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Archive for May, 2008

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Republican Presidential Candidate Sen. John McCain has officially rejected the endorsement of controversial pastor John Hagee. John Hagee is a pastor who supports Israel heavily, and who frequently engages in anti-Catholic rhetoric. Hagee recently stepped away from comments he had made concerning the Catholic Church, including comments such as “the Catholic church is the Great Whore.”
Hagee, who has a large following among evangelical Christians, has become a source of contention among Christianity for his various heterodox beliefs. His recent comments stating that Christ did not come as Messiah, has been a cause for alarm for many conservative Christians.
Democrats have been searching for something controversial from the pastors who have declared support for McCain, in order to create a firestorm like that which has surrounded Obama and his “former pastor” Rev Wright. There is a difference however, Obama sat under Wright for nearly twenty years. Hagee has never been McCain’s pastor, so how is McCain supposed to know any of Hagee’s odd beliefs? Obama, if he is as smart as he wants us to believe, should have known of Wright’s controversial beliefs. The two are not comparable in this instance.
Nonetheless, McCain is right to distance himself from Hagee. Hagee has an assortment of odd beliefs that could possibly do damage to the McCain campaign if McCain were to retain his support. Hagee is hardly the poster boy for evangelical Christianity, or for Christianity in general.

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For several weeks now, the CPS in the state of Texas has been under scrutiny for their decision to take over four hundred children from their parents after a phone call from an alleged abuse victim on an FLDS ranch. The CPS decided to take all the children, based on the supposition that the FLDS are abusing the children on the ranch. A court in Texas recently ruled that the CPS had acted without warrant in seizing all the children from the ranch. Among the criticisms leveled at CPS by the court, was that authorities had failed to prove that all the children were being abused(there is evidence that only five of these children had been sexually abused as of yet), or that the abuse was imminent.
This case has raised concern among many across the United States, who fear that this case could provide a basis to seize children in other instances based on little or no evidence of wrong-doing. The recent court ruling is seen as a boon to proponents of religious freedom by many evangelical Christians.
The court ruling stated that the CPS was wrong to consider the danger of grooming boys to be sexual abusers and girls to be victims of sexual abuse as being “imminent or urgent.” It also stated that CPS was wrong to consider the ranch to be a single household, and to seize all the children as though they were all somehow related. This case however, is far more tangled than many believe. Survivors of abuse from the FLDS have cited many concerns about FLDS culture that make this case infinitely more difficult than that of a single evangelical church where there are many households.
Polygyny is the practice of having more than one wife. The FLDS doctrine of polygyny comes directly from the early LDS practice of polygyny, which was abandoned when Utah realized that in order to become a state in the Union they needed to ban the practice. Polygyny in FLDS culture is the same as it was in early LDS culture. It is a practice of older men taking a household of younger wives(see Inside Today’s Mormonism by Richard Abanes, chapter 9). In a polygynous culture, the age for women to get married tends to get younger, and men get married at an older age. It also is biased towards wealthier, more powerful men. Men who are wealthy and have a power status within the community are able to gather more wives to themselves, whereas men without as much wealth and power are relegated to having less wives, or being excommunicated from the community(PoliGazette). In early LDS culture, uncles and nieces were frequently married. Men who had more status in the church were regarded as being better candidates for marriage. It was a practice for church missionaries to go into the field, and bring back a selection of young women for wives as the communities would frequently run out of marriable women(Inside Today’s Mormonism, Richard Abanes, pp 232-233).
Within these polygynous communities, if a man falls out of favor with the church leaders, he can be excommunicated and have his family taken from him and given to another man. This is why many of the FLDS children have a difficult time telling who exactly their parents are. But not only are FLDS children and wives assigned to different fathers and husbands, children may be assigned to different mothers.(PoliGazette)
A major problem that many evangelical Christians have had with the CPS raid on the FLDS compound is that CPS workers have stated that they were concerned with the homeschooling on the program. But what evangelicals have failed to realize is that the homeschooling education within the FLDS community is extremely poor. “Survival skills like violence and control seem to take the place of formal education.  Most FLDs children are church- or homeschooled.

“No state is monitoring the non-education of these children,” says Moore-Emmett.  She describes a weak curriculum of basic math and spelling.  Literature other than holy scripture is forbidden.  History is restricted to the genealogy of the Mormon prophets.  Science is regarded as heresy, and other cultures are not  worth knowing about.  Teaching health would only encourage immodest discussions of the human body.”(PoliGazette) What we are looking at is not merely persecution against homeschoolers, but a concern about a severe problem of failing to educate children at all.

Many Evangelical Christians have taken up the cause of the FLDS, mistakenly believing that the FLDS are being persecuted because of a few isolated cases of abuse. But those who have studied the FLDS culture have arrived at a vastly different conclusion. There is evidence of systematic abuse occurring within the FLDS. They groom boys to be sexual predators, and girls to be victims of sexual abuse by being forced into marriages with much older women. They force women and children to separate from their husband and father to live with another man, and make children go to another mother to break up any bonding process. The FLDS are not some happy, little church on the prairie, but an abusive and predatorial community that should be broken up.

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When the Christian faith was still in it’s infancy, the orthodox Jewish religion began a systematic and organized persecution of believers through the Roman empire. The Book of the Acts of the Apostles tells us of these events that were authorized by the Jewish hierarchy.
The Jewish Religion in Israel has begun again persecuting Christians. Just last Thursday, several Jewish students from a religious school gathered and burned hundreds of Bibles and religious materials that were distributed by Christians and Messianic Jews. Link.
The deputy mayor of the town,
Uzi Aharon drove through the town prior to the Bible burning, and called on a loudspeaker for residents in the town to turn over the Bibles and religious materials to students from the religious school. When the students gathered the Bibles and materials, they dumped them in a large pile and then set fire to them. Deputy mayor Aharon stated that he regretted the Bible burning, but that it is Jewish religious law to burn such materials. He then stated “I certainly don’t denounce the burning of the booklets, I denounce those who distributed the booklets.”
But it seems that Aharon has now attempted to do an about face. Link. Aharon originally defended the actions of these students stating that the students were “purging the evil among us.” But now he has stepped back from his original position in light of the intense media scrutiny, stating “We respect all religions as we expect others to respect ours. I am very sorry that the New Testament was burned, we mean it no harm and I’m sorry that we hurt the feelings of others.”
Aharon is clearly quite set against any witnessing being conducted by any religion other than Judaism. He is so set against Christianity, that he drove around town with a loudspeaker telling citizens to turn over the Christian materials given to them to the students. One cannot seriously entertain the notion that this man respects other religions in light of his own actions. He’d do better to hold to his original position without trying to backstep from his obvious hatred of Christianity. Anti-Christian behavior is becoming commonplace in Israel, and this is merely further proof of that fact.

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