Monthly Archives: April 2009

America Helping to Rid Holy Land of Indigenous Christians

Israel wants them out of the equation. America ignores them entirely. After all, to most Americans fed by mainstream media, all Palestinians are terrorists. But ironically, it is the Palestinian Christians who are seeking a peaceful, non-violent solution to the crisis. That’s right, they take the teachings of Christ seriously and try to apply them to their real life situation. They seek peace, not Armageddon. And we are helping to get rid of them.

On the following link you will find an article written by a Palestinian Christian scholar. Having lived it, he says it so much better than I can:

As usual it is the more liberal churches in the U.S. that are taking the lead and speaking out about this injustice. The Religious Right, meanwhile, continues to help pump money and arms into Israel to prepare her for Armageddon. After all, it’s they who are the “real Christians,” those who will stop at nothing to force Jesus’ hand and bring about his return. My question is, will he know them when he does come? “Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire…for I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat…I was a stranger and you did not invite me in….”

I hope this doesn’t sound too cruel, but when I think of these fanatics, I recall the end of the movie Raiders of the Lost Ark, when those Nazi archaeologists stared greedily into the ark lusting to see what no human was meant to see. They got their reward.

It’s well established that politics makes strange bedfellows. The Religious Right has entered into a devil’s bargain with Israel: “We’ll give you money and arms to fulfill your destiny to possess all the land of Abraham and we’ll say nothing about how you go about it. And you’ll permit us to traipse fanatically over your country and build our condos on the Mount of Olives so we can have a front row seat for Armageddon.”

Fundamentalism is the same, whether it’s Christian, Muslim or Jewish. You don’t count the bodies when God is on your side.

Incidentally, some of you may be wondering if I’ve become fanatical myself, since I keep repeating this same topic. I’d gladly stop if more people were speaking out about this. Until then, like Cato of old, I’ll keep yammering.


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Above the Law?

Listening to the television this week, I was horrified to hear the various arguments against investigating Bush administration officials who authorized torture techniques. “It would only become a partisan free-for-all.” “Why go after them when they were merely trying to provide for the nation’s security?” “It would only distract us from the economy.” And the worst of all came from Mr. Cheney himself, like a burst of stale air from a crypt: “We were able to gather good information.”

“My God!” I shouted at the screen. “That’s it! There it is! Right there!” In the mind of Dick Cheney and his fellow neo-cons, the ends always justify the means. And of course their justification is an attempt to implicate the rest of us as well: i.e., “We did it to make you safe.”

Of course, providing for the common defense is the first duty of any government. But anyone versed in interrogation knows that information extracted through torture is highly unreliable. So what if they happened to get lucky? Do we want this country to be known as the Land of the Free and the Home of Enhanced Interrogation Techniques? Would you want your son to be treated that way if he were captured by an enemy? That is essentially what we are saying to the world. “It’s okay to commit any crime against humanity as long as it makes you secure.” Hitler’s henchmen are smiling right now.

But ironically, torture has not made the U.S. more secure. In fact, it has become a rallying point for Islamic extremists the world over, justifying their jihad against the Great Satan. And what’s more, they have won a key victory if they have made us compromise our sacred principles and the rule of law in the name of national security.

But let’s be charitable for a moment. It must have been frighteningly tense in Washington those first several months after 9-11. Nearly three thousand people had lost their lives. The White House itself was almost attacked, and no one knew where the next strike would come from. Authorizing torture may have seemed like Hobson’s choice. People can do almost anything out of fear. Unfortunately, what they chose was neither morally right nor in the nation’s best interest. A painful legacy that we must now sort through—unless, as many politicians are advising us, we just kick some sand over it and move on. But there is not enough sand or litter-box perfume to bury this mess, not forever.

But why are we talking about stringing up lawyers or CIA officials? These are but sheep. We know who the real culprits are. But if we’ve learned anything about Washington over the past few years, it’s this: 1) only little people pay taxes; and 2) the higher you go in leadership, the more you are above the law. Where’s Steven Seagal when you need him?


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Debunking the Bunker Mentality

What is it with us Christians in America? We have such freedoms to practice our religion, the whole world envies us. Yet we seem to choose to live in a bunker mentality as though we expected to be wiped out at any moment. I suppose it comes from a kind of pre-millennialism and its attendant belief that things will just get worse and worse until Jesus returns. Like some forlorn Byzantine emperor we expect that Christendom will continue to be gobbled up by barbarians and infidels until we alone are left with only a spear and spit of land and so we must go down fighting. If that is how you read the New Testament, please stay after class and beat out the erasers. Yes, persecution may come. Yes, the end may be near. But so far, the Lord is giving us amazing room to work in.

I have received so many silly emails of late warning American Christians of some looming persecution, 99% of which are wholly inaccurate if not completely false. There is enough real persecution of Christians in this world; we don’t need to manufacture it. That would be dishonoring to our brothers and sisters who are truly being persecuted for their faith. But that doesn’t stop unscrupulous, so-called Christian organizations from trying to manipulate us with their fear mongering, twisting current events and government reports and policies for their own ends.

Anyone who has read my blogs knows that I strongly believe we need to be vigilant about our freedoms as Americans. “The price of liberty is eternal vigilance.” Make no mistake about that. But where does vigilance end and paranoia begin, and when does paranoia become a self-fulfilling prophecy?

Case in point. The Office of Homeland Security recently issued two reports on right and left-wing extremist groups respectively. The report was probably mishandled and had conservative Christians locking and loading because of its wording, describing some right-wing extremist groups who are “hate-oriented,” “anti-government,” “rejecting authority,” and often “focused on one issue such as abortion or immigration.” I don’t know what country you live in, but there are such right-wing, extremist hate groups in America that are focused on one issue, and they are as much a threat to national security as their left-wing counterparts.

That does not mean in any twisted legal sense that all pro-lifers are right-wing extremists, but many took it this way, fanning the flames of fear and outrage within the Evangelical community. I can just see some preacher whipping a crowd into such a froth that we all grab our Constitutionally protected assault weapons and head for the hills of South Carolina, where we proceed to secede from the Union and shoot any Democrat on sight. Now that should cause Homeland Security some concern. Since the recent election, conservatives in their anger and bad sportsmanship have been saying all kinds of wacky, inflammatory things on the net and radio—including advocating armed rebellion and secession—one has to wonder if the OHS wouldn’t be right to be on its guard against us.

It is also ironic, is it not, that some of us would take the phrases “anti-government…hate groups… focused on one issue” and believe the OHS were talking about us. If you are a Christian and you are filled with hate, if you are anti-authority, anti-government and focused on just one issue, like abortion or the Second Amendment, then perhaps you do need to examine yourself. There can be a fine line between zeal and fanaticism. “It is good to be zealous,” as the apostle Paul states. But zeal, when not anchored to a balanced view of Scripture, can easily become fanatical.

If we are so monomaniacal that we cannot focus on more than one issue at a time, why not instead focus on spreading the gospel or helping the poor? If we get arrested for that then, as 1Peter says, we can praise God we walk in the company of prophets and apostles. But if we get arrested for being an armed band of crazy conspiracy theorists, preaching hate and intolerance, and stockpiling food and ammo for Armageddon, then we have only ourselves to blame.

Let us examine ourselves to see if we are in the faith (2Cor 13:5). Are we truly walking as Jesus walked? Are we seeking a kingdom that is above or an earthly theocracy riddled with bigotry and intolerance? When the Master comes will he find us doing our duty, meekly saving the lost and lifting the downtrodden? Or will he find that we’ve barricaded ourselves into some mountain compound, one with a fence high enough to keep out Rowe-v-Waders, gays, the DNC, ACLU and anyone who wants to take away our AK-47s? If the latter, would we even recognize our Lord if he knocked at the gate?

Despite its imperfections, the freedom we have in this country is truly the envy of the world. In gratitude let us use it to spread God’s kingdom by sharing the good news of Christ’s victory, healing the sick and broken, righting injustice, working for peace (not Armageddon), and yes, even raising the dead. If we do these, then we will not need to look for persecution. It will find us.


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With a Lot of Help from My Friends

I want to thank those of you who have read my book The Treasure of Israel, and enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. Thanks for your enthusiastic feedback and encouragement. It’s such an honor to have friends such as you. Thanks also for helping to spread the word.

If you’re interested, I could still use some help getting the word out. The book is on some of the major online book sites ( and CBD and Borders are still holding out.) Problem is, that’s fine if you know the book is there. But for people to know that, I need a break. That’s why I’m praying for some interview opportunities– radio, newspaper, etc. If you have any contacts in the media, local or national, consider floating a copy of my book their way (I’ll supply the copies if it looks like a good lead, or refer them to the book website Also, if you enjoyed the book, consider writing a positive review on or

Of course, you could always walk into your local big chain bookstore and demand a copy, then look at them as though they had two heads when they tell you, “Sorry, we don’t have that title in stock.” Then you heave an exasperated sigh, turn on your heel and mutter, “That’s okay, I’ll order it from Amazon. It’s faster and cheaper.” Or if you like Oprah, tell her, “This book must be on your list!”

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