Archive for the Loon Pastors Category

How Christian Fundamentalists Plan to Teach Genocide to Schoolchildren

Posted in Loon Pastors, Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , on June 5, 2012 by loonwatch

Child with Bible

While many in the West are myopically focused on Muslim extremists, another form of religious extremism is poised to reach thousands of children in public schools across the US.

Aside from the disturbing implications for those who advocate a clear separation between church and state, the alarming content of the curriculum begs a question about the sponsors: What if they were Muslim?

How Christian Fundamentalists Plan to Teach Genocide to Schoolchildren

By Katherine Stewart, Guardian UK

Good News Clubs’ evangelism in schools is already subverting church-state separation. Now they justify murdering nonbelievers.

The Bible has thousands of passages that may serve as the basis for instruction and inspiration. Not all of them are appropriate in all circumstances.

The story of Saul and the Amalekites is a case in point. It’s not a pretty story, and it is often used by people who don’t intend to do pretty things. In the book of 1 Samuel (15:3), God said to Saul:

“Now go, attack the Amalekites, and totally destroy all that belongs to them. Do not spare them; put to death men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys.”

Saul dutifully exterminated the women, the children, the babies and all of the men – but then he spared the king. He also saved some of the tastier looking calves and lambs. God was furious with him for his failure to finish the job.

The story of the Amalekites has been used to justify genocide throughout the ages. According to Pennsylvania State University Professor Philip Jenkins, a contributing editor for the American Conservative, the Puritans used this passage when they wanted to get rid of the Native American tribes. Catholics used it against Protestants, Protestants against Catholics. “In Rwanda in 1994, Hutu preachers invoked King Saul’s memory to justify the total slaughter of their Tutsi neighbors,” writes Jenkins in his 2011 book, Laying Down the Sword: Why We Can’t Ignore the Bible’s Violent Verses (HarperCollins).

This fall, more than 100,000 American public school children, ranging in age from four to 12, are scheduled to receive instruction in the lessons of Saul and the Amalekites in the comfort of their own public school classrooms. The instruction, which features in the second week of a weekly “Bible study” course, will come from the Good News Club, an after-school program sponsored by a group called the Child Evangelism Fellowship (CEF). The aim of the CEF is to convert young children to a fundamentalist form of the Christian faith and recruit their peers to the club.

There are now over 3,200 clubs in public elementary schools, up more than sevenfold since the 2001 supreme court decision, Good News Club v Milford Central School, effectively required schools to include such clubs in their after-school programing.

The CEF has been teaching the story of the Amalekites at least since 1973. In its earlier curriculum materials, CEF was euphemistic about the bloodshed, saying simply that “the Amalekites were completely defeated.” In the most recent version of the curriculum, however, the group is quite eager to drive the message home to its elementary school students. The first thing the curriculum makes clear is that if God gives instructions to kill a group of people, you must kill every last one:

“You are to go and completely destroy the Amalekites (AM-uh-leck-ites) – people, animals, every living thing. Nothing shall be left.”

“That was pretty clear, wasn’t it?” the manual tells the teachers to say to the kids.

Even more important, the Good News Club wants the children to know, the Amalakites were targeted for destruction on account of their religion, or lack of it. The instruction manual reads:

“The Amalekites had heard about Israel’s true and living God many years before, but they refused to believe in him. The Amalekites refused to believe in God and God had promised punishment.”

The instruction manual goes on to champion obedience in all things. In fact, pretty much every lesson that the Good News Club gives involves reminding children that they must, at all costs, obey. If God tells you to kill nonbelievers, he really wants you to kill them all. No questions asked, no exceptions allowed.

Asking if Saul would “pass the test” of obedience, the text points to Saul’s failure to annihilate every last Amalekite, posing the rhetorical question:

“If you are asked to do something, how much of it do you need to do before you can say, ‘I did it!’?”

“If only Saul had been willing to seek God for strength to obey!” the lesson concludes.

A review question in the textbook seeks to drive the point home further:

“How did King Saul only partly obey God when he attacked the Amalekites? (He did not completely destroy as God had commanded, he kept the king and some of the animals alive.)”

The CEF and the legal advocacy groups that have been responsible for its tremendous success over the past ten years are determined to “Knock down all doors, all the barriers, to all 65,000 public elementary schools in America and take the Gospel to this open mission field now! Not later, now!” in the words of a keynote speaker at the CEF’s national convention in 2010. The CEF wants to operate in the public schools, rather than in churches, because they know that young children associate the public schools with authority and are unable to distinguish between activities that take place in a school and those that are sponsored by the school.

In the majority opinion that opened the door to Good News Clubs, supreme court Justice Clarence Thomas reasoned that the activities of the CEF were not really religious, after all. He said that they could be characterized, for legal purposes, “as the teaching of morals and character development from a particular viewpoint”.

As Justices Souter and Stevens pointed out in their dissents, however, the claim is preposterous: the CEF plainly aims to teach religious doctrines and conduct services of worship. Thomas’s claim is particularly ironic in view of the fact that the CEF makes quite clear its intent to teach that no amount of moral or ethical behavior (pdf) can spare a nonbeliever from an eternity in hell.

Good News Clubs should not be in America’s public elementary schools. As I explain in my book, The Good News Club: The Christian Right’s Stealth Assault on America’s Children, the club exists mainly to give small children the false impression that their public school supports a particular creed. The clubs’ presence has produced a paradoxical entanglement of church and state that has ripped apart communities, degraded public education, and undermined religious freedom.

The CEF’s new emphasis on the genocide of nonbelievers makes a bad situation worse. Exterminist rhetoric has been on the rise among some segments of the far right, including some religious groups. At what point do we start taking talk of genocide seriously? How would we feel about a nonreligious group that instructs its students that if they should ever receive an order to commit genocide, they should fulfill it to the letter?

And finally, when does a religious group qualify as a “hate group”?

Swiss Pastor who Runs Racist Website Faces Probe

Posted in Anti-Loons, Loon Pastors with tags , , , , , , , , on May 25, 2012 by loonwatch

(via. Islamophobia-Watch)

Swiss pastor who runs racist website faces probe

A Reformist priest from a tiny Bernese village is under investigation by church leaders after it emerged that she helped run a fanatical anti-Islamic website.

The Council of Reformist Churches for Bern, Solothurn and Jura has criticised the priest, and declared her activities on website ‘Politically Incorrect’ to be “incompatible” with her position as a priest due to the “Islam-baiting” that takes place on it, newspaper Tages Anzeiger reported.

The priest has been involved for a long time with the Politically Incorrect forum, a website frequented mainly by Germans, and has been operating clandestinely, the newspaper reported.

It has been alleged that the priest has been funding the website herself, the Tages Anzeiger reported. The prosecutor also believes it possible that she has been contributing some of the racist content, albeit under pseudonyms.

The Council had already warned the priest previously for her participation at extreme-right Islamophobic events in Germany. Having reviewed the content of the website, the Council described the articles posted there as “inflammatory and derogatory”.

The priest is now accused of breaching anti-racism laws and of failing to prevent criminal acts. Despite the accusations, she has still been permitted by her immediate superiors to continue to preach in the village.

The Local, 25 May 2012

Pat Robertson Says the Christian Thing to do is, “Destroy Your Friend’s Buddha Statue”

Posted in Loon Pastors with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on May 17, 2012 by loonwatch

Everyone knows the Taliban are just the Afghan version of the Pat Robertson’s of the world, right? Pat Robertson was asked on air by a concerned Christian named “Jenny” about a moral quandary she had relating to her roommate’s “Buddha statue.”

Jenny: My friend who is a Christian has a Buddha statue next to her Christian ones. Is this ok?

Pat Robertson, who always speaks Biblically gave a pretty unequivocal answer, “Destroy it.”

Pat Robertson: No its not. Take it away and break it. Break it! Destroy it.

So the message is Christian statues are OK but not Buddhist ones, oh and don’t respect the property of other peoples!

Pat Robertson: Destroy Your Friends Buddha Statue

(WhatIfTheyWereMuslim.com)

Here at WITWM, we frown upon all acts of religious desecration. When the Taliban destroyed the Buddhas of Bamiyan in March of 2001 it was not only unIslamic but immoral on many levels. Now Pat Robertson is calling for similar measures, can one imagine if a Muslim Imam had said something similar? As of now there is barely a peep about this. (h/t Critical Dragon)

What Radical Anti-Islam Christians Teach Their Flock: Islam “Does Not Teach” Charity

Posted in Loon Pastors with tags , , , , , , , , on May 15, 2012 by loonwatch

tim-wildmon

This is supposed to be a positive picture of Tim Wildmon

American Family Association president Tim Wildmon says, “Islam does not teach charity.”

It is a blatant lie, since one of the five pillars of Islam is Zakat, or mandatory charitable giving. The Qur’an, if these right-wingers would ever read it is also filled with exhortations on nearly every page extolling the virtues of Sadaqah or voluntary charity.

Tim Wildmon Says Islam ‘Does Not Teach’ Charity

(Right-Wing Watch)

American Family Association president Tim Wildmon today used his column praising the admirable works of Christian charitable organizations to criticize Muslims.

If there ever was a contrast in worldviews, it is with Christianity and Islam. One of the most striking differences is that Christianity teaches, practices, and encourages charity. Islam does not. It is the Christians from America who are doing the majority of the private charity and humanitarian work around the world. Just these past couple of weeks alone, I was reminded by several examples of this.

American Family Association/American Family Radio has been participating in this project with Gospel for Asia for several years. Why do we care about the outcast people of India? Because in the Bible, Jesus instructs us to do so.

There is no such comparable work being done around the world by Islamic groups or organizations — because the Koran does not teach such charity.

Religion, more than anything else, affects the values and morals of a culture, a society, a country.

In fact, charitable giving is one of the five pillars of Islam. Wildmon could have done a simple Google search to find the names of major Muslim charitable organizations like Islamic ReliefRed Crescent Societies and Muslim Aid, but seeing that the American Family Association is one of the most malicious purveyors of misinformation and bigotry in this country, it should come as no surprise that its leader can twist an article about the importance of charitable work into an attack on the Muslim people.

Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson: “Wherever Women are Taking Over, Evil Reigns”

Posted in Feature, Loon Pastors with tags , , , , , , , , , , on May 9, 2012 by loonwatch

Rev.Jesse_Lee_Peterson_Women_evil

Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson

by Emperor

Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson is a regular guest on Sean Hannity’s Fox News program and is usually brought in to be the token Black man who comes on to legitimate and provide cover for Hannity’s “criticism” (i.e. thinly-veiled racism) of the Black community. Hannity also happens to sit on the board of Rev. Peterson’s organization, BOND. (h/t: Ali)

Rev. Peterson is quite the kook, and of course every religion has ‘em, but here he is bemoaning the progress women have made in the US, saying all of the social ills we have today are due to women:


So I guess Conservatives don’t just believe in the “Islamization” of society, but also the “womenization” of society?

As you can see he wants women to be stripped of the right to vote, taken out of positions of power and essentially returned to being obedient, child producing, housewives who obey and submit to men. He even ridicules his grandmother!

Can one imagine the reaction if an Imam had said something similar to what Rev. Peterson said? Wouldn’t Islam once again be cast as the uniquely and inherently “misogynistic” faith that is irreconcilable with modernity?

Will we hear similar attributions of misogyny and anti-women positions to Christianity now?

Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson, along with Robert Spencer also happen to be on the list of the Young America’s Foundation‘s (YAF) “Conservative speakers.”

Spencer has appeared as a guest on Rev. Peterson’s radio show, directly after Peterson’s anti-women screed. There goes Spencer and Geller’s so-called concern for the ‘human rights’ of women! They have no problem schmoozing with clerics who want to role back the right of women to vote but will gladly try to smear Muslims as honor-killing-pro-pedophilia-misogynists:

Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson Sexist Sermon: ‘Greatest Mistake America Made Was Allowing Women To Vote’ [VIDEO]

by Jacob Kleinman (ibitimes)

Frequent Fox News guest Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson drew sharp criticism for arguing that women should not have the right to vote in a sermon that was posted on YouTube in March. The minister argued that women are destroying American society and wield too much political power.

Fox News host Sean Hannity has invited Peterson to speak on his show several times, even after the offensive sermon was posted online.

Even News Corp CEO Rupert Murdoch, corporate master of Fox, disagreed with Peterson’s sexist rant according to theDaily Mail. He tweeted in response, “When? Women voting is best thing in a hundred years.”

“I think that one of the greatest mistakes America made was to allow women the opportunity to vote,” Peterson said in the sermon.

Peterson even went so far as to associate woman in politics with evil.

“We should’ve never turned this over to women,” he said. “It was a big mistake. … And these women are voting in the wrong people. They’re voting in people who are evil who agrees (sic) with them who’re going to take us down this pathway of destruction.”

“And this probably was the reason that they didn’t allow women to vote when men were men,” he continued. “Because men, in the good old days, understood the nature of the woman. They were not afraid to deal with it and they understood that if they let them take over, this is what would happen.”

This is not Peterson’s first controversial and offensive statement. He previously said “thank God for slavery” because it brought African people to the United States.

Peterson has also stated, “Barack Obama hates white people, especially white men.” He argued that men should be legally permitted to hit their wives and expressed a desire to take “all black people back to the South and put them on the plantation so they would understand the ethic of working.”

During his most recent offensive statement, the sermon titled “How most women are building a shameless society,” he said women are incapable of making good decisions because they get too emotional.

“You walk up to them with an issue, they freak out right away,” he said. “They go nuts. They get mad. They get upset, just like that. They have no patience because it’s not in their nature. They don’t have love.”

Peterson appeared on Fox News last week after being invited again by Sean Hannity, and was confronted by Democratic commentator Kirsten Power, who called the sermon “misogynistic.”

“I have a responsibility to tell the truth,” replied Peterson. “You’re on the side of lies. Why shouldn’t I be on the side of truth? And it’s the truth that’s going to make us free. Somebody gotta tell the truth, so I’m going to tell the truth.”

Peterson is the president and founder of the Brotherhood Organization of a New Destiny, a group pushing a conservative agenda among African Americans where Hannity sits on the board, and its allied BOND Action Inc. In the past he has hosted a radio talk show and a cable TV program. He is well known for fighting against affirmative action and is a member of Choose Black American, a black group fighting illegal immigration.

Originally posted on What if they were Muslim?

Christians for Palestine

Posted in Anti-Loons, Loon Pastors with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on April 22, 2012 by loonwatch

 

Jerusalem Church

“Jesus was the first Palestinian martyr.” –Yasser Arafat

A few months back Israel’s Ambassador to the US, Michael Oren penned an article titled, “Israel and the plight of Palestinian Christians,” in which he attempted to manipulate the reality of Christians in the Holy Land. Oren’s article came on the heels of an Islamophobic screed by Ayaan H. Ali in Newsweek titled, “The War on Christians.”

Also, today, Bob Simon of 60 minutes will be reporting on the “slow exodus of Christians from the Holy Land.”

As the birthplace of Christianity, Palestine is home to the oldest Christian populations in the world. But after centuries of continuous presence in the Holy Land, the creation of modern-day Israel in 1948 precipitated a quiet exodus of native Christians.

Although Christian opinion on the Arab-Israeli conflict has always been mixed in Western countries, many evangelicals have been blind to the plight of  Palestinians in favor of Israeli hardliners. Though their unconditional support for Israel can be attributed to many factors, the phenomenon of “Christian Zionism” can at least in part be traced to concerted outreach efforts on behalf of Israel–bolstered by negative portrayals of the Palestinian people, and an absence of their narrative.

Christian Palestinian groups like Sabeel Center and Al-Bushra have had an on-line presence for years, but they were not widely known outside the Middle East. Recently, Palestinian Christians reached out to the global community with the launch of the Kairos Palestine Document, modeled after the South African Kairos Document published in 1985 as part of a successful effort to abolish Apartheid:

This document is the Christian Palestinians’ word to the world about what is happening in Palestine. It is written at this time when we wanted to see the Glory of the grace of God in this land and in the sufferings of its people. In this spirit the document requests the international community to stand by the Palestinian people who have faced oppression, displacement, suffering and clear apartheid for more than six decades. The suffering continues while the international community silently looks on at the occupying State, Israel. Our word is a cry of hope, with love, prayer and faith in God.

We address it first of all to ourselves and then to all the churches and Christians in the world, asking them to stand against injustice and apartheid, urging them to work for a just peace in our region, calling on them to revisit theologies that justify crimes perpetrated against our people and the dispossession of the land.

Also, last month in the West Bank city of  Christ’s birth, the Bethlehem Bible College  held an annual conference under the banner, “Christ at the Checkpoint.” Hundreds of Christians from around the world attended, and organizers hailed the event as, ”a major breakthrough in the evangelical world.”

While Palestinian Christians have so far reached only a small minority of their Western counterparts, their apparent success has captured the attention of Israel’s increasingly worried supporters.

Christians for Palestine

By Lee SmithTablet

For most American Jews and Israelis, evangelical Christians are synonymous with zealous, biblically inspired support of the Jewish state—so zealous, in fact, that it makes some Jews uneasy. But the days when Israel could count on unconditional support from evangelicals may be coming to an end.

Last month, a conference convened in Bethlehem by Palestinian activists and Christian clergy long at odds with the Jewish state managed to bring a number of leading lights from the evangelical community in North America and Europe to the Holy Land. Many of the speeches at the conference touched on themes that one would commonly hear at a BDS teach-in, like blaming the entire Middle East conflict on Israel’s occupation and the settlements.

Indeed, the name of the conference, Christ at the Checkpoint, is indicative of the different direction this segment of the evangelical movement is heading toward. The idea is that evangelicals should rethink their support for a state that occupies another people and oppresses them. Once they get the full story, conference organizers hope, Western evangelicals may find they have more in common with the downtrodden Palestinians than with the Israelis.

To pro-Israel evangelicals and Zionists who were paying attention, Christ at the Checkpoint was a wake-up call. The larger trend, which for want of a better phrase might be called the pro-Palestinian evangelical movement and is indeed spearheaded by Palestinian Christians, is already changing minds. Giving them momentum are money raised in the United States, theology, and perhaps most important of all, a movie. The documentary film With God on Our Side is leaving many former pro-Israel evangelicals wondering why they never heard the Palestinian side of the story.

Many friends of Israel, as well as Israelis, have long been concerned that evangelical support is premised largely on self-interest of an especially macabre nature. Israel, in this reading, is ground zero for the apocalypse: Before Christ can return to Earth, the Jews must return to Israel and the Temple must be restored, ushering in first a time of tribulation and then a reign of peace.

Of course, the apocalypse and Christ’s return is not the only justification for Christian support of Israel. Indeed, this end-time scenario embarrasses some evangelicals whose support is premised on the idea that God keeps his promises, not only to Christians but also to Jews, to whom God pledged the land of Israel. This conviction is further buttressed by a sense of historical responsibility, specifically to stand with the Jews and atone for the failure of Christians during the Holocaust to save the nation that gave them their savior.

Though the vast majority of evangelicals still maintain that support, for the first time since the establishment of Israel in 1948, there is an increasingly heated debate in the evangelical community that may augur a shift in the political winds. And if the Christ at the Checkpoint camp wins out, the pro-Israel Jewish community that once looked warily upon evangelical support may come to regard that movement with nostalgia.

***

“The debate in the Jewish community should not be about whether or not to be comfortable with Christian support for Israel,” David Brog, executive director of Christians United for Israel, told me last week. “Christians are going to be involved in the issue whether we are comfortable or not. The question is whether they’re going to be on Israel’s side or not.”

Christians United for Israel is the United States’ largest and best-known Christian Zionist organization. Founded in 2006 by John Hagee, pastor of the CornerStone Church in San Antonio, Texas, CUFI boasts over a million members. Hagee has found himself in the middle of political controversy in the past—most recently during John McCain’s unsuccessful 2008 presidential campaign when his statements regarding the Holocaust were misinterpreted and McCain rejected his support. (Hagee declined to comment for this article.)

John Hagee
John Hagee

Hagee and other figures base support for the Jewish state on biblical foundations, specifically on Genesis 12:3, where God tells Abraham, “I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee.” The message is clear: Those who support Israel will be rewarded by God. But pro-Israel evangelicals have sent their flock out into the field vulnerable—that is, without an account of the conflict that besets the citizens of the present-day homeland of the Jews. Armed only with a biblical defense of the Jewish state, evangelicals are unprepared to justify it on political grounds.

This gap has made room for people across the cultural and ideological spectrum—whose motivations run the gamut from genuine compassion for Palestinians to anti-Semitism—to fill the space with their own interpretations of contemporary Middle East history. Not surprisingly, many of these narratives tend to be drawn from precincts of the left, like the BDS movement, that are known for their hostility to the Jewish state. What is peculiar is that these accounts are being entertained and sometimes embraced in evangelical churches, Bible schools, and Christian colleges that are not typically known for their progressive politics.

It wasn’t difficult for these Christian critics of Israel to find a weak link in the Christian Zionist narrative—it’s the ethical morass inherent in the formulation of Genesis 12:3. The children of the Bible, Christians as well as Jews, believe that all people are created in God’s image and are therefore born with individual dignity. But if people of faith are supposed to bless Israel because they’ll be blessed in return, then they are treating others, Jews and Arabs, not as individuals but rather as instruments in their own spiritual drama.

You can’t treat people as chess pieces, says Porter Speakman Jr., the 40-year-old director of With God on Our Side. This 82-minute-long documentary, which premiered in 2010 and is now being shown at churches and college campuses, has had a major role in tilting evangelical opinion, especially among young people, against Israel. Speakman told me in a phone interview that isn’t aim isn’t to “delegitimize Israel, but to be critical of policies that are having an effect on real people’s lives.”

“I grew up in a Christian home in the south, where not to support Israel was to go against God,” Speakman told me. He said he made the film in order to explore a question that he thinks has been missing from the conversation in the evangelical community. That is: “What are the consequences of my beliefs and my theology for real people living on the ground?”

With God on Our Side follows the intellectual odyssey of Christopher Harrell, a twenty-something recent film-school graduate, who is trying to come to grips with the reality of the Arab-Israeli conflict. This is a very different story from the Bible-based injunctions that formed his spiritual life as a child. The film’s narrative trajectory starts with Harrell’s parents, who he recalls once celebrated Passover—“I’m not sure why we did that. We’re not Jewish. We’re just this normal American Midwestern family”—and who support Israel because that’s “just what everyone did.” The film moves then to a series of interviews with figures in the evangelical community known for their animus toward Zionism, like Gary Burge and Stephen Sizer, and writers outside the evangelical milieu whose reputation rests on their hostility to Israel, like Ilan Pappé and Norman Finkelstein.

These interviews challenge the mainstream evangelical narrative with well-worn accusations typical of BDSers. For instance, the Israeli occupation, says one South African evangelical, is “apartheid on steroids.”

“Growing up,” Speakman said of his childhood, “there was never a choice, you were supposed to love and support Israel. That meant following Genesis 12 as well as a fulfillment of endtime prophecies. But does supporting Israel mean supporting all of Israel’s geopolitical decisions?”

Speakman, who lived in Israel with his wife from 1998 until 2003, said that he thinks the role of Christians is to support both Jews and Arabs in their search for a solution. But some critics of his documentary think that the film goes much further. They see it as making the case that evangelicals have taken the wrong side—favoring a nation inhabited by those who rejected Jesus as their savior rather than the Christian communities that have existed in the Holy Land since the time of Christ. The issue is that key segments of the Palestinian Christian community have a vested political interest in delegitimizing Zionism—a fact that Speakman and other Western activists in the evangelical community may or may not be aware of.

Among the Palestinian outfits leading the campaign critical of Israel is the Bethlehem Bible College, which organized Christ at the Checkpoint, for which Speakman served as a media coordinator. The most prominent and active organization is the Jerusalem-based Sabeel, headed by a Palestinian Anglican priest, Rev. Naim Ateek. Its American branch, Friends of Sabeel North America, is based in Portland, Ore., and raises money for its Jerusalem affiliate.

“Sabeel is nakedly hostile to Israel,” Dexter Van Zile, Christian media analyst for CAMERA, told me in an interview. In an article on Sabeel and Ateek published last week, Van Zile quotes the clergyman at length, including this peculiar admission: “From my perspective as a Palestinian Christian, Zionism is a step backward in the development of Judaism.”

***

According to Randy Neal, Western Regional Coordinator of CUFI, the ideological foundations of the pro-Palestinian Christian movement are grounded in both liberation theology and replacement theology. The first is a politicized doctrine that requires a continual mindset of victimhood, in order to solicit political sympathy and action on behalf of the “oppressed” against the “oppressors.” The latter holds that the church has replaced Jews as God’s chosen and become the real Israel.

“It’s not just that church has replaced Israel,” said Neal, but for many of the Palestinian Christian clergy and their activist sympathizers, “the Palestinian church is the real church. Jesus, on this reading, was an underdog, who came to champion the underdog. He was oppressed by the Romans, so if you are Christ-like, you are also oppressed, like the Palestinians. This increasingly includes the idea that Jesus was a Palestinian. It’s an adopted narrative that is believed to have started with Yasser Arafat, but to some people it’s become a gospel fact.”

In other words, it’s a narrative that denies Jesus’ Jewish identity. “It is a very ugly expression of Christian anti-Semitism,” Neal said.

But Brog, Neal’s colleague, disagrees: “anti-Semitism is not the driving force.” Rather, he said, the impetus comes from a combination of two ideological streams. “There’s the anti-Israel perspective, which comes from the Palestinian Christians, who are using theology to preach a politically anti-Israel message. And then there are the Christians based in North America and Europe who are allowing liberal politics to trump Christian beliefs.”

The unpleasant reality is that Christian anti-Semitism has as much, if not more, theological justification as Christian support for Israel. Compared to two millennia of Christian anti-Semitism culminating with the Holocaust, one biblical verse is a pretty thin thread on which to hang support of the Jewish state.

Neal says that he believes Christian love of Israel is premised on Genesis 12:3 and on Joel 3:2: “I will also gather all nations, and will bring them down into the valley of Jehoshaphat, and will enter into judgement with them there for my people, my heritage Israel.”

“We are supposed to love what God loves,” Neal said. “We consider ourselves ambassadors of Christ. For centuries, Christians abused and abandoned the apple of God’s eye, and we are not going to let that happen again on our watch.”

But as CUFI pushes Genesis and Joel, the Christ at the Checkpoint crowd is focused exclusively on Palestinians’ distress and apparently ignoring history. CAMERA’s Van Zile, who attended last month’s conference, noted that nowhere in the pro-Palestinian evangelical narrative is there any account of Jewish persecution. “I’ve heard moving testimony about Palestinian suffering. But they don’t acknowledge Muslim anti-Semitism. They don’t talk about Palestinian leadership, or how it’s abused the Palestinian community. There’s no account of Hamas in their story about Israel.”

********

John Hagee of the rabid Zionist Christians United for Israel, trying to drag the US into a war with Iran:

Angry, Paranoid and Sporting a Fu Manchu: A Triumphant Terry Jones Does Dearborn

Posted in Loon Pastors with tags , , , , , , , , on April 7, 2012 by loonwatch

Terry Jones

Terry Jones is a crackpot “Reverand” who gained infamy by publicly burning the Qur’an.

Last year Jones was denied a permit to protest on Good Friday in front of the Islamic Center of America in Dearborn, Michigan, prompting howls of protest all across the looniverse. Anti-Muslim bigots accused the court of subverting the US Constitution and caving in to Sharia.

Dearborn is home to America’s largest Muslim community, and a model of interfaith tolerance. Jews, Christians, and Muslims responded to Jones’ hateful message by holding their own rally and carrying a banner that read:

“We, as caring neighbors in southeastern Michigan, stand together in condemning the actions of those who spew hate and fear, and who misuse and desecrate holy books of faith.”

Before and during the rally, hundreds of people signed a 50-foot-long banner that exhorted them to oppose Jones and remember the best parts of their faith. Jones was briefly jailed and banned from returning to the mosque for three years.

This year, a Michigan judge overturned the decision to ban Jones, and the “Reverend,” dressed in a dapper black leather ensemble and sporting a carefully trimmed fu manchu, delivered an impassioned speech about the grave danger Islam poses to America–to all 20 of his supporters.

Florida pastor at Dearborn protest: ‘Islam has one goal — that is world domination’

By Niraj Warikoo, Detroit Free Press

Speaking today in front of the biggest mosque in Michigan, the Florida pastor known for burning the Quran blasted Islam and called upon Americans to take back their country.

Islam has one goal — that is world domination,” said Terry Jones, wearing sunglasses, jeans and a faded black-leather jacket. “It’s time to stand up.”

Holding signs in English and Arabic that read “I Will Not Submit,” about 20 supporters cheered as Jones and his assistant spoke outside the Islamic Center of America, a Dearborn mosque that sits off Ford Road. Framed by the mosque’s minarets, Jones said he’s concerned that the growth of the Muslim population in metro Detroit and the U.S. will lead to the oppression of non-Muslims.

“Muslims, no matter they go around the world … they push their agenda on the society,” said Jones. “We must take back America.”

The mosque was placed on lockdown Saturday afternoon, with about 30 police cars from Detroit, Dearborn, Wayne County and Michigan surrounding the complex, which also includes several churches. Traffic in and out was prevented, disappointing some worshippers who were not aware of Jones’ rally and couldn’t access the mosque. During the anti-Muslim rally, an electronic billboard with the Islamic Center read: “Happy Easter.”

About 500 feet from Jones was a group of counter-protesters, some of whom were with an activist organization, By Any Means Necessary (BAMN). Police prevented them from approaching the grassy area in front of the mosque where Jones spoke. Muslim leaders had urged people not to attend the counter-protest. Unlike Jones’ last two visits to Dearborn, this one was uneventful with no arrests and no street clashes.

Jones said during his talk that he’s also concerned about the free speech rights of Americans. Over the past year, Jones has battled the City of Dearborn for the right to speak in front of the mosque. Last year, a Dearborn judge threw him briefly in jail and ordered him to stay away from the mosque for three years. That decision was later overturned by a Detroit judge.

Last month, the city asked Jones to sign a legal agreement before protesting. Jones then filed a lawsuit, prompting a Detroit federal judge to rule Thursday in his favor. Jones was represented for free in his battles with the city by the Ann Arbor-based Thomas More Law Center, a conservative Christian group established by Domino’s Pizza founder Tom Monaghan.

During the talk, some supporters of Jones made derogatory remarks and jokes about Muslims. When Jones criticized Rev. Al Sharpton and Rev. Jesse Jackson during his speech, one supporter blurted out: “Throw ‘em in the pit with the Muslims.”

After the rally, supporters of Jones posed for photos in front of the mosque.

A crew from Real Catholic TV, a media outlet based in Ferndale that’s owned by a member of Opus Dei, was at the rally. Its host, Michael Voris, said he supports Jones’ right to free speech and some of his views. Jones, who was a pastor in Germany, said Europe is increasingly under the sway of Islamic law.

“There are whole sections of London ruled by sharia law,” Voris said. “I think there’s the potential to happen in the U.S. what has happened — and is happening — in Europe.”

Tim Voss, 64, of Wayne, said he came Saturday to support Jones because “sharia law is the most dangerous thing. We can’t have it in this country.”

Down the road, counter-protester Laura Dennis, 38, of Detroit, held up a sign that read: “God Loves Us All.”

Speaking about Jones, Dennis said: “This guy’s just a hate monger, no different from the Klan or a Nazi.”

Did a Spanish Nun Steal Thousands of Newborns?

Posted in Loon Pastors, Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , on April 4, 2012 by loonwatch

Thousands of Spanish mothers have similar stories of stolen children. (AFP/Getty Images) (ODD ANDERSEN/AFP/Getty Images)

Thousands of Spanish mothers have similar stories of stolen children. (AFP/Getty Images) (ODD ANDERSEN/AFP/Getty Images)

Where is the outrage and outcry from the hate peddlers?

Thousands of newborns have allegedly been stolen from their parents by Sister Maria Gómez Valbuena, obstensibly for good, wholesome “Christian” motivations, making a pretty penny in the process.

Please see today’s article, as well: Islamophobia and Adoption.

Did a Spanish nun steal thousands of newborns?

BARCELONA, Spain — “Where is my baby?” Luisa Torres wondered after waking up from general anesthesia on March 31, 1982.

“Your baby is dead,” Sister Maria Gómez Valbuena told her as she lay in bed at the Santa Cristina Maternity Hospital in Madrid. “You gave birth to nothing,” the nun said.

It was a lie, with consequences that would span almost three decades.

Torres alleges that her daughter was stolen at birth by a mafia of nuns, doctors and other officials who sold children for profit.

Thousands of Spanish mothers recount similar stories. Enrique Vila, a Barcelona lawyer who specializes in adoptions, estimates there might be as many as 300,000 cases, about 15 percent of total adoptions that took place in Spain between 1960 and 1989.

Since GlobalPost first wrote about the spate of stolen babies last year, the number of cases being handled by Spanish prosecutors has jumped from 900 to 1,500.

A trickle of complaints began decades ago, but turned into a flood two years ago. But the nun, now in her 80s and known as Sister Maria, is the first to be indicted in the scandal since complaints began to pour in two years ago. Her trial begins today, April 3.

About one-quarter of the cases have been dismissed due to a lack of documents or other evidence, which is often hard to provide when decades-old birth certificates have been forged, or when the parents and children haven’t yet found each other.

Torres and her daughter are just one of a dozen who have, and it is their reunion that has led to the first indictment.

‘Like a horror film’

Like hundreds of mothers who believe their babies had been stolen at Santa Cristina Maternity Hospital, Torres met Sister Maria, a social worker, in her fifth month of pregnancy after seeing an ad in a magazine offering help for expectant mothers in need.

“It said she had access to nurseries and foster homes, and that she would take care of the children until we had enough resources to take care of them by ourselves,” Torres recalled. “I went to see her with my mom and she was very nice — we didn’t suspect anything.” She said she was given a “special card” to show at the hospital when going into labor.

But it became “like a horror film,” she added.

After first saying that the baby girl was dead, Sister Maria changed her story, Torres said. The nun admitted that the child was alive, and told the 24-year-old woman that she would give the child up for adoption to a French family. She implied that Torres, who had given birth out of wedlock, would be an unfit mother.

And she told Torres, who wanted to name her child Sheila, that such a name was not “Christian,” and that the baby girl would be called Maria, “after herself.”

Torres said she became increasingly hysterical, and began cursing at the nun. She climbed from her bed and stumbled to the neo-natal unit. There, one girl lay in an incubator with a name tag on her crib: Maria.

“You saw nothing,” the nun told her. Sister Maria dragged Torres back to her room and threw her onto her bed, Torres said. “I will report you to the authorities as an adulteress and you will go to jail. Then I will also take away your 2-year-old daughter,” said Sister Maria, according to Torres.

Torres says she was terrified. Inés, her first child, was the result of a failed marriage. Separated from her husband, she started a new relationship, but that man left her once she became pregnant. In a country that was still waking up from a 40-year dictatorship and was extremely socially conservative, Torres didn’t know that anti-adultery laws had already been repealed in 1978.

Her new child had been born slightly premature, at eight months, and had some health problems. The infant was taken to another floor to receive special care, and Torres wasn’t allowed to visit her because she had never been officially identified as the child’s mother. She lost track of her baby, and was too afraid to approach Sister Maria again.

A devastated Torres left the hospital nine days later “with empty arms,” and the pacifier and baby blanket she had bought for her baby Sheila. She kept them for almost three decades, never losing hope that she could one day give them to her.

Obsessed for three decades

Months before Torres’ daughter was born, Alejandro Alcalde and his wife learned they could not have children and began considering adoption. But the adoption process was difficult. They had almost lost hope until they were told by Madrid’s regional council, which handled adoptions, to contact a woman named Sister Maria.

The adoptive parents paid 200,000 pesetas for Maria Pilar — the equivalent of about $6,600 today. The nun told them it was for hospital costs and for the mother to stay at a home after the birth. They arranged everything at a public hospital, which was why Alejandro Alcalde says they were never suspicious.

Maria Pilar Alcalde, now 30, recounts how she had looked for her biological mother since she was 15 years old, when her adoptive parents divorced.

“I spent nights crying, looking at my adoption documents over and over, trying to see a way to find my mother,” said Maria Pilar, who says she had a very “lonely childhood.” She described her adoptive mother as “a very dry woman” and said that her adoptive relatives never made her part of the family.

“I always missed that love in families,” she said. “When I was a teenager, I used to wonder: ‘How will my real family be?’”

After her parents’ divorce, Maria Pilar lived with her adoptive father, who helped her hunt for her mother. He spent a fortune on detectives and lawyers. Seven years ago, they appeared together on El Diario TV talk show, where they told Maria Pilar’s story. But it resulted in no leads.

“If my father thought he had been involved in anything illegal, he would have never helped so much in my search,” Maria Pilar said. Her adoptive mother, with whom she has a distant relationship, never liked the fact that Maria Pilar wanted to look for her biological parents.

At the beginning of their search, Maria Pilar and her father even went to see Sister Maria, who had kept in touch with the adoptive parents over the years. “I swore to God in front of your mother that I would never reveal her identity,” she told Maria Pilar. “She was probably a drug addict or a prostitute, it would only hurt you to find her.”

Ten miles away, Torres mourned her little girl.

“I was obsessed for 30 years…I used to stare at babies on the street when [my daughter] would still have been a baby, at young couples when she was still a teenager…sadness was always with me, especially on her birthdays,” Torres recalls, shaken at the memories.

Afraid that her other daughter would be taken away from her, Torres didn’t do much for years. She also didn’t know where to begin looking. According to Spanish privacy laws, parents who give their children up for adoption don’t have the right to get information about their whereabouts or new identities.

A year-and-a-half ago, when other “stolen babies” cases started appearing in the media, Torres says her determination to find her missing child was renewed. Her oldest daughter, Inés, eventually told the story to Spanish daily El Mundo.

Soon after the story appeared, a journalist at Antena 3 recalled the appearance of Alejandro and Maria Pilar on El Diario show seven years before, and realized that Maria Pilar and Torres’ stories matched. She dug into the matter. Eventually, she managed to contact both parties.

An “unbelievable” moment

On June 30, 2011, Torres, 54, and Maria Pilar, were brought on El Diario TV show after having had their DNA tested. They had been at the studio the entire day prior to the appearance, being interviewed separately, never crossing paths. They sat tense on the set until the TV host read out the result of their DNA test results on air: It was a match.

As they threw themselves at each other, Torres repeatedly murmured through tears, “I love you, forgive me.” Her daughter, sobbing, replied: “I have nothing to forgive.”

Many months later, they recall that pivotal moment as if it were yesterday.

“I almost fainted, my legs buckled. …It was a very beautiful and happy day, but too intense,” Torres said.

“I just threw myself in her arms,” said Maria Pilar. “I still cannot believe it.”

Still, settling into the reunion has taken time.

“I look at my mother and at the physical warmth she has with my sisters, and I wish it could be the same [closeness and naturalness] with me,” said Maria Pilar, who says it is still “strange” for them to be around each other.

Even so, she says she now has a “mom,” two “wonderful” half-sisters, two nephews and “a loving grandmother” she is getting to know and love.

Day of reckoning

Hundreds of women have named Sister Maria as the woman involved in the theft of their babies. The nun dealt with about 3,000 adoptions per year between 1967 and 1983, says Guillermo Peñas, the lawyer who represents Torres and Maria Pilar as well as 50 other families as plaintiffs.

Her name was first linked to the theft of babies in 1982, when investigative magazine Interviú uncovered several cases at another clinic in Madrid where Sister Maria used to work. Authorities closed the clinic down, but no one was prosecuted then.

The reunion of Torres and Maria Pilar offers the first mother-and-child pair who can accuse an alleged abductor, and have made it possible to indict the nun. She is currently charged with illegal detention, fraudulently faking another’s pregnancy, forgery of public and private documents, threatening behavior and coercion, according to Peñas.

So far, Sister Maria hasn’t responded to the prosecutor’s charges in court. GlobalPost’s attempts to reach Sister Maria for a comment were unsuccessful.
The public prosecutor’s office declined to comment on the case.

Torres and Maria Pilar will first appear in front of the judge on April 3.

“This is a very important step because it [is taking on the Church] – [Sister Maria] represents the Church, and that is sacred in Spain,” said Flor Diaz, one of the representatives of SOS Stolen Babies, a support organization that Torres also belongs to.

Both Maria Pilar and Torres say that no matter what happens in the courts, they will never be able to recover the 30 years they lost. “I want that nun to pay for all the pain she has caused,” said Torres.

But at her age, it is unlikely that Sister Maria will end up behind bars.

“There have to be many more people involved,” said Peñas. “It is a matter of common sense to realize that a social worker does not have enough legal authority to do whatever she wants — she had superiors and the hospital director had to authorize the adoptions in the end.”

“But Sister Maria is the only thread we have to untangle the tangled web,” he added.

Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s newly installed minister of justice, Alberto Ruiz-Gallardón, said last week that resolving these cases “will be a priority” for his department, although advocates in the case are skeptical.

“For the government, this is like holding a screaming child,” said Peñas. “If it is held that civil authorities were in the end responsible, the state will have to compensate [thousands of families], and these are not the best times for that.”

But most of these mothers and their children, like Maria Pilar and Torres, say they don’t want any money, just to find their loved ones and recover the lost time.

As they work on that, Maria Pilar keeps the still-new pacifier and the baby blanket on her bed. In the days that followed her first meeting with her mother, she says she would fall asleep “like a baby,” grabbing onto them.

While that phase has passed, Maria Pilar says she plans to get a tattoo with her mother’s name — her way to make sure that Torres is never far from her again.

Barth’s Notes: More Endorsements for “Islamic Antichrist” Theory

Posted in Loon Pastors with tags , , , , , , , on March 27, 2012 by loonwatch

joel-richardson_Shariah

Joel Richardson trying to make $$$ off of Islam and Muslims

Last time we checked in on the nutty Joel Richardson he was fear-mongering about the Muslamic “anti-Christ” alongside Zuhdi Jasser on Glenn Beck’s old TV show, looks like he is continuing such efforts:

More Endorsements for “Islamic Antichrist” Theory

(Barth’s Notes)

Joel Richardson (widely known as “Glenn Beck’s End-Times Prophet“) has a new book coming out in the autumn: Mideast Beast: The Scriptural Case For an Islamic Antichrist. One might have thought that the well would be dry by now, but the author of The Islamic Antichrist: The Shocking Truth about the Real Nature of the Beast (previously published in 2006 as Antichrist: Islam’s Awaited Messiah) has apparently managed to milk the subject further.

As before, the prophetic tome will be published by Joseph Farah’s WND Books, and Richardson’s website lists a number of endorsements: Chuck Missler of Koinonia House, who praises Richardson’s “sharp sword of diligent scholarship”; Walter C. Kaiser of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, who tells us there is “much to commend this argument for a final Islamic Empire”; Daniel Juster, Founding President of Union of Messianic Jewish Congregations and Director of Tikkun International, who advises that “prophecy teachers would do well to ask if he his not giving us a new way to look at the prophecies of the last days”; Joshua Lingel, adjunct professor of Christian apologetics to Islam at  Biola University, who judges that “Joel Richardson’s thesis cuts to the core of the issues at stake”; and, among others, Billy Humphrey, of the House of Prayer Atlanta Missions Base, who sees “a compelling argument for the Islamic Antichrist position”.

Missler is a veteran in the Bible “prophecy teacher” circuit, and he regularly takes partin events with WND‘s Jospeh Farah; Kaiser, by contrast, is an evangelical with a more scholarly reputation, and he has published in mainstream academic journals. Juster is a significant figure within Messianic Judaism; Lingel was featured on this blog recently when I discussed evangelical worries about “Chrislam”. The “House of Prayer Atlanta Missions Base” has a website here.

Richardson’s previous “Muslim Antichrist” books also come with blurbs; these are mostly by pastors and the owners of apocalyptic websites, along Phil Roberts, the then-president of Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (“this volume will immerse you in end times, Islamic style”). Both previous books were also graced with cover quotes from Robert Spencer. A number of endorsements are also listed on Richardson’s website, and include Walid Shoebat (blogged here) and Ergun Caner (blogged here).

However, Richardson is generous enough not to want the whole field to himself; he in turn recently endorsed a book by a certain Mark Davidson, entitled Hidden in Plain Sight: The Signposts of the Coming of the Antichrist Revealed.Davidson’s specialty appears to be the splicing together of Biblical symbolism with events of the past few years. Here’s a taste:

The First Signpost would certainly include the ending of the career of the rider on the white horse. That happened early on in America’s occupation of Iraq. Entering Iraq in March 2003 and toppling Saddam in April 2003, American forces finally captured him in December 2003.

Any end of the First Signpost would also include a withdrawal of the force used in Daniel 7 that made the lion stand on its hind legs and replaced its heart. Iraq, the former lion with wings, is now standing erect somewhat like a man, and indeed has a heart of a man, rather than that of a beast. That unnamed source of the force in Daniel 7 was the United States and its international coalition.

It should be noted, though, that not all Christian Right prophecy pundits are enthusiasts of the “Islamic Antichrist” theory – Hal Lindsey, who made his name by offering up a European Anti-Christ for 1970s evangelicals, reportedly complains that Richardson’s position is a “lie”. I suspect that 20 years from now Richardson will be pronouncing similar anathemas against prophecy books proving the existence of a Chinese Anti-Christ.

2006

1991

1988

1974

etc, etc…

Forward.com: Christians Called to Serve Jewish Settlers

Posted in Loon Pastors, Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 26, 2012 by loonwatch

Christians helping Jewish settlers cultivate stolen land

Evangelical Christians are heeding the call to help Jewish settlers occupying Palestinian land harvest  crops. They are doing so because the “Bible” says so.

So the Bible legitimates the confiscation of other people’s land, driving them out and then aiding the occupiers and initiators of violence in reaping the harvest from land that they stole?:

Christians Called To Serve Jewish Settlers

(Forward.com)

PSAGOT, WEST BANK — It is a typical, even stereotypical, West Bank settlement scene: bearded young men pruning vines while enthusing about the Chosen People’s God-given right to this region. But in this case it is Jesus, and not Jewish identity, that animates these tillers.

For years, Westerners have flocked to the Israeli-occupied West Bank to help Palestinians with their olive harvest, as part of left-wing activist groups like the International Solidarity Movement. Among other things, the activists seek to resist efforts by settlers to disrupt the Palestinians’ reaping.

Now, the settlers have international harvest help of their own. The young Christians working in the Psagot Winery’s vineyards near Ramallah in mid-March were members of HaYovel. Last year, this Tennessee-based evangelical ministry started a large-scale operation to bring volunteers to tend and harvest settler grapes. They attach epic importance to their work.

God’s Work: Volunteers come to the West Bank to further a Biblical mission.

NATHAN JEFFAY
God’s Work: Volunteers come to the West Bank to further a Biblical mission.

“When you see prophecy taking place, you have the option to do nothing or become a vessel to it,” said volunteer pruner Blake Smith, a 20-year-old farmer from Virginia.

HaYovel preaches the old-school ideology of Religious Zionist settlers with one innovation: a sacred role for Christians.

The group’s members believe that the establishment of the State of Israel, its subsequent conquering of East Jerusalem and the West Bank, and specifically the flourishing of agriculture in the occupied areas are fulfillments of biblical prophecies. Like many settlers, HaYovel cites a prophecy by Jeremiah that refers to the Samaria region of the West Bank: “Again you shall plant vines on the mountains of Samaria.” And like them, HaYovel believes that the settlement movement will help to bring the Messiah to Jerusalem — the only difference being that the volunteers anticipate a second coming.

But these Christians also focus on a prophecy rarely cited by settlers, who tend to place ideological value on using only avoda ivrit, or “Hebrew labor,” whenever possible. “And strangers shall stand and feed your flocks, and foreigners shall be your plowmen and your vine-dressers,” Isaiah prophesized to the Israelites.

Basing itself on this verse, HaYovel — which takes its name from the Bible’s twice-a-century agricultural jubilee — has made reverence of settlers into a central religious virtue.

“Being here, we just want to serve — and to bless the Jewish people in building up the land,” said Joshua Waller, a HaYovel ministry leader and one of the 11 children of Tommy Waller, the group’s founder and spiritual head. During a lunch break, a settler with yarmulke and sidelocks came to address volunteers. They keenly asked him to explain why the international community is wrong and the West Bank is not really occupied, and seemed prepared to accept what they were told. “We are not here to teach anything, just to learn,” Joshua Waller said shortly before the talk began.

To some of the volunteers, becoming settler laborers is a way of righting a historical Christian wrong. “This is a crazy time,” said Joe Trad Jr., a 23-year-old college dropout from Missouri. Over 2,000 years of contention, he said, “we saw Constantine and the Holocaust. Yet today, in this spot of the world, you have Christians and Jews for the first time with the same goal.”

The volunteers are a mix of people who, like Smith, had a mainstream Christian upbringing and were drawn to HaYovel out of curiosity; people from families that gave up the organized church to develop their own brand of religion, one they see as closer to Judaism, and some people who are emerging from personal crises.

Trad, a former alcoholic and cocaine addict, went through rehab and became a Christian two years ago. He described his volunteering as a way of giving thanks “for what the Lord has done for me in my life by freeing me from these addictions.”

Aaron Hood, a 21-year-old HaYovel staff employee, comes from a Tennessee family of 14 children that gave up on any organized church and started observing the New Testament and the Hebrew Bible according to its own understanding. The family observes Saturday, not Sunday, as a rest day.

Pastor Dennis Terry Introduces Rick Santorum: ‘We’re a Christian Nation; if You Don’t Like it, Get Out’

Posted in Loon Pastors, Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on March 20, 2012 by loonwatch

Rev. Dennis Terry

Rev. Dennis Terry

The circus that is known as the GOP presidential primary is still undecided, and may likely remain that way up until the Republican convention. Rick Santorum has been one of the surprising success stories in this race, going from polling at 2% early on to now emerging as the greatest challenge to Mitt Romney.

This is shocking because many considered it a bygone conclusion that Santorum was an outlier, someone so far to the right that there was no way that he would have a chance with the mainstream in the Republican party.

Santorum’s problematic stances range from birth control and abortion to his interventionist position on Iran. When it comes to Muslims it is clear that he is a bigoted Islamophobe. He was featured as a regular speaker in David Horowitz’s “Islamofascism week” and also supports profiling Muslims.

Santorum was featured recently on Loonwatch for illustrating why the “Christian religious right” is one of the greatest threats to our nation, This is Why Radical Christians Are the Greatest Threat to the US Constitution.

Now here he is being introduced by Rev. Dennis Terry, delivering an unequivocal message that America is a Christian nation and implying that all who don’t agree with that can “get out.” For some reason I imagine Santorum, who believes the Church should have a role in the operation of the government, probably wholeheartedly supports such a proposition:

Pastor Dennis Terry Introduces Rick Santorum, Tells Non-Christians And Liberals To Get Out (VIDEO)


“I don’t care what the liberals say, I don’t care what the naysayers say, this nation was founded as a Christian nation…There is only one God and his name is Jesus. I’m tired of people telling me that I can’t say those words.. Listen to me, If you don’t love America, If you don’t like the way we do things I have one thing to say – GET OUT. We don’t worship Buddha, we don’t worship Mohammad, we don’t worship Allah, we worship God, we worship God’s son Jesus Christ.”

In a revival type speech, Greenwell Springs Baptist Church pastor Rev. Dennis Terry introduced Family Research Council president Tony Perkins and 2012 Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

Christians, according to Rev. Terry, are the conscience of the state and even the key to turning the economy around. The pastor offered some pointed words about abortion, gay marriage, and prayer in schools, shouting about ‘sexual perversion’ and putting God back in Washington, D.C., as Senator Santorum was seen clapping, if not cheering, in the background.

“I know what’s in his heart. It’s the fact that he’s a Christian,” said Vickie Raabe, a 69-year-old Baptist who told the Washington Post she would be voting for Santorum in 2012. Evangelicals have become Sen. Rick Santorum’s major source of support in the 2012 election as they turn out in record numbers for the Catholic candidate.

But as then Presidential hopefuls Senator Barack Obama, Gov. Sarah Palin, and Senator John McCain found out, endorsement from pastors can be a double edge sword.

At the end of the evening Rev. Terry prayed over the presidential hopeful asking for God’s will to be done in the upcoming election intoning: “God, have favor on Rick Santorum.”

European “Counterjihad Activists” Making Links with Christian Right

Posted in Loon Pastors with tags , , , , , , , , on March 16, 2012 by loonwatch

Hate groups solidifying their links:

European “Counterjihad Activists” Making Links with Christian Right

by Richard Bartholomew (Barth’s Notes)

The British Freedom Party reports:

On Friday March 9 a media team from the Christian Action Network came to London to conduct interviews with various Counterjihad activists about the spread of sharia and the Islamization of Europe. Below is their interview with Paul Weston, the Chairman of the British Freedom Party.

The CAN interview with Tommy Robinson was posted yesterday at Gates of ViennaElisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff will be up next.

CAN previously interviewed English Defence League members in 2009, during a visit to the UK with Robert Spencer. CAN used the opportunity to invite EDL activists to a private dinner with Spencer and Douglas Murray, to the embarrassment of the two men; Murray’s Centre for Social Cohesion sent me a message asking me to clarify that “CAN asked Douglas to do an interview with them – upon seeing the presence of the EDL at the CAN discussion he refused to deal with them and left the venue.”

CAN was primarily known for anti-gay activism prior to taking an interest in Islam; CAN’s president, Martin Mawyer, has a history of virulent statements on the subject (in particular, in 1997 he denounced Ellen DeGeneres’ “FILTHY LESBIAN LIFESTYLE”), which Spencer initially dismissed in 2009 as “not jihad-related”. However, in 2010 Mawyer’s views were reported in Dutch media, prompting Geert Wilders to withdraw from the Los Angeles premiere of a CAN documentary entitled Islam Rising: Geert Wilders’ Warning to the West. The premiere, which had been organised by Pamela Geller and Spencer, was quickly cancelled, and Spencer affected to be shocked at the discovery of Mawyer’s “ugly, vitriolic… hysterical, self-righteous, abusive rhetoric”.

The British Freedom Party and the EDL now have several links with Christian Right activists. Weston and Stephen Lennon (“Tommy Robinson”) are regular guests on Michael Coren’s Arena TV show; Coren is a member of the more intellectual end of the Catholic right, and, like Mawyer, he is particularly known for his objections to homosexuality. Weston and Lennon are also friendly with the Tennessee Freedom Coalition’s Andy Miller (the TFC was in the news recently after arranging for local police to be trained in Islam at an evangelical church in Murfreesboro; the group alsohas links with the British organisation Christian Concern).

Sabaditsch-Wolff, meanwhile, was recently invested as a Dame of “the Knights of Malta — The Ecumenical Order”, by Nicholas Papanicolaou and none  other than Gen William “Jerry” Boykin; the two men are, respectively, the Order’s “Grand Master” and “Grand Chancellor”. Both men are close to the evangelist Rick Joyner, who is a “Deputy Member of the Supreme Council”. Joyner, who receives messages from God about how an earthquake will soon destroy the west coast of the USA, claims that he was introduced to the Order by an “Austrian baron”, and that his books were responsible for a “spiritual renewal” in the Order.

(Hat tip: EDL News)

CBN’s Erick Stakelbeck Mixes ‘Terrorism Analysis’ with Biblical Prophecy

Posted in Loon Pastors with tags , , , , , , , , , , on March 15, 2012 by loonwatch

Erick Stakelbeck’s Biblical worldview muddies his so-called “terrorism-analysis.”

CBN’s Erick Stakelbeck Mixes ‘Terrorism Analysis’ with Biblical Prophecy

Submitted by Brian Tashman on Mon, 03/12/2012 – 5:15pm (RightWingWatch)

It has been almost-comical to see how the Christian Broadcasting Network’s Erick Stakelbeck went from working as a sports reporter to a “terrorism analyst” heralded by Religious Right and anti-Muslim groups, which never seem to question his complete lack of credentials and expertise. But Stakelbeck knows how to please a crowd with his vehement diatribes against Muslims and progressives, warning that they are both have a “shared hatred for this country.”

Stakelbeck’s “expert analysis” even includes biblical prophecy, as he recently told Marcus and Joni Lamb on Celebration that he knows the Syrian civil war will end with the destruction of Damascus because the Bible tells him so in Isaiah 17:1. “I believe right now we are seeing the seeds laid for the eventual destruction of Damascus,” Stakelbeck says. “The Bible says it’s going to happen, and it’s going to happen.”

Stakelbeck went on to claim that Islamic terrorists had infiltrated cities all over the United States, including Dearborn, Michigan, which he referred to as a “radical Islamic enclave” and “Dearbornistan.” This may come as a surprise to Dearborn’s Catholic mayor, John O’Reilly, Jr., who called claims that Dearborn is beheld to Sharia law “absurd” and notes that only a minority of Dearborn’s population are Muslims, who have been in Dearborn for ninety years. Earlier this year, a 63 year old man was caught traveling with explosives with the intention of blowing up a mosque in Dearborn.

He later said that while he was in Israel God spoke to him and told him to defend Israel, saying, “I know why I’m here on this earth.”

Watch:

Bigots Resume Offensive against Murfreesboro Islamic Center

Posted in Loon Pastors, Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , on March 4, 2012 by loonwatch

Islamic Center of Murfreesboro

Islamic Center of Murfreesboro

Bigots resume offensive against Murfreesboro Islamic Center 

MURFREESBORO — With an April 25 court hearing drawing near in the fight over mosque construction here, foes of the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro’s plans are taking the battle regional.

But while the court issue next month will focus on whether Rutherford County provided ample public notice for the 2010 meeting in which county planners approved the mosque site plan, opponents remain focused on a religious conflict, sounding a warning about the perceived spread of Islam and the damage they believe it will do to American society.

“This is not a Muslim-bashing deal. I don’t have any problem with Muslims. It’s Islam that’s causing it,” Kingdom Ministries pastor Darrel Whaley told a crowd of about 70 people last Tuesday at the Cannon County Senior Citizen Center.

Whaley warned the group that Woodbury and Cannon County are part of the area the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro plans to cover, based on a 2010 posting on the ICM’s website. It’s one of several counties surrounding Rutherford where Whaley said he hopes to deliver the message.

The minister told the crowd he was glad some Muslims felt free enough to attend the event and noted that when he preaches each Sunday at his Walter Hill church, not everyone is going to agree. “They’ve got that right,” he said.

Yet when the former president of the ICM tried to address the crowd to refute “misconceptions” later in the event following presentations by attorneys Joe Brandon and Tom Smith, Whaley refused to let him speak.

“I came here to say open our hearts to each other,” Ahmed Elsayed said, turning to the audience and pleading for the opportunity to speak. “We want to have mutual respect.”

One man in the audience argued that he had served in the military to help maintain the right to free speech and that Elsayed should be allowed to speak.

Whaley’s presentation in Woodbury Tuesday quickly shifted into a Sunday sermon, in which he told the audience, “There are no other gods with the offer of heaven. It is his will that everyone be saved. God so loved the world that he gave his son – for Muslims … for atheists. To deny his truth is to be willfully ignorant or intellectually dishonest.”

But moments after saying, “God loves Muslims just as much as anyone in the room,” the minister outlined a seven-step plan by Islam to dominate the world, starting with the 9/11 attack, followed by the destabilization of secular Muslim governments, the toppling of moderate Muslim regimes, a pending confrontation with the West and a declaration of total domination by 2020. “Their goal is to turn our nation into an Islamic republic,” he said.

Daily News Journal, 3 March 2012

Franklin Graham Unsure of Obama’s Christian Bonafides, Speculates on Obama’s Scary “Muslimness”

Posted in Loon Pastors, Loon People, Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 21, 2012 by loonwatch

Graham still up to his old lies and fearmongering:

Franklin Graham Calls Obama’s Religious Beliefs Into Question

http://www.5min.com/Video/Franklin-Graham-on-Morning-Joe-517277975
Evangelist Franklin Graham called President Barack Obama’s religious views into question on Tuesday, stating that he does not know for sure if Obama is a Christian.

Graham, who is the son of Billy Graham and the CEO of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” that Obama “has said he’s a Christian, so I just have to assume that he is.”

“All I know is I’m a sinner, and God has forgiven me of my sins… you have to ask every person,” he said about whether he could say for sure that Obama is indeed of the Christian faith.

However, when asked about GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum’s religion, Graham gave a much more concrete answer.

“I think so,” Graham said when asked if he believes Santorum is a Christian. “His values are so clear on moral issues. No question about it… I think he’s a man of faith.”

MSNBC’s panelists questioned the reverend’s double standard, but Graham continued to draw distinctions between the candidates on the issue of faith. On Mitt Romney, Graham was again evasive, stating that “most Christians would not recognize Mormonism as part of the Christian faith.”

But Graham was more willing to label Newt Gingrich’s faith. “Newt’s been married several times… but he could make a good candidate,” Graham said. “I think Newt is a Christian. At least he told me he is.”

Later in the segment, Graham also said he could not be sure that Obama was not a Muslim.

“All I know is under Obama, President Obama, the Muslims of the world, he seems to be more concerned about them than the Christians that are being murdered in the Muslim countries,” he said.

He continued, ”Islam sees him as a son of Islam… I can’t say categorically that [Obama is not Muslim] because Islam has gotten a free pass under Obama.”

Graham drew the criticism of the White House last spring when he suggested in an interview with ABC that Obama had not been born in the United States.

During that same interview, Graham also questioned whether Obama’s actions and values matched up with his identification as a Christian.

“Now he has told me that he is a Christian. But the debate comes, what is a Christian?” Graham said of Obama. “For him, going to church means he’s a Christian. For me, the definition of a Christian is whether we have given our life to Christ and are following him in faith and we have trusted him as our lord and savior.”

Watch Graham’s full interview on MSNBC:
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/32545640

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Gov. Rick Perry’s Friend Bryan Fischer Doubles Down, Demands Muslim Immigrants Convert to Christianity

Posted in Loon Pastors with tags , , , , , , , on February 17, 2012 by loonwatch

(H/T: BA)

Fischer Doubles Down, Demands Muslim Immigrants Convert to Christianity

Early last year American Family Association spokesman Bryan Fischer posted a column arguing that a “sensible and sane immigration policy” would model “ancient Israel” and require every immigrant to “convert to Christianity.” Muslim immigrants in particular would be required to “drop his Islam and his Qur’an at Ellis Island.” But in what has becoming a frequent occurrence, Fischer later deleted both of the sentences, among other sentences, and altered the article to make it a tad less inflammatory.

But today on Focal Point, Fischer repeated his claim that Muslims should “convert to Christianity” in order to become American citizens, saying that immigrants must “got to embrace your God, they’ve got to embrace your faith.”

Bishop Against Greek Parliament’s Mosque Building Bill

Posted in Loon Pastors with tags , , , , , , , on January 2, 2012 by loonwatch

According tot he Bishop Seraphim of Piraeus, it is anti-Christian to build a mosque. (via. Islamophobia-Watch)

Bishop against Greek parliament’s mosque building bill

According to the Greek press, Greek Orthodox Bishop Metropolitan Seraphim of Piraeus appealed to the Council of State to withdraw a Greek bill that would allow the building of a mosque in the capital city, Athens.

Known for his far-right views, Seraphim described the bill as an anti-Christian move and a disrespect to Christian martyrs, although it is billed as democratic move.

In the previous years, there were talks of building a mosque in Athens. However, no steps were taken as the previous governments’ ministers were mainly right-wingers.

This year a bill which asked for an old building in the Votanikos region of Athens to be converted into a place of worship for Muslims passed through the Greek parliament.

Today’s Zaman, 29 December 2011

700 Club Features Story Of Phony Ex-Terrorist

Posted in Loon Pastors, Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , on November 29, 2011 by loonwatch

700 Club Features Story Of Phony Ex-Terrorist

(Right Wing News)

If Pat Robertson’s CBN News wants to be treated as a credible news source, it probably should stop elevating the story of Kamal Saleem.

Saleem, who was also prominently featured in The Call: Detroit – where he urged other Muslims to convert to Christianity – and told rally attendees that he is the descended of the “Grand Wazir of Islam.” However, the title is not found anywhere in Islam. While preparing for The Call:Detroit, Saleem said that President Obama planned “to break down Article 6” of the Constitution in order to enforce “Islamic law,” warning “if he breaks this, the Sharia law will be supreme in America.”

An investigation by CNN found that Saleem is one of a handful of “fundamentalist Christians posing as ex-terrorists,” and a Middle East studies professor at the conservative Calvin College said his story “is not verifiable and without it he’s no different from other fundamentalist preachers.” Howard even wrote a review of Saleem’s book, which he called “obsessively, sadistically violent,” highlighting Saleem’s many contradictions in his backstory and his blatant and bizarre misrepresentations of Islam, saying, “Suffice it to say that if the subject were Jews, this book could not have been published.” Howard even points out that Focus on the Family, a former employer of Saleem, even had doubts about Saleem’s conversion story.

Haroon Moghul of Religion Dispatches also points out inconsistencies in his story of working for rival Palestinian secular and Islamist groups simultaneously and his claim that as a Muslim he was “allergic to Jesus,” even though Muslims consider Jesus the Messiah.

Why would CBN News bolster such a clear fabricator?

CNN notes that “Saleem, whose real name is Khodor Shami, worked for Pat Robertson’s Christian Broadcasting Network for sixteen years.”

On Friday, CBN’s The 700 Club featured a story on Saleem where he discussed how he tried “to wage Cultural Jihad” in the Bible Belt:
http://www.cbn.com/media/player/index.aspx?s=/vod/AL32v1_WS&WT.mc_id=EmbedPlayer

Kamal was seven when his parents sent him to Muslim training camps to learn to use weapons and engage and kill the enemy. The boys were also taught another, more subtle form of warfare…

“We were training for what’s called, ‘Culture Jihad,’ which is shifting cultures. Culture Jihad is unlike the sword, unlike the rifle. It is the Jihad that will come into your world.”

By his 20s, Kamal was chosen to wage Cultural Jihad on America.

“In Islam, liberty, freedom, monarchy, all these are idols and must be brought down. So the liberty that you have in United States of America is anti-Islam, so America must be changed. So I moved to the ‘Bible Belt’ specifically. The Bible Belt was the strongest of the strongest. That’s where the stout Christians are, and I want to take on the best of the best, because I considered myself as the sword of Islam. I thought, ‘I’m anointed. I’m unique. I’m selected. I’m coming to a country and a culture to change it. I have the power of Allah with me.’”

Pastor Says Yoga Is ‘Demonic’; Warns Christians To Reject It

Posted in Loon Pastors with tags , , , , , , , , on November 20, 2011 by loonwatch
Yoga_Devil“Your Yoga Instructor For Eternity”

(via. What If they were Muslim?)

This story reminds us here at “What If” of the Malaysian Fatwa against yoga and the Islamophobes who rallied against it. Robert Spencer’s writers proclaimed:
“Why should we look for other alternatives to exercise and search for peace? Yoga could cause (Muslims) to stray from their faith because its movements are according to the style and traditions of Hinduism.”
Will Spencer and his cronies repeat the same thing in a Christian context?

Pastor Says Yoga Is ‘Demonic’; Warns Christians To Reject It

In his blog, Pastor Mark Driscoll from the Mars Hill Church in Seattle, says that “yoga is a religious philosophy that is in direct opposition to Christianity”. Because of this, he believes that “yoga cannot be simply received by any Christian in good conscious”.

Say what?

Not that this is the first time we’ve heard such rubbish about the conflicts between yoga and religion, but for the last time, can someone please tell these people that yoga is not a religion?

But even if we did tell him this (and other people have), the good Pastor refuses to believe it. In fact, he says yoga is downright demonic and he compares it to being as bad as adultery–which is nothing but a huge stretch (pun intended):

There is nothing wrong with stretching, exercising, or regulating one’s stress through breathing. But when the tenets of yoga are included, it’s by definition a worship act to spirit beings other than the God of the Bible. By way of analogy, there is nothing inherently wrong with intimacy, sex, and pleasure. But when the tenets of adultery are included, it’s a sinfully idolatrous worship act. A faithful Christian can no more say they are practicing yoga for Jesus than they can say they are committing adultery for Jesus.

Pastor Mark goes on to say that we just don’t understand what yoga really is. To which I say, do you, Pastor? Have you ever tried it? Have you experienced the true goodness that can come to your mind, body and spirit when you start flowing in some of the awesome poses and vinyasas? Doubtful, because he believes that we simply cannot get down on our mats while “ignoring the religious aspects of the practice of yoga”.

Yes, some people choose to incorporate spirituality into their practice, which is completely fine. To each yogi, her own. But since when does spirituality equal religion? Can’t we just open our hearts and our minds to the possibility that we can express gratitude and thanks and creativity and acceptance without a particular religious belief being a part of that? I, for one, have never had a yoga teacher quote from the Bible or any other religious readings during class, but even if I did, I’m pretty sure I’d be OK with that.

Yet Pastor Mark still rejects the idea that we can grow spiritually without church. In fact, he says the only real way to do so is through Christianity.

Sigh.

I say we all get down on our mats today and send some hearty “OMs” to the good Pastor.

Photo: lululemonathletica.com

Terry Jones 2012: Pastor Who Burned Quran Running For President

Posted in Loon Pastors, Loon-at-large on November 1, 2011 by loonwatch

Remember Terry Jones, the mustachioed clown of a pastor who created a furor over burning copies of the Quran?  Mr. Jones has decided to throw his hat into the ring and run for President of the United States.  He will be running as a Republican (surprise, surprise) and laid out a seven point plan, which includes deporting 20 million illegal aliens.

Here is a report from the Huffington Post:

http://www.5min.com/Video/Quran-Burning-Pastor-Terry-Jones-Running-for-President-517189115
Many have scoffed at his announcement, but is he any less absurd a candidate than many other GOP contenders who are running on the anti-Muslim platform?  The Republican party is full of candidates trying to use Islamophobic rhetoric to woo right-wing voters.  These include hopefuls like Michele Bachmann, Newt Gingrich, and Herman Cain.  This article by Sheila Musaji on The American Muslim, entitled The GOP Has Declared War on American Muslims, is worth reading.

Maybe Herman Cain can run Terry Jones as his vice president.  Then, they can offer a great deal on burning Qurans: burn the first Quran for $9.99, next Quran is on us! 

Certainly, Terry Jones’ seven point proposal is more reasonable than Herman Cain’s 9/9/9 pizza plan.  In fact, one of Terry Jones’ seven points is to reduce military spending.  Number three in his seven point plan is:

Reduce military spending: All military on foreign soil should be brought back immediately and all future involvement of military on foreign soil should not be engaged until our country has become economically strong again. The security of our nation must be reexamined and our military spending must be cut by several billion dollars.

Is it possible that a right-wing uber-Islamophobe just said something more reasonable about foreign policy than most of the rest of the candidates, including Barack Obama himself?