The LNP’s battle against the Coronavirus is also a battle for the hearts and minds of Australians. If the Prime Minister fails in winning the latter, his ability to fight and win the former will be significantly compromised. It’s evident to most that Scott Morrison is doing everything a good leader can to win this war, but as goes the law of unintended consequences, Morrison is on the cusp of losing the battle for Australia’s hearts and minds, because of the absence of reassuring battle cries.

There’s no doubt that Sunday’s late press conference revealed a Prime Minister working hard on our behalf. He worked on a Sunday, negotiated with some hard-line Labor premiers, took questions from journalists and fronted the nation. The obvious wear and tear of his schedule was more than enough reason to reject myopic claims that Morrison “bullied” the ABC’s Andrew Probyn, when Probyn attempted to dominate (and therefore bully other reporters of) the press galley. By forcing Probyn to social distance himself, so that other reporters could have a chance to do jobs. Morrison answered a bully, he wasn’t being one. It was late. Morrison was short. Probyn copped a time out, it’s time to move on.

War-time crises require war-time speeches, as much as it requires determined, and resolute, war time leaders. If the Prime Minister wants Australians to unite behind him in this war, he’ll have to do a whole lot better in communicating to Australians about why they should fight, why they need to fight, and how his plan is more than up to the fight, than he has.

Scott Morrison has the logistics right and an effective battle plan, but he needs to improve his monologues. Standard public relations speeches, based on information and procedural text-types won’t work; neither will polished, over written approval ratings twaddle. We can get all that from Government websites. What we need is more of ‘fight on the beaches’, and less of ‘stop going to the beaches’. If Morrison doesn’t do this, as was witnessed late Sunday night, he’ll come across as fighting against, rather than for Australians, and as a result he will lose the proverbial war at home.

Scott Morrison’s big mistake on Sunday, was failing to mention how the war cabinet would be going about to protect freedom. If we are indeed fighting a war, imported from Communist China, the Prime Minister’s approach in this latest news conference won’t inspire people to unite and fight against it with him. I get that the Prime Minister was probably tired. Anyone who’s been in board room meetings can sympathize, they can be mentally, morally and emotionally taxing. This is just for the meetings that succeed. Multiply this by 10 for meetings that don’t.

For all the Prime Minister has been doing, and doing very well, last night saw an unintentional emptying of more air from the already deflating national morale. The absence of any reassurance to Australians that the government will be doing everything it can, in order to protect freedoms under threat by the necessities he has already outlined, and those he said may yet need to be implemented, wasn’t a shot in the arm to the Australian public. For many, it was a right hook to the head.

To be fair, Morrison’s job isn’t easy. As has been made evident by the actions of Victorian Labor Premier, Daniel Andrews, who appears to have pulled a Benedict Arnold, agreeing to keep schools open, only today, to contradict himself and close them, in a direct rejection of the Prime Minister’s plan, including rejecting the advice from Australia’s Chief Medical officer, Chief Medical Officer Brendan Murphy who has said that ‘the consensus view of all of the chief health officers is schools should stay open because the risk to schoolchildren from the virus was very low.’

Making the Prime Minister’s battle for Australia’s hearts and minds more difficult, are all the social media show ponies lecturing us and the Government on why keeping schools open is wrong. Some rants, I know for a fact, come from folks who don’t really care about the issues, or the kids. This is another quick opportunity to attack the P.M.

Let’s be honest, if a Labor Prime Minister had done the same as Morrison in regard to schools, the wolves howling at Morrison, would all singing his or her praises. Few on the left blinked an eyelid when Kevin07 splashed cash from tax-payers coffers on empty halls and fancy balls. It seems that as long as the situation provides an opportunity to drool for, and spill LNP blood, who cares about national unity in a time of crisis?

For the rest of us, the Prime Minister’s school plan was solid. First, it’s an optional extra for parents. Kids need stability in a time of crisis. Routine helps. Keeping the schools open – as an optional extra – when the current health advice (around the world) says it’s reasonable to do so, provides this necessary framework. Closing schools will mean that a child’s routine is disrupted, resulting in an instability in the child’s life that will need to be countered-balanced.

Arguing otherwise, without sufficient reasons to do so, only fosters more fear, more anxiety, more hysteria and harms, rather than helps Australians. Show dissent. Question the new normal, but don’t be obnoxious in doing so.

I say this as an advocate for homeschooling. Something I think Australians can do, and do well. Even without government support. Even with direct hostility from political activist groups on the left, and with having to always look down the barrel of public misconceptions about socialization. Although I support the idea of homeschooling where you can, when you can, if you can, the fact is not all parents are able to homeschool and provide the necessary stability to do so.

The idea scares the hell out of some parents. Many of whom have succumbed to arguments from anti-homeschooling teachers, who regard parents as being intellectually incapable of educating their kids at home. Never mind the fact that many of those allegedly “intellectually incapable” parents were, or may have been, schooled by those very same teachers.

The Prime Minister has a mandate from the Australian people to fight on their behalf. This includes bringing Premier’s, who may be a little too friendly with the Communist Chinese Regime, into line with the Constitution. Not letting this crisis become a means for slimy political manoeuvring.

While the war against the Coronavirus is of the highest importance, Scott Morrison must also recognize that the fight for national morale, for the hearts and minds of the Australian people, is as equally important.

Now that the Prime Minister needs Australians to step up, he must adjust his approach. He can’t just tell hundreds of thousands of Australians that they’re going to be out of work for six months, but here’s some compensation.

War-time crises require war-time speeches.

Morrison needs to rally Australians to the cause, recalling some of the adages that inspired the Anzacs to push back against the dark shroud of totalitarianism that embraced the 20th Century.

I am confident in the Prime Minister’s ability. I am confident in Australia’s ability to unite, and fight; overcome and adapt. We’ve kept calm and carried on before, we can do so again.


First published on Caldron Pool, 24th March, 2020.

Photo by Jonathan Cooper on Unsplash

© Rod Lampard, 2020

So I penned some quick thoughts today for an old friend concerned about the state of things in Australia. I’ll post it here as I have on social media, because it might help put some things into perspective for you the same way it has for us.

Remember Italy has the highest older population in Europe. It also didn’t close down it’s borders until late in the game. Whereas Australia, followed the U.S and banned travel pretty much right of the bat – smart decision.

Australia is also an island continent, meaning the cases we have here, shouldn’t increase much more than they have – despite predictions; it can be contained better, and those who are infected can receive better treatment.

I think the bigger concern for us, is trade, the economic impact – purely because we are an island continent and import a lot of goods. This could be a good thing, though for local producers, though, as demand for their product increases, simply because it cannot be sourced anywhere else.

I’m not saying the COVID-19 issue is going away anytime soon, or that it’s not serious, it is. I’m saying our ability, say as compared to Italy and Spain to contain, treat, and slow infection rates, is far greater. Due largely to decisive, unpopular action early on from Morrison, and his continued vigilance, through working with Labor, and state governments in a “war cabinet” in order to better serve the needs of Australians.

He’s clearly putting party divisions and politics behind him in this regard, which is good leadership.

So a) we are already, as a nation, socially distanced because of our geography b) we have a war chest, so we’re better positioned economically, thanks to good management of the economy c) we have a leader who has taken the reigns and pushed beyond petty political manoeuvring (such as the Greens are doing) in order to see us through.

Strategically speaking we’re doing well so far. Let’s hope and pray it stays that way.

I’m not sold on the “things will never be the same again”. Neither should you be. This was said after 9/11, and sure things did change regarding security etc. But we’re smarter and understand a lot more about our world because of the event – call it beauty for ashes (Isaiah 61:3).

I believe the same Biblical example applies here.

We can either learn from this and improve ourselves, both as a society and as individuals, or fail to recognise what generations before us have. That even ‘in suffering we should aim to affirm life’ (Dietrich Bonhoeffer).

We should recall that deliverance is the point of Easter. God cares for humanity, and has made Himself known through his covenant with Israel and in Jesus Christ. God redeems the irredeemable. We are not abandoned, though we may find Him silent from time to time. He isn’t beyond liberating in the present, having already proven Himself to be Our past and future liberator.


Bonhoeffer, D.2012.  God is On The Cross: Reflections on Lent & Easter, Westminster John Knox Press (p.52)

Photo by Ahna Ziegler on Unsplash

© Rod Lampard, 2020

Alongside the nonsensical Australian frenzy over toilet paper, and its bizarre connection to the Coronavirus, sits news about French farmers, living on the Atlantic coast, who are utilising donkey’s to keep their sheep safe from wolves.

The Times reported that the breed of donkey being used is the Poitou; ‘one of the largest types of donkey, long prized by farmers for its ability to fight off wolves by biting and striking out with its powerful front hoofs.’

In its report, The Australian cited Benoit Biteau, a donkey breeder in the Poitau-Charentes region, who said that

“donkey has a very protective instinct, and unlike a dog, isn’t likely to die in combat with the wolves. It is extremely aggressive towards canines and can protect sheep and goats from attack. The village had installed sheep to graze marshland but the flock was regularly attacked by stray and domestic dogs. The mayor called me to supply a donkey – and there was not a single attack after that.”

As strange as it may sound, using donkeys to keep sheep safe from wolves isn’t uncommon. Queensland’s Department of Agriculture & Fisheries (DAF) officially recognises donkeys as a ‘guardian’, stating that ‘under certain conditions, guardian donkeys can be a suitable option to guard sheep and cattle. Donkeys are aggressive towards predators and may provide indirect protection for domestic animals.’

Could these French farmers, who’ve been swearing for donkey’s years about a breed of donkey’s ability to protect sheep, and kick ass, teach Australians something about panic-buying goods for no real justifiable reason, other than an asinine, “everybody else is doing it, [so] I’m doing it too?

The answer is a voluminous “yes!”

Instead of panic-buying toilet paper, Aussies exhibiting naïve, sheep-like tendencies would do better protecting their backsides, and those of their neighbour, by adopting some of the characteristics of these asses being used in France to protect sheep. Simply by challenging what they’re sold by wolves on both mainstream and social media, who appear to be capitalising on people’s fears over the Coronavirus.

One doesn’t have to be rocket scientist to know that marketeers adapt quickly. They know how easy it is to manipulate a crisis and make money from it. Easily duping people into willingly handing over their wallets, without asking about what they’re jumping into, why and who for.

What’s concerning is that this panic-buying has revealed there are voter aged citizens out there, who are gullible, and therefore politically pliable. They are making decisions based on everything they see on T.V. or read on social media, without giving much thought to the what, the why, the how and the who. These reactions are either an indictment on Australia’s education system, a warning to discerning citizens, or both.

Look at how easy it was for media personalities to incite a poorly informed mob into raising pitch-folks and torches in a uniformed march against “no” voters during the SSM survey, Donald Trump, Israel Folau, Brett Kavanaugh, Coopers Beer, Margaret Court, and Scott Morrison.

If “influencers” and media manipulators can control what you think, they can control what you believe, what you can say, and in turn, control how you behave. Thus turning the free citizen, who has rights and responsibilities, into a slave with none.

Beware the auctioneers. Don’t be a dumb-ass. Look before you leap, and graciously encourage your neighbour to do the same.


First published on Caldron Pool, 5th March, 2020.

Photo by Claire Mueller on Unsplash

© Rod Lampard, 2020

“You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you get what you need.” – The Rolling Stones

© Rod Lampard, 2020

Ben Shapiro cops it from the Leftist outrage brigade, simply for speaking sense into a subject, which involves a very small minority wanting the power to determine what you think and how you speak. This was four years ago, but take note of the hate and hostility coming from those claiming Ben is being hateful.

Unfortunately, not much has changed. We’re still being told that “P” can equal “q”, and anyone who opposes this is faced with the threat of violence. Justified under the auspices of Marxism – critical theory, its perpetual revolution and the idea of Utopian reconstruction.

This is despite the fact that in the English speaking world, the letter “p” can never be the letter ”q”. A true ”q” can never be a true “p”. Displacing ”q” from its true value, will always be a false claim. In Shaprio’s terms: “fictionalised thinking”. This is because the identity and value of “q” is found in it’s relation to the truth value of “p”.

Anything outside this means we are no longer talking about ”p” or ”q”, but a distortion of relationship; a falsification that impacts, not just the value of ”q”, but also ”p”.

To confuse “p” with “q” is to undermine the meaning of both. Creating a false value; a construct that in the end, tyrannically imposes falsehood over the correct functions of both ‘p” and ”q”. This reassignment of value, doesn’t just surrender truth to an untruth, it creates confusion in communication by way of relational dysfunction and normalises the emotional disfiguration of it’s victims.

Biology is not a social construct. Demanding that the world eradicate and blur distinctions, in the name of so-called equality, diminishes the value of the biological union between a man and woman, and the commitment that marriage seals. This is an attempt at reconstruction, involving the creation of a social construct built up and imposed on society, by the very people who claim to fight against one.

What we appear to have here is a bunch of Leftists trying to dishonestly put a Jew on the same level as a Nazi. The message couldn’t be any clearer: line up, fall in, and salute, or else


© Rod Lampard, 2020.

Astute assessments about the West’s dangerous over-dependency on China have been present in news feeds for weeks. As many financial sections of mainstream media will attest to, concerns over products and services, have alerted people, and corporations to an addiction that few, outside China’s industrial matrix, could see before the tragedy of Wuhan.

Setting aside any questionable theories about the ruling Communist regime, and their possible entrapment, the dependency is alarming. Many Western companies have either willingly, or through unbalanced quid-pro-quo deals, positioned themselves so heavily in China, that if China falls, so will they. Many appear to have fallen victim to the folly of placing every egg in one industrial basket. With the Wuhan tragedy and the outbreak of the Coronavirus, gold-fever in China has come to a spine jarring halt, replaced with a fever of a more deadly kind.

Western companies aren’t the only ones waking up to what looks a lot like a co-dependent relationship, with the Chinese political elite holding the balance of power. Australian Unis are losing money because of a high dependency on Chinese student enrolments. So they’re side-stepping Scott Morrison’s travel ban by using a loop-hole, providing grants of up to $7,500 for Chinese students to use a third-party country to enter Australia. However, according to a report in The Australian, some of those students are ignoring quarantine guidelines & are cashing in on an exotic holiday instead.

While it’s not up to us to tell someone how to spend money they’ve been gifted, it is up to us to question how Australian Universities can justify inviting potential economic disaster, in the hopes of avoiding what they see as a potential economic disaster.

As with many co-dependent relationships, when the person with the power breaks away, threatens to, or is removed, anxiety, irrational behavior, insecurity, sometimes violence and panic manifest itself in the person who had little to no power in that relationship.

Australian universities side-stepping Morrison’s travel ban, looks more like irrational self-sabotage or self-harm; raising questions about whether this behavior confirms that a toxic co-dependency between China and the academy in Australia exists. Has the impact of the travel ban, or to be more precise, the Coronavirus, thrown Australian Universities so far off, that they’re now operating like the powerless person in a co-dependent relationship?

If not, then the only possible explanation for such recklessness is greed, and desperation because of an addiction to China that threatens the lifeblood of these institutions, perhaps even more than the virus itself. Side-stepping the travel ban is a band-aid, quick-fix, which risks creating a greater financial disaster should that virus shutdown the academy and the cities those institutions are located in.

In sum,

1. It could be said, that Australian universities side-stepping travel ban are potentially paying to import the coronavirus.

2. Australian universities who give Chinese Uni Students, up to $7,500 in grants, in order to side step the travel ban, are being mocked by students, who are using those funds for an exotic holiday, ignoring quarantine guidelines.

3. Those Universities could wind up financially worse off, if the Coronavirus Spreads around campuses, creating a financial disaster in an attempt to avoid a financial disaster.

4. Australian Unis who are far too dependent on Chinese student enrollments. Thus raising questions about the relationship between China – as hinted at by ASIO last week – and the Academy in Australia.

Far be it for me to condemn the chancellors running our higher institutions of learning. After all, they have my respect. I’ve graced their ancient hallways, and benefited from their tertiary wisdom. I love the academy, but find myself drawing closer and closer towards Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s conclusion, as the institution was being overrun by totalitarianism, ‘I can no longer believe in the University. In fact I never really believed in it.’[i]

It’s true that Universities are businesses, and they need to be free to balance services, and product with profit. However, for our places of higher learning to recklessly undermine a travel ban, and the protections it offers to their institutions and customers (including those Chinese students who were already here) is negligence. They are abdicating responsibility for the health and welfare of current students in order to feed a financial addiction that is in need of an intervention, not a band-aid that props up their bottom line.

Regardless of whether the motivator is greed, pride, wokeness or desperation, such recklessness from the academy poses a greater threat to the academy than the travel ban does.

Don’t let the claims that this side-stepping is a fight against racism, and xenophobia. Even if it was, it’d still look like they’re trying to keep their stats high on China’s oppressive C.C.P social credit score, than fighting the imagined oppression of Morrison’s responsible travel ban. Make no mistake, universities who are side-stepping the Coronavirus ban aren’t putting people before profit, they’re putting profit before people.


References (not otherwise linked):

[i] Bonhoeffer, D. London, 1933-1935, DBWE 13, p.217

First published on Caldron Pool, 4th March, 2020

Photo by Dimitri Karastelev on Unsplash

©Rod lampard, 2020

McArthur’s words sum up the boundary at the core of my Christian life – John 14:6; asking God to show me what He sees, so as to guide, guard and direct my path.

Scary prayer to pray. It means allowing grace to ignite and illuminate darkness. To see myself as the sinner I am, in the light of His Gospel and Law. To see where others too have sinned and fallen short of His glory.

As such it’s been the uncomfortable centre of my approach to the cycle of abuse, lies, welfare addicted, abusive, & highly dysfunctional home I grew up in – It’s essential to the Christian life, and not an easy boundary to live out. You’ll lose friends, family, maybe even a church or social club, and they’ll hate, manipulate and undermine you in ways you never thought were possible, wearing the veneer of victim-hood, maturity and innocence.

Then there’ll be the sycophants, who, to avoid conflict, or to maintain a position of acceptance with those people, enable that hate, accusing you of betrayal, being unchristian, discounting your own trauma, who don’t care to know the truth, will ostracise you to the outer circle, and talk behind your back. All for living out this boundary. But it’s worth living out, not for the sake of truth, but for the love of the vulnerable victims who fell prey to those people, and the hope that Christ, through letting His truth work through us, redeems and sets free, via this boundary, as it redefines those relationships, and liberates us from tyranny and the tyrannical.

I inherited nothing but ashes and brokenness. Yet, by Christ, in Christ, through Christ and with Christ, I am told by the Creator of the Universe that I don’t have to live there, stay there or wallow in that mess. The same goes for you. In Jesus Christ, we are embraced by grace – to quote Karl Barth: God the Creator reaches for His creature  – we should, and ought, therefore, to reach for the One, who reaches out to us through His Word, in Spirit and in Truth.

Indeed, ‘unity is never to be sought at the expense of truth.’ We must question the “new normal” and resist its culture of silence, by following the Holy Spirit’s lead, not falling into step with the spirit of the age.


© Rod Lampard, 2020.

If I’m reading a book, I’m usually stopping to look at the books the authors have read. The bibliography, (or more to my own liking) references in the footnotes, are a powerful add-on provided by the author. This isn’t just to add weight to their argument from an authority other than themselves, but also to help take the reader deeper. I’ve chased a number of these references down over the years, and on occasion found myself buying the book referenced. From it I learn more by reading the reference highlighted in the initial text, because reading the text alongside and through its references, expands interaction with the subject.

I’m often keen to go further, understand better, and walk the road the author has taken, by engaging with material that relates directly to the era, or the subject in question. The most recent example for me is the 1048 page biography on Dietrich Bonhoeffer, written by his student, and nephew-in-law, Eberhard Bethge. I followed up three books mentioned by Bethge, and have one more bookmarked for another day.

There’s risk and reward in doing this. One of the traps to avoid in research are tangents. Following a rabbit down a hole is an easy snare to fall into. What looks relevant may be a wide, time consuming distraction. That’s going to mean time lost reading material that was already covered by the original text. This is a lot like Twitter, when someone throws a red herring into a comment thread unrelated to the original tweet. If the red herring isn’t recognised, the whole thread devolves into an endless – usually abusive – and time consuming round of back and forth, up and down.

It’s true that sometimes chasing the rabbit down the hole is a “necessary evil”. As is said, ‘you need to dig in order to find the gold.’ In this case it’s important to be mindful of the overall purpose of the research, taking note of anything along the way that relates directly to the subject matter discussed by the original text. If I stumble on something that I find interesting that isn’t related, I’ll note it as a resource. Then return to the source to study it a bit further, once I’m free of current subject.

An efficient way to follow-up without falling into the costly rabbit hole is to check a Kindle sample via Amazon, Google books or the better option, Archive.org. While Archive.org has a limited range of books it’s the best place to start, followed by Amazon – as long as it has the Kindle preview option, & Google books, as long as it has the search text option. Searching a keyword, page number, contents or bibliography keeps things simple. Books can be expensive and libraries don’t stock everything, this is why I consider these three options to be the best place to start.

Reading a text alongside its references provides better context. This in turn creates a higher degree of transparency and confidence. I can see where the author was going, and improve my understanding of what they meant. Taking the greater context into consideration permits a practical level of confidence in paraphrasing quotes from the original text. The paraphrase is more likely to maintain the integrity of the author’s original meaning because context has been thoroughly considered.

Reading the text alongside and through its references expands interaction with the subject. I’m big on this process. It can be costly, though. If you’re not using or are unable to access places like Archive.org, Amazon Kindle or Google Books. The benefits of doing this mean a greater understanding of the author’s subject matter, and consequently, the ability to simplify a large body of information.

I think this does justice to the painstaking effort the author has put into indexing, citing, and referencing their work. In a sense the process is about ensuring intellectual integrity, utilising a rigorous scientific method to analyse and respond to the subject or premises discussed by the original text. It also upholds the integrity of the author’s intentions, or perceived intentions, perhaps helping them achieve what they hoped their work would achieve. This is why referencing is important.

With Bethge, it’s been a journey that took me three summers to complete. Reading secondary material referenced by Bethge means being able to not only stand on his shoulders in order to see what he saw, but to better hear what he heard. Instead of being a spectator, we become participants.


©Rod Lampard, 2020 

It’s not difficult to locate video footage, or testimonials from victims who’ve come face to face with mobs in masks, wielding weapons, intimidating, threatening and harassing people in the name of their ideology. They’re a global movement, have their own flag, wear a uniform, carefully manage their image via mass media, are well organized, sizably funded, and having been openly supported, on occasion, by politician and celebrity alike, have political clout.

Their tendency towards violence is well established. As is their willingness to incite violence, or the threat of violence to silence an opponent; this is often against a person deemed by their leaders, as being unworthy of having an opinion – usually because their target’s viewpoint doesn’t support the goals of their leaders, and the ideological hegemony this masked-mob is not only trying defend, but to further establish.

If you thought that this described some ridiculous fringe-dwelling “Right-wing extremist” groups looking for validation, you’d be wrong. This is Antifa. Antifa is a mainstream Left-wing (paramilitary) unit, who tag themselves as anti-fascists. Unlike their eco-“anti-fascist” cousins, Extinction Rebellion, Antifa are better organized, and funded, often recruiting online or via University campuses.

Antifa is joined by an academic collective who pride themselves on being outspoken Nazi haters. Yet, by the way in which this “anti-fascist” organization appears to be structured – the way in which they choose to deal with people, rather than exchange ideas in civil conversation – it’s becoming more and  more obvious that their DNA  matches the DNA of those they claim to be fighting against.

Appearing to consider themselves endowed with special knowledge, or powers, it’s not hard to categorize Antifa as a dangerous esoteric group. Antifa parades itself as though its soldiers have been given a special revelation from God – a special insight – that enables them to spot a Nazi, or “right-wing extremist”, where the rest of us “plebs” are unable to do so. This presumptuous self-importance powers Antifa’s contempt for the majority of Westerners. You are a suspected Nazi, or “right-wing extremist” unless you prove you’re not, or up until Antifa chooses to clear you of all suspicion.

Left-wing groups need “right-wing extremism” and Nazism, in order to stay politically relevant. Therefore these organizations need to manufacture both in order stay solvent. For example: if there are not enough Nazis to go around, hype, funds and support fall away. Consequently, they have to manufacture some, or more profitably, expand the criteria, whereby Left-wing groups can push something like the “white supremacist crisis” narrative, and then conveniently present themselves as political messiahs, selling themselves as the only ones with the special knowledge and special power to fight this new enemy. Antifa needs fascists to stay relevant. Since “right-wing extremists” are fringe groups, and there are not enough of them to fight, the quiet quest is now on to expand the criteria for what, and who can be labeled a “right-wing extremist”.

Follow the logic, and this potentially means that anyone who supports the national anthem, national flag, biological union of man and woman, binary gender, or traditional marriage, are squeezed into the “right-wing extremist” category. Under this expanded criteria “right-wing extremist” would potentially even include Grannies who serve tea at the local CWA hall on a Tuesday, who’d find themselves face to face with Antifa  bullies, dispatched (via social media) to put-down these new “right wing extremists”, deemed so by Antifa’s Left-wing overlords and apparatchik sycophants.

By default Antifa and Left-wing groups can then try to put their own organization on par with the significance of those who stormed onto Juno, Utah, Omaha, Gold, and Sword, into what Eisenhower called a ‘Crusade’ against the National Socialist abyss that was consuming Europe during the 1940s.

Left-wing groups like Antifa don’t seem to care that the West is already deeply aware of the evil and dangers of Nazism. This is because our social awareness, knowledge of history, and its inherent anti-Nazism, is an inconvenience to their political narrative. It hinders their ability to justify their claims and existence as an organization.

Through our annual remembrance of those who went head to toe with real Nazis and defeated them; by the blood and sacrifice of our forebears; every time we commemorate events like VE day, or Anzac Day, we remind these Left-wing groups of our inherent anti-Nazism.

This isn’t just something we give lip service to; it’s written into the DNA of our consciousness – the evil and danger of Nazism is written in blood on many a family tree, but this great cost is cheapened by Left-wing groups like Antifa, who call, or suspect anyone and everyone, who isn’t a card carrying member of the Left, a Nazi. They insult the memory of our forebears when they ignore the fact that anti-Nazism is carved into the imagination and social consciousness of Westerners.

National Socialism (Nazism) isn’t the only demon out there. The social consciousness of the West is yet to include the dangers and evils present within other man-made systems of salvation and condemnation, such as Islamism and Communism. These groups remain successful in hiding from Westerners the same satanic darkness, and devouring Nothingness, that embodies them.

The ability of Left-wing groups, such as Communists to control how we view the world, through the largely inadequate, left/right metaphor, has given them the ability to distance Communism from the same criticisms applied to Nazism. As long as the concerns and imagination of the world is captivated by fear of “right-wing extremism”, and a necessary focus on the evil that is Nazism, Communists can deflect attention away from their own sins; their own atrocities.

This carefully manufactured gap in Western education and its social consciousness has created a myth of the socialist as savior. By keeping Nazis in the rubric Far-Right, or right-wing extremism, Communists have been able to paint themselves into the social consciousness of the West as a hero fighting the great Satan on the opposite side of the political metaphor. Thus, Communists have been able to shift public opinion in its favor. Anything on the Right is easily stigmatized as Nazism. Whether it is so or not doesn’t matter, as long as the image of benevolence is maintained in order to conceal the true nature of the beast. The sins of socialism are not only quickly forgiven; they’re just as quickly forgotten.

Communists can then say that only Communists can spot a real Nazi. Subsequently, only a Communist can be trusted to fight Nazis because only Communists are true anti-fascists. The Berlin Wall is one such example of Communists hijacking the term anti-fascist, in order to advance their own ideology. It was constructed by Communists and called an Anti-fascist Protection Rampart. Such is the malevolence that hides behind the veneer of what the radical Left sells as “Anti-fascism”.

Everyone who questions this falls under the suspicion of being a Nazi or a “right-wing extremist”, simply because it questioned our self-appointed political messiahs. This is why Antifa can damage property, harm people and shut down businesses, all without any real accountability. Then parade as an angel of light and garnish support, simply by appearing so.

To question anti-fascism is to be exposed as, or bring oneself under the suspicion of being a Nazi or “right-wing extremist.” There can be no questioning of this new lord-of-lords. Not without punishment, or being made to grovel in a public display of penance for doubting the benevolence of the socialist system of salvation.

Though socialism is the common ancestor of Communism and Nazism, Communism has side-stepped the same global ramifications for its criminal actions that have rightly been imposed on the National Socialist German Workers Party (Nazis). Take for instance, the infamous Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact (1939), at which very few, if any raised an eyebrow at. This Soviet pact with the Nazis allowed the Soviets to invade Finland for its resources, and justified their invasion of Poland on one side, with the Nazis invading on the other.

Other examples of immunity for the crimes committed under Communism include the hushing up of the little known and rarely taught, Holodomor (1932-1933), Gulags, brutal suppression of the Hungarian Revolution (1956), Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia (1968), Katyn massacre, invasion & occupation of Afghanistan (1979-1989). These aren’t anomalies.

So wrote Eric Voeglin,

‘modern ideological mass movements and the dominant “philosophical” schools are in some sense continuations of the various anti-Christian, Gnostic sects, which were discredited as heretical in antiquity—there is both an historical continuity and an experiential equivalence between the ancient movements and such modern phenomena as positivism, Marxism, Freudianism, existentialism, progressivism, utopianism, revolutionary activism, fascism, communism, national socialism, and the rest of the “isms.” [i]

More pointedly stated by Roger Scruton, ‘Marxism shares the category of totality not only with traditional religion, but also with its own arch-enemy and blood brother, fascism.’[ii]

Suffice to say, Nazism and Communism are two wings on the same vicious bird.

Leftism is a crime against humanity.

As Jacques Ellul stated, ‘situating everything in Marxism is intellectual terrorism.’ [iii]


References:

[i] Voeglin, E. 1968. Science, Politics & Gnosticism: Two Essays, Regnery Publishing

[ii] Scruton, R. 2015. Fools, Frauds & Firebrands: Thinkers of the New Left, Bloomsbury

[iii] Ellul, J. 1988. Jesus & Marx, (pp.22-26)’

* Augusto Zimmerman’s 2018 article ‘Adolf Hitler’s Debt to Karl Marx‘ on Quadrant discusses in a lot more detail the subject I’ve raised about the largely false dichotomy between Communism & Nazism; and how it shows that the Left/Right metaphor is problematic.

First published on Caldron Pool, 1st March, 2020. Also featured on The Spectator Australia, 2nd March, 2020

Pic. New York Times

©Rod Lampard, 2020

 

 

 

[Communism & Nazism] are both manifestations of the devil disguising himself as a political messiah, both drive out the demon of unemployment with the demon of war, & call it “just”

– (George Bell, Christianity & World Power, 1940. paraphrased)

Australia’s ASIO security chief, Mike Burgess presented the Director-General’s Annual Threat Assessment on Monday. The assessment laid out ASIO’s ‘principle concerns’ about national security, and the issues it views as threats to Australians both internally and externally.

Burgess didn’t mess around, stating from the start that he wanted ‘to move beyond the bureaucratic language of annual reports and help everyone understand the significant threats we see directed at Australia and Australians.’

The director spoke pointedly about the increasing challenges technology posed to the organizations ability to do what it does successfully. Adding that ASIO seeks to find a balance between the ‘need for new powers and privacy’, and how new laws have allowed ASIO to effectively keep up with these challenges, giving ASIO a sharper edge and ability to respond to these challenges with ‘energy and purpose.’

Burgess reminded Australians that ASIO’s ‘number one mission is to protect Australians from threats to their lives’, saying that the ‘terrorist threat remains PROBABLE [sic.]; and that it will remain unacceptably high for the foreseeable future.’ The ASIO Director made it clear terrorist elements are still ‘plotting to harm Australians; some occurring in small cells.’

Burgess noted that equally concerning is ‘the ease with which terrorists continue to use the internet to spread hateful messages, radicalize people to their cause and provide how-to-advice on committing atrocities against Australians.’ He followed this up by stating that he finds the ‘streams of hate spread across the internet by extremists of every ideology’ particularly troubling, where ‘extremists are trying to recruit children as young as 13 or 14.’ He then added that ‘violent Islamic extremism, e.g.: the type embodied by Islamic State and al’Qaida’  et.al. ‘remain ASIOs principle concern.’

Burgess’ assessment wasn’t sugar-coated, he pointed out that ‘there are now more Islamic extremists from more countries active in more places than ever before.’ He then spoke on what he called ‘other operators entering the ‘terrorism arena’, stating that the Christchurch shooting ‘had brought right-wing extremism into sharp focus.’ He labeled this ‘extreme right-wing threat real’, saying that it was on the rise in suburbs where small cells meet to salute Nazi flags inspect weapons, train in combat and share hateful ideology.’

While acknowledging the ‘low capability’ of any extreme right-wing terrorist attack, Burgess didn’t rule out the possibility of more ‘sophisticated attacks.’ Building on this he discussed the issue of ‘state-sponsored terrorism’, espionage, foreign interference, and the threat posed by extremists who are being released from prison. According to Burgess, ‘foreign espionage and interference activities are higher now, than it was at the height of the cold war.’

In his address, the ASIO director mentioned that the organization has ‘uncovered cases where foreign spies have travelled to Australia with the intention of setting up sophisticated hacking infrastructure targeting computers containing sensitive and classified information.’ Burgess also stated that ‘we’ve seen visiting scientists and academics ingratiating themselves into university life with the aim of conducting clandestine intelligence collection’ – adding that ‘this strikes at the very heart of our notions of free and fair academic exchange.’

Media responses to the threat assessment have been varied.

The Australian highlighted chief points made by the ASIO security director. Its headline read: ‘Spy Boss Comes out of the Shadows.’ The article summed up ‘Mr. Burgess’ threat stock-take, and acknowledged how the ASIO director didn’t flinch in calling out Islamic extremism, as being the No.1 concern; that the threat of espionage was far and away the most serious issue going forward.’ The article drew from The Australian’s Greg Sheridan who ‘argued on Tuesday that ASIO’s assessment showed “those folks who say that Chinese government is being demonized in Australian security discussions are simply refusing to face reality.’

The ABC went an entirely different route. Taking the opportunity to deflect the heat away from Muslims and the Chinese, The ABC  appeared to launch an opportunistic and subtle attack on anything and everything right-wing, the 1 billion dollar tax-payer funded organization choosing to run with the headline: ‘Neo-Nazis among Australia’s most challenging security threats, ASIO Boss Mike Burgess warns.

While The ABC was generous enough to note Burgess’ comments about ASIO’s ‘principle concerns’, adding a brief mention of Islamic Terrorism, and tacking a note on at the end, acknowledging China as the ‘main culprit’, the tax-payer funded behemoth chose instead to focus its attention on the small fish. This is despite the ASIO Director having very clearly stated that ASIO’s ‘principle concerns’ are related to Islamic Terrorism, and foreign interference, not just externally, but within Australia, particularly Australian Universities.

Greens senator, Mehreen Faruqi appeared to do the same. Faruqi selectively responded on Twitter to comments from Home Affairs Minister, Peter Dutton, who answered a reporter’s question about neo-Nazism, saying,

“If somebody is going to cause harm to Australians, I just don’t care whether they’re on the far right, far left, somewhere in between, they will be dealt with…and if the proliferation of information into the hands of rightwing lunatics or leftwing lunatics is leading to a threat in our country, then my responsibility is to make sure our agencies are dealing with it and they are.”

The Greens senator seemed to deliberately misconstrue Dutton’s comments, in what could rightly be viewed as an attempt to tar and feather the Minister as a right-wing extremist.

By 9:28 pm on the same day the Greens Senator had deleted her comments, and posted this apology:

Burgess’ delivery of the Director-General’s Annual Threat Assessment was straight to the point. The Home Affairs Ministers, and ASIO security chief didn’t play with semantics, seek to placate dishonest critics, or use the assessment as a political football. They called a spade a spade. It was impossible to misunderstand him, or Peter Dutton. In not passing on that information to the Australian public correctly, and in its proper context, The ABC and Greens Senator Faruqi have placed their own self-righteous, ideological, political posturing over against the safety of the Australian public they are funded by tax-payers to serve.


References:

FULL transcript of Mike Burgess’ Annual National Security Assessment.

First published on Caldron Pool, 27th February, 2020.

Photo by Kyle Glenn on Unsplash  cropped and edited by me.

© Rod Lampard, 2020.

George Soros sent in a brief letter to the Financial Times, calling for the removal of Facebook’s CEO and COO, Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg. Soros claims that Zuckerberg, who hasn’t followed Twitter in banning all political advertising, is helping Donald Trump’s 2020 re-election campaign in a ‘kind of mutual assistance arrangement with D.T.’ Soros goes on to demand Facebook take action stating, ‘Mark Zuckerberg should be removed from control of Facebook.’

The F.T. posted a copy and paste transcript of Soros’ proposition yesterday. Notably absent from the article was the lack of an introduction, and commentary from FT staff. The transcript was also published without any screenshot, or scanned image of the actual letter, which is strange for publishers who desire to maintain a rigorous level of journalism. Not validating the source of the original letter, casts doubt on its authenticity. However, if urban legend about the power of George Soros is to be believed, it’s possible this is how he intended it, and is exactly how he wanted the letter to be presented.

This isn’t the first time Soros has gone public with his desire to see the current leadership of Facebook face the business world equivalent of a firing squad.

He penned an article for the New York Times, published on the 31st January, arguing that Zuckerberg is engaged in a quid pro quo deal with Trump. As Soros sees it: the deal involves Trump protecting Facebook from government control, and in return Zuckerberg helps get Trump re-elected in 2020.

As evidence (and it’s flimsy), Soros went back to 2016, saying that ‘Facebook provided the Trump campaign with embedded staff who helped to optimize its advertising program. (Doing what Hilary Clinton’s election team declined to do).’ According to Soros, ‘Facebook gave Trump an edge, marking the beginning of a special relationship.’ He then stated that a recent meeting between Trump and Zuckerberg, ‘raised serious questions’.

The billionaire also accused Zuckerberg of only wanting to make a profit. Claiming that under Zuckerberg’s leadership Facebook was only about ‘making money’, not caring about ‘inflammatory and false content, and failing to adequately punish those who spread false information – nor does the company warn those who are exposed to lies.’

Note that Soros never mentions Facebook’s existing fact checking mechanisms when he claims Facebook isn’t doing them. Neither does Soros provide adequate examples or definitions of the terms he’s using. Perhaps what Soros means is that Facebook isn’t fact checking and blocking content that challenges his ideology, or content that he might arbitrarily consider to be false, hateful, phobic, bigoted etc.

The whole thing reeks of desperation. It’s an anti-Trump political manoeuvre. It has little to do with Facebook, and more to do with Soros’ unresolved issues over Hilary Clinton losing what was considered to be an unlosable election. If anything raises serious questions, it’s his inquisition of Trump and Zuckerberg. When a billionaire such as Soros cries victim wisdom should prompt us to ask why. There’s no doubt Soros lost money, and a special level of power because of Clinton’s election loss.

Trump isn’t protecting Facebook, Zuckerberg is. The CEO is doing what he’s paid to do. He is acting in the best interests of his customers, and company, not power-hungry would-be overlords, who think the world owes total allegiance to them, and their ideology.

Soros’ bizarre fiat shows that Zuckerberg is on the right track. This is probably why Soros wants his head. Zuckerberg is no longer buying what Soros is selling. Take for instance, Zuckerberg’s recent defence of free speech and the reforms he’s attempted to implement. They protect Facebook from the Left’s creeping arbitrary control of free speech, by labelling all opposing viewpoints as “hate speech”. Add to this the Left’s creeping arbitrary control over who is good and who is evil.

Zuckerberg appears to be diverging from the pre-approved narrative of leftism, and their zero-sum practice of achieving political goals, which only serve the interests of those who advocate political correctness, abortion, euthanasia, open borders, the imposition of new cultural laws via the LGBT religion, policing speech, thought and undermining the Biblical Christian foundation of Western Civilisation et.al.

As a result of Zuckerberg’s pro-free speech reform, Soros has called for a mutiny at Facebook. Instead of entering into a dialogue with Zuckerberg, Soros has gone behind his back in an attempt to remove him by proxy. One should ask, how this is not another coup attempt, in line with the now proven, Russian Collision hoax, and lies surrounding the attempt to impeach Trump. Soros, it would appear, is on the war path, and is seeking to take command of what he deems to be his enemy’s central communications hub.

Soros’ arrogance in presuming to control what happens at Facebook, must be blinding him to how much his reasoning and persistent demands here, confirm what many have suspected. That a) He’s too close to the Clinton’s b) He has far too much power and reach c) He funds Leftist divisive politics. Soros deliberately trying to undermine the CEO of an independent company, potentially putting that company and its employees at risk, would be enough evidence to support this.

Ironically, regardless of whether Facebook removes its CEO and COO under Soros-fiat, what he has achieved here is the opposite of what he intended. Soros has negated his questionable accusations against Donald Trump and Mark Zuckerberg by exposing himself as the real villain; a divisive manipulator, stamping up and down in frustration because he and others like him didn’t get their own way in October 2016. An event that, despite the lies, false accusations and hostile, undemocratic interference, coming from Soros’ own side of politics, looks set to, thankfully, repeat itself again in October, 2020.


References:

See hyperlinks embedded within the article.

First published on Caldron Pool, 19th February, 2020.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

© Rod Lampard, 2020.

The closing remark from The Australian’s Janet Albrechtsen, in writing on the Australian Securities & Investments Commission’s (ASIC) quest for more judicial power through ‘new fairness laws’, made a pointed case about the danger of being ruled by fiat and whim of the bureaucratic caste.

Citing NSW Chief Justice Tom Bathurst, Albrechtsen argued that vague edicts – based on ‘ill-defined and poorly understood laws that we imagine reflect “the moral conscience of society” – mean ‘we will be ruled by lawyers not the rule of law.’ In other words, the danger before us is a society enslaved to an interpreter’s ability to interpret vague or ambiguous laws; meaning in a nutshell that subjective moralism, not objective morality, as handed down to English common law through Biblical Christianity, rules the day.

Albrechtsen labelled ASIC’s push for ‘new [fairness] laws’ a case of ‘bureaucrats expanding their unelected empires.’ Adding to this, Albrechtsen stated, Bathurst ‘warned that lawyers who favoured these kinds of laws could lose sight of whether the laws actually worked.’ This is because fairness isn’t easily defined and ‘people need clear, precise laws so they can identify, in advance, whether a particular act or arrangement will be [in] breach of [those] laws.’

In sum, Albrechtsen called for these new “fairness” laws to be rejected. For the reason, that implementing laws based on subjective whims, and uncertain notions about the current moral consciousness of society, leads to government overreach, and oppression or the ability to oppress. This is achieved through reckless, reactionary and unclear laws. The kinds of laws, that Albrechtsen accurately states, only serves the unelected bureaucratic caste and their socio-political interests. Simply put: ‘laws based on an ambiguous idea of fairness is bad for democracy.’ Ergo, these should be rejected.

To understand how Albrechtsen’s closing remark applies to this broader context, it pays to look at how her broadside against ASIC’s apparent quest for more power, hits on an issue that not only applies to ASIC’s request for “new fairness laws”, but to the broader context of hostile activism, and the quest to appear virtuous under the banner of social justice warrior.

We the people, as a society of free men and women, bearing the duties and responsibilities that such freedom requires, will indeed rue the day where we, out of ignorance and complacency, find ourselves under the thumb of a bloated, virtue signalling bureaucracy, issuing gaol terms or death sentences for perceived crimes committed under ambiguous terms such as “love is love”, “hate speech”, “white-privilege” and “micro-aggressions”.

To lean on Jean Bethke Elshtain and her paraphrasing of Vaclav Havel [i], “when human beings play God, the wreckage grows. In this mode, the human being finds himself in the “rut of totalitarian thought, where he is not his own and where he surrenders his own reason and conscience for the sake of another uninhabitable fiction! As long as that goal is served, it is not important whether we call that fiction ‘human well-being’, ‘socialism’ or ‘peace’. He or she lives within a lie as the self is given over to the “social auto-totality” [i.e.: he or she becomes both victim of the system and its instrument]; identity is surrendered and responsibility falters. A totalitarian society counts on this, requires it.”

To expand upon Albrechtsen’s closing remarks, woe to us if we’re ever governed by this subjective man-made system of salvation and condemnation, where we are governed by the fiats and whims of lawyers, and hostile leftist activism, instead of the rule of law.


References:

[i] Vaclav Havel was a survivor. He participated in the resistance movement during the Soviet led, Warsaw Pact, and invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968. He was an anti-communist dissident and former president.

Albrechtsen, J. 2020, ‘Fairness’ The New Frontier For a Failing Regulator, The Australian, Wednesday 12th February.

Elshtain, J.B. 1995, Democracy On Trial, Basic Books

Havel, V. 1987, Living In Truth, Faber and Faber

First published on Caldron Pool, 15th February 2020.

Photo by Maarten van den Heuvel on Unsplash

© Rod Lampard, 2020

The Australian Associated Press reported yesterday that Western Australia’s Labor government is proposing no-go, exclusion zones, around abortion “clinics.” This would be on top of existing conditions and limitations which require public gatherings of groups to acquire a physical permit from Police, who vet the application and approve it under the ‘Public Order in Streets Act 1984.’

Permits and protections under this act include up to $2000 fines for any deliberate breach of conditions which apply to the permit. Such as: ‘a) serious public disorder, or damage to public or private property; b) creating  a public nuisance c) obstructing traffic or streets d) placing the safety of any person in jeopardy.’ [i]

According to Western Australian Police, existing conditions and limitations apply to ‘individuals, community groups, religious groups, trade unions, RSL sub-branches ect for the purpose of public meetings where three or more persons communicate, express or procure a view where members of the public has [sic.] access or are invited.’

Labor’s proposed legislation will place further limits on law-abiding pro-life organizations. This would be a further erosion of civil liberties, punishing those who already strictly adhere to current parameters of the law; and negatively impacting the care for unborn children, and their pregnant mothers these ministries serve.

With this adherence to the current conditions and limitations under the 1984 act, the proposal makes no sense. In a leaflet produced by FamilyVoice Australia, Steve Klomp, President of Right to Life Association of W.A. stated that ‘since the pro-life vigil came to W.A. fifteen years ago there have been no arrests, let alone convictions of wrong doing, of any attendee.’

As reported by the AAP and carried, verbatim, by most of mainstream Australian media, Labor’s Western Australian Health Minister, Roger Cook stated,

“we will be moving as steadily as possible to legislate this important law, to make sure we protect the privacy and the dignity of people who are coming to abortion clinics and the staff.”

I imagine German villagers upon seeing furnace chimney’s, with black smoke drifting up into the sky, used a similar dismissal in defense of their own willful ignorance and allegiance to the prevailing ideology of the day.

In defending the alleged need for, what amounts to more government oversight, Cook argued that “Abortion is a legal process, it’s a very private process and it’s one that people should be able to undertake without the fear of being harassed.”

However, according to FamilyVoice, the health minister, and the W.A Labor government ‘never provided verifiable examples’ of where harassment has occurred, or where “protesters have been hurling around abuse” near abortion clinics.

This all appears to be a straw man argument concocted by the Labor government, in order to manipulate an outcome in their favor. To put it bluntly: it looks a whole lot like more of the same-old leftist, Trojan horse, packed with its reactionary, witches brew legislation, and its usual ignorant anti-Christian virtue signaling veneer.

For example, FamilyVoice noted that the ‘discussion paper only cites two abortion clinic directors, who allege “anxiety” and “distress” and it proposes extending exclusion zones to hospitals.’ In addition, FamilyVoice’s W.A State Director, Daryl Budge, pointed out that the government has declined to release any of the submissions to the public inquiry, stating “the government wants to deliberately silence the arguments against this censorship zone.”

He rightly called the bill a ‘proposal to restrict free speech’; and was correct in arguing that the proposed legislation was ‘unnecessary, because police already have the power to regulate public gatherings in the public interest and they can intervene if unlawful harassment occurs.’

The proposed legislation is government overreach. Designed to protect an ideology and the feelings of the servants it has enslaved, which means that they’ll steamroll anyone who opposes them, and do so with the full force of government, against whomever, wherever and whenever they can.

Protecting women under the guise of “abortion is healthcare” hides bloody slaughter of its victims. All of whom are silenced by legislation like this. If the average Australian thinks that these creeping, blood-lust, laws which empower the state to justify killing, will not, one day, affect them, then there has never been a more urgent need to revisit the history of mid-20th Century Germany, and Russia, from 1917 up until the Gorbachev reforms, and the collapse of the Soviet Empire in 1989.

Believing that the violent disruption of a woman’s pregnancy and the brutal end to a child’s life inside the womb is a “medical procedure” or “healthcare” is entertaining the abuse of language. By doing so participants are borrowing from the same playbook as Nazi propagandists, who called the group in charge of the actual killing in the gas chambers: the General Welfare Foundation for Institutional Care.

As Right to Life’s Klomp said via FamilyVoice: “you are free [from] such legislation if you pray to end farming, or if you protect trees or puppies, sharks or chickens, but not if you want to defend a child.”

The proposed exclusion zone bill is a farce. It should be rejected.

(For more information contact FamilyVoice Australia, or Right to Life WA).


References:

[i] Public order in Streets Act 1984, W.A {hyperlinked}

First published on Caldron Pool, 12th February, 2020

Photo by Mark de Jong on Unsplash

©Rod Lampard, 2020

I’m not one of the beautiful people
(Front row seats are for people without broken feet);
The charmers, greasy grinners, snake-oil cliques.

I know my place, it’s in the shadows
The darkened corners of polished sanctuaries
I’m the too-hard-basket-case;
Reluctantly delegated space.

Thus, my light-less sanatorium,
My assigned placed in the Saint’s auditorium.
Distanced like a plague survivor
Because the horror of my past existence
Pierces these pews;
Turns up the noses of the middle-class,
As though I’m as putrid as a witch’s brew.

Exiled to an asylum,
High society’s life sentence for uninvited suffering.
I’m the brother of Quasimodo, and Monte Cristo,
Of priest and ashes, both betrayed and abandoned.
But as long as we stay in the dark,
We’re sure to be quietly welcomed.

My story too deep!
It’s to be quickly dismissed,
Even though I know what it feels like to
Be held by grace over the abyss.

I understand this too.

I’m not one of the beautiful people.
Sometimes the past still bleeds:
Pebbles of blood, drop from inwardly formed,
Grotesque scars which sometimes unexpectedly seep,
These old wounds make others uncomfortable,
Emotional vomit from them unavoidable.

And so the steeple chimes,
As the mechanism claps in time
The production begins,
The show. The politics. The pretence and cheers.

But in this dark corner there are no celebrities,
The broken, are not broken in.
The bruised, broke, and bent
All kneel, instead with cries of lament
All seem to be more aware of their own sin.
Cohen’s hymn of cracked glass, and ‘how the light gets in.’

Just like Lazarus we’re all carefully seated,
Assigned to rows without names,
Easily overlooked, seldom greeted.
We who don this imposed darkened gown,
Are met with suspicion, and sometimes with frowns.

I’m not one of the beautiful people.
but my name is written down by Christ through His blood.
Where I’ve been healed beyond measure,
By God’s undying Fatherly love.
Though meant to distance them from us,
My darkened corner
Appears to have saved us from them.
Which is why I’m not all that surprised when I hear people say,
“I’m thankful that Jesus is bigger than Sunday.”


Photo by Adam Bixby on Unsplash

©Rod Lampard, 2020

NASA’s social media news feeds were flooded with images of astronaut, Christina Koch, today, as NASA celebrated her return to earth. The American astronaut landed safely via the Soyuz MS-13 capsule in Kazakhstan. Koch, 41, spent a record 328 days in space, marking the longest ever spaceflight achieved by a woman.

U.S. Navy Captain and former Astronaut Scott Kelly broke the men’s record in 2015, spending a total number of 340 days on the International Space Station.

On her official Twitter page yesterday, before leaving the I.S.S, Christina said that the thing she’ll miss ‘the exquisite beauty of the planet Earth and this marvel its people created.’ This was followed by post today saying ‘this journey has been everyone’s journey. Thank you to all involved in the success of our mission, and for giving me the opportunity to carry everyone’s dreams into space. I’m filled with gratitude to be back on the planet!’

ABC Australia noted the gender specific achievement, stating that Koch ‘achieved a gender milestone in a relatively routine spacewalk with fellow astronaut, Jessica Meir last October, that marked the first time two women had stepped out of the space station at the same time.’ This was followed by two more space walks in January.

However, not everyone was in a celebratory mood. Christian Davenport of the Washington Post griped about Russia having to be paid $80 million dollars a seat in order to send American astronauts into space, and reminded readers that the cosmodrome in Kazakhstan was right next to the ‘site of an infamous Soviet-era Gulag labor camp.’ Equating the Soyuz spacecraft with a ‘surreal relic of some science fiction flick’, he didn’t stop there.

Ignoring Koch’s acknowledgement of the support and opportunity afforded to her (and also Jessica Meir), Davenport inserted a few paragraphs complaining about gender equality, asserting that ‘women remain an overwhelming minority at NASA, and in the aerospace industry as a whole.’

All despite his acknowledgement of astronauts Koch, Meir, Peggy Whitson, former NASA scientist Ellen Stofan, and that NASA ‘no longer officially uses the terms “manned” or “unmanned” and has updated its style guide to say that “all references to the space program should be non-gender specific (e.g. human, piloted, unpiloted, robotic as opposed to manned or unmanned).”

Revealing the perpetually angry, joyless, ravenous nature of “woke” ideology, it seems that the “woke” Washington Post couldn’t help themselves. Instead of just celebrating the opportunity, support and subsequent achievement, WaPo chose to use Koch and her achievement as an excuse to push more radical feminist manipulative propaganda, complete with its “not good enough” tantrums, and whip statements. By doing so, WaPo joined the ABC in affirming binary gender.

Not everyone on social media was as celebratory either. While most honoured the achievement celebrating what women can do, some criticised the cost, and others used the gender specific “womankind” (instead of the more “woke”, “peoplekind” or “humankind”). Then there were others who were a little more in line with the LGTB religion’s “wokeness” on gender fluidity.

Commenting on NASA’s Instragam post celebrating Koch’s return to earth, one user exclaimed: “What the absolute HELL does being a woman or man have to do with this at all?!”

To which, probably unaware that they were committing a crime against “wokeness”; or like Israel Folau, and Margaret Court, apparently putting young LGBT lives at risk by affirming binary gender (male and female biology), and not the LGBT religion’s 62+ genders, NASA replied,

“Great question! With plans to embark on long-duration spaceflights to the Moon and Mars, we need to understand how the human body adjusts to things like weightlessness, radiation, bone density loss and more. Thanks to former astronaut Scott Kelly’s year in space. Experiment, we’ve been able to observe these changes on a biological male. Now, thanks to Christina’s mission, we are able to observe these changes on a biological female.”

 

NASA hasn’t been quickly slammed for this brilliant, and brave, response in the same way the Christian hospitality industry, “no” to SSM voters, Israel Folau and Margret Court have been for asserting biological scientifically verified fact.

The political climate, however, forces us to ask, how long? How long will it be until even NASA is paralysed by political correctness, and forced to abandon or distort its work with science in the name of “wokeness”, in allegiance to Leftist ideology?

The LGBT religion’s rejection of biology, and physiology; its rejection of the man for woman, woman for man relationship, and its denying a child the right to be raised and loved by both a father and mother, or protecting the child from “gender whisperers”, contradicts gender equality. It’s here that Davenport’s criticisms of NASA’s lack of inclusion better fits criticism of the LGBT religion’s exclusion of others based on gender, or views; its “stick to your own kind, never the two shall meet”, malicious and “alien” false doctrines.

Jean Bethke Elshtain once said, ‘we either embrace caritas – the love from, of and for God, and the love of neighbour, or we are enslaved by cupiditas – a drive for more pleasure, more money, more power…’ [i]

Progress that ejects reason, and rejects a faith which seeks understanding, leads to something akin to the “woke” mob rule of Plato’s cave. It blinds, kills, devours, maims, and keeps to a selfish, established status quo, trapped by flawed human ideas, and pinned down to the floor, by chains made from the fabric of feelings over facts.  Here there is no advancement of humanity together as man for woman, woman for man – only the desperate, unrepentant and tyrannical desolation painted by P.D. James in ‘The Children of Men’.

It doesn’t liberate, but instead rejects genuine liberation. This is illustrated by Roger Scruton in ‘Confessions of Heretic’: ‘The tragedy of King Lear begins when the real people are driven out by the fakes.’ (2016, p.2).

As I wrote a few days ago, pre-Christian paganism masquerades itself as post-Christian freedom.

By embracing caritas here, we can reject the chains of cupiditas, and the mostly self-inflicted tragedy of Old King Lear. We can celebrate this achievement and the science involved, not as woman under man, or man under woman, but man for woman, woman for man. All else is warmongering.

This means keeping science and faith free of toxic ideologies, allowing us to be free to celebrate actual achievements in an honest way, without fear of dishonest critics doing their best place themselves as lords over the rest.

Well done, Christiana Koch! Well done, NASA!


References:

[i] Elshtain, J.B. 2008. Sovereignty: God, State and Self, Basic Books (p.9)

First published on Caldron Pool, 8th February, 2020.

Photo by Adam Miller on Unsplash

©Rod Lampard, 2020

The only good things to be said about the burlesque ambush of the NFL Superbowl LIV’s halftime show, is that Shakira’s and Jennifer Lopez’s vocal talent hasn’t waned, the stage effects were well coordinated and the choreography never missed a beat.

Beyond this, the scant clothing, right down to the provocative dance moves, presented another “sex sells” exhibit, displaying how far the overt sexualisation of Western culture has taken society back to a pre-Christian paganism, with its excesses and its abuses.

The principal message being sent to women by the 15 minute segment is twofold. First, if you haven’t got the sex appeal to sell talent, talent is useless. Second, provocative dance and stripping before cameras is where the money’s at.

On the outside, the principal message being conveyed to men is that the objectification of women is okay, just as long you’re willing to pay handsomely for it.

Franklin Graham was among the first to raise concerns about the overt nature of the event and its consequences:

Pastor Bob Beeman, founder of the heavy metal ministry, Sanctuary International, usually cautious in his agreement with the criticism of culture by some American Evangelicals, boldly declared:

“The Super Bowl half time show was very disturbing. With so many families watching all over the world, where is the outcry? Have we really become that desensitized? We used to call that pornographic. You can’t “unsee” that. Catering to the lust of male Super Bowl fans, and continuing the degradation of women everywhere!
For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. 1 John 2:16″

Likewise, Ryan Bomberger, Co-founder of The Radiance Foundation, stated:

“Unfortunately the halftime show ‘proved that cultural identification is apparently more important than character formation. Latino culture was not celebrated last night; it was exploited. Flashing and grabbing your crotch isn’t empowerment, no matter the “culture”. As a father of two girls and two boys, I want them to understand that their God-given equality, dignity and worth should be used to evoke love not elicit lust. (I understand this is my Christian worldview, and I can’t expect the world to share it; but fellow Christians *should*.) Funny how in this #MeToo era, entertainers seem to vie to be as naked and as sexual as possible–not on a director’s couch–but in front of over a hundred million sets of eyes. J-Lo, Shakira and the #NFL let down a generation of girls and boys who deserve so much better than the fake feminism on full display last night.’”

I’m not prescribing a return to a repressive, idea of Puritanism. Even though the idea of the Puritans being prudish, instead of prudent, is based on a misrepresentation, brought about by the post-modern disregard for history, which makes history too easily forgotten.

I’m simply stating that what people like to call post-Christian, is more a regression back towards the pre-Christian. Its deification of self and its subjugation of humanity to the idols of the old pagan world: money, sex and power.

Celebrity endorsement as a means to service an economic, social or political end is not a new phenomenon. Thomas Doherty calls this

‘the politics of celebrity’, writing that the ‘body of the Hollywood star had first been drafted into national service during World War One…In Leninist doctrine, the artist stood among the vanguard elite, a cadre whose shining example would lead the benighted proletariat into the dawn of revolutionary enlightenment…The Hollywood star, trading on stardom, is a valuable commodity that can drive heartfelt solicitation.’ [i]

Western society’s return to the inhumanity of paganism was brilliantly articulated in season five (2012) of the (modern day Robin Hood) TV series Leverage. In episode two, the crew have to thwart an owner of an Ice Hockey team, who’s turned a massive profit by turning the game into a blood sport – The CEO’s justification was backed up by his profits leading to him declaring: “People don’t pay to see a game; they pay to see my enforcers fight!” (slightly paraphrased).

The pattern established by participating stakeholders in recent years means viewers should know what to expect from the NFL half-time segment. So, vote with the remote. Let the TV fall silent for half-time, let the sound of silence be heard loudly by the industries represented, that they may bring back some class and self-respect to sport and entertainment.

Jennifer Lopez and Shakira have vocal talent. They shouldn’t need to sell their bodies, or have others sell a sexualized image of themselves, in order to showcase that talent. No woman should. The challenge for the rest of is to not buy into the voyeurism, lustful fantasy, and the greedy smiles, lies and hi-fives attached to the sex sells paradigm.

Lilly Allen’s apt sarcasm appears to have fallen on deaf ears:

‘Life’s about film stars and less about mothers. It’s all about fast cars and cussing each other; I’ll take my clothes off and it will be shameless ‘Cause everyone knows that’s how you get famous.’ [ii]

Lying underneath all this is the question: Does this capitulation to pre-Christian paganism, and did the manifestation of it in this burlesque ambush just inadvertently declare the #metoo movement dead?


References:

[i] Doherty, T. 2013. Hollywood & Hitler:1933-1939, Columbia University Press (pp.111-115)

[ii] Allen, L.R. & Kurstin, G. 2009. The Fear, from the album, It’s not me, It’s You.  Sony Music

First published on Caldron Pool, 5th February, 2020

Cropped from a photo by Sandro Schuh on Unsplash

©Rod Lampard, 2020

In a speech for the National Press Club on Wednesday, Prime Minister Scott Morrison, delivered the equivalent of a State of the Union address. From its content to his delivery, it was obvious that the Prime Minister was addressing the nation, not just the top end town.

His address didn’t present a government in damage control, but a government that is in control. Morrison was right to not use the opportunity to give ground to noisy dishonest critics on social media. Many of whom come across as detached from everyday Australia, and seem to exist only as a deliberate distraction anyway.

Morrison kept his cool during the peak of that crisis. Neither being dismayed nor swayed by the selfish, loud-mouthed distractions which have sent many a leader running to the hills in fear of social media disapproval.

By not following the crazed rabbit down its self-absorbed rabbit hole, Morrison communicated that he is unlike his haters, who seem to be feverously ranting on social media 18 hours a day. Unlike his dishonest critics, Morrison talked to, not at the Australian people. What a nation of hard workers heard was that like them, Morrison has his sleeves rolled up. He is hard at work with and for them, actively looking to implement practical solutions to genuine national concerns. Not chase speculation, or stroke over-inflated Twitterarti egos and emotion, by constantly apologising to them, or making decisions based on a false need to appease their abuse.

Former Sky News political commentator, David Speers partly shares this view, calling the speech a ‘double-down, rather than a ‘reset’, showing a leader ‘who knows his own weaknesses – is on the defensive, unwilling to cede ground to his critics’.

Morrison isn’t a saint, and he knows it. This ability to use what Speers calls “knowledge of his own weaknesses” is a strength. Rather than weakening his leadership, Morrison inadvertently triggers those who’ve deemed him to be the enemy, simply by being a Prime Minister in the truest send of the word – first servant; a servant leader. What’s left exposed isn’t a death wound to the Morrison government, but the existence of a bigoted minority; flapping their hands in a furious attempt to keep control of their false narratives, quickly trying to shred the evidence that reveals their true nature, manipulative strategies, and dubious ideological agendas.

The strategy of resolve and resilience is working for the LNP. This is proven by the steady hand of the Prime Minister’s leadership, which includes his response to targeted and co-ordinated attacks during the Bushfire crisis. Look at how these full frontal assaults appeared to have the direct involvement of Twitter. When tweets from Leftist commentators, motivated by opportunism, all saturated with hate, showed up in the newsfeeds of unrelated accounts, it looked suspiciously like a Twitter backed Leftist attack on the Prime Minister.

Morrison’s first major speech of the year reasserted the strength’s of his government, dot pointing the LNP’s achievements since the May, 2019 election. Packaged into the address was an outline of goals and initiatives.

Summarising one of the Prime Minister’s major points, Speers rightfully identified how the speech sought to indict the states in culpability for the Bushfire crisis. Instead of leaving responsibility at the feet of the states, the Prime Minister proposes to ensure that the Federal Government has more of an ability to remedy, rescue from and respond to natural disasters, navigating constitutional concerns, and cutting through bureaucratic red tape.

As Morrison stated:

‘To date, the role of the Commonwealth has been limited in responding to natural disasters has been limited to responding to requests for assistance from state governments. They judge the time and form of support needed in making that request.
But I must say, the scale of the bushfires this season – not least their simultaneous reach across many borders – has demonstrated to me the limits of these arrangements…
…As I’ve said before, I have been very conscious of testing the limits of constitutionally defined roles and responsibilities during this bushfire season.
But I believe there is now a clear community expectation that the Commonwealth should have the ability to respond in times of national emergency and disasters, particularly through deployment of our defence forces in circumstances where the life and property of Australians has been assessed to be under threat at that scale.’

Ex-Tony Abbott staffer, Peta Credlin gave the Prime Minister ‘full marks’, calling this is one of two things Scott Morrison ‘did very well’ during the speech. First, ‘He wrapped up the government’s response to the Bushfire crisis declaring that the national government was no longer going to take the back seat in national disasters.’ Second, the Prime Minister outlined clear, decisive, pre-emptive actions that they hope will protect Australia (and subsequently the Government) from the Coronavirus crisis currently impacting China. The Sky news host acknowledged how problematic these initiatives might be, and voiced support for the idea of a referendum, which would seek to give the federal government constitutional powers to act during a national crisis.

The ideas and initiatives laid out by the Prime Minister are pragmatic. Morrison’s address to the nation is a win for the LNP and it should resonate well with the Australian people. Especially those who are fed up with being shouted at by anti-Morrison fanatics on social media platforms.

I still am tempted to view Scott Morrison as a compromise between what Australians need, and what some loud mouthed Leftist Australians want. For all of his resilience and resolve, Morrison is still silent on abortion. The religious freedom bill aside, he appears elusive and unsupportive of Christians unjustly targeted by LGBT activists, and he still seems to be unsure about how to respond to the largely Marxist, apocalyptic climate change cults.

Still, along with the current LNP line-up, Scott Morrison has shown his government to be a political force to be reckoned with. If Morrison can continue to follow this path, and not kneel in fear before the vanity metrics of social media, and the hateful hashtag trends on Twitter, the LNP will be more than well on their way to being the government Australians voted for. May it be so.


References:

FULL Transcript of Scott Morrison’s speech, sourced 30th January, 2020

First published on Caldron Pool, 31st January, 2020.

© Rod Lampard, 2020.

The late, great, Roger Scruton once articulated that one of the most successful lies of the 20th century is the idea that the ‘far left’ is nothing like the ‘far right.’

Scruton noted that

‘the success of Communist propaganda could be found in how it has persuaded so many people that fascism and communism are polar opposites and that there is a single scale of political ideology stretching from ‘far left’ to ‘far right’. Thus while communism is on the ‘far left’, it is one stage along the road one must go in order not to be contaminated by fascism.’

However,

‘Communism, like fascism, involved the attempt to create a mass popular movement and a state bound together under the rule of a single party, in which there will be total cohesion around a common goal. It involved the elimination of opposition, but whatever means, and the replacement of ordered dispute between parties by covert ‘discussion’ within the single ruling elite.’ [i]

In other words, the ‘far left’ conceals its true nature behind an anti-fascist facade. It wraps itself in transcendent rhetoric devoid of God, and is instead filled with inflated feel-good slogans where man is elevated to the position of God. Scruton categorises this as the ‘neo-Marxist rhetoric of totality, concealing the empty place at the heart of the system, where God should be.’ (ibid)

Step back to 1940, anti-Nazi Anglican Bishop, George Bell, who agreed that Communism and Nazism share the same DNA, wrote:

‘Humanity has a relationship to the eternal world, which vitally affects human activity in the temporal world. It is this relationship [via Covenant & Christ] with the eternal that gives humanity real significance, and justifies the affirmation of absolute standards – absolute justice, absolute love, absolute truth. If man or woman exists only on the temporal level absolute standards are irrelevant.

Noting the facade, and the danger of its propensity to deify the self, Bell continues:

If he or she is only a value as “the expression of positive forces of history”, he or she is a mere atom, with no purpose. The “positive forces” of the day may be anything that dictators or democracies choose them to be. If the interests of efficiency so decide, he may be the [next] victim, at any time, of the most ruthless “purge”. And unless you have an Absolute Standard, a law of God [Biblical Christian ethics], it is hard to justify one’s instinctive revulsion to such a purge.’

Through such an anti-fascist façade and its deification of self, Leftists could argue, as they do with abortion and euthanasia, that killing is beneficial, not just to the individual, but to the health of the state. Abortion and euthanasia become a patriotic duty guided by totalitarian ideology.

Enter the creation of the police state where thought which is unapproved by the state, is criminalised. This new police force is then used to effectively subdue, and imprison people who hold an opposing viewpoint, without the state ideology (the-state-as-God) being challenged by any effective opposition.

Sound too far-fetched for the 21st Century? According to three sources, led by The Washington Times, and carried by Law Enforcement Today, and Police One, this is appears to be exactly what Democrats in Connecticut are currently proposing.

The proposal advocates creating a new police department to combat ‘right-wing extremism’, which according to Amanda Blanco from The Hartford Courant was ‘included in what senate Democrats called, ‘A just Connecticut’ agenda’. The proposal was put together in response to community concerns about “hate crimes”. The proposal also ‘includes legislation that will fund enhanced security features at religious facilities across the state.’

Jessica Chasmar of the W.T. further outlined the idea and the Republican response to it, writing that while bipartisan support existed ‘against any type of terrorism, Senate Minority Leader Len Fasano, a Republican, took issue with the proposal only mentioning right-wing extremism.’

Fasaono was right to call the bias out. Law Enforcement Today’s, Pat Droney, a retired police officer with 31 years of experience in the field, commented:

‘No mention is made of “violent left-wing extremism” such as Antifa perpetrated riots. You’ve got to love the hypocrisy. Once again, why only focus on one side of the extreme wave? This is such a blatant disregard to acknowledge that extremism exists on both sides.’

‘Far-left’ extremism is concealed behind an anti-fascist façade. Exemplified by potential Democrat Presidential candidate, Bernie Sanders calling “abortion healthcare” just days out from Holocaust Remembrance Day (27th January).

“Feel the Bern”, Bernie seems oblivious to the fact that his timing couldn’t have been more perfect for his critics. Calling abortion healthcare is an abuse of language. Dig deep enough and you’ll find that this kind of abuse has direct connections to how the National Socialist’s manipulative propaganda apparatchik, mobilised their vile ideology. For example: ‘the group in charge of the actual killing in the gas chambers was called the General Welfare Foundation for Institutional Care.’ [ii]

Cancelling the unborn in the womb is the epitome of “cancel culture”. On the whole it’s rife with self-justification, self-deification, and creates an excuse for selective memory loss. Being loose with the truth, as was practiced under Communist rule, and by its ‘blood brother’ [iii], Nazism, this revisionist abuse of language gives wheels to tyranny. Unless stopped its slow march, becomes a blitzkrieg.

Protecting the people of the state from “hate speech” and “hate crimes” may have a veneer of benevolence, but under it and under the shadow of the hate-fuelled precedents set by Leftists since 2016, it’s fair to ask, who will protect the people from the state, when these invasive laws are misused and abused?

From the FBI conducting a clandestine investigation of Trump under Obama, in 2016, to the violent disruption of communities carried out by Leftists because of Trump’s election. The closed, one-party impeachment process, the current line-up of Democrats and their abuse of language to justify the barbarous cancellation of the lives of unborn children in the womb, including their celebration of youth mutilating themselves in surrender to the LGBT religion – there’s more than enough cause for concern and a need for scrutiny of any Democrat seeking more power.

In this instance, the insights that Scruton and Bell offer us above, are as much prophetic as their words are instructive.


References:

[i] Scruton, R. 2015. Fools, Frauds & Firebrands, Bloomsbury Publishing. (p.200)

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

[iii] “Marxism is [both] the arch-enemy & blood brother of Fascism’, Roger Scruton, 2015. Fools, Frauds & Firebrands (p.87)

First published on Caldron Pool, 29th January, 2020.

Photo by JR Korpa on Unsplash

© Rod Lampard, 2020.

This is my response to a Facebook share and tag invite. Instead of posting one beloved book each day, for seven days, here’s the complete list all in one read.

I don’t normally do these, but the premise is worth supporting: “No exception, no reviews, just covers. The idea is to promote literacy and a love of great books.

The list is harder to compile than it looks. By no means is the list definitive. The list does, however, reflect some of the texts I consider to be essential reading. The wooden bookcase they live on, would be the poorer for not having them in it.

Day one:

Day Two:

Day three:

Day four:

Day five:

Day six:

Day seven:

 

Climatologist Dr. Judith Curry is a true black sheep of the climate science community. Curry is a tenured professor who had the moxie to question the Climate Change consensus.

In this interview from 2015, Judith gives a brief rundown on the factors, and many variables, surrounding this ‘relatively new field of study.’  Dr. Curry also unpacks how much trouble pushing back against the political narrative causes anyone who actually dares to apply the scientific method to the prevailing climate change hypothesis.

Curry’s explanations separate fact from fiction, giving an insider’s perspective on the function of data, discussing its interpretation, process, application and misapplication that plagues the climate science community.

The video is also doing a slow loop around social media after it was uploaded in 2017, by The Oppenheimer Project, an American high-Alpine self-sustainability experiment run by scientists, Leah Shaper and David Mauriello. In their description, Shaper and Mauriello appear to back Curry over concerns about the political bias, shutting down of opposing viewpoints, and the ‘tribal nature in parts of the climate-science community.’

The following is a transcript from the original 12 minute interview hosted by Rich Clarke, who hints that Curry’s freely expressed thoughts contributed to her resignation, noting that “approximately one year after the release of this interview Dr. Curry left her tenured position in academia forever”. You can read more of Dr. Curry’s work at her website: Climate Etc.

Clarke [Intro]: Hello, I’m Rich Clarke and I’m here today on the campus of the Georgia Institute of Technology. Joining me is Dr. Judith Curry the outgoing chair of the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences.

She earned her PhD in geophysical sciences from the University of Chicago in 1982. Then the years following she’d find herself a professor at Purdue University Penn State; ten years in the University of Colorado Boulder, before becoming chair of the Earth and Atmospheric Sciences department here at Georgia Tech in 2002. Along the way she received numerous awards and fellowships, including the Henry G Haughton award from the American Meteorological Society, the great singer moving school forward award from the Georgia Institute of Technology, and the coveted green faculty award from the University of Colorado at Boulder.

Authoring and co-authoring almost 200 published peer-reviewed papers, and three books, she entered the climate change spotlight as co-author of the 2005 paper entitled: ‘Changes in Tropical Cyclone Number Duration and Intensity in a Warming Environment’, which was published in the Journal of science two weeks after Hurricane Katrina.

The paper made headlines around the world, shining light on the increased extreme weather events associated with a warming climate, she is the co-founder and president of the climate consulting firm ‘Climate Forecast Application Network’ and maintains her blog ‘Climate Etc.’ at JudithCurry.com.

Dr. Curry thanks so much for being with us today.

Dr. Curry: My pleasure.

Clarke: “So my first question for you is, according to your Wikipedia page you are part of what’s called the scientific opinion, or more commonly the 97% consensus on climate change. Yet, I’ve read on several pages that you’re referred to as a “climate skeptic” or even a “climate denier”; and when I Google your name one of the first things that comes up is an article in the Scientific American entitled, ‘Climate heretic Judith Curry Turns on Her Colleagues.’ So, why is it that people are calling you a climate skeptic or even a denier?”

Dr. Curry: “Well, Climate Science has become highly politicized, and the strategy used by the climate community to influence public policy is speaking consensus to power. So over the past several decades and they work to build this consensus, and following the 2009 Climate gate episode, I started challenging the consensus. Saying, “wait a minute, we haven’t been sufficiently transparent; we haven’t adequately characterized the uncertainties.” We shouldn’t be dismissing skeptics; I mean we have to do a better job, and I started saying things like that that I thought were completely reasonable, but I was immediately thrown out of the tribe if you will, and labeled as a “heretic”, “denier”,  whatever else. So it’s just a reflection of how politicized the science has become and how silly this debate really is at this point.”

Clarke: “Speaking of debates, you hear public figures say all the time, that the debate is over and that we need to move forward. What do you what about those comments?”

Dr. Curry: “Well, physicists are still debating quantum mechanics, and gravity, okay, things that we think … are relatively settled. Science is never settled; and something as complex as the climate system and in a relatively new field, climate change, there’s no way the science is settled. There’s a whole lot more that we don’t know then we do know.”

Clarke: “You talked about the politicization of the field. What do you see is the greatest danger of this mixing of politics with science?”

Dr. Curry: “Well, two things. You end up with science as going off on the wrong track – I don’t know if you’ve heard the joke about the drunk looking for his keys under the streetlight? – and somebody asked, “why are you only looking there?” “Well it’s the only place I can see.” The same thing has been happening at climate science. We’ve only been shining a light on one little piece of the problem – the part about increasing Co2 from human activities. We haven’t been paying sufficient attention to natural climate variability; and as a result we’re doing a great disservice to understanding the climate system; and as we fail to adequately understand the climate system, we have tremendous opportunity to mislead decision-makers.”

Clarke: “One thing I thought was interesting about another interview that I heard with you, was, you were talking about how, even if all the measures for carbon reduction were adopted, and then perfectly implemented, we might not see an effect from that – those measures would be maybe 50 years out.”

Dr. Curry: “It’s really much worse. The commitments that people have made to the UN – in terms of their emissions reductions out to 2030 – well, if you say well how much (assuming that they keep those commitments steady through the end of the 21st century) the amount of warming that would be prevented is about two-tenths of a degree centigrade. Most of the benefits wouldn’t be realized for a longer time. We’re really talking about a minuscule amount of warming that will be saved, and because of the [lags] in the climate system owing to ocean heat storage, any emissions reductions that we do now, it’s still going to keep warming; because of the thermal inertia in the oceans. So, you know the accounting is just being done. You know, as economists are reacting to; and trying to interpret all these commitments and what it actually means. But the studies that I’ve seen suggest that we’re only accomplishing a few you know a few tenths of a degree centigrade decrease in the rate of warming, and this assumes that you actually will believe the climate models, I mean I think the climate models are running too hot. If the climate models are in fact running too hot, even less warming would be saved.”

Clarke: “So these numbers these figures of projected curbing of warming due to essentially regulating greenhouse gases, these numbers are…”

Dr. Curry: “Well, they use climate models to seeing how the climate will respond to the reductions and carbon dioxide associated with reduced emissions.”

Clarke: “You know just this year there was a report released sound the alarm bells about new data with regard to sea level rise, and this report said that “sea level rise may occur ten times faster than originally thought, and that in forty five years we could have ten feet of sea level rise.

Dr. Curry: “Several weeks ago I was giving a public lecture and I was talking about sea level rise, and one of the audience members raised his hand, and said, “wow I didn’t realize that sea level rise you know was rising before humans started emitting fossil fuels”. This whole issue of sea level rise is so tied to human activities that most people don’t realize that the sea level has been rising for the last ten thousand years, since we’ve been coming out of the last ice age. The question is whether sea level rise is accelerating owing to human caused emissions. You can say, “well, obviously yes”, well it’s not obvious at all because even the most recent IPCC report published in 2013, presented a figure that showed that the rate of sea-level rise around 1940, 1950 was just as high as it is in the last few decades. So, it doesn’t look like there’s any great acceleration so far of sea level rise associated with human-caused warming. These predictions of alarming sea level rise depend on massive melting of the big continental glaciers, Greenland and Antarctica. The Antarctic Ice Sheet is actually growing. Greenland shows large multi-table variability, in when it’s growing and shrinking. So sorting out natural versus human cause variability and what’s going on with these ice sheets, you know it’s very difficult to do, but in any event there’s no evidence so far that humans are increasing sea level rise in any kind of a worrying way.”

Clarke: “If it’s true that curbing carbon dioxide in here and now is going to have very minimal effects, in the here and now, what kind of solutions are you proposing or do you have any solutions your proposal?”

Dr. Curry: “I’m a climate scientist. I’m not in the business of proposing solutions. So, I mean I can tell you which ones make more or less sense to me. The technologies that we currently have trying to pull this off using wind and solar, it’s not going to work. We need you energy technologies and additional research and development on new energy technologies; makes more sense than trying to implement wind and solar those aren’t up to the task. But I think the bigger issue is a real danger with climate change and variability, whatever its cause, is extreme weather events. You know the heat waves, the floods, the droughts, the Hurricanes – and trying to reduce vulnerability to these extreme weather, and climate events, can help people in the here and now. Whether climate change is due to natural variability or due to humans, it can help us reduce our vulnerability to these extreme events that have always happened and will continue to happen.”

Clarke: “Right, so you’re saying that we know that we’re gonna have more extreme weather events, and we should be putting our resources into preparing more for those?”

Dr. Curry: “I’m not telling; I never tell anybody what they should do, because it’s a very complex problem. There are a lot of other problems out there, so why should we spend all our resources on this problem. It’s a complex issue and I avoid telling anybody oh we should do this or we should do that. All I do is look at policy options and try to point out their unintended consequences, and whether they’ll have the intended effect.”

Clarke: “When you begin saying the things you were talking about, like more transparency in science, and in climate science, and writing about it – you are already the chair of a department at a major technical school in the United States, you had already been published at least a hundred times. Do you think that a younger Dr. Judith Curry in the kind of climate (no pun intended), but in the political climate we have now would have had a harder time doing what you’ve done?”

Dr. Curry: “A number of scientists have lost their jobs over speaking out against the consensus. I’m a tenured faculty member, I’m pretty senior. So I could afford to do it. A lot of younger people who aren’t tenured,  can’t afford to do it – I hear from scientists all the time who say they wish they could speak out of etcetera, but they don’t want to they don’t want to go through the kind of baloney that I’ve had to go through and I can’t blame them.”

Clarke: “And what baloney is that exactly?”

Dr. Curry: “Well, Google my name! And you’ll see it. Google, Judith Curry and you’ll see what I have to put up with.”

Clarke: “That’s about all the time we have for today but I’d like to thank you very much for letting us into your office and having this interview.”

Dr. Curry: ‘thank you, my pleasure.”

[Music]


First published on Caldron Pool, 18th January, 2020.

© Rod Lampard, 2020.

 

Round one of consequences for the mass slandering of the Covington Catholic school boys, may have seen The Washington Post skip past go with get out of gaol free card, when a judge dismissed the lawsuit last year. Cable Network News (CNN) didn’t get off as easily.

The media giant has decided to settle with Nick Sandmann after a defamation lawsuit was also brought up against the organisation. The Washington Post’s, Paul Farhi, noted that L. Lin. Wood, lead lawyer for Sandmann was also lead lawyer in the lawsuit filed by Richard Jewell against CNN after he was ‘vilified by journalists’, (now the subject of a major Clint Eastwood film).

Sandmann was the target of mass slander, when Twitter users fuelled by the mainstream media lobbed abuse and threats at the schoolboys. All because of brief video footage uploaded to the internet, which was later proven to misrepresent the event.

Media organisations appeared to jump to conclusions, making Sandmann the poster boy for their own giddy, schoolboy, bandwagon anti-Trump hate. Reporting on the reopening of Sandmann’s case against The Washington Post, The Federalist’s, Margot Cleveland, said that they labelled the schoolboy a “smirking MAGA-hat-wearing racist”, and accused him of “blocking Native American elder Nathan Phillips’s path” to the Lincoln Memorial.”

The Hill’s, J.E. Moreno stated that Sandmann had sued CNN for $275 million dollars in ‘May over its reporting, saying CNN was “vilifying and bullying him” and had twisted the story to fit an anti-Trump agenda. In total, Sandmann was seeking $800 million in damages from The Washington Post, NBC and CNN.’ Moreno also said the ‘amount of the settlement was not made public.’

With the settlement come new precedents. Although, The Washington Post’s case was dismissed last year, a judge has reopened the case and the lawsuit is waiting to once again go to trial. What the CNN settlement with Sandmann tells the many who are culpable for leaping before they looked, is that this isn’t going away. The settlement strongly suggests that CNN didn’t want this to linger over their heads. Given their ratings, this is no surprise. Absent of a forthright open admission of wrongdoing, this is probably the best those involved can expect from the Leftist backed media organisation.

As with Rugby Australia’s settlement with Israel Folau, CNN’s settlement with Sandmann shows that politically motivated attacks on members of the public, by those in positions of power, will not go unnoticed, nor be allowed to stand without a fight, regardless of how well co-ordinated and well-funded those behind the political attacks are.

Sandmann’s win is also a strong warning to those seeking to advance by using a zero sum game against the innocent, all in the hopes of achieving fast political gain, which has about as much long lasting benefit as ordering fast-food from a drive-thru.

This settlement isn’t just a win for Nick. This is a win against the Leftist funded, political and academic establishment. Hope is seeded here. As Dietrich Bonhoeffer, one of the most well-known political prisoners the Nazis imprisoned and executed, once said “the only fight which is lost, is that which we give up.” [i]

 

References:

[i] Bonhoeffer, D. cited by Bethge, E. 2000. Bonhoeffer: A Biography Fortress Press, (p.907)

Note: Since the screenshot was taken, Aslan appears to have deleted the old tweet, not without mocking Dinesh (link).

© Rod Lampard, 2020

At the end of Isaiah, the prophet talks about the relationship between new life and the heat of judgement. Given the devastation we’re seeing from the immense fires since September in Australia, these verses have special relevance.

This doesn’t justify arson, or the political opportunism seeking to advance, distract, manipulate and use the suffering of others to feed self-interest. The relationship between new life and the heat of judgement speaks to all of us. It’s here, and not with pyromania, or political opportunism that the Word found in the prophetic meets with the pyrophytic.

Horticulturalists tell us that some Australian plants have ‘fire-activated seeds.’ According to Britannica, these ‘pyrophytic plants’ include the ‘lodgepole pine, Eucalyptus, and Banksia. They have ‘serotinous cones or fruits that are completely sealed with resin.’

As if planned to suit the dry, flammable Australian climate, these pyrophytic plants can ‘only open to release their seeds after the heat of a fire has physically melted the resin. Other species, including a number of shrubs and annual plants, require the chemical signals from smoke and charred plant matter to break seed dormancy.’ [i]

This isn’t all that different from how God’s mercy and judgment functions towards creation. The goal of chastisement is newness of life – reconciliation and redemption – to produce new life from the heat of judgement. Not just rehabilitation, but total heart transformation.

As Creator, Reconciler and Redeemer, God ‘looks to the humble and contrite in Spirit, those who tremble at His Word (66:1-2 see also Psalm 51).’  This doesn’t mean trembling before God as though He were an old, bearded man with a stick, looking to control through a crushing fear and paralysis. God doesn’t need tools that would “convince a man against his will.” For He knows all too well that this “man will remain of the same opinion still.” The fears of those who refuse to hear are harsh enough. Humanity is not the hostage of a mean-spirited old man.

Through Ezekiel we can know with certainty that God isn’t a manipulator or deceiver. He doesn’t desire [take pleasure in] the death of the sinner, but desires the sinner’s correction (Ezekiel 18:23; 33:11). Although God desires all people ‘to be saved, and to come to a knowledge of the truth’ (1 Tim. 2:4), not everyone who says to Him ‘Lord, Lord, will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.’ (Matthew 7:21).

Tremble in this sense, therefore, is a verb, not a noun. It’s decisive movement; to be both moved, and to move. It illustrates heartfelt response based on God’s movement in Jesus Christ towards humanity. He is an event, not an idea. After having heard and responded to this Word, caution gives way to trust. Like eyes that have only known darkness, now adjusting to the light.

Tremble speaks of our immediate response to a confrontation with this Word. It is directly related to the imperative in verse 5, which summons us to ‘hear’. God looks for our attention. He looks to those who receive His Word with joy, and humbly live out their reply. Hearing with reverence, empowers trust and gives reasons for doing so.

Isaiah teaches us that God is not absent. He hears, sees, speaks and acts. His mercy, as the louder of the two, is never far from His judgement! He never is without a plan, promise or pathway to fulfil both. God will keep His Word. He will do this by overcoming His enemies; those who’ve made themselves gods, those who, in His name justify themselves through sterile, empty rituals, or celebrate a return to tyrannical lordship of superstition, animism, and the man-made gods of the Ancient Near East. God’s judgement applies to all who are ‘not hearing; not responding’ – those doing whatever is right in their own eyes, but evil in His; delighting in sin, instead of delighting in the things that God delights in. (66:3-4).

For example: ‘Oh that you had paid attention to my commandments! Then your peace would have been like a river and your righteousness like the waves of the sea [constant; regular; never failing].’ (Isaiah 48:18)

Peace flowing like a river is a promise! It is God’s promise to Zion and those who dwell therein (66:12-13). As is the rejection of God’s commandments, which outline relationship with Him, so is the rejection of ‘the peace of God which surpasses all understanding’ (Philippians 4:4). This is more than a peace treaty. The imagery of living, unstoppable peace is interconnected with a life liberated by the restored joy of salvation, and a clean heart, made right by Christ, in Christ, through Christ, and with Christ.

Hence Paul can write, ‘Rejoice in the Lord always again I say, Rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be known to God.’ This promise of peace like river to all who hear and respond will ‘guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.’ (Philippians, 4:4-6, ESV)

Isaiah notes, Jerusalem (Zion) will rejoice for peace will flow like a river. God will nurture the city and its inhabitants. He will comfort them, as He confronts them. Hearts will rejoice, bones shall flourish like grass and the hand of the Lord shall be known to His servants and His enemies. Divine justice will bring to account those who have made themselves His enemy.

Our hope in the midst of deep anxiety is awakened by the life of the pyrophytic. These plants teach us that there will not just be peace after the firestorm, there will be new life! These fires will end and the rains will come again.

Our hope in the midst of deep anxiety is shored up in the promise of the prophetic. New life springs forth from the heat of judgement. Like melting resin, hardened, stubborn hearts are freed to be free for God.

In this movement; in this trembling where we move and are moved, may heads and hearts be turned back towards Christ, and therefore towards one another, away from bitter blame and political opportunism. May the light of the prophetic meeting with the pyrophytic, bring to us a renewed confidence in God’s promise.

Therefore, may we as a nation sing along loudly, even if with an exhausted sigh, the words from Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, who after the loss of his wife to fire wrote:

“In despair I bowed my head. There is no peace on earth I said. For hate is strong and mocks the song, of peace on earth, good will to men…then the bells, rang more loud and deep, God is not dead, nor does he sleep! The wrong shall fail; the right prevail, with peace on earth, good will to men.”

It’s a good word for Epiphany, 2020. As the world turns the corner into a new decade, let faith in Christ reign, and may the people say, “Amen.”

References:

[i] Britannica, 5 Amazing Adaptations of Pyrophytic Plants. Sourced, 6th January, 2020.

First published on Caldron Pool, 7th January, 2020

Photo by Sam Wermut on Unsplash

© Rod Lampard, 2020

Seasonal changes often allow us the ability to slow down, reflect and reevaluate direction. This year was no different. 2019 was one of the most intense and deliberate years for writing that I’ve undertaken since I started this blog back in April, 2013.

Ironically, I found myself writing less often, but publishing more. Despite this, 2019 was one of the biggest years for visitors, most of whom came for older theological articles, along with new political theology or homeschool inspired content.

This, of course, is good news, while I can’t boast some of the stats enjoyed by some (nor would I really want to anyway), the stats clearly show that this blog isn’t dead.People seem to find some benefit from my own intellectual journey and the fumbling reflections, thoughts and/or opinions I share as I move through it.

With the close of the decade and the promise of a new one, a few things become clearer. The first is that my involvement with Caldron Pool has taught me to take writing more seriously. I think it’s fair to say I’ve matured from being a simple blogger, to an actual writer. How far this impacts the nature of this blog is something that I’ll work on as the privilege of working with the Caldron Pool team continues to take shape in the year ahead.

The second is more of an introspective acknowledgement that vocationally speaking, I’m drawn to the life of an independent scholar. This is primarily because we homeschool our children, and secondarily because finding a place in the academic world isn’t easy. It’s bloated, competitive, and not all that open to a theologian who supports the current concerns of conservatives; and that’s being generous. The reality is a whole lot darker. What I see a lot of is the inference that “if you don’t fit the Leftist mould, don’t bother applying.”

I’ve also noticed that one of my biggest struggles when it comes to writing is the constant distraction of social media; which is, as most of you would agree, is a mixed blessing. It’s almost an imposed necessity. One that I would easily part with (particularly Twitter), if there was another way of connecting with people, and connecting articles with those people, on a regular basis.

All this said, thank you to those who, by regularly reading what I write, help keep this blog alive.

I pray your New Year is blessed beyond words.

Here are the top 10 articles from this year:

1. Nearly Half the Blood Shed in the 20th Century Was caused by Socialism, So why Is Socialism Promoted as a positive alternative to Capitalism.

2. Criticism of Trump’s Syrian Decision is Misplaced & Ignorant, Here’s Why

3. Prager U’s Uphill Battle Against Uncalled-for, Unnecessary & Unethical Censorship

4. The Defiant Voice of the Discerning Voter: Scott Morrison’s LNP Shock Win, & What Must Happen Next

5. Preaching In Hitler’s Shadow: Enter Karl Barth

6. The Calls for an Indigenous Australian Voice in Parliament Are Vague, Confusing & Thankless

7. Playboy Equates Christian Homeschooling with Domestic Terrorism, White Supremacy, Racism & Radicalization

8. ACL Researcher, Dr Elisabeth Taylor: Subjective Relativism in Post-Structualist & Queer Theory

9. No Retreat, No Surrender: Gene Veith On Christian Living in an Age of Confusion, Exile, Pagan Plurality & Postmodernism

10. The original error of Leftism: Proton-Pseudos, Hysteria, Propagandists & Imaginary Oppression

Special mentions:

# Review: Natasha Crain, Talking with Your Kids about God

# The Attacks on Israel Folau Come from an Ignorance of History. Such Ignorance Invites Tyranny.

# A Layman’s Guide to The Separation of Church & State: What it is & What it’s Not

# J.R.R. Tolkien’s Christian Anarchist Revolt Against The Faceless Collective & The Group-Think That Controls Them

# In the Realm of Recently Released Homeschool Friendly Console Games, ‘Subnautica’ Rules the Waves


Photo by NordWood Themes on Unsplash

© Rod Lampard, 2019

If Christianity Today is to remain at the top of its game after their recent support for the full impeachment of Donald Trump, on what is already widely agreed to be manufactured political manoeuvring by Leftists, they’ll now need to give voice to a broader theological critique.

Australia’s Eternity News also seemingly plopped itself onto the bandwagon, defending what looked like its own giddy, veiled applause with the dismissal that “reporting the news is not the same as supporting the contents of it.” This is despite individuals calling the article “brave.”

Readers of both Eternity News and Christianity Today would be right to now feel a fresh entitlement to see from them a FULL Christian theological critique of the spirit of the age, if they are to remain consistent, including:

1.Speaking out against abortion;

2.Exposing the lies of deep state Democrats and career politicians;

3.Providing a complete and rigorous defence of the rights of charities who graciously hold to a biological and biblical definition of marriage;

4. Criticism of Islamic terrorism;

5. Criticism of the abuse of women under Islamism;

6. A blanket protest against the manipulation and mutilation of young people via transgenderism and the apocalyptic climate change propaganda;

7. Condemnation of the bullying of Israel Folau, Margaret Court, and others under the guise of “LGBTQ rights.”

Given the trajectory, this all seems unlikely. As one commentator said, after reading about Christianity Today’s apologetic track record of Barack Obama, “don’t hold your breath, mate.”

Christianity Today’s treatment of Donald Trump and the previous President are miles apart. One simple search engine comparison proves it [same search engine, same search parameters, completely different result]:

Why the concern?

Franklin Littell, in analyzing the antebellum (pre-civil war) condition of the American churches, identified a pattern of ideological servitude. Churches across America, both North and South were internally divided along ideological grounds. Pastors preached a mix of politics and theology, subsuming the theological critique into the service of a louder ideological master. Thus, he said, was the precursor to the most devastating war the United States ever experienced.

How far Littlell’s analysis is to be viewed as a litmus test for us today remains an intriguing open question. Christianity Today has a right to voice their opinion, as we have a right to demand, and expect that this voice be a consistent one.

It’s in this demand for consistency; the necessity of a consistent Christian theological critique of all ideological strong-holds, that gives rise to a diverse, but united front, joined in understanding against all unnecessary division.

This may seem utopian, but the further people wake up to the Left’s own totalitarian sins while being fully conscious of the sins on the right, the more opportunity there is for the Church to boldly reflect light in an otherwise dark place. Thus perhaps avoiding what Littell identifies as an inevitable slide into a broader, all-out civil war.


First published on Caldron Pool, 23rd December, 2019

© Rod Lampard, 2019

Nicholas Best recounts a little known story about two Lancaster bombers. One crewed by Canadians, the other by Australians*.

Early on April 29th, 1945 the two Lancasters took off from East Anglia. They flew along a previously agreed upon ‘corridor’. The route was ‘prescribed by the occupying German forces in Holland, who being cut off from Germany due to the Allied advance’, had uncharacteristically turned to the Allies for aid.

They did so, on behalf of the Dutch who were suffering through a famine triggered by the Nazis. Similar to German occupation of Belgium in World War One, the German starvation of the Dutch was a means of punishment for assisting the Allies, by way of a rail strike, which had ‘prevented German reinforcements going up against the Allied assault in Arnhem during 1944.’

Best writes that the situation was dire, Holland, ‘after months of disruption as the fighting came closer, had finally run out of food.’ The situation was so bad, that ‘many Dutch had eaten their pets, and were now living on grass, sugar beet, and tulip bulbs.’

Despite ‘not having the authority to agree to a ceasefire’ [i], level-headed German officials who had sought out the Allies, reached an accord of truce. Thus, allowing the Allies to send much needed humanitarian aid.

Not completely trusting of the German truce accord, the Allies flew a test mission along the agreed upon corridor.

The test flight, as Stephen Dando-Collins wrote, ‘had all the hallmarks of a suicide mission.’ These bomber crews were ‘guinea pigs’ testing out the German agreement to not fire on the Lancaster’s flying low to deliver humanitarian aid to the starving Dutch. [ii]

The ominous mission was a success, and it kick-started Operation Manna – an unprecedented humanitarian air drop, which involved 200 bombers, flying at low levels, dropping much needed supplies into Nazi occupied Holland.

The first bomber, ‘Bad Penny’, flown by Canadian, Bob Upcott led the way. He described the event in detail, testifying that,

“when we passed the Dutch coast we saw anti-aircraft guns that pointed their muzzles in our direction. We even saw tanks that tried to keep their gun barrels on us. We were looking right down a number of barrels. All the guns were still manned…The Australian pilot was on my port side [left], flying echelon port. I dropped first when we were over the race track, while the Australian dropped almost the same moment.” [iii]**

The second Lancaster was flown by F/O. Peter G.L Collett, from Sydney. He was 21 at the time, and already a veteran. Along with the Canadian crew of the first Lancaster, Collett and his Australian crew* effectively spearheaded the humanitarian mission.

Collett passed away in 2012. Although his heroics are mentioned in passing chapters about Operation Manna/Chowhound, no Australian books have been written about him or his crew. Collett’s bravery isn’t taught in schools. His efforts and heroism currently only exist as a footnote.

While Upcott and his crew are celebrated, the same cannot be said for Collett.  Unlike Collett, Upcott and crew remained on as an integral part of the Manna Operation, drawing a bigger spotlight on the original flight into the unknown than was given to Collett.

Collett’s absence from the spotlight appears to have been due to him being reassigned to Operation Exodus. Collett’s service record reflects as much. From the dates 1st February, 1945, to 19th May, 1945, under 101st Squadron, right next “Bomber”, below the word “Bombing”, and above the word “Exodus”, sits the word “Supplies”, where the word Manna test flight should perhaps also be written.

Exodus ran from the 3rd April to the 31st May, 1945. It involved the repatriation of liberated Allied POWs from Nazi camps in Europe. Exodus itself was an enormous undertaking, ‘1,000 people per day were brought into British receiving camps; totaling 354,000 ex-prisoners of war by the end of May.’

At 21, Collett piloted a Lancaster bomber full of humanitarian supplies, at low level, with a full crew, on a mission of mercy into occupied Nazi territory. All based on the assurance of Nazi officials who had said that the ‘mercy drop’ would be allowed to proceed without harassment from the well-armed occupying German forces.

Collett is a national hero. Yet, his heroism and the heroism of his crew, isn’t mainstream knowledge in Australia. Even the Australian War Memorial’s official page for Operation Manna, called ‘Food from Heaven’, is silent about the test flight.

For an Australian/s to have played such a significant role in the relief operation, and for there to be little to no recognition of their daring and bravery, shows a real blind spot in how Australians are taught history, and how Australians embrace the importance of knowing what History teaches.

This is something to lament. This is something, we as a society, need to correct. If not for the men and women whose bold shoulders we now stand upon, at least for the generations they saved, in order to pass on the freedoms and responsibilities that allowed their own generation to stand against tyranny, in all its devouring and grotesque forms.

Lest we forget.


References:

[i] Best, N. 2012. Five Days That Shocked The World, Osprey Publishing, (pp.83-85)

[ii] Dando-Collins, S. 2015. Operation Chowdown, St. Martin’s Press (p.119)

*Confusion over Collett’s crew reinforces my point about the lack of historical interest in the Australian contribution to Operation Manna, from Australians. There are contradictory reports from various sources about whether his crew was an all Australian crew, British or mixed British and Australian.

** ‘NX579, No. 101 Sqn. Piloted by F/S Bob Upcott of Windsor, Ontario. Up at 1207, returned at 1444. 274 bags of food dropped. Second aircraft was PB350, No. 101 Sqn. Piloted by P/O Peter Collett of Sydney, Australia. Up at 1215, returned at 1442, 284 bags of food dropped.’ (RAFCommands)

First published on Caldron Pool, 15th December, 2019.

Windmill pic credit:  Vishwas Katti on Unsplash

© Rod Lampard, 2019

Gene Veith once wrote, ‘secularists are genuinely unable to tell the difference between art that has aesthetic merit and art that has none.’ His words were part of both a critique and lament of the ‘State of the Arts’, and what the world of art has become.

Calling art ‘the plaything of the rich’, ‘art is now considered to be whatever the artist does.’ Art has become a slave to the post-modern mind. Under the foppish, vain lordship of the unhinged, vague emptiness of moral relativity, art has lost all meaning. An ‘impersonal, dehumanised’ and desensitised public, is no longer capable of distinguishing between good modern art and bad.

Rather than speak of and to the human condition, the art of this post modern world is ‘anti-art’. It ‘rejects humanness’, worships ‘the cult of the artist’, and is controlled by the often contradictory ‘elitism of the art world’, whose global membership only amounts to the ‘size of a very small town.’ Where the ‘wealthy elite’ pose as proletarian, as they patron ‘bohemian’ artists in an irony that ‘combines Marxist poses with upper class social snobbery.’

Veith’s criticisms and lament is justified. Notorious examples include ‘a performance artist in Milwaukee who entertained his patrons by screaming abuse at them, stuck fishhooks under his skin and cut himself with razor blades’; and partially U.S. Tax payer funded artists such as, Anne Sprinkle, a self-described “post-porn Modernist” ‘masturbates, then invites patrons to come up and inspect her genitalia with a flashlight.’ [i]

Add to this the masochistic art of Robert Mapplethorpe, Andre Serrano’s ‘Piss cross, photographs of a crucifix in his urine’, Duchamp’s 1917, urinal entitled ‘Fountain’, and more recently Maurizio Cattelan’s ‘Comedian‘ – a banana taped to a wall with duct-tape.

Last week, Cattelan’s duct-taped banana, called Comedian, was sold to a French collector in Miami for $120, 000 (175k AU) U.S. dollars. The banana was then eaten by David Datuna, a performance artist.

Gallery officials questioned Datuna then asked him to leave the event, later stating that the performance artist didn’t actually destroy the ‘Comedian’ because the banana is meant to be replaced. As SBS noted, ‘the value of the work is in the certificate of authenticity.’

EJ Dickson for Rolling Stone adds that the Art Basel festival is ‘one of the biggest and most prestigious art shows in the country, even if few know about it.’ The saga didn’t end with Datuna. Dickson stated that after the banana heist, artist, Roderick Webber arrived and wrote on the wall: ‘“Epstein didn’t kill himself” in red lipstick.

Unfortunately for Webber, Datuna’s destruction in the name of art appears to have been more appreciated. Webber’s attempt at protest art saw him ‘arrested on charges of criminal mischief.’ With police escorting Webber out, he could ‘be heard saying “This is the gallery where anyone can do art, right?”

Dickson said that the banana “art work” has now been removed from the gallery due to the “compromised safety of the piece, and those surrounding it.”

Cattelan isn’t new to melodrama. His 18 karat gold working toilet, called America’ was stolen in September, from Blenheim Palace, and is yet to be recovered by police.

The Daily Wire’s Andrew Klavan rightly called the banana heist saga a metaphor for Western Elites, stating,

“These are our elites: where eating a banana someone else paid $120,000 dollars for is considered a work of art, because somebody put the banana on the wall and called it art.”

Klavan then reminded people that this is from

“the same civilization that created the Sistine Chapel, Hamlet and King Lear. Now art is a banana taped to the wall, and someone is willing to pay six figures to do this. Someone else thinks it’s art to eat the banana, which at least is a joke, and then when they put up something that is actually true about our elites, such as, “Jeffery Epstein didn’t kill himself” they cover it up!”

Had Klavan read Vieth’s criticism in its entirety, I think he’d agree that they were on the same page.

Cattelan’s $120, 000 edible banana and 18 karat gold working toilet fortify Veith’s criticism of post-modern art as anti-art. Artists using “art” in the ‘utter annihilation of art.’ (Veith, p.93)

Cattelan, Mapplethorpe, Serrano, Sprinkle, and work that mimics theirs all embody the content of Gene Veith’s lament and critique of the art world today. Although Veith’s analysis is grim, especially when weighed against these examples, he looks to a recovery of the arts where the divine Logos is rediscovered; where ‘artistic talent is not thought of as some innate human ability, nor as the accomplishment of an individual genius, but as a gift of God.’ (Veith, p.107)

To paraphrase, Calvin Seeveld, this recovery will mean the complete abandonment of the foppish, vain lordship of moral relativity, and the subsequent awakening of a desensitised, dehumanised public to an appreciation of the difference between cheap deodorant and good perfume.


References:

[i] Veith, G. 1991. State of the Arts, Crossway Books

First published on Caldron Pool, 11th December, 2019.

©Rod Lampard, 2019

Inciting people to rage against their neighbour in the name of the environment, or because of concerns about the climate, has been a constant part of human society’s obsession with who’s to blame for acts of God, or natural disasters.

In the pagan tribal cultures of the Americas, a bad crop meant another child sacrifice. Described by Cortez as ‘the most horrid and abominable custom; where many girls and boys and even adults, and in the presence of these idols they open their chests while they are still alive and take out their hearts and entrails and burn them before the idols, offering the smoke as sacrifice.’

In the 2nd Century, the formidable, North African theologian, Tertullian, noted that the causes of public evils were maliciously blamed on Christians:

“…If Tiber overflows, and Nile does not; if heaven stands still and withholds its rain, and the earth quakes ; if famine or pestilence take their marches through the country, the word is, Away with these Christians to the lion!” (Apology, Chapter XL)

To which Tertullian asks where were the Christians when Pompeii was consumed by Vesuvius, or when Hannibal threatened Rome?:

“Plato tells of a tract of land bigger than Asia and Africa
together, devoured by the Atlantic Ocean. Besides, an earthquake drank up the Corinthian Sea, and an impetuous force of water tore off Lucania from Italy, and banished it into an island, which goes now by the name of Sicily. Now these devastations of whole countries I hardly believe you will deny to be public calamities…
We have not a word of complaint against the Christians from Tuscany or Campania, when Heaven shot his flames upon Volsinium, and Vesuvius discharged his upon Pompeium. Was there any worshipper of the true God at Rome when Hannibal made such havoc of the Romans at Cannae, and computed the numbers of the slaughtered gentry by bushels of rings picked up after the battle?” (Apology, Chapter XL)

Today, the darker corners of the internet bubble and hiss with the hideous use of the term “deniers”, an emotionally charged term nefariously employed as newspeak, in order to lay blame for the alleged “climate change holocaust” on anyone critical of the prevailing apocalyptic climate change hypothesis.

Add on to this the equally grotesque blame game which claims that Jews are in control of the weather.

Then there are extreme anti-Chemtrail advocates who, according to the BBC, view chemical trails in the sky as evidence of ‘a massive, secret government conspiracy to control the weather; that secret powerful groups are spraying us with chemicals to make us pliant and easy to control.’

Connected to this group are those who propose a much more plausible theory about how Governmental use of cloud seeding is affecting natural weather patterns. They’re openly questioning how much of what we’re told about anthropogenic global warming (unnatural levels greenhouse gases in the atmosphere) and man-made climate change (the suspected result of those unnatural levels), is in fact, humans trying to manipulate the climate? Or the side effects of said manipulation?

The evidence to justify such questioning isn’t hard to find. In a 2015 article for the Sydney Morning Herald, Scott Hannaford wrote about the dubious practice of cloud seeding, stating that:

“While little evidence exists to support the conspiracy theories of the Americans investing in the practice during the Cold War, the US did use cloud seeding for military purposes during the Vietnam War, according to The New York Times. In July 1972 legendary journalist Seymour Hersh reported that the US had been conducting a highly classified cloud-seeding program known as Operation Popeye on a massive scale over North Vietnam, Laos and South Vietnam to increase and control rainfall. By dumping silver iodide and lead iodide into clouds, the Americans were reportedly able to extend the monsoon season by more than a month over the Ho Chi Minh Trail, softening roads to cause disruption to military trucks using the area.”

In 2016 Business Insider reported on the much talked about Chinese Government’s use of cloud seeding to manipulate the weather in order for the Beijing Olympics to take place free of rain. Worth noting, the Communist Government has a growing Weather Modification Office, whose department, according to The Independent, ‘employs nearly 40,000 people, 3,000 of whom work with an arsenal of 7,000 cannon, 4,687 rocket launchers, and have a budget of around £50m…’

Cloud seeding involves the use of ‘rockets full of chemicals (such as silver iodide), which are launched into clouds accelerating the creation of ice crystals that eventually become rain.’ QZ.com also described the process as a ‘meteorological enema’ that can make it rain, “clearout” pollution, as well as stop rain from falling.

The ability to control where and when it rains, and when and where it doesn’t rain, raises a lot questions about climate modification’s relationship to alleged man-made climate change.

Any possible connection between chemical manipulation of rainfall via cloud seeding, and the prevailing apocalyptic climate change hypothesis seem to be dismissed by most activists. NSW Greens senator, M.P. Dr. Mehreen Faruqi typifies the general blasé response from Climate Change activists. In her appraisal of Australia’s use of cloud seeding over the Snowy Mountains, Faruqi’s main concern was for the animal food chain and how those chemicals may impact endangered species. This is despite Faruqi acknowledging that the possible dangers of cloud seeding could be catastrophic, stating ‘we don’t know the long term impacts, but we do have the lessons learnt from DDT, asbestos, CFCs and their impact.’

One would think that the launching, or adding of more chemicals into the atmosphere, when there are raging concerns about unnatural levels of chemicals in the atmosphere, is counter-intuitive.

More so when the impact of making it rain in once place, is likely to mean it won’t rain in another. Thus, any unnatural disruption of natural rainfall patterns, would have a dire impact on the environment, and forge an anthropogenic adjustment of the climate.

Ignoring the possible contribution of cloud seeding to “climate change”, and conflating climate change with global warming (by calling it a climate change emergency) is irresponsible, and dishonest. It leaves out questions about the negative impact chemical modification of the weather has on the overall climate.

It also means that political opportunists are deliberately scaring children and the vulnerable in order to impose change via the reigning hypothesis. This criticism is further buttressed by an historical pattern of blaming humans for acts of God or natural disasters, and the questionable practice of cloud seeding; to be more precise, deliberate chemical modification of the weather.

If the “doomers” are correct and apocalyptic climate change is as bad as they have prophesied, than perhaps man-made climate change is a direct result of man’s attempt to control the climate?

I agree that there’s a socio-political, geo-political, economic and environmental need to address our dependency on fossil fuels, and unnatural levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. However, the answer rests in a calm response, which looks to horticulture – planting trees; water storage/management, new technology and improving our understanding and use of nuclear, which, as books on climate science admit, is far more powerful (and much more cleaner) than coal.

The way forward would also include a thorough critique of the practice of cloud seeding, and its negative impact on rainfall patterns and the climate.


First published on Caldron Pool, 7th Decemeber, 2019.

Photo by NOAA on Unsplash

©Rod Lampard, 2019.

Scottish Pastor, Richard Cameron, was suspended by church officials this week, until further notice, after “heckling” openly socialist, U.K. Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn.

Corbyn, who has the potential of becoming the U.K’s next Prime Minister in the December election, was day two into his campaign trail in Glasgow, when according to The Scottish Sun, Cameron, a 60 year old Church of Scotland minister, approached the Labour leader.

Referring to Corbyn’s tartan scarf and his criticism of the United States actions against the late ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, Cameron stated,

“I thought you’d be wearing an Islamic jihad scarf. Do you think the man that’s going to be prime minister of this country should be a terrorist sympathiser? Who’s going to be the first terrorist to be invited to the House of Commons when you’re prime minister?” (The Times)

Short video footage of the incident shows Corbyn surrounded by staffers, with Richard Cameron calmly approaching the Labour leader. After hearing the nature of Cameron’s questions, a clearly indifferent Corbyn and his entourage dismissed the Pastor. Turned their backs on him and walked in the opposite direction. In response, as reported by The Scottish Sun, Cameron then allegedly tells the now shuffling huddle of retreating Labour members, “Aye, you’re running away.’

Not long after the event, screenshots from Cameron’s Twitter account were spammed over the social media platform, quickly denouncing the minister as a troll, homophobic, Islamophobic, and bigoted.

Some of the tweets in question show Cameron voicing support for Israel Folau, promoting the Bible’s view on marriage, homosexuality and idolatry.

The BBC, joining the chorus of hate and manufactured rage against the pastor, falsely accused Cameron of “shouting at Corbyn.” They also appear to have scoured the minister’s posts, and replies on Twitter for alleged abuses. Digging as far back as 2016 in an attempt to further the claim that Cameron’s views were both “homophobic and Islamophobic.”

Cameron has also been relieved of duties at a local primary school, with one facilitator stating that, “Cameron doesn’t belong in the pulpit and that he’s glad Cameron will no longer be providing moral guidance to kids.”

Cameron’s questioning of Corbyn triggered a soft-doxxing of the Pastor by outraged Leftists, effectively forcing his suspension and a Church of Scotland internal investigation. Church officials have stated that Cameron’s suspension will ‘allow them to carry out an enquiry in relation to the incident which took place earlier this week and the subsequent complaints about his social media use.’

Leftists love a firebrand, as long as that firebrand is singing the Leftist’s tune. For evidence of this simply compare the open arms celebrity treatment of Leftist, activist, and Anglican Minister Rod Bower, who remains in his lofty position even after publically falsely labeling LNP M.P, Peter Dutton,  “a sodomite”  (et.al)

Cameron’s suspension and the justifications for it make a mockery of freedom, and the Scottish people.

If Cameron’s Twitter feed is any indication, Cameron seems to epitomize the fiery, blunt, straight-talking Scotsman. To punish him for doing his job as a Pastor; for being true to his vocation, isn’t just to place a gag order on the Bible, it bogs down freedom of speech, and squashes part of a cultural attribute long associated with what it means to be Scottish.

The suspension is a farce. It was led by a lynch mob on social media, and triggered by Jeremy Corbyn’s apparent inability to face uncomfortable questions from a member of the discerning public.

Cameron should be reinstated on the grounds that the actions taken against him unfairly give advantage to manipulators. It gives power to dishonest critics who turn the term “hate speech” into a weapon, and abuse others from behind a wall of anonymity, and pompous self-righteousness.

As Franklin Littell warned in 1962, anti-Christian ‘movements are the product of persecuting or corrupt, self-indulgent establishments. Soft religiosity is more of a threat to the Gospel than hard opposition.’ [i]

Cameron may need to tweak his approach to others on social media, but his example raises questions about what happens when those who are led into all truth, by the Holy Spirit (John 16:13), are by consequence, entering into direct opposition to those being led by the spirit of the age.


References:

[i] From State Church to Pluralism, p.32

First published on Caldron Pool 28th November, 2019.

Photo by Ye Jinghan on Unsplash

©Rod Lampard, 2019

 

Last week, Ellie Goulding, an award winning British singer, decided to rethink a scheduled performance in support of The Salvation Army’s “Red Kettle Kickoff”, at an American Thanksgiving Day NFL Show. The decision was made in response to an Instagram follower falsely accusing The Salvation Army of discriminating against the LGBT community – claiming that the organization was employing passive euthanasia against the homeless:

“So sad to see Ellie supporting them :// they’re extremely homo/transphobic, literally to the point of letting queer homeless ppl die. Wish she had done some research beforehand or something.” – @        angelsporch

The comment was a reaction to Goulding’s Instagram post, announcing the singer’s partnership with The Salvation Army, showing the singer wearing a hair net and a Salvation Army apron.

Goulding then corresponded back stating,

“@angelsporch, Upon researching this, I have reached out to The Salvation Army and said that I would have no choice by to pull out unless they very quickly make a solid, committed pledge or donation to the LGBTQ community….thank you for drawing this to my attention.”

It’s unclear about what Goulding means by “research”. As the Daily Wire reported, unbiased information on The Salvation Army and the LGBT Community isn’t difficult to locate, beginning with The Salvation Army USA website itself.

In addition, the singer overlooked her own caption, in which she gave a clear outline of her own alleged positive experience of what The Salvation Army does for ‘addicts, the homeless, and those facing economic hardship via food, emergency relief for disaster survivors, and rehabilitation.’

Rather than take the hit, The Salvation Army responded swiftly and did so with class.

Commissioner David Hudson, National Commander of The Salvation Army issued a statement,

“thanking the singer and activists for shedding light on misconceptions and encouraging others to learn the truth about The Salvation Army’s mission to serve all, without discrimination…Ellie’s performance in the 23rd annual Salvation Army Red Kettle Kickoff during the Dallas Cowboys game Thanksgiving Day on CBS will kick off a season of giving that helps support these and many other programs and services throughout the country.”

Their official response reminds Christian organizations of the Biblical standard of keeping a cool head, when facing false accusations from Leftists, and their misinformed, generally always anonymous, keyboard warrior minions.

‘Whoever restrains his words has knowledge, and he who has a cool spirit is a man of understanding.’ (Proverbs 17:27, ESV)

NBC 5 said they’ve reached out to Goulding’s representatives for an official reply. As of today there has been no official response. However, the singer’s Instagram account is still active, with Rolling Stone reporting that her original reply has since been deleted.

Goulding either had no real idea about what the Salvation Army did and the content of her Instagram caption is a fabrication, or she was played by LGBTQAII+ activists; inadvertently participating in further perpetuating hate-filled, anti-Christian manipulative propaganda.

Business Insider’s, Allison Hope, applauded the singer’s ‘stance against the Salvation Army’, stating that they were ‘well known for being anti-LGBTQ’. Citing Huffington Post, and a bizarre “investigative” article from The Week, Hope squeezes everyone who holds to freedom of religion, and a biblical (scientifically backed) view of man for woman, woman for man, marriage, into poorly defined categories of hate speech, and discrimination against the LGBT community.

Hope then goes on to brazenly equate Goulding with “the people” of the UK, who recently pushed out Europe’s first Chick-fil-A because of the restaurant chain’s anti-LGBTQ stance.’

Hope’s analogy doesn’t do Goulding any favours. The example from the U.K. is one example among many of the thug like behavior of LGBT lobby groups, who are bullying people and organizations into total submission to their ideology, actions that persistently pose the question, who’s actually bullying who?

As far as Goulding being made accountable for attempting to shake down The Salvation Army, by black mailing them out of money designated for the poor, in order to placate the LGBT community, Goulding is likely to get a free ride.

The Left’s double standards have been applied. Exemplified by Allison Hope’s applause for what can only be described as an LGBT tax, or worse, extortion. The rash act has been white-washed, and the story has been abandoned; left to die, because appearance trumps substance; there’s no room allowed for due process, and burden of proof being applied to the original accuser. The singer’s alleged good intentions matter more than the potential or actual damage they may have caused.

Contrary to the misguided applause, Goulding’s example adds to the increasing list of caveats given to actors, actresses and musicians, looking to squeeze quick profit out of vanity metrics and virtue signalling.


First published on Caldron Pool, 19th November, 2019.

©Rod Lampard, 2019

An anti-Christian LGBT group from Spokane, Washington, have reenacted an ante-bellum, chattel slavery auction, using cut-outs of outspoken Christian leaders, who are actively opposed to abortion and Drag Queen Story Time.

The LGBT group, Spokane United Against Religious Extremism and the Church, targeted 500 Mom Strong founder, Anna Bohach and pastors from ‘The Church at Planned Parenthood’ in an October fundraising event for the industrial abortion platform, Planned Parenthood.

According to Anna Bohach  (an activist against the sexualization and exploitation of children), the black slavery-era mock auction took place during an ‘Halloween themed drag show.’

Recounting the event in an article for Activist Mommy, Bohach said,

‘it started with Tiranny Hex lip-syncing and gyrating around the stage. She [He] was then followed by three back up dancers wearing effigies of Anna, Pastor Ken Peters, and Pastor Afshin Yaghtin…The main fundraiser of the evening which was billed as a fun surprise turned out to be a slave style auction. Drag Queens held up effigies of 6 prominent local Christians and auctioned them off to the highest bidder. The Christian effigies were lined up on a high stage and displayed in a fashion akin to the slave market auctions of America’s darkest past.’

Mocking the reports, the LGBT group dismissed the news on their Facebook page, with a typical juvenile, “l.o.l, it wasn’t us” defense, using the Breitbart article from Dr. Susan Berry, stating that the person used for the cover image “has nothing to do with them.”

The hashtag: “best counter protest ever”, the accusation: “they had no idea what really went on” and the threat: “we still have a surprise in store”, suggest otherwise.

Despite the dismissive, shrug of the shoulders response. The LGBT group’s poorly reasoned counter-claim doesn’t address Bohach’s original article. Neither has the group made any attempt to respond to photographs featured in the Activist Mommy article. All of which back Bohach’s recount of the event.

In commenting on why the group’s mock slavery auction of Christians, hasn’t headlined mainstream news media, Monica Showalter, for American Thinker referred readers back to  Bolach’s own powerful response:

‘Christians are the biggest threat to their agendas. We are the only ones standing in their way and telling them: ‘No, you will not abort babies; no, you will not exploit vulnerable women; and no, you will not expose our children to sexual deviancy and gender confusion.

Using effigies and a slave auction style fundraiser to raise money for an organization whose existence is based upon the extermination of black Americans is in very poor taste…But again, not surprising given drag itself is rooted in the blackface minstrel shows of the last century.”

As with many of this kind of blatant anti-Christian hate, the venomous intersectional dragon, and its head-spinning confusion about when woke social justice, becomes intolerance, prejudice and racism, is an intellectual quagmire many in the MSM aren’t yet brave enough to attempt to wrangle.

In latter estimates, Christian Post reported that the LGBT group’s mock chattel slavery auctioning off of Christians raised $1,865 dollars for Planned Parenthood.

The October slavery auction wasn’t an isolated case. It’s since been followed by a drag queen who performed a mock abortion,pulling a plastic doll out of his fake distended stomach in a Zombie Cannibal Performance,’ in early November.

Without any widespread condemnation of these events, they’re bound to increase. Silence will be interpreted as a free license for hostile LGBT groups to abdicate responsibility for their own hate, for more indifferent juvenile dismissals, and anti-Christian bigotry; obediently carried out in absolute allegiance to the LGBT flag, and deceptively waved about as counter-protest.

The mock chattel slavery auctioning off of Christians by members of the LGBT community, proves that many on the Left don’t fear theocratic rule, they see Christians as a direct threat to their own quest for a theocracy, driven by the ravenous lust of the LGBT religion, in worship to a false god, who rules under one of the greatest lies every perpetrated on the hearts of humanity, love is love.

As Karl Barth noted in 1921:

‘Eros deceives. As a biological function it is now hot, then cold. Eros does not merely deceive: it is also uncritical. Agape on the other hand, consistently accepts and rejects. Only the love which is strong enough to abhor that which is evil can cleave to that which is good. Agape is therefore both sweet and bitter [involving a Yes & a No]. It can preserve peace; but it can also engage in conflict.’ [i]

References:

[i] Barth, K. 1922, Epistle to the Romans, 12:9; Oxford University Press, assembled from pp.453 & 454 (See also Barth, CD.3:2 pp.280-285)

First published on Caldron Pool, 14th November, 2019.

©Rod Lampard, 2019

Regardless of how musicologists might try to placate pro-abortion political group-think, they would find it extremely difficult to deny that many of the best Cold War protest songs ever written share a ferociously pro-life theme.

Like Tolstoy, who, once describing a dream, said that when he found himself ‘hanging over a bottomless abyss’, his ‘heart contracted, experiencing horror’. If he looked down into the abyss, he felt himself slipping. Overwhelmed with a tremendous fear of losing his grip, he noted that the vastness below repelled and frightened him, yet the vastness above attracted and strengthened him.

Tolstoy said that he was ‘saved from fear by looking upwards.’ The more he looked into the ‘infinite that was above him, the calmer he became’; stating, ‘I remember seeing a support under me, in a position of secured balance, that it alone gave me support. It was then as if someone had said to me: “see that you remember.”

Cold War protest songs share Tolstoy’s tense awareness of being caught between a yawning abyss and the calming awareness of the grip of the Infinite. Through nuanced prose these songs reach for the Infinite. Their very existence is proof of this. Without it, we’d hear utter despair, not pro-life defiance.

They are a protest against mass murder, a protest against industrial scale slaughter. They are a veritable “no” to the disorder of the Abyss and its violence.

Their “no” moves us, like Tolstoy to look to the Infinite above. To see as Dietrich Bonhoeffer saw, ‘that grace is what holds humanity above the abyss of nothingness’ [ii]; that we are ‘held over the abyss by the infinite.’ [iii]

These Cold War protest songs are pro-life protest songs. They reject Me-culture, and its murderous detachment of the, I and thou, in favour of the – me, myself and I – I.am.it.

Me-culture threatens to sever humanity from this grace over the abyss. It is the cheapening of grace, and the crass dismissal of the sanctity of ALL human life. It is the end of hope. To quote Pink Floyd, it ‘unleashes the dogs of war…signed, sealed they deliver oblivion.’ (Dogs of War, 1987)

These reasons show how fifteen unique songs which challenged the threat of Cold War also challenge abortion. Granted there are differences. Rather than lessening the impact of the message, these differences should make us shudder with horror even more. Where bunkers and a four minute civil defence warning exist for us, there is no such warning, defence, or even refuge, for victims whose life is violently terminated in the womb. Where the military industrial complex sells arms to prevent an apocalypse, the abortion industrial complex sells arms in the fulfilment of one.

15. Gimme Shelter – (Holy Soldier, 1992; Rolling Stones, 1969)

This cover of a much earlier Rolling Stones song is self-explanatory:

Oh, a storm is threat’ning my very life today. If I don’t get some shelter
Oh yeah, I’m gonna fade away. War, children, it’s just a shot away…”

14. Eve of Destruction – (Barry McGuire, 1965; P.F. Sloan, 1964)

It’s cliché, and dated, but McGuire’s memorable cover of E.O.D joins, his ‘Don’t Blame God as two of the most powerful songs he ever performed in regards to Western attitudes to life. Both speak to all ages about abortion. In E.O.D, the word gun can easily be interchanged with forceps: “You’re old enough to kill but not for votin’, / You don’t believe in war, but what’s that gun you’re totin’,”

13. Peace Sells, but who’s buying? – (Megadeath, 1986)

While the song is celebrated as a Cold War protest anthem, lead singer (and Christian – see also here & here), Dave Mustaine says he wrote the lyrics to protest the ‘mocking and stereotyping of metal, and fans of the genre.’ Since the song is widely accepted as part of Cold War protest song history, as an anti-abortion theme it speaks to those who take financial and political profit from stereotyping the child in the womb as a parasite, waste of space, or sexually transmitted disease.

12. Burning Heart – (Survivor, 1985)

Outside ‘Eye of the Tiger’, ‘Burning Heart’ is one of Survivor’s best known songs. It featured in ‘Rocky IV’ and takes up a common theme in Cold War protest songs which replaces an “Us vs. Them” dichotomy with the more accurate “human vs. human.” Its relevance to the Cold War and therefore abortion is highlighted by the phrases “man against man’ and ‘know it’s you against you.”

11. Blackened – (Metallica, 1988)

Metallica’s songs are laced with protest, some even address theological themes. Their 1991, Black album took the band more mainstream. From it, one could rightly argue that songs such as ‘Enter Sandman’, ‘Unforgiven’ & ‘Don’t Tread on me’ fall into the category of Cold War era protest songs. Though melancholic, as pro-life protest songs, each strongly support an anti-abortion message. ‘Blackened’ is from ‘And Justice for All…’ and falls easily into the Cold War category, lyrics such as ‘terminate its worth’ (among others), express anger at the cheapening of not just human life, but creation itself.

10. Seconds – (U2, 1983)

Seconds’ has a pro-life message, lyrics like “It takes a second to say goodbye / Lightning flashes across the sky / East to west, do or die / Like a thief in the night”, speak of an impending, but avoidable doom. Like most U2 protest songs, ‘Seconds’ draws on a specific context. In the case of abortion, it’s one that as stated above, is not that far removed from being aborted into oblivion by thermonuclear war.

9. 2 Minutes to Midnight – (Iron Maiden, 1984)

As surprising as it seems, Iron Maiden are one of the blatant in the list.

So much so, that the Cold War pro-life message and anti-abortion implications are self-evident: “Two minutes to midnight / the hands that threaten doom … / to kill the unborn in the womb.”

8. Red Skies – The Fixx

This one’s a little vague, but still applicable. ‘Red Skies’ plays on the old fisherman axiom, “red skies in the morning, sailors warning”. Hence the words, “People ignoring / Should have taken warning, it’s just / People mourning / Running, hiding, lost / You can’t find, find a place to go…” In essence, though there are clear signs of a cheapening of the value of human life, those red flags are being ignored.

7. It’s a Mistake – (Men at Work, 1983)

The song uses humour to get its pro-life message across. The lyrics, “tell us commander, what do you think? / Cause we know that you love all that power’ to ‘Is it on then, are we on the brink? / We wish you’d all throw in the towel”, speak of an arrogant hierarchy treating soldiers as dispensable pawns; much like unborn children powerless in the womb.

6. Russians – (Sting, 1985)

Russians’ is one of the most balanced in the Cold War protest song catalogue. Questions like, “How can I save my little boy from Oppenheimer’s deadly toy? to sentences like, “There is no monopoly on common sense / We share the same biology, regardless of ideology / I hope the Russians love their children too” all argue from a father’s heart, for an end to violent divisions, based on an appeal to an universal understanding of the value of human life.

5. Two Tribes – (Frankie Goes to Hollywood, 1984)

The pro-life message here criticises the ‘new gods of sex and horror’ stating that ‘two tribes may go to war’, but in a nuclear exchange no one wins. An abortion holocaust may be promoted as win for the mother, but the long line of victims would, if they had a voice, surely argue otherwise. Kids should not be treated as the collateral damage of irresponsible parents.

4. Gods of War – (Def Leppard, 1987)

Next to ‘Russians’, ‘Gods of War’ is probably the most recognizable of all the Cold War era protest songs. Add in the epic harmonies, and remove the now dated, anti-Thatcher and Reagan sound bites, the song has an eerie timelessness to it. The Cold War pro-life message is one of reasoned defiance. Lyrics like, “When we walk into silence / When we shadow the sun / When we surrender to violence / Oh, then the damage is done”, give weight to the fight against increasing legislation which seeks to impose a gag order on criticism the multi-million dollar abortion industry.

3. The Great American Novel – (Larry Norman, 1972)

Norman was a pioneer in the Jesus music movement of the ‘70s.

The song is filled with hard hitting lyrics like, “You say we beat the Russians to the moon / And I say you starved your children to do it…” All of which lend themselves to the pro-life message.

2. Civil War – Guns n’ Roses, 1991

Civil War doesn’t quite make it into the Cold War era protest songs. Nevertheless the song stems from it. Like Metallica’s Black album, it is one of the great signal fire songs from the pro-life Cold War protest songs. Lyrics like, “all are washed away by genocide / history hides the lies of our civil wars… / with no love of God, or human rights/ Cause all these dreams are swept aside / by bloody hands of the hypnotised…” and “Your power hungry sellin’ soldiers / In a human grocery store”, all point to indiscriminate, unemotional, and clinical industrial scale mass murder.

1. Military Man – (Rez Band, 1984)

Military Man speaks of how militant ideological allegiances can be changed. A soldier, ‘considering chances in the nuclear zone’, ‘he caught sight of the future shock’, ‘defences crushed beneath the Risen Rock,’ reveal a pro-life message of perseverance fused with faith-dependent hope.

Though sometimes subtle, the Cold War pro-life message found in these songs lends itself to an anti-abortion platform.

As Johann Goethe once wrote:

‘It is not always needful for truth to take a definite shape; sometimes it hovers about us. Sometimes it is wafted through the air like the sound of a bell, grave and kindly.’ [iv]

Like Tolstoy, may we never fail to hear the past whisper into the present and say, “see that you don’t forget!”

“Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.” – (Colossians 3:2, ESV)


References:

[i] Tolstoy, L. A Confession

[ii] Bonhoeffer, D. DBW 3: Creation & Fall

[iii] Karl Barth, Church Dogmatics IV:I (p.411)

[iv] Goethe, J.W.V, Maxims & Reflections, (#14)

©Rod Lampard, 2019.

 

Entitled ‘Gideon: God is my Lord’ [i] and preached in Berlin on February 26, 1933 ‘Bonhoeffer gave his first sermon’ since Hitler had been enshrined as chancellor 27 days prior.

Bonhoeffer’s decision to preach from the Old Testament was deliberate. In my opinion, he couldn’t have picked a more controversial figure, at the time, to make a political point.

Nazism, much the same as Communism, is an industry built on victimhood. These systems need a perpetual sense of victimization and sympathy in order to maintain membership and political momentum.

Bonhoeffer understood this. He chose Gideon in a deliberate attempt to preach against the imagery used in Nazi propaganda. In a way Bonhoeffer was reaching for Martin Luther’s epic treatise ‘Bondage of the Will’, to challenge Nazism’s ‘Triumph of the Will.’[ii]

For example: Larry Rasmussen suggests Bonhoeffer contrasted a ‘young [powerless] man chosen by God to save Israel from their enemies and turn them away from the worship of false gods’ with ‘Siegfried, the unconquered Germanic hero figure (of the Nibelung saga), idealised by the Nazis.’ [iii]

Expanding on this Isabel Best writes that Bonhoeffer sets out to ‘describe God’s power in contrast to human might, and finally from Martin Luther’s ‘A Might Fortress,’ to assure his hearers that even now the power, and the victory, are God’s alone.’[iv]

Gideon’s message is God’s grace to the Israelites and through the witness of Gideon this message is also about God’s graciousness towards humanity.

Bonheoffer expresses this clearly:

‘Gideon, we recognise your voice only too well; you sound just the same today as you did then…
Who would be willing to say that he or she has never heard this call and has never answered, as Gideon did: Lord, with what I am supposed to do such great things?
But Gideon is silenced; today as just in those days, he’s told to shut up. You’re asking, “With what?” Haven’t you realised what it means that this is God calling to you? Isn’t the call of God enough for you; if you listen properly, doesn’t it drown out all your “with what” questions?
“I will be with you” – that means you are not asked to do this with any other help. It is I who have called you; I will be with you; I shall be doing it too. Do you hear that, Gideon of yesterday and today?
God has called you, and that is enough. Do you hear that, individual doubting Christian, asking and doubting Christian? God has plans for you, and that does mean you.
Be ready to see to it. Never forget, even when your own powerlessness is grinding you down to the ground, that God has phenomenal, immeasurable, great plans for you. I will be with you.’ [v]

Dietrich Bonhoeffer is someone I’d heard of, yet never read with any serious interest until I started college. Since then I have made inroads into understanding his life, theology and influences.

Most Christians who’ve heard of Bonhoeffer might only know him as a an obscure martyr; others will be able to match the name in more detail with the context and images of an era when Europe was consumed by an industrial military complex, imposing new cultural laws, issuing forth blitzkrieg, euthanasia, and mass murder; inciting euphoria through the progeny of Darwinian Socialism, the false doctrines of Nazi dogma.

The latter was swarming the globe, enraging some, and finding recruits in others. All through the promise of a new dawn for humanity – one embossed in the appearance of allegiance with Christianity, when instead it was firmly based on the survival of the fittest, racial supremacy, socialism, scientism, and pagan religion.

Faced with the uncertainty of the times, Bonhoeffer reaches for a tangible example from the Biblical text.

Some of us may find the times confusing. Some are frustrated, and feel powerless in the face of new industries built up around victimhood. Those of us in this category, who have a decent amount of knowledge of history, also lament at how those new victimhood industries are fast reflecting the old.

The truth is that we are witnessing a new wave of organized chaos that has to some degree breached walls where restraint has remained the stalwart of freedom. We are dragged into a fight for freedom and the Western world. A battle that must now be fought, but one we didn’t desire, nor ask for.

In the midst of this, Bonhoeffer and Gideon’s story speaks, reminding us to carry this burden without compromise, to maintain Christ-like integrity in the heat of battle, with the knowledge that though the enemy calls our faith weakness, God calls it strength. He still reigns, and we must trust that He, in His mercy will provide the means to address the challenges of today, and the challenges of tomorrow.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” – (Philippians 4:6, ESV)


References:

[i] Best, I. (Ed.) 2012 The Collected Sermons of Dietrich Bonheoffer Fortress Press, p.67

[ii] Veith, G. E. 2010. The Spirituality of the Cross, Concordia Publishing House

[iii] Rasmussen, L in The Collected Sermons of Dietrich Bonheoffer, Isabel Best, (Ed.) 2012  Fortress Press, p.67

[iv] Ibid.

[v] Ibid, pp.67-74 & Stroud, D.G. (Ed.) Preaching in Hitler’s Shadow: Sermons of Resistance in the Third Reich  Wm.B Eerdmans Press, pp.51-61

An updated version of Gideon Speaks & Sounds Just The Same Today As He Did Then  from September 24, 2014.

First published on Caldron Pool, 5th November, 2019.

Photo by Pavel Nekoranec on Unsplash

©Rod Lampard, 2019.

It’s a peculiar thing to see Australians, who naturally have a caustic view of Americans, along with contempt and suspicion of any kind of pageantry and ceremony, embrace American cultural traditions which involve pageantry, and ceremony.

If the irony fits, wear it. None of what I’ve just said is untrue.

Remember the hate and mockery thrown at Tony Abbott when his government reinstated knights and dame honors for Australians? Only to have Malcolm Turnbull ditch it, after he lead the take down of Abbott’s reign as Prime Minister, and was himself enthroned as Prime Minister in a bloodless coup.

Should Australians completely surrender and adopt the American tradition of Halloween, (one that reflects pagan ritual more than the All Saints Day it is founded upon), why stop there?

If we’re going to go “all the way with LBJ”, let’s also adopt great freedom loving American traditions such as being able to freely wear the Christian faith on our sleeves, without the fear of being dismissed, and ridiculed, as bigoted, religious nut jobs. If we’re to follow Uncle Sam’s sometimes misguided children and accommodate Halloween, why not also accommodate the mighty North American Thanksgiving holiday – albeit with a unique Australian flavor?

It’s not too far of a stretch. Australia already has an unofficial National Day of Thanks. The day became a reality in 2003, is mainly practiced by Australian Christian community groups and happens on the last Saturday of May each year. More to the point, Norfolk Island residents already celebrate Thanksgiving, following the ‘legacy of American whaling ships that would make frequent stops to the island during the late 1800’s.’ So why not go the extra mile?

After all, it’s the cohesion brought about by a deep gratitude for family, faith, and freedom, all packed in with a sense of responsibility, respect for history and a binding community, that makes those national days work in Canada and the United States.

These are embedded attributes of a cohesive community that Australian’s have lost, and in some respects may never have had in the first place; largely due to our worship of self. Our inherited, arrogant enlightenment, hyper-individualism, the i/it in “me culture”. The me, myself & I, over against the i/thou.

Aussies who fail to understand this reality will ultimately fail in adequately adopting American traditions. They’ll find themselves stumbling in the dark in fruitless attempts to celebrate them.

Such an embrace of tradition, ignorant of that tradition’s meaning and history, is a dangerous, foolish participation in an empty ritual. It goes from one innocent flirtation to an embarrassing gullible embrace of anything and everything.

In the case of Halloween, it unnecessarily places vulnerable children, and a society wrestling with its insecure agnostism, weakened identity, and anxiety ridden lack of self-understanding, in harm’s way.

As put by Saiko Woods, a Pastor on Facebook who simplified the content of Paul’s words to the Romans:

“Yes men” and gullible women are the lifeblood of EVERY cult!” (Romans 16:17-18, ESV)

The simple, blunt truth is that Americans know how to do community far better than Australians. For all its benefits, enlightenment individualism has created a cavernous hole in Australian society. This chasm isn’t hard to see. “Me culture” has meant that families become strangers, rarely meeting more than once a year. Neighbors no longer know each other’s names, let alone neighbors knowing anything about each other. This makes seeing groups of children dress up, and troll the street asking for lollies seem clumsy, and hollow, even desperate.

It’s also not unreasonable to suggest that Australians adopting Halloween is a sign that the religion of secular humanism is found wanting.  The embrace of Halloween is a symptom of longing for the transcendent, that which exists outside of ourselves; a longing for God, faith, family and community.

Australians adopting Halloween could been seen as a longing for familial dysfunction to end; a longing for the gaping hole produced by enlightenment individualism – endemic to Australian society – to be filled. If so, the tragic irony is that God, family, faith, and responsibility, the very things which can fill this chasm, are often the very same things written off as anachronistic, too awkward, worthless, or inconvenient.

This is ultimately why adopting American traditions may fail or even become destructive. The only antidote to this is for Australians to also adopt, and accommodate, the fundamental foundations so closely associated with those who celebrate these traditions. We cannot have one without the other.

These foundations are built on faith, which both justly binds and compassionately set frees. These foundations built in freedom, under grace in Christ, ground healthy families and bring community together.

If Australians are to embrace Halloween, let this be a cautious, informed embrace, with room allowed for it to be rejected. If Australians are to follow North America, let it include Thanksgiving, and a strong sense of freedom, responsibility, community, faith and family. All of which, despite its forced dysfunctional decline over the years, is still very much part of what made and makes America great.


First published on Caldron Pool, 1st November, 2019

Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

©Rod Lampard, 2019

The best and brightest of those registered with the American Gospel Music Association recently celebrated the 50th annual GMA, Dove Awards.

The Gospel Music Association began in 1964, with the purpose of ‘serving as the face and voice of the Gospel/Christian music community, dedicating itself to exposing, promoting and celebrating the Gospel through music of all styles.’

The first Dove Awards ceremony was held in 1969. The awards showcase G.M.A talent and provide a window into the world of Christian music for the broader culture. There are 5 divisions catering for 38 categories, all helping G.M.A ‘accomplish its mission by publicly honouring those persons who have demonstrated excellence or significant accomplishment in the field of Christian/Gospel music.’

Over the years categories have merged, been revised or eliminated, presumably because of style changes or lack of admissions from a particular genre.

For a 50th Anniversary event, things were for the most part uneventful. There were replays of bloopers from previous presenters in between breaks, but the only tribute was a quasi-quartet performance which included a sampling of work from MercyMe, Shirley Caesar, Steven Curtis Chapman, Michael W. Smith, Ce Ce Winans and Amy Grant.

Despite applause on the night for its wide diversity, some categories from previous years were noticeably absent. “Hard Music” and “Modern Rock/Alternative Song of the Year” were nowhere to be seen. Neither were any performances to mark previous winners who fell into those categories. Such as, in-the-world-not-of-it heavy weight’s P.O.D., who won Hard Music Recorded Song of the Year for Satellite, from their album of the same name.

The lack of any hard rock, alternative or heavy metal categories was compounded by how contemporary “worship” music dominated the night. Showing that feel-good, polished worship, sells far better, than hardened lyrics from a broken heart, vomiting out a sigh towards God, by Spirit-led convicted individuals. I now better understand why Audio Adrenaline decided to ditch alternative rock for the contemporary worship bubble, and why Kevin Max parted ways with them over creative differences.

Now before I get accused of being an organ loving, grumpy curmudgeon, nostalgic for the 90’s Jesus Freak revolutionary era, hear me out. I like Kari Jobe, I’m a fan of Crowder, and I was among the first to predict how huge Lauren Daigle’s album was going to be (just ask my wife).

My problem isn’t with contemporary worship songs, even if that part of the art-commerce-ministry industry, is now largely dominated by cliché sounds, repetitive lyrics, visible tattoos and skinny jeans. The problem is a lack of depth in the diversity of music considered worthy of a Christian’s heartfelt attention.

As Kanye West proved with the content and straight-up release of his latest album, Jesus is King’, depth and raw, well thought out lyrics win.

Carefully placed tattoos or all the right buzzwords in lyrics, skinny jeans, and a safe cliché sound, are no guarantee of authenticity or theological legitimacy. It sells, and as such may help you win a Dove Award.

The absence of metal, alternative and hard rock categories undermine the diversity of the awards. Bands may have rejected invitations, but if the excuse is that artists who could fill these categories couldn’t be found, I’d say the G.M.A organisers didn’t look hard enough, and I’d question if they’d bothered to look at all.

Back in the late nineties my coming-of-age, Guns n’ Roses, loving self would have seen the Dove Awards as a sanitised, narcissistic celebration of privileged talent, and tuned out. By all appearances, the awards lend themselves to a theology of glory, a world away from the grit and sweat in what Lutherans rightly call a theology of the Cross.

There was little to no sanctis cry de profundis which screams through the darkness, a holy cry up from the depths.

The kind of music Charles Spurgeon called startling and stimulating, saying, ‘my heart, be not thou always craving soft music…life is a conflict, and thou needest battle music to thee up to fighting pitch.’ For there is a ‘time for the trumpet and the pipe!’[i]

One of the only exceptions to this was Toby Mac and Ledger, who kicked off the ceremony with the Neon Feather, remixed, collaborative version of T.M.’s song ‘The Elements’.

Where were Narnia, Skillet, Lacey Sturm, Stryper, Guardian, Jars of Clay, Kevin Max, Sleeping Giant, Thousand Foot Krutch, Theocracy, or Decipher Down, among others?

Despite the applause for diversity, the Dove Awards wasn’t as musically diverse as it could have been.

Asked why Heavy Metal, Hard Rock, Alternative and Progressive Rock categories are absent or never have been, Director of Sanctuary International, a vibrant multi-platform Christian ministry to the Metal Community, Pastor Bob Beeman, said,

  “The Christian Industry stopped being about real ministry a long time ago. Somewhere along the line we replaced the real hard-core ministry aspect of it with “feel good” lyrics and musical style. Christian Metal doesn’t sell as well either. Not in Christian Book Stores anyway. It is difficult to promote there. Many Mom and Pop Christian Book Stores still have a problem with it. It is the same thing we have dealt with since the beginning in the 80’s. But honestly, I am happy we are not included in GMA. I have always felt our strongest ministry is OUTSIDE of the Christian Industry. That is why we have fought so hard all of these years to work with secular record companies to take the music where it really needs to go!”

The same “ethic of niceness”, its smiles, hi-fives and its polished bumper sticker version of Christianity, that I rejected in Churches as a teen, who showed no care or interest in me because my baggage didn’t fit the profitable profile, seems dismally alive and well. The kind of Churches where putting on a good show, is more important than follow through or theological substance.

As for diversity, there was a lot it, both ethnically and musically. However, I walked away with the impression that G.M.A could have done better.

As if to make my point, Dove award winner and long-time member, Kirk Franklin, was angered when the televised version ‘cut out his outspoken remarks on Atatiana Jefferson, the 28-year-old who was shot and killed in her home by a Fort Worth police officer.’

Franklin is now said to be boycotting the event over the decision. For which, GMA President and Executive Director Jackie Patillo, ‘apologized’, even though she made it clear that the edit wasn’t racially motivated. The decision was ‘due to an attempt to fit everything into a 2 hour broadcast window.’

The 50th anniversary of the Dove Awards was a diverse city, just not musically diverse enough. I like the Dove’s, I always have. The sad fact is that this year’s anniversary in no way showcased the wide range of musical talent the Church has had to offer over the year or since the creation of the G.M.A. With the absence of artists to fill key categories, it’s fair to say that this year’s awards didn’t reach the full potential of its own mission statement.

The 50th Dove Awards can be streamed for free from the Trinity Broadcasting Network app, upon signing up for a free account.

(Special note, acknowledging the tragic loss of Toby Mac’s son, Truett, and Mary Stampley, daughter of Gospel singer, Micah, and Heidi Stampley. Caldron Pool staff extend heartfelt sorrow to them, and stand in solidarity and prayer with them during their time of grieving).

 “For a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.” – Psalm 51:17, ESV


References:

[i] Spurgeon, C.H. 1883. ‘Flowers from a Puritan’s Garden: The Trumpet & the Pipe.’

First published on Caldron Pool, 31st October, 2019

Photo by Dark Rider on Unsplash

©Rod Lampard, 2019

The Trudeau era and its burgeoning “progressive” totalitarianism got an extension this week as Canadians voted. Consequently, Canadian Liberals were reinstated, winning 157 seats, against the Conservatives who secured 121. Conservatives scored a narrow loss, winning the popular vote at 34.4%, but not securing enough seats to win a majority. [i]

In an opinion piece for Crisis Magazine, Canadian Professor Emeritus at St. Jerome’s University, Donald, DeMarco, presented a grim analysis of Canada’s Trudeaun landscape.

DeMarco expressed concern about apathy, and a general lack of awareness at the slow erosion of hard-won, tried and true, classical liberal freedoms, stating that ‘many Canadian voters seemed indifferent to the fact that their culture is clearly shifting in a totalitarian direction.’

DeMarco’s concern isn’t unwarranted, as he points out,

‘The Trudeau government required students applying for government-funded summer jobs to sign an attestation professing their support of abortion, same-sex marriage, and the LGBTQ coalition. He banned certain Christian summer camps serving underprivileged children from participating in the Canada Summer Jobs Program because of their religious beliefs. (This “is nothing short of anti-religious bigotry,” commented Justice Centre staff lawyer Marty Moore.) He has committed $7.1 billion over the next ten years to promote abortion at home and abroad. He will not allow Liberal MPs to vote their conscience on matters of abortion and LGBTQ matters, and he will not allow pro-life candidates to run as Liberals. He opposes conscience rights for health care workers.’

He’s not wrong. Lifesite news provided evidence on the 15th October, which proved that Trudeau was ‘personally involved’ in the creation of this echo of the Hitler oath requirement.

For DeMarco, these are part of a growing number of signs that totalitarianism is darkening the skies over Canada.

These signs include: ‘1) unanimity of thought, 2) suppression of criticism, 3) denial of conscience, 4) abdication of reason, 5) government coercion, 6) mass conditioning of thought and will, and 7) persecution of dissenters. All these signs are evident in Canadian society and they became crystal clear throughout the campaign.’ [ii]

These signs are across the Canadian political spectrum. According to DeMarco, even ‘the leaders of the New Democratic Party and the Green Party think the same way concerning abortion, same-sex marriage, LGBTQ issues, doctor-assisted suicide, and the decriminalizing of marijuana and prostitution.’

The issue of totalitarianism isn’t just an issue for Canadians. All Westerners are looking down at this hypodermic needle, strategically poised to pierce the beating heart of the West’s foundations, most of which are grounded in the Biblical Christian witness of the Gospel; the revelation of God in Jesus Christ. There is no doubt therefore that the West is faced with a chiasm between a house of freedom under which we live out the liberation of the Gospel, and a house of slavery, under which we are enslaved by the destructive worship of idols and antichrists.

Without people (especially Bible believing Christians) who are willing to rise above the threat of isolation, above the noise of anxiety, and speak truth in love despite fear and timidity, history will repeat itself.Those on the Left, who’ve intravenously injected the Leftist kool-aid of modern liberalism, know this. Christianity is attacked beyond the boundaries of fair criticism because Bible believing Christians are a threat to totalitarian rule. They bring the Gospel witness to the state, which says, with respect for the role of the state, that the state is also subject to the sovereignty of the God who has spoken, and made Himself known in time and space, through Covenant with Israel, and in Jesus Christ.

Trudeau’s requirement is on par with that of Hans Kerrl. Kerrl was NAZI Minister for Church Affairs who acting on the National Socialist  decrees, famously demanded that,

“The Church’s proclamation [preaching/teaching; Gospel & service] must fall into the correct relationship with National Socialism [or else].” [iii]

Another grim example is United States, Democrat Presidential candidate, Beto O’Rourke’s threat to remove tax-exemption from churches if they don’t pledge allegiance to LGBT ideology, specifically same-sex marriage.

Like O’Rourke’s cheap shot at Christian charities, most of whom carry their fair share of social responsibility, and then some, Trudeau seems drunk with power.

Governments should not be putting in place laws that will ultimately punish free citizens from refusing to align with Leftist, LGBT ideology, or punish people for apostatising from the LGBT religion.

It may seem like an odd prediction, but I’m almost convinced that the “no” of future generations to the widespread “yes, anything goes” Leftist moralism of our day, will be far harsher than the “no” we present to this new totalitarianism today.

Like the push back against the heinous, but much celebrated at the time, practice of lobotomization. One day the push back against this new totalitarianism will be a major rebuke to those, who, in the name of “progress” have sought to destroy the fabric of freedom and responsibility, found in healthy Western traditions. All by imposing new cultural laws on the body politic who a) had no idea about the dangers, but found themselves becoming its victims, and b) on those who critiqued it, but were silenced because they saw the danger and rigorously opposed it.

For the discerning citizen interested in seeing an end to the increasing war against Western civilisation by hostile Leftist forces, the election result in Canada wasn’t all that grim. To be sure, the election didn’t reflect a Trump or Scott Morrison win, but the election results show that Canada’s Conservative presence and voice is still strong.

All the indications suggest that this will only continue to build. The best those of us, who are seeking to protect the basic freedoms and responsibilities Westerners have inherited at great cost, can hope for, is that Canadians who share those same concerns, not wallow in defeat, but keep up the gains by using this new found momentum to obstruct destructive Trojan horse laws, and win in four years time.

In the meantime, Canada’s Trudeaun landscape will not be as it was. The election result significantly limits totalitarian Trudeau’s power, presenting the discerning citizen with a potential bulwark against the Left’s hatred for Biblical Christianity and Classical Liberalism, in their ever widening embrace of the abyss.


References:

[i] The Guardian, Canada Election 2019: Full Results sourced, 26th October 2019.

[ii] DeMarco, D. 2019 citing Michael O’Brien, 1993. The Family and the New Totalitarianism, Divine Providence Press.

[iii] Bethge, E. Bonhoeffer: A Biography. p.575

First published on Caldron Pool, 27th October 2019.

©Rod Lampard, 2019

The line between inciting hate or violence and informing others about that hate and violence is being blurred.

Facebook’s recent heavy-handed actions against Caldron Pool, and Caldron Pool contributor, Evelyn Rae, suggest that the social media platform is happy to unfairly conflate reporting or fair criticism of an event with endorsement of that event. Rae was given a 13 day ban, restricting posts from her Facebook page appearing in newsfeeds because she shared a screenshot of another person’s tweet for people to comment on. Caldron Pool experienced similar censorship after posting an article reporting on ‘Islamic terrorist group Boko Haram, who had executed two Christian aid workers.’ The post was removed. Then restored on appeal, but the restrictions we left in place.

There’s a difference between advocacy and commentary.

If we apply descriptive and prescriptive linguistics to how news worthy events or commentary are presented, we can see that companies like Facebook will inevitably hurt their customer base, because they continue to blur the descriptive and the prescriptive, rather than hold them in tension.

Descriptive is freelance, risky. Prescriptive tells everyone exactly what to do and when. The failure to determine who is saying what, and why, will mean that the prescriptive parameters of speech shut down all descriptive aspects of speech and vice versa. In short, this failure kills freedom of speech and with it constitutional democracy.

Rather than being a paradox of contrasting terms, the descriptive and prescriptive can be viewed as dialectical. There is a relationship between the two. Think of it as a dynamic, dialectic linguistic muscle which moves the limbs of thought and communication forward. This relational dialectic is exemplified by feedback.

Feedback consists of both positive and negative communication. Each serves a unique purpose in evaluating information and data. Without the positive and negative, feedback is pointless. Likewise, without the descriptive process there is no freedom to communicate. Without the prescriptive process, we have no idea how to communicate.

Without the working connectivity of this relational dialectic, conflicting viewpoints have no platform. Feedback has no real role to play other than what it is allowed to be channelled into cheap echo chambers. As a result, freedom of speech either ends up adrift in a sea of discordant noise, or it becomes stuck in the paralysing quagmire of political correctness and identity politics.

We end up with what Chantal Mouffe, in The Democratic Paradox (2005), called a ‘third way’, a ‘one dimensional world’ where the ‘blurring of the frontiers between Left and Right, jeopardise the future of democracy’. This is because of an aversion to freedom of thought and freedom of speech. An aversion played out through a fear of losing, a fear of conflict, fear of people being able to discriminate and choose between two competing ideas. This would include a fear of free speech because of insecurity, and the overbearing, unachievable quest for absolute equality.

Political opponents are no longer friendly adversaries, but are pitted against each other as bitter enemies.

Constitutional Democracy ends up like a ship that’s lost its ability to move – fodder for jagged rocks; the play toy of manipulative propagandists, the progenitors of totalitarianism, and their progeny: lies, confusion and powerlessness.

There is no push and pull; no dialectic muscle to empower Mouffe’s idea of classical liberal democracy, where friendly adversaries negotiate, disagree, are diplomatic, and apply temporary compromise under the banner of unity in diversity.

According to Mouffe, the future of ‘modern democracy lies in the recognition and legitimation of conflict, along with the refusal to suppress it by imposing an authoritarian order. It’s strength lies in its ability to replace antagonism (intense dislike and deep seated hostility) with agonism (positive struggle; constructive conflict).’

For Mouffe, ‘conflict need not involve the identification of an enemy whom one wants to destroy; conflict between adversaries who may disagree can exist, but ultimately they respect one another’s right to exist.’ Bitter political enemies are ‘no longer perceived as an enemy to be destroyed, but as an ‘adversary’, that is somebody whose ideas we combat but whose right to defend those ideas we do not put into question.’ [i]

The dialectic muscle that is push and pull, allows us to hear different perspectives, formulate an opinion for ourselves, and freely communicate that opinion in a way that others can understand it. This dialectic muscle is a vital muscle for the body politic. Communication as descriptive and prescriptive dialectic, are good for constitutional democracy. They are the ingredients necessary for freedom of speech to function properly.

Social media platforms must embrace this relational dialectic by seeing that there’s a difference between describing and prescribing; the difference between commenting on events or ideas, and using those events or ideas to ‘incite violence or risk imminent harm.

Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg broke with the norm this week. Standing up and speaking out in favour of freedom of speech, the CEO outlined how one of his biggest challenges at Facebook was finding an answer to policing freedom of expression, while ensuring such an action doesn’t hurt freedom of expression.

Describing how difficult this is, he said “some people think our policies don’t prohibit content they think qualifies as hate, while others think what we take down should be a protected form of expression. This area is one of the hardest to get right.”

He expressed concern about ‘polarization’, saying that Facebook ‘has an important role in designing their systems to show a diversity of ideas and not encourage polarizing content.’

Zuckerberg believes that Facebook has two responsibilities in this regard: First, ‘to remove content when it could cause real danger as effectively as we can, and second, to fight to uphold as wide a definition of freedom of expression as possible — and not allow the definition of what is considered dangerous to expand beyond what is absolutely necessary.’

He said that he believed “people should be able to use our services to discuss issues they feel strongly about — from religion and immigration to foreign policy and crime. You should even be able to be critical of groups without dehumanizing them.” He also admitted that Facebook makes “enforcement mistakes” because judging who is saying what and why, “isn’t always straight-forward.”

Pointing to precedents in the United States, the Facebook CEO said, he wants to uphold broad speech rights, stating: “I know many people disagree, but, in general, I don’t think it’s right for a private company to censor politicians or the news in a democracy.”

Zuckerberg rightly stated that “while he worries about an erosion of truth, and that he doesn’t think most people want to live in a world where you can only post things that tech companies judge to be 100% true.”

His quest is to leave a legacy that protects freedom of speech. In doing so he said part of the process is keeping Facebook free of fake accounts, malicious entities exploiting the platform with dubious money making scams, and removing deliberate misinformation that could lead to someone taking hazardous advice.

Part of his concern is the increasing restrictions on free speech in other countries. For example, China’s exporting of their vision of the internet, which suppresses dissent, monitors users speech and determines what kind of speech is allowed.

For me, outside his reliance on the term hate speech and polarization, Zuckerberg’s speech hit the right notes. He says a lot of the right things when it comes to putting in place protections for freedom of speech on the platform, but as with a lot of promising talk, actions speak louder than words.

I was both impressed and surprised by his stance on China, and encouraged by how he acknowledged the importance of preserving freedom of speech and its important role in a vibrant constitutional democracy.

Mennonite theologian, John Howard Yoder wrote, ‘democracy, with its judicial and constitutional processes can be essentially defined as communication.’ [ii]

The danger to constitutional democracy is the undermining of this ability to communicate freely. Free speech is let down through a failure to recognise the distinction between advocacy and commentary; the failure to acknowledge the relational push and pull dialectic of prescriptive and descriptive.

Failure to acknowledge the relational dialectic undermines free speech by emphasising prescriptive speech over the descriptive, or vice versa. This happens through the quest to control others by imposing new cultural laws on the body politic, such as anything not viewed as politically correct, being far too easily hated on, as hate speech.

We’re already see this when political groups, a lot like China’s vision for the internet, prescribe politically correct speech as the only legitimate speech. Nowhere is this more powerfully seen than in forced speech laws regarding Islam, transgenderism, or the LGBT religion in general.

The relational dialectic of push and pull has the power to preserve constitutional democracy, through agreement and disagreement. Just as tension in a muscle is necessary to ensure motion, so is the necessity to have a platform or open forum, where ideas can be aired, challenged and either adopted or reasonably rejected. All of which is built on mutual respect, not necessarily on an obligation to mutual agreement.

Zuckerberg’s concern about polarization places him in agreement with Mouffe’s argument. The preservation of constitutional democracy lies with an effort to utilise constitutional democracy’s capacity to replace antagonism (intense dislike and deep seated hostility) with agonism (positive struggle; constructive conflict).

Freedom of speech is the great relational dialectic muscle of constitutional democracy. Its push and pull gives constitutional democracy momentum. Only through its preservation, and the exercise of it, will we be able to move forward, while also preserving healthy tradition, freedom, rights and responsibilities.

 


References:

[i] Mouffe, C. 2005. The Democratic Paradox, Verso

[ii] Yoder, J.H. 1964, The Christian Witness to the State, Herald Press.

Full transcript of Mark Zuckerberg’s Speech

First published on Caldron Pool, 23rd October 2019 & also featured on The Spectator Australia, 24th October 2019.

Photo by Alex Haney on Unsplash

©Rod Lampard, 2019

Unless you’ve been completely living off grid for the past three years, you’ll know that the United Kingdom’s, 2016, Brexit referendum is yet to be officially ratified.

The 2016 referendum saw the people of the United Kingdom vote in favour of leaving the European Union by 1,269,501 people. The final result ended with 51.9% (17.5 million) of those in the U.K voting to leave the E.U, while 48.1% (16.1 million) voted to remain [i].

The results uncovered a division between North and South. The majority in England and Wales chose to leave, while Northern Ireland and Scotland, still heralding a decent leave vote, had a majority choose to remain.

In subsequent years this divide has devolved into two camps from both sides. The first, called, Remainers. The second, Leavers.

Remainers want either, no exit, a new referendum or a Brexit deal that waters down the U.K.’s exit from the E.U. On the flipside Leavers, want the referendum to be honoured, which means a clean, but respectful exit.

Given the referendum’s North vs. South outcome, and the Leave or Remain dichotomy, it’s easy enough to see why it’s taken three years for deliberations to even come close to ratifying the Brexit mandate handed to the U.K. Government.

There was a glimmer of Thatchian hope, when Theresa May took over from David Cameron, who had resigned as a direct result of the referendum outcome. However, political hurdles, comparisons to Neville Chamberlain’s “appeasement policy” and manoeuvring from Remainers, along with May’s own leadership faux pars ended up costing her the Prime Ministership.

Theresa May’s biggest mistake? ‘Not considering a no-deal Brexit a viable option.’ [ii] This is despite May all but penning the term “no-deal Brexit”, when ‘she repeatedly warned that “no deal is better than a bad deal.” [iii]

With May’s exit, hope of a resolution towards ratification now rests in the hands of Churchill fan, Boris Johnson; a man, suitable to the task at hand, but a man not without his own shortcomings. It’s now up to Johnson, and his team, to effectively lead the U.K. out of the E.U. by upholding the referendum result, and in doing so, preserving the integrity of constitutionally democratic mechanisms, such as referendums.

Of course, to do this, Johnson will still have to navigate the same waters as Theresa May. His biggest obstacles are obstructionists in his own party, the main stream media, and the Marxists under Labour’s Socialist leader, Jeremy Crobyn.

Navigating those waters isn’t going to be easy, but as Johnson has shown in the face of overwhelming defeat, if it can be done, he plans to do it.

His first task was making the most of the Queen’s speech. What the Queen’s speech gives Johnson is an opportunity to communicate his plan to the U.K. people without it being filtered through the lens of the MSM, and all with the weight of the Queen’s voice behind it.

Traditionally, the Queen opens the new parliament year with a speech written by government ministers. The formal 10 minute speech is delivered on the throne in the House of Lords. From there the speech is debated for up to five days where it is then voted upon.

Johnson hasn’t wasted the opportunity. With an emphasis on the word “forward” (mentioned 11 times) the Queen outlined the Johnson government’s plan to move the U.K. beyond the division and stalemate of the past three years.

The speech was clear, easy to understand and had a 7 point, U.K. first tone:

1. Leaving the European Union on 31 October, with an emphasis on seizing new opportunities delivered by a successful Brexit.

2. Measures to further support Healthcare.

3. Commitment to tackling violent crime, strengthening the criminal justice system and ensuring victims receive the support they need and the justice they deserve.

4. Measures we will progress to ensure fairness and protection for individuals and families.

5. Levelling up every corner of the United Kingdom through better education, infrastructure and science, renewing the ties that bind us together.

6. Deepens our commitment to the natural environment and animal welfare.

7. To Endeavour to drive forward work to deliver for every corner of the U.K. [iv]

These include two brilliant stand-out features, unpacked within the actual speech, which will appeal to both Remainers and Leavers.

The first, putting forward “an immigration bill, ending free movement, laying the foundation for a fair, modern and global immigration system.”

The second, “ensuring that resident European citizens, who have built their lives in, and contributed so much to, the United Kingdom, have the right to remain.” [v]

CNN are unsurprisingly pessimistic about Johnson’s ability to bring Brexit home, stating, ‘it’s hard to ignore the reality that this legislative agenda will probably never see the light of day in this Parliament. Rather, it seems a precursor to an inevitable general election.’

Their dismissive pessimism isn’t completely misplaced. As the BBC noted, although it is highly unusual for the Queen’s speech to be rejected, the Queen’s speech is not a complete guarantee that the government’s plan will be passed.

There’s no argument against this from me. Johnson is walking on thin ice. If he fails to win the Queen’s speech vote, he can call for an early election. If that fails, it is expected that he will be called on to resign.

The deadline for Brexit is the 31st October. To not ratify Brexit, and carry the debate beyond this date, is to hurt constitutional democracy in the U.K. Contempt for the 2016 referendum result, diminishes the importance of referendums, and in the process muzzles the voice of the people. If the healthy mechanisms of any constitutional democracy are to be protected from further erosion by enemies of freedom, rights and responsibilities, both within and without, Brexit must be ratified.

The Queen’s speech emphasises Johnson’s way forward. With it he may have hit the right note needed to inspire the 16.1 million who didn’t vote in favour of Brexit, and honour the voice of the 17.5 million who did.


References:

[i] The BBC, 2016. EU Referendum results. Sourced 15th October, 2019.

[ii] Jim Pickard, Theresa May’s Five Big Mistakes: how they stacked up, Financial Times 25th May, 2019. Sourced 15th October, 2019

[iii] The Guardian, YouTube: Brexit: ‘No deal is better than a bad deal’ says Theresa May Sourced 15th October, 2019

[iv] Gov.UK, Policy Paper: Queen’s Speech: What it means for you, 14th October, 2019. Sourced, 15th October, 2019.

[v] Michael Smith News, Queens Speech Transcript, 15th October

 

First published on Caldron Pool, 16th October 2019

Light. Shine. Bright.

#Jesusisvictor ✊🏻

I largely agree with Ben Shapiro’s consistent criticism of Donald Trump’s ‘fly-by-the-seat-of-his-pants’ approach to foreign policy. Trump appears to ride roughshod, giving the impression of impulsiveness, or worse that he hasn’t considered the law of unintended consequences. However, a lot of recent criticism coming from both sides of politics, concerning the Trump administration’s decision to “withdraw” U.S Troops from Syria, ignore the plight of refugees, and push aside the fact that Turkey is still an official ally of the United States. As signatories of NATO they are strategic partners.

The recent advance of the Turks into northern Syria wasn’t a spur of the moment decision. The Turkish plan, as outlined by Carlotta Gall from the New York Times in September, is twofold. First, to create a buffer zone between Turkey and the Kurds, second, to repatriate over one million Syrian Refugees, currently in Turkey. The goal being to relocate some of the 3.6 million refugees Turkey has given refuge to, by moving them back into ‘Syrian territory controlled by the United States and its Kurdish allies.’

While it would be fair to ask whether Turkish regime leader, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was using refugees as an excuse to attack and suppress the Kurds, the question ignores the current needs of Syrian refugees, and it pushes aside the question about who is going to take responsibility for over 10,000 ISIS prisoners.

In addition, Gall reported that not everyone involved in Syria is on board with the plan. This didn’t stop Erdogan, who appeared to give an ultimatum in response. Either give Turkey access to the area, or ‘he would “open the gates” for large numbers of refugees to head into Europe as they did in 2015.’

Though Trump’s approach to foreign policy appears impulsive, the U.S. “withdrawal from Northern Syria” isn’t an absolute fiat accompli. Trump’s decision is better described as a strategic repositioning, rather than a withdrawal of U.S Forces. As James Laporta of Newsweek clarified, ‘current rules of engagement for U.S. forces continue to be centered around self-defense and that no order has been issued by the Pentagon for a complete withdraw from Syria.’

Claims about a withdrawal come from the decision to reposition 50-100 special operations forces. This was done, according to Military Times, ahead of the Turkish operation in order to ‘protect U.S. troops and keep them out of the crossfire.’

It’s also worth acknowledging that this strategic repositioning didn’t come without a warning to Turkey’s leaders.  Trump has made it clear that he does not support the initiative and urged Turkish authorities to avoid triggering another humanitarian crisis in the region. To back this up the United States ceased sharing of tactical reconnaissance information with Turkey, to prevent them using their strategic partnership with the United States to pad advantage in any military operation, to make way for the relocation and resettlement of Syrian refugees back into Syria.

Trump’s warning also takes into consideration an obligation for Turkey not to renege on an agreement to take responsibility for the 11,000 ISIS fighters being held across the region. The onus of responsibility for preventing any reemergence of ISIS in the area is now solely on Turkey.

The strategic partnership between Europe, Turkey and the United States, means that NATO has political clout from which they can use to hold Turkey accountable, if the regime decides to decimate the Kurdish people or further attempt to wipe the Assyrian Christians. It would seem, by Trump’s remarks on his personal Twitter account, (ignoring the ridiculous ‘great and unmatched wisdom’ part), that he is banking on that connection to keep the Kurds and Assyrian Christians in the area safe.

What may seem to be a foolish move by the United States may, in time, prove to be a smart one. This isn’t about American isolationism. The long standing mutual obligation America has to its Turkish allies through NATO, alongside the question about what to do with ISIS prisoners, and Syrian refugees, all provide legitimate reasons for the United States to redefine its relationship with the Middle East, and with Turkey in particular.

Add to this reasoning the peripheral activity of far-left foreign fighters training with the Kurds, such as the self-described Antifa platoon, mixed in with the domestic headache, and potential domestic threat this poses to the internal stability of the United States, the rationale for Trump’s decision becomes clearer. Given the actions of Antifa, a far-left organization, over the past three years, surely insurgent combat training and combat experience is a recipe for disaster.

To sum up, America and Turkey are allies. Turkey is part of NATO. The United States is bound by that partnership, and has a responsibility to hold to it.

This also means that America is not left alone in holding Turkey accountable – it would be a United Nations effort, lead by all of NATO’s partners. As witnessed by NATO chief, Jens Stoltenber’s recent call for restraint.

Regardless of how we may feel as spectators, we aren’t privy to the kinds of sensitive information American Presidents have access to. The role back of a U.S military presence in Syria is a surgical response to a complex situation.  On one hand there is the possibility of the withdrawal having the same vacuous affect that Barrack Obama’s abysmal decision to withdraw completely from Iraq did, ripping apart a healing wound, only to see that wound fester into what would become the infectious abomination that is Islamic State (ISIS). If this eventuates, the decision could prove to be an avoidable disaster, not only for the Trump administration, but for NATO.

On the other hand, Trump’s decision could deescalate tensions, shining a spotlight on Turkey, making it hard for them avoid finding a diplomatic way to reach a settlement or agreement with their own partners in the region, that will include protections for the Kurds and Assyrian Christians. If this eventuates, the decision was humanitarian.

Either way, it’s likely to be the case that Trump is damned if he does and damned if he doesn’t. Donald Trump’s head, since Hilary Clinton lost the 2016 election, has been marked for the guillotine by the far-left. Any preventable loss of American life would have been on his hands, as would the escalation of U.S involvement through any military action to stop Turkey.

The same goes for Trump taking the more peaceable road. It’s a decision that could open the door for the potential slaughter of Kurds and further elimination of Assyrian Christians by the Turkish regime.

Despite this, the repositioning of U.S troops was a hard, but an important call.

There’s a difference between being dominate and domineering. To be dominant is to have influence and power. To be domineering is to force that influence and power over others in an arrogant way. America is a dominate force, Trumps knows this. His decision also suggests that he’s keen to see America not follow mistakes of the past by abusing that power and influence. This arrogance of power, as noted by Democrat senator, William J. Fullbright in 1966, has been the domineering historical flaw in American foreign policy.

The rejection of this arrogance of power sends a message to the world. One which says that the Trump administration are not what their enemies claim, and one that asserts Donald Trump’s ability to make unpopular decisions, if he has good reasons for doing so.

The U.S is caught between themselves and two Allies. On one side they have to hold to their mutual obligations under the NATO treaty. On the other side, they have an obligation to honour the effort of the Kurds in helping defeat ISIS. The United States also has an obligation to its own people. A large part of this is seeing to it that they don’t commit the mistakes of the past. This is a case of damned if they do, damned if they don’t. The best move in this scenario is a reluctant, cautious repositioning, because idleness is the devil’s playground.


First published on Caldron Pool, 11th October, 2019.

Photo by Stephen Radford on Unsplash

©Rod Lampard, 2019

In the book which effectively severed his connection from the French Communists, agnostic French existentialist philosopher, Albert Camus wrote,

‘If everyone believes in nothing, if nothing makes sense, if we can assert no value whatsoever, everything is permissible and nothing is important.’ (The Rebel, 1951)

Camus, a golden-child of the French Communists, famously ‘went against the grain among members of the French left-wing intelligentsia.’ [i] As result ‘Camus was virtually excommunicated from the French intellectual life by Jean Sartre and his comrades’ [ii]

Camus fired a flare out from within the inner sanctum of Leftist elitism. He had fought against fascism in WW2, and saw the terror unleashed in the name of anti-fascism. In this he witnessed an equally oppressive movement, which road on the coattails of false promises, and carefully targeted outrage. His decision to break free exposed the false promises of a utopia built on totalitarianism, and the unquestionable ‘epistemological privilege of the oppressed’ [iii], all enforced by appeasement, and maintained by the buzzwords emancipation and justice.

In the light of Camus’ experience and wisdom, and the past three years, it is no exaggeration to say that the upcoming 2020 election in the United States will be even more important than 2016.

The re-election of the Trump administration will be a decisive and final cut, one that separates a free people from the burdensome shackles of globalism, the smiles, lies and hi-fives of its career politicians, and its bureaucratic caste.

This is why they are in a tail spin, they know that a Trump 2020 win, will be a rebuke of their decades long hold on power. They know that such a win, will give power back to the masses who inherited the responsibility of nurturing the hard-won freedoms handed down them.

They know that a Trump 2020 win will be a loud, unified “no” to fear, manipulation, false promises and the dysfunctional fabric of socialism; a revolt against the burgeoning bureaucratic aristocracy, and it’s globalist imperial feudalism.

They know such a win will be a “yes” to freedom, not a denial of it.

The caveat to this of course is that Trump is no different to any of us when it comes to sin and the need for salvation. Donald Trump is not Jesus Christ or the herald of a golden age. He is the bulwark and resounding “no” of a people who want a return to a government for the people, of the people, by the people. In this Trump at least acknowledges the importance of his office and its role as a servant leader of one nation, under God.

As with the rest of us, Trump still has potential. He is still very much a diamond in the rough. For sure, he has irritating idiosyncrasies. We all do. He may talk about himself far too much, but he at least has the balls to boldly act against the madness of political correctness, the Leftist equivalent of shari’a law; showing that his administration uniquely understands the danger of the political quagmire, the crushing weight of bloated bureaucracy through its forced speech, imprisonment for non-compliance to its irrational ideological standard, and its contempt for Biblical Christianity.

The fact that Trump hasn’t quit under the normal pressure of leadership, or abandoned his post, at every crack of the whip sent his way, by his political enemies, shows character. By not giving up, or irresponsibly giving in, he has expressed value and appreciation for the office he holds and the free, discerning citizens he represents.

Think what you will. Disagree if you must. Trump has proven that he has the chops to fight an unwanted “culture war” thrust upon the West. Nothing changes this fact. He and his team have stood firm, in the face of a contempt and hatred that can only be described as demonic. This is manifest in the manufactured lies, and the hate-Trump-love-trumps-hate dissonance and fear, imposed on the world since 2016.

Our would-be Leftist overlords in the West know that a Trump 2020 win, will be a vote for the restoration of ideas that his office, and his nation were founded upon. In this vote for the restoration of freedom, and the rights and responsibilities attached to it, such a win is not only a win for those in the United States, it’s a win for every man and woman, who cherishes the very concept of liberty, under God, and who, with grateful solemnity, remembers the ultimate price many have paid for it.

Like Camus, Trump was once a darling of the Left. Like Camus, Trump has been rejected by it under the charge of treason against the long ruling Leftist ideological paradigm.

Like Camus’ publication of The Rebel, the 2016 election was an historic time of choosing.

The 2020 election in the United States will be no different.

Ronald Reagan’s words in 1964 hold true:

 “The martyrs of history were not fools, and our honoured dead who gave their lives to stop the advance of the Nazis didn’t die in vain… The greater risk lies in appeasement; surrender. We’ll [either] preserve for our children this, the last best hope of man on earth, or we’ll sentence them to take the last step into a thousand years of darkness.’ [iv]

A Trump 2020 victory will be a resounding “yes” to freedom from those dragged into fighting the unwanted “culture war” thrust upon the West.


References:

[i] Todd, O. 2013, Afterward in Camus, A. The Rebel (Penguin Modern Classics) Penguin Books Ltd. Kindle Ed

[ii] Elshtain, J.B. 1995 Democracy On Trial Basic Books

[iii] Newbigin, L. 1989. The Gospel in a Pluralist Society, SPCK Classics (p.150)

[iv] Reagan, R. 1964 ‘A time for Choosing’, PDF transcript

First published on Caldron Pool, 8th October 2019.

©Rod Lampard, 2019

On December 1st, 2018 the state owned Church of Sweden, which claims to have 6.1 million members, boldly proclaimed on Twitter that Greta Thunberg was the appointed successor of Jesus Christ.

The Church of Sweden isn’t alone.

American Comedian, leading anti-Trump figure and Leftist Twitterarti celebrity, Sarah Silverman revived the idea of Greta being a second revelation of God, proclaiming as recently as September this year,

Proclamations like these are dangerous because the world has been down this road once before.

Karl Barth was a reformed Swiss theologian, and opponent of Nazism. In 1934, he helped pen the Barmen Declaration. The declaration was a protest against aggressive policies of the state forcing people into allegiance with its ideology; and a stand against compromising Church authorities, who were keen to maintain a place at the table of power, merging theology with ideology.

The Barmen Declaration was part of a larger revolt among German Confessing Church Pastors, who refused to take an oath of allegiance to the state, unless newly added direct references to Adolf Hitler were removed.

The oath of allegiance had been changed to include “unconditional obedience to the Fuhrer, Adolf Hitler, Supreme commander of the Wehrmacht”, earning the updated oath of allegiance the term, ‘The Fuehrer Oath’ (or Hitler Oath).

As a consequence, Barth was removed from his teaching position at the University of Bonn and forced out of Germany.

Barth’s no to Nazism coincided with his famous “nein” to natural theology. For Barth, the starting point of faith is the revelation of God in Jesus Christ. Natural theology, which seeks God’s revelation in nature, is a road fraught with peril. This is no more powerfully evidenced than in the spiritual, emotional and psychological vice-grip the Nazis were able to slowly close around the German people, with their consent.

Hitler stood on the podium of natural theology, and was falsely raised up as the second revelation of God.

Leni Riefenstahl’s well known Nazi propaganda film ‘Triumph of the Will’ portrayed him as omnipotent; powerful, transcendent. The film concluding with Hitler declaring the Nazi party to be “unchangeable in its doctrine, hard as steel in its organization, supple and adaptable in its tactics, and in its entity, like that of a religious order…”

Responding in 2018 to the Swedish Church’s proclamation, Danny Bloom of The Times of Israel, said it best: “Jesus Christ is now a 15 year old autistic “climate activist” who speeches are written by her parents and other adults for her?’ Bloom called the proclamation of the Church of Sweden, and the media’s obsession with Greta, ‘child exploitation.’ He then asked, ‘is Greta to be called an “oracle” or a “savior” all of her teenage years, then what? What happens to her in her 20s and 30s?”

Bloom’s point is valid. What are the long term consequences of telling a 16 year old girl, who suffers from mental health issues, that she is a victim of injustices on par with the Versailles Treaty? What are the long term consequences of telling her that she is the answer to those perceived injustices; that she is, like Hitler was before her, the second revelation of God?

As presented to the world last week, the apocalyptic climate change narrative is the mein kampf of activists. Greta’s grief, anxiety, frustration and anger, is induced by an hypothesis turned dogma. All of which is justified, not by science, but by an interpretation of the scientific data.

Bill Muehlenberg’s criticism of Leftist activists exploiting Greta is the same for any church denomination who chooses to surrender Christ to climate change histrionics. Those who, under the dubious banner of natural theology choose to lead that child, and others, to believe that she is the Messiah.

It’s imperative that we say “no” to this surrender. Instead of raising Greta to god-like status, we remind her and the world of the cost and necessity of the Theological Declaration of Barmen, with its “no” to Nazism, and natural theology, in our “no” to child exploitation, and hysterical apocalyptic climate change histrionics:

8.11 Jesus Christ, as he is attested for us in Holy Scripture, is the one Word of God which we have to hear and which we have to trust and obey in life and in death.

8.12 We reject the false doctrine, as though the church could and would have to acknowledge as a source of its proclamation, apart from and besides this one Word of God, still other events and powers, figures and truths, as God’s revelation.

Karl Barth wrote that ‘Christianity is the protest against all the high places which human beings build for themselves’ [i]

Lutheran theologian, Gene Veith brilliantly expands on this stating,

‘Nazism was a calculated crusade to deny the transcendence of God and usurp Christianity’.
Without theology being free and independent of ideology there is nothing to challenge ‘the ideas that led to Auschwitz with special scrutiny. This is especially true when those ideas, often adopted uncritically, are still in vogue today.’ [ii]

Karl Barth’s punishment for not following the party line and refusing to pledge ‘unconditional obedience’ to the state and its Fuhrer, is an eerie precedent, and it’s being repeated in society today.

The Barmen Declaration is still relevant. It’s a source of encouragement for anyone who wants to take a stand against the exploitation of Greta and children like her. It’s a light for theologians and pastors who are still determined to push against the tide of compromise.

Not compromise in a diplomatic sense, where an exchange of understandings is metered out in order to establish mutual respect, but in the perilous decision to abandon discernment and theological critique as unscientific, intolerant, anachronistic and therefore ultimately irrelevant.

In our own “no” to hysteria, and the resurgence of tyranny via natural theology, may we find the strength to graciously echo the stand taken at Barmen, and the “no” of those same Confessing Church pastors, some of whom paid for that “no” with their lives.


References (not otherwise linked):

[i] Barth, C.D IV/II p.524

[ii]  Veith Jnr, G.E. 1993 modern fascism: the threat to the Judeo-Christian worldview Kindle for P.C. Ed.

Brave German Pastors Defy Nazi Control: https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/10953135?fbclid=IwAR3J3hIcZGpBkfl2r5hdx9nAkL-xUdH3FT7Rg99h5dKRvB7Isdyl3RwJ50A

First published on Caldron Pool, 1st October 2019.

©Rod Lampard, 2019

March for The Babies is marking the 10th anniversary of their continuing stand against the Victorian Abortion Law Reform Act 2008.

Victoria’s abortion law passed 11 years ago. It defines abortion as ‘intentionally causing the termination of a woman’s pregnancy by – using an instrument; drug, combination of drugs or any other means.’

The law allows for this violent interruption of a pregnancy up to 24 weeks without question. It also allows for abortions past 24 weeks, if a Doctor ‘reasonably believes that the abortion is appropriate and has consulted at least one other medical practitioner who agrees’ with the assessment.

Much like the contentious NSW Abortion bill which was recently passed with few amendments to protect the life of the unborn, the ambiguous rubric for assessment post 24 weeks, includes taking into consideration ‘all relevant medical circumstances’ along with the mother’s ‘current and future physical, psychological and social circumstances.’

March for the Babies aims to advance awareness through remembrance and peaceful witness. They assert the civil rights of the unborn, while also providing assistance to women in crisis pregnancies. The pro-life group also supports the right for medical practitioners to withdraw from assisting or carrying out an abortion if it goes against their conscience.

Although Victorian abortion law makes room for conscientious objection, the law maintains that a medical “health” practitioner has a duty to perform or assist an abortion if the situation is determined to ‘be necessary in order to preserve the life of the pregnant woman.’

Similar to the New South Wales version of abortion law, the Victorian abortion law also has no amendments to prevent the trade in body parts from an aborted child.

March for the Babies gathers every October in order to create awareness about this unethical law and hold it to account.

This year’s march for the abolition of abortion will be held on Saturday, 12th October, at 1pm, beginning at Treasury Gardens, Spring Street East Melbourne. This year’s march will also mark 10 years of peaceful protests, featuring Daughters of the King Choir and a range of speakers.

The call for the abolition of abortion is the anti-slavery issue of our age.

As Victorian Liberal M.P. Bernie Finn said,

“11 years ago, the Victorian Parliament removed all legal protection for children before birth. Babies can be killed for any reason at any time right up until they would otherwise be born. Doctors and nurses are forced by law to participate or refer to a medico who will commit the abortion. Join us as we March for the Babies and reject these heinous laws!”

First published on Caldron Pool, 27th September, 2019.

 

Avi Yemini was banned from Twitter after a tweet addressed to climate change activist Greta Thunberg, was flagged as being in breach of Twitter’s EULA.

Yemini’s criticism wasn’t without merit. He was responding to Greta’s widely publicised, scripted speech, performed before the UN summit on Climate Change. Her performance appeared manufactured, and forced.

Emotionally distraught, Greta appeared to be intimidated and scared. She repeated the words ‘’How dare you” as part of her claim that the UN (aka the world) had “stolen her dreams and childhood with empty words”, and that “people are suffering, people are dying” and that “entire ecosystems are collapsing.”

Greta preached from the official socialist narrative on “climate justice.” The 16 year old passionately asserted that we’re “in the beginning of a mass extinction”; and that instead of inciting panic and forcing irrational change, all the UN does is “talk about money and fairy tales of eternal economic growth.”

Her shaky performance prompted Ryan Saavedra of The Daily Wire to point out that Greta comes from a family of talented performers. Citing The Washington Examiner, Saavedra explained that her parents are ‘stage-parents’. Her mother sang opera internationally, and her father and grandfather both gained fame through acting and directing.”

Matt Walsh chimed in saying that Greta Thunberg was a victim of child abuse:

‘If any grown up in Thunberg’s life really cared about her psychological and emotional well-being, they would sit her down and explain that climate change is not going to destroy human civilization. Yes, the climate is changing. Climates tend to do that. But whatever role humans play in that process, and to whatever degree, it is not going to result in the end of all life as we know it. Talk of a 10-year, or 12-year, or 20-year, timeline before planetary catastrophe is all an invention of politicians and media personalities. Scientists don’t speak this way.’

Walsh wasn’t the only person to show serious concern for the teenage activist. Social media feedback, both for and against, has #Greta mentioned in over 1.21 million tweets since her speech.

Avi Yemini was among them. It seems that someone behind the scenes took a dislike to his criticism and decided hit the big, red, shiny, hammer and sickle button. His alleged crime against the people’s republic of Twitter was “manipulation and spam.”

Given the large amount of voices on social media speaking out in concern for Greta’s role and how she is being treated by her handlers, Twitter’s beef, is apparently not so much with what was said, but who, and how they said it.

Yemini wrote:

“I hate the UN more than you could imagine, but they didn’t steal your dreams or childhood – your parents did. They should be jailed for the sickening child abuse they put you through. They’ve scared you into an extremist.”

TR news posted Avi’s Youtube response to the Twitter ban, where he accused the social media platform of concocting “an excuse to silence him.” Though the ban is now under review, Avi asked for support saying, “use hashtag #FreeAvi because whether you agree with me or not, this is a freedom of speech issue”, and if “they can come for me” on a bogus charge, “they will come for you.”

Earlier this year, Yemini was also permanently banned from Facebook, after Jim Jefferies had tried to set him up, using the dishonest journalistic practice of re-engineering interviews, through cut and paste sound bites to perpetuate a particular narrative. Yemini alleges it was an attempt to ‘brand him as far-right and somehow link him to the atrocities committed during the Christchurch shooting.’

Facebook banned Yemini for “hate speech” because he posted hidden video footage of Jim Jefferies, ‘mocking Mohammad and drawing him as a ‘wobbly ghost’.’

The Facebook ban coincided with Yemini being blocked from entering the United States back in April. His entry was stopped after Comedy Central reported him to American authorities, due to concerns they had about him walking into Comedy Central and ‘confronting producers’ An interview resurfaced around the time of the Christchurch shootings featuring Yemini, who had said that he only agreed to do the original interview with the ‘proviso they didn’t put him in the same story as neo-Nazis.’

Yemini told 10 Daily that his concern was due to Comedy Central not sticking to that arrangement, and instead, ‘editing and context were manipulated. Ergo he was planning to walk into Comedy Central and confront producers, [because they] weren’t responding online.’

Avi Yemini wasn’t wrong in showing concern for Greta. Nor was he wrong in his criticism of her handlers.

It’s important to note that Greta isn’t on trial, neither is science. What is on trial is the misuse and manipulation of science for political and financial gain, via a bandwagon fallacy. Apocalyptic climate change does violence to the scientific method, because it silences questions. It is a narrative built on fear and groupthink.

Greta’s speech shows us that kids are under immense psychological and emotional pressure to process what they’re being sold. All of which is generated by apocalyptic climate change extremists. That is why I disagreed with Tim Costello when he supported the climate strike calling it a Christian duty. Kids are being over-burdened with fears of the world ending. All based on an hypothesis, turned-vicious-dogma. Apocalyptic climate change is politics veiled as science. It’s immoral and unchristian to stand by and applaud such manipulation. It is child abuse.

Greta’s speech today proved that her handlers are the ones betraying her. Not Avi Yemini. Not the majority who join him in questioning the narrative of fear, used to push apocalyptic climate change, and the marketing package it’s encased in.

#bewaretheauctioneers

UPDATE: Twitter reinstated Avi’s account on the 26th September, after the review.


First published on Caldron Pool, 24th September, 2019

Photo by Kelli McClintock on Unsplash 

©Rod Lampard, 2019

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