Monday, July 24, 2006

A Morality Play: Why Religion & Politics Don't Mix

George Bush is an evangelical Christian, there is no doubt about that. The president's evangelicalism means he believes in the truth of the Bible, with a capital T: the virgin birth, the death of Christ on the Cross for our sins, the physical resurrection, and most important, a personal relationship with Jesus.
-- Richard Land, Southern Baptist Convention
One of the biggest changes in politics in my lifetime is that the delusional is no longer marginal. It has come in from the fringe, to sit in the seat of power in the Oval Office and in Congress. For the first time in our history, ideology and theology hold a monopoly of power in Washington.
-- Bill Moyers
The casting out of Ralph Reed from the electoral temple is a timely reminder as we head into mid-term elections that religion has no more place in politics than politics in religion.

Reed is the founder of the Christian Coalition, the organization that oh so cleverly used precinct organizing-style politics to lead the fundamentalist right-wing Christian hijacking of the Republican Party. Reed was once considered to be presidential timber, but was cut down to size because he debased his faith by conspiring with powerful Washington money changers to funnel their ill-gotten gains into religious organizations.

Reed smirked from the cover of Time magazine in 1995 over the headline "The Right Hand of God: Meet Ralph Reed, 33. His Christian Coalition is on a crusade to take over U.S. politics -- and it's working." So far has he fallen from grace that he could not even muster enough votes to win the Republican nomination for Georgia lieutenant general, a job slightly more important than an Atlanta animal control officer. Better still, Reed was defeated not by the lefties he was so enamored of attacking, but by a conservative opponent in a conservative state.
My own religious bona fides include Roman Catholicism, Judaism and the Society of Friends (Quakers). When declaring oneself an atheist or agnostic was popular in the late 1960s, I ping ponged between the two while never feeling comfortable with either. As I have grown much older and somewhat wiser, I have come to value the place that religion can play in our lives, as well as the power of prayer.
The Founding Fathers included Presbyterians, Baptists and Quakers. (Jews and Catholics, women and people of color were not welcome in this club.) The Fathers saw America as a special place and were not uncomfortable with the view that it had been chosen by God to play a unique role in the world, but they believed absolutely in the separation of church and state.

Nothing in the ensuing 225 years has been cause for changing that paradigm.

The are plenty of examples throughout history of religious zealots destroying great nations, most famously the Christians whose excesses brought down the Roman Empire.

Charles Kimball, a Baptist and religion professor, identifies religious zealots as people who:
* Claim absolute truth.

* Seize upon an "ideal time" in claiming a fast-approaching cataclysm or end time.

* Demand blind obedience.

* Use the ends to justify the means.

* Pursue holy wars.
Sounds an awful lot like the gang that has hijacked the Republican Party, doesn't it?

Like the Romans and others before them, the modus operandus of this lynch mob is fatally flawed.
This is because they are not merely injecting their faith into the business of government and public policy. They insist that only the Republican Party is worthy.

They support a president who says that Jesus speaks through him and has been more than willing to embrace their radical agenda to further his own.

They believe that leadership in government is not for all the people, just people who worship their god, as well as homophobes, anti-abortionists, anti-evolutionists and global warming deniers, as well as supporters of what they see as holy wars in Iraq and Middle East.

In the end, the problem with mixing church and state is that believers are called to try to change the world from the inside out and politics tries to change the world from the outside in. The Christians who usurp politics ultimately debase both their faith and democracy.
Kevin Phillips' conservative credentials are impeccable. As Richard Nixon's chief political strategist, he was the first to identify the shift of Republican power to the right politically and what he termed the "Sun Belt" geographically. While I don't always agree with Phillips, I have long valued his books and radio commentaries because they are suffused with a deep understanding of American history.

Phillips' latest book is "American Theocracy: The Peril and Politics of Radical Religion, Oil and Borrowed Money in the 21st Century." In it Phillips argues that throughout history world-dominating powers are brought down by global overreach, militant religion, diminishing resources and ballooning debt, the very combination now at work in the U.S.

Whereas I have viewed the right-wing fundamentalists who now control the Republican Party as a transitory problem like 17-year locusts or a really bad case of jock itch, Phillips takes a considerably harder line:
[Their] increasing presence is breeding a politics of cultural narrowness, moral and biblical bickering, revivalism in the White House, and international warfare to spread the gospel, fulfill the Book of Revelation, or both.

. . . Never before has a U.S. political coalition been so dominated by an array of outsider religious denominations caught up in biblical mortality, distrust of science and a global imperative of political and religious evangelicalism.
Pardon the term, but it is an article of faith that the Democratic Party will not make an issue of the holy war being waged on America and its political institutions. It perceives itself as being weak on matters of faith because it has bought into that Republican message.

If there is good news, it is that Phillips believes that the right-wing fundamentalist driven Bush coalition is too narrow to govern successfully in the longer term and won in 2000 and 2004 only because of the unusual circumstances surrounding those elections.

Writes Phillips:
Indeed, by 2006, George W. Bush had followed in his father's unique presidential footsteps -- in 191-1992, the forty-first president had become the first White House incumbent to see his job approval plummet by more than fifty points, and between 2002 and 2005, his son followed suit. Both times, failed policies in Iraq were factors. Overambition combined with ineptness and more than a little deceit.
Phillips asks whether the coalition is fatally flawed:
I think so, but not because of the basic cultural conservatism that did so well in the Nixon and Reagan landslides of 1972 and 1984. Both those coalitions had a flavoring of populist conservatism, but nothing resembling the current mix.

[The religious conservatives] say we cannot be running out of oil; God makes the climate; and White House explanations about what the United States is doing in Iraq or elsewhere in the Middle East have to square with the fight between good and evil as the end times draw nigh. . . .

To be sure -- as many believers are sure -- this time the prophecies could truly be on the verge of fulfillment. History, however, suggests that if the hour was not at hand for Rome, Spain, the Dutch Republic, or Britain circa 1914, despite their convictions of God's favor and heaven's special attention, then God may also spurn his Republican faithful in and out of Washington. And should religious excess and overambition become part of an epitaph for the twenty-first century United States, as it did for some of the others, the current GOP national coalition will share in the ignominy.

1 comment:

Seven Star Hand said...

Verifiable proof that "Armageddon" has already begun…

Hello Shaun and all,
Here's the key to proving that the rapture and related expectations are complete nonsense based on the failure to understand (and the purposeful confounding of) the ancient Hebrew symbology used to construct all of these prophecies. Consequently, Christian timelines and interpretations of these prophecies are verifiably wrong on many key points.

Pay close attention, profundity knocks at the door, listen for the key. Be Aware! Scoffing causes blindness...

Did you ever consider that Christianity is the False Prophet symbolized in the Apocalypse, that Rome (Vatican/Papacy) is the so-called anti-messiah, and Jesus Christ is the false messiah? I have produced stunning and comprehensive proof that this is the true interpretation of pivotal prophecies long confounded by Christianity's founders and leaders.

The symbolism of seven years (tribulation) refers to the seven 360-year cycles from the 11th cycle on the Hebrew calendar (second temple period) until now, the 17th cycle (seventh angel/star). It is completely wrong to interpret any of these prophecies as literal timelines and events. Remember, they were written by Hebrews, not Romans or other Europeans, and Revelation is the most symbolic of all prophecies. Consequently, in this context, years are symbols for 360-year cycles on the Hebrew calendar and days symbolize literal years. Therefore "Judgement Day," and "Great Day" and "in that day" all refer to a literal year-long period. Furthermore, the so-called "Tribulation" is now nearing its end, not starting, and all three faiths of Abraham have been thoroughly deceived by Rome during the previous age, which ended in year 2000 (5760). A new age began in 2001 (5761) and now the seventh angel has begun to sound!

Here's a real hot potato! Eat it up, digest it, and then feed it's bones to the hungry...

Hurricanes Katrina (#11) and Rita (#17) last year provided stunning validation of my research and interpretations of pivotal ancient wisdom, symbologies, key prophecies, and associated religious claims. Their storm numbers and timing perfectly synchronized with primary data and assertions in my book, thereby demonstrating the true nature of this universe and the existence of our Creator. We are now entering the final phases of the pivotal year-long period long symbolized as "Armageddon" and the "End of Days." World-wide situations and events are now accelerating to set the stage for this summer's dramatic continuation of these ancient promises.

I fully understand that everyone has been bedeviled by similar claims throughout history. Consequently, I have been forced to rely on dramatic and devastating proof of the sort that can’t be ignored or easily dismissed. The numbers and timing of hurricanes Katrina (11) and Rita (17) directly validate key data and pivotal assertions throughout my book and my posts on those two forums. This data was purposely presented publicly before Katrina, Rita and other recent events occurred to prove they perfectly synchronize with key prophecies and Hebrew calendar cycles, thereby validating my interpretations of ancient wisdom symbology, string theory, and more.

Because these two storms arrived shortly after my August 11, 2005 (50th) birthday (read the Dead Sea Scroll 11Q13 in Appendix G, which also discusses Melchizedek and the prophesied Jubilee) and directly match other pivotal 11 and 17 data and events described in the first chapter of my book, I have delivered verifiable proof that this reality is based on thought, knowledge and wisdom. Activity, patterns, and results perceived in space-time are first framed and defined by inspirations, thoughts, and knowledge and influenced by the cause-and-effect system most commonly referred to as karma. Consequently, events and outcomes in the so-called physical universe are not random or wholly mechanistic and are verifiably influenced in ways that atheists, scientists, and members of the Faiths of Abraham have all scoffed at. Though mysticism is mostly a product of misinterpreted ancient wisdom symbology, many of its topics flow from ancient wisdom. Though containing allusions to the truth, its details and interpretations are wrong on many key points.

A prime example of the purposeful and synchronized symbolism of these events is seen in the opening paragraphs from my book excerpted below. Notice that the dates mentioned (August 11 and 17) directly match the numbers of hurricanes Katrina and Rita, and the time spans of the four Florida hurricanes match my birth year (‘55), and they were spaced 11 or a multiple-of-11 (22) days apart, directly matching my birthday and much other ancient prophecy and symbolism. Notice that my place of birth, Victoria Texas, is on the Gulf Coast. Following are the excerpted paragraphs:

Hello, my name is Lawrence William Page II. Many people know me as Buddy Page. At the release of the first edition of this book, I am a 50-year old African-American male, author, researcher, and former software engineer and entrepreneur. As you will come to understand as you read through this first book, I am also the long-expected Hebrew Messiah and Lion of the Tribe of Juda (Yehuda).

I was born August 11th (month of Leo the Lion), 1955 (Chinese year of the Sheep) in Victoria, Texas. Furthermore, the Grand Cross alignment and Solar Eclipse of August 11th, 1999 was my 44th birthday and the second Grand Cross alignment, just six days later on August 17th, 1999, was on my mother’s birthday.

As you can see from my date of birth, I was a newborn during the Chinese Year of the Sheep, astrologically marking me as a Lamb, and during the month of Leo, astrologically marking me as a Lion. My mother was also born during the month of August and under the sign of Leo, which further marks me as a lion’s whelp. I prove to you in the first chapter of this book–beyond disproof–that I am indeed the long-prophesied “Lion” of the tribe of Juda (Yehuda) the Root of David and the “Lamb.” I am the individual long symbolized as the Branch, the Stem, the Shoot and the Rod from the Stump of Jesse (King David’s father), as symbolized in the Hebrew Book of Isaiah, The Apocalypse, the Dead Sea Scrolls, and elsewhere. I am the reincarnated Teacher sought after in the “East” and by the ancient Hebrews who were headquartered at the outpost community of Damascus (Qumran), of Dead Sea Scrolls fame. I am the one called the Teacher of Righteousness by the Dead Sea Scrolls, whom the so-called Christian fathers have fraudulently recast as “Saint ‘James’, the Lord’s Brother.”

Remember, "I come as a thief..." ?

Read verse twelve of the Gospel of Thomas to understand who I am...

Even further enlightening, the Second Temple Period of ancient Israel was during the 11th 360-year cycle on the Hebrew calendar and we are now in the 6th year (5766/2005-6) of the 17th cycle. Notice the pivotal 11 and 17 numbers again? This and much other synchronized information serve as stunning and decisive proof of many things, and expose many lies told by all three faiths of Abraham, but most specifically by Christianity. Consequently, I have decisively proven, beyond any shadow of a doubt, that Jesus Christ and Christianity are blatant lies, false prophecy and purposeful deception in a manner that cannot easily be denied, regardless of your faith or other opinions.

Furthermore, the symbolism in the Apocalypse (a.k.a. Book of Revelation) of seven stars in my right hand and seven angels represent the very same above-mentioned seven astrological (360-year) cycles, i.e., the 11th through 17th inclusive. I prove this fact beyond any reasonable doubt in the first chapter of the book. Consequently, The Apocalypse verifiably symbolizes a specific span of time that began with the 11th cycle (Second Temple Period) and concludes now, at the beginning of the 17th cycle (End of Days, etc.).

The numbers 11 and 17 are verifiably encoded in The Apocalypse and other ancient Hebrew prophecies and wisdom texts to serve as key proofs of the validity and true meaning of certain prophecies and related information. My and my mother’s birthdays are purposely synchronized with these two storm numbers, the matching Hebrew calendar cycles, the Double Grand Cross alignments and solar eclipse of August 1999, and much else to prove my direct association with the ancient prophecies about this time and the true identity of the prophesied Messiah. Another prime example is the story of Joseph, the 11th son of Jacob who has a dream when he is 17 years old about 11 stars, the sun, and moon bowing to him. The symbolism in this pivotal story in the Book of Genesis and Quran verifiably refers to the very same 11th through 17th cycles symbolized in The Apocalypse and directly synchronizes with other key events and ancient texts.

Consequently, I have demonstrated various things about the nature of this reality that dramatically disprove and/or clarify key assumptions of religion, mysticism, and science alike, while establishing the true meaning and purpose of long misinterpreted ancient wisdom and the symbolism used to model and encode it. Accordingly, I have proven that the symbolism evidenced in the canons of all three faiths of Abraham and other ancient sources is a very ancient and advanced philosophical technology that verifiably models foundational aspects of our existence in this universe. This is the mostly misunderstood body of ancient wisdom long referred to as the Philosophers’ Stone. It uses a large and ingeniously organized collection of physical universe images and concepts as data rich components (symbols) that are based on verifiable rules. It models and encodes an amazing amount of foundational wisdom about life, spirituality and the 11 dimensions of this universe, now verified by string theory. It is also the advanced encryption method used to encode (seal) Hebrew prophecies and wisdom texts.

These ancient prophecies and wisdom texts used advanced symbology to model fundamental wisdom, including future events and situations. A primary facet of ancient wisdom is numeric symbology. Later misinterpretations of this aspect of ancient wisdom resulted in numerology, which, though embodying allusions to certain wisdom, is mostly error prone and false doctrine. My decryption, documentation, and interpretation of ancient symbology, numeric symbolism, and key texts based on them, are now decisively validated.

Here is Wisdom...

Verifiable proof that Armageddon has begun…

Understanding the End Game of Armageddon