Russian-Backed Dialogue Among Civilizations Conference Underway in Greece

Call for Christian alliance against “militant liberalism”

Participant wants “UN Council of Civilizations”

US “responsible for the current discord in the world”

Yet more interfaith conferencing, at a convention of officials with unfeasibly long titles:

The Head of the World Assembly for Proximity of Islamic Schools of Thoughts (WAPIST) Ayatollah Mohammad-Ali Taskhiri said on Thursday that the US is responsible for the current discord in the world as well as wars and crises in Iraq, Lebanon and Afghanistan.

…Chairman of the Committee of Trustees of the Center of the National Glory of Russia said that the ongoing conference is held in line with the initiative of the former Iranian president and Head of the International Institute of Dialogue Among Cultures and Civilizations, Seyed Mohammad Khatami, which was proposed in 2001.

Seriously, though, both men were speaking at the “Dialogue Among Civilizations” conference in Rhodes; the Islamic Republic News Agency has further details:

Ayatollah Taskhiri…made the remark while speaking to reporters on Thursday.

…In response to a question about the tools for conveying the message of clerics of various religions to the world heads of states, he proposed the idea of ‘globalized human understanding’.

“Open discussions among clerics of various divine faiths in the international gathering on ‘Dialogue among Civilizations’ in Rhodes island will facilitate such an idea,” he added.

Taskhiri urged the need for unity among the clerics of all religions and said that they should lay the foundation for extensive dialogues.

He referred to the policies of world arrogant powers as anti-peace and aiming to disrupt construction, which is dismissed by every religion.

…The five-day event is attended by 560 outstanding social and religious figures from 26 countries, including Iran, Russia, Greece, Uzbekistan, India and Yemen among others.

This comes just two weeks after a summit of world religious leaders in Kazakhstan (which I blogged here). Interfax covers the Russian contribution:

Deputy head of the Moscow Patriarchate Department for External Relations Vsevolod Chaplin has proposed the creation of a UN Council of Civilizations that would play a balancing role in relation to the Security Council.

“When somebody states that the aim of dialogue is an attempt to construct a social order in a country that the people have not chosen, then it is not a dialogue but a struggle for power,” Chaplin said at a roundtable at the “Dialogue between Civilizations” forum in Rodos, Greece.

The world should live under multiple political systems. “Discussion on this issue is developing and I think it cannot be called a vestige of the past, rather it is an image of the future,” he said.

A veiled reference to gay rights, probably. Orthodox Bishop Ilarion of Vienna and Austria developed that theme a bit more explicitly (bracketed material in source):

“The fact that the Russian Orthodox Church has already severed dialogue with the Episcopal Church [The Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America] and the Church of Sweden [due to its approval of same-sex marriages] show that Christian society has begun to disintegrate…The existing abysm divides traditionalists and liberals rather than Orthodox and Catholics, Catholics and Protestants,”

I blogged the Russian-Sweden split here. Back to the Bishop:

…In this situation it is necessary to consolidate the efforts of all Churches that consider themselves to be “Churches of Tradition,” that is Catholics and Orthodox including pre-Chalcedonian [ancient Eastern] Churches, he said.

“…I am speaking about the need to conclude a certain strategic alliance, a pact, a union for between these Churches defending traditional Christianity – a defense against the challenges of modern times, be it militant liberalism or militant atheism,” he said.

This “Dialogue of Civilizations” is an expression of the World Public Forum, which was founded in 2002 by Vladimir Yakunin, Jagdish Kapur and Nicolas Papanicolaou, and inspired (as noted above) by Mohammad Khatami (the venture is separate from the UN’s “Alliance of Civilizations“, with which Khatami is also involved). The WPF’s website has further details:

In the course of the first session of the Forum was accepted the Rhodes declaration “Dialogue of civilizations for human order”. The Declaration included an appeal to continuation of discussion about mankind’s destiny and expressed wish to make this discussion an important factor in international situation:

“So much damage has already been done to the human system, and it is being backed by so much military power that this state of affairs cannot be transformed instantly. We have first to mediate, seek peaceful, non-violent and orderly solutions, which will fire the imaginations of vast society of people worldwide, to direct a trend towards a humane future for all”.

The World Public Forum in turn is a venture of the aforementioned National Glory of Russia. Yakunin is the head of both this organisation and of Russia’s state railway. Radio Liberty has further details:

Since 2001, Yakunin has also led the board of trustees of the St. Andrew’s Foundation, a powerful patriotic organization created in 1992 with the goal of advancing the ideology of national revanchism.

…The Kremlin is a routine and enthusiastic supporter of the foundation’s work, including its creation, in 2001, of the Center of Russian National Glory, of which Yakunin is also head [actually, the newer Center is described on its website as being the successor to the Foundation – RB].

The media has dubbed the center the “Order of Russian Orthodox Chekists” because of the preponderance of St. Peterburg-KGB alumni on its board of trustees: Defense Minister Ivanov; federal drug-control chief Viktor Cherkesov; and Georgy Poltavchenko, the presidential envoy to the Central Federal District

The center’s stated goal is the “revival of Russia’s grandeur.” It describes itself as a “nonpolitical, nonreligious” organization, but many of its activities appear to promote the ideological interests of either the Russian Orthodox Church, or the Kremlin, or both.

Its hallmark project is its annual “Dialogue of Civilizations” international forum, complete with the presentation of the International Prize of St. Andrew. Past recipients include UNESCO Director-General Koichiro Matsuura and Jordan’s King Abdullah.

Although hardly known, Yakunin has recently been tipped as Vladimir Putin’s successor. Putin himself held an inter-religious summit in Moscow back in July, at which Taskhiri and Chaplain said pretty much the same things as they’re now saying in Rhodes; I blogged on that event here.

Exclusive Brethren’s Political Activity Under Fire

Segments of the blogosphere are abuzz over reports of clandestine political activity by the Exclusive Brethren in Australia and New Zealand. News.com.au has the latest:

PRIME Minister John Howard has admitted he met members of the fundamentalist Christian sect the Exclusive Brethren.

The highly secretive group, which has 40,000 members throughout the world, many in New Zealand and Australia, has been accused of underhanded campaigning against the Greens at the 2004 federal election and subsequent state polls.

…Mr Howard yesterday admitted for the first time he had met representatives of the sect.

“I’ve met a lot more fanatical people in my life than the Exclusive Brethren,” he said.

“It’s a free country. They are not breaking the law and, like any other group, they are entitled to put their views to the Government.”

The Australian Green Party, however, is not buying it:

The Prime Minister has a lot more to explain to the electorate about his association with the elders of the Exclusive Brethren sect, Greens Leader Bob Brown said in Hobart today.

“Last November the department of Prime Minister and Cabinet responded to an FOI request (see attached) that there was no record of prime ministerial meetings with the sect elders. However on Friday, to a Greens’ question from October last year, the Prime Minister revealed he has met with the elders.

…”Mr Howard has thrown up a murky smokescreen over his government’s relationship with this shadowy group which has spent huge amounts of money promoting the [Liberal-National] Coalition’s cause.

“A starting question is why this wealthy sect has been able to exclude unions from 30 of its workplaces under Howard’s industrial relations legislation. The other questions include the sect’s tax exemption status and its prohibition on children attending universities,” Senator Brown said.

Howard’s links with the group have been a matter of public debate for over a year. The Sydney Morning Herald reported last September:

The sect’s MET school at Meadowbank was the address used to authorise political advertisements by Stephen Hales, the brother of Bruce Hales, a Sydney businessman and world leader of the Brethren’s 70,000 followers. The ads in The Parramatta Advertiser said: “Keep Parramatta in safe hands, Keep Australia in safe hands, Keep Howard Prime Minister”. “Don’t trust a novice with no experience.”

…A staff member at the Meadowbank school said yesterday that Stephen Hales was a “past parent” of the school. The Commonwealth Electoral Act says anyone authorising political advertisements must provide an address at which they can “usually be contacted during the day”.

…The Greens NSW education spokesman, John Kaye, said the Brethren should return their schools’ public funding because they had used a school as a front for political activity. “It is outrageous that a private school receiving more than $2.4 million each year in public funds can engage in partisan politics. It is an abuse of public trust and a misuse of public resources.”

The then-Special Minister of State, Eric Abetz (since prmoted to Minister for Fisheries, Forestry and Conservation), complained that these were “ridiculous assertions”, while a Brethren spokesman denied the claims.

However, the Greens kept up their “assertions”, and a couple of weeks ago Brown complained that

“Just last month the Prime Minister blocked an inquiry into the Exclusive Brethren sect, which is misogynist and which represses women in a way which should simply not be allowed in Australian society,”

According to the Morning Herald, the famously separatist Exclusive Brethren were stirred into action by gay rights:

“Go back 50 years when I was a boy: homosexuals went to jail,” declared church leader Daniel Hales. “Judeo-Christian principles that are biblical were taken for granted, weren’t they? Sacrosanct.” But those days are gone and the world is on the slide. “Anybody committed to a principle is now having to defend that principle.”

So in 2004, the Brethren began to pour cash into politics. It was a revolutionary departure for a sect in which nothing changes without the approval of its world leader, Daniel’s brother, Bruce, a businessman in West Ryde known to the faithful as the Elect Vessel, the Lord’s Representative on Earth and the Paul of Our Time.

The first confirmed sighting of sect members politicking anywhere in the world was a rowdy meeting in the seat of Bennelong in the 2004 election. The Hales boys were among the Brethren who turned out to heckle intelligence whistleblower and Greens candidate Andrew Wilkie. They were taunting Wilkie about his own marriage and the sexuality of his party’s leader, Senator Bob Brown.

However, the new-found activism was not just confined to Australia:

…They spent more than $1 million in 2004 backing George Bush and an anti-gay marriage Senate candidate in Florida. Next they ran a national campaign against same-sex marriage legislation in Canada. Last year the sect had a war chest of nearly $1 million in New Zealand to fight the Greens and promote the conservative National Party.

I blogged on the American connection back in January last year. The New Zealand situation is currently coming under particular scrutiny:

Members of the sect do not vote, believing that governments are created and dismissed by God, who is the only authority they recognize.

‘But if the country is in decline we feel we have to do something to arrest it,’ Christchurch businessman Douglas Watt said last year after he and six other Exclusive Brethren admitted they were behind a costly anonymous leaflet campaign designed to oust the Labour Party government and its Green Party allies at last year’s general election.

…The sect took out newspaper advertisements in New Zealand criticizing the Labour government’s failure to join the war in Iraq – even though members refuse military service.

The formula of intervention was also identical – each campaign was anonymous as sect members tried to keep their involvement secret.

…It is the secrecy that upset New Zealand’s Labour Prime Minister Helen Clark, who dubbed as ‘scumbag politics’ recent claims that the Brethren hired a private investigator to look for dirt on her and her husband, who was forced to deny he was homosexual.

That particular claim is now being investigated by the police.

The lobbying has not done Clark’s main opponents, the conservative National Party, much good either. Leader Don Brash changed his vote to oppose civil unions for gays after being lobbied by Brethren, but has now dissociated the party from the sect.

However, Brash’s links to the group remain controversial; Stuff reports:

New Zealand First MP Ron Mark said the Brethren aggressively lobbied his party to support National during negotiations to form a government.

He said Brethren members seemed to have up to date information about those negotiations, which he believed could only have come from National.

A spokesman for National’s leader Don Brash denied the Brethren were acting under any sort of authority from the party and disputed Mr Mark’s claim that the sect had been given inside information on the negotiations.

But senior government minister Steve Maharey said Mr Mark’s comments made it clear the Brethren were working with the knowledge of the National Party to influence the decisions of other parties.

…Dr Brash at first denied meeting any Brethren members, and then admitted he had.

Meanwhile, the situation is being monitored on Peebs.net, a website run by ex-members of the group. The site previously noted (as I blogged here) a curious directive from Bruce Hales concerning the 2004 US election campaign:

We have just received news that there will be a world-wide Exclusive Brethren Prayer Meeting at 06:00am tomorrow in order to “pray George W. Bush back into power”. The USA go to the polls tomorrow, Tuesday November 2nd, 2004, and the EB Proclamation indicates that the Prayer Event will commence at 6am in each EB Territory.

The proclamation is from an officially still-recovering Bruce Hales who stated recently that: “If George Bush and Tony Blair are not returned to office, then the Rapture is very near.”

This, of course, raised an obvious question:

Mr Hales, we understand that you teach that the Rapture is the ‘Great Hope’ for the Church, the Bride of Christ. Why then do you not pray for John Kerry and thus support your own teachings?

(Hat tips: Beware of the God; Cult News Network)

European Parliament Hosts Christian Zionists

Call for Judeo-Christian Constitution to Oppose Islam

Next European Parliament Chairman Takes Part in Conference

The European Coalition for Israel wants to make our flesh creep:

The threat of the destruction of the state of Israel should not only be considered an issue of Jewish concern. The same forces which are trying to wipe Israel off the map would also want to conquer Europe. This became clear at the 4th Annual Policy Conference of the European Coalition for Israel in the European Parliament in Brussels last week. Several speakers confirmed that the same militant Islamic forces which are waging a war against Israel would also like to see Europe conquered.

Various speakers explain the peril:

“It may happen through violence or it may happen through natural growth, but in only two generations most parts of Europe will be under Islamic law”, predicted bestselling author and journalist Dr Udo Ulfkotte from Germany.

(Ulfkotte has long-standing links with the German foreign intelligence agency (the BND), and last December he was the source of a story claiming that the USA will strike Iran in 2006.)

He was followed by Kamal el Batal, who warns us that Europe is being Islamized like his home country, Lebanon. Further underwhelming analysis was provided by “former French minister of Health Georgina Dufoix”:

The caliphate (the rulership of Islam ) is incompatible with European values…These values are not only contrary to Judeo-Christian values but are also in contradiction with generally accepted European values such as freedom, brotherhood and equality”.

Then, rather more cryptically:

“The Biblical mandate to love one’s neighbor does not mean that you have to agree with him.”

(Dufoix’s political career was ill-starred; she is remembered mostly for a tainted-blood scandal in the 1980s, which saw her being tried and acquitted on charges of manslaughter in 1999.)

So what’s the answer?

The new designated chairman of the European Parliament MEP Hans-Gert Pöttering agreed that it was a mistake to leave God out of the European Constitutional draft. As the chairman of the Christian-Democratic group in the European Parliament he has strongly recommended that God would be clearly mentioned in the new European constitution.

I’ve often wondered how Americans manage with a constitution that doesn’t include theological ruminations. Pöttering is a member of the ruling CDU party in Germany, and just last month Chancellor Andrea Merkel announced her support for “Christian values” in the constitution after a meeting with the Pope.

And, to finally get to the point, once we’ve got God in the constitution, support for Israel will follow (or is it the other way round?):

…Many speakers confirmed that Europe’s lack of support for Israel is an expression of their disconnect with their own Judeo-Christian heritage. Conference host MEP Hannu Takkula summarized the conference in his speech when he stated that “A European Union which is not true to its past will have difficulty navigating in to future.”

Takkula has spoken at the behest of Christian Zionists before; back in May, the International Christian Embassy organised a “Europe Day”, in which he opined that “the European Union was founded on three cities – Athens, Rome and Jerusalem”.

The Coalition’s president, meanwhile, hints that those who don’t feel the need for a religious reference in the constitution are Nazis:

…”Europe has cut off these Jewish roots and missed the fruits”, observed Coalition chairman Willem Glashouwer from the Netherlands. “We cut off our roots when we sent 6 million Jews to the gas chambers but also when we rejected God and Judeo-Christian values in the European constitution”, he said.

Glashouwer explains his take more fully in an interview on the website of Christians for Israel:

“As an international organisation we try to bring a prophetic warning to the Church worldwide about the end-times we are living in. We have no eschatological timetables and try to stay away from all kinds of eschatological science fiction leading towards the coming of the Lord. However, our message is that Israel is not just one of the nations. It has a special dimension to it. They are God’s chosen people, the apple of His eye, His firstborn son.”

The interview also gives a bit more background to the Coalition:

The recently established European Coalition for Israel by 4 international Christian Israel-organisations: Christians for Israel International, the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem, Bridges for Peace and the Christian Friends of Israel, but many more Christian organisations and Churches and individuals in the 25 member-states of the European Union are in the process to become a member of the Coalition as well.

Further details appear in this 2004 Haaretz report:

The meeting in Jerusalem [between Israeli politicians and Christian Zionists] was only one facet of the vast network of ties worldwide the Israeli right is establishing with Christian supporters of Israel, most of them fundamentalist. The depth of the ties with Christians in the U.S. has received considerable exposure. Now, while the European Union is expanding, these ties have another pillar: the establishment of the European Coalition for Israel, based on the American model. Its establishment was announced two weeks ago in Brussels, where its first meeting also took place, attended by 50 representatives from nine countries. In practice, a political alliance of conservative movements with a deeply religious orientation was formed there. The benefit for the Israeli right is clear: increased support for its positions within the institutions of the European Union.

“This will be the pro-Israel lobby alongside the European Parliament,” declared MK [Yuri] Stern, who represented Israel at the founding session of the Christian coalition. “There are 3,000 lobbies alongside the parliament, and not one of them was registered as pro-Israel. The Greens have an Israeli equivalent and that’s certainly true for the labor parties. We, for our part, will be the address of the Christian parties, who have no natural address in Israel.”

…”The pro-Israel Christian coalition in Europe is still small, because Europe is today secular by definition,” he explains. “I told them that it is possible that this activity with Israel may actually help Christians strengthen their ties to their religion. I think that the current world conflict is essentially religious in nature. And if the fight is a religious one, you have to approach it with your faith reinforced. If Israel’s position in the U.S. is strong compared to Europe, the only explanation for it is the depth of religiosity in America.”

Pay no attention to Palestinians complaining about military occupation and the loss of property and dignity: it’s all about Islam vs Judeo-Christian civilisation, with evil secularists undermining the West. A somewhat simplistic assessment, but one apparently shared by the next chairman of the European Parliament.

UK Creationist Group Launches Lobby

Ekklesia reports on a new project by an anti-evolutionist organisation in the UK:

Creationists and anti-evolutionists in the United Kingdom have established a new website, called ‘Truth in Science’, to try to persuade school parents to lobby for their ideas within the British education system.

…The new group catalogues among its supporters ‘young earth creationists’ such as the Rev George Curry, chair of the hard-line Church Society, and Andy McIntosh, a combustion theorist from Leeds.

…Geologist and Anglican vicar Michael Roberts [see his own article] told Ekklesia: “The material on the website is carefully packaged, and its YEC roots, and thus its scientific worthlessness, may not be immediately apparent to the undiscerning.”

He added: “It is a concern that the authors are sure that OFSTED [The Office for Standards in Education] will not object to their ideas. The result will be to confuse students”.

Truth in Science have actually been around for a while, although their website was apparently password-protected until very recently. Back in June, anti-creationist blogger Roger Stanyard noted some information about the group on an evangelical website, which he fortunately archived:

…a group of professional and business people are meeting under the heading TRUTH IN SCIENCE [TIS]. As citizens with a concern for the family we seek to encourage Christians to be confident that God’s spoken command in space-time history resulted in supra-natural creation. Non-believers must be challenged in such a way that they can no longer hide behind the delusion that science has disproved the existence of God. TIS seeks to encourage scientists to present the truth fairly and to expose as charlatans those who deliberately mislead. Our aim is to compliment the work of existing Creation groups by targeting education in particular.

Do you share this vision? We believe that as children of the Lord Jesus Christ, bought at the price of His own shed blood, we cannot sit back and allow this situation to continue unchallenged. Do you wish to see our children being taught the truth rather than having their moral and spiritual lives undermined? Although TIS have ways and means in mind, at this early stage we are flexible about the best approach. If finance is made available have you the time and ability and commitment to be the driving force, co-operating with us, in this venture to effect the education of young people in our land. If so, we wish to hear from you.

The non-scientist/engineering figures involved appear to be exclusively from the Reformed tradition. George Curry’s Church Society can be seen here; other individuals include Gerard A. Chrispin, who runs Daylight Christian Prison Trust, and Maurice Roberts of the Free Church of Scotland (Continuing), a group that split from the Free Church of Scotland in 2000 (although they maintain that they are the real Free Church of Scotland). There’s also David Harding, whose Milnrow Evangelical Church got into a free speech controversy after its habit of distributing “thoughtful Christian literature to Muslim homes” near Rochdale caught the attention of the police.

Of particular interest, and noted by Ekklesia, is Stephen Layfield, the notorious creationist science teacher at Emmanuel College in Gateshead. As has been widely reported (and blogged by me here), Emmanuel College is a privately-run state school funded by a millionaire creationist businessman named Peter Vardy, under a model the Labour government has been keen to develop.

I’ve blogged some more about Creationist education in the UK here and here.

(Hat tip: The Pagan Prattle)

Flynn Pickings

WorldNetDaily presents us with yet another purveyor of paranoia:

Ted Flynn’s book, ‘Hope of the Wicked: The Master Plan to Rule the World,’ will open your eyes to the greatest deception in modern history. It explores the convergence on a global basis of multinational corporations, foundations and the political and sociological instruments of a one-world government to bring about a New World Order. The book is 550 pages with 82 photographs and 1,200 footnotes, with a strong historical basis to show that there is a global elite working to end the sovereignty of nations, to place all under the United Nations.

Never mind the quality, feel with the width. Various predictable questions and statements follow:

Is there a conspiracy to rule the world?

What is the plan to bring America into a one-world order?

What is the Federal Reserve and who owns it?

What is the role of the New Age movement and environmentalism in a world religion?

…Is artificial weather modification real?

Etc, etc.

WND gives us no details about Flynn on this page, but an outline of his work is helpfully provided in a 2002 article in Crisis magazine:

His Thunder of Justice (1993, written with his wife, Maureen) is a melange of messages and prophecies that failed to materialize by the year 2000. His Hope of the Wicked (2000) attempts a unified field theory of conspiracies.

Hope of the Wicked’s bibliography replaces Catholic classics of paranoia with newer Protestant and conservative works, mostly from Evangelical presses or self-published. (Among such recent sources are Ralph Epperson, Gary Kah, and Richard Wurmbrand.) Yet we see the same obsessive search for coherence, the same copious but largely worthless documentation, the same faulty logic as earlier materials.

(The article mentions elsewhere that Flynn adopts Epperson’s view that Reagan’s inauguration was an act of Masonic sun worship)

Overt anti-Semitism drops out, although Flynn likes to spotlight Jewish villains and makes the Rothschilds the root of all evil—they even fomented the American Civil War for gain. (His favorite villain, former national security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski, is a Catholic.) Flynn’s new scenario runs from Illuminati to Masons to Yale’s Order of Skull and Bones (why is it never the Harvard Fly Club?) to One-Worlders to an alphabet soup of enemies far and near (the Council on Foreign Relations, the Bilderbergers, the Trilateral Commission, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and the National Security Agency) supported by New Agers who also derive from Masonry through Theosophy—the whole cross-linked by the mostly Jewish international bankers who secretly own our Federal Reserve System. Their goal is to transform the UN into a global New World Order prepped for Luciferic mischief.

Flynn’s mad gallop from one menace to another is no more impressive in total than his section that blames the Rothschilds for the Civil War. But like other merchants of paranoia, he evokes the Hidden Enemy memorably sketched by historian Richard Hofstader, “a perfect model of malice, a kind of amoral superman: sinister, ubiquitous, powerful, cruel, sensual, and luxury-loving.”

Flynn’s books are self-published through MaxKol, which he named after Maximilian Kolbe. MaxKol’s website has disappeared, but can still be accessed via Wayback:

This Catholic web site explains the core message of Marian apparitions. The content centers around the book The Thunder of Justice, the video Prophecy and the New Times, and a Picture Gallery.

The Thunder of Justice is an accurate map of the messages given by the Virgin Mary. Prophecy and the New Times is a condensed version of the book. The Picture Gallery shows photos of a miraculous nature. MaxKol is faithful in all matters to the Roman Catholic Church.

The “miraculous” photos show Mary manifesting in a rose petal, a communion wafer bleeding, and such. As for Flynn himself:

Ted has extensive business experience in Ukraine, Belarus, and Eastern Europe. He has managed media ventures and humanitarian assistance projects throughout the world. He has traveled and worked in fifty countries. A graduate of the University of Massachusetts and American University, he has also studied economics at the London School of Economics and the University of Fribourg, Switzerland. He has been very involved in pro-life activities for the past 18 years, has studied Marian apparitions for 12 years, and has visited many of the apparition sites.

Flynn was the subject of a lengthy WND interview back in 2001, in which he discussed his book and explained the British end of the New World Order:

…There is no doubt when you look at the formation of the Council on Foreign Relations — which at the turn of the century was a by-product of a group of people in England at something called the Tavistock Institutem [sic], which was part of the Royalist Institute of Foreign Affairs [sic – he means the Royal Institute of International Affairs].

This is a very important connection. They realized it was very important to control America.

Flynn’s interviewer (Geoff Metcalf), spurs him on further:

Q: …Dr. John Coleman is a big proponent of the Committee of 300 as the supreme controllers and he had mentioned to me “The Fabian Society.” I was driving down the street and saw this little single door: “The Fabian Society.”

A: I went to the London School of Economics. I saw a lot about it.

Q: It is a tiny, apparently insignificant nothing that allegedly wields a whole lot of power.

A: I never understood this when I was there but the symbol of the school is a turtle. This is very, very important. The communists believe that the way to change society is through an in-your-face revolution.

Q: “…through the barrel of a gun.”

A: Correct. The socialists believe that is very wrong. They have a great difference of opinion on implementing policy. Therefore they have the thing of the turtle.

The incredibly sinister crypto-iconography of the Fabian tortoise can be seen here.

However, Flynn’s interests are varied, and elsewhere he warns of the Masonic plot to put a false Pope on the throne of St Peter: as quoted elsewhere:

The goal would be to “effect an environment that would eventually produce a Pope and a hierarchy won over to the ideals of liberal Catholicism, all the while believing themselves to be faithful Catholics,” but who in reality would promote the fruit of the Enlightenment and the DECLARATION OF THE RIGHTS OF MAN: “equality of religions, separation of Church and State, religious pluralism, etc., ” the creed of Freemasonry.”

But now, thanks to WND, you can discover the full story for a mere $21.95 – with some copies of Joseph Farah’s Whistleblower thrown in for free!

Hezbollah’s New Tribe Mission

A year ago, Hugo Chavez announced plans to expel the evangelical New Tribes Mission from Venezuela. Christianity Today reported:

Describing New Tribes Mission (NTM) as a “true imperialist infiltration that makes me ashamed,” Chavez declared he was fed up with “colonialism” and accused the mission group of links to the CIA, spying on Venezuela, and exploiting indigenous people. “We don’t want New Tribes here,” he said.

However, Chavez is apparently happy for one foreign organisation to missionize indigenous peoples:

hezbollah-wayuu

The group being targeted by Hezbollah are the Wayuu, who are based in both Venezuela and Colombia. Back in 2004, government-backed paramilitaries in Colombia were responsible for a number of Wayuu deaths and other abuses.

Hezbollah’s presence among Lebanese Venezuelans has been known for some time, and a few months ago I noted the organisation’s involvement in South American tobacco smuggling. However, details of the “Autonomia Islamica Wayuu” are scarce, and so far confined mostly to a few right-wing and anti-Chavez sites. One of these, Venezuela Today, runs us through the website:

They are disseminating, via Internet, a strategy “to change Venezuela,” including:

Total destruction “of the sex industry” (whatever that means),

Attacking the upper classes, “who are the most corrupt,” all white-collar criminals and continuing the cleaning downwards,

Attacking corruption in government (not such a bad idea) and in the masses, both civilians and military,

Attacking false idols and satanic cults, as defined by them.

The logo adorning the main page and document is an AK-47 rifle. The propaganda appearing on the Web presence of the Venezuelan subsidiary of Hezbollah talks about installing the kingdom of God in Venezuela by imposing a military-theocratic type of government, an explosive mixture similar to what already exists in Iran. It claims: “The brief enjoyment of life on earth is selfish. The other life is better for those who follow Allah.”

South American Indians have now been drafted by both sides of the Israeli-Arab conflict: back in 2002 ninety Peruvian Indians were converted to Orthodox Judaism by a delegation of Israeli rabbis, and now live in West Bank settlements.

(Hat tip: World War 4 Report)

Milingo: “Many…Catholic married priests…are in the Unification Movement”

From the National Catholic Reporter in July:

Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo says he has no intention of launching a new sect in Africa funded by Rev. Sun Myung Moon as a rival to Roman Catholicism…

…”We have no ambition at all, in any way, to do anything of that kind,” Milingo said.

Milingo has since set up “Married Priests Now!”, an advocacy group with 120 couples as members. Monday’s Boston Herald had an article on this new organisation:

Some American advocates for married priests have kept their distance from Milingo, concerned about his ties with Moon’s Unification Church. The Rev. Dairo Ferrabolli of Brazil, a married priest working with the archbishop, vehemently denied an ongoing link between Milingo and Moon.

“He got his wife and now it’s over,” Ferrabolli said Sunday.

But in a packet of statements the archbishop distributed to the conference participants, he said that he traveled to Korea this year “to join the many Catholics and Catholic married priests who are in the Unification movement.”

The ever-alert John Gorenfeld adds a bit more to that:

…The Web site of Married Priests Now (www.marriedpriestsnow.org) is under construction. But the domain is registered to one David Payer, the Rev. Moon’s Web master — and a GOP candidate for the legislature in Iowa!

That website is password protected, but Gorenfeld also provides a link to a second site belonging to the group, which can be seen here.

Married Priests Now! has just held a convocation, the details of which are on a third site. The names of those giving the welcome remarks at the opening of the event are of interest:

Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo

Archbishop George Stallings

Rev. Michael Jenkins

Rev. Dr. C. S. Yang

Michael Jenkins is a well-known Unificationist; CS Yang’s praise for the True Parents is in evidence here.

One guest, though, makes a interesting contrast: Peter Manseau of Killing the Buddha fame is listed as due to speak on the subject being the son of a priest and a nun.

Disaster Manuel

Few surprises on Radio 4’s 6pm news programme, as British Islamist Anjem Choudary explains why he shouldn’t be prosecuted for calling for the execution of the Pope at a protest at Westminster Cathedral:

We were saying that people should be wary of the fatwa which have already been given, for example against Salman Rushdie, and of course what happened during the cartoon demonstration. So in fact we were saying that people like the Pope and others should know better, and if they make such comments and they have severe consequences then really they have only themselves to blame.

Well, I’m glad he’s clarified that, then.

Meanwhile, the Islamist campaign to whip up violence by taking what the Pope actually said out of context gets an unexpected boost – from the American Family Association’s Agape Press and Christian Zionist Jan Markell:

The founder and director of Minnesota-based Olive Tree Ministries says Pope Benedict should be commended for his recent quotation of a 14th-century Byzantine emperor’s observations about Islam…Jan Markell says she was a bit surprised by Pope Benedict’s candor, which, she notes, “surprises me a little bit because [he] is trying to unite a bunch of religions, including Islam — bring them all together … and he’s really working on Islam to be a part of this.” For the Pope to come out with this statement, the Olive Tree Ministries’ spokeswoman says, “I honestly have to give him some credit for being that blunt”…And now that Pope Benedict has couched Islam in…frank terms, Markell says the Vatican should not yield to the demands of angry Muslims for an apology.

Of course, some have raised the possibility that Benedict was merely saying what he really thinks in a way that was plausibly deniable; such a conspiracy theory can never be proven either way, but in trying to divine the secrets of the Pope’s heart we should at least take some note of the official statement of the Vatican’s Secretary of State, Tarcisio Bertone, which says that

“the Holy Father did not mean, nor does he mean, to make that opinion his own in any way.”

However, demagogues like Markell are opportunists, and misrpresenting Benedict’s stated views can only have the positive result of further inflaming the situation. Markell may dislike the Pope’s efforts at inter-religious dialogue  (or “uniting a bunch of religions”, in her paranoid worldview), but she and Choudary are united in their belief that hatred, fear, and ignorance should be the handmaids of religious revival.

Channel 4 Documentary Explores US Apocalypticism

I’ve just watched The Doomsday Code, a documentary broadcasted on Channel 4 on Saturday night. The programme, presented by Tony Robinson, explored the role of “End Times” beliefs in the USA and Africa, and included interviews with a range of proponents and critics.

Robinson began by suggesting that “End Times” beliefs are politically very significant in the US, and scholar Paul Boyer was brought in to confirm this assessment. Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention was also keen to assert his political influence:

Reagan’s administration would take our calls, in Bush I they would sometimes take our calls, in this Bush administration his advisors call us. And they say, you know, what’s your take on this issue? What is your perspective on this issue? And that’s as they should do. I mean, you know, you need to pay attention to your base.

Robinson reminds us that Bush had called for Israeli withdrawal from large parts of the West Bank prior to the Iraq War, but that this had changed by 2004; the voiceover is complemented by a smug grin from Land, who goes on to explain that the US should not pressure Israel to do something which the Israeli government thinks is detrimental.

However, God is allowed to pressure the Israeli government, as David Reagan (“David Regen” in the show) of Lion and Lamb Ministries explains:

When Ariel Sharon decided that he was going to give away part of the land of Israel, and was determined to do it, [snaps fingers] he was removed from the scene just like that.

As part of his exploration, Robinson visits a hardware store, where the unidentified shopkeeper is totally unfazed when asked for advice about what to buy in preparation for the Great Tribulation. He suggests self-powered flashlights and the like, as well as various weapons. A person can be Tribulation-ready for about $3000, apparently.

Robinson also visits Israel, where he meets various Christian Zionists, such as Sandra Oster Baras of the Christian Friends of Israeli Communities. CFOIC brings coach-loads of Americans to illegal settlements in the West Bank, where the Israeli inhabitants are given gifts of cash. Other American Christian Zionists tag along with Gershon Salomon of the Temple Mount Faithful as he attempts to deliver a stone slab to the Temple Mount to serve as the foundation stone for the Third Temple. The Americans mutter “Amen” and nod as he and a Christian associate spew out vitriol against the Muslim enemy. We also get to see Sha Stephens of Ness Energy (spelt “Sha Stevens” in the programme and in some other sources), who is drilling for oil:

We’re going to poke a straw into the reservoir which we believe supplies the Arab states. When that happens their production would, should, decline, because we are structurally high to their wells over there. Oil and gas migrate uphill, and so there’s no other place for it to go except Israel.

(I blogged on Sha’s father Hayseed Stephens here; he was also the subject of a Skeptical Inquirer article back in 1999.)

Robinson then heads off to Uganda, where he studies the global impact of “End Times” beliefs. Pastor Dennis Odoi explains the situation:

We are greatly supported by America There’s something about Americans that I really don’t understand. At giving, they’re very good. They support us in training. Many servants of the Lord have been trained by Americans…In Uganda if you don’t go to America, it’s like you’re not a preacher. But you see most of the literature we use is from there. The Bibles we have is [sic] from there. The tapes we have is from there. The preachers who come to minister here are from there. America having the kind of money and the technology, God is using it to support, say, a Third World country like Uganda to spread the Gospel. We thank God for what America is doing in spreading the gospel all over, all over the world.

I wonder if this is the same person as the Dennis Odoi who works for World Vision Uganda, and who was part of a Satanic panic back in 2003?

At the Kampala Pentecostal Church, Robinson sees a white American preacher in action:

The answer is not politics. The answer is not economics. The answer is not better education (we need all those things). The answer is for us to get back to the Bible, God’s constitution to the planet.

Robinson also sees an African pastor preaching on the Last Days in a refugee camp in the north.

Unsurprisingly, Robinson is somewhat alarmed by the “End Times” perspective, and he argues that the spread of such beliefs were responsible for the Restoration of the Ten Commandments of God tragedy, and may be used to provoke World War 3. Critics included on the show include Gershom Gorenberg, who has often noted that apocalyptic Christian Zionists are not particularly interested in the real people who live in Israel. Revs Barbara Rossing and John Tidy (the latter based at Jerusalem’s Anglican cathedral) offer theological critiques, and Ramsey Sprague (spelt “Ramsay Sprague” on the show), an environmentalist from Texas, complains about the impact of the belief on his work:

The destruction of the environment is not only necessary but it’s a positive goal in an of itself…As I told [one person] about the problems facing Texas she saw me almost as a messenger of the returning of Christ.

(I think that first sentence is over the top, by the way)

Andrew Mwenda, the editor of Uganda’s Daily Monitor, complains that his country is “going to hell” thanks to “End Times” teaching:

We have problems of corruption. We have problems of incompetent government. The solution that is offered is that people should pray for the world to end, rather than people actively participating in the process of ending their problem.

A Ugandan school-teacher, Julius Othiero, adds that children have been taken out of school because of “End Times” beliefs, and some come to school unable to concentrate after all-night prayer meetings on the subject. The influence of apocalypticism is also blamed for a recent surge in AIDS cases.

Robinson ends his investigation on Patmos, where he quickly tries to put the Book of Revelation into historical context. He also suggests that the author had been under the influence of hallucinogenic mushrooms – a doubtful thesis, in my opinion.

Of course, a programme of this kind can be faulted – an obscure Gary Frazier is presented as one of the best-known End Times teachers, while Hal Lindsey and John Hagee both appear for just a couple of seconds in bits of footage. There is also no discussion about the variations: pre-Trib rapture vs post-Trib rapture, and less apocalyptical support for Israel from some conservative Christians (such as Ted Haggard). Boyer’s input suggested that Bush himself  is motivated by apocalypticism, but the programme did not make a convincing case (That Bush is “born again” and talks about good and evil was about as far as it got). There was also at least one minor goof in addition to the dodgy name-spellings, as Robinson’s description of the establishment of Israel in 1948 is accompanied by footage of Israeli soldiers at the Western Wall from 1967. However, overall it was a quality introduction to the topic, and hopefully it will be shown in the USA before too long.

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