COMMENTARY: I hope the Obama victory will destroy Armstrongism

 

barack-obama-1If you will look at my other blog The Way I See It Anyway, I discuss my joyous and intense feelings over President-elect Barack Obama’s victory. Yes, I am centre-right on the political spectrum but have been disgusted with excesses of the Republican party and sadly disappointed with the failed policies (and I will even dare to say incompetence) of the Bush administration. I look forward to a time when the religious fundamentalists, market fundamentalists, social darwinists, crypto-racists and bigots and all other polarizing figures are purged from the party and the Republicans will follow once more follow the conservatism of Teddy Roosevelt, Dwight D.Eisenhower and my favourite Jack Kemp. Until then…

I can safely assume many of the conservative splinters of Armstrongism are spinning a negative view on the Obama victory. Trust me when I was 13-14 years old back in the early to mid 80’s, an assoicate pastor said at a Sabbath Bible Study that a Jesse Jackson presidency will spark a black uprising. The splinters today are probably saying, “The Gentiles are taking over Israel and are bringing it down to ruin.”  It seems they forget that Barack Obama’s mother was white—or do they believe in that “one drop of black blood” nonsense? It seems they do.  Their crypto-racist interpretation on the identity of Israel clouds anything positive of this event. They would rather see African Americans, Latino Americans, Asian and South Asian Americans eating the crumbs at the bottom of the table of a white northern European elite. There reasoning is, “We are Israel, we are supposed to rule over the Gentiles.” It seems they forget that in the old testament, it talked about when the non-Israelite came into their gates, they were to be treated as the Israelite. Again this is their perverse version of pick and choose with the scriptures. I see a future that ALL Americans are at the table eating the meal treated equally, no one eats the crumbs. What is wrong with that vision? It is too radical for some.

Also some of the radical Armstrongite groups are preparing their end-time scenerios. As being hard-right ultra conservative Republicans as they really are (you’ll find a few Teddy Roosevelt, Eisenhower and even Kemp Republicans there) are saying,”The end is nigh, clean up your act!” Interestingly enough when Clinton, a Democrat came into the scene in the 1990’s the Worldwide Church of God was beginning to disintegrate. I don’t know if it was interrelated but it was interesting to notice. Will an Obama presidency disintegrate the splinters to oblivion in the 2010’s. Let me answer what Obama says, “Yes we can!” How can he? Will he sponsor legislation targeting mind controlling groups. That’s a start (I would love to shake his hand if he considers the thought) but I am thinking that if he has a successful presidency (and trust me the first term he will get will be tough and challenging. Sadly for him this is not an easy time like let’s say Eisenhower had) which means he is given a second term in 2012 and somewhere in his second term, the economy is strong, America has respect in the world again, we are having real victories on the war on terror, etc., etc.—it will be MY hope and prayer that some members are going to be using their heads just for once in their lifetimes and will be tempted in a good way (I hope the US economy will be back at least in 2015) to finally enjoy the good life instead of giving 30% + their income to their leaders and finally recognize, “Hey, we’re still here! Where’s the beast power?” Man I can smell it, I can taste and I can shout through the rooftop, “Yes we can!” Yes, it my prayer to see Armstrongism virtually eliminated in the 2010’s (I believe there will be a small wacko but insignificant rump still around throughout the century) as the Armstrong Empire was beginning to disintegrate in the 1990’s.

Oh yes my prayers are with President-elect Obama and his family and with Vice-President-elect Biden. My best wishes for them is to have a successful administration and be protected from danger. God bless them and God bless the United States of America.

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An appeal for all XCGers—VOTE!

In November 1988, at age 18 I had the privilege right here in Canada that all Canadians have the right and priviledge to do. I voted. I was then proud of what I did and still am! Despite the fact at that time I was a so-called “Second Generation Christian” in “God’s True Church—the Worldwide Church of God.” I even went so far to say that I was not baptized (I was only baptized waay later in 1997, only deciding to leave a year later in ’98)—so there—was my defiant (proto-Sarah Palin) reply. Deep down I was never, ever comfortable with being a  neutralist (we weren’t really neutralist but that’s another topic for another time)—or they would say, “Stay out of the politics of the world!”  Looking back (being older and wiser I hope), without being easily manipulated as I once was, there was a lot of politics in the place which was “God’s Church”. I am not going in depth about it here and anyone wants to deny that simple fact is free to have their own opinion but cannot deny some hard facts.  “The Church” allowed you to pray for leaders of anykind—but it was not okay for one to choose them through voting. One argued  that  with our prayers[XCG’s of course] we are in a sense “voting.” My late high school teacher in social sciences was right and it is my firm belief that he is still right two decades later though he is no longer with us in flesh. In an essay that I did in high school I was “wishing” that social Darwinism would be in wastebin of history (a truly ambitious but noble idea for an 18 year old kid)—but the late great Mr.Ed Devai had to say something about “wishing”. He said, “You see “wishing” or even  praying is a passive approach to sometimes avoiding steps of action to reach certain goals.” This is going to get the people who do pray a little mad but I still believe he is right. Those who just “pray,pray” and do nothing else is a problem. I call it “magical thinking” or  a “God wil fix it” mentality. To be blunt and direct I truthfully call it  “laziness”.  It is pure laziness for any man to do you thinking and dictating how you should dress, behave, eat, sleep, buy, sell, make love, who your friends should be, who your friends shouldn’t be, what relatives to contact, what relatives to avoid, what car you drive, what books you read,etc., etc.—you get the point! Shouldn’t that principle apply whether to vote or not vote? Forget the proof-texting scripture that the Armstrong movement uses aaaallll the time to death is “My kingdom of is not of this world!” Oh yes, I too not going discuss that verse on this post (maybe another). I am very sure that the Apostles and many people outside of Palestine in The Roman Empire would have welcomed voting for an Emperor and would have gladly voted Caligua out of office and put him on welfare! Any sane person, any honest rational reasonable intelligent Bible scholar will rightfully conclude that there is nowhere in the Bible that forbids anybody to vote. Nowhere. Let us remember that Old Testament saints like Joseph was Prime Minister of Egypt. Shadrach, Meschech and Abednego were Jewish nobility in the Babylonian Empire and their friend Daniel—had some “executive” experience (a Governor) in a Babylonian province (something that McCain, Obama and Biden can’t speak of! 🙂 )  The saints of the Old Testament, like the saints of the New Testament they were citizenship is of heaven but they were actively involved in the policy making decisions of their day. There was absolutely no tension of either/or about it. I know the excuse with most XCGers is that was in the Old Testament but we are now in the New. I say—how ironic. They can allow certain dietary laws, holy days, other levitical laws that don’t require sacrifices (which I have no problem if used rightly)—but no one can be engaged in public policy in the New Testament??? The historic WCG truly “picked and choosed” their theology and they sure did that in strange and different ways.

The real issue here, is that person  who leads that particular XCG sets himself as a middleman between you and God wants to keep his power and he wants you to feel like he is unstoppable—perhaps invincible. Here’s a big secret. He’s not. He is fallible, prone to error and his likes (and many dislikes) have nothing to do with Christian living. Imagine the power and responsibility over a pastor being a Premier of a Canadian province—or a Governor of American state.  Imagine YOURSELF—oh yes as potential Premier or Governor for a moment! If some creepy middle aged man molesting a cute and innocent 16 year old in your congregation. A pastor who brushes it is off saying it is not anything imporatant. Elders, deacons and deaconesses are in passive-aggressive mode doing nothing.  YOU GOT THE POWER! You can get to say to this jerk, “You`re name is NOT Pierre Trudeau and you  never had the money he did nor looks as he did—so take your slimey hands off this girl!“Let my fellow Canadians understand (and have a good laugh at) that statement.  If you think talk is cheap and want some action—you haul in the state troopers  or if you`re Premier from my home province Ontario, you haul in the OPP (Ontario Provincial Police). Want to stand up to your authoritarian pastor and this molesting creep?—make sure you order a thorough investigation and your friends whether Crown or District Attorneys will make sure there will be trial and this creep and his minion enablers  will face some severe consequences—but that won`t happen. You take pride in avoiding “politics of the world“and letting “God take care of it“. Again simple laziness and passive aggressive stupidity in action. With your non-involment in public policy—you again you have become a man or maidservant of the the pastor and the splinter leader, but that can change and there is a solution.

Yes, I strongly encourage all members of splinters of XCGers to vote. I would like to suggest run for office but I think it`s best to take one step at a time. Not all of you can handle disfellowshipment well. At the same time I feel it is time for some of you to boldly assert your liberty as a human being created in the eyes of God. Ignore typical XCG punditry from the leaders who shout and scream, `McCain-Pallin—more years to the work, Obama-Biden—the end of the age is coming CLEAN UP YOUR ACT!!!!“  Make up your own mind! If you think Barack Obama can handle the economy—vote for him! If you think John McCain is more equipped in matters of national security—vote for him.  Here in Canada, if you think Stephen Harper is equipped to handle the economy—vote for him. If you think Stephane Dion has the plan for the environment—vote for him. If you believe that Jack Layton presents a “different kind of strong”—vote for him. If you think Elizabeth May has the best environmental plan than the rest of the contenders—vote for her! Bottom line—think for yourself and forget about what the splinter leader speculates!!! I know in Canada the election is on the first day of the Feast of Tabernacles and if you are not able to be in your local area that day there is always an advance poll and you can check online with Elections Canada about the details.

Gavin Rumney said it best in his latest post about the XCG’s (especially Rod Meredith’s approach) to do a “do nothing” gospel which actually a “no gospel” to say the least, “A good place to begin is by participating in the democratic process, a right, responsibility and privilege that has been hard won and should never be wasted. ”  Amen to that and let us all take Gavin’s serious advice to heart.

Rabbi Boteach’s view on the 2008 US Election

 

I like Rabbi Shmuely Boteach, a New York City based Orthodox Jewish spiritual leader, who authored many books such as Kosher Sex, Judaism For Everyone (both of which I own), The Private Adam: Becoming a Hero in a Selfish Age, his hard ass and hard hitting Hating Women: America’s Hostile Campaign Against the Fairer Sex and  10 Conversations You Need to Have With Your Children among others. He also has on TLC, he has a show called Shalom In The Home and as of late, has a radio show on Oprah’s radio network. A very brilliant man who makes compelling cases whether wholeheartedly agree or passionately disagree—you just simply cannot ignore what he says. Read his latest comment on his website called, G-d’s Thoughts on the Presidential Election. It is truly something to think about really deeply. Enjoy it.