FINAL WORLD EVENTS IN PROPHECY FORESHADOWED 2017
That prophecy is a part of God's revelation to man; that it is included in that Scripture which is profitable for instruction (2 Tim. 3:16); that it is designed for us and our children (Deut. 29:29); that so far from being enshrouded in impenetrable mystery, it is that which especially constitutes the word of God as a lamp to our feet and a light to our path. (Ps. 119:105; 2 Peter 1:19); that a blessing is pronounced upon those who study it (Rev. 1:1-3); and that, consequently, it is to be understood by the people of God sufficiently to show them their position in the world's history and the special duties required at their hands. (1914 Yearbook, p. 293)
THE SURE FULFILLMENT OF PROPHECY:
"A Message Whose Time Has Come"
SPECIAL UPDATING REPORTS
CONTINUING COVERAGE OF A MENACING CRISIS AND A VERY SIGNIFICANT PROPHETIC SIGN:
Keeping an eye on the European Union:
CONTINUING COVERAGE OF THE GEOLOGICAL AND CLIMATOLOGICAL SIGNS WHICH MULTIPLY - “the sea and the waves roaring” Luke 21:25; “Calamities, earthquakes, floods, disasters by land and by sea, will increase. . . ." - (R&H, December 11, 1900):
A Major Path For Rome Among Many Converging through Jerusalem to Global Domination By Satan in Person - the Ultimate Antichrist
(The Roman Catholic Social Doctrine - Ascendancy of the Roman Catholic dogma in the body politic of the United States.)
Ellen G. White: "When the leading churches of the United States, uniting upon such points of doctrine as are held by them in common, shall influence the state to enforce their decrees and to sustain their institutions, then Protestant America will have formed an image of the Roman hierarchy, and the infliction of civil penalties upon dissenters will inevitably result." (GC 445.1)
"When Protestantism shall stretch her hand across the gulf to grasp the hand of the Roman power, when she shall reach over the abyss to clasp hands with Spiritualism, when, under the influence of this threefold union, our country shall repudiate every principle of its Constitution as a Protestant and Republican government, and shall make provision for the propagation of papal falsehoods and delusions, then we may know that the time has come for the marvelous working of Satan, and that the end is near." (5T 451.)
My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children. Hosea 4:6
We do not go deep enough in our search for truth. Every soul who believes present truth will be brought where he will be required to give a reason of the hope that is in him. The people of God will be called upon to stand before kings, princes, rulers, and great men of the earth, and they must know that they do know what is truth. (Review and Herald, February 18, 1890; TM 119)
A quotation to be kept in mind and applied to current events:
"What the Jesuit Order is for the left wing of the Roman Catholic Church, Opus Dei is for its right wing. (Hegelian politics at its finest, for the Roman Catholic Church cannot lose if it has strong ties with both ends of the political spectrum!)" (From Opus Dei in the USA)
Certain of the popular positions mentioned approvingly in some hyperlinked reports, essays, and blogs on this web page will of necessity cause reactions of strong disagreement, or at the very least discomfort, on the part of many readers. Regrettably, these positions cannot be separated from the core issues in the reports which prove the fulfillment of major end-times prophecies, and may of themselves be fulfillment of the prophecy of the Apostle Paul in 2 Timothy 3:1-5.
In the world of 2017 truth is stranger than fiction. There are reasons in the spiritual realm which shed light on mysterious developments in the relationship between the United States and the papacy together on the one hand, and Putin's Russia on the other:-
In 2 Thess. 2 the Apostle Paul predicted a time of "strong delusion," and he linked it directly to the papacy (verses 3-10a,) and failing to receive the love of the Truth. This failure to receive the love of the Truth stretches back into past centuries, but has been particularly prevalent since the beginning of the final phase of Jesus' ministry in the heavenly sanctuary in 1844. There has been a greatly accelerated process of spiritual declension and increasing ignorance of Bible Truth since then, inevitably linked with increasing ecumenical union between the Protestant churches and the Church of Rome. Can anyone doubt that Paul's prophecy is meeting its ultimate fulfillment now, in our time? There are also other major prophecies which establish this fact with certainty.
Delusion is rampant on every side and the author is Satan, by every agency available to him. The following prophetic statement is found in Spiritual Gifts, Vol. 2, published in 1858:
I have been shown that Satan has not been stupid and careless these many years, since his fall, but has been learning. He has grown more artful. His plans are laid deeper, and are more covered with a religious garment to hide their deformity. The power of Satan now to tempt and deceive is ten-fold greater than it was in the days of the apostles. His power has increased, and it will increase, until it is taken away. (2 SG, p. 277; underscored emphasis added)
Consider how much more Satan's power to deceive has increased since 1858! He has been studying the human mind for millenia. Ellen G. White has made this statement about the influence of Satan on the unregenerate human mind:
For thousands of years Satan has been experimenting upon the properties of the human mind, and he has learned to know it well. By his subtle workings in these last days, he is linking the human mind with his own, imbuing it with his thoughts; and he is doing this work in so deceptive a manner that those who accept his guidance know not that they are being led by him at his will. The great deceiver hopes so to confuse the minds of men and women, that none but his voice will be heard." (2SM 352.3; underscored emphasis added)
Jesus said of the devil that he "abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it (John 8:44b.) If none but Satan's "voice will be heard," we know from the words of Jesus that nothing but a flood of lies can be expected.
The major prophecy predicting the release of such a flood of lies that produces gross delusion, free from restraint by God, is found in Rev. 16:13-14. It is glaringly being fulfilled in our time. The catalyst was fulfillment of Jesus' prophecy of Luke 21:24. Elder Wm. H. Grotheer has written concerning the fulfillment of this prophecy:
The very least that this fulfilled prophecy of Jesus is saying is that God is no longer restraining the power of Satan in his control of the nations of earth. Even though Satan declared that he possessed such power and could delegate it to whomever he chose (Luke 4:6), the book of Daniel draws the curtain aside and reveals that God "ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever He will" (Dan. 4:17). When kings and rulers resisted His purposes, Michael, to whom all earthly authority is given (I Cor. 15:27), comes Himself to influence the outcome of human events (Dan. 10:13). That time is now past, and God has stepped aside and Satan is working his will in the nations of earth. (What is the Fulfilled Prophecy of Jesus Saying?)
That this assessment "holds water" has clearly been established by the march of events since 1980. Among the many manifestations of satanic influence is a delusion concerning Russia and its despotic, murderous President, Vladimir Putin:
Liking Vladimir Putin? Trump and top conservatives have something in common
One of the notable developments in right-wing-watching in recent years has been how enthusiastically many Religious Right leaders have embraced Russia’s anti-democratic president, former KGB official Vladimir Putin. It seems even more remarkable that the Republican Party’s presidential nominee has been lavishing praise on Putin even as Russia maneuvers to diminish America’s influence in the world.
As president, Putin has consolidated his power through attacks on the independent media, the persecution of political opponents, and restrictions on civil society. He has annexed Crimea, supported violent separatists in Ukraine, fostered anti-democratic right-wing forces in Europe, and made the weakening of NATO a major strategic imperative.
None of that has kept Donald Trump from praising Putin and welcoming Putin’s praise for him. In Wednesday night’s forum on national security issues, Trump said, “I think I would have a very, very good relationship with Putin. And I think I would have a very, very good relationship with Russia.” When asked about some of Putin’s troubling actions, Trump didn’t criticize the Russian president, suggesting instead that he could “start naming some of the things that President Obama does at the same time.”
Trump went on to praise Putin’s leadership and pooh-pooh concerns about Putin’s authoritarianism: “I mean, you can say, oh, isn’t that a terrible thing—the man has very strong control over a country.” Then on Thursday, Trump appeared on RT, a network operated by the Russian government, to slam American media and U.S. foreign policy and dismiss as “unlikely” the idea that the Russian government was involved in hacking the DNC’s email as American intelligence agencies believe.
Some conservatives have criticized Putin’s anti-democratic actions and strategic aims, and some Republicans were not happy about Trump’s recent remarks. But his running mate Mike Pence said it is “inarguable” that Putin is a stronger leader than President Obama.
Republican Rep. Steve King of Iowa, a Trump supporter, told CNN that Putin is a better leader for Russia than President Obama has been for the U.S., praising the increase in “hyper-nationalism” in Russia. Conspiracy-theory-promoting radio host Alex Jones, whose “amazing” reputation Trump has praised while appearing on his show, has expressed his admiration for Putin’s promotion of homeschooling and “masculine men.”
Trump will find himself in friendly company at this weekend’s Values Voter Summit, an annual political gathering for the Religious Right. As Right Wing Watch has documented extensively, many U.S. religious conservatives have been cheerleaders for Putin because of his government’s anti-gay policies and his public support for “traditional values” and “Christian civilization.” Brian Brown, who heads both the National Organization for Marriage and the World Congress of Families, actually traveled to Russia a few years ago to testify on behalf of anti-gay legislation there.
As Right Wing Watch noted last year:
Evangelist Franklin Graham hailed Putin as a hero for taking “a stand to protect his nation’s children from the damaging effects of any gay and lesbian agenda” even as “America’s own morality has fallen so far on this issue”; Bryan Fischer called Putin a “lion of Christianity” and called upon U.S. lawmakers to adopt similar speech prohibitions; Matt Barber marveled that Putin was able to “out-Christian our once-Christian nation”; Sam Rohrer called Putin “the moral leader of the world”; Scott Lively lavished praise on Putin for “ championing traditional marriage and Christian values ”; and Rush Limbaugh applauded Putin for stopping “a full-frontal assault on what has always been considered normalcy.”
In fact, Franklin Graham went to Russia just last fall, where he met with Putin, slammed President Obama for supporting “policies that contradict the teachings of God” and praised the Russian president for “protecting Russian young people against homosexual propaganda.” Graham reportedly said, “I call for prayers for the president of Russia, who is protecting traditional Christianity.” Graham also praised Russian involvement in Syria, which the Russian Orthodox Church has called a “holy battle.”
Putin has developed a mutually beneficial partnership with the Russian Orthodox Church, promoting Orthodoxy as a crucial element of Russian nationalism and a vehicle for extending Russian power and undercutting U.S. influence. Some American Religious Right leaders are taken with Putin’s promotion of a Christian state; the director of last year’s World Congress of Families summit, Janice Shaw Crouse, embraced the blasphemy-law prosecution and jail sentences given to members of the band Pussy Riot for protesting in a cathedral. . .
One can perceive a clever ploy of Satan to use outrage at the flouting of Christian moral standards as a means of empowering State religion and absolute power to persecute. The Religious Right's admiration for Putin's Russia reveals their own disposition and plans to achieve theocratic dictatorship in America:
There are all sorts of theories about Donald Trump’s affinity for Vladimir Putin’s Russia, ranging from shadowy business dealings with Putin or pro-Putin entities, to Russia’s alleged material aid in promoting Trump’s presidential candidacy, to the personal affinity between two men who yearn for recognition as world-historical figures. A related question is why so many Republicans — who four years ago were cheering Mitt Romney’s prophecies of a new Cold War struggle with Russia — have accepted Trump’s Russophilia.
But as Peter Beinart points out at The Atlantic, there is actually a strain of conservatism in which a fondness for post-communist Russia and its leader are not at all out of place . . .
That’s right, Donald Trump and his alt-right fanbase are hardly the only Americans who deeply admire Vladimir Putin: He has a fairly large fan club among politically active U.S. Christian conservatives.
It includes some pretty big names, like conservative Evangelical leader Franklin Graham, National Organization for Marriage leader Brian Brown, and American Family Association spokesperson Bryan Fischer. In almost every case it has been his distinctive combination of homophobia and Islamophobia that has made Putin one of the Christian right’s favorite international figures. The cultural conservative preference for authoritarian Christian Slavs who are fighting Muslims has, as Beinart notes, carried over from the Serbs to their traditional sponsors in Moscow, and most especially to the former KGB officer who has revived Russia’s pre-communist tradition of militantly traditionalist Christianity. . .
Meanwhile, Putin’s long war with Chechen Muslim separatists has earned him Christian admiration along the lines Beinart is talking about. And Russia’s long-standing partnership with Syria’s Assad regime — regarded as the protector of the country’s ancient if dwindling Christian minority, threatened by virtually every Islamic group in the region — has recently given Putin some additional Western Christian street cred. Putin’s own association with end-times speculation hasn’t hurt, either.
So the cultural conservative affinity with Putin’s Russia goes a little deeper, and is more religious in nature, than Beinart’s analysis suggests. But there is one problem in Russia that could drive a wedge between Trump and his conservative Evangelical fans: the tradition of Russian Orthodox Church intolerance toward competing Christian faith communities, which very recently popped back up in a law on proselytization signed by Putin in July . . .
This law is one of the reasons conservative Evangelical writer Eric Metaxas, who got a lot of attention this fall for claiming that like-minded people had a religious obligation to vote for Donald Trump, isn’t buying into any “man-crush” when it comes to Putin . . .
So there is a paradox at the center of Christian-right attitudes toward Putin’s Russia: His own conspicuous traditionalist Christianity, which makes him an ally against gay and Muslim agendas, makes him an enemy of conservative Evangelicals in his own country. Since Putin’s not likely to abandon his position favoring a near-monopoly for the Russian Orthodox Church, that makes him disappointing as a heartthrob for the Focus on Family crowd. But there’s still Donald Trump. (Underlined emphasis added; Cf. Can Evangelicals Help Trump Thaw Relations With Russia?)
It is to be expected that the Church of Rome has a deep interest and involvement in developments between Russia and the West. Strange questions arise out of Pope Francis' relationship with the Russian Orthodox Church and Putin's Russia:
The Kremlin hopes Pope Francis will say things that soften its image, and enlisted the Russian Orthodox Patriarch to try to persuade him.
The leader of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill, flew from icy Moscow to the warmth of Havana on Thursday for an historic meeting at the airport with Pope Francis. This was the first time leaders of these two great Christian churches have met, much less embraced, in almost 1,000 years, after long and bitter divisions over dogmatic and canonical issues.
But momentous as the meeting may appear in ecclesiastical terms, much of the impetus for it was purely political at a moment of dangerous confrontations and delicate diplomacy between Russia and the West. As some influential voices in Moscow have started talking about the risk of a Third World War, the pope and the patriarch spoke of the need to protect "the future of human civilization."
In fact, Russian President Vladimir Putin asked the Moscow patriarchate to play a diplomatic role, to help convince Pope Francis—whose good offices did much to end the decades of hostility between Cuba and the United States—that he should help smooth the way for better understanding between Washington and Moscow.
According to one official close to the Kremlin, who spoke privately to The Daily Beast, the message is supposed to be that Russia is kind-hearted, that it cares about Christians everywhere, and that the West should be careful not to provoke a widening war. The official claimed the patriarch might also complain about “irresponsible American politicians,” including Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland, who has taken the point on U.S. policy toward Ukraine.
Russia wants its people to believe that Western publics are not as hostile as their leaders. Pope Francis just helped
TO HIS millions of admirers, Pope Francis seems possessed of an almost angelic spirituality. But after his meeting with the Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill on February 12th, some were left wondering whether the pontiff had rushed in where angels fear to tread. The meeting with his Russian counterpart drew Francis deep into geopolitics, and led him to condone Russia’s foreign policy and critique the West’s in ways that have infuriated some of the Catholic church’s supporters.
It is easy to see why the meeting appealed to Francis. Reconciliation is at the core of his world view. “Bridges last, and help peace. Walls do not,” he told an interviewer from Corriere della Sera, an Italian daily, before the meeting. With militant Islamism going from strength to strength and Christians in the Middle East being persecuted for their beliefs, Catholic leaders privately lament that many churches are divided over theological issues to which most lay Christians are indifferent. They will be heartened to see that the first non-ecclesiastical issue dealt with in the joint declaration issued at the end of the meeting was the plight of Christians in the Middle East and north Africa. . .
The clergymen’s encounter is only the first step on a long road toward mutual understanding between their two churches. For Russia’s government, however, it is a diplomatic victory. The Russian Orthodox Church and the Kremlin often operate in tandem, and Patriarch Kirill could not have agreed to meet the pope without the blessing of Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin. Mr Putin has emphasised that Orthodox Christianity is a pillar of Russia’s national identity, appealing to conservative religious values to shore up his rule. When speaking on world affairs, the church is not an independent institution but, to some degree, an extension of the Russian state.
Russia’s ambassador to the Vatican said Francis and Mr Putin shared a “mutual affection”. That may or may not be true. But Francis made clear in his interview before the meeting that on certain issues he agrees with Mr Putin and disagrees with America and its allies. Speaking much more specifically than popes usually do on geopolitical matters, Francis contended that the disastrous outcome of the invasion of Iraq and the disappointing upshot of the Arab spring were predictable. His remarks on Iraq were not terribly controversial (popes routinely denounce the use of force), but the mention of the Arab spring seemed to suggest that the region’s strongmen should have been left in place. On Libya, where Western powers helped to bring down former dictator Muammar Qaddafi, the pope was explicit: “The West ought to be self-critical.” And he continued: “In part, there has been a convergence of analysis between the Holy See and Russia.”
Francis did add that one should not go too far in endorsing the Kremlin’s views, because Russia “has its interests”. That is an understatement. Mr Putin has faced implacable hostility from Western states since his intervention in Ukraine. In response, says Alexander Baunov of the Moscow Carnegie Centre, he is attempting to “show that the traditional, religious West is less hostile”. The meeting with Francis has helped to underscore Russia’s renewed standing as a global power. Mr Putin’s spokesman called it “a mutual step forward” between Russia and the West.
From the United States under Donald Trump to the papacy under Pope Francis, a complicated panorama of both conflicting and converging interests is displayed. This includes conflict with the Muslim world, which raises the question whether it is a precursor to the fulfillment of Dan. 11:40-44 - or is fulfillment already unfolding? One certainty is that Vladimir Putin's influence is bound to fade. Rev. 13 establishes conclusively that the United States remains the dominant political power until she cedes it completely to Rome, and ultimately to Satan. An evil, supernatural master manipulator is in control of the minds of the participants, and will ultimately sort out the morass to achieve his purpose.
As to the collective pseudo-Christian Religious Right in America, they have made a pact with the devil. They will reap their due reward for destroying the last vestiges of true Christianity in the world at large, with the exception of a remnant (Rev.12:17) - Christ's "little flock" (Luke 12:32.) The due reward of the "False Prophet" is coming in calamities before the end, and final destruction by fire together with the first beast of Rev. 13, when the true Christ is revealed (Rev. 13:11-14; 19:20.) This is the true spiritual reality!
There are indications that the Donald Trump administration may be under pressure to move the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem:-
An official United States delegation led by Congressman Ron DeSantis (R-FL) is briefly visiting Israel on Saturday and Sunday [March 4-5, 2017] to study the possibility of relocating the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
"The delegation is in Jerusalem to learn first hand what it will mean to move the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem,” said Ruth Lieberman, a friend of DeSantis and a political advisor in Israel.
DeSantis chairs the subcommittee for National Security for the US House Oversight Committee. . .
US President Donald Trump had promised to relocate the embassy during his campaign for the White House. But since his January 20th inauguration, his lukewarm statements about the matter led many to speculate that he would not make good on his pledge.
The delegation’s visit is the first sign that there might be some movement on the issue.
Rep. Ron DeSantis told reporters Sunday he is confident President Donald Trump will move the United States Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
The latest six-month Presidential waiver on a congressional order to switch the embassy location, signed by President Barack Obama at the end of last year, expires in May.
DeSantis told reporters he did not expect Trump to follow the lead of all his predecessors and sign a further six-month extension.
"He's in a position where he's either going to follow his campaign promise or he's actually going to have to sign this wavier, and I just think knowing the President, he has been a man of his word," the Florida Republican said. "I don't think that he's going to, on the same month where people here in Jerusalem are celebrating the 50th anniversary of Jerusalem Day, sign the waiver. I would bet that he would not do that and he would announce that the embassy would be moving." . . .
Every president since 1995, when Congress passed the Jerusalem Embassy act, has used the presidential waiver to decline moving the embassy as called for by the law, citing national security interests. Ordered by Congress, the Presidents reviewed the legislation every six months.
Moving the embassy to Jerusalem would mean that the US effectively recognizes Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, overturning decades of US foreign policy, and, many argue, would effectively signal the end of efforts to achieve peace between Israelis and Palestinians.
The authority of a congressional committee to be engaged in this activity is open to question. It bears the marks of a strongarm tactic. This authority appears to be vested in the State Department:
The Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations (OBO) directs the worldwide overseas building program for the Department of State and the U.S. Government community serving abroad under the authority of the chiefs of mission. In concert with other State Department bureaus, foreign affairs agencies, and Congress, OBO sets worldwide priorities for the design, construction, acquisition, maintenance, use, and sale of real properties and the use of sales proceeds.
Congress passed a law in 1995 to force the Executive Branch's hand on this delicate issue:
The Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995 is a public law of the United States passed by the 104th Congress on October 23, 1995. It was passed for the purposes of initiating and funding the relocation of the Embassy of the United States in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, no later than May 31, 1999, and attempted to withhold 50 percent of the funds appropriated to the State Department specifically for "Acquisition and Maintenance of Buildings Abroad" as allocated in fiscal year 1999 until the United States Embassy in Jerusalem had officially opened. . .
Since passage, the law has never been implemented, because of opposition from Presidents Clinton, Bush, and Obama, who view it as a Congressional infringement on the executive branch's constitutional authority over foreign policy; they have consistently claimed the presidential waiver on national security interests.
Why is Congressional sentiment so much at odds with the official foreign policy of successive U.S. presidents? Certainly Jewish lobbying and campaign contributions are one reason. The U.S. presidents who have baulked at implementing the Jerusalem Embassy law have themselves made campaign promises to move the embassy to Jerusalem, but then stalled the implementation of the law when faced in office with the realities of a very complex issue.
The law was passed with overwhelming bipartisan votes in both chambers of Congress. The votes of Democratic legislators can probably be explained on purely political grounds. They cannot afford to cede the support of Jewish voters to the Republican Party. However, it is highly likely that there is also a religio-political reason for the congressional action, given the Christian Zionist/Religious Right domination of the Republican Party:
A delegation of more than 100 members of Congress wrote to President-elect Donald Trump on Wednesday, urging him to relocate the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem "as soon as you take office," according to correspondence obtained by the Washington Free Beacon.
The lawmakers wrote to back Trump's campaign pledge to move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, a policy shift the Obama administration has opposed.
The letter comes days before Trump is to take office. It follows a series of United Nations resolutions supported by the Obama administration condemning Israel for building homes in Jerusalem neighborhoods. . .
The letter, spearheaded by Rep. Ron DeSantis (R., Fla.), urges Trump to send a message to the world that the United States views Jerusalem as "the eternal capital of the Jewish people," according to the missive.
The move would be a decisive break with the current White House, which has long maintained that Jerusalem is not part of Israel. . .
"Israel is one of the United States' closest allies and stands alone in the Middle East for its commitment to democratic ideals. Moving the embassy will strengthen the unique alliance between Israel and the United States and send a clear message to the world that we support Israel in recognizing Jerusalem as its eternal capital," they write. . .
DeSantis told the Free Beacon in a statement that moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem would send a clear message that America stands with the Jewish people and does not view their claims to Jerusalem as illegitimate.
"Jerusalem is the eternal capital of the Jewish people and the U.S. should maintain its embassy in Israel's capital city," DeSantis said. "For decades, the State Department has indulged the conceit that Jerusalem is not the capital of Israel, even though the Jewish presence in Jerusalem goes back thousands of years. I encourage President Trump to send a message to the world that the United States stands with our friends in Israel by relocating our embassy to Jerusalem." (Underscored emphasis added.)
Clearly it is theology that drives the Christian Zionist/Religious Right position on Israel's claim to sovereignty over Jerusalem:
Aside from its centrality to Jewish history, and its role as Israel’s capital, Jerusalem is also a holy place for many Bible-reading Christians. As such, prominent pro-Israel Christian organizations are lining up to express their support for President Donald Trump’s campaign vow to move the US Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, and to hold the president accountable for his words. . .
“Hundreds of millions of Christians around the world understand from their Bible the spiritual significance of Jerusalem to the Jewish people, and that it was established as the capital of Israel some 3,000 years ago by King David,” Michael told JNS.org, adding that Christians “believe the spiritual law of blessing established in Genesis 12 that God will bless those who bless the Jewish people.”
Matthew Staver, founder and chairman of the Liberty Counsel, an evangelical Christian organization, and the president of the Christians in Defense of Israel ministry, echoed Michael’s assessment.
“Support for Israel comes from both the Bible, which clearly establishes that God gave the land of Israel to the Jews, and from history that confirms the continuity of the connection between Israel and the Jewish people,” Staver told JNS.org. “To deny recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel is antisemitic.” . . .
“Support of Israel was one of the motivating factors in the historic evangelical voter turnout for President Trump in this past election,” said Pastor Mario Bramnick, president of the Hispanic Israel Leadership Coalition, a leading pro-Israel Latino Christian initiative. “As evangelicals, we support President Trump’s resolve in moving the embassy to Jerusalem. We believe that the land of Israel, with an undivided Jerusalem as its capital, was given by God to the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob by way of an eternal covenant, and that no president, prime minister or monarch has any authority to take it away.”
The Christian Zionist/Religious Right advocacy of the relocation of the U.S. Embassy ignores the potential for an eruption of conflict in the Middle East:
The possibility of US President-elect Donald Trump's administration actually carrying out his campaign "promise" to move the US Embassy in Tel Aviv to Jerusalem exposes a Pandora’s box of complications that would destroy what little chance exists of a mediated solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The genuine worries raised by that specter have only grown following Trump's announcement that he will nominate pro-Israeli-settler, right-wing Jewish bankruptcy lawyer David Friedman as his ambassador to Israel. Friedman welcomed the news by saying he plans to work out of a new embassy office in Jerusalem.
The concern comes not only from Palestinian politicians; it comes from Palestinian, Israeli and US legal and academic experts. Camille Mansour, former professor of international relations at Paris University, told Al-Monitor that if it does take place, the US move will have a devastating effect in a number of areas.
“It is a clear abandonment of the corpus-separatum issue, which Jerusalem has enjoyed since before 1947," he said. A number of consulates were based in Jerusalem — US, Italian, English, Turkish, Spanish, French and Belgian — "based on this separate recognition of the city."
Corpus-separatum refers to a city or region with special legal and political status. The designation falls short of bestowing sovereign status, or that of an independent city-state.
Hanna Issa, a Palestinian expert on international law and a resident of Jerusalem, told Al-Monitor the United Nations has in various ways stressed the special status of Jerusalem. “This definition was made clear in the 1947 UN Partition Plan, Resolution 181, and a year later, the status of Jerusalem was reaffirmed in a separate resolution, UNGA 303, in December 1949,” he said.
In the 303 resolution, Jerusalem and its nearby towns of Bethlehem and Beit Sahour were declared part of a UN-supervised international city. Issa noted that the US would not only be going against its own positions, it would be in direct violation of numerous other UN resolutions. He cited 11 UN Security Council resolutions that all say East Jerusalem is an occupied territory "and reject the annexation of East Jerusalem to Israel.”
Gershon Baskin, an Israeli researcher and co-chair of the Israel-Palestine Center for Research and Information, told Al-Monitor he can’t understand why a US move is even being considered. “Until now, not one country has recognized any part of Israel. I think that the international community, the US included, has indicated that the issue of Jerusalem must be resolved by Israel and Palestine, and that unilateral action would not gain Israel recognition of Jerusalem as its capital.” . . .
Any controversial decision regarding the highly sensitive issue of Jerusalem will have negative effects locally, regionally and internationally. When former Jerusalem Mufti Ekrima Sabri delivered his sermon Dec. 16 in Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque, he said that meddling with Jerusalem is like playing with fire. This is not only true on the popular level; reversing decades of US and international law and practice regarding Jerusalem would have legal and diplomatic fallout.
Trump's smartest strategy will be to avoid beginning his term with a colossal mistake.
Donald Trump's campaign manager is saying this week that a "very big priority" for the incoming president is to move the American embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, citing Jewish-American and evangelical support. But not everyone is so enthused with the idea.
In a Monday radio interview with conservative host Hugh Hewitt, Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway said that the incoming president has "made it very clear during the campaign, and as president-elect," that he would indeed relocate the U.S. embassy, according to the Times of Israel Sunday. Conway also told Hewitt that many Jewish-Americans prefer this and that "evangelical Christians always have Israel at the top of their list when you ask what's most important to them."
Yet much larger issues remain beyond simply transferring America's diplomatic headquarters there from one Israeli city to arguably the most disputed piece of land on the planet.
The Christian Post asked Robert Nicholson, executive director of the New York City-based Philos Project, a nonprofit organization working to revive an intellectually rigorous Christian approach to foreign policy, how Christians should engage this thoughtfully.
"Insofar as we are building a real partnership between the United States and Israel, it makes perfect sense that we would respect the statements and wishes of the Israelis themselves," Nicholson said in a Tuesday phone interview, adding that in the minds of many Israelis and Americans, Jerusalem is Israel's capital.
"Yet for all intents and purposes moving the embassy will not actually change much on the ground. There's an idea that we could inflame the Islamic world, but I actually don't think that is so much of a concern. If anything it is more symbolic to move the embassy," he continued. . .
In 1995 Congress passed the Jerusalem Embassy Act which unilaterally recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital and required that the American embassy move there by May 1999. The legislation also granted the U.S. President the power to delay the move for six months and Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama have all done so over the years because of security reasons. . . (Underscored emphasis added.)
Meanwhile, J Street, a liberal Jewish advocacy group that is an ardent proponent of the two-state solution, continues to assert that the embassy relocation is unwise and portends many dangers.
Writing yesterday on their website, J Street President Jeremy Ben-Ami called Jerusalem a "powder keg."
"Even minor changes of the status quo in fact or law have immense symbolic impact and carry the potential to spark violence," he said.
"A decision to move the United States embassy — with its implication that the US recognizes Israel's annexation of Jerusalem — could well spark unrest and violence not only in Jerusalem but across the Arab and Muslim worlds."
"All but the most reckless of American policy makers easily grasp the dangers of making this symbolic and inflammatory move," Ben-Ami said.
Objectively, all of the warnings against the proposed move make perfect sense. What in the world is wrong with the thinking of the Religious Right "Christians" who are clamoring for a "symbolic and inflammatory move." One's mind is directed to the prophecy of the Apostle Paul: "because they received not the love of the truth . . . God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie" (2 Thess. 2:10-11.)
While the Trump administration is busily engaged in roiling the waters of controversy and provoking conflict, the Christian who is committed to the historicist unfolding of Bible prophecies will note the spiritual realities of these times. First, sound Seventh-day Adventist expositions of prophecy, have identified global turmoil and conflict as a sign of the final days of earth's history. At the same time, the great prophecy of Daniel 11:45 will be fulfilled (Cf. JERUSALEM - PAPAL POLICY; and N.B. REDEMPTIONIS ANNO.) Is this fulfillment going to emerge out of the turmoil and conflict likely to be provoked by the Trump presidency, including the Jerusalem Embassy issue?
"What the Jesuit Order is for the left wing of the Roman Catholic Church, Opus Dei is for its right wing. (Hegelian politics at its finest, for the Roman Catholic Church cannot lose if it has strong ties with both ends of the political spectrum!)" (From Opus Dei in the USA)
To understand the uninterrupted forward movement of the Church of Rome in it objective of world domination, it must always be kept in mind that it "cannot lose if it has strong ties with both ends of the political spectrum." This is a particularly relevant principle at the present time; because there is a movement within the church which is even more extreme right-wing than Opus Dei, and it has set itself in opposition to Pope Francis' policies, worldwide and within the Vatican. Thus, reaction to Donald Trump's election to the US presidency was not uniform in the Vatican; and this was probably a reflection of the ideological differences within the hierarchy. Pope Francis is a Jesuit, and consistent with the opening quotation above, there is a widespread belief that he is a Socialist, although disputed by some. In the very same articles, the right wing nature of American Catholicism is contrasted with Francis' apparent left-wing leanings:
The pro-socialist viewpoint -
Commentary: Conservatives right to worry about ‘radical’ Pope Francis
Thank God, Pope Francis really is an anticapitalist, socialist and revolutionary. Read his lips. He smiles. He drives a Ford Focus. The Vatican police report that he sneaks out at night wearing black, meets strangers, society’s rejects, the “homeless, addicted, refugees, indigenous, the elderly, migrants,” the unemployed. . .
Conservatives everywhere — from the GOP, Wall Street bankers, Big Ag and every climate denier, to union-busing politicians, Big Oil billionaires and traditional growth economists — every conservative should be concerned about this gentle pontiff’s deceptively disarming charm, his happy smile. He says he has no “political ideology.” He’s that good a diplomat. Yet his own words clearly brand him an anticapitalist, a socialist and a leader with a revolutionary mission. Thank God, because the world needs him.
The pope has a divine mandate to radically alter American politics
The pope’s words clearly reveal a man who’s been on top of financial, economic and political trends for a long time, worldwide and in America. This pope promises to radically transform an American political landscape that for many years has been dominated by the conservative capitalist ideology of Milton Friedman, Ronald Reagan, Alan Greenspan and Ayn Rand. Yes, Pope Francis is challenging generations of right-wing conservative ideology. . .
But far more dangerous for American conservatives, this new pope’s message will be regularly delivered by those clerics to America’s power elite: Six of the nine members on the Supreme Court are Catholics, including the chief justice. Three Catholics are in the direct constitutional line of succession if the president dies. Twenty-four of our 100 Senators are Catholic. So are 163 of the 435 members of the House. Add in their Catholic spouses, children, parents and friends, and this new pope is himself a global superpower. His radical, revolutionary “exhortations” will be influencing billions of all faiths worldwide, demanding not pious rhetoric but action to solve world problems. . .
The anti-socialist viewpoint -
Pope Francis has decried the manner in which many businesspersons fail to consider the plight of low-wage workers and the unemployed, the growing income inequality in many countries including the United States, and warming weather patterns. Thus, some American conservatives consider these enunciations as evidence that Pope Francis is a socialist, arguing that he should keep to his own fiefdom, take care of Catholic souls, and leave economic policy to business people.
Those views are wrong. Francis is not a socialist, although he often says too much of the world’s political and economic leadership rule at the expense of the rest of society with disastrous consequences.
A viewpoint falling between pro-socialist and anti-socialist -
In his encyclical Centesimus Annus, Pope John Paul II wrote, “A person who is deprived of something he can call ‘his own’ and of the possibility of earning a living through his own initiative, comes to depend on the social machine and on those who control it. This makes it much more difficult for him to recognize his dignity as a person, and hinders progress towards the building up of an authentic human community.” This declaration speaks to the history of the relationship between the Roman Catholic Church and socialist movements, which has been both extant and strained since the 19th century. Pope Francis has since taken a different stance in addressing socialism and the liberalist movement surrounding it, seemingly thawing the cold nature of this historically uncomfortable relationship between socialism and the historically more traditionalist Catholic Church.
The Oxford English Dictionary defines socialism as the “political and economic theory of social organization that advocates that the means of production, distribution, and exchange should be owned or regulated by the community as a whole.” Though socialism has vastly differing connotations depending on one’s own ideology, it can almost always be interpreted as opposing unfettered market forces.
In 1878, thirty years after the publication of Karl Marx’ Communist Manifesto and in the middle of a depression in the United States and Western Europe, Pope Leo XIII condemned “socialists, communists, [and] nihilists” for being part of “the deadly plague” corrupting society and “leading it on to the verge of destruction.” Leo denounced these activists for seeking to “debase the natural union of man and woman” and “assail the right of property sanctioned by natural law.” This centralization of economic power would have hurt the clout of local authorities, whom the Catholic Church has historically tended to support.
In 1891, amid another time of economic stagnation in parts of the West, Leo affirmed that “working for gain is creditable, not shameful, to a man, since it enables him to earn an honorable livelihood; but to misuse men as though they were things in the pursuit of gain, or to value them solely for their physical powers—that is truly shameful and inhuman.” Leo adhered to the philosophy of earlier saints such as Thomas Aquinas while showing compassion to the 19th-century poor urban population. Aquinas’s philosophy developed what later Catholic philosophers would further develop and call subsidiarity: the principle that local, competent authorities should take priority in making decisions and settling disputes before more centralized ones do. Under this view, long espoused by Republicans and states’ rights activists, central authorities should only undertake tasks that local ones cannot do effectively. Because the central planning of socialism contradicts this principle of subsidiarity, there has historically been little room for it in the minds of Catholic popes. . .
While Francis’s predecessor Benedict XVI wanted governments to allow the Church to show benevolence to those suffering, Pope Francis wishes to attack the causes of poverty at their source at what he sees as the source, which he views as capitalist markets. Thus, it can be expected that Francis will do more in the future to attempt to bring about his vision, which while not explicitly one of socialism, is still one that emphasizes governments and corporations as holding the solutions, rather than local entities and the Church. . .
Wherever Pope Francis falls in the political spectrum between socialism and conservatism, he has made it clear that he is opposed to unbridled capitalism, and it is obvious that he thereby falls afoul of the ideology and policies of the American Catholic hierarchy which inspires both the Religious Right and the Republican Party. At present right-wing conservatism appears to be in the ascendancy. A startling feature of the present religio-political reality in the United States is the emergence of the right-wing ideology that is even more extreme than that of Opus Dei, and the control which it exercises over President Donald Trump. This is the religio-political ideology known as "Radical Traditional Catholicism." The following report emphasizes its anti-semitism, but there is much more to it than that:
“Radical traditionalist” Catholics, who may make up the largest single group of serious anti-Semites in America, subscribe to an ideology that is rejected by the Vatican and some 70 million mainstream American Catholics. Many of their leaders have been condemned and even excommunicated by the official church.
Adherents of radical traditional Catholicism, or “integrism,” routinely pillory Jews as “the perpetual enemy of Christ” and worse, reject the ecumenical efforts of the Vatican, and sometimes even assert that recent popes have all been illegitimate. They are incensed by the liberalizing reforms of the 1962-65 Second Vatican Council, which condemned hatred for the Jews and rejected the accusation that Jews are collectively responsible for deicide in the form of the crucifixion of Christ.
Radical traditionalists are not the same as Catholics who call themselves “traditionalists” — people who prefer the old Latin Mass to the mass now typically said in vernacular languages — although the radicals, as well, like their liturgy in Latin. They also embrace extremely conservative social ideals with respect to women.
Some claim that radical traditionalist Catholicism is the true Catholic Church. (Perhaps history bears this out, and the ideology merely unmasks the real identity of the papacy):
One cannot be Catholic without being traditional. If one is Catholic one must be radical. The word comes from the the Latin radix, meaning root. How can Catholic be anything but radical, particularly living within this secular world and the new “pagan ideology” that has taken over parts of the Church as so aptly phrased by Bishops Schneider.
The reason that we are labelled such is that we are right. Those who put these labels on us are conflicted and schizophrenic because on one hand, they might like a little Latin Mass once or twice per year but on the other hand they have become “pagan Catholics” as our Holy Father so aptly called them a few days ago. If all you can do is look away from the real problems and crisis facing the Church and mock and deride then you are nothing more than a coward and part of the problem; and this goes for you if you are laity or priest or a bishop. You are lukewarm and you will be spat out on the last day. . .
If you are not a radical traditionalist, then you are simply, not Catholic.
However this may be, those in control at the Vatican do not take kindly to the propagation of radical traditional Catholicism. This is documented by the following article:
Earlier this month, Basilian Father Thomas Rosica, who serves as an English-language aide to the Vatican Press Office, launched a fierce attack on radical traditionalists in the Catholic blogosphere.
As reported by the Catholic News Service, Rosica stated, “Many of my non-Christian and non-believing friends have remarked to me that we ‘Catholics’ have turned the Internet into a cesspool of hatred, venom and vitriol, all in the name of defending the faith!” . . .
In the wake of the Second Vatican Council, too much preaching and catechesis focused only on peace and justice issues, or presented a subjective and sentimental understanding of the Catholic faith. Pastors and catechists are not the only ones at fault. The Catholic faithful themselves have too often preferred a fuzzy, feel-good message.
Indifference, and indifferentism, have produced a notoriously lax and ineffectual form of American Catholicism.
Catholics who are looking for a faith with rigor, discipline and a tough line are invariably drawn to the traditionalist message. It is possible to find a strong, joyful traditional Catholic witness that combines clarity and charity, and those who relish Catholicism with grit should search out such communities.
Unfortunately, such teachers and parishes are hard to find, and too often the “Church of the Internet” takes over. Self-appointed online teachers fill the vacuum, and a poisonous, self-righteous extremism takes the place of true, simple, and humble piety.
When even the Vatican views Radical Traditional Catholicism with horror at their extremism, how alarmed should Bible Christians who believe the prophetic Word be about its controlling influence in the Trump White House! The White House Chief Strategist and Senior Adviser to the President is a Radical Traditional Catholic:
Standing squarely behind President Trump and whispering in his ear is his chief strategist, Stephen Bannon, who is shaping up to be the second most powerful person in the White House.
Bannon is the former editor of the right-wing Breitbart website (a platform for far-right extremists) and is the architect of Trump’s cruel and chaotic visa ban. He has become so powerful that liberal and conservative pundits alike speak of the Bannon Regency and (only half in jest) of “President” Bannon. . .
Yet Bannon’s radical worldview should unnerve anyone who still thinks American democracy is based on religious and political tolerance. And his outlook clearly syncs with Trump’s gut instincts. So the Breitbart provocateur has become the White House ideologue-in-chief.
Thus it behooves those who believe in traditional American values to scrutinize Bannon’s sayings and doings (although he likes to operate in secret). A good place to start is the speech he gave to a Catholic conference on poverty in the Vatican in 2014. The conference was hosted by a conservative Catholic group close to Cardinal Raymond Burke, a voice of Catholic orthodoxy and traditionalism who has publicly clashed with the inclusive views of Pope Francis.
In his remarks Bannon railed against the decline of capitalism, the church, and the West, a trio of crises, he said, that underlay the rise of populist anger. Himself a member of the elite, as a Harvard grad and former Goldman Sachs banker, he denounced the crisis of “crony capitalism” that had cheated the middle classes in the United States and Europe. (Note that Trump has filled his cabinet with crony capitalists and Goldman Sachs bankers with no sign of protest from Bannon.)
As for the cure, this self-styled provocateur claims it lies in political upheaval. . .
Bannon has established ties with an opponent of Pope Francis within the Vatican:
When Stephen K. Bannon was still heading Breitbart News, he went to the Vatican to cover the canonization of John Paul II and make some friends. High on his list of people to meet was an archconservative American cardinal, Raymond Burke, who had openly clashed with Pope Francis.
In one of the cardinal’s antechambers, amid religious statues and book-lined walls, Cardinal Burke and Mr. Bannon — who is now President Trump’s anti-establishment eminence — bonded over their shared worldview. They saw Islam as threatening to overrun a prostrate West weakened by the erosion of traditional Christian values, and viewed themselves as unjustly ostracized by out-of-touch political elites. . .
While Mr. Trump, a twice-divorced president who has boasted of groping women, may seem an unlikely ally of traditionalists in the Vatican, many of them regard his election and the ascendance of Mr. Bannon as potentially game-changing breakthroughs.
Just as Mr. Bannon has connected with far-right parties threatening to topple governments throughout Western Europe, he has also made common cause with elements in the Roman Catholic Church who oppose the direction Francis is taking them. Many share Mr. Bannon’s suspicion of Pope Francis as a dangerously misguided, and probably socialist, pontiff.
Until now, Francis has marginalized or demoted the traditionalists, notably Cardinal Burke, carrying out an inclusive agenda on migration, climate change and poverty that has made the pope a figure of unmatched global popularity, especially among liberals. Yet in a newly turbulent world, Francis is suddenly a lonelier figure. Where once Francis had a powerful ally in the White House in Barack Obama, now there is Mr. Trump and Mr. Bannon, this new president’s ideological guru.
For many of the pope’s ideological opponents in and around the Vatican, who are fearful of a pontiff they consider outwardly avuncular but internally a ruthless wielder of absolute political power, this angry moment in history is an opportunity to derail what they see as a disastrous papal agenda. And in Mr. Trump, and more directly in Mr. Bannon, some self-described “Rad Trads” — or radical traditionalists — see an alternate leader who will stand up for traditional Christian values and against Muslim interlopers. . .
Mr. Bannon publicly articulated his worldview in remarks a few months after his meeting with Cardinal Burke, at a Vatican conference organized by Mr. Harnwell’s institute.
Speaking via video feed from Los Angeles, Mr. Bannon, a Catholic, held forth against rampant secularization, the existential threat of Islam, and a capitalism that had drifted from the moral foundations of Christianity.
That talk has garnered much attention, and approval by conservatives, for its explicit expression of Mr. Bannon’s vision. Less widely known are his efforts to cultivate strategic alliances with those in Rome who share his interpretation of a right-wing “church militant” theology. . .
While not the primary emphasis of this analysis, it is worthy of note that the Radical Traditionalist Catholics oppose the secular state, as well as Islam which is regarded as an existential threat to Christianity. Of course, opposition to the secular state includes the entire spectrum of ideologies in the Roman Catholic Church and the Catholic-Evangelical alliance which dominate the political scene in America:
The State must be Openly, Publicly, and Officially Christian
But the Crusades and the Inquisition and the KKK and the Religious Right combined are but a drop in the bucket compared to the denial of civil rights occasioned by the Secular State. Secularism, not Christianity, has made the 20th century the most violent century in recorded history. Everyone can see that the Inquisition and the Crusades were evil; only a few have come to see secular government as an even greater evil. (Italics emphasis in the original.)
Steve Bannon is an opponent of the secular state:
Just what does Steve Bannon believe? For some, his thinking can be boiled down to racism. For others, he is merely a sinister opportunist taking advantage of Trump and the “alt-right”, a far-right movement in the US, for economic gain and fame. But what if he is fundamentally driven by something else? Like: religion.
During a 2014 conference hosted by the very conservative Human Dignity Institute at the Vatican, Bannon laid out his belief in “traditionalism”. To him, it signifies, among other things, a third-way attempt to counter the “crony capitalism” of neoliberalism, and the “state sponsored capitalism” of the Soviet Union and China.
His traditionalism is predicated on a rather speculative historical argument. He argues that a form of “enlightened capitalism” defined western political economies from the second world war until roughly the downfall of the Soviet Union. This type of capitalism was predicated on the Judeo-Christian tradition, which, for reasons Bannon does not explain, was adequately able to represent the culture and economic interests of the working classes.
However, increasing secularization in the west eroded the Judeo-Christian tradition. This set the stage by the 1990s for enlightened capitalism to be supplanted by a new form of political economy, namely neoliberalism. The defining feature of neoliberalism, as Bannon describes it, involves the establishment of an international class of political and corporate elites – the “Davos party” – who presumably lack the values necessary to represent the economic and cultural interest of anyone else besides themselves.
This religious worldview provides one compelling explanation as to why he is willing to work with the political fringe. What is driving the populist movement is, according to him, primarily a reaction to neoliberalism. A return to Judeo-Christian traditionalism will allow for the necessary economic forms that will pave the return to enlightened capitalism, which in turn will “wipe out” the racist elements of right-wing parties. It will also provide the necessary virtues, Bannon argues, to resist the global threat of “radical Islam”.
His alleged Leninism is to be found here. He aims to destroy the political establishment and infuse the re-established state with Judeo-Christian traditionalism. This will aid in redirecting the central bureaucratic state away from globalism and towards economic nationalism.
Perhaps Bannon’s apocalyptic worldview will have little influence on Trump. Regardless, it is a dangerous ideology that entails a number of dubious political assumptions. His repeated claim that the racial fringe will be washed out by the political revolution to come is pure naivete.
More problematic is the question of where Bannon derives his understanding of traditionalism. There are plenty of traditionalists Bannon could mention who have pointed out the shortcoming of liberalism: the moral philosopher Alasdair MacIntyre or even the theologian John Milbank come to mind.
Instead he references none other than Julius Evola – one of the intellectual godfathers of European fascism who promoted a spiritual type of racism – whose reception in Russian under Putin has inspired a traditionalist movement from which Bannon believes there is much to learn.
The most bothersome feature of Bannon’s talk is the fact that a Catholic group at the Vatican responded to it with enthusiasm. Their questions demonstrate that they knew Bannon’s desire to make his message receptive to rightwing populist parties. Excitement over his idea of a renewed Judeo-Christian Europe seemingly trumped such concerns. This is same political ideology that galvanized evangelicals to vote for Trump.
Steve Bannon may be the only "radical traditionalist" Roman Catholic in the White House; but there is a strong and influential Catholic presence. The following article in a Catholic publication reveals both the influential Catholic presence in the White House and an overwhelming involvement of right-wing Catholics in the transition from the election to the inauguration:
The prominent staff picks include Kellyanne Conway and Steve Bannon.
Donald Trump has named several Catholics to advise him in his inner circle and serve in his cabinet following the presidential oath of office on Jan. 20.
Some of those Catholics — such as Kellyanne Conway, Trump’s former campaign manager who will be a counselor to the president — come to the administration with solid pro-life credentials and are respected in Catholic circles. Others, such as Stephen Bannon, a chief strategist for Trump who also served on the campaign, bring a fair share of controversy.
But overall, Jay Richards, a professor at The Catholic University of America’s Busch School of Business and Economics, told the Register that he is “cautiously optimistic” with the team Trump is assembling.
“I’m very impressed, not just with the Catholics in the transition, but with the transition overall,” said Richards, who is also executive editor of TheStream.org, an internet media outlet that, according to its website, promotes “freedom, smaller government and human dignity.” . . .
Richards said he was especially pleased that Conway, who declined an offer to be the White House press secretary, will have a close advisory role in the Trump administration.
“She will be much more valuable giving advice as a counselor than if she were the press secretary, reciting talking points all day,” said Richards, who like many other observers credits Conway with saving Trump’s campaign when she joined it last summer as a special adviser.
“Kellyanne is the reason he won. His campaign was at a lull when she came on board, and she changed it a lot,” said Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life of America, who told the Register that the presence of Conway and other pro-lifers in key roles signals that pro-lifers will have “a seat at the table” in the Trump White House. Said Hawkins, “So far, Trump is appointing people with solid pro-life credentials to important positions, and, for me, that is a positive sign that he is going to keep his promises to pro-lifers and the pro-life movement.” . . .
Meanwhile, Bannon, who joined the Trump campaign around the same time as Conway, brings with him considerably more baggage. . .
Bannon, a former U.S. naval officer who went on to work as an investment banker at Goldman Sachs before leaving the financial world for media, told Bloomberg News that he grew up in a “blue-collar, Irish Catholic, pro-Kennedy, pro-union family of Democrats.” . . .
Describing himself as a Ronald Reagan admirer, Bannon has said he is not a white nationalist, but rather an “economic nationalist” suspicious of the political and financial elite. In June 2014, he gave a talk at the Vatican, sponsored by the Dignitatis Humanae Institute, where he blamed the 2008 financial crisis on the greed of the banking industry and added that he opposed bailouts for that industry. In the same talk, Bannon said the West was facing a crisis of capitalism after losing its Judeo-Christian foundations. He added that secularism had sapped the strength of the Judeo-Christian West to defend its ideals. . .
Sean Spicer, another high-profile Catholic member of the Trump team, will be front and center as the new White House communications director. He has been the Republican National Committee’s communications director since 2011 and a chief strategist since 2015. He also worked as a senior communications adviser for Trump during the transition. . .
Meanwhile, at Franciscan University of Steubenville, the administration and faculty are just as proud of Andrew Bremberg, the incoming director of the White House Domestic Policy Council, who earned his bachelor’s degree at Franciscan before attending law school at The Catholic University of America. . .
Andrew Puzder, the president-elect’s nominee for labor secretary, is, like Bannon, a somewhat controversial pick. . .
In August 2016, Puzder delivered a speech in Chicago, before Archbishop José Gomez of Los Angeles and members of the Catholic Association of Latino Leaders, on the topic of free enterprise, which he said enables people to use their God-given talents. “My Catholic upbringing taught me that jealousy and resentment were wrong and that if I put my faith in God and worked hard to fulfill my potential, everything else would take care of itself,” said Puzder, who added that only in the United States could a “working-class Catholic kid” like himself aspire to success with a realistic chance of achieving it. . .
Michael Flynn and Others
Retired U.S. Army Gen. Michael Flynn will serve as Trump’s national security adviser. Flynn, a lifelong Democrat until throwing his support behind Trump, grew up in Rhode Island in an “Irish-Catholic family of blue-collar Democrats,” according to Politico. . . [Flynn is now out.]
The Trump team also includes U.S. Rep. Mick Mulvaney, R-S.C., who is the incoming director of the Office of Management and Budget. Mulvaney has been a member of the congressional Pro-Life Caucus. On his website, Mulvaney said he has been “committed to standing up for the lives of the unborn in Congress.” . . .
Mulvaney has also been active in his local community as a founding member of the Indian Land Rotary, a youth baseball coach and a parishioner of St. Philip Neri Catholic Church. He is also a founding member of Our Lady of Grace Catholic Mission in South Carolina and has been credited for his outreach to the Latino community. . .
Retired U.S. Marine Corps Gen. John F. Kelly, the incoming secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, grew up in an Irish-Catholic family in Boston.
We are thirty-seven years beyond the beginning of the Ronald Reagan presidency. Consider the presence of Roman Catholics in the Reagan administration, the influence of the Vatican, and collaboration between the American Bishops and Reagan's presidency! Roman Catholic domination of American politics is now so far advanced that even a presidency that is hostile to the agenda of the present Pope nevertheless continues that domination. The extent of Roman Catholic influence over the transition to the Trump presidency brings that domination into stark relief.
First, consider the valuable information on "Roman Catholic Rightists" (Rome's religio-political army "legates") provided by the following 1996 report:
Organizations Press For Anti-Liberal Causes
LITTLE HAS BEEN written in the public press about far right Catholic organizations. Instead, major publicity has been given to Protestant fundamentalist organizations like Pat Robertson’s Christian Coalition and James Dobson’s Focus on the Family. Yet there is an extensive network of extremist Catholic groups who function on their own or whose members collaborate with the better known groups led by Protestants.
Among the well-known Catholic far right leaders are such persons as Patrick Buchanan, Republican candidate in the 1996 presidential primaries; William Bennett, who managed Lamar Alexander’s 1996 presidential campaign; Phyllis Schlafly, who heads the Eagle Forum; attorney William Ball, perennial defender of aid to parochial schools; William F Buckley, editor of National Review; Robert Dornan, member of Congress and 1996 Presidential candidate; William E. Simon, former Treasury Secretary; and Paul Weyrich, founder of the Free Congress Foundation and the Heritage Foundation. [Cf. The Heritage Foundation.]
The Catholic right wing is basically built around issues set forth by the Vatican, including abortion, the role of women, opposition to contraceptive re search, and various matters pertaining to sex, such as family planning, sex education in the schools, homosexuality, and aid to parochial schools. In one sense they are led by the Vatican’s chief agents in the U.S.: Cardinals John O’Connor, Bernard Law, Anthony Bevilacqua, James Hickey, Roger Mahoney, and Joseph Bernardin. Cardinal O’Connor, for example, is the ecclesiastical advisor of The Catholic Campaign for America; and Cardinal Law, the episcopal advisor of Women Affirming Life. . .
No discussion of Catholic rightists is complete without mentioning the role of Paul Weyrich, a deacon in the Roman Catholic Church who founded the Heritage Foundation, [cf. Heritage Foundation for right-wing identification] and the Free Congress Foundation (FCF) whose major media project is National Empowerment Television which William Bennett chairs. Both Heritage and FCF were funded initially by the Coors beer family of Colorado. In the 1980s the FCF developed a Catholic Center “which played an important role in the development of a self-consciously Catholic wing of the Religious Right,” according to A New Rite.
Russ Bellant in The Coors Connection cites Weyrich’s connection with Laszlo Pastor, “a convicted Nazi collaborator” for his role in World War II, Weyrich’s activities in Chile where Pinochet was the military dictator, and support through The Freedom Fighter of Renamo, which the State Department estimated massacred about 100,000 Mozambicans.
One of Weyrich’s major contributions to right wing politics was to persuade televangelist Jerry Falwell to form the Moral Majority and get into politics. Another major contribution of Weyrich was to persuade Pat Robertson also to get involved in politics, according to Richard Viguerie in his book, The New Right. Falwell indicated that the Moral Majority had a membership of 30 percent Roman Catholics and 20 percent fundamentalists; the rest were Mormons, Jews and others. Ralph Reed claimed that the Christian Coalition’s 1995 Catholic membership was 16.3 percent. There are clear interconnections. . .
Particularly worthy of note in the context of Roman Catholic influence over the Trump presidency is the reference to Paul Weyrich as a co-founder of the Heritage Foundation (there are many references on this website to the prominent, if not dominating, role of Weyrich in the Religious Right movement.) This identifies the Foundation as a right wing Catholic organization. It is not clear in the following report how many of the persons listed in the "Breakdown" section are also members of the Heritage Foundation, but many are, and in any event they have all been influential in the Trump presidency transition, and continue to wield influence in the presidential administration:
Heritage Foundation transition team advisors
Now, the transition is getting an assist from Heritage Foundation officials including Becky Norton Dunlop, a distinguished fellow at the foundation; former Reagan Attorney General Ed Meese, a distinguished fellow emeritus at Heritage; Heritage national security expert James Carafano; and Ed Feulner, who helped found Heritage. Rebekah Mercer, a Heritage board member and major pro-Trump donor, is on the transition team’s 16-member executive committee, and a transition team source said she is working with Heritage to recruit appointees for positions at the undersecretary level and below (though she has struggled to find people interested in taking lower-level jobs, according to a New York Times report).
The transition team also includes other prominent activists and thinkers with close ties to Heritage, such as former Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell, the activist involved with several conservative groups who is running Trump’s domestic transition team. He has written for Heritage and has personal relationships with many at the organization. . .
Mike Pence, self-described "evangelical Catholic"
Chris Christie, Roman Catholic
Newt Gingrich, Roman Catholic, Council on Foreign Relations
Michael T. Flynn, Roman Catholic
Rudy Giuliani, Roman Catholic, 9/11 coadjutor, alleged Knight of Malta
Jared Kushner, fan of the Count of Monte Cristo ("Count of the Mount of Christ;" story about the Jesuit General getting revenge on all of the Order's enemies during its suppression) [This one seems to be somewhat of a stretch.]
Steve Bannon, chief strategist and Senior Counselor for the Presidency of Donald Trump, former executive chair of Breitbart News, Jesuit-trained from Georgetown
Lou Barletta, Roman Catholic
Chris Collins, Roman Catholic
Tom Marino, Roman Catholic
Devin Nunes, Roman Catholic
Anthony Scaramucci, Roman Catholic, Council on Foreign Relations
Eric Trump, Jesuit-trained from Georgetown and serves as board member of Georgetown's Business, Society, and Public Policy Initiative
Ivanka Trump, attended Jesuit Georgetown for two years
David Malpass, Jesuit-trained from Georgetown, Vice President of the Council for National Policy, leading appointment selections for positions involving economic issues
Keith Kellogg, trained by Jesuit at Santa Clara University, leading appointment selections for positions involving national defense issues
Michael Catanzaro, trained by Jesuits at Fordham University and St. Ignatius High School, leading the policy implementation team for energy independence
Andrew Bremberg, graduate of Catholic University of America Executive Legal Action Lead
James Carafano, Jesuit-trained from Georgetown University , reported to be the primary aide to the State Department of Trump administration transition team
Ed Feulner, Roman Catholic former President and founder of Heritage Foundation; Jesuit-trained from Regis and Georgetown Universities
Ken Blackwell, Jesuit-trained from Xavier University, leading appointment selections for positions involving domestic issues.
Boris Epshteyn, Trump's foremost spokesman; Jesuit-trained from Georgetown.
The Heritage Foundation has been Roman Catholic from its founding. A Jesuit connection is also suggested by the educational backgrounds of many of the people associated with the organization.
The role of the Heritage Foundation in the transition and administration of the Trump presidency is confirmed by numerous major publications. A sampling follows:
In early December, Mike Pence took the stage in the Presidential Ballroom at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C. “We did it,” the incoming vice president told the cheering crowd. Donald Trump, he said, had secured a mandate. “It was a victory,” Pence insisted, “that was born of ideas.”
That may seem far-fetched, given that Trump’s worldview relies more on bravado than briefing books. But in fact, the new administration is pursuing a right-wing agenda that rests squarely on a long tradition of conservative ideas: repealing Obamacare, rolling back government regulations, tightening immigration laws, tilting the Supreme Court to the right. And no group is more responsible for helping to craft Trump’s agenda than the Heritage Foundation, the conservative think tank that hosted the party where Pence delivered his remarks. “I’m trying not to be too giddy,” Jim DeMint, the foundation’s president, confessed that night.
The Heritage-Trump alliance is one of the more improbable developments in an election season that was full of them. A year ago, Heritage’s political arm dismissed Trump as a distraction, with no track record of allegiance to conservative causes. Today the group’s fingerprints are on virtually every policy Trump advocates, from his economic agenda to his Supreme Court nominees. According to Politico, Heritage employees acted as a “shadow transition team,” vetting potential Trump staffers to make sure the administration is well stocked with conservative appointees. At a Heritage event shortly after the election, John Yoo, author of the notorious Bush-era memos authorizing torture, trotted out a series of one-liners about the foundation’s influence. “I’m surprised there are so many people here, because I thought everyone at Heritage was working over at transition headquarters,” Yoo joked. “I asked the taxicab driver to take me to Trump transition headquarters, and he dropped me off here instead.”
The partnership between Trump and the Heritage Foundation represents a return to prominence for the conservative think tank. For decades, Heritage was the preeminent policy shop in Washington. Founded in 1973 by Paul Weyrich and Edwin Feulner, two Republicans who were tired of organizations that refused to get their hands dirty by meddling in politics, it pioneered a new approach, one specifically oriented around right-wing advocacy rather than nonpartisan research. The agenda-shaping worked. “Of a sudden,” the Democratic senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan observed in 1980, “the GOP has become a party of ideas.”
The Heritage Foundation has emerged as a driving force as Trump tries to staff up the federal government.
A year ago, the political arm of the conservative Heritage Foundation dismissed Donald Trump as a big-government enthusiast and left-wing sympathizer.
Now, the Heritage Foundation has emerged as one of the most influential forces shaping President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team, embedding the veteran Washington group into the operation of a candidate who ran loudly against the Beltway. . .
Part gatekeeper, part brain trust and part boots on the ground, Heritage is both a major presence on the transition team itself and a crucial conduit between Trump’s orbit and the once-skeptical conservative leaders who ultimately helped get him elected.
Heritage is “absolutely the fulcrum, and essential to staffing the administration with people who reflect Trump’s commitments across the board,” said Marjorie Dannenfelser, head of Susan B. Anthony List, a prominent group that opposes abortion rights. “I can say it’s been a source of great confidence during the election to know that principled people were planning for a Trump administration.” . . .
It is not an exagerration to state that the Roman Catholic presence in the governance of the United States is now ubiquitous, notwithstanding the contest between Pope Francis and his right-wing opponents. The division between "Liberals" and "Conservatives" even exists within the ranks of his Jesuit Order:
When Jesuit journals publish articles undercutting papal positions or when individual Jesuits do the same in public pronouncements, they promote a concept of the Church quite different from that of the Church’s leader — the man to whom Jesuits take a special vow of obedience.
The Society of Jesus is one of the great glories of the Roman Catholic Church but like so many other one time bulwarks of the faith it has in recent times been riven by internal dissent. . .
It is one thing to survive the pen of Pascal and the persecution of politicians, but for Jesuits to come into collision with the Pope, given their special mission, contributes mightily to the current crisis in Catholicism. . .
The post-conciliar [Vatican II] upheaval in the Church was not a “grass-roots” movement from the pews. It originated primarily among the priests and religious. It was they who proved to be the most discontented classes, and their discontent eddied outward until it engulfed the whole Church. Inevitably, the Jesuits were crucial to this process.
The image of the Jesuits has often been a contradictory one. Sometimes the Society has been portrayed as made up of extraordinarily crafty reactionaries, serving the interests of the Church ruthlessly but deviously. Often, however, it has been perceived as the Church’s “premier” liberal order, not hampered by the narrow kinds of orthodoxy and piety which afflict ordinary Catholics.
Both images can be entertained, because the Jesuits are a diverse group of men. In the post-conciliar period especially, they have been the leaders of increasingly radical efforts to reshape the Church, ultimately beyond all recognition, and simultaneously the leaders of movements to defend and strengthen orthodox Catholicism. . .
Just as Jesuits began to discover psychology in a way they had scarcely known before, so also many began to chafe at what they regarded as the narrowness of their own training — mainly the classics and neo-Scholastic philosophy and theology (although many Jesuits had for some time been doing graduate work in secular disciplines in the most prestigious universities). There was a heightened desire to confront the modern world at the point of its greatest brilliance. Young Jesuits (as well as some older ones) became sympathetically engaged with Hegel, Marx, the Existentialists, and modern Protestant theology. as well as with the social sciences. As with psychology, however, a long thirst seemed to make it difficult for many Jesuits to drink in moderation. An “openness” to newer modes of thought soon became, for many, a wholesale acceptance of systems which could be reconciled with Christianity only with difficulty if at all, and a concomitant compulsion to brush aside almost everything from the Catholic past as irrelevant at best, perhaps even false and pernicious. . .
Under such conditions it was not only impossible to maintain the traditional Jesuit esprit, and the institutional arrangements which went with it, but also difficult to articulate new visions which could command wide assent. Not only was the Society deeply divided between “liberals” and “conservatives” (not entirely along the lines of age), those who favored innovation could no longer agree even among themselves as to what kind.
Thus, an array of Roman Catholic publications portray an institution riven by controversy, with "conservatives" pitted against "liberals," and a "liberal" Jesuit Pope opposed even within his own Jesuit Order. The Radical Traditionalists have their presence within the Vatican, and even at the very highest level of the Donald Trump presidency, although Trump is not a Roman Catholic or to all appearances a man of strong ideological convictions. Nevertheless, the Church of Rome holds all of the levers of power in the United States of America. Hegelian politics is alive and well in the Church of Rome and in America. What comes next?!
Fear and rage continue to reign in America over the presidency of Donald Trump. There is deep concern over the chaos being created, and the authoritarian style of governance manifested by his administration within the first month since his inauguration.
The following reports need no comment:
Prominent investigative journalist Carl Bernstein says President Donald Trump's administration is in chaos less than two weeks after Trump took office.
"It's apparent to all but his most serious defenders and those who are his greatest advocates," Bernstein said on CNN on Monday night.
"Republicans on Capitol Hill who I'm talking to who are doubting his abilities," Bernstein said, "doubting even his stability under pressure. This is an extraordinary series of events." . . .
People who voted for Donald Trump often said that they did so because he would “stir things up.” That he would create change and upend the entrenched system. They said he would end “political correctness” and speak his mind. They said that he would not play the same old games and would instead make deals around the world that would “make America great again.” Well, so far it has not exactly worked out that way.
Only a week into his presidency and Mr. Trump has created a world of chaos. Health care, the environment, police enforcement, the economy, international relations and more have been upside down at a time when the world desperately needs stability and peace. Asia, Europe, South America, Africa, Middle East, Mexico, the streets of the USA, all in chaos. . .
Diplomats say Trump’s combative calls with Mexico and Australia are reverberating around the world.
Donald Trump is sowing diplomatic chaos around the world just two weeks into his presidency, as he feuds with world leaders and defends an unpredictable style that has alarmed friends and foes alike.
Foreign diplomats and State Department officials expressed shock Thursday over reports that Trump lashed out in phone calls at the leaders of Mexico and Australia, whose prime minister, a close U.S. ally with whom presidents rarely argue, Trump reportedly hung up on after a surprise haranguing. . .
Trump tried to tamp down the uproar over his contentious phone calls with foreign leaders on Thursday, spinning them as the actions of a strong leader reasserting America abroad.
“When you hear about the tough phone calls I’m having, don’t worry about it,” Trump said during his speech at the National Prayer Breakfast. “We have to be tough. ... We’re taken advantage of by every nation in the world, virtually. It’s not going to happen anymore.”
“The world is in trouble, but we’re going to straighten it out, OK? That’s what I do, I fix things,” Trump added.
Diplomats and experts say Trump’s recent behavior likely has some foreign governments recalculating their approach to phone calls and meetings with the U.S. president.
And it’s not gender, age, income, race or religion.
If I asked you what most defines Donald Trump supporters, what would you say? They’re white? They’re poor? They’re uneducated?
You’d be wrong.
In fact, I’ve found a single statistically significant variable predicts whether a voter supports Trump—and it’s not race, income or education levels: It’s authoritarianism.
That’s right, Trump’s electoral strength—and his staying power—have been buoyed, above all, by Americans with authoritarian inclinations. And because of the prevalence of authoritarians in the American electorate, among Democrats as well as Republicans, it’s very possible that Trump’s fan base will continue to grow.
This is an ominous report, and frightening to those who are not prepared for the apocalyptic fulfillment of Rev. 13. The most obvious democratic means of getting rid of Trump is by voting him out of office; but his "fan base" may be growing. It seems increasingly likely that the final obliteration of religious liberty and individual freedom in America may be getting very close. Parallel events in Palestine must follow (Dan. 11:45.) Meanwhile, events in the United States are undoubtedly striking fear in the hearts of many. Nevertheless, faith in Jesus Christ sustains believers by His perfect love which casts out all fear (1 John 4:18.)
America’s scary flirtation with authoritarianism threatens its democratic foundations—and it’ll take a concerted global effort to push back
If you’re not worried right now, you’re not paying attention. Or perhaps you’re a partisan whose capacity to warp reality to fit your world view is on par with the ability of large bodies to significantly alter space-time. Donald Trump’s election as president of the United States was abnormal, and the very early days of his administration have given us more reason to be concerned about the future of America and the global order than we had even in the tumultuous months following his victory.
Politicians, academics, commentators, and journalists have regularly compared Trump’s rise to that of fascist and authoritarian leaders. In the halcyon days of only a year ago, it was impolite at best—and absurd at worst—to mention either fascism or authoritarianism in a conversation about mainstream American politics. Indeed, back then, Godwin’s Law marked the outer limits of civil discussion: the claim that the longer a discussion (on the Internet) continues, the more likely it is that Hitler will be invoked as a comparison meant to criticize another’s extremism. Now, epithets such as “Hitler” or “Nazi” or “authoritarian” are just plausible enough that they betray a reasonable, growing anxiety.
Politicians, academics, commentators, and journalists have regularly compared Trump’s rise to that of fascist and authoritarian leaders. In the halcyon days of only a year ago, it was impolite at best—and absurd at worst—to mention either fascism or authoritarianism in a conversation about mainstream American politics. Indeed, back then, Godwin’s Law marked the outer limits of civil discussion: the claim that the longer a discussion (on the Internet) continues, the more likely it is that Hitler will be invoked as a comparison meant to criticize another’s extremism. Now, epithets such as “Hitler” or “Nazi” or “authoritarian” are just plausible enough that they betray a reasonable, growing anxiety.
At best, Trump exercises authoritarian tendencies. (At worst, he and his supporters’ words and actions come disconcertingly close to authoritarianism’s most virulent and nationalist variety, fascism.) Authoritarianism, to slightly adapt political scientist Juan Linz’s definition, is a way of governing marked by severe limits to freedom—the centralization of authority in the hands of a single leader or small group of leaders who may use power to benefit personally (for instance, by using the state to generate personal wealth), and impose limits on civil society. As a way of directing the affairs of state, authoritarianism is enabled and sustained by force—or the threat of force—and is further underwritten by supporters who demonstrate a deep, often emotional attachment to the leader and the regime. . .
Since then, Trump has declared his inauguration a “National Day of Patriotic Devotion,” ordered the construction of a border wall with Mexico, advocated torture, silenced government agencies, launched an investigation into (non-existent) voter fraud, and doubled-down on his promise to ramp up deportations while also limiting entrance to the United States by refugees and Muslims. At the same time, his advisers have been disputing reality, with one, Kellyanne Conway, claiming the existence of “alternative facts.”
In a November essay, political theorist Jacob Levy highlighted that the power to speak untruths and to make others repeat them is a time-worn tactic of oppression: “Saying something obviously untrue, and making your subordinates repeat it with a straight face in their own voice, is a particularly startling display of power over them…Arendt analyzed the huge lies and blatant reversals of language associated with the Holocaust. Havel documented the pervasive little lies, lies that everyone knew to be lies, of late Communism. And Orwell gave us the vivid ‘2+2=5.’ ” . . .
The administration's many lies this weekend should frighten all Americans.
Some observers have warned journalists against an “alarmist” response to Trump’s early actions, lest the media too quickly exhaust our capacity for outrage and cause readers, especially those inclined to give the new president a chance, to tune out. “The danger for the established press,” New York Times columnist Ross Douthat wrote in a column over the weekend, “is the same danger facing other institutions in our republic: That while believing themselves to be nobly resisting Trump, they end up imitating him. Such imitation will inspire reader loyalty and passion—up to a point. But beyond that point, it’s more likely to polarize than to persuade, which means it often does a demagogue’s work for him. Fellow journalists, don’t do it.”
That column appears to have been completed before the weekend’s events, though; it makes no mention of Trump’s speech or Spicer’s briefing, which ought to change the calculus on the merits of press alarmism. The new administration’s bewildering boasts and outright lies are what make it so frightening, as they’re early signs of what many of us in the media have warned about for months: authoritarianism. . .
While Trump’s antics might have impressed his fans watching from home, they seem to have done little to assuage worries in the agency. The New Yorker interviewed a variety of intelligence experts, including John MacGaffin, a high-ranking veteran of the agency. “What self-centered, irrational decision process got him to this travesty?” MacGaffin told the magazine. “Most importantly, how will that process serve us when the issues he must address are dangerous and incredibly complex? This is scary stuff!”
Trump’s self-centered decision process is authoritarianism, and it’s anything but irrational. He campaigned in an authoritarian style, with rallies where he riled up large crowds to jeer at the press and protesters. One of the defining tactics of his campaign was disinformation, coupled with accusations of the same against the media. That hasn’t changed now that Trump is president. The administration’s unified anti-press and anti-fact message over the weekend is part of a deliberate, ong-term strategy that was hatched many months ago, and is only likely to intensify. The president will wage a rhetorical war against the media, with the intent of delegitimizing one of the few institutions that can hold him accountable, and he will wage it with his most effective weapon: Lies, damned lies, and false statistics.
Trump is following the authoritarian playbook (Pre-inauguration article.)
In less than a week, America will embark on a new political experience: rule by an authoritarian President. Donald Trump won the Electoral College but lost the popular vote by nearly 3 million. So, for every American who looks forward to the Trump era, there is likely another who fears he will lead us into ruin.
What can we expect from Donald Trump, based on his words and actions over the 19 months since he declared his candidacy?
Many Americans were initially confused by Trump and his unorthodox behavior, or dismissed him as a joke. I have spent decades studying authoritarian and fascist regimes and saw in Trump a deeply familiar figure: the strongman who cultivates a bond with followers based on loyalty to him as a person rather than to a party or set of principles.
Such individuals inevitably seek to adapt the political office they inhabit to serve their needs. They are clear from the start about this intention, refusing to submit to shared customs and norms -- such as releasing tax returns -- that would mean they were submitting to the will of the political class. Anyone who believes that Trump will morph into anything resembling a traditional politician will be sorely disappointed. Authoritarians never pivot. . .
Trump has followed the authoritarian playbook in targeting the media. And once in power he's very likely to step up his attempts at intimidation.
Strongmen show aggression to the press as part of a slow-drip strategy of discrediting all information that is not dispensed by their close allies. Many were surprised at Trump's rude treatment of CNN at his recent press conference. Calling the media outlet "fake news," he refused to allow reporter Jim Acosta to ask a question. This was classic authoritarian posturing. . .
Trump And Authoritarian Propaganda (Pre-election article.)
The President’s (Obama's) comforting belief that he could persuade most people to come round to his viewpoint if only he could have a chance to sit down and reason with them is challenged by Jason Stanley, a professor of philosophy at Yale and the author, most recently, of How Propaganda Works in a New York Times article entitled “Beyond Lying: Donald Trump’s Authoritarian Reality.” . . .
Trump, according to Stanley, is a practitioner of something else again: authoritarian propaganda. This is a form of communication in which a leader concocts a fiction that offers a narrative explaining why the problems that trouble whole groups of people have a simple origin and an even simpler solution. The explanation of the problems is inevitably that some other group or groups in conspiracy with a corrupt elite are responsible for them. The solution is even simpler—namely to elect the author of the fiction as the new leader who will eliminate the elites and the other groups, thus solving the problems. The constant repetition of the fiction is a key to getting it accepted.
Stanley quotes from The Origins of Totalitarianism, in which Hannah Arendt writes:
“Like the earlier mob leaders, the spokesmen for totalitarian movements possessed an unerring instinct for anything that ordinary party propaganda or public opinion did not care to touch. Everything hidden, everything passed over in silence, became of major significance, regardless of its own intrinsic importance. The mob really believed that truth was whatever respectable society had hypocritically passed over, or covered with corruption.” . . .
In the world of authoritarian propaganda, says Arendt, “the modern masses do not believe in anything visible, in the reality of their own experience.” Once people have embraced the fiction, the only thing that will be listened to is whatever is consistent with it. Conflicting facts are dismissed without thinking, as Trump himself demonstrated during the debates with his repeated cries of, “Wrong!” . . .
What gives authoritarian propaganda its mystifying plausibility is that it claims to expose to the public view what was previously secret. It attaches itself to those aspects aspect of social and political life that are hidden from the public view, such as the corridors of Washington, the machinations of Wall Street, the deliberations of the FBI. They are perfect subjects on which to concoct conspiratorial fictions. The resulting narratives, which claim to reveal hidden truths, “then acquire the reputation of superior ‘realism’ because they touch upon real conditions whose existence is being hidden.” In this way, the spinner of patently absurd fabrications becomes accepted by millions as a trusted truth-teller.
“Totalitarian movements,” writes Arendt, “conjure up a lying world of consistency which is more adequate to the needs of the human mind than reality itself; in which, through sheer imagination, uprooted masses can feel at home and are spared the never-ending shocks which real life and real experiences deal to human beings and their expectations. The force possessed by totalitarian propaganda… lies in its ability to shut the masses off from the real world.”. . .
To the rational mind it would seem to be unlikely from the way that the Trump presidency has started, and his low approval ratings, that he could possibly win re-election. Even if his re-election were doomed, to a majority of Americans the prospect of four years under his presidency is frightening.
Even before Trump won the presidential election, conservative publications openly recommended his impeachment after his usefulness to Republicans might be exhausted. Now it appears that they might not be able to wait:
PPP's new national poll finds that Donald Trump's popularity as President has declined precipitously just over the last two weeks. On our first poll of his Presidency voters were evenly divided on Trump, with 44% approving of him and 44% also disapproving. Now his approval rating is 43%, while his disapproval has gone all the way up to 53%. If voters could choose they'd rather have both Barack Obama (52/44) or Hillary Clinton (49/45) instead of Trump.
Just three weeks into his administration, voters are already evenly divided on the issue of impeaching Trump with 46% in favor and 46% opposed. Support for impeaching Trump has crept up from 35% 2 weeks ago, to 40% last week, to its 46% standing this week. While Clinton voters initially only supported Trump's impeachment 65/14, after seeing him in office over the last few weeks that's gone up already to 83/6.
Here are the reasons things are going bad for Trump:
-Voters think he's over reaching to make a country safe...that they already consider to be safe. . .
-Voters are concerned by the implications of Trump's fight with the Judiciary. . .
-Voters don't like the people Trump has surrounded himself with. . .
-Voters continue to have a lot of basic transparency concerns when it comes to Trump. . .
-Voters are concerned that in the realm of foreign policy, Trump likes who they don't like and doesn't like who they do like. . .
-Voters are concerned about Trump taking away Obamacare. . .
-Voters are increasingly taking the media's side in his fights with them. . .
This is how badly the Trump presidency is shaping up during its first month. One Congressman has already taken the first step in the process of impeachment:
The momentum to impeach President Trump is accelerating.
On Thursday, Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) filed a “resolution of inquiry” that amounts to the first legislative step toward impeachment.
A new poll shows that registered voters are evenly split, at 46-to-46 percent, on whether they “support” or “oppose” impeaching Trump. Just two weeks ago, the pro-impeachment figure was 35 percent.
Since inauguration, more than 800,000 people have signed a petition in the first stage of the Impeach Donald Trump Now campaign, which will soon involve grassroots organizing in congressional districts around the country.
Under the Trump presidency, defending a wide range of past gains is both necessary and insufficient. Fighting for impeachment is a way to go on the offensive, directly challenging the huge corruption that Trump has brought to the White House.
From the outset, President Trump has been violating two provisions of the U.S. Constitution — its foreign and domestic “emoluments” clauses. In a nutshell, both clauses forbid personally profiting from presidential service beyond receiving a government salary. . .
It has been widely acknowledged that upon swearing the Oath of Office President Donald Trump would be in direct violation of the foreign-emoluments clause of the U.S. Constitution.
Never heard of the foreign-emoluments clause? You’re not alone. It’s tucked away in Article I, Section 9, of the Constitution. It's clause number 8. It states, in pertinent part: "... no person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under [the United States], shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office or Title of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince or foreign State.”
This clause was included in the Articles of Confederation and, later, in the Constitution itself. It was borne out of the Framers’ obsession with preventing in the newly minted United States the sort of corruption that dominated 17th and 18th century foreign politics and governments — characterized by gift-giving, back-scratching, foreign interference in other countries and transactions that might not lead to corruption but, nonetheless, could give the appearance of impropriety.
Where Trump runs afoul of the foreign-emoluments clause is that, first and foremost, he is a businessman with significant financial interests and governmental entanglements all over the globe. Indeed, as Norman Eisen, Richard Painter and Laurence Tribe stated at the Brookings Institution, “Never in American history has a [President] presented more conflict of interest questions and foreign entanglements than Donald Trump.” Moreover, Trump’s businesses dealings are veiled in complicated corporate technicalities and lack transparency. . .
Prominent conservative columnist David Brooks has also questioned whether President Trump can survive a full term:
I still have trouble seeing how the Trump administration survives a full term. Judging by his Thursday press conference, President Trump’s mental state is like a train that long ago left freewheeling and iconoclastic, has raced through indulgent, chaotic and unnerving, and is now careening past unhinged, unmoored and unglued.Trump’s White House staff is at war with itself. His poll ratings are falling at unprecedented speed. His policy agenda is stalled. F.B.I. investigations are just beginning. This does not feel like a sustainable operation.
On the other hand, I have trouble seeing exactly how this administration ends. Many of the institutions that would normally ease out or remove a failing president no longer exist.
There are no longer moral arbiters in Congress like Howard Baker and Sam Ervin to lead a resignation or impeachment process. There is no longer a single media establishment that shapes how the country sees the president. This is no longer a country in which everybody experiences the same reality.
Everything about Trump that appalls 65 percent of America strengthens him with the other 35 percent, and he can ride that group for a while. Even after these horrible four weeks, Republicans on Capitol Hill are not close to abandoning their man.
The likelihood is this: We’re going to have an administration that has morally and politically collapsed, without actually going away.
The likelihood of "an administration that has morally and politically collapsed, without actually going away" raises the question whether this would be an impediment to the advancement of the Dominionist Theocrats' domination of America. There is strong evidence to the contrary which was published before the presidential election:
How Dominionists Gained Control Of The Trump Campaign (Pre-election article.)
Whether Donald Trump knows it or not, Dominionists are now in control of his presidential campaign. In recent weeks, Trump has appointed Stephen Bannon to the position of campaign CEO and Kellyanne Conway as campaign manager. Both of these individuals are members of the Council For National Policy, a secretive Dominionists organization. In fact, Kellyanne Conway sits on the executive committee.
Dominionists believe that America is a Christian nation and they oppose the separation of church and state. Ted Cruz’s father is a Dominionist preacher. They mix well with Christian Reconstructionists who want to impose strict biblical laws on America including execution for adultery, blasphemy, and homosexuality. These two fringe religious groups make up the majority of the Council’s 500 member base; along with a colorful array of extreme activists on the far right. The Council’s goal is to manipulate government agenda from within. . .
If you’re still not convinced the Dominionists have taken over the Trump campaign guess where Kellyanne Conway used to work before making her move over to Trump. She managed Ted Cruz’s biggest Super PAC called Keep The Promise 1, where she raised over $16 million dollars from just one source; New York City hedge fund billionaire Robert Mercer.
Together these two ran millions of dollars in anti-Trump ads in defense of Ted Cruz. But once Trump won and Cruz dropped out Mercer switched horses, changed the name of the Super PAC and re-focused on anti-Hillary ads for Donald.
And all of this overseen by the Council For National Policy, which was founded in 1981 by fundamentalist Baptist pastor Tim LaHaye, author of the Left Behind book series and the head of the Moral Majority organization. . .
As the council grew, it entertained some far right wing extremists including Ku Klux Klan members Richard Shoff and Lawrence Pratt along with Michael Peroutka who served on the board of the League of the South, a neo-Confederate hate group that advocates for a newly seceded South ruled by white people. . .
The prospect of Trump being impeached might bring relief to the minds of secular Americans, but it can bring no comfort to Seventh-day Adventists who are following the unfolding of the prophecies of Rev. 13. One article which suggests a way to neutralize President Trump short of impeachment brings to view the intensified menace awaiting the nation when this is accomplished:
Given Trump's erratic behavior in his first few days, Washington is starting to murmur about the 25th Amendment
Donald Trump is in over his head. This comes as no surprise to the millions of people who could see that he was unprepared and unfit for the job of president of the United States and voted against him. He’s basically a celebrity heir to a fortune who was so entitled that he believed his privileged existence proved he was competent to run the most powerful nation on Earth. That’s the attitude of an aristocrat who ascended to the throne without having any idea what it actually takes to rule. History’s full of such men. It doesn’t often work out well.
Trump managed to convince enough voters in just the right places that his “business success,” born mostly of hype and relentless public relations over many years, qualified him for the Oval Office. Since the Protestant work ethic and the philosophy of virtuous capitalism still permeate American culture, it’s not uncommon for people to equate financial success with superior intelligence and character. Many individuals among the public undoubtedly assumed that Trump’s persona at the rallies was somewhat of a salesman’s act, that he was playing the role of demagogue to rile up the crowd. They assumed that behind closed doors he was a smart and able businessman, making tough decisions on the fly, handling many issues at once.
Those voters did not see what millions of others felt instinctively and that explains the shocked reaction and immediate resistance to his election: Trump’s incessant bragging, his lack of empathy or remorse, his pathological lying and even his bizarre appearance have been signs of an unstable personality. It was obvious to many of us that something was not right. . .
So what happens if President Trump cannot pull himself together and continues to psychologically unravel? There is a remedy other than impeachment. Even conservatives like David Frum have been talking about it for a while:
So what happens if President Trump cannot pull himself together and continues to psychologically unravel? There is a remedy other than impeachment. Even conservatives like David Frum have been talking about it for a while . . .
The 25th Amendment was added to the Constitution after the assassination of John F. Kennedy and provides for the replacement of the vice president if the office becomes vacant. (So it led indirectly to the presidency of Gerald Ford, the only American president who was never elected to any executive office.) But Section 4 is about something else entirely:
Whenever the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as Acting President. . .
It’s obvious that Trump has a narcissistic personality, which in itself is not disqualifying. He’s not the first president to have one; nor will he be the last. But his issues seem to run deeper than that. Some observers have suggested that he shows the characteristics of classic psychopathy. And there are plenty of people who see his behavior as blatantly self-destructive.
Of course it’s an extreme long shot that members of Trump’s Cabinet or the Republican leadership in Congress would ever take such a drastic step. (Although it’s not at all hard to imagine that in their hearts many of them would prefer President Mike Pence.) This would only happen if Trump really started to behave in a unhinged fashion. After all the bizarre behavior he has exhibited over the past 18 months, one cannot help but wonder: What could possibly count as going too far? It’s almost too terrifying to imagine.
The fact is that Pence is not just waiting in the wings. There is evidence that he is exercising influence over the President:
Do you think Donald Trump is just Mike Pence’s puppet?
Interesting idea, right? Particularly since the very idea would make our new president totally nuts. Hehehehe.
And it’s possible. Trump is not a man who concentrates on policy issues. So far, the parts of the job that have obsessed him most are crowd size and vote size. And yeah, the wall. But there has to be somebody behind the scenes deciding the non-ego questions. Pass the word that it’s Pence.
The best early evidence is reproductive rights. Not an issue Trump seemed all that interested in during the campaign — you generally had to sort of poke him to bring it up. Yet one of the first things he did as president was to sign an order that will eliminate American aid to international health programs that provide information on abortion.
Every Republican president since Ronald Reagan has issued the order, which is often referred to as the global gag rule. But Trump’s seems much worse. The Reagan-Bush-Bush version covered family planning programs. Trump’s targets global health in general.
So when it comes to combating the Zika virus in South America, we’ll only be helping organizations that are willing to order their staffs never to bring up the fact that abortion exists. We’re talking about a potential loss of billions of dollars in American aid.
I know some of you are having trouble giving the president credit for anything right now. But this doesn’t sound like him.
If a woman Trump knew was pregnant and learned she had a virus that could cause terrible brain damage to the fetus, his immediate reaction would not be barring everybody from mentioning the word abortion. The only politician who would behave like that would be someone who had spent his entire career trying to impose his deeply held conservative religious values on people who had different beliefs.
That would be Mike Pence. This is the guy who, as a member of Congress, co-sponsored a bill that would allow hospitals to deny abortions to pregnant women who would die without the procedure. Whose war against Planned Parenthood when he was governor of Indiana led to the closing of five clinics. (None of them did abortions. They did, however, provide testing for sexually transmitted diseases, and one of the counties where a clinic was closed suffered a big H.I.V. outbreak.) . . .
The election of Donald Trump has sent shockwaves through the souls of compassionate, humane people across the country and the world. Horror that a candidate who ran on a platform of open bigotry, threats against immigrants and Muslims, and blatant misogyny will soon be president is now sinking in. Trump appointed a white nationalist, Steve Bannon, as chief White House strategist — which was promptly celebrated by the American Nazi Party and the Ku Klux Klan. Bannon and other possible extremist Trump appointees, such as John Bolton, a neocon who believes the U.S. should “bomb Iran,” and the authoritarian Rudy Giuliani, are now receiving much deserved public scrutiny.
The incoming vice president, Mike Pence, has not elicited the same reaction, instead often painted as the reasonable adult on the ticket, a “counterbalance” to Trump and a “bridge to the establishment.” However, there is every reason to regard him as, if anything, even more terrifying than the president-elect.
Pence’s ascent to the second most powerful position in the U.S. government is a tremendous coup for the radical religious right. Pence — and his fellow Christian supremacist militants — would not have been able to win the White House on their own. For them, Donald Trump was a godsend. “This may not be our preferred candidate, but that doesn’t mean it may not be God’s candidate to do something that we don’t see,” said David Barton, a prominent Christian-right activist and president of Wall Builders, an organization dedicated to making the U.S. government enforce “biblical values.” In June, Barton prophesied: “We may look back in a few years and say, ‘Wow, [Trump] really did some things that none of us expected.’”
Trump is a Trojan horse for a cabal of vicious zealots who have long craved an extremist Christian theocracy, and Pence is one of its most prized warriors. With Republican control of the House and Senate and the prospect of dramatically and decisively tilting the balance of the Supreme Court to the far right, the incoming administration will have a real shot at bringing the fire and brimstone of the second coming to Washington.
“The enemy, to them, is secularism. They want a God-led government. That’s the only legitimate government,” contends Jeff Sharlet, author of two books on the radical religious right, including “The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power.” “So when they speak of business, they’re speaking not of something separate from God, but they’re speaking of what, in Mike Pence’s circles, would be called biblical capitalism, the idea that this economic system is God-ordained.”
One of Trump’s sons, Don Jr., reportedly said that his father’s vice president would be in charge of domestic and foreign policy, while Trump would focus on the vague mission of “Making America Great Again.” Trump’s campaign subsequently claimed the story was “made up,” though Trump has consistently denied saying things he is on record as saying, so who knows? In any case, the implications of a Pence vice presidency are vast. Pence combines the most horrid aspects of Dick Cheney’s worldview with a belief that Tim LaHaye’s “Left Behind” novels are not fiction, but an omniscient crystal ball.
How the GOP foisted Pence on Trump is undoubtedly a fascinating story that hopefully will some day be revealed. Obviously, Pence gave Trump badly needed credibility with evangelical voters and the GOP establishment, but Pence’s selection portends a governing apocalypse.
A "governing apocalypse" is indeed what America is facing, whether under the Trump presidency or a successor Pence presidency. There are dark days ahead, embracing terminal prophecies yet to be fulfilled; but beyond is the "glorious appearing" (Titus 2:13) of "the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory" Matt. 24:30 (last part.)
As the shock over Donald Trump's election to the presidency of the United States attests, his victory could not have been anticipated. Similarly, it could not have reasonably been anticipated that he of all persons would focus attention on the Arab-Israeli conflict and the status of Jerusalem before he was even sworn into office. Trump's personal history raises the specter of the ultimate cruelties predicted in the closing verses of Rev. 13, and this is underscored by the commitment of his vice-president to Dominionists theocracy. Given that Palestine, and Jerusalem in particular, are central to the next great prophecy of the end awaiting fulfillment, Trump's interest in the complex Arab-Israeli question and the status of Jerusalem commands attention. Is his intervention likely to cause widespread upheaval and massive obstruction of a settlement? On the other hand, could it trigger events that force an end to the present impasse in the peace process? Is it going to further delay progress towards the objective of a Vatican presence in Jerusalem or cause international intervention to force a conclusion in Rome's favor? Donald Trump is promising to dive into a diplomatic quagmire which appears to have stymied the Vatican and the US government alike:-
It was in February, 2014, that this promising report on Vatican-Israeli negotiations was published:
Representatives of the Holy See and the State of Israel met in Jerusalem on February 11 to continue negotiating a diplomatic accord establishing the legal and economic rights of Church institutions in the Holy Land.
Noting that only a few issues remain, both parties issued a joint statement in which they “took note of the progress achieved, in a thoughtful and constructive atmosphere, since the last plenary of June 2013.”
The parties are scheduled to meet again at the Vatican in June.
The June meeting did not take place, and no further plenary meetings were held up to the end of 2016. There had been no significant evidence of progress in Vatican-Israeli negotiations published after early 2014; but there were regular meetings of the working group:
And finally, he mentioned the forthcoming colloquium of the Bilateral Permanent Working Commission between the Holy See and the State of Israel due to meet in Jerusalem November 7. Ever since the Fundamental Agreement was signed December 30, 1993 this Commission has been meeting at least twice a year in Rome and Jerusalem, but as yet, certain aspects of the Agreement’s practical applications have not reached a consensus on both sides. “Our government is optimistic and determined that the remaining technical issues still being negotiated by both parties will be resolved this time, with a definitive signature, before the end of 2016. The Israeli government would really like to see this process completed.”
Now, in January, 2017, a meeting in plenary session has been held:
A meeting took place today, 18 January, in Jerusalem, as part of the long negotiation process, which continues "in a thoughtful and constructive atmosphere”
The Bilateral Permanent Working Commission between the Holy See and the State of Israel held new plenary meeting today, 18 January 2017, in Jerusalem, the Vatican says in a statement. It was held in order “to continue negotiations pursuant to the Fundamental Agreement between the Holy See and the State of Israel of 1993, Art. 10 paragraph 2”. As is known, the Holy See and the State of Israel have been engaged in a decades-long negotiation process regarding the legal status of the Catholic Church as well as fiscal questions. The meeting was chaired by Tzachi Hanegbi, Israel’s Minister for Regional Cooperation and Mgr. Antoine Camilleri, Vatican Undersecretary for Relations with States. The statement adds: “The Plenary welcomed the progress accomplished at the working level regarding the negotiations pursuant to Art. 10 paragraph 2, and is pleased that they continue in a thoughtful and constructive atmosphere. The Plenary further acknowledges the work of the Ministry of Justice regarding the implementation of the 1997 Bilateral Legal Personality Agreement.” The Vatican and Israel “have agreed on future steps, in view of the next Plenary meeting scheduled for March 2017, in Vatican City”. After the commission’s meeting, the Holy See and the State of Israel held a bilateral consultation session at the ministry of foreign affairs, where “the delegations discussed “matters of common interest and explored new opportunities for cooperation”.
Israel/Catholic bilateral commission meets at plenary level in Jerusalem; next meeting to be held in Vatican City.
Aware of the need to normalize relations between the Catholic Church and the Jewish people, the Holy See and Israel decided in 1992 to establish a commission to examine issues of common interest.
This so-called Bilateral Permanent Working Commission met again yesterday in Jerusalem to continue negotiations pursuant to the Fundamental Agreement between the Holy See and the State of Israel of 1993.
The agreement between the Holy See and Israel is a treaty signed on 30 December 1993. The agreement deals with the property rights and tax exemptions of the Roman Catholic Church within Israeli territory. It did not resolve all issues, and the parties continue to meet in an attempt to resolve outstanding problems.
This new plenary meeting raises interesting questions. Is it reflective of anxiety on the part of the Vatican over actions that the Trump administration is about to take? The Netanyahu government would not share that anxiety.
The meeting might suggest that progress has been made between the parties over the last three years; however, the following reports suggest that Rome's expansive view of the ultimate objective is a major stumbling block:
Deliberations of the Holy See-Israel bilateral commission are set to resume today in Jerusalem after being stalled for a long time. The resumption, permitted by the Olmert government, has raised hopes even in the Vatican that the Fundamental Agreement between the Holy See and the State of Israel that dates back to the distant 1993, may finally be implemented. . .
Asia News asked the Honorable Oded Ben Hur, Israeli ambassador to the Holy See, why the process has been riddled with delays and difficulties.
The ambassador said the difficulties could be attributed to the fact that the Catholic Church believes these accords should be considered as international treaties and absorbed as such into Israeli law. In Israel, there is unwillingness to accept these accords as a proper international treaty whose norms are not liable to unilateral changes by the Israeli legislator. For Israel, it seems, there can no international treaties that could condition the exercise of national legislative power.
The next round of meetings has been scheduled: four in just three months, after years of inaction. The date of the plenary assembly has been moved up, and everything will be completed before May of 2009, when Benedict XVI is expected to arrive in the Holy Land.
The permanent bilateral commission between the Holy See and the state of Israel today concluded its plenary meeting at the foreign ministry in Jerusalem, and decided on a packed schedule of meetings, leading to hopes that some conclusion might be reached before the probable visit of Benedict XVI to the Holy Land in May of 2009.
In the statement released at the end of today's meeting, it is affirmed that "the working-level Commission will hold meetings on 15 January, 18 February, 5 March and 26 March." This is rather unusual, if one considers that the dialogue has been proceeding at a very slow pace for about 10 years, and for almost 5 years (from 2002-2007) has been at a halt. . .
Whatever may have been happening behind the scenes in the Bilateral Permanent Working Commission over the three-year period between February, 2014, and January, 2017, Jewish religious leaders have sung the praises of Pope Francis (cf. Religious leaders in Palestine . . . ) Simultaneously, this has been accompanied by a process of improving relations with the Palestinians (cf. In the wake of the fallout . . . ; The Israeli government may yet voluntarily make concessions . . . " However, the Israeli right-wing government posture has been to make a peace settlement more difficult (cf. The devils know the prophecies . . . ) Compounding the seemingly intractable problem is the involvement of America's Christian Zionists; (cf. This concise definition of “Christian Zionism . . . in the Jewish Virtual Library)
The last attempt of the United States to broker a peace deal between the Palestinians and Israelis failed in April, 2014 after nine months of negotiations; (cf. The Explosive, Inside Story of How John Kerry Built an Israel-Palestine Peace Plan—and Watched It Crumble for a comprehensive history of the difficulties and complexities.)
Into this complicated impasse Donald Trump is making his entrance in a manner that conjures up the metaphor of a bull in a china shop:-
US President-elect Donald Trump top aide, Kellyanne Conway, clarifies during radio interview that Trump still intends to transfer US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, as he promised to do during his campaign.
Though he has refrained from making many public statements on the matter since his election, US President-elect Donald Trump's senior aide Kellyanne Conway reiterated his plan to move the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
Speaking to conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt about moving the embassy to Jerusalem on Monday, Conway said, "That is very big priority for this president-elect, Donald Trump. He made it very clear during the campaign, Hugh, and as president-elect I've heard him repeat it several times privately, if not publicly.”
While former US presidents Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush reneged on their own statements to move the embassy to Israel's capital after they had become presidents, Conway believes Trump will follow through on his promise.
“It is something that our friend in Israel, a great friend in the Middle East, would appreciate and something that a lot of Jewish-Americans have expressed their preference for," she said. "It is a great move. It is an easy move to do based on how much he talked about that in the debates and in the sound bites.”
How simple Trump's aide makes it sound! Trump and his current advisers seem to follow their own counsel and ignore sober analysis and legitimate warnings:
Benjamin Netanyahu and other Israeli leaders hail election of Donald Trump, whose campaign promises would overturn decades of US foreign policy
Israeli government ministers and political figures are pushing the US president-elect, Donald Trump, to quickly fulfill his campaign promise to overturn decades of US foreign policy and recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv.
Their calls came as one of Trump’s advisers on Israel and the Middle East, David Friedman, told the Jerusalem Post that Trump would follow through on his promise.
‘It was a campaign promise and there is every intention to keep it,” Friedman said. ‘We are going to see a very different relationship between America and Israel in a positive way.”
Other political figures – including Israel’s controversial far-right education minister, Naftali Bennett – went further, suggesting that Trump’s election should signal the end of the two-state solution and aspirations for a Palestinian state. . .
The status of Jerusalem is one of the thorniest issues in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The Palestinians see Israeli-annexed East Jerusalem as the capital of their future state, while the Israelis call the entire city their eternal indivisible capital.
'It’s hard to come up with a single act that would make the Middle East burn more than it is burning right now,' a former peace negotiator says.
Donald Trump wasn’t the first winning candidate to call for moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, but unlike previous presidents, he just might keep his promise.
Both Bill Clinton and George W. Bush made similar pledges during their campaigns, only to backpedal once in the Oval Office -- sobered by the potential for diplomatic blowback across the Arab world.
But Trump has done what few of his predecessors have: emphasize the issue loudly and proudly afterwards. His campaign adviser on Israel, Jason Greenblatt, told Israel’s Army radio in a post-election interview that Trump was “going to do it,” and his campaign manager on Monday called the move “a very big priority for this president elect.” . . .
Thanks to a law signed by Bill Clinton, Trump will face a decision on whether to move the embassy within his first six months in office. The Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995 mandates that the U.S. Embassy be moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem or risk a massive cut in State Department funding, but allows the president to postpone the move for reasons of national security.
Since the law’s passage, successive presidents have issued such a waiver every six months. The most recent one, signed by Obama on Dec. 1, expires in May 2017, meaning it will be up to Trump to decide the embassy’s fate.
During the campaign, Trump repeatedly promised to relocate the embassy to Jerusalem, naming it the “eternal capital of the Jewish people” in a speech to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. But on other occasions, he also indicated he wanted to be a neutral arbiter between Israelis and Palestinians, and has floated his son-in-law Jared Kushner, who is Jewish, as some sort of peace envoy. . .
Those who’ve worked on Israeli-Palestinian negotiations say that moving the embassy would effectively kill the peace process.
“It would essentially validate the view that all of Jerusalem now belongs to Israel,” said Aaron David Miller, a former peace negotiator and scholar at the Wilson Center.
Even if negotiations were to proceed, the decision could undermine Trump’s wish to be a neutral arbiter.
“A U.S. administration would be seriously harming its potential role, as it has historically played, as a so-called ‘honest broker’ between the Israelis and the Arabs,” said Edward Djerejian, the Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs and ambassador to Israel under the George H.W. Bush and Clinton administrations.
The status of Jerusalem, particularly East Jerusalem, is fervently contested in the international community. The United Nations intended the eastern portion of the ancient city to be the capital of a future Palestinian state. In 1967, Israel annexed the entire city.
In 1980, the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, passed a law that declared, “Jerusalem, complete and united, is the capital of Israel.” The U.N. Security Council condemned the move as a violation of international law, with the United States abstaining.
The majority of U.N. member states do not recognize Israel’s claim over the entire city as the capital. As a result, no country has its main diplomatic mission located in Jerusalem, with their embassies instead located in Tel Aviv and its suburbs. The United States maintains a consulate in Jerusalem that focuses on Palestinian issues.
Will Donald Trump, like Bill Clinton and George Bush who "made similar pledges during their campaigns, only to backpedal once in the Oval Office [be] sobered by the potential for diplomatic blowback across the Arab world"? A preview of the diplomatic blowback has already been given by the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem:
Muhammed Hussein says in sermon at Al-Aqsa that the proposed relocation by US President-elect Donald Trump is an aggression on all Muslims and Arabs, not just on Palestinians.
Jerusalem's Grand Mufti on Friday branded plans by President-elect Donald Trump to move the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem an "assault" on Muslims across the globe.
"The pledge to move the embassy is not just an assault against Palestinians but against Arabs and Muslims, who will not remain silent," Muhammad Hussein said in a sermon at Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem's Old City. On Tuesday, Palestinian leaders called for Friday prayers at mosques across the Middle East this week to protest Trump's campaign pledge.
There have been warnings that the move would constitute recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital and could inflame tensions in the Middle East and possibly sink what remains of peace efforts. "The transfer of the embassy violates international charters and norms which recognize Jerusalem as an occupied city," Hussein said in his sermon, avoiding mentioning Trump by name. The Palestinians regard east Jerusalem as the capital of their future state, while Israel proclaims the entire city as its capital. The city's status is one of the thorniest issues of the decades-long Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Israel conquered the West Bank and east Jerusalem from Jordan in 1967 in the Six-Day War. It later annexed east Jerusalem in a move never recognized by the international community.
Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas has also added his voice in warning against the Trump proposal; and it may be significant that he spoke while at the Vatican to open a Palestinian embassy. It is easy to deduce the position of the Vatican. Trump threatens to provoke the ire of the Vatican by his promised embassy move. It is reasonable to make this deduction from the place and circumstances of President Abbas' statement:
Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas warned Saturday that moving the US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem would deal a huge blow to hopes for Middle East peace.
Commenting as he opened a Palestinian embassy at the Vatican, Abbas added that anything which legitimised the "illegal Israeli annexation" of Jerusalem would "bury the hopes for a two-state solution, and fuel extremism in our region".
The Palestinian leader held a private meeting with Pope Francis before inaugurating the diplomatic mission, located in a building facing the Vatican that also houses the embassies of Peru and Burkina Faso. . .
In a separate English-language statement, he hailed the Vatican's hosting of a Palestinian embassy.
"We are very grateful about the role that the Holy See has played for a just and lasting peace in the Holy Land, and for having opened an embassy of Palestine in the Vatican for first time," he said.
But Abbas expressed concern about Trump's pledge during the election campaign to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and move the American embassy there.
- 'Fuel extremism' -
Such a step would be a historic break with US policy, and with most of the international community, over the status of Jerusalem, also claimed by the Palestinians as capital of their future state, an issue to be settled by negotiation.
"Any attempts at legitimising the illegal Israeli annexation of the city will destroy the prospects of any political process, bury the hopes for a two-state solution, and fuel extremism in our region, as well as worldwide," Abbas said.
Donald Trump is in opposition to the papacy's aspirations in Palestine and Jerusalem simply by his reliance on the support of Religious Right forces which favor the incorporation of the West Bank into the State of Israel:
While US support for Israel has never been stronger (witness the 38 billion dollar aid package signed by the president in December) the perception among many in the US and Israel is that the Obama administration has been inimical to Israel’s best interests, and that the Trump team will be more ‘pro-Israel’ than any preceding administration. If the inauguration plans are any indication, ‘Israel advocates’ will be front and center at the inauguration and throughout Trump’s presidency.
To some extent the differences between Obama and Trump on Israel are matters of rhetoric and style. While Democrats, having recognized and solidly backed Israel since the days of Harry Truman –and having developed the ‘special relationship’ (his words) under Jack Kennedy–speak of Israel in terms diplomatic and contractual, recent Republican administrations, influenced by the Christian Right, speak of Israel in terms tinged with religiosity.
Thus David M. Friedman, Trump’s choice for the next ambassador to Israel, referred recently to Jerusalem as “Israel’s eternal capital “–a phrase popularized by Netanyahu and his government officials. Hearing this from a man soon to be an American diplomat, I wondered whether the Trump appointee to the Quai D’orsay will refer to Paris as ” France’s eternal capital.”
In Washington a ‘biblical ‘ view of Israel has been developing for decades and I expect that pronouncements issuing from the new team at the White House will reflect this rhetorical trend. In the early 1980s, with the rise of the so-called “Moral Majority” and the election of Ronald Reagan, political rhetoric about Israel and the Middle East became tinged with scriptural references. Reagan spoke of ‘ Armageddon’ in more that one address, and according to historian Michael Oren (later Israeli ambassador to Washington) “Reagan in fact revered Israel…Raised in the restorationist-minded Disciples of Christ church and closely associated with pro-Zionist American evangelicals, he was religiously attached to Israel.”
And in case Reagan and his Republican successors slipped in their commitment to “biblical” Israel, and to the Israeli Right’s vision of a “Greater Israel “that included the disputed Palestinian territories, Falwell and his Religious Right colleagues were sure to remind them–and in tones that were themselves quite biblical. In 1982 Jerry Falwell told Ronald Reagan that the president had to be supportive of Israel and its policies. Why? “Because God’s attitude toward the nations is dictated by the nations attitude toward Israel.” Jerry Falwell died in 2007, but his son Jerry Falwell Jr, can be counted on to remind Trump of his responsibilities.
And while Trump actual opinions on any issue remain a mystery (an ‘eternal mystery‘ perhaps) the political and social opinions of the Vice President-elect , Mike Pence, are well known. Especially when it comes to the US relationship to Israel. He has dubbed Israel “our most cherished ally.” . . .
Moving the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem flies in the face of long-established Vatican policy.
The Vatican has also clearly signaled opposition to Donald Trump's Jerusalem plan at the time of Abbas' visit:
The Vatican stressed the sacred nature of Jerusalem on Saturday as the Palestinian leader warned that prospects for peace could suffer if the incoming Trump administration goes ahead with plans to move the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
The developments came as Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas met with Pope Francis and inaugurated the Palestinian embassy to the Holy See. . .
The Vatican has long sought an internationally guaranteed status for Jerusalem that safeguards its sacred character. In its communique after the Abbas meeting, the Holy See didn't refer to Jerusalem by name but said during the talks "emphasis was placed on the importance of safeguarding the sanctity of the holy places for believers of all three of the Abrahamic religions." . . .
During the meeting, Abbas presented Francis with gifts recalling Christianity's birthplace in the Holy Land, including a stone from the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem and documentation about the ongoing restoration of the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem.
The following report provides insight into the clever political maneuvering of the Vatican in Palestine:
Pope Francis' private audience with Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas this Jan. 14 will be a delicate diplomatic moment for the Holy See. Mahmoud Abbas heads to Rome to inaugurate the new Palestinian embassy to the Holy See, one year after the Holy See-Palestine agreement took effect and made official the Holy See's recognition of the State of Palestine.
This visit will prove how Vatican diplomacy is able to walk a thin line. The Holy See is in dialogue with both Palestine and Israel. It has been criticized by the Israeli state for the recognition of the State of Palestine that was part of the comprehensive agreement.
However, it would be wrong to think that the Holy See's position is imbalanced. At a recent Catholic-Jewish joint meeting, the Holy See backed a final document that implicitly criticized a UNESCO resolution that failed to call by their Hebrew names some of the most sacred places of Jerusalem, like Temple Mount.
At root, the Holy See does not officially take any stance for one party or the other. Rather, it looks attentively to the events in the Holy Land and advocates for a peaceful solution of the conflict.
Yet in his speech delivered to the diplomatic corps accredited to the Holy See Jan. 9, Pope Francis underscored that the Holy See renewed its urgent appeal for the resumption of dialogue between Israelis and Palestinians towards “a stable and enduring solution that guarantees the peaceful coexistence of two states within internationally recognized borders.”
A Middle East peace conference just ended has also weighed in against Donald Trump's plan:
Just five days before Trump is sworn in, the conference provides a platform for countries to send a strong signal to the incoming American president.
French President Francois Hollande signaled to US President-elect Donald Trump on Sunday that a two-state solution for Israelis and Palestinians is the only solution. Paris has warned him that plans to move the US Embassy to Jerusalem could derail peace efforts.
Some 70 countries, including key European and Arab states as well as the permanent members of the UN Security Council, gathered in Paris in the presence of US State Secretary John Kerry and the European Union's foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, among others.
Hollande said in his opening speech that the summit was "a warning".
"Because the two-state solution, the one upon which the international community agreed, and this for several years, appears threatened."
But, just five days before Trump is sworn in, the conference provides a platform for countries to send a strong signal to the incoming American president.
Trump has pledged to pursue more pro-Israeli policies and move the US Embassy from Tel Aviv, where it has been for 68 years, to Jerusalem, all but enshrining the city as Israel's capital despite international objections.
Hollande said there was no going back on the 1993 Oslo peace accords that were meant yield a two-state solution. . .
It is interesting to note that the Oslo Peace Accord and the Fundamental Agreement between the Holy See and the State of Israel were reached in the same year of 1993 - the Peace Accord signed in September, and the Fundamental Agreement in December. This underscores how the two are inextricably connected.
In the context of world politics, Donald Trump's promised impetuous action is clearly causing widespread alarm. It is highly unlikely that he begins to understand the geopolitical and religiopolitical complexities of the Middle East which impact on the Arab-Israeli conflict in Palestine (cf. Geopolitical Dynamics of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict;. The Middle East conflict—a brief background; The Israel-Palestine conflict is not just about land. It’s a bitter religious war.)
The inauguration of Trump threatens, and perhaps promises, chaos: Only one week left until President Trump. Buckle up (article dated 1/14/17) - "the impending Trump presidency will almost certainly be complete chaos." Also, note the significance of this analysis: What The Trump Era Will Feel Like: Clues From Populist Regimes Around The World.
If Donald Trump carries out his declared plan to pursue more pro-Israeli policies including the proposed moving of the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, he will be flying in the face of the almost universal policy of Western nations and the interests of the Vatican:
No U.S. president has ever officially acknowledged Israeli sovereignty over any part of Jerusalem since the state of Israel was first recognized by President Harry Truman in 1948. The United States, along with most of the international community, has taken the position that no country has sovereignty over Jerusalem until its status is negotiated in a Middle East peace deal.
Israel's supporters in Congress, however, have repeatedly tried to force a different policy, first seeking to move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem through the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995 and then mandating that the State Department allow U.S. citizens born in Jerusalem to list Israel as their place of birth in 2002. . .
The refusal to recognize Jerusalem as Israeli territory is a near universal policy among Western nations. Since the 1993 Oslo Accords between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, three U.S. presidents have declared that Jerusalem's final status can only be determined through Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. At any time since 1948, a president could have moved the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. None has. . .
A dozen U.S. interests far more important than the country of origin Americans want stamped on their passports would be seriously damaged by a shift in American policy on Jerusalem. They include U.S. credibility on the world stage and its relations with a quarter of a billion Arabs and 1.6 billion Muslims, almost a quarter of the world's population.
Recognizing Israel's sovereignty over Jerusalem would also be a powerful recruitment tool for terrorist groups such as the Islamic State group, which is adept in recruiting fighters worldwide to its murderous cause. It would likewise seriously undermine international law, which is very specific on the territorial status of East Jerusalem. . .
The only solution for Jerusalem, as opposed to the fantasies of Israeli expansionists, is through political negotiations to share the city politically between Israel and a future Palestinian state with open and unimpeded access guaranteed for all faiths to their holy places.
Writing in the U.S. Jewish weekly Forward, Jay Michaelson explained how claims of sovereignty over Jerusalem are part of a larger pattern of Israeli expulsion of Palestinians and expansion of Israeli control of the Palestinian West Bank: "The current Israeli definition of 'united Jerusalem' is now used to justify home demolitions, land confiscation, and an expansion of municipal boundaries that now stretches the city (and the imagination) from Ramallah to the Judean Desert." He concludes, "That is exactly the 'Jerusalem' that should not be recognized by international law."
No amount of insisting that all of Jerusalem is Israel's "undivided and eternal capital" will change the reality that it never will be. It is only when Palestinian-Americans born in Jerusalem can get their passports to read "Jerusalem, Palestine" that equal recognition should be given to Israeli-Americans born in Jerusalem, too. [Jesuit Fr. Drew Christiansen, a professor of ethics at Georgetown University, was co-author of this article.]
The Church of Rome has an objective for Jerusalem, and this is revealed in the prophetic word. The identification of the papacy as the "he" of Daniel 11:45, is logical. The prophecy predicting the establishment of a papal presence in Jerusalem is certain, verified by longstanding Vatican policy:
The Vatican's hopes for a peace-filled world and its defence of the right to religious freedom have supported its consistent position on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict for 70 years.
The key concern of the Holy See, and of the Catholic Church as a whole, since the Middle Ages has been for the Christian holy sites and Christian communities present in the Holy Land from the time of Jesus. The vast majority of Christians in the region are Palestinians.
More recently, it has supported the "two-state solution" with independence, recognition and secure borders for both Israel and Palestine.
While support for the two-state system evolved over time, the Vatican consistently has called for a special status for Jerusalem, particularly the Old City, in order to protect and guarantee access to the holy sites of Judaism, Christianity and Islam.
As Archbishop Bernardito Auza, the Vatican's permanent observer to the United Nations, told the U.N. General Assembly in November: "The Holy See views the holy city of Jerusalem as the spiritual patrimony of the three monotheistic religions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam."
Since the early 1990s, the Vatican has seen as separate issues the need for a special status for the city and questions over the political sovereignty or control of Jerusalem. The political question, it has insisted, must be the result of negotiation.
The internationally unsettled status of Jerusalem and its central importance to Jews, Muslims and Christians explains why, while recognizing the state of Israel, no nation has its embassy in the holy city.
Before his inauguration, President-elect Donald Trump said he would move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv. Former presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush said the same thing during their campaigns for election, although once in office, they did not carry through with the move, citing its potential negative impact on Israeli-Palestinian peace talks. . .
Some observers think Trump is more serious about having the embassy in Jerusalem.
"At this point we are in a wait-and-see pattern," said Bishop Oscar Cantu of Las Cruces, New Mexico, who was in Jerusalem in mid-January together with 12 other bishops from North America and Europe.
Bishop Cantu, chairman of the U.S. bishops' Committee on International Justice and Peace, told Catholic News Service that Trump's promise to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem poses a "serious problem" to any possible two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
"We are hoping that other, clearer minds will convince the president-elect to change his mind," he said, promising the U.S. bishops would engage with the new administration in "as friendly a way as possible."
"We will share with him our concerns based on the dignity of every human person and also based on the rights of the Palestinians to exist as a free and sovereign state living in peace next to a free and sovereign Israel," Bishop Cantu said.
There is an existing tense stand-off between Western nations in agreement with the Vatican and the Jewish and Christian Zionists of Israel and the United States. Donald Trump threatens to cause the stand-off to flare up into a conflagration which will not be confined to the Middle East (think of the aid to terrorist recruitment in the Muslim world.) This would obviously not be conducive to a peaceful settlement of Palestine-Israeli conflict and a resolution to what already seems to be an intractable problem of sovereignty over Jerusalem. This raises the question: how will the process of fulfillment of Daniel 11:45 proceed? Here the counsel of James White needs to be followed:
"Fulfilled prophecy may be understood by the Bible student. Prophecy is history in advance. He can compare history with prophecy and find a complete fit as the glove to the hand, it having been made for it. But in exposition of unfulfilled prophecy, where the history is not written, the student should put forth his propositions with not too much positiveness, lest he find himself straying in the field of fancy. . . . Positions taken upon the Eastern question are based upon prophecies which have not yet their fulfillment. Here we should tread lightly, and take positions carefully, lest we be found removing the landmarks fully established in the advent movement."—Review and Herald, Nov. 29, 1877.
We can be sure that a specific prophecy will be fulfilled; and with sanctified judgment know when it has been fulfilled, by which our faith is confirmed (cf. John 13:19.) By sound exegesis the ultimate event can be identified; but how it will be fulfilled cannot be predicted. In the case of Daniel 11:45 the Vatican and world powers may be able to find the way forward through confrontation and conflict. On the other hand it may require the intervention of the false Christ promising peace. What the current murky conditions emphasize is that it is absolutely essential to "watch," as Jesus Himself repeatedly admonished his followers to do, Luke 21:34-36 being one instance of this admonition.
“I hope that the next declaration opens the way for shared Eucharistic communion in special cases.” With these words, Cardinal Walter Kasper expressed his wish for ecumenical “progress” in the form of “intercommunion” in an interview with Italian newspaper Avvenire on December 10.
“Personally, I hope that we can use an unofficial text, prepared by a commission in the bishops’ conference of the United States, regarding this subject,” he explained.
On October 31, Pope Francis visited Lund, Sweden, a city in a country with a large Lutheran population, to commemorate the anniversary of Martin Luther’s Reformation. This anniversary – far from being a joyful observance considering the separation Luther created caused long-lasting wounds in the Church – was preceded by countless preparations, including a visit of a Luther statue in the Vatican and a climate of anticipation for intercommunion by the Pope himself.
Just about a month later, in the Avvenire interview, Cardinal Kasper has gone a step further, stating that, for him, intercommunion is just a matter of time. “On the one hand, Lund has confirmed the ecumenical process and the results of the proceeding dialogue; on the other hand, it has given it a new thrust.”
There is significance in the above report. Read this statement and consider what it says about the "Protestant" churches involved in the ecumenical movement. The Church of Rome is declaring to the world the irreversible seduction of the churches once entitled to be identified as Protestant. The percentage of the Protestant churches that constitute the "special cases" is not revealed. However, the statement that "intercommunion is just a matter of time" demonstrates confidence that the complete demise of Protestantism is imminent. In fact, it can be argued reasonably that Protestantism as a force against Romanism has been dead for some time. There is a remnant of resistance to be sure, but Rome now stands triumphant over the Protestantism which she set out to destroy in the Counter-Reformation.
And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. (Romans 13:11.)
The Vatican and the prestigious Sunni Muslim center of learning, Al-Azhar, are expected to formally reopen talks next year after a five-year lull.
Officials from the Vatican's office of interreligious affairs are going to Cairo this weekend for a preparatory meeting to lay the groundwork for the official restart of talks, scheduled for late April in Rome.
The Vatican announcement Friday comes after Pope Francis and the grand imam of Al-Azhar, Sheik Ahmed el-Tayyib, met at the Vatican in May and embraced. It marked a turning point after Al-Azhar froze talks with the Vatican in 2011 to protest comments by then-Pope Benedict XVI.
Agreement on issue of Vatican’s right to appoint bishops in China would be biggest diplomatic feat of Francis’s papacy
For more than 50 years the Vatican’s relationship with China has been intractable. But if Pope Francis has his way, a deal to bridge what many believe is an insurmountable divide between the Roman Catholic church and the communist Chinese government could be announced within the next 30 days.
According to one person who has closely followed developments, the pope would like to seal a deal before the conclusion on 20 November of the Holy Year of Mercy, which was called by the pontiff to celebrate acts of forgiveness.
Any agreement that solves the thorniest issue between the two sides – the Vatican’s right to appoint its own bishops in China – would represent the most consequential diplomatic feat of the Francis’s papacy.
It would also spur a debate about whether Francis – a Jesuit who has always promoted the importance of “encounters” but has declined to meet the Dalai Lama – has been too willing to ignore concerns about human rights and religious freedom for the sake of furthering the Vatican’s own interests in a country that is officially atheist. . .
Since his election in 2013, there have been subtle signs that the relationship between the Vatican and Beijing has warmed. There was the telegram Francis sent to President Xi Jinping as his papal plane flew in Chinese airspace on the way to Taiwan in 2014, and the gift of a silk print, symbolic of Christianity’s presence in China, that was reportedly given to the pope this month by a representative of Xi, though the accuracy of that story has not been confirmed. . .
N.B. Ecumenism embraces international relations (ASTONISHING DIMENSION OF THE ECUMENICAL MOVEMENT.)
Pope Francis revealed on Thursday that the search for Christian unity is one of his principle concerns, one that he prays may be shared by every baptized person. The Pope’s words came as he met in the Vatican with participants at a plenary session of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity. The meeting, from November 8th to 11th is exploring the theme “What model of full communion?”
In his words to the group of ecumenical experts from across the globe, the Pope recalled the many important encounters he has had this year with leaders of other Christian communities. In particular he recalled his recent visit to Lund in Sweden to jointly preside at a Lutheran-Catholic commemoration of the start of the Protestant Reformation. That visit, he said, reminded him of the so called ‘Lund Principle’, formulated by the World Council of Churches back in 1952, which states ‘churches should act together in all matters except those in which deep differences of conviction compel them to act separately’.
Pope Francis stressed that Christian unity is an essential requirement of our faith, a journey of personal and community conversion to the will of Christ. He warned against three false models of communion, starting with the belief that we can achieve unity through diplomatic maneuvers or human efforts alone.
Unity, he insisted, is a gift from God and our task is to welcome that gift and make it visible to others. Rather than just a goal to be achieved, he said, we should see the search for unity as a journey that we undertake together with patience, determination, effort and commitment, knowing that all of us are sinners for whom God has infinite mercy. Remember, he said, that when we work, pray and serve the needy together, we are already united.
Even as developments within Christian denominations seem to be solidifying differences that would make full unity difficult, there is no sign that the desire to meet and dialogue is waning. And, in fact, divided Christians are finding more opportunities to pray together and engage in joint work to help the poor and needy.
Pope Francis will open his season of ecumenical engagements Sept. 20 when he joins other Christian leaders and representatives of other religions in Assisi to commemorate the 30th anniversary of St. John Paul II's interreligious peace gathering. Ten days later, Pope Francis flies to Georgia, a predominantly Orthodox nation. In October, he will meet and pray with Anglican Archbishop Justin Welby of Canterbury and, at the end of the month, he will fly to Sweden to take part in ecumenical events launching commemorations of the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation.
Acknowledging where churches and Christian communities diverge is an obvious first step in a dialogue to overcome differences. But a relationship that stops there gives the wrong impression that church-dividing issues are more important than the central beliefs of Christianity they profess together in the Creed.
A new interfaith and spiritual gathering of Christians, Jews and Muslims will take place in Jerusalem this September.
“Amen-A House of Prayer For All Believers”, part of the 2016 Mekudeshet Festival from September 4-23, is an initiative created by the Jerusalem Season of Culture, an annual festival in Jerusalem, to bring together the world’s three major faiths “who share a belief in one God and a boundless love for Jerusalem to dialogue, study, sing and pray together in one temporary house of worship,” said a press release.
CARRIED FORWARD FROM 2016
Donald Trump won the 2016 presidential election, shocking the nation and the world, with one notable exception being Vladimir Putin. The headlines and the news reports tell the story, and we ignore them at the peril of being overrun by the tide of events because of inattentiveness. Just the upheaval alone speaks volumes in the light of what A. T. Jones pointed out in his perceptive sermon on the Papacy:-
The American political establishment reeled on Wednesday as leaders in both parties began coming to grips with four years of President Donald J. Trump in the White House, a once-unimaginable scenario that has now plunged the United States and its allies and adversaries into a period of deep uncertainty about the policies and impact of his administration. . .
On campuses nationwide, students marched against Mr. Trump with signs bearing slogans like “Not my president,” and protesters in Oakland, Calif., smashed windows and set fire to garbage bins. On Wednesday night, thousands of people protested in several cities, including Chicago, Philadelphia, Seattle and New York, where demonstrators converged in Midtown Manhattan in front of Trump Tower, the home of the president-elect. . .
Still, more than a third of Americans said in exit polls on Tuesday that they would be frightened of a Trump presidency. Among those who voted for Mrs. Clinton, the feeling was almost unanimous: 92 percent said Mr. Trump scared them.
Anxieties ran strong among Hispanics, African-Americans, Muslims, immigrants, women and others who had felt disparaged or demonized by Mr. Trump, who used harsh and racially charged language in ways that upended mainstream politics. The fact that Mr. Trump had been endorsed by a Ku Klux Klan newspaper, even if he rejected it, symbolized the sense of shock that he would now lead a vibrantly diverse democracy.
The election of Donald J. Trump as president of the United States has shocked the world — and has the potential to reshape it. . .
Álvaro García Linera, Bolivia’s leftist vice president, said the voters’ endorsement of Mr. Trump’s populist message shows how Americans, too, are questioning prevailing economic paradigms in “a passive revolution,” this time coming from the right.
Others expressed dismay with the election entirely.
“The excesses of this eccentric millionaire have proven that the number one enemy of the U.S. is not beyond its borders, but rather within,” wrote Vladimir Flórez, a Colombian cartoonist popularly known as Vladdo, in El Tiempo newspaper. “This threat called Trump is a product of American society; a nightmarish mutation of the American dream.”
No one in Europe truly believed Americans would elect someone who seems so obviously unfit to lead the most powerful nation in the world. And yet, that is precisely what has happened, and now, across the Continent, people are trying to figure out what this will mean. Many fear that Donald J. Trump’s election might mean the end of the West as we know it. . .
But Mr. Trump’s election poses a new systemic and strategic risk. For seven decades, a politically stable United States has been a beacon of democracy and a cornerstone of the liberal world order. When democracy was seriously threatened in Europe, the United States stepped in and stopped the tide of authoritarianism. But now the United States itself has elected a demagogue who seems to have authoritarian tendencies and whose proposals — if he follows through on them — will have huge and disastrous consequences from Lisbon to Kiev.
Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany knows how grave the situation is. As she congratulated Mr. Trump on his victory on Wednesday, she also lectured him on the elements of liberal democracy that form the basis of the American-European relations. “Germany and America are bound by their values: democracy, freedom, the respect for the law and the dignity of human beings, independent of their origin, skin color, religion, gender, sexual orientation or political position,” Ms. Merkel said. “On the basis of these values I offer the future president of the United States, Donald Trump, close cooperation.”
As of this stage in the writing of this update, President-elect Trump had already begun to flex his authoritarian, racist, anti-democratic muscles by four controversial nominations for his Administration:
Trump’s decision to appoint the Breitbart executive his chief strategist stokes warnings across the political spectrum.
Donald Trump's newly named chief strategist, Steve Bannon, came under fire Monday from a wide swath of American leaders and organizations, from conservative operatives to minority-rights groups, all of whom are deeply concerned that Bannon will foster an extremist “alt-right” mentality inside the hallways of the White House and normalize ideas that had thrived only on the fringes of society.
Before joining Trump's campaign as its CEO in August, Bannon served as executive chairman of Breitbart News, identifying his outlet this summer as “the platform for the alt-right,” a group known for white-nationalist and anti-Semitic politics. His appointment Sunday to one of the two most senior roles in the White House was Trump's first major staff announcement, and has united a spectrum of conservatives and liberals, Muslims and Jews alarmed by how much his ideas are likely to shape the administration of the president-elect.
Meantime, representatives from a number of ethnic and religious minority groups are pointing to controversial remarks from Bannon and, under his leadership, Breitbart, about everyone from Jews to African-Americans, arguing that “alt-right” is code for racism and bigotry.
“I know what the alt-right is all about,” said Deborah Lipstadt, a Jewish historian based at Emory University who was a vocal supporter of Hillary Clinton. “It’s a bastion of white supremacists, white nationalists, anti-Semitic, racist, Islamophobic expression, and that a man who has been so closely connected with the alt-right, who has helped propel it into the mainstream, should have the ear of the president, I’m flabbergasted. I’m almost at a loss for words. So far, I find that the most depressing of almost anything I’ve heard thus far.”. . .
Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn
Flynn — a controversial figure who has been known to eschew "political correctness" — is a Trump loyalist who stayed by the candidate's side even as other national security experts sharply criticized him during the campaign. . .
As speculation about Flynn's appointment spread Thursday night, critics highlighted some of his controversial past statements. In February, Flynn said on Twitter that "fear of Muslims is rational.". . .
Multiple senior intelligence officials told NBC News on Friday that they have deep reservations about Trump tapping Flynn for the post.
They described him as a "hot head" with an abusive leadership style who would threaten to purge subordinates who disagreed with him. One called him "shallow and reactionary."
Beyond his leadership style, the officials worried that his narrow views of important foreign policy hot spots could lead to long-term erosion of US power and influence overseas.
"He doesn't understand the magnitude of the job," said one former intelligence official.
Senator Jeff Sessions
When he first endorsed Trump, Sessions praised the then-GOP contender as someone who would finally fix illegal immigration. . .
As a current member of the Senate, it's unlikely that Sessions' Republican colleagues will try to block his nomination. But Democrats and liberal groups are sure to focus on Sessions' controversial past.
In the 1980s, Sessions was considered for a Ronald Reagan-appointed federal district judgeship in Alabama, but was blocked by the Senate after a black former deputy, Thomas Figures, accused him of making racially insensitive statements. Figures, a former assistant U.S. Attorney in Alabama, said that Sessions had once warned him to be careful about what he said to "white folks."
Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill., said in a statement that, "No Senator has fought harder against the hopes and aspirations of Latinos, immigrants, and people of color than Sen. Sessions."
Pompeo, a former U.S. Army officer, was elected to U.S. Congress in 2010 admist a Tea Party wave. Among other things, he opposes closing the Guantánamo Bay military prison, favors National Security Agency (NSA) domestic surveillance programs, and is an outspoken opponent of the landmark U.S. nuclear deal with Iran.
Pompeo wrote on Twitter, "I look forward to rolling back this disastrous deal with the world's largest state sponsor of terrorism."
He has also called for NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden to receive the death penalty and has mocked hunger striking detainees.
Anthony Romero, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), said Friday, "Congressman Pompeo's positions on bulk surveillance and Guantánamo Bay...raise serious civil liberties concerns about privacy and due process. These positions and others merit serious public scrutiny through a confirmation process. His positions on mass surveillance have been rejected by federal courts and have been the subject of several lawsuits."
Pompeo also drew fire in 2013 for stating on the House floor that Muslim leaders who do not denounce terrorist acts are "potentially complicit" in the attacks.
Pompeo's Tea Party identification exposes his connection to the right-wing Roman Catholic-Evangelical political alliance, dominated by the Roman Catholics. However, the degree of unity in this religio-political movement for the election of Donald Trump is somewhat enigmatic. Nevertheless, it does not require full comprehension of Rome's part in the election of Trump to be able to predict that she can, and will, take advantage of his presidency to advance, and perhaps complete, the totalitarian theocratic State towards which she and apostate Protestantism have been working assiduously for several decades. The combination of these four appointments to the Trump Administration is ominous. [There have been further questionable and ominous nominations since this passage was written, not least of all the heavy concentration of military men, all of which will probably be the subject of future documents on this page.]
It is noteworthy that in all of the reports cited above describing the fear sweeping the nation and the world because of the election of Donald Trump, there is no mention of the separation of Church and State. The same applies to most of the major news publications; and yet theocratic governance looms large in the immediate future, and this should be a major concern for all, believers and unbelievers alike, as the Trump inauguration approaches. Interestingly, the magazine of the liberals in the Seventh-day Adventist Church who bear a heavy responsibility for the Denomination's apostasy has recognized the menacing future:
When Donald J. Trump addressed the Republican National Convention one week ago today in Cleveland, Ohio he promised Evangelical Christians that for their support he would work to remove the wall separating Church and State:
At this moment, I would like to thank the evangelical community who have been so good to me and so supportive. You have so much to contribute to our politics, yet our laws prevent you from speaking your minds from your own pulpits. An amendment, pushed by Lyndon Johnson, many years ago, threatens religious institutions with a loss of their tax-exempt status if they openly advocate their political views. I am going to work very hard to repeal that language and protect free speech for all Americans. We can accomplish these great things, and so much else. All we need to do is start believing in ourselves and in our country again. It is time to show the whole world that America is back, bigger, and better and stronger than ever before.”
The statement brought wild cheers from the Republican audience and foreshadowed a Trump White House in which the religious majority (Evangelicals made up just over 25% of the U.S. population in 2014) would enjoy greater prominence and empowerment.
By contrast, Donald Trump has on several occasions disparaged religious minorities for his political advantage, notably Muslims and Seventh-day Adventists.
There are publications which sounded the warning before the election:
Before the Republican National Convention approved what right-wing delegates described as “the most conservative platform in modern history” on Monday, platform-committee co-chair Virginia Foxx announced that the document was “a reaffirmation of the principles America and the Republican Party were founded on.”
The platform is theocratic in its language and spirit, employing arguments never before considered by a major American political party. It’s extremism is such that People for the American Way’s “Right-Wing Watch” team has observed, “Four years ago, we called the GOP platform ‘a far-right fever dream, a compilation of pouting, posturing, and policies to meet just about every demand from the overlapping Religious Right, Tea Party, corporate, and neo-conservative wings of the GOP.’ Yet this year’s platform is even further to the right.”
Yes, the platform has its Donald Trump flourishes. As the New York Times editorial board notes: “Mr. Trump’s anti-Muslim phobia and fantasy wall across the Mexican border are front and center, along with his protectionist views, which deny long- held positions of the party.”
But where the platform veers furthest to the right is in sections that champion precisely the mingling of religion and politics that worried not just the wisest of the founders of the American experiment but also the Republicans of another time—who sought to advance and enhance that experiment.
Congresswoman Foxx did not seem to recall Thomas Jefferson’s observation, as the third president of the United States, that “Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man and his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should ‘make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,’ thus building a wall of separation between Church and State.”
In his letter to the Danbury Baptists, the third president wrote of the separation of church and state as an “expression of the supreme will of the nation in behalf of the rights of conscience.”
Seventh-day Adventists and other Christians who wax enthusiastic about the Theocrats' war against abortion and yes, their campaign against LGBTQ rights, should beware the forces violating Jesus' statement on the separation of Church and State. The abortion controversy is founded on the Roman Catholic dogma of the immortality of the soul. Condemnation of unnatural sexual behaviour and immoral sexual conduct in general is the province of the pulpit under the power of the Holy Spirit, totally devoid of the coercive power of the State ("Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts" Zech. 4:6b; Cf. Jamieson, Fausset & Brown commentary on Verse 4 of 2 Cor. 10.) It is not easy, but the Scriputres constrain us to leave unregenate human beings to the judgment before the Great White Throne, without human intervention (Rev. 20:11-15,) except to purge the Church of open sinners. The words of the Apostle Peter should be kept in mind 1 Peter 4:18; 2 Peter 1:10; (cf. The Danger of Usurping God's Prerogatives.)
Crying out for attention is the fact that with the Trump presidency, Republican control of both Houses of Congress, and the imminence of the appointment of an extreme right-wing Justice to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court created by the death of Antonin Scalia, America is faced with the stark reality that full theocratic government is being revealed; how far short of the tyranny of Rev. 13:15-17 is yet to be seen!
While the nation slept there were those in recent decades who penned warnings. Frederick Clarkson is one, and he wrote recently about Dominionism and the 2016 election:
In June 2016, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) held a private meeting with conservative movement leaders to plot his political future. Attendees afterwards cast him in the role of Ronald Reagan, who’d lost the 1976 Republican presidential nomination to Gerald Ford but led a conservative comeback in 1980 that made Jimmy Carter a one-term president. The thinking was that Cruz did well enough in the 2016 Republican presidential primaries before losing to celebrity billionaire Donald Trump that he could plan to run again in 2020 or 2024. “He was with kindred spirits,” said Brent Bozell, the conservative activist who hosted the meeting, “and I would say most people in that room see him as the leader of the conservative movement.”
The rise of Ted Cruz is a singular event in American political history. The son of a Cuban refugee and evangelical pastor, Cruz was raised in the kind of evangelicalism-with-a-theocratic-bent that has come to epitomize a significant and growing trend in American public life. That is, dominionism: a dynamic ideology that arose from the swirls and eddies of American evangelicalism to animate the Christian Right, and become a defining feature of modern politics and culture.
Dominionism is the theocratic idea that regardless of theological camp, means, or timetable, God has called conservative Christians to exercise dominion over society by taking control of political and cultural institutions. The term describes a broad tendency across a wide swath of American Christianity. People who embrace this idea are referred to as dominionists. Although Chip Berlet, then of Political Research Associates, and I defined and popularized the term for many in the 1990s, in fact it had (along with the term dominion theology) been in use by both evangelical proponents and critics for many years.
In many ways, Ted Cruz personifies the story of dominionism: how it became the ideological engine of the Christian Right, and how it illuminates the changes underway in American politics, culture and religion that have helped shape recent history. . .
Latter Rain theology was revived under the under aegis of longtime Fuller Theological Seminary professor C. Peter Wagner, who organized a global network of hundreds of apostles. Many of these apostles lead groups of non-denominational churches and ministries called “apostolic networks,” which sometimes comprise tens of thousands of members. Today, NAR theology and its apostles and prophets have assumed an increasingly high profile in religious and civic life in the U.S. They were well known in the past decade, for example, for mass rallies named TheCall, led by Lou Engle, who is also internationally known for his anti-abortion and anti-LGBTQ activism. They have also gained political influence. For example, several leading apostles were among the three-dozen “conveners” of a June 2016 meeting at which Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump courted the support of some 1,000 evangelical leaders. . .
One contemporary example will suffice. David Lane, a leading Christian Right electoral organizer, declared in a 2013 essay that religious war may be on the horizon. Meanwhile he has shifted the electoral emphasis of his Mississippi-based American Renewal Project. (The group hosts all-expenses paid policy briefings for clergy and their spouses, featuring top politicians like Gov. Mike Pence (R-IN), Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), Gingrich, Huckabee, Cruz, and often David Barton. Republican presidential contender Donald Trump addressed one such event in August 2016.) They are currently recruiting and training clergy with a dominionist vision to run for office at all levels. Lane’s own pastor, Rob McCoy, won a city council seat in Thousand Oaks, California, in 2016. Lane’s vision is clear: “I don’t think there’s any such thing as a separation of church and state. This was not established as a secular nation, and anybody that says that it is, they’re not reading American history. This was established by Christians for the advancement of the Christian faith. My goal is to return—to restore a biblically based culture and a Judeo-Christian heritage.” . . .
Dominionism now appears to be a permanent feature of politics at all levels. For three presidential elections in a row, dominionist politicians have played prominent roles. Following Mike Huckabee and Sarah Palin in 2008, Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry in 2012, and the remarkable run of Ted Cruz in 2016, dominionists are among the most prominent politicians in the country and enjoy significant public support and acceptance as a legitimate part of the political mix.
While Senator Cruz’s campaign was supported by leading NAR figures and most other Christian Right leaders, there was always a Plan B as well. One NAR prophet said God had told him in July 2015 that he will use Donald Trump to “expose darkness and perversion.” Donald Trump also enjoyed significant support from other Christian Right figures, notably 7M theorist Lance Wallnau (who also sits on the board of an NAR political arm, the Oak Initiative).
Wallnau sought to explain the paradox of evangelical Christians supporting Trump from early on even though he didn’t seem like a good fit. Trump, as has been much discussed, was a longtime supporter of abortion and LGBTQ rights, a thrice-married philanderer, a failed casino magnate with ties to organized crime, and someone whose Christian credentials were dubious at best. Nevertheless, Wallnau suggested that God could use Trump to achieve his purposes even though he was a flawed vessel. Wallnau recalled the story of Cyrus, the King of Persia in the biblical book of Isaiah who, as had been earlier prophesied, freed the Jews who had been captive in Babylon for 70 years, and helped to build the temple in Jerusalem. God used the pagan Cyrus, as Wallnau put it, as a “wrecking ball” for his purposes. Wallnau thought God would use Trump to challenge “an increasingly hostile anti-Christian culture” and “deliver us from Hillary.”
Wallnau’s story makes clear that at least some 7Mers do not require moral or doctrinal conformity to accept someone as a co-belligerent, or even as a leader, as long as they can help get them part of the way down the road to dominion. It also underscores that while the various doctrines feeding into the dominionist movement are clear, the degree to which they are adopted, and the means and timeline by which dominionists may seek to achieve their goals, will vary according to individual and factional interests.
Dominionism, like the Christian Right itself, has come a long way from obscure beginnings. What is remarkable today is that the nature of this driving ideology of the Christian Right remains obscure to most of society, most of the time. Dominionism’s proponents and their allies know it takes time to infuse their ideas into the constituencies most likely to be receptive. They also know it is likely—and rightly—to alarm many others.
Religion scholar Michael McVicar recounts an illuminating anecdote from that pivotal 1980 gathering of the Religious Roundtable addressed by Ronald Reagan. During the meeting, Robert Billings, one of the founders of the Moral Majority, privately observed to Gary North that, “If it weren’t for his [Rushdoony’s] books, none of us would be here.” North replied, “No one in the audience understands that.” Billings replied, “True. But we do.”
“Insiders knew about Rushdoony’s influence, even if the rank and file did not,” McVicar concludes. That continues to be true. The role of dominionism is largely hidden in plain sight from those most affected, on all sides.
"Those most affected" include the people, Christian and non-Christian alike, who are devoted to the separation of Church and State, and are lovers of liberty of conscience for every individual. The Dominionists are far removed from the principles of Christianity, so deluded that they chose to support a man of corrupt and depraved character as the leader of the American nation. Jesus said, "And if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world. He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day." (John 12:47-48.) Not even the most morally upright human being has any authority from God to impose his/her beliefs on others.
Dr. Michael Brown is a Jewish Christian, described as "a biblical scholar, apologist, worldwide speaker, and activist." This column written by him for a publication called "OneNewsNow.com," is reflective of the views held across the broad range of misguided "Christians" who deride the separation of Church and State:
Certainly, some will say God has raised up Trump not to bless America, but to judge her. But if God has raised him up for certain divine purposes, it behooves us to ask what those purposes are.
As the political pundits weigh in on the many sociological and ideological factors that contributed to Donald Trump's stunning victory, allow me to weigh in on the spiritual side of things.
I believe Trump has been elected president by divine intervention. . .
I'm aware, of course, that some people believe that everything happens by the will of God, which means that whoever wins the presidency wins by God's express will.
Yet there are times when there are so many odds against something happening, when it so greatly defies logic, that it is easier to recognize God's involvement.
That, I believe, is the case with Donald Trump winning – and remember, this comes from someone who endorsed Ted Cruz and was one of Trump's stronger conservative critics during the primaries. Just think of the obstacles Trump overcame . . .
First, consider this post from Pastor Jeremiah Johnson, now just 28 years old, dating to July of last year.
Jeremiah knew very little about Trump when he wrote these words:
"I was in a time of prayer several weeks ago when God began to speak to me concerning the destiny of Donald Trump in America. The Holy Spirit spoke to me and said, 'Trump shall become My trumpet to the American people, for he possesses qualities that are even hard to find in My people these days. Trump does not fear man nor will he allow deception and lies to go unnoticed. I am going to use him to expose darkness and perversion in America like never before, but you must understand that he is like a bull in a china closet. Many will want to throw him away because he will disturb their sense of peace and tranquility, but you must listen through the bantering to discover the truth that I will speak through him. I will use the wealth that I have given him to expose and launch investigations searching for the truth. Just as I raised up Cyrus to fulfill My purposes and plans, so have I raised up Trump to fulfill my purposes and plans prior to the 2016 election. You must listen to the trumpet very closely for he will sound the alarm and many will be blessed because of his compassion and mercy. Though many see the outward pride and arrogance, I have given him the tender heart of a father that wants to lend a helping hand to the poor and the needy, to the foreigner and the stranger.'"
From the known facts published about Donald Trump, his commitment to the theocratic agenda may be a matter of expediency rather than conviction - not so his Vice-President Mike Pence:
He has described himself as a “pretty ordinary Christian” and as “a Christian, a conservative and a Republican, in that order.”
But he also once said, “I made a commitment to Christ. I’m a born-again, evangelical Catholic.” . . .
1. He was raised Catholic and later attended an evangelical megachurch. . .
2. He supported causes important to evangelicals as a congressman. . .
5. He signed Indiana’s controversial “religious freedom” law.
Last year, Pence found himself at the center of a storm when he supported Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which would have allowed businesses and individuals to refuse to do business with some people based on their own religious beliefs. . .
Two of Pence’s favorite lines are to describe himself as “a Christian, a conservative and a Republican, in that order,” and to offer assurance, “I’m a conservative, but I’m not angry about it.”
He became a born again Christian – and a born again Republican – while at university. “For me it all begins with faith; it begins with what matters most, and I try and put what I believe to be moral truth first,” he told the Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN) in 2010. “My philosophy of government second. And my politics third.” . . .
Trump himself has been registered as both a Democrat and Republican and voted for both parties over the years. He has contradicted himself on guns, abortion and other social issues. He once raised questions about his biblical knowledge by referring to “Two Corinthians” rather than “Second Corinthians”.
The devout Pence could be a useful antidote. An early advocate of the Tea Party movement, he has voted with social conservatives for nearly his entire time in office, putting him more in line with the far right of the Republican party.
By the time he gave Congress another try, in 2000, it was clear that Pence had changed. He won the seat and held on for the next 12 years, eventually rising to third in the GOP’s congressional leadership. But his faith stayed front and center. Pence refused to campaign on Sundays. He declined to dine solo with women who weren’t his wife. (“It’s about building a zone around your marriage,” he told the Hill.) After 9/11, his first reaction was to gather his staff in prayer. Aides and other politicians often saw him reading his Bible, and Pence would cite specific verses to justify policy arguments. “These have stood the test of time,” he told one staffer. “They have eternal value.” He was frank about the influence of his evangelicalism. “My support for Israel stems largely from my personal faith,” he told Congressional Quarterly in 2002. “In the Bible, God promises Abraham, ‘Those who bless you I will bless, and those who curse you I will curse.’ ”
During his time in Congress, Pence emerged as one of the most privately and publicly devout figures in Washington. But something changed when he ran for governor of Indiana. You could no longer get Pence to address his faith, past or present. When I interviewed him in 2012, I asked about the peculiarities in his religious biography; each time, he evaded. Could he help me understand his strange spiritual journey? “I cherish my Catholic upbringing,” he replied. Could he explain why his faith shifted again in the mid-’90s? “We just felt drawn to worship at an evangelical church.” Could he define himself as a believer? “I’m a pretty ordinary Christian, trying to make that faith real every day.”
It was all pretty stunning to see. The man who once quoted Genesis 12:3 to justify his foreign policy was now speaking in phrases so platitudinous they felt ripped from the chorus of a particularly bad Christian rock song.
But this was all by design. . .
Once elected, Pence began pushing a very different agenda. While the most notorious example came when he signed the state’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act in 2015, Pence’s faith has driven decisions big and small. It led him to sign a new anti-abortion law so restrictive that the American Civil Liberties Union is now suing the state. It led him to award a $3.5 million contract to Real Alternatives, a nonprofit that pushes abstinence education and urges pregnant women not to abort.
“My faith,” Pence told me in 2012, “has continued to be what I hope is the most important thing in my life.” Pence’s beliefs have shifted at least twice—from his family’s Catholicism to an idiosyncratic evangelical Christianity, and from that to a more hardened and ideological version of the same. If, as he insists, faith does indeed order his life, why did he stop being so open about it? Why strip the evangelizing from his evangelicalism?
It is clear from the above reports that in Vice-president Pence the nation has a hardline Theocrat a heartbeat from the presidency; but there is an even more immediate threat. Already prominent conservative commentators are predicting that Donald Trump will be impeached early in his presidency. Most notable prior to Trump's election is the proposition by The Federalist, a leading conservative publication:
There is a way out of this mess. It is a desperate plan, but desperate times, desperate measures: Elect-and-Impeach. Elect the ticket. Impeach Trump.
The Republican Party does have an attractive candidate on its ticket. Socially conservative. Economically conservative. Conservative on national defense. Morally and religiously impeccable. The trouble is, that man is the Republican candidate for vice president, Mike Pence.
But if Trump were impeached immediately after he took office, the Republican candidate for vice president would become president in his place. Further, if Republicans take the lead in removing Trump from office, the party might regain some of its lost credibility in parts of the electorate that it is anxious to attract. . .
Mike Pence is poised to exercise the powers of the presidency even if Donald Trump is not removed from the office:
The Constitution assigns executive authority to the president—but a President Trump would hand it off to Mike Pence.
On Wednesday night, America will meet the man who could be the nation’s next chief executive officer—and it’s not Donald Trump.
The Constitution says that “the executive Power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America,” but Trump isn’t one to be bound by tradition. He has, instead, made it clear that he intends to hire “the best” and “the most talented” people to exercise power on his behalf. And right at the top, running the United States government, would be Trump’s pick for vice president: Indiana Governor Mike Pence.
That’s how those closest to Trump have described the role. “He needs an experienced person to do the part of the job he doesn’t want to do,” Paul Manafort told the Huffington Post’s Howard Fineman about the VP search back in May. “He seems himself more as the chairman of the board, than even the CEO, let alone the COO.”
And, The New York Times Magazine reported Wednesday, Donald Trump Jr. described the vice presidency in similar terms to a senior Kasich adviser:
Donald Jr. wanted to make him an offer nonetheless: Did he have any interest in being the most powerful vice president in history?
When Kasich’s adviser asked how this would be the case, Donald Jr. explained that his father’s vice president would be in charge of domestic and foreign policy.
This is how close the nation is to a presidency committed to the specific agenda of the Theocrats who are destined to usher in the ultimate tyranny of Rev. 13:15-17.
The question arises: why are these events taking place during this particular period of history. The Christian world was given prophetic evidence that the time for the closing events of this world's history had come, with a warning period extending from 1967 to 1980. This powerful sermon of Elder William H. Grotheer on the fulfillment of Jesus' prophecy recorded in Luke 21:24, Jesus' Own Prophecy, was delivered years ago and therefore does not include the continued unfolding of prophetic events in recent years; but its exegesis is valid and closely related to current events (Cf. A Fearful Warning, which describes successive closings of probation in this world as set forth in the Bible.)
In The Sign of the End of Time, Elder Grotheer makes this statement:
The very least that this fulfilled prophecy of Jesus is saying is that God is no longer restraining the power of Satan in his control of the nations of earth. Even though Satan declared that he possessed such power and could delegate it to whomever he chose (Luke 4:6), the book of Daniel draws the curtain aside and reveals that God "ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever He will" (Dan. 4:17). When kings and rulers resisted His purposes, Michael, to whom all earthly authority is given (I Cor. 15:27), comes Himself to influence the outcome of human events (Dan. 10:13). That time is now past, and God has stepped aside and Satan is working his will in the nations of earth.
We have not been left in doubt as to what Satan is seeking to accomplish. In the Revelation of Jesus Christ, the picture is drawn. "The spirits of devils go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of the great day of God Almighty" (Rev. 16:14). But you respond, that is the sixth plague after the close of probation. No, it is the cause for the sixth plague, not the plague. Consider the first plague: a "grievous sore" on those who had received the mark of the beast (16:2). Was not the mark of the beast received prior to the close of probation? Just so, the sixth plague. Verse 12 describes the plague - the drying up of the great river Euphrates, and verses 13-14 give the cause in probationary time.
In the context of Rev. 16:14, consider the report of the "Holy Spirit" speaking to Pastor Jeremiah Johnson. A search online will reveal that he was not the only one who received such a message.
The words of Jesus in Luke 21:28-32 clearly define the period of earth's history to which the fulfilled prophecy of verse 24 relates, and verse 32 specifies a time limit for this period. A generation is generally recognized as a period of 40 years.
Next, what were and are the conditions which opened the way for the ultimate disaster of a Trump presidency. Logic suggests that this social phenomenon was a contributing factor: DONALD TRUMP FOR PRESIDENT: PRODUCT OF A DUMBED DOWN AMERICA. This content of an earlier update begins to explain the role of propaganda in Trump's victory, and specifically that of the Jesuits, and the papacy's philosophy of degrading the educational system to bring about an ill-informed populace, as applied by Rupert Murdoch's media empire.
Propaganda can be both positive and negative. There are some explanations of this science which hold that positive propaganda can serve a good purpose; however,propaganda is inherently misleading, whether it is positive or negative, as shown in this definition and underscored by this one.
To those who are not deceived, it is readily apparent that the success of Donald Trump's presidential campaign was utterly due to the avalanche of negative propaganda that overwhelmed the Democratic candidate. Trump's campaign was one based almost entirely on virulent negative propaganda, and vague in detailed public policy. In addition, there was Russian propaganda designed to aid the Trump campaign; but above all a vast array of purveyors of right-wing propaganda. The Republicans themselves in coordination with Trump were very effective in smearing and undermining the Democratic candidate, who was not remotely as bad a character as the Republican candidate:
The Democratic nominee’s shortcomings should not blind voters to the catastrophe they’d invite by electing her cruel, undisciplined, erratic opponent.
At The Week, Damon Linker, who is no fan of Clinton, argues that despite all her weaknesses and petty corruptions, the choice on November 8 is an easy one. Trump “is a menace to American democracy,” he writes, “a know-nothing demagogic con man who hasn’t released his tax returns, who brags about assaulting women, who has invited Vladimir Putin to meddle in the presidential election while also suggesting on the basis of no evidence at all that the election will be ‘rigged’ against him, and who regularly uses social media to promote white supremacists and neo-Nazis (who increasingly feel emboldened to spew their civic poison in public). And that's just the most minimal accounting of Trump's offenses.”
As if to agree, Paul Waldman at the Washington Post reviews Trump’s “history of corruption, double-dealing, and fraud” with this “partial list” of his discreditable behavior . . .[the "partial list" is lengthy.]
An elite team of investigators would need months to plumb the depths of all those stories. Individual instances of unethical behavior related to them could fill 100 news cycles.
Trump has escaped a lot of that scrutiny because no one expects any better.
The Republicans have become masters of destructive propaganda:
The decades of GOP lies that brought us Donald Trump, Republican front-runner
How did America get to such a place that someone like Donald Trump can command a lead in the Republican primaries? Trump is the product of a deliberate Republican strategy, adopted by Richard Nixon’s people in 1968, to attract voters with an apocalyptic redemption story rather than reasoned argument. It has taken almost 50 years, but we have finally arrived at the culmination of postmodern politics in which Republican leaders use words to create their own reality. . .
“Voters are basically lazy,” one Nixon media adviser wrote. “Reason requires a high degree of discipline, of concentration; impression is easier. Reason pushes the viewer back, it assaults him, it demands that he agree or disagree; impression can envelop him, invite him in, without making an intellectual demand…. When we argue with him, we… seek to engage his intellect…. The emotions are more easily roused, closer to the surface, more malleable….” Nixon’s people hired advertising executive Harry Treleaven, who believed the new medium of television had changed the nature of politics. For him, politicians were no longer policy wonks; they were actors with a narrative. . .
The Movement Conservative story was never based in reality. Facts repeatedly gave way to the narrative that America was on the ropes because of Democratic social welfare policies that sucked tax dollars and threatened the nation’s safety. Ronald Reagan’s Welfare Queen represented the misuse of tax dollars for lazy African-Americans, for example, but he also incorrectly insisted that President Carter had slashed the nation’s military budget, and warned in his inaugural address that the nation was in a crisis that rivaled the Great Depression, a crisis created by government activism.
To avoid niggling fact-checkers, in 1987, President Reagan’s FCC abandoned the Fairness Doctrine, a decision that meant that public broadcasters were no longer required to provide their audience with opposing viewpoints. Within a year, talk radio had taken off, with hosts like Rush Limbaugh hammering home the vision of a nation gone to ruin, awaiting redemption from the latest Movement Conservative candidate. In 1992, Limbaugh began to broadcast a television show, produced by Roger Ailes, to take the story to viewers. By 1994, the show was carried by 225 television stations. Two years later, Ailes would become the CEO of a new media channel, Fox News, which used the same formula—albeit updated—that Ailes had used to package Nixon’s story almost 30 years before.
By the time of the George W. Bush administration, the Movement Conservatives had erased the line between image and reality. In 2004, a senior adviser to Bush famously dismissed “the reality-based community” to journalist Ron Suskind. Gone were the days when politicians could find solutions based on their observations of the careful study of discernible reality. “That’s not the way the world really works anymore…. When we act, we create our own reality…. We’re history’s actors… and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do,” he said.
The "reality" of these times has become so divorced from truth that we are now said to be in "the post-truth era," a manifestation of the delusive power over human minds that Satan has now achieved:
At one time we had truth and lies. Now we have truth, lies, and statements that may not be true but we consider too benign to call false. Euphemisms abound. We’re “economical with the truth,” we “sweeten it,” or tell “the truth improved.” The term deceive gives way to spin. At worst we admit to “misspeaking,” or “exercising poor judgment.” Nor do we want to accuse others of lying. We say they’re in denial. A liar is “ethically challenged,” someone for whom “the truth is temporarily unavailable.”
This is post-truth. In the post-truth era, borders blur between truth and lies, honesty and dishonesty, fiction and nonfiction. Deceiving others becomes a challenge, a game, and ultimately a habit. . .
What motivates the casual dishonesty that’s become pandemic? Why do so many, even those with no apparent need to do so, feel a need to embellish their personal history? . . .
We can only understand the motives of such dissemblers by examining the sea in which they swim. Trends ranging from the postmodern disdain for “truth” to therapeutic non-judgment encourage deception. . .
Facts hold a sacred place in Western liberal democracies. Whenever democracy seems to be going awry, when voters are manipulated or politicians are ducking questions, we turn to facts for salvation.
But they seem to be losing their ability to support consensus. PolitiFact has found that about 70 percent of Donald Trump’s “factual” statements actually fall into the categories of “mostly false,” “false” and “pants on fire” untruth. . .
The sense is widespread: We have entered an age of post-truth politics.As politics becomes more adversarial and dominated by television performances, the status of facts in public debate rises too high. . .
How can we still be speaking of “facts” when they no longer provide us with a reality that we all agree on? The problem is that the experts and agencies involved in producing facts have multiplied, and many are now for hire. If you really want to find an expert willing to endorse a fact, and have sufficient money or political clout behind you, you probably can. . .
Trump lies about big things (there is no drought in California) and small things (his hair spray could not affect the ozone layer because it’s sealed within Trump Tower). He lies about himself, and the fake self he invented to talk about himself. He’s been shown to lie more than 70 times in a single event. . .
Professional truth-seekers have never seen anything like Trump, surely the most compulsive liar to seek high office. To date, the nonpartisan PolitiFact has rated 76 percent of his statements lies — 57 percent false or mostly false, and another 19 percent “Pants on Fire” fabrications. Only 2 percent — 2 percent! — of his assertions were rated true, and another 6 percent mostly true. Hillary Clinton, who is not exactly known for fealty to the facts, had a 28 percent total lie score, including a mere 1 percent Pants on Fire.
The Washington Post’s Fact Checker has dinged Trump with 30 of its Four Pinocchio ratings — lying 70 percent of the time. Trump cares so little about the truth that when the Fact Checker reaches out to him for an explanation, he never responds, the paper noted. . .
He even lies about his lies. He claimed he wanted to keep a personal donation to veterans private, when in fact he’d boasted in January of a $1 million gift, which wasn’t sent out until the press began questioning him on it months later.
Sadly, a lot of voters don’t care if a candidate is a pathological liar. But most of us should. . .
Mentally manipulated out of sound, rational, judgement, a sufficiently large proportion of the American electorate either did not care and voted for Donald Trump, or did not understand that they should care enough to vote against him. A pathological liar becomes President of the United States on January 20, 2017. Is there any room for doubt "that God is no longer restraining the power of Satan in his control of the nations of earth"? The evidence of the Satan's control is overwhelming. Jesus said of those who are under his influence, "Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it" (John 8:44.) Speaking and believing lies is the natural result of coming under the control of Satan. As Ellen G. White described the process by which he has gained control, "he is linking the human mind with his own, imbuing it with his thoughts." In these times protection is found in the promise of Psalm 91:4b: "his truth shall be thy shield and buckler." The Apostle Paul elaborates in Eph. 6:10-17. Note "loins girt about with truth," and "breastplate of righteousness," (here cf. 2 Thess. 2:10.) Note further "the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God." Wherefore it behooves us to "Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth (2 Tim. 2:15.) This is our protection against our own minds "becoming linked with Satan's, and imbued with his thoughts."
It is highly unlikely that the following headline is a correct assessment of the state of the Republican party; but the article provides facts about the destructive propaganda of the cable news channel which has played a huge role in deceiving the people:
The Republican Party has been fomenting anger and discontent in the base of its own Party for years. The mechanism through which this hate has been disseminated has been the network of extremist media of right-wing talk radio and the Fox News Channel, which is essentially talk radio transposed onto television.
Just think of all the right-wing “superstars” who spew messages of anger and hate every single day throughout the land over this enormous megaphone. Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Ann Coulter, Laura Ingraham, Ben Shapiro, Dana Loesch, Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity, to name a few.
And make no mistake, spewing hate has a significant impact upon society. It is the equivalent of modern-day propaganda where the population is barraged with a stream of consistent messaging. As ordinary people go about their daily lives, they are exposed repeatedly, day-in and day-out, to the same messages in numerous different forms and by numerous different people. Pretty soon, these messages begin to sink in and take effect. The audience begins to adopt a worldview consistent with these messages, regardless of the degree of truth. It is a remarkable phenomenon.
History is replete with examples of how propaganda can be very effective in altering the views of a population. Nazi Germany in the 1930’s is a classic example. How could it possibly be that a maniac like Adolph Hitler was able to convince millions of ordinary people throughout the entire nation of Germany to go to war against the world? Well, propaganda was an extremely powerful component.
Tea Party advocates have proudly boasted of the identification of Fox News with Roman Catholicism and the Tea Party movement: TEA PARTY UNITED!
Then there are the Koch brothers, who are more difficult to nail down than Fox News; but on balance the evidence points to a Roman Catholic affiliation:
Medora is a small, seasonal tourist town in the Badlands of western North Dakota, about 25 miles from the Montana border. It has a population of less than one hundred. It went for John McCain for president by a three-to-one margin in 2008. A handful of small stores are in the center of the town—some gift shops, a bookstore, an ice cream shop, two restaurants, a museum, and a hotel that’s full during tourist season.
Around the corner from downtown is the Rushmore Mountain Taffy and Gift Shop (not to be confused with the Rushmore Mountain Taffy Shop at the base of Mount Rushmore in South Dakota). You wouldn’t know it by looking at it, but the Medora taffy shop was the first legal home of a media organization that now provides a significant amount of political news coverage in 39 state capitals through 55 interconnected news sites, according to a local reporter who was curious about the entity and asked around.
At the start of 2008, the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity had a budget of zero dollars. Its legal home was the taffy shop in Medora. By 2009 the Franklin Center’s budget had jumped to $2.4 million, according to IRS tax records. That’s a spectacular leap for a nonprofit, especially in Medora.
It was almost as if someone wished to utilize the charter concept of the Franklin Center—developing individual but interlinked news centers across the United States that would all promote the same messages—for other purposes and therefore infused it with a mountain of funding and network support. Intriguingly, this was a year before the Tea Party movement seemingly sprang from nowhere and spread like a prairie fire to the thirty-nine state capitals where the Franklin Center now operates its news sites. . .
Its success—basically, the reason that it has no need to fight for its survival when every other local digital journalism effort does—is almost certainly due to its connection to the Koch donor network. Like other related groups with operations in the DC area, the Franklin Center benefits greatly from the Koch donor network’s Freedom Partners.
The Franklin Center’s director of donor development, Matt Hauck, worked for the Charles G. Koch Foundation. Its senior vice president in charge of strategic initiatives, Erik Telford, worked for the Kochs’ Americans for Prosperity before joining the Franklin Center. The founding board member who set it up was Rudie Martinson, who helped run Americans for Prosperity in North Dakota. Martinson is still on the Franklin Center’s board. One of the founders of the Franklin Center, John Tsarpalas, is a past president of the Sam Adams Alliance and director of the Illinois Republican Party.
Fox News and the Koch brothers are accompanied by a host of other subversive entities, and talk show hosts such as Rush Limbaugh. The destructive propaganda of the Republican party and its allies has been combined with deceptive positive propaganda resulting in the consolidation of a GOP hold on a sufficiently large number of voters who have failed to see that the Party's ideology and program are destructive of their own welfare:
Donald Trump ran on a series of impossible promises, but enough people believed he could deliver on them that he won the Electoral College. His supporters are in for what might be the rudest awakening in recent political history. . .
The exit polls show that Trump beat Clinton among affluent voters, and Americans up and down the economic ladder responded to his dog whistles, or at least voted for their party despite the bigotry displayed by its nominee. But Trump made huge gains over Mitt Romney among those making $30,000 or less, and benefited from a major urban-rural divide. And it’s the rural poor who put him over the top in key swing states who are going to be hit especially hard by the coming bait and switch. . .
The root source and cause of the negative propaganda, with the exception of the Russians, is not readily apparent; but can be deduced from the historical record, (cf. In the case against the Church of Rome . .; The radical religious in our country . . .) By bringing the Religious Right alliance of Roman Catholics and so-called Evangelicals into existence the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops unleashed a monster which they cannot always control. The USCCB is not completely comfortable with the victory of Donald Trump in the presidential election:
A week after Donald Trump’s stunning election as president sent the country’s governance lurching to the right, the nation’s Catholic bishops sent a message of their own — at least on immigration — by putting Mexican-born Archbishop Jose Gomez of Los Angeles in line to become the first Latino to lead the American hierarchy.
But the vote at their annual fall meeting in Baltimore on Tuesday (Nov. 15) also suggested that the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops is still hesitant to fully endorse the more progressive and pastoral approach to ministry that Pope Francis has been championing since his election in 2013. . .
The statement that the USCCB "is still hesitant to fully endorse the more progressive and pastoral approach to ministry that Pope Francis has been championing since his election in 2013" is related to an ideological struggle between "Liberals" and "Conservatives" in the Roman Catholic Church since the publication of Pope Leo XIII's Rerum Novarum encyclical at the end of the 19th century. Robert P. George is a Roman Catholic Theocon who has a powerful ideological influence over the rightward leaning USCCB, and George Weigel is also a Theocon with similar influence. They both openly opposed the presidential candidacy of Donald Trump. Like most things about the Church of Rome, the ideological struggle between "Liberals" and "Conservatives" is misleading. They share the common goal of world domination, and will reach accomodation with any worldly power that will enable them to achieve that goal.
After an early brush with Donald Trump and a later hint of support for the campaign of Bernie Sanders, Pope Francis appeared to keep his distance from the US presidential election. The following report after the election seems more likely to favor the Democratic candidate than the Republican, given the utter destruction of Hillary Clinton's reputation:
There’s much too much fake news to go around, but this is real: In an interview with a Belgian publication, Pope Francis reportedly compared news outlets that grab for a juicy story, even when it’s untrue, to those who participate in “coprophilia.” . . .
Crux said that Francis criticized media outlets that look only for negative stories and those that smear people’s reputations, but reserved the harshest criticism for those who report untruths. Spreading incorrect information, Francis reportedly said, is “probably the biggest damage a news organization can cause.”
Whatever the Pope's preference might have been, there is already a search for accomodation:
The natural instinct likely will be to forecast a rocky relationship between the US and the Vatican as long as Donald Trump and Pope Francis are the figures in charge, yet there are at least three areas in which a surprising partnership could potentially emerge.
Defying every last scrap of conventional political wisdom, Donald Trump stunned the world Tuesday night by capturing the American presidency.
Given the role the United States plays on the global stage, actors all over the world right now are scrambling to figure out what Trump’s victory means about the direction America is taking, and how best to react.
One of those actors, of course, will be the Vatican.
To use the categories made famous by Joseph Nye, the Vatican is the world’s most important “soft power,” the only major world religion which has at its core a sovereign state with its own diplomatic corps; the United States, with military expenditures exceeding all other nations combined, is the planet’s most important “hard power.”
Inevitably, therefore, the relationship between these two players is important, and this morning, personnel in the Vatican’s Secretariat of State, which has primary responsibility for foreign policy, are undoubtedly trying like mad to get a read on where things stand.
To be honest, at first blush the stars don’t seem aligned for an auspicious relationship between the current administration in Rome and the incoming one in Washington. . .
To be honest, at first blush the stars don’t seem aligned for an auspicious relationship between the current administration in Rome and the incoming one in Washington. . .
The likely flash points between a Trump White House and a Francis Vatican are easy to anticipate: immigration, climate change, anti-poverty efforts, multilateralism in foreign policy, crime and punishment, and on and on.
The natural instinct likely will be to forecast a rocky relationship between the US and the Vatican as long as Trump and Francis are the figures in charge.
On the other hand, Trump pledged in his victory speech to pursue “great relationships” with other nations, and presumably that includes the Holy See. The more interesting question, therefore, is where the current pope and the new president might be able to do business.
Aside from the reasonably obvious life issues, such as abortion, here are three other possibilities.
Anti-Christian persecution . . .
Gender theory . . .
Religious freedom . . .
To what extent the Vatican and the White House will be able to join forces on these or other fronts will depend, to some extent, on choices made on both sides.
It is interesting to note that reaction in the Vatican to the Trump election victory was not uniform:
Views are mixed, ranging from ‘incomprehension’ and ‘shock’ to optimism that a Republican presidency opens new possibilities for cooperation.
Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin was among the first in the Vatican to react to Donald Trump’s election as the 45th president of the United States.
Speaking to reporters in Rome Nov. 9, he congratulated Trump and said the Holy See respected the democratic wish of the people. He noted the high turnout and gave the Holy See’s “best wishes to the new president, that his government can be truly fruitful.” The Church would be praying for him, he said, that the Lord “enlighten and support him in the service of his country, but also that he work for well-being and peace in the world.”
“I believe that, today, we all need to work to change the world situation; that is a situation of grave wounds, of severe conflict,” Cardinal Parolin continued. He said the future president had “already expressed himself in terms of a leader,” but it was “too soon to judge” his presidency.
Pope Francis hasn’t commented himself, although he did respond to the prospect of a potential Trump presidency in an interview conducted the day before the election and subsequently published online by the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano.
Asked for his opinion about Trump, Pope Francis replied, “I don’t make judgments on people and on political men. I only want to understand the sufferings that their way of proceeding causes the poor and excluded.” The Pope shared his comments with Italian journalist Eugenio Scalfari, the atheist publisher of the Italian newspaper La Repubblica, in an interview published Nov. 11.
Pope Francis clearly hasn’t favored Trump’s policies on immigration, a subject close to the Pope’s heart. He made this point most directly on the papal plane returning from Mexico in February, obliquely referring to Trump when commenting that people should build bridges rather than walls and that anyone who wishes to build a wall “is not Christian.”
Generally, Vatican officials have mixed views about the U.S. election result. One senior Italian official in the more traditional wing of the Church said he was “jumping for joy” at the news. Like a number of other Italian officials, he was most pleased because American voters didn’t choose Hillary Clinton, due to evidence of her campaign leader’s dismissive attitude toward Catholicism, her extreme positions on abortion and same-sex “marriage,” and personal corruption. Other well-informed priests saw the result as a clear rebuke to the mainstream media, who did little to conceal their bias in favor of a Clinton presidency.
However, Corriere della Sera reported Nov. 10 that, according to its research, most in the Vatican were backing Hillary Clinton as the “lesser evil.” Trump, on the other hand, was considered “unelectable” due to his “aggressive chauvinism,” in addition to his threats to deport 11 million illegal Mexican immigrants and ban Muslims from immigrating to the United States.
Now that the “greater evil” has won, the Vatican is viewing the United States as “angry and radicalized,” Corriere della Sera wrote. “For the Holy See, it is a bitter defeat, cultural rather than political. Among other things, it indicates that the Catholic Church hasn’t registered the very deep upheavals taking place in the greatest Western country.” A “lot of incomprehension” and “bitter shock” were generally prevalent for many in the Vatican, agreed one U.S. official who spoke with the Register. Based on “failings of reporting,” he said, Clinton was represented as far preferable to Trump, who was portrayed as a “buffoon,” and reporting about Clinton’s shortcomings “never sunk in.” Due to a general lack of understanding in Italy of the U.S. “culture wars,” Clinton’s radical pro-abortion-rights position also hardly figured at all in media commentary. . .
There are profound spiritual factors involved in the astonishing victory of Donald Trump.
Ellen G. White has made this statement about the influence of Satan on the unregenerate human mind:
For thousands of years Satan has been experimenting upon the properties of the human mind, and he has learned to know it well. By his subtle workings in these last days, he is linking the human mind with his own, imbuing it with his thoughts; and he is doing this work in so deceptive a manner that those who accept his guidance know not that they are being led by him at his will. The great deceiver hopes so to confuse the minds of men and women, that none but his voice will be heard. 2SM 352.3
The restraining power of God has been withdrawn. As Elder Grotheer stated in "The Sign of the End of Time," hyperlinked above, "The very least that this fulfilled prophecy [Luke 21:24] of Jesus is saying is that God is no longer restraining the power of Satan in his control of the nations of earth." The validity of this insight has been plain to see since 1980, and is aptly described by this prophecy of Ellen G. White: "After the truth has been proclaimed as a witness to all nations, every conceivable power of evil will be set in operation . . ." In this is also clearly visible the work of the spirits of Rev. 16:13-14. Satan is now applying the diabolical understanding acquired from "experimenting upon the properties of the human mind" for thousands of years. As the prophecy of Rev. 16 elucidates, the ultimate objective is the unifying of the nations in rebellion against God. Although there is not as yet a clear identification of the ten kings of of Rev. 17:12, and indeed the prophecy explicitly predicts their emergence in the very last remnant of time, the final battle between deluded humanity under the leadership of Satan and Jesus Christ "the Lamb" is unequivocally forecasted. The delusions of unregenerate human minds now increasingly manifested in these times was prophesied by the Apostle Paul in 2 Thess. 2:10-12, and expressly related to the events preceding the Second Coming of Jesus Christ and the revealing of the papacy, the "man of sin." The delusions are the direct result of receiving his falsehoods as manifested by failure to believe the Truth.
The following statements of Ellen G. White are particularly applicable to the present times, although they clearly were already beginning to be perceptible in 1890 and 1904:
The present is a solemn, fearful time for the church. The angels are already girded, awaiting the mandate of God to pour their vials of wrath upon the world. Destroying angels are taking up the work of vengeance; for the Spirit of God is gradually withdrawing from the world. Satan is also mustering his forces of evil, going forth “unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world,” to gather them under his banner, to be trained for “the battle of that great day of God Almighty.” Satan is to make most powerful efforts for the mastery in the last great conflict. Fundamental principles will be brought out, and decisions made in regard to them. Skepticism is prevailing everywhere. Ungodliness abounds. The faith of individual members of the church will be tested as though there were not another person in the world (Manuscript 1a, 1890).
Everything in the world is in agitation. The signs of the times are ominous. Coming events cast their shadows before. The Spirit of God is withdrawing from the earth, and calamity follows calamity by sea and by land. There are tempests, earthquakes, fires, floods, murders of every grade. Who can read the future? Where is security? There is assurance in nothing that is human or earthly. Rapidly men are ranging themselves under the banner they have chosen. Restlessly they are waiting and watching the movements of their leaders.
An intensity such as never before was seen is taking possession of the world. In amusements, in money-making, in the contest for power, in the very struggle for existence, there is a terrible force that engrosses body and mind and soul. In the midst of this maddening rush, God is speaking. He bids us come apart and commune with Him. “Be still, and know that I am God.” (The Signs of the Times July 6, 1904 paragraph 1.)
The rapid progress of events prophesied to culminate in the tyranny of Rev. 13:15-17 is much too clear to be ignored or downplayed. Rev. 13 involves both the United States and the world at large. Keeping in mind the opening verse of the Book of Revelation, complete fulfillment or even the imminence of fulfillment, of other prophecies covering the period immediately before the Second Coming of Jesus, is not yet clearly discernible. These prophecies involve the whole world, the specific area of Palestine, and the City of Jerusalem. In general terms, Rev. 13:15-17 has clearly been in the process of fulfillment since the end of the times of the gentiles (nations) as Jesus prophesied in Luke 21:24, and the work of the spirits of devils has been manifest in events clearly progressing towards the fulfillment of Rev. 17:1-18a. This has been manifest in the worldwide ecumenical movement. Forward movement in the fulfillment of Daniel 11:45 has been stalled by the Zionist government of Israel, supported by Christian Zionists in America. Vladimir Putin's Russia is an additional complicating factor. Fulfillment of Rev. 17:8b, and 10b-13, coupled with Isa. 14:12-14, and Isa. 2:2-5 is not yet clearly discernible (studies and sermons on these prophecies can be found on this website by using the Search function.) In this last context Pope Francis has made an intriguing statement. Can we afford to relax our vigilance in watching, thinking that the apocalyptic end in the United States as predicted in Rev. 13:15-17 cannot be as close as the recent dramatic events seem to indicate? The significance of the completed fulfillment of Luke 21:24 argues against complacency in thinking that we are not, in the words of Ellen G. White when the Second Coming was last imminent at the end of the 19th century (and before a delay was indicated,) "upon the very borders, of the eternal world;" [and similar phrases.] Those who are looking for the "National Sunday Law" are going to be caught unawares by the final rapid movements closing the history of this world.
Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near (Isa. 55:6)
It is evident that the “mystery of iniquity” is a counterfeit of the "mystery of godliness," or in other words, some human substitution for the divine plan of salvation, in which man would take the place of Christ, and human efforts would be substituted for the divine presence in the soul. And this is exactly what the Apostle Paul declared it to be, when he foretold that there would “come a falling away” of the apostolic church, and that in this fallen church there would arise "that man of sin, . . . who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshiped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God. . . . For the mystery of iniquity doth already work." 2 Thessalonians 2: 3-7. Speaking to the church he further says: "Ye are the temple of God." 1 Corinthians 3: 16, 17. This prophecy plainly shows that after the "falling away" of the early church some "man" would attempt to take Christ's place in the church, which is God's temple, or dwelling place. The fulfillment of this prophecy is so clearly seen in the history of the Papacy that God's people have always recognized it whenever they have been spiritually awake. Every well-read person knows that the early Christian church fell away from its apostolic purity and corrupted its doctrines by adopting heathen customs, baptizing them with Christian names, so that the church entirely changed its face within four hundred years after the apostles' death. The "mysteries of Mithras" were substituted for the "mystery of godliness"; "the sacrifice of the mass" took the place of the sacrifice made on the cross; righteousness gained by self-torture and human effort took the place of Christ's righteousness received by simple faith in Jesus as a personal Saviour; receiving a sacramental Christ by eating the wafer took the place of an indwelling Christ received by faith in God's promises; a multitude of human mediators were substituted for Christ, the "one mediator between God and man." 1 Timothy 2: 5. We shall enter more fully into the details of this in the following chapters. (From Facts of Faith by Christian Edwardson.)