Anti-Semitism and the Progressive Doctrine of Intersectionality

Who’s Afraid of Religious Liberty?

By Richard Samuelson

Seeking to prohibit every kind of “discrimination,” activists in and out of government threaten the free practice of, among other faiths, Judaism.

University5Not so long ago, doubts about the ability of Jews to live and practice Judaism freely in the United States would have been dismissed as positively paranoid: relics of a bygone era when American Jews could be turned away from restaurants and country clubs, when restrictive covenants might prevent their purchase of real estate or prejudicial quotas limit their access to universities and corporate offices.University1

None of that has been the case for a half-century or more. And yet recent developments in American political culture have raised legitimate concerns on a variety of fronts. To put the matter in its starkest form: the return of anti-Semitism, by now a thoroughly documented phenomenon in Europe and elsewhere around the world, is making itself felt, in historically unfamiliar ways, in the land of the free.

Statistics tell part of the tale. In 2014, the latest period for which figures have been released by the FBI, Jews were the objects of fully 57 percent of hate crimes against American religious groups, far outstripping the figure for American Muslims (14 percent) and Catholics (6 percent). True, the total number of such incidents is still blessedly low; but what gives serious pause is the radical disproportion.

University4The rise and spread of anti-Israel agitation, particularly on the nation’s campuses, is the most common case. Such agitation, expressed in the form of defamatory graffiti, “Israel Apartheid” demonstrations, and the verbal or physical abuse of pro-Israel students, feeds into and is increasingly indistinguishable from outright anti-Semitism. Even the most zealously “progressive” young Jews are targeted as accomplices-by-definition with the alleged crimes of Zionism. As one student who has fallen afoul of his campus’s orthodoxies has lamented, “because I am Jewish, I cannot be an activist who supports Black Lives Matter or the LGBTQ community. . . . [A]mong my peers, Jews are oppressors and murderers.” Such is the progressive doctrine of “intersectionality,” according to which all approved causes are interconnected and must be mutually supported, no exceptions and no tradeoffs allowed.

Lately, this brand of wholesale anti-Semitic vilification under the guise of anti-Zionism has leapt beyond the precincts of the academy to infiltrate AmericanUniversity2 political discourse, becoming vocally evident on both the political left and the political right and insidiously infecting this year’s presidential campaign and party maneuverings. For an analysis of the campus assault’s underlying mechanisms and wider effects, Ruth Wisse’s Mosaic essay, “Anti-Semitism Goes to School,” is unsurpassed. So far, the trend shows no sign of abating.

But there is another danger, equally grave though as yet less open and less remarked upon. It is connected with longer-term shifts in Americans’ fundamentalTravel Trend Myanmar Tourism understanding of themselves and of their liberty, and consequently with the laws that embody and reflect that understanding: in particular, the laws enshrining America’s commitment to religious liberty and, relatedly, liberty of association or, as the Constitution has it, assembly. Coming to the fore over issues of personal identity, most saliently in relation to the gay-rights movement, same-sex marriage, and transgender rights, it has resulted in a legal battle in which the radioactive charge of “discrimination,” borrowed from the civil-rights movement of the 1960s, is wielded as a weapon to isolate, impugn, and penalize dissenting views held by Americans of faith and informing the conduct of their religious lives.

Jews are hardly the only group at risk from developments in this area of progressive agitation; up till now, its main targets have been believing Christians. Perhaps for that same reason, Jews have also not been in the front ranks of those raising an alarm. Nevertheless, the threat to them, and to the practice of Judaism, especially by Orthodox Jews, is very real. Unlike in the past, the threat comes not from private initiatives; it comes from government.

Liberal America

How did we get here? Truly to understand today’s trends, and to grasp why they are so serious, it would help to remind ourselves of the larger historical context.

In his famous 1790 letter responding to the “expressions of esteem” addressed to him by the Hebrew Congregation in Newport, Rhode Island, President George Washington hailed the presence of Jews in a land where, by contrast to their people’s past experience of intolerance and persecution elsewhere, everything was different. So different, in fact, that tolerance itself—an accommodation that was then selectively being extended to some European Jewish communities—was no longer an issue. In America, for Jews as for any other group, “it is now no more that toleration is spoken of as if it were by the indulgence of one class of people that another [class] enjoyed the exercise of their inherent natural rights” (emphasis added). Rather, the president stressed, directly borrowing a phrase from the congregation’s address to him, “all possess alike liberty of conscience and immunities of citizenship.”

The United States could practice this unprecedentedly “enlarged and liberal policy,” as Washington rightly called it, because it featured a very limited national government, one that allowed a large sphere of civil society to flourish outside of government regulation. Thus, in reciprocating the admiring wishes of “the children of the stock of Abraham who dwell in this land,” the president voiced his own well-founded wish that they “continue to merit and enjoy the good will of the other inhabitants—while every one shall sit in safety under his own vine and fig tree and there shall be none to make him afraid.”

George Washington’s words left Jews free to be Jews just as Christians were free to be Christians; with a few exceptions in some states, government was indifferent.

In summoning the prophet Micah’s words about sitting in safety under one’s “own vine and fig tree,” Washington was presuming not only the right to private property but a more general liberty to pursue happiness as one understood happiness. The government would do little to regulate the cultivation of fig trees—or work hours, or employer-employee relations. Regulation would be the exception; liberty the rule. This same open space left Jews free to be Jews just as Christians were free to be Christians; as between faiths, with a few lingering exceptions in some states, government was indifferent.

This was indeed a “liberal policy” for a liberal society—a society in which, as the philosopher Leo Strauss, echoing the first president, would put it a century and a half later, “there are no longer any legal disabilities put on Jews as Jews.” But, Strauss went on pointedly, such an arrangement “stands or falls by the distinction between the political (or the state) and society, or by the distinction between the public and the private. In the liberal society there is necessarily a private sphere with which the state’s legislation must not interfere.” Therefore, in that private sphere, such an arrangement would allow for discrimination.

What this meant in practice was that Wasps were free to keep Jews out of their country clubs, and Jews were free to organize their own clubs. Similarly, Americans were generally free to refuse service to whomever they chose, for whatever reason they chose, and to decide with whom to associate in their daily affairs.

The same held for the free exercise of religion: by its very nature, the very thing that allowed Jews to be free and equal members of American society also allowed private discrimination in matters of faith. Indeed, with some notable exceptions—the persecution of Mormons in the 19th century being a conspicuous example—America was able to guarantee a robust area of religious liberty precisely because, just as the federal government generally left Americans free to act or not to act, to speak or not to speak, so it also left them free to worship or not to worship, to conduct or not to conduct their religious lives, as they chose. Is that still the case?

The Collapse of Civil Society

One can occasionally still see, usually in an old diner somewhere, the venerable sign “We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone.” The sign is an anachronism; it does not carry either the force of law or the weight of public opinion. But it once did, and more recently than we might think. For most of American history, for better or worse, the common view was that private institutions, companies, clubs, and so forth had the right to choose with whom to associate and not to associate, whom to accept as customers, whom to decline or refuse to serve. There were, to be sure, exceptions: by law, a small class of businesses, most notably railroads and other conveyances, as well as inns and public amusements, had to take all comers. Somewhat more broadly, the same rule applied to monopolies, like the local grain elevator. The class was narrowly defined precisely because the liberty to associate with whom we choose was recognized as essential in a liberal nation that made a hard distinction between the realm of the state and the realm of civil society.

In the past half-century, America’s robust civil society has become increasingly subject to government regulation. The change was originally impelled by the best of reasons—namely, to end Jim Crow laws and to fight against racial segregation: the signal exceptions to the liberal program in America.

When it came to race, early America did not simply allow individuals to “discriminate” if they chose to do so. On the contrary, the government positively required such discrimination. Both slavery and segregation were creations of law. Throughout the South, government not only segregated public places and activities but also forced private corporations—railroads, restaurants, and other places where Americans gathered—to maintain separate sections for blacks and whites.

Segregation was expensive; the laws were designed to ensure that greedy capitalists did not save money by “forcing” whites and blacks to sit next to each other—precisely the happy outcome that 18th-century political philosophers had predicted would emerge once government left people free to go about their business together. As Voltaire put it in a famous passage about the London stock exchange, “The representatives of all nations meet for the benefit of mankind. There the Jew, the Mahometan, and the Christian transact together, as though they all professed the same religion, and give the name of infidel to none but bankrupts.” In the American South and elsewhere, Jim Crow laws subverted the market and the tolerant attitude it fostered.

It was to remedy this situation that Congress would eventually assert the right of the federal government to regulate (or deregulate) not only local and state governments but civil society itself in an unprecedented manner. The instrument was the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Outlawing (forced) discrimination based on race or color—as well as religion, sex, or national origin—the act aimed mainly at undoing racial segregation in schools, workplaces, and “public accommodations”: in essence, what the legal scholar Richard Epstein dubbed “the totalitarian nature of the Old South.”

It is difficult for us at this distance to appreciate the radicalism of the Civil Rights Act. Law can change two things. It can change behavior regarding the particular problem it addresses; it can also change how citizens understand the purpose of law and the liberty that law is supposed to protect. The Civil Rights Act did both. A half-century after its passage, we are a very different country.

In many ways, that is an unalloyed good. Legal segregation is long gone: blacks and whites interact and even marry with increasing frequency; African-Americans can and do vote in large numbers across the country; black politicians are common, even in the heart of the South, and one is the president of the United States; unions no longer discriminate against non-whites; and so forth.

This is not the America of pre-1964. As a rule, and without making light of persisting racial problems in American society, today’s racism is a much-reduced evil. At this year’s Academy Awards, the comedian Chris Rock described the change as a movement from racism characterized by lynchings and burning crosses to “racism” by college sororities or, in his joking words, “‘We like you, Rhonda, but you’re not a Kappa.’” For much of our society, the contrast drawn by Rock holds true. One could even say that the battle against racial discrimination in civil society, insofar as government can effect change without becoming a dictatorship, is mostly over.

But very few are willing to say so—which in itself suggests how thoroughly the new civil-rights mentality has changed the American understanding of the job of government vis-à-vis the liberty of citizens. In principle, the 1964 Civil Rights Act held that people were still generally free to decide with whom to associate, being prohibited from discriminating against only a small list of people in what the Act designated as “protected classes.” As Epstein has observed, the original law exempted some small businesses like the proverbial “Mrs. Murphy’s boarding house.” But it also declared that henceforth almost all businesses, and all charitable institutions, were, in essence, “public accommodations” in the eyes of the law. As such, the federal government had the right to tell every business whom it must serve or, even, hire.

Although the law was justified under the Constitution’s commerce clause, its purpose was not economic. It was social. In the service of that purpose, the government would come to regulate more and more aspects of our lives, creating a federal “police power” of the kind delegated by the Constitution exclusively to states and localities. Over time, and (ironically) as the racial situation improved, the enforcement mechanism applied by bureaucrats and legislators worked to make the law not less restrictive of civil rights but more so.

It is useful to recall that when the law passed, much of the new intrusion into civil society by government was recognized as a temporary measure, to meet a particular exigency. Even a progressive lion like Justice William Brennan recognized the temporary nature of, for example, affirmative-action programs that ran counter to the colorblind ideal. Indeed, Brennan thought such programs could be justified only as a temporary, remedial measure. A half-century later, however, many Americans have assimilated these intrusions into their understanding of the regular job of government.

Thus, a few years ago, when the Supreme Court scaled back the part of the Voting Rights Act that subjected some districts in the South to special scrutiny, on the grounds that it was no longer 1968 in the South and that such extreme interference with the democratic process was no longer justified — liberals and leftists assailed the decision as a sinister move to repudiate the Voting Rights Act as a whole. Since 1964, moreover, the list of officially “protected classes” has grown beyond the list (defined, again, by race, color, sex, national origin, and religion) stipulated by the Civil Rights Act to include such markers as age, pregnancy, citizenship, familial status, disability, veteran status, and genetic information. Nowadays, the Justice Department has been creating new “protected classes” on its own recognizance, without even a pretense of seeking congressional approval for so radical a change from the originating statute.

This captures our situation today. A large body of American opinion holds that it is the government’s job to prevent any and all discrimination. That belief is pushing government more and more deeply into our daily affairs. Along the way, instead of easing social tensions, it has exacerbated them by establishing a permanent legal relationship between growing classes of legally recognized victims and their designated protectors at every level of society. As each generation assimilates the mindset more thoroughly, we begin to see situations like those on today’s campuses, awash in the frantic demand for “safe spaces.” There, Jonathan Haidt has written, “the very presence of administrative bodies” in charge of enforcing non-discrimination “gives rise to intense efforts to identify oneself as a fragile and aggrieved victim.” In such a culture, students “must not obtain redress on their own; they must appeal for help to powerful others.” And so the cycle of dependency on one side, suffocating paternalism on the other, perpetuates itself.

Today’s Threats to Religious Liberty

Do any Americans still understand the prohibition of discrimination as an exception, and a carefully hedged one, to the general rule of liberty? There is reason for skepticism—and nowhere more so than in the area of religious liberty. With the progressive left’s success at passing laws or obtaining court rulings establishing gays as a constitutionally protected class and sanctioning same-sex marriage, the legal arena has shifted from race relations to one of the few remaining pockets of the private sphere that have so far remained relatively secure in (to quote Washington) their “liberty of conscience and immunities of citizenship.”

Strictly speaking, the fight is not entirely new. Recall the 1990 decision in the Smith case, in which members of a Native American church who ingested peyote in a religious ceremony had been fired by their employer under an Oregon law criminalizing possession of drugs and were now carrying their appeal to the Supreme Court. The Court, declining to find a justification for religious exceptions to generally applicable laws—in this case, anti-drug laws—let stand the Oregon court’s judgment.

Within three years, that ruling would lead to a countervailing action by Congress. It took the form of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), which was designed explicitly to reaffirm and protect the First Amendment guarantee of the free exercise of religion. As Bruce Abramson has written in these pages, “The House passed the bill in a unanimous voice vote. The Senate voted 97-3 in favor.” The American Civil Liberties Union supported the act.

The ACLU no longer supports the RFRA. Today, even as it claims to defend religious liberty, it proclaims a new danger: that “religion is being used to discriminate against and harm others.” The better to camouflage this piece of verbal jujitsu, the organization has also adopted a definition of religious liberty as a matter of belief only, separate from the realm of conduct or, as the First Amendment explicitly has it, “free exercise.”

In similar fashion, the Obama White House has taken to quietly replacing the phrase “freedom of religion” with “freedom of worship,” a purely private affair with no permissible impact on either speech or conduct.

In promoting the new dispensation, the ACLU and the Obama administration are hardly without accomplices—certainly among liberals and Democrats, but even among some conservatives and within the establishment GOP. In one of the early presidential debates this year, Hugh Hewitt asked Governor John Kasich, then still in the running for his party’s nomination: “You’ve said: a same-sex couple approaches a cupcake maker, [and he should] sell them a cupcake. Can we trust you . . . on religious liberty?” Kasich’s reply suggested that he didn’t recognize a religious-liberty angle at all: “If you’re in the business of selling things, if you’re not going to sell to somebody you don’t agree with, OK, ‘today I’m not going to sell to somebody who’s gay, and tomorrow maybe I won’t sell to somebody who’s divorced.’”

The question at issue, however, as Hewitt made clear, was not whether a baker would sell a cupcake to a gay person. The question was whether a baker must be forced to provide his services for a gay wedding even if he regards such an event as wrong or sinful. Must he be compelled to produce a cake, or cupcakes, inscribed with “Congratulations Bob and Jack”? That would be forced expression, formerly regarded as a gross violation of the liberty of conscience enshrined in the First Amendment.

Until recently, the common American reply to Hewitt’s question would have been: “It’s the baker’s right to decline; the customer should find another baker.” Live and let live. That a Midwestern governor like John Kasich wouldn’t view it that way says much about how things have changed. But then, even Gary Johnson, the Libertarian party’s candidate for the presidency, also embraces the contemporary view. When asked about a similarly hypothetical case of a Jewish baker being asked to bake a Nazi cake, Johnson invoked the supposed “principle that, when a business opens its doors to the public, that business enters into an implied contract to serve all of the public.” Formerly, few Americans would have asserted that any such “implied contract” existed. But the new understanding of businesses as “public accommodations” has transformed our conception of private institutions and enterprises, for-profit and not-for-profit alike.

In his Mosaic essay, Abramson ably summarized the key religious-liberty cases that sprouted in the period immediately after the passage of laws prohibiting discrimination against gays and/or sanctioning gay marriage, as well as the opposing efforts, including through state-level versions of RFRA, to carve out exceptions and otherwise push back against the anti-religious campaign. Since the publication of Abramson’s essay last year, the list of cases has expanded, and it casts a stark light on the issue of whether religious believers are the offending party, using religion (as the ACLU contends) actively to discriminate against and harm others, or are being targeted by a campaign to eliminate their own right of free association and free exercise of religion.

A federal ruling this May states that the failure to address as female a patient who, though biologically male, claims to be a female, can open a doctor to lawsuits, loss of federal funding, and investigation by the federal Office of Civil Rights. The rule is said to derive from various federal acts, including the 1964 Civil Rights Act; it includes no protection for religious persons or providers who on religious grounds believe in the biological reality of maleness and femaleness. Note that the rule is not about requiring doctors to provide service, or at least necessary service, to all comers; it is about what words a doctor is allowed to use to describe male and female.

The governor and human-rights commission of the state of Washington recently acted to force a Seattle pharmacy to cease its practice of declining, on religious grounds, to fill prescriptions for abortifacients, instead referring customers to other nearby pharmacies. The Ninth Circuit sided with the state, and in June of this year the Supreme Court let that ruling stand.

In Iowa, the state civil-rights commission and others acted to prohibit a church from expressing “biblical” views on human sexuality and to compel it to open its separate restrooms and showers to persons of the opposite sex. (Iowa’s version of the Civil Rights Act similarly mandates opening such facilities to persons based on their “gender identity” rather than their biological sex.) The church sued for the right to express its views and to conduct its practices in accordance with its religious beliefs. At last report, the state civil-rights commission had partially backed down.

A bill now before the Californian state senate would curtail the freedom of Christian colleges and universities to operate in accordance with their beliefs. It proposes to limit the current religious exemption from federal regulations to that small handful of institutions that specifically train pastors or theology teachers. If passed, this will effectively open to lawsuit and materially jeopardize the dozens of other schools in California—Christian, Jewish, and Muslim—that on the basis of the religious exemption have been able to follow their faith in hiring and instruction practices as well as in the conduct of student life.

Protesting this move to deprive religious institutions of long-recognized and long-protected rights, the legal scholar Michael Helfand, writing in the Wall Street Journal, has cited an 1872 case in which the Supreme Court held that “people who join together to pursue religious objectives implicitly consent to the institution’s rules, [thereby] granting it some legal autonomy to set its policies.” In Helfand’s view, “the state should recognize that.”

Making a similar point in a more bracingly acerbic tone, the columnist Holly Scheer has written in the Federalist:

It seems sensible that if you don’t want an education imbued with the values of a religion—any religion—attending classes at a religious school would be a poor choice for you. This is not a day or age of limited academic choices. California alone has hundreds of college and university options. Of its 281 accredited four-year options, only 42 are religious.

Let me simplify this. If a Jewish education isn’t your speed, don’t attend American Jewish University. If you aren’t interested in a Muslim university, don’t attend Zaytuna College. And if you don’t want to go to a Christian college, avoid them.

Alas, few these days are as sensible as Holly Scheer, or as closely attuned to the meaning of the American way. And here is where the danger to the freedom of Jews to be Jews becomes painfully manifest. Although the secularizing and leveling fires of today’s activists are aimed mainly at Christians, the precedents that are being set would apply no less to Jewish day schools, colleges, and synagogues as well as to kosher restaurants and community centers. In the name of non-discrimination, zealots could make it increasingly difficult for religious Jews to educate their children as they see fit or possibly even cause them to lose the right to do so.

As the California example suggests, legislation at the state or federal level would affect Jewish educational institutions that uphold traditional teachings about marriage. Like the church in Iowa, Jewish religious institutions could also find it necessary to sue just to protect their right to teach the biblical understanding of sex and sexuality. The same logic would apply elsewhere as well: for example, to a law penalizing the use of the “wrong” sex pronoun about someone claiming to be transgender, or compelling yeshivas or other religious schools, in the name of non-discrimination law, to hire openly gay teachers on pain of losing their tax exemption (a possible precedent being the Court’s 1984 ruling against Bob Jones University, which had banned interracial marriage and dating).

Catholic charities in Boston no longer offer adoption services because the state insists they do so in a manner that violates Catholic doctrine. That would apply to Orthodox agencies, too. Bans on kosher slaughter and circumcision, long on the to-do list of activists, might not be far behind. Nor might basic internal arrangements of traditional Jewish communities and religious institutions necessarily escape scrutiny: one can imagine, for instance, a situation in which a transgender Jewish man might sue for access to a mikveh designated for use by women.

Traditional Judaism, after all, depends entirely on discriminating in the original sense of distinguishing: between holy and profane, Sabbath and weekday, man and woman, Jews and others. Such discriminations cannot be reworked without transforming classical Judaism into something unrecognizable to many Jews. Will Jewish institutions be able to withstand today’s freewheeling assault on religious liberty? Or will the enforcers of state-mandated “non-discrimination” not rest easy until they complete their Orwellian campaign of positive discrimination against every last dissenter from the progressive line?

Anti-Liberal and Anti-Jewish

 America has long been distinguished by a vibrant and independent civil society, one possible only when voluntary associations can meet freely in public spaces and public institutions and when they can limit their membership and leadership to persons who share their beliefs. This means that groups will exist that we like and groups will exist that we do not like.

Thus writes Michael W. McConnell, director of the constitutional law center at Stanford Law School, in connection with a 2011 case in which a small Christian student group at a public-university law school in San Francisco was denied a right to meet on campus because of its belief that, in McConnell’s paraphrase, “sexual relations are immoral outside of traditional marriage.” The case went to the Supreme Court, which upheld the school’s policy.

What does this signify? Evidently, McConnell comments, it signifies that voluntary associations cannot necessarily “meet freely in public spaces and public institutions,” but instead that “governments can effectively pick and choose which groups are permitted to use public property.” And what does that signify? It signifies that the framers of the First Amendment had it wrong. They “thought they had guaranteed all associations the right to meet, with the sole limitation that they behave peaceably. That freedom has slipped away.”

What goes for the freedom of association goes also for the freedom of expression and of religion: thanks to today’s “anti-discrimination” crusade, they, too, are slipping away. Already in his 1962 lecture, “Why We Remain Jews,” from which I have been quoting, Leo Strauss warned against efforts to end “discrimination,” period. This enterprise, he predicted, would kill liberalism. “The prohibition against every ‘discrimination,’” he said, “would mean the abolition of the private sphere, the denial of the difference between the state and society, in a word, the destruction of liberal society.” (Sensitive to the newly invidious sense of the term “discrimination,” Strauss insisted on using it only with quotation marks. “I would not use it of my own free will.”) Absent that private sphere, he concluded, Jews would no longer be free to be Jews in America.

Today’s post-Christian, anti-Christian bigots have set themselves against the “large and liberal policy” that to George Washington also left Jews free to be Jews, to associate with whom they chose, and to live by the teachings and practices of their tradition: liberties that, along with legal equality, became enshrined as of natural right in the American Constitution. One would hope that this same large and liberal policy lies so deep in the American DNA that the national immune system will finally respond in time to repulse the latest attack on it. Doing so, however, will entail recovering both specific laws and an idea of justice based upon treating Americans as individuals who “all possess alike liberty of conscience and immunities of citizenship”—that is, upon the ideal of live and let live.

In today’s fevered political climate, one cannot help wondering how much of the felt national anger might be traceable to the juridically abetted effort to force all Americans onto a uniform cultural page. If that is the case, restoring a healthier understanding of liberty would be good not only for traditional Jews and Christians but for all Americans. In furthering that restorative effort, American Jews have a collective interest, a historical responsibility, and a role to play.

*****

Article from http://mosaicmagazine.com/essay/2016/08/whos-afraid-of-religious-liberty/

Richard Samuelson is associate professor of history at California State University San Bernardino and a fellow of the Claremont Institute.

 

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The GOP ‘Con-Job’ on the Tea Party Movement

The GOP Scams the Tea Party Movement out of Millions

space shadowsBy Paul H. Josseycash

As we watch the Republican Party tear itself to shreds over Donald Trump, perhaps it’s time to take note of another conservative political phenomenon that the GOP nominee has utterly eclipsed: the Tea Party. The Tea Party movement is pretty much dead now, but it didn’t die a natural death. It was murdered—and it was an inside job. In a half decade, the spontaneous uprising that shook official Washington, degenerated into a form of pyramid scheme that transferred tens of millions of dollars from rural, poorer Southerners and Midwesterners to bicoastal political operatives.

What began as an organic, policy-driven grass-roots movement was drained of its vitality and resources by national political action committees that dunned thefreedom rally movement’s true believers endlessly for money to support its candidates and causes. The PACs used that money first to enrich themselves and their vendors and then deployed most of the rest to search for more “prospects.” In Tea Party world, that meant mostly older, technologically unsavvy people willing to divulge personal information through “petitions”which only made them prey to further attempts to lighten their wallets for what they believed was a good cause. While the solicitations continue, the audience has greatly diminished because of a lack of policy results and changing political winds.washington dc

I was an employee at one of the firms that ran these operations. But nothing that follows is proprietary or gleaned directly from my employment. The evidence of the scheming is all there in the public record, available for anyone willing to look.

The Tea Party movement began building in the George W. Bush years. Profligate spending and foreign adventurism with no discernible results nurtured disgust with Washington’s habit of spending beyond its means and sending others to die in its wars. When President Obama made reorganizing the nation’s health care system his foremost priority—and repeatedly misrepresented its effects in the process—anger at Washington exploded.

Republicans inside the Beltway reacted to the burgeoning Tea Party with glee but uncertainty about how to channel the grass-roots energy usually reserved for the left. A small group of supposedly conservative lawyers and consultants saw something different: dollar signs. The PACs found anger at the Republican Party sells very well. The campaigns they ran would be headlined “Boot John Boehner,” or “Drop a Truth Bomb on Kevin McCarthy.” And after Boehner was in fact booted and McCarthy bombed in his bid to succeed him, it was naturally time to “Fire Paul Ryan.” The selling is always urgent: “Stop what you’re doing” “This can’t wait.” One active solicitor is the Tea Party Leadership Fund, which received $6.7 million from 2013 to mid-2015, overwhelmingly from small donors. A typical solicitation from the TPLF read: “Your immediate contribution could be the most important financial investment you will make to help return America to greatness.” But, according to an investigation by POLITICO, 87 percent of that “investment” went to overhead; only $910,000 of the $6.7 million raised was used to support political candidates. If the prospect signs a “petition,” typically a solicitation of his or her personal information is recorded and a new screen immediately appears asking for money. Vendors pass the information around in “list swaps” and “revenue shares” ad infinitum.

Starting a new PAC is easy: Fill out some paperwork, throw up a splash-page website, rent an email list, and you’re off. It’s an entrepreneurial endeavor. Through trial-and-error, operatives test messages to see which resonate best and are most likely to get them and their vendors paid. They may pay someone known in the movement to “sign” the pitch, as current Donald Trump spokeswoman Katrina Pierson has on TPLF emails.

Today, the Tea Party movement is dead, and Trump has co-opted the remnants. What was left of the Tea Party split for a while between Trump and, while he was still in the race, Ted Cruz, who was backed by Jenny Beth Martin, co-founder and national coordinator of the Tea Party Patriots. In 2014, the Tea Party Patriots group spent just 10 percent of the $14.4 million it collected actually supporting candidates, with the rest going to consultants and vendors and Martin’s hefty salary of $15,000 per month; in all, she makes an estimated $450,000 a year from her Tea Party-related ventures. Today, of course, it’s all about Trump, but Trump rallies are only Trump rallies, not Tea Party rallies that he assumed control of. There are no more Tea Party rallies.

A recent poll showed that just 17 percent of Americans support what was once known as the Tea Party—the lowest number ever. The bailout-Obamacare-driven grass-roots revolt has vanished. Various autopsies have offered a number of causes: IRS targeting, bad candidates, hostile media, and even some hazy form of moral and political victory, in that the Tea Party pushed the GOP to take tougher stances on some issues. All have at least some merit.

But any insurgent movement needs oxygen in the form of victories or other measured progress in order to sustain itself and grow. By sapping the Tea Party’s resources and energy, the PACs thwarted any hope of building the movement. Every dollar swallowed up in PAC overhead or vendor fees was a dollar that did not go to federal Tea Party candidates in crucial primaries or general elections. This allowed the GOP to easily defeat or ignore them (with some rare exceptions). Second, the PACs drained money especially from local Tea Party groups, some of which were actively trying to grow the movement electorally from the ground up, at the school board and city council level. Lacking results five years on, interest in the movement waned—all that was left were the PACs and their lists.

Any postmortem should start with the fact that there were always two Tea Parties. First were people who believe in constitutional conservatism. These folks sense the country they will leave their children and grandchildren is a shell of what they inherited. And they have little confidence the Republican Party can muster the courage or will to fix it. Second were lawyers and consultants who read 2009’s political winds and saw a chance to get rich.

For 18 months ending in 2013, I worked for one of these consultants, Dan Backer, who has served as treasurer for dozens of PACs, many now defunct, through his law and consulting firm. I thus benefited from the Tea Party’s fleecing.

The PACs seem to operate through a familiar model. It works something like this: Prospects whose name appear on a vendor’s list get a phone call, email or glossy mailer from a group they’ve likely never heard of asking them for money. Conservative pundit and Redstate.com Editor-in-Chief Erick Erickson described one such encounter. A woman called and asked if she could play a taped message touting efforts to help Senators Rand Paul and Ted Cruz fight for conservative governance. When the recording stopped an older man (the woman was gone) offered Erickson the chance to join “the Tea Party.” He wouldn’t say who paid him, just “the Tea Party.” Membership was even half price. For just $100 he was in! Erickson declined.

Erickson’s call came from InfoCision or a similar vendor hired by PACs to “prospect” for new donors. Often PAC creators have financial interests in the vendors—in fact, sometimes they are the vendors, too—which makes keeping money in house easier, and harder to track. PAC names include “Tea Party,” “Patriots,” “Freedom,” or some other emotive term to assure benevolence. And names and images of political figures the prospects admire (or detest), usually accompany the solicitation, giving the illusion of imprimatur. Those people are almost never actually involved and little money ends up supporting candidates.

According to Federal Election Commission reports between 80 to 90 percent, and sometimes all the money these PACs get is swallowed in fees and poured into more prospecting. For example, conservative activist Larry Ward created Constitutional Rights PAC. He also runs Political Media, a communications firm. The New York Times reviewed Constitutional Rights’ filings and found: “Mr. Ward’s PAC spends every dollar it gets on consultants, mailings and fund-raising—making no donations to candidates.” Ward justified the arrangement by saying Political Media discounts solicitations on behalf of Constitutional Rights.

Let that sink in. Ward takes his PAC’s money and redistributes it to his company and other vendors for more messaging and solicitations, but suggests critics should rest easy since the PAC gets a discount on Political Media’s normal rate. Constitutional Rights PAC may be extreme but it’s hardly an outlier.

POLITICO last year reviewed the activity of 33 conservative PACs for the 2014 cycle. Combined, they raked in $43 million dollars, according to the POLITICO report. Of that, $39.5 million went to overhead including $6 million to entities owned by PAC operators; candidates got $3 million.

Another report analyzed 17 conservative PACs from the 2014 midterm. It came up with different numbers than POLITICO, finding that the bottom 10 PACs in terms of the ratio of spending to actual candidate support received $54,318,498 and spent only $3,621,896 supporting candidates.

And who is Constitutional Rights’ treasurer? My old boss Dan Backer. Backer also serves as treasurer to TPLF, and many others. An analysis found 10 conservative PACs whose treasurer was Scott MacKenzie spent 92 percent of the $17.5 million they raised on operating expenses, and less than 1 percent on candidate support.

PACs are not legally obliged to responsibly spend their loot. As former FEC enforcement officer Kenneth Gross stated, “If I have a PAC and want to spend it on a trip to Atlantic City, that’s fine,” provided it’s accurately reported. Unlike nonprofits they are not governed by a board, have no fiduciary duty to their donors and are not subject to IRS audits.

The PACs keep cash flowing by trolling the news for [some] supposed apostasy. The government botches the rescue of employees in a foreign embassy? “Stand with us for Benghazi!” A bunch of kids are murdered in Connecticut? “Help us defend your Second Amendment rights!” [Or the ever popular] “Sign our petition!”

Another favorite tactic is the “Draft Committee.” Pick a popular figure then start a committee to “draft” him or her to run for office. TPLF “drafted” Sarah Palin for Senate in Alaska and Backer “drafted” Newt Gingrich for Senate in Virginia. After I left his firm, Backer “drafted” new Texas resident Allen West for Senate in Florida. None of these candidates were remotely interested or associated with the effort, and in fact could not be by law. But there were signatures to collect and donations to request. (As a litigator, I rarely participated in the conduct described here. I nonetheless knew these schemes paid most of my salary.)

The “draftees” or their campaigns often send cease-and-desist letters, as Gingrich and Palin did. This cycle, Backer and MacKenzie have kept Trump’s lawyers busy. Despite Trump’s constant protests about “corrupt” super PACs, MacKenzie started “Patriots for Trump” and Backer founded “TrumPAC.” MacKenzie shuttered Patriots when the Trump campaign complained, although the Facebook page remains active. The campaign persuaded Backer to change TrumPAC’s name to “Great America PAC.” But the PAC begged off requests to shutter and “refund any funds raised” based on Trump’s candidacy. Jesse Benton, Great America’s chief strategist and formerly a Ron Paul operative, explained the PAC would remain active because Trump would need “a robust and effective finance organization … after he secured the nomination.” By law, the campaign can have no say in how this “finance organization” spends its money, though its website still prominently features the candidate and his trademark slogan. It pledged to raise $20 million dollars before the Republican convention.

PACs exploited a reservoir of goodwill toward minority candidates in particular to raise money for themselves. After his razor-thin 2012 congressional defeat, Allen West, an African-American former Florida congressman, filed a complaint with the FEC against PACs raising money off his race but doing nothing to help him. The FEC concluded it lacked authority to police such efforts. “Draft Ben Carson” paid off well for the North Carolinian who took a $236,000 salary and sent gobs more to a company comprised only of him. After Carson’s campaign ended “The 2016 committee”—the successor to Draft Ben Carson—sought to keep the money flowing, stating it would now promote the surgeon for vice president. It finally shuttered after a barrage of scam accusations. (In fairness, Carson’s entire campaign could credibly be explained as just a list-building operation.)

Challenged about spending allocations by POLITICO, Backer responded that it’s a misinterpretation of FEC reports to suggest that the PACs he helps oversee have spent more on their own operating expenses than on their stated causes. As for Great America PAC, he said it’s “probably the best most effective steward of donor funds. This PAC does stuff, whereas nobody else does.”

From my vantage point, I would occasionally hear disquieting remarks that gave me pause. Rumors about the legitimacy of our operations would sometimes flare up in our small office. When a campaign manager would lash out about PACs using the candidate’s name to make money, I wondered if he was talking about us. When I eventually opened my own firm I vowed never to have such doubts about what I was doing.

The PACs’ electoral record for the little money that did trickle to candidates is terrible. According to POLITICO, $3 million of $43 million raised from 33 analyzed groups did support candidates in 2014. But finding races they positively affected is difficult. They played absolutely no role in that cycle’s biggest Tea Party victory, the scalping of Eric Cantor. The victor, however, had lots of new friends the next morning fearlessly tweeting support for their new champion, Dave Brat. Spin matters more than tangible success. After the 2014 midterms, Jenny Beth Martin quickly opined the Republican wave was a Tea Party victory — despite lacking Tea Party candidates — because voters rewarded the movement’s “principles.”

A provocative theory holds these groups intentionally back candidates that can’t win to assure fundraising flow. Some may genuinely believe they help (others obviously know they don’t). But it’s no secret that the day after Mitt Romney’s defeat was a huge fundraising day in the conservative world. And electoral success would undoubtedly affect business. Current affinity for Cruz and Trump is conditioned on them losing. Victory attenuates the need for the “action” these groups purport to catalyze. It also blunts the emotional appeals which kick-start contributions. That’s why one conciliatory note in the inauguration speech would start the emails flying about how the grass roots has been sold out and “we need your help to keep President Trump true to his word. Sign our petition!”

The PACs excuse their profligate spending through artful dodges. This or that group doesn’t concentrate on electoral spending, which shows up on FEC reports, but on “organizing,” “rallies,” “training volunteers” or showing people they aren’t alone. At the same time, a Tea Party rally can be a convenient way [for Pac’s] to collect information and raise funds, as is “organizing” the grass roots for issue X by sending more emails and solicitations.

Another excuse the PACs make is that small-dollar fundraising is expensive. That’s true, and donor prospecting is not inherently unethical. It becomes so only when fundraising is the ends not means. Sometimes the PACs promise to do better after cultivating a house file. But they are also quick to put themselves on the cross when confronted, as Pierson did, “The only reason [TPLF] draws attention is that it is anti-establishment.” In other words, lots of groups do it.

She’s not exactly wrong. High political overhead isn’t new, nor is it limited to Republicans. Jon Stewart mocked the Democrats constant barrage of Henny-Penny fundraising emails in 2014. Mr. Campaign Finance himself, Russ Feingold, ran a PAC that essentially existed to keep himself and his staff paid while he awaited another Senate run—it spent 5 percent on electoral activities. Some Democratic operatives drew ire after raising $11 million off the left’s favorite bugaboo Citizens United v. FEC—although there complaints centered on PAC intrusion on nonprofit turf and focusing on swing-races instead of overturning the maligned free-speech case.

Political advocacy law, of the kind I practice, is different from other types of law in which people spending money expect a tangible benefit, like defense of a lawsuit. Political advocacy can be a years-long, even decades-long, process where progress at any point in time can be hard to define. Elections are single points in a political cycle that renews every two years. This ambiguity makes the field easily vulnerable to marketing over results. But when small-dollar donors give to an organization promising political results, a high ethical standard should exist.

No one should take a vow of poverty to go into politics, but it should reflect a higher calling. Mine came after spending six days in a hospital in downtown New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina. When I got out I knew a comfortable career in cardiopulmonary science wouldn’t be satisfying. I enrolled in law school the following year determined to fight for the principles of liberty, individualism and self-determination that made America the world’s envy. The people who supported the Tea Party believed in those same principles just as much as the immigrant who risks his life to come here. These people deserve something tangible for parting with their money.

So what can be done, given that Tea Party candidates create a particularly target-rich environment?

Some candidates have found success in the courtroom. In 2013, Scott MacKenzie’s Conservative Strikeforce began soliciting ostensibly to help Ken Cuccinelli win the Virginia gubernatorial race. The campaign received $10,000 of the $2.2 million raised in Cuccinelli’s name. He sued, claiming the PAC violated the Lanham Act through false advertising. The case settled on favorable terms to Cuccinelli. Most important, henceforth, Conservative Strikeforce must stop using the name and/or image of any candidate who requests it. As Cuccinelli recently reflected: “Their defense was ‘free speech’… But you don’t have the freedom to go tell little old ladies that if they give you $50, you are going to do ‘X’ with it and then not do it. You don’t have a First Amendment right of free speech to bilk them out of money.”

On the federal side, FEC Commissioner Ann Ravel has pushed to expand the commission’s authority into this realm to protect candidates like Allen West. Ravel is sincere, but conservative and libertarians are skeptical of government intruding into speech-related activities. It’s also possible that voluntary standards or a privately run grading system may provoke better practices.

Importantly, the conservative media must police this. Most reporting on these PACs comes from outlets the right generally distrusts, like the New York Times and POLITICO. It’s shameful that MSNBC’s Chris Hayes has discussed these schemes more than most right-leaning outlets. Excepting Erick Erickson, Jonah Goldberg and the Daily Caller, conservative reporting is rare. One commentator speculates professional relationships with PAC operators eschews hard journalism. If true, this taints much lofty talk about conservative values.

But most important, the responsibility is on you—the Tea Party activist, the older conservative—to know where your money goes. You can view a group’s track record on OpenSecrets.org in minutes. How much goes toward candidate contributions or so-called independent expenditures, which are supposed to be spent on the candidate (though even those can be thinly veiled solicitations if the “ask” or landing page directs to the PAC and not the candidate). And do PAC operators donate their money?

If you give, give directly to the candidate. The money may still be wasted, but at least it goes to someone incentivized to spend wisely. Or if you care about a certain issue, give to an organization that specializes in that issue; it will at least employ true believers. If you give to the Tea Party, give local. They need money more than groups hiring telemarketers or sending glossy mailers. Be wary of solicitations that promise to “Help Candidate X.” Odds are Candidate X has nothing to do with it.

But the best news is you can make a difference without spending a dime. Campaigns and political parties are always searching for volunteers. Look for organizations that don’t just ask for money. A couple years ago I attended an Americans for Prosperity gathering in Fairfax, Virginia, on a client’s behalf. Two young staffers spoke to about 15 activists. They asked how AFP could help them. Did they want to become better writers, to write op-eds or letters to the editor? AFP could arrange writing seminars. Did they want to become better organizers? They would bring someone from the home office. Not once did they ask for money (perhaps they did at some other time). Instead of asking the crowd to invest in AFP, these staffers asked how AFP could invest in them. I was floored. Charles and David Koch are true believers and they don’t need your money. And there are others: Erickson points to Senate Conservatives Fund — Madison Project and Club for Growth as groups he personally supports. And you can always start your own Facebook or Twitter group around the issues and candidates you care about. That will have more impact than lining the pockets of some consultant you’ve never met.

The excesses of George W. Bush and Barack Obama created the “second” Tea Party—named after the 1773 anti-tax revolt incited by Boston colonials—in 2009, when CNBC’s Rick Santelli extolled the virtues of reining in runaway government and touched a raw nerve. The Tea Party critique of government—the way it has grown, concerned with itself and its vested interests, and benefits the governed as only an afterthought—has never been more cogent. At its best, the Tea Party sought a return to the nation’s philosophical roots of government of the people, by the people and for the people. In sad irony, the Tea Party was hijacked by those who mirrored its critique of government: bloated, inefficient and looking out only for themselves.

If there is a Tea Party 3.0 it must unshackle itself and rise again as a grass-roots movement.

*****

Paul H. Jossey is a campaign finance lawyer in Alexandria, Virginia. His Twitter handle is @paulhjossey

Read more: http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2016/08/tea-party-pacs-ideas-death-214164#ixzz4IGtbA4Bp

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International Terrorist Organization Infiltrates ‘World Vision’

Muslim Brotherhood Infiltrates Evangelical Christian Charity

fall fashions 2By Andrew Biezad

World Vision is the world’s largest Evangelical Christian charity, receiving millions of dollars each year and helping some of the world’s neediest people. However, the Muslim Brotherhood operatives have just been busted for infiltrating the charity and stealing tens of millions of dollars- 60% of the charity’s funds– and redirecting them to the Muslim Brotherhood to wage war on Christians and Jews:anti liberty

Mohammed El Halabi, an employee of World Vision, the world’s largest evangelical Christian charity, has been charged in Israel with funneling tens of millions of dollars to the military wing of Hamas, a designated international terrorist organization affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood.

The arrest was made June 16, according to the Israeli daily Haaretz, but a gag order on the case files has been lifted and Halabi was subsequently indicted. The indictment reveals details of how Hamas infiltrated Federal Way, Washington-based World Vision, a global Christian outreach active in nearly 100 countries.

Halabi, director of World Vision’s Gaza branch, was detained at the Erez crossing in Israel as he was headed back to Gaza on his way home from “routine meetings,” several Israeli news outlets were reporting. Halabi was being held from June to early August “without access to legal counsel or family visits,” which is normal procedure in Israel for prisoners charged with terrorist-related crimes. But, an investigation discovered Halabi only used his “humanitarian” mask as cover for his Islamist work, according to the prosecution’s presentation Thursday in Beer Sheva District Court.

The prosecutor described him as a Hamas activist who has been using his high position in the charity to systematically divert millions of dollars to the military arm of Hamas, financing, among other things, the digging of terror tunnels, the Jewish Press reported.

The secret terrorist funding, according to Thursday’s indictment, was taken out of donations and resources that had been dedicated to humanitarian assistance for Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip. The indictment includes 12 counts of security violations of passing information to the enemy, membership in a terror organization, funding terrorism, participation in an unlawful association, and contact with foreign agents.

Hamas is the Palestinian wing of the Muslim Brotherhood, an Islamist organization whose goal is to inspire Muslims worldwide to return to the roots of their faith as spelled out in the Quran and create a global caliphate under Shariah law.

So there you have it. People say that it is “conspiracy theory” that Muslims are infiltrating the West, robbing our money, and using positions of power to destroy it from within, the proof has been building for years, and this is looking like it may be one of the biggest scandals yet in this regard, and there is deafening silence in the media. All the screams of “racism” that were leveled against us for reporting on cases such as the Khizr Khan scandal are all being shown to be true — there is a concerted effort being made to destroy the West from within.

We knew for years the Muslims were doing this. Truly, the biggest traitors are those within our own societies who know but refuse to acknowledge this is happening.

*****

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Karma, Economics, and Salvation-Rest

FKarma, Debt, and the SabbathA

By Rev. R.J. Rushdoony

The doctrine of Karma is one of the most important religious doctrines invented by man. Its origins are Brahmanic, but its great development is Buddhist. Perhaps no other non-Biblical doctrine is more important and more perceptive, however deadly. Karma is the law of cause and effect as it regulates the present and future life of man. Karma says that what a man sows, that shall he also reap; every man inherits his own burden of sin and guilt, and no man can inherit the good or evil acts of another man. Karma holds that sin cannot be destroyed by sacrifice, penance, or repentance, but only by self-expiation. A man thus spends his life (and future reincarnations, according to this doctrine) working out the atonement for sin. The important fact about Karma is that this doctrine does justice to the reality of cause and effect; it recognizes the reality of sin in man, and the burden which sin imposes on the present and the future. Modern humanism is unable to cope with this fact of causality and chooses to ignore it. It does not escape causality thereby and only compounds its problem.planting

According to Karma, the past determines the present and the future. Man’s sin most surely finds him out and will not let him go.

The karma faiths have no savior, but they are at least aware of the reality of sin and its demand for expiation. Their doctrines of self-atonement are ineffectual, but their realism as to man’s condition make them wiser than those moderns who choose to deny causality.

The doctrine of karma was current in the world of the Bible, especially the New Testament era. The Bible speaks emphatically of causality, and the consequences of sin (Gen. 2:17; 3:7). Moses declares, “ye have sinned against the LORD; and be sure your sin will find you out” (Num. 32:23). Paul warns, “Be not deceived; God is not mocked, for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap” (Gal. 6:7). However, rather than an abstract world of causality, for the Bible the cosmos is the creation of the personal God. This fact creates a vast gulf between the Bible and the doctrine of Karma.distant sun

But Karma does stress a fact that the modern world chooses to forget; causality. It is this fact that Keynesian economists choose to forget. Keynes himself, when asked about the long-run consequences of his economics, replied, “In the long run, we are all dead.” Because of its disregard for causality, Keynesianism creates an inflationary economy; long-term consequences are dismissed in favor of short-term benefits.

The average American and European is not familiar with Keynesian as a body of economic thought; they are familiar with it as a way of life, their own way of life. In Keynesian terms, all sin is assessed in terms of present benefits, not in terms of long-term consequences. As a result, debt living has become a way of life. From a moral liability at the beginning of the century, debt has become now an asset, and the word credit, which once meant reliability, now means the ability to contract debt. The world’s monetary systems are no longer based on the gold standard but on debt; paper money represents debt, not wealth.

The modern Keynesian world is a rejection of the triune God and His law-word, which prohibits debt beyond a six-year limit, and then for necessities only, which requires covetous-free living, and which regards debt as a form of slavery. Between 1945 and 1980, many fortunes were built (and many lost) by pyramiding debt.

But debt, like sin, has its consequences. Karma holds that past sins govern our present and future lives. With its concomitant doctrine of re-incarnation, Karma holds that thousands of generations or re-incarnations may be necessary in some cases to work out the self-expiation necessary. The burden of sin and guilt is not lightly discarded simply because man wills it. Causality rules all things unrelentingly.

This brings us to the deadly aspect of the doctrine of Karma. Because of its unrelenting doctrine of causality, the past rules the present and the future. Only insofar as we have a better past or Karma can we have a better future. The world of Karma is a past-oriented world.

The same is true of the world of debt. For those who are in debt, the past governs the present. The first claimant on their monthly check is the past: the house payment, and other debts have a fixed claim on their income before either they or God can touch it. One of the most common questions I encounter with respect to the tithe is this: “How can I tithe, and still meet my payments on my debts?” The house is on “the never-never plan;” the car and furniture get old and shabby before they are paid for, and man’s days are dominated by the past.

Modern man may not believe in Karma, but he has created a new world of Karma in debt.

The same is true in politics. Cause and effect in politics has brought the world’s many nations to the raw edge of judgment. In politics, this has brought some vaguely conservative parties and administrations to power. All are looking for cosmetic solutions and avoiding the long and ugly chain of causality which has led to the present crisis. The Karma of modern politics threatens them like a crumbling cliff over a cottage, and all are offering a more modest table fare as the solution.

All around us a host of things have created a vast chain of causes and effects which threaten our world: debt, the minimum wage law, statist education and the new illiteracy, welfarism, and much, much more. The world may say, Let us eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die, but God says, Tomorrow the judgment. (One is reminded of the cartoon, picturing a sad-faced man carrying a sign on a busy street, reading: “We are all doomed: the world will not end!” Man has no escape from his sins in any way of his own devising.)

When the past governs the present, it has a paralyzing effect on it. As J. Estlin Carpenter pointed out many years ago, the doctrine of Karma froze society and led to the caste system. Basic to the dogma was this principle: “a man is born into the world that he has made.” The present is read in terms of the past.

Our current Karma culture is also seeing a like stratification. Despite the talk of equality, the premise of welfarism and more is the incapacity of vast numbers of peoples. The ghettos of America have seen successive waves of immigrants come and go as they worked their way into more advanced positions. Now we have, as a policy of state, an assumption that a permanent ghetto resident is a fact of life. (of course, because of environmentalism, we now seem to hold that a man is born into the world others made for him.)

The two principles of Karma are, first, “A man is born into the world that he has made,” and second, “The Deed does not perish,” i.e., consequences continue until they are fully expiated. Karma cannot be destroyed, neither by fire, flood, wind, or the gods. It must proceed unrelentingly and unerringly to its results. A man might briefly postpone the workings of his Karma, but he could never frustrate nor destroy them. All else passes, but acts and their consequences remain. Destiny, Karma, reigns and rules. The word deva is gods, and daiva, derived from it, means destiny, and, for the Buddhist, destiny is simply past acts, according to L. de la Vallee Poussin. Since Karma includes in its unrelenting causality mental acts as well, man’s waking thoughts as well as his dreams in sleep govern his life and add to his Karma. Only through good acts can man expiate his past sins, and “the good act has three roots: the absence of lust, of hatred, and of error(Poussin). Thus, we have a negative idea of good, so that its essential function is to diminish the retribution for the vast accumulation of past acts.

The very clear fact which emerges from this is that, in the world of Karma, there can be passivity and withdrawal, but definitely not rest. The Biblical doctrine of the Sabbath is thus unique. We are commanded to observe the Sabbath in Deuteronomy and to “remember that thou wast a servant in the land of Egypt, and that the LORD thy God brought thee out thence through a mighty hand and by a stretched out arm: therefore the LORD thy God commanded thee to keep the Sabbath Day” (Deut. 5:15). Redeemed man can rest because he knows that the Lord has saved him. The meaning of the cross is not that the consequences of our sin are simply overlooked, but that Jesus Christ makes full expiation for our sins. The causality is worked out on the cross; atonement is made for our sins, and we are free from the guilt and the burden of sin. Where men deny the causality of sin, they deny also the atonement, and they become antinomians.

But only Christ’s atonement can free man from sin and death and give him rest. The answer to the doctrine of Karma is the atonement and the Sabbath rest which the atonement creates. The Sabbath law follows the Passover event, and it sets forth the salvation-rest of the Old Israel. The Christian Sabbath follows the atonement and the resurrection, the first day of the week, and it celebrates the salvation-rest of the New Israel of God.

The redeemed in Christ now are governed, not by the past, not by their sins, nor by Karma, but by the Lord, who is the same, yesterday, today, and forever (Heb. 13:8). They are to live righteously, to render to all their due honor, to love their neighbor as themselves, and, as a normal practice, to owe no man anything, save to love one another (Rom. 7-10).

The true Sabbath enables us to rest, because, first it is Christ’s finished work of atonement and continuing work of providence that is our life, not our deeds and past acts. Second, we can rest, because we are not past-bound and past-oppressed and haunted. We can say with David, “I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, LORD, only makest me dwell in safety” (Ps. 4:8). We have the blessedness of restful, trusting, sleep. Instead of a burden, the past has become an asset in the Lord, who makes all things work together for good to them that love Him, to them who are the called according to His purpose. (The converse of this is that all things work together for evil for those who hate God; Obadiah 15; Jeremiah 50:29; Lamentations l:22.)

Third, because we are now future oriented, we become Dominion Men, working for godly reconstruction in every area of life and thought. Our lives are dominated, not by past burdens but by present responsibilities and the assurance of power (John 1:12). Together with Joshua (and the apostles, Matt. 28:18-20), we have the assurance: “Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon, that have I given unto you…There shall not any man be able to stand before thee all the days of thy life: as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee” (Joshua 1:3, 5). The sad fact today is that many church members profess Christ but live in the world of Karma. To illustrate, one church officer, an able and talented man but a despiser of God’s law, has twice been bankrupt, several times a failure in business because of lawless policies and debts, and is a sour and critical leader whose ways are oppressive to many. There is no Sabbath in his life, nor any freedom and power; he has the aura of a hunted man, and, in his work, is a “plunger,” one who prefers risks to sound practices. We have too many pastors whose sermons are trumpets always sounding defeat, and echoing with the oppressiveness of sin, not the freedom and joy of victory and redemption. Their sermons echo the death of the tomb, not the triumph of the resurrection.

To all such we must say with Paul, “Awake, thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light” (Eph. 5:14).

*****

Taken from Roots of Reconstruction, p. 106.

Rev. R.J. Rushdoony (1916-2001) was the founder of Chalcedon and a leading theologian, church/state expert, and author of numerous works on the application of Biblical Law to society.

 

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The Church as an Organic Functioning Body

sunset churchThe Church as Function

By Rev. R.J. Rushdoony

The church began its history in the Roman Empire, in the midst of a Greco-Roman culture. Jerusalem itself reflected that fact and was richly subsidized by the emperors because of its strategic importance. Keeping Judea peaceful and happy was a basic policy. Judea’s failure to appreciate its “privileges” led to the intensity of Roman vengeance during and after the war of AD. 66-70.

The church was both influenced by that Greco-EmilyCarr-Indian-Church-1929Roman culture and also hostile to it. Herbert B. Workman, in Persecution in the Early Church (1906), noted: “By Roman theory the State was the one society which must engross every interest of its subjects, religious, social, political, humanitarian, with the one possible exception of the family. There was no room in Roman law for the existence, much less the development on its own lines of organic growth, of any corporation or society which did not recognize itself from the first as a mere department or auxiliary of the State. The State was all and in all, the one organism with a life of its own. Such a theory the Church, as the living kingdom of Jesus, could not possibly accept in either the first century or the twentieth.” Many churchmen then as now tried to accommodate themselves to the sovereignty of the State or emperor rather than Christ. They were willing to confess, “Caesar is lord.” The church in part was preserved from absorption by Roman persecution. The intransigent, uncompromising Christians preserved the church by their refusal to compromise.

All the same, however, some things were absorbed, i.e., neoplatonism, painted sunsetAristotelianism, Stoicism, asceticism, and the like. An important borrowing from Rome was organization and bureaucratization. The church was in a very real sense a continuation of the synagogue, and in the Greek text of James 2:2, the word translated as assembly is actually synagogue.

The church, unlike the synagogue, was not only an Hebraic organization but it was essentially an organic body, a corporation: the body of Christ. Now the members of a body (i.e., hands, feet, etc.) do not hold offices; they have functions. The words translated as office in the New Testament make this clear. For Romans 11:13, I Timothy 3:10 and 3:13, the word used is diakonia in Romans and diakoneo in Timothy. The word, in English as deacon, means a servant, service; it refers to a function. In Romans l2:4, office in the Greek is praxis, function. In Timothy 3:1, it is episkope and its meaning is supervision or inspection to give relief or help. In Hebrews 7:5, the reference is to the Old Testament priesthood, hierateia, and refers to the sacerdotal function.

Thus, what we call church offices are in reality functions of the body of Christ in this world. This fact is very important. Offices lead to a bureaucracy and a ruling class, whereas functions keep a body alive.

In the early church also, we have no evidence of what is commonplace today, regular, stated bureaucratic meetings of presbyteries, synods, councils, bishops, etc. Instead, beginning with the Council of Jerusalem in Acts 15, the meetings were called to resolve a problem or meet a need. They were functional meetings, not organizational; they were aspects of the life of a body, not of a bureaucratic organization. They exercised no coercive power, but they did formulate questions and answers pertaining to faith and morals carefully and precisely.

Both Eastern and Western churches, and, in the West, Catholicism, Protestantism and Anabaptism, have developed great and powerful bureaucracies which impede the life of the church. Both church and state, and especially the state, suffer badly from bureaucratization and consequent constipation in their life. As a result, in the United States, many Protestants and Catholics have some home study groups which bring new life to their faith. In Edinburgh, Scotland, I found a remarkable charismatic church; it had purchased a large stone church closed by the Presbyterians and was the center of extensive ministries. But it had no membership list! Fearful of bureaucratic strangulation, it was keeping the church together as a faith bond in the Spirit rather than as an institution. While it is not necessary to go to such a length, clearly a corrective to emphasize function and life is urgently needed.

One of the consequences of bureaucratization in the church is the rise of the star system. This is certainly true also in other spheres, especially the state. People vote for presidents in terms of their “image” projection, not their faith and life, not their action. Most of the presidents of the earlier years of the United States would never be elected today. Lincoln is liked in retrospect. His high pitched voice, carelessness in dress, and much more, would today finish him after one television appearance.

The importance of the star system is necessary to understand. People want the star to epitomize what they want, or would like to be. They identify with the image he projects. Thus, some people feel that a prominent political leader, or a religious leader, is “entitled” to moral lapses because of his importance. In earlier times, such lapses were called the royal prerogative. The star must be the expression of the popular or common will, the general will.

In the church in the United States, the star system set in soon after churches began to move on the one hand into Unitarianism, and on the other, into Arminian revivalism. People gravitated towards powerful pulpiteers on both sides of the fence. The churches then began to take their life from the star: a star could bring in hundreds and even thousands of people, lead to a great church complex, attract people and money, and give the members the vicarious feeling of being part of a great church. This still is very, very much with us. Some people will simply say, “I want a church where the action is.” By action, they mean crowds; the result is often a surrogate “Christianity,” not a living faith.

The result too is spectator “Christianity,” a star performing before hundreds and thousands. The mandate to believers in both numerically large churches as well as small is then reduced to being good spectators and contributors. For the surrogate “Christian,” someone else expresses the faith and does the work. We have then what General William Booth called mummified church members.

The star system has had its shipwrecked stars over the centuries, men like Savanarola, Henry Ward Beecher, and others of more recent years, and the end is not yet. The star system tends to give, not life, but a form of life. As Paul says in II Timothy 3:5, some have the form of godliness but not the power thereof. Instead, what the stars usually have is the power of money.

Paul tells us that we are “the church of the living God” (I Tim. 3:15). Jesus Christ declares that He is “the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:4). The Trinity is never identified as the Great Bureaucracy but as life, the author of life, and more. For the church to identify itself in terms of its bureaucracy is a sorry fact.

If the church indeed is the Body of Christ, it must function as if it is alive. A dead church is a non-functioning church; it is salt which has lost its savor and is fit only to be cast out and trodden under foot by men (Matt. 5:13). This is a grim possibility in our time. We cannot say that in all places the church today is dead, but in too many areas it is badly arthritic and feeble. Christ, the Lord of life, commands us, saying, “I say unto thee, arise!”

*****

Taken from Roots of Reconstruction, p. 404-407

Rev. R.J. Rushdoony (1916-2001) was the founder of Chalcedon and a leading theologian, church/state expert, and author of numerous works on the application of Biblical Law to society.

 

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Some Questions and Comments on Pop-Eschatology

crossA few Questions and Comments on Pop-Eschatologyhomer_end

 By Peter C. Coker

(A Friendly Challenge to the Validity of Popular Eschatology)

First: Some questions and comments on the notion of (supposedly) holding a literal interpretation of scripture. For example; Mt. 24: 33, 34:

 Why do proponents of dispensational/pre-mil eschatology change the obvious and contextual meaning of the phrases “these things” (Mt 24:33) and “this generation” (Mt. 24: 34) by placing them in the distant future?

In context, the text literally relates to the generation to whom Jesus is talking to, (the first generation believers).

It contextually speaks to the near future and not the distant future. As when Jesus also said, “…when YOU see all these things, recognize that He is near, right at the door.”

By turning the actual meaning into a (figurative or abstract) ‘future generation’ interpretation –it  ignores the plain contextual and literal interpretation of the text. By turning these phrases into abstract interpretations, it then follows that the entire segment of text is thus made figurative and its true contextual meaning altered to fit a (pre-mil/dispensational) presupposed context.

 If we claim that the altered “future generation” interpretation is correct, don’t we then have to admit to adopting abstract or figurative interpretations in order to suit presupposed theological ideas?

Additionally, Jesus also made use of the phrase “this generation” elsewhere, in Matthew 11: 16. Here, Christ says: “But to what shall I compare this generation? It is like children sitting in the market places, who call out to the other children, and say, ‘We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we sang a dirge, and you did not mourn.’ For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon!’ The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Behold, a gluttonous man and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’” Does it not appear even more obvious that Jesus is referring to that present generation that He is speaking to? Just as it is when He says; “But to whom shall I liken this generation?

The literal interpretation of Matthew 24 generally describes: (1) The coming of Jesus Christ via the Day of Pentecost; (2) the (soon coming) destruction of the Jewish Temple; (3) the close of the (Old Covenant) Temple Age; (4) the Abomination of Desolation, and (5) the first century Great Tribulation.

 Have we not learned from the Bible and from the secular histories of that period that wars and rumors of wars, earthquakes (Matt. 27:428:2Acts 16:26), famines (Acts 11:28), false prophets (1 John 4:12 Peter 2:1), tribulation (Rev. 1:9), and the gospel being preached throughout all the world (Rom. 1:816:27–28Col. 1:6231 Tim 3:16) did take place before the Romans sacked the city of Jerusalem and tore down the Temple, stone by stone, just as Jesus predicted would soon happen? (Matt. 24:2)

It seems clear, in context, when Jesus refers to “this generation” He means His present audience, His contemporaries. Not a distant “future generation,” nor ‘another generation,’ nor a certain type of generation such as the Jewish race.

As F. F. Bruce stated it (1983): “The phrase ‘this generation’ is found too often on Jesus’ lips in this literal sense for us to suppose that it suddenly takes on a different meaning in the saying we are now examining. Moreover, if the generation of the dispensational end-time had been intended, ‘that generation’ would have been a more natural way of referring to it than ‘this generation.”

Second, considering some questions and comments concerning Israel and Prophecy:

Chuck Smith wrote in his 1976 book ‘The Soon to be Revealed Antichrist’ that “we are living in the ‘last generation’ which Smith (and many others) said began with the rebirth of Israel in 1948” (see Matt. 24:32–34). Further, in his 1978 book ‘End Times’ Smith also said: “… Jesus taught us that the generation which sees the ‘budding of the fig tree,’ (i.e.), the birth of the nation of Israel — will be the generation that sees the Lord’s return. I believe that the generation of 1948 is the last generation. Since a generation of judgment is forty years and the Tribulation period lasts seven years, I believe the Lord could come back for His Church any time before the Tribulation starts, which would mean any time before 1981.” (1948 + 40 – 7 = 1981).

In addition to this, on December 31, 1979 (in a taped message on New Year’s Eve), Smith told those who had gathered at Calvary Chapel that the ‘rapture’ would likely occur before the end of 1981. He also went on to say that because of ozone depletion, Revelation 16:8 would be fulfilled during the tribulation period: “And the fourth angel poured out his bowl upon the sun; and it was given to it to scorch men with fire.” In addition, Smith said Halley’s Comet would soon pass near Earth in 1986 and would wreak havoc on those left behind as debris from its million-mile-long tail pummeled the planet (earth).

Chuck Smith further explained this prophetic scenario in his book ‘Future Survival,’ which is nearly identical to what appears on his 1979 taped message, as follows: “The Lord said that towards the end of the Tribulation period the sun would scorch men who dwell upon the face of the earth (Rev. 16). The year 1986 would fit just about right! We’re getting close to the Tribulation and the return of Christ in glory. All the pieces of the puzzle are coming together.”

            Since the foundations of Chuck Smith’s (and many others) prophecy predictions have not materialized as they were stated – and since it is has been over sixty-five years (since 1948) and no soon expectation of a rapture, no hint of the Great Tribulation, no coming Antichrist, and no Abomination of Desolation (not to mention the predicted havoc of Halley’s Comet); why then should we believe in the mistaken claims of Pre-millennial-Dispensationalism and its overall pessimistic narrative?

By 1988 it seemed obvious to me (and many others) something was very wrong in the Pre-mil camp. 1988 came and went and biblical prophetic events did not begin to pan-out as expected. Not even close. New theories then emerged and the narrative was altered. For example, it was then postulated by some that 1967 was the true beginning date for the state of Israel, as this was the year that Israel had won the Arab-Israeli war. So, forty years after 1967 would then put us at the year 2007. But, 2007 has come and gone, and still; no hint of a soon coming rapture, or an Anti-Christ, or of a coming Great Tribulation, etc., etc. It has now been more than forty-five years since 1967 and still none of the Dispensational prophetic claims appear on the near horizon. The eschatological urgency of the 1970’s and 1980’s has dissipated considerably, to say the least! Even the current troubles in Israel (which has been going on since modern Israel became a state) do not reflect the end-times scenarios postulated by the ever-changing Dispensational narratives.

  1. Third. Pre-mil/dispensational eschatology presents the overall narrative of a struggling end-times church that is ever-thwarted by the secular-world-order influenced by Satan and his minions. This view ignores Christ’s victory over Satan at the cross and portrays the Gospel of Jesus as being utterly defeated at some point in history. In this view, Christ’s victory ends up being a supernatural rescue of His defeated church from Satan’s overpowering evil-world-order. Here’s some problems with this scenario as an eschatological meta-narrative:

1. The Gospel of Jesus appears to have less power than the already defeated Satan.

2.The Holy Spirit’s overall power and influence is, in effect, weaker than Satan’s power and influence throughout history.

3. Jesus’ death on the cross and subsequent resurrection accomplishes only a relatively small remnant of believers throughout history.

4. This perspective presents Satan’s overall strategy as cleverly outsmarting and overcoming God’s Gospel plan of redemption for mankind; that is, until God supernaturally intervenes to rescue an elite group of believers at the last minute!

This view of God’s supernatural kingdom seems to depict God’s glorious Gospel as inferior to the wiles of the devil. Satan’s clever scheming appears to win out over the power of the Gospel and the Holy Spirit in the life of the church. If God’s ultimate plan (since the time of Creation) is to save mankind through His own sacrifice on the cross, and, that good would eventually triumph over evil through the spreading of the Gospel by His church; why then would He have to end up rescuing His Spirit-empowered church from an overtly evil world? Did He not equip His church with the means to overcome the world’s evil? Or, did God provide a gospel plan for His church that is inferior to the powers of Satan? Did God set-up His church (the Bride/Wife of Christ) to fail? Is the gospel not a conquering victorious gospel?

(4) Fourth. One final question on Israel in prophecy: Pop-eschatology seems to have missed one possible aspect of Israel’s future in prophecy. This is found in Isaiah 19. Verses 23-25 are as follows:

(23) In that day shall there be a highway out of Egypt to Assyria, and the Assyrian shall come into Egypt, and the Egyptian into Assyria, and the Egyptians shall serve with the Assyrians.

(24) In that day shall Israel be the third with Egypt and Assyria, even a blessing in the midst of the land:

(25) whom the Lord of Hosts shall bless saying, blessed be Egypt my people, and Assyria the work of my hands, and Israel mine inheritance.

Here, Isaiah’s passage appears to teach that in the end, Egypt and Assyria shall faithfully serve God prior to Israel doing so (the last will be first, and the first last?). So, prior to Israel coming to faith in Christ, it appears the ‘age of the gentiles’ will end with the conversion of the peoples in the Egyptian and Assyrian territories. How would this end-times scenario figure-in with the Pre-mil/Dispensational future timeline?

Some Pre-mil/Dispensationalists have criticized the validity of these verses (?) because they do not appear elsewhere in the Scriptures! But even so – it is still one-more-time than the Dispensationalist’s pre-tribulation rapture doctrine is found anywhere in Scripture! I have yet to find a single verse clearly describing the rapture occurring just prior to the “Great Tribulation.” In order to fabricate a pre-tribulation rapture, one must concoct a rapture narrative using Scriptures and stories unrelated to the rapture. Such a lack of Scriptural evidence (especially in the Book of Revelation) seems truly odd for such a miraculous and momentous event in the history of the church!

 We may see and react to every conflict, uprising, war or revolution as the future defeat of the Gospel; or we may see that the Bible describes a very different future for the church; a world radicalized by the spreading of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and His ultimate victory over Satan — past, present, and future.

*****

Note:

To get a clearer picture of the victorious nature of the Gospel and the spreading of Christianity in general, see “The Next Christendom – The Coming of Global Christianity” by Philip Jenkins. Jenkins has some mind-blowing data on the world-wide growth of Christianity in Africa, South America, and Asia in recent decades.

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Questions on “Replacement Theology”

biplane stuntSome Questions and Comments onO “Replacement Theology”

By Peter C. Coker

(A Friendly Challenge to Comments on Replacement Theology)

  1. One. Is it not true that Pre-Mil/Dispensationalists also believe in their own version of so-called “replacement theology?” For example:

According to E. Schuyler English, Thomas Ice, and I think nearly every other dispensationalist, the Church has replaced Israel until the rapture? Correct?

The unfulfilled promises made to Israel are not fulfilled until after the Church is taken off the earth. Even dispensationalist, Ice, admits that the Church replaces Israel this side of the rapture: “We dispensationalists believe that the church has superseded Israel during the current church age, but God has a future time in which He will restore national Israel ‘as the institution for the administration of divine blessings to the world.” (English: A Companion to the New Scofield Reference Bible) and (Ice: raptureready.com)

So, it seems pre-mil/dispensationalists believe that prior to the rapture, the Church has replaced Israel, and this replacement has been going on for nearly 2000 years! It appears dispensationalists hold to their own form of replacement theology since they believe that Israel does not have any prophetic significance this side of the future rapture of the church. In other words, prior to the future rapture, in terms of dispensational logic, the Church has replaced Israel. This would appear to be unquestionably true since God’s prophetic plan for Israel has been postponed until the prophetic time clock starts ticking again at the beginning of Daniel’s 70th week; which starts only after the Church is taken to heaven in the so-called pre-trib rapture. Until then, God is dealing redemptively with the Church.

Further, the pre-mil/dispensational future outlook for Israel looks shockingly grim for the majority of people in Israel. In dispensational eschatology, during a period when Israel is at peace with the world (the Tribulation?), the Antichrist turns against her and the ensuing battle wipes-out two-thirds of her population! This view makes it appear that [God] in the last days gathers the Jewish population of the world to her “home land” only to have a majority of them wiped-out by the satanically-inspired Antichrist! …Yikes! Does this not seem rather sadistic!

In Addition, according to dispensational eschatology, the millennial kingdom will be fundamentally Jewish in character, even to the point of rebuilding the Temple, setting-up a Davidic tabernacle, re-instituting the Jewish sacrificial system, and exalting Jewish believers over Gentile believers. Really? Double Yikes!!

Ironically, those believers charged with holding to a so-called replacement theology, such as postmillennialists, believe that Jews will inevitably embrace Jesus as the Messiah this side of the Second Coming. They actually believe in a victorious conquering Gospel, and not in a victorious worldwide Satanic order! In a general sense, they believe the Jewish people are only replaced as the apple of God’s eye during the “age of the gentiles;” until they turn and embrace Christ Jesus as their Lord and Savior.

Second. I also question the charge or implication of anti-Semitism by dispensationalists to so-called “replacement theology.” (Hal Lindsey, Thomas Ice, etc.)

I believe the charge of anti-Semitism to be (not only offensive) dishonest, malicious, and possibly, outright sin.

True anti-Semitism is this: prejudice against Jews; dislike or fear of Jews and Jewish things; discrimination against or persecution of Jews.” This is the definition of anti-Semitism.

A view of history that does not conform to dispensational eschatology is not racist or anti-Semitic. I don’t know of any so-called “replacement theologians” who disdains or seeks to persecute Jewish people.

In fact, it is their view of history that holds that one day the Jews will be blessed of God — but on an equal footing with all who know the saving grace of Jesus Christ. Not by some dualistic-mode of salvation, one for gentiles – one for Jews.

To demonstrate replacement theology’s so-called anti-Semitism, dispensationalists need to prove or show actual evidence of malicious intent against Jews because of their race.

Being opposed to the policies of the modern state of Israel for some of its West Bank policies or for its socialist government or for its anti-Christian laws does not rise to the level of anti-Semitism. If replacement theologian’s are opposed to certain policies of Israel’s government, that is not the same as being opposed to Jews as such. They are also quite critical of America’s anti-Christian laws and socialistic impulses.

It’s bad enough that many pre-mil/dispensationalists are using “replacement theology” as a derogatory phrase as if it were a religious “cuss-word;” but then, to add insult to injury, they have to play the “race card” and try and smear those who disagree with their brand of eschatology by falsely proclaiming (false witness) anti-Semitism! Is this Christian?

Third. Replacement Theology is also known as Supersessionism. Supersessionism is an idea fundamental to the Christian faith. The basic idea of supersessionism is that Christianity has superseded or replaced Judaism as the true faith. Is this now considered Christian heresy?

Supersessionism is despised by liberals because it endorses the words of Jesus Christ: “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6).

Supersessionism has also been rejected by the Catholic Church since 1965.

Also note that many non-supersessionists believe that all the diverse faiths of the world are legitimate ways to God.

Supersessionism or Replacement Theology, on the other hand, upholds [Protestant] Christian orthodoxy, proclaiming that “neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). It is also exclusive in arguing: “For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ” (1 Cor. 3:11).

It thus proclaims that “there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (1 Tim. 2:5). To hold to a dualistic-covenant and say that there is a Gentile way and a Jewish way for salvation, seems heretical to my understanding of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Fourth. For nearly 2000 years, or so the theory goes, God has being dealing with His “church,” but one day He will get back to Israel. But where does the Bible teach anything like this! Where does God postpone His covenants to a future time?

Isn’t Israel’s spiritual destiny the same as it is for non-Israelites: Repent and believe in Jesus as the Messiah! Who ever said anything about postponing the promises that had been made to Israel? In fact, didn’t Peter clearly tell his fellow-countrymen that the promises were for them and their children right then and there (2:38)? They didn’t have to wait 2000 years for God to renew His covenant for a later remnant. Jesus said as much when He met His disciples on the road to Emmaus.

The way many dispensationalists and other prophecy writers have told the story, the promises made to Israel have been postponed until a future time when God will once again deal with Israel as a separate redemptive people. We have been told that this dualistic covenant began in 1948 and that the pre-tribulation “rapture” would take place within a generation, within 40 years.

In my view, the term “replacement theology” is a theological straw-man designed and used to deflect any discussion or reflection of the doctrine of supersessionism.

I believe it’s time to re-examine our era’s popular dispensational prophetic system:

(1) How it minimizes the power of God’s Gospel plan for the future; (2) its lack of historical account, (3) its convoluted Biblical interpretations, and (4) its avoidance of an overall Biblical logic.

*****

 

 

 

 

 

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