It doesn’t get any more viciously Leftist than abortion, euthanasia, identity politics dividing people by ethnicity under the Darwinian myth of race, and Victorian Labor refusing to build new dams, under the “advisement” that we’re all doomed because of ‘apocalyptic Climate Change’, so what’s the point, dams won’t work anyway.

This surrender to the ‘apocalyptic climate change’ narrative is epitomized by Victorian Water Minister, Lisa Neville, who used climate change as a reason to stand by the decade long Victorian Labor ban on building more dams. Ean Higgins from The Australian wrote that the minister claimed, ‘climate change means not enough water would flow into them to make them worthwhile.’

Neville tried to back up her point, by stating that the ‘last dam to be built in Victoria was in 1996, the Thomas Dam, originally built to drought proof Melbourne, but has only filled three times in its history – the last in 1996.’

Using an un-sourced forecast the minister then explained that, ‘climate change would lead to less rainfall and the state’s rivers being halved by 2065. Instead they would rely on Victoria’s high electricity-consuming desalination plant and would happily take funds for new dams to expand the 3.5bn plant’s production.’

Although, the plant is said to ‘operate on 100% renewable energy’ [i], according to the Victorian Government website, the desalination plant ‘uses about 90 Megawatts of power from the grid to operate the plant and the water transfer.’

Neville’s warm embrace of potential federal funds raises questions. If ‘apocalyptic climate change’ means that drastic measures are necessary, why is a Labor minister advocating using a primarily coal dependent system that will require more coal to run? (Note: Victoria currently has three coal power stations. The desalination plant is connected to one of them via Cranbourne.)

Neville’s “no” to dams makes very little practical sense. In essence her argument goes like this: defend using fossil fuels to power a desalination plant, while claiming that fossil fuels are the reason for having to rely on fossil fuels, in order to power a desalination plant.

If this sounds illogical, that’s because it is. Her defense amounts to circular reasoning. Like much of the fear and hype surrounding versions of apocalyptic climate change, the argument against building dams is based on a scientific hypothesis, which has been turned into an apocalyptic prophesy. I.e.: rains won’t fall ever again, so dams are useless.

One would think that if climate change is the dire apocalypse that the Greens and Australian Labor tell us it is, the decision to uphold a ban on new dams, by Victorian Labor, is not only hypocritical, but counter-productive.

If, as advocated by Australian Labor during the last election, imposing drastic measures on Australian citizens is necessary, shouldn’t Victoria’s Minister for Water be looking at preserving the water when it does fall, not pushing to fund a system, which is still connected a grid dependent on coal?

This is on par with what The ABC asked in 2008, when it published an article from then president of the Victorian Farmers Federation, LNP M.P. Simon Ramsay, who said if we accept Climate Change the Victorian government should be building more dams, not banning the construction of them.

Ramsay argued:

“The no dams policy is a bad policy. In accepting climate change and the reality that the world will become even drier, we must also accept that there will be a greater number of extreme weather events, including floods. If last year’s floods in Gippsland, this year’s floods in Queensland and recent rainfall across Victoria have taught us anything it’s that, in spite of the drought, the clouds are not broken, and rain will still fall. New dams, positioned in appropriate areas, should be a sensible element of Victoria’s long-term water solution.”

Ramsay also criticized the Andrews Government in 2016. He went after them for looking after their own self-interest, instead of the interest of the public. He claimed that Victorian Labor used a climate crisis narrative, and the desalination plant, to establish political credibility during an election year.

In his criticism Ramsay provides reasons for why Lisa Neville’s affection for the desalination plant, takes preference over building better infrastructure, to capture, and preserve rain when it does fall.

Ramsey explained that Lisa Neville “was one of the Brumby ministers who decided to build the desalination plant in the first place.” Ramsay then accused the Andrews government of ‘looking for a reason to vindicate the former (Labor) Brumby government’s decision to build the desalination plant more than six years ago.’ [ii]

Not all the glitters is gold. As for whether this shows that Neville seems more concerned about protecting a costly Labor Party project, than serving the Victorian people, you join the dots.

Higgin’s article in The Australian also noted that Lisa Neville ‘dismissed’ the Federal LNP minister for Water Resources, David Littleproud’s warning that without new dams population growth Victoria would be at risk of ‘sizeable reductions in available water per person by 2030.’

The policy against building dams suggests that Labor needs a climate crisis in order to stay electable in the eyes of voters. Create a crisis. Encourage a watered down version of open borders to increase the population. Then don’t build responsible infrastructure to meet the growing needs of a growing population. Follow that up by blaming a water shortage on political opponents and “climate change”, followed by a fresh push for laws and taxes which increase government control and dependency.

Keeping infrastructure back helps to magnify the urgency of the ‘apocalyptic climate change’ narrative. As a result, the fear of a climate crisis and the government taking the role of messiah in fixing it generates votes.

This use and control of the narrative surrounding apocalyptic climate change theory is reminiscent of the 1930s.

The historical parallel is best illustrated by Thomas Doherty in his book Hollywood & Hitler.

‘The HANL propagandists (Hollywood anti-Nazi league – who by this time were had largely been overtaken by Communists), ironically, embraced the same ‘’hypodermic needle’’ theory of mass communications propounded by Joseph Goebbels, which injected the message into mass consciousness through repetition, simplicity and emotion.’

The first approach of this method was to ‘gain the individual’s sympathy for what he is about to learn, and second, to present the material in a way which reaches his or her personal interest and at the same time supplies the necessary facts to sustain the first emotional reaction.’  (p.106)

The word “denier” attached to those who question the apocalyptic climate change narrative is evidence of this kind of psychological warfare. “Denier” is a whip statement; a shaming control device. It’s a dehumanising word used as part of argument which erroneously claim that “deniers” are dangerous. The real danger, however, lies in the fact that those who use this term flippantly, either forget or aren’t aware, that this technique is tragically in line with Nazi propaganda which dehumanised Jews in much the same way.

For an example of how effective this has been in Australian politics look no further than Tony Abbott. His government was demonized because they refused to join the chorus of hysterics regarding apocalyptic climate change. Even though the Abbott Government met climate change theory with strong, reasoned, and practical workable policies, all of which took a proactive stance towards improving the environment, Abbott was still labelled a “denier”.

The feeling of urgency and impending doom was carried into the mass consciousness by opportunists. This gave Abbott’s political opponents fuel to fire broadside after broadside, winning for them the sympathy of the Australian public by only releasing the necessary facts needed to sustain the first emotion. Proving that the false dawn of apocalyptic climate change is the perfect political firestorm.

It’s for these reasons that Victorian Labor choice not to build dams to combat what they believe is a crisis, should be questioned by the discerning public. Otherwise political parties will continue to capitalize on irrational fear. They will keep holding necessary infrastructure hostage so as to use it as a tool to win over a concerned public. The same public who has been convinced by those very same politicians, that if they want to avert apocalyptic climate change, they have to vote a certain way.


References:

[i] Wonthaggi Desalination Plant, Victoria, Water-Technology.net Sourced 19th Sept. 2019

[ii] Ramsay, S. 2016. State responsible for Barwon Water waste Sourced 19th Sept. 2019

First published on Caldron Pool, 20th September 2019.

©Rod Lampard, 2019

 

As it goes with the internet, “anything you do, and say, can, and will be used against you” in the court of social media opinion. This is of course only if the wolves which fill the ranks of online lynch mobs, smell blood. This rule applies to everyone regardless of status.

Although desperate, anti-Trump Leftists have Brett Kavanaugh now back in the top spot on hash tag algorithms, one of the latest social media meltdowns concern Beatles drummer, Ringo Starr’s support for Brexit.

The meltdown was triggered by a Stephen Smith interview Starr did for the BBC back in 2017.

Ringo Starr’s alleged great crime against humanity?

He said, had he been in Britain at the time of the Brexit referendum, he would’ve voted for it and that the government needs to make Brexit happen:

“The people voted and they have to get on with it, but suddenly, it’s like, we don’t like that vote. And I’m like, what do you mean you don’t like that vote? You had the vote. This is what won. Let’s get on with it. I would have voted for Brexit. I would have voted to get out…”

Starr, who now lives in America also said,

“Brexit was a great move. To be in control of your own country is a good move.”

RT.com headlined the melodramatic hash tag meltdown as “Ringo Get’s Cancelled: Ex-Beatle Starr savaged online for calling Brexit a ‘great move’ in 2017.

The Guardian didn’t seem to have anything new to add. However, Harriett Gibsone’s article from 2017 mentioning Starr’s interview did add that Paul McCartney hadn’t voted because of a US tour at the time, but had said “even if I had been able to, I was so confused. You were hearing what seemed to be good arguments on both sides.”

If I was a complete cynic I’d immediately link the timing of the social media meltdown with news of Ringo Starr’s soon to be released new album called ‘What’s My Name’. I’d start to wonder if his genuine views on Brexit, in 2017, were brilliantly used as a catapult for free publicity.

If true, it shows how docile and empty minded people easily offended have become; easy enough for publicists to manipulate so as to generate (stir?) interest under the “any publicity is good publicity” banner, via the 24 hour outrage cycle, driven largely by the Leftist propaganda machine we call Twitter.

The internet meltdown, which included hate from Remainers (anti-Brexit voters) and a fierce defence from Brexiteers, provided free online publicity for the new album. For Starr the temporary irrational heat generated over his Brexit comments in 2017 is a win. The Beatles drummer and Narrator of Thomas the Tank Engine, gets the last laugh. From a marketing point of view, it’s pure genius. Whether intended or not, Ringo Starr’s support for Brexit won the internet this week and hardly anyone noticed why.


First published on Caldron Pool, 18th September, 2019

©Rod Lampard, 2019

In June 2017, online economist magazine Quartz, predicted that ‘as climate changes effects become harsher and more unexpected climate change could become even harder to study’.

Quartz was buffing up an incident where scientists from Canada, out researching the impact of sea ice on Hudson Bay became hindered by what is alleged to have been large chunks of ice from the Arctic blocking their way. Quartz called these ‘severe conditions’ the consequence of climate change.

As reported by Phys.org the scientists had to abandon their trip over safety concerns. Lead researchers on the expedition were adamant that the ice was from the Arctic, saying that they ‘were able to use the state-of-the-art equipment onboard the Amundsen to confirm that a significant proportion of the sea ice present originated’ from the there.

However, as NASA’s earth observatory pointed out, Hudson Bay is well known for pack ice. The bay is ‘shallow and surrounded by land, Hudson Bay freezes over completely in the winter but thaws for periods in the summer. Usually all of the sea ice is gone by August, and the bay begins to freeze over in October or November. In between, as the sea ice is breaking up, winds and currents cause flotillas of pack ice to cluster in certain parts of the bay.’

According to NASA, this is what was happening in June, 2017, the same month the Canadian climate change research team claimed to have had to stop their research due to ice coming from the “high Arctic”. NASA not only clearly contradicted Phys.org and Quartz, but also added that the ice was good for the wildlife, because ‘the rhythms of sea ice play a central role in the lives of the animals of Hudson Bay, particularly polar bears. When the bay is topped with ice, polar bears head out to hunt for seals and other prey. When the ice melts in the summer, the bears swim to shore, where they fast until sea ice returns.’

If this doesn’t raise red flags about the apocalyptic climate change narrative, along with the fear, logical fallacies and panic it breeds, look no further than two recent incidents where climate change researchers had to be rescued because, they too, were hindered by ice.

This July, Norwegian research Ice breaker, Crown Prince Haakon, had to change direction. According to the Captain, they ran into ‘ice thicker than expected.’ Multiple sites[i] reported the news, with only one offering a different explanation, citing ‘loose bolts in the shaft seal of the propeller housing as the cause.

The second incident occurred on September 3rd, when the MS Malmo had to be abandoned after getting stuck in ice. According to Andrew Bolt of the Herald Sun, the Malmo’s current tour got ‘stuck in ice halfway between Norway and the North Pole. The ship was on an Arctic tour with a Climate Change documentary film team, and tourists, concerned with climate change and melting ice.’

This necessitated a rescue mission where all sixteen passengers (climate change “researchers”) were evacuated. Cruise Industry news also said that although it was ‘windy and snowing,  the captain and crew on board would remain on board, anticipating the ice to break up, from where they can then take the ship out into open water.’

These incidents aren’t isolated. In 2014, a Chinese Icebreaker ended up stuck in ice, while on a rescue mission to evacuate 52 people from a Russian tour ship also trapped in ice. The Telegraph’s Harriet Alexander wrote that ‘the Akademik Shokalskiy, became wedged in ice on Christmas Eve as it was heading towards Antarctica. In preparing to rescue the passengers, the Chinese owned, Snow Dragon got wedged in ice.’

The first victims of the apocalyptic climate change narrative are those who find themselves stranded at sea because they encounter ice, where they’ve been told ice should no longer be. Ignoring maritime precautions because of climate change hype and propaganda is putting lives at risk. This includes the unnecessarily risking the lives of those who are called in to respond to the consequences of such willful ignorance.

All of these examples raise red flags about the apocalyptic climate change narrative. Add to these examples the widespread misuse of the word ‘denier’ for anyone, like Scientist Peter Ridd (et.al) who question the prevailing scientific consensus turned dogma, and I’d say the real concern lies in how many people are refusing to look before they leap.

The Bolt Report illustrated this rising contemporary problem when they uncovered a 25 year old documentary that inadvertently challenges the walrus “apocalyptic climate change” claims in the Netflix, David Attenborough documentary Our Planet, which shows walruses falling off of cliffs. It boggles the mind, how so many people today leap before they look.

We need to look after our environment. I’m not disputing that. We have a responsibility to care for the creatures and earth entrusted to us. We have a duty of care to pass on healthy tradition, allowing that tradition to guide progress towards preservation, better technology and energy practices, but this must be done rationally, respectfully and with a filter that separates the sacred from absolute stupidity.

If those who hold to apocalyptic climate change tell us to trust their interpretation of the science, and yet, at the same time tell us to ignore the biological determinism which tells us plainly that there are only two genders, why should we take them seriously?

If advocates of the climate change narrative are using the same manipulative propaganda tools that were used in the push for gay “marriage”, and it’s denial of biological reproduction and physiological compatibility, why should we take them seriously?

If those who hold to this narrative are all too ready to dismiss questions and opposing viewpoints with ad hominem, straw men and abuse; where people who apply critical reasoning to the issues are hit with the accusation “denier”, a term that does immediate violence (every time it’s used) to the memory of those who suffered under the Nazi extermination of the Jews, why should we surrender and follow blindly?

If any contemporary holocaust “deniers” do exist, it’s the many who deny the biological reality of human life from conception to birth and beyond?!

Why should advocates of the apocalyptic climate change narrative (such as The Greens) be trusted when most of them deny that the duty of care for the environment first starts with care for those in the womb, the vulnerable, the aged, and the wounded? How can they be trusted with the kind of power they’re demanding, when cows grazing in state forests, or a farmer making a dam to improve land management, is made illegal, but a mother having a doctor kill and dismember her child in the womb is fair game? There’s an inescapable dissonance.

If fanatics fearing apocalyptic climate change are looking to label anything a holocaust, equal to The Holocaust of the 1930-40s, all they have to do is look in the bloodthirsty direction of industrial scale abortion, not the well-scripted, manipulative narrative of so-called anthropogenic apocalyptic climate change.


References:

[i] e.g.: Resett; Klassekampen; SOTT; Maritime Bulletin ; Climate Depot

Photo by Martin Robles on Unsplash

First published on Caldron Pool, 11th September, 2019

© Rod Lampard, 2019

In the process of encouraging my kids through some tough moments in our homeschooling music practice today, I came across these videos on YouTube.

My goal was to teach the kids how every honest musician knows that even the best guitarists struggle if they don’t practice, or refuse to really hear what they’re playing, and sing it back, no matter how horrible they think their voice is.

I liked the Ace Frehley (KISS lead guitarist) vid. when he half seriously confessed, “You know, no one ever taught me how to play, so I really don’t know what I’m doing. Even to this day, I’m still like; I’m just winging it.” I literally laughed out loud at this, with my kids looking at me wondering what they’d missed. This was the honesty part of the lesson. Frehley introduces his signature “dinosaur bend”, gives some tips on palm muting, and shows that he doesn’t take himself, or his fame too seriously.

Next up was Ken Tamplin’s analysis of Skid Row’s live performance of ‘I Remember You’, when they still had Sebastian Bach at the helm. Tamplin is a legend in the Christian metal scene. The big surprise here was me finding out that has a Youtube channel. However, I wasn’t all that surprised with his conclusion on Bach’s vocals, the FX Bach uses, or the ego issues some of the great rock vocalists have. This was the, even-the-best-need-help; so be confident in your abilities, but remember not to be too confident in your abilities, part of the lesson.

Finally, and probably the best of the three, was Nikki Sixx’s (Motlery Crue’s bassist) interview Phil Collen, giving a quick rundown of some of his guitar work with Def Leppard. Collen’s creative use of sound with guitar track layering are second to none. He even admits that the way the band recorded ‘Love Bites’ made it hard to pull off live on stage.

Collen reinforced some of my teaching points about practice, and vocalising riffs, stating, “I think we guitar solos and riffs, you gotta to be able to sing them, even with drum parts, you know Phil Collins, ‘In the Air Tonight’, we all air drum it, that’s what got me hooked.” He also gives props to the difficulty of ‘Every Breath you Take’ (The Police). Collen played it well, but stumbled through the intro, saying, “I wouldn’t want to play that live, it’s a struggle”, showing that even the best in the music industry have their limits. This was the no-one-has-it-all-down-perfectly part of the lesson.

The bottom line: There’s no such thing as a perfect musician, but practice, and humility, can perfect musical ability.

‘For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.’ – Luke 14:11, ESV


 

Examine some older texts on philosophy, some Freudian psychology, even some theology, and you’ll come across the term proton-pseudos.

Proton-pseudos is described by the International Dictionary of Psychoanalysis as ‘the link between false premises and false conclusions.’ Sigmund Freud borrowed the term from Aristotle and applied to it to the category of hysteria.

In short, the Proton-pseudos is the ‘original error’. The proton-pseudos sits behind and within the lies we tell ourselves, or the lies we’ve been taught to believe about ourselves, society, politics, theology and a whole range of other areas. The proton-pseudos is the outworking of a negative self-belief caused by exposure to trauma, abuse, and agitation, manipulative or sociological propaganda.

The proton-pseudos is a false idea or belief based on limited or distorted knowledge. It’s an assumption lived out as fact, even though it’s a conclusion derived from a broken reality, one re-pieced together, without a relevant tangible factual basis. In other words, the proton-pseudos is a broken lens. It imagines oppression where no oppression exists, created by a negative self-belief long ago triggered by a genuine traumatic event.

The Freudian understanding of the proton-pseudos is exemplified by ‘Emma, who at the age of thirteen fled the laughter of the sales staff in a shop, consciously believing that they were laughing at her clothes. However, Emma’s reaction in the shop was triggered by a repressed first event from years before, a grocer who had sexually touched her when she was eight.’

French intellectual Jacques Ellul’s aggressive critique of helpful and harmful propaganda, from 1965, assists in providing a framework to explain how propaganda relates to the proton-pseudos as an ‘inner control over the individual by a social force.’ Manipulative, agitation and sociological propaganda preys on the collective social consciousness of a society in an ‘age of anxiety’. Fear is used to control, mobilize and permit.

The manipulative use of fear engineers a desensitizing of sensitivities and objections to an idea, in order to implement it.

As Ellul explains, ‘propaganda will permit what so far was prohibited, such as hatred…propaganda offers him an object of hatred for all propaganda is aimed at an enemy. This hatred is not shameful, evil hatred that must be hidden, but justified because propaganda has pointed out enemies that must be slain, transforming crime into a praiseworthy act.’

Propaganda utilizes proton-pseudos to create conformity. According to Ellul this conformity is the consequence of integration propaganda – political reeducation. This means that any ‘statement whatever, no matter how stupid, any “tall tale” will be believed once it enters into the current of hatred’ perpetuated by the prevailing proton-pseudos; the false doctrine, half-truth, outright harmful or blasphemous lie or deception. The collective social consciousness of society can then be controlled through ‘key words of magical import, which are believed without question.’

The proton-pseudos becomes authoritative through an ongoing maintenance of propaganda. Questioning of the proton-pseudos is viewed as irrational. Even though the proton-pseudos is, itself an irrational conclusion held captive by the ‘original error’.

To borrow further from Jacques Ellul, propaganda instills in the person held captive to the proton-pseudos ‘a system of opinions and tendencies which may not be subjected to criticism…the individual has received irrational certainties from propaganda and feels personally attacked when these certainties are attacked’.

Agitation, manipulative and sociological propaganda reinforces the proton-pseudos by way of affirming its grip on the person held captive by it.

Consequently, ‘ironically, the man or woman who has been successfully subjected to a vigorous propaganda will declare that all new ideas are propaganda.’

This comes back to Freud’s story of Emma.  The proton-pseudos sees oppression where there is none. It confuses a past event with current circumstances, magnifying fear and stopping Emma from distinguishing fiction from real thing. Emma’s negative self-belief affects her interpretation of the intentions of the people who surrounded her in the shop. There may have been good reasons for her to be suspicious and feel uncomfortable, but Emma’s consciousness was governed by a lie based on past abuse; the proton-pseudos which she believes and projects onto others, despite her current context clearly saying otherwise.

Ellul and Freud don’t just give us legitimate reasons for a constructive self-critique, they provide a diagnosis for the current malady affecting the socio-political make-up of Western Civilization.

One example is the proton-pseudos which dominates the Left. The proton-pseudos at work here imagines Nazis in every opponent, or behind every politician or journalist not Left of centre.

There’s no doubt that Nazism is evil, but like Freud’s story of Emma, context matters.

As Dennis Prager recently said, “fighting Nazis in World War two makes you a hero. Fighting Nazis today, in the United States, doesn’t”. Why? Because today’s Nazis are largely phantoms created by the Left. Imagined into existence, but based on an historical event, in order to promote fear, take control and justify an inability (or worse, lack of desire) to engage in reasoned debate. The proton-pseudos provoked by propagandist slogans permits all sorts of viciousness and violence against their political opponents.

Take as examples the propagandists perpetuating the proton-pseudos. They create an oppressor, where one doesn’t exist, with terms such as, toxic masculinity, heteronormativity, cultural appropriation, white privilege, islamophobia, Jesus was a socialist, homophobia and mansplaining, unborn babies are a bunch of cells/a parasite, all men are dogs, and all white people are racist, et.al.

All of these and others, as asinine as “love is love”, are designed to incite ‘conditioned reflexes’ (Elull). To ensnare, trap and control the argument through an appeal of the social consciousness of the West which has long embraced the truth of love your neighbor as you love yourself, and long since rejected the evils of racism/fascism.

Anyone who questions the slogan, questions the propaganda, threatening the power of the propagandist and their ability to use the proton-pseudos to feed their own self-interest.

Ellul and Freud share a strong relevance to the current practice in psychology called cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). The practice of identifying the proton-pseudos, of replacing lies with truth.

They join with Paul of Tarsus in challenging us to discern between the lies we’re told, the lies we tell ourselves and the truth.

For the Christian, and those who heed Paul’s instruction, this will mean wholeheartedly owning the theological truth that ‘the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds; destroying arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ.’ (2 Corinthians 10:4-5, ESV)

Beware the auctioneers: outsmart the propagandists. Challenge the proton-pseudos both without and from within. Be a factivist, a liberator, one who see the lies for what they are and where they originate, and then replaces them with the truth.

As Paul teaches: ‘don’t be conformed to the world, but be transformed by the renewing of the mind’ , not the emptying of it. (Romans 12:2)


References:

Ellul, J. 1965 Propaganda: The Formation of Men’s Attitudes, Vintage Press (pp.87 & 152)

Photo by Scott Rodgerson on Unsplash

First published on Caldron Pool, 5th September, 2019

©Rod Lampard, 2019

American author and Pastor, Greg Laurie’s interview with Alive Cooper is an insightful look into Christian life outside a cloistered Christian culture. The interview was uploaded to YouTube on the 18th of August. Cooper calls himself a prodigal son and gives some background on his life, including his abuse of cocaine, alcoholism, his 43 year old marriage, the Church and his return to Christ.

Though unrelated, the interview presents a stark contrast between Alice Cooper and bestselling ‘Christian’ author, Joshua Harris.

I related to it because I came to Christ through the broken, dark alleys of life. I found home through darkened lyrics, written by broken people, who reflected my own dysfunctional context. Whether they intended it or not (I certainly didn’t see it at the time), they were being used to point me to the foot of the cross.

Though I acknowledge that having a firm connection with other Christians (fellowship) is important to Christian discipleship, I never found the way home to Christ by trying to fit in with the first-row, Sunday-only-Christians, who seemed to always look past me and my dysfunctional context with contempt and fear.

Thank God that He does not dwell in temples made by man, but reaches for us in the richness of relationship, made known to us through His revelation in Jesus Christ; an act that He Himself being free from religion, freely initiates in order to dwell amongst us, so that we may be freed from bondage to sin; free for Him and free for others.

I hear that Biblical theme brought to life in this interview.

It’s another reminder that God, in His Son, through the Holy Spirit, is still at work in the world. The reminder that when the mainstream Church misses the point or fails to reflect this solid theological truth, God, in His sovereignty breaks through the clumsiness, pride and stale idolatry of some Christians, reminding us that the Church is His, not ours. It also reminds us that the Church must mature beyond its four walls, rediscovering the fact that its sustenance and continuation doesn’t rest in bricks and mortar, or immaculate attendance records, but on the providence of God, and His fatherly Lordship shown towards us in Jesus Christ.

As Cooper worded it, “I don’t think we accept Christ, I think we accept the fact that He accepted us“. He mentions the importance of hearing about God’s mercy and judgement. Stating that he needed to hear about both God’s grace and the reality of hell, which “isn’t a place where we get high with Jim Morrison“, but a real consequence of sin.

For me, Laurie’s interview with Cooper reflects the truth that life with God, begins with, God with us. This is a truth I passionately teach my own kids by bringing the relevance of the Christ into contact with the culture. Not in fear of it, or in subservience to the culture, but in critique of it. The kind of critique that coincides with the joy of recognizing where God is at work in the world, and learning from this how we, as Christians, can boldly be in the world, but not of it.

Cooper exemplifies the notion that any division between the secular and the sacred is ultimately false. As Karl Barth noted when talking about John Calvin’s theology, ‘the rule that history is life’s teacher is the light of which Calvin could view secular history as sacred history…History must be for us a school in which we learn to regulate our lives in the knowledge that from the creation of the world God has at all times [in freedom & sovereignty] ruled in his church’ and the world. [i]

Alice Cooper, like Johnny Cash, embodies the reason for why we shouldn’t limit the reach of God’s grace. For, ’the wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” (John 8:3).

The interview offers a correction of perception. One that involves grounded biblical theology which teaches us that trying to measure what constitutes the right to be called “Christian” is problematic. The criteria falls short, if it doesn’t first and foremost involve a commitment to Jesus Christ, which acknowledges both God’s fatherly Lordship, and triumph over sin. In sum, our response being secondary, it’s Christ’s performance that takes preeminence.

This is especially relevant when Joshua Harris’ public renouncing his faith, is contrasted with Alice Cooper’s public affirmation of his relationship with Christ. One can have a relationship with the Church, but not Jesus Christ. Going to Church, or parading Christian culture on our selves doesn’t make a person a Christian. Relationship with Christ does.

It’s amazing to witness encouragement for the Church coming from someone who’d not be welcome in some churches. The irony being where Harris would be welcomed, Cooper would be exiled. Yet, where Cooper still stands. Harris has walked away.

I’m not suggesting Alice Cooper’s example is the answer to the Joshua Harris’ of the Church, but Alice Cooper’s example should make some Churches rethink their commitment to valuing appearances over substance; reputation over character.

I’m with lay preacher, A.W. Tozer, who brilliantly said:

‘I cannot speak for you, but I want to be among those who worship. I do not want just to be part of some great ecclesiastical machine where the Pastor turns the crank and the machine runs […] Can true worship be engineered and manipulated? […]  Engineers do many a great things in their fields, but no mere human force or direction can work the mysteries of God among men. If there is no wonder, no experience of mystery, our efforts to worship will be futile. There will be no worship without the Spirit’ [ii]

As Skillet’s John Cooper (no relation) told CBN recently: ‘we need to value truth over feeling’.

Joshua Harris, much the same as Rob Bell, are wake up calls for the Church. Falseness is too easy. False doctrine is too attractive. I think it’s fair enough to suggest that Harris became of product of his popularity, driven by worldly chuchian culture, not the koinonia; ecclesia; or haustafeln. I say churchian (for lack of a better word), because I don’t think the problem isn’t easily pinned on just one denomination. The problem is shared across denominations. It’s a mindset cemented in an apathy (if not ignorance) that has rejected the five solas of the Reformers, and put in their place the cheap grace of moral therapeutic deism.

I don’t think I’m alone in saying this, but I’d rather sit in a Skillet concert filled with long haired friends of Jesus all dressed in black, and ruminate on some of the theological depth coming out of the lyrics over coffee afterwards, than sit before a hipster, watching them mindlessly repeating the equivalent of bumper sticker theology, like some Instagram-perfect churches do. Don’t get me wrong. That platform has its place, but the Insta-perfect culture shouldn’t be the quintessential standard for what it means to be a Christian in the world, but not of it; someone who is led by the Spirit, not the culture.

As Keith Green and Corrie Ten Boom said in their own way, being connected with a genuine Christian community is important, but it’s just as equally important to remember that a perfect church attendance record doesn’t save us; “going to church doesn’t make you a Christian anymore than parking your car into a garage makes you a car; just as much as going to McDonalds doesn’t make you a hamburger.”

Alice Cooper, like others such as Brian ‘Head’ Welch of Korn, are an example for the Church. We mustn’t retreat back behind a closed, cushy cloister. The Church doesn’t need to. It just needs to drop the pretence of it’s own holiness, and let God’s holiness shine through the Churches honest presentation of the Gospel, and through the care for the community entrusted to it.

The Church, in the face of a culture determined to set the agenda, should aim to mature beyond the four walls and steeple it’s become known as being. For the Church, it cannot be a business, or business as usual. The Church is we-the-people, with Christ at the head. If only for the fact that we never know who’s listening.  The Church must end its navel gazing, and make a keener effort to rediscover the origins of Christian community, which begins, is maintained, and ends with Jesus Christ.

There’s a lot more to this Laurie-Cooper interview than meets the eye.

He who has hears let Him hear.

 


References:

[i] Barth, K. 1922. The Theology of John Calvin Eerdmans Press, (pp.2, 3 & 17)

[ii] Tozer, A.W 2009, Whatever Happened to Worship? Authentic Media (pp.11, 60-61)

Image credit: Mohammad Metri on Unsplash

Also published on Caldron Pool, 29th August, 2019

©Rod Lampard, 2019

 

In a speech on Tuesday night, One Nation MP, Mark Latham, joined a growing chorus of opposition voicing their concerns over the poor process applied to the recent NSW abortion bill. Latham joins Liberal MP Natasha Maclaren-Jones, the National Party’s, Barnaby Joyce and Dr. David Gillespie, in criticising the rushed bill, deceptively called ‘The Reproductive Health Care Reform Bill’.

The abortion bill passed the lower house (legislative assembly) by 59 to 31 on August 9. The MP responsible for introducing the bill was “Independent” member for Sydney, Alex Greenwich, whose candidacy (for context) was backed by Leftist golden girl, and Lord Mayor of Sydney City, Clover Moore.

Criticism of the nature of the abortion bill has been growing since its surprise introduction to the NSW Parliament.  Coinciding with this is criticism of how the bill was introduced, handled and pushed through the assembly, with very little time given for debate, and consultation with the public.

In an apparent response to growing opposition against the bill, including large passionate pro-life, non-violent protests, Andrew Clennell from the Australian said on Wednesday that NSW Premier, Gladys Berejiklian, ‘had backed down on pushing the abortion bill through the states upper house this week.’

Clennell also outlined Mark Latham’s ‘stunning attack on the Premier’.

The One Nation MP, ‘accused Berejiklian of betraying the parliament and the people of NSW, labeling her dictatorial, and claimed she had allowed MPs from all parties to work together on the legislation in an erosion of the two party system’.

Latham called the alleged clandestine group, ‘a cross party cabal of left-wing MPs, who had been meeting in secret for months, plotting to hijack the parliament and ram’ the bill through both lower and upper houses.’

Talking with Paul Murray and Rita Panahi, Latham unpacked reasons for his attack on the Premier’s betrayal and lack of leadership, stating,

‘I’m heavily critical of the process because it’s all wrong and I’m a great believer in good lawmaking that relies on good process…The tragedy of this is that the upper house is wiped of its proper functions as a house of review. We could have had a six-week committee; instead we got one for five minutes. Proponents of the bill, (who met in secret, didn’t invite comment from the public, and didn’t involve the full range of experts) have denied themselves two very important qualities on a sensitive and divisive issue like this, and that’s credibility and legitimacy. These people look sneaky, these people look dictatorial. They just want to ram it through because they have none of the argument, but some of the numbers; the Premier has facilitated this bad process.’

Latham then (rightly) said his protest of the process, is legitimized by how advocates of the bill were now stumbling over whether or not they should support a gender-selection amendment.

Liberal Party MP, Tanya Davies, member for Mulgoa, sparked concern about the contents of the abortion bill when she ‘sought to include an amendment stating that terminations not “be used for gender selection”. Although, Davies’ amendment ‘was rejected because it was [deemed] unnecessary and unworkable,’ the Premier and opposition leader have signaled support for a gender-selection ban.

However, as Michael McGowan of The Guardian said, overall, ‘backers of the bill are unlikely to support one’. (The Guardian)

One of the reasons for this is that the gender-selection amendment is viewed as a right-wing ploy to derail the legitimacy of the bill. This is despite the serious lack of consultation with the public and the inadequate handling of procedure, which has already destabilized the bill, via the secretive, unprofessional and frantic way it’s being pushed through parliament.

Other notable outspoken critics of both the bill and its contents included Federal Member for Lyne, Dr. David Gillespie.

Gillespie went against his state LNP colleague Leslie Williams (a co-sponsor of the abortion bill), saying, ‘the legislation is unnecessary because abortion was “decriminalized in 1971 and it is not a crime if you have a lawful abortion (the rare case when a pregnancy is deemed life threatening) in NSW”.

As reported by the Wauchope Gazette, ‘Dr Gillespie, who previously worked as the director of physician training at Port Macquarie Base Hospital’, stated,

“You are dealing with abortion of a human being that has got a separate circulation and nervous system; all those things make up a human being. A child in the womb is another human being and deserves protection. A child doesn’t miraculously become a human being once it pops out at delivery.”

Gillespie also criticized the rushed nature of the bill, saying ‘if the Government wanted to take the community with them they should have at least more than five days to debate it…” Given that ‘a hastily formed enquiry into the bill after community backlash received 13,000 submissions in one day, causing the state parliaments web portal to temporarily crash.’

None of these criticisms are easily dismissed. Gladys Berejiklian’s premiership is slowly reflecting that of William Golding’s character, Ralph in Lord of the Flies. Jack has taken over and the whim of the bureaucratic caste has now become law.

Of course, Gladys Berejiklian, as Premier has the prerogative. Her next move, after delaying the deceptively named, ‘Reproductive Health Care Reform Bill’, should be to stand up and ditch the bill, instead of applauding those all too eager to ditch babies.


First published on Caldron Pool, 27th August 2019.

Photo credit: Creative commons.

©Rod Lampard, 2019

Here’s 30 minutes well spent. Researcher for the Australian Christian Lobby, Dr. Elisabeth Taylor, dazzles in her presentation on two vacuous ideologies seeking, not just to influence Western society, but rip up its biblical Christian foundations, and impose new cultural laws on it. Such as the eradication of what theorists within the LGBT religion label “heteronormativity”. The assumption being that heteronormativity is oppressive to the LGBT community. Ergo, all out war, short of physical violence, must be made against it.

The presentation clarifies, and provides information about transgenderism. Taylor digs deep, discussing the theory’s origins and why it’s necessary to push back against it. In doing so, understanding the how and what of connecting factors, such as post-structuralism – (the denial of objective reality), are of paramount importance. When talking to people who have rejected objective morality, it pays to understand their concept of reality, whether they say they have one or not. Hence the value found in the content of her presentation.


 

With all the noise surrounding Donald Trump’s alleged request to purchase Greenland, you’d be right to think that this tale was another political manoeuvre from Trump’s enemies to discredit his Presidency and/or sanity.

Confirmation this weekend that the Trump administration had explored the idea of buying Greenland from Denmark, set social media and the M.S.M ablaze.

Time, Al Jazeera, Bloomberg, CNN and The Guardian, all jumped on the reaction from Denmark’s Prime Minister, parading the word “absurd” around as though Trump’s idea was his own.

Even Sky News got in on the action, headlining a piece with the word ‘push’ to describe the Trump administration’s enquiry.

Weaving its own malicious tale of Trump’s “madness”, Vice trumped them all by highlighting remarks from Soren Espersen, foreign affairs spokesman for the populist Danish People’s Party, who said, “If he [Trump] is truly contemplating this, then this is final proof that he has gone mad…”[i]

Twitter users were also indicative of the widespread ignorance of history:

To their credit CNN and The Guardian came out as the most balanced. Paul LeBlanc of CNN and Martin Pengelly of The Guardian were the only journalists careful enough to take to time to acknowledge the fact that the idea of buying Greenland, was first posited by Democrat President, Harry S. Truman in 1946, who offered to pay Denmark $100 million (in gold) in exchange for Greenland because of its strategic value. Truman ended up securing a military base, nothing more. [ii]

Truman, not Trump was the first to come up with the idea. Trump may not be letting go of Truman’s proposal to buy Greenland because of its strategic value to the United States, but any suggestion that this new proposal from an American administration, is an unveiling of Trump as a colonial imperialist, fascist, is, in the light of the fact that the idea originated with Truman, off-the-wall crazy.

In order to justify such accusations, accusers would have to link Trump to Truman, and build a narrative of conspiracy only believed by the gullible.

As equally “batty”, any suggestion that buying Greenland is yet more “evidence” of the alleged imbalance in Trump’s psychological disposition is pure fiction.

It doesn’t take a genius to see that Trump being starry-eyed by the prospect of buying Greenland, is the real estate professional in him, not some latent Hitlerian tendencies, as is alleged by every anti-Trump personality looking to justify their proton-pseudos complex.


References:

[i] Marcin, T. 2019. Denmark to Trump: Seriously, Greenland Isn’t for Sale,  Vice News

[ii] Koning Beals, R. 2019. It’s not the first time U.S. has tried to buy Greenland  MarketWatch

©Rod Lampard, 2019

 

Covington student, Nicholas Sandermann’s $250 million defamation case against The Washington Post was dismissed late last month, after a federal judge ruled that the Washington Post hadn’t slandered Sandermann in its reporting of the infamous, so-called “standoff” between himself and Native American, Nathan Phillips on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.

Saurabh Sharma of the Dailycaller said, the ‘judge threw out the case’ saying that The Washtington Post didn’t defame the Covington students, but were irresponsible with their use of ‘’loose, figurative,’’ and ‘’rhetorcial hyperbole”. [i]

This is despite The Washington Post, along with some Twitter users and others within the mainstream media, using short viral video clips of the event, to portray the MAGA hat wearing school kids as racists.

Rollingstone, while acknowledging that the incident seemed to have been provoked by members of the Black Israelite movement, were also quick to draw the racist narrative around the Covington School students, stating, ‘the video is a disturbing and eerie echo of angry white mobs yelling at Black Americans for protesting Jim Crow-era discrimination.’ [ii]

While Buzzfeed managed to steer around defaming the students, it’s obvious that Buzzfeed reporters shared similar conclusions. By using viral video clips from the event, they upheld the presumption of guilt, by inferring that racist claims made against the Catholic students we legitimate.

The initial Buzzfeed article made specific mention of the student’s ethnicity, pointing out that ‘nearly all were white and wearing pro-Trump gear, chanting at and mocking Native American, Nation Phillips on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.’[iii]

Buzzfeed also appear to have supported interpretations drawn from one of the videos of the students, which claimed that Sandermann was ‘smirking’ in a “racist way” at Phillips, who was branded a peacemaker during the incident. Like many in the mainstream media, this was apparently enough proof for Buzzfeed to spread the newspeak narrative of white privilege, hate, oppression and racism: the Covington students were white, Christian, and Trump supporters, ergo they must also be racists.

Buzzfeed updated their original piece with a link to a video which shows ‘more context’, admitting that the incident ‘was more confusing than the viral clips made it seem’. Buzzfeed also reported that ‘teen’s family will be appealing the decision to dismiss the case, with one of the family’s lawyers saying, “the law must protect innocent minors targeted by journalists publishing click bait sensationalized news.”

The Washington Post, like many of the Left’s leaders on Twitter, did the equivalent of whipping the crowd up into a frenzy, handing them a lynch rope, then when the facts came to light, quietly slipped out the back door. Later to be dismissed from having to take any responsibility because of an appeal to freedom of speech, and literary license.

The case dismissal is good news for The Washington Post. The outcome could also be viewed as good news for the future of freedom of speech.

However, it’s doubtful that the reasons for this “win”, based on an appeal to first amendments rights and literary license, will be allowed as a defense for Pastors and Christian writers when producing literature that criticizes sin from a Biblically Christian perspective.

Especially when their publications involve proclaiming The Gospel in its unique redemptive critique of human sin such as greed, adultery, homosexuality, pride, envy, slander, idolatry – a critique now largely rejected and found “hateful” and “harmful” by the Left, because of its no questions asked embrace of the LGBT religion, Islamism and related regressive, progressive ideologies.


References:

[i] Sharma, S. 2019.  The Washington Post Won Its Case Against The Covington Catholic Kids, But A Federal Judge Had Some Choice Words For The Outlet, Daily Caller, 12th August, 2019

[ii] Wade, P. 2019. Judge Dismisses Covington Student’s Lawsuit Against ‘Washington Post’ RollingStone, 27th July, 2019

[iii] Reinstein, J. & Baer, S.K. 2019.  The MAGA Hat–Wearing Teens Who Taunted A Native American Elder Could Be Expelled Buzzfeed, 19th January, 2019.

Photo by Irina Vinichenko on Unsplash

First published on Caldron Pool, 16th August 2019

©Rod Lampard, 2019

In her 1981 magnus opus, ‘Public Man, Private Woman’, American political scientist and Lutheran, Jean Bethke Elshtain presented a painstaking analysis of feminism.

Her work as a political theorist is one of the best all rounded academic introductions to the origins and branches of feminism, which comes from within the feminist movement.

Elshtain is best described as a classical feminist. Although she accepts certain criticisms made by feminists, Elshtain is honest about the fact that feminism can, and does go too far. Her chief aim was to present the ideological nuances and obvious contrasts of each branch of feminism.

What makes ‘Public Man, Private Woman’ unique is how her experiences within the feminist movement, particularly radical feminism, allow her a high degree of objectivity.

In the late 1960s, Elshtain and a friend were confronted by the exclusionist ideology of feminist supremacism.

They both linked up with a feminist group, only to find themselves silenced because they raised genuine questions about the prevalent anti-familial force within feminism. According to Elshtain, they attended the group, looking for a community who could help them embrace both the healthier side of early feminist critique and motherhood. However, they soon found out that for some within the feminist movement, there was no reconciling of the two. In the middle of her friend’s turn to speak, the group’s facilitator ‘abruptly and publicly’ cut off their discussion declaring, “We will have not diaper talk here. We’re here to talk about women’s liberation”.

Elshtain recalled, ‘my friend and I left, for we could not treat our children as abstractions, as nuisances to be overcome, or as evidence of our “sad capitulation” to the terms of patriarchy.’

Alarmed by her confrontation with female supremacist exclusivism, Elshtain not only saw the dangers it presented to those outside the feminist movement, but how female supremacist ideology threatens legitimate feminist criticisms about what defines a woman, and how women define themselves in the traditionally male dominant public space.

Other than a general analysis of the state of feminism in 1980-81, Elshtain was also preoccupied with a personal quest, seeking to answer the nagging question about whether feminism could be reconciled with motherhood. And if so, what kind of worldview would this look like?

Her conclusion rejects Marxist feminism, Liberal Feminism and Radical feminism, and instead embraces a politics of compassion which works towards reconstructing a woman’s place in public and private, by ‘truth-seeking’, not ‘truth-construction’.

Elshtain describes a ‘politics of compassion’ as a ‘robust opposition to despair and cynicism’, noting it as being a ‘recognition [on the part of feminists] that no good can come from the widespread dehumanization and destruction of others.’ This would help protect legitimate parts of feminist criticisms, because a politics of compassion recognizes that feminism is undermined by a radical feminist supremacism which feeds on ‘the enchanting lures of resentment and the poisonous destruction of rage.’

Abortion isn’t a key concern for Elshtain. However, her conclusions and personal experience are relevant to the abortion debate.

Elshtain agrees that reproduction doesn’t define women. However, feminism shouldn’t reject the stability of the familial unit. It should be mature and flexible enough to embrace the unique-to-woman, gift of reproduction and maternalism. Motherhood shouldn’t be so easily thrown out by the feminist critique. This is because motherhood is the quintessential definition of an empowered, liberated woman. Strength and servant leadership are a core elements of being a mother. The woman capable of choosing to look, not just to their own needs, but also to the needs of others is not only liberated, but engages in the act of liberating others.

What Elshtain offers is clarity. Her criticism of the feminist crowd, which was ironically awakened by the feminist crowd’s rejection of her (as a patriarchal cliché, because she was married and had children) gives us a vantage point from which we can join with her and say,

‘the presumption that some universally true, ubiquitous, and pervasive misogynistic urge explains everything is simplistic and wrong.’ (p.xv)

When it comes to abortion and the feminist death grip on it, there will be disagreement, but that disagreement doesn’t have to be destructive. There is another way around the ‘radical and destructive social surgery’ pushed by those who demand uniformity in an ideological alignment with abortion and its accompanying progressive platform.

Elshtain’s inherent “no” to this kind of forced allegiance, especially to supremacist ideology is something to applaud. Her “no” is spoken from under the shadow of remembrance, as she recalls the blood that followed the ‘Nazis and Stalinists, the most destructive instances so far of this sort.’

Noting,

‘if everything every basis of human existence, every rule and prohibition not excluding  the incest taboo, is “up for grabs,” those who unscrupulously grab will inherit the earth and we will no longer have  the earth as out inheritance…Each successive generation must respect some moral necessities, must have some “taken for granted,” rules without which even the minimal aspects of a human existence that propelled our prehistoric ancestors to place flowers on the graves of their beloved, will be jeopardized.’

This supremacist ideology is seen in abortion advocates adoption of Simone de Beauvoir’s incongruent use of the term ‘parasite’ in reference to both women and the fetus (The Second Sex).

Supremacist ideology is prevalent in the inherent historical parallels between the Nazi doctrine of “life unworthy of life” and deceptive new term for abortion, “reproductive healthcare”. Abortion is an outworking of radical feminist supremacism. The “choice” argument underpins this because it advocates the totalitarian supremacy of a mother over against the life of her unborn child and the choice of his or her father.

How is a woman living out her liberation, if she’s coerced to kill her unborn child because of pressure from a pro-abortion society, state and peers, in the name of what they deceptively call freedom?

How is a woman living our her liberation if all the information necessary to make the best “choice” possible is hidden from her by her pro-abortion society, state, and peers– “for her own good”?

It would seem that the liberated woman, under the shadow of pro-abortion and the supremacist ideology of Marxist, liberal and radical feminism, is not so liberated after all.

We cannot miss this point. We cannot afford to overlook the fact that pro-abortion, and even pro-euthanasia laws, remove protections for the citizen against a tyrannical state. They remove protections for citizens from supremacist ideology.

Anti-abortion and anti-euthanasia laws are restraints that don’t just apply to one individual having absolute power over another; they hold back the overreach of despotic, crony corporations and these laws restrain the creation of authoritarian governments. These are necessary limitations which protect freedom, rather than being a denial of it.

So it is that we should, and can legitimately stand with Jean Bethke Elshtain and those like her, such as the brilliant Dr. Mildred Jefferson, and say:

“Today it is the unborn child; tomorrow it is likely to be the elderly or those who are incurably ill. Who knows but that a little later it may be anyone who has political or moral views that do not fit into the distorted new order?[i]…I am not willing to stand aside and allow this concept of expendable human lives to turn this great land of ours into just another exclusive reservation where only the perfect, the privileged and the planned, have the right to live [ii]…I say “no” and I am not willing to give up the role of doctor as healer to become the new social executioner…If the destruction of life is permissible for social and economic reasons, why not for political reasons? [iii]


References (not otherwise linked):

Elshtain, J. 1981, ‘Public Man, Private Woman: Women in Social & Political Thought’ Princeton University Press

Photo by Cassidy Rowell on Unsplash

First published on Caldron Pool, 13th August, 2019

©Rod Lampard, 2019

Award winning Australian journalist, turned writer, Jana Wendt took a pounding on Twitter this week after the world was reminded of an interview Wendt hosted with the late African-American literary giant, Toni Morrison, in 1998.

Desperate to keep the “we have a white supremacist crisis” narrative alive, following the Eco-Fascist mass shooting in El Paso, and the slogan’s quick demise after the mass shooting in Dayton by a Leftist Antifa supporter, many on the Left appear to using to interview to keep their narrative alive.

Their weapon of choice in an attempt to regain control of the discourse: the false accusation that Wendt’s alleged “skeleton in the closet” is proof that “all white people are racist”, ergo there’s a “white supremacist crisis” and it’s an epidemic.

Toni Morrison’s passing seems to have given Leftists an opportunity to steer attention away from the Dayton killer back towards the ‘we have a white supremacist crisis’ party-line. The attempt to revive such newspeak and refuel the outrage machine is a direct rejection of the bipartisan condemnation of the El Paso shooter’s ideological allegiances.

Like sharks circling when they smell blood in the water, the reactions from some anonymous Twitter users has been unsurprising. Comments went from focusing on applauding Toni Morrison for her achievements, to accusing Jana Wendt of racism, with one Twitter user saying, ‘Jana Wendt illustrating that Australian media is also deeply racist.’

Another Twitter user noting: ‘This is Jana Wendt. Interesting that she may best be remembered, as the racist interviewer in the Toni Morrison interview.’

What shouldn’t be missed in all of the whip statements against Jana Wendt, is the actual racism implied in the action of those taking advantage of an African-American writer’s passing in order to a) regain some socio-political credibility post Dayton and b) as a diversion away from discussions about the dangers of Left-wing extremism.

Wendt’s interview with Morrison is quiet and conversational. There’s no sign of animosity. Wendt was the perfect hostess, conducting the interview with her usual professionalism, style and respect. It’s a case of dishonest criticism to suggest otherwise.

Such as Huffington Post author Kimberly Yam’s exuberance at a black woman supposedly correcting a white woman, saying this particular part of the interview was Morrsion “teaching Wendt a powerful lesson”.

What Yam and many who choose to jump on the Wendt-is-racist bandwagon forget, is that interrogative reasoning is how journalism works. Without this base and the freedom to ask questions that may offend, the free press is lost to the noise of a press enslaved to totalitarian masters, newspeak, and the news they invent.

Jana Wendt isn’t a racist. The soft spoken, well articulated Morrsion seeks clarification from Wendt, who then provides it. Wendt moves the discussion forward qualifying her question, so as to avoid misrepresentation and confusion. Both Morrison and Wendt move the viewers towards a better understanding of the subject matter.

Using literary giant, Toni Morrison’s death as an excuse to evade responsibility by rehashing the “we have a white supremacist crisis” narrative, after it was smashed to pieces by the Antifa aligned Dayton mass shooting, is a reprehensible act of desperation.


First published on Caldron Pool, 8th August, 2019.

©Rod Lampard, 2019

Alveda King, the niece of Martin Luther King Jnr came out swinging against Trump haters and manipulators this week, when she took on the Leftist bureaucratic dragon’s fiery attempt to make the racist tag finally stick to Donald Trump.

Calling Trump a racist has been part of the political narrative designed to remove him from office since 2016. This week the narrative resurfaced when the President used Twitter to call out Clinton supported, African-American ‘political adversary, Elijah Cummings D-Md’, for his biased party-line [ii] criticism of the Trump administration’s “America first”, border policies.

Trump called Cummings a “bully”. Then targeted the conditions of Cummings’ district of Baltimore, stating that conditions were “far worse and more dangerous than conditions” on the border with Mexico.

Appearing to have had enough of the bias, Trump inferred, in true Trump style, that the Democrat congressman look into cleaning up his own backyard before denigrating the work and policies put in place by the Trump administration. Such as the current administrations attempts to better manage immigration, and police to drug trafficking, by securing the southern border of the United States.

As is usually the case with Trump’s bold tweets, he lit up twitter and mainstream media panels with people once again all too eager to apply the label of racist to the President. The most notable being Al Sharpton, who isn’t new to the table, when it comes to apparent friends and beneficiaries turning on the President, post his 2016 election win. Sharpton, himself not a stranger to controversy, accused Trump of having, a ‘particular venom, for blacks and people of colour’.

Bess Leving from Vanity Fair claimed there was a pattern of racism, joining NPR in the chorus of hate and reckless labeling, stating ‘the President is, in fact, a demonstrable racist’, and that this “fact” ‘is no longer in dispute’ [i].

However, not everyone appeared to be as eager to howl with the wolves, and use the divisive, race baiting political narrative of the Left against Trump, for their own political advantage, or career advancement.

In a fierce and direct contradiction of Sharpton, and Leving, among others, Alveda King rejected the labeling of Trump as a racist. King spoke out across multiple platforms providing a counter-balance to what radio personality, Monica Matthews termed, ‘a propaganda party’.

Despite King being a regular visitor to the Trump White House, harsh critics used her presence at a scheduled meeting with the President, to further the “Trump-is-racist” narrative by claiming her visit too convenient for it not to be damage control.

King told Fox & Friends that her meeting with the President had been ‘scheduled for several days before the tweet battle’ between Cummings, Sharpton, and Trump. King denied that her meeting was a photo-op, saying that her visit was to continue a discussion started months before when she visited the Whitehouse with leaders and Pastors from the African-American community, seeking to address their ‘mutual concerns about the sanctity of life and ending abortion.’

When asked about whether she thought Trump was a racist and a bigot, King said “all of that news is absolutely fake, he’s not a racist”.

Giving her thoughts on the ‘tweet battle’ Alveda said she had pointed to how curious it was because,

“[she] has photos of Jesse Jackson, and Al Sharpton with the President, when Trump before ever becoming President, gave them free rent for their business exploits, support and those kinds of things, and that they gave Trump awards, but now you see insults at the president. Nobody wants to understand that with the President simply saying your communities need to be fixed, he’s saying to Representative Cummings (who has said in the past “either abort the babies now or you’ll kill them later” things like that), but then you look at his community and you see individuals suffering, you see the community suffering, and families suffering, so all of us in that room, all the Pastors are working to reunite American families, strengthen the economy, we talked about all of those things.”

Like King, James Rosen, NBC Eugene Oregon, came at the clash from a different angle. He helped put the ‘tweet battle’ into perspective, stating that Trump’s counter-punch allegation accusing Sharpton of being a ‘con man…who hates white and cops!’ was just another outworking of how their friendship works.

Rosen quipped:

‘for such relationships, the term “frenemy” was coined. Both men have at times placated and kibbitzed with each other, recognizing the other’s primacy in spheres of influence in which each has always known himself to possess no standing: Mr. Trump, a figure coolly received in Gotham’s African-American community, Rev. Sharpton an outsider to the world of high finance and real estate wizardry.’ [iii]

Alveda King is civil rights movement royalty. There’s a weight of realism behind her ability to see and speak out against what others refuse to.

Not all is at seems. While the narrow minded world of the Leftist twitterarti react with horror, and gather to howl in hypocritical, sordid condemnation of Trump’s tweets, King’s consistent presence in the White House is a reminder to all of us that the political narrative to remove Trump from the White House, is all based on a lot of tired noise, suffocating smoke and distorted mirrors.


References:

[i] Leving, B. 2019. “Hates white cops”: Trump starts Monday with new racist tirade, Vanity Fair. Sourced 1st August, 2019

[ii] Woodruff, Betsy. 2012. Elijah Cummings, Party Man, National Review. Sourced 1st August, 2019

[iii] Rosen, J. 2019. Trump and Sharpton, Frenemies for life, NBC 16KMTR Eugene Oregon. Sourced, 1st August, 2019.

Originally posted on Caldron Pool, 1st August, 2019.

Photo credit: creative commons.

©Rod Lampard, 2019

Here’s a copy of my recent letter to Melinda Pavey asking for her to consider voting against the abortion bill currently before the NSW parliament.

To the Hon. Melinda Pavey, MP,

I am a member of your Oxley electorate. As such I encourage you to vote “no” to the current abortion bill before the NSW state parliament.

The popular ideology behind abortion leads advocates of abortion to convince society that conceiving a child is the same as contracting a sexually transmitted disease. A “yes” vote would see the dehumanizing of an unborn human child by lending legitimacy to this ideology. Therefore, reducing an unborn child to a treatable ailment.

This bill, will, by all appearances, wrongfully legitimize this vile misconception, and industrialize the violent disruption of an unborn child’s life, denying them their right to life. No amount of ideological arguments from fanatics and the false doctrines spawned from them in favour of abortion, change the biological fact that abortion is the deliberate violent interruption of pregnancy. This is where women (and some men on behalf of women) demand the kind of freedom only God should own; the ability for an expectant mother to judge who is worthy of life and who isn’t. The God-like ability to decide who lives or dies, by encouraging the killing of an unborn child through ”miscarrying on demand”.

Under this shadow, abortion is as a matter of fact, another manifestation of lebensunwertes leben (The Nazi ideology of life [deemed] unworthy of life).
Although advocates of abortion use a healthcare pretence, may I remind you that “the Nazi group in charge of the actual killing in the gas chambers was called the General Welfare Foundation for Institutional Care…’ (Dean Stroud, 2013 ‘Preaching in Hitler’s Shadow: Sermons of Resistance’ Wm B. Eerdmans Publishing pp.132 & 136)

As summed up by anti-Nazi theologian Karl Barth:

‘he who destroys germinating life kills a man and thus ventures the monstrous thing of decreeing concerning the life and death of a fellow-man whose life is given by God and therefore, like his own, belongs to Him. He desires to discharge a divine office, or, even if not, he accepts responsibility for such discharge, by daring to have the last word on at least the temporal form of the life of his fellow-man. Those directly or indirectly involved cannot escape this responsibility.’ (CD.3:4:416)

Despite the claims of radical activists, particularly extreme feminists, children are not a parasite or a hindrance. Children are a gift. Give them the chance to live and become part of the future of our country.

These are strong, valid reasons for why I reject abortion. I humbly ask that you consider doing the same.

Sincerely,

Mr. Rod Lampard
########, NSW


©Rod Lampard, 2019

Correcting someone is no easy task. Correcting that someone who happens to be your own child, when they think they’ve ace’d a technique but haven’t, and the task can be downright painful.

When correcting a bad technique, it doesn’t matter how much planning is put into the delivery and tone, there is going to be drama because there’s no soft alternative to “you’re doing that the wrong way, here’s why.

Correcting a bad technique is nowhere as difficult as landing a jet on a short metal strip floating in the ocean, but I think the analogy works.

The plane is lined up with the runway, we have green lights flashing back at us, the approach looks good, flaps are down, and everyone’s happy. This is until the actual landing, when your approach doesn’t go as well as first imagined. The landing is sloppy, the plane slams down on the runway, but the hook grabs the cable and violently snaps everything safely into place. You walk away with bruises, mission complete.

Correction works in a similar way. It involves confrontation and conflict. Tears and frustration are an almost unavoidable part of the job. It’s better to be aware of this, and plan to counter the reaction by making room for tears and frustration, than getting caught in the wave of emotions that will leave you feeling like the worst parent in the world.

Correction held in balance with compassion, is a loving act. It’s better to address the incorrect technique now, than ignore it, and let our children think they’ve got it right. I’d prefer a little heat to come my way now, after I’ve corrected our homeschooling child’s musical technique, than stay silent out of fear of hurting their feelings and have to deal with their sense of betrayal later. Better a little frustration with me now, than betrayal and anger born out of embarrassment, when they go to perform using that musical skill, thinking it’s correct, only to be told by others it’s not.

What would be wrong is me not loving my children enough, to tell them where, and when they have gotten something wrong. It’s self-serving to stay silent; to act out of self-preservation for fear hurting their feelings or fear of entering into an uncomfortable conversation, because of the inevitable conflict attached.

Correcting my kids is one of the hardest parts of being a homeschool dad. I don’t like the task and loathe being the “bad cop”. However, by taking on Paul’s advice in Ephesians 4:15 and speaking the truth in love, I’m saying to my kids that I refuse to abandon them to the world, their mistakes, or to a life of avoidable failure. I’m showing them that I am fighting for them, not against them; that I will fight for them, even if it means saying “no” to them.

Correction develops resilience and character in both of us. This application of speaking truth in love transforms an awkward job into a learning opportunity; through the tears and frustration, we find a path towards setting up our homeschoolers for success.

Not every confrontation can be planned ahead in advance, this doesn’t have to mean that we are doomed to crash and burn as parents or home educators.

Going back to the plane analogy, have the courage to land, even when fear compels us to avoid the subject. Have the best approach possible and keep in mind the axiom, that any landing you can walk away from is a good one.


Photo by Spencer Imbrock on Unsplash

©Rod Lampard, 2019

Last weekend, ‘thugs for hire’ terrorized the town of Yuen Long, Hong Kong, beating up anti-extradition, pro-freedom, pro-Democracy protesters.

Two days ago, University of Toronto professor, Lynette H. Ong in an article for the Washington Post, noted that there were reports the “thugs for hire” were connected to organized crime, however Ong said that there was evidence to suggest ‘that the attacks were orchestrated by pro-Beijing forces, with one pro-Beijing lawmaker reportedly congratulating the attackers.’ [i]

Whether from a plausible deniability angle or open allegiance, authoritarian governments are historically known for outsourcing organized 3rd party mobs to do their bidding. The most famous being the Sturmabteilung (Nazi Storm Detachment/Troopers). According to Ong, it’s likely that “thugs for hire” offers the Communist regime an ‘expedient strategy to intimidate pro-Democracy protesters. This allows authorities to skirt responsibility for any violence that may take place.’ Ong continued, stating, ‘short of rolling in tanks, outsourced violence arguably may be the most effective means to ward of protesters.’ [ii]

Lily Kuo in the Guardian gave some geographical context, writing that Yeon long is ‘one of the more remote areas’ where pro-Democracy protesters ‘hadn’t planned to demonstrate’ against the extradition bill. This changed when ‘commuters returning from dinner, going to meet friends or some coming back from the pro-democracy rally in Central Hong Kong, were met by dozens of masked men in white T-shirts, armed with rattan rods (martial arts sticks) and other weapons’. [iii]

In the shadow of China’s incarceration of Church leaders, destruction of church buildings, and general persecution of Christians, including the Chinese Government’s reported reeducation camps where up to ‘one million Uighur Muslims’ have been detained, the concerns of pro-freedom, pro-Democracy protesters in Hong Kong appear justified.

According to Kuo, the change in law would ‘allow the extradition of suspects to mainland China [iv]; supporters say the amendments are key to ensuring the city doesn’t become a criminal refuge, but critics worry Beijing will use the law to extradite political opponents and others to China, where their legal protections cannot be guaranteed.’

The violence wasn’t just isolated to Hong Kong. On the 25th, pro-Beijing Chinese students clashed with pro-Hong Kong Chinese students during a protest on Brisbane’s, University of Queensland campus. The ABC described the clash as ‘four hour’ standoff between the two groups.

Alex Linder of Shanghaiist said that the standoff and subsequent ‘pushing and shoving’ began when pro-Beijing Chinese students ‘arrived blasting out China’s national anthem, chanting slogans, and later grabbing [anti-Communist] protesters signs and ripping them’. [v]

If Ong is right and the white shirts are “thugs hired” by the Communist regime it’s an escalation which reinforces the concerns of pro-democracy protesters. It’s doubtful that this well-worn authoritarian tactic of political intimidation will have the desired effect.

The events in Hong Kong on the weekend are also noteworthy for their similarity to Antifa. Semi-uniformed thugs wearing masks, rampaging against anyone wearing a MAGA hat, all reflect Antifa’s modus operandi – the stand out example being Antifa’s brutal assault on journalist, Andy Ngo, back in June. An event Quillette Magazine called ‘a wakeup call for authorities and journalists alike’, stating:

We are ‘hoping that our fellow journalists might awaken from the delusion that Antifa is a well-intentioned band of anti-fascists with a few bad apples sullying the cause. As Quillette reported last month, a simple statistical study serves to show that the journalists who cover Antifa most often and most energetically have turned their outlets into pro-Antifa propaganda organs. Indeed, this bias is so entrenched that some left-wing media responded to our report not with introspection, but with paranoid and maudlin claims that Quillette and its authors must be secretly in league with Antifa’s fascist enemies.’

If Antifa are true anti-fascists, where are they’re protests in solidarity with pro-Democracy Chinese demonstrators? Where is Antifa’s stand against real suffering under oppressive authoritarianism in countries such as Communist China, Venezuela, Iran, and North Korea?

As important as Ong’s tentative conclusions about pro-Beijing “white shirts” are, her conclusions also lead us to question Antifa’s origins, and backing. Are Antifa also “thugs for hire”? If so, who’s fitting the bill?


References:

[i] Ong, L.H, 2019. In Hong Kong, are ‘thugs for hire’ behind the attacks on protesters? Here’s what we know about these groups, Washington Post. Sourced 26th July, 2019

[ii] ibid, 2019

[iii] Kuo, L. 2019. All Hong Kongers are scared’: protests to widen as rural residents fight back, The Guardian, Sourced 26th July 2019

[iv] Kuo, L. & Yu, V. 2019 What are the Hong Kong protests about?’ The Guardian, Sourced 26th July, 2019

[v] Linder, A. 2019. ‘Chinese students interrupt pro-Hong Kong rally at Australian university, chaos ensues’. Shanghaiist, Sourced 26th July, 2019.

Photo credit: TYRONE SIU/REUTERS

Originally published on Caldron Pool, 27th July, 2019

©Rod Lampard, 2019

 

Activists trying to rally Australians around the idea of Indigenous Australian representation in Parliament have tied their argument in knots. Their message is vague, and their reliance on the simplistic slogan, “Indigenous voice” provides little clarity about what direction they’re advocating Australians take.

As a result the push for an “Indigenous voice” has been interpreted as a one of two things: a) call for another advisory group, or b) a call for an entirely new governing body. [i]

The latter can only be interpreted as a push for a ‘third branch of Government’, and the former, as a push to return to a system like the failed Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission (ATSIC) advisory committee established in 1989. If the former, why isn’t the new advisory group, National Indigenous Australians Agency (NIAA) good enough?

If you’re not familiar with the history, ATSIC replaced NAC, which was established in 1980. NAC replaced the NACC which was established in 1973; all had the express purpose of ‘advising the government on Indigenous affairs policy.’ [ii]

The aim was to have a committee made up of Indigenous Australians who were democratically elected by Indigenous Australians, to provide a platform for specific Indigenous Australian representation.

Why? Perception drives demand. General elections aren’t seen as doing enough. It’s assumed that the collective vote of Indigenous Australians is so small, that an Indigenous Australian “voice” in how Australia is governed is rarely, if ever, heard. The inclusive constitutional democratic vote made by ALL Australians of voting age, is seen to only serve the non-Indigenous Australian majority, thus the assumed necessity for a specific ethnic advisory committee such as NACC, NAC and ATSIC.

In 2005, ATSIC was discontinued by both the LNP and Labor because of corruption. ATSIC was no longer functional or practical when it came to providing Indigenous Australians with the most effective help.

Criticisms of ATSIC, not connected to corruption, suggest that activist calls for an “Indigenous voice” are in fact more than just calls for another advisory group.

Before ATSIC’s demise, it was attacked  from within the Indigenous community, for not having enough authority. The perception was that ‘advice fell on deaf ears’; that ATSIC ‘produced a white bureaucracy because it couldn’t employ its own staff’, it was over-regulated, ‘not properly representative’, and didn’t have enough women on the board. [iii]

This rebounds against some criticisms from now ex-Liberal M.P. Christopher Pyne, who in 2003, called ATSIC a ‘gravy train’.

Pyne argued that ‘a lack of accountability has turned ATSIC into a bureaucratic, inefficient organization that squanders taxpayer funds…By failing to confront ATSIC’s problems, advocates of indigenous interests have reinforced the talkback-radio caricature of Aborigines as rorters of the system. If Aboriginal interests are to be advanced, ATSIC cannot continue to escape scrutiny. While the ATSIC gravy train rolls on, ordinary Aborigines continue to suffer.’ [iv]

The problems with ATSIC, the vague message and reliance simplistic slogans from advocates for an “Indigenous voice”, should intensify concern about what advocates want an “Indigenous voice” to look like. We can add to these concerns any proposal to enshrine ethnicity into Australia’s constitution under the term “Indigenous voice”; as is proposed by Minister for Indigenous Australians, Ken Wyatt and the Referendum Council.

Daniel Wild of the IPA rightly red flagged the notion, stating:

“…91% of Australians voted in 1967 to change the Constitution to remove references to race. This was an important step towards achieving equality for indigenous Australians. It is disappointing that now, 52 years later, both major political parties want to put race back into the Constitution. Indigenous Australians and non-Indigenous Australians are all first and foremost Australians who share a common country, legal system, and destiny. A ‘voice’ is not able to represent only one segment of the Australian population, because all policy decisions apply to all Australians regardless of their race.” [v]

Indigenous Australians already have a higher representation in the official Australian calendar, than any other ethnicity. Eleven events enshrined in the national calendar, including a satisfactory level of Indigenous history taught as part of the Australian Curriculum proves that Indigenous Australians have a voice.

For example:

3 February – Anniversary of the Apology (2008)
21 March – National Close the Gap Day
26 May – National Sorry Day
27 May – Anniversary of the 1967 Referendum
27 May – 3 June – Reconciliation Week
3 June – Mabo Day
7-14 July  – NAIDOC Week
4 August – National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children’s Day
9 August – International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples
4 September – Indigenous Literacy Day
13 September – Anniversary of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People

This list doesn’t include Ken Wyatt’s Ministry position, which gives indigenous Australians representation, or welcome to country ceremonies. Nor does this list include Indigenous Australian flags flown next to Australian flags on, or near, every Government building. In addition, this list doesn’t include the specialized Government programs only accessible to Indigenous Australians such as Abstudy, nor does it include privatised ethno-centric schemes which specialize in only serving Indigenous Australians by providing further assistance when buying a home.

It’s an enormous credit to every Australian that our Indigenous neighbours already have a voice like this in our community.

We as a nation already share the responsibility of giving above and beyond to those vulnerable in our community. This includes giving Indigenous Australians the tools needed for them to liberate and launch themselves from Government dependency into self-sufficiency.

So why are there calls for an ‘Indigenous voice’ when it’s obvious Indigenous Australians have one?

The naysayers who spread the toxin of white guilt and white privilege want more. They prefer we sign on to a Marx-esk revision of history, redefining history with terms like “first nations” instead of tribes, all in order to bolster their attacks on Australia Day, in support of the dubious term “invasion day”.

To the naysayers, we as a nation aren’t carrying our fair share of responsibility for our Indigenous neighbours. To them Indigenous recognition doesn’t go far enough, even though Indigenous Australians have the highest (and only ethnic) representation on the national calendar, and as an ethnic group now have their own ministerial department.

The naysayers forget that individual responsibility trumps government programs. It’s true that we may need to reform these programs, but we don’t need more of them.

We certainly don’t need a new third tier of the federal government; one where membership is solely based on ethnicity, tribe, dialect, melanin, blood and soil, and not on merit or election via the constitutional democracy process that gives a voice to all Australians.

As said the great ANZAC, General John Monash, who went to India, in a clear refusal to not entertain those trying to get him to head a Communist-inspired coup in Australia during the 1930’s:

”…Depend upon it, the only hope for Australia is the ballot box, and an educated electorate.” (Roland Perry, Monash. 2004:509.)

Indigenous Australians have recognition. They are already an integral part of the Australian voice and cultural identity.

Beware of those who say otherwise.


References:

[i] Bennett, S. & Pratt, A. Current Issues Brief no. 4 2004-2005: The End of ATSIC and the future administration of Indigenous affairs, Parliament of Australia.

[ii] Anthony, T. 2010. Learning from ATSIC, The ABC.

[iii] This seems to have been confirmed by The ABC, in an article from Thalia Anthony called “Learning from ATSIC” (2010).

Thalia pointed out that since the disbanding of ATSIC, ‘lobbyists for Indigenous representation at a national level have been drawing up blue prints for a national Indigenous body. At the fore has been the proposal by the Australian Human Rights Commission for a National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples in Our future in our hands. The Commission’s proposal consists of a National Congress, which constitutes 128 delegates from across Australia. Some delegates will be appointed based on merit and other will be elected from Indigenous organizations. The Congress will then elect a National Executive of six part-time members and two full-time Chairs, with a requirement of 50 per cent female representation. In addition, an Ethics Council of senior Indigenous peoples to oversee the work of the National Congress.’

[iv] Pyne, C. 2003. Why the ATSIC gravy train must be derailed, The Age.

[v] Wild. D. & Begg. M, 2019. Race has no place in the Constitution

©Rod Lampard, 2019

“Love is love” is slogan that assuages all sexual sin.

If “love is love” is the new moral standard, then adultery, promiscuity, bestiality, and number of other sexual sins are not only justifiable, they are permissible.

This is because “love is love” falsely elevates sexual sin to a morally superior position, where anyone who stands opposed to the assumed “love is love” standard, is belittled as “unloving and immoral”.

Heterosexuals who spout “love is love” know that in the current climate, “love is love” covers a multitude of sexual sin, so why not jump on the bandwagon? Especially when embracing the slogan, enables them to pursue an anything goes ethos.

In the light of this, it’s easy enough to see how the widespread support and use of the “love is love” slogan, isn’t as altruistic or as selfless as it seems. From this perspective, heterosexual support for SSM, and homosexuality, in general, is pure self-centeredness.*

In the words of psychiatrist Karl Menninger, ‘the lure of profit exceeds the prestige of prophet.’ [i]

Pornography also contributes. Many a breakup and the continuing dysfunction of marriages can be attributed to the mythic, false and distorted view that pornography creates in men, about women and sex.

What’s more, these points uncover just how asinine the “love is love” slogan is.

Love cannot define itself.  Love is defined by God. Love comes from who God is. He cannot be anything, or anyone other than who He is.

The very fact that God is love means we cannot say in reverse that love is God. The noun precedes the verb, not the reverse.

Love is defined by the One who exists outside of humanity. His love enters time and space, and graciously seeks out relationship with us.

Love is defined by the One who comes to humanity from outside itself, as both grace and command. God is love and He presents knowledge about Himself to humanity, through His covenant with Israel, and by His revelation in Jesus Christ.

Love is defined by the One who seeks human response, the One who builds life, and gives order to creation; the One who doesn’t abandon His creation to its own inclinations, or the terror of the abyss. In the words of John, ‘we love because He first loved us.’ (1 John 4:19, ESV).

This is the ‘sovereignty of His love’, which doesn’t ‘exercise mechanical force, to move the immobile from without, [or] to rule over puppets or slaves, but rather to triumph in faithful servants and friends, not in their overthrow, but in their obedience, in their own free decision for Him.’ [i]

The ‘sovereignty of God’s love’ liberates humanity from subjective, abstract and artificial alternatives. We are emancipated from the burden of the oppressor, who defines love by whatever he or she decides it should or could be.

To borrow from G.K. Chesterton in Orthodoxy, those who seek to define love by itself, seek the moon, and its morbid light. Then in confusion, ponder about why it doesn’t produce life. Leading G.K.C to conclude: hence, ‘the moon is the mother of lunatics and has given them all her name.’

The individual who jettisons the ‘the sovereignty of God’s love’ from love inevitably asserts a definition of love made in their own image and desires.

Under the “love is love” slogan, no one is allowed to challenge this definition. Any reasoned disagreement outside this abstract idea of love, is measured as an act of hatred, betrayal and treachery – anti-love.

Therefore, to assert that God is love is to enter into a revolt against it.

As a revolt it asserts that love is not Lordless. Love is not meaningless or without purpose. Love is defined by what God does, and what God does comes from who God is [ii].

Love cannot define itself any more than the slave or abused child can define freedom. The sin of others has distorted their view of the world. Lies replace truth. They’re been taught to believe the abuse he or she receives at the hands of their oppressor is normal. In this way, “love is love” fails the oppressed and gives legitimacy to the oppressor. Love that defines itself negates itself.

Alternatively, the ‘sovereignty of God’s love’ encompasses both His “yes” and “no”. God’s “yes” to the genuinely oppressed, raises humanity up to challenge the claims of the oppressor. In this way, God’s firm “yes” and loving “no” to the oppressed and the oppressor are an outworking of His sovereignty. Love is not Lordless.

That, God is love, means love cannot be love without God at its center.

Likewise, human freedom grounded in love cannot be true freedom without the One who loves in freedom. It cannot be true freedom without the ‘God who frees man and woman to be free for Him and free for each other.’ [iii]

Without God, love becomes a cheap commodity, whose meaning is traded and swapped for whatever sells best. Love is downgraded to emotion, sex, money and the satisfying of an individual’s selfish desires.

“Love is love” is newspeak; a tool used to uphold human claims to ownership of what love is. Love is then determined to be anything the oppressor wants it to be.

Roger Scruton helps to brings this into clearer focus, noting the Communist practice of controlling language and meaning, under ‘the communist conviction that you could change reality by changing words […]The purpose of communist Newspeak, has been to protect ideology from the malicious attacks of real things.’ [iv]

For example, if the slogan “love is love” is taken to its logical end, aren’t the obscenely wealthy, or the national socialists justified in their love for money, nation or race, and to hell with the consequences?

If “love is love” justifies lifestyle choices, such as its promotion as a legitimate argument for same-sex marriage. Then doesn’t “love is love” justify servitude to a Führer, the State, and his/her ‘ism, and the reign of terror that often follows?

In light of this, aren’t “love is love” advocates, especially those who protest crony capitalists, who love their money, in the end just hypocrites selling something no one should ever want to buy?

Under this shadow, “love is love” is lordless, abstract, confused and empty. “Love is love” is a cover-up, and like all self-justification, “love is love” is proven to be a lie. [v] It cannot sustain a working definition of what love actually is.

The first cause of change in attitudes towards homosexuality and same-sex marriage is the erosion of heterosexual marriage. This erosion includes the downgrade, and dismissal of Biblical theology which asserts that God is love, and that under ‘the sovereignty of His love’, ‘woman is free for man, man is free for woman, and together both are free for God’. This comes by way of the covenant fulfilled in The Gospel, where, in His costly reconciling of humanity to Himself in Jesus Christ, God proves who and what love is.

“Love is love” is no substitute for this. It is no substitute for the One who was, and is, and is to come.

Maranatha.


References:

[i] Menninger, K. 1973. Whatever Became of Sin? Hawthorn Books Inc.

[ii] Barth, K.1942 CD II/II: The Election of Jesus Christ  Hendrickson Publishers p.178

[ii] ibid.

[iii] Barth, K. 1951 CD III.IV The doctrine of creation Hendrickson Publishers pp.170-180

[iv] Scruton, R. 2015. Fools, Frauds & Firebrands: Thinkers of the New Left Bloomsbury Publishing, (p.8)

[v] Torrance, T.F. 2008. Incarnation: The Person & Life of Christ, IVP Academic

* I don’t doubt that there are sincere believers in the slogan, the evidence provided by James, however, suggests that such believers might be few and far between.

(Originally published on The Caldron Pool, 12th July, 2019)

Photo by James Lee on Unsplash

©Rod Lampard, 2019

Of all the console games released in the past year, ‘Subnautica’ is the only standout that, I can say with confidence, fits the homeschool friendly category.

Subnautica’ is best described as a science-fiction version of the ‘Swiss Family Robinson’ and ‘20,000 Leagues Under the Sea’. The game itself is structured around survival, and creativity. Struggling against the aquatic environment makes up a large part of the interactivity. This includes crafting, exploration, and making use of the alien, aquatic fauna and flora.

Subnautica’s’ free play style allows the player to stay as long as they want to on the planet. In my opinion, coming from a home education perspective, following the storyline is the better approach. I teamed up with my two youngest homeschoolers, taking turns at moving through each aspect of the game on survival mode. It took us about two weeks (14 evenings and one Saturday) of casual game time to complete.

My application of ‘Subnautica’ for homeschool involved teamwork, planning and an informal round-table application of ideas. We discussed our approach, thought through all the possible ways that would help us solve dilemmas. Most often these were dilemmas we’d caused for our character, by overlooking an important bulkhead, running too low on food, battery life; right down to being too far away from a water source.

Another major educational bonus is the technology available in the game. ‘Subnautica’ begins with a basic escape pod. Players build up from there to complete an underwater sea base (or bases, depending on how big or small you want to go), with Seamoth, Prawn Suit and the mighty, home-away-from-home submarine called the Cyclops – or as we affectionately called ours, The GSS Ned Land (GSS, Grateful Soldier’s Ship).

The underwater geological structures, flora and fauna ultimately make this game the complete package. Underwater plant life is luminous, and provides a range of applications. The sea life is just as varied. This includes a cuttlefish pet, which can be hatched from an egg later in the game.

Some of the downsides of ‘Subnautica’ included the absence of any weather mechanic. Apart from the day and night cycle, and a few clouds, the sun shines all the time. There are also glitches when diving into deeper parts of the ocean. These can be frustrating, but are easy to spot and just as easy to avoid. There aren’t as many clues, making the gamer more dependent on wiki forums than other games.

The storyline also rests on evolutionary dogma, without qualification, and has one very small questionable PDA voiceover that wasn’t necessary to the storyline. Due to the dark, unknown areas that have to be explored, and because these areas are populated by surprising predators, the storyline isn’t suited to kids under 9 years of age. This doesn’t mean that the game is unplayable for that demographic. Creative mode still has a lot to offer.

In the end, we triumphed in our struggle, launching back into space on the Neptune, leaving our marooned existence behind, and taking with us the data PDA’s of survivors, whose disappearance was as mysterious, and intriguing to investigate, as the planet itself. Overall, ‘Subnautica’ is an educational, and enjoyable underwater action adventure, well suited for parents who engage with their kids on all technological platforms.


[Disclaimer: I received no remuneration for this review of any kind].

Official Website

©Rod Lampard, 2019

Under current defamation law, social media users can be held legally responsible for third-party content on any post they make.

The guiding rule seems to be: You posted it. You incited it. Ergo, you’re responsible for it.

In other words, anything someone posts on my timeline or writes in the comments section, that is deemed offensive, defamatory or “hate speech” could end in a lawsuit.

For those who only have a private Facebook account, there is currently no mechanic to prevent this from happening. The only real preventative measure is to keep an eye on comments or keep your friends and comments list small, simple and drama free.

For those who choose to have a public Facebook page, there are two ways to solve the problem before it becomes one. First, Facebook’s mechanism for pages allows content providers to filter (block) certain words. The second way is to have dedicated moderators screen every comment.

Anti-defamation and anti-discrimination laws are great servants, as long as they remain a shield. However, these laws make for a terrible sword in the hands of an opportunist who views everyone not in agreement with them as a traitor, hater or “literal Nazi”.

Defamation laws weren’t written with social media in mind. David Rolph, professor of law at UNSW, highlighted this in his piece for Sydney Morning Herald, where he advocated reform, stating that ‘the last consideration of defamation law by the Australian Law Reform Commission was almost 40 years ago, decades before the advent of the internet.’ (SMH, 2018)

Rolph also mentioned the need to ensure a balance between upholding freedom of speech, and policing false speech; ensuring that people don’t have their reputations unfairly damaged, and can find ‘effective redress, through last resort financial compensation, or more easier remedies of retractions, corrections, and take-down orders’ for online content that is clearly false or blatantly misleading.

The Australian took to an editorial last week to call upon the government to ‘overhaul defamation laws’ after a recent supreme court ruling looks set to establish a precedent, making ‘media companies legally responsible for comments made by other people on the company’s social media pages.

In essence, companies with a public Facebook page are liable for third-party content on their pages. The editorial noted, however, that ‘moderating, blocking or hiding comments, is untenable because of the volume of material that works its way through pubic pages, and the amount of resources it would take to do so; and even though Facebook hasn’t provided a mechanic which allows for comments to be turned off, Facebook isn’t held responsible.’ (The Australian, 2019)

In a recent case related to this, conservative Facebook page, Political Posting Mumma, administrated by mum of four, Marijke Rancie, was sued and pressured into agreeing to a large financial settlement out of court, because of third party content on her Facebook page.

While some third party comments were obviously wrong, and defamatory, Marijke’s original post and comment wasn’t intended to be so. Despite this, and the fact that Facebook doesn’t have a disable comments section, Marijke was, under current defamation law, considered liable for the comments made by others on her Facebook page.

This was confirmed twice by BuzzFeed who cited the plaintiff, Adele Moleta, saying that ‘she was defamed by multiple (200) comments on the post and that Marijke is, for legal purposes, the publisher of those comments’. (BuzzFeed, 2018)

In a disproportionate response, apparently designed to intimidate Marijke, Moleta was backed up by a ‘lawyer on a no-win, no-fee basis, and two pro-bono barristers, one of whom is a QC’ to fight her case against Marijke.

Those looking to make an example of Marijke, because of her outspoken “no” against Same-sex marriage, concerns about the ‘Safe Schools’ program, and concerns about teaching LGBT ideology being given centre stage in schools, found a reason, under current defamation laws concerning third-party content, to do so.

It’s worth noting that while BuzzFeed acknowledges the alleged pain and suffering caused to Moleta by Marijke, BuzzFeed has, since December 2018, posted four articles by Sainty Lane, revisiting the cause of that alleged pain and suffering in minute detail.

Lane also published an article this week discussing the need to vet comments, referring to the same court ruling as the editorial from the Australian.

Lane confirms the problem of defamation laws and third party content, yet gives no mention of the case against Marijke. Even though, Marjike was sued under the premise that her Facebook page was a media company.

Lane also acknowledged the difficulty in policing third party comments, stating that there is ‘no official way to turn off comments’ [i] on Facebook, citing solicitor, Hannah Marhsall as saying “I feel like the legal system and the internet are on this collision path. And what’s going to happen next is really hard to figure.” (BuzzFeed, 2019)

One of the biggest challenges to any reform of defamation law is the contentious term, “hate speech”. This is broadly defined by Facebook as anything that is

 ‘a direct attack on people based on what we call protected characteristics — race, ethnicity, national origin, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, caste, sex, gender, gender identity, and serious disease or disability. We also provide some protections for immigration status. We define attack as violent or dehumanizing speech, statements of inferiority, or calls for exclusion or segregation.’ (FB, 2019)

Facebook provides no explanation of the latter, and seems to be content with filing it in under the banner of “hate speech”.

Social media companies appear vague and unconcerned about users being sued for defamation because of third party comments made on their own social media posts. These companies also appear to be aloof when providing an objective rounded definition of what ‘dehumanizing speech’, ‘statements of inferiority’, ‘calls for exclusion’, or ‘segregation’ are.

If dehumanizing speech is “hate speech”, why hasn’t Facebook addressed Leftists who use pejorative terms for Christians on their platform? Why does Facebook allow comments that falsely equate Donald Trump with Hitler, or falsely equate any person who gives Trump a cautious “yes”, a Nazi, homophobe, Islamophobe or racist?

And as Republican Senator, Dan Crenshaw said to Google this week, ‘we fought the Nazis. It makes sense to conclude that by you calling a person a Nazi, you’re inciting violence against them.’

Though the term is widespread, no one really seems to know what “hate speech” actually is; it’s as vague and asinine as the phrases “woke”, and “love is love”. [ii]

From Marijke’s example, The Australian, and BuzzFeed’s Saintly Lane’s own observations, it’s easy to see how ambiguous terms like “hate speech”, and unreformed, complex defamation laws, could be used to the advantage of anyone wanting to justify forcing conservatives and Christians out of the public sphere. These could also be used to the advantage of anyone wanting to punish Christians because of perceived wrongs, or because the Spirit and Truth that Christians uphold, does not align with whatever, and whomever, the zeitgeist (spirit of the age) tell us all to worship.

Some LGBT lobby groups already police speech, seeking to punish people for using “incorrect” gender pronouns or for misgendering someone who identifies as LGBT. With the large amount of resources and financial backing for LGBT lobby groups, it would be naïve to think that surveillance of high profile Christians and conservatives on social media doesn’t happen.

Chris Tomlinson, from Brietbart, reported a case this week, where a 52 year old Swedish man, who was an administrator for Facebook group, ‘Stand up for Sweden’, was convicted of “hate” comments made by other Facebook users. The page was reported to police by an ‘online social justice activist group, called Näthatsgranskaren, which has been touted as being responsible for a rise in investigations and prosecutions for online hate speech in Sweden.’ (Breitbart, 2019)

Dialogue is the higher ground in conflict resolution. Lawsuits are a last resort. No one should be bullied, sued or intimidated for speaking truth in love, or be reprimanded and silenced for sharing their faith. Nor should they be punished for providing fair criticism, or for sharing their concerns about socio-political issues with others online.

Continue to speak boldly, and with grace, but until defamation laws have been reformed, and until Social Media companies improve their user interfaces, vet comments because if third party content can and be used against you, it will be.


References:

Rolph, D. 2018. Australia’s defamation laws are ripe for overhaul, Sydney Morning Herald, 9th Dec. 2018 Sourced, 2nd July, 2019

Sainty, L. 2018. One of the faces of the SSM “no” campaign is being sued over a Facebook post, BuzzFeed 20th December, 2018. Sourced 2nd July, 2019.

Saintly, L. 2019. How a Queer woman took on a prominent conservative activist and won $100,000, BuzzFeed, 18th June, 2019. Sourced, 2nd July, 2019.

Saintly, L. 2019. “Political Posting Mumma” has issued a rare apology over comments on one of her Facebook posts, BuzzFeed 24th January, 2019. Sourced 2nd July, 2019.

Saintly, L. 2019. The Woman behind “PPM” has Apologised after being sued over a Facebook Post, BuzzFeed, 4th June, 2019. Sourced, 2nd July, 2019.

Saintly, L. 2019. This Court ruling on Facebook comments is a huge headache for  the Media, BuzzFeed, 28th June, 2019. Sourced 2nd July 2019.

Tomlinson, C. 2019. Swedish Man Convicted of hate comments he did not make, 28th June, 2019. Sourced, 2nd July 2019.

[i] The Facebook mechanic for pages is useful, but their user interface is ultimately useless to anyone looking to moderate a page by themselves. Comments are piled into one notification, and each individual comment has to be viewed in order to see them. If you have 100 plus comments every post, it’s the equivalent of a fulltime job just to keep up. Even turning comments off, if that function was available would cause problems. This is because comments are an important part of the Facebook algorithm when it comes to bumping posts on newsfeeds.

[ii] Back in February, a 70 year old Swedish man was charged with “hate speech” for posting on Facebook that “Somalis are lazy”.

Photo by Wesley Tingey on Unsplash

Originally posted on The Caldron Pool, 3rd July, 2019.

©Rod Lampard, 2019

Eric Abetz gave one of the most important short speeches in Australian political history this week. Yet few Australians would know he even spoke a word, let alone know who Abetz is or what he stands for.

Eric Abetz was born in Germany in 1958, and came with his family to Australia in 1961.

In the 1980s, Abetz worked his way through ‘University as a part-time taxi driver, and farmhand. Once completing his law degree, he went on to practice law in Hobart’s northern suburbs’. [i]

He joined the Liberal Party in 1976 and was appointed to the Senate in February, 1994.

During the Howard era, he worked in various ministerial departments, later becoming Leader of the Opposition in the Senate. After Malcolm Turnbull’s coup against Tony Abbott in 2015, Abetz took a back seat, where he remained a consistent voice for Western Civilisation and the healthy traditions built on a Biblical Christian foundation, such as classical liberalism and freedom, and its correlative individual rights and responsibilities. [ii]

Two years ago, the L.N.P Senator for Tasmania was among the few LNP politicians brave enough to give his “no”, to the then L.N.P Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnball’s, rush to push changes to the Marriage Act into law.

Abetz presented a well reasoned explanation of the problems associated with shredding up the traditional concept a marriage, by surrendering that concept to subjectivism and the insecure and ever-changing, progressive (and increasingly Marxist) understanding of gender, history, theology, society, ethnicity and culture. He publicly lamented the changes, stating with conviction, “it’s a change I regret for the sake of our children”. [iii]

In that same speech, Abetz was right to call out the ‘Safe Schools program’ as “Orwellian”. He was right to call out corporate overreach, as big business marched with contempt for those in their employ, who refused to raise the rainbow flag, or march under it, during the Same Sex marriage survey. He was right to warn Australians that the SSM bill “wasn’t a simple amendment”, accusing the bill of going “a lot further than that which was approved by the Australian people” [iv]. Abetz was right to concede, that the “challenge of parliament is (was) to deliver on both same-sex marriage and the full protection of our freedoms.”[v]

Two years on, with high profile cases such as the firing of Israel Folau, the bullying of Margaret Court, the car bombing of the ACL headquarters, and the public head butting of ex-Prime Minister Tony Abbott, we can say that the challenge to protect freedom, is now a challenge the Australian parliament has failed to meet.

Alongside his speech on the Same-Sex Marriage bill, the Senator’s words this week are a reminder to the Australian parliament of its dismal failure to uphold its determined commitment to preserve freedom, on balance with its corrosive placating of Leftism and LGBT ideology.

Once again Senator Abetz stood up for ALL Australians, stating,

“Today, our society is in grave danger of losing this rich heritage, together with its attendant benefits. That is why I have taken this, the first opportunity the 46th Parliament has afforded me, to make a plea to defend our freedoms. To fail to do so is to squander the legacy bequeathed to us…”

Once again, the Senator was right when saying that,

“In an exercise of Orwellian proportions, these sports stars were targeted for exclusion in the name of inclusion and discriminated against in the name of tolerance. You don’t have to agree with Izzy to agree with his right to express his religious views, or his wife’s right to back him.”

The Senator then outlined why the Folau precedent a threat the freedom.

“Today it’s Izzy’s religious views and his wife’s loyal support. Yesterday it was the Professor Ridd’s scientific views. Tomorrow it might be somebody’s political view. The next might be someone’s environmental view.”
This is a fight for freedom of speech which impacts us all. The government must, and I am confident will, respond to the expressions of the quiet Australians on 18 May and ensure our freedoms, which were bought with the highest of prices, are not sacrificed and squandered on the altar of political correctness. As Sir Robert Menzies so articulately encapsulated in ‘We believe’: ‘We believe in the great human freedoms: to worship, to think, to speak.’”

Senator Abetz’s words are a welcome change to the sleight of hand drivel that often keeps the “quiet Australian” at arm’s length from Australia’s bureaucratic caste.

The Senator’s speech is also in stark contrast to Greens politician, Adam Bandt, who yesterday posted a call to “fight for the Welfare State” on Twitter:

“This LNP gov wants to destroy the welfare state & we need to stop them. We need a big movement that fights for services, not tax cuts, and that won’t cave in to the Libs when it matters. Be part of the fight for a more equal world.”

Instead of advocating for more laws, less freedom and bigger government, Bandt, like many of Australia’s public servants need to get “woke” to what is unraveling freedom and address the corrosion of it.

In the words of Augusto Zimmerman, ‘we need a restoration of freedom’s bill, not a religious discrimination act, one that restores free speech and freedom of association for all, a law against the incitement of religious violence would also do more good than one against religious discrimination’. [vi]

We need less laws and more clarity on tried and true old ones, not more. Prime Minister Scott Morrison should begin by removing or reforming, the contentious 18C amendment to anti-discrimination law. Then insist that a basic understanding of civics, theology and history (without the biased Marxist lens) be essential to a holistic high school education.

In failing in their commitment to preserve freedom, politicians are showing Australians that the well-funded and resourceful relationship between public servants and Leftism comes first.

In failing in their commitment to preserve freedom, as was promised during the Same-Sex marriage survey, Australia’s public servants are showing the rest of us, that they would rather march under a different flag and culture, to that of the Anzacs, whose sacrifice handed us a mandate to preserve the healthy traditions that they so bravely laid down their lives to protect.

It’s this point of contact with history that gives Tasmanian Senator’s speech gravitas:

“Freedom is worth defending. Freedom is worth nurturing. Freedom is worth championing. As our national anthem extols, ‘Australians all let us rejoice, For we are young and free’. Let’s keep it that way.”

Video:

https://www.facebook.com/SenatorAbetz/videos/2274673139509493/


References:

[i] Abetz, E. About Eric, Abetz.com.au Sourced 7th July, 2019.

[ii] ibid, 2019

[iii] Abetz, E. 2017. Speech to the Senate – Marriage Bill, 27th November, 2017. Sourced 7th July, 2019.

[iv] ibid, 2017

[v] ibid, 2017

[vi] Zimmerman, A. 2019. We need a restoration of freedom’s bill, not a religious discrimination act.  The Spectator Australia, 3rd July, 2019. Sourced, 7th July, 2019.

Full transcript to Speech to the Senate  in Support of Freedom of Speech.

Originally posted on The Caldron Pool, 8th July, 2019.

©Rod Lampard, 2019

Nike’s decision to pull a special edition of Air Max shoes featuring the ‘Betsy Ross’ Flag, used by Revolutionaries, during the 1776, American war of Independence, is shallow and proves that social justice warriors are hypocrites.

Reasons for the recall vary. The BBC reported, that Nike recalled the shoes because of ‘complaints about the use of an old US flag embraced by white nationalists’. The BBC righty pointed out, that American Nazi sympathizers (German American Bund) used the flag during the 1930’s. However, the Bund also used the Stars and Stripes. Leaving unanswered the question of how and why this makes the 1776, ‘Betsy Ross’ flag a symbol of racism.

The Nazis used the eagle, the slogan ‘Gott mit uns’ (God is with us), drank water, drove cars, flew planes, used electricity and had their own cinema. Context matters. Just because the Nazis drank water, doesn’t make drinking water racist. Borrowing the BBC’s logic in trying to justify the decision, we may as well say, water is racist. Get woke and boycott it.

The Wall Street Journal took a more direct approach, reporting that Nike’s decision was based on NFL star-turned-activist, ‘Colin Kaepernick, who told the company it shouldn’t sell a shoe with a symbol that he and others consider offensive.’

Not everyone is happy with Nike’s bizarre decision. As the Daily Wire’s Emily Zanotti pointed out, the shoes were in the stores ready to go for the July 4th celebrations, leaving customers confused.

African-American Podcaster and ‘Grace to You’, theologian, Darrell Bernard Harrison took to Facebook, calling it a ‘dust up’. In a lengthy post Harrison criticized the hypocrisy saying

‘the Betsy Ross flag was openly displayed during both of Barack Obama’s inaugurations—both of them. But all of a sudden, that same flag is symbolic of systemic racism? See, this is why I don’t take black liberals seriously. The Betsy Ross flag was of no significance to them whatsoever when the White House was occupied by someone who looks like them. ’

Candace Owens and The Daily Wire also pushed back on both Nike and its supporters by reminding people that ‘a full month of LGBT celebrations MUST be recognized everywhere (even on your UberApp) – but even one day, or one pair of sneakers celebrating America is too much’

 

In response to the Nike recall, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey (Rep) withdrew from an agreement with the company arguing that it,

“…has bowed to the current onslaught of political correctness and historical revisionism, it is a shameful retreat for the company. American businesses should be proud of our country’s history, not abandoning it.” (Ducey, Twitter)

Most major news outlets have widely publicized the fact that Nike was offered financial incentives that would see around 500 jobs created in the city of Goodyear.

500 potential jobs in Goodyear, Arizona, gone, not because of racism, but because of a guilty-by-association subjective rule, applied by Social Justice Warrior activists who fight racism, by viewing everything, and anyone, through a racist lens.

In this case the poor become spectators, sidelined. All while those who claim to fight on their behalf, squabble over a piece of material that is now considered offensive because it was “once seen being displayed by white nationalists”.

The loss of these jobs won’t affect Kaepernick. He enjoys a multi-million dollar deal with Nike. Add onto this, a share of a multi-million dollar settlement from ‘a lawsuit that alleged the league’s 32 owners had conspired to keep them out of football due to their role in leading player national anthem protests.’ (Fox Business, 2019)

Kaepernick, similar to that of Democratic-Socialist, Orcazio-Cortez’s opposition to Amazon setting up in New York, doesn’t seem all that interested in helping raise people out of poverty by providing them with employment opportunities. Just like the very thing they claim to be fighting against, they choose to use symbolism and gestures to rule the day.

There is no justice in this, and the hypocrisy couldn’t be any more blatant.

The recall of Air Max shoes featuring the ‘Betsy Ross’ Flag is a storm in a tea-cup. It’s either a master stroke of marketing genius to promote the product (which is now in high demand), or it’s further proof that virtue signalling elites are more interested in keeping their names in the paper, than putting their hand to the grindstone, where they can help others, help themselves.


References:

BBC, Nike loses factory aid as ‘racist trainer’ row intensifies, 3rd July, 2019.

Gage, J.  AOC blew Amazon out of New York in 2019 over Tax breaks but demanded  one for herself in 2012, The Washington Examiner, 16th April, 2019. Sourced, 3rd July, 2019.

Khadeeja Safdar and Andrew Beaton,  Nike Nixes ‘Betsy Ross Flag’ Sneaker After Colin Kaepernick Intervenes,  WSJ. 1st July, 2019. Sourced 3rd July, 2019.

Barrabi, T. NFL Paid Kaepernick, Reid under $10M to settle collusion lawsuit: Report, Fox Business, 21st March, 2019. Sourced, 3rd July, 2019.

Prestigiacomo, A. Arizona Gov Makes Major Announcement After Nike Pulls American Flag Shoe At Colin Kaepernick’s Behest, Daily Wire, 2nd July, 2019. Sourced, 3rd July, 2019.

Zanotti, E. Nike Pulls American Flag Sneaker After Complaint From Colin Kaepernick, Daily Wire, 1st July, 2019. Sourced, 3rd July, 2019.

Originally posted on The Caldron Pool, 5th July, 2019.

©Rod Lampard, 2019

An alleged Google email leaked to investigative journalist organization Project Veritas, claims to show Google employee, Liam Hopkins, labeling PragerU, Jordan Peterson, Ben Shapiro among others, as Nazis.

The Washington Times reported that the message was part of an ‘apparent chain to the company’s transparency and ethics group’.

The alleged email from within Google read:

“Today it is often 1 or 2 steps to nazis, if we understand that PragerU, Jordan Peterson, Ben Shapiro et al are nazis using the dog whistles you mention in step 1 […] I can receive these recommendations regardless of what I’m looking at, and I have recorded thousands of internet users sharing the same experience.” (see below)

If the email is as legitimate as Project Veritas claims, Google apparently equates anything conservative with being far-right. The redacted email also included a suggestion that Google identify content that the company deems to be far-right, in order to direct people away from far-right content.

Few would disagree with Google restraining Nazi propaganda or websites from appearing on their search engine, or in its list of suggestions. The problem is Google saying with one hand that they are against hate speech and inciting people to violence, and then with the other hand, Google appearing to label people as Nazis. (It’s worth noting, that Shapiro and Prager are both Jewish, so is PragerU’s CEO, Marissa Streit.)

The alleged email leaked from within Google isn’t the only reason for concern. It just happens to be one example in a list of other examples that are raising questions about whether or not there is a double standard at Google, such as Youtube’s censorship of conservative content, in particular censorship of PragerU videos.  A double standard, which in essence, says, “we’re superior” therefore it’s okay for Google to breach rules it sets for others, because when it comes down to deciding on what is and isn’t “hate speech”, and on deciding who is, and isn’t a nazi, Google knows best.

As I’ve pointed out in the past crying wolf about Nazism dehumanizes others, and diminishes the heinous crime of Nazism. Recklessly calling someone a “Nazi” is a shaming technique designed to control the opponent in an attempt to discredit, and silence them. The same goes for those who would paint all white people as racist. It’s blatantly self-seeking and manipulative.

This is what Republican Senator, Dan Crenshaw called out yesterday, when he articulated the dangers of calling someone a Nazi to Google’s Global Director of Information Policy, Derek Slater,

“When you call somebody a Nazi or you can make the argument that you’re inciting violence and here’s how, as a country, we all agree that Nazis are bad. We actually invaded an entire continent to defeat the Nazis. It’s normal to say Hashtag punch a Nazi because there’s this common thread among this in this country that they’re bad and that there yeah, evil and that they should be destroyed. So when you’re operating off of that premise and it’s frankly, it’s a, it’s a good premise to operate on. Well, what you’re implying then is that it’s okay to use violence against them when you label them, when one of the most powerful social media companies in the world labels people as Nazis, you could make the argument that’s inciting violence. What you’re doing is wholly irresponsible. [And yet] It doesn’t stop there.“ (see below).

Link both the reckless labeling of people as Nazis and the slogan “all white people are racist” together, and the cocktail of hate is complete. All that’s needed are chambers filled with the pesticide Zyklon B, cyclone fencing, and everyone determined by Leftists, to have “life unworthy of life”.

Any well-informed reader who knows the history behind the genocidal rampaging in Rwanda, of the Hutus against the Tutsis, will see that there is good reason for serious concern.

Email (click to enlarge):

Crenshaw:


References:

Lampard, R.  6th March, 2019. Crying Wolf About Nazism, Caldron Pool. Sourced 28th June, 2019

Project Veritas, 25th June, 2019. New Google Document Leaked Describing Shapiro, Prager, as ‘nazis using dogwhistles’, sourced, 28th June, 2019.

Richardson, V. 25th June, 2019, Project Veritas posts alleged Google email comparing Ben Shapiro, Jordan Peterson to ‘nazis’ Washington Times. Sourced 28th June, 2019.

Originally published on The Caldron Pool, 30th June, 2019, ‘Google allegedly calls conservatives Prager, Peterson and Shapiro ‘Nazis’, US Senator fires back: ‘You are inciting violence’ 

Photo by Charles 🇵🇭 on Unsplash

©Rod Lampard, 2019

Madonna’s promoters are firing back at the New York Post for allegedly lying about poor ticket sales for the artist.

In the beginning of June the New York Post’s Richard Morgan reported that ticket sales for Madonna concerts promoting her latest album, ‘Madame X’, were lagging and had ‘tarnished’ the tour. Morgan went on to compare previous ticket sales in much larger venues with current ticket sales the smaller venues chosen for the concerts, suggesting that the comparison indicated ‘Madonna was struggling to sell them’.

Chris Willman from Variety magazine cautiously came to Madonna’s defense, citing promoter, Arthur Fogel, (Live Nation’s chairman of global music), who roughly called the report fake news, saying it was “absolute lies”.

Fogel also went on to point out the pattern of negative coverage that the NYP seems to give to Madonna, stating,
“There’s something really amiss there. If you go back in history, each of her last four tours, they’ve gone on full attack mode on Madonna.”

Willman said that ‘on the surface, the Post is not wrong that there are tickets still available for most, if not all, of Madonna’s upcoming shows in 2,000-3,000 seat halls’. He then gave three reasons for the slower than expected ticket sales being where they were. First noting a discrepancy cause by a new system used to ‘weed out scalpers’, ticket prices and location.

However, the New York Post wasn’t the only outlet to report the news. Terry Zeller of The Daily Mail wrote a piece discussing mixed reactions to the soft-porn album art, and quoted an “insider” as saying that ‘despite Madonna’s team and promoters informing media that several shows were ‘sold out’ during a multi week lottery ticket sale, the shows and their remaining tickets hit Ticketmaster today. And it’s a mess.’

Dave Brooks from Billboard fired back with the headline: ‘Madonna’s 17 Madame X Shows In New York Are More Than 90% Sold Out, So Everybody Chill’. Brooks leaned on the same justifications as Variety, adding that ‘a lack of sellouts for what some would consider a once-in-a-lifetime experience doesn’t mean that Madonna’s tour is “tarnished”.

On the 21st Variety once again came to the artist’s aid defending her decision to play smaller venues. Mackenzie Nichols stated that the decision was based on ‘Madonna’s desire to maintain intimacy with her fans.’

Also worth noting is Nichols’ special mention of Madonna’s admiration for Joan of Arc, citing the artist as saying:

“They accused [Joan of Arc] of being a heretic, a lesbian, a witch, a boy, a freak, and of course I can relate to all of those things; and so, in the end, she was burned at the stake, and then she became a saint, and of course, this is what we always do. We destroy our prophets and our sages and then we put them on pedestals. We have to stop doing that and appreciate people while they’re still alive.”

Even with lower ticket sales and smaller venues, album sales are doing well for the artist in both the United States and Australia – according to ARIA, Madonna’s ‘Madame X’ is currently number 2 here, and according to Billboard, it’s number 1 in the U.S – but the MTV era that gave longevity to artists is long over. We now live in a social media age, where new is old after 24 hours. This is the culture Madonna helped create. Her relating to Joan of Arc may also include a sense of rejection due to lower turnover from tickets, and a disappointment at the fact that she is playing smaller venues, when she once packed stadiums.

If Madonna’s popularity is waning, chances are it has nothing to do with martyrdom, or her being a prophet or a sage. In all probability it’s related to her anti-Trump, and pro-abortion, activism.

During a speech given at the Women’s March in January, 2017, Madonna, joining a chorus filled with dissonance and hate, declared to Americans that she had given an awful lot of ‘’consideration into blowing up the Whitehouse”. This was in response to Hillary Clinton losing the 2016 United States election to Donald Trump.

Then last week in an interview with Andrew Denton, Madonna, suggested that Jesus would be okay with abortion. The MTV golden girl claiming that ‘she wanted an interview with the Pope to convince him that he was wrong on abortion’ because, ‘don’t you think Jesus would agree that a woman has the right to choose what to do with her body?”(W.T)

Madonna joins Elton John in attempting to lecture the world, particularly Christians, on biblical theology. This week, Elton John made a bizarre statement suggesting that all reasoned Christian criticism of LGBTQIA+ ideology and activism was abusive, violent and an affront to God (Daily Wire).

By their words and actions, it appears that Madonna and Elton John – both MTV demigods of a bi-gone era – consider themselves to be closer to Joan of Arc and Jesus Christ, than the rest of us.


Originally posted as Madonna and Elton John slam Christians, claim Jesus would be Pro-Abortion and Pro-LGBTQ on Caldron Pool, 27th June 2019.

Photo Credit: Luis Alfonso Orellana on Unsplash

©Rod Lampard, 2019

An Emily’s Voice promotional which featured the words, “a heart beats at four weeks”, on four Newcastle buses[1] has been removed. The action was taken after an outraged Newcastle resident accused the pro-life promotional material of being “dangerous propaganda; a guilt driven directive on what [a woman should] do with their body.”[2]

The complaint was posted on Facebook to the NSW Transport minister’s page and “action was immediately taken’[3] to tear the material down.

Emily’s voice is an organization that seeks to encourage people to consider alternatives to abortion. Their mission is to help Australians fall in love with the unborn, and to support women with an unplanned or crisis pregnancy’[4].

The current Emily’s Voice campaign is to encourage a rethink about abortion. Paul O’Rourke, the CEO of Emily’s Voice, told the Herald Sun that,

“There are Govt. campaigns to reduce smoking, the road toll, cancer and heart disease. Surely there’s a place to reduce abortion which claims more Aussie lives each year than any other cause?”

O’Rourke’s complete explanation was posted in full onto the Emily’s Voice website,

‘[Emily’s Voice] is seeking to restart and reshape the life conversation in a sensible, sensitive way free of guilt and condemnation so women make an informed choice.
We are pro-women and for-children.
The ads promote notbornyet.com containing relevant and timely information for women experiencing an unplanned or crisis pregnancy, including where to get practical, free support.
Most Australians are unaware there are an estimated 70,000 abortions, 95 per cent of which are performed on healthy women carrying healthy children.”

There are four toxic messages being reinforced by the Government’s reactionary removal of such benign campaign material.

First, is the double standard that says it is okay to demand that the government fund and support abortion, but not okay for the government to support awareness about alternatives to abortion.

Second, the false belief that conceiving a child is equal to having contracted a sexually transmitted disease. Consequently, abortion is reduced to being equal with the treatment to remove an STD. If you openly disagree with this, you’re harming women.

Third, the false claim that only pro-abortion people care about women.

Lastly, educating people about biology and implicitly reminding them of their responsibilities and humane obligations, in response to the natural biological consequences of sex, is apparently now regarded as “hate speech” and propaganda.

Jean Elshtain, feminist and mother of four, one of whom was a disabled child, noted,

‘without allowing Right-to-Life women to speak the truth as they understand it, without engaging them from a stand that respects uncoerced dialogue […] we will continue to treat them in distorted, presumptuous, and prejudicial ways.’[5]

In other words, if outraged individuals continue to suppress dissenting voices and opinions that they find offensive, or simply just don’t want to hear, those individuals will never hear anything other than the sound of their own voices. This is the very definition of an echo chamber.

There is an alternative to abortion. Emily’s Voice wants to not only give a voice to that, they want to stand with, by and alongside women who chose to take up that alternative.

This isn’t “dangerous propaganda or guilt driven directives”. It is respect for human life in all of its stages. This is the active ‘appreciation of biological facts; a radical feeling of awe at the mystery and value of all human life made in the image of God’; and it is the honest recognition that ‘every deliberate interruption of pregnancy, whatever the circumstances, is a taking of human life.’[6]

What is dangerous is elected officials giving directives based on a Facebook comment (as appears to be the case in this instance). In this the discerning citizen faces the same heavy rod on their backs that has been thrown down by the whim of the ruler in centuries past.

Instead of Transport minister, Andrew Constance being “appalled” by Emily’s Voice, he should have applauded the care in which they took to communicate such a difficult topic in a positive way.

de Vivre Selon Dieu


References:

[1] Jeanette, Heartbeat bus ad to controversial, Emily’s Voice, 21st June 2019, Sourced, 24th June 2019

[2] Phoebe Malony, 2019. Emily’s Voice Anti-Abortion advertising removed, Herald Sun Sourced 24th June 2019

[3] Ibid, 2019.

[4] Emily’s Voice, Mission Statement sourced 24th June 2019

[5] Elshtain, J.B. 1981. Public Man, Private Woman: Women in Social and Political thought, Princeton University Press (p.312)

[6] Karl Barth, 1961. CD. 3:IV Freedom for Life: The Protection of Life, Hendrickson Publishers, (p.419)

Originally published on Caldron Pool 24th June 2019

© Rod Lampard, 2019

In what the U.K Telegraph called an ‘unlikely alliance  Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini has backed an Afrikaner lobby group ‘to fight the South African government’s plans to take land from white owners without compensation.’[1]

The U.K Times reported that King Zwelithini’s ‘motivation in working with “the Boers” was their shared concern for the country’s food security, which he feared would be threatened if President Ramaphosa (of the longer ruling ANC) pressed ahead with his controversial expropriation plans.’[2]

Zulus are a Nguni people. They make up 22% of the 45 million people who live in South Africa. They are part of the southern Bantu ethnic group[3]. The majority of Zulu’s are Christians. Others hold to a syncretistic version of Christianity; where old world tribal customs and beliefs are fused with Biblical Christianity.

Zulus (people of the sky) have played a key role in South African history. Under Shaka Zulu they nationalized and became ‘one of the mightiest empires the African continent has ever known’[4]. The Zulu kingdom lasted for ‘about 60 years’[5].

The majority of Zulus are not wealthy, but they are fiercely independent[6]. According to Political Science professor, Jungug Choi, part of Zulu identity is its warrior tradition. Fused with Zulu nationalism this ‘not only allows political activists to employ violence as a means of overcoming their political obstacles, but also legitimizes violent political actions in the name of the Zulu nation’[7].

The Zulus fought against the British and the Boers and later made up a large part of the South African workforce, creating some of the first worker unions[8].

In 1908, they initiated an uprising known as the Bambatha Rebellion against unfair taxation by the then colonial government.

Political violence carried out by the Zulus during the 1994 transition, which saw South Africa free itself from fifty years of apartheid, was a reminder of the political power of the Zulus. Their opposition was based on concerns about social instability and a worsening of economic conditions that the transition might bring with it.[9]

The ‘unlikely alliance’ between Zulus and Afrikaans puzzles onlookers because to them such an alliance is incomprehensible. It was Anglo Europeans who divided the Zulus and ‘waged the biggest war against them’[10]. Common sense dictates that it should be Zulus supporting other Black groups, not Zulus supporting White Afrikaners.

In addition, Zulus don’t appear to be the kind of people who would ignore injustice without a fight, or forgive injustice without having a good reason to do so.

There are explanations for the unlikely alliance. Despite the clashes, Zulus and Afrikaans seemed to enjoy a fractured, yet somewhat mutually beneficial relationship.  Zulus enjoyed ‘limited autonomy under apartheid.[11]’ This, according to Choi, gives reasons for why the Zulu leadership and the “White” government worked together. They were ‘driven by some common interests, particularly in confronting the ANC[12] as an enemy[13] over concerns about regional autonomy’. [14]

As Choi explains, any move towards a majority rule Democracy meant a possible change to heredity rule within the Zulu nation. Post-apartheid ANC policies were a potential challenge to Zulu land and identity.

As nationalists, Zulus are proud of their land and history and they are not afraid to defend it. This is primarily why Zulu leaders defiantly protested against centralization, in 1995. They clashed with Nelson Mandela and ‘threatened to abandon the GNU’.[15]

The news that King Goodwill Zwelithini is backing Afrikaner farmers is an encouraging sign and he isn’t alone. In April this year, Zimbabwean Paramount Chief Felix Nhlanhla Ndiweni spoke out against the planned eviction of Brian and Carol Davies, from land where they operate a photographic safari and farm, which employs and houses 2,000 people.  Chief Ndiweni criticized the plan as inhumane saying,

‘I’m not talking about the high level of morality for the land reform programme, we are talking about base corruption […][16] a good administration would never in a million years proceed with such an eviction, which is a disaster for the family concerned and the local people. It is an eviction that will never be accepted and will continuously be challenged on the ground, locally, regionally and internationally.’[17]

The Davies had been granted permission to build on Ntabazinduna Hill, as well as being made custodians of the historical site, by Chief Ndiweni’s father. In response the family promised to preserve it.[18]

Zimbabwe is now notorious for its economic collapse after kicking 4,000 white farmers off the land. It’s safe to assume that the Zulu leadership does not want to see the same thing happen in South Africa.

Social problems already exist and drastically destabilizing the country’s food production for the sake of politics, would only add to them. According to an ABC report from Jonathan Holmes in late 2018, the rise in violence against white farmers is attributed to both ‘undocumented migrants’ (illegal immigration) and racial politics. However, violence attributed to ‘undocumented migrants’ (illegal immigration) from the North is also affecting Black South Africans, not just White farmers. Holmes states that this is because of an inability to police shanty towns on the edge of Johannesburg or process the influx of ‘undocumented migrants’ (illegal immigrants)[19].

Violence against White farmers is on the rise, but it’s obvious that not everyone in the South African nation backs the policy of eviction which sees Afrikaan farmers kicked off the lands they were raised on. What’s more to the point, some highly respected traditional land holders see land grabs by the state as disastrous to their own communities.

All of the above tells us that food and social instability isn’t the only concern the Zulus have about the A.N.C kicking White farmers off their lands. For the Zulu leaders, if land expropriation becomes law, it’s not a matter of if the Zulus will be next; it’s a matter of when.


References:

[1] Flanagan, J. 2018. Zulu King Backs Afrikaners in fight against Cyril Ramaphosa’s land grab, The Times, U.K. sourced 19th June 2019

[2] Ibid, 2018.

[3]South African History, 2011 Zulu sourced 19th June 2019 from https://www.sahistory.org.za/article/zulu

[4] Ibid, 2011

[5] Choi, J. 2008. The Political Origins of Zulu Violence during the 1994 Democratic Transition of South Africa,  Journal of International and Area Studies Vol. 15, No. 2 (December 2008), pp. 41-54 (14 pages)

[6] Choi, J. 2008 (p.44)

[7] Choi, J. 2008 (p.47)

[8] Britannica, Zululand

[9] Choi, 2008. (p.47)

[10] Ibid, 2008. (p.48)

[11] Ibid, 2008 (p.49)

[12] African National Congress, Nelson Mandela. Also South Africa’s ruling party since the end of Apartheid.

[13] Choi, 2008. (p.48)

[14] Ibid, 2008. (p.48)

[15] Inkartha Freedom Party (IFP) Sourced from South African History Online 20th June 2019

[16] Zimlive. 12th May 2019. Sourced 20th June 2019

[17] Ben Freeth, 2019. Eviction of white photographic safari operator and farmer angers local chief, The Zimbabwean 23rd April, 2019. Sourced, 20th June 2019. See also Moses Mudzwiti’s  IOL article dated 23rd April 2019

[18] ibid, 2019

[19] Holmes, J. South African Farm Murders The ABC, 19th September 2018. Sourced 20th June 2019.

Photo credit:  Ban Yido on Unsplash

Originally published on Caldron Pool, 21st June 2019

© Rod Lampard, 2019

The opening sentence of Jacques Ellul’s, ‘Islam and Judeo-Christianity: A Critique of their commonality’, reads, ‘For nearly a decade, French intellectuals, generally speaking, have been seized with an excessive affection for Islam.’ (p.3)

What follows is a ninety-four page treatise on the reasons for why this excessive affection is not only dangerous, but misguided. Ellul acknowledges the existence of a disproportionate tolerance of Islam. He then compares that to the disdain of how French intellectuals have been interacting with Judeo-Christianity (Biblical Christianity), since the 1960s’.

The reason for this excessive affection is due to Islam’s[1] proximity to Marxism (“scientific” socialism). Roger Scruton, not a novice on both subjects, states: ‘like the Communist Party in its Leninist construction, Islam aims to control the state without being a subject of the state.’[2] Scruton’s own analysis of Islam, and the West, implies that excessive affection for Islam is connected to how close many academics in the West, are to Marxism.

Commonality between Islamism and Marxism includes the downgrade of Jesus Christ. Under both Marxist and Islamist rule, the Church is eradicated and the State is made god[3].

American (first wave) Feminist and Political scientist, Jean Bethke Elshtain’s work on Just War theory points in the same direction. Elshtain noted that Quranic Islam ‘condemns all who disagree’.  Quranic Islam is also a ‘militant theocracy that insists there can be no distinction between civil law and the strict, fundamentalist Shari’a law, the ancient Islamic holy law.’[4]

In other worse, even with a distinction between the interpretations of Islamic holy law, Shari’a law (infallible and unchangeable) and Fiqh (fallible and changeable), within Islam, there still is no concept of a separation of Mosque and State. Nor is there any concept of Just War – restrained violence – there is only jihad (War against the unbeliever). Quranic Islam and Marxism both look to violence as the necessary means to an end – total conversion and compliance.

Like Marxism, Islam shows no real affection for Classical Liberalism. Nor do Islamists and Marxists show any genuine acknowledgement that the precious freedoms birthed and nurtured in the West, were born from, and under the Light the Church carries. Even if Christians sometimes have carried that Light awkwardly, or have, from time to time, dropped it entirely.

Although Marxists are happy to borrow from the Bible[5], and the Quran speaks about Jesus and Mary, both the Marxist and Islamist deny the revelation of God in Jesus Christ. Marxism and Quranic Islam downgrade Christ’s uniqueness to that of a righteous prophet, or a sage, proletarian rebel.

Marxism and Islam also show complete contempt for Christianity. The reasoning for this usually involves citing the Crusades (without reference to Islamist militant expansionism , or Missionaries and Imperialism, (without reference to Missionaries helping the poor, or preserving the language of many tribal groups).

Differences between Islam and Marxism do exist. Such as, the Islamic practice of female genital mutilation, and the oppression of women[6]. These differences, however don’t appear to dissuade academics from their affection for Islam. What unifies them is stronger than what distinguishes them from each other. Contempt for Jews and Christians, unjust restrictive laws[7], cruel punishment of any opposition, jihad (war against the infidel) and oppression, are the primary means of achieving the goal of each respective utopian ideal.

It’s worth noting that the great and fallible, Winston Churchill, noted similarities between Quranic Islam and Socialism. In a passing comment he made known his view that there are certain parallels to the Quran and Mein Kampf. He called Hitler’s book, the ‘new Koran of faith and war; the granite pillars of Hitler’s policy included, use of the sword, the conversion of Germans into soldiers, anti-Semitism, fanaticism and hysterical passion.’[8]

This partially meets with the observation made by Scottish Theologian, T.F. Torrance:

‘I had been in Palestine, as it was then called, in 1936 when the Grand Mufti came back to Jerusalem from visiting Hitler and spread the terrible poison of anti-Semitism all over the Middle East.’[9]

Swiss, anti-Nazi theologian, Karl Barth’s famous refutation of natural theology, unpacked in tedious detail, within his Gifford Lectures in 1937 and 1938, was in large part a refutation of Nazism. His “nein” to natural theology[10] was built on a keen awareness of man and woman’s rebellion against God, when, like Narcissus, man and woman turn to their own image and build religion on the sand of human imagination, ideas and superstition. For Barth, there is no other revelation of God outside where God has already made Himself known. This meant that the führer could never be Our Father. Hitler was not, and could never be, a second revelation of God. The State could never be God. Deus Dixit: in Jesus Christ, God has already spoken!

This is primarily why Barth saw Quranic Islam as idolatry, stating that ‘the God of Mohammed is an idol like all other idols […]’[11]

It’s with this in mind that we see how Quranic Islam and Marxism are more aligned than we are taught to think. For the Marxist and the Islamist, the command of the state is equal to that of the Supreme Being.   There can be no denying that like Islamists, the Bolsheviks, and later the Soviets, converted by the ‘sword of the revolution for arbitrary use at the regime’s demand’[12].

Simone Weil, herself once an ardent Marxist, criticized Marxism for being

‘a badly constructed religion […]   Marx was an idolater; he idolised the Proletariat and considered himself to be their natural leader’ (p.151); Marx made oppression the central notion of his writings, but never attempted to analyse it.’[13]

Furthermore, György Lukács, the father of modern Marxism stated without reservation that “you cannot just sample Marxism […] you must be converted to it.”[14]

What lies at the heart of this excessive affection from academics for Islam is deconstructionism (or revisionism). Like romanticism, revisionism is essentially built on lies. It builds its own facts out of the very thing it just deconstructed. Facts are distorted and sometimes reversed. Revisionism calls that which is good, evil and that which is evil, good.

Deconstructionism inflicts violence on language through redefinition. It ends up policing speech, undermining reason and civil rights. It reduces all discourse to propaganda[15].  For example, the depraved “logic” of deconstructionism reverses a claim like “the Nazis oppressed the Jews,” showing instead that the Jew cooked in a Nazi oven was really the Nazis’ oppressor…”[16]

Jacques Ellul was no debutante to Marxism or Islam. Not a lot unlike Roger Scruton, Jacques Ellul was part of the early Leftist establishment. His critique of the excessive affection from academics for Islam, is in line with Karl Barth’s rejection of Natural theology.

Such excessive affection is tantamount to believing that the best way to overcome sin is to reject the concept of sin; to ignore it, and treat sin as if it never really existed. According to this view, you can’t be a sinner if sin doesn’t exist.

However, relabelling or denying sin doesn’t make sin disappear. All this does, is allow self-justification for sin. The same goes for the academic establishment’s treatment of Islam. Calling Islam a “religion of peace”, doesn’t make it so.

Quranic Islam and Marxism view violence as a primary means to reach their respective utopian ideals. With its totalitarian: “convert, pay a tax, or die”, Islamism has proven to be much the same as Marxism. This makes them both the ultimate tool for totalitarian oppression.

What seems to explain the excessive affection from academics for Islam is the affection academics have for Marxism. As I’ve said before, those who chose to entertain Marxism, big bureaucracy or crony capitalism, ride the backs of monsters. We have to be ready and willing to ask whether or not Islamism should be added to this list.

Ideology is a good servant, but a cruel task-master. We either submit Christ to Mohammad, or Mohammad to Christ. We either submit Christ to the State or the State and Church to Christ. We cannot serve two masters (Matthew 6:24), and three’s a crowd.

If we give academics the benefit of the doubt we could conclude that such affection is simply just foolish romanticism.

It, however, isn’t that simple. The policing of speech, the increasing exclusion of conservatives and Christians from academia; the reckless labeling of opposing views as hate and bigotry; and the diagnosing of those who hold to scientific facts as phobic, all lead us to ask, whether such open affection isn’t just an innocent flirtation, but is in fact appeasement, or worse, a calculated naiveté and sinister wishful thinking, where Marxists use Islamists, and Islamists use Marxists for their own ends.

If the latter is true, it must be addressed. Non-critical thinking and appeasement gives Quranic Islam (and we could add the LGBT religion) the same free ride that it gave to Nazism and still does with Marxism. If we are not free to give gracious criticisms about Islamism and Marxism; if we are paralyzed by political correctness, we are dooming our children to fight a war that can still be avoided by honest intellectual engagement and open dialogue.

As David, W. Gill (retired Professor, President of the IJES, ethicist and theologian) noted,

Nothing is gained by cowardice and avoidance. All is lost by arrogance and accusation. As Paul writes, we must “speak truth in love” (Eph. 4:15) […]’  (p.vii)

Lex orandi, lex credendi, lex vivendi[17].


References:

[1] Islamism or Islamist Fundamentalism

[2] Sir Roger Scruton, 2002. The West & The Rest: Globalization & The Terrorist Threat, p.6

[3] See Alan Woods’ 2001 essay, Marxism & Religion, where Wood’s offers a dishonest account of Christian belief, but does talk about the atheism of Marxism. He also, rightly, condemns the oppression of women under in Islam. Sourced from Marxist.com 16th June 2019.

[4] Elshtain, B.J, 2003. Just War Theory: The Burden of American Power in a Violent World, (p.3) Also see Elshtain’s discussion on Islamic Supremacism and anti-Semitism.

[5] See Jesus & Marx: From Gospel to Ideology, 1988.

[6] Ayaan Hirsi Ali, 2006. Infidel. Free Press

[7] Khan, Muqtedar M.A. 2006. Islamic Democratice Discourse: Theory, Debates, and Philosophical Perspectives, Lexington Books

[8] Churchill, W. 1948. The Gathering Storm Rosetta Books

[9] Torrance, T.G. 1994. P.C.T: The Gospel and scientific thinking (p.28).

[10] Natural theology ejects the need for the Revelation of God in Jesus Christ as the starting point of faith. Barth rejected such dependence because it rejected God’s own decisive action and humanity’s only anchor of hope for salvation. Barth saw this as the main reason for the ease at which even the discerning voter was sucked in by National Socialism.

[11] Barth, K. The Knowledge of God and the Service of God According to the Teaching of the Reformation: Recalling the Scottish Confession of 1560 (Gifford Lectures 1937 & 1938) (p. 21). Wipf & Stock, an Imprint of Wipf and Stock Publishers

[12] Service, R. 1997. A History of Twentieth Century Russia. Harvard University Press, 1998 (2nd Edition) p. 74

[13] Weil, S. 1955. Oppression and Liberty. 2001. Routledge Classics (p.154)

[14] Lukacs, G.  1971. Record of a Life, The Thetford Press Ltd. 1983 (p.62)

[15] Veith, Gene Edward. 1993. Citing Ward Parks,  Modern Fascism: Threat to the Judeo-Christian Worldview . Concordia Publishing House

[16] Ibid, 1993

[17] As we pray, so we believe, so we live.

Photo by Randy Colas on Unsplash

(Originally published at The Caldron Pool, 17th June 2019)

©Rod Lampard, 2019

The contents of Sun-Tzu’s, The Art of War and The Bible are unrelated.  They are, by any quick comparison, worlds apart. The Art of War is a masterpiece in military organisation and strategy. Tzu is a sage, giving the wealth of a sage’s advice to all who would follow his counsel closely.

The Bible is a collection of books, filled with multiple genres, following centuries of the same consistent theme: Yahweh’s faithfulness to His people and His war against the human made gods and idols of the Ancient Near East.

Written by multiple authors the witness of the Biblical authors often jars us because of its contrasts between God’s faithfulness and humanity’s infidelity; an unfaithfulness that includes humanity turning on itself, as much as it turns against the faithfulness of God. Through poetry, proverbial wisdom, historiography; prophecy, a litany of apocalyptic fulfilment and predictions, historical letters and genealogies, the Bible is the unique testimony of God’s decisive interaction with humanity.

Where these testimonies differ:

The Art of War is a manual and an impersonal memoir. In it the wisdom and experience of Chinese Army veteran, Sun-Tzu is encapsulated in a list of haiku like principles. Whereas The Bible, from start to finish moves from point to point, through very human voices, who testify to this unique encounter with the revelation of God. What we hear is God fighting for us, embracing us, raising and continuing to raise humanity, through the promise and fulfilment of His Covenant (Treaty with humanity). What we see is God raising men and women up out of sin and its grip on humanity, as sin hurtles humanity like a projectile towards inhumanity and total self-annihilation.

Where these testimonies share common ground:

What The Art of War and parts of The Bible share in common is the way in which truth and experience is communicated through metaphor, simile and poetic syntax.

TAoW:

‘A rushing torrent/carries boulders/on its flood; such is the energy/of its momentum’ [i] (Sun-Tzu, The Art of War)

The Bible:

‘Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” (Jesus Christ, Matthew 19:24, ESV)

Truth and experience is camouflaged in metaphor so as to make an impact that will be easily memorised, if not understood right away.

The relationship between The Art of War and The Bible is established in its use of poetic language to recall history and communicate truths, through narrative and poetic prose.

If there is a commonality of literary technique, is there be any relevance between the two? Can The Art of War help us better understand The Bible?

My answer is yes.

Though, it’s cultural setting, ethnicity, context, authorship, and in most areas its contents are worlds apart, sections of The Art of War lights up our perspective of ancient society, politics and warfare.

Much like Machiavelli’s, The Prince, The Art of War gives us insight into areas of human behaviour, organisation, rule and movement. These include leadership, social organisation, paradox ( + dialectic)[ii], relationships, management, hierarchy, strategy and, in a few specific places, the value of human life.

For example:

‘[Force] March ten miles for some gain/and two in three men will arrive’[iii] (Sun Tzu, The Art of War)

Commonality between the Bible and The Art of War can be found. Much of the first five books of the Bible, (the Pentateuch; Torah) discuss the state of the human race, God’s creation, liberation, government and ordering of humanity, centred within and viewed through the lens of His people.

God’s ordering, this governing, His leadership through a close friendship with Moses, is exemplified in the post-Exodus wilderness dwelling Book of Numbers.

Here Yahweh’s request under the Covenant He established with Israel is His way of bringing the Hebrews FULLY out of Egypt. The Hebrews had not completely left subservience to Egypt and its gods behind. As evidenced by the Golden Calf, one coup attempt, a number of formal protests and general disgruntlement about how much better things were under Egyptian rule. In other words, how much better things were under the rule of Egypt’s hybrid animal-human gods. Psychologically & culturally, God’s liberation of the Hebrews was as much reformation of the heart as it was God’s revolution and His emancipation of an oppressed people.

Yahweh’s leadership is brought to trial. The just God is thrown unjust criticism and all manifestations of his grace through the miraculous provision and care given towards His people are forgotten.

The confrontation causes conflict. Yahweh seeks to take the focus of the people off the creature and put it onto the Creator; and in doing so God shows just how far He has to go in order to bring His people completely out of Egypt. This is to teach them that they are no longer Egyptians, but are His, living under His grace, guidance, blessing, leadership; fatherhood. All this things are given in order to bring about the fulfilment of prophecy. The promise of the Covenant, and the transforming determination of God, sees the Hebrew slaves become the nation of Israel. The gods humans made are directly challenged by the God who made humans.

In a sense, even though the victory is won, Yahweh is still fighting against the gods of the Ancient Near East. He is still fight for those He made in His image. Yahweh, the One who is free, putting Himself between us and the house of slavery, despite our flirtation with the worship of nature that characterises all gods and idols man and woman makes in their own image.

Yahweh is the model of a perfect General (Exodus 15). He avoids Sun-Tzu’s list of pitfalls for a General, whilst His people (and even Moses from time to time) falls right into them:

        1. Recklessness – leading to destruction
        2. Cowardice – leading to capture
        3. Hot temper (manipulated or triggered into reacting poorly) – prone to provocation
        4. Delicacy to honour (concern for reputation; perfectionism) – tending to shame
        5. Concern for his men (easily swayed/influenced, people pleasing; concerned about offending them) – leading to trouble.

The book of Numbers teaches us that God perfectly hears us, has perfect self-control, can be provoked to anger, but is patient, quick to restraint and shows mercy by way of warnings and provision.

The Gospel of Mark testifies to the healings and deliverance so engrained in the fabric of Jesus Christ’s ministry, up to the point where He reaches for the Leper, stills the wind and waves, is feared and mocked by demons, joyfully dignifies the woman with uterine bleeding and despite the mockery of a crowd of mourners, in the presence of her parents, resurrects a 12 year old girl.

God places Himself between us and our fears, between us and our sin, all with the intention of not allowing His people to advance into the jaws of their enemies, both without and within.

Paul understood this, writing:

‘I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.’ (Paul, Galatians 2:20, ESV)

The Bible and The Art of War teach us to be aware of the pitfalls of human leadership and the arrogance of power. Only God is the perfect General. We actively seek out failure, when we fail to acknowledge and follow Him in all our ways.

The Art of War:

‘These five perils to leadership demand the most careful attention’ Sun-Tzu, The Art of War.

The Bible:

 “Can a blind man lead a blind man? Will they not both fall into a pit? – Jesus Christ, Luke 6:39

 


References (not otherwise linked):

[i] Sun-Tzu, circa 500 BC. The Art of War: Potential Energy Penguin Ed. 2008 (p.26)

[ii] For example: ‘Orderly disorder is based on careful division; courageous fear on potential energy; strong weakness on troop dispositions’.

[iii] Ibid, pp.40-41

Artwork: Rembrandt

©Rod Lampard, 2019

The Barr Effect: Why the U.S Attorney General is bring under reported.

Since releasing a redacted version of the famed Mueller report, America’s current attorney general, William Barr, has been at the centre of much speculation and contention. The drama centers on the fact that Barr has so far refused to release an un-redacted version of the Mueller report. Barr, 68 and a Roman Catholic, was nominated by Donald Trump in December and confirmed as Attorney General in January, after a grilling Senate vetting process involving both Democrats and Republicans.

He isn’t a novice to how politics works[1]. Given the divisive, ravenous dissonance of the “hate Trump, love trumps hate” modus operandi since 2016, Barr’s refusal to just hand over the conclusion, in complete trust that the information would be used honorably, is smart.

As a result of his refusal to release an un-redacted version of the Mueller Report, Barr is accused of covering for President Trump as head of the Department of Justice, in order to use the Mueller report to make Donald Trump shine, and make “Russian Collusion” Democrats look like tin foil hat crusaders. A recent New York Times op-ed cited, Paul Rosenzweig, a former prosecutor, who accused Barr of “putting his thumb on the scale” for Mr. Trump.”[2]

Ironically, it’s not Barr who’s painting a picture of Quixotic Democrats as tin foil hat crusaders. After nearly three years of hyper-partisan hysteria, “never Trump” Democrats are doing well enough by themselves. The theory that Hilary Clinton lost the 2016 election because Donald Trump colluded with Russia continues to be a widespread belief amongst H.R.C’s cheer squad. This is despite the costly 400 page conclusion from a two and a half year investigation that found no evidence of “Russian collusion”.

Barr’s decision, not to issue an un-redacted version of the Mueller report, is clever. Especially in an era where militant Leftist partisans, and “Never Trump” conservatives, are looking for any excuse to take down the man, even if this involves a biased reading of the facts, weakening the constitutional republic and compromising the Presidential office.

Trump’s appointment of William Barr caught people of guard. This is the Barr Effect. His appointment appears to have been a masterstroke of political acumen. Barr replaced Jeff Sessions, and has had many in a tailspin wondering who Barr is and why he took the job. William Barr is respected by both houses of politics and is famously objective.

According to the New York Times, he’s tenacious about facts and in 2016, ‘Jeb Bush, not Donald Trump, was his first choice for the Republican nomination. Barr also refused to represent Trump as a private criminal lawyer, saying, “I didn’t want to stick my head into that meat grinder”’.

The Barr effect became obvious after his May interview with CBS[3]. Barr stated he doesn’t care about his reputation and called the Russian collusion theory bogus. He also stood by Mueller, stating that Mueller had presented the facts, which showed no evidence of collusion, but that Mueller could have reached a decision in favor of Trump, on the charge of obstruction of justice[4].

On the Mueller Report:

“In my four-page memo, I said that Mueller did not reach a decision. He gave both sides – then I quoted that sentence which is, while we didn’t find a crime, we didn’t exonerate the president. That was in the four-page letter.”

On obstruction of justice:

“Mueller could have come to a conclusion…We analyzed the law and the facts and a group of us spent a lot of time doing that and determined that both as a matter of law, many of the instances would not amount to obstruction.”

On Russian Collusion:

“Mueller has spent two and half years and the fact is there is no evidence of a conspiracy. So it was bogus, this whole idea that the Trump was in cahoots with the Russians is bogus”

When asked about foreign interference and government abuse of power, Barr was adamant that both were as equally ‘troubling’.

On U.S intelligence agencies spying on the Trump campaign:

“Republics have fallen because of Praetorian Guard mentality where government officials get very arrogant, they identify the national interest with their own political preferences and they feel that anyone who has a different opinion, you know, is somehow an enemy of the state.”

When asked whether or not Barr thought that this is what happened during the 2016 campaign, he plainly stated:

“I just think it has to be carefully looked at, because the use of foreign intelligence capabilities and counterintelligence capabilities against an American political campaign to me is unprecedented and it’s a serious red line that’s been crossed. There were counterintelligence activities undertaken against the Trump Campaign. And I’m not saying there was not a basis for it that it was legitimate, but I want to see what that basis was and make sure it was legitimate.”

This isn’t the Barr you’re looking for:

Given that Barr has been steadfast in his commitment to the law of the land, releasing an un-redacted version of the Mueller report would be a compromise of his convictions. It’s not likely to happen any time soon. If ‘hate Trump/love trumps hate’ Democrats are looking for an insider who will undermine Trump unlawfully, Barr isn’t the person they’re looking for.

Barr’s integrity is only one aspect of the Barr Effect. Balance and respect for objective truth also rate highly. So much so that Barr has commentators in a bind, about whether to hate on him, or hold their breath in suspense about whether he’ll turn on Trump, or in their case, worse, expose evidence of an Obama/Clinton abuse of power, where the Obama Administration may have turned the intelligence community into a wing of the Democrat party, unlawfully sanctioning them to interfere in an American election. As the Russia Collusion theory is discredited and evidence mounts, this seems more and more likely.

What is newsworthy, but not being highlighted by reporters, is Barr’s investigation into whether or not spying on the Trump campaign, by U.S. intelligence agencies, was justified or whether it was an abuse of power. If Barr finds evidence of an abuse of power, it won’t be Donald Trump who is indicted on criminal charges, but those who came after him in an attempt to manipulate the outcome of the 2016 election in H.R.C’s favor.


References:

[1] The New York Times, op-ed by Sharon LaFraniere, Charlie Savage & Kate Benner, ‘Who is William Barr?’ 9th June 2019, Sourced 11th June 2019

[2] Ibid, 9th June 2019

[3] CBS News, Jan Crawford, 31st May 2019, William Barr interview: full transcript Sourced, 11th June 2019

[4] Mollie Hemingway, 3rd June 2019 ‘Top 28 Moments From Bombshell Barr Interview The Federalist Sourced 11th June 2019

Photo by Em Taylor on Unsplash

(Originally published on The Caldron Pool, 11th June 2019)

©Rod Lampard, 2019

Dennis Prager’s interview with Jordan Peterson from March this year has it’s cringe worthy moments. All in all, though, it’s worth hearing. As you know I’m cautious about Peterson. I’d like to hear him be more direct about how faith informs his theological statements.

More often than anything else, Peterson focus’ on the humanity of Christ and comes across as a curious spectator. He sees that there’s more to Jesus Christ, but is bound by the conventions of thought inherited through a revisionist system that is at best, begrudgingly tolerant of Biblical Christianity (Judeo-Christianity), and is at its worst, completely hateful of Biblical Christianity and anything related to it. This is understandable given that Peterson’s academic history and that his field is psychology. The concern is that he skirts around the incarnation of Christ, and more dangerously seems to flirt with an abstract notion of it.

Continue to pray for him. The interview is as close as I’ve heard him get to any acknowledgement of Jesus Christ’s divinity, re: the incarnation of the Word of God. Among others, one accurate takeaway point can be summarised as this: if we cannot understand the shadows of creation, we will fail to appreciate the light. This partially echoes some of Karl Barth’s discussion in CD 3:3 on how sin and nothingness are not part of the shadows of creation, but are an ‘alien element’ that manipulates the shadows in it’s opposition to creation as a whole.

The separation between Church and State is not a divide between secular and sacred. Nor is this separation a divide between public and private. Church and State are spheres of authority within the structure of good government. Simply put: one wields the sword, the other the truth of the Gospel. As such the Gospel balances out the ideology behind who gets to yield the sword, when, why and how.

This is why every totalitarian state either twists theology or purges Christians and the Christian faith[1]. They need to suppress God’s moral standard for His creatures, in order to justify their arbitrary use of the sword in bringing about a perpetual revolution until the “utopia” of the proletarian dictatorship is achieved.

Ergo, within the parameters of good government the Church restrains the state, and sets an example of God’s divine world-governance (Providence). For example: rules of engagement like “fire only when fired upon“, is an outworking of just war theory.

It is restrained violence governed; it is restrained violence judged and measured by the Gospel. We cannot understand, or even reform the primarily Western ideal of the separation of Church and State, without understanding the theology behind it.

With the neglect of history, and malady of theological illiteracy that is so dominate in Western life, it’s no wonder that this unique concept, which is built on biblical Christianity (Judeo-Christianity), is widely misunderstood.

Believing in a false divide between secular and sacred, the majority of the German Church, in both World Wars, surrendered their voice and role to that of the State. Faith was a private affair, something for Sundays, not something relevant to every day in between. In World War One, along with 92 other intellectuals, theologian and historian, Adolf Von Harnack, who partly wrote the Kaiser’s speech announcing war, signed on to the State’s arrogant belligerence.

This unquestioning moral defense for engaging in the march to war compromised the separation between the Gospel and the sword; Church and State. Instead of the Church calling for restraint, it sought to give the State moral credibility for the slaughter and suffering of millions.

The same can be said for the German church in World War Two. After the disaster of WW1, the church underwent a process of introspection, lament and reform. It sought to get ‘back to basics; a rediscovery of the Bible, a reminder of the Reformers protest against corruption of the Church and the over-reach of the state.’[2]

Karl Barth’s diagnosis was that Western Civilization, not just Germany, had

‘failed to confront National Socialism firmly because the realization of the Christian revelation among the civilized people of the West had become dim. Men did not see the inherent atheism of the Hitlerian system. Hence, they could not see the robber state from the legitimate state, the democratic from the dictatorship.’[3]

Faith in Western culture was not enough to stop the blitzkrieg before its bombs began to fall, and its gas chambers, masked as welfare units, began to mass execute European Jews and political opponents. Appeasement failed, as Winston Churchill had warned it would. The lapse of, and apathetic faith, in Christian revelation allowed the State to use the Church as its mouthpiece.

Western civilization without Christian revelation; in other words, the State without the genuine Church, is a State without restraint. Ideology is restrained by genuine theological critique. This is the Gospel’s “yes” and “no”. Without the genuine Church being free to live and proclaim its mandate to love God and love others – without the genuine Church being free to proclaim the Gospel as it has been spoken to, Western Civilization will fall to the tyrannical gods that take its place.

Hannah Arendt, one of the most prominent Agnostic thinkers of the 20th century, revised her definition of the Nazis from ‘radical evil’ down to the ‘banality of evil’, because she was ‘aiming at stripping the Nazis of their god-like standing, taking from them the power to draw us to them as if they, and their storm troopers in gleaming black boots, had poured forth from the perils of hell itself.’[4]

Arendt understood the perils of a compromised separation between the Gospel and the sword; Church and State. Though it was worshipped as a god, the Nazi state was not God. Nazism serves as a prime example of the fact, highlighted by Karl Barth, that Western Civilization, without Jesus Christ, or with a watered down version of Him, is far from civilized.

Add to this the horrendous history of Communism and we can say, with confidence, that the world has been well warned of the catastrophe, should these States who attempted to ditch Jesus Christ, be allowed to manifest themselves again.

The separation of Church and State is a founding principle of Western civilization. This separation isn’t about two competing entities. The separation serves God’s divine world-governance. The principle is a continuous challenge to the concept of the “divine right of kings”, and is as equally challenging to any twisted theology that promotes the idea of the “divine right of the State”.

The Churches’ proclamation of the Gospel restrains the State from abusing its power. This counterpoise to the power of the State, stops the State from operating with what Albert Camus called, an ‘unchecked will-to-power, where men become either a victim or an executioner, [a dehumanized number], within a [machine] cult of efficacy’.[5] In other words, the State, counterpoised by the Church, does not get to arbitrarily position itself as God, and determine the quality and worth of human life.

One only has to look at World War One, Communism, Nazism, The Vietnam War[6], Islamic State, and the tragedy of child sex abuse in the institutional church, to understand that the State without the Church is as tyrannical, as the Church who has forgotten, or watered down Jesus Christ.

In a subtle criticism of all forms of Socialism, Karl Barth noted two dangers:

first, ‘bureaucracy is the encounter of the blind with those whom they treat as blind. Second, the limits of all planning and philanthropy, but also all doctrine and instruction’[7], is that we lose sight of the individual created in the image of God. We lose our humanity in worship of efficacy and its assumed “benefit” for the collective.

Abortion and Euthanasia (by stealth) is no less part of this dehumanizing mechanization. An old family friend recently reminded me of how her husband tragically became a victim of this denial of the Gospel’s critique of the State. The health care system failed their family because it favoured the cold clinical ‘cult of efficacy’ and its mechanization of humanity, over against individual care; loving God and others, as we love ourselves.

Many of those who are quick to point out dehumanizing rhetoric are also likely to advocate the dehumanizing practices. Abortion and euthanasia are both part of Nazi eugenics laws. The doctrine, ‘life unworthy of life’ gave the National Socialists unilateral power to determine the quality and value of human life. Humanity was resigned to a number in a mechanized system under the ‘cult of efficacy’. These are the dangers of the State without the Gospel.

The Gospel impacts the State. The historical and present nearness of Jesus Christ categorically denies any State’s violent claim to implement a super-race. From this impact we learn that it is the ‘vulnerable who teach the rest of us what it means to be human’ (Jean Vanier)[8].

The voice and presence of the vulnerable mirror our own humanity. The vulnerable remind us not only of our own human limitations, but that where there is breath there is hope. Not just for the vulnerable, but for the humanity as a whole. As a result, biblical Christian doctrine opposes all pride, right down to Nietzsche’s “ubermench” and the Ayn Rand inspired, “greed is good”.

The Gospel transforms. The Churches’ critique of the State condemns the mechanization of humanity. The Church can do this, because the Church itself is critiqued by its own proclamation of the Gospel. The Gospel is Jesus Christ, the Word of God, freely spoken to humanity in time and space. This critique is God’s voice of freedom, grounded solely in His sovereignty. This critique births within us a renewing of the mind which acknowledges that conformity to the World’ is slavery, not salvation.

This is affirmed by Jesus with these words:

‘For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.’ (John 3:19-21, ESV)

Stopping Western Civilization from joining the dust of its forebears begins with reacquainting people with the Gospel and Civics; a proper understanding of the separation of the Church and State as one of the founding principles of Western civilization.

This separation is about good government dependent on God, not the government becoming a god. The separation of powers is not a divide between secular or sacred, public or private. As though God’s grace and commands only apply to the inner life, not in our deeds.

The separation between Church and State does not create two competing entities. The Gospel impacts the State, restraining the State from abusing its power.

The Gospel isn’t based on a subjective conscience, or consciousness. The Gospel is good news, and objective Word from God spoken to humanity in time and space.

The separation of Church and State is not between the State and Christ. Jesus Christ still has a relationship with the State, as Lord over both it and the Church. Any such forced ejection of Christ from the State is the rejection of God’s grace towards humanity.

Such a rejection creates a void which is filled by nihilism (no morality), false prophets, and superstition. This is what Jordan Peterson has penned the ‘displacement of the Logos from Western Civilization’.

Faith in Western Civilization is not enough. Just as faith in the Logos (Word; Jesus Christ; the Gospel) was central to moral revolution that saw the rise of Western civilization, the dislocation of the Logos (Jesus Christ) from Western civilization will be its downfall.

The 20th century warns us of the perils of this displacement. The State forcing theology into the service of its ideology leads to bloodshed and suffering on an industrial scale, for in ‘hating the light, they brought death upon themselves’[9].

Therefore understanding and upholding the important role of the Churches’ critique of the State, in its proclamation of the Gospel to the State, not as its patron, but its conscience, is the only sure refuge; all else fails by comparison.

Tolstoy’s indictment fits what the State without the Church looks like:

“Bereft of [that] religion [which establishes the relation of man to the All, to God], men possessing enormous power over the forces of nature are like children to whom powder or explosive gas has been given as a plaything.” (Bethink Yourselves!, 1904)

In sum, know Jesus, know peace. No Jesus, no peace.


References:

[1] Jean Bethke Elshtain, 2008. Sovereignty: God, State, and Self, Basic Books

[2] Karl Barth, 1942. The Church & The War, The Macmillan Company (p.2)

[3] Ibid, 1942, p.5

[4] Ibid, 1995, p.75

[5] Jean Bethke Elshtain, 1995. Augustine & the Limits of Power, Notre Dame Press (p.71)

[6] J.William Fullbright (Dem.), 1966. The Arrogance of Power, Random House

[7] Karl Barth, Church Dogmatics,  3:2 p.252

[8] Jean Vanier, ‘Why The Strong Need the Weak: J.V at the House of Lords’, 30th January 2015. Sourced from Youtube, Together for the Common Good 2nd June 2019

[9] Augustine citing Virgil, City of God, Penguin Classics, (p.29)

Photo by Ken Theimer on Unsplash

(Originally published on The Caldron Pool, under ‘The Separation of Church & State: What it is & What it’s Not‘ 3rd June 2019.

©Rod Lampard, 2019

Netflix are kowtowing to celebrity pressure regarding its investments in Georgia. The pressure comes after the American state voted to place significant limitations on abortion.

The southeastern state of about 10.2 million people joins Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, and Utah in passing abortion restrictions under what is called ‘heartbeat bills’. The proposed legislation will prevent the violent interruption of a pregnancy, once a heartbeat is detected.

Celebrities were quick to create a chorus of condemnation, and took to social media to condemn the legislation. Much like the “Muslim ban” mislabeling applied to the Trump administration’s travel restrictions on some predominately Muslim countries in the Middle East, leftists and some liberals within the mainstream media are mislabeling the bill, which seeks to protect human life, as an anti-woman abortion ban[1].

Netflix appears to be joining Alyssa Milano’s militant march for the murder of the unborn. Both of whom are joined by other Hollywood celebrities, including Alec Baldwin, Sean Penn, Don Cheadle and Christian Applegate[2], who, in March, threatened to boycott the state, calling the law “so evil” and alleging such a boycott would “chase billions out of the state” (which is considered the number one filming location in the world)[3].

According to Reuters,

‘The company was the first major Hollywood producer to publicly comment on calls by some for an industry boycott of Georgia. The industry is responsible for more than 92,000 jobs in Georgia, according to the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), and some 455 film and TV shows were shot in the state in 2018, according to then-Governor Nathan Deal. Netflix’s chief content officer, Ted Sarandos, said Netflix had many women working on productions in Georgia and their rights would be restricted by the new law.[4]

Reuters also noted that Netflix will be working with the self-described “non-partisan” organization ACLU, which contrary to their description, often promotes the progressive leftist agenda, to help fund those fighting the legislation.

Variety responded to the news with jubilation, lament and dramatic flair, stating that, “not enough Hollywood studios are stepping up, but protests are erupting on the ground and on social media, in response to the attack against abortion rights”. Hillary Clinton losing the 2016 election was blamed, along with Donald Trump. Variety quoted Actress Elizabeth Perkins (Big, Miracle on 34th Street [remake]):

“I think we need to fight like hell, fight like our lives depend on it, because they do; and I’ll do anything I can to make sure this doesn’t pass. We sort of knew this when we lost the election; we saw this coming. It’s obviously a coordinated effort, and we have to fight it with everything we have.[5]

Perkins’ belligerent language, all while insinuating Donald Trump was the reason for the division in America, seems to have been lost by Variety in their euphoric hope that Netflix will set a trend for other Hollywood powerbrokers to fall in line, and follow without question.

In response to threats, Georgia’s Governor was quick to retort, “We are the party of freedom and opportunity. We value and protect innocent life — even though that makes C-list celebrities squawk.” (AJC)[6]

Like Qantas’ CEO and his alleged threats over funding for Rugby Australia if they didn’t dump Israel Folau, companies that bully others are no longer just service providers, they’ve taken the position of an aristocrat, they are lords; unelected rulers, governing over those they consider beneath them.

Companies and celebrities who do this make themselves political arms of an increasingly intolerant and irrational political movement, who have grown unresponsive to reasoned arguments from anyone on the Right. It stands to reason that this move by Netflix is yet another reason to be cautious of the hubris of the progressive Left. For without any counterpoised Right we face a menace that masquerades confusion and chaos behind a veil of presumed moral superiority.


References:

[1] The Washington Post, 2019. Everything you need to know about the abortion ban Sourced, 29th May 2019

[2] Alyssa Milano, Twitter Post 28th March, 2019. Sourced, 29th May 2019.

[3] Fox News, 29th March, 2019. ‘Alyssa Milano, 49 celebrities threaten Georgia with ‘loss of billions’ over abortion bill’, Sourced, 29th May 2019

[4] Reuters, (L.A.) 29th May 2019.Netflix to ‘rethink’ investment in Georgia if abortion law takes effect’, Sourced, 29th May 2019

[5] Variety, 28th May 2019. ‘Netflix the only Hollywood studio to speak out in attack against abortion rights’, Sourced, 29th May 2019.

[6] AJC, 18th May 2019. Kemp MocksC-list celebrities’ threatening boycott over anti-abortion law’ Sourced, 29th May 2019.

Photo by Benjamin Balázs on Unsplash

(Originally published on The Caldron Pool, 29th May 2019)

©Rod Lampard, 2019

Who’s to Blame for the new wave of anti-Semitism in Europe?

Germany’s commissioner against anti-Semitism has issued an ambiguous warning to Jews living within Germany.

Felix Klein is reported to have told Funke Media group that he “cannot advise Jews to wear yarmulkes (traditional cap) everywhere, all the time, in Germany.”

CCN interpreted Klein’s warning as being the result of ‘social disinhibition (lack of restraint) and coarseness’, stating that his comments were in response to the ‘rise of attacks against Jews’ across Germany. Quoting Horst Seehofer, Germany’s interior minister, CNN said that ‘physical attacks against Jews rose from 37 in 2017 to 62 in 2018’. CCN attributed Seehofer as saying, that ‘90% of reported incidents were perpetrated by supporters of far-rights groups’.[1]

The BBC followed closely behind CNN, claiming that ‘the rise of far-right groups is fostering anti-Semitism and hatred of minorities throughout Europe.’ Joining a chorus of news agencies in labeling Germany’s ‘third largest group in the Bundestag’[2],  and main opposition party, ‘Alternative for Germany (AfD)’, as far-right, the BBC then insinuated that AfD was a likely key co-conspirator in the rise of anti-Semitism because AfD is ‘openly against immigration’, even though, as the BBC also noted, AfD ‘denies holding anti-Semitic views.’[3]

Germany’s taxpayer funded International broadcaster, Deutsche Welle, acknowledged similar sentiments, stating that ‘the number of attacks on Jews in Germany had increased from 1,504 in 2017 to 1,646 in 2018 – a rise of 10%.’ However, unlike CNN and the BBC, DW, noted that according to ‘analysts and experts’, the probable cause was twofold, including both the popularity of far-right political groups, and ‘the arrival of millions of “asylum seekers”, mainly from Muslim-majority countries such as Syria, Afghanistan, and Iraq.’[4]

DW specifically cited AfD’s alleged ‘questioning of Germany’s culture of atonement’, and the recent attack on two Jewish men, by a ’19 year old Syrian man, who hurled verbal abuse and struck one of the victims with his belt, yelling the word “Jew” in Arabic.’[5]

Alternative for Germany’ is considered as far-right by the Globalist mainstream media because of the party’s policy position on immigration, particularly Islamic migration. An example of this is The BBC, who, in trying to explain AfD are quick to pull out the far-right and “Nazi” tag, stating that the AfD’s stance on immigration, and its alleged, “extremist” language, which sees Islam as alien to German society, is tinged with ‘Nazi overtones’[6].

The AfD view ‘Islam as a danger for Europe [because Islam] is incompatible with the Europe founded on Greco-Roman antiquity, Jews and Christians, the enlightenment and human rights’[7]. AfD are also against a standing European Army, arguing that they do not want any further European bureaucratizing of Germany.

Felix Klein’s ambiguous warning about wearing the yarmulkes hasn’t gone without criticism. Klein admitted that his “statement had been provocative, but that he wanted to initiate debate about the safety of the Jewish community.”[8]

In both reports on Klein’s comments, neither CNN nor the BBC mentioned Islamic migration as playing a part in the rise of anti-Semitism. This is despite investigative reports from The Times of Israel and Jewish News Syndicate, linking Islamism (and consequently Islamic migration) with violence against Jews living in Europe.

JNS pointed to an official 40-page report from ‘Germany’s Federal office of the protection of the Constitution’, which outlined ‘in reasonable detail, the anti-Semitism among parts of the country’s Muslim community; and that Islamism (Islam in general) is a form of political extremism that aims to end democracy – anti-Semitism is one of its essential ideological elements.’

JNS also stated,

‘Many Muslims are not anti-Semitic, but the anti-Semitism problem in Islam is far from limited to people with extreme political views, or even to religious Muslims. The report notes that individuals with no known prior connections to “organized Islamism” have caused many anti-Semitic incidents. Islamism, the report says, was probably not the direct cause behind a substantial number of incidents.
The document starts by stating that for historical reasons, and in view of the country’s experience with National Socialism, anti-Semitism was long viewed as being inevitably related to the extreme right. Only gradually has it become clear that right-wing extremists do not hold a monopoly on anti-Semitism in Germany today. The report states that a pattern of common, “daily” anti-Semitism is widespread in the social and political center of German society. In addition, anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism exist among leftist extremists…
The long-overdue study concludes that the more than 100 anti-Semitic incidents officially caused by Muslims in 2017 are most likely just the tip of the iceberg.’[9]

Germany isn’t alone. In July 2018, The Times of Israel, reported on anti-Semitism in Sweden, another country who has broadly applied an “open borders” policy, claiming that pressure from both Neo-Nazi, and Jihadist bullying, were an issue for the Jewish community.

The Times quoted, Aron Verstandig, president of the Council of Swedish Jewish Communities, who said, “we have a vibrant community in Stockholm but even here we face multiple threats, from Muslim extremism to far-right violence.”[10]

In direct contrast to Jewish news agencies, and even Germany’s International public broadcaster, the reports from CNN and the BBC left out Islamism and anti-Zionist/anti-Israel Leftists, who are also central elements in the rise of anti-Semitism within Europe.

It’s clear that neo-Nazism is a fringe element in the West, and it would be naïve to ignore any such movement. Few would dispute this. CNN and the BBC’s selectivity, however, raise questions about who gets to define what a neo-Nazi is? It’s reckless of Mainstream media to jump to conclusions and draw false links between one group and another because they only see what they want to see. That isn’t journalism, its manipulative propaganda.

Both reports from CNN and the BBC also force us to ask how much of an impact “open borders” policies has on freedom of the press. Their selectivity is either deliberate or done out of fear of becoming a political pariah; of being mislabelled a “racist”, “xenophobic” or an “Islamophobe”. As much as it’s probably the latter, I suspect this is an exception to the rule.

Thus CNN and the BBC’s selectivity adds weight to why the current Globalist agenda should be questioned and rejected, because there is a seemingly obvious, co-ordinated effort, to slander, and therefore silence, all those who are currently not in agreement with Leftism’s Gobalist initiatives, as “Nazis”.

Such slander plays on the collective consciousness in the West about the evils of fascism, and National Socialism. All while blinding Westerners to the absence of a collective consciousness about the very real evil of Communism, and the Socialist’s own perpetual, imperial war machine.


References:

[1] Matthew Robinson, ‘German Jews warned not to wear kippahs in public following spike in anti-Semitism, CNN sourced 27th May 2019

[2] WD, What is the Alternative for Germany? Sourced, 27th May 2019

[3] The BBC, ‘German Jews warned not to wear kippas after rise in anti-Semitism Sourced, 27th May 2019

[4] DW, ‘German official warns Jews against wearing Kippahs in public, Sourced 27th May 2019

[5] DW, ‘Germany: Syrian man faces charges for Kippah attack, Source 27th May 2019

[6] The BBC, 2017. ‘German Election: How right-wing is Nationalist AfD? Sourced, 27th May 2019

[7] AFD, Islam – Danger for Europe, Sourced 27th May 2019

[8] SFGate, 2019. ‘Israeli President shocked by German skullcap warning, Sourced, 27th May 2019

[9] Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld, 2019. ‘German intelligence issue taboo breaking report on Muslim anti-Semitism, Jewish News Syndicate, Sourced 27th May 2019.

[10] Cnaan Liphshiz, 2018. Under Neo-Nazi & Jihadist bullying, Swedish communities are shuttering, The Times of Israel, Sourced 27th May 2019

Photo Credit: Photo by DAVIDCOHEN on Unsplash

(Originally published on The Caldron Pool, 27th May 2019)

©Rod Lampard, 2019

Playboy’s reputation for providing intellectually engaging reading material doesn’t rank all that high in the list of influential mainstream media outlets. So it’s easy to not take any activism from the morally questionable publication all that seriously.

In early May, however, the publication touted an anti-homeschooling article from Christopher Stroop, a freelance writer who has contributed articles to Playboy and Salon.

Stroop seized on recent gun violence in the United States to fire a broadside at white evangelical Americans. In doing so he conflated Christian homeschoolers with domestic terrorism, accusing them of white supremacy, racism and radicalization.

Stroop, a self-proclaimed ex-evangelical, who is also a pro-LGBT anti-Christian schools activist, went on to disparage Christian homeschoolers, by appealing to researchers from the “survivors community”, who until recently, made up the now defunct internet group, Homeschoolers Anonymous; a group who describes themselves as “homeschool apostates” and/or ‘refugees.

Quoting fellow ex-evangelical, Kathryn Brightbill from Coalition for Responsible Homeschooling, Stroop claimed that proof of this radicalization was found in a ‘pattern of violent crimes’ which can (apparently) be connected to Christian homeschoolers, in particular, an obscure movement within the Orthodox Presbyterian Church called ‘Christian Reconstructionsim’, which (allegedly) promotes a ‘right-wing version of Calvinist theology –  “teaching that God’s plan for society is to implement Old Testament political law, including the stoning parts”.’

Without substantiating his claim with sources, or solid evidence, and leaning solely on unnamed “researchers” from within his own movement, Stroop rattled on, asserting that the so-called “pattern of violence”,

‘Raised the question about how homeschooling and white evangelical subculture may be contributing factors in the radicalization of young people.’

While loosely citing events in Austin and Tennessee, his primary evidence was the recent  synagogue shooting in Los Angeles, where teen, John T. Earnest (who was homeschooled for a time), killed one person and injured two others.

Though Stroop’s conclusion notes that Earnest was “radicalized” via the internet, what Stroop fails to mention is that Earnest’s manifesto clearly indicated that homeschooling had nothing to do with his radicalization and act of domestic terrorism.

According to 10 News San Diego, “[Earnest] added that he wasn’t taught this ideology [anti-Semitism] from his family; stating that he “had to learn [from 8chan] what [my parents] should have taught me from the beginning.”

Despite the fact that Stroop acknowledges Earnest was only partly homeschooled, and that the internet was the primary motivator in the synagogue attack. He insists that Earnest is a valid example of this “pattern of violence from Christian homeschoolers” and their radicalization of the young.

Stroop cites, Ryan Stollar, one of the founders of Homeschoolers Anonymous, who accuses Christian homeschoolers of covering up abuse, and of using a “persecution complex” to avoid “honest examination”.

Stroop, Stollar and Brightbill argue that this is reason enough to justify government intervention, because the “lack of government oversight creates a legal cover for abusive parents to indoctrinate and warp their children.”

This isn’t far removed from the now debunked theory of the Australian Greens Party, who demanded and chaired a political enquiry because of their firm belief that homeschooling equated to child abuse.

As with the Greens, nothing Stroop tries to provide by way of evidence substantiates his extreme accusations.

Dishonest reasoning isn’t the only problem with his article. As with a lot of fringe arguments against Homeschooling within America, his polemic fails to distinguish between education and parenting, Church and home education. In addition there is no mention of institutional schooling and the potential role it may play in decisions of all domestic terrorists.

Stroop conflates Christian homeschoolers with the domestic terrorist and blames them for his ideological radicalization. This recklessness and his deliberate use of loaded terms, turns Christian homeschoolers into a straw man, invoking images of Islamist terror camps, and children in jackboots wearing suicide belts, marching with AK-47’s, chanting “death to Israel”.

Stroop’s loose examples and bias reach their zenith when in quoting Brightball, he accuses popular homeschool curriculum, Abeka of “explicit and implicit white supremacist messaging.” Abeka’s crime? Their World history Curriculum is deemed to be “too white & too Christian.” It’s a typical move against anyone not willing to line up and fall into absolute alignment with Leftism.

In his rejection of American evangelicalism, Stroop fires a reckless broadside at Christian homeschooling, tarring and feathering every evangelical Christian, every Calvinist, moderate or five point believer, and the majority of Christian homeschoolers with the label white supremacist.

Though Stroop’s Playboy piece claims to provide proof of a pattern of violence which shows that Christian homeschoolers are producing domestic terrorists, all we end up finding is Stroop and his fellow “ex-evangelicals”, grinding an axe in order to further their own toxic form of victimhood and the Leftist socio-political cult that sees an easy profit in any form of anti-Christian rhetoric.

It would be naïve to dismiss the testimony of those who genuinely see themselves as victims of abuse. It would also be naïve to buy into the narrative Stroop has tried to construct by exploiting their apparent suffering.

Having talked at length with homeschooling friends from the United States, there is no doubt that a small portion of homeschooling families get it wrong, or abuse the privilege of home education by abdicating their parental duty of care in educating their child responsibly. However, as reflected in literature and movies like ‘Sister Act 2’, ‘Lean on Me’, ‘The Dead Poets Society’, and ‘Dangerous Minds’, parental abdication from participating in their child’s holistic education, isn’t a problem just experienced in the homeschooling community. It affects every educational platform.

Stroop’s sloppy article and his dishonesty illustrate just how far the Leftist cult of modern liberalism and its sycophants are willing to go. With little to no evidence, Biblical Christianity will be outlawed under the popular phrase ‘homophobic’.

This is another mutation of

‘the terrible abuse of language by the Nazis: where the group in charge of the actual killing in the gas chambers was called the General Welfare Foundation for Institutional Care…’ (Dean Stroud)[1]

This is the reality for Israel Folau. In a vile inversion of morality, Christianity will be deemed immoral. Anyone not aligned with Leftism will be treated as domestic terrorists, and as is the case with Christians in China, people will be forced by those already sold out to Leftism, into allegiance to the State.

This is, as Paul Joseph Watson so aptly described it, the mark of the beast: we will not be able to buy, sell, have a career, or earn a wage, without total intellectual castration and obedience to those on the Left who, even now, deceptively seek to place themselves as our overlords.


References:

[1] Dean Stroud, 2013 ‘Preaching in Hitler’s Shadow: Sermons of Resistance‘ Wm B. Eerdmans Publishing pp.132 & 136

(Originally published on The Caldron Pool, 23rd May 2019)

©Rod Lampard, 2019

Yesterday’s election saw Australians choose freedom and individual responsibility, over surrendering their country to globalist bureaucrats and their inherent totalitarianism.

Against all mainstream media predictions which had handed the Labor/Green opposition the 2019 election, the discerning voter – Morrison’s “quiet Australians” – made their voice heard.

In many ways the outcome of the election, illustrates that Leftists within in the leftwing media are not reporting properly or honestly.

They have a narrative and expect people to fall in line with it. This is the way we want you to vote, so “vote as we tell you to vote, or else.”

Caldron Pool contributor, Dr. Ashraf Selah, was spot on when he quipped,

“This was not even close to being a swing voter’s election. This is a clear message that leaders shouldn’t be overly smug with virtue signalling and identity politics. Australians don’t want to be worse off for the sake of feel-good but do-no-good policies.”

And Herald Sun columnist, Rita Panahi stated,

“The centre-right Coalition government has achieved the most astonishing victory in modern Australian politics. The Australian people rejected the class warfare, climate alarmism & identity politics of Labor.”

Both Selah and Panahi don’t fit the identity box that Labor and The Greens use in exploiting the victims, or sin of racism, ethnic and religious prejudice, for political gain. Labor’s policies were militant, aggressive, divisive and un-Australian.

Panahi is right. This election result was a rejection of manipulative propaganda, a collective “nein!”, spoken in defiance against fascism and Marxism, in both its blatant and subtle forms.

With the media scoring through the debris and as the debriefing takes place over the coming weeks. Let it be remembered that Leftists have a narrative that they want you to believe. It’s constructed to sway opinion towards a collective goal that will, in the words of Roger Scruton, ‘always end in totalitarian control.’

Globalism is the new imperialism and at the centre of it sits an un-elected bureaucratic caste whose self-interest has no room for our best interests.

Bill Shorten’s concession speech, we “did all we could”, selling every Leftist progressive policy and the kitchen sink with it, acknowledges this point.

Under this auctioneering, the anything goes, and everything goes recklessness of Labor and The Green’s would have been a back breaking burden on the Australian people.

That is why this election was about freedom. If Labor and The Greens had won, based on the current lineup and their policing policies, the burden of their current ideological platform, would have been an astronomically heavy yoke on the Australian people.

If Bill Shorten’s belligerent rhetoric, his call to “fight on” is carried through without any genuine soul searching from Labor and The Greens, then we can expect much of the same Marxist rhetoric, division and catastrophic recklessness, which promises utopia, though a continuous revolution where one group is placed against the next and the never the two shall meet.

The perpetual class war in order to achieve the Dictatorship of the Proletariat, as translated by Labor and The Greens, would include laws of segregation based on the toxicity of intersectionality theory.

This would include excluding Christians and Christianity from public life. Under “hate speech” laws arbitrarily defined by Globalists and implemented by Labor and The Greens, freedom and individual responsibility would be a thing of the past.

The ideology of intersectionality feeds identity politics. It is a politics of division and displacement; a policing of arbitrarily determined privilege that measures the worth of a person by gender, skin colour, heritage, income, religion and sexual preference.

This is the same kind of yardstick the Nazis used against the Jews; intersectionality theory is treason against humanity of the highest order. This is why intersectionality theory must be unequivocally rejected, not unquestionably embraced.

Australians have avoided falling into servitude to the crushing ideology of Globalist imperialism and the Leftist cult of modern liberalism, but the discerning citizen shouldn’t grow complacent. This may only be three year reprieve from a gathering storm determined to crush everything in its path.

Remember Israel Folau. Remember Roger Scruton. Never forget what internationally funded, militant Leftist group Getup!’s war on Tony Abbott. Remember those who have already been publicly castigated. The election outcome was not a truce. It will do either embolden those determined to separate Australians into enemy and ally, oppressed and oppressor, or it will expose the misery behind their masquerade.

Let’s hope and pray that Morrison is a real answer to this, and not just a placebo applied to a nation suffering from wounds inflicted by its would-be overlords, who, post-election, may not be inclined to hearing the voice of the people, or become “woke” enough to humbly acknowledge the destructiveness of their policies.

The pattern of behavior exhibited since Hillary Clinton lost the 2016 election suggests that the Left, dominated by the radical Marxist agenda of Leftists, will be too busy laying blame on everyone who disagrees with them or didn’t fall in and march to battle in their culture war, as demanded the mainstream Leftist propaganda machine.

The defiant voice of the discerning voter; Morrison’s “quiet Australians” must stay vigilant, avoid complacency, and not let the great collective sigh of relief sweeping Australia today, lull them into a false sense of security.


Photo by Donald Giannatti on Unsplash

©Rod Lampard, 2019

Bill Shorten’s poorly aimed verbal sucker punch at Scott Morrison draws from the assumption that those who voted “yes” in the LNP’s gay marriage popularity survey are a bankable vote for Labor. This political maneuvere was a bad call. It betrays a deep overconfidence in the Labor political machine and underestimates the intellectual capacity of the discerning public.

Shorten’s goal was clear. Capitalize on the fearmongering and misrepresentations, which he and Pro-SSM advocates were so keen to employ, instead of engaging in rational, respectful debate.

As a servant of that public, he seems to forget that Labor had originally refused to support the survey, and only backed it after being dragged to the table by discerning voters. His alternative was to arbitrarily make Same-sex marriage law, without Australian voters having any opportunity to debate it.

What Shorten thought would give him the presumed “moral high ground” has made him look petty and desperate. His spiteful attempt to score political points was, as Dennis Shanahan put it, part of a “co-ordinated response  to exploit the Prime Minister’s religious beliefs; seeking to revive divisions of the same-sex marriage debate and bring “the millennials back to Labor.”[1]

Shorten’s “low blow” was a vicious attempt to push the Prime Minister down, in order for Bill Shorten to raise himself up. His not-so-subtle call to arms, in an attempt to stock the emotions of moderates who voted “yes”, fits the clinical description of agitprop (manipulative propaganda).

French philosopher and theologian Jacques Ellul noted:

‘1. Agitation propaganda unleashes an explosive movement it operates inside a crisis or actually provokes the crisis itself.

2. it’s extremely easy to launch, because it’s based on hatred of a particular enemy.

3. Agitprop succeeds because it designates someone as the source of all misery.

4. Any statement whatever, no matter how stupid, any “tall tale” will be believed once it enters into the passionate current of hatred.

5. Agitprop uses key words of magical import, which are believed without question. [2]

Ambushing Scott Morrison with a loaded question only serves to prove the point. It also shows that Shorten’s verbal sucker punch was motivated by a malicious political attempt to launch a movement of hatred against the Prime Minister in the last week of an election, that Labor are confident they cannot lose.

Shorten’s unfair, on the spot demand that Scott Morrison answer whether he “believes that homosexuals go to hell or not” lead to Morrison’s “declaration” that, “no, he doesn’t believe that homosexuals go to hell”.

Rather than the Prime Minister’s response showing a compromise of his Christian faith, his response proved his strength as a leader. Morrison identified and neutralized a manipulative attempt to undermine the Australian people, and he refused to play political games by pitting the majority Christian community against the minority LGBT community. This was a hard call, but it was the right move.

In refusing to be baited by Bill Shorten, Scott Morrison didn’t dismiss Biblical Christianity, he dismissed Shorten’s slippery attempt to provoke division and hatred within the community through ignorance of Christian theology. In doing so, Morrison showed his political prowess and eligibility to continue to serve as Prime Minster.

Labor’s agitprop aside, theologically speaking there’s also a nuance in Morrison’s response.

Technically, Morrison is right to reject the oversimplistic notion that the sinners are indiscriminately thrown into hell by a tyrannical God. This is the myth Peter Fitzsimmons may believe, but it’s not the God testified to in the Bible, who actively and descively, speaks, and makes Himself known to humanity through His Covenant with Israel and Jesus Christ. Morrison is right to reject the illiterate assumption that unrepentant sinners are recklessly thrown into eternal separation from God. For the most part, the unrepentant sinner goes their willingly.

There is a distinction between sinner and sin; the person and the action. To be transformed into the image of sin, is to willingly engage in a rejection of the image of God.  Though sin is a pervasive reality, sin does not define us unless it becomes something we take pride in, or refuse to turn away from. The consequence being that we are conformed to its dark and corrupt image, rather than God’s, who is the source and fullness of life.

C.S. Lewis stated two things that illuminate this nuance. First, hell is the outer darkness[3], chosen self-annihilation. Secondly, hell is judgement:

‘To enter heaven is to become more human than you ever succeeded in being on earth; to enter Hell is to be banished from humanity.[4]

Lewis also pointed out that:

“there are two kinds of people in the end. Those who say to God, “Thy will be done”, and those to whom God in the end says, “thy will be done. All that are in Hell choose it[5]…he has his wish – to live wholly for the self and to make the best of what he finds there. And what he finds there is Hell.[6]

As a side note, when comparing Israel Folau with Scott Morrion, it’s also important to recognize, that there’s a difference in their platforms.

One was an athlete posting on his personal social media account, the other is a sitting Prime Minister, who was ambushed by the media and the Labor opposition leader with a loaded question (logical fallacy).

I think far more than this event shining a light on Morrison (and on a level of consistency, it doesn’t look great), the event reveals a whole lot more about the hostility and preconceived bias, theological illiteracy and prejudice against Christians in the public arena from Labor, and parts of Australia’s MSM. That is what we should be focusing on, not the lack of theological depth in the Prime Minister’s quick reply.

As Shannahan said, ‘it was the only response available’, (The Australian, May 15th)

Hypocritically, Bill Shorten isolated a large section of the Australian Community, all while declaring that Australia “needed a Prime Minister for all people.”

Shorten’s dull and contemptible perception of the Australian public, and the discerning voter, is no match for the much sharper, and more relatable, Scott Morrison. Australian Labor’s co-ordinated attempt at agitprop, along with the division and hatred they tried to incite, not only alienates the 4.87 million (38.4%) who ticked “no” in the Same-Sex marriage popularity survey, it revealed that the opposition leader is willing to divide Australians for personal gain.

Shorten’s theologically illiterate polemic and his deliberate exploitation of Scott Morrison’s Christian faith, proves that Shorten is unfit to serve as the 31st Prime Minister of Australia. To the discerning voter, Christian or otherwise, this is another reason, in a list of reasons to think hard before voting Labor/Green in the upcoming election on Saturday.

As C.S. Lewis put it:

‘In all discussions of Hell we should keep steadily before our eyes the possible damnation, not of our enemies nor our friends, but of ourselves.’[7]


References:

[1] Shanahan, D. Shorten Stoops to new low on leader’s beliefs, The Australian, 15th May 2019

[2] Ellul, J. 1965. Propaganda: The Formation of Men’s Attitudes Vintage Books Ed. (pp.72-74)

[3] Lewis, C.S. The Problem of Pain (p.130)

[4] Ibid

[5] Lewis, C.S. The Great Divorce, (p.75)

[6] Lewis, C.S. The Problem of Pain, (p.126)

[7] Ibid, (p.132)

(Originally published at The Caldron Pool, Does Bill Shorten’s manipulative attack on Scott Morrison’s faith prove he’s unfit to be Prime Minister? 16th May 2019)

Photo by Parker Johnson on Unsplash

©Rod Lampard, 2019

Last month I was a guest on an Ever Vigilant podcast. Joe Prim and I discussed the importance of political theology in regards to Karl Barth, Dietrich Bonhoeffer and the historical parallels relevant to us today.

Karl Barth and Dietrich Bonhoeffer are well positioned to be our guide now, and through a very real darkness, should that darkness engulf Western Civilisation entirely.

Links to said podcast:

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Church leaders need to stop apologizing and step up in support of Biblical Christianity. It’s disappointing to watch key leaders betray theology, in a pacifistic appeal to the Left, for fear of being excluded by them from the table of discussion.

Appeasement never works. It didn’t work against the onslaught of fascism in the 1930s or during the Cold War, it won’t work now.

As Winston Churchill once said, ‘it would be wrong not to lay the lessons of the past before the future; noting that appeasement encouraged the aggression of the Dictators and emboldened their power amongst their own people.’ [1]

If John F. Kennedy had let appeasement permeate his decisions throughout the Cuban Missile Crisis, we may very well have been forced by totalitarian aggressors over the irreversible red line into global thermal nuclear war. Kennedy’s commitment to his people, grace and the firmness of his convictions was later echoed in Ronald Reagan’s ‘Peace through Strength’; Reagan’s unwavering commitment to build relationship with the Soviet Union from a position of strength, through a policy of mutuality, not fear and submission.

Furthermore, if Jesus had appeased the Devil in the desert or quit at the pain He felt in Gethsemane, His victory over sin would be non-existent; His actualization of the presence of the Kingdom of God, the Gospel itself would have been reduced to nothing more than a birthright from heaven, sold to the highest bidder.

Instead, Jesus stood firm. He didn’t retreat. His very presence triggered demons and He expelled them with a command; healed the wounded, called sinners to repentance, and taught with a veracity absent in the burdensome, stern, joylessness of the religious leaders of His day (Mark 1:22).

In recent weeks, we’ve heard attempts at diplomatic responses to the scripture Israel Folau posted on Instagram from John Dickson, Brian Houston and Simon Smart from CPX.

Their thermostatic diplomatic attempts might seem commendable, but it will not find its intended goal of peace in a conflict the Church didn’t start. At the core of their well-intentioned responses is appeasement.

Dickson and Houston may be appealing to Jesus’ command to love our enemies, which is honorable, but they appear to be clueless, underestimating the ferocity and ultimate goals of their opponents. These are opponents who have made it clear that they are not only determined to make Christians their enemy, but are determined to impose a convert, pay the fine, or face the consequences religious law on all those who dare to speak truth in love.

For the most part, appeasement is misguided neutrality. It reflects defeatism and surrender.

History again teaches us that few gains are made by giving up, what we can, should and therefore ought to defend. Appeasement in the guise of loving our enemies is a flawed approach. Appeasement often feeds retreat, encourages compromise, and cowers before the tyranny of false doctrine.

Anti-Nazi theologian, Karl Barth’s Second Letter to French Protestants written during 1940, makes this clear:

‘In the Germany after 1933, when she was overrun by the demonic power of National Socialism, [through compliance and an approved armistice], in order to maintain itself, Christianity in Germany retreated, no longer concerning itself with, or at least was not willing to fight and suffer for, the right form of the Church, let alone that of the State.’

Writing, as he did, Barth encouraged the French to see that

 ‘even if this is the judgement of God on the Church, His judgement does not cast us into a self-chosen neutrality […] Repentance will us lead us to watch and not to sleep; it will guide our steps to life and not to death […] It follows that prayer will not lead us away from political thought and action of a modest but definite kind, but will rather lead us directly into purposeful conflict […] The spirit of Christian repudiation of defeat, the spirit of a Christian approach  to a new and better resistance, the spirit of Christian hope will not leave the field  to the demons!’

The Church and Church leaders must reject a policy of appeasement that would force Christian theology into servitude to ideology, which demands appeasement and affirmation by only approving the words of false teachers, and false prophets.

The Church cannot on any terms surrender to any lord other than the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the reason for the existence of the Church, for from Him the Church was brought into existence, and in Him only will it find its end. The free Theos-Logos (the free Word of God) remains free to speak to humanity, and this fact will always mean that God’s grace is offensive and in conflict with a world determined to reject it.

“For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” (1 Corinthians 1:18, ESV)

Church leaders need to stop apologising for Israel Folau, and begin to show backbone and true leadership. Like Churchill and Barth, Kennedy and Reagan, and ultimately in Jesus Christ, we can seek an exchange of understanding that is metered out in order to establish mutual respect.

Appeasement, however, is an abdication of responsibility, it requires the perilous decision of abandoning the theological critique of ideologies, which are proving, and have proven, themselves to be treason against humanity of the highest order[2].

Israel Folau has every right to post what he’d like on his own personal Instagram account. That’s an issue between him and Instragam. If people don’t like that, then they should simply just unfollow him.

If a post-Christian society is to be as it claims to be: tolerant, open and inclusive, then the people who advocate it should be mature enough to practice what they preach, giving Israel Folau and Christians, the same space and understanding that they demand for themselves.


References:

[1] Churchill, Winston. The Gathering Storm: The Second World War, Volume 1 (Winston Churchill World War II Collection) . RosettaBooks.

[2] For example, Nazism, Socialism, intersectionality theory and Islamism.

Photo by Daniel Sandvik on Unsplash

(Originally published at The Caldron Pool 13th May 2019)

©Rod Lampard, 2019

 

Israel Folau isn’t alone in his struggle against the Leftist establishment and its newspeak. British Philosopher, and Leftist turned conservative, Sir Roger Scruton lost his U.K Government role as Housing Adviser, after criticizing George Soros and asserting that

“Islamophobia was an attempt to control conversation by making any and all criticism of Islam or Muslims a social pathology. (The same is true with all these absurd, politicized -phobias.)”

There have also been calls for Scruton’s knighthood to be revoked.

As Scruton and Muslim writer, Ismail Royer point out.

“[In the minds of the Muslim Brotherhood it’s] impossible for anyone to write critically about Islam, or the deeds of Muslims, in good faith. The only acceptable angle was flattery” (Scruton)

“The Scruton affair illustrates a mindset afflicting many modern Muslims. As @ScholarsInk points out, this is a man who has engaged in substantive dialogue with Islamic scholars. It’s a problem that many Muslims find anything other than flattery to be absolutely intolerable.” (Royer)

While the Leftist establishment’s contempt for Scruton remains high, support for Scruton continues to not only remain consistent, but is on the increase.

Thanking supporters, he took to Twitter writing:

“Thank you to the many people from around the world, who have sent messages of support in this time of persecution. And apologies to the mob for having survived it.”

Scruton is well acquainted with the ‘Leftist vision’, commenting about his time writing with the ‘underground networks of communist Europe’ in his book, ‘Fools, Frauds & Firebrands: Thinkers of the New Left’ (2015)[1],

[“My involvement] had brought me face to face with destruction, and it was obvious to most people who troubled to expose themselves to this destruction that leftist ways of thinking were the ultimate cause of it […] We should not be surprised that, when the communists seized power in Eastern Europe, their first task was to decapitate the little platoons – so that Kádár, when Minister of the Interior in the 1948 government in Hungary, managed to destroy five thousand in a single year.
Newspeak[2], which sees the world in terms of power and struggle, encourages the view that all associations not controlled by the righteous leaders are a danger to the state. And by acting on this view you make it true. When the seminar, the troop or the choir can meet only with the permission of the Party, the Party automatically becomes their enemy. In this way, it seems to me, it is not an accident that the triumph of leftist ways of thinking has so often led to totalitarian government.”

Scruton’s argument is confirmed by the Tienanmen Square massacre, which happened, but “officially” never happened. The Hungarian revolt of 1956, and the violent suppression of it by the Soviet Union, and its puppet Socialist Hungarian administration. The violence was downplayed by French Communists, such as Jean Sartre, and was largely ignored or dismissed by the Left in the West.

In response to the violent Communist suppression of the Hungarian people, French existentialist and philosopher, Albert Camus, himself once a golden boy of the French Leftist establishment, wrote,

‘We must admit that today conformity is on the Left.
To be sure, the Right is not brilliant. But the Left is in complete decadence, a prisoner of words, caught in its own vocabulary, capable merely of stereo-typed replies, constantly at a loss when faced with the truth, from which it nevertheless claimed to derive its laws.
The Left is schizophrenic and needs doctoring through pitiless self-criticism, exercise of the heart, close reasoning, and a little modesty. Until such an effort at re-examination is well under way, any rallying will be useless even harmful. None of the evils of totalitarianism (defined by the single party and the suppression of all opposition) claims to remedy is worse than totalitarianism itself.’[3]

Roger Scruton and Israel Folau are high profile examples who should garner support from every quarter, because if they are allowed to be thrown under blade of the guillotine, by the mob and it’s “people’s court”, we all lose.


References:

[1] Scruton, Roger. 2015. Fools, Frauds and Firebrands: Thinkers of the New Left Bloomsbury Publishing

[2] ‘The purpose of communist Newspeak, in Thom’s ironical words, has been ‘to protect ideology from the malicious attacks of real things – fortified the communist conviction that you could change reality by changing words.’ (ibid, 2015)

[3] Camus, A. 1961 Resistance, Rebellion and Death: Essays; ‘Hungary: Socialism of the Gallows’, Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. 1960 First Vintage International Edition

Photo by Jake Noren on Unsplash

(Also posted on The Caldron Pool, 8th May 2019)

©Rod Lampard, 2019

Prime Minister, Scott Morrison has been physically attacked by a female activist at a campaign event in Albany, (Vic.).

A 24 year old woman allegedly threw an egg at the Prime Minister’s head, which according to the ABC, did not break on impact.

The ABC also reported that Morrison’s assailant, armed with a “carton of eggs was dragged away by security and was now in police custody”.

In the process an elderly woman was knocked off her feet, prompting the Prime Minister to go to her aid,

Morrison later saying on Twitter,”My concern about today’s incident in Albury was for the older lady who was knocked off her feet. I helped her up and gave her a hug. Our farmers have to put up with these same idiots who are invading their farms and their homes.We will stand up to thuggery whether it’s these cowardly activists who have no respect for anyone, or militant unionists standing over small businesses and their employees on work sites.”

Scott Morrison appears to have shrugged off the ambush by keeping to his campaign schedule.

As reported by The Guardian, via AAP, the assailant was protesting the Coalition’s firm commitment to the protection of Australia’s borders, which includes stopping the illegal smuggling of people into the country.

This isn’t the first egg attack on a sitting Prime Minister. Labor Prime Minister, Julia Gillard on her first visit to Western Australia as P.M, was assaulted by a 55 year old man, who was consequently charged for assault.

As serious as these assaults are, few of them come close to ex-Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, being head-butted by a ‘lone anarchist and Same-Sex marriage supporter, during the LNP’s, Gay Marriage popularity survey debate, in 2017.

More tragically, attacks on Tony Abbot haven’t stopped. Today, The Guardian also noted an AAP report stating that,

‘NSW police officers have collected a poo hidden inside a book that was dumped outside Tony Abbott’s Sydney electorate office.
The faeces was placed inside a hollowed-out book that had the word “Unpopular” written on the cover, according to photos published by News Corp Australia.
Detectives are investigating after the item was left outside Abbott’s Manly office on Tuesday morning, a police spokesman said’

Violence against sitting members of parliament, particularly Conservative and Christian public servants, is becoming a trend. Tony Abbott, being the example par excellence, because he has evidently been singled out as a primary target for Leftist activists; the assault on Scott Morrison providing more evidence which supports that conclusion.

More recently, Fraser Anning, an Australian Senator was ambushed by a 17 year old Victorian teenager, who smashed an egg into the back of the Senators head during a press conference in March.

At the time many erupted with applause, dismissing the event as a kid letting of some steam.

If the assaults are trending, it’s in large part because of the applause on social media. While there are pockets of healthy resistance to this, Big Tech companies are reducing the impact of that healthy resistance, by purging conservatives from their platforms. Ironically giving actual violence a voice, all in the name of fighting what they’ve arbitrarily determined to be “hate speech”.

 

After the ambush of Fraser Anning, many warned about the precedent it was encouraging. In response, people took to social media and applauded the teenager. With one prominent Church leader saying he wouldn’t condemn the assault on Anning, because “Anning did far worse […] This is a random kid who got the senator dirty with an egg. He should not have done it, but it is a minor, stupid assault.”[1]

The problem is that dismissing violence tends to encourage violence. These assaults are not just. They’re premeditated acts of violence on elected government officials. In this light, they also are premeditated acts of violence on the Australian people.

As I said in March, in an article discussing the lynching of Fraser Anning:

We would all do well to keep the words of Dietrich Bonhoeffer in mind, “the ultimate possible rebellion, is that the lie [of the serpent] portrays the truth as a lie. That is the abyss that underlies the lie—that it lives because it poses as the truth and condemns the truth as a lie [and we fall for it].”[2]

This is the dark precipice we are being guided towards by many of our leaders, including companies who own, control and provide social media platforms. It’s a precipice that few will survive, if the socio-political trends of the past two decades are allowed to continue, unchallenged and uncorrected.

In our own resistance against this, may we ALL be drawn back towards the words of Jesus Christ, as he lowered himself in the defense of a woman facing a Pharisaic death squad, “let he who is without sin, throw the first stone” (John 8:7).


References:

[1] Name withheld for privacy reasons.

[2] Creation & Fall.

Photo credit: REVOLT on Unsplash image adjusted to fit the post.

(Originally posted on The Caldron Pool 7th May. 2019 under the title, Scott Morrison egged by a female activist at campaign event. Is this becoming a trend? )

©Rod Lampard, 2019

In her[1] last round of public appearances, Democrat Rep. Ilhan Omar (Minn.) blamed America for the suffering of Venezuelans, and managed to alienate the majority of Americans with the provocative statement, “this is not going to be the country of the xenophobics. This is not going to be the country of white people.”

As Omar failed to clarify who she meant by the term “white people”, one can only presume that Omar was either loosely referring to those of Caucasian ethnicity, or more broadly, anyone who supports President Donald Trump. Since those on the far-Left consider anyone not living within the Leftist head-space of modern liberalism, or anyone not in orbit around planet Marx, as being far-right, it’s plausible to think that Omar meant the latter.

Omar’s comments were made during a rally hosted by the Movement for Black Lives[2]. The event was hosted in support of Omar, who they allege was “misrepresented”, after she reduced the Islamist attacks on the United States in September 11, 2001 to simply being, “some people did something”. For context, The Movement for Black Lives by all appearances, are a Black Nationalist organization. Part of their platform includes the demand for reparations for slavery and self-determination for Black people. Omar is also one of America’s first Muslim senators and has been consistently antagonistic towards the Trump administration, and anyone seen to be not in agreement with her political ideology.

Omar’s xenophobic[3] remarks about fighting xenophobia in America are paradoxical. There’s a sharp irony exposed by the fact that her comments against “white” Americans were made from a “Black” Nationalist platform, and she is supported by a “Black” Ethno-Nationalist political movement.

The rookie Democrat also managed to show her lack of experience when on a panel discussing the crisis and suffering of the Venezuelan people, Omar blamed the United States for contributing heavily to the suffering, because of sanctions imposed on the socialist totalitarian regime in Venezuela[4], stating:

“A lot of the policies that we have put in place has kind of helped lead the devastation in Venezuela, and we’ve sort of set the stage for where we’re arriving today, this particular bullying and the use of sanctions to eventually intervene and make regime change really does not help the people of countries like Venezuela, and it certainly does not help and is not in the interest of the United States.”[5]

Omar doesn’t understand how, just sanctions, work from a diplomatic level. Just sanctions are equal to boundaries designed to redefine relationships in order to encourage positive change by correcting abuse, with the hope creating a healthier relationship between two people.  Just like exercise and medical intervention. Boundaries may hurt for a bit, but the ultimate goal is to encourage health and healing.

Socialism and Venezuela’s Marxist politicians have failed the Venezuelan people, not America or Capitalism.

The same gradual decline happened in Guinea after its independence from France in 1958. According to Guinean Cardinal Robert Sarah, ‘I was able to observe how much Guinea was suffering under a dictatorial regime that offered it no hope. Lies and violence were the favorite weapons of a system that was based on a destructive Marxist ideology. The economy of the country had collapsed, and the inhabitants of the villages experienced extreme poverty.’ (God or Nothing, 2015)

Omar’s racially charged statements made from a “black” ethno-nationalist platform follow a series of divisive remarks, and movements, designed to mythologize oppression and take control over what it means to be oppressed.

This Leftist dogma has even penetrated the Church. Writing for Stream.org, Mike Adams made an astute analysis of “Wokeness” and the division it promotes. Adams critiqued Ps. Eric Mason, an urban preacher and author for his incoherent advocacy of what Mason calls the “Woke” Church.

“Is it fair to blame white Christians for the sins of earlier generations? Today, it’s hard to find conservative Christian anywhere expressing support for segregation. But the same leftist policies that decimated the black family are still in place. Mason boasts about his “woke-ness.” But he writes as if he has been asleep for fifty years.
Mason’s resentment toward white conservative Christians today over the omissions of other Christians yesterday is made worse by his own apparent racial prejudice. Consider this statement: “I fear that if we partner with whites that they will find a way to subjugate blacks and make us dependent on them in a way that kills our freedom of a truly black institution […] He expresses resentment over white conservative Christian apathy toward segregation in the past, then rationalizes and defends black self-segregation today. It is hard to grasp why Mason is angry and what his goals are — aside from eliciting white guilt. ”[6]

Outside Ps. Eric Mason’s “Woke Church”, his other books are down to earth, straight-up biblical. I like Mason and have followed him closely on Social Media. I lament that he’s followed Leftism down the Woke road, and strayed from the balanced, solid theological teaching, for what seems to me to be a quest to appear relevant for of fear of missing out. Whether my own brief assessment is accurate or not, Mason’s advocacy of “wokeness” seems to me to be too close to the dissonance of the irrational and volatile anti-Trump movement, as exemplified this week by Rep. Ilhan Omar.

Speaking as a Pentecostal, who has experienced, and witnessed the disastrous consequences of how bad theology can permeate through a congregation, and divide a denomination, the “Woke Church” movement should be treated with as much caution and Biblical theological critique, as the Charismatic “Toronto Blessing” movement was. Theology should be a critique of ideology, not a slave to it – God’s Word confronting and correcting mans’. (2 Corinthians 10:4-5).

Adams is right to ask Mason to properly define what his real concerns are, and how we can all work towards addressing them. The same principle applies to Rep. Ilhan Omar. Provide more evidence; give a reasoned argument, not just divisive rhetoric that ignores 50 years of progress built on the faith and fairness of Civil Rights advocates such as the mighty Dr. John Perkins, and the unforgettable, Rev. Martin Luther King Jnr.

The irony of Omar’s words, along with her own xenophobia about Caucasian people, and Mason’s incoherent activism prompts the question:

Why are some American Democrats so fixated on the colour of your skin, sex & gender? Who benefits from this?

This doesn’t feed the poor. This doesn’t raise people beyond their inherited circumstances. This doesn’t provide the homeless with the ability to find shelter for themselves. This doesn’t comfort the wounded or heal the broken. This doesn’t encourage families by empowering them through employment and education.

Those Democrats and their fixation on skin colour, sex & gender achieve none of these things. What it does do is divide, provoke and antagonize. What it does do is incite fear, violence and suspicion; doing exactly what they’re constantly accusing the American President of doing.

Whether Omar and Mason are woke to it or not, they are making themselves complicit with the Leftist narrative. “Nazi” no longer works, so they’ve gone full “only those on the right are racists; white supremacists/anti-Semites.”

This is a politics of evasion. It’s very subtle, very dangerous, but also very clever. All of it done so as to paint the far-left as holy warriors, pure, sinless, freedom fighters; Jihadists fighting a spiritual enemy in the physical realm. If this trend is not stopped by discerning citizens of the West, the political tactic described above may win the Left approval for militant action under all who are not ideologically aligned with them, under the guise of “just war theory.”

In responding to his recent Facebook and Instagram ban, Paul Joseph Watson correctly noted: “This looks like the end […] They’re now removing people’s ability to have bank accounts and credit card because they have the wrong opinions they’re literally trying to remove your right to buy and sell this is biblical no right to commerce unless you have the mark; and what is the mark? Total intellectual castration and obedience.”[7]

Herein lies the problem with Social Justice Warriors, they’re not fighting for equality of outcomes, or the betterment of their neighbors, they’re fighting for equality with God. This puts them on the same level as Judas Iscariot, not Jesus Christ.

Both Omar and Mason are essentially tilting at windmills, ignoring 50 years of change, dialogue and reform. Instead, they’ve taken the road of blame, prejudice and perpetual victim hood.

In fighting what they think is the dragon; they’ve failed to get woke to Nietzsche’s warning, “Be careful, lest in fighting the dragon you become the dragon.”(Paraphrased)[8]


References:

[1] Disclaimer: I’m assuming Omar identifies as a woman based on the fact that Omar refers to herself as a woman on Twitter and being part of the “sisterhood”.

[2] Democracy Now! Hands Off Ilhan Omar, sourced 3rd May, 2019

[3] In this case Omar’s comments fit within what is a fear of white-people.

[4] Democracy Now! Omar Speak out Against Sanctions & Bipartisan Support sourced 3rd May, 2019

[5] Caroline Kelly, ‘Omar partially blame US… CNN.com sourced, 3rd May 2019

[6] Mike Adams, The Woke Church is More Informed by Leftist Cliches than Gospel Truth, Stream.org. Sourced, 4th May 2019

[7] Paul Joseph Watson, PJW: Banned by Facebook & Instagram Summit.news. Sourced, 4th May 2019

[8] Beyond Good & Evil. #146 Cambridge Texts in the History of Philosophy (p.69)

(Originally published at the Caldron Pool under the same title, 6th May 2019)

©Rod Lampard, 2019

Yesterday, Canadian, M.P. and Conservative, Candice Bergen (not to be confused with the American actress of the same name), took the opportunity to make a public statement on behalf of Christians.

In direct contrast to the vicious ambiguity employed by leading Democrats in the United States, who referred to the victims of the Easter Sunday suicide bombings in Sri Lanka, as “Easter Worshippers”, Bergen spoke plainly. The Canadian Conservative M.P. acknowledged that the perpetrators of the attacks were Islamic extremists who had deliberately targeted the Christian community in Sri Lanka.

Addressing the Canadian parliament, Bergen urged the West to take a stand against unprecedented levels of Christian persecution around the world. Included in her brief statement, was an appeal to Western leaders to discontinue their apathetic response to the violent persecution of Christians in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia. In addition, Bergen said that it was time for Western governments to take active steps against the subtle persecution of Christians living within their borders.

Bergen’s speech also included the fact that,

“Christians are the most persecuted religious group in the world. They’re targeted by Islamic extremists in countries like Pakistan, Iran and Nigeria; and by Communist regimes in China and North Korea. Here in the West we see a subtle persecution. For example, if you are a Christian in the West and you believe in creation or the teachings of the Bible be prepared to be mocked and ridiculed by many, including some of your own political leaders. And if you have social beliefs based on your Christian convictions you might be denied government funding. This is shameful! And as uncomfortable as it might make some, it must be called out. It’s time we stand up for all religious freedoms. We must lead by example and reject all violence and persecution of people because of their faith and beliefs.”

According to a recent Open Doors USA fact sheet, ‘245 million Christians experience high levels of persecution in 50 countries. The top of this list is North Korea, with Islamic oppression fueling Christian persecution in 8 of the top 10. 1 in 9 Christians experience high levels of persecution worldwide. 4,136 Christians have been killed for faith-related reasons. 2,625 Christians were detained without trial, arrested, sentenced and imprisoned, and 1,266 churches or Christian buildings were attacked.’

The Sri Lanka bombings killed 250 people (a figure that was rounded down from 290), and injured close to 500 more. Most of who were Christians.

Candice Bergen’s statement to the Canadian parliament appears to be unique among world leaders and journalists, most of whom remain aloof, and silent, in the shadow of an unprecedented level of persecution and hostility towards Christians around the world.

Bergen’s brief statement echoes the boldness of Winston Churchill’s warnings to a sedated and automatically dismissive bureaucratic caste throughout the 1930s. The difference being that the automatic dismissal from such a political caste is now toxically laced with an anti-Christian sentiment, and a blatant, academically seasoned prejudice, (if not outright irrational and hypocritical intolerance) of Christianity.

As Margaret Thatcher, another famous Conservative politician reminded the world following an assassination attempt on her life:

‘Winston Churchill’s warning is just as true now as when he made it many, many years ago:
“Once you take the position of not being able in any circumstances to defend your rights against aggression, there is no end to the demands that will be made nor to the humiliations that must be accepted.”
He knew, and we must heed his warning.’
(“Post-Brighton Bombing”, Speech to Conservatives, 1984)


(Originally published on Caldron Pool, 2nd May 2019: Canadian MP slams Western attitudes towards Christian persecution: “This is shameful!”)

©Rod Lampard, 2019

On April 24th, rising American political star, Rep. Dan Crenshaw (GOP) gave an open air address, followed by a Q & A at Arizona State University.

Charlie Kirk’s, Turning Point USA hosted the event, which was energetically advertised as ‘Crenshaw vs. Socialism’. Given the name and the creative poster attached to it, the event was bound to draw attention from the perpetually offended.

Taking questions from those in attendance, one student decided to use the Q & A as an opportunity to make declarative statements, accusing Turning Point of being Nazis, and hammering Crenshaw for his service in Afghanistan fighting the Taliban.

Instead of taking the opportunity to talk with Crenshaw and ask where he stood on the issues, the student repeatedly told Crenshaw that he should be “ashamed of his service because he was part of an illegal war of aggression started by the United States”.

The student not interested in allowing Crenshaw to respond left the microphone and walked away.

Despite this, Crenshaw smiled and quickly swung back with, “If you have to call somebody a Nazi, it’s a good indicator that you haven’t thought through your argument very well…look, get more creative with your insults, man. Like, Nazi? Come on.”

Crenshaw’s classy, but firm reply reaffirms the fact that he’s a straight-talker. He stands as a breath of fresh air, in a political realm permeated with politicians who are too afraid to stand against the indoctrination on college compasses; or are too afraid of standing up to the victimhood industry, for fear of being ostracized or dis-endorsed by Washington’s career makers and breakers, including the Hollywood establishment.

#crenshaw2024


(Also published at Caldron Pool, 1st May 2019)

©Rod Lampard, 2019

The tally of the Sri Lankan bombings on Resurrection Sunday now stands at 290 people with around 500 more wounded (many of that number include Sri Lankan Christians).

CNN reported that ‘two (now revealed to be 8) suicide bombers perpetrated the attacks hitting three churches and four luxury hotels.’  The Wall Street Journal noted official statements from the Sri Lankan government, who said that the attacks were perpetrated by an Islamist group known as National Thoweeth Jamath.

Apart from some formal condemnations from countries such as Indonesia, the Muslim world remains largely silent. While there are live updates from news organizations, including CNN, there’s no outrage about Islamism, or widespread sympathy from Muslims.

In addition, as was done to right-wing groups after the Mosque attack in New Zealand, there are no extensive editorials, and little to no panels filled by Leftist academics, sitting down to examine the issues and dangers pertaining to Islamism, and how the Islamic faith is interwoven with political ideology, or how events like the mass murder of Sri Lankans in church celebrating Easter, proves that the political dogma which permeates Islam is a tyrannical antitheses to Biblical Christianity (Judeo-Christianity), it’s progeny Classical Liberalism and Western Civilization[1].

With over 500 wounded and 290 dead, the outpouring of support, outrage and sympathy has been well short of that which was seen after a lone wolf, “eco-fascist”, attacked the Al Noor Mosque in Christchurch, killing 50 and wounding another 50.

One of the few examples of unprecedented support for Christians, came from Antonio Tajani, the European Parliament President, who hours after the Islamist terror attacks in Sri Lanka, issued a message of condolence, and solidarity. Tajani stated that the “attacks on Sri Lankan churches testify to a real genocide perpetrated against Christians.”

Tajani called a spade a spade, arguing for a renewal of the pursuit for religious freedom. Part of this was an implied condemnation of violent attempts to eradicate Christians from Asia, Africa, and the Middle East.

Tajani’s response is a direct contrast to the begrudging sympathy issued forth by leading Democrats in the United States. Democrats fell in line with Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, falsely referring the victims of the Church attacks as “Easter worshippers”.

Certainly not every victim was a Christian, but this deliberate ambiguity is antagonistic, if not snarky, and manipulative. It’s how the Democratic Left does politics and it’s abhorrent.

Not calling a spade a spade, or politicking with half-truths is why the American Democrats are viewed with suspicion in the eyes of many voters. What voters see and observe, doesn’t match what their politicians are selling them.

That leading Democrats are still continuing to play around with words, and blur distinctions, in order to suit their own narrative, shows that these leading Democrats have learnt nothing from Hillary Clinton’s bitter election loss in 2016.

Calling the Christian victims “Easter worshippers” doesn’t just insult the victims of the Islamist attack on three Sri Lankan churches, it rubs salt into a wound felt by Christians all around the world.

Adding insult to injury, some Leftists and at least one Australian Union mocked Scott Morrison, Australia’s Christian Prime Minister, after video emerged of him attending Church. Inferring that Christians were “Nazi worshippers”. Twitter users falsely equated Christians raising their hands in a sign of surrender and openness to God (and as such an act of humility and worship), with the Hitler salute.

One Twitter user referencing an article in The Age stated: “[A] nazi salute. Have a look at the photo – only two men doing it so it can’t be a religious thing.”

Another: “The only difference to this and a Nazi rally from the 30s are the players and the date… except Murdoch is Hitler and Morrison is Goebbels!”

Then another asserted that: “Scott Morrison is not a Christian.”By their works ye shall know them”. Looks like a Nazi salute to me.”

While all of these users were anonymous, that fact doesn’t delegitimize the severity of the act, the accusation, and the negative pattern of behavior attached to it.

Turning Christians into “Easter worshippers” and Christians worshipping in Church, into “Nazi worshippers”, shows the contrast between reactions to N.Z and Sri Lanka.

It’s another example of how the narrative surrounding “white guilt” is built up to force Westerners to remain silent, where there should be outrage, critique and criticism.

The West is told that Islamophobia is racism. Any challenge to Islamic ideology is to be punished. All moral opposition to Islamism is treated as treason. (It’s now much the same with critiques of homosexuality).

For fear of being accused of white supremacism, many in the West become unable to see how terms like Islamophobia are used to slowly bring the World into submission to what could be rightfully be called Islamist supremacism.

For example, British Philosopher, Sir Roger Scruton lost his U.K Government role as Housing Adviser, after criticizing George Soros and asserting that

“Islamophobia was an attempt to control conversation by making any and all criticism of Islam or Muslims a social pathology. (The same is true with all these absurd, politicized -phobias.)”[2]

There have also been calls for Scruton’s knighthood to be revoked.

As Scruton and Muslim writer, Ismail Royer point out.

“[In the minds of the Muslim Brotherhood it’s] impossible for anyone to write critically about Islam, or the deeds of Muslims, in good faith. The only acceptable angle was flattery” (Scruton)
“The Scruton affair illustrates a mindset afflicting many modern Muslims. As @ScholarsInk points out, this is a man who has engaged in substantive dialogue with Islamic scholars. It’s a problem that many Muslims find anything other than flattery to be absolutely intolerable.” (Royer)

Through the Left’s sycophantic political correctness imposed on Western societies, far too many are having their hands tied and mouths gagged, by falsehoods and lies such as the myth that Islam is an oppressed “race”, and that “all white people are racist.”

Add “Easter worshippers” and “Nazi worshippers” to these falsehoods and you’d have to be blind not to see the negative pattern of behavior and the agenda behind it.

Persecution of Christians isn’t subsiding. Terror Attacks on Christians and churches in Nigeria, the Philippines, Syria, Iran, China, India, Egypt and France, are now common place. Every year another country is added to the list.

Although different and a lot less blatant in The West, intolerance and discrimination against Christians is surfacing, e.g.: Roger Scruton, Israel Folau, Margaret Court.

Just as physical attacks on Churches are coordinated and deliberate, so are the intellectual and verbal assaults against Westerners and Christians in general.

There is an obvious discrepancy between the response to Christians after the Sri Lankan Church bombings and the global embrace that was afforded to Muslims, not just in New Zealand, but around the world.

One such example is when leading American Democrats deliberately refuse to call the victims of the church bombings Christians, and instead refer to them as “Easter Worshippers”; an insult that dehumanizes Christians and waters down the threat. This was exhibited by vile diatribes from Leftists, who also inferred that Christians were “Nazi worshippers”.

There is, however, hope. There are those like Tajani (in this case anyway), Scruton, and Royer who see the gathering storm, and instead of cowering in appeasement before it, choose to do everything in their power to respond to it, by educating people in the truth about Islam’s violent historical path and the deceptive nature that hides the destructive all-consuming agenda of Islamists.

If the Hillary Clinton losing the 2016 election, Brexit, Lexit, Blexit, #walkaway, Yellow Jackets, Fraser Anning and the list goes on, say anything, it’s that the age of manipulating the truth, of not calling a spade a spade, of sugar coating, and softening truth to fit into people’s lives in order to win votes, instead of speaking truthfully and allowing the truth to correct people’s lives, is nearing an end.

Therefore the work of the church today is to understand and posit an effective resistance within the context of this new and universal Church struggle, not be defined by it. Resisting the storm comes by standing on the truth. The church speaking God’s agenda for the culture, instead of submitting to any culture that seeks to make itself a god and determine the agenda of the Church. Therefore, ‘[our] reaction should be one of a spiritual and psychological nature, and on a scholarly level.’ (Jacques Ellul, 2015)[3]

For Christians, even those who stand before direct hostility, and who face the possibility of annihilation[4], this means continuing to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit, not the spirit of the age.

It’s by this Light that Christians can ‘stand and proceed even when they and their neighbours expect to see themselves fall into the abyss. It’s by this Light that Christians can be courageous and patient and cheerful even where not just appearances, but the massive whole of reality forbids them to be so.’[5]

This means following Jesus Christ, the One who despite the world’s violent opposition, and despite falsehood from without and within, guides us by God’s grace, through God’s providence, and fatherly good will, into all Truth (John 14:6, ESV).


References:

[1] See Roger Scruton’s ‘The West & all the Rest’ 2002; and Jacques Ellul’s, ‘Islam & Judeo-Christianity: a Critique of their Commonality’, 2015.

[2] Rod Dreher, The ‘Islamophobia’ Smear Against Scruton April 12th 2019, The American Conservative

[3] Islam & Judeo-Christianity: A Critique of Their Commonality (p.67)

[4] Such as the Egyptians Coptic Christians and Assyrian Christians in Northern Iraq and Southern Turkey; for more see the excellent Documentary ‘The Last Christians’.

[5] Barth, K., Bromiley, G. W., & Torrance, T. F. (2004). Church dogmatics: The doctrine of creation, Part 3 (3rd ed., Vol. 3, p. 250). London; New York: T&T Clark.

(Originally posted on Caldron Pool, 23rd April 2019)

©Rod Lampard, 2019

The LGBT community’s grievances and the reason for their sensitivity regarding the Israel Folau controversy are understandable.

A non-biblical version of sin has been misused over the years to beat people down, not bring them the to faith and repentance. (See Psychiatrist, Karl Menninger’s ‘Whatever became of Sin?’, 1976)

That historical misuse, however, doesn’t justify the unjust writhing and screaming being thrown towards Folau.

None of this justifies dehumanizing a man and taking away his bread and butter.

None of this justifies any corporation such as Qantas, bullying, via economic sanctions, companies they do business with, such as Rugby Australia.

As far as Qantas goes, their double standard is more than a little bit strange.

Alan Jones is right.

“Isn’t Qantas in partnership with a national airline whose government imposes laws infinitely more damaging to homosexuals than Israel’s utterance of his biblical beliefs?”

As I noted a few days back, Folau quoting from the Bible on his own personal Instagram page, is between him, Instagram and those who follow his social media account. It doesn’t involve the R.A, the L.G.B.T lobby or even Qantas.

This event proves the truth of the Galatians quote Israel posted. The biblical doctrine of sin, as a rejection of grace, a rejection of relationship, a rejection of both God and neighbour, is more relevant than ever. Sin divides, destroys and consumes those who entertain it.

The equality of the Biblical doctrine of sin is that ALL have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and yet, because of God’s decision to save humanity, in and through Jesus Christ, redemption from that sin is given and found (Romans 3:23). This is the crux of the Easter message heard around the world on Good Friday, Black Saturday and Resurrection Sunday.

As Jean Bethke Elshtain once said, ‘when we start to regard ourselves in our own light, our light dims’.[1]

Michael Horton echoed the same sentiment in his book, ‘Christless Christianity’,

“Coming to God as consumers saved by following the instructions on the product label rather than as sinners saved by grace is not only the essence of human sin, it does not even deliver on its own promises of liberation. Instead it drives us deeper into ourselves […] Keeping us from ever being disrupted by someone greater than ourselves or by something more wonderful than our own half-hearted achievements’[2]
‘It is the false prophets who “dress the wound of my people as though it were not serious” (Jer.18:11). It is not compassion for the people or zeal for God’s house but their own thirst for popularity that renders the false prophets constitutionally incapable of telling the truth about the crisis. Enclosed in our narrow world of personal spin, we are never introduced to the real world created by God’s Word […] Both sin and redemption are trivialized when we write the script.’[3]

This speaks to the left, the right, the up and the down.

Hence, the call to faith, obedience and prayer; the call to repentance; the call to transformation and the call to embrace God’s costly grace that embraces us in, through and with Jesus Christ.

God does not take pleasure in the death of the sinner, but rather that the sinner should turn from his and her way and live (Ezekiel 18:23)[4].

We hear the Old Testament prophets reminding us that the world must not fall into ignorance and complacency. The pain and suffering of history is broadcasting warnings into the present; warnings about the ensuing calamity caused by ideological crusades that have enslaved men and women, under the promise of establishing ‘God’s Kingdom without God in it’[5].

Of all the current commentary surrounding Israel Folau, including my own, Alan Jones wins the final word:

“If Israel Folau is not free to state his religious views, let alone Christian views, then we are all in trouble. It would be helpful if people analyzed what he said before condemning him to rugby oblivion.”

References:

[1]  Elshtain, J.B. 1995 ‘Augustine & The Limits of Politics’  (pp.11, 66 & 62)

[2] Horton, M. 2008 Christless Christianity: The Alternative Gospel of the American Church, Baker Books Baker Book Publishing (p.246)

[3] Ibid, p.242

[4] Ambrose of Milan, ‘On Repentance’

[5] Johnny Cash & U2, The Wanderer “they want the kingdom, but they don’t want God in it”.

(Originally posted on The Caldron Pool, 18th April, 2019)

©Rod Lampard, 2019

 

In August 1939, the Soviets signed a non-aggression treaty with the Nazis. This treaty was called the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact and it allowed the Soviets room to explore Stalin’s expansionist policies. Largely hidden behind the grotesque Abyss of National Socialism’s dark reach for Europe in 1940, Stalin’s Communist forces moved into Poland, and Finland.  The Soviet offensive against Poland began in September, 1939; the offensive against Finland (known as The Winter War) began in November.

Unlike, Poland, Finland had the benefit of only fighting a war on one front. ‘The Winter War’ ended five months later. Finland lost some territory, but kept her sovereignty intact. Poland wasn’t as fortunate.

In September of 1939, the Eastern Soviet offensive against Poland was joined by the Nazi invasion of Poland from the West. Under the Molotov–Ribbentrop non-aggression Pact, Poland was violently split in two. This was until the treaty was torn up, and the once aligned enemies took to each other’s throats.

Once Poland fell, the Polish people were subjected to the tyranny and brutality of both Nazi and Soviet imperialism.

The suffering of the Polish people is one of the most underrated facts of 20th Century history.

One event that illustrates this was the Katyn Massacre. On the 13th April 1940, Soviet authorities executed 22,000 Polish military officers and intellectuals in Katyn Forest, near Smolensk, Russia.

Throughout the 1940’s the Soviets maintained that the massacre of Katyn was a Nazi war crime. They continued to deny responsibility, despite both, “German and Red Cross investigations of the Katyn corpses that had produced firm physical evidence that the massacre took place in early 1940, at a time when the area was still under Soviet control.” (Benjamin Fischer, CIA Study Centre)

Stuck between two ravenous wolves, the Polish people were torn away from their freedom, and slowly devoured. After the war, and as part of Stalin’s expansionist greed, Poland became a puppet Soviet state, doomed to 44 years of Communist serfdom, and Soviet suspicion, behind the USSR’s “antifascist protective rampart”: The Iron Curtain.

Few remember the massacre of Katyn, and the unprovoked suffering of the Polish people under both Nazi and Soviet rule. Even fewer know about it.

It’s this kind of ignorance of history that invites tyranny. The very thing that threatens to burn the West once again is the asinine denial about how easy it is to be seduced into becoming complicit with evil deeds, by those who command them to be carried out.

The widespread condemnation of Australian footballer, Israel Folau took the headlines this week. Political leaders and journalists, including prominent Christian leaders took to the spotlight and castigated a man for quoting from the Bible on social media.

Tom Decent from the Sydney Morning Herald, was among the worst. His use of   the buzzwords, “duel national” and “anti-gay” stopped just short of adding the words “terrorist” and “extremist”, along with inevitable demands attached to them, such as “remove Folau’s citizenship.”

Hillsong’s, Pastor Brian Houston, also chimed in. He who used the opportunity to preach at Folau about not being judgmental, stating that “Jesus, John the Baptist and Paul, all kept their harshest criticism for those who were religious and judgmental.” This is tantamount to saying that the only people who Jesus called to repentance were the religious and the judgmental.

What Houston and many others have failed to acknowledge is that Falou posted the quote on his personal Instagram account. Had this outrage been about one of Houston’s sermons, or books, it’s almost guaranteed that he would be in public relations overdrive pushing back by appealing to the context of where, when and why his words were said.

What Folau said wasn’t wrong. Where he said it, and how he said it raises questions, particularly about the wisdom behind posting it in an age where victimhood is a commodity, and enabling the perpetually offended, leads to political profit, or professional advancement.

However, serious consideration should be given to that fact that the quote wasn’t posted by Folau to pro-LGBT facebook pages. The quote wasn’t posted as a deliberate attack on any pro-LGBT internet forums, nor was his post part of a manipulative political press release, designed to attack the sexual preferences and lifestyle choice of the homosexual community.

Folau shared the quote from Galatians with his Instagram followers. If he was attempting to remind anyone in particular of Paul’s words, it was the sinner. Of which Folua is among the first to confess that he is one.

Firing Folau for quoting Galatians 5:19-21 on his personal Instagram account is not only a warning sign of things to come, it’s also petty and weak.

As for the Biblical text, Paul’s words and their context, there is nothing more inclusive, all troubling, and all embracing, of every human than the fact that,

‘…all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith.’ (Romans 3:23-25, ESV)

The true equality of humanity is the condition of the human heart, as it exists before God, in the light of God’s acts in and through Jesus Christ, acts that cannot be reversed, but acts that can be rejected; acts that are rejected by every unrepentant sinner.

The outrage and actions which followed Israel’s post, are a warning, not just to Christians, but to all those who choose freedom of speech, over-against towing the line of LGBT religious dogma. What this tells non-Christians is that their pro-LGBT position will not exempt them from the imposition of new cultural laws in the West, which will see a serious decline in freedom of thought, conscience and speech.

This is evidenced by the dismissing of those who support Israel Folau and threats made against Israel Folau’s wife.

As I said in 2017, a “no” to SSM is a “yes” to freedom, not a denial of it. Since then the quest to erode freedom shows that those living in the West may fast be approaching a time when they have to choose between surrendering to tyranny and pushing back against it.

No matter how Pro-LGBT, or how Pro-Islam, you are, if you’re not practicing the lifestyle the ideology of that community preaches, you’re the enemy and they will come for you, your job, your family and your freedom.

Such is the misery behind the masquerade.

The current trajectory is that speech will be policed and thought will be controlled. This is seen in the punitive measures taken against those who publicly disagree with the predominately Leftist way of thinking. Such as the censoring of Conservative voices on social media.

All of which is echoed in historical precedents, such as the 1937 edit of Hans Kerrl, Nazi Minister for Church Affairs:

“The Church’s proclamation [preaching/teaching; Gospel & service] must fall into the correct relationship with National Socialism [or else].”
(Bethge, E. Bonhoeffer: A Biography. p.575)

Few remember the massacre of Katyn or the Soviet treaty with Nazi Germany. Even fewer know that it happened.

It’s this kind of ignorance of history that invites tyranny. The very thing which threatens to burn the West once again, is the asinine denial about how easy it is to become complicit with evil deeds, alongside those who command them.

The consequence of an arrogant society believing that Pride wins, and that somehow, we’ve evolved past the atrocities of Nazi Germany, and the ability to inflict the same kind of suffering experienced by the Polish people, is history repeating itself.

The West is like Poland in 1940. Every year it moves closer to being stuck between two ravenous wolves; one eager to enslave, convert by force and conquer. The other happy hiding its insidious designs behind a veil of tolerance, inclusion, appeasement and false portrayal of those with contradicting opinions.

“The truth has always been the truth, just as 2 × 2 = 4”
(Leo Tolstoy, 1882 A Confession)


(Originally published on The Caldron Pool, 15th April 2019)

©Rod Lampard, 2019

Under the title ‘God, Life and the World around us’, I create my own theology and biblical studies lesson plans. From time to time, however, I’ll go looking for some “plug-and-play” material that’ll sharpen our deep study of the Bible and its relevance.

Natasha Crain’s, ‘Talking with Your Kids about God’ met this criterion and then some.  The book pads theology and biblical studies subjects by furthering an understanding of the Bible’s relevance to S.T.E.M and H.S.I.E. (Human Society and its Environment).

Crain’s book is a recount and exposition of her own unexpected engagement with the world of skeptics and atheists. Her research is compiled into thirty questions. Each question makes up a chapter, and each chapter presents the skeptics question juxtaposed next to answers from Atheists and Christians.

One of the key benefits about the layout of Natasha’s book is that it saves time. The layout and contents means no time is lost scrolling, filtering and processing the contents of forums dedicated to the dogma of atheism and the echo chambers of skeptics. Crain has done the ground work already.

Despite the absence of an index, the painstakingly thorough academic approach Crain takes with this book, particularly with referencing and citations, makes it one of the smartest, and well-presented resources, in the apologetics category that I’ve come across.

In a bold, conversational tone, Crain confronts difficult questions and “gotcha” accusations that are often raised against God, Christians and the Bible.  These range from simple passive aggressive anti-Christian statements often seen on memes, the mockery of The Church of the ‘Flying Spaghetti Monster (FSM)’ and the more complex theory of Evolution.

Each chapter addresses the false dichotomy between faith and science.

Crain achieves this by sectioning the book up into five parts in order of importance:

Part 1: The Existence of God.

Part 2: Science & God.

Part 3: The Nature of God.

Part 4: Believing in God

Part 5: The Difference God Makes.

Following the theme of each section, each chapter ends with its own set of unique summary points and conversation guides, which open the chapter up for discussion and application.

Although Crain encourages just using the summary points, and the conversation guide to spark conversations about the topics raised, the book works best when the entire chapter is first read out loud.

I tried to follow the suggested teaching format, but found that noting key points and quotations on the whiteboard, as we went along, worked best. I then had these points and quotations copied down in our Homeschoolers HSIE workbooks. The result was that our discussion began long before beginning the conversation guide. My kids also found this to be the most helpful approach.

The only problem I wrestled with when teaching ‘Talking with Your Kids about God’ was natural theology. After the first and second chapter, I nearly ditched the book, because like any good student of Karl Barth, any hint of desperate reliance on natural theology, as proof of the existence of God, is verboten; a straight-up Nein[!].

Such reliance is built on religion (humanity’s quest to reach or be God – Man’s ‘Towers of Babel’), not faith (humanity’s response to the Word God has already spoken, in both Covenant and in Jesus Christ).

This said. I’m glad I stuck with it. My initial caution was corrected. With Crain, I’d hoped to pad my own homeschool theology lessons, as part of S.T.E.M and H.S.I.E, with age appropriate material. Now that we’ve completed the book, I’m impressed with the format, and how Crain handles the heavy topics therein. Her work is balanced, informative and engaging. In fact, I’m that impressed, I picked up her first book, to teach from in a similar way.

Karl Barth once said that we ought to, “read the bible in one hand, with the newspaper in the other.”

The idea of studying the Bible and the news alongside each other pertains to the continuing relevance of the Bible, and the need to see man’s world, and word, in contrast to God’s revealed Word, and the world He so lovingly saved through it.

Crains’ book is an essential resource for mums and dads who want to help their children to cherish the free pursuit of knowledge, and its close relationship to the free pursuit of God.


References:

Crain, N. 2017 Talking with Your Kids about God, Baker Books Publishing

[Disclaimer: I received no remuneration for this review of any kind].

©Rod Lampard, 2019

Australia’s budget landed this week, and with it came a few surprises. The biggest three were the announcements of a surplus, new life saving medicinal additions to the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme and another small reduction in foreign aid.

Like clockwork, though, the budget was met with an uproar from discontent antagonists looking for excuses to impose their own pet causes on the majority of Australian workers. Joining the outrage was condemnation for the reduction in foreign aid.

Such as Eternity news who called it a kick in the teeth to Christians. However, Eternity news left out some key information, choosing instead to cite reactions from a series of Christian leaders including Michael Frost and John Dickson[1].

What Eternity failed to include in their take-down of this particular part of the budget was that “overall, foreign aid will total $4 billion, slightly down from $4.2 billion.” (Primrose Riordan, The Australian).

One stand out example is that Pakistan which gets $40 million; will now only get $20 million, because they’re not “doing enough to crack down on militant Islamists [Islamism]”.

In addition, “The LNP has avoided major cuts to funding what it classifies as international development assistance.”[2]

If we were to apply the parable of the Good Samaritan to the Australian budget, we’d find the current level of funding meets the message head on.

Look at the increase in funding for Indigenous programs, health, PBS and NDIS. All of which require significant funding. We shouldn’t be quick to forget that Samaritan parable, which echoes the second greatest commandment, to “love our neighbour as we love ourselves”, is fulfilled in these costly programs and the recent additions to them.

I’m no big fan of the current lineup of the Liberal National government, but the decisions included in this budget sets out a balanced application of the second greatest commandment, “love your neighbour as you love yourself” (Mark 12:30-31). This empowers Australians to love and serve our neighbours both here and overseas.

If more funding is needed, why is it that the ABC, who actually kicks Christians in the teeth, still getting its $1 billion + per year? And why are those who agree with Eternity News’ verdict not calling for a culling of that funding to prop up overseas aid?

It’s pretty much guaranteed that the same people complaining about the small cut in foreign aid, are not willing to see ABC funding reduced to compensate for the blank cheque they some seem to want allocated to foreign aid.

Being Christlike embraces both a firm “yes” and a loving “no”. When it comes to foreign aid, there needs to be a budgeted amount allocated, but that should be balanced against meeting the immediate needs of our neighbours closer to home.

Every person with a budget knows that to say “yes” to one thing, means saying “no” to another.

The same thing applies to foreign aid.  When it comes down to either helping our neighbour get the training, or medicine they need by including funding for lifesaving medicine in the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, or supporting  corrupt governments overseas, who are propped up by misplaced compassion, it’s Christ-like to give to the former, rather than the latter.

People complaining about the reduction, without advocating a significant cut in the ABC or a reduction in big government, are being unfair to the Australian taxpayer.

They are forgetting the huge aid being afforded to infrastructure, agricultural development and health, such as taxpayer investment in apprenticeships, and new important additions to the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.

It doesn’t get much more Christian, than empowering people to serve their neighbour. An act that all of the above includes.

Furthermore, according to The Australian, funding from current cuts to foreign aid is being redirected to the hospitality industry.

We should have a foreign aid budget. We should help where we can, when we can, with what we can. But, sending ourselves broke, or perpetuating suffering closer to home in order to do that, isn’t an application of the Good Samaritan parable.

Proverbs 11:1 makes that choice clear: ‘a false balance is an abomination to the LORD, but a just weight is his delight.’

As I’ve said before, if $4 billion in foreign aid is not enough, cut funding from the ABC, draw funding for foreign aid from that amount. Cutting the over-consumption and excess from the monolithic National broadcaster would reduce government, and allow more room for foreign aid to be directed towards legitimate causes outside of Australia.

The other option is encouraging individual Australians to take responsibility and act. Beginning with encouraging Australians to ditch the Bottle’O or pub once a month, and donate that part of their luxury spending to charities already at work overseas.

Some suggestions include:

Open Doors

Compassion

Worldvision

Mercy Ships

Oxfam

Donating to these organisations will do far more good, than increasing taxes, condemning relatively small cuts to foreign aid and raging on social media about a lack of government responsibility.


References (not otherwise linked):

[1] Both of whom have shown a pattern of only criticising and condemning issues where doing so doesn’t draw them any hostile criticism from the Left.

[2] Primrose Riordan, Foreign Aid Flows to Tourism, The Australian, paper edition, 3rd April 2019

Photo by Asif Aman on Unsplash

©Rod Lampard, 2019

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is back in the news again. This time it’s because he’s considering turning the Hagia Sophia (Αγία Σοφία) into an Islamic Centre.[1]

On the 23rd March, the associated press reported, there have been ‘increasing calls for the Turkish government to convert the symbolic structure back into a mosque, especially in the wake of reports that the gunman who killed Muslim worshippers in New Zealand left a manifesto saying the Hagia Sophia should be “free of minarets.”

CBN news confirmed that the historic Hagia Sophia museum (the Church of Holy Wisdom), ‘which was previously a Christian (Byzantium) cathedral and a special place of worship for Greek Orthodox Christians, is planned to be turned into an enormous Islamic centre’ by its Turkish caretakers. CBN also speculated that the timing of the decision was directly linked to the United States controversial recognition of Israel’s annexation of the Golan Heights.

This drew condemnation from Greek foreign minister, George Katrougalos said,

“It is not only a great temple of Christendom — the largest for many centuries — it also belongs to humanity. It has been recognized by UNESCO as part of our global cultural heritage. So any questioning of this status is not just an insult to the sentiments of Christians; it is an insult to the international community and international law.”

News of Erdoğan’s latest plan shouldn’t come as a shock. Since 2016, examples of his authoritarian and vindictive tendencies have continued to pile up. All of which include, gaoling journalists who show opposition, to threatening churches, threatening the citizens of an entire nation, and weaponsing tragedies, by using them in propaganda  for political gain.

Should Erdoğan decide to turn the Hagia Sophia into a political whip, against America, Israel and Christians, out of retaliation for the Golan Heights, and the horrific tragedy in New Zealand, it’ll be hypocritical.

Here’s why: Turkey is an illegal occupier of Byzantine land, including Northern Cyprus. It’s hypocritical for him to rage at Israel, alleging illegal occupation and annexation, when his own country is still doing the exact same thing.

Cyprus has a rich, complex and turbulent history. After the fall of the Roman Empire, Cyprus became part of Byzantium. When Byzantium fell, Cyprus came under the rule of the Venetians. This lasted until 1571, when Cyprus was subsumed into the Ottoman Empire, as a result of the Venetian-Ottoman wars, and the persistent Islamic militant expansionist policies[2], as carried out by Mehmed II[3] “the Conqueror” in 1454, which led to the fall of Constantinople (and subsequently Byzantium); including Suleiman “the Magnificent” and his almost successful quest to conquer Europe. Beginning with the Siege of Vienna in 1529, and ending[4] with the Ottoman defeat in the Battle of Vienna on September 11-12, 1683.

Ottoman rule ended when Britain took up Cyprus in the late 1900s, giving Cyprus their independence in 1960. (Britannica)

Cyprus independence lasted until the early 1970s when Turkish troops landed in the north. According to  BBC’s Cyprus profile, Turkish occupation of the north was triggered by ‘its response to a military coup [on the island] which was backed by the Greek government in 1974.’ [5]

As a consequence, the island was split in two. The north came under Turkish rule; known as the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. The South became the Republic of Cyprus. The Government in the south is internationally-recognised, the North isn’t. To be fair the North is open to discussion about reunification, but any quick internet search will prove that reunification is an unresolved and controversial topic.

 

Northern Cyprus is of importance when legitimising any Turkish criticisms against Israel about the Golan Heights. It may seem hyperbolic, but the same goes for Constantinople (now Istanbul) and the living descendants of Byzantium.

The precedents are already there. If the Free Palestine movement and B.D.S holds legitimacy; if the reparations-for-slavery movement within the U.S holds legitimacy; if “invasion day” and banning all celebrations of Australian nationalism, such as Australia Day, holds legitimacy, so should any (pro-Greece) Free Constantinople and Free Northern Cyprus movements that might arise.

The Hagia Sophia is not a punching bag. If Erdoğan wants to use this old Byzantine church as one, in order to send a message to Christians and the West; then I don’t see how he would be able to ethically justify any military action against Israel, if they decided to follow his example, and turn the site of the Dome of the Rock into the Third Temple.


References:

[1] (Apparently, Erdoğan thinks that the best way to heal wounds created by the New Zealand mosque shootings is to slap Christians in the face.)

[2] ‘Many Muslims considered Suleiman a religious leader as well as a political ruler’ (see History.com)

[3] ‘The chief leader, known as the Sultan, was given absolute religious and political authority over his people.’ (see History.com)

[4] General consensus is that this loss marked a rethink within the Ottoman hierarchy and thus a change in the long wars between the Ottoman’s and European states.

[5] BBC.com, 12th November 2018 Cyprus Country profile, sourced 30th March 2019

Photo credit: Arild Vågen , 2013.

©Rod Lampard, 2019

Jussie Smollett, who, according to Chicago police, faked a race hate, and “homophobic” incident earlier this year, has been released without charge.

In response to the breaking news, Smollett’s highly paid lawyers went out of their way to paint Smollett as the victim, despite the fact that Smollett was charged with 16 felony counts related to making a false report to police.

Smollett’s was let off because of his “volunteer service in the community, and agreement to forfeit his $10,000 bond to the City of Chicago.”

Chicago police spokesman, Eddie Johnson, responded with a damning condemnation of the decision, saying:

“Do I think justice was served? No. where do I think justice is? I think this city is still owed an apology… If I was accused of something, I’d want a trial, to have my name cleared. I’ve heard that they wanted their day in court with TV cameras, so America could know the truth, but no, they chose to hide behind secrecy and broker a deal to circumvent the judicial system.”

Johnson, clearly disappointed, said that the $10,000 bond wouldn’t come anywhere near to covering the cost of the investigation, jury and resources used on the case. Johnson also made a point of highlighting the ethical cost. Smollett used race hate legislation, signed into law by Barack Obama, to “self-promote his own career”. His decision to manipulate those laws, to his own advantage, has disadvantaged real victims, making it harder for the potential victims of real crimes to find justice. This is because it “casts a shadow on whether they’re telling the truth” (Johnson).

Chicago’s Mayor, Rham Emanuel was just as furious. He alluded that Smollett’s fake police report was divisive, saying Smollett’s actions had brought disgrace on Chicago. His release only carries that smear further. Emanuel alluded, that the dismissal of Smollett’s crimes, is a mockery of the hardworking men and women of the Chicago P.D., a mockery of the justice system and a repudiation of the citizens who participated in the grand jury.

“This is a whitewashing of justice. Where is the accountability in the system? You cannot have (because of a person’s position) one set of rules apply to them, and another set of rules apply to everybody else […] Our officers did hard work, day in and day out – countless hours working to unwind what actually happened that night. The city saw its reputation dragged through the mud, but I remind everybody it was not just the officer’s work that work involved a grand jury and they made a decision based on only a sliver of the evidence.”

Candace Owens also noted:

What many people are missing about Smollett’s dismissal is the timing.

In February, when Smollett was charged, we saw a smokescreen pulled up over the news, and social media, with people fixating on an interview given by John Wayne in the 1970’s. The news about Smollett quickly disappeared, as the divisive noise being pumped out about John Wayne took the headlines.

Yesterday, the highly anticipated, Robert Mueller report made headline news. The report completely exonerated Donald Trump from false accusations that alleged Trump had colluded with Russia in order to win the 2016 Presidential election in the United States.

After almost three years, as well as a ton of false accusations, with millions of dollars spent, Trump’s exoneration implicates that there’s been some dirty political manoeuvring from within the Democrat party, therefore, the timing of Smollett’s release is another curious co-incidence.

Given the February smokescreen of news about Smollett’s felony charge on 16 counts, this new event makes for a compelling argument which suggests:

a). Smollett getting-off-scott-free is another smokescreen designed to take attention away for the Mueller report that exonerated Trump. It’s a convenient political strategy for many on the Left, who may have their own crimes against the people exposed.

b). Smollett’s getting-off-scott-free, backs up the fact that committing a crime is not always treated as a crime, if someone from the Leftist camp commits a crime. They move the goalposts then move them back again, and Left does this if they sense some political benefit from it. For example: Michael Jackson[1]; Will Connolly (aka Egg boy).

Smollett has reason to smile. So do some Democrats and the Leftist cult of modern liberals among their ranks. They’ve successfully pulled off another political maneuver, which removes their treasonous deeds from the front page, and away from the concerns of the people.

It is likely, that Smollett will now get a book and movie deal. Along with countless talk show appearances and maybe even the University lecture circuit, etc.

The best action the discerning citizen can take now, is call out the timing, change the channel back, make a note of the smokescreen, and the double standard, then tune the guy out.


[1] To her credit Streisand has apologised for making the comments, but that doesn’t negate the point being made here. The fact is her initial reaction says a lot about Hollywood. “From out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks” (Luke 6:45)

Photo by Jaroslav Devia on Unsplash

(Originally published at The Caldron Pool, March 27th, 2019)

©Rod Lampard, 2019