ThereAreNoSunglasses

American Resistance To Empire

The Difference Between ISLAM and “Radical Islam”

Ulema’s stand

Dawn Editorial
It is also interesting to note that while both the JUI and JI have separately condemned suicide bombings — with some qualifiers thrown in to water down their statements — neither party has said outright that it is opposed to the Taliban. — Photo by AFP

Not many in Pakistan are in favour of militancy but our society as a whole is undeniably religious and conservative. Unlike the Taliban who wish to impose their views on others, most Pakistanis see religion as a matter of personal belief. But the strong undercurrent of faith that guides individual lives also gives religious leaders a great deal of clout. Believers rarely question their word because it comes from an ostensibly more knowledgeable authority. As such the imam of a mosque is in a position to shape public opinion on the neighbourhood level while religio-political leaders can influence what transpires on the national stage. The question here is: why aren’t the ulema of the country using the considerable means at their disposal to raise a united voice against the Taliban? Is there a possibility that they share some of the causes espoused by the militants?

Keep in mind that Thursday’s ulema conference, which deemed suicide attacks to be un-Islamic and also supported the ongoing military operation, was hosted by the government. It is bound to be seen as a state-sponsored event and as such lacks the authority that may be attached to a congregation of religious leaders who condemn terrorism without official prompting. Also take into account that the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam and Jamaat-i-Islami did not take part in the conference, for reasons that remain unclear. It is also interesting to note that while both the JUI and JI have separately condemned suicide bombings — with some qualifiers thrown in to water down their statements — neither party has said outright that it is opposed to the Taliban.

Why not? Do they have a problem with suicide attacks but not the Taliban? If so, they should have the courage to let the nation know where they stand, and for what reason. The ulema of this country have a role to play in the battle against the Taliban. Every Friday sermon, every statement by a religious leader, carries with it the potential to strengthen public resolve in what is going to be a long fight. Our religious leaders must make their positions known.

The Faithful Brave Certain Danger to Denounce Wahabbi Terrorists

[Here is the answer to this war and a peaceful resolution for all mankind--confront the pretenders who give faith a bad name.]

Taliban under fire at Raiwind gathering

Participants vow to make Pakistan cradle of peace

Monday, November 16, 2009
RAIWIND: Inayatullah Khan sits on a dusty rug and prepares to pray at Pakistan’s biggest religious gathering of 400,000 Muslims in Raiwind, cursing the Taliban for their unholy crusade against humanity.

Khan travelled all the way from South Waziristan to take part in the four-day event, one of the world’s largest Islamic gatherings, in Raiwind on the outskirts of Lahore.A resident of Kanigurram, a former Taliban hub that the military says it has captured during its ongoing five-week offensive in the northwest, Khan, 50, accused the Taliban of straying from the path of God and butchering Muslims.

“They call those who refuse to follow their brand of Islam infidels, not knowing they are inviting the wrath of Allah the Almighty by killing Muslims, which I call an unholy crusade,” Khan said.

A Muslim whose faith is important enough to make an arduous three-day journey and sleep in a tent for four days, Khan invited the Taliban “to join us in spreading Islam’s eternal message of love, affection and peace”. The Thursday-Sunday gathering in Raiwind is being held under tight security due to paced up attacks that have swept the country killing more than 2,500 people in two years.

Contingents of police guard the single-carriage road, lined by eucalyptus trees, that links Raiwind with Lahore.“Despite having to sleep under tents in cold and inhospitable weather, there is no let-up in our resolve to make this country a cradle of peace, a country free of suicide attacks and explosions,” Khan said.

Faced with near-daily attacks, concentrated most heavily in the northwest, many mourn the mounting civilian toll from bombings, often targeting market places, but lace their comments with pervasive anti-American fears.

“Our hearts bleed for the hundreds of innocent people who have lost their lives and our security officials who are being killed by the Taliban,” said Mohammad Farooq, a resident of Tank, where some of the tens of thousands displaced by fighting in South Waziristan have sought shelter.

“The Taliban are enemies of Islam and humanity and advance only an American and Indian agenda – to destabilise Pakistan,” said Farhan Hamad Khan, who had come from Dera Ismail Khan, where many other refugees are also living.

When the prayer leader gave the call to prayer, people rushed towards hundreds of temporary washrooms to make their ablutions.As Muhammad Azhar, an Islamabad-based chartered accountant, waited his turn, he remembered how Pakistan’s ‘icon of democracy’ Benazir Bhutto was assassinated in a gun and suicide attack in 2007.

“Her killers still roam around scot-free,” said the bearded Azhar. “No religion, including Islam, allows the killing of humans. We need to hold gatherings like this one and inculcate in our people a true spirit of Islam,” he added. The prayer leader in his Friday sermon addressed the same issue. “A stern punishment awaits all those who refuse to follow commandments of Allah the Almighty,” he said into a pin-drop silence among the avid masses.

Prayer for Mankind

[Despite the message to Muslims title, this message should apply to all religions.  The message is that brotherhood and sisterhood is universal and that all of us are equal in God's eyes.]

AN OPEN LETTER TO  MUSLIMS ONLY

S.A.Rehman
Dear Muslim Brothers and Sisters,

God forbid if any one of our near one and dear one is
killed then the killer is evil, a beast and what not
and should get penalty but if one among us kills
anybody then he is not evil and we start lying,
denying or even justifying the killing…. double
standards?

Being Muslims, many of our brothers and sisters are
not working for peace. They are misguided, mistaken
and spreading the virus of hatred and revenge through
telling deliberate lies, disinformation and false
accusations, which is resulting in death and miseries
for number of innocent people living around the world
at the hands of merciless KILLER MUSLIMS and also
bringing bad name to Mohammed (PBUH) who never killed
anyone in his life time.

Instead of teaching about Good & Evil, certain Radical
Muslim Clerics are only “Trading in Religion”. They
teach us about accusing, abusing and killing the
non-Muslims. They try to hypnotize us to Hate and Kill
the non-Muslims and brethren of other sects or be
killed and without using any common sense, we readily
believe in whatever is being said by these Hate
Mongers.  Actually, they are “Agents of Satan” who is
paying them heavily and in return they are cutting at
the very roots of the Ummah. Instead of “Mourning”
most of the Muslims are rejoicing on the brutal
killings of the non-combatant innocent civilians and
“The Murderers” have always been “Our Great Heroes”.

Before it is too late and the Curse Of God falls upon
us, we should use common sense, find out the TRUTH and
must change ourselves  to save Muslims from becoming
the most “Hated, Isolated, Discredited and Suspicious”
people in the world. We must start working for
promoting “Sectarian Harmony and Religious Tolerance”
in the society and should prove to the WORLD through
our deeds that Islam is not a religion of Zero
Tolerance and Mohammed (PBUH) teaches “Love & Peace”
and not Gangsterism, Terrorism, Barbarism, Extremism,
Sectarianism, Cruelty, Inhumanity and “Hatred &
Killing” of the innocent civilians.

Islam is a religion of peace. Islam teaches respect
and love for all even the animals. But many
narrow-minded Muslims have so far failed to learn
anything good from the teachings of Mohammed (PBUH)
who preaches love for the peoples of all religions. We
are far away from the basic principle of Islam i.e.
“Enjoining the people to do Good and forbidding them
from Doing Evil” and thus, possess no quality of the
civilized society. Unfortunately, many of us show Zero
Tolerance towards others and have wrongly learnt few
thing to be called as good Muslims and those are
“hate” the non-Muslims and “Accusing, Abusing and
Cursing” the non-Muslims.  …act of madness?

The killing of others in the name of religion is a
Sin. Can a FATHER ever teach his Children to be the
permanent Enemies of each other?

The time has come for us to stop readily believing in
whatever is being said, read and written by the LIARS
/ Hate Mongers. Unfortunately, some misguided-Muslims
believe that the Holy Koran and Holy Prophet (PBUH)
both have instructed Muslims that the opponents be
KILLED and that they are simply following the orders.
We should use our own common sense and only believe
which is logical, convincing and in the best interest
of the humanity.

Why do we hate others so much, may be they are better
humans then what we are. My feeling is that the
Muslims should unite to discredit and deactivate the
fringe mullahs (Preachers of Hate) who promise a quick
trip to paradise to people who have little and
sacrifice themselves with bombs strapped to their
bodies. If the mullahs (THE LIARS) thought that it
really was a way to paradise they would be strapping
bombs to themselves! Their followers are kept too
ignorant to see this for themselves and enlightened
Muslims should educate them. We must promote
understanding and peace. We are all watched by the
same God and need to help one another, not Hate and
Hurt.

Our contention is that the WORLD should resolve the
conflicts facing the Muslim World to stop the
terrorism. Unfortunately, all the disputes facing the
Muslim World are our self created. The root causes of
all the disputes are based on the Muslim Philosophy of
Hate against the non-Muslims. The Muslim literature,
teachings and preaching are spreading and injecting
this hatred in hearts and minds of the Muslims. Our
intolerant behavior is further proved by the root
causes of all the pending conflicts that we (Muslims)
cannot live side by side in peace with the
non-Muslims. All the disputes facing Muslim World can
be resolved easily, only if we (the Muslims) are able
to condemn the “Philosophy of Hate” created in us by
our past and present elders who have divided the
peoples of the world in the name of “Religion, Cast
and Creed”.

Fellow Muslims! if God is one and he loves mankind, we
should value each others life and strive to protect
each other than thinking that if we kill we shall have
reward. God looks at human beings not as belonging to
different religions, that is why the rain falls to
all, the sun shines to all and we all breathe the air
freely. We are all created or given life in the very
same way- whether Muslim, Christian, Hindu, Jew etc.
Let us learn to love each other sincerely.

The change of heart and mind is possible to achieve if
we keep up our relentless efforts for a violence free
and peaceful world. We need to preach love, kindness
and humanity with extremist devotion and mission. The
mullahs (THE LIARS) and the preachers of HATE must be
excommunicated at every level and we should stop
giving them donations as it is our money which is
being used by them to spread HATRED for killing of the
innocents.

We must also stop dividing the World into Muslim and
non-Muslim blocks. Our political leaders and religious
teachers must offer positive ideas. Without the
ability to imagine a better world, we cannot build
anything together. Tolerance of the beliefs of other
peoples in the world, warmth and friendship across
racial cultures MUST be the objective of all peace
loving people worldwide. What is being offered today
through religion is “Death, Destruction and
Sufferings”.

MY PRAYER FOR PEACE:

Merciful God, please give to peoples of the world, the
required wisdom and determination, to Forgive and
Forget the bitterness of the past and learn to live in
peace like brothers and sisters, by condemning the
divisions and hatreds created in us by our past and
present elders.
(Amen)

Please Read And Circulate this Message For Peace.
Thank you.

S.A.Rehman
Peace Activist
PAKISTAN

Wahabis are the problem with Islam

whether there is true islam or there is no true islam, this is another thing,

the matter that affects people is that that when some one jumps in your privacy and tells you that “please be ready to be killed because you are infidels” this is real problem,

whether people follow truth or not, this is their own business,
but no one has authority to come with sword in hand to kill them because they are infidels,
this is real problem,

and, wahabis do exactly that,
they pose themselves as the owner of the world, and owner of the whole people of the world,
this is real problem,

if, God has granted people with freedom,
who are wahabis to come, announce and kill them in the name of the same God ?
this is real problem.

Deoband is a town a hundred miles north of Delhi where a madrasa (religious school) was established there in May 30, 1866.

Just as Sikhs originated from Hinduism, but are not Hindus,
as same wahabis originated from sunnis, but are not sunnis,

The fundamentalist Deoband Dar-ul-Uloom brand of Islam inspired the Taliban,
The fundamentalist Deoband Dar-ul-Uloom brand of Islam inspired the Terrorism,

Most of the Taliban leadership attended Deobandi-Darul Uloom influenced seminaries in Pakistan,

Although the majority of the Islamic population is Sunni in Afghanistan and Pakistan, but the theologians who have pushed Pakistan towards Islamic Radicalism for decades, as well as the ones who were the founders of the Taliban, espoused Wahabi Darul Uloom based rhetoric and ideals,

Khaled Ahmed in his article ‘The Grand Deobandi Consensus’ published in The Friday Times of Pakistan, dated 4-10, February 2000 said:

‘The civil war in Afghanistan and the jehad in Kashmir have gradually veered to a Deobandi consensus.’ He also maintained that the Taliban of Mulla Umar, which enjoys popularity in Pakistan, was trained in the traditional Deobandi jurisprudence and that Harkat-ul- Ansar (Movement of Islamic warriors), a terrorist outfit in Kashmir is of Deobandi persuasion.

He also quoted John K. Cooley in his book Unholy Wars that ‘Mullah Umar and Osma bin Laden first met in 1989 in a Deobandi mosque, Banuri Masjid, in Karachi.”

Taliban Leadership educated in Pakistani Madrassas: In YEAR 1998:

Governor of Jalalabad and his Deputy is a student of Jami’ah Haqqaniah, Akora Khattak Peshawar,
Judge of Jalalabad High Court and its Qazi were both educated in another Madrassah in Peshawar,
Taliban UN Representative – Maulana Abdul Hakim is a student of Binori Town, Karachi,
Taliban ambassador in Islamabad, Muhammad M’asoom Afghani is a student of Dar-ul-Uloom Karachi,
Afghan Envoy in Karachi acquired religious education from Jamiah Hammadiah,

amazingly, those, who sing song of talibanization…talibanization…talibanization…twenty four hours a day, never ever said that terrorists production centers darul ulooms in karachi should immediately be shut down.

Israeli blockade risks Gaza cardiac patients’ lives

Medics: Israeli blockade risks Gaza cardiac patients’ lives

Ma’an News

7gaza-57135.jpg
September 7, 2009

Gaza – Ma’an – The lives of hundreds of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip will be put at risk if Israel does not allow the delivery of a spare part needed to repair an instrument used to treat cardiac patients, medical officials said on Monday.

The only one of its kind in the Gaza Strip, the device at the European Hospital in Khan Younis is required for cardiac catheterization, the insertion of a catheter into a chamber or vessel of the heart.

“One of the electronic panels of the cardiac catheterization machine has been out of order since the beginning of September. This is dangerous for hundreds of cardiac patients who are awaiting procedures,” said Dr Muhammad Habib, the director of the catheterization department at the European Hospital.

According to Habib, shipment of the new electronic panel from The Netherlands, where the machine was manufactured, will take more than a month.

He said that Israel has placed this spare part on the list of goods banned from the Gaza Strip as part of its ongoing blockade. He said the hospital has been waiting another spare part more than a month, and it has not arrived yet.

“We are in a real trouble as more than 400 patients are on the waiting list for cardiac catheterization. We can’t send them to Egypt or anywhere because of the siege, and many of them will be facing a life-threatening situation,” Dr Habib explained.

Israel imposed a strict blockade of the Gaza Strip in June 2007, trapping the territory’s 1.5 million residents inside and severely curtailing the quantity and types of goods allowed into the territory.

:: Article nr. 57691 sent on 07-sep-2009 18:59 ECT


Beyond Afghanistan: Dr. Martin Luthor King, “Time to Break Silence”

more about “A Time to Break Silence: By Rev. Mart…“, posted with vodpod

more about “A Time to Break Silence: By Rev. Mart…“, posted with vodpod

[Dr. King's speech about breaking the silence about his country's crimes in Vietnam would be just as timely if given today.  Afghanistan is our testimony to the world and to ourselves about the great crimes that drive our nation to expand its latest war, far beyond anything sold to the people, thrusting our criminal assault deep into the loins of Central Asia.  Rape on an international scale.  After all, isn't that what we are doing to both friend and foe in the Middle East and beyond, to brutally take all that juicy gas and oil?  Open your eyes to the sordid details of our leaders' choices and see the blood they have shed staining our own hands , then open your mouths to share the shocking truth you have learned!]

Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence
By Rev. Martin Luther King
4 April 1967
Speech delivered by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., on April 4, 1967, at a meeting of Clergy and Laity Concerned at Riverside Church in New York City

I come to this magnificent house of worship tonight because my conscience leaves me no other choice. I join with you in this meeting because I am in deepest agreement with the aims and work of the organization which has brought us together: Clergy and Laymen Concerned about Vietnam. The recent statement of your executive committee are the sentiments of my own heart and I found myself in full accord when I read its opening lines: “A time comes when silence is betrayal.” That time has come for us in relation to Vietnam.

The truth of these words is beyond doubt but the mission to which they call us is a most difficult one. Even when pressed by the demands of inner truth, men do not easily assume the task of opposing their government’s policy, especially in time of war. Nor does the human spirit move without great difficulty against all the apathy of conformist thought within one’s own bosom and in the surrounding world. Moreover when the issues at hand seem as perplexed as they often do in the case of this dreadful conflict we are always on the verge of being mesmerized by uncertainty; but we must move on.

Some of us who have already begun to break the silence of the night have found that the calling to speak is often a vocation of agony, but we must speak. We must speak with all the humility that is appropriate to our limited vision, but we must speak. And we must rejoice as well, for surely this is the first time in our nation’s history that a significant number of its religious leaders have chosen to move beyond the prophesying of smooth patriotism to the high grounds of a firm dissent based upon the mandates of conscience and the reading of history. Perhaps a new spirit is rising among us. If it is, let us trace its movement well and pray that our own inner being may be sensitive to its guidance, for we are deeply in need of a new way beyond the darkness that seems so close around us.

Over the past two years, as I have moved to break the betrayal of my own silences and to speak from the burnings of my own heart, as I have called for radical departures from the destruction of Vietnam, many persons have questioned me about the wisdom of my path. At the heart of their concerns this query has often loomed large and loud: Why are you speaking about war, Dr. King? Why are you joining the voices of dissent? Peace and civil rights don’t mix, they say. Aren’t you hurting the cause of your people, they ask? And when I hear them, though I often understand the source of their concern, I am nevertheless greatly saddened, for such questions mean that the inquirers have not really known me, my commitment or my calling. Indeed, their questions suggest that they do not know the world in which they live.

In the light of such tragic misunderstandings, I deem it of signal importance to try to state clearly, and I trust concisely, why I believe that the path from Dexter Avenue Baptist Church — the church in Montgomery, Alabama, where I began my pastorate — leads clearly to this sanctuary tonight.

I come to this platform tonight to make a passionate plea to my beloved nation. This speech is not addressed to Hanoi or to the National Liberation Front. It is not addressed to China or to Russia.

Nor is it an attempt to overlook the ambiguity of the total situation and the need for a collective solution to the tragedy of Vietnam. Neither is it an attempt to make North Vietnam or the National Liberation Front paragons of virtue, nor to overlook the role they can play in a successful resolution of the problem. While they both may have justifiable reason to be suspicious of the good faith of the United States, life and history give eloquent testimony to the fact that conflicts are never resolved without trustful give and take on both sides.

Tonight, however, I wish not to speak with Hanoi and the NLF, but rather to my fellow Americans, who, with me, bear the greatest responsibility in ending a conflict that has exacted a heavy price on both continents.

The Importance of Vietnam
Since I am a preacher by trade, I suppose it is not surprising that I have seven major reasons for bringing Vietnam into the field of my moral vision. There is at the outset a very obvious and almost facile connection between the war in Vietnam and the struggle I, and others, have been waging in America. A few years ago there was a shining moment in that struggle. It seemed as if there was a real promise of hope for the poor — both black and white — through the poverty program. There were experiments, hopes, new beginnings. Then came the buildup in Vietnam and I watched the program broken and eviscerated as if it were some idle political plaything of a society gone mad on war, and I knew that America would never invest the necessary funds or energies in rehabilitation of its poor so long as adventures like Vietnam continued to draw men and skills and money like some demonic destructive suction tube. So I was increasingly compelled to see the war as an enemy of the poor and to attack it as such.

Perhaps the more tragic recognition of reality took place when it became clear to me that the war was doing far more than devastating the hopes of the poor at home. It was sending their sons and their brothers and their husbands to fight and to die in extraordinarily high proportions relative to the rest of the population. We were taking the black young men who had been crippled by our society and sending them eight thousand miles away to guarantee liberties in Southeast Asia which they had not found in southwest Georgia and East Harlem. So we have been repeatedly faced with the cruel irony of watching Negro and white boys on TV screens as they kill and die together for a nation that has been unable to seat them together in the same schools. So we watch them in brutal solidarity burning the huts of a poor village, but we realize that they would never live on the same block in Detroit. I could not be silent in the face of such cruel manipulation of the poor.

My third reason moves to an even deeper level of awareness, for it grows out of my experience in the ghettoes of the North over the last three years — especially the last three summers. As I have walked among the desperate, rejected and angry young men I have told them that Molotov cocktails and rifles would not solve their problems. I have tried to offer them my deepest compassion while maintaining my conviction that social change comes most meaningfully through nonviolent action. But they asked — and rightly so — what about Vietnam? They asked if our own nation wasn’t using massive doses of violence to solve its problems, to bring about the changes it wanted. Their questions hit home, and I knew that I could never again raise my voice against the violence of the oppressed in the ghettos without having first spoken clearly to the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today — my own government. For the sake of those boys, for the sake of this government, for the sake of hundreds of thousands trembling under our violence, I cannot be silent.

For those who ask the question, “Aren’t you a civil rights leader?” and thereby mean to exclude me from the movement for peace, I have this further answer. In 1957 when a group of us formed the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, we chose as our motto: “To save the soul of America.” We were convinced that we could not limit our vision to certain rights for black people, but instead affirmed the conviction that America would never be free or saved from itself unless the descendants of its slaves were loosed completely from the shackles they still wear. In a way we were agreeing with Langston Hughes, that black bard of Harlem, who had written earlier:

O, yes,
I say it plain,
America never was America to me,
And yet I swear this oath–
America will be!

Now, it should be incandescently clear that no one who has any concern for the integrity and life of America today can ignore the present war. If America’s soul becomes totally poisoned, part of the autopsy must read Vietnam. It can never be saved so long as it destroys the deepest hopes of men the world over. So it is that those of us who are yet determined that America will be are led down the path of protest and dissent, working for the health of our land.

As if the weight of such a commitment to the life and health of America were not enough, another burden of responsibility was placed upon me in 1964; and I cannot forget that the Nobel Prize for Peace was also a commission — a commission to work harder than I had ever worked before for “the brotherhood of man.” This is a calling that takes me beyond national allegiances, but even if it were not present I would yet have to live with the meaning of my commitment to the ministry of Jesus Christ. To me the relationship of this ministry to the making of peace is so obvious that I sometimes marvel at those who ask me why I am speaking against the war. Could it be that they do not know that the good news was meant for all men — for Communist and capitalist, for their children and ours, for black and for white, for revolutionary and conservative? Have they forgotten that my ministry is in obedience to the one who loved his enemies so fully that he died for them? What then can I say to the “Vietcong” or to Castro or to Mao as a faithful minister of this one? Can I threaten them with death or must I not share with them my life?

Finally, as I try to delineate for you and for myself the road that leads from Montgomery to this place I would have offered all that was most valid if I simply said that I must be true to my conviction that I share with all men the calling to be a son of the living God. Beyond the calling of race or nation or creed is this vocation of sonship and brotherhood, and because I believe that the Father is deeply concerned especially for his suffering and helpless and outcast children, I come tonight to speak for them.

This I believe to be the privilege and the burden of all of us who deem ourselves bound by allegiances and loyalties which are broader and deeper than nationalism and which go beyond our nation’s self-defined goals and positions. We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy, for no document from human hands can make these humans any less our brothers.

Strange Liberators
And as I ponder the madness of Vietnam and search within myself for ways to understand and respond to compassion my mind goes constantly to the people of that peninsula. I speak now not of the soldiers of each side, not of the junta in Saigon, but simply of the people who have been living under the curse of war for almost three continuous decades now. I think of them too because it is clear to me that there will be no meaningful solution there until some attempt is made to know them and hear their broken cries.

They must see Americans as strange liberators. The Vietnamese people proclaimed their own independence in 1945 after a combined French and Japanese occupation, and before the Communist revolution in China. They were led by Ho Chi Minh. Even though they quoted the American Declaration of Independence in their own document of freedom, we refused to recognize them. Instead, we decided to support France in its reconquest of her former colony.

Our government felt then that the Vietnamese people were not “ready” for independence, and we again fell victim to the deadly Western arrogance that has poisoned the international atmosphere for so long. With that tragic decision we rejected a revolutionary government seeking self-determination, and a government that had been established not by China (for whom the Vietnamese have no great love) but by clearly indigenous forces that included some Communists. For the peasants this new government meant real land reform, one of the most important needs in their lives.

For nine years following 1945 we denied the people of Vietnam the right of independence. For nine years we vigorously supported the French in their abortive effort to recolonize Vietnam.

Before the end of the war we were meeting eighty percent of the French war costs. Even before the French were defeated at Dien Bien Phu, they began to despair of the reckless action, but we did not. We encouraged them with our huge financial and military supplies to continue the war even after they had lost the will. Soon we would be paying almost the full costs of this tragic attempt at recolonization.

After the French were defeated it looked as if independence and land reform would come again through the Geneva agreements. But instead there came the United States, determined that Ho should not unify the temporarily divided nation, and the peasants watched again as we supported one of the most vicious modern dictators — our chosen man, Premier Diem. The peasants watched and cringed as Diem ruthlessly routed out all opposition, supported their extortionist landlords and refused even to discuss reunification with the north. The peasants watched as all this was presided over by U.S. influence and then by increasing numbers of U.S. troops who came to help quell the insurgency that Diem’s methods had aroused. When Diem was overthrown they may have been happy, but the long line of military dictatorships seemed to offer no real change — especially in terms of their need for land and peace.

The only change came from America as we increased our troop commitments in support of governments which were singularly corrupt, inept and without popular support. All the while the people read our leaflets and received regular promises of peace and democracy — and land reform. Now they languish under our bombs and consider us — not their fellow Vietnamese –the real enemy. They move sadly and apathetically as we herd them off the land of their fathers into concentration camps where minimal social needs are rarely met. They know they must move or be destroyed by our bombs. So they go — primarily women and children and the aged.

They watch as we poison their water, as we kill a million acres of their crops. They must weep as the bulldozers roar through their areas preparing to destroy the precious trees. They wander into the hospitals, with at least twenty casualties from American firepower for one “Vietcong”-inflicted injury. So far we may have killed a million of them — mostly children. They wander into the towns and see thousands of the children, homeless, without clothes, running in packs on the streets like animals. They see the children, degraded by our soldiers as they beg for food. They see the children selling their sisters to our soldiers, soliciting for their mothers.

What do the peasants think as we ally ourselves with the landlords and as we refuse to put any action into our many words concerning land reform? What do they think as we test our latest weapons on them, just as the Germans tested out new medicine and new tortures in the concentration camps of Europe? Where are the roots of the independent Vietnam we claim to be building? Is it among these voiceless ones?

We have destroyed their two most cherished institutions: the family and the village. We have destroyed their land and their crops. We have cooperated in the crushing of the nation’s only non-Communist revolutionary political force — the unified Buddhist church. We have supported the enemies of the peasants of Saigon. We have corrupted their women and children and killed their men. What liberators?

Now there is little left to build on — save bitterness. Soon the only solid physical foundations remaining will be found at our military bases and in the concrete of the concentration camps we call fortified hamlets. The peasants may well wonder if we plan to build our new Vietnam on such grounds as these? Could we blame them for such thoughts? We must speak for them and raise the questions they cannot raise. These too are our brothers.

Perhaps the more difficult but no less necessary task is to speak for those who have been designated as our enemies. What of the National Liberation Front — that strangely anonymous group we call VC or Communists? What must they think of us in America when they realize that we permitted the repression and cruelty of Diem which helped to bring them into being as a resistance group in the south? What do they think of our condoning the violence which led to their own taking up of arms? How can they believe in our integrity when now we speak of “aggression from the north” as if there were nothing more essential to the war? How can they trust us when now we charge them with violence after the murderous reign of Diem and charge them with violence while we pour every new weapon of death into their land? Surely we must understand their feelings even if we do not condone their actions. Surely we must see that the men we supported pressed them to their violence. Surely we must see that our own computerized plans of destruction simply dwarf their greatest acts.

How do they judge us when our officials know that their membership is less than twenty-five percent Communist and yet insist on giving them the blanket name? What must they be thinking when they know that we are aware of their control of major sections of Vietnam and yet we appear ready to allow national elections in which this highly organized political parallel government will have no part? They ask how we can speak of free elections when the Saigon press is censored and controlled by the military junta. And they are surely right to wonder what kind of new government we plan to help form without them — the only party in real touch with the peasants. They question our political goals and they deny the reality of a peace settlement from which they will be excluded. Their questions are frighteningly relevant. Is our nation planning to build on political myth again and then shore it up with the power of new violence?

Here is the true meaning and value of compassion and nonviolence when it helps us to see the enemy’s point of view, to hear his questions, to know his assessment of ourselves. For from his view we may indeed see the basic weaknesses of our own condition, and if we are mature, we may learn and grow and profit from the wisdom of the brothers who are called the opposition.

So, too, with Hanoi. In the north, where our bombs now pummel the land, and our mines endanger the waterways, we are met by a deep but understandable mistrust. To speak for them is to explain this lack of confidence in Western words, and especially their distrust of American intentions now. In Hanoi are the men who led the nation to independence against the Japanese and the French, the men who sought membership in the French commonwealth and were betrayed by the weakness of Paris and the willfulness of the colonial armies. It was they who led a second struggle against French domination at tremendous costs, and then were persuaded to give up the land they controlled between the thirteenth and seventeenth parallel as a temporary measure at Geneva. After 1954 they watched us conspire with Diem to prevent elections which would have surely brought Ho Chi Minh to power over a united Vietnam, and they realized they had been betrayed again.

When we ask why they do not leap to negotiate, these things must be remembered. Also it must be clear that the leaders of Hanoi considered the presence of American troops in support of the Diem regime to have been the initial military breach of the Geneva agreements concerning foreign troops, and they remind us that they did not begin to send in any large number of supplies or men until American forces had moved into the tens of thousands.

Hanoi remembers how our leaders refused to tell us the truth about the earlier North Vietnamese overtures for peace, how the president claimed that none existed when they had clearly been made. Ho Chi Minh has watched as America has spoken of peace and built up its forces, and now he has surely heard of the increasing international rumors of American plans for an invasion of the north. He knows the bombing and shelling and mining we are doing are part of traditional pre-invasion strategy. Perhaps only his sense of humor and of irony can save him when he hears the most powerful nation of the world speaking of aggression as it drops thousands of bombs on a poor weak nation more than eight thousand miles away from its shores.

At this point I should make it clear that while I have tried in these last few minutes to give a voice to the voiceless on Vietnam and to understand the arguments of those who are called enemy, I am as deeply concerned about our troops there as anything else. For it occurs to me that what we are submitting them to in Vietnam is not simply the brutalizing process that goes on in any war where armies face each other and seek to destroy. We are adding cynicism to the process of death, for they must know after a short period there that none of the things we claim to be fighting for are really involved. Before long they must know that their government has sent them into a struggle among Vietnamese, and the more sophisticated surely realize that we are on the side of the wealthy and the secure while we create hell for the poor.

This Madness Must Cease
Somehow this madness must cease. We must stop now. I speak as a child of God and brother to the suffering poor of Vietnam. I speak for those whose land is being laid waste, whose homes are being destroyed, whose culture is being subverted. I speak for the poor of America who are paying the double price of smashed hopes at home and death and corruption in Vietnam. I speak as a citizen of the world, for the world as it stands aghast at the path we have taken. I speak as an American to the leaders of my own nation. The great initiative in this war is ours. The initiative to stop it must be ours.

This is the message of the great Buddhist leaders of Vietnam. Recently one of them wrote these words:

“Each day the war goes on the hatred increases in the heart of the Vietnamese and in the hearts of those of humanitarian instinct. The Americans are forcing even their friends into becoming their enemies. It is curious that the Americans, who calculate so carefully on the possibilities of military victory, do not realize that in the process they are incurring deep psychological and political defeat. The image of America will never again be the image of revolution, freedom and democracy, but the image of violence and militarism.”

If we continue, there will be no doubt in my mind and in the mind of the world that we have no honorable intentions in Vietnam. It will become clear that our minimal expectation is to occupy it as an American colony and men will not refrain from thinking that our maximum hope is to goad China into a war so that we may bomb her nuclear installations. If we do not stop our war against the people of Vietnam immediately the world will be left with no other alternative than to see this as some horribly clumsy and deadly game we have decided to play.

The world now demands a maturity of America that we may not be able to achieve. It demands that we admit that we have been wrong from the beginning of our adventure in Vietnam, that we have been detrimental to the life of the Vietnamese people. The situation is one in which we must be ready to turn sharply from our present ways.

In order to atone for our sins and errors in Vietnam, we should take the initiative in bringing a halt to this tragic war. I would like to suggest five concrete things that our government should do immediately to begin the long and difficult process of extricating ourselves from this nightmarish conflict:

End all bombing in North and South Vietnam.
Declare a unilateral cease-fire in the hope that such action will create the atmosphere for negotiation.
Take immediate steps to prevent other battlegrounds in Southeast Asia by curtailing our military buildup in Thailand and our interference in Laos.
Realistically accept the fact that the National Liberation Front has substantial support in South Vietnam and must thereby play a role in any meaningful negotiations and in any future Vietnam government.
Set a date that we will remove all foreign troops from Vietnam in accordance with the 1954 Geneva agreement.

Part of our ongoing commitment might well express itself in an offer to grant asylum to any Vietnamese who fears for his life under a new regime which included the Liberation Front. Then we must make what reparations we can for the damage we have done. We most provide the medical aid that is badly needed, making it available in this country if necessary.

Protesting The War
Meanwhile we in the churches and synagogues have a continuing task while we urge our government to disengage itself from a disgraceful commitment. We must continue to raise our voices if our nation persists in its perverse ways in Vietnam. We must be prepared to match actions with words by seeking out every creative means of protest possible.

As we counsel young men concerning military service we must clarify for them our nation’s role in Vietnam and challenge them with the alternative of conscientious objection. I am pleased to say that this is the path now being chosen by more than seventy students at my own alma mater, Morehouse College, and I recommend it to all who find the American course in Vietnam a dishonorable and unjust one. Moreover I would encourage all ministers of draft age to give up their ministerial exemptions and seek status as conscientious objectors. These are the times for real choices and not false ones. We are at the moment when our lives must be placed on the line if our nation is to survive its own folly. Every man of humane convictions must decide on the protest that best suits his convictions, but we must all protest.

There is something seductively tempting about stopping there and sending us all off on what in some circles has become a popular crusade against the war in Vietnam. I say we must enter the struggle, but I wish to go on now to say something even more disturbing. The war in Vietnam is but a symptom of a far deeper malady within the American spirit, and if we ignore this sobering reality we will find ourselves organizing clergy- and laymen-concerned committees for the next generation. They will be concerned about Guatemala and Peru. They will be concerned about Thailand and Cambodia. They will be concerned about Mozambique and South Africa. We will be marching for these and a dozen other names and attending rallies without end unless there is a significant and profound change in American life and policy. Such thoughts take us beyond Vietnam, but not beyond our calling as sons of the living God.

In 1957 a sensitive American official overseas said that it seemed to him that our nation was on the wrong side of a world revolution. During the past ten years we have seen emerge a pattern of suppression which now has justified the presence of U.S. military “advisors” in Venezuela. This need to maintain social stability for our investments accounts for the counter-revolutionary action of American forces in Guatemala. It tells why American helicopters are being used against guerrillas in Colombia and why American napalm and green beret forces have already been active against rebels in Peru. It is with such activity in mind that the words of the late John F. Kennedy come back to haunt us. Five years ago he said, “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.”

Increasingly, by choice or by accident, this is the role our nation has taken — the role of those who make peaceful revolution impossible by refusing to give up the privileges and the pleasures that come from the immense profits of overseas investment.

I am convinced that if we are to get on the right side of the world revolution, we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. We must rapidly begin the shift from a “thing-oriented” society to a “person-oriented” society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered.

A true revolution of values will soon cause us to question the fairness and justice of many of our past and present policies. n the one hand we are called to play the good Samaritan on life’s roadside; but that will be only an initial act. One day we must come to see that the whole Jericho road must be transformed so that men and women will not be constantly beaten and robbed as they make their journey on life’s highway. True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar; it is not haphazard and superficial. It comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring. A true revolution of values will soon look uneasily on the glaring contrast of poverty and wealth. With righteous indignation, it will look across the seas and see individual capitalists of the West investing huge sums of money in Asia, Africa and South America, only to take the profits out with no concern for the social betterment of the countries, and say: “This is not just.” It will look at our alliance with the landed gentry of Latin America and say: “This is not just.” The Western arrogance of feeling that it has everything to teach others and nothing to learn from them is not just. A true revolution of values will lay hands on the world order and say of war: “This way of settling differences is not just.” This business of burning human beings with napalm, of filling our nation’s homes with orphans and widows, of injecting poisonous drugs of hate into veins of people normally humane, of sending men home from dark and bloody battlefields physically handicapped and psychologically deranged, cannot be reconciled with wisdom, justice and love. A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.

America, the richest and most powerful nation in the world, can well lead the way in this revolution of values. There is nothing, except a tragic death wish, to prevent us from reordering our priorities, so that the pursuit of peace will take precedence over the pursuit of war. There is nothing to keep us from molding a recalcitrant status quo with bruised hands until we have fashioned it into a brotherhood.

This kind of positive revolution of values is our best defense against communism. War is not the answer. Communism will never be defeated by the use of atomic bombs or nuclear weapons. Let us not join those who shout war and through their misguided passions urge the United States to relinquish its participation in the United Nations. These are days which demand wise restraint and calm reasonableness. We must not call everyone a Communist or an appeaser who advocates the seating of Red China in the United Nations and who recognizes that hate and hysteria are not the final answers to the problem of these turbulent days. We must not engage in a negative anti-communism, but rather in a positive thrust for democracy, realizing that our greatest defense against communism is to take offensive action in behalf of justice. We must with positive action seek to remove thosse conditions of poverty, insecurity and injustice which are the fertile soil in which the seed of communism grows and develops.

The People Are Important
These are revolutionary times. All over the globe men are revolting against old systems of exploitation and oppression and out of the wombs of a frail world new systems of justice and equality are being born. The shirtless and barefoot people of the land are rising up as never before. “The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light.” We in the West must support these revolutions. It is a sad fact that, because of comfort, complacency, a morbid fear of communism, and our proneness to adjust to injustice, the Western nations that initiated so much of the revolutionary spirit of the modern world have now become the arch anti-revolutionaries. This has driven many to feel that only Marxism has the revolutionary spirit. Therefore, communism is a judgement against our failure to make democracy real and follow through on the revolutions we initiated. Our only hope today lies in our ability to recapture the revolutionary spirit and go out into a sometimes hostile world declaring eternal hostility to poverty, racism, and militarism. With this powerful commitment we shall boldly challenge the status quo and unjust mores and thereby speed the day when “every valley shall be exalted, and every moutain and hill shall be made low, and the crooked shall be made straight and the rough places plain.”

A genuine revolution of values means in the final analysis that our loyalties must become ecumenical rather than sectional. Every nation must now develop an overriding loyalty to mankind as a whole in order to preserve the best in their individual societies.

This call for a world-wide fellowship that lifts neighborly concern beyond one’s tribe, race, class and nation is in reality a call for an all-embracing and unconditional love for all men. This oft misunderstood and misinterpreted concept — so readily dismissed by the Nietzsches of the world as a weak and cowardly force — has now become an absolute necessity for the survival of man. When I speak of love I am not speaking of some sentimental and weak response. I am speaking of that force which all of the great religions have seen as the supreme unifying principle of life. Love is somehow the key that unlocks the door which leads to ultimate reality. This Hindu-Moslem-Christian-Jewish-Buddhist belief about ultimate reality is beautifully summed up in the first epistle of Saint John:

Let us love one another; for love is God and everyone that loveth is born of God and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. If we love one another God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.

Let us hope that this spirit will become the order of the day. We can no longer afford to worship the god of hate or bow before the altar of retaliation. The oceans of history are made turbulent by the ever-rising tides of hate. History is cluttered with the wreckage of nations and individuals that pursued this self-defeating path of hate. As Arnold Toynbee says : “Love is the ultimate force that makes for the saving choice of life and good against the damning choice of death and evil. Therefore the first hope in our inventory must be the hope that love is going to have the last word.”

We are now faced with the fact that tomorrow is today. We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now. In this unfolding conundrum of life and history there is such a thing as being too late. Procrastination is still the thief of time. Life often leaves us standing bare, naked and dejected with a lost opportunity. The “tide in the affairs of men” does not remain at the flood; it ebbs. We may cry out deperately for time to pause in her passage, but time is deaf to every plea and rushes on. Over the bleached bones and jumbled residue of numerous civilizations are written the pathetic words: “Too late.” There is an invisible book of life that faithfully records our vigilance or our neglect. “The moving finger writes, and having writ moves on…” We still have a choice today; nonviolent coexistence or violent co-annihilation.

We must move past indecision to action. We must find new ways to speak for peace in Vietnam and justice throughout the developing world — a world that borders on our doors. If we do not act we shall surely be dragged down the long dark and shameful corridors of time reserved for those who possess power without compassion, might without morality, and strength without sight.

Now let us begin. Now let us rededicate ourselves to the long and bitter — but beautiful — struggle for a new world. This is the callling of the sons of God, and our brothers wait eagerly for our response. Shall we say the odds are too great? Shall we tell them the struggle is too hard? Will our message be that the forces of American life militate against their arrival as full men, and we send our deepest regrets? Or will there be another message, of longing, of hope, of solidarity with their yearnings, of commitment to their cause, whatever the cost? The choice is ours, and though we might prefer it otherwise we must choose in this crucial moment of human history.

As that noble bard of yesterday, James Russell Lowell, eloquently stated:

Once to every man and nation
Comes the moment to decide,
In the strife of truth and falsehood,
For the good or evil side;
Some great cause, God’s new Messiah,
Off’ring each the bloom or blight,
And the choice goes by forever
Twixt that darkness and that light.

Though the cause of evil prosper,
Yet ’tis truth alone is strong;
Though her portion be the scaffold,
And upon the throne be wrong:
Yet that scaffold sways the future,
And behind the dim unknown,
Standeth God within the shadow
Keeping watch above his own.

Overthrowing the Kingdom of God

Thomas Jefferson:

“Nothing can be more exactly and seriously true than what is there stated

[the very words only of Jesus];

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that but a short time elapsed after the death of the great reformer of the Jewish religion,

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before his principles were departed from by those who professed to be his special servants,

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and perverted into an engine for enslaving mankind, and aggrandising their oppressors in Church and State;

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that the purest system of morals ever before preached to man, has been adulterated and sophisticated by artificial constructions,

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into a mere contrivance to filch wealth and power to themselves;

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that rational men not being able to swallow their impious heresies, in order to force them down their throats, they raise the hue and cry of infidelity,

LCL15

while themselves are the greatest obstacles to the advancement of the real doctrines of Jesus, and do in fact constitute the real Anti-Christ.”

obama

In the name of Allah Most Gracious Most Merciful (Guest Editorial)


[We all should treat the following as the first step toward invoking all the names of the One God (Peace Be Unto Him), inviting Him to heal the wounded hearts and sickened minds of all humankind.

In the name of Allah Most Gracious Most Merciful

Dear Brethren in the faith of the One Lord, our King the Almighty Allah (Eloah), the Incomparably Great, Most Holy, Most High I greet you with Peace.
As’Salaamu Alaikum (Shalom) In the name of His Highest who is the sole Owner of all the Most Holy and Most Beautiful Names, Attributes/ Titles our Lord the Creator.

I wish this letter, and open invitation receives you in the best of health.
It is our common goal in faith to uphold all that is good and forbid all that is evil, this letter comes as a request for your cooperation in the common goals we share.
As religious leaders, as dedicated believers and scholars of the Holy Scriptures from our Lord, as His agents on Earth it is our duty to protect, assist and guide mankind to that which is good.

The world we live in today is filled with corruption, oppression and an evil that is flourishing amongst our people. It is our duty as religious leaders to uphold and encourage the common good of mankind. The problems we face in our world today is with substance abuse such as drugs, alcohol and a variety of un-Khosher (Haraam) things, unlawful sexual relations before marriage, sodomy and racial discrimination amongst our people. Our Creator has created only one race in mankind and that is the Human race, He divided us into many beautiful nations so we may know each other. Having said this I would like for us to work towards a common good and fight against all evils in unity as we await the coming of the Messiah, this, a token of our preparation for the End.

For the Almighty Allah Says in the Holy Quran: Q2:62 “Those who believe (The Muslims) and those who are Jews and Christians, and Sabaeans whoever believeth in Allah and the Last Day and doeth right surely their reward is with their Lord, and there shall no fear come upon them neither shall they grieve.”, Q2:63 “And remember O Children of Israel, when We (Allah) have made a covenant with you and caused the Mount to tower above you, (saying): Hold fast that which We (Allah) have given you, and remember that which is therein, that ye may ward off evil.”

The Almighty Allah says in the Holy Quran: Q5:44 “Lo! We did reveal the Torah, wherein there is guidance and a light, by which the Prophets who surrender to His will judge (rule) the Jews, and the rabbis and the priests (judged) by such of Allah’s Scripture as they were bidden to observe, and thereunto were they witness. So fear not mankind, but Fear Me. And batter not My revelations for a little gain. Whose judgeth not by that which Allah hath revealed: such are disbelievers. Q5:45 “Whoso judge not by that which Allah hath revealed: such as wrongdoers.” Q5:46 “We bestowed on him (Eesa / Jesus) the Gospel wherein is guidance and a light, confirming that which was revealed before it the Torah a guidance and an admonition unto those who ward off evil.” Q5:47 “Let the people of the Gospel judge by that which Allah hath revealed therein. Whoso judgeth not by that which Allah hath revealed; such are evil livers.” Q5:48 “And unto thee (Muslims) We (Allah) revealed the Scripture with the truth, confirming whatever Scripture was before it, and a watcher over it. So judge between them by that which Allah hath revealed, and follow not their desires away from the truth which hath come unto thee. For each We (Allah) have appointed a Shariah (divine law) and a traced out way. Had Allah willed He could have made you one community. But that He may try you by that which He hath given you. (He hath made you as ye are) So vie one with another in good works. Unto Allah ye will return, and He will then inform you of that wherein ye differ.”

O People of the Scripture lend me an observant ear, we find in our midst today the evil doers promoting a law called democracy, for all they do and command by is said in the name of democracy and not in the Name of our Lord, in their evil system of law religion have no right to judge, in their system the religious head have been removed from the political scene. In this system called democracy the evils of corruption, sodomy, un-lawful sexual relations, theft and usury thrive as it feeds of the oppressed and innocent people. O people of the Scripture let us unite in the common good to ward of evil and stand united against all evils such as sodomism, oppression, corruption etc… and take back the Laws (Shariah) of Scripture, let us restore our family values and shift the world towards peace and a better understanding of all mankind in its beautiful diversity. O people of the Scripture the Shariah (Divine Laws) of the Almighty is complete and needs no adjustment, for it is made clear, it is free from any need for amendment.
For our Lord says: “Whose judgeth not by that which Allah (Eloah) hath revealed: such are disbelievers.”

As Muslims we believe in Allah and the Holy Quran revealed unto us, we believe in His Angels, His Prophets and all that revealed to them, some of which to mention are (the Zabur, Torah, Injeel “Gospels of the Bible”, and the completion of all that have gone before the Holy Quran), and we believe in the Last Day. We are Muslims (People who surrender to His will)

We await, and look forward to your response.
May the Almighty Allah guide us all.
Fax: ***********
Email:**********
The United Muslim Nations International

alfaarooq1
alfaarooq1@yahoo.com

White Phosphorus: Israel fires artillery shells into Gaza

White Phosphorus: Israel fires artillery shells into Gaza

Gaza White Phosphorous

© Bernat Armangue/AP
A shell fired by the Israeli military explodes in the northern Gaza Strip.

Israel unleashed an artillery bombardment on Gaza today for the first time in its week-long offensive, prompting increased speculation that a ground invasion is about to begin.

Palestinian medical officials also said that an Israeli airstrike on a Gaza mosque had killed 10 people and wounded dozens more. Al Jazeera quoted witnesses as saying there were at least 200 people at prayer inside the Ibrahim al-Maqadna mosque in northern Gaza when the missile struck.

The Israeli TV station Channel 10 said the entire length of the Gaza Strip was under attack. Palestinian witnesses told Reuters the shelling had caused a large explosion in Gaza City and there were a series of blasts close to the frontier with Israel. There were no immediate reports of casualties.

Comment: The AP photo above shows what appears to be a white phosphorus shell fired into Gaza, as was used by Israel in Lebanon. White phosphorus is an indiscriminate killer that ignites once it is exposed to oxygen, producing such heat that it bursts into a yellow flame and produces a dense white smoke.

It causes painful burn injuries to exposed human flesh, as discovered by Lebanon’s Children at the hands of Israeli Phosphorus Bombs in 2006.

White Phosphorus is considered a chemical weapon by most governments around the world. Its use in civilian areas is banned by the Geneva Treaty of 1980. The United Nations considers such weapons illegal.

Israeli TV commentators said shelling could be used to clear Hamas-laid minefields ahead of a possible ground invasion. Israeli troops are massed on the border waiting for orders to go in.

Comment: Mine fields? The lies and excuses are wearing thin. With 1.5 million people concentrated in the tiny Gaza Ghetto, what possible use would they have for mine fields?

Speaking from Syria, the exiled Hamas leader, Khaled Mashaal, warned that any ground assault would lead Israel to “a black destiny of dead and wounded”.

Sustained artillery fire is likely to significantly increase the number of civilian casualties, according to a report on the website of the Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz.

Israel’s first artillery use came shortly after Gordon Brown telephoned his Israeli counterpart, Ehud Olmert, urging him to stop the attacks.

Comment: Toothless. If Brown had any conscience he would act.

“The prime minister has spoken again today to Prime Minister Olmert, and is pressing hard for an immediate ceasefire,” a Downing Street spokesman said. “We are working urgently with international partners to address the underlying causes of the conflict, including trafficking of arms into Gaza … Moderation must prevail.”

Comment: Forget history, forget the slow genocide, its all about arms into Gaza, its the Palestinians own fault for resisting the brutal occupation of their lands and the cold, calculated slaughter of their families.

Earlier today, Israeli aircraft and gunboats continued attacking targets in Gaza. The Israelis struck the homes of two Hamas operatives, saying the buildings were used to store weapons and plan attacks. Hamas said one of its military leaders, Abu Zakari al-Jamal, was killed in an air raid last night.

More than 400 Palestinians and at least four Israelis have been killed since Israel launched its offensive last Saturday. The UN estimated yesterday that a quarter of the Palestinians killed were civilians.

George Bush today blamed the continuing violence on Hamas terrorism and offered no criticism of Israel in his first comments since the offensive began a week ago.

The US president condemned Hamas’s campaign of rocket attacks on Israel as an “act of terror” and said no peace deal would be acceptable unless the flow of smuggled weapons to terrorist groups was monitored and stopped.

“This recent outburst of violence was instigated by Hamas, a Palestinian terrorist group supported by Iran and Syria that calls for Israel’s destruction,” he said.

Comment: Lies piled upon lies, the psychopath Bush is complicit in the slaughter and – recognizing the acts of his own kind – no doubt feeding on every ounce of suffering that Israel can render from its captives.

The White House will not comment on whether it views the Israeli response as proportionate.

In his weekly radio address, Bush said Washington was “leading diplomatic efforts to achieve a meaningful ceasefire that is fully respected”.

He said he would keep the president-elect, Barack Obama, updated on the negotiations. Obama has refused to comment on the crisis while Bush remains in office.

The UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon last night urged world leaders to intensify efforts to achieve an immediate ceasefire.

Israel has said it will accept a ceasefire only if it is enforced by international monitors.

Palestinian militants continued to fire rockets into southern Israel today. There were no injuries, though one rocket hit a house in the southern city of Ashkelon, police said.

Foiled Attack on Israel Embassy in Mauritania

Foiled Attack on Israel Embassy in Mauritania

Mauritanian security forces foiled an attack on the Israeli embassy in the capital Nouakchott on Wednesday.

A civilian stepped out of a taxi opposite the embassy’s buildings, and began shouting religious slogans and hurling stones at the checkpoint, according to a report in the Mauritanian Taqadoumy.com.

Other reports said he threw an explosive device at the embassy and it failed to detonate

Forces were summoned to beef up security around the compound in case more serious attacks occurred.

The assailant, a Mauritanian in his late 20s or 30s, was reportedly taken into custody by the local riot police and is being investigated.

Security forces around the embassy compound have been on high alert since Israel launched its offensive on Gaza on Saturday.

Demonstrators took to the streets shortly after the attacks on Gaza began to protest against Israel’s actions.

Mauritania is one of three Arab League members – including Egypt and Jordan – that enjoys full diplomatic relations with Israel.

Earlier this week The Media Line reported that coup leaders in Mauritania were considering severing diplomatic ties with Israel, in what could be a blow to the United States’ diplomacy efforts in the Middle East and North Africa.

Mauritania underwent a coup last August, and has been facing diplomatic and economic pressure from the international community, including the U.S.

Washington suspended non-humanitarian aid to Mauritania following the coup.

Washington is calling on the coup leaders to restore the deposed president to his position in a legitimate, democratic and constitutional role and to restore the democratically elected government.

Sources in Nouakchott say the coup leaders are considering severing relations with Israel in order to secure financial aid from Libya and later from Gulf countries. Libya has conditioned any aid on cutting ties with Israel.

An official affiliated with the junta said the next elected government would cut relations with Israel.

These statements coincide with Israel’s operation in the Gaza Strip, in which up to 400 Palestinians, including civilians, have been killed.

Israel’s Foreign Ministry said these calls to sever relations were not new, and Jerusalem had not observed any significant change in the attitudes in Nouakchott, and did not see the government there taking any action to suspend relations.

Calls of this nature have been made in the past from the opposition, but when the opposition leader came to power he did not act on these statements, Israeli Foreign Ministry Spokesman Yigal Palmor told The Media Line.

“We’re engaged in contacts with the Mauritanian government and with other Mauritanian political forces who talk to us,” he said. “We’re examining the situation.”

The coup leaders, who are now the de facto rulers in Mauritania, can use developments in Gaza as an excuse for cutting relations, especially when anti-Israeli sentiments there are strong.

This is not the first time Israeli interests in Mauritanian are coming under attack.

A February 2008 attack on the Israeli embassy resulted in several people being wounded and was claimed by the Al-Qa’ida Organization in the Islamic Maghreb.

If relations with Israel are indeed slashed, this could deal a serious blow to Washington’s efforts to install democracy and push for normalization between Middle Eastern countries and its ally, Israel.

Mauritania could become more reliant on oppressive or extremist countries for aid, which could embolden anti-U.S. sentiment there and undermine democracy building.

It could also raise popular pressure on the regimes in Amman, Cairo and countries that maintain informal relations with Israel to take similar steps and sever or downgrade these ties.

There are already strong voices in Egypt and Jordan calling on their governments to cut ties with Israel until the Palestinian issue is resolved.

Iran on full alert in wake of Israeli raids

ISRAELI BID TO SUCK IRAN, US INTO THE FRAY?  BEWARE THE TREACHEROUS ZIONAZI!

“Only the military option can save Gaza,” said Brigadier General Mir-Faisal Baqerzadeh” — Israeli jets monitoring Iranian flights.

Iran on full alert in wake of Israeli raids
Wed, 31 Dec 2008 15:04:16 GMT

Israeli tanks taking position on the northern border with the Gaza Strip.

Iran’s Air Force is on alert after the country’s president envisaged major regional developments in the wake of the Israeli raids on Gaza.

The chief Iranian Air Force Commander Brigadier General Hassan Shah-Safi said on Wednesday that the ongoing critical situation in the Middle East has prompted the Iranian military to take necessary measures to ensure readiness in the event of the country becoming the target of an offensive.

“Iran’s Air Force has of late carried out 120 successful sorties along with long-range flights of 2,000 kilometers, and has also conducted unprecedented aerial missions,” Brig. Gen. Shah-Safi said.

The Air Force commander added that the enemy has been closely monitoring Iranian military planes. He went on to say that “unless Iran’s military remains constantly vigilant the enemy will deliver a blow, even a minor one, to our forces”.

The remarks come as Israeli strikes on Gaza entered a fifth day, without an end in sight to the largest assault on the beleaguered strip in decades.

Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Tuesday that the fierce Israeli air assault on Gaza, which “aims to root out Hamas and the Palestinians”, would only lead to the “disintegration of the Israeli regime”.

Facing growing international pressure, Israel’s top leaders have so far rejected the idea of a temporary ceasefire.

Israel is also massing its gunboats near the Gaza port and its ground forces along the border with Gaza in preparation for a possible ground offensive.

Earlier on Monday, a senior Iranian commander floated the idea that the time has come for Muslims to militarily stop Israeli crimes in Gaza.

“Only the military option can save Gaza,” said Brigadier General Mir-Faisal Baqerzadeh, Head of the Foundation for the Remembrance of the Holy Defense.

Mossad Matron Wants World to Share In Guilt for Crimes Against Humanity

Israeli Tanks Massed Near Gaza, Livni Wants International Backing for the Attack

Israeli tanks were massed at the Gaza border on Sunday as warplanes again pounded Hamas targets in the densely populated enclave as Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni urged the international community to cast blame on Hamas.

“I expect the international community, including the entire Arab world, to send a clear message to Hamas: ‘It is your fault. It’s your responsibility. You’re the one who’s being condemned,’” she told NBC’s Meet the Press in reference to the attack that has killed nearly 300 people in less than two days.

Dozens of tanks and personnel carriers idled at several points near the border after Israel warned it could launch a ground offensive in addition to its massive air blitz.

Hamas responded to the ongoing bombardment by firing rockets the farthest yet into Israel, with one striking not far from Ashdod, Israel’s second-largest port, some 30 kilometers (18 miles) north of Gaza. It caused no casualties, medics said.

The Islamist movement accused Israel of “committing a holocaust as the whole world watches and doesn’t lift a finger to stop.”

“The Palestinian resistance reserves the right to hit back at this aggression with martyr operations,” spokesman Fawzi Barhum told reporters, referring to suicide bombings which Hamas hasn’t carried out against Israel since January 2005.

Britain and Russia joined the growing international chorus for a halt to the violence.

Pope Benedict XVI implored the international community to do “all it can to help the Israelis and Palestinians on this dead-end road… and not to give in to the perverse logic of confrontation and violence.”

But Israeli Defense Minster Ehud Barak vowed to “expand and deepen” the bombing blitz, unleashed in retaliation for persistent rocket fire by militant groups.

“If it’s necessary to deploy ground forces to defend our citizens, we will do so,” his spokesman quoted him as saying.

The cabinet gave the green light to call up 6,500 reserve soldiers, a senior official told reporters after the meeting.

Warplanes continued to pound the impoverished and overcrowded territory of 1.5 million people, where many streets were deserted and schools and shops stayed shut as hundreds of funerals were held.

Jets bombed a series of tunnels on Gaza’s border with Egypt — a lifeline for Hamas used for smuggling in goods and weapons into the enclave, which has been virtually sealed by Israel since the Islamists violently seized power in June 2007.

At least two people were killed in the bombing.

Dozens of Gazans tried to break through the border into Egypt following the strikes, but were stopped by Egyptian police firing into the air, said an Egyptian security official.

Businesses in the occupied West Bank, including annexed Arab east Jerusalem, observed a strike in protest at the onslaught that one Palestinian human rights group called “the bloodiest day in the history of the (Israeli) occupation.”

Since early Saturday, at least 300 people have been killed and more than 600 wounded, medics said.

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said the campaign was launched “in order to regain a normal life for the citizens in the south who have suffered for many years from incessant rocket, mortar and terror attacks.”

The Israeli bombardment has sparked widespread international concern.

In New York, the UN Security Council called for an “immediate halt to all violence” and urged all sides “to stop immediately all military activities.”

In Rome, the pope said that “the terrestrial homeland of Jesus cannot continue to be the witness of such bloodshed which is repeated ad infinitum.”

Egypt, which had brokered a six-month truce between Israel and Hamas that expired on December 19, said it was trying to negotiate a new ceasefire.

But a senior Israeli official told AFP that “we have our goals and our timetable and we don’t seek mediation.”

Israel’s main ally Washington has blamed Hamas “thugs” for provoking the offensive by firing rockets into the Jewish state from Gaza, and urged Israel to avoid causing civilian casualties.

The Israeli offensive sparked protests in the occupied West Bank, where one demonstrator was killed in clashes with police. More than 50,000 rallied in Egypt and hundreds in Dubai.

Israel unleashed “Operation Cast Lead” against Hamas in the middle of Saturday morning, with some 60 warplanes hitting more than 50 targets in just a few minutes.

By Sunday, some 230 targets had been hit, the military said.

Hamas has responded by firing more than 90 rockets and mortar rounds at Israel, killing one man and wounding a handful of other people.

Army chief Lieutenant General Gabi Ashkenazi told the cabinet on Sunday that half of Hamas’s rocket launch sites were destroyed in the initial wave of Israeli attacks.

The Israeli blitz came after days of spiraling violence since the expiry of the Gaza truce. It comes less than two months before snap parliamentary elections in Israel called for February 10.(AFP)

Israeli Army Gets Green Light for Gaza Operation

Israeli Army Gets Green Light for Gaza Operation

Hanan Awarekeh Readers Number : 58

25/12/2008 The Israeli defense establishment is currently preparing for a military move against Hamas targets in Gaza after it received the green light Wednesday from the Israeli Cabinet.

During a cabinet meeting about the situation in and outside the Gaza Strip, a senior Israeli occupation army officer gave ministers in attendance an overview of the potential retaliatory moves that the defense establishment is planning against Hamas’ regime. A media blackout was declared on the deliberations.

By late morning Wednesday, the Magen David Adom rescue service declared its highest level of alert.

An Israeli official told Israeli daily Haaretz that Israel’s response will go beyond the air raid, “Our response will be substantial and painful to Hamas,” the official said.

Most strikes will come from the air and be aimed at facilities believed to be of strategic importance to Hamas’ political and military leadership. However, the officer said that weather conditions are currently preventing the air force from launching the raids.

According to officials in Tel Aviv, the overview also included a special reference to the possible implications of attacking Hamas.

“We are not eager to strike, but we will not hesitate to act,” one official said. “If Hamas is looking for noise, we will make Gaza very noisy.”

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s government claimed it had shown restraint until now but vowed to act if the salvoes continued.

The same official said that Israel would be willing to extend the June cease-fire, which expired last week, if Hamas would agree to resume it.

Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni is expected to arrive on Thursday in Cairo for a meeting with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, whose administration helped facilitate the cease-fire. Sources close to Livni said she intended to tell Mubarak that Israel will not accept Hamas’ current terms for a ceasefire. Hamas’ statements also contained a similar mix of threats and assurances.

Meir Yifrach, head of Sdot Negev Regional Council, said that the current situation was intolerable and that “the people of the southern region of Israel are demanding that the government order the army to act in Gaza so that civilian life may be allowed to return to normal.”

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said Wednesday night that he had ordered the Israeli army to prepare itself to deliver a “response” to the rocket attacks fired by the Islamic resistance groups in Gaza. He said Hamas was responsible and would pay a price.

“Anyone who hurts Israeli civilians or soldiers will pay the price in a big way,” Barak said in an interview on a Channel 2 talk show. “We will bring the solution, and we will not let this situation continue.”

Israeli defense officials said the army now had approval for a number of operations that would likely include heavy air strikes against Hamas and Islamic Jihad targets, as well as pinpoint ground operations against resistance infrastructure.

The ambiguity about the timing of an army operation was in line with what Olmert told the security cabinet on Sunday – that Israel would not give Hamas a “promo” of when and how it would respond.

However, hints that Israel’s response was well on the way could be found in a statement a government official released after the four-hour security cabinet meeting.

“Hamas bears sole responsibility for the deterioration in the South. They deliberately undermined the understandings reached through Egypt, and they acted to destroy the calm,” the official said, in what sounded like an explanation to the world of why Israel needed to act.

Meanhile, the Palestinian resistance factions said that more than 70 mortar shells and Katyusha and Kassam rockets pounded the Negev. The barrage hit communities throughout the South, reaching as far north as Ashkelon and as far south as Kerem Shalom. At least two Grad-model Katyusha rockets were fired into Ashkelon on Wednesday, and a Kassam with extended range hit Netivot. Nearly 60 settlers were treated for emotional trauma and anxiety.

“Hamas will hit not only Sderot, but also what lies beyond Sderot,” Hamas legislator Mushir al-Masri said, in a possible reference to extended ballistic capabilities.

Other spokespeople said the organization will agree to “resume” the ceasefire, if the organization’s conditions are met. Hamas is demanding an improved ceasefire agreement that also includes the West Bank.

In a statement by Hamas’ military wing, Iz al-Din al-Qassam, a spokesperson warned that “thousands of additional Israelis will soon be within the range of our rockets if Israel continues with its aggression.”

“The residents of the south will stay in the bomb shelters for a long time,” the Hamas statement continued, adding that “threats of an [Israeli] military offensive don’t scare us because we are more prepared than ever.”

All Israeli towns within a 30-kilometer radius of the Gaza Strip were hooked up on Wednesday to an early warning system designed to deliver rocket launch alerts. Among the newly-connected towns and cities are Ofakim and Netivot.

Ashdod, with its center just outside the 30-kilometer mark, is expected to be connected to the system within the next 24 hours. Some towns are already connected to the “Color Red” system, which alerts residents living within a seven-kilometer radius of the Strip.

Pray For Me, Father

A Banquet For Death

Pray For Me, Father

By Sherwood Ross

October 22, 2008 “Information Clearinghouse

Pray for me, Father, mine is the sin of cowardice

For I do not set myself on fire at the White House gate

To protest murder. I am a glutton for God’s blue sky.

Pray for me, Father, for my tax dollars set a banquet for Death

With napalm and daisy cutters and snakelike missiles

That blow apart other men and their wives and children

While I walk secure along the shore of the tranquil sea.

Pray for me, Father, and I will pray for you

I will pray for a church that does not decry an Inquisition

Where men are broken and driven mad in the dungeons

Of Bagram, Kabul, Gitmo and Abu Ghraib

A church of priests that recall Golgotha

As if Jesus and Jesus and Jesus by the thousands

Are not being crucified now by the Masters of War

Are not shuffling home on artificial legs

Are not staring sightless from wheelchairs

In VA hospitals into God’s blue sky.

Pray for me, Father, and I will pray for you.

© Sherwood Ross

‘Militants Are Not Taliban, We Are’

‘Militants Are Not Taliban, We Are’

by Ashfaq Yusufzai

PESHAWAR – The world knows the Taliban as armed fighters who have unleashed a wave of violence in Afghanistan and neighboring Pakistan including devastating suicide bomb attacks, the most recent on the luxurious Marriot Hotel in high-security Islamabad last week.

But not all Taliban wield guns. In seminaries scattered over the restive, northern parts of Pakistan, students or Taliban – a word in Pashto, the language of Pakistan’s Pakhtoons and Afghanistan’s Pashtuns – study the Quran and swear by peace.

“Yes. I’m proud to be a Talib. Because being Taliban I am able to study Quran and teach it to others,” says 21-year-old Rahimdad from the Darul Uloom Islamia seminary in Khairabad village of Mardan district, 120 kms north of this border city, when asked if he was a Talib (student).

He says he came here from Herat province in Afghanistan a year ago and intends to return when he graduates. “I don’t believe that Taliban are terrorists,” he asserts. “We want to spread the message of love and fraternity among the people of the world.”

His religious teacher, maulvi Zakirullah, also from Afghanistan’s Kunar province, too denies these students are terrorists. “We are against killing of anyone. We don’t favor killing the Americans. Our aim is to spread the message of love among people of all religions,” he tells IPS.

According to Peshawar-based political analyst Khalid Khan, Pakistan’s secretive military intelligence, ISI or Inter Services Intelligence, cobbled together an army by the name of Taliban in 1994, which went on to replace the bitterly-divided and corrupt mujahideen government in Kabul.

Most leaders of the Taliban government were graduates of seminaries in Pakistan’s North West Frontier Province (NWFP). They brought most of Afghanistan under their control. But they were toppled by US-led forces in end-2001 in the wake of the World Trade Center bombings on Sep. 11 that precipitated the so-called “war on terror” launched by US President George W. Bush against Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda.

Seven years after, Osama bin Laden is still at large, and a resurgent Taliban has defied both the Pakistan and Afghan government, the latter propped up by 70,000 mainly western troops including US soldiers.

The Taliban in Pakistan’s religious schools say the “terrorist” label is unfortunate. “We don’t understand why the government calls the militants Taliban. Militants are not Taliban, we are,” says Shumaila Bibi, 19, who is veiled from head to toe. A student of Ummi Hafsa Darul Uloom, in Nowshera district, NWFP, she says they are taught to love humanity regardless of religion, caste and social status.

Says 17-year-old Nawaz, an Afghan who studies at Kosar seminary near Peshawar: “We condemn the blast in Marriot Hotel. Islam is against killing people. Those who do it will be held accountable on judgement day.”

Senator Maulana Samiul Haq is chancellor of Darul Uloom Haqqania, the biggest religious seminary in Pakistan. He says there are 3,500 students in the seminary and “they are peaceful and apolitical. It is incidental that some of the former graduates of my school have held top posts in the Taliban government in Kabul.”

Even the NWFP Information Minister, Iftikhar Hussain, backs the students. “The present crisis is not the handiwork of Taliban, but of secret agencies, that present the militants and criminals as Taliban,” he tells IPS. “Taliban don’t know guns, they are preoccupied with their studies, and examinations. They are so simple.”

Local communities support these students. Meals and clothes are given in charity. They are invited to people’s homes for religious festivities. Wali Shah, a college student in Dir, says: “Taliban play football, cricket and other local games in the evenings. Lots of people turn up to watch!”

According to a 2007 report compiled by the School and Literacy Department, there were 287 religious schools in Dir district with 8,421 students, both from Pakistan and Afghanistan. “We have 700 Taliban, who are studying jurisprudence, Quran and Hadith. They attend classes in the morning and then go back to different mosques where they reside,” says Maulana Mohammad Shakoor.

The number of religious schools countrywide has risen from 245 in 1947 to 6,741 in 2007. The province of Punjab accounts for 3,153 seminaries; NWFP 1,281, Sindh 905, Balochistan 692, Azad Kashmir 151, Islamabad 94, Northern Areas 185 and FATA 300.

The same report says only 22 percent of the schools were registered with the government. The NWFP has 3,795 male and 885 female teachers in 1,281 religious schools, 30 percent of whom are Afghans.

“Taliban are entirely apolitical. They neither listen to news nor read newspapers,” says Amjad Iqbal of Village Development Foundation, a non-governmental organization in Bannu district. He says the Taliban also give religious lessons to local children in the mosques for which they are paid a nominal amount.

Saira Bibi, a school teacher in Swabi district, which has 253 religious schools, tells IPS Taliban are highly respected by the local population. “We give free food, clothes, shoes and cash amounts to seek the blessings of Allah. Taliban are the messengers of Islam. They are the harbingers of peace,” she explains.

The Ego Must Die

The Illusion of the Ego

What in us blocks our connection with the spiritual depths? If heaven is real, why am I not in contact with it? All religions and paths address this central question, under a variety of names, the most common today in the West being “ego.” The term ego, in this context, alludes to our deeply ingrained self-referential, self-seeking disposition. Ego cuts us off from other people, from Nature, from God, from our true self, from our true responsibility, and from fulfillment of our destiny. Our ego is the great usurper. It focuses on our local independence, falsely presuming it to be a global independence. The ego convinces us that we are truly separate beings with ultimately separate will, having no inherent connection with other people or with God.
Religions and paths portray the nature of our egoism and how to deal with it in one of two quite distinct modes. Usually, and to our misfortune, the ways reify and solidify ego into a something, an enemy, which must be overcome, which must die, which inherently resides in our tainted nature, which must be purified. True enough. One cannot argue with the accumulated wisdom of great religions. For our modern culture, though, the notion that our ego must die seems frightening. More importantly, the notion that we harbor inherent spiritual taints gets interpreted by our self-bashing, insecure psychology to mean that we are bad ¾ something that we in the West have been trained to believe since childhood. We believe we are not good enough. So we don the knowledge of being corrupt to our core as a mantle of supposed wisdom, and flock to those that teach it. Then the religious teaching about egoism simply gets co-opted by the self-denigrating side of our ego, eagerly adopted and accepted as yet another weakness. We hang our heads and beat our breasts and feel the better for it. Unfortunately, all this only strengthens our egoism and leads us into an endless cycle, akin to a dog chasing its tail.
Casting our ego as the enemy in a holy war, an inner jihad, and winning that battle is an exceedingly difficult proposition, primarily because the ego proves to be a most subtle adversary. In fact, the ego will even join the battle against itself. It will take it on and say “this is wonderful, I’m going to battle against ego, I will become free, I will be wonderful, I will be better than I am now, and I will be better than other people, because I will be a highly evolved spiritual being.” The ego joins our forces. As an enemy, it infiltrates our lines, wearing our own uniform, its soldiers and officers indistinguishable from ours. How does one fight a battle against such a devious and resourceful enemy? For most of us, it comes to nothing but an increased layer of suffering as we merely fight ourselves in the name of spirituality and sink more deeply than ever into the morass of self-centeredness. Only the rarest of souls find a way through this conundrum.
An alternative, but also traditional view casts ego in an entirely different perspective, not as an enemy, but as an illusion, and invites us to see our ego for what it is: an empty, ephemeral sham, a hall of mirrors, a self-referential web. The rise of Buddhism in the West is, in no small part, due to this kinder yet no less incisive and perhaps more tractable formulation of the problem of egoism.
Our belief in our ego, or separate self, is in part learned from society. All the people around us labor under a self-centered perspective on life, which naturally devolves to impressionable children. Repeatedly shining the light of awareness directly on this sense of separateness gradually disperses it. If we look carefully for our ego, for this separate self that we think we are, we shall not find it.
Am I my body? I can control my body, I can be aware of my body, and my awareness is greater than my body. So I am probably not my body.
Am I my feelings? I can be aware of my feelings and have some rudimentary influence on them, so I am probably not my feelings.
Am I my thoughts? My thoughts claim the title of I, thinking “I think,” “I am hungry.” But that “I” is just a thought, having no more substance than any other thought. It fools me though, this thought “I.” I believe in it. I believe it refers to something real and substantial, to the real me. But if I look at it clearly, I see it as only a thought with no real referent. At best, I may have a vague idea that I am some combination of my thoughts, feelings, and body. Again it proves empty to the perspicacious observer.
How about my awareness? Am I my awareness? Two problems here. First, I have some control over what I am aware of. So there must be something deeper. Second, the deeper I go into awareness, the less it is centered in me, so how can that be me as a separate entity, as an ego?
How about my attention? How about that in me that decides, my will? This is the subtlest of all. Yet again, the deeper I look into my will, the less it is centered in me, and the more it opens beyond me.
So wherever we look, we do not find this self, this separate person that takes our name, this self-important actor on the stage of our life. The more carefully and persistently we look, the more this once-compelling ego, this self disappears. Or perhaps we see that it never existed to begin with. Gradually, our belief in our ego assumes a porous quality, which rather than cutting us off from others, merely clouds our relationships intermittently. This separate self never was. Our devotion to it shrivels and we are left to truly be ourselves, to play our unique role in the larger story of our common life. When moments come in which we fall back into that trance of selfness, we feel uncomfortable, like in a shoe that no longer fits, and we let it go.
Our ego, this illusory pattern, however, endures with remarkable resilience and persistence. Complete freedom from ego comes only at a very high station of spiritual development, something to which we may aspire and work for with diligence. The best approach lies somewhere between the two outlined above. Seeing and letting go can only work insofar as we are able to see. The depth and subtlety of our seeing must increase. For this, efforts of various kinds are necessary. These efforts may include grappling with some of the propensities of our separate self. Doing so can illumine the tentacles of egoism, while creating energy for seeing more. Only we must not have the idea that such struggles will, by themselves, reform our recalcitrant self-centeredness. A project of reform by force is doomed to fail. Efforts at reform can only be useful to the extent that they help us to see. Sensing the energy body and working at presence also help us see. And seeing, it is said, leads to liberation: liberation from the illusion of the ego and into the freedom of interconnectedness.

Distinguishing ego from true self
(Quotations from Sogyal Rinpoche)

Two people have been living in you all your life. One is the ego, garrulous, demanding, hysterical, calculating; the other is the hidden spiritual being, whose still voice of wisdom you have only rarely heard or attended to.
…you have uncovered in yourself your own wise guide. Because he or she knows you through and through, since he or she is you, your guide can help you, with increasing clarity and humor, negotiate all the difficulties of your thoughts and emotions…
The more often you listen to this wise guide, the more easily you will be able to change your negative moods yourself, see through them, and even laugh at them for the absurd dramas and ridiculous illusions that they are…
The more you listen, the more guidance you will receive. If you follow the voice of your wise guide… and let the ego fall silent, you come to experience that presence of wisdom and joy and bliss that you really are.
(p. 120-121)
The ego
So ego, then, is the absence of true knowledge of who we really are, together with its result: a doomed clutching on, at all costs, to a cobbled together and makeshift image of ourselves, an inevitably chameleon charlatan self that keeps changing and has to, to keep alive the fiction of its existence… Ego is then defined as incessant movements of grasping at a delusory notion of “I” and “mine,” self and other, and all the concepts, ideas, desires, and activity that will sustain that false construction… The fact that we need to grasp at all and go on and on grasping shows that in the depths of our being we know that the self does not inherently exist…
{The ego’s greatest triumph} is to inveigle us into believing its best interests are our best interests, and even into identifying our very survival with its own. This is a savage irony, considering that ego and its grasping are at the root of all our suffering. Yet ego is so convincing, and we have been its dupe for so long, that the thought that we might ever become egoless terrifies us.
(p. 117)
©1999 by Deb Platt

Passion, Activist Burnout and US

Passion, Activist Burnout and US

eileen fleming

Activists are driven by passion fueled by a radical hope that the power of just one can indeed help change the way things happen to be. St. Augustine defined Hope as having two children: Anger at the way things are and Courage to do something about it.

Activists are hopeful people but they are not necessarily optimistic for optimists look at the world through rose colored glasses while activists adorn the dark shades of realism. Justice and Peace activists who fight the good fight are fueled by the desire to begin the world again which requires an over throw of the status quo. The work of activists provides no perks and success is as rare as an honest politician.

“Within apathetic, mainstream American culture, people involved in the various movements fighting for real change are a minority, and can be taken for granted…we losing incredible people with a lot to offer by not supporting them, we are also failing them as a community. If our goal is to make the world a better place and forge new societies and communities based on mutual aid and sustainability, what does it mean when we can’t even take care of each other and keep things running…The dominant culture in this country does not teach us to appreciate the hard work and contributions of the people around us. We need to change this pattern…Next time you are working on a project with someone, take some time out to think about the amount of work that the both of you have put into the project, not how much more you have to do. Recognize and respect the time taken to work on the project and any sacrifices either of you have made in order to get things done. Be vocal! Give praise; don’t just assume that because you aren’t criticizing someone that they know you think they are doing a good job…Give credit where credit is due….what is important is that we have dialogue.” [1]

But before we converse, we must look within to discern the desires of our own heart which is the birthplace of passion and the sanctuary of love and only love will birth positive change. I am not talking sentimental, romantic or erotic love, but pure love that sees ‘the other’ as oneself. Jesus reminded us that the greatest command is to love God first [and God is Love] and then we are to love all our neighbors [everyone on the planet] as we love our self: in other words we are to treat ‘the other’ as we desire to be treated, for the law of karma is that what ever we put out will return to us in spades.

During my first of five trips to Israel Palestine, the whistleblower of Israel’s WMD Program, Mordechai Vanunu spoke to me about his 18 years in jail for telling the world the truth that Israel was already nuclear in 1985 and I was blown away that this former Orthodox Jew who was baptized a Christian just weeks before being kidnapped by the Mossad stated, “The Shen Beet, you know like the FBI and the Mossad, like your CIA…tortured me by keeping a light on in my cell constantly for two years. They told me it was because they were afraid I would commit suicide, and the oppressive camera was for my safety. They recruited the guards and other prisoners to irritate me. They would deprive me of sleep by making loud noises near my cell all night long. I chose to read them 1 Corinthians 13 instead.” [2]

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, and it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with THE TRUTH! It always protects, it always trusts, always hopes, and always perseveres. Love never fails. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things.”- 1 Corinthians 13: 4-8

Psychotherapist Allen L. Roland wrote, “By loving yourself I mean giving full and honest expression of your deepest feelings regardless of the risks ~ which in itself is an act of love…Remember that love, joy and a state of soul consciousness, not anger, pain, resentment and ego consciousness lies deepest within each one of us and joins us to a Unified Field of love and soul consciousness…You cannot tap into your passion if you are careful or controlled by the ego’s need for outer validation versus inner validation. As such, you must be willing to say YES to yourself and not be controlled by fear particularly when you are on the path of the heart. YOU MUST LIVE YOUR DREAMS. And the ultimate dream is just being yourself and making a difference in the process. YOU MUST CONQUER FEAR…Most fear is false exaggerations appearing real and the most common fear is That being myself is not enough…YOU MUST SAY YES TO YOURSELF. When you say yes to yourself you are in sync with your destiny whereas saying no to yourself is the ultimate self-negation…YOU MUST MAKE A DIFFERENCE. Making a difference means being in service to a greater humanitarian need than the ego’s self-serving needs. And it starts by owning and believing in yourself. YOU MUST BE INNER DIRECTED…willing to stand alone and have faith in yourself even at the risk of those closest to you not understanding. Many are called, few listen and fewer still respond to their own inner voice but true passion begins with listening and responding to your true and authentic inner calling.” [3]Discerning ones inner calling requires being open to all of ones emotions, being open to all the people one meets, being fully present in every situation with a trust that the power of one can make a difference in our dysfunctional world that cries out for Tikkun; which is Hebrew for heal, mend and transform the world. The only way to do that requires we use our days living them to the full in service to ‘the other’ who is oppressed and who also is really our self in different skin and in a different place.

Martin Niemoller, came to German public awareness in 1933 with his book From U-Boat to Pulpit, outlining his journey from a U-Boat commander in World War I to a pastor in a Protestant church who survived Dachau.

He wrote about the apathy of German intellectuals following the Nazi rise to power and the purging of their chosen targets, group after group after group.

I spin his poem like this;

They came for the Communists, and we didn’t speak up because we weren’t Communist.They came for the Jews, and we didn’t speak up because we weren’t Jewish.

They came for Lebanon’s Christians, and we didn’t speak up because we weren’t Marionettes.

They came for Sudan’s blacks, and we didn’t speak up because we weren’t Sudanese blacks.

They came for the Catholics, and we didn’t speak up because we were Protestant.

They came for the trade unionists, and we didn’t speak up because we were white collar.

They came for the gays and lesbians but we didn’t speak out because we were straight.

They came for the asylum-seekers and refugees; they fed us suspicions and fears, soothed us with mindless entertainment and tried to keep us clueless to the true facts on the ground as we pursued keeping bread on the table and a dry roof above head.

Then they came for those who listened to the voice of their conscience [another name for God] and spoke the truth from their gut.

But there was nobody left to speak up.

1. http://slingshot.tao.ca/displaybi.php?00860162. Fleming Eileen, MEMOIRS of a Nice Irish-American Girl’s Life in Occupied Territory pages 105-106.

3. http://blogs.salon.com/0002255/2008/09/18.html#a2149

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September 21, 2008 By Eileen Fleming, Reporter and Editor http://www.wearewideawake.org/ Author Keep Hope Alive and Memoirs of a Nice Irish American Girl’s’ Life in Occupied Territory, Producer “30 Minutes With Vanunu.” Permission is granted for reprint in print, email, blog, or web media if this credit is attached and the title remains unchanged. Only in Solidarity do “we have it in our power to begin the world again.”-Tom Paine

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Open Letter to Christian US Troops in Iraq and Afghanistan

Open Letter to Christian US Troops

in Iraq and Afghanistan

by Stan Goff

Who and Whose are you?: Confession of faith and renunciation of evil

On February 1, 1996, I retired from the United States Army. I had served in the 173rd Airborne Brigade in Vietnam as an infantryman, the 82nd Airborne Division, the 4th Infantry Division, 2nd Ranger Battalion, the Jungle Operations Training Center, 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment – Delta, the United States Military Academy at West Point, 1st Ranger Battalion, 7th Special Forces Group, 75th Ranger Regiment, and finally 3rd Special Forces Group. I worked all over “hot spots” in Latin America during the 80s and early 90s. I participated in Grenada and Somalia; and I was the team sergeant for a Special Forces A-Detachment during the 1994 invasion of Haiti.

In all that time, I was one of those atheists in the foxholes they say don’t exist. I could never have known that I’d find the faith to follow Christ and be baptized on Easter of my 56th year. But I did, even when I’d never grasped for spiritual reassurance as I slogged through the Central Highlands of Vietnam, leapt from airplanes into the night, or had helicopters shot out from under me. I’ve been taking up residence close to death for a long time. My faith isn’t about jumping over death. It’s about reconciling with God, who Jesus Christ showed us is Love.

When I was baptized I continued to carry my history; but one identity was sloughed off in the water and a new one born out of it.

I write this open letter to troops, brothers and sisters – of all branches – who profess the faith of Christ. I write you to ask that you remember your baptism, because at that baptism you declared your renunciation of evil.


The big preposition

Note the preposition. I didn’t say faith in Christ, I said faith of Christ.

Christian is a diminutive term; it means “little Christ.” To be a Christian is not to merely have faith in Christ. That’s too easy, and Jesus of Nazareth was not about easy. To be Christian is to aspire to have the faith of Christ.

Christ’s call is not to go along with the program, say the magic words, then be rescued from death. Christ did not merely command belief. Christ commands you to follow him. That command does not wait until death for it to become effective in your life. “Love your enemy.” This is not an etching at some altar that you visit; it is your path laid before you by the footsteps of Christ in this world. This is an action religion, not an abracadrabra religion.

Christ tells us to take up the cross. That means be willing to risk all, to suffer all when suffering can heal the brokenness in the world. The brokenness of 1st-Century Palestine was not altogether different from the brokenness of the world now.

Jesus’ ministry was conducted in the teeth of a Roman military occupation. Like Nuri al Malaki’s “government,” the Palestinian Jewish upper-class then lived in an uncomfortable collaboration with that occupation. There were also Jewish insurgents who fought the Roman occupation, who fought among themselves, and who attacked collaborating Jewish sects as well. One particular nationalist party that emerged prior to the revolt with Rome was known as the Zealots. You may recall that Jesus had such folk among his small band of disciples. “And when day came, he called his disciples and chose twelve of them, whom he also named apostles: Simon, whom he named Peter, and his brother Andrew, and James, and John, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James son of Alphaeus, and Simon, who was called the Zealot…” (Luke 6:13–15)

We can’t beat around the bush about this comparison. It’s clear.


We Romans

America is now Rome. You are Rome’s army of occupation. To the Roman soldier, when Jesus passed down the dusty byways of his occupied land, he appeared no more or less than a random Iraqi or Afghan appears to you.

What do you look like to them?

Jesus himself looked at the Jewish resistance to Roman occupation, then looked at the corpses rotting on crosses along the roads as Roman examples to the Palestinian Jew; and he chose a new way. His way was neither passivity, nor counter-violence, but non-violent resistance, just like Mahatma Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King, who both cited Jesus’ ministry in their own prophetic missions.

Jesus looked at the violence-counterviolence cycle, and determined that each person in that system was redeemable as an individual – each a child of God, each beloved of God. Jewish, Roman, Samaritan, male, female… no matter. He also looked at how the system itself – operating with a self-reinforcing dynamic that transcends the individual – led people into the cycles of accusation and violence; and he proposed to undermine that system with this radical doctrine of spiritual equality, a redemption open to all through grace, and a redemption never imposed at the point of a sword… or under threat of a bomb.

In the original story, written in Greek, Jesus says, “I am not of this world.” At least that’s how many interpretations go. But the original Greek word kosmos means world, flesh, or system, depending on context.

“I am not of this system.”

Not simply the system of Roman occupation, but the system of violence-counterviolence… all systems of domination, because domination breeds the cycle of violence-counterviolence.


Pretensions of the devil

Scripture has been interpreted to suit plenty that is the very evil you renounced at your baptism. The subjugation of women. Slavery. War. Even the white supremacist sects have quoted Scripture. But in order to do so, literalism and decontextualizaton have been used to distort the essence and spirit of the Scriptures for the most impure of motives. In America, we hear much about a few references to sex in the Bible, but little about the many references to poverty, and less about Jesus’ provocations on peace.

When Jesus says his way will break the dominance of one generation over another within the family, between slave and master, between male and female, he does not confine this vision to heaven – where the upside-down “kingdom” without oppression lives in the dimension of Spirit. He says “on earth as it is in heaven.” Jesus was an earthy guy. He bathed in rivers, shat on the ground, and broke bread with fishmongers, tax-collectors, outcasts, prostitutes, Zealots… and he showed mercy to the child of a Roman soldier.

Even on the cross, in his final breaths as the Romans’ victim, he cries out to God on behalf of those who kill him: “When they came to the place that is called The Skull, they crucified Jesus there with the criminals, one on his right and one on his left. Then Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.’” (Luke 23:33–34)

What do you think that means? Certainly the Roman soldiers (soldiers like you) knew they were participating in a crucifixion. The Roman troops had done this many times. What they did not understand was how their system led them to do this.

In Matthew 27:54, it was a Centurion who heard these words – “forgive them” – and experienced an earthquake, saying, “Truly, this is the Son of God.” (Do you see how the symbolic truth here is more powerful than the literal seismology?)

Forgiveness unmasks Satan, who is not the boogeyman of popular culture, but the spirit in the culture – some would call it a zeitgeist – that acts as God’s jealous pretender, that promotes Self as God, that plays the accuser to stir up the mob (weapons of mass destruction?), that sets up idols… so that we will “know not what we do,” so we will not know who and whose we are.

You can hear the voice of Satan in every instance of boasting, humiliation of another, profaning of what we know to be sacred (like God’s Creation), every thought and word of aggression or revenge, every put-down of other people (all beloved of God). Where you are, you can see how the state of war and occupation – putting you at odds with an occupied population that does not want to be occupied – amplifies and focuses the malevolent spirit. Now ask yourself why?

Why do troops run down civilians with vehicles to avoid slowing down? Why do troops throw bottles and cans at pedestrians to entertain themselves? Why did the massacres like Haditha occur? Why did the utter destruction of Fallujah happen? Why are wedding parties bombed by US aircraft? Why did a whole squad participate in the premeditated half-hour-long rape and murder of a screaming 14-year-old girl? Why is it that approaching an invader’s roadblock can carry death sentence for a whole family? Why can children be woken from their beds by soldiers kicking down the house doors? Why are thousands held imprisoned without cause? Why are Iraqi and Afghan elders obliged to obey 20-year-old invaders who can’t even speak their language? Why do your peers (perhaps even you) refer to all Iraqis or Afghans with epithets? Why do your peers laugh when they retell stories of their own cruelties and their humiliations of the people whose nations they have invaded? Why are you there?

What is the spirit in our culture that spins out clever excuses for these evils? It is that same spirit that you renounced at your baptism, which I call on you to remember now.

Remember your baptism, where you renounced Satan.


Making and unmaking enemies

Do you really understand – any better than the Roman soldiers who “did their jobs” at Golgotha – how this system has led you to where you are today? You are in the system; but that system is not God’s. It is a system of human concupiscence, human malice, human domination, human hubris… a system that functions when you follow the crowd against the Holy Spirit. Satan loves a crowd. These are the weapons of the Satanic spirit that seizes the lynch mob, that calls us to domination and calls it self-defense – even altruism. This is the spirit of our zeitgeist.

Remember your baptism. You declared your renunciation of Satan, and you made that declaration to God. Did you think it would be easy?

The Roman soldiers had been convinced, and had convinced themselves, that they were right to do what they did. To make it alright in their own minds to do what they did, they had to withdraw recognition of the Jewish Palestinians’ basic humanity. I don’t know what they called the Palestinians, but I am sure there was some equivalent of the term “rag head” or “hajji.” And in turn, no doubt, many angry Jews in Palestine had dehumanizing epithets for the Romans.

That’s the cycle. And as Gandhi said, “and eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.” Jesus said the same thing. He said that not only were you not to attack your enemies, you are commanded by God to love them.

It was on the mountainside, there with His disciples sitting before the crowds, He said, “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous.” (Matt 5:43–45)

That’s how Christ told us to break the cycle of enemy-making. Fight the system by loving the “enemy,” but fight the system nonetheless. Provoke with your presence, but do not batter. This is how demonic power is unmasked, and how it was unmasked on the cross, where Christ baited a snare for Satan with his own frail body.

Loving the enemy neutralizes the category of enemy.

Unfortunately, even with phalanxes of chaplains ready to distort and press the message of Christ into the business of war, this means that you are now part of an organization that has no reason to exist without an enemy. The ethic of the military is inscribed in the infantry phrase, “close with The Enemy and destroy him.” The ethic of Christ is inscribed in neighbor-love – love of anyone who is near, and enemy-love – the unmaking of the category of “enemy.” These two perspectives – military doctrine and the ethic of Christ – cannot be reconciled.

“For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors (enemies who exploited the people for the economic benefit of Rome) do the same? And if you greet only your brothers and sisters, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles (those who were not of the Jewish nation) do the same? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matt 5:46–48)

Christ told you to “love your enemies.” Break the cycle of enemy-making.

Yet the armed forces are based, at their very core, on the existence of an enemy to destroy. The very doctrine that governs your organization, your technology, and your methods, cannot exist without The Enemy. To accomplish that, the armed forces must do two things: they must devalue the lives of all who are not members of the nation, and they must set up an idol to supplant God.


The idolatry of nation

In your military chapels hang American flags. But God’s Creation does not stop at the border of the United States; and God’s love is not extended exclusively to Americans; just as God’s love was not extended exclusively to the Jews, but also embraced Samaritans and Gentiles and tax-collectors, and even the Roman soldiery who conducted the crucifixion of Jesus. And when we say we are blessed, we need to understand that blessing is not a reward of material goods or social power. To bless means to make whole… to heal brokenness. The root word in “salvation” is not save, but salve… a healing balm. If God is to bless America, then first and foremost, that means “heal” America – reconcile America to God. Not put the symbol of political authority in the chapel where it can pose as something holy. America cannot be blessed by God without that same blessing – that same making whole – extending to the entire human family, because under God, the human family is indivisible.

As theologian Shane Claiborne notes:

No wonder it is hard for seekers to find God nowadays. It is difficult to know where Christianity ends and America begins. Our money says, “In God we Trust.” God’s name is on American money, and America’s flag is on God’s altars.

The Hebraic tradition of Jesus forbids idolatry. Making the flag of a nation, one that has entered history only recently and will as surely leave it some day, an object of worship is idolatry. For God clearly says, “You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself an idol, whether in the form of anything that is in heaven above, or that is on the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I am a jealous God …” (Exodus 20:3–6) And at the heart of belief is not whether we have the proper mental acquiescence to a particular religious decree but whether or not we will follow this God who loves so passionately that even the enemy becomes the object of love. Such love is always contrary to the systems of empire and domination.

Jesus clearly refuses the claim of Caesar over his life, economically and as a point of worship. Remember, he asks the followers of the Pharisees and Herod to hold up a coin with a graven image, an image of Caesar – the “divine one,” an image explicitly forbidden by Judaic law, and then says, “give to this image, this false God, what it is due.” “…Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s” (Mark 12:17)

Jesus was facing an attempt to entrap him in a debate about not paying taxes to The Enemy (Rome).

His reply: Caesar’s money? That’s part of Caesar’s system, not mine, and not God’s.

The use of this story today to claim one realm for religion and another for obedience to the state, the idea that there were two separate spheres in the state and religion then at all, is a grotesque retrojection of later interpretations into 1st-Century Palestine. It is an absurdity that exploits our historical ignorance about that time and place. This obedience-to-the-state interpretation of the story of the coin with Caesar’s graven image was proffered when the church was merged with the state… and it is blasphemy, a demonic co-optation of Scripture by principalities and powers to trick subject populations into support for the schemes of power.

Christ didn’t obey the state; he subverted it. Then the state bowed to the lynch mob and nailed this gentle rabbi to a cross for a slow and painful execution.

There are a couple of things that we can never seem to separate from the state, however: money and war.


The pigeon-sellers of war

The one time Jesus became physically angry in Scripture was when he overturned the tables of the pigeon-sellers and money-changers who were encamped on the steps of the temple, driving them out when they exploit and abuse and rob the poor ones who only seek obedience to God, corrupting a practice that was meant to connect and honor and instead making it an exploitive practice done in the name of religion and under the sanction of Rome. (Mark 11:15–18)

Remember your baptism; and know that God’s currency is courage in love, not the currency of Caesar that dissolves communities with obsession and envy and war. Can you see the money-changers at work again? Look around you now at the orgy of war-profiteering, the get-rich(er)-quick schemes that attach to war like pilot fish on a shark. But the shark must have enemies to feed upon.

Now, even when there is no credible military threat to the United States that a standing military can prevent, you are being bent to the will of a doctrine that must have The Enemy. If there is no enemy, then one must be created. The Enemy is the raison d’être of the armed forces.

And so other nations – nations of people who have already suffered terribly – were selected to become The Enemy in order to justify the plundering of their resources and the subsidized economies of war – from no-bid contracts for hi-tech weapons to contractors who pay exorbitant salaries and charge outrageous prices to wash your clothes, feed you, and run facilities that insulate you from the harsh and incessant realities of the nations you now occupy.

Do you really think that were it not for oil, you would even be in that region? Do you know how many campaign contributions are funneled to politicians of both parties by “defense” contractors?

Enemies make money. Enemies are good business. The business of war is good these days. The structures of evil and the evil of structures are visible to anyone who consents to see.

Consenting to see constitutes an entry through the passageway of Grace.


Entering the New Life

You – as an individual human being – are redeemable through grace. Faith – radical trust – is how we act into Grace. “Consider the lilies of the field…”

All the excuses and twisted explanations that are made for these wars of occupation – and that is what they are, lies and excuses – are designed to clear away the psychological and spiritual obstacles to your carrying out this occupation of other peoples’ lands. The politicians are creating the twisted logic. The contractors are supporting the twisted logic. The warlike culture in America is directed by the very spirit you renounced at your baptism. The malevolent spirit is not just the devil; it is a devil-maker… a demonizer, an enemy-maker.

The devil – the malevolent within our zeitgeist – demonizes Arabs (our brothers and sisters before God), demonizes Muslims (our brothers and sisters before God) and expresses these explanations-for-war as pus is expressed from an infected wound.

Even some clergy are complicit – as it was in the time of Jesus, when the clergy itself called for his execution. (Mark 11:17)

You – soldier, sailor, airman, marine… and you, officer – must pray for them; and you must not obey them.

You know, many of you, that the ugliness of any description of war can never be equal to the stark and actual obscenity of war. That obscenity is the visible face of Satan that many of us are working very very hard not to see.

It’s the twisted imitator of God, the demonic spirit, the misleader… that crafts a War Jesus. That millions have been misled does not in any way change what it is.

Jesus never gave his sanction to war. The most common quote from scripture used by warmongering government and clergy is Luke 12:49–53, where Jesus says He will sow discord in the family.

I have come to bring fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled! But I have a baptism to undergo, and how distressed I am until it is completed! Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division. From now on there will be five in one family divided against each other, three against two and two against three. They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.”

He does not say “not peace, but war.” He’s says “not peace, but division.” And the fault line for that division is between generations. Age and gender in 1st-Century Palestine defined familial authority. Familial authority was the basis of social stability (the “peace” of Power). Get your head around that.

These divisions are not between brothers and sisters who are the co-children of God, but between generations and the hereditary powers that inhered in the system of human authority. To name this passage a call to war, or its justification, simply because it says he comes not to bring “peace” to domination in the patriarchal household, is a rhetorical acrobatic, just as the return of Caesar’s image is not by any stretch a call to obey the government. This passage is a call to divide human authority in order to reunite authority under a loving God. And it is a clear call.

The official doctrine of the armed forces is based on an Enemy. The doctrine of the Kingdom of God “on earth as it is in heaven” has no enemies.

Ever since Constantine subverted the church by making it a state religion, the powers and principalities have taken the name of Christ and abused it to make war. Christ invoked to support prejudice and oppression. Christ invoked to line pockets (ignoring that Jesus said you cannot serve God and money at the same time). (Matt 6:24) Look past these centuries of pretenders, because the Word that is the Christ remains unshakable, even when it is a minority view in a broken and warlike culture. You are called to disobey human authority each and every time that authority commands you to increase the brokenness of the world.

Refuse to fight.

Refuse to support the fighting.

Lay down your weapons and refuse to fight, and you will be blessed. “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” (Matt 5:9).

You will be healed and made whole; you will be reconciled to God because you will have begun your reconciliation with the billions of human beings who are – under God – one family.

You will be reviled – powerfully at first – as Christ was on the way to Golgotha. The malevolent spirit will writhe. You will be ridiculed as an extremist, less-than-a-real-man (or whichever other gendered attack), an apostate, just as Jesus was when even his closest friends refused to acknowledge their relation to him while the crowd howled for his blood. And you will enter into conflict with your own families.

You will not be nailed to a cross; but you may be jailed, spat on, isolated, abused… but you will also be embraced, accepted, and loved. We already love you.

This is what you need far more than the esteem of the demonic macho culture of war that glorifies the taking of human life – God has already forgiven your past and pointed to the path ahead. Do not any longer give the glory to Rome that belongs to God.


From Jerusalem to Baghdad

Do not expect praise or stained-glass or elegiac music in the background when you refuse. This path blazed by Christ is gritty and hard. As George MacLeod once said,

I simply argue that the cross should be raised at the center of the [street market] as well as on the steeple of the church. I am recovering the claim that Jesus was not crucified in a cathedral between two candles, but on a cross between two thieves; on the town’s garbage heap; at a cross road, so cosmopolitan they had to write His title in Hebrew and Latin and Greek…

At the kind of a place where cynics talk smut and thieves curse and soldiers gamble. Because that is where He died. And that is what He died for. And that is what He died about. That is where [Christians] ought to be and what [Christians] ought to be about.

“About” in a place not unlike Mosul or Baghdad or Bagram or Khoust.

The mission that made Jesus into the Christ, the anointed, was not cleaned and pressed, not shiny like a supermarket, not sanitary like a freshly scrubbed bathroom, not air-conditioned, not safe. You are at the kind of place where God breaks into the world to the exact degree that you let yourself become a “little Christ” – the hands and feet and eyes and ears of Christ. Christ doesn’t demand your mere belief. Christ demands participation in the work of God.

Lay down your weapons, refuse your orders, accept the ridicule and abuse of the mob that “does not know what it is doing,” and Christ will walk beside you.

You’ll be surprised at how many of us will walk beside you, too.

Who would lead a total revolution that would shake off internal oppression as well as the foreign yoke… Jesus’ approach stood in unique opposition to the prevailing assumptions of his day. He articulated an altogether different way… He did not come in the sectarian guise of his time, offering redemption only to those belonging to a particular group, nor did he adopt a primarily adversarial stance. He came with a prophetic message concerned for the good of all and with an eagerness to bring God’s kingdom within reach of everybody, even the enemy.

[from Jesus and the Non-Violent Revolution, by Andre Trocme]

Remember your baptism.

Your allegiance is to the eternal God, not the flag of a transient empire.

Who and whose are you?

You will hear people say that this burnt-out veteran has no authority to speak as a Christian on these matters. And I am burnt out; and I did come to Christianity late in life. But I am not making any of this up. Honest and fearless Christian theologians of the ecumenical, prophetic, and evangelical churches have spoken out against war, and in exactly the terms presented here. I bring nothing original to this plea for obedience to the God of the Nazarene.

I write to you as one who has shared your experience, not that of the clergy or the Academy. I have known your position, trapped between the regrets and guilt of the past and the anxieties of the future, plodding against the current of Holy Spirit to clutch at the “esteem” of your militarized nation, “proving” yourselves again and again to your peers who define masculinity and human value by the ability to risk one’s own safety to dominate or destroy others.

That is who I was before I was baptized into who and whose I am, and that is why I can tell you that the risk you must take is the risk not to dominate. It is the risk of losing the esteem of those who “know not what they do.” Seek your redemption and the redemption of the world, the flesh, the system… by taking up the cross, walking the painful path to Golgotha, and overcoming your alienation from the triune God, who Paul – himself a violent persecutor of Jesus’ followers until his epiphany – called Love, Grace, and Fellowship with your human family.

The fellowship you lose if and when you refuse to fight, if you refuse to give another hour of support to this obscene enterprise, will be replaced not seven-fold, but seven-hundredfold by the fellowship of Peace: Christians, non-Christians, veterans, and non-veterans, and from many nations. This Pentecost waits for you.

Have faith, knowing that faith is not sorcery… not magic… not abracadabra.

Faith is radical trust that God has your back. And trust the evidence not of what those around you try to excuse and explain, but of what you see them actually do.

Watch how your institution treats “the least among us,” because that is how the institution is treating Christ (Matt 25:40). You cannot point a gun at another human being, frighten a child, bully a man, demean a woman, violate the sanctity of a threshold, or kill, and not be doing this violence to Christ. There is nothing circumstantial about it. Christ was categorical about this.

You must resist; and you must do so without violence and be prepared to love those who abuse you for your refusal. And trust, too, that all will be well, even though you might pass through a dark night first.

Your obedience to peer pressure and your obedience to the government are both superceded absolutely by obedience to God.

Elections will not stop this war, just shift its emphasis. Only you will stop it, starting with yourself. That is the way Jesus worked; and at your baptism you promised to follow the Christ.

Refuse your work. Refuse your orders. Refuse to pick up the weapon and fight; and pray for the redemption of those who will stand against you when you stand with God.

When you do, and do so in the name of Christ, there are thousands more waiting that will follow. And there is One who will walk beside you every step of the way.


Links for Christian troops ready to say no:

NOTE

From Wikipedia on Conscientious Objection:

A 1971 United States Supreme Court decision broadened U.S. rules beyond religious belief but denied the inclusion of objections to specific wars as grounds for conscientious objection. Some desiring to include the objection to specific wars distinguish between wars of offensive aggression and defensive wars while others contend that religious, moral, or ethical opposition to war need not be absolute or consistent but may depend on circumstance or political conviction. Currently, the U.S. Selective Service System states, “Beliefs which qualify a registrant for conscientious objector status may be religious in nature, but don’t have to be. Beliefs may be moral or ethical; however, a man’s reasons for not wanting to participate in a war must not be based on politics, expediency, or self-interest. In general, the man’s lifestyle prior to making his claim must reflect his current claims.” In the US, this applies to primary claims, that is, those filed on initial SSS registration. On the other hand, those who apply after either having registered without filing, and/or having attempted or effected a deferral, are specifically required to demonstrate a discrete and documented change in belief, including a precipitant, that converted a non-CO to a CO. The male reference is due to the current “male only” basis for conscription in the United States.

In the United States, there are two main criteria for classification as a conscientious objector. First, the objector must be opposed to war in any form, Gillette v. United States, 401 U.S. 437. Second, the objection must be sincere, Witmer v. United States, 348 U.S. 375. That he must show that this opposition is based upon religious training and belief was no longer a criterion after cases broadened it to include non-religious moral belief, United States v. Seeger, 380 U.S. 163 and Welsh v. United States, 398 U.S. 333. COs willing to perform non-combatant military functions are classed 1-A-O by the U.S.; those unwilling to serve at all are 1-O.

This open letter and other written material (like that found in the enclosed links) opposing war on moral and/or religious grounds “demonstrate a discrete and documented change in belief, including a precipitant, that converted a non-CO to a CO,” if they are listed as the persuasive moral, religious, and philosophical arguments leading to your objector status.

September 18, 2008

Stan Goff [send him mail] is the author of Hideous Dream: A Soldier’s Memoir of the US Invasion of Haiti, Full Spectrum Disorder, and Sex & War. He is retired from the United States Army. His blog is at StanGoff.com.

Copyright © 2008 Stan Goff

THE ONE TRUE RELIGION

Universal Insanity

“THE ONE TRUE RELIGION”

The One True Religion is the worship of The Living God and of the life that flows forth from Him. Every religion has taught that it alone possesses the way home to God (salvation). The fact that there are so many different religions is proof that the One True Religion does not yet exist upon this earth. If The Light from the One True One were ever to shine forth here, then all lesser lights would be revealed as the mere reflections that they truly are. Every religion contains parts of The One. One religion contains more of The One than all of the others combined. But none of them is that One.

God is just. This means that He gave The Light to everyone. Different cultures formed different religions based on different understandings of The Light. The Light is known by many different names, from Jerusalem , to China , to the Arizona reservations. It is the same Light shining-forth from all. Regardless of what is taught, all religions were created by men, not God, who did their absolute best to faithfully reflect The Light unto their brethren. There truly are as many ways to receive The Light as there are different types of people to receive it. The differences between people and their religions is there because that is the way that He Who Created All Things wanted it.

Since religions can only be fully understood by experiencing them, I can only speak about the one that teaches of the Son of God. I know Jesus. He was God, born in the form of a man. He was born of a virgin. He died a horrible death and arose from the dead, fully alive again, in order to reign over creation and to deliver The Living Word of God to mankind.

After He died and resurrected as The Holy Spirit, mankind created a worship system around Him and has sought to contain His Light locked-away in a darkened box, called a “church,” ever since then. He is not confined by man’s beliefs about Him. He is to be found in the middle of an open field, just as surely as He dwells in any church.

MATT. 18:20 , “…wherever two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”

Simple spiritual truths are buried under mountains of contrived “enlightenment.”

The faith, as practice historically, is largely the worship of the “holy men” messengers of God, not of the Light that they bore. It has become just another form of ancestor worship. The whole truth about Jesus and The Living Words He spoke is to be found in just the first four books of The New Testament Bible. No other third party explanations of His Words, or of His nature are needed. The Living Word explains itself.

LUKE 14:26, “The Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father shall send in my name, He shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you…”

Over the centuries, well-meaning pastors have sought to add their own unnecessary interpretations to The Living Words, according to their ability to understand and to communicate that knowledge unto others. It is here where the belief system has faltered and gone wrong. Many have let their own egos subvert the teachings. They became deluded about self-importance and began to teach their own opinions as divinely inspired church doctrine. They misunderstood The Word. They came to believe that they had deservedly received some special wisdom from God and, as a result, they developed spiritual “superiority complexes.” From their lofty positions of trust they sought to dominate their blind “inferiors,” preaching intolerance of everything that they didn’t accept or understand. They preached their own bias as God’s work. They used guilt as a weapon to force submission, insisting upon total deference to their nearly infallible superiority.

MARK 12:38 , “Beware of the scribes who love to go in long clothing, and love

salutations in the marketplace,

And the chief seats in the synagogues, and the uppermost rooms at feasts:

Which devour widows’ houses, and for pretence make long prayers: these

shall receive greater damnation.”

Divisive preachers teach narrow restrictive interpretations of carefully selected scriptures (usually from the Old Testament). They prefer prophecy’s warnings, instead of its promises. Their message is of widespread doom, not one of deliverance. They propagate a version of Jesus Christ that allegedly loves everyone, yet excludes the vast majority of the human race as being “sinners,” unworthy of heaven. They incite their followers, urging them on in political confrontations over emotional issues, with the intention of broadening their own authority by the multiplying of divisions. They insist upon an absolute loyalty to their dictatorship from the pulpit. Control, not universal salvation, is their true goal. Their hearts may have indeed been enlightened, but their minds must have been blinded by the sight.

JOHN 9:39 , “For judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not

might see; and that they which see might be made blind.”

True Christian faith has its arms wide-open to all. The reward of salvation is for everyone on the planet who faithfully seeks God. Jesus clearly promised that the act of seeking Him guarantees that we will find Him.

MATT. 7:7, “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and

it shall be opened unto you.”

Preachers who proffer un-Biblical teachings which imply that there is no certain way home to The Father are sowing falsehood. The idea that we might honestly work hard, seeking salvation for our whole lives and somehow might still miss the mark, is false doctrine. Heaven (whatever it actually is) is an all-inclusive place. There are indeed “many mansions” there. Every person is being called home to return to Him.

Modern Christianity is plagued by the widespread dissemination of false doctrine. The common usage of symbols and symbolic rituals in worship has led to a new form of idolatry, as people, inanimate objects, even ideas, are believed to possess spiritual power. The worship of symbols (“saints,” wooden crosses, even worship of the savior’s blood) is primitive idol-worship. Any living thing, object, or superstitious rite that you place between you and God only serves as a barrier to hide His Light from you.

The worship of “mammon” (wealth) is another form of idolatry, since success and money become as gods unto you. Jesus clearly taught that the accumulation of wealth is an obstacle to be overcome by those seeking salvation.

MATT. 19:21-24, “…if thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give it

to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven…”

…a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom…

…it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to

enter the kingdom…”

Even so, many preachers of deception validate greed by arguing that some men are “blessed by God” and entitled to the wealth and power that they (somehow) have deservedly “earned.”

MATT. 23:12 , “…whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall

humble himself shall be exalted.”

Our commandment from The Living Word is clear—

MARK 12:30 -31, “…Thou shalt love the Lord, thy God with all thy heart, and

with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength…

…And…Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.”

Our commission is equally clear, to help the helpless, to bring hope where there was none. This is the solution to all of the Earth’s problems. He said that whenever we show human compassion and help those who suffer and are in need, we are serving Him.

MATT. 25:35-36, 40, “For I was hungry and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger and ye took me in.

Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye

came unto me.”

“Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these…, ye have done

it unto me.”

We are called to serve the living, acting as the helping hands of God, The Living Word. We are commanded to do this without thought for ourselves. We do not need to develop a plan for serving, that has already been done for us.

MATT. 6:19, 34, “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth…”

“Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for

the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.”

Help anyone that He sends to you. Go out of your way to find those who suffer behind closed doors. Extend unto them the helping hand of your merciful loving Father.

We best serve God’s will when we go forth to serve mankind. Any pastor who preaches the spiritual superiority doctrine, which implies that those of us who have been greatly blessed spiritually deserve earthly rewards for overcoming, is teaching error.

The worst of these false doctrines teaches that our reward for service is imminent, as some will soon be deservedly “raptured,” lifted-up unto God, escaping the horrible judgment that is surely on its way. Jesus never said that we will escape the “great tribulation.” The word “rapture” is never uttered once by our Lord.

MATT. 24:7-9, “…nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom:

and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes in diverse places.

All these are the beginning of sorrows.

Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be

hated of all nations for my name’s sake.”

MATT. 24:29-31, “Immediately AFTER THE TRIBULATION of those days

shall the sun be darkened…and the powers of heaven shall be shaken:

…and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds…

And He shall…gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of

Heaven to the other.”

When preachers promise their followers that some of them merit escaping the coming judgment, they falsely delude them into thinking that they are already perfected, spiritually complete. They distract the focus of the faithful away from the true Path (which is always directly ahead), urging them to raise their bowed heads from the Path and “look up, for their redemption draweth nigh.” These false prophets have made you lazy, as you are encouraged to sit and wait for that which you have “earned.”

Some will protest that in the rapture believers are lifted-up, while unbelievers are “left behind.” Scripture clearly quotes Jesus’ teaching that it is the evil ones who are taken out of this world and then burned in the fire, leaving behind God’s chosen ones.

MATT. 13:41 , “The Son of man shall gather out of his kingdom all things that

offend, and them which do iniquity.

And shall cast them into a furnace.

Then shall the righteous shine forth…”

Anyone who has been deceived into praying to be among the “fortunate” ones who are “taken-away,” is asking to be among the damned. If you know what is good for you, you will pray to be left behind.

Allowing oneself to depend upon some preacher, some priest, or even a pope is a sure way to be misled. Trust your own heart. No church (or no amount of church-going) can save you; only you can save yourself. Forget about seeking signs, belief in magic, or in the supernatural. The way home is simple, but it is never easy. Keep your eyes focused on the Path to God, which is always directly in front of you. It is never necessary to turn down some side road, or to make some changes first, before walking to Him.

You’ll never be closer to God on this earth than when you are in the presence of a newborn child. Whenever you gaze into that baby’s innocent eyes, you are looking directly into God’s eyes. Every person’s eternal fate is determined primarily by how he or she has treated the little children that they have encountered in their life.

MATT. 18:5-14, “…whoso shall receive one such little child in my name

receiveth me.

But whoso shall offend one of these little ones…it would be better for him that

a millstone were hanged around his neck, and that he were drowned…in the sea.”

“…despise not one of these little ones…”

“…it is not the will of your Father…that one of these little ones should perish.”

Look deep within your own mind to find God.

LUKE 17:21, “…The kingdom of God is within you.”

His voice is heard within the mind as the conscience. He dwells within the human heart, the seat of all emotions. This is why religion (and personal salvation) is a purely emotional experience. The personal expressing of emotional grief, or feelings of guilt, and the releasing of pure emotional love for the Creator is the essence of all religion.

Religion is the highest form of psychology, a healing experience for both the mind and the soul. Hearing the words of life (the Living Word) actually triggers a psychological process within the mind. The Living Words cause, or reveal, an inner struggle within the self. Psychic turmoil ensues, as both moral (positive) and immoral (negative) sides of the self wage psychological warfare against their opposites. Once begun, the mental anguish thereby released can never be stopped. It will endure no matter what, from that point forward, and it can only be allowed to progress to its natural conclusion (spiritual healing), or else be suppressed, in a vain attempt to deny insanity. The healing point is reached when the person voluntarily surrenders himself to the Father’s healing love. It is experienced as a split personality, before the mental breakdown comes, followed almost immediately by the beginning of healing. Often, this breakdown comes at a church altar.

Jesus came here to introduce this spiritual struggle into every human mind, as the means to establish His moral authority over us. Through the “chosen” saved ones, He introduces Himself to the world at large, in order to interject Himself into the greater global struggle over mankind’s future direction.

MATT. 10:35 ,36, “For I am come to set a man at variance against his father,

and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter-in-law against her

mother-in-law. And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.”

MATT. 10:34 , “Think not that I am come to send peace on earth:

I came not to send peace, but a sword.”

MATT. 12:25 , “…Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation:

and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand.”

MATT. 12:30, “He that is not with me is against me.”

The global conflict will come to an end when the power of The One True Religion comes into being and takes hold throughout the world, alive within every mind. The One True Faith will form when enough people hear the Living Word and believe in the Great Author. This “critical mass” of faithful believers will come together, uniting in common prayer, praying for the one goal of universal earthly enlightenment. Some people think that world peace should be that one goal. I say to them, that world peace will come with common understanding of The Light.

ISAIAH 2:4, “…They shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears

pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they

learn war any more.”

Some people believe that ultimate knowledge could somehow set us all free. I say to them, that all knowledge will be given. Nonetheless, even knowledge as great as this could not free us from human nature.

MATT. 10:26 , “…there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed, and hid that

shall not be known.”

JOHN 14:16 , 17, 26, “…The Father…shall give you another Comforter, that He

may abide with you forever.”

“Even the Spirit of truth…ye know Him; for He dwelleth within you, and shall

be in you.”

“…The Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my

name, He shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance,

whatsoever I have said unto you.”

The Holy Spirit IS God.

JOHN 4:24 , “God is a Spirit: and they that worship Him must worship Him in

spirit and in truth.

MATT. 6:63, “It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the

words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.”

The Holy Spirit is described as being like “living water,” that nourishes the roots

of our souls.

JOHN 4:10,13,14, “…If thou knewest the gift of God…thou wouldest have asked

of Him, and He would have given thee living water.

Whosoever drinketh of the water that I give him shall never thirst; but the water

that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting

life.”

JOHN 7:37 ,38, “…If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.

He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow

rivers of living water.”

The Holy Spirit is the Living Water. It flows through the Living Word. The Holy Spirit is the river of life. It is pure power. The living river of life reflects the sacred Light of God, wherever it freely flows, into this world and into every living being in it.

Faith in God is believing in His sacred Word. True believing is totally accepting the Words as truth, without any doubt. He does answer every prayer. The only limit on His ability to answer our prayers is in the power of our own faith to believe that He will keep His promises.

MATT. 9:28 ,29, “…Believe ye that I am able to do this?

…According to your faith be it unto you.”

MATT. 17:20 , “…If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing

shall be impossible to you.”

MATT. 21:22 , “…all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, BELIEVING,

Ye shall receive.”

JOHN 14:12-14, “…He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do

also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father,

And whatsoever ye shall ask IN MY NAME, that will I do, that the Father

may be glorified in the Son.

If ye shall ask any thing IN MY NAME, I will do it.”

This is close to being a “magic spell.” In His name, ask, believing; then see it happen.

The power of God is available to every faithful believer from deep within himself. The act of believing is the faith-activated trigger mechanism. Anything is possible, if you simply ask Him and believe that the answer is on its way. His power extends over all creation.

MATT. 28:18, Jesus said, “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.

JOHN 17:2, “…thou hast given Him power over all flesh…”

LUKE 10:22, “All things are delivered to me of my Father…”

His power becomes our power, as well, when we become His faithful servants.

ACTS 1:5, 8, “…ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost.”

“…ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you; and ye

shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem , and in all Judea, and in Samaria ,

and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”

We will receive the power that can transform all that plagues mankind. If we really believe in His promise, then our only limitations will be the depth and breadth of our own imaginations! We will set our minds upon solving the unsolvable. We will reach beyond the limitations of science. We will at last understand the true nature of energy, as expressed in Einstein’s formula (E=mc2), is an explanation of how the living energy of God is translated directly into matter. We will reach beyond the limits of human government, as the King takes His throne over all mankind. We will reach beyond the limits of diplomacy, when the “lion lies down with the lamb,” and mankind embraces a new docile nature, making possible the prophecy, “and a little child shall lead them.”

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