George Carey: Prime Minister to Blame for Christians’ Anxieties

Daily Mail Archbishop PM

Left: Christmas 2011: Prime Minister David Cameron reportedly scolds Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams for not doing enough for Christians

Right: Easter 2013: Former Archbishop of Canterbury George Carey reportedly scolds Prime Minister David Cameron for not doing enough for Christians

The top news story in the UK today is an “Astonishing Easter Attack” on the prime minister by former Archbishop of Canterbury George Carey. Taking to the Daily Mail (where else?), Carey writes:

…At his pre-Easter Downing Street reception for faith leaders, [Cameron] said that he supported Christians’ right to practise their faith. Yet many Christians doubt his sincerity. According to a new ComRes poll more than two-thirds of Christians feel that they are part of a ‘persecuted minority’.

Their fears may be exaggerated because few in the UK are actually persecuted, but the Prime Minister has done more than any other recent political leader to feed these anxieties.

The Mail also has a separate front-page article about the op-ed, headlined “Cameron Accused of Betraying Christians“, although that’s not a phrase that Carey himself uses; perhaps that’s also the kind of thing that is “feeding these anxieties” and leading to “exaggerated” fears? Still, it’s a nice turnaround from December 2011, when the Mail led with “Speak Up For Christianity PM Tells Archbishop“, referring to Carey’s successor, Rowan Williams.

Carey’s talking points are for the most part well-rehearsed rather than “astonishing”:

He seems to have forgotten in spite of his oft-repeated support for the right of Christians to wear the cross, that lawyers acting for the Coalition [government] argued only months ago in the Strasbourg court that those sacked for wearing a cross against their employer’s wishes should simply get another job.

…If this is not enough, the legislation fails to provide any protection for religious believers in employment who cannot subscribe to the new meaning of marriage. There will be no exemptions for believers who are registrars. They can expect to be sacked if they cannot, in all conscience, support same-sex marriage.

Strong legal opinion also suggests that Christian teachers, who are required to teach about marriage, may face disciplinary action if they cannot express agreement with the new politically-correct orthodoxy.

I discussed the background to the case heard at Strasbourg here. Carey has been making such complaints for a while, and in 2010 he became associated with the Christian Right lobby group Christian Concern.

Incidentally, that ComRes poll does not yet appear to be on-line; it was based on a survey of “535 regular churchgoers, commissioned by the Coalition for Marriage”; Hope Not Hate has some background on this group (also known as the “Coalition 4 Marriage”) here, and I noted related activities (and a previous poll) here.

Michele Bachmann and Anti-Obama Conspiracy Mongers to Bring “Prayer and Patriotism” to Florida

This looks fun:

The Awakening 2013 is an in-depth Prayer and Patriotism event where people are united by our love for our country’s freedom and our faith in Christ. You can choose breakout sessions with topics from Israel to immigration, from our families to our nation’s future. We welcome all ages, denominations, and ethnicities to unite around our shared values. We will educate, motivate, and activate.

More than 60 national religious and political speakers will bring their insight and excitement to this event. Confirmed speakers include Congresswoman Michele BachmannLt. Gen. (Ret.) William G. “Jerry” BoykinJim Bob and Michelle Duggar, and many more!

The event will take place at First Baptist, Oviedo (pastored by Dwayne Mercer), but the phrase “faith in Christ” is at this stage an empty slogan for a nationalist rally at which the faithful will spend more time pondering Obama’s birth certificate and the evils of Islam than thinking about salvation from sin.

The gig is being put on by Mat Staver’s Liberty Counsel, and the line-up is certainly unusually extensive: those sixty speakers include the likes of

Ted Baehr, famed for his humbug criticisms of Hollywood violence;

– sometime “sovereign citizen” associate Bradlee Dean, who recently put forward the suggestion that Obama staged the Sandy Hook massacre;

Joseph Farah, purveyor of crank theories about the Bible and anti-Obama conspiracies including  the claim that the President sent a secret message to Muslims promising to continue the Holocaust;

Frank Gaffney, who memorably noted that the DOD’s Missile Defense Agency’s logo includes an Islamic crescent;

– English Defence League cheerleader Pam Geller (not actually known for her “faith in Christ”);

– masculinist preacher Doug Giles (an early topic of this blog, these days more famous as Hannah Giles’ father);

– neo-Pentecostal A-lister Rick Joyner, who claims to have been given a prophecy from God concerning the imminent destruction of the west coast of the USA;

William Murray of the Religious Freedom Coalition, who recently gave expert support for the “Obama wears a Muslim ring” conspiracy theory (don’t point a camera at him, by the way);

– anti-Kinsey monomaniac Judith Reisman.

And that’s just the characters who have featured on this blog: other high-profile speakers include Matt Barber, Ken Blackwell, Harry Jackson, Cindy Jacobs, Jim Lafferty, Richard Land, Janet Porter, Rick Scarborough, and many, many others.

Russian Creationists Protest at Charles Darwin Museum

Reuters reports:

Russian Orthodox religious activists festooned a Moscow museum named for Charles Darwin with banners and leaflets denouncing evolution theory in a display of disdain for secular education…

Footage released by Orthodox activist group Bozhaya Volya [????? ????], or God’s Will, showed activists unfurling a banner reading “God created the world” on the building’s facade while others threw leaflets bearing creationist slogans into the lobby of a popular destination for school trips and family outings in the capital…

The footage can be seen above. The stunt follows an attack on a Russian opposition party’s office, during which books were burnt; according to Radio Free Europe:

They later publicly burned all the Yabloko materials near a monument to Adam and Eve outside a Moscow metro station, calling Yabloko a party of satanists and perverts.

The report adds that a video of was posted on the website of a group called “For Russia, Putin, and People’s Front” (I think this is same as the All-Russian People’s Front), but that it had subsequently apologised.

Of course, with this sort of thing it’s difficult to judge to what extent an eye-catching stunt represents a significant movement; a statement from the Synodical Information Department dismisses the group’s antics as (via Google Translate) “profoundly alien to the Orthodox tradition” and, in a thinly-veiled reference to Pussy Riot, as “one of many political theatrical productions”.

Further background (and probably the source for the Reuters article) can be found at RT, which explains that

The ideologue of the museum stunt, Dmitriy Enteo, became famous on the back of several stunts directed at Pussy Riot and their supporters, and has admitted that he consciously uses the same art performance aesthetic, but for opposite aims.

…24 year-old Dmitriy Enteo… (real name Tsorionov)… was previously a Hindu, a Buddhist, and a devotee of trance music. The pseudonym Enteo was derived from entheogen, a member of a group of psychodelic plants, such as peyote, used by shamans.

The movement has a website here; Enteo himself has a social media presence on VKFacebook, and Twitter. Google translate brings up headings that include “Science” (“the sun revolves around the earth -the centre of the universe”) and “Sodom”.

(H/T Ed Brayton)

God's Will

Joseph Farah Endorses Crank “Temple Mount in Wrong Location” Claim

It appears to be an intractable and unsolvable dilemma, but what you are about to hear could change all of that.

So intones Joseph Farah, editor of WorldNetDaily, appearing in a trailer for a crank DVD which explains that (according to a blurb on Farah’s website) there is

…new and conclusive proof and undeniable evidence as to the proper and historical location of all the temples and why Christians, Jews, Muslims and historians all have it wrong.

The argument appears to be that the discovery will allow Jews to build a new Temple without disturbing the site of the Dome of the Rock and al-Aqsa Mosque, and this will bring about the return of Jesus:

There is no more highly anticipated event in the history of mankind than the return of Christ to the earth; all the maladies that beset the human race will disappear. Over the centuries there have been numerous signs that have pointed the world toward the magnificent and concluding event.

But there is a last sign, and the implications are monumental to every human being on the face of the planet. “Jerusalem and the Lost Temple of the Jews” is about that last sign.

The video has been produced by a certain Ken Klein, but it appears that only those willing to purchase the DVD will get to see the “new and conclusive proof and undeniable evidence”.

Klein, who runs a website called Ken Klein University, has appeared on WND before; in 2011 he revealed that he had filmed fallen angels, and that “you can see them in the infrared spectrum”. Further:

“Jesus’ physical body had to be tailor-made through the development of generations of specific genes that would pass down to Mary and allow for the Immaculate Conception. It wasn’t just any body that the Spirit of God could dwell in. And so Jesus body came through a very specific line of predecessors. The integrity of His physical DNA was managed through the purity of a specific line of people all the way back to Adam,” Klein said.

“I think we can expect the same thing to happen with the body that Lucifer will have to take, because we know that there will be an Antichrist who will be the embodiment of the spirit of Lucifer, who was an archangel. It can’t just be any body; it’s going to have to be an engineered body,” he said.

Klein also claims to have discovered “hidden Luciferian codes which he’s deciphered primarily from the Book of Revelation”, and he argues that “Lucifer’s creation of the dinosaurs was to overspread the Earth and make it a wilderness unfit for Adam to inhabit”.

From ramblings such as these, I think we can proceed on the assumption that Klein – a former professional American football player, apparently –  is unlikely to have anything sensible to say about the archaeology and location of the Jewish Temple, let alone be able to produce “new and conclusive” evidence about the subject.

And Klein’s religious teachings are obviously marginal to any kind of historic Christianity; how can Joseph Farah maintain his position as a significant player operating between the US Christian Right and wider conservatism when he’s aligning himself with such material?

The answer, of course, is that Farah will promote any kind of apocalyptic theory: Klein’s product joins a lineup that includes Thomas Horn and the “Final Pope“; Jonathan Cahn’s Harbinger polemics;  the Muslim Anti-Christ” theories of Glenn Beck’s End-Times Prophet Joel Richardson; and several other “Last Days” scenarios besides.

Together at Last: Jim Barfield and Ralph Messer

Odd Oklahoma draws attention to a video posted in November 2012 by “Rabbi” Ralph Messer, showing Messer in conversation with Jim Barfield (misspelt “Jim Berfield in the accompanying blurb). The two men have a lot of common: both are known for their eccentric appropriations of Jewish tradition, which they have fashioned into weird idiosyncratic forms of religion that depart from both Judaism and Christianity and which go under the name of “Hebrew Roots”.

Messer (background here) achieved notoriety last year, when he involved scandal-hit evangelist Eddie Long in a bizarre ritual that involved Long (the “fresh sperm” preacher) being wrapped in a Torah scroll – the incident included a commentary by Messer in which he claimed that a Torah scroll cover is a “foreskin” (it’s not).

Barfield, meanwhile, is a retired fire marshal who came to attention in 2009 when he claimed to have solved the secret of the “Copper Scroll”, a document found among the Dead Sea Scrolls which purports to record the burial place of some treasure. Barfield believes that it points the way to ritual items from ancient Israel’s First Temple, including the Ark of the Covenant; as I noted at the time, credulous hacks lapped the story up, with puff pieces on local media and in the Jerusalem Post. Barfield also reportedly gave a presentation to a group of Oklahoma state senators, who agreed to support his efforts with funding and letters to Israeli officials.

In Israel, Barfield made links with the late Vendyl Jones and the self-styled “Sanhedrin“; however, interest waned when he failed to deliver the goods. Barfield’s explanation for his failure was that Israeli archaeologists had failed to dig deep enough at the correct spot, although the archaeologist Robert Cargill visited the site and found “virgin rock”.

It’s not clear how old the newly-posted video is; Barfield appears with short hair and a goatee, but in 2009 he had long white hair and a generous beard, both reflecting supposed “Nazarite” vows. The video itself has little that is new: Barfield imagines the treasure being found, and Egypt, Jordan and the Palestinians attacking Israel in order to get a hold of it; this unlikely casus belli moves Messer’s audience  to righteous anger as Barfield explains the need to support Israel. The segment ends with Messer and his followers contemplating “a new Empire and a Temple which the Messiah throughout eternity on earth will rule and reign with kings and priests”.


Odd Oklahoma also notes that in 2012 Barfield spoke at a Sukkot event called “TabernaclesTx“, where he revealed the “unusual and even miraculous events that have made it possible for him to have reached the level of success that he has enjoyed”. Here he was joined by speakers including Carl Baugh, who looks for Noah’s Ark and who runs the “Creation Evidence Museum”, and Richard Rives, who runs Wyatt Archaeological Research.

Wyatt Archaeological Research is named for the late Ron Wyatt, who claimed to claimed to have seen the Ark of the Covenant, and to have found pre-flood wood without tree rings, sulphur balls from Sodom and Gomorrrah, and a sample of Jesus’ blood, which contained 23 chromosomes from Mary and one from God; Rives himself makes videos for WorldNetDaily, in which he slams Christian traditions as pagan and exhorts Christians to follow Jewish cultural forms.

WorldNetDaily editor Joseph Farah also promotes “Hebrew Roots” teachers such as Michael Rood and Jonathan Cahn; Cahn, with Farah’s assistance, has come to wider attention due to a best-selling apocalyptic paperback called The Harbinger, and he presents himself as being an expert in “Hebrew Mysteries”.

LibertyGB: What Paul Weston Did Next

3 January, from the website of the English Defence League’s political wing, British Freedom:

British Freedom are pleased to announce that Deputy Chairman Kevin Carroll has today stepped up into the role of party Chairman.

Outgoing Chairman Paul Weston:

“It is with great sadness I must announce my resignation as Chairman of British Freedom. I am writing a book about the current dire state of Britain, which is going to take up the majority of my time over the coming months, and I feel it would be better for British Freedom to be led by someone who can devote more time to the party…”

4 February, from a posting by Paul Weston to a new Facebook page entitled “LibertyGB”:

This facebook page is intended for use as a forum prior to the establishment of a new political party or movement. All comments and thoughts will be gratefully received. My old FB page will be gradually phased out over the next few weeks, by which time I hope to have the name of a new party registered with the Electoral Commission along with the launch of the party’s website. I am working with an excellent team of committed people in order to achieve this and we hope to be ready before March 1st.

In comments following, Weston explains that “there will be substantial differences from BF.”

Weston’s new political party also has a website; however, his tome on “the dire state of Britain” has yet to appear. Could it really be the case that his “great sadness” in January was… insincere?

I previously blogged on Weston here.

WND Still Pushing “Final Pope” Pseudo-Prophecy

One in a series of pieces from WND:

An author who predicted Pope Benedict XVI would be the first pontiff in nearly 600 years to resign is keeping close watch on the conclave of cardinals through the lens of a medieval prophecy that indicates the man they select will be history’s “final pope.”

Tom Horn, co-author of the book “Petrus Romanus: The Final Pope is Here,” told WND he has a list of 10 men among the 115 sequestered in the Sistine Chapel who best fit St. Malachy’s “Prophecy of the Popes,” said to be based on a prophetic vision of the 112 popes following Pope Celestine II, who died in 1144.

As WND reported, Horn and his co-author, Cris Putnam, predicted in their book Benedict would step down last April, and it turns out that April apparently was when Benedict made the historic decision he announced to the world last month.

The article, of course, deliberately obscures the detail that Horn’s “prediction” was not based on scrutinising some ancient manuscript; rather, he took to the internet, where he would have found reports such as this one, from September 2011:

…There is one front page news story that will certainly not go unnoticed: that is, that the Pope is thinking about resigning during the Spring of 2012. Journalist Antonio Socci has confirmed the same in the Italian daily, Libero.

For some reason, WND also fails to mention another book by Horn, which it was promoting back in 2008 and after; this was Nephilim Stargates: The Year 2012 and the Return of the Watchers, in which he explained the “timing of Enoch’s 70 generations and a catastrophic soon return of the Watcher’s offspring”. In 2012 itself, WND recalled – in a piece entitled 2012 Doomsday: It’s Not ust Mayan Claim – that:

Last year [i.e. 2011], WND reported on Tom Horn’s efforts to let everyone to know calendars besides the ancient Mayan one predict the demise of human civilization in 2012, and he claims a demonic plot bringing about the end date could be hiding in plain sight inside the U.S. Capitol.

The “Prophecy of the Popes” first appeared in 1590, although it claims to record a vision received by St Malachy in 1139. According to the story, Malachy was given details about all the future popes, and and the list of 112 popes is now about to reach its end. However, the document consists of obscure mystical titles; there are no actual names or dates, and many commentators note that the “prophecies” referring to the period between 1139 and 1590 are rather more impressive than those given for Popes after the document’s publication.

Hal Lindsey is also an enthusiast, although “Glenn Beck’s End Times Prophet” Joel Richardson, who also writes for WND, dismisses the document as a “proven fraud”. Richardson, of course, would rather we focus on the prospect of an Islamic Anti-Christ.

Meanwhile, Thomas Horn’s “Defender” publisher has a website here; another book by Horn for sale there is Exo-Vaticana: Petrus Romanus, Project L.U.C.I.F.E.R. and the Vatican’s Astonishing Plan for the Arrival of an Alien Savior.

UPDATE: With the election of Pope Francis, WND now adds:

[Horn] also sees significance in Bergoglio naming himself after Francis of Assisi, an Italian, or Roman, priest whose original name was Francesco di Pietro (Peter) di Bernardone, “literally, Peter the Roman.”

What a charlatan. Francis of Assisi’s full name reflects that of his father, Pietro di Bernardone. “Bernardone” itself means “son of Bernard”. Francis’ mother was French and his father did business in France, which is why “Francis” was chosen. Further, Francis of Assisi was never a priest, although he did become a deacon. The notion that Francis’ name could in any way be construed as “Peter the Roman” – thus fitting the pseudo-prophecy’s “Petrus Romanus” name  – is ludicrous.

Patriarch of Moscow Mourns Hugo Chávez

From the website of the Russian Orthodox Church:

His Holiness Kirill, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, sent the following message of condolences over the death of President Hugo Chavez to interim president of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela Nicolas Maduro:

…The deceased was one of the most striking political leaders of today, a sincere patriot of his country who exerted much effort to improve the living conditions of the Venezuelan people. Mr. Chavez was broadly renowned in the world community for his independent and principled stand.

I remember with warmth my meeting with the late President during my visit to Venezuela in October 2008. During our dialogue, my interlocutor proved to be a strong-will statesman who attached a great importance to the development of spiritual relations between nations…

Clearly, this is more than a formal diplomatic expression of condolence – it is an endorsement of a man who ought to have been at odds with with the traditionalist authoritarianism that Kirill embodies in Russia. However, it is just one example of Chávez’s “contradictory legacy”, explored thoughtfully by Bill Weinberg here. As Bill notes:

Most disturbing was Chávez’s growing coziness with dictators—his uncritical embrace of Bashar Assad (even through the worst of the Syria butchery), Moammar Qaddafi (even at a time when the Libyan strongman was also being groomed by Washington as a potential proxy), Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Alexander Lukashenko. His eager betrayal of the Tibetans to win the good graces of Beijing was also unseemly —he called their freedom movement an example of the US “empire” “going against China.” Of course he shared Ahmadinejad’s habit of voicing the most vulgar 9-11 conspiracy theory.

Lukashenko (who also enjoys Kirill’s uncritical endorsement, and returns praise in kind) has also issued a statement, full of gushing prose of a kind which he doubtless hopes will one day mark his own passing:

Without trying to conceal our tears, we grieve along with Venezuelan people crying over the tragic abrupt death of Hugo Chavez, one of the greatest statesman and leaders of our time, the great hero, the passionate patriot and the fighter for independence, the outstanding politician, the thinker and speaker, the exceptional strong man who loved life and who dedicated his life to the service of his country.

Today we lost a close relative and a best friend, who passionately loved Belarus and always was there for us when we needed help… The name of President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela Hugo Chavez is engraved in the book of our history with the golden letters and he and his deeds now became part of eternity…

Interfax adds the detail that “the late Venezuelan president… offered his assistance in constructing a Russian Orthodox church”; it should be recalled that Time a few years ago described the ROC as Putin’s “main ideological arm and a vital foreign policy instrument”.

UPDATE: Kirill and Lukashenko have both been trumped; according to the AP:

In his condolences… Ahmadinejad… said he has “no doubt Chavez will return to Earth together with Jesus and the perfect” Imam Mahdi… and that he’ll help the two “establish peace, justice and kindness” in the world.