More Jewish Temple Nonsense at WorldNetDaily

WND Temple

So, was the Jewish Temple secretly dismantled and moved to what later became Las Vegas, where it currently provides refuge to Elvis Presley and Michael Jackson?

No, not quite: WND is just making a meal out of the long-known fact that the Roman armies which beseiged Jerusalem in 70CE consisted in large part of soldiers recruited in the east. WND thinks this is of “prophetic significance”:

As Joel Richardson, author of “The Islamic Antichrist,” writes today in WND’s commentary section, one of the pillars of the European Antichrist theory is a prophecy in Daniel 9: “The people of the prince who is to come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary.”

When the Temple was destroyed in A.D. 70 and the city of Jerusalem sacked, while under Roman occupation, many prophecy scholars assumed the future dark prince needs to be Roman. However, historical research by Richardson now suggests otherwise.

Richardson’s research found the army that destroyed the Temple and Jerusalem was actually overwhelmingly comprised of Middle Eastern peoples, not Europeans. Explicit accounts cited come from Publius Cornelius Tacitus, Titus Flavius Josephus as well as more modern scholars and historians.

“All said, the historical evidence is overwhelming. After examining a sampling of evidence from both ancient historians as well as the most cutting-edge modern scholarship to date, we may very confidently conclude that the ‘Roman’ soldiers in the Eastern provinces that destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple were in fact Eastern peoples – the inhabitants of Asia Minor, Syria, Arabia and Egypt,” Richardson writes. “Again, they were the ancestors of the modern-day inhabitants of the Middle East.”

First, there is no such thing as a “prophecy scholar”. There are Biblical scholars, some of who study prophetic texts in historical and literary context, and there are “prophecy cranks”, who  read all kind of nonsense into ancient texts, particularly if the text is difficult to understand. The author of the Book of Daniel had no concept of an “Antichrist” or of a Roman Empire – he was writing around 200 years before the events of 70CE, and the “prince” refered to was a Hellenistic Syrian monarch who had enforced Greek religious practices at the Temple shortly before the text was created.

Second, there is no “research by Richardson”. Instead, he guides us through some of the primary sources and recent secondary literature on the subject. And even here Richardson fails to provide page numbers and his quotes are dubious. Here’s one he uses, supposedly from Antonio Santosuosso’s Storming the Heavens: Soldiers, Emperors, and Civilians in the Roman Empire:

During the first half of the first century, approximately 49 percent of the soldiers were Italians, but by A.D. 70 that number had fallen to only 22 percent. By the end of the first century, only 1 percent of the soldiers were Italians.

Using Amazon’s “Search Inside the Book Function” I have been unable to find this phrase. I have, however, found the following, on page 98:

…49 percent under Claudius and Nero, 22 percent during the rest of the first century, and only 1 percent from Hadrian onwards.

Nero died in 68, and Hadrian came to power in 117. Obviously, the figures for 70CE would be much closer to the 49 percent of two years before than than the general declining average of “22 percent” over the fifty-year period. And if we look further down the page, we read that enrollment “typically meant automatic Roman citizenship”. So, Roman soldiers were Roman no matter what their ethnic background, and during the siege of Jerusalem they were of course under the ultimate control of ethnically European Roman commanders answerable to a European emperor.

Another scholar, Sara Elise Phang,  gets the same treatment:

That Italians were increasingly replaced in the legions during this period by provincials is in itself no longer a novelty among scholars. … In the East, that is Asia Minor, Syria and Egypt, it seems clear that local recruitment was well under way under Augustus [d. A.D. 14], so that by his death only a very small number of legionaries derived from Italy or indeed any of the western provinces. … Under Nero [d. A.D. 68], when the eastern legions required supplementation … it was to Cappadocia and Galatia that [Rome] looked for recruits. This was doubtless standard procedure. [The] legions of the East consisted largely of “orientals” (Middle Easterners).

Richardson ignores a passage which follows:

Traditionally legions stationed in the East were of poorer quality than their western counterparts…The prospect of major campaigns regularly brought a stiffening with troops from the Danube, which…provided two out of the three legions besieiging Jerusalem in AD 70.

Richardson’s general point about an ethnically diverse army is valid, but it is uncontroversial, and he is typically sloppy in his use of the evidence. It is also valid that he notes the role of auxilary non-Roman armies:

There were four full legions and two partial legions involved in the attack. This would mean that there were approximately 25,000 men who were full-time legionaries with the remaining 35,000 men who were either volunteers or auxiliaries. The auxiliaries were non-Roman people raised up from the provincial peoples. Josephus confirms this when he says that the auxiliaries were “sent by the kings” from “the neighborhood” of Syria, Asia Minor and Arabia.

However, the conclusion is overblown, based on a speculative calculation:

…at the very most, there was one Western European soldier to every 11 Middle Eastern soldiers. Eleven to one!

But, again, overall command was Roman.

So what’s his point? Obviously, this is part of the Christian Zionist fantasy of an essentialised eternal conflict between east and west, which today pits the USA and Israel against Muslims. Roman responsibility for the destruction of Jerusalem cannot be denied, but can be mitigated and forced into the narrative framework by suggesting that it was really the work of “the inhabitants of Asia Minor, Syria, Arabia and Egypt”. He quotes Tacitus as noting

a strong contingent of Arabs, who hated the Jews with the usual hatred of neighbors…

Richardson concludes from this –  sweeping over centuries of complex social interactions that followed – that “little seems to have changed since the first century regarding the general Arab hatred of the Jewish people.” The argument appears to be that ethnically non-Italian Romans were not really Roman, and that their involvement in Roman military campaigns reflects the essential character of easterners playing out a role in a supernatural conflict:

They were the ancestors of the peoples that dominate the entire region today. For this reason and many others, many students and teachers of the Bible are increasingly rejecting the Euro-centric end time perspective and are looking instead to the Middle East as the epicenter of all Bible prophecy.

Glen Jenvey Confesses that He Wrote Fake Islamist Postings which Formed the Basis for Sun Front Page Story

sun-sugar-jenvey

The above headline – “Terror Target Sugar” – provided a front page splash for the Sun in January. The story explained that Muslims were plotting on an on-line forum to attack British Jews over Israel’s actions in Gaza; the paper’s evidence was postings made by a certain “Abu Islam” and brought to the attention of the newspaper by Glen Jenvey, an “anti-terrorist” expert who had previously appeared on BBC Newsnight discussing extremist Muslims and as a pundit for the American Obsession documentary. However, Tim Ireland of Bloggerheads found evidence strongly suggestive that Jenvey himself was Abu Islam, and that he had made the postings which he then “exposed” for the Sun. The story was removed from the internet, and Sugar’s lawyers announced plans to sue.

Since then, a lot has happened – and the most unexpected development has been Jenvey’s own conversion to radical Islam. Jenvey has now confessed his authorship of the “Abu Islam” posts in a message to a moderator at Ummah.com, the forum where this all began. I have had some private correspondence with Jenvey myself, and I can confirm the authenticity of this message:

Brother i’m sorry for the Allan Sugar story plant. I’m retired now from spying on Muslims. I saw a chance to install fear back in Jews who were killing Muslims.I was wrong to use you and your site.If you need any thing to help you in any way in the name of Allah just ask.

But yes the Sun did not know who posted it.I say sorry to you from my heart. if you want show the police and get me arrested. but with the first ramadaam coming i want to clear my past sin’s before i start my fasting and pray.

I would write this on your forum but im blocked out. may Allah reward you for your good work you do.Ameen

Omar Hamza Jenvey

aka

Glen Jenvey

This is extraordinary: Jenvey admits to being “Abu Islam”, and he tells us that his deliberate purpose was to cause Alan Sugar and other Jews to fear fear and distress. And that he was able to get the Sun to oblige with a front page story that spread rapidly across the media.

However, it is also rather weird: Jenvey announced his intention to convert to Islam only in June. This followed a Daily Mail article which mentioned him in passing in a story about football hooligans in Luton (Jenvey was an associate of Paul Ray, the Luton-based anti-Muslim blogger known as “Lionheart”. Ray dismissed the claim that Jenvey was Abu Islam as “propaganda!“, and after the Sun article was published Ray appeared on No Compromise, a right-wing American internet radio programme, to explain that Jenvey was now in hiding from Muslim extremists who had vowed to behead him). Jenvey found the Mail article very offensive, and this was the apparent catalyst for his conversion. He was not a Muslim when he wrote the “Abu Islam” posts – at the time, causing Jews to feal fear was just a means to an end, the end of course being to generate general public fear and disgust against Muslims for targeting Jews.

But there are also some bigger questions: how can the media be manipulated so easily in this way? The reality and dangers of Islamic fundamentalism of course must not be underestimated, but now we have to ask: what other information about radical Islam which has come through the media is of dubious provenance? We know there was a channel by which material “discovered” by Jenvey made its way to the desk of Patrick Mercer MP, the former Conservative Shadow Minister for Homeland Security. Mercer, and those who generated this channel, are now in rather embarrassing situation, it seems to me. Are court cases involving extremists now really in jeopardy, as Jenvey claims is the case as regards Abu Hamza?

And what about the credibility (as if it ever had any) of Obsession, which was distributed as a free DVD to 28 million American homes in 2008, and which featured Jenvey along with the likes of Daniel Pipes, Alan Dershowitz, and Brigitte Gabriel?

Are We At the Bottom of the Barrel Yet?

WorldNetDaily strikes yet again:

Church Dunham WND

Obviously, this is meant to imply that something fishy is going on, and it should be seen in the context of the attacks on Obama’s late mother which WND editor Joseph Farah is now focusing his energies on – recently, Farah put forward the idea that Dunham was in fact Obama’s sister, and that she only pretended to be his mother to disguise an adulterous union by Obama’s grandmother. This comes on the tail of various irrelevant insinuations  from Jerome Corsi: that Obama’s parents did not live at their supposed address in Hawaii (unless they lived in a “small cottage behind the house”, he anti-climactically concedes) or that Dunham was enrolled at university at a suspiciously short time after giving birth. It’s easy to see why Farah and Corsi do this – as well as generally promoting the idea that Obama’s family background means that he is somehow uniquely mysterious and questionable, Farah knows that the last thread of hope for the “birther” movement is that Dunham somehow managed to have a false place of birth recorded on Obama’s birth certificate. There’s no evidence that she did this, or even any credible speculation as to how this could have been achieved in theory, but  if Obama’s mother’s character can be blackened it might bring out a few more screaming gun-toting nutjobs at town hall meetings.

In fact, as expected, the headline refers to a posthumous “baptism” performed in Dunham’s name by the Mormon Church, which has a well-known and controversial history of “baptising” dead people without the consent or knowledge of living relatives. Following complaints (especially from Jewish groups), the practice now undertaken more cautiously, and the Church is “investigating” Dunham’s baptism because it may have breached its own guidelines. The original Politico story makes this clear with the headline “Mormon Church investigates baptism of Obama’s mother”.

Various stories on WND that involve Mormonism all identify the Mormon Church as such specifically – so why did Farah scrub the word “Mormon” from his link on WND? The answer is obvious – Farah, a man devoid of shame, decency, or even dignity, has seen a chance to misled a few of his readers into thinking that someone is generating bogus documentation about Dunham’s life. It would therefore follow that documents about Obama might also be bogus, and that there must be some dark secret behind it all; Farah’s redacted headline further hints at an attempt to create a false religious affiliation, making a subtle play for the “Obama is a Muslim” conspiracy theory.

Conspiracy On the Buses

Just a further thought on the idiotic hysteria over the “evacuation bus” which is being fanned by WorldNetDaily and Janet Porter, and which has been decisively debunked by RightWingWatch. Here’s the video that set it off:

This sums up quite nicely the vacuous vanity which leads so many people to jump on the most absurd conspiracy bandwagons. The driver sees an unusual vehicle. He hasn’t seen such a thing before. But for some reason he doesn’t feel any need to find out what it is or what it’s for – instead, he thinks that he can simply deduce what it must be for by running it through the limited information in his head already; in this case, probably culled from fringe crank websites.  There’s no need for any actual research or to consider the evidence – indeed, any explanation which subsequently comes to light can be dismissed as fodder for the “sheeple”.

Some say that conspiracy theories are attractive because they put an end to uncertainty, but I think there’s another factor: the smug sense of superiority that embracing  a conspiracy can endow. As Candide observes,

“is there not a pleasure…in criticising everything, in pointing out faults where others see nothing but beauties?”

Most people might think that a large ambulance capable of carrying up to 40 people in wheelchairs is a potentially useful thing to have around, and that Americans can be proud to have developed such an item. But that’s because most people are stupid: in fact, it’s a sign that the usurper Kenyan Muslim president of the USA is planning to transport conservatives into special camps on the pretext that they won’t accept a killer vaccine.

And the cheap glow of lazy self-satisfaction doubtless grows brighter with the increasing grandiosity of any conspiracy theory accepted.  Imagine: billions of people think that something is true – be it the Apollo moon landings, Islamic extremist responsibility for 9/11, the theory of evolution, or whatever – but I know better. Does this not mean that I enjoy sharper critical skills than almost everyone else on the planet? Does this not mean that when I come across subject I don’t really understand I can just dismiss most of the serious literature in favour of some crank pseudo-interpretation?

(PS: how exactly is that clown safely driving a car while waving a camera around?)

Level Six Stupidity: Conspiracy Mongering Now Pandemic

One of the earliest topics I blogged about, back in 2004, was opposition to the polio vaccine in nothern Nigeria, where Islamists spread conspiracy theories about how the vaccine either spreads AIDS or causes to genital malformation in boys. But it’s not just developing countries where demagogues use fear and uncertainty around disease and medicine to fan paranoia; here’s Janet Porter, former co-chair of Mike Huckabee’s Faith and Values Coalition, writing at (where else?) WorldNetDaily:

…Austrian investigative reporter Jane Burgermeister, on Wednesday’s Faith2Action radio program, said France is already responding to the Pandemic “Level 6” complete with military-enforced mandatory vaccinations. She added, “They are going to be mandatory throughout Europe.” But that’s not all.

Burgermeister reported:

According to the International Health Regulations of 2005, which has been incorporated into legislation also in The International Partnership on Avian Influenza of 2005 of the USA … the WHO and the U.N. become the controlling agencies of the U.S. in the event of a declared Level 6 Pandemic, and are entitled to control of this country under martial law … under the pretext of fighting a pandemic emergency.

Refusing a WHO-mandated vaccination has been criminalized; police can therefore use deadly force against “criminal suspects” refusing these vaccines.

Perhaps this is a reason why the Pentagon is preparing to “make troops available,” as Fox News reported, to work with FEMA. Fisher said Congress passed post 9/11 regulations, over the objections of the governors, granting the federal government the authority deploy the National Guard.

Last week, I reported about the ads the Army and National Guard are posting for “Internment/Resettlement Specialists” for “confinement,” “control,” “custody,” “supervision” and “counseling individual prisoners in rehabilitative programs.”

…Check out this YouTube video from a guy who spotted a “Mass Evacuation Bus.”

Who gets put on one of these huge government buses without windows?

In fact, as RightWingWatch notes,  the “huge government buses without windows” are in fact large-capacity ambulances for use in emergencies – the “Internment/Resettlement Specialists” conspiracy theory has also been debunked. There are no reports of “military-enforced mandatory vaccinations” being underway in France – in fact, the vaccine is not even being distributed yet. According to Roselyne Bachelot, the French Health Minister a couple of weeks ago:

Le passage au niveau d’alerte 6 engendre la gratuité des médicaments antiviraux, délivrés sur ordonnance. Ce niveau “ouvre une boîte, les outils permettant d’accélérer certaines démarches administratives en termes d’organisation et de réquisition, permettant par exemple une fermeture centralisée de certains établissements”, a-t-on expliqué au ministère de la Santé. Il correspond au Plan national de prévention et de lutte “Pandémie grippale” du gouvernement.

La ministre de la Santé a aussi indiqué mardi que la vaccination contre le virus “sera prise en charge par les systèmes de solidarité nationale”. “Nous avons 94 millions de doses qui sont achetées ferme, nous avons calculé qu’à peu près les trois quarts de nos compatriotes souhaiteraient se faire vacciner, puisque nous ne sommes pas dans une stratégie de vaccination obligatoire pour l’instant”…

In other words, enough vaccine will be available for those “trois quarts de nos compatriotes souhaiteraient se faire vacciner” – the three quarters of the population who want it. There is no “stratégie de vaccination obligatoire pour l’instant” – and if there were one, there is no evidence that it would involve anything as preposterous as the use of “deadly force” against those who refuse, or the handing over of sovereignty to the WHO. The site to which Porter links in relation to this last point begins thus:

There is evidence that shows that there presently exists an international corporate criminal syndicate that, in violation of the RICO Act (18 USC sec 1961-1969), is intent upon embarking upon a cascading event of genocide within the United States, in the UK, and in other countries around the world, most likely in Autumn 2009/Winter2010, using as their weapon an enforced program of toxic vaccines after a deliberate release of a virus to spark a pandemic could immensely profit vaccine companies.

The toxic vaccinations, classified as bioweapons by the US and EU governments’ own regulations.

…WHO has made a unilateral declaration of pandemic level 6 on the basis of a relatively harmless H1 N1 influenza, manipulating data and so misusing a provision designed for a deadly plague, in order to declare a pandemic level 6 and acquire new emergency powers throughout the globe. Cases of H1N1 influenza have been relatively mild, requiring little or no medical intervention. And deaths from the H1N1 virus remain extremely low, at less than one half of one percent of reported cases as of July 6, 2009. There is no sign of the virus mutating to become more deadly.

This is the view of Jane Burgermeister, who alleges a massive criminal conspiracy. Burgermeister runs a website which includes as part of its URL “birdflu666”, where she tells us:

I have filed criminal charges in Austria against Baxter and Avir Green Hills Biotechnology for producing and distributing contaminated bird flu vaccine material this winter, alleging that this was a deliberate act to cause a pandemic, and also to profit from that pandemic.

Furthermore, I present evidence to support the notion that Baxter is a smaller entity operating within a bigger aggregate of entities that belong to an international organised crime group, which I maintain can be identified with the group known informally as “The Illuminati”.

I allege there is evidence the US “Illuminati”-controlled government plans to release the bird flu on the US population in the near future, citing bird flu drills, FEMA camps, mass graves among other facts.

She also rails against other conspiracy theorists she has fallen out with, such as a certain JoAnne Cremer, who describes herself as an “Apostle” and who has a website here (Cremer in turn is a follower of Eric Vonanderseck, who mixes Christian apocalypticism with teachings about UFOs and crop circles and such). Burgermeister complains that  Cremer has “swung over to the WHO/UN side.”  Other opponents are noted on this conspiracy theory website:

Jane was also interviewed by Kerry Cassidy and Bill Ryan of Project Camelot, who are now caught in the crossfire bacause they have also been on friendly terms with and interviewed Dr Bill Deagle, who is currently claiming that Burgermeister is a fraud, and she is responding by taking legal action against him and Jeff Rense, True Ott, Arthur Evangelista and Devvy Kidd for defamation.

For the uninitiated, “Project Camelot” creates interviews with all kinds of conspiracy theorists; Bill Deagle runs “Clay and Iron Ministries“, which is “commissioned by the Most High God to bring the truth of the end of this secular age and prepare His People for spiritually and physically for the Times of Jacobs Trouble.” He tells us that (take a deep breath):

As a prolife messianic Christian physician, I expose the evils of abortion and genetically engineered designer babies, euthanasia – on demand, trans-human gene enhancement cyborg technology, RFID National and Global ID, Scalar Mind Control, GMO genetically modified and irradiated foods, toxins of Mercury and Fluoride, Depleted Uranium DNA Landmines, planned American Hiroshimas, NeoCon Iranian WWIII, World Trade Organization Codex Alimentarius, Illegal Immigration, End of the Age eschatology, classified above-government technologies, DUMB1 Deep Underground Military Bases One, Scalar Sacred Geometric Vortex Technologies, Zero Point Energy, SDI Strategic Defense Initiative ‘Star Wars’, ET “Doctrines of Devils”, apostasy in the church and the coming One World False Church and the weaponized Avian Flu Pandemic from a Biblical, scientific-logical and prophetic viewpoints.

True Ott, meanwhile, runs a health food store in Utah, but he also finds time to expose links between the Mormon Church and “the Knights of Malta, Freemasons, Jesuits, the Bush crime family and other top U.S. government officials.”

Burgermeister, incredibly, has a serious journalistic background; back in March she wrote a remarkably restrained piece on new energy technology in Europe for American Prospect.

Of course, as a player in the Christian Right, Porter (and WND editor Joseph Farah) has no qualms about promoting a conspiracy theory which will make more people hate science and regard Obama as a lethal danger (perhaps tipping some wackjob over the edge); if people die unnecessarily from swine flu as a result, why should they care? However, it should be remembered that despite a weakness for conspiracy theories, American Christianity has not always been so violently and opportunistically opposed to the public good. At the start of the eighteenth century, Cotton Mather and Benjamin Colman (grandfather of Jonathan Edwards) were early champions of innoculation against smallpox, facing down a bitter campaign against it led by a newspaper controlled by James Franklin (brother of Benjamin), which mocked inoculation as a worthless folk remedy.

Rodney Howard-Browne Warns of “Introduction of the Antichrist” By US Government

Charisma has an article on neo-Pentecostal revivalist Rodney Howard Browne:

He said in the last six months the U.S. has advanced socialistic policies that could lead to religious persecution, and eventually set the stage for a one-world government and the introduction of the Antichrist.

“I don’t think the American church is ready for what’s coming because the preachers are preaching each other’s sermons; they are prophesying each other’s prophecies,” he said. “People are asleep at the wheel.

“The only thing we can do is bring in the harvest of souls,” he added, noting that he plans to host a Great Awakening Tour event in Washington, D.C., Sept. 7-11 but is still seeking churches to sponsor it. “This is not about a government bailout. The government cannot change what’s coming. … We’ve got to see a revival. We’ve got to see a Great Awakening.”

The idea of Obama as being either the Anti-Christ or his forerunner is spreading rapidly among conservative American Christians; of course, this kind of conflation of prophetic vision and political preference  – used to here to whip up fear and paranoia rather than reasonable dissent – is not in itself a new development.

Emmanuel Milingo to do Reality Show?

According to a rumour in the Italian media over the last couple of months, former Roman Catholic Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo (who is now a follower of Rev Moon) may be a contestant on a reality show named Isola dei Famosi, which is set on an Honduran island. Others who have been named as possible contestants include a film actress (Pamela Prati), two singers (Donatella Rettore and Laura Freddi), and a pornographic actress/politician (Cicciolina). This may just be some silly rumour; alas, I don’t know Italian, so I’ve had to rely on the Google translation tool.

Meanwhile, one of the sites reporting the story links to this remarkable performance from a chat show in January, involving Milingo and his Korean wife:

Apocalyptic Pastor Claims to be Protecting ex-Muslim Teenage Runaway

A blog at Christianity Today sounds a note of caution over the case of Fathima Rifqa Bary, a Sir Lankan teenager living in Ohio who recently fled to Orlando claiming that her parents planned to kill her for converting to Christianity:

“They [my parents] threatened to kill me,” Bary says tearfully in a YouTube video …posted Tuesday. She goes on to explain the logic of honor killings: “They have to kill me. My blood is now hallal, which means that because I am now a Christian, I am from a Muslim background. It’s an honor, they love God more than me. They have to do this.”

…Sgt. Jerry Cupp with the Columbus missing persons bureau disputes Bary’s claims, telling The Columbus Dispatch that Mohamed Bary has known about his daughter’s conversion for months and appears to be caring. And today, the attorney for Bary’s parents issued a statement that they have never threatened Bary: “If this case is perceived as a clash of religions, it is because Mr. Lorenz recklessly and without authorization put someone else’s child in front of television cameras to publicly renounce her previous faith,” McCarthy said in the statement. “The parents who love Rifqa are in the best position now to protect her from the mess that Mr. Lorenz has made.”

Bary headed for Florida after contacting Pastor Blake Lorenz through Facebook. Video footage and photos of the two together show her hugging the pastor for protection.

The girl gives a rather strange interpretation of what an “honour killing” is for; rather than being the remedy for a perceived dishonour suffered by a family, she tells the journalist that to kill her would be an especially “great honour” because she is the the first Christian in her family for “150 generations” and it would show her family’s love for Allah (Lorenz concurs with a “yes” at 5:03). This seems to me to be a garbled “Christianized” understanding of the phenomenon, making it into something like a human sacrifice. Her claim that Muslim converts to Christianity in Sri Lanka (where Muslims are a minority) are confined to a mental hospital is not one that I have seen reported anywhere else.

Lorenz used to pastor the Pine Castle United Methodist Church, but he now runs the Global Revolution Church, which has no apparent links to any other church or grouping. He believes that he receives special personal messages from God about the imminent end of the world:

Recently God gave Blake a new call to share with the church, Israel, and the Gentile nations that the return of Jesus Christ is imminent. After 24 years as a United Methodist pastor and evangelist, Blake retired from the Methodist Church in obedience to Jesus Who told him to separate himself and serve only Him. This led to the founding of Global Revolution Ministries and Global Revolution Church, based in Orlando, Florida.

Blake has written many articles, tracts, and pamphlets on Jesus and His salvation. He also authored “Visits to the Gate of Heaven,” and has begun a weekly television ministry to share the word that Jesus is coming and to teach how one can be ready for His return.

Some of his sermons can be seen here; his wife introduces them, telling us that God gave him a “new calling” one day while he was out jogging.

The girl’s parents and brother can be seen in the news report below; they do not give the impression of wanting to kill her. However, Robert Spencer – fresh from scrubbing details of the bogus “mass paedo wedding in Gaza” tale from his website – assures us that this is undoubtedly a “slow-motion honor killing“.

Young female converts have been “rescued” before for the purpose of religious propaganda; in the 1950s in Northern Ireland, a young Catholic girl named Maura Lyons joined Ian Paisley’s fundamentalist Protestant church. According to the story, she said that

Her father beat her and called in three Roman Catholic priests who ‘seemed determined to force me into convent life’, she said later. She escaped by jumping from a bedroom window. Free Presbyterians smuggled her into Scotland – a criminal offence. Irish newspapers, north and south, went wild. The Royal Ulster Constabulary searched for the girl, and found a wall of silence. Two months later, Paisley publicly played a tape-recording of Maura Lyons describing her conversion. He was laconic with the truth: the tape, he said, had been found among milk bottles on his doorstep. He also showed his talent for playing the beleaguered hero. ‘If I knew where the girl was I would not take her to the police,’ he said. ‘Very well, I am committing an offence. I will do time for it. I would be proud to do time for Protestant liberty.’…Most Ulster Protestants were embarrassed.

Name variations: Global Revolution Ministries; Pastor Blake William Lorenz

US Christian Radio Station Spreads “Obama’s Grandmother was his Mother” Theory

Crosstalk is a Christian radio programme described as a ministry of “VCY America“, “VCY” standing for “Voice of Christian Youth”. According to a blurb on its website:

Crosstalk covers the issues that affect our world, our nation, our families and the Christian church from a perspective centered in the Word of God. Whether we discuss the economy, the political scene, the continuing moral collapse of our nation, legislation that affects the family, or the state of evangelicalism, our authority is found in the unchanging standard of the Holy Scriptures. Veteran co-hosts Dr. Vic Eliason, Jim Schneider, and Ingrid Schlueter have worked as a team for over 20 years to bring solid information to the body of Christ.

This “solid information” now includes the remarkable conspiracy  theory that Madelyn Dunham was the true mother of Barack Obama, and that her daughter Ann colluded in a cover-up by pretending to be the one who gave birth. The theory is propounded by a studio guest, Joseph Farah; curiously, despite running WorldNetDaily (which the Crosstalk website describes, absurdly, as “the world’s leading independent Internet news source”), this is the only outlet where Farah has chosen to discuss the conspiracy:

Well, Madelyn Dunham is a very interesting person.  As you know, Barack … the … and I want to be careful when he identify people as “mother,” “father,” “grandmother,” and so forth because honestly I don’t think we know with any certainty whatsoever who those players are in Barack Obama’s life. And perhaps he doesn’t either. I suspect he does, but it’s possible he doesn’t know. And it is entirely within the realm of possibility that Madelyn Dunham was his mother and there’s a lot of circumstantial evidence to suggest that.

Schneider responds (at 36:31) by calling these “interesting thoughts”.

VCY promotes old-school fundamentalism;  its latest show is a critique of animal rights with the gloriously Landover-esque title “Worship Not the Creature“; other recent offerings include “Growing Government Tyranny” (“The Obama health care logo looks similar to the Nazi logo”); “Spiritual Warfare and New Ageism” (including the “role of the Jesuit Priests” and how Oprah Winfrey is “helping to lay the foundation for the coming of a one world religion, a one world political structure, a one world leader, and the new world order”); and an attack on Rick Warren entitled “Purpose Driven Islam: Rick Warren and the Muslims“. There is an associated blog here.

Schneider himself is rather obscure, although he did gain some attention last year, when he was moved to wrath against a “Wacky Week” event at an elementary school:

An elementary-school event in which kids were encouraged to dress as members of the opposite gender drew the ire of a Christian radio group, whose angry broadcast prompted outraged calls to the district office.

“We believe it’s the wrong message to send to elementary students,” said Jim Schneider, the network’s program director. “Our station is one that promotes traditional family values. It concerns us when a school district strikes at the heart and core of the Biblical values. To promote this to elementary-school students is a great error.”

The station’s founder, Vic Eliason, has been involved in various public campaigns in Wisconsin over many years; in 1990 he persuaded the UPI to fire a lesbian reporter on the grounds that as a UPI subscriber he should not be “helping finance Brienza’s work for a publication aimed at homosexuals” (although he has also spoken against Rev Moon, who now owns UPI).

But Crosstalk and VYC are not without critics; this blog believes the station is too liberal:

Why is it that Vic would not have Ron Paul, or even a Paul representative (I offered Vic several alternatives) on CrossTalk, but he does have Alan Keyes? Ron Paul is a Baptist, who believes the things Eliason purports to believe himself and holds for WVCY. Keyes, as a Catholic, rejects salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ.

WorldNetDaily, meanwhile, has promoted the idea that Obama is either the Anti-Christ or his forerunner; that he recently sent a secret message to Muslims in a speech, promising to extermine the Jews; and that he created swine flu as a “bio weapon”.

(Hat tips: Jesus’ General; Right Wing Watch; ConWebWatch)

Casuals Khai!

A few days ago the “Casuals United” website changed its name to the “British Defence Leagues”, with links to the following groups: The English Defence League, the Welsh Defence League, the Scottish Defence League, and…erm, the Jewish Defence League. This final page links, as expected, to the American “Jewish Defense League”. The JDL, of course, is a notorious extremist organisation with a history of violence in the USA, and which has been repudiated by most other Jewish groups. The Anti-Defamation League has a chronicle of its activities here.

I doubt very much there is any real link with the JDL – more likely, this is just the usual vicarious identification with Israel in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. But if there is a link, perhaps someone from the JDL will ask why “Casuals United” created a video – since removed from YouTube – which promoted a quote by Kevin Alfred Strom, an American known for railing against Jewish “supremicism”.

UPDATE: Several hours later, the link to the JDL has been removed. Instead, we now have the Sikh Defence League; we’re told that “some Sikhs and Hindus even have started to support and liaise with the BNP”, and we’re directed to watch “a tape made by the BNP a few years back with a Sikh and a Hindu”.