Claim: Left Behind Game to teach “Non-Violence” to Asians

A press release from Market Wire:

Left Behind Games Inc.has hired consultant Dr. Gordon Chiu to research the suitability of introducing LEFT BEHIND: Eternal Forces PC game into the Asian market.

Dr. Gordon Chiu has brought many international brands to the Asia Pacific region. Chiu comments, “I personally find the unique platform of nonviolence connects very strongly with ancient Asian philosophies. With the upcoming Olympic games in 2008, everyone is looking for intellectually stimulating products from the United States and Europe that can better prepare them for interaction with Westerners. This particular game has educational benefits to Asian families because they will all want their children to learn about the West without having to engage in violence.”

Chiu’s spin on the subject matter of the game accords with the damage-limitation exercises currently being undertaken by Left Behind Games in the wake of the huge controversy that Eternal Forces has generated (and which has been covered extensively on Talk to Action). But the suggestion that the game is “non-violent” goes beyond even the claims of its supporters: Jerry Jenkins and Jeff Frichner argue that the game’s violence should be put in a Biblical context, while LaHaye has complained about negative coverage on the grounds that the game is no more violent than other games (the fact he has in the past condemned these other games for violence is glossed over).

Chiu continues:

“…This way of learning has been very popular in Hong Kong and is termed ‘edutainment.’ With the movie, ‘The Da Vinci Code’ doing phenomenally in Asia, the game Eternal Forces would be very well received,” adds Chiu.

Not sure if LaHaye will like that comparison. But while LBG CEO Troy Lyndon argues that “Our game does NOT teach the pre-tribulation theology of the book series, except that this worldview is utilized as a FICTIONAL backdrop of the game”, we can be sure that LaHaye sees the Asian video game market as a whole new field ripe for apocalyptic evangelisation.

Assuming that it’s the same person, Dr Gordon Chiu is better-known as a skin-care expert, although he also does technology and “private image” consulting.

(Cross-posted to Talk to Action)

English Teacher Missionaries Expelled from Belarus

News from Belarus:

Ten Americans left Belarus on Friday after authorities ordered them deported for allegedly singing religious songs and reading spiritual literature…[Interior Ministry spokesman Oleg] Slepchenko said police raided what was supposed to be a seminar in conversational English at an evangelical Protestant church in the eastern city of Mogilev. He said police found bibles on the tables, and participants were singing religious songs instead of talking.

Belarus’s dictator, Alexander Lukashenko, of course, favours Orthodoxy – as I’ve noted on this blog, he enjoys the strong support of Moscow patriarch Alexei II. Last August, Private Eye magazine featured a “Letter from Minsk” which included the following detail:

A few years ago [Lukashenko] presented the Russian Orthodox Patriarch with $85,000 worth of gold, silver and jewel-encrusted banners for the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour in Moscow. In return, Patriarch Alexis II commended Lukashenko for resisting the “cult of force, self-destruction and lack of morals that permeate the west”, then he decorated senior Belarus KGB men (we have not bothered to make the secret police sound more customer-friendly) with the Order of Apostle Grand Duke Vladimir (no relation) for “decisive implementation of the government’s policy of spiritual development of the nation.”

Other awards that Alexis has heaped on the dictator include the Order of St. Sergius of Radonezh (“for strengthening unity of Slav peoples”) and a prize from the “International Foundation for Unity of the Orthodox Peoples”.

The hapless American missionaries – who were in the country for just a few weeks – fell foul of a repressive Religion Law passed in 2002. The strategy of using language schools as a front for missionary activities was recently seen in Uzbekistan and Afghanistan (as I blogged here); an academic article that looks at the phenomenon of Teaching English as a Foreign Language can be accessed here.

(Hat tip: Christianity Today Weblog. The pic is one of several anti-Lukashenko cartoons that are banned in Belarus, and which activists have asked to be publicised.)

Anglican Primates’ Meeting: Role of US Evangelicals

The latest edition of the BBC World Service’s Reporting Religion discusses the recent meeting of Anglican Primates in Tanzania, which ended with a commiqué giving the American Episcopal Church seven months to “clarify” its position on same-sex blessings or to face being kicked out of the global Anglican communion. Journalist Stephen Bates (at 7mins 27seconds) describes the role of American evangelical organisations in supporting conservative figures such as Nigerian Archbishop Peter Akinola:

They’ve been subsidising and paying for an awful lot of activities and an awful lot of air-flights for African archbishops and bishops like Akinola over the last decade or more. In the Lambeth conference in 1998 they had a pretty sophisticated American-organised lobbying operation that succeeded in making homosexuality a key issue in the Anglican church which it never had been before, and since then at international conferences the Americans do things like paying for mobile phones for developing world Archbishops who don’t have them of their own, so that they can keep in touch and make sure they’re on message as it were.

And certainly in the last week in the Dar Es Salaam primates’ meeting similar things were going on. The developing world bishops met to discuss strategy and tactics for two days before the meeting even started. And I have to say this is a very unusual thing because primates’ meetings have traditionally been social, theological, Bible-study type occasions. They’ve not been politicised meetings at all until the past few years and this one I think was the most-politicised yet.

Bates goes into further detail in the latest edition of The Tablet, a UK Roman Catholic weekly:

…It is a cause of frustration to several [delegates], especially meeting in one of the poorest countries on earth, that the world leaders of Anglicanism should spend their time discussing what middle-aged American Christians get up to in bed rather than issues of poverty, disease and hunger, but that is what a number of the African primates themselves wanted, spurred on by American and English conservative evangelicals dancing attendance upon them from the fringes of the meeting.

At the Dromantine Catholic seminary in Northern Ireland, at their last meeting two years ago, the lobbying was surreptitious: one American conservative bishop turned up complete with diamond-patterned jersey claiming to be on a golfing holiday in nearby Newry, in February. This time, all pretence was dropped. The conservative faction moved en masse into the next-door hotel for two days in advance to discuss their demands and the strategies they needed to achieve them.

One subject that does not appear to have been raised during the meeting was Akinola’s support for extremely repressive anti-gay legislation soon to be passed in Nigeria. I reported on this just over a year ago; Bruce Wilson went into further detail for Talk to Action back in December. A few days ago, Doug Ireland posted an update on the situation:

Homosexual conduct among consenting persons in Nigeria is already a crimepunishable by 14 years in prison, a 19th century penal provision that is a legacy of British colonial rule. But the new legislation goes much, much further in terms of curbing fundamental rights of expression, association, and communication. Among the proposed new law’s many noxious provisions, it would, under penalty of a stiff prison term of five years:

— outlaw membership in a gay group, attending a gay meeting or protest, donating money to a gay organization; or even advocating gay equality in any way, shape, or form;

— outlaw hosting or even visiting a gay Web site;

— outlaw expressions of same-sex love in letters or e-mails;

— outlaw attending a same-sex marriage or blessing ceremony, screening or watching a gay movie, taking or possessing photos of a gay couple, and publishing, selling, or loaning a gay book or video.

Even mere socializing by two or more gay people, like having dinner together, is likely to be interpreted as illegal.

Gay, lesbian, and bisexual individuals would be targeted not only for specific acts but also for simply existing under this proposed law, and even heterosexual people who “promote” the lifestyle of homosexuals, for example by selling them a house, would be criminalized.

Akinola is particularly close to a group of churches in Virginia that decided to split from the Episcopal Church a few months ago, forming the Convocation of Anglicans in North America. CANA accepts oversight from Akinola through their Bishop, Martyn Minns. According to the Washington Post, while at least one CANA church is distressed at the idea of a “church that advocates the loss of basic human rights”, Minns himself is untroubled:

Minns said he’d rather live with the Church of Nigeria’s compromises than those of the U.S. church. “The Church of Nigeria has made it clear that as long as we hold firm to the tenets of classical Christianity, we have considerable flexibility,” Minns said in an e-mail from Tanzania.

Meanwhile, a recent report from South Africa has a bit more on what’s happening in Africa more generally:

In Nigeria the parliament is considering a bill to prohibit gay and lesbian people from marrying or even politically organising themselves. Rwanda and Zimbabwe are another two countries which have strengthened their anti-homosexual legislation. In Uganda and Kenya a “homosexual act” can land someone in jail for 15 years.

After police harassment of lesbian and gay activists in Uganda, a campaign was run to “out” lesbian and gay individuals by publicising their names. Numerous activists, including the leader of Sexual Minorities of Uganda Juliet Victor Mukasa, have fled Uganda fearing for their lives.

(I blogged on the Ugandan situation here.)

 However, interestingly:

…The nongovernmental organisation The Rainbow Project, which fights for lesbian and gay human rights in Namibia, has organised meetings between religious leaders and the LGBT community.

Liz Frank, a former chairperson of the Coalition for African Lesbians (CAL) and editor of the magazine “Sister Namibia”, told IPS that the advances in South Africa and Namibia had a lot to do with the spirit of democratization that swept through these countries from the late 1980s onwards.

(Cross-posted to Talk to Action.)

Israelite Identity and neo-Pentecostalism in the Solomon Islands

News from the Solomon Islands, via an article on Stuff by Michael Field:

A couple of men, one wearing a flag of Israel, have shown up in the Solomon Islands, claiming they are ready to buy copra at high prices. They’ve headed off to remote and poor Malaita Island where indigenous Melanesian people believe they are survivors of the lost tribe of Israel.

The reporter believes the men to be “mysterious Israelis”, although he rather oddly doesn’t mention them again; instead, the incident is used as a springboard for a general discussion on neo-Israelite identity among Malaitans, and its political consequences:

…The Israeli connection is a problem in the Solomon Islands which was the scene of a civil war on its main island of Guadalcanal where locals objected to people from Malaita moving in…One of the combatant units, the Malaita Eagle Force (MEF) featured the Israeli flag in their iconography. A governor-general of the Solomons even made an official visit to Israel.

Islanders have apparently rejected Australian aid projects, “saying they are too busy growing copra for Israel”. What’s more:

Growing numbers of evangelical Christians in North Malaita believe that the Lost Temple of Israel lies hidden at a shrine that was previously used for ancestral worship in the mountainous interior of their island.

…Two disputed temple sites exist on Malaita and Anglican Bishop Terry Brown on the island says one of them is tied up with a self-proclaimed prophet and failed politician, Michael Maeliau, who leads the “Deep Sea Canoe Movement”.

He has been to Israel a number of times and has links to American neo-Israel fundamentalist groups there. Deep Sea Canoe Movement talks of taking Christianity back to Israel.

Maeliau’s religious perspective is inspired by a vision that he had in 1984, in which a flood began in the Solomon Islands and engulfed the world:

As the circle was now complete, the wave zoomed in on Jerusalem from all sides. As the wave met in Jerusalem, it shot up into the Heavens like a great mighty pillar of water or cloud. As it reached deep in the sky, it opened up like a great big mushroom that gradually spread until it enveloped the whole earth.

At this point, a voice came out from the cloud saying, “And the Glory of the Lord shall cover the earth as the waters cover the sea.” With that the vision ended.

This came one year after a vision concerning Australia:

It was 16 years ago in 1983 when God began to place on the hearts of leaders in the Solomon Islands to pray for Australia.  They would meet each Friday at sunset on Prayer Mountain for Australia and pray through the night to sunrise – for ten years.  Rev Michael Maeliau, Associate South Pacific Prayer Network Representative (Solomon Islands) said God showed them Australia was the Pacific gateway to the nations.  Ps Maeliau also said Australia needs to be fully released into her God given destiny to the nations, so that all the Pacific might benefit.  This prayer team of pastors and ordinary people like you and me prayed for 10 years.  God does nothing unless it is birthed in prayer – in 1993 God lifted that burden and they now are praying for Israel.

Maeliau is part of the international Charismatic Christian scene, and he is particularly linked with the Jerusalem House of Prayer for All Nations, which was founded by an American named Tom Hess:

Tom Hess was called to Israel in 1987 from Washington. He has lived there through 2 Intifadas and 2 Gulf wars. He founded the Jerusalem House of Prayer for All Nations, situated on the Mount of Olives, in the middle of a Muslim community. Based on Isaiah 62, small teams have been involved in 24 hour a day prayer and worship for 16 years. The first focus of the House of Prayer is on the Jewish people, but they also call the leaders of the Middle East and of Israel to pray together for the salvation of the Muslims and Israel. So far the House of Prayer has had 13 meetings of 4 days each with Jewish and Arab leaders gathered for prayer. In 1994, the Lord said that there should be an All Nations Convocation.

Since then, there have been a series of international gatherings. As well as enjoying the support of Maeliau, Hess is endorsed by a number of neo-Pentecostal leaders, including some we have blogged before: there’s Sunday Adelaja, the Ukraine-based Nigerian pastor; Gwen Shaw, who has links with a controversial church in Congo; and Prosperity Gospel promoters such as Myles Munroe and Ulf Ekman. Hess has also edited a book that puts Maeliau in Charismatic A-List company:

Restoration of the Tabernacle of David is the latest publication from Tom Hess and Progressive Vision Publishing. It is an exciting collection of ten keynote addresses and essays by such renowned international authors/speakers Avner Boskey, Benjamin Berger, Marcel Rebiai and Tom Hess of Israel, Rick Joyner and Mike Bickle of the United States, Dr. Niko Njotorahardjo of Indonesia, George Annadorai of Singapore, Ana Mendez of Mexico, Michael Maeliau of Solomon Islands, and Boris Grisenko of Ukraine, on the fulfillment of the prophecy in Amos 9:11 and Acts 15:16-17.

As Stuff indicates, Maeliau has also been involved in politics. This discussion board has preserved his 2006 platform for re-election as an MP. It included:

…Acknowledge of God as the Creator and Sovereign over all and to whom all rulers and people are ultimately accountable…The Bible is God’s Manual for life and its principles must be restored in all walks of life…Seek a permanent Solution to the Ethnic Tension once and for all. …Government System. Review the present Government System and find the right and the most appropriate system for all…Rid of Corruption. Seek to remove all forms of corruption from all sectors and levels of Government…Establish Integrity and Credibility. Seek to establish National Integrity and International Credibility of the Solomon Islands.

…Sovereignty and Dignity. Ensure that the Sovereignty and Dignity of the Solomon Islands are not compromised but restored. The beggar mentality must be done away with and any form of foreign domination and exploitation avoided.

However, Maeliau came in at second place. Maeliau is also a Malaita separatist, as noted by a blog last month:

Religious leader known in his area as Prophet Michael Maeliau has re-iterated his vision for Malaita to becomes a separate political entity.

But what of the “Lost Tribe” and “Lost Temple” beliefs? Aside from the Stuff article, I could find no other source that suggested that Maeliau holds to such ideas, and given his clear emphasis on the real Jerusalem one wonders why he would be interested in a pseudo-site on the other side of the world.

However, if there actually is such a movement on the island, the presence of Israelis may have interesting consequences beyond a thriving copra-for-Israel industry:

Papua New Guinea…has had long experience with Jewish connections, mixed up with millenarian beliefs, along with ideas about the end of the world coming when all Jews return to Jerusalem. When a group of Israeli agricultural scientists visited PNG some years back, rumours swept the country that they had airline tickets to take all adherents back to Israel.

Indeed, a similar belief among members of a tribe in northern India was eventually endorsed by the State of Israel, and hundreds were opportunistically accepted as Israeli citizens last autumn.

Bishop Brown also notes conflict on the island with a syncretistic, semi-Muslim group:

“…One only hopes that the Middle East situation of Jew vs. Muslim does not resurface here as Malaita Israelite vs. Malaita Muslim”.

As I noted back in August, Israel also holds a particular fascination for groups of Fijian and Native Canadian neo-Pentecostals.

(Hat tip: Cult News Network)

Freedom for Kareem

Polish Creationist MEP Publishes Anti-Semitic Booklet

Booklet on Jews carries parliamentary logo

Maciej Giertych is back in the news. From the Jerusalem Post:

A Polish member of the European Parliament has published a booklet suggesting that Jews are unethical, are obsessed with separateness and are a “tragic community” because they don’t accept Jesus as the messiah.

The extreme right-wing parliamentarian Maciej Giertych, an influential member of the nationalistic, Catholic-based League of Polish Families, released “Civilization at War in Europe” on Feb. 14 at the European Parliament headquarters in Strasbourg.

…Giertych’s book was issued only a month after the formation of a new far-right European Parliament grouping that includes members from parties with a history of anti-Semitism in France, Austria, Romania and Bulgaria. None of those parties, however, has members sitting in a country’s governing coalition.

The booklet apparently carries the logo of the European Parliament.

I blogged on Giertych back in December, when I noted his efforts to include Creationism within the Polish school biology syllabus, and his bizarre letter to Nature on the subject. Maciej’s son Roman Giertych leads the LPF; back in July 2005 I blogged on the party’s opposition to homosexuality – which WorldNetDaily presented as some sort of “family values” campaign against “special rights”, rather than as resurgent fascism. Maciej’s father Jedrzej was also a notorious anti-Semite.

Maciej’s booklet will doubtless be of particular embarrassment to his brother Wojciech, who writes theological speeches for the Pope.

Armageddon, Oil, and Endless Publishing Opportunities

Is a 33 year-old “The End is Nigh” Biblical prophecy paperback a bit of an embarrassment? Not if you’re the son of John F. Walvoord. The CBA/Aspiring Retail Industry Brief reports (via email):

Tyndale House Publishers is mounting a $300,000 marketing campaign to draw people into CBA stores and jump start sales on its May release of Armageddon, Oil, and Terror by John Walvoord. This is the revised, third edition of Armageddon, Oil, and the Middle East Crisis that’s sold more than 2 million copies and been translated into 10 languages. Tyndale will initiate national print, radio, and Internet campaigns for the title, which has been retitled to reflect the current world situation and is the collaboration of Walvoord’s son, John E. Walvoord and author Mark Hitchcock. It offers new insight into what to expect in this age of terror.

The “new insight” being, of course, that “this age of terror” means the end is nigh, just as “that age of Middle East crisis” in 1974 was a sign of the Last Days back then.

As the report indicates, the Walvoords have cashed in in this way before; back in 1990 Walvoord Senior churned out a second edition which preyed on fears about the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. Time reported then that

Zondervan, a leading U.S. publisher of Fundamentalist and Evangelical literature, has issued an updated version of John F. Walvoord’s 1974 best seller, Armageddon, Oil and the Middle East Crisis, with an initial print order of — get this — 1 million copies.

One wonders why Zondervan has passed the book over to Tim LaHaye’s publisher of choice. Perhaps Tyndale offered Walvoord a better deal; or perhaps Zondervan, these days better-known for publishing thoughtful evangelicals like Philip Yancey, finds the thought of seriously revisiting the 1970s pulp prophecy schlock that it was once so famous for simply too distasteful.

Pakistan Health Official Murdered: Anti-Polio Vaccine Islamists to Blame?

Particularly horrible news from Pakistan, via the BBC:

A senior health official has been killed and three guards injured in a bomb blast in Pakistan’s tribal region bordering Afghanistan, officials say.

The dead man, Abdul Ghani Khan, played a key role in a polio immunisation drive in the Bajaur tribal region.

…It is not clear if he was targeted because of his work to eradicate polio in the area.

Khan’s murder comes weeks after a cleric in Darra Adam Khel issued a fatwa calling for the killing of NGO workers. The South Asia Citizens Wire distributed a press release from the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan on the subject:

…The edict labels international organizations, including those falling under the UN umbrella and the International Red Cross, as well as local NGOs working for human rights, as agents of the Jews and the West.

…What is far more disturbing than the threats themselves is the failure of authorities to prosecute those responsible for making them. The latest Fatwa’, like many others distributed previously, is not anonymous. Its author has affixed to it his name and qualifications. The Fatwa’ has also been pasted up as posters across the Darra Adam Khel area. Therefore, the authorities cannot claim they are unable to trace the source of incitement to hatred and murder. Pretending ignorance of those guilty of preaching violence amounts to collusion.

The cleric was a certain Mufti Khalid Shah. The Guardian reported on the anti-vaccine phenomenon just a few days ago:

…The parents of 24,000 children in northern Pakistan refused to allow health workers to administer polio vaccinations last month, mostly due to rumours that the harmless vaccine was an American plot to sterilise innocent Muslim children.

…The scaremongering and appeals to Islam echoed a similar campaign in the Nigerian state of Kano in 2003, where the disease then spread to 12 polio-free countries over the following 18 months. Pakistan is one of just four countries where polio remains endemic. The others are Nigeria, India and Afghanistan.

As I blogged at the time (see my entries here, here, and here), the Kano tragedy was the fault of Kano governor Ibrahim Shekarau and Lagos State University Professor Hussain Abdulkareem. Both men deliberately distorted scientific findings in order to spread hysteria against the vaccine, with the result that polio spread far and wide before an alternative Muslim-sourced vaccine was acquired from Indonesia. Although he named no names, President Obasanjo suggested that someone had manipulated the situation for profit, and told the press that one of those most opposed to the western-sourced vaccine had previously failed to win a government contract to import it.

A few weeks ago, Channel 4 aired a documentary in the UK on Islamic extremism which included extracts from a DVD featuring Sheik Khalid Yasin. According to Yasin,

…Missionaries from the World Health Organisation and Christian groups went into Africa and inoculated people for diphtheria, malaria, yellow fever and they put in the medicine the Aids virus, which is a conspiracy.

In Nigeria and Pakistan, the conspiracy theory is that the vaccine contains estrogen or estriadoil, and that this will lead to genital deformity and male infertility. In Pakistan, as well as the wretched Mufti Khalid Shah, the notion has been spread by a radio host named Maulana Fazlullah. The BBC reported on him just a few months ago:

Amirullah Khan, a resident of NWFP’s Swat district, quoted Maulana Fazlullah of a local FM channel as telling his listeners the vaccination drive was “a conspiracy of the Jews and Christians to stunt the population growth of Muslims”.

Maulana Fazlullah confirmed this to BBC, saying if the international organisations were keen on improving the health of the Muslims, they should help the hepatitis-C patients in the area.

The vaccine was also the subject of a petition in Peshawar in July 2006:

…in a move that has fuelled the rumours circulating in some communities, the High Court began hearing a petition filed by Ghulam Nabi, a Peshawar resident.

The petition called for the US $167 million polio eradication programme to be stopped, claiming that the vaccine contained high levels of the hormone estrogen, which can affect human reproduction. The court has sought responses from the government and the WHO, which has denied the claim.

The panic has also spread to India, as I blogged here, although in that country Islamic schools have been mobilized in favour of the vaccine.

Israel Makes Conditions for Recognising Jerusalem Patriarch

The saga of the Greek Orthodox patriarch of Jerusalem rumbles on; Haaretz reports:

Israel is demanding that the Greek Orthodox patriarchy conduct a census of all church property in Israel and the Palestinian territories ahead of its sale or long-term lease, and to give Israel the first right of refusal on the property. Israel is also asking that the property purchased by Jewish organizations in the area of Jerusalem’s Jaffa Gate will “remain in the hands of the Israeli lessees,”

…Sources close to [Patriarch] Theophilos said his attorneys were told that the acceptance of the clauses in the document were a condition to Israel’s recognizing him as patriarch.

The property at Jaffa Gate had been leased to a Jewish settler group as part of a plan to increase Israeli hegemony over Palestinian parts of the city; the above would appear to confirm suspicions that the group was doing the bidding of the Israeli government.

The sale had been made during the watch of Patriarch Irineos, much to the displeasure and embarrassment of Greek Orthodox Palestinians. Irineos blamed his financial advisor, Nicholas Papadimas, for the sale; Papadimas’ subsequent disappearance is just one of several murky elements to the story – Irineos’ 2001 election was said to have been arranged with the help of a Greek drug dealer, and a rival bishop who wanted the patriarchal job for himself is alleged to have tried to arrange a hit-man to create a vacancy. I blogged on all this here.

Irineos was deposed two years ago, but, remarkably, he’s still soldiering on:

Irineos also said his dismissal by the Synod is illegal and that he wants the government to continue recognizing him as patriarch.

Israel has continued to back Irineos, despite the fact that it tried to block his election in 2001, and despite Irineos’ tendency to refer to Jews as “the descendants of the crucifiers of our Lord”.

(Hat tip: Christianity Today Weblog)

Texas and Georgia Politicians Promote Bizarre Anti-Semitic Creationist Conspiracy Theory

Rep Warren Chisum apologizes, admits didn’t read material; no word from Rep Ben Bridges

From the Dallas Morning News:

AUSTIN – House Appropriations Chairman Warren Chisum said Wednesday that he’s “willing to apologize” for giving colleagues a document that contains what the Anti-Defamation League called “outrageous anti-Semitic material.”

“The stuff that causes conflicts between religious beliefs, you know, I’d never be a party to that,” Mr. Chisum said. “I’m willing to apologize if I’ve offended anyone.”

Chisum had distributed a memo from Georgia Rep Ben Bridges which claimed that evolution was a conspiracy perpetrated by Jewish scientists influenced by kabbala and “the Pharisee religion” in order to undermine Christianity. Bridges referred readers to a website for further information:

Mr. Chisum said he hadn’t looked at the Web site and didn’t realize that he was distributing that type of material. He expressed chagrin that he didn’t vet the material more carefully.

No word yet from Bridges, who has been battling evolution for several years on the grounds that it is a theory, rather than a “fact”.

But what of the website being championed by Bridges? It’s called Fixedearth.com, and is run by the “Fair Education Foundation, Inc”:

All of the evidence that is required to expose and destroy the counterfeit Copernican Model of a rotating and orbiting Earth–and the entire evolutionary paradigm resting upon that counterfeit–is set out in this book (HERE)  & in scores of links on this web page.

Those who read some or all of these links will quickly realize that this is no idle claim. Rather–as will become evident with each subject listed–there is abundant hard proof that both the Copernican Counterfeit and the Big Bang Evolutionary Paradigm that is built upon it are factless frauds from start to finish.

Further:

…The root definition of “science” is scire: to know.  None of the components that make up the “science” of Pharisaic evolutionism is known to be true, and each component is, therefore, not “Science” by definition anymore than it is “Secular” by definition.

…Why was Kabbalist physicist Albert Einstein voted Time Magazine’s “Man of the 20th Century”?

The president of the foundation is Marshall Hall, an obscure figure who is apparently a retired high school teacher.

Meanwhile, Chisum’s admission that he’s either too stupid or too lazy not to notice whether he’s endorsing crackpot anti-semitic conspiracy theories or not risks casting a shadow over his most famous achievement, as immortalised in a famous piece by the late Molly Ivins:

…The Texas Senate had a rare moment of courage early in the [1993] session when it voted to remove homosexual sodomy from the revised version of the penal code. All were astonished.

Their vision made its way over to the House, where Chisum promptly rose and introduced an amendment to reinstate the damn thing. The Housies were afraid everyone would think they were queer if they didn’t vote for Chisum’s amendment, so they did.

Then some scholar explained to Chisum that unless he reinstated the ban on heterosexual sodomy as well, the law would be declared unconstitutional. So Chisum promptly got up and did just that.

Whereupon we had one of the more bizarre debates in the history of the Lege, with assorted avant garde members rising at the back mike to say, approximately, “Uh, Warren, uh, suppose I am in bed with my lawfully wedded spouse and I, like, kind of misaim and wind up in the wrong hole. You don’t want to send me to prison for that, do you?”

Chisum would stoutly reply, “Yes, I do. It’s against nature and The Bible.”…

A slightly different version of the story appears here.

UPDATE: From the AP:

…Bridges has denied writing the dispatch, although one of his closest political allies, Marshall Hall, said the legislator gave him the approval to draft the memo.

Hall, a 76-year-old former high school teacher whose wife ran Bridges’ election campaign, said that neither the site or the memo is anti-Semitic. “I think they tar people with that brush a little too readily,” he said…

(Hat tip: Pharyngula)