Two evangelical families in central Mexico have been threatened with being cut off from essential services or expelled from the community if they continue to refuse to deny their faith and pay a fine illegally levied against them, according to a report.
The families of Nemesio Cruz Hernández and Eligio Santiago Hernández, who are from the First Baptist Church in the La Mesa Limantitla area in Hidalgo state’s Huejutla de los Reyes Municipality, were threatened during a community meeting on Monday, the U.K.-based group Christian Solidarity Worldwide reported.
At the meeting, the evangelical families were forbidden to even speak as they were threatened.
On Aug. 3, community leaders, identified as Jose Marcos Martínez and Julio Alvarado Hernández, had made similar threats and instructed them to stop holding worship services in the home of Bartolo Martínez Hernández, who was also fined for allowing services in his house.
In January 2019, many evangelical families were forced to sign an agreement renouncing their faith. While eight families signed it, the families of Cruz Hernández and Santiago Hernández refused to do so.
The community leaders then blocked the two families’ access to water, sewer services, government benefit programs and the community mill for over a year until they were forced to sign an extra-legal agreement on Jan. 15, 2020, in which they renounced their right to hold religious services.
The agreement said each family would be ordered to pay an illegal fine of $3,000 ($57,700 Mexican pesos). State authorities paid part of the fine, but the families have continued to be threatened with forced displacement in several follow-up meetings throughout 2020 and this year, CSW said, adding that the amount of the fine is based on the costs incurred by community leaders in their efforts to halt any investigation into crimes or human rights violations associated with the case.
In Mexico, such extra-legal agreements are often used in lieu of appropriate justice mechanisms when the rights of religious minorities are violated.
The state officials must intervene “as a matter of urgency,” CSW’s Head of Advocacy, Anna-Lee Stangl, said. “If the state government refuses to protect the rights of religious minorities, the federal government must intervene.” Stangl added: “The government, at both state and federal levels, must address the culture of impunity which has allowed violations like these to go unchecked for far too long, ensuring that families like those of Mr. Cruz Hernández and Mr. Santiago Hernández are free to practice any religion or belief of their choosing without being forced to pay illegal fines or facing pressure to renounce their beliefs under threat of criminal actions including the cutting of basic services and forced displacement.”
This is not a one-off incident of Christian persecution in Mexico, which has risen due to drug cartel violence, persecution by traditionalist Catholics and violent discrimination by anti-Christian left-wing groups, Open Doors USA previously reported.
“Last year, Mexico was [No. 52 on Open Doors USA’s World Watch List]. It’s jumped up a bunch,” Open Doors USA President and CEO David Curry told The Christian Post in an earlier interview. “That would most certainly be around the issues of violence and drug cartels.”
Traditionalist Catholics often persecute Mexican Christians, too, he said. In this way, they resemble many small, rural groups of people practicing ancient folk religions around the world. Open Doors calls this kind of persecution “clan violence.”
“These rural indigenous groups see Christian churches as an outside force. They can harass and bother churches and believers who might be in the community,” Curry said. “It’s within these four states in Mexico: Chiapas, Hidalgo, Guerero, Oaxaca. It’s very localized.”
“Throughout the years of brutal suppression, the Christians in Henan often asked the Lord to give them an attitude that would enable them to embrace suffering as a gift from God. With that outlook, they were willing to go the extra mile, and there was little that evil human beings or the world could do to destroy them.”
Henan – Inside the Greatest Christian Revival in History – Paul Hattaway – describing the Chinese Church during the 1960s and 70s
There is much the Christian Church can learn from the suffering Chinese Church. They have endured much and not only survived but multiplied. So much so, that the Communist Chinese consider them a great threat to their goals and aspirations. But the truth is that righteous people are a blessing to any nation and the truths of Christianity should be encouraged, not hindered.
We need to be listening and learning and praying for our Chinese brothers and sisters.
Why don’t you say a prayer for them right now. Thanks and God bless you.
China’s communist regime has ordered citizens in the country’s northeastern region to spy on Christians and report any “illegal religious activities,” including preaching and religious house gatherings. Informants will be rewarded with $150 for each tip, according to a report.
The administration of the Meilisi Daur District in Heilongjiang Province’s Qiqihar city released a document titled, “The Reward System For Reporting Illegal Religious Activities Offences,” saying informants would be paid up to 1,000 yuan ($150), China Christian Daily reported.
Officials, it says, are looking for any information — through a phone call, email or letter — on unqualified religious personnel, unauthorized trans-regional activities, preaching and distribution of printed religious literature, audio-visual products outside places of worship, unauthorized donations or private house gatherings.
The objective, it adds, is to “strengthen the control of illegal religious activities in the district, prevent any COVID-19 cluster resulting from religious gatherings, mobilize the public to engage in preventing, suppressing illegal religious activities, and ensure a harmonious and stable religious landscape.”
The document was released this month by the Meilisi Daur District United Front Work Department of Qiqihar.
Similar reward systems were later introduced in Zibo city’s Boshan District and Weihai City’s Shandong area.
Previously, such rewards have been offered in Fujian, Guangxi, Henan, Hebei and Liaoning.
“While they do not specify which religion they are targeting, it is self-evident that house churches are being suppressed,” the U.S.-based persecution watchdog International Christian Concern commented.
Open Doors USA, which monitors persecution in over 60 countries, estimates that there are about 97 million Christians in China, a large percentage of whom worship in what China considers to be “illegal” and unregistered underground house churches.
According to recently-released reports, religious persecution in China intensified in 2020, with thousands of Christians affected by church closures and other human rights abuses.
Under the direction of President Xi Jinping, officials from the Chinese Communist Party, or CCP, have been enforcing strict controls on religion, according to a report released in March by the U.S.-based group China Aid.
Authorities in China are also cracking down on Christianity by removing Bible apps and Christian WeChat public accounts as new highly restrictive administrative measures on religious staff went into effect this year.
China is ranked on Open Doors USA’s World Watch List as one of the worst countries in the world when it comes to the persecution of Christians.
The U.S. State Department has also labeled China as a “country of particular concern” for “continuing to engage in particularly severe violations of religious freedom.”
Last eve I paused beside the blacksmith's door
And heard the anvil ring the vesper chimes;
Then looking in, I saw upon the floor
Old hammers worn out with beating years of time.
"How many anvils have you had," said I,
"To wear and batter all these hammers so?"
"Just one," said he and then with twinkling eye,
"The anvil wears the hammers out, you know?"
And so I thought, the anvil of God's Word
For ages skeptics' blows have beat upon.
Yet, though the sound of falling blows was heard,
The anvil is unharmed, the hammers are gone.
“ALL FLESH IS LIKE GRASS, AND ALL ITS GLORY LIKE THE FLOWER OF GRASS. THE GRASS WITHERS, AND THE FLOWER FALLS OFF, BUT THE WORD OF THE LORD ENDURES FOREVER.” Peter – I Peter 1:24-25
On January 4th 2021 the US Central Intelligence Agency declassified thousands of documents on unidentified flying objects (UFOs) and posted them online. These mostly contain documents “reporting UFO sightings in the foreign press and memos about how the Agency handled public inquiries about UFO sightings.”
This provides compelling evidence of how the US government has been taking the sightings of UFOs seriously for the past 70 years, despite publicly denying their existence.
The Bible does not have any specific information on the subject of life in outer space. In Isaiah 45.18 we read: ‘For thus says the Lord, Who created the heavens, Who is God, Who formed the earth and made it, Who has established it, Who did not create it in vain, Who formed it to be inhabited: “I am the Lord, and there is no other.’ This verse teaches that the Lord is our Creator. It implies that the earth is unique in the universe in being ‘inhabited,’ suggesting that there are no other inhabited planets and therefore no aliens trying to visit us.
On the other hand the Bible does point to the existence of angels and demons who are able on occasions to interact with humans. This raises the possibility of another question, which is actually being asked by physicists today. Is the observable universe all there is? Is our universe one of many within a ‘multiverse’, in other words other realms which exist in a different dimension which we cannot see?
In a way the Bible agrees with this idea. Not a ‘multiverse’ but at least three different realms which are capable of interacting with our world. And the ‘visitors’ are not aliens from another planet.
In the New Testament Paul writes of a man in Christ who ‘was caught up to the third heaven…he was caught up into Paradise and heard inexpressible words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.’ 2 Corinthians 12.2-5. In the Book of Revelation John writes of his experience of being taken out of the realm where he was (in captivity on the island of Patmos), into a heavenly realm…”
All these experiences speak of another realm which could be described as a parallel universe. It is interesting that Paul speaks of the ‘third heaven.’ If the first heaven is the physical universe and the third heaven is the realm where God dwells, what is in the ‘second heaven?’
These passages show that the Biblical view is that we do live in a kind of ‘multiverse’. There is the physical universe in which the earth is situated, the eternal realm where God exists and the ‘heavenly places’ where the devil and the demons exist. The Bible also teaches that it is possible for there to be interaction between all of these realms. The presence of God appears at times on the earth. The Lord walks and talks with Adam in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3….He comes as the Angel of the Lord to appear visibly to Israelites in various occasions and to act on their behalf (Exodus 3.2, Numbers 22.22-35, Judges 2.1-4, 6.11-22, 13.3-21.
The Bible narrative also gives reason to believe that as well as interventions on earth from God we also have interventions from the other side, from Satan and the demonic realm….Throughout the rest of the Bible we have interventions into human affairs from Satan and the demons…
Michael Penfold gave a talk on this subject in which he said that the UFO phenomenon is all about spiritual deception. It ties in with other influences like yoga, TM, hypnosis, Zen Buddhism, drug taking in altering consciousness so that the normal function of the mind is bypassed by a spiritual entity aiming to deceive.
To back this claim up he cites the five main messages which have been communicated by supposed contact with aliens:
We are on the threshold of a New Age of enlightenment.
God is an impersonal force of which we are part. We are god and our divinity is within.
There is no death. We are endlessly re-incarnated.
Good and evil are only illusions and one side of the same coin.
Jesus is just a great teacher, one of many avatars who have come to earth. All roads lead to God.
This in itself should show us that these entities are not aliens crossing billions of miles of space. Why bother to make this hazardous journey in such vast numbers as is being claimed, just to give us the same message as you can find in New Age and the occult?
We do not serve a cruel God who demands too much. Paris Reidhead, a missionary in Africa for two decades, stated that his motive for going to Africa was that he felt that no one should go to hell without having heard the name of Jesus. After he got to Africa and had spent some time among the people, he found that they had a far more sophisticated concept of the Most High God than he would have suspected.
They had an amazing awareness of sin, freely confessed that they were monsters of iniquity, and continued to serve their tribal deities because they had convinced themselves that the Most High God had given up on them! It is a mistake to say that people don’t know better.
“For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse.”—Romans 1:20
“Creation stands or falls on the Genesis Flood,” stated a creation geologist years ago. The fact of the Flood covering all the earth is undeniable. As described in Genesis 7,
19 And the waters prevailed exceedingly upon the earth; and all the high hills, that were under the whole heaven, were covered. 20 Fifteen cubits upward did the waters prevail; and the mountains were covered. 21 And all flesh died that moved upon the earth, both of fowl, and of cattle, and of beast, and of every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth, and every man: 22 All in whose nostrils was the breath of life, of all that was in the dry land, died.
In addition, 73% of the earth’s crust is covered by sedimentary rock laid down by the Flood’s waters about 4,500 years ago. Within these rocks are trillions of fossilized animals (mostly marine invertebrates) and plants—remnants of a world “filled with violence.”
Between Scripture and the geological-paleontological record, the effects of the Flood are clearly seen. There is, however, a third indication of this worldwide, devastating event—the universal flood legends recorded by all the major people groups of Earth. If “the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished” (2 Peter 3:6), it would undoubtedly leave an indelible memory of the generations following the Flood.
As people groups spread and migrated after the Tower of Babel, they would carry with them the Flood story. Through the centuries, stories of the Flood were passed on to each generation via early patriarchs such as Joseph, Jacob, and Abraham, records that Moses had access to. As the years went by in some parts of the world, there would be editing and embellishments of the Flood event, but the basic story of judgment via a worldwide deluge, the preservation of a remnant in a structure, and the events directly afterwards would be preserved. The account of the Flood in Genesis comes from Noah himself and is written and edited by Moses and is not dependent on Near Eastern texts. Knowing this, a wise historian would search out similarities between Moses’ Flood story and the flood stories told in other cultures.
Nick Liguori is a civil engineer and an avocational researcher. He has applied his knowledge of biblical history to painstakingly put together a compendium of Flood traditions from North and South America. His book Echoes of Ararat Liguori shows the reader that the critical opening chapters of Genesis are true and historically accurate. Such Flood traditions have been found to be even more prevalent than was originally thought, offering Liguori’s book as a fresh new resource for those interested in Flood geology and early biblical history.
A brief sampling of stories recorded by Nick Liguori are:
The water grew higher and higher until all the earth was covered . . . A single family remained alive. —the Chimila tribe of northern Colombia
Then the waters went up, up and up, flooding all the mountains and highest hills and killing all that had life on the earth. Only one house had been raised over the waters, which had covered all the species of animals. —Mayan ancestors of the Jakalteks of northwestern Guatemala
They have a tradition of the floud [flood], that all the world was once drowned, except a few that were saved, to wit, about seven or eight in a great canoro [canoe]. —Rev John Clayton (d. 1725) recording the narrative from the Powhatan tribe of Virginia
Very long ago there was a great flood by which all men and animals were destroyed, with the exception of a single raven. —the Kootenay people of southeastern British Columbia
“When a prophet speaketh in the name of the LORD, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the LORD hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him” (Deuteronomy 18:22).
If man is the result of billions of years of evolution from the simplest of creatures, evolution predicts that man should have retained most, if not all, of the best abilities of those other creatures in his heritage.
According to evolution, our ape-like ancestors had opposing toes, just as we have opposing thumbs. If we had retained those opposing toes, we could pick things up without bending over. The female chimp can pull 1,260 pounds with one arm. That would be a pretty handy facility. And then, there is the hero shrew of Uganda, just six inches long, but it can support the weight of a one hundred and sixty pound man on its back!
Even the lowly snail can pull up to 200 times its own weight, and lift ten times its weight. Then what about the trilobite, right at the bottom of the evolutionary ladder and supposedly extinct for 300 million years? This little fellow had the most sophisticated eye lenses, actually double lenses, ever found in nature!
For more than 20 years we have supported Garo evangelists from northeast India through our Asian Workers’ Fund, as they have taken the Gospel to unreached people groups in their part of the world.
Often, Christians are unaware of the origins of many of the songs we love to sing. In this brief email we would like to share the little-known background of one famous song: “I Have Decided to Follow Jesus.”
In the hills of northeast India live the Garo tribe, who number more than one million people. For centuries they were feared as a primitive head-hunting tribe, but in the most recent Indian census, over 95 percent of the Garo declared themselves to be Christians. Here is one reason why…
In the late 1800s, many missionaries came to Assam in northeast India to spread the Gospel. They succeeded in converting a man named Nokseng, his wife, and his two children. Nokseng’s faith proved contagious, and many villagers began to accept Jesus.
The village chief, angry at the prospect of losing control, summoned all the villagers. He demanded Nokseng’s family to publicly renounce their faith or face execution. Moved by the Holy Spirit, Nokseng said: “I have decided to follow Jesus.”
Enraged at his refusal to deny Christ, the chief ordered his archers to shoot the two children. As both boys lay twitching on the ground, the chief asked, “Will you deny your faith? You have lost both your children. You will lose your wife also.”
But Nokseng replied: “Though no one joins me, still I will follow.”
The chief was beside himself with fury and ordered Nokseng’s wife to be shot with arrows. In a moment she joined her children in death. Now the chief said for the last time: “I will give you one more opportunity to deny your faith and live.” In the face of death, Nokseng did not waver, and made his final memorable statement:
“The cross before me, the world behind me. No turning back.”
He was killed like the rest of his family, but a miracle took place. The chief was moved by Nokseng’s faith and he wondered, “Why would Nokseng and his family die for a Man who lived in a far-away land some 2,000 years ago? This God must have remarkable power, and I too want to taste that faith.”
In a spontaneous confession, the chief declared, “I too belong to Jesus Christ!” When the crowd heard this from the mouth of their chief, the whole village accepted Christ as their Lord and Savior. Later, Nokseng’s words became a beloved song of the Garo Christians, and was later translated into English and sung around the world.
May the Lord Jesus bless you as together we serve the Church in Asia,
LTRP Note: The following article is from Manning Johnson’s 1958 book, Color, Communism, and Common Sense (taken from the 2021 Lighthouse Trails special edition). The reason our editors re-published this book is because Mr. Johnson’s words are so relevant they could have been written today. While some of his terminology would not be politically or culturally correct today (such as his use of the word “Negro” which was considered a respectful word in the 50s), we have maintained the language of the original book and do so with respect and dignity in mind for people of all colors of skin.
Background: Manning Johnson (1907-1959) was at one time in his life a member of the USA Communist Party (from 1930-1939) but left it when he realized the truth of how Communism and socialism actually were hurting the black people rather than helping them.
By Manning Johnson
The Red [Communist] propagandists distort the facts concerning racial differences for ulterior motives. All the right is not on the Negro side. Neither is all the wrong. The same holds true with regard to the white man’s side. The repository of good or evil is not to be found in any particular race. Black men are just as good or as bad as white men. Yellow men are just as good or as bad as brown or red. It ill behooves anyone to speak about the other.
White men sold white men as slaves. Black men sold black men as slaves. Black rulers are no more humane than yellow, red, or white rulers. Neither are they less brutal.
The placing of the repository of everything right and just among the darker races is a dastardly Communist trick to use race as a means of grabbing and enslaving the whole of humanity.
Moscow’s Negro tools in the incitement of racial warfare place all the ills of the Negro at the door of the white leaders of America. Capitalism and imperialism are made symbols of oppressive white rule in keeping with instructions from the Kremlin.
To one familiar with Red trickery, it is obvious that placing the blame for all the Negroes’ ills at the door of the white leaders in America is to remove all responsibility from the Negro. This tends to make the Negro: 1. feel sorry for himself, 2. blame others for his failures, 3. ignore the countless opportunities around him. 4. feel jealous of the progress of other racial and national groups, 5. expect the white man to do everything for him, and 6. look for easy and quick solutions as a substitute for the harsh realities of competitive struggle to get ahead.
The result is a persecution complex—a warped belief that the white man’s prejudices, the white man’s system, the white man’s government is responsible for everything. Such a belief is the way the Reds plan it, for the next logical step is hate that can be used by the Reds to accomplish their ends.
In their campaign against the white leaders in America, the Reds are careful to point out that this does not apply to the white leaders of Russia and their counterparts in America. This creates the illusion that the white Communists are different; that they are the friends and champions of the Negroes. This is the same sucker bait the Reds used to win and use millions of white peoples now under the whiplash of Soviet tyranny. They took the Soviet road to freedom only to find it a snare and a delusion.
The fact that the Reds have never contributed anything tangible to the progress of the Negro is overlooked though the Reds have collected millions of dollars as a result of race incitement.
Like the Communist Party, the N.A.A.C.P. has collected millions of dollars through exploitation of race issues. The bigger the race issue, the bigger the appeal and the bigger the contributions. Last year, according to Roy Wilkins, the N.A.A.C.P. had the “greatest financial year in its history.”
Yet one cannot find any report of any of this money being spent for factories and shops to provide jobs, land, and home construction, specialized training for talented youth, hospitals, convalescent homes, classes in sanitation and personal hygiene, care and upkeep of property, combatting crime and juvenile delinquency, centers to aid Negro youth in preparing to meet stiff employment competition in science and industry.
It is then no accident that the N.A.A.C.P. is dubbed “The National Association for the Agitation of Colored People.” The record speaks for itself. Millions for agitation; not one cent for those things that win the respect and acclaim of other races and national groups.
The N.A.A.C.P. set up the situation that erupted into racial violence at Little Rock, Arkansas. Reds all over the world dramatized the racial incidents created in Little Rock as examples of how white Americans resort to extremes of racial violence to deny Negroes an education. Every Communist Party in Asia and Africa, it seems, was alerted to “do a job” on America. At the same time here at home, they were screaming about the damage to our prestige abroad. Any way you look at it, it is a two-way pincer movement against Uncle Sam.
Therefore, we may readily assume that any damage done to our prestige abroad should be at the feet of the N.A.A.C.P. and the Reds who started the trouble. What is significant is that those who spread the lie that violence erupted because Negro children are denied an education have not repudiated it.
Any confusion or misunderstanding created abroad has not been cleared up by the N.A.A.C.P. leadership. At no time have they admitted that no Negro in the United States is denied an education. And, too, they have not admitted that not every Negro wants an education, for reasons better known to himself. That accounts for many Negroes not being able to read or write. Moreover, there are free schools open both day and night for all those who want an education. There are Negro institutions of higher learning and integrated ones, based upon geographical lines that make available the highest type of training for those Negroes who seek it. There are special scholarships and funds created by white philanthropists that enable Negroes to attend the finest universities and colleges in the country. What is ironic is that most of the Negro leaders responsible for the incitement of racial violence have been the recipients of these scholarships and grants. They possibly would have been cotton pickers or bootblacks were it not for this aid, because only this aid gave them the free time to plot the destruction of America.
One can very well question the sincerity of the Reds and the N.A.A.C.P. when they try to create the impression that America in general and the South in particular is a hell hole of despotism where the Negro is concerned. This is so since the whole issue boils down to taking Negro children out of one school and transferring them to another so that they can be seated with white children on the assumption that only in this way will the Negro child get an education. What really is being implied is that the 113,000 Negro teachers in Southern schools are inferior, incompetent, and unable to properly teach the children of their own race. Since it is no longer made a question of better schools, better facilities, and equal pay, it is a question of liquidation of the Negro school and the Negro teacher under the guise of integration.
Naturally, white parents are going to resist any attempt to force them to send their children to school on an integrated basis when Negro teachers are considered unfit by members of their own race.
Maybe this is the reason why hundreds of Negro teachers were fired in the border and Southern states where there was token integration.1
It is also implied that a Negro child is handicapped in his studies unless he is sitting beside a white child. What could be more nonsensical or ridiculous? It is a sad commentary on the ability of the Negro child to say that he cannot properly study or that he will develop harmful complexes if he does not sit beside a white child. By what quirk of reasoning does one conclude that sitting beside a white child will help a Negro child make the grade? Experience shows that a student’s success is determined by how much attention, time, and effort he is willing to put into his studies.
In New York, for example, many Negro junior high and high school graduates are outrageously poor in spelling, writing, reading, and mathematics. Yet, they attended integrated schools.
Even the report of the Public Education Association in 1955 admitted that Southern Negro children moving to New York City are on a level two grades higher than those in New York City schools.
What is also important to remember is that the late Dr. George W. Carver, the outstanding Negro scientist, was born of slave parentage. He did not learn to read and write until he was twenty. He worked his way through school to become one of the world’s greatest scientists. He didn’t have the opportunities of young Negroes today. Every difficulty was a challenge, so he had no time to develop complexes.
The main danger and handicap to the Negro is not the Southern school but the persecution and hate complex the N.A.A.C.P. and the Reds are trying to create.
In the Daily Worker, official Communist daily, Oct. 15, 1956, p. 3, quotes the N. Y. Times as stating: “That 500 Negro teachers lost their jobs in Southern and the border States due to integration.” The Pittsburgh Courier, the largest black newspaper in America at the time, April 19, 1958, carried the headline “Integration Leaves 300 Okla. Teachers Jobless.”
“But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.” (Psalm 1:2)
L.B.’s family is in the cattle business, and the following was written on Facebook to the women in L.B.’s Bible Study.
According to L.B., “When a cow eats, they inhale a lot of roughage (hay, grass)! In order for a cow to properly digest that tough food, they have to be able to regurgitate parts of the food, a little at a time. To do that means the rumen in their stomachs mixes all the (good) bacteria, juices and lots of other stuff and they burp it back up to chew on for a while…then swallow once again. It’s quite complex and amazing!”
“We always say that when a cow loses her ability to chew her cud, she’s sick…that’s a real problem. Now…put that thought in line with meditating on God’s word! We ‘eat’ a lot, sometimes quickly from God’s Word. Not sure about you, but I certainly can’t digest it all properly as it goes down the first time! If I didn’t have the ability (or desire) to (pardon me for saying it this way, Lord) “burp” God’s Word back up, chew on it, digest it again, and again and again…I’d be sick too! Spiritually sick! Eventually dead!
“This will stick with me! Hope it helps imprint on your mind, too, how important God’s Word is!” (by L.B.)
L.B.’s above description really shows how, in biblical meditation, the mind is always active (chewing the cud, so to speak). Not so with New Age and Eastern meditation, or with so-called contemplative prayer. The goal of these is to still the mind, to halt all thought, and to enter the silence, where much spiritual deception can take place. Unfortunately, contemplative prayer has already infected many in the Body of Christ.**
Concerning contemplative prayer, Ray Yungen, author of A Time of Departing, writes, “The question may arise–how can credible Christian organizations justify and condone meditative practices that clearly resemble Eastern meditation? As pointed out earlier in the book, Christian terminology surrounds these practices. It takes only a few popular Christian leaders with national profiles to embrace a teaching that sounds Christian to bring about big changes in the church. Moreover, we have many trusting Christians who do not use the Scriptures to test the claims of others.” (pg.182)
**Who has helped bring this practice into the church? Rick Warren, Timothy Keller, Mike Bickle, and many others. Ray Yungen warns, “Contemplative prayer is presenting a way to God identical with all the world’s mystical traditions. Christians are haplessly lulled into it by the emphasis on seeking the Kingdom of God and greater piety, yet the apostle Paul described the church’s end-times apostasy in the context of a mystical seduction. If this practice doesn’t fit that description, I don’t know what does.” (Yungen, A Time of Departing, pg. 140).
In recent years, the number of Christians identifying as “Christian Socialists” or “Christian Communists” has skyrocketed in a way not seen in over 40 years. Sarah Ngu, in her 2020 article “Why These Young American Christians Embrace Socialism” wrote the following: “Over the past three years, some American Christians have rediscovered this tradition and found themselves gravitating to socialism—in all its varieties, from democratic socialism to full-fledged communism.” Gary Dorrien, a professor of social ethics at Union Theological Seminary, writes “The revival (of Christian socialism) is a Christian flank of the current upsurge for democratic socialist”. For the most part, the orthodox Christian community has remained silent about this growing trend, seemingly oblivious to the dangers. It’s time we acknowledged how the Trojan Horse of Socialism entered the Church, and fight back.
First, doctrine and history make clear that Biblical Christianity and Socialism and/or Communism are in opposition on fundamental levels. The intellectual forefather of Socialism, Karl Marx, taught this about Christianity: “The social principle of Christianity preaches cowardice, self-contempt, abasement, submission, humility….” Marx further asserted “The more of himself that man gives to God, the less he has left of himself”. Like all future communist and socialist leaders who follow Marx, he believed: “Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of the heartless world, and the soul of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opiate of the people.” (Communist Manifesto, the Bible of Communism).
The history of the socialist war against Christianity is instructive. “The League of the Militant Godless” was developed by early Soviet leaders like Leon Trotsky and Lenin. Its slogan tells volumes: “The struggle against religion is the struggle for socialism”. In just over 15 years, the League boasted 3.5 million members and included a hundred ethnicities. This was while Soviets in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) were executing tens of thousands of Priests, millions of Christians, demolishing churches and ruthlessly suppressing Christianity. The official literature of the Comintern (International Communist Front), stated “One of the most important tasks of the cultural revolution affecting the wide masses is the task of systematically and unswervingly combating religion – the opiate of the people.”
Ben Gitlow was a top figure in the early Communist Party (USA), and twice ran as Vice President of the US on the Communist Party ticket in 1924 and 1928. He left the Communist Party in 1929, and began hearings before Congress about Communist infiltration in America starting in 1939. According to Gitlow in answering Congress about the Communist “united front” technique of infiltrating America: “the tactic of the united front adopted by the Communists in 1922 after they realized that their militant policy for instigating a revolution in Germany and then throughout Europe and the world had failed…….. The united front tactic enabled the Communists to greatly increase the effectiveness of their infiltration activities.” The aims were to first build pro-Soviet sentiment in America. Second, to set conditions for Communists to capture trade unions. Third to “Spread Communist propaganda, incite discontent amount the people, undermine the loyalty of the American people and to divide them on religion, national, racial, and economic lines.”
Importantly, Gitlow said this about infiltration of the Christian Church in America: “the united front policy enabled the Communists to widely expand their infiltration activities on the religious field because instead of using the Communist Party directly (on Christian organizations)”, they used united-front organizations not directly connected to the Communist Party. Communist Party USA leader Manning Johnson told Congress that “deceit” about the anti-Christian nature was “a major policy of the Communist Propaganda”. According to Johnson: “(Communists) made fine gestures and honeyed words to the church people which could be will likened unto the sea nymphs luring millions to moral decay, spiritual death, and spiritual slavery. An illustration of this treachery, I might point out, is smiling, sneaky Earl Browder, for example, who was vice chairman of the American League Against War and Fascism, greeting and praising ministers and other church workers participating with him in the united front anti-war activities, while secretly harboring in his heart only contempt for them and for the religion that they represented.”
The Soviet Union collapsed in 1991 and no longer commands the worldwide Comintern. However, Communism as a worldwide movement continues. The ideology spawned during those decades made substantial inroads into the Church and academia (an estimated 18% of American Professors today identify as Marxist). United Methodist Reverend Lindsey Joyce provides a window into the modern infiltration: “Socialism gave me a politics that finally provided clarity….. It wasn’t about my individualistic faith or spiritual gifts.” Christianity centers around individual spiritual redemption, while socialism is about the collective and material. Communist “Christian” Dean Dettloff is indicative of the fraud being promulgated to soften and revive Communism within the Church. Dettloff claims “the worst abuses in history have actually been committed by people who are devoted to Jesus Christ”. This glosses over the upwards of 100 million people who died under 20th century communism, a number that dwarfs almost 2000 years of alleged Christian “abuses”.
The Church can no longer remain silent. The Trojan Horse of Socialism and Communism, wheeled in to the US in the 1920s, is a growing “enemy within”. Neither Communism, nor Socialism can be reconciled with Christianity, and it’s time to voice that truth boldly and loudly. We fight back with spiritual weapons and in Christian love, but against this threat we must fight back.
Bill Connor, a retired Army Infantry colonel, author and Orangeburg attorney, has deployed multiple times to the Middle East. Connor was the senior U.S. military adviser to Afghan forces in Helmand Province, where he received the Bronze Star. A Citadel graduate with a JD from USC, he is also a Distinguished Graduate of the U.S. Army War College, earning his master of strategic studies. He is the author of the book Articles from War.
On September 12, 1903, approximately 100 people met in a loft over Peck’s restaurant, at 140 Fulton Street in lower Manhattan. The purpose of the meeting was to strategize the overthrow of the Christian worldview that still pervaded much of American culture and to replace it with the ideas of a then rather unknown writer by the name of Karl Marx. They called the organization they formed that day the Intercollegiate Socialist Society.
The godfather of the organization was a twenty-seven-year-old author named Upton Sinclair. The first president chosen was the author Jack London, age twenty-nine. Also present was Clarence Darrow, the attorney.
The strategy of the organization was to infiltrate their ideas into academia by organizing chapters in as many colleges and universities as possible. And organize they did. Walter Lippmann, later author and director of the Council on Foreign Relations, was the president of the Harvard chapter. Walter Reuther, the future president of the United Auto Workers, headed the Wayne State chapter; and Eugene Debs, who went on to become the five times Socialist candidate for president, was a leader at Columbia.
The society grew. The first annual convention was held in 1910, and by 1917 they were active on sixty-one campuses and a dozen graduate schools. Other early activists included W. E. B. DuBois, who would become an official of the NAACP and later a Communist Party member, and Victor L. Berger of Wisconsin, who became the first Socialist elected to Congress
In 1921 the Intercollegiate Socialist Society took its next organizational step, changing its name to the League for Industrial Democracy. Its purpose was “education for a new social order based on production for use and not for profit”. Norman Thomas, another perennial Socialist candidate for president, was the leader behind the scenes. The renamed organization’s first president was Robert Lovett, editor of the New Republic, and the field secretary was Paul Blanshard, who later became an author.
The college chapters of the Intercollegiate Socialist Society now became the Student League for Industrial Democracy. As members graduated from college, some entered the pulpit, others the classroom, some wrote textbooks while others entered the labor movement and both political parties. When the new deal began in 1933, they were prepared. At the time the league had only 5,652 members, but they were in positions of leadership everywhere.
By 1941 John Dewey, the founder of progressive education and the league vice president in the 1930s, was its honorary president, and Reinhold Niebuhr, the theologian, its treasurer. Dewey had already organized the Progressive Education Association and the American Association of University Professors.
The League for Industrial Democracy was so successful that those who held membership in the movement or were cooperating with it could have been a list for Who’s Who in America: Robert N. Baldwin, founder of the American Civil Liberties Union; Charles Beard, the historian; Carroll Binder, editor of the Minneapolis Tribune; Helen Gahagan Douglas, the congresswoman who was defeated by Richard Nixon for the U.S. Senate; Felix Frankfurter, Supreme Court Justice; Sidney Hook, the educational social philosopher; Edna St. Vincent Millay, the poet; Henry Morgenthau Jr., one of Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s most trusted economic advisors; Walter and Victor Reuther, United Auto Workers; Will Rogers Jr., humorist; Franklin Roosevelt Jr., the president’s son; and Arthur Schlesinger Jr., the historian.
The obscure loft in Manhattan where they organize has long been forgotten, but what began there that night permeates American’s institutions and culture, having replaced the Bible based values of the 19th century with a liberalism based on Marxism.
To what extent do you feel that you have been influenced by the anti-Christian forces of modern culture? Do you think you have picked up any of the values of the League for Industrial Democracy? Unfortunately, all of us are the products of our own backgrounds. Even after we become Christians, we still are influenced by our culture. We need to evaluate our presumptions against the truth revealed in God’s Word.
Fix your thoughts on what is true and honorable and right. Think about things that are pure and lovely and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learn from me and heard from me and saw me doing, and the God of peace will be with you.
Now we can understand how certain forces in our country came to be and, how through their coordinated actions, we now stand on the threshold of a new era in the United States. An era, I am afraid, that does not hold good tidings for the disciples of Jesus Christ. This is why Christians must be like Wilberforce and take your Christianity to the political arena and stand for biblical values. Let your Congressmen or Congresswoman hear your voice.
Keep your eyes on Jesus for He is still Lord and King over all the earthly rulers and presidents. May His kingdom come and His will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Bless His name, now and forever more!
May God bless you as you stand for the truth of His Word in your culture.
Blog note: Since communism is an enemy of God and Christianity, I wanted to share this article with you. It originally appeared on Lighthouse Trails blog. God bless you and yours, Carl.
LTRP Note: Color, Communism, and Common Sense was first released in 1958 and written by Manning Johnson, who spent ten years in the U.S. Communist Party because he believed the “red” party would help improve conditions for black people. When he finally came to realize that the opposite was true, he rejected communism. The following is chapter 1 of his book. We referenced Johnson in our recent booklet on Critical Race Theory and the Southern Baptist Convention because of the shocking similarities between his story and what is happening in the U.S. today. (Note: In Johnson’s book, he uses the term “Negro,” which was the term used in the 50s and 60s for black people and was not considered a disrespectful term at that time. We have maintained Johnson’s writing just as he wrote it.)
Ten years I labored in the cause of Communism. I was a dedicated “comrade.” All my talents and efforts were zealously used to bring about the triumph of Communism in America and throughout the world. To me, the end of capitalism would mark the beginning of an interminable period of plenty, peace, prosperity, and universal comradeship. All racial and class differences and conflicts would end forever after the liquidation of the capitalists, their government, and their supporters. A world union of Soviet States under the hegemony of Russia would free and lead mankind on to Utopia.
Being an idealist, I was sold this “bill of goods” by a Negro graduate of the Lenin Institute in Moscow.
The color of one’s skin is no bar to a young man or woman dreaming of making a better world. Like other Negroes, I experienced and saw many injustices and inequities around me based upon color, not ability. I was told that “the decadent capitalist system is responsible,” that “mass pressure” could force concessions but “that just prolongs the life of capitalism”; that I must unite and work with all those who more or less agree that capitalism must go.
Little did I realize until I was deeply enmeshed in the Red Conspiracy, that just and seeming grievances are exploited to transform idealism into a cold and ruthless weapon against the capitalist system—that this is the end toward which all the communist efforts among Negroes are directed.
Indeed, I had entered the red conspiracy in the vain belief that it was the way to a “new, better and superior” world system of society. Ten years later, thoroughly disillusioned, I abandoned communism. The experiences of those years in “outer darkness” are like a horrible nightmare. I saw communism in all its naked cruelty, ruthlessness, and utter contempt of Christian attributes and passions. And, too, I saw the low value placed upon human life, the total lack of respect for the dignity of man, the betrayal of trust, the terror of the Secret Police, and the bloody hand of the assassin, during and since, those fateful years when I embraced communism.
I was lured into the red movement by way of the American Negro Labor Congress, one of the many “front organizations” set up by the communists to trap naïve, unwary, unsuspecting, and idealistic Negroes. The use of such attractive and appealing fronts as a means of entrapment is a most important serpentine method of the reds.
After two years of practical training in organizing street demonstrations, inciting mob violence, how to fight the police, and how to politically “throw a brick and hide,” I was ready, in the opinion of my leaders, for a top communist school.
At a secret national training school in New York City, I was given an extensive and intensive course in the theory and practice of red political warfare. As a result, I was appointed District Organizer by the Political Bureau of the Communist Party in the Buffalo, New York area, one of the vital industrial sections of our country. It was in the position of District Organizer that I learned to use secret codes, “mail drops,” organize clandestine meetings, “shake police shadows,” and other underground activities. At the same time, I became acquainted with the nature of communist sabotage and espionage.
My zeal, training—both theoretical and practical—combined with loyalty and willingness to sacrifice, changed me from a novice into a dedicated red—a professional revolutionist. Consequently, I climbed rapidly to the National Committee, the highest governing body of the Communist Party in America.
Being a Negro top communist, I was placed on the National Negro Commission, an important sub-committee of the National Committee of the Communist Party. On this Commission, which was created on direct orders from Moscow to facilitate the subversion of the Negroes, I began to realize the full implications of how the Negro is used as a political dupe by the Kremlin hierarchy. Under the guise of “unity of black and white in the struggle,” several top white communists, such as James S. Allen, Elizabeth Lawson, the late Robert “Bob” Minor, and George Blake Charney were placed on the National Negro Commission. These white communists wielded more power than the nominal Negro heads of the Commission. In a word, they are like white overseers. Every Negro member was aware of the fact that these white overseers constituted the eyes, the ears and the voice of the Kremlin. Moreover, these white overseers are the surest functional guarantee of the maintenance of the hierarchial authoritarian control of the Kremlin over their Negro lick spittles directing the conspiracy among Negroes in America.
Indeed, it is the white group on the National Negro Commission that holds full sway. They flatter one or two top Negroes by making them feel they are actually participating in the formulation of policy by consulting with them prior to meetings of the Commission. Then these two Negroes are assigned to lay down the line to the other Negroes on the Commission. The white members check to make sure they do. Their opinion of what a Negro member says at a meeting can either make or break him. Usually, the Negro who is broken is accused of “petty bourgeois nationalism,” that is, placing the interests of the Negro above the interests of the Communist Party.
In this connection, I observed how white women communists are used as political prostitutes, cohabiting with high-level Negro communists in order to spy on them. Through such intimate relations, these white women communists are able to elicit information pertaining to family background, sources of income, marital difficulties, arrests, convictions, opinions on communist policy and communist leadership. This information is invaluable to the red hierarchy in their relations with their Negro lickspittles. In top red circles, this is known as “bedroom politics.”
White communist women are also used to maneuver top Negro reds into compromising positions that, if revealed, would result in public scandal or disgrace. In this way, the reds make these Negroes permanently subject to blackmail if they ever consider leaving the red movement. Moreover, this information is used to destroy the credibility of the defectee, should he decide to fight the red conspiracy.
The highest position I attained was candidate for the Political Bureau (Politburo) of the Communist Party. The Politburo is a small, close-knit body, carefully selected by the Kremlin hierarchy. Each member holds his position solely on the approval of the reactionary, rapacious despoilers in the Kremlin. This is the real governing body of the entire red conspiracy in America. A candidate is invited to sit in on deliberations with voice but no vote. Usually, a representative of the Kremlin participates in all meetings and deliberations of the Politburo. This writer sat in such meetings when Gerhard Eisler, alias Edwards, Brown, Hans Berger, etc., was the Kremlin representative. Eisler later jumped bail and fled the United States on the red Poish liner “Batory” after he was exposed and convicted of passport fraud.
The assignment of political commissars to the red movement in America is not limited solely to America, but is an established Kremlin policy in relation to all communist parties in countries outside the “Iron Curtain.” Kremlin agents, such as Eisler, exercise an awesome power over the white, as well as black lickspittles, comprising the leadership. When Eisler spoke, one could hear a pin fall. Each leader sat in rapt attention, hanging on to every word Eisler uttered as if it were, indeed, a pronouncement from the “Holy of Holies.” On several occasions, he expressed the grave dissatisfaction of the Kremlin because of the failure of the party to take advantage of the broad “people’s front movement” to build “progressive groups” in participating organizations such as the N.A.A.C.P., youth, religious, fraternal, labor, etc. These “progressive groups”, he said, “was the only guarantee that the decisions we make with leaders will be brought down to and carried out by the membership.”
Significantly, Eisler emphasized that the “people’s front” or “democratic front” is “a maneuver only” to lay the basis for firm communist direction and control of masses. And, too, that the leaders of non-communist organizations are drawn into joint movements with the communists “only to facilitate the infiltration, ideological and organizational penetration of their respective organizations.” After all, this is a fight for leadership to determine “who shall lead the masses, the communists or Negro reformists.” The “progressive groups,” consisting of communists, sympathizers, liberals, etc., constitute the vehicle on which the reds pin their present hope of victory.
Never once were we allowed to forget the vacillating, uncertain, untrustworthy character of the Negro intellectual, the Negro minister, the Negro petty bourgeois, the Negro reformist and the white socio-liberal, philanthropic, humanitarian supporter. They are accused, on the basis of experience, of “running frantically from one camp (red) to the other (capitalist) when the going gets tough.” So that when communists unite with and support them today, it is necessary to keep in mind that “it may be necessary to denounce them tomorrow and the day after tomorrow hang them.”
Thus, as a participant on the highest level of the communist conspiracy in America, I observed the cold, calculating, ruthless nature of red power politics and political warfare, stripped of all its illusory propaganda and idealistic cover. Click here to read other chapters.
For you yourselves know full well that the day of the Lord will come just like a thief in the night. While they are saying, “Peace and safety!” then destruction will come upon them suddenly like birth pangs upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.”
I Thessalonians 5:2-3
A friend recently gave me a copy of Rod Dreher’s book entitled Live Not by Lies – A Manual for Christian Dissidents. In chapter four he discusses how we are naively giving up our hard won liberties and privacy for perceived conveniences and safety. The “we” are United States Christians, but the same thought applies to Christians in other countries also.
This helped me understand what our opening Scripture states about “Peace and safety!”. The “they” in verse three are religious people who have been deceived by governmental rulers and false religious leaders in the end times. They have traded the true gospel and its responsibilities for the perceived benefit of peace and safety. The benefit is a false benefit because there is not true peace and safety outside of a personal relationship with God through His Son Jesus Christ.
For instance, today we are naively giving up our right to privacy for the convenience of smartphones, the internet, email, smart TVs, smart cars, smart watches, computers, lower car insurance rates, personal assistances, credit cards, etc. All which are or can be monitored by outside parties and data harvested for sale to advertisers and unknown others. We mind but we don’t really mind, because we keep using the devices and allow it to happen. Deep down inside we love the convenience and safety it provides.
We are being conditioned.
Communist China TODAY is using it citizen’s personal data to form a “social score”. Those that follow the Communist Party script develop a high score and reap certain benefits by being allowed to do certain activities: go to college, get a good jobs, etc. The person not following the rules will receive a lower score and not be allowed to participate in certain benefits: no college education, no good job, etc. Being a Christian trying to faithfully practice your faith will surely lower your grade or maybe zero you out.
And this is the danger for us in the U.S. We naively trust in our Constitution and Courts that we will be protected from these abuses and resultant control. But if you have your eyes open, you see the same spirit that is working in Communist China is working now in our government at the highest levels. Hitler, Stalin, and Mao would of loved this ability to spy on their people. They would not have to spend so much time and money torturing people for personal contacts when they have the ability to download their smartphone or email contacts. These past mass murders would have loved it!
We are already seeing the principals of “Peace and safety!” being expounded in certain areas of the world today. When it is bought into by the U.S. government and judicial system, the faithful Christians may receive a letter like the one following:
“Dear Mr. William J. Christian:
Data (Voice Data 17845.exe.4589) indicates that you on March 17, 2021 in a phone discussion (Cell Data: 24082 3/17/2021 spool 17) with a Mr. Rex A. Johnson (Social Security No. 798-43-0211) stated that there is only one way to the true God and that Jesus Christ is that Way. Per our previous discussions with you at headquarters, you are in violation of the United Nations Religious Toleration Act (12/12/20), Section 102, subparagraph cc, which states that all signees will require that religious toleration and harmony be practiced by its citizens for the sake of global peace and safety of all inhabitants of Mother Earth. The U.S. federal government is a signee of said Act.
The Toleration Act acknowledges and affirms that all global religions are seeking the same God. Even Pope Alex II, the Christian Global Representative and Moral Authority, acknowledges and agrees that good Buddhist, Hindus, Islamicist and members of other global faiths are in right relationship with God and on the way to God, just on a different path. You stating that Jesus is the only way to God is offending the members of these global faiths and are creating potential security problems; therefore you are ordered to stop spreading this racist lie.
If you do not stop and desist immediately, the Governmental and Religious Committee of the state of Georgia will take action immediately to maintain harmony within the global brotherhood of man. If you do not appear before the local office of this Committee within seven days to recant your statements to said Johnson the Committee will implement the following restrictions: 1) immediately you will not be able to buy, sell or trade in any economic form or fashion; 2) you will be transferred to a re-education facility for specialized training in global religion and global reharmonization; 3) should these steps fail, to maintain peace and safety of the global community, you will be eliminated in a humane matter.
There will be no need to bring an attorney or witnesses to the local office of the Committee since the accusation has been confirmed by our AI department and data previously mentioned at the beginning of this correspondence. Your legal rights are superseded by the need for peace and safety and are therefore null and void.
Consider this a final warning. For the “peace and safety” of mankind, we pray you will make the intelligent decision and join with us in reaching our global goals.
I have told my seminary students for years that a society or culture is never in a state of stasis. It is just the nature of human societies – they are constantly in flux, heading in one direction or the other, getting worse or getting better, depending on your perspective.
I have never been more depressed to have been proven right about American society’s increasing volatility. Current news stories contain harrowing reports of ever more radical “woke” philosophies being imprinted on the impressionable minds of our nation’s youth – in this case the six million primary and secondary students attending California’s public schools.
If you were concerned about the cultural divisiveness of the centrifugal forces generated by Critical Race Theory, Intersectionality and Black Lives Matter, wait until you see what the formerly “Golden” State of California is contemplating inflicting on the unsuspecting youth of their state.
Christopher Rufo reports that next week the California Department of Education will decide whether to approve a statewide “ethnic studies” curriculum with the goal of “decolonizing” American society of its biased “Eurocentric” white “hegemony” over the indigenous peoples which allowed white settlers to establish a “regime of coloniality, dehumanization, and genocide.”
As Rod Dreher reports on Rufo’s research “the ultimate goal is to “decolonize” America and replace it with a new social order of “countergenocide” and “counterhegemony” which will overthrow the dominant Christian culture and result in the “regeneration of indigenous songs, chants and affirmations” culminating in teachers leading students in chants to Aztec gods, seeking empowerment to be “warriors” for “social justice” and importuning the Aztec God of war and human sacrifice, Xipe Totec known as “Our Lord the Flayed One” because typically victims of human sacrifice, before they were disemboweled, dismembered and eaten, were skinned alive (Wikepedia, “Human sacrifice in Aztec culture”).
The curriculum asserts that “white Christians committed ‘theocide’ against indigenous tribes, killing their gods and replacing them with Christianity.” This all culminates, according to Dreher and Rufo, with students shouting “Panche beh! Panche beh!” seeking ultimate “critical consciousness.”
This is all so comprehensively evil and destructive it is hard to know where to begin criticism of this dangerous, divisive, retrograde cultural vandalism. The idea that a tax supported public school system would, or could, be used to unleash this vicious cultural and spiritual poison into out young people’s consciousness is both extremely offensive and quite possibly illegal.
How does this curriculum not violate the First Amendment’s “establishment clause?” If public schools are not allowed to sponsor Christian prayers, why would they be allowed to sponsor prayers to an Aztec pagan idol to whom human sacrifices were offered routinely?
If California’s authorities approve this curriculum, they should be challenged in court. Approval of this curriculum would also reveal that California is indeed a state surrounded on all sides by reality.
Thank God for Christopher Rufo and Rod Dreher for having the courage to warn Americans about this looming, highly flammable fuel for a cultural apocalypse. They are like modern, cultural Paul Reveres sounding the warning, “The Barbarians are coming! The Barbarians are coming!”
Rod Dreher titles his column “The Re-Barbarization of California” and asked this rhetorical question:
Social-justice Marxists who want to teach millions of children in the state’s public schools to achieve liberation against the descendants of European colonists of 500 years ago by teaching them to chant to Aztec gods who required human sacrifice. How do you think this is going to end?
Dreher then closes with this line “Wake up folks, and read the signs of the times.”
Here’s a question to ask any pastor: “What’s the greatest challenge to discipleship in your church?” This is the likely answer: “The news.”
When I press for more details, I hear something like this:
People’s preferred news source seems to be the most powerful voice in their lives. It tells them what to believe about who they are, the problems of the world, who is at fault, and what to do about it. The news has become a lens through which the Bible, the Christian faith, and the local church is interpreted and evaluated.
Christians will often agree:
Yes, sensational, heavily political news is the problem. That’s why I only follow [my favorite outlet]. Other people are influenced by the news, but not me. I’m a free-thinker.
Why is news so enthralling? It doesn’t seem rational. Most news content is depressing and terrible. Why do we keep coming back for more?
One theory is that most news sources pitch themselves as a sort of gnostic gospel. Gnosticism began as a second-century quasi-Christian spinoff religion. The church fathers soon identified Gnosticism as heresy because it invited people to trust not in repentance of sin and salvation in Christ but in special mystical knowledge or esoteric insight.
Such special insight is what news offers us. News media say, implicitly, “We’ll give you the inside scoop. Follow us and you’ll be one of the enlightened few and not in the mob of fools.” The news offers salvation through special knowledge.
Follow us and you’ll be one of the enlightened few and not in the mob of fools.
Let’s take things a bit deeper. The news offers a substrain of the temptation presented to the first humans in Eden: to be like God.
God, in his omnipresence and omniscience, knows and cares about all things happening in all places. We, in our finiteness, only have the capacity to know and care about a few things happening where we are.
Contemporary news sources present our finiteness as a problem to overcome. We must transcend our locale and become global. We must leave behind the darkness of not knowing and enter the light of “breaking news.” We must, in short, become like God: knowing and caring about everything.
It’s a heady tonic. This is why following the news makes us feel important. There is something godlike about the illusion of knowing and caring about everything.
Most news is bad: an earthquake, a hurricane, a murder, a scandal. Most news is also inactionable: there is nothing you can do about it. What does knowing all this inactionable bad news create in you?
Most news is inactionable—there is nothing you can do about it.
Anxiety: The sheer quantity of evil reports being pumped at you 24/7, like a firehose to the face, will not leave you more peaceable, more content, or more joyful. It will leave you more anxious.
Loss of agency: Because you grow accustomed to hearing about problems you can’t fix and suffering people you can’t help, you develop a deep feeling of lost agency.
Anger: For anyone with a moral compass, this leads to anger. Because you are made in the image of God, a sense of justice rises against villains.
Hate: Anger is like the evaporated alcohol that rises from fermenting grain. It can be distilled and bottled into hate.
This is why Christians who watch or read a lot of news usually end up hating, not loving, their neighbor. They have been spiritually deformed by truckloads of voyeuristic, inactionable horror stories. They perceive themselves as part of a small, heroic, minority of good people at war against powerful multitudes of the ignorant (at best) or the wicked (at worst).
Most news is inactionable—there is nothing you can do about it.
I ask again: What’s the use of inactionable news?
It doesn’t typically help me love the Lord our God with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength.
It doesn’t typically help me love my neighbor as myself.
In short, it’s typically of no use.
Choose Local News
You may respond: “Are you suggesting we should withdraw from society? Retreat from the real world?”
Quite the opposite. News only gives the illusion of engagement and thus inoculates you against actual engagement with real people. I’ll take it a step further: you should not seek to know everything or care about everything, because you should not aspire to be like God.
Your opportunity for obedience to God is a local opportunity. Therefore, the primary news that should matter to a Christian is local news. By local news I don’t primarily mean news about city or state government. I mean something more intensely local, what some thinkers call “hyper-local”:
News about a neighbor with a cancer diagnosis
News about the young couple down the street having their first child
News about someone in the church who’s lost a job
News about someone’s coworker visiting church for the first time
The primary news that should matter to a Christian is local news.
This is news for the average human. This news presents you with an opportunity to love, to pray, to serve, or to celebrate at the human level.
As you respond to such local news, a different kind of formation will work within you. Anxiety will be replaced with confidence, helplessness with initiative, anger with delight, hate with love.
You will not find such hyper-local news in daily papers or TV reports. Rather, you will likely discover it the same way people have for generations: through ordinary conversation.
In Constantine’s day (306-337 CE), the emperor, as the head of the pagan priesthood in Rome known as the Pontifical College (now headed by the Pope), was called Pontifex Maximus. Constantine headed the church, as would the emperors after him for five centuries. He called himself Vicarius Christi (Vicar of Christ). Yet he continued to officiate at pagan celebrations and to endow pagan temples even as he built Christian churches! The popes eventually claimed the emperor’s titles, Pontifex Maximus and Vicar of Christ, as their own. True Christians separated themselves from an increasingly apostate church and began to call the popes Antichrist.
Constantine never renounced his loyalty to the pantheon of pagan gods. He abolished neither the pagan Altar of Victory in the senate nor the Vestal Virgins; and the sun-god rather than Christ continued to be honored on imperial coins. Throughout his “Christian” life Constantine mixed pagan and Christian rites and continued to rely upon “pagan magic formulas to protect crops and heal disease.” Historian Philip Hughes, a Catholic priest, writes:
“In his manners he [Constantine] remained, to the end … the Pagan of his early life. His furious tempers, the cruelty which … spared not the lives even of his wife and son, are … an unpleasing witness to the imperfection of his conversion.”
If God has given you but a small portion of the world, yet if you are godly He has promised never to forsake you (Heb. 13:5). Providence has ordered that condition for you which is really best for your eternal good. If you had more of the world than you have, your heads and hearts might not be able to manage it to your advantage.
— John Flavel (1627-1691, English Presbyterian clergyman)