The Shame of January 6th

In a normal atmosphere it would not be necessary for me, or any loyal American, to have to state that what we all witnessed on the 6th of January this year was beyond the pale of irresponsible, shameful, and reprehensible. It didn’t border on treasonous; it was treasonous. Anyone who took part in the violent, destructive part of this is a traitor, plain and simple. Practically everyone is pointing to Trump for the blame and, in fact, he shares much of the blame because he, and others around him, did incite what took place. That is clear.

However, for those who are not in the know about these things, there were others behind the scenes who contributed to what happened. The thing that is roundly ignored by everyone, including the news media, is the role religion is playing in this disgusting episode in American history, specifically (but not limited to) those who promote and follow Dominion Theology – those who have been openly calling for a second civil war for at least two years now.

It literally begins with the concept that those who espouse this brand of theology not only must, but have the perfect right to, take over this country in the name of “God”. From there it extends to the absurd theology that there are “Cyrus rulers” leading various nations, including ours. Yes, for them, Donald Trump is some kind of “Cyrus”. The details are more than I want to get into here. Suffice it to be said that even those who claim that they do not endorse Dominion Theology, such as the Swaggarts and their team – just a cursory observation of the things they espouse and state regularly on one program or another demonstrates that, if they do not endorse at least most of it specifically, they do so in the political positions they take and in their unwavering support of Donald Trump.

Indeed, it is with the Swaggart team that we will focus here, mainly because of the two programs of “Frances & Friends”, as well as others, that followed the anarchy and chaos of the 6th of January, 2021. The statements made on these programs demonstrate their complete lock-step support of Trump even as they subtly try to distance themselves from him in a minimal way.

On Thursday’s program of “Frances & Friends”, the Swaggarts almost from the start went straight into blaming the chaos and destruction of the capital that took place on – believe this – Black Lives Matter and Antifa. No, it wasn’t followers of Trump who were to blame! It was secretly instigated by a cabal of Leftists disguised as far Right extremists! This even as Frances accepted that some members of far Right groups were necessarily present and agitating just the same. But, as she insisted, these are people who also hate Trump and that was their motivation (where she gets this idea is anyone’s guess). She managed to name the Proud Boys as one group and went on to state that she didn’t even know the names of any of the others. Interesting how she could somehow know with absolute certainty that they took part in what happened and still not know much about them.

From there Jim Nations, who is literally always on the program, jumped in stating that the truth was that Mike Pence is really a Roman Catholic and, therefore, subservient to the Pope who, by the way, is an antichrist. Anyone who watches this program enough knows that Nations misses no opportunity to blame just about everything on either Roman Catholics, witches, Democrats, or any combination thereof. One might have thought that hatred of Roman Catholics and the idea that any Pope is the Antichrist would have gone by the wayside after the election of John F. Kennedy, but I guess it just takes some people a little longer to get over such things than others. By the way, for the record, Pence was brought up as a Roman Catholic but has since embraced evangelical religion.

Everyone on the panel to a “t” insisted that Pence had the power to send electoral votes back to the states from which they came if there was a dispute, but at that time did not elaborate as to how it is that he has such power other than to say it’s in the Constitution. Their irritation concerning the fact that Pence did not do as they thought appropriate was evident.

Soon Frances read an email in which the writer said Ted Cruz should be praised for his role in what happened – his determination to object to the electoral count even after the capital had been invaded and ransacked. Frances and the panel verbally agreed “one hundred percent”.

That gave Nations the opportunity to have a pity-party for Trump as he stated that most people surrounding him never really stood with him, and that is the case especially now when he needs them the most. Waaaa!

Following this, Frances read several emails containing assorted conspiracy theories without much comment from anyone. One specifically stated that those who stormed the Capitol were paid rioters posing as Trump supporters, to which they agreed. After that Frances went into a short diatribe about how persecution is coming to the Church and how bad it will get – all because Biden has become President.

The first caller attempted to reason with the panel by pointing out how absurd it was to posit that Leftists and Antifa would pose as Trump supporters and invade the Capitol. But the panel did not accept anything the caller said. When the caller went further in stating that that everyone, as Christians, should pray for Biden just as they would for Trump, Frances said that they do pray for Biden, but added (as the panel agreed) that they pray for his salvation, not for his agenda. She went on to specifically say, “however, the Democrats do not believe in prayer” and that “Joe Biden does not believe in God”. Nations went further to directly state, “I pray for his salvation. The man is evil….” Frances then said, “I cannot pray for him [his agenda] to succeed”. The arrogance of all of this might not seem obvious to some, but it is perfectly obvious to me.

Then, minister Bob Cornell from Tennessee called in. He basically stated that he and his family had been there for the rally and speeches – although they conveniently did not hear everything that had been said – and had been there only to pray. He insisted that the election had had “fraudulent activity” and added that they saw the people break into the Capitol building and were “surprised” by all of it, insisting that they had no part in that and also that neither Trump or any other speaker had incited any of it. His wife, Sharon, insisted that “God” had put Trump into office to begin with, and that those they were around in the rally were not the kind to invade the Capitol building, whatever that is supposed to mean. This even as she kept insisting that “massive irregularities” took place.

When Frances asked Bob how he felt about all of it, he said that the country needs to cry out to God for mercy and that he was disappointed in the events that took place. He added that “some” of those who got in must have been Trump supporters, and that they could not all have been Antifa. How generous of him! Frances agreed and then asked if they had seen any far Right people there, to which Bob responded that they had not specifically seen any they could pinpoint, but some went there wearing camo, etc. But he added that they were “very few”. Frances then asked if Trump had incited what happened, to which Sharon responded, “absolutely not”, adding that Trump “stated what we know to be truth”.

Finally, Frances said one of her nephews had been there as an eye witness and that he had said that the “good people” there were sabotaged. He also agreed that “some” far Right people were there (how he would know is an open question) but not many as most were Trump followers. Sharon agreed that it was all likely a set-up, but added that they didn’t have any proof of that, though.

Following this call, Frances said that her heart “aches for Trump” because of all he has had to endure, continuing that he has done so much for this country. She continued that the “people we saw yesterday” do not love this country. Then, as if they had not gone far enough with the blame-game already, she placed blame on former presidents Clinton and Obama! This without many specifics other than to say that they brought the country to this place.

At one point earlier in the program one email writer had tried to steer Frances into actually promoting the gospel to those who might need it during this crisis situation. Frances actually stated that they were focused on the current subject and she would get to that later – just blithely putting it off. So, naturally, one caller questioned her on that response (such happens often). His name was Carl, and he tried very meekly to get her to realize that that was a moment in time during which she might have been able to reach someone for Christ. Sadly (and naturally), his pleas fell on deaf ears. Frances took offense and argued with him, just as she does anyone with an opposing viewpoint.

That was about it for Thursday, the day after the wanton siege of our nation’s Capitol building, which all loyal Americans should respect, honor and cherish, not desecrate and plunder, especially based on unfounded beliefs.

On Friday, the second day following the barbaric plundering of our Capitol building, I was able to watch some of the SBN program “Insight”. From the beginning, John Rosenstern insisted that all should pray for the new administration – “that God would have his way” – not necessarily for its success. He continued that he liked Trump as president and had supported him, but added that many of Trump’s followers “became more enamored with the man” than they should have, as they should have focused more on the issues rather than him. Needless to say, this was a departure from previous comments John has made on this program and others.

After that followed “Frances & Friends”; the panel including the Rosensterns as with just about every Friday. There, John Rosenstern again stressed praying for the nation, saying that the church is going in the wrong direction (a familiar refrain among the Swaggart folk), and that the present ills are because God is chastising his people, the church. OK, well, that’s better theology than some posit on other programs, at least. Not that I would agree with it either.

Of course, Jim Nations had to get his two-cents in as he stated that government officials in the capital on the 6th “committed treason”, except for the ones who stood up to oppose the electoral count. If anyone missed that – Nations had no condemnation whatsoever for anyone who broke into the Capitol building or anyone who participated in the looting of several items there or of the murder that took place there. No, his condemnation fell only upon those who did not oppose the electoral vote.

Josh Rosenstern interjected, stating, “it made me sick to my stomach”, not specifying exactly what made him so sick. But then he added that those who did not oppose the count were “the powers of darkness”. Even so, he stated that he was “believing in the Lord” even as Biden was certified as President, adding that he wants them [the Biden team] to “give their hearts to Christ”.

Frances then began by mentioning that she had received a lot of emails from people who were “extremely disappointed in Pence”, adding that she believes “God appointed Trump for this moment” in time. Then she blathered a little about how much he has done again, adding that she was glad he was a businessman since she and Jimmy agree that “only a businessman can run this country successfully”. That latter is a mantra they developed after being castigated by several emails and calls about why they supported Trump. I watched it progress over several weeks and months.

John Rosenstern then derided those who are, in his mind, turning on Trump here at the last minute, obviously referring to those who are leaving his administration at the end. Then Nations had to jump in by stating that Biden is an “illegitimate president”. Frances then said, “and Obama”, to which Nations added, “but Biden was not legally elected. Trump’s not finished yet, I can tell you that!”

Then Frances went into this sad rhetoric that the fact that it was Trump supporters who scaled the Capitol walls and stormed the building is a “false narrative”. She kept saying that it couldn’t have been Trump supporters because – get this – most of his followers haven’t been trained to scale walls like that – like those associated with Black Lives Matter and Antifa have. Seriously, this is what she said!

Then she even went so far as to show a video of the female rioter who got shot as she was almost to break into the Senate chamber (yes, she was climbing in). But, she didn’t show said video to demonstrate the chaos of what was going on or anything, and she didn’t even express remorse for the woman’s death, although that may have been implied. No, the point of showing the video was to emphasize who was taking said video. She stated that it had been taken by someone named John Sullivan, whom she referred to as a far Left violent agitator, adding that he could not explain why he was present in the first place. For the reader, it should not be lost in translation here that Sullivan is black. Frances went on to state that he was the founder of “Insurgents USA”. She finalized her short presentation by stating, “so we do know there were agitators there yesterday [referring to the 6th, which was two days prior]”. She then added, “why was this man there if he was peaceful? That’s where the violence came from. It was not Donald Trump’s followers.” The lunacy of believing that Trump followers could have been induced to violence by a black Leftist agitator taking a video with his phone seems to have been lost on Frances and her panel.

John Rosenstern then interjected that their (the Democrat’s) narrative “is a stinking lie”. Nations then added that “they [the Capitol Police] opened the doors and let them in”, insinuating some sort of collusion had taken place.

This is part of THEIR narrative as they seek to place blame on anyone other than Trump supporters. Sadly for them, many fact-check outlets, such as Politifact, for example, have shown that there is no evidence that the mob was infiltrated at all, and they also show that Mr. Sullivan stated that he was there to document what happened. Since it was all over social media that such as this might take place, and was even being called for (I even saw some of it myself), it stands to reason that someone might have wanted to document it.

In any case, the panel in general continued briefly from there ranting about how much Trump has done for this country and Israel and that, even at that, he may not even be a Christian (for them, he doesn’t have to be, which is ironic all by itself and flows from the concept of a Cyrus ruler, whether they wish to admit that or not). They went on to ramble about how Christianity will be restricted under Biden. Then Nations again interjected that “they’re all guilty” of treason for not stopping the electoral vote.

Then finally, Frances said it was time for John Rosenstern to explain why Pence really did have the constitutional power to reject electoral votes and send them back to the states. In essence, their entire argument for this hangs on the single fact that, supposedly, some states sent competing electoral votes to the Senate. That would have made Pence obligated to order an audit in said states to be again certified. Their entire argument hinged on this! Trouble is, NO state sent any competing electoral votes to the Senate that was done by certified, legal, electors. Those self-appointed electors who cast votes for Trump, who had not been selected by the legal process, sent in fraudulent ballots! What they did was illegal! But, don’t try telling that to the Swaggart crowd.

In any case, the lone voice of reason in so many instances (even as he treads water so as not to be attacked and drowned by the other panel members), Josh Rosenstern, said that, in fact, the Senate was following proper protocol. However, he added, there was too much of a question about the votes so that, after they had a debate, then the question should have been sent back to the states to be resolved.

Even though that is also in error, it was at least an effort toward moderation of the stance of the panel overall. The fact of the matter is that the vote count issue does not get sent back to the states for further consideration just because a lot of people THINK something fraudulent may have gone on, any more than the storming of the Capitol building was legitimate just because some people THOUGHT something improper went on. It just doesn’t work that way. If it did, we would all be subject to the whim of other people’s thoughts and beliefs.

Of course, that just got Nations started again as he vehemently accused the news media of being “liars”. Several on the panel then agreed that the whole thing had been a set-up. Later, Frances even added, astonishingly (but not surprisingly) that there was no fraud concerning those who voted FOR Trump. Yes, you got that right – fraud everywhere other than for Trump votes. How she would know this, I leave to the imagination of the reader.

Following this, one email writer stated that they would never vote again because it is all fraudulent and pre-determined anyway. Suddenly, caught in their own lack of logic, the panel was aghast! Frances was like, “No!” She and the others insisted that, even though they had previously stated that it was all fixed and fraudulent, people MUST vote anyway! But, really, if you have any ability to utilize logic, then, by inference, if the election is fraudulent and controlled to the extent they posit, then there is literally no use in voting.

Then, very self-servingly, both John and Josh Rosenstern moved to again insist that their trust was not in the man (Trump), but in Christ, as opposed to the idea previously expressed that many had placed their trust in Trump himself. But, even then they expressed their un-swavering support of Trump and his policies. This, even as Frances stated that she was unsure that the majority of Trump supporters were really doing that. Josh Rosenstern then, following an email on the subject, interjected; “quit believing the lies of the mainstream media”.

Finally, when Frances asked the panel members for further final thoughts, Jim Nations, naturally, was the most pointed in that he stated, “put Biden and President Trump side-by-side. I can have respect for President Trump. . . . I can have no respect whatsoever for Biden. He’s a crook. He’s a thug. . . .” Do I really have to express how delusional that statement is?

I don’t know; maybe members of this panel didn’t really follow the events thoroughly. Maybe they only watched Fox News or, worse, One America News, or even TruNews. Maybe they didn’t see Trump speak just before the carnage that took place, insisting that people needed to march and fight hard or they wouldn’t have a country. Maybe they didn’t see the video of Trump and his family as they watched the events with expressions of sheer, animalistic glee! Maybe they didn’t see footage of the mob that broke into the Capitol, destroyed windows, furniture, etc., throwing anything they could, including American flags, at Capitol Police as they tried to keep the building secure. Maybe they didn’t see one Capitol police officer being crushed nearly to death by said mob….

But, oh, I forgot – it was Antifa, not Trump supporters. The guy in the QAnon shirt who chased the police officer up several flights of stairs was Antifa. The people carrying Confederate flags were Antifa and Black Lives Matter folks. And, obviously, the lady who almost got into the Senate chamber and was shot and killed in so doing was Antifa too! Obviously, because Trump people just don’t have the training to break into buildings, assault and murder people (yes, one Capitol police officer was murdered by this mob), and give their lives for their unfounded beliefs. No, it couldn’t have been Trump People!

You know, most of us learned as children in school that once you start telling a lie, in order to keep it believable you have to keep telling more lies to compound it. It seems that these folks have not learned much in school. But, it’s even more than that. The fact of the matter is that so-called “gospel” programs like “Frances & Friends”, the “Jim Bakker Show”, and others should never have gotten started delving into politics in the first place. But, once they helped put Trump into office they just couldn’t help themselves. Before long, they were so far into it that they literally couldn’t extract themselves and they went on to take full-credit for his victory. The pleas from callers and emailers began quite early, asking Frances and her panel to stop discussing politics and to simply focus on the gospel like they used to. At that early date, they could have done so, for it was not too late then. But, Frances called any criticism of what they were doing “ridiculous”. I watched the program. I know. Now, it’s literally too late for them to extract themselves unless they are forced to do so. And, if this is done, they will instantly call it persecution, as they do everything else they don’t like, including wearing masks.

That having been said, there is another lesson everyone should have at least been exposed to growing up, although I am aware that many never have been. It is a lesson from one of the trials of Hercules. In this particular instance, Hercules was tasked with destroying the hideous Hydra that terrorized the town of Lerna. The Hydra, for those who don’t know, was a serpent-like creature with many heads – nine in all. Hercules found this to be a daunting task in that, in every instance where he was able to kill one of the heads, two would sprout back in its place. This was making the Hydra literally impossible to kill! He and his partner, Iolaus managed to kill off each of the mortal heads by first chopping off the head and then burning the remaining neck so that no more heads could grow. This allowed Hercules to, at last, move toward destroying the one remaining head, which was immortal. That head was chopped off and buried, after which Hercules disposed of the rest of the Hydra’s body.

The basic lesson, for those who still don’t quite understand, is that in order to eradicate something, one has to get the main part – the heart of it. Everything else is virtually hopeless. The fact of the matter is that the news media and others have done well to enlighten us as to entities such as QAnon and the like. They have also done well to point out that certain politicians have, frankly, been willing to sacrifice their own reputations and even their political careers in support of Trump. But, what they are all ignoring, in my view because it is easily found, is where all of this ultimately comes from. It comes from a growing religious movement called Dominionism, and it won’t be stopped as long as everyone refuses to acknowledge its part in this whole thing. To ignore it will only allow it to continue to grow – to come back in any number of differing forms, twice as strong as it was before. One cannot take just a piece of it down and be satisfied that the job is done. The root cause has to be addressed. And the root cause of everything we saw on January 6th was not just Trump and his family; it was not Antifa; not Black Lives Matter; not even the Proud Boys, although some undoubtedly played a part (but the idea that Antifa started it is absurd). It was Dominion Theology and their absolutely absurd, and unbiblical, insistence in their belief in “Cyrus rulers”.

In the end, I have yet to hear, or witness from the Swaggarts or any of the others, a single condolence for the lady, Ashli Babbitt, who was killed trying to enter the Senate chamber; not one word of condolence said for either of the other three who suffered medical emergencies during the invasion and who subsequently died; not one word of condolence for Capitol Police Officer Brian D. Sicknick, who was killed by the insurgent mob as they stormed the building; and not one word of condolence for the Capitol Police Officer who was nearly crushed to death by the mob! No prayers either, unless it was done by John Rosenstern at the beginning of Friday’s airing of “Frances & Friends” (I couldn’t listen to it).

And, by the way, Frances never did get back to the gospel on either program either. It must not have been that important to her.

A Note Concerning the “End”

This piece is going to be relatively short and, well, not so sweet. In fact, one might detect a hint of wormwood in it.

If anyone thought that the pseudo-theologians and televangelists, all with Dominionist agendas, would stop their nonsense even briefly following the presidential election and the victory of Joe Biden, they would have been fooled. While some, such as Paula White-Cain, do indeed seem to presently be in hiding, the usual actors, such as Jim Bakker, the Swaggarts, and their cohorts, are all still hard at it. Nor have those who are completely deluded by these so-called religious leaders swayed by the obvious falsity of all the so-called “prophecies” predicting the reelection of Donald Trump. Somehow, evil forces and the devil himself are in the mix so that what God had intended simply didn’t happen. The rational needed to even go there is an astonishing thing, no doubt.

Let me begin by illustrating the danger of religious leaders who openly direct their followers as to how to vote and for whom to vote. Within the past week or so, as I was watching Frances & Friends, a question from one of their, apparently, ardent followers came in. The questioner stated that their child was being taught that the Eastern Orthodox religion was a branch of Christianity in school and the questioner wanted to know if that was true or not. Frankly, I almost literally had to pick myself back up off of the floor after that question was raised! Beyond the fact that ANY thinking person should know the answer to this, I was absolutely astonished that the question was being posed to Frances and her panel. It didn’t surprise me, but it astonished me. The email writer, instead of thinking for maybe five minutes, or asking his/her pastor, or looking Eastern Orthodoxy up in an encyclopedia (maybe they couldn’t spell it; I don’t know), or even looking for the answer via the internet, instead posed the question to this august panel of religious “experts”. The obvious implication being that, since they did not try to find the answer by any other method, they were placing their full, unconditional trust in this panel. Thankfully, the panel did answer the question correctly. After all, one never really knows what they might say concerning any given subject, literally. I hope I don’t have to actually answer the question for any reader here….

The point here is exactly that there actually are people who will trust no one else other than their own choice of religious leaders. In this case it happened to be Frances and her panel, but it could just as well have been any other religious personage or group. They were trusted over any other source, including the very teacher in question. The insult to the intellect is so mind-boggling that I can barely comprehend it!

But, yes, it gets even worse. Yesterday it was all over the internet that some former Israeli space security chief had stated emphatically that aliens from other planets do indeed exist and that the world is not ready for that knowledge (why anyone would make such a statement to the whole world and then say the whole world is not ready for the knowledge is an absurdity in and of itself that is difficult to fathom – a clear logical fallacy). As for the article and further statements that this obvious nut-case made, referencing the “Galactic Federation” and Trump’s role are concerned, I don’t even want to get into that. Suffice it to say that this guy is on about the same level as Michael Flynn.

So, naturally, the subject was brought up on Frances & Friends yesterday, with Frances asking the panel if they believed in aliens and inviting callers to respond also. If I needed a big laugh, this would have brought it on if it had not been so horrific. I won’t even get into what the callers said mainly since none of their responses had anything whatsoever to do with the question, but instead focused on other conspiratorial ideas floating around. Even the panel seemed irritated with them. Yes, there really are a few ideas that even Frances & Friends won’t accept, believe it or not. But they will still cultivate the conspiratorially-minded people.

But, it was what members of the panel said that was most enlightening – or not, depending on one’s perspective. And, of course, Jim Nations was, as always, the most conspiratorial among them, with the others not far behind. Basically, their consensus was that aliens are really demonic beings disguising themselves as aliens to take our focus away from thinking about God. Do I really need to say more here? I mean, after all, if you believe in aliens there is no room left of God, right?

My Weekly Spock 3/4/13 That Eyebrow! | TrekkerScrapbook

Anyway, most by now might rightly be thinking that it couldn’t get any worse than this. Sadly, most would be wrong on that point. See, over the course of the last two days Jim Bakker has had as guests on his show publisher Thomas Horn and the co-author for his latest book (Antichrist and the Final Solution), Terry James.

To even begin to try to delineate the absolute nonsense that both of these pseudo-intellectuals spouted would take me, well, another books worth of material. But, some of the most astonishing points made, in my view, included (1) a reference to a supposed Essene prophecy predicting exact dates for the end times and the return of Christ (spoiler alert – no such text exists) and (2) this absolutely insane idea that the Antichrist will appear during another pandemic, worse than the one we are presently experiencing (caused by the asteroid Apophis), and that he will somehow be the only one who has antibodies in his blood that will cure it and everyone who takes the vaccine made from his blood will, therefore, receive the mark of the Beast. I kid you not.

Now, such rantings and ravings from this guy are not unusual at all. Every time he is on the show I sense that he is competing with the likes of Derek and Sharon Gilbert for how far he can stretch sheer lunacy. But in this instance he is clearly treading on the dangerously absurd. After all, who with any moral integrity or even concern about people in general would, during a pandemic, put out a book proposing completely baseless conspiracy-theories and absurd religious propaganda rolled into one, I think clearly designed to frighten the public, mainly Christians, into not taking whatever vaccine may come along? After all, if a future vaccine could be dangerous to the Christian, whose to say that the one being developed as we speak isn’t also nefarious in some way? It is being developed faster than any vaccine in history, so there must be something up with that, right? Don’t laugh too much; I have actually encountered people who think just like that. And those like Tom Horn, Jim Bakker, and the Swaggarts feed their conspiratorial thinking even as it is cloaked in religious garb. THAT is the danger. People actually believe what these so-called religious leaders tell them – above science, above reason, above intellect, above everything.

Finally, back to the so-called Essene prophecy – Tom Horn referred to the so-called Essene prophets as “highly accurate prophets” as if they were a notch or two above any other prophets who have ever existed. The trouble for him, and anyone who believes him, is that scholars who have studied the Essenes for years (including me) know that ALL of their end-times prophecies had to do with, and were “fulfilled”, if you will, already in 70 CE! Every single thing they wrote about took place at that time, period. Why, you may ask? Exactly because they made it happen that way. They instigated the entire thing. I laid it all out in my first book “Apocalypse and Armageddon” some years ago! So, trust me, there is NO Essene prophecy that delineates any scenario having to do with our time or the future beyond 70 CE, period. If there were, I would not only already know about it and have written about it, but we wouldn’t need Tom Horn to tell us about it now because scholars would have been making it known for some time. And there is absolutely NO reference whatsoever to the year 2025 as Horn insists, nor to the asteroid Apophis hitting the earth in 2029, as he insists it will, in ANY ancient prophecy, including those of the Essenes. All he and his co-author have written is a very bad, and dangerous, fiction.

Have a nice decade.

Perry Stone’s Roman Fantasy

You know, Perry Stone just can’t seem to help himself. If he isn’t stepping in the dog doo-doo concerning ancient Paganism, he is doing so with reference to the history of the Roman Empire. Frankly, Roman history must be a favorite subject of his, as often as he mentions it. Too bad his history is, apparently, mostly made-up in his own mind.

Case in point, on the most recent airing of his program “Mana Fest” (09/06/2020), a program entitled “Why the Government is Afraid of Christianity” – Episode #1039, he almost began with a description of the fall of the Roman Empire in the West – right after mentioning, for whatever reason, that former president Harry S. Truman believed that our laws in America were founded upon the Bible. Why he even made that statement, I was left unsure. But then he asked why Christianity in the US was being “assaulted”. He then went even further by asking how many atheists had ever started an orphanage or had programs to feed the poor or had assisted in feeding the poor.

Directly afterward, he stated that, in order to show what it was all about, he had to go back to the Roman Empire, and he immediately cites Edward Gibbon. He began to enumerate what he said Gibbon’s reasons for the fall of the empire in the West were. First (1), invasions of ten Germanic tribes. Second (2), taxation within the empire, he said, supposedly still citing Gibbon, was so high that people could no longer afford to live there, “and they pulled out and left”. Stone continued; “[i]t came to a point that farmers would not even farm their land; they just left it to go to another country. Third (3), “[t]hey had something called doles”, which Stone said were started with good intentions, but that people “began to realize that they could live off the government and they could make more money with government assistance than they did working a job”. To support this, Stone asked his oh-so attentive audience if they knew that the Romans had eventually passed a law that if someone had a job they were not allowed to quit that job. Further, Stone insinuated that the latter Roman Empire (in the West) was sort of a pattern for, guess what – socialism (we see where this is going, don’t we?). In short, he said, “they ran out of other people’s money”. Sound familiar? He continued; “[p]eople began to move out of the country – they began to move out of Rome, and foreigners from other countries came into Rome, and into Italy, and completely took it over and overran it. And so that’s how the Roman Empire – the Western branch – collapsed.”

Yet, Stone continued that Gibbon said another interesting thing; that when persecution of Christians began to cease, and it was made the official religion under Constantine, so many people converted to Christianity that Christianity “may have been the cause of the fall of” the Western Roman Empire. How? “When people became Christians, they ceased to go to the Pagan temples [he names off a handful of deities here] all the idols that the Romans had worshipped in these massive temples that they built became empty because people no longer served the idol, they served the true God. Now, what began to happen there is the temples began to decline. And when the temples began to decline, guess what? The second aspect was . . . the silver smiths and those that made idols – and you can read about this in the book of Acts – began to lose business. Paul went to a city and so many people got saved that the silver smith got mad and had a riot and had the government – town government – come against Paul and said ‘he’s affecting our business because nobody wants to buy a silver idol anymore’, and so it affected the temple, it affected idolatry; it affected the making of false gods.

Then in the empire [I thought we were still in the empire….] something began to happen. Jews, as you know, and Christians have what’s called Shabbat. That’s the Hebrew word for . . . the seventh day – the day of rest. The Romans literally worked seven days a week, so they wanted you to work on Saturday and Sunday. Then when the Christians refused to – [began to] say, ‘we have to have a day off’ and the Jews began to say, ‘no, we have to have a day off’, the Roman Empire leaders and governors and the magistrates began to say, ‘the Christians are lazy’. And then they wanted Christians not to be hired, of Jews [not] to be hired in market places because they said they’re not gonna work as hard as we work. It wasn’t that they weren’t working hard; its that they wanted a day off”. So, in essence, according to Stone, the Romans saw the Christians as lazy.

He continued; “[o]f course, for the Roman government, the more you worked, the more tax money that they could gain”. We must also understand something else, he continued, as he went into a little diatribe about meat offered to idols – the point, he said, being that “everything around Rome that turned the Romans against Christians was because of money”. Stone had his willing audience repeat this.

Sounds quite plausible, doesn’t it – at least to a novice who does not understand Roman history or society or even how the empire functioned. But, after all, he got all of this from Gibbon, right? Surely using an authority means that Stone is right, doesn’t it? Well, let’s see, shall we?

But, before we begin to take Stone’s analysis apart, let’s first dispense with the initial statement that former president Truman believed that our laws were/are based on biblical laws. The only thing I am going to state in response to that is, “so what?” Lots of people have come to that conclusion, which is, in part, true. So?”

Secondly, Stone’s retort against atheists, although it does not really fit within the greater scheme of his diatribe either, needs to be reckoned with. It’s not that I want to defend atheists, after all. But, facts are still facts and the truth of the matter is that they have set up at least one orphanage – in Uganda. And, in fact, atheists do have an organization set up specifically to help the poor and the homeless. That Christians, by and large, do more than other groups should not be a point of argumentation. Christians are SUPPOSED to do these types of things, as commanded by their Lord. So, again, I would respond with, “so what?”

Now, also before I begin with the main argument, I want to mention that there are those, especially atheists themselves as well as many religions “scholars” who dismiss Gibbon’s analysis as flawed, at best – especially with reference to the idea that Christianity had anything to do with the fall of the empire in the West. They sometimes even go to great lengths to discredit Gibbon. I, for one, accept his analysis almost in total, even though it is, like any other analysis, flawed at certain points (something he himself acknowledged). The fact of the matter is that no analysis can be perfect, after all. But, because I accept his points, for the most part, I really do take exception to someone like Perry Stone even presuming to use them (which he really didn’t, as we will see). I take just about as much exception to this as I do the idea that he also presumes to even know anything about the Roman Empire. The plain fact of the matter is that he doesn’t. And that will be demonstrated here too. He has a smattering of knowledge and “facts”, but no real understanding.

Stone first (1) cites Gibbon, stating that part of the reason for the collapse of the empire in the West was the invasion of Germanic tribes, ten, to be exact. Well, it’s been a while since I consulted Gibbon in detail, so I am not going to quibble about whether he said there were ten tribes or twenty. The fact of the matter is that this was indeed a factor, perhaps the major factor overall, along with invasions of other groups, most notably the Huns, which Stone somehow leaves out. In fact, one could postulate that the main reason the Germanic tribes invaded the Roman Empire was exactly because of the Huns. But, I suggest that Stone simply does not know this, or he might have at least referred to the Huns in his analysis.

But, before we move on to Stone’s second point, let’s read Gibbon’s words directly as stated in Volune III of his great work, “The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire”. He stated that there were four (4) principle reasons for the fall of the empire in the West. The following is his statement on the matter. “The rise of a city, which swelled into an Empire, may deserve, as a singular prodigy, the reflection of a philosophic mind. But the decline of Rome was the natural and inevitable effect of immoderate greatness. Prosperity ripened the principle of decay; the causes of destruction multiplied with the extent of conquest; and, as soon as time or accident had removed the artificial supports, the stupendous fabric yielded to the pressure of its own weight. The story of its ruin is simple and obvious; and, instead of inquiring why the Roman empire was destroyed, we should rather be surprised that it had subsisted so long. The victorious legions, who, in distant wars, acquired the vices of strangers and mercenaries, first oppressed the freedom of the republic, and afterwards violated the majesty of the purple. The emperors, anxious for their personal safety and the public peace, were reduced to the base expedient of corrupting the discipline which rendered them alike formidable to their sovereign and to the enemy; the vigour of the military government was relaxed, and finally dissolved, by the partial institutions of Constantine; and the Roman world was overwhelmed by a deluge of Barbarians” (Ch. 38). . . . after a diligent inquiry” he listed “four principal causes of the ruin of Rome, which continued to operate in a period of more than a thousand years. . . . (I) The injuries of time and nature [not mentioned by Stone]. (II) The hostile attacks of the barbarians and Christians [the latter also not alluded to by Stone at all – and, in fact, the two were often one and the same, i.e. – Christianized barbarians]. (III) The use and abuse of materials [sort-of alluded to by Stone]. And, (IV) The domestic quarrels of the Romans [not alluded to by Stone].”

In any case, Stone’s second point (2), also supposedly gleaned from Gibbon, is that taxation was so high within the empire that people chose to quit farming and move elsewhere – to other countries. People simply could not afford to live within the empire because of high taxation, so they left for greener pastures, so to speak, according to Stone. In fact, to hear him tell it, they left in droves, even leaving their farmland behind. “Bye, y’all!”

Stone somehow tied these supposed happenings with the Roman dole, apparently not knowing that this was something started at the very beginning of the empire, not toward the end, as he suggested, and also not knowing that the dole was, in fact, not the same as what is termed the “bread and circuses”. To put it simply, the dole was a structure enacted only for the benefit of Roma itself, not any outlying provinces. So, only the populace of Roma herself benefitted from this. The provinces actually paid for it. That, in fact, was basically the entire structure of the Roman Empire. Wealth was systematically taken from the provinces, especially from the wealthy, and transferred to Roma. The citizens of the city herself paid no taxes, period.

Whether that was a good policy or not can be debated. The fact of the matter, however, is that it worked for a LONG time. The main reasons that such a system began not to work so well had to do with barbarian invasions and barbarian settlement within the empire. See, when the Goths were allowed to settle in Dacia, for example, they displaced Roman subjects who had already been living there. Many of these were, in fact, former soldiers who had obtained their lands due to their military service. They had to give up their lands for these barbarian hordes who suddenly came in, invited by the EASTERN Roman emperors. The plan was simple – settle the Goths in Dacia and, hopefully, they would become good, loyal citizens. That way the Romans would not have to fight yet another war to try to keep them out. Essentially, the plan really didn’t work and, on top of that, there were many disgruntled Roman subjects who had been displaced because of this – forced to settle elsewhere within the empire. Roman soldiers, for their part, as well as others allied with them, treated these barbarians with great disdain, even going so far as bringing them to the brink of starvation, and then feeding dog meat to them!

Anyway, policies such as this one helped to cause a lessening of wealth and produce from coming into Roma from the provinces. Yes, fewer farmers meant less wealth and produce going to Roma. Yes, that was a fundamental part of the taxation process that was failing toward the latter part of the Western Empire’s existence. Yes, in effect, taxes were high – for the provinces. They always had been from the very start, but it got worse over time. Thus, as the empire expanded, more wealth flowed into Roma herself. When she ceased to expand, things began to contract. In later times people essentially resorted to feudalism and, thus, did not contribute to the economy of the empire. And the empire overall reverted to more of a barter system than it had already been. Yes, many farmers quit farming because of impossible taxation. But they did NOT move to “other countries”. Constantine and his successors, by the way, did little to nothing that actually helped the situation.


In addition, no, people did not decide that they didn’t have to work because the government would take care of them. In fact, that statement is completely contradictory to the explanation you (Stone) gave about how the Romans began to see the Christians (and the Jews) as lazy and not willing to work hard.

But it’s even worse than that. See, it just didn’t happen the way Stone describes it. Stone paints a picture of Christians agitating for a day off, and being called “lazy” by the Romans, and the Jews following suit in this, with the Romans also calling them lazy on that account. The fact of the matter, however, is that the idea that the Jews were lazy because they did not want to work on the Sabbath predated any comparison with the Christians on that point. The earliest known extant reference to this is found in the Fourteenth Satire of the Roman poet Juvenal (c67-c145). And this was not, by any means, the only hateful thing said about the Jews by the Romans and others. As a natural result, the Christians were seen in the same way – because Christianity was not seen as separate from Judaism for some time. When the Christians began to insist that they needed the first day of the week off each week (sorry, Mr. Stone, but “Saturday” and “Sunday” were not actual Roman days of the week), they were seen exactly the way the other Jews had been already.

Mr. Stone simply has all of this confused and mixed up, just as he also does the issues with barbarian invasions and the effects of these. See, Mr. Stone cites Italy and Roma as places people left because of being displaced by others who came into the empire. He indicates that people first moved away, and then foreigners came in and took over. That is false. The fact of the mater is that the only major invasion into Italy itself prior to the massive influx of barbarians after the defeat of the Huns, and onward to Roma, was led by the Visigoth Alaric. And it did not come from outside of the empire, but from within since Alaric commanded his own Roman forces (mainly barbarians, to be sure). He moved from more Eastern provinces into Italy because he was denied a greatly-coveted promotion. That barbarians invaded, and settled in, Italy, as well as other parts of the empire later is a given.

That said, Stone is obviously confusing the situation with the Goths in Dacia with Alaric’s invasion of Italy. In Italy, no one simply moved out, to be replaced by foreigners or invaders. NO ONE! And, again, NO ONE packed up and moved to other countries BECAUSE THERE WERE NO OTHER COUNTRIES TO GO TO!

As for this supposed Roman law that a person could not quit a job, there were so many Roman laws, some repeats or near-repeats of older ones, that I suppose there could have been such a law, or a similar one. Certainly, the economy had become so strained by the third century CE that people were essentially forced to remain in the same position and status as they already had. Was there a socialist tendency in some Roman laws? Absolutely – because they were meant for the good of the populace and the empire as a whole. Stone’s insinuation that they practiced an early form of what we today call “socialism”, however, is unfounded. The insulting statement that “they ran out of other people’s money” is so baseless and ignorant of the way things worked that it really does not deserve to be dignified. In addition, Stone certainly ignores the myriad of other laws that targeted Pagans and Pagan worship, sometimes with cruel punishments attached to them, in favor of Christianity.

So, he wraps everything up in a neat little bow, stating that this is the way the Western Roman Empire collapsed. Trouble is – he really didn’t tell us why or how it collapsed. He simply combined misinformation with things he evidently made up in his own head, all the while claiming to have got his information from Gibbon.

Even so, he continues from there. He makes the baseless, yet often-repeated, claim that so many people converted to Christianity (yes, they just willingly converted in droves because of Christian love!) that Christianity may have contributed to the fall of the empire in the West because they didn’t continue to support the economy by participating in “idol worship”. Frankly, I was astonished that Stone would even admit that Christianity might have had anything to do with the fall of the empire because most vehemently deny this even though the evidence is rather hard to miss. But, naturally, he tied this to a reason – that Christians did not support the temples anymore.

In fact, Stone IS right on that latter point, believe it or not. When Christians ceased to participate in sacrifices and other forms of temple worship, it DID affect the local economies in the provinces, and that had a ripple effect all over the empire. Yes, that happened. However, people simply were NOT converting in droves the way Stone suggests. He is simply following the tired mantra of biased Christian history put forth over the centuries, something that Gibbon did not do.

The fact of the matter is that the temples did not become “empty” because people were converting to Christianity. They became neglected and empty specifically because of laws passed by Christian emperors, beginning with Constantine, which proscribed punishments for those who participated in sacrifices and temple activities. These laws, Stone has obviously ignored, if he even knows about them.

Stone, in his grand diatribe (such as it was) also did the same thing many Christian theologians and others have done down through the centuries. He engaged in hyperbole and insult concerning Pagan religious systems, mainly by referring to our deities as “idols” and stating that we worship them (the physical image of the deity). This is a slur that is as offensive as it is unjustified, but one that they can get away with because they always have. Deep down, the Christian actually hates the Pagan exactly because it took Christianity so much effort to overcome Paganism in the Western world. That is just a fact. They want to ignore the history and even claim, at times, that it never even happened, but their obvious hatred towards Pagans and Paganism demonstrates that they know what they did just the same.

In any case, Stone claims that the temples declined because of the Christians, which is partially correct, as noted. Some counter that they were already in decline, ignoring the fact that there was a resurgence of Pagan worship and practice during the early centuries CE. After all, all religions wax and wane over time.

But Stone gets even more confused when he ties this decline to the silver smiths. I actually wanted to laugh when he began this convoluted piece of idiotic sophistry. Why? Exactly because it became immediately obvious that Stone was solely referencing the book of Acts as his source for this. He even admits as much himself. Did Christianity reduce the demand for “idols”? Naturally. Did this have anything to do with the episode from the book of Acts? Not really. The events were so far distant in time that to posit any real correlation between them would be mindless. In essence, Stone posits that such events continued to take place all over the empire, causing an economic downturn. The fact that Christians did not buy animals for sacrifice is mentioned in historical records as an economic concern. The fact that they did not buy “idols” is not. Couple that with the misbegotten statement that people “got saved” in droves whenever Paul preached, and you simply have a picture that never really happened at all. Even the book of Acts shows that most people rejected Paul’s message. As an aside, I am rather proud of the fact that I have lots of – lots of – “idols” in my house!

In any case, it is also important to note that taxation was really not tied to how hard a person worked. I realize that this is difficult for those of us raised in modern capitalistic or socialistic systems to grasp. Yes, the Romans did engage in a type of capitalistic system in many respects. But, there was no system by which one earned a certain wage (except under Diocletian), and might earn more the harder one worked as in our modern capitalist system, and was taxed directly accordingly. That simply was not how it worked at all. It was, more or less, an advanced form of the barter system. And when one was paid directly, an employer could pay a person basically whatever they saw fit. So, if a person was not paid much, then the Romans could not have obtained much by way of taxes from them – if it had even worked that way. No, they focused mainly on the prosperous until they virtually drained them of wealth. Then they focused more on the poorer classes, and didn’t get much.

Finally, Mr. Stone states that everything that served to turn the Romans against Christianity was because of money. Talk about pulling something out of your own arse! That is clearly (1) NOT true and (2) NOT anything like what Gibbon said.

In the end, Stone closed by stating that the government fears Christians because of their ethics. Yes, he said the government fears Christians because they have ethics that they will act upon. Never mind that this is supposedly a nation founded on Christian ethics. The whole diatribe made about as much sense as a kindergartener’s paper might have.

The Monotheist’s Need to Prove

One of the main problems with monotheism is that at once the monotheist has to prove the existence of his god, both to himself as well as to others. Further than that, he then also has to prove that his god is the only one. And, beyond that, he has to prove his entire religion to others.

The polytheist does not have that issue, for we have no need to prove anything to anyone else since we do not proselytize. We do not even care if others believe our deities are real or not. And the deities themselves have no need to prove their own existence to anyone.

This is, in fact, the inherent weakness of monotheistic systems – the need to prove. It is an inherent fault of monotheism that it has to constantly prove itself.

Again, the polytheist has nothing to prove and we don’t proselytize. The only detriment that I see in this is that it also does not allow Pagans, as a religious entity, to be fully recognized as legitimate by those of other mainstream religions, or by society in general. And this prevents us from advancing toward becoming fully recognized, for example, by the military, so that a need for Pagan chaplains can be seen. I am not suggesting that Pagans should all be able to come together and unite as one; but we lack any sort of cohesion that might make some form of recognition by others possible. As long as this is the case, we will never see Pagan chaplains in the military, Pagan libraries and schools, or Pagan places of worship in various areas as we see with Christianity. There is no way to compete with a religion like Christianity if we cannot, at a minimum, form some sort of cohesiveness that would allow us to be seen as legitimate by the world at large. This is simply a fact, and nothing will change this within the next generation or two other than a determination to make it happen, which we seem to lack overall as a movement.

Racism, Bigotry, and Anti-Semitism

Wow! What a broad topic, right? You know, I was taught in college to narrow the topic. But, it seems to me that sometimes one has to create a topical headline such as this to get the attention of potential readers. So, I will not narrow the topic in this instance, although I will be relatively brief here.

The reason I write today is simple; racism, bigotry, and anti-Semitism are all on the rise. Of course, those on the far Right of the political spectrum still blame former president Obama for this, just as they blame either him or Hillary for virtually everything. This while they completely ignore, or explain away, the constant stream of hateful and divisive comments made by their new messiah, Donald Trump. Even when he is wrong, he’s not, as far as they are concerned.

True to form, this case was yet again made yesterday on the SBN program “Frances and Friends” during which more than one email was read in which the writer chided the panel for their determination to continue to talk politics rather than focusing on the gospel. Of course, neither email was received with any sort of objective consideration. The Swaggart team has made up their minds that talking politics IS one and the same as spreading the gospel. They even said as much yesterday.

Their new mantra for explaining why they support Trump, regardless of what he says or does, is because, in their own words, “God chose him” to lead this nation. That’s literally it. They seem to think that the idea that their “God” placed Trump in office, with the help of the evangelical vote, of course, seals the deal and there should, therefore, be no further discussion on the subject. And anyone – anyone – who disagrees with them is literally of the devil! If you don’t believe they say this, watch their program for just a short length of time, if you can bear to do it.

And, after all, Trump supports Israel and has, in their minds, done so on an unprecedented level never before seen from a US president. His moving the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem is a prime example – evidence that he is “God’s” guy. But, of course, those evil, demon-inspired Democrats have tried to destroy him at every turn, they also say. Seriously, if you like to hear religious personages call Democrats “evil” and “demon-possessed”, then this program, and their other program, “Insight”, are for you! But, for my own part, as a Democrat, I am rather appalled that any so-called religious “leaders” would stoop to the level of calling ME “demon-possessed”, and it is one of the reasons that I am no longer a Christian, for I never was a Republican. Yes, SBN, it is exactly because of people like YOU that I am no longer a Christian! So much for your so-called “gospel”!

In any case, they will constantly add that they don’t believe Trump is perfect, or even a Christian, but his support of Christians, and of Israel (along with his objection to abortion and gay rights), is all that matters to them. They don’t care that his language is often vile and hateful and divisive. No, that doesn’t matter. None of that matters, and no matter how many times someone points these things out to them, they still remain steadfast in their lock-step support of Trump, period.

Following this, another email chided them for their constant refrain of anti-Catholicism. For those who have never watched the program, any mention of Catholicism, especially criticism of the panel for their position concerning it, sends Jim Nations into an unmitigated tizzy, during which he, if allowed to talk much, launches into every kind of anti-Catholic conspiracy theory known to humankind. For him, they are evil incarnate and there is literally nothing good about the Roman Catholic Church. Of course, some on the panel, such as Dr. Gray, have a more moderate position, but they still hold together as directly inferring that if one is saved, then one will eventually leave this church, as they openly stated on yesterday’s program.

All that said, the real reason I am writing today is not because of any of the above, because these things have become so common on this and other SBN programs. No, it is because of statements made later in the program in response to another email, which expressed concern about John Rosenstern’s statement a few days ago on said program that, according to a single verse in Deuteronomy (Deut. 18:18), the Antichrist would have to be a Jew. Now, I watched that program also and, granted, his statement, while theologically unsound, did not, in my view, rise to the level of “hate”. He was simply explaining why his biblical world-view leads him to believe that the Jewish people will not accept anyone who is not Jewish as their messiah. But, on the other hand, the email writer did have a legitimate concern with this because it did border on anti-Semitic rhetoric.

Now, on yesterday’s program the panel COULD have explained their position in a contrite and reasonable manner and probably satisfied this email writer and been done with it. If they had done this, then it would have been, in my mind, just another errant theological position that they regularly take, which could have been essentially laughed off and forgotten. The point being that I really don’t care what sort of flawed theology they espouse. I think most of it is quite comical. So, if they would simply stick to their flawed theology – their supposed “gospel” – I could not care less what they would have to say, other than for entertainment purposes. BUT THEY SIMPLY CANNOT DO THAT! And yesterday, not only did they step into the cow patty of politics yet again with their total support of Trump, but they also went full-throttle into blatant anti-Semitism!

Now, I am going to state for the record that most people in this nation are not educated to the extent which will allow them to readily recognize anti-Semitism when it crops up. I was one such as that many years ago too. I get it. It is a sad statement on our society, but it is nonetheless true. But, as with just about everything else, most people THINK they would recognize it if they saw it. Sort of like Ed Meese during the 1980s when, during his little war on pornography, he said something to the effect of “I know it when I see it”. But, for those out there who may have watched this particular program, and have accepted their explanation – no, sadly, you DON’T recognize it at all, for you just bought into it hook line and sinker. And now I will explain why, for those who wish to understand.

As is often the case on this program, it was up to Donnie Swaggart to make the most forceful statements in their defense of the presumption of anti-Semitism leveled by the email writer. Again, he did not go into a reasonable, logical, discourse on the subject in an effort to help the writer understand their position. Instead, he went into a tirade, the likes of which, sadly, are not rare for him on this program. In essence, Donnie Swaggart reiterated the very talking points that have been used as “reasons” to hate and harm Jewish people ever since Christianity fully broke away from Judaism.

Now, it is entirely possible that neither he, nor anyone else on the panel with the possible exception of Dr. Gray, have never read any of the anti-Jewish propaganda written by early Christian church fathers and, therefore, have never actually been exposed to it. It’s possible. BUT, that is simply no excuse. AND, if that is true, then it highlights my thesis that theology should remain within the realm of trained theologians, not corn cob eating country hucksters like the Swaggarts. This, because a well-educated theologian of any faith would have known about these writings and, usually, have had sense enough not to repeat the same mantras that have led to the persecution and murder of Jewish people for over two-thousand years! I say “usually”, because there is always that one stray theologian of any stripe who will go off onto a limb and make egregious statements like this out of morbid stupidity, or just plain hatred. Martin Luther, John Calvin, and others did exactly this (and the theological training of some is suspect, at best).

What sort of statement am I referring to here? The repetition of the mantra that the Jewish people (as a whole) were/are to blame for the crucifixion of Christ. Not the Romans; the Jews. That’s right; even as they preach “the cross” as the only way to salvation, someone still has to be to BLAME for the fact that it happened, and for the Swaggart team, especially for Donnie himself (apparently), it was the JEWS! Why? Well, because the Bible says so in Matthew 27:25, where “the whole people” are quoted as saying “Then answered all the people, and said, His blood be on us, and on our children”. And Donnie made it even worse by stating that this is exactly why the Jews have suffered for over two-thousand years and why the Holocaust happened.

So, according to their theology, every single time the Jewish people have faced adversity, persecution, and even murder, they DESERVED it because they killed Christ! Yes, “God” himself cursed his own people for the crucifixion of Christ! This is what is known as the “blood curse”, although I suppose Donnie Swaggart does not really know that. But, frankly, I think I am giving him too much credit here, because he must know it. And yet, he repeats it anyway.

Donnie Swaggart, yesterday, fell directly in line with several ancient early church fathers, most especially with John Chrysostom, who wrote eight homilies against the Jews and also wrote a hideous diatribe entitled “Why I Hate the Jews”. And every thought presented hearkens directly back to that one single passage in Matthew (just as John Rosenstern’s insistence that the Antichrist must be a Jew comes from one single passage in Deuteronomy). But, one would think that someone as well-read as Rosenstern says he is would be aware that, historically, his statement is in error – multiple times. After all, who in the Bible was first (after David) referred to as “messiah”? That would be Cyrus of Persia, who certainly was NOT a Jew. Check it out; it’s in the Bible (Isaiah 45:1)!

Beyond this, the Jewish people have actually had a habit, especially in ancient times, of calling military and political leaders who were not of Jewish heritage “messiah”. Case in point, as difficult as this would be to fathom for those who don’t understand Judaism or even history; the Roman emperor Vespasian was referred to as “messiah” by Jewish rabbis! Yes, the guy who began the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 CE, only to be completed by his son, Titus, was called BY Jewish Rabbis of the time, “messiah”. And that was during the very siege of Jerusalem! And, again, he wasn’t the only one.

But, even here, the Swaggart team went on to compound their “guilt”, so to speak, by stating, basically, that hey cannot be anti-Semitic because they support Israel (probably more than any other ministry, they said), and they support Trump, who has done more for Israel than any previous president. See, these days it ALL always goes back to their real “messiah”, Trump. Yes, for them, and for many others, as long as they “support” Israel, they simply cannot be anti-Semitic, no matter what else they may say. This, while they will label anyone else as anti-Semitic if they do not fully support Israel in every way, no matter what she does. I’ve got news for them and others like them – one does not have to support the corrupt modern-day state of Israel in order to prove they are not anti-Semitic. But, I will leave that argument be for the time being. Suffice it to be said that the modern state of Israel has no real connection to the ancient one other than the facts that (1) SOME of the Jewish people who reside there today may be descended from SOME of the tribes who resided there in ancient times, (2) they practice some form(s) of Judaism as their official religion, and (3) they managed to resurrect the Hebrew language for general use there. There truly is no further connection.

All of this leads back to my statement that I am no longer a Christian exactly because of people like the Swaggarts. But, not only that. It’s because I have actually learned these things. I have actually read, over the years, ALL of the early church fathers and ALL of the protestant reformers. Their works are generally filled with so much hate that I find it difficult to understand why any truly educated person would continue to be a Christian.

But, let me, finally, leave the reader with this. IF it was just about the Jesus of the New Testament, I would probably still be a Christian. For, as he hung on the cross – yes, that cross that the Swaggarts make such a to-do about as necessary for salvation – he said “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do”. See, Jesus himself asked that they – all of them – be forgiven, and one has to accept by inference that the Father did indeed answer his prayer. So, there is NO room for the blood curse that Donnie Swaggart so vehemently insisted upon during yesterday’s program. You either love and forgive every single time, or you are NOT a real Christian, period. But how many can really do that?

The Delusion of Absurd Belief

Ever since New Year’s Eve (really, even before that) Jim Bakker has been ranting about the end of the world, the Apocalypse, and all that may (in his mind) come with that. In fairness, he is not the only one who does this. But, he is just about the only one left doing it to the extent that he does since Jack Van Impe died last year.

As many are aware, his latest focus has been on the Coronavirus, or COVID-19. For him, it is not just a pandemic. It is a sign from God, or a message from God, or punishment from God, or of the Devil himself – whichever he chooses on any given day or moment in time. Regardless, he is obviously convinced that it comes from his God (or the Devil), and that it has to do, as he says, with the fourth horseman of the book of “Revelation” (known as “The Apocalypse of John” among the educated).

Today, April 17th, 2020, he had Mikel French on his program. The reason? Mikel French and his wife, ministers of the gospel, contracted COVID-19 and became very sick because of it, and have survived. Somehow, this is supposed, apparently, to be some miracle from God – apparently he sent the virus as a warning, but it is also somehow from the “enemy” (the devil) as an effort to kill all the preachers who still preach what he thinks is the “real gospel”. Yes, apparently it can both be a sign or even punishment from God, and at the same time be something evil, coming from the Devil.

This particular program, by the way, airing on the same date that Trump tweeted that his people should resist Democratic governors who don’t want to open the country yet, even though they are following his and the scientist’s guidelines (these programs are taped days before they are aired) – a day after such a protest took place in Michigan against its Democratic governor. Yes, Trump is telling people to follow his guidelines, and at the same time is telling them to protest against Democrats who maybe don’t want to start their economies up as soon as he would like. Not really a surprise to me since recently Donnie Swaggart said that if the shut down goes past May 1st, it must be a Democratic plot to ruin the economy because they hate Trump.

As Bakker continued to rant, as he has for several days already, that people are trying to take him off the air, insisting that he as done nothing wrong, he continued with his errant theology by going back to the horses of the Apocalypse – that “they” (the enemy) want to take the Bible away.

Then he went into this lunacy that a billion souls will be saved because of this situation, turning back to Jesus (because they are so scared, obviously). But, at least he is not playing down the potential impact of this virus like the Swaggart people are. To be fair, both “ministries” are obeying directives to not hold public services where people actually attend. This, unlike others who are trying to make this into some sort of persecution of Christians just because they can’t attend church services physically. But, take it from me – Christians always cry “persecution” any time they don’t like something. That is a historical fact.

One of the things, as Bakker pointed out again today, was that on New Year’s Eve he said that people would start going after preachers to kill, murder, them, because they didn’t preach what they wanted them to. Yes, the virus is “an enemy… it would like to kill every preacher in the world; would like to kill every Christian”, Bakker said. Somehow, that conflates to what he said earlier around New Year’s Eve.

Clearly, all of this is completely irrational, but also, clearly, people accept and believe it or they would not be sending money to this and other similar “ministries”. That is nothing short of appalling to me! These people could not possibly stay in business if people were not giving them lots of money.

But, what is equally appalling to me is the attitude of some supposed Pagans (not sure they really are), who insist that the ancient deities did these same types of things and it is OK to believe it. These people (and I won’t even say it is my opinion because it comes from enlightenment) simply do not understand that the ancient myths were just stories designed to teach lessons – NOT stories to be accepted literally by anyone. These people are still deluded by the effects of monotheistic belief and have not reached enlightenment. They would prefer to still wallow in the mire that the monotheist does because they are comfortable there.

Don’t get me wrong. I still have tendencies to want to slip into this sometimes too. Nothing is more difficult for me right now than to refrain from saying something like, “No, it’s not your god sending this, it’s my deities, because of Trump and his support by and of evangelicals and of Israel in everything they do. It’s because he moved the US Embassy to Jerusalem. It’s because of all the other things that he has done that the evangelicals applaud – that he was induced to do by his religious minions like Paula White and others like her. Really, if I wasn’t looking at it in a rational, scientific, way, that is exactly where I would go with this.

But, it’s a virus. It isn’t some act of god or gods. It isn’t a sign or anything. And it isn’t trying to kill preachers, as Jim Bakker is ranting. And no one is saying that it is a “good thing” to “kill babies”, as he also says. He is on the very edge of being taken off the air as we speak. If he is, it will be one of the best things that has ever happened in the history of the world! NOT because he has a particular stand on abortion or actually preachers the Bible (he doesn’t). Because he supported Trump with no reservation whatsoever and he should have stayed out of politics, period. If he had done that, I guarantee he would not be in the situation he now finds himself in.

But, he couldn’t do that. And he still just can’t stop. He says he believes God is chastening the world to believe in Jesus, and that is why this is all happening. And the four horsemen are riding. Obeying God is the only remedy. Not science; not reason – complete psychosis is the only answer.

Does anyone wonder why, as Bakker has been such an ardent supporter of Trump, that Trump is not saying anything in support of him? Might Trump bail Bakker out if he is arrested yet again? That is anyone’s guess. But, if one observes the record, Trump will let Bakker twist in the wind and be completely indicted, and then pardon him. What a friend….

Of course, as Mondo pointed out, earthquakes seem to be increasing now (but, according to them, they already have been for some time) and it is all part of the same situation, with the locust plague in Africa (and even Israel) as another part of it – some kind of act of either God or the Devil, take your pick.

In the end, he was begging for money again, trying to get people to buy his survival food and other items. This, even as he ranted, asking why “they” were coming after him, since he was just an old man. And as he pointed out Hulk Hogan, who recently reiterated the same idiotic tripe that “God” had shut down everything because we were worshipping it. If that isn’t errant theology (by a non-theologian, by the way), I don’t know what is. So “God” is so jealous that he would do such a thing? Really? Because we aren’t worshipping him enough, he would visit a deadly virus upon us all. Wow! THAT is truly sick!

I will add this in finality. As some Christians are ranting that they can’t meet together and it must be some government conspiracy (even as they support Trump), not all, thankfully, are following their errant lead. Most, as far as I can tell (even many mega-churches) are temporarily shutting down. Yes, I said “temporarily”, because that is what it is – temporary. It is not some persecution of Christians. In fact, as far as I know, ALL Pagan gatherings have also been cancelled. Why? Not just because we are not delusional like the fanatical monotheist. But, frankly, because it is part of being a Pagan to OBEY THE LAW. It has always been a cornerstone of Paganism that the political and judicial authorities be obeyed. That does not mean that we won’t protest if a law is unjust. We certainly will. But you will never see us out in the streets protesting because we have to observe social distancing guidelines for a couple more weeks! How absolutely pathetic can people get, after all? I served two tours of military duty, overseas in war zones, both of over a year. And they can’t obey reasonable restrictions for two more weeks? Is this really what the America I served for has become?

Let me spell out what persecution really looks like. It looks like what I described in detail in my book “Killing Roma”. It looks like those in power doing everything they can to destroy a religion and all of its observances – for more than just a few weeks! That is what Christians did to us! WE know what persecution really is. THIS is NOT it. So, conservatives and fanatics: please pull your little boy pants up, and shut the h*ll up! After this is all over we can all debate whether it was right, too much, too little, or whatever. Until then, do what you are told for the good of all.

A Word About COVID-19

Since I have seen several Christian churches put out statements concerning the present pandemic of COVID-19, I decided that a response, based on Hyperborean understanding, would be in order. Hyperboreanism, as a religious system, does not suffer from the flawed taint of dualistic belief, any more than it suffers from the myriad of flaws associated from monotheistic belief. Therefore, the Hyperborean will never devolve into accepting the belief that any disease, natural calamity, and so forth is the result of either some war between “good” and “evil”, or the wrath or judgment of some omni-god. Diseases, including pandemics, and natural disasters are just that. They are completely natural and can be explained scientifically, without resorting to fables and delusions to satisfy the frightened mind. It is also unnecessary to resort to prayer as a first course of action. No, I did not say, “do not pray”. In fact, the deities favor those who do pray, especially when about to embark upon something important. That does mean that, whenever possible, one should pray, and sacrifice, prior to any important endeavor, just as the ancients taught us. But, to think that our prayers will have some, somehow, magical effect regardless of anything else that might be done is foolishness. The specter of people all over the country praying, especially on this “National Day of Prayer” is a throwback to medievalism and a pattern that will accomplish nothing other than that people will be seen by others praying, as if they had actually done something. I, for one, did indeed pray to the blessed deities today, privately. I even prayed that Christian prayers be granted, as long as they were prayed with correct understanding and for correct results. But, unlike most Christians, I KNOW that my prayers were heard. What form any answer may take is yet to be seen, for no one can predict that. My prayers were heard because they were not chained to medieval thinking. This pandemic will peak, and eventually decline. The disease, however, will likely never go completely away. That is why a vaccine is still necessary, so that when it resurfaces in the future, we will have something with which to combat it. That will not come through prayer, although it might be helped by it. It will come through science. Science is always to be trusted over supposition, myth (except that we learn from myth), or emotion. That is our way, albeit the fact that we are based on primordial understanding, so that we, as human beings, can continue to make greater progress while still venerating, and taking care of, our mother, the Earth herself. Bless all the deities.

The Bible for Dummies

It is a sad, but clearly observable, truth that practically any time a major tragedy takes place, the news media will interview someone who demonstrates a general lack of proper English grammar usage. This is illustrated by the preponderance of the subject’s use of the incorrect phrase “I seen”. Frankly, this happens so often that one has to wonder if the news media deliberately seek people out who lack a fundamental grasp of English grammar usage, for whatever reason.

I make this point in order to set the stage for relating something that most biblical scholars know quite well, but that the common folk generally do not know. Just taking the New Testament into account here, there exist a wide variety of grammatical styles between each writing contained therein (one might think that this would not be so much the case if the Holy Spirit practically dictated all of this information; but I digress). Even books attributed to the same author often differ significantly, in some respects, in style and usage of the original Greek language in which each letter/book was written (I am not going to get into the, in my view, errant theories that one or more of these tracts were originally written in either Aramaic or Hebrew. For me, such is completely fictitious).

From the very beginning, any prospective ministerial student who studies Greek as part of his/her coursework in college and/or seminary is made aware that the New Testament documents that we have fragments of today were written in what is termed “koiné” Greek – the common form of Greek spoken by most during that time period in the ancient world. It is understood that this was done so that the gospel could more readily be understood by the common folk of that day. The writers wanted the gospel to reach the people (one main reason why none of it would have ever been written in Hebrew, which was a language no longer commonly in use at that time. There was literally no one who would not have understood Greek, so it would have been foolish to have written any of it in Hebrew).

Knowing this, many scholars still go out of their way to work toward a form of homogenization of the language so that it actually makes sense, not only in Greek, but also in English, as well as any other language it is translated into. In so many words, they dress-up the language so that it can be better understood by readers today.

What this really means – what most scholars and theologians will not tell you – is that the authors literally wrote “gospels for dummies”. Some were better than others, but all contained the types of errors and incorrect usages that those who were, perhaps, a little less skilled in proper Greek language usage would have perpetrated. Even, arguably, the “best” of the Gospels (that of John), contains the types of incorrect usages that suggest that (1) he (or his scribe) really did not have a firm grasp of the language. OR, it could be that (2) he/they did have adequate understanding of proper usage, but dumbed-down the language so that the common folk could more readily understand. Frankly, the latter is more likely, although there could have been some combination of the two at work here.

In any event, the intent was that the common folk would be able to understand that which was written easily, regardless of their command of the Greek language. Thus, for example, one finds within the text of the Gospel According to John several examples of the use of an asyndeton, which is a literary device which deliberately omits several conjunctions in a phrase from a series of related clauses. The best known example perhaps being Julius Caesar’s “veni, vidi, vici” (“I came, I saw, I conquered”). A dumbed-down version of this might be “I seen”, although the correlation is not exact here. But, I hope the reader gets the picture. In addition, the style that John’s gospel is written in varies greatly from the style that the Synoptic Gospels are written in, utilizing a smaller (perhaps, more precise) vocabulary.

A further truth is that, although there are errors even in the writings of Paul (those that we can be fairly certain were his), his standard is generally above that of the other New Testament writers. Since the other disciples are referred to as “rough and uneducated” in the book of Acts, this is automatically to be expected. But that does not mean that all of the other disciples/apostles could be classified in this way. No doubt, their education and backgrounds varied, perhaps considerably. We really don’t know very much at all about several of them, and not much more than that about the rest. I, personally, like to think that Thomas and John tended to be the most likely to have been intellectuals, of a sort. The reason for this is that their purported writings (with the exception of the Apocalypse of John) tended toward more intellectual themes, including Gnosticism, the study of which would indeed have required some level of intellect. So, although their writings were still basically “dumbed-down” for the audience, they were at least a little bit above the others, generally.

Thus, when you observe some supposedly “intellectual” theologian or preacher straining over this or that Greek word or phrase, keep in mind that what he/she is doing is probably an unnecessary exercise in futility. Unless he/she wishes to translate the entire New Testament from the Greek into the English (or any other language) all over again completely from scratch, there is little need for this other than, perhaps, to illustrate a minor point. You, the audience, do not need to understand exactly what every word or phrase means. What you need to understand is what the intent of the author may have been for you to understand. And that is more difficult to convey than a simple translation of select words and phrases. Plus, select words and phrases meant different things to the people of that day than they would to you and I, in many cases. One has to get into the mindset of the ancient peoples the New Testament was written for in order to even begin to understand. In short, as hard as this will be for some to accept, the New Testament really was not written for us; it was written for people long past and gone. It was written for THEM to understand, not so much for us to understand. They were NOT thinking two-thousand plus years into the future, no matter what anyone says.

Another thing that your average preacher-type won’t ever tell you is that the Gospel According to John and the Apocalypse of John (Revelation) are both written in very distinctive styles, so that it seems obvious that they must not have been written by the same author. So wedded are Christians to the idea that the author of both works simply must have been the same person that they are determined to remain oblivious to the idea that this might not be the case. After all, they are regularly told by their religious “leaders” that John wrote the Apocalypse in his old age while imprisoned on the island of Patmos, he having written his gospel many years prior to this. Some try to account for the differences by the simple “fact” that there exists a difference in time. Of course, they don’t like to tell people that this is all based on supposition – on myth. They don’t like to tell you that the idea that John was even imprisoned on Patmos comes from much later tales of Christian martyrs, probably containing no first-hand observation of the purported events laid out in said writings. And, as I think I successfully laid out in my initial work, “Apocalypse and Armageddon“, a good case can be made that the Apocalypse, whether written by the apostle or not (but probably not), was actually among the FIRST New Testament books written, not the last.

In the end, I think we should begin to be of a mindset that accepts that these writings were written so that literally anyone could understand them – at a third grade level, one might say. One really should not take offense to this. I know that many literalists will, but, in my mind, that is unnecessary. We really should be able to sort-of laugh about this and move on with our understanding of it. Because, after all, as much as these writings have been dressed-up for us, we still literally have a “Bible for dummies”, no matter how it is read and understood. It simply does not meet the level of reading Plato and Aristotle, period.

The Pattern for Peace

Mid-East peace, as it is termed, has been an issue that American presidents have attempted to resolve, mostly unsuccessfully, ever since the Carter administration. One plan after another has been proposed; some clearly better than others.

The current peace plan certainly has its positive aspects, some of which have never been proposed before. That, in and of itself, is exemplary. Notwithstanding, the plan has serious flaws which have made it a complete non-starter from the very beginning. In so many words, the pattern of the peace plan is such that it was actually designed to fail. Anyone with even limited understanding of the situation would have known that the Palestinians, for example, would never accept that, in return for anything, they would have to recognize Israel’s complete sovereignty over an un-divided Jerusalem.

The funny thing is, not only do the Palestinians reject this plan, but many evangelical Christians do as well. If you listen to the likes of John and Josh Rosenstern of Jimmy Swaggart Ministries, for example, you will find that their position is that to divide the land in any way is strictly un-biblical. They resolutely state that God gave the entirety of said land (whatever it is really supposed to look like on a map) to the Jewish people via a promise to Abraham. Thus, they oppose the peace plan (even though they vehemently support Trump in literally everything else) because it proposes to divide the land. This biblical promise is found in Genesis 13. But, they, and others of their persuasion, focus only on the very end of the chapter where the promise is contained.

The entire chapter, however, is instructive. It reads as follows (from the NIV):

13 So Abram went up from Egypt to the Negev, with his wife and everything he had, and Lot went with him. Abram had become very wealthy in livestock and in silver and gold.

From the Negev he went from place to place until he came to Bethel, to the place between Bethel and Ai where his tent had been earlier and where he had first built an altar. There Abram called on the name of the Lord.

Now Lot, who was moving about with Abram, also had flocks and herds and tents. But the land could not support them while they stayed together, for their possessions were so great that they were not able to stay together. And quarreling arose between Abram’s herders and Lot’s. The Canaanites and Perizzites were also living in the land at that time.

So Abram said to Lot, “Let’s not have any quarreling between you and me, or between your herders and mine, for we are close relatives. Is not the whole land before you? Let’s part company. If you go to the left, I’ll go to the right; if you go to the right, I’ll go to the left.”

10 Lot looked around and saw that the whole plain of the Jordan toward Zoar was well watered, like the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt. (This was before the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah.) 11 So Lot chose for himself the whole plain of the Jordan and set out toward the east. The two men parted company: 12 Abram lived in the land of Canaan, while Lot lived among the cities of the plain and pitched his tents near Sodom. 13 Now the people of Sodom were wicked and were sinning greatly against the Lord.

14 The Lord said to Abram after Lot had parted from him, “Look around from where you are, to the north and south, to the east and west. 15 All the land that you see I will give to you and your offspring[a] forever. 16 I will make your offspring like the dust of the earth, so that if anyone could count the dust, then your offspring could be counted. 17 Go, walk through the length and breadth of the land, for I am giving it to you.”

18 So Abram went to live near the great trees of Mamre at Hebron, where he pitched his tents. There he built an altar to the Lord.

Reading this chapter in its entirety demonstrates that Abraham did something before the promise was made. One can infer that God made this promise to Abraham specifically because of Abraham’s actions here. And, to what specific actions do I refer? Abraham himself proposed to Lot that they divide the land. Shocking, I know! The very patriarch of the Hebrew faith proposed that the land be divided so that quarreling would cease. Both he and Lot recognized the seriousness of the situation and that they could no longer dwell together.

ONLY THEN did God make the promise to Abraham that these evangelical-types focus on so sternly. The fact of the matter is that, even before the promise was made, Abraham had de facto say over it. How do we know this? Because the promise was already made, although less specifically, in just the previous chapter. God had already told Abram (as he was then called) that he would possess the land that he was to journey to. Never mind that other people already possessed it. Therefore, it was within the purview of Abraham to do with the land as HE chose. It was HIS. And HE chose to divide it. THAT is biblical.

The Bible clearly teaches here that, where there is conflict, compromise must be made. It’s plain and simple. And, there is reward in the future for simply doing the right thing. So, let’s please stop the unnecessary squabbling and come to a compromise that actually works. It IS possible.

Remaining True

As I observe our government and society, so obviously slipping into decline, as a historian, I cannot help but be reminded of the demise of the Roman Empire. Yes, I know; everyone and their mother tends to compare us to the Roman Empire when they are talking about our possible demise. But, for me (again, as a historian), it’s different. You see, I know the details; the things that most people are not even remotely aware of, which makes their comparison superficial at best. They are right to compare, but they don’t understand why they are right, exactly because they don’t know the details. And that is really the danger here – to know just enough history to make the comparison, while not being able to really answer why the comparison is valid.

The real truth is that we have three options at this moment in time as a nation; (1) continue as a republic, which will require that we fully censure the current occupant of the White House; (2) become an empire or dictatorship, which means that we would no longer be a republic because we failed to censure our current president; or (3) decline and fall, because we allowed the various forces and factions that are today present to tear us apart. Those are our options, period.

It is my sad belief that we will choose one of the latter two. Why? Because there are so many in this great nation who are actually advocating and agitating for exactly one or the other. When certain lawmakers, media personnel, and others so slovenly cast what little is left of their integrity before the altar of Trump and religious fanaticism – these are advocating for the second choice. When these same people, especially so-called religious “leaders”, call for a civil war (and what they really mean is a “holy war”) – these are agitating for the third option.

I can confidently state that, in neither case are any of these people remaining true to the ideals, ethics, and morals that they were taught growing up, and which were supposedly instilled within them by their parents, grandparents, teachers, preachers, and others. They have abandoned their principles for temporal gain. And THAT is a tragedy!

I remember when I was in high school, having first been truly introduced to the world by taking a world history class. I emphasize that it opened up the entire world for me. I learned things that I would have never learned anywhere else. And not just world history, but ancient history and just enough ancient philosophy so that the seed was planted and the understanding that an entirely different world than our present one once existed, which is something I was never able to forget. My teacher even wrote in my annual for that year that if I remained true to my ideals (as partly developed from this very class), I would go far. That resonated with me, and is also something that I never forgot.

Don’t get me wrong. Many of my ideals also stemmed from my understanding of the Christian religion, into which I was brought up and carefully nurtured. Yes, ideals such as “love thy neighbor” and “turn the other cheek” and “do not judge, lest ye be judged”, etc. And, perhaps most of all, not to keep company with those who refuse to live moral and ethical lives. For, to do so would only invite their influence upon myself.

The frank fact of the matter is that I still adhere to these principles – both religious and philosophical – even as a Pagan. I dare say that I adhere to them somewhat better than most Christians do, which is an indictment of the fanatical religious in and of itself. Yes, there was also a time when I strayed into religious fanaticism. I am thankful that being reminded of these principles was, in part, what pulled me back out of it. That reminder taking the form of studying once again ancient Roma and the destructive, fanatical, forces that caused her demise. I realized that I was just like them, and I could not condone continuing in that mode.

Today, I watch with great sadness as so many others, who do not have the benefit of my particular education, take themselves and others down a path toward potential national oblivion, as they are led by religious fanatics and political conservatives, who care nothing for this great nation, but only for themselves. Personal gain is their goal, whether one wishes to wake up to this or not.

In my observation, over many years, the side of “good” almost always plays the weakest hand, and it is often somewhat of a miracle when it wins. The forces of evil always have more than enough resources and support – that is just the truth. And the laws always, somehow, allow them to promote their agenda.

We, as a nation, are presently in danger of allowing the religious fanatics, allied with conservative politicians, to take over everything. We are in danger of setting up a dictatorship – establishing an “emperor” or a “king”, to rule over us, supported by his religious minions.

I am also trained in theology, and I know a misuse of religion when I see it. Religion is misused when part of the people are told that they are of the devil when they don’t support the current president. Religion is misused when some people are told that they have to adhere to the ethics and morals of the supposed “majority” religion. Religion is misused when it is utilized in support of war, especially so-called “holy war”. I could go on and on. The point being that this is exactly what our founders sought to keep us from having to endure. They saw how medieval “God-supported” monarchs functioned, and how they treated their subjects. They sought to spare us from this type of tyranny. Yet, here we are, essentially asking for a king!

Do we want a Byzantine king/emperor, with his courts of eunuchs? Do we want to destroy all traces of our past heritage – statues and other art, as well as architecture, so that we can say that there was no history prior to the present religious/political movement. That is where we are literally headed, if we don’t stop the cancer right here, right now.

I do fear that it is already too late – with so-called religious “leaders” fomenting a civil war if Trump is not reelected; with so called “historians” distorting our history, twisting it into the history of Israel; and with conservative politicians spouting ethics that they certainly do not adhere to themselves, in many cases. None of our founders would have acquiesced to any of this.

What that means, for people like me, is that we have to watch our nation crumble or transform itself into something hideous and unlike what the founders intended, while doggedly remaining true to the ideals that were implanted within us all those years ago. Yes, that happened in ancient times too. Oh, people adjusted to the new reality, but they retained themselves, their own souls, regardless.

I remember reading long ago (the source of this has long been forgotten, and I have not been able to find it again) about an ancient Roman aristocrat in Gaul during the time when barbarian invasions were sweeping across the empire. This important Roman citizen received a letter one day from a Germanic chieftain, explaining that he was on his way to take the Roman’s property as his own. There would be no debate or resistance. Either submit, or die. If the Roman submitted, he would be allowed to remain on “his” property there as a serf, and, thus, would be allowed to live. Otherwise, he would be executed. The Roman considered the proposal carefully, as Romans were accustomed to doing. He reasoned, in the end, that it would be best to welcome the chieftain when he arrived and submit to his authority. After all, what would be the point of dying, since he would still be allowed to remain on “his” property, even under servitude. He saw which way the wind was blowing, and chose life. But, he didn’t have to give up his integrity, nor his ethics, in so doing – just some of his dignity. It was a fair trade, he thought.

But, that was in the West. In the East, things took an entirely different turn, with emperors who foisted their will upon everyone, fashioning laws calling for the torture and execution of anyone who followed the old religions – and even worse. Here, practically everything that even hinted at the past was systematically destroyed. And if it could not be destroyed, it was transformed into something useful to the new religion – Christianity. And there could be no real compromise.

THIS – one or the other, or both at the same time – culminating into the stagnation of medievalism, with the whole world potentially splitting up again into petty states, always squabbling with and warring against one another, until the light of knowledge and reason once again comes to the fore, may well be our fate – our future. But, what a price to pay! Not a fair trade; not at all.