first heard about this by hearing of the tragic death (on 9/11) of Ambassador Stevens and three other American employees of the American consulate in Benghazi. Once I heard it occurred at a protest over something that offended Muslims I was saddened to see this scenario of the whole Muslim world roiling over a  perceived insult, just like those protests over the Danish cartoons, like what happened after Pope Benedict made comments many Muslims took offense at. It is particularly bitter that this occurred in Libya, in which the US did so much to save the Libyan people from that murderous monster Gaddafi.

Some people feel that it was a mistake for the US to get involved and that 'this is the thanks they get'. I feel this is a short sighted view of the situation. First of all we do not fully know what happen. Some think the attack may have been planned independently of these protests and that terrorists took advantage of the protests to seek into it and launch their most wicked attack.

Also many Libyans have made clear their profound sorrow for this tragedy. It is unfortunate that lost in the hype and anger many Libyans have most firmly declared their condemnation for these murders. Also it should be remembered that Libyans bravely went into the burning building and tried desperately to save his life.

Regarding the protests themselves I find it odd. They want the video banned. But that is very difficult. The Internet originated from US military attempts to create a computer network in order for information to travel even if a port of call the information traveled through was disabled by a nuclear bomb. Anyone can simply download the video and post it somewhere else.

No amount of outrage will change that.

No doubt people who want to will keep this hate film around. It will not go away even if Google got rid of it on Youtube. Someone who downloaded it can just post it again. Even dictatorships have a hard time censoring information on the Internet. They just hope most people do not get access to software that gets through firewalls.

So instead the enraged vent their fury elsewhere. Most of the time it is harmless. But in some instances they end up attacking a consulate or an embassy, police forces try to restrain them and people get injured and sometimes even killed, religious minorities living among them fear that things may go wrong for them over this.

I understand that they are offended. But it is absurd to expect everyone in the world to treat matters such as this respectfully. I am a Christian. My faith is denigrated and mocked by those who do not believe it every single day. But we do not react this badly to such things because we have learned to accept this as the price of living in a free society. (And I just quietly tend to stay away from web sites like that.) By mutually agreeing not to resort to violence or state coercion for personal offense we guarantee social harmony among those of different worldviews.

This is why many of us in the West believe in freedom of expression in order to harmoniously manage relations between those holing different worldviews.

These protests go against this worldview and I fear that more people may die in these protests.

May these protests soon end and may peace return soon.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Cult Leader Sun Myung Moon Dies

I heard that Sun Myung Moon, leader of the Unification Church, whose followers are often called Moonies, has died aged 92.He was widely regarded as an infamous cult leader.

See this blog, The Real Sun Myung Moon for more details on this man.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

The Plain Truth on The Vietnam War

Using Don Tiger's index of Plain Truth and Good News articles here is a list of the articles about the Vietnam War written in the Plain Truth.

All articles are from the Plain Truth.

The articles are arranged chronologically.












Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Two Stories: Religious Hypocracy Turns Away a Believer, and an Elderly Man Remembers His Former Religion

Just saw some intriguing stories from Godreports.

First Saudi Woman Publicly Announces Her Faith in Christ.

A Saudi woman announces her conversion to Christianity. What caught my interest was her statement that the oppression of the morality police, a clerical police force that enforces religious rules throughout Saudi Arabia, seems to have caused her to become disillusioned.
“The morality police’s treatment caused me to not take fasting and prayer seriously and to eventually convert to Christianity.”
I had heard about this police force while reading Princess by Jean Sasson and the main subject of the book, Sultana, a Saudi princess who pours out the terrible injustices she has seen in Saudi society, speaks very negatively of this morality police, as an insufferable force that oppresses women and force them to live in a dysfunctional society according to a terribly narrow minded version of Islam. It does not surprise me that their oppression has caused this Saudi woman to be disillusioned.

The false prophets of Armstrongism are also guilty of this sort of sickening religious hypocrisy. And like the morality police in Saudi Arabia many of them from Herbert W. Armstrong onwards have also imposed an authoritarian way of life upon their deceived followers that stifles their natural potential in life. Many are the painful sorrows these false prophets imposed on us.

And now this story:

He Waited a Lifetime to see God’s Holy Book

A very touching story about one Mauritanian Christian who has a most intriguing encounter with one of his fellow countrymen.

It turns out this man came from a tribe that was Christian but was forcibly converted into Islam around 1950.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Gerald Flurry Thinks America Overthrew Mubarak: Exposing A Dictatorial Mindset

Just listened to The Trumpet Weekly podcast, America Should Not Have Toppled Mubarak, by Gerald Flurry.

America toppled Mubarak? That is nonsense. The Egyptian people toppled him.

This statement exposes how Flurry is simply unable (or refuses) to believe that ordinary people, when they act together, are capable of overthrowing a mighty and established power.

The Egyptian people's brave protests are callously ignored.

The thought that ordinary people could overthrow someone like Mubarak is impossible for Flurry to comprehend, so he simply assumes that someone more powerful than Mubarak overthrew him, namely the United States.

Perhaps the thought of seemingly powerless people overthrowing those who rule over them seems scary to him. Maybe he fears PCG members could try to do something like that for themselves.

I believe the US government was wise to leave Egypt alone and let the Egyptian people and authorities deal with this matter themselves. Trying to force the Egyptian people to let Mubarak rule over them when they are unwilling to let him do so would have been a disastrous policy for the US government. That is what Russia is presently doing in Syria, but their support has been useless in preventing protesters and armed opposition groups from continuing their revolt against the Assad regime. The US avoided such a mess by letting the protests take their course.

At one point Flurry cites a statement from Mubarak who states that the protesters are striving to create an Islamic theocracy. Flurry cites this as evidence that Mubarak should have stayed in power to (supposedly) restrain Muslim fundamentalists.

It is more likely Mubarak was scared he would be overthrown and tried to scare people in order to weaken support for the demonstrators and strengthen support for himself.

Mubarak knew if you believed the protesters wanted democracy more people would support the protesters and not Mubarak. But if he could convince you that the protesters are striving towards a goal you do not like it would make you less likely to oppose him and allow Mubarak to stay in power.

Did Flurry ever discuss this possibility? No. He did not.

Throughout this broadcast Flurry denounces the Muslim Brotherhood in the strongest terms as terrorists, linked with Iran (which he teaches is to be the King of the South which will rally the Muslim world behind it and set the stage for the Great Tribulation), all in order to make people scared about what is happening in Egypt.

As far as I know it appears to me that the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt no longer practice terrorism. I am under the impression that it was formerly engaged in such things or at least more open to that. But today it seems they no longer indulge in such practices. So I am willing to dismiss this accusation as crude fear mongering.

Flurry, it is called democracy. If enough people vote for them they get the right to rule. You and I may not like them very much (I certainly would never be a member of the Muslim Brotherhood) but enough other people are willing to support them and in a democratic society that means they get to rule for a term. It is absurd to so callously dismiss the considered opinion of so many Egyptians.

At one point Flurry says Mubarak made peace with Israel. Flurry is wrong. It was Mubarak's predecessor Sadat who made the peace treaty with Israel.

In this video Flurry speaks of Mubarak highly, that he made peace with Israel, that he called Iran a cancer and regarded them as an enemy, etc. He makes Mubarak sound like a swell guy. Why would anyone want to overthrow him? Flurry seems to be saying.

Flurry never mentions the 850 people who were killed trying to overthrow him. No, their blood does not matter to Flurry.

He never mentions how many Egyptian people lived in fear of an authoritarian police force that often abused their power and tortured detainees.

Once I read The Looming Tower by Lawrence Wright, a history of Al Qaeda up to December 2001. It mentions that Ayman al-Zawahiri, the current head of Al Qaeda and the main ideologist for them, became radicalized and embraced terrorist tactics after experiencing torture by Mubarak's police force following the widespread suppression of Islamist groups after Sadat's assassination in 1981. Mubarak's crude suppression of dissent contributed to the radicalization of one of the main leaders of Al Qaeda. Does Flurry take any of this into account? No, of course not.

Why does Flurry give a dictator like Mubarak such sympathetic coverage? I cannot help but think that Flurry sees in Mubarak a kindred spirit. Like Mubarak before the revolution Gerald Flurry live in a group which revolves entirely around him and which he rules with power few outsiders can comprehend. And Flurry sees that even a dictator who ruled for nearly 30 years can be tossed out after 18 days of protests. This makes him fearful that something like this could happen to him. So he does everything he can to demonize this astounding achievement of the Egyptian people to blind his abused followers from learning from these events and applying its lessons for themselves.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Bigotry Towards South Vietnamese in Plain Truth

Recently I've been reading about the Vietnam War. In the course of this I looked through old issues of the Plain Truth to see what they had to say about it. I came upon an article in the May 1968 Plain Truth, 'Vietnam in Prophecy?' by Raymond F. McNair and C. Wayne Cole, pp. 9-15 (PDF pp. 11-7.).

It is your standard COG world news article which details the issues and at the very ends advertizes one of their booklets in the hope of tricking you into joining a high demand group that takes three tithes from members.

But in reading this article I was shocked and appalled to see these scornful and bigoted words directed at the people of South Vietnam.

The South Vietnamese people are a rather backward, semi-illiterate people. Many of them don't understand why the war is being fought. Many (if not most) of the Vietnamese people are very apathetic. They aren't willing to work hard to build their country. Neither are they able to bear the brunt of the fighting.

The Vietnamese just want to make sure they get their rice, and have freedom from fear of being attacked and killed by the Communists, the Americans or anyone else! They don't want to have to pay too heavy taxes. Beyond these points, they couldn't care less which government rules over them! (pp. 11-3.  PDF pp. 13-5)

Such dismissive condescension took my breath away.

A backward people? The Vietnamese are an ancient nation that have existed long before the Anglo-Saxons migrated to Britain. How dare Raymond McNair and C. Wayne Cole call them that.

Apathetic? Like Herbert W. Armstrong telling members not to donate money to ease the plight of refugees of the Biafran Civil War in Nigeria (1967-70). How does such words not encourage an apathetic outlook on world events?

And what is so bizarre and shameful about wanting to be fed and not wanting to be killed? They speak of these common human desires as though they are something to be ashamed of.

It amazes me that two men who lived in peace all their lives could be so dismissively judgmental towards a people who had had to endure over twenty years of on and off warfare.

Who was in charge of this magazine? Why didn't the senior editors, namely, HWA, GTA, Hoeh, Meredith, Albert J. Portune, David Jon Hill, etc, object to these statements and just left this nasty piece of bigotry in this alleged magazine of understanding?

This all goes back to the false idea of British Israelism. An idea HWA stole and pretended to have gotten from God. Claiming that white Americans have some special connection to God have historically caused many within the COGs to focus mainly on supposed descendants of Israel and view others as not as central to God's plan on Earth at the present time as the alleged Israelites.

Such bigotry is the disgusting fruit of this incorrect theory.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Hope in Sudan (#SudanRevolts)

Recently mass protests (#SudanRevolts) have arisen in Sudan against the dictatorial regime of Omar al-Bashir, sparked off by the introduction of austerity measures. I think this is a wonderful development.

Omar al-Bashir, since seizing power in a military coup in 1989, has lead Sudan in waging a catastrophic civil war by the Muslim majority north against the predominantly animist and Christian South until 2005, aided the infamous so-called Lord's Resistance Army led by the most evil Joseph Kony, and then lead Sudan into another horrific war in the Darfur region which gained infamy all over the world and made Omar al-Bashir wanted by the International Criminal Court, and recently he nearly succeeded in plunging Sudan into another war with the South.

Frankly I had long ago given up hearing good news from Sudan. I heard about how some northern Sudanese abducted slaves from the Southerners. I knew Sudan's government as mainly a regime that was constantly at war, spreading death, slavery and misery in an already blighted region of the Earth.

Recently I heard about alleged attempts by Omar al-Bashir to make life impossible for non-Muslims in Sudan, even contemplating changing the name of his political party to the Party of God like Hezbollah. These developments made me think no good news would come from Sudan. I knew little about attempts to resist among the Sudanese people.

And so I am quite pleased to see that brave Sudanese people, such as Gifirna, have chosen to rise up against this irresponsible and blood strained government. As far as I know this revolution was first started from among the women's dorms of the University of Khartoum.

Although I am not Sudanese, I don't even personally know any Sudanese person, either from the north or the south, I wish the protesters well in their attempt to reorganize society. I hope this will be the first stage in better and brighter days for Sudan.

This weekend about 1000 Sudanese protesters were arrested and sent to 'ghost houses'. Like other authoritarian countries facing mass protests a wave of arrests have been unleashed by the dictatorial Sudanese government. May victory swiftly follow these brave protesters.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Weinland Teaching Apocalypse Again

Ronald Weinland deserved to be cursed for once again teaching his abused followers that the apocalypse is coming and making them act upon this unrealistic fear.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Bashar al Assad Must Go

Over the months I have watched the situation in Syria in despair at the humanitarian catastrophe that is being caused because Bashar al Assad refuses to give up power and has decided that he must kill, murder, torture as many people as it takes just to stay in power.

At first the protesters were peaceful but the ceaseless and merciless violence of the Assad regime which literally killed thousands, made it inevitable that some of the protesters would take up arms, an act which only occurred after literally thousands had already been killed, the vast majority of whom were peaceful protesters. As John F. Kennedy wisely observed, "Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable."

Bashar al Assad has no one to blame for the rise of the Free Syrian Army except himself.

For 29 years Syria lay under the shadow of the Hama Massacre of 1982, in which thousands of civilians had been murdered. Because of the fear such ghastly atrocities produced the Syrian people lived under the shadow of the Assadite dictatorship.

But beginning in December 2010 Syrian witnessed what happened in Tunisia, when people rose up to protest against the Ben Ali dictatorship, and against all odds Ben Ali was overthrown and forced to flee to Saudi Arabia. Then the Syrian people saw the Egyptian people rise up and overthrow the dictator Hosni Mubarak after 18 days of protests. Similar popular protests occurred in Yemen and Bahrain.

And after all this people starting asking, Why is this not happening in Syria?

Some said, "Oh well...Bashar's young and photogenic. That must be it.""It's because he is anti-American. That must be it."

People thought that popular uprisings like those in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Yemen and Bahrain would not happen in Syria.

But even then their impact was felt. As this report from the International Crisis Group put it:
In what had long been – or forced to become – a depoliticised society, casual discussions suddenly assumed a surprisingly political tone. What the regime used to do and get away with came under intense and critical public scrutiny. Subtle expressions of insubordination surfaced. Previously routine – and unchallenged – forms of harassment and extortion by civil servants met unusual resistance on the part of ordinary citizens, emboldened by what they had seen in Tunisia, Egypt and beyond. More broadly, Syrians – who like to imagine themselves as the Arab vanguard – increasingly were frustrated at being left on the sidelines of history at a time when much of the region was rising up.
Then came the protests in Deraa.

Suddenly the people went out into the street in vast numbers, and soon they discovered that Bashar al Assad has no legitimacy to rule the Syrian people. If he did why is he so determined to crush, destroy, murder, torture anyone who opposes him? Why did he rely on the fear caused by the Hama Massacre? Why did he ban foreign journalists from Syria when they could verify any alleged terrorist attacks that occurred? (Peaceful protesters were from the start demonized by the Assad dictatorship as terrorists. It was only later that some violent acts of terror did occur, a response made practically inevitable due to Assad's massacres.)

For the first time in 29 years the Syrian people broke through the barrier of their fear.

The Assad regime has been spending over a year trying to put the genie back in the bottle, but this is not 1982, this time the whole world sees what they are doing. In a completely ineffectual attempt to hide the murders and torture they are inflicting the Assad regime banned foreign journalists from reporting in Syria. Instead every citizen in Syria became a journalist, as one Syrian memorably put it on TV. Anyone who can record footage and post it on the internet could show the world that the illegitimate Assad dictatorship is destroying the Syrian people.

The most sacred duty of a government is to protect its people.

The Assad dictatorship has been on a wild shooting, torturing, even shelling rampage throughout Syria for over a year. That is not a government. That is a criminal gang.

I have no sympathy for the Bashar al Assad regime. The sooner it is gone the better.

As far as I am concerned justice demands nothing less.

Some people fear that something worse may occur if Assad is overthrown.

As far as I am concerned a murderous gang is utterly intolerable and must be removed before we can even begin to start seriously thinking how Syria can be rebuilt.

There is no hope in the Assad dictatorship.

The tortures, the disappearances, the killings are how the Assad dictatorship has always been "ruling" (I really mean oppressing) the Syrian people. How can an unpopular regime which has brought so much pain and suffering to the Syrian people bring any hope to the Syrian people?

Some are worried that if the Syrian opposition gains power religious minorities such as Alawites and Christians will be thrown under the bus and will be oppressed by fundamentalist Muslims.

Again there is no hope in the Assad dictatorship.

It has always ruled by fear and terror. The dictatorship has been desperately trying to make religious minorities fear change and simply put up with the dictatorship as most of Syria had been doing since 1982 and before Deraa. I regard it as wrong to ask people to submit to such a cruel and degrading regime for fear of something worse, to protect criminals and child killers like Assad. The Syrian people deserve far more than what the Assad criminal gang can give them. The regime must go.

Modern Day Martyr

Read this story about "Mark" a husband and father of two and a Christian missionary who was murdered for it. The report is kept very vague.

Though we did not work directly with Mark (a colleague sent by an African partner mission), across the Arab World our African colleagues are among our strongest discipleship partners. We thank God for their cultural understanding and contribution to ministry.

Mark was part of a team of two families serving in a Muslim region. Late in August, the team received death threats. The families were evacuated, but Mark stayed for one last meeting with believers before joining them.

Saturday night after the meeting while at home preparing his dinner, Mark was shot. He was discovered the next morning in his home, but he had lost too much blood to survive. At his passing, Mark leaves a young wife and two infant twin daughters.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

ASSIST News Wins Passion for the Persecuted Award from Open Doors

I have heard that ASSIST News has been awarded Passion for the Persecuted award from Open Doors.

ASSIST News Service Receives Top Media Award from Open Doors USA

I would like to say congratulations to the staff of ASSIST News for having their work documenting the persecution of Christians.