Five-Fold Today

We Who Advocate Peace - Rend Your Heart - Seven Reasons Why We Canít Stop Making War - I Am Breaking Chains With Praise! - Transition - Covenant Bonds - The Christian Fascists Are Growing Stronger - I Heard You

July 24th, 2010

We Who Advocate Peace

By Camillo Mac Bica

They wage preemptive war, occupy and bomb sovereign nations, utilize video-game technology and robotics to murder and then dehumanize hundreds of thousands of innocent men, women and children as collateral damage. We who advocate peace and justice say that such acts of war and occupation are illegal, immoral and a barbaric and paranoid response to contrived evil . . . and they say we are unpatriotic, treasonous, and unsupportive of the troops.

They chose to avoid military service themselves or had “other priorities’ when their Country called, but yet cavalierly send our children, not theirs, to kill and to die in their war for oil and empire. We who advocate peace and justice say that if the threat is real and the peril immanent and grave, then our chickenhawk leaders and their privileged children should be the first to go. Only then will we follow . . . and they say we are unpatriotic, treasonous, and unsupportive of the troops.

They continue to use the fear of terrorism, prey upon the anxiety and distress of the American people post 9/11 to “justify’ continuing, even escalating, their wars and occupations, and to deny fundamental human liberties guaranteed by the Constitution. We who advocate peace and justice say that the exploitation of a vulnerable citizenry, and the disregard and abuse of basic human rights is Un-American, uncivilized, and a clear violation of the very values they allege to be championing and defending . . . and they say we are unpatriotic, treasonous, and unsupportive of the troops.

They send our military into harm´s way to kill and be killed in pursuit of goals that are ambiguous and ill-defined in an endless war and occupation they sell to the American people and to the world as a response to terrorism. We who advocate peace and justice say that our troops are not cannon fodder; that terrorism is a tactic not an enemy or an ideology; that war, occupation, and the indiscriminate use of violence by the military promotes rather than abrogates the terrorist threat . . . and they say we are unpatriotic, treasonous, and unsupportive of the troops.

They fail to honor their commitment to our Servicemen and Women, “stop loss’ deployment after deployment with insufficient dwell time, and provide inadequate resources to meet the medical and readjustment needs of our returning wounded and veterans. We who advocate peace and justice say that providing effective care and treatment for those physically, psychologically, emotionally, and spiritually wounded by war is a moral and legal obligation and should be our first priority. . . and they say we are unpatriotic, treasonous, and unsupportive of the troops.

They torture prisoners at Abu Graib, Guantanamo Bay and “black site’ secret prisons around the world, denying “detainees’ even the most basic right of Habeas Corpus. We who advocate peace and justice say that such heinous practices as water boarding and unlawful restraint are immoral, violates the U.S. Constitution and International Law, increases the risk that our troops will be ill-treated and tortured should they be captured, and that those who ordered, endorsed, sanctioned, or supported such methods of torture are hypocrites, deviants, and war criminals . . . and they say we are unpatriotic, treasonous, and unsupportive of the troops.

They refused to meet with and comfort the families of our soldiers wounded or killed in battle, denigrate their memory, sacrifice, and dignity by fabricating heroic fantasies of their death and suffering to increase recruitment and bolster support for their senseless war. We who advocate peace and justice say that exploiting the deaths of our soldiers and the grief and suffering of their families in order to mythologize war and lure other young men and women to slaughter is unconscionable and depraved . . . and they say we are unpatriotic, treasonous, and unsupportive of the troops.

They have and continue to award no-bid contracts to favored corporations for personal and political benefit. Contractors who kill without mercy or accountability, whose greed for profit influences decisions of foreign policy, promotes war, and prolongs quagmire. We who advocate peace and justice say that we must heed President Eisenhower´s warning to beware of the military industrial complex, that such corporate cronyism, war profiteering, and political corruption, is criminal, fiscally unsound, and not in our national interest . . . and they say we are unpatriotic, treasonous, and unsupportive of the troops.

They sell America to foreign investors, waste billions of taxpayer dollars on an ever increasing military budget to wage illegal war and occupation and to furnish the weapons of genocide and oppression to dictators and rogue nations around the world. We who advocate peace and justice say that America must end its preoccupation with militarism and war, use its wealth and influence to protect life and property rather than to kill and to destroy, and become a sane and compassionate voice for peaceful coexistence in the world . . . and they say we are unpatriotic, treasonous, and unsupportive of the troops.

They continue to give tax breaks to the wealthy and tax incentives to the oil industry despite record profits. They bail out corrupt Wall Street bankers but remain apathetic to Main Street workers who lose their jobs and their homes. They “compromised’ away meaningful healthcare reform and see fiscal responsibility as cutting social programs such as aid to education, Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. We who advocate peace and justice say that benefiting the affluent at the expense of the poor and the middle class is inhumane, short sighted, a violation of trust, and of basic human decency. . . and they say we are unpatriotic, treasonous, and unsupportive of the troops.

On “National Holidays’ such as Memorial Day and the Fourth of July, they parade, stage air shows, weapons displays, and celebrate the technology of death and destruction to commercialize patriotism and to glorify war and the military experience. We who advocate peace and justice say that these national holidays are not for celebration, commercial marketing, or deceptive recruitment practices. Rather they are for remembering and for grieving the loss of ALL who were sacrificed to the tragedy and insanity of war  . . . and they say we are unpatriotic, treasonous, and unsupportive of the troops.

They refuse to “look back’ and to investigate the crimes of those who violated the law and the trust of the American people by choosing war unnecessarily; crimes against humanity that cost billions of dollars and hundreds of thousands of human lives. We who advocate peace and justice say that we are a nation of laws to which all are subject equally, that such crimes must be investigated and the guilty held accountable for their transgressions. Prosecute the war criminals! . . . and they say we are unpatriotic, treasonous, and unsupportive of the troops.

They sat idly by as the city of New Orleans and thousands of its inhabitants died; ignore global warming, choosing rhetoric rather than effective action while the gas and petroleum industry continues to profit from polluting the planet and destroying its fragile ecosystem. We who advocate peace and justice say that this indifference to human pain and suffering and failure to defend the planet and its diverse species against ecoterrorism is unconscionable, inexcusable, and ultimately suicidal . . . and they say we are unpatriotic, treasonous, and unsupportive of the troops.

They spout the meaningless rhetoric of shallow patriotism, arrogantly waving the flag of “freedom’ or pasting it to the bumper of their gas guzzling humvees, and think it belongs solely to those who unquestioningly beat the drums of war, from a safe distance of course, while their leaders sacrifice lives and treasure and violate the laws of god and of humankind in mistaken wars of choice and greed. We who advocate peace say that all war is anathema and unnecessary war sacrilege and those leaders who dare unleash its horror upon humankind are criminals and those who blindly follow are sheep who fail to understand the moral and legal obligations of their religion, of humanism, and of citizenship in a democracy . . . and they say we are unpatriotic, treasonous, and unsupportive of the troops.

Camillo “Mac’ Bica, Ph.D. is a Professor of Philosophy at the School of Visual Arts in New York City, a former Marine Corps Officer, Vietnam Veteran, and the Coordinator of Veterans For Peace Long Island.

Information Clearing House

Rend Your Heart

Cynthia Blaskis

The Lord spoke all day long and it started with this: "Rend Your Hearts!"

Now rend is not something one would normally say, it means to rip or tear out with violence, to split apart showing grief or anguish. I thought Lord I am not sure I am hearing You right, but I was and He spoke to me all day over those 3 words "Rend Your Hearts". At first I thought why would God ask people to rip and tear apart their hearts before Him.

This is what He showed to me today. God asks for our hearts first and above all and God asks for ALL of our hearts, not parts of it. God writes upon our hearts. He gives to us a new heart. We store things within our hearts. Unfortunately, we store most all things within the heart and sometimes those things are not things of God which God meant for us to keep there. We can store good things of God there or things such as hurt, anger, bitterness etc there. The things which are not of God makes our hearts hard in the places where we hold on to them. It is not always a result of our own sin that those things are there in the heart, many times it is from others sinning against us that allowed those things to be stored there hidden within our heart. The Lord showed to me that things/times/wounds which are hidden within our hearts are hard and we are to rend our hearts before God. Tear them wide open and expose all that is there before the God who can heal those things.

God cannot heal our hearts or give us a new heart if it is hard and things are still hidden there. Rending the heart is painful, it is never pleasant to go into the things hidden in the heart, the past things which have caused us pain and expose them before God, but if we do not rend the heart, if we let those things stay hidden there, we cannot find His healing within those areas of our lives and that piece of our heart will stay hardened and hidden. It will bring spiritual death to the part of our heart that is hardened.

When we rend our heart, the pain that is there can be healed by God and the things not of God will leave our life. When we do not rend our heart, that pain is trapped there and just allows the heart to get even harder. I think we have all had times that seemed to tear at our heart and cause us deep pain and all too often people tend to hide and bury that pain and let that part of their heart harden, they hide those times deep within the heart. It is painful to go back into those times or moments that are hidden there deep within the heart and when we do, it feels as if our heart is being ripped out once again.

The trouble is that God cannot heal the heart, or parts of the heart that we have hidden away, until we are willing to rend or open that part up and expose it before God. God wants to heal and have ALL of our hearts, and that means that we need to rend our hearts to God fully to find that healing that only He can give.

If we do not rend all of our hearts, then all those things which God does not want there, those hardened places will remain with all of the pain, etc, trapped inside. You cannot have a new heart or the heart of God fully until you are willing to rend all of your heart.

God is sovereign, and while I do not know why God allows certain things into our lives, there is always a reason. And that is usually to take us to a place of deeper trust in Him or to grow our faith. I was reminded in the word of the time in the desert that God had allowed the people to be bitten by the snakes. The bites were literally killing the people. The Lord told Moses to build a bronze snake and put it on a pole and when the people looked at it, they would be healed. Sometimes the serpent does bite us in life and when he does, we have to stop and look at what bit us in the face to find the healing of God in that time. God made the people look at the very thing that caused their pain, grief, even death and He did not just say glance at it, but fix your eyes on it.

When we are willing to face the pain of what is in the heart and we are willing to trust that God will heal it, God meets us there within that pain and He does show us truth of that thing and we will find healing. I personally know that the deeper the pain or wound or wrong done to us, the deeper it is hidden within our heart. The more the heart was hurt or torn, the deeper the wound gets hidden and the harder the heart becomes. You cannot find healing from God until you are willing to stare in the face the very thing that harmed you because it is rending your heart to God, exposing that thing to Him, that allows God the freedom to come to you and heal your heart.

Many times that does feel like you are tearing open your heart with violence, it is painful to go to those times and places within our heart, but until you do, God cannot heal you and God will not have ALL of your heart. God is desiring to heal and have ALL of our heart in this time so that He can fill our hearts full of what He desires for us.

Rend your heart, and God will pour out His Spirit upon you, and will fill it with new life from Him. God is calling His people to return to Him with ALL of their hearts so that He can fill us to a fuller measure of His Spirit within this time.

God is wanting to sweep the land with His glory upon our lives for all to see, but until we rend our hearts fully to Him, His glory will not be fully seen by others within our lives. Rend your heart to the God who can heal it, return to Him with all of your heart, so others may see the glory of what the Lord Most High will do within the lives of His people.

Hope and Change Fade, but War Endures

Seven Reasons Why We Can´t Stop Making War

By William J. Astore

If one quality characterizes our wars today, it's their endurance.  They never seem to end.  Though war itself may not be an American inevitability, these days many factors combine to make constant war an American near certainty.  Put metaphorically, our nation's pursuit of war taps so many wellsprings of our behavior that a concerted effort to cap it would dwarf BP's efforts in the Gulf of Mexico.

Our political leaders, the media, and the military interpret enduring war as a measure of our national fitness, our global power, our grit in the face of eternal danger, and our seriousness.  A desire to de-escalate and withdraw, on the other hand, is invariably seen as cut-and-run appeasement and discounted as weakness.  Withdrawal options are, in a pet phrase of Washington elites, invariably "off the table" when global policy is at stake, as was true during the Obama administration's full-scale reconsideration of the Afghan war in the fall of 2009.  Viewed in this light, the president's ultimate decision to surge in Afghanistan was not only predictable, but the only course considered suitable for an American war leader.  Rather than the tough choice, it was the path of least resistance.

Why do our elites so readily and regularly give war, not peace, a chance?  What exactly are the wellsprings of Washington's (and America's) behavior when it comes to war and preparations for more of the same?

Consider these seven:

1.  We wage war because we think we're good at it -- and because, at a gut level, we've come to believe that American wars can bring good to others (hence our feel-good names for them, like Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom). Most Americans are not only convinced we have the best troops, the best training, and the most advanced weapons, but also the purest motives.  Unlike the bad guys and the barbarians out there in the global marketplace of death, our warriors and warfighters are seen as gift-givers and freedom-bringers, not as death-dealers and resource-exploiters.  Our illusions about the military we "support" serve as catalyst for, and apology for, the persistent war-making we condone.

2.  We wage war because we've already devoted so many of our resources to it.  It's what we're most prepared to do.  More than half of discretionary federal spending goes to fund our military and its war making or war preparations.  The military-industrial complex is a well-oiled, extremely profitable machine and the armed forces, our favorite child, the one we've lavished the most resources and praise upon.  It's natural to give your favorite child free rein.

3.  We've managed to isolate war's physical and emotional costs, leaving them on the shoulders of a tiny minority of Americans.  By eliminating the draft and relying ever more on for-profit private military contractors, we've made war a distant abstraction for most Americans, who can choose to consume it as spectacle or simply tune it out as so much background noise.

4.  While war and its costs have, to date, been kept at arm's length, American society has been militarizing fast.  Our media outlets, intelligence agencies, politicians, foreign policy establishment, and "homeland security" bureaucracy are so intertwined with military priorities and agendas as to be inseparable from them.  In militarized America, griping about soft-hearted tactics or the outspokenness of a certain general may be tolerated, but forceful criticism of our military or our wars is still treated as deviant and "un-American."

5.  Our profligate, high-tech approach to war, including those Predator and Reaper drones armed with Hellfire missiles, has served to limit American casualties -- and so has limited the anger over, and harsh questioning of, our wars that might go with them.  While the U.S. has had more than 1,000 troops killed in Afghanistan, over a similar period in Vietnam we lost more than 58,000 troops.  Improved medical evacuation and trauma care, greater reliance on standoff precision weaponry and similar "force multipliers," stronger emphasis on "force protection" within American military units: all these and more have helped tamp down concern about the immeasurable and soaring costs of our wars.

6.  As we incessantly develop those force-multiplying weapons to give us our "edge" (though never an edge that leads to victory), it's hardly surprising that the U.S. has come to dominate, if not quite monopolize, the global arms trade.  In these years, as American jobs were outsourced or simply disappeared in the Great Recession, armaments have been one of our few growth industries.  Endless war has proven endlessly profitable -- not perhaps for all of us, but certainly for those in the business of war.

7.  And don't forget the seductive power of beyond-worse-case, doomsday scenarios, of the prophecies of pundits and so-called experts, who regularly tell us that, bad as our wars may be, doing anything to end them would be far worse.  A typical scenario goes like this: If we withdraw from Afghanistan, the government of Hamid Karzai will collapse, the Taliban will surge to victory, al-Qaeda will pour into Afghan safe havens, and Pakistan will be further destabilized, its atomic bombs falling into the hands of terrorists out to destroy Peoria and Orlando.

Such fevered nightmares, impossible to disprove, may be conjured at any moment to scare critics into silence.  They are a convenient bogeyman, leaving us cowering as we send our superman military out to save us (and the world as well), while preserving our right to visit the mall and travel to Disney World without being nuked.

The truth is that no one really knows what would happen if the U.S. disengaged from Afghanistan.  But we do know what's happening now, with us fully engaged: we're pursuing a war that's costing us nearly $7 billion a month that we're not winning (and that's arguably unwinnable), a war that may be increasing the chances of another 9/11, rather than decreasing them.

Capping the Wellsprings of War

Each one of these seven wellsprings feeding our enduring wars must be capped.  So here are seven suggestions for the sort of "caps" -- hopefully more effective than BP's flailing improvisations -- we need to install:

1.  Let's reject the idea that war is either admirable or good -- and in the process, remind ourselves that others often see us as "the foreign fighters" and profligate war consumers who kill innocents (despite our efforts to apply deadly force in surgically precise ways reflecting "courageous restraint").

2.  Let's cut defense spending now, and reduce the global "mission" that goes with it.  Set a reasonable goal -- a 6-8% reduction annually for the next 10 years, until levels of defense spending are at least back to where they were before 9/11 -- and then stick to it.

3.  Let's stop privatizing war.  Creating ever more profitable incentives for war was always a ludicrous idea.  It's time to make war a non-profit, last-resort activity.  And let's revive national service (including elective military service) for all young adults.  What we need is a revived civilian conservation corps, not a new civilian "expeditionary" force.

4. Let's reverse the militarization of so many dimensions of our society.  To cite one example, it's time to empower truly independent (non-embedded) journalists to cover our wars, and stop relying on retired generals and admirals who led our previous wars to be our media guides.  Men who are beholden to their former service branch or the current defense contractor who employs them can hardly be trusted to be critical and unbiased guides to future conflicts.

5.  Let's recognize that expensive high-tech weapons systems are not war-winners.  They've kept us in the game without yielding decisive results -- unless you measure "results" in terms of cost overruns and burgeoning federal budget deficits.

6.  Let's retool our economy and reinvest our money, moving it out of the military-industrial complex and into strengthening our anemic system of mass transit, our crumbling infrastructure, and alternative energy technology.  We need high-speed rail, safer roads and bridges, and more wind turbines, not more overpriced jet fighters.

7.  Finally, let's banish nightmare scenarios from our minds.  The world is scary enough without forever imagining smoking guns morphing into mushroom clouds.

There you have it: my seven "caps" to contain our gushing support for permanent war.  No one said it would be easy.  Just ask BP how easy it is to cap one out-of-control gusher.

Nonetheless, if we as a society aren't willing to work hard for actual change -- indeed, to demand it -- we'll be on that military escalatory curve until we implode.  And that way madness lies.

William J. Astore is a retired lieutenant colonel (USAF) and TomDispatch regular.  He has taught at the Air Force Academy and the Naval Postgraduate School and currently teaches History at the Pennsylvania College of Technology.  He may be reached at

Copyright 2010 William J. Astore


The Christian Fascists Are Growing Stronger

By Chris Hedges

Tens of millions of Americans, lumped into a diffuse and fractious movement known as the Christian right, have begun to dismantle the intellectual and scientific rigor of the Enlightenment. They are creating a theocratic state based on “biblical law,’ and shutting out all those they define as the enemy. This movement, veering closer and closer to traditional fascism, seeks to force a recalcitrant world to submit before an imperial America. It champions the eradication of social deviants, beginning with homosexuals, and moving on to immigrants, secular humanists, feminists, Jews, Muslims and those they dismiss as “nominal Christians’—meaning Christians who do not embrace their perverted and heretical interpretation of the Bible. Those who defy the mass movement are condemned as posing a threat to the health and hygiene of the country and the family. All will be purged.

The followers of deviant faiths, from Judaism to Islam, must be converted or repressed. The deviant media, the deviant public schools, the deviant entertainment industry, the deviant secular humanist government and judiciary and the deviant churches will be reformed or closed. There will be a relentless promotion of Christian “values,’ already under way on Christian radio and television and in Christian schools, as information and facts are replaced with overt forms of indoctrination. The march toward this terrifying dystopia has begun. It is taking place on the streets of Arizona, on cable news channels, at tea party rallies, in the Texas public schools, among militia members and within a Republican Party that is being hijacked by this lunatic fringe.

Elizabeth Dilling, who wrote “The Red Network’ and was a Nazi sympathizer, is touted as required reading by trash-talk television hosts like Glenn Beck. Thomas Jefferson, who favored separation of church and state, is ignored in Christian schools and soon will be ignored in Texas public school textbooks. The Christian right hails the “significant contributions’ of the Confederacy. Sen. Joseph McCarthy, who led the anti-communist witch hunts of the 1950s, has been rehabilitated, and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is defined as part of the worldwide battle against Islamic terror. Legislation like the new Jim Crow laws of Arizona is being considered by 17 other states.

The rise of this Christian fascism, a rise we ignore at our peril, is being fueled by an ineffectual and bankrupt liberal class that has proved to be unable to roll back surging unemployment, protect us from speculators on Wall Street, or save our dispossessed working class from foreclosures, bankruptcies and misery. The liberal class has proved useless in combating the largest environmental disaster in our history, ending costly and futile imperial wars or stopping the corporate plundering of the nation. And the gutlessness of the liberal class has left it, and the values it represents, reviled and hated.

The Democrats have refused to repeal the gross violations of international and domestic law codified by the Bush administration. This means that Christian fascists who achieve power will have the “legal’ tools to spy on, arrest, deny habeas corpus to, and torture or assassinate American citizens—as does the Obama administration.

Those who remain in a reality-based world often dismiss these malcontents as buffoons and simpletons. They do not take seriously those, like Beck, who pander to the primitive yearnings for vengeance, new glory and moral renewal. Critics of the movement continue to employ the tools of reason, research and fact to challenge the absurdities propagated by creationists who think they will float naked into the heavens when Jesus returns to Earth. The magical thinking, the flagrant distortion in interpreting the Bible, the contradictions that abound within the movement´s belief system and the laughable pseudoscience, however, are impervious to reason. We cannot convince those in the movement to wake up. It is we who are asleep.

Those who embrace this movement see life as an epic battle against forces of evil and Satanism. The world is black and white. They need to feel, even if they are not, that they are victims surrounded by dark and sinister groups bent on their destruction. They need to believe they know the will of God and can fulfill it, especially through violence. They need to sanctify their rage, a rage that lies at the core of the ideology. They seek total cultural and political domination. They are using the space within the open society to destroy it. These movements work within the confining rules of the secular state because they have no choice. The intolerance they promote is muted in the public assurances of their slickest operators. Given enough power, and they are working hard to get it, any such cooperation will vanish. The demand for total control and for a Christian nation and the refusal to permit any dissent are on display within their inner sanctums. These pastors have established within their churches tiny, despotic fiefdoms, and they seek to replicate these little tyrannies on a larger scale.

Many of the tens of millions within the Christian right live on the edge of poverty. The Bible, interpreted for them by pastors whose connection with God means they cannot be questioned, is their handbook for daily life. The rigidity and simplicity of their belief are potent weapons in the fight against their own demons and the struggle to keep their lives on track. The reality-based world, one where Satan, miracles, destiny, angels and magic did not exist, battered them like driftwood. It took their jobs and destroyed their future. It rotted their communities. It flooded their lives with alcohol, drugs, physical violence, deprivation and despair. And then they discovered that God has a plan for them. God will save them. God intervenes in their lives to promote and protect them. The emotional distance they have traveled from the real world to the world of Christian fantasy is immense. And the rational, secular forces, those that speak in the language of fact and evidence, are hated and ultimately feared, for they seek to pull believers back into “the culture of death’ that nearly destroyed them.

There are wild contradictions within this belief system. Personal independence is celebrated alongside an abject subservience to leaders who claim to speak for God. The movement says it defends the sanctity of life and advocates the death penalty, militarism, war and righteous genocide. It speaks of love and promotes fear of damnation and hate. There is a terrifying cognitive dissonance in every word they utter.

The movement is, for many, an emotional life raft. It is all that holds them together. But the ideology, while it regiments and orders lives, is merciless. Those who deviate from the ideology, including “backsliders’ who leave these church organizations, are branded as heretics and subjected to little inquisitions, which are the natural outgrowth of messianic movements. If the Christian right seizes the legislative, executive and judicial branches of government, these little inquisitions will become big inquisitions.

The cult of masculinity pervades the movement. Feminism and homosexuality, believers are told, have rendered the American male physically and spiritually impotent. Jesus, for the Christian right, is a muscular man of action, casting out demons, battling the Antichrist, attacking hypocrites and castigating the corrupt. This cult of masculinity, with its glorification of violence, is deeply appealing to those who feel disempowered and humiliated. It vents the rage that drove many people into the arms of the movement. It encourages them to lash back at those who, they are told, seek to destroy them. The paranoia about the outside world is stoked through bizarre conspiracy theories, many championed in books such as Pat Robertson´s “The New World Order,’ a xenophobic rant that includes attacks on liberals and democratic institutions.

The obsession with violence pervades the popular novels by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins. In their apocalyptic novel, “Glorious Appearing,’ based on LaHaye´s interpretation of biblical prophecies about the Second Coming, Christ returns and eviscerates the flesh of millions of nonbelievers with the sound of his voice. There are long descriptions of horror and blood, of how “the very words of the Lord had superheated their blood, causing it to burst through their veins and skin.’ Eyes disintegrate. Tongues melt. Flesh dissolves. The Left Behind series, of which this novel is a part, contains the best-selling adult novels in the country.

Violence must be used to cleanse the world. These Christian fascists are called to a perpetual state of war. “Any teaching of peace prior to [Christ´s] return is heresy…’ says televangelist James Robinson.

Natural disasters, terrorist attacks, instability in Israel and even the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are seen as glorious signposts. The war in Iraq is predicted, believers insist, in the ninth chapter of the Book of Revelations, where four angels “which are bound in the great river Euphrates will be released to slay the third part of men.’ The march is inevitable and irreversible and requires everyone to be ready to fight, kill and perhaps die. Global war, even nuclear war, is not to be feared, but welcomed as the harbinger of the Second Coming. And leading the avenging armies is an angry, violent Messiah who dooms hundreds of millions of apostates to a horrible and gruesome death.

The Christian right, while embracing a form of primitivism, seeks the imprint of law and science to legitimate its absurd mythologies. Its members seek this imprint because, despite their protestations to the contrary, they are a distinctly modern, totalitarian movement. They seek to co-opt the pillars of the Enlightenment in order to abolish the Enlightenment. Creationism, or “intelligent design,’ like eugenics for the Nazis or “Soviet’ science for Stalin, must be introduced into the mainstream as a valid scientific discipline—hence the rewriting of textbooks. The Christian right defends itself in the legal and scientific jargon of modernity. Facts and opinions, once they are used “scientifically’ to support the irrational, become interchangeable. Reality is no longer based on the gathering of facts and evidence. It is based on ideology. Facts are altered. Lies become true. Hannah Arendt called it “nihilistic relativism,’ although a better phrase might be collective insanity.

The Christian right has, for this reason, its own creationist “scientists’ who use the language of science to promote anti-science. It has fought successfully to have creationist books sold in national park bookstores at the Grand Canyon and taught in public schools in states such as Texas, Louisiana and Arkansas. Creationism shapes the worldview of hundreds of thousands of students in Christian schools and colleges. This pseudoscience claims to have proved that all animal species, or at least their progenitors, fit on Noah´s ark. It challenges research in AIDS and pregnancy prevention. It corrupts and discredits the disciplines of biology, astronomy, geology, paleontology and physics.

Once creationists can argue on the same platform as geologists, asserting that the Grand Canyon was not created 6 billion years ago but 6,000 years ago by the great flood that lifted up Noah´s ark, we have lost. The acceptance of mythology as a legitimate alternative to reality is a body blow to the rational, secular state. The destruction of rational and empirically based belief systems is fundamental to the creation of all totalitarian ideologies. Certitude, for those who could not cope with the uncertainty of life, is one of the most powerful appeals of the movement. Dispassionate intellectual inquiry, with its constant readjustments and demand for evidence, threatens certitude. For this reason incertitude must be abolished.

“What convinces masses are not facts,’ Arendt wrote in “Origins of Totalitarianism,’ “and not even invented facts, but only the consistency of the system which they are presumably part. Repetition, somewhat overrated in importance because of the common belief in the masses´ inferior capacity to grasp and remember, is important because it convinces them of consistency in time.’

Augustine defined the grace of love as Volo ut sis—I want you to be. There is, he wrote, an affirmation of the mystery of the other in relationships based on love, an affirmation of unexplained and unfathomable differences. Relationships based on love recognize that others have a right to be. These relationships accept the sacredness of difference. This acceptance means that no one individual or belief system captures or espouses an absolute truth. All struggle, in their own way, some outside of religious systems and some within them, to interpret mystery and transcendence.

The sacredness of the other is anathema for the Christian right, which cannot acknowledge the legitimacy of other ways of being and believing. If other belief systems, including atheism, have moral validity, the infallibility of the movement´s doctrine, which constitutes its chief appeal, is shattered. There can be no alternative ways to think or to be. All alternatives must be crushed.

Ideological, theological and political debates are useless with the Christian right. It does not respond to a dialogue. It is impervious to rational thought and discussion. The naive attempts to placate a movement bent on our destruction, to prove to it that we too have “values,’ only strengthens its legitimacy and weakness our own. If we do not have a right to be, if our very existence is not legitimate in the eyes of God, there can be no dialogue. At this point it is a fight for survival.

Those gathered into the arms of this Christian fascist movement are desperately struggling to survive in an increasingly hostile environment. We failed them; we owe them more: This is their response. The financial dislocations, the struggles with domestic and sexual abuse, the battle against addictions, the poverty and the despair that many in the movement endure are tragic, painful and real. They have a right to their rage and alienation. But they are also being used and manipulated by forces that seek to dismantle what is left of our democracy and abolish the pluralism that was once the hallmark of our society.

The spark that could set this conflagration ablaze could be lying in the hands of a small Islamic terrorist cell. It could be in the hands of greedy Wall Street speculators who gamble with taxpayer money in the elaborate global system of casino capitalism. The next catastrophic attack, or the next economic meltdown, could be our Reichstag fire. It could be the excuse used by these totalitarian forces, this Christian fascism, to extinguish what remains of our open society.

Let us not stand meekly at the open gates of the city waiting passively for the barbarians. They are coming. They are slouching toward Bethlehem. Let us shake off our complacency and cynicism. Let us openly defy the liberal establishment, which will not save us, to demand and fight for economic reparations for our working class. Let us reincorporate these dispossessed into our economy. Let us give them a reality-based hope for the future. Time is running out. If we do not act, American fascists, clutching Christian crosses, waving American flags and orchestrating mass recitations of the Pledge of Allegiance, will use this rage to snuff us out.

Chris Hedges, who writes a column every Monday for Truthdig and who graduated from Harvard Divinity School, is the author of “American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America.’ He was a reporter for many years with The New York Times. His latest book is “Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle.’


Lynn Kofler

My people, I am calling you to many transitions. Many fires for refining, many places of drought, many hardships. But every transition is needed; do not try to bypass them. It is difficult for a settled people to arise and go off with tents, cattle and family to a foreign land to a new thing. It is difficult to live on the edge with Me, and not fear to be consumed.

People of great faith may fall, and those of little faith may arise. But the transitions are a series of switches, like on train tracks. You My people will come to these, and know which switch to pull, and which track to push through. Wait on Me there, and I will lean in and whisper, "left, right, ahead."

Hear Me, My people, discomforts hang on to you--heavy weights of fear, anxiety, doubt and self-doubt. Here you must trust Me the most. After surrendering all to Me, you must leave it behind and listen to every step on the journey, so you do not lose track in the wilderness. But there is more.

Trust Me, because I will bring transformations in the midst of the transitions. Great leaps in faith will come from going forth into these things. Great changes that you have prayed long and hard for will come in the blink of an eye. Progress will quicken for this time. The time and times are now.

Enter into the transitions, even if you cannot see your hand in front of your face. In it I will give transformed sight in the transitions, as you step forth in faith. I will give large transformed hearts, soft hearts, gentle hearts in the transitions I will transform your thinking, your sensitivity, your zeal when you step into it as I have directed. Your willingness to lay down and wait for the transitions--to be aligned with them, to properly fit yourselves into these places--will Me glad. I say, My people, even if you have to change your thinking and your understanding, and even if you must be pressed into some other form--in it you must obey and count it all joy.

Your reward will be destinations yet known, hearts, cities, towns, nations will be illuminated by your great transformations and the darkness will flee for a time. The light will be very bright. All will unite together to stop the destruction being carried out in the dark, for a season. The season for transitions will bring great transformation of lives; first in My people as a catalyst, then into all nations. Great and awesome things will be put into motion and My kingdom will rule as never before. My people will arise.  So even now My people begin to arise and go now.

I Am Breaking Chains With Praise!

James Donovan

I am moving by My Spirit, drawing people into a closer relationship and dependency on Me--the Lord of Lord's, the King of King's. I delight in the praises of My people. I, the bride-groom, desire My bride to come closer and be more intimate with Me. I want her to praise Me with a contrite heart, a heart broken from the things of the world, but a new heart after Me diligently seeking Me!

I inhabit the praises of My Bride; so come closer and praise Me at all times. Yes, praise Me in the good times and in the difficult times--for I am here for you, My Bride. I am the mountain mover. I move mountains for you as you draw nigh unto Me and praise Me in every situation. My presence comes down from Heaven and invades earth.

As you praise Me, you shall sense and feel My presence--and in My presence is fullness of joy. In My presence there is freedom, liberty and much joy. I am the great I Am, your deliverer. In Me, you will have freedom from the chains and bondages, as you draw closer to Me.

Remember when Paul and Silas were in prison, in chains and having endured a beating. They both decided to praise Me in the midst of their situation, and My presence came down and broke the chains. An act of intimacy and worship brought a mighty miracle: the chains were broken, the guard was saved by My presence, resulting in a act of praise.

So My People, My friends, draw close to Me in these hours of tribulation throughout the earth. I inhabit the praises of My people who whole-heartedly come into fellowship, adoration and praise Me. Yes, come to Me and worship Me, your Bride Groom, Jesus your Lord, Savior and Deliverer. I am the great I Am. I set My people free from bondages and heavy yokes as you Praise Me! So continually let your lips bring sacrifices of Praise to Me!

James Donovan

Covenant Bonds

Amy Williams

In the heart of God is covenant. Through Jesus´ sacrifice, God has found a people He could make covenant with and they with Him, their faithful God and Father. And we covenant together as His people, faithful to Covenant bonds Him. We are committed as God´s church to covenant relationships with one another. It must be real: not just words, but heart reality. Then there will be growth and life among us.

  We live in a society which is splintered and fractured. Broken relationships everywhere – if people stay anywhere it is with those they feel ‘safe´ with. They don´t want to make long term commitments. But we say ‘yes´, it is possible to make covenant commitment. This is real love and we are in this together. This is the church of Jesus. “Laban answered and said to Jacob… ‘Now therefore, come, let us make a covenant, you and I, and let it be a witness between you and me.´’ (Genesis 31:44)

  This is a good example of covenant. God is in the pledge between Laban and Jacob. He is true to us when we make commitments like these. It´s not just a human agreement; it is a threefold cord (Ecclesiastes 4:12). God watches over our covenant so that we can be true to it. He reminds us and says ‘You made those promises, be true to them!´

  Our hearts are prone to wander. We are fickle, we stray and stumble. Here is a quote from an American Christian: ‘There are times when we are down and we are hurt and tired. We nearly feel like quitting, splitting. It´s then that we deeply need covenant.´  It reminds us what we are committed to.

  When Laban and Jacob made this covenant with each other, they built up a pile of stones (Genesis 31:46). Stones are solid – they cannot be shaken. Let´s make our covenant like this. Through God, our Rock, – unshakeable.

I Heard You

Israel Froess

My child; in this the darkest of your darkest times, I am calling you forth to rise up in your spirit and trust in Me. For I know the path of which you journey on, and the dimness in your sight and vision as you tread each step with extreme caution.

Fear not My loved one; for whom your heart grieves and weeps for. I have not forgotten you, nor the promise I have spoken in seasons gone by. You see child; although your lips move and produce no sound, I know the words before they are formed on your tongue. And when your heart screams are silent, My ears are not too deaf to your inner cry.

But now take heart you whom is deeply troubled, for I am about to grant you your request of which has been offered with thanksgiving. For as surely as the sun will rise the next morning, so shall I remember that which has been decreed  and granted to you.

Release to Me My dear servant, the anguish and bitterness of your soul. For heavy is the weight you carry, when it is not yours to bear. Lift up your eyes precious one of My holy bride, for you have found favor in My eyes. Therefore shake off the dust which dulls the reflection of My image within and upon you, and allow Me to bestow on you a crown of beauty; to replace those ashes of mourning.

Rest assure that you are on the right path, therefore let not your anxious soul speak otherwise. For from the very first day I have led and guided you up to this very moment. So I encourage you to be confident of this, that the good work I began in you; will be carried on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

Therefore let your heart and soul be still and quiet before Me, because I heard you My child, I heard you.

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