During the last few weeks, there has been much discussion about the future of the evangelical movement and its impact on the American culture. For years, prophets of doom have been busy telling the world that the evangelical movement is dead or dying. This year as President Obama’s administration has shifted the nation’s stance on embryonic stem cell research and abortion, many in the faith community have justifiably become concerned. Further, RNC Chairman Steele’s decision to lower his personal and his party’s vocalization of socially conservative issues, such as protecting the life of the unborn and preservation of tradition marriage, has left many evangelicals feeling abandoned by both parties.
What’s next for evangelicals? It seems to me that evangelicals are on the verge of finding their collective voice in a very new way. In the future evangelicals will seek to be more of a swing vote, placing pressure on both parties to advance a theologically conservative and fiscally conservative agenda. They will base these stances on a combination of biblical orthodoxy and common sense. The conservative movement would do well to attempt to re-build bridges behind the scenes with mature and developing evangelical leadership – especially in minority communities.
Several groups are attempting to give their answers to this question. One man, Michael Spencer, who calls himself “the internet monk,” went so far as to say that a major collapse of evangelical Christianity is coming within ten years. He predicts that evangelicals will do the following:
1. Continue to confuse the true gospel with the culture war.
2. Lose the ability to pass on the importance of the faith and “a vital evangelical confidence” in the Bible to our children.
3. Lose financial strength.
4. Falter in aggressive evangelism.
While I disagree with Mr. Spencer for reasons I will outline at the end of this essay, I believe that his negativism is based on his personal disappointment with the last generation’s evangelical leadership. He has judged the so called religious right as being part of a massive attempt to drag the Church off its mission. The truth is that the evangelical church must desperately embrace both the biblical evangelical and biblical prophetic role of the Church. We cannot afford to think that there is an either/or choice in terms of cultural engagement and evangelism.
Interestingly, as the nation has been asking itself questions about how faith fits into the culture, Trinity University completed a survey of over 54,000 persons. The study shows that entire religious landscape in the nation is changing – not just the evangelical corner. Our national commitment to faith in general is waning. The study shows that approximately 15 percent of our fellow citizens claim no religion at all. This is almost double the 8 percent level recorded in 1990 by the American Religious Identification Survey. These numbers imply that one of the reasons the debate around religious issues is changing has to do with the fact that fewer people are religiously observant. Currently only 76 percent of the nation claims Christianity vs. 86 percent in 1990.
The surprising study shows that Catholics remains the largest church; 57 million people claim membership. Mainline Protestants including Methodists, Lutherans and Episcopalians, have experienced the greatest overall loss. Evangelicals would argue that these numbers show that church groups which do not preach the scriptures faithfully will fail. Further, denominations like these and the United Church of Christ (the famed home of Dr. Jeremiah Wright) may be in danger of preaching such a watered down version of the gospel that they cannot reproduce themselves. In other words, strong biblical messages produce a depth of faith in congregational members that cannot be shaken.
Archive for March, 2009
Koran 47:36 says “Therefore do not falter or sue for peace when you have gained the upper hand.”
Arab leaders convening in Doha for the 21st Arab League summit are reiterating their commitment to the Arab peace initiative, but some question whether a divided Arab world can even embrace a comprehensive, just peace with Israel.
It appears unlikely that Prime Minister-designate Binyamin Netanyahu will lend his support to the initiative as written or to the creation of a Palestinian state as envisioned by the Arab world.
The initiative, first introduced in 2002, calls for a full Israeli withdrawal from all territories occupied since 1967, establishment of a Palestinian state on those territories with Jerusalem as its capital, and achievement of “a just solution” to the Palestinian refugee problem. In exchange, Arab states would enter into a peace agreement with Israel and establish “normal relations” with it.
But with divisions still evident between the Western-backed camp led by Egypt and Saudi Arabia, and the pro-Iranian camp that includes Syria, Qatar and Sudan, would Arab states be willing and capable of such a peace with Israel?
While a split Arab world may complicate matters, many experts say the answer is yes.
“The Arab initiative reflects a broad consensus among Arab governments and ruling elites for the need for a political solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict, understanding [that] the solution needs to be one that recognizes the State of Israel and [that] conflict with Israel is brought to an end,” said Bruce Maddy-Weitzman, a senior research fellow at Tel Aviv University’s Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies.
While campaigning for the U.S. Senate and then the presidency, Barack Obama said he believed in the individual right to bear arms.
Those aware of his record and rhetoric thought he might have been referring to his wife’s penchant for sleeveless attire, not the Second Amendment.
During his 2004 run for the Senate, Obama said “I think that the Second Amendment means something. I think that if the government were to confiscate everybody’s guns unilaterally that I think that would be subject to constitutional challenge.” No kidding.
He didn’t say it would be unconstitutional, just “subject to constitutional challenge.” Nor did he express any opposition.
During the presidential campaign, a case challenging Washington D.C.’s draconian gun laws was pending in the U.S. Supreme Court. The laws banned all handgun registrations, prohibited handguns already registered from being carried from room to room in the home without a license, and required all firearms in the home, including rifles and shotguns, to be unloaded and either disassembled or bound by a trigger lock.
In June, the Court released its decision in District of Columbia v. Heller, holding that the laws violate the individual right to keep and bear arms unconnected to service in a militia as secured by the Fourth Amendment. Justice Antonin Scalia, writing for the majority, emphasized that the individual right to bear arms pre-exists, and is independent of, the Constitution:
Putting all of these textual elements together, we find that they guarantee the individual right to possess and carry weapons in case of confrontation. This meaning is strongly confirmed by the historical background of the Second Amendment. We look to this because it has always been widely understood that the Second Amendment, like the First and Fourth Amendments, codified a pre-existing right. The very text of the Second Amendment implicitly recognizes the pre-existence of the right and declares only that it “shall not be infringed.” As we said in United States v. Cruikshank, 92 U. S. 542, 553 (1876), “[t]his is not a right granted by the Constitution. Neither is it in any manner dependent upon that instrument for its existence. The Second amendment declares that it shall not be infringed . . . .”
Obama admitted in a Feb. 11, 2008, interview that he supported the handgun ban, and that it was “constitutional.” On June 26, he said he agreed with the Court’s decision, but added that the right to bear arms is subject to “reasonable regulations.” He never “explained” how an absolute ban on handguns is “reasonable,” or how he can agree with the ruling, which said it was unreasonable. Obama’s inconsistencies are numerous, as John R. Lott Jr has noted.
Obama continued to duck and cover by talking about getting illegal guns off the streets, background checks for children and the mentally ill, and attacking the NRA.
“Get the bonus, we will get your children,” “Jacob the Killer” e-mailed AIG executives.
“In China they execute executives like you,” read a sign held by protestors outside AIG offices.
“All you [sic] should be shot…we will hunt you down.”
“Thanks for [messing] up our economy and taking our money,” wrote others.
AIG executives have been harassed and threatened … not just by fellow Americans, but by the government that’s supposed to be bailing them out. New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo threatened to release their names if they did not return financial bonuses, which many received in lieu of salary while trying to save the company. And while President Obama and Commerce Secretary Tim Geithner feigned outrage over the legislative provision of which they were both fully aware, to secure those bonuses, they maligned Wall Street types as often as they could, alleging repeatedly that it was specifically AIG executives who caused this “crisis.” Television and print and late night comedians have been eager to join the fray as have politicians from both parties. Anyone for a good lynching? Can there be any denying that the dynamics at work are not more than a hair’s breath different from the mob at a hanging or an arena?
“Never waste a good crisis,” said Rahm Emmanuel recently … quickly echoed by Hillary Clinton. That philosophical method goes at least back to European Communists who trained Mao Tse-tong in the art of disrupting in order to take power in China. They taught him to work through labor unions and natural disasters, stirring up dissension and distorting facts to agitate and pit people against each other. Class envy was a powerful tool used not only by Mao but by the Bolsheviks in Russia. “Fairness” and “equality” were established to make the state the center of all things. But in order to get to that point one had to sufficiently agitate to gain power. Create disturbance, anxiety—and “never waste a good crisis.”
“Agitate” repeated Saul Alinsky, who made it relevant in modern day America with “Rules for Radicals.” Hillary Clinton wrote her masters thesis on Alinsky while Barack Obama was the star “organizer” of his methods.
It’s not that there’s no wrongdoing, no natural disaster, no need for “fairness” in the workplace. It’s just that the Left takes these opportunities to twist and distort and confuse and promise things they can never deliver. Once the people have figured that out, more often than not, it’s too late.
The newest method, coming out of the Sao Paulo Forum in South America involves a change of sorts. Whereas revolutions in the past were bloody, the new plan is more seductive because it works through the system. Get elected … establish power … undermine the law and the constitution … disrupt and contaminate the election process and then you have the same radical result: revolution.
Ask Hugo Chavez, ask Alejandro Peña Esclusa, who has been tried four times for opposing him. The people of Venezuela, especially the poor, were promised everything by Chavez but by the time disillusionment set in, he had changed the constitution and cemented power in a way they could not overcome without bloody rebellion.
AIG is certainly not perfect, but it is not a demon. Neither is big business, nor the wealthy. God bless them for the contribution they have made to our national prosperity, for their charitable work here and abroad, for creating jobs and giving opportunity to entrepreneurs and artists and gifted people everywhere. As we descend into “fairness,” we will miss them and long for the days when their bonuses were all we had to fret about.
“I’m having a very good crisis,” declared Hungarian-American-leftist-billionaire George Soros to The Australian newspaper. “The financial crisis has been ‘stimulating,’ the ‘culminating point of my life’s work,’” Soros reported to the Daily Mail Online.
We can’t know for certain who is orchestrating our downfall in this moment, but you can be sure this cagey financial giant of MoveOn.org and Daily Kos fame is giving us a major clue.
Sandy Rios is the host of the “The Sandy Rios Show,” heard daily on WYLL in Chicago and a Fox News contributor. Contact her at email@example.com.
Let’s take a moment to remember Terri Schiavo, a poor disabled woman whose husband no longer wanted anything to do with her, who was starved to death in order to get her out of his life.
Today is the fourth anniversary of the death of Terri Schiavo, the Florida woman who suffered starvation and dehydration at the hands of her physicians and her husband.
Married and in her twenties, Terri Schiavo suffered a sudden illness and was hospitalized, then put on a ventilator and a feeding tube. In a court battle with attempted congressional intervention, her family tried to prevent the removal of her feeding tube. However, her husband fought to remove it, and she eventually died.
The painful memory of that still lingers for her brother Bobby Schindler. “It certainly is a sad day. March 31 will mark the fourth year of Terri’s death by dehydration, and there’s really not a day that doesn’t go by where our family doesn’t think of Terri,” he notes.
Schindler fears tens of thousands of people worldwide may lose their lives in the same way. “Which was something that was absolutely barbaric, having to watch someone die by having their food and water taken away so that they could slowly dehydrate to death over a period of almost two weeks,” he explains.
Proving that the left cannot tell the difference between “racism” and “criticism,” the AP posted a lengthy March 30 story confusing and conflating the two as it pertains to attacks on President Obama. As far as the AP is concerned it seems the whole country is running around with burning crosses and wearing pointy hoods aiming to cast racial epithets at Obama at every turn. It may as well still be the year 1860 around here.
The AP starts its piece by informing the reader that “racial slurs continue” against the president “despite” his “historic achievement.” But the main problem with the piece is that much of the report details political attacks that aren’t really racial in nature but are instead just those normal sorts of political attacks we see against any president. Granted they are tailored for Obama (like his citizenship and religion questions) but they aren’t really “racial” attacks per se. Still, the AP illegitimately lumps any and all attacks against Obama under the rubric of “racial slurs.”
Initially the AP approaches assumption instead of relating fact in the interpretation of the very first example it lists in its second paragraph.
In Obama’s first two months in office, a New York tabloid took heat over a cartoon appearing to portray the president as a monkey; a California mayor resigned after distributing a picture of watermelons on the White House lawn; and an e-mail making the rounds refers to Obama as “the magic mulatto,” with exaggerated ears and nose.
That political cartoon the AP mentions WAS NOT a portrayal of President Obama. It was a riff on the chimp attack that had been in the news that week. It had no intention of portraying the president as a monkey. An overreaction by race-baiters does not automatically equate to racist intent on the part of the original source.
Then the Obama birth certificate question is branded as an “untruth” despite that it hasn’t really successfully been debunked.
Disproved and disputed claims about his religion and citizenship, namely untruths that Obama is a Muslim and isn’t U.S.-born, zip across chat rooms and dominate the blogosphere. Fringe critics largely are responsible for perpetuating the lies, but even elected officials have raised them.
What ever you believe about Obama’s country of birth and its importance to his election, it cannot be said that it has been proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that he was born in Hawaii. The question remains murky because an original certificate of live birth has never been made public. Still, that issue is beside the point here because the AP conflates the birthplace question with racism when it has nothing at all to do with race.
Here is the AP’s central thesis for this piece:
All that underscores how the accomplishment of one man who broke the highest racial barrier hasn’t entirely changed the dynamic of a country founded by slave owners. It also shows how far the nation has to go to bridge its centuries-old racial divide.
“All that” underscores the race conflicts in this country? All what? Thus far in the piece the AP only gave two examples of actual racism with the rest being political attacks that aren’t necessarily racist at heart. The religion question has little to do with racism — after all, we are at war with radical Islam — and neither does the birthplace question. But the AP persists in its own fallacious conflation.
In truth, Obama probably will continue to be dogged to some degree by entrenched stereotypes and viral fallacies.
Now we are talking about “entrenched stereotypes” and “viral fallacies” from the Internet. Notice how they lump the two together, notice this conflation? The AP is quite misleading, though, because a “viral fallacy” is not necessarily race based. Sure they can be race based, but viral Internet rumors aren’t by nature racial attacks. Every single political candidate out there is a victim of these Internet fallacies at some point in their candidacy or career. Heck, there are even Internet attack sites built to attack me, for Heaven’s sake. Clearly the AP is saying that every political detraction cast at Obama is racism.
“…more than three out of four children in Sderot [Israel] have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)…The message I brought from Israel was lost”.
Your message may have been lost in the bastions of liberalism and terror supporters that is our universities and colleges here in the United States. But we hear you Mr. Shrybman, and we will tell the world the stories that you were prevented from telling.
Jacob Shrybman recounts unfriendly welcome at US university where he presented Sderot’s grim reality.
Recently I shared the human side of the conflict in southern Israel and told my personal stories from Sderot in a presentation at DePaul University in Chicago sponsored by StandWithUs, Hillel, and the university’s Political Science department. As a representative of Sderot Media Center, I traveled from Israel to explain the daily reality of rocket fire that has been plaguing the country for the past eight years.
Several anti-Israel posters draped the entrance to the building in which I was to tell my personal stories. I began my presentation with a small audience of around 20 people and as my presentation went on the room began filling with people not merely against Israel’s political policies and action, but also in clear support of terrorist group Hamas.
When I welcomed the custom of a question and answer period following my presentation, the very right of free speech that I welcomed to the audience of now over 100 people was thrown in my face and denied to me. First, an audience member verbally attacked me, expressed his support for the firing of rockets into Israel, and ended his anti-Semitic rhetoric filled rant with a question irrelevant to anything in my presentation. I then pointed out to the audience the same fact I want to point out in this article, that this person was not simply criticizing Israel but was clearly expressing his support for a terrorist organization.
Free speech denied
Yet before I could finish answering the question, I was interrupted and silenced by the overwhelming Hamas supporters. Next, another audience member stood up and screamed out, calling me a “dirty whore” in Arabic and proceeding to grab his crotch and scream “Here’s your Qassam!” in Arabic.
My free speech was denied, I was not able to utter a word, and the event was terminated. As I was collecting my belongings amidst the continuing anti-Semitic harassment, a small group of audience members interested in my presentation approached me and expressed their resentment over the interruption and their fear to speak out. The local police teamed with university security then had to escort me to my car several blocks down the street.
As I was there to tell the human side of Sderot’s daily reality of rockets, these Hamas supporters laughed at raw footage of kindergarten children running for shelter as a Qassam was fired at their city. If it wasn’t clear before, it was clear to me then that these people were not there to learn about this reality or gain understanding of the trauma and suffering in southern Israel, or even object to my personal stories. These people were there for one reason: It was an event about the Jewish State of Israel to whose existence they blatantly object. How was I even to proceed with promoting human understanding if the unruly crowd didn’t even recognize my basic right as a Jew to live in Israel?
This past week I have answered email after email, phone call after phone call from everyone ranging from people at the event, to event organizers, to journalists, to heads of major organizations. It is saddening that not one of the emails or phone calls was about the fact that more than three out of four children in Sderot have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) or that now one million Israelis live under the daily threat of rockets. No one remembers the story I told of the baby in the stroller gasping while pointing to the sky as the Color Red alarm sounded in downtown Sderot. The message I brought from Israel was lost.
This post is brought to you by:
Christian Gifts from Israel – The Jerusalem Gift Shop
Artist Doug Westbrook has added a new mural to his collection. This one depicts the account of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, from the Book of Daniel, and their time in the “Fiery Furnace”.
Furious with rage, Nebuchadnezzar summoned Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. So these men were brought before the king, and Nebuchadnezzar said to them, “Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the image of gold I have set up? Now when you hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipes and all kinds of music, if you are ready to fall down and worship the image I made, very good. But if you do not worship it, you will be thrown immediately into a blazing furnace. Then what god will be able to rescue you from my hand?”
Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”
Then Nebuchadnezzar was furious with Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, and his attitude toward them changed. He ordered the furnace heated seven times hotter than usual and commanded some of the strongest soldiers in his army to tie up Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego and throw them into the blazing furnace. So these men, wearing their robes, trousers, turbans and other clothes, were bound and thrown into the blazing furnace. The king’s command was so urgent and the furnace so hot that the flames of the fire killed the soldiers who took up Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, and these three men, firmly tied, fell into the blazing furnace.
Then King Nebuchadnezzar leaped to his feet in amazement and asked his advisers, “Weren’t there three men that we tied up and threw into the fire?”
They replied, “Certainly, O king.”
He said, “Look! I see four men walking around in the fire, unbound and unharmed, and the fourth looks like a son of the gods.”
Nebuchadnezzar then approached the opening of the blazing furnace and shouted, “Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, servants of the Most High God, come out! Come here!”
So Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego came out of the fire, and the satraps, prefects, governors and royal advisers crowded around them. They saw that the fire had not harmed their bodies, nor was a hair of their heads singed; their robes were not scorched, and there was no smell of fire on them.
“Three young men refused to bow down to worship the 90 foot tall golden image of a false god. King Nebuchadnezzar was so furious that he commanded the fire be 7 times hotter than normal. Some scholars believe the fourth person in the furnace was an angel, others believe it was a pre-incarnate appearance of Christ. I chose to depict the second interpretation.”
See Mr. Westbrook’s Bible Story Murals here.
If your church is looking for a unique way to bring the Word of God to it’s children and young people, take a look at Doug Westbrook’s Bible Story Murals. Each wall sized mural is based on the hand painted originals Mr. Westbrook created at Central Baptist Church in Houston, Texas and represents a different well known Bible story.
They are available on durable vinyl wallpaper for easy installation.
This is a message to the foreign minister of the Czech Republic and to his counterparts in the European Union, over which his government currently presides:
Mr Karel Schwarzenberg,
Israel this weekend heard your clear and unequivocal message; your demand that its new government embrace and facilitate the division of Jewish lands for the creation of an Arab state; your warning that Israel will pay if it fails to acquiesce.
As the Jews went into their synagogues Friday evening to worship their God, you were loudly applauding the already-intensive efforts of the new Obama administration to oversee and direct the slicing and dicing of the Land He gave to them.
Once their Sabbath was over, observant Jews would have read about how your friend from Luxembourg, Jean Asselborn, said: “We must tell the Israelis that it is not allowed to walk away from the peace process…”
You both came hard and fast behind the arrogant and bullying diktat that erupted from Javier Solana earlier this month, when he looked directly into the cameras and spelled out his message to Israel:
“Let me say very clearly that the way the European Union will relate to an [Israeli] government that is not committed to a two-state solution will be very, very different.”
Indeed, there was nothing at all unclear about that.
But gentlemen, even clearer than your threats are God’s words to Israel, and His warnings to you, concerning this land.
To Abraham, God repeatedly promises ownership forever of the land upon which you plot and plan to build a Palestinian state:
Then the LORD appeared to Abram and said, “To your descendants I will give this land.” (Genesis 12:8)
And the LORD said to Abram, after lot had separated from him: “Lift your eyes now and look from the place where you are-northward, southward, eastward and westward; for all the land which you see I give to you and your descendants forever. … Arise, walk in the land through its length and its width, for I give it to you.” (Genesis 13:14,15,17)
Then Abram fell on his face, and God talked with him, saying: “… And I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you in their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and your descendants after you. Also I give to you and your descendants after you the land in which you are a stranger, all the land of Canaan, as an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.” (Genesis 17:3,7,8)
In Isaac this promise was established, when God told Abraham that: “… in Isaac [not Ishmael] your seed shall be called.” (Genesis 21:12 c).
To Isaac the deed of the land was confirmed:
Then the LORD appeared to him and said: “… Dwell in this land, and I will be with you and bless you; for to you and your descendants I give all these lands, and I will perform the oath which I swore to Abraham your father. And I will make your descendants multiply as the stars of heaven; I will give to your descendants all these lands; and in your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed; (Genesis 26:2,3,4)
Isaac passed on the covenant to Jacob when he blessed him:
“May God Almighty bless you,
And make you fruitful and multiply you,
That you may be an assembly of peoples;
And give you the blessing of Abraham,
To you and your descendants with you,
That you may inherit the land
In which you are a stranger,
Which God gave to Abraham.” (Genesis 28:3,4)
God changed Jacob’s name to Israel, and confirmed that the covenant of the land was passed onto him and his descendants (and not to Ishmael, Esau or any of their descendants):
And God said to him, “Your name is Jacob; your name shall not be called Jacob anymore, but Israel shall be your name.” So He called his name Israel. Also God said to him: “I am God Almighty. Be fruitful and multiply; a nation and a company of nations shall proceed from you, and kings shall come from your body. The land which I gave Abraham and Isaac I give to you; and to your descendants after you I give this land.” (Genesis 35:10,11,12)
On his deathbed, Israel assured his son Joseph:
“Behold, I am dying, but God will be with you and bring you back to the land of your fathers. Moreover I have given to you one portion above your brothers, which I took from the hand of the Amorite with my sword and my bow.” (Genesis 48:21,22)
Joseph passed the promise onto his brothers:
And Joseph said to his brethren, “I am dying; but God will surely visit you, and bring you out of this land to the land of which He swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.” (Genesis 50:24)
God, citing His everlasting promise to the founding fathers of the nation of Israel, commissioned Moses to implement Joseph’s words:
Moreover God said to Moses, “Thus you shall say to the children of Israel: ‘The LORD God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you. This is My name forever, and this is My memorial to all generations.’ Go and gather the elders of Israel together, and say to them, ‘The LORD God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob, appeared to me, saying, “I have surely visited you and seen what is done to you in Egypt; and I have said I will bring you up out of the affliction of Egypt to the land of the Canaanites and the Hittites and the Amorites and the Perizzites and the Hivites and the Jebusites, to a land flowing with milk and honey.”’ (Exodus 3:15-17)
And after the 12 Tribes of Israel had wandered in the wilderness for 40 years, God passed the charge onto Joshua, saying:
“Moses My servant is dead. Now therefore, arise, go over this Jordan, you and all this people, to the land which I am giving to them—the children of Israel. Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given you, as I said to Moses. From the wilderness and this Lebanon as far as the great river, the River Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites, and to the Great Sea toward the going down of the sun, shall be your territory…” (Joshua 1:2-4)
Israel conquered the Land – destroying and driving out its inhabitants in a way that doubtless would have appalled and enraged the EU, had you existed then, but in direct accordance with the instruction of the Creator of heaven and earth.
The nation took root and grew on this land. Here it was established and here, 3000 years ago, it made Jerusalem its capital. Because of the people’s unfaithfulness towards God, He sent them into exile, but He never ended His covenant with them; never revoked their ownership of the land, and repeatedly promised through prophet after prophet to one day bring them back and establish them again inside their borders.
“Therefore behold, the days are coming,” says the LORD, “that it shall no more be said, ‘The LORD lives who brought up the children of Israel from the land of Egypt,’ but, ‘The LORD lives who brought up the children of Israel from the land of the north and from all the lands where He had driven them.’ For I will bring them back into their land which I gave to their fathers. …” (Jeremiah 16:14,15)
God gave them this land, exclusively and forever. He is keeping His promise to restore them to this land and, scoff though you may; it is in His purpose to make little Israel chief among all the nations of the world.
The “great” and arrogant nations you represent have two choices ahead of them: They will either serve Israel, or they will perish.
You might not believe in God, Messrs Solana, Schwarzenberg, and Asselhorn. You might disregard His word, sneer at it and dismiss it out of hand, it matters not.
You will stand before Him one day to give account for your actions. Your nations will be brought into the valley and be judged according to their treatment of the Jewish people and your dealings with their land.
“For behold, in those days and at that time,
When I bring back the captives of Judah and Jerusalem,
I will also gather all nations,
And bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat;
And I will enter into judgment with them there
On account of My people, My heritage Israel,
Whom they have scattered among the nations;
They have also divided up My land…” (Joel 3:1,2)
Note that God continues:
“They have cast lots for My people, …” (v.3)
If you know the Bible, then you know what happened to another man and nation that dared cast lots for the people of Israel.
Lot means Pur – and as they have every year for millennia – the Jewish people have just celebrated Purim, their deliverance from – and the destruction of –Haman and those who had volunteered to implement his planned genocide of the Jews of Persia.
But to Zion (you know, from which word and place comes the universally-vilified movement called “Zionism”), God says:
“The sons of foreigners shall build up your walls,
And their kings shall minister to you;
For in My wrath I struck you,
But in My favor I have had mercy on you.
Therefore your gates shall be open continually;
They shall not be shut day or night,
That men may bring to you the wealth of the Gentiles,
And their kings in procession.
For the nation and kingdom which will not serve you shall perish,
And those nations shall be utterly ruined. …” (Isaiah 60:10,11,12)
These are not my words.
This is the word of the LORD.
Keeping in mind how little it takes to “incite” a Muslim to blood lust, here is the latest from Muslims in Morocco.
Horror of horrors! Inciting them to what? To violence? To hatred? To (gasp) creationism?
Naaah. They were inciting them to convert to Christianity. And in a land that respects Muhammad’s dictum “If anyone changes his religion, kill him” (Bukhari 9.84.57), the free exercise of one’s conscience is a crime.
Islamic Tolerance Alert from modern, moderate Morocco, which is also moving against homosexuals today: “Muslim Morocco expels 5 Christian missionaries,” from AP, March 29 (thanks to all who sent this in):
RABAT, Morocco (AP) — Authorities have expelled five Christian missionaries from Morocco on the grounds that they were illegally inciting Muslims to convert, the Interior Ministry said Sunday.The missionaries were caught Saturday during an assembly with Moroccan Muslims in Casablanca, the North African kingdom’s economic capital, and have been sent to Spain by boat, the Interior Ministry said in a statement carried by the official MAP news agency.
“Numerous pieces of evangelical propaganda material were also seized,” including video cassettes in Arabic that advocated conversion to Christianity, the statement said.
A senior Interior Ministry official said the missionaries were four Spaniards and a German woman. He insisted Morocco has nothing against the Christian faith, but that authorities felt the missionaries had gone too far.
Many people frown on proselytizing. I have no problem with it from any group. If someone wants to convert me to another religion or point of view, I’ll be glad to discuss it. If, however, someone who rejects an invitation to convert must be killed — well, that does seem to cross a line. So in Morocco, why not let Christians preach, and anyone else who wants to preach also? If Islam is true, its truth will shine forth in comparison to error, will it not? Actions like this one from the Moroccan government manifest a deep insecurity that can also be found all over the Islamic world.
Who would ever have believed that Jews would be in such danger again? That Israel and Zionism would become such dirty words in the world, despised by western intellectuals and Islamist mobs alike?
Who would ever have predicted that the United Nations would remain ineffective in all things except one: the legitimization of Jew-hatred? And that so many members of international human rights organizations and the mainstream western media would join Muslim leaders to accuse Israel of running an apartheid Nazi state bent on genocide?
Who would ever have thought that the Islamic jihad against Jews, which long preceded the establishment of the state of Israel, would still be going strong – a jihad that began during Muhammad’s reign when he slaughtered the Jewish tribes of Arabia?
Who would ever have suggested that the largest refugee story in the Middle East – 750,000-800,000 Jews expelled from Arab countries – would be forgotten and replaced with a Palestinian-only persecution narrative that would seize the imagination of the world? That Israel, which absorbed its refugees at its own expense, would be demonized and that Palestinian leaders, including terrorists who devote themselves to the destruction of Israel, would be glamorized as righteous and noble victims?
Who would ever have dreamed that Israel would be condemned for trying to defend its civilians? Or that Israel would reap hatred for exercising restraint in its treatment of Palestinian civilians? Or that Israel’s terrorist enemies would be praised for hiding behind their own women and children or would themselves be counted as civilians (even as they fire rockets at Israel) because they craftily choose to dress as such?
Who would ever have imagined that such Big Lies would be championed by western intellectuals, academics, journalists, students – not a few of them Jews and even Israelis?
Orwell would laugh. Or cry.
“The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron.”
1 Timothy 4:1-2
LONDON (AFP) – More than 100,000 Britons have recently downloaded “certificates of de-baptism” from the Internet to renounce their Christian faith.
The initiative launched by a group called the National Secular Society (NSS) follows atheist campaigns here and elsewhere, including a London bus poster which triggered protests by proclaiming “There’s probably no God.”
“We now produce a certificate on parchment and we have sold 1,500 units at three pounds (4.35 dollars, 3.20 euros) a pop,” said NSS president Terry Sanderson, 58.
John Hunt, a 58-year-old from London and one of the first to try to be “de-baptised,” held that he was too young to make any decision when he was christened at five months old.
The male nurse said he approached the Church of England to ask it to remove his name. “They said they had sought legal advice and that I should place an announcement in the London Gazette,” said Hunt, referring to one of the official journals of record of the British government.
So that’s what he did — his notice of renouncement was published in the Gazette in May 2008 and other Britons have followed suit.
Michael Evans, 66, branded baptising children as “a form of child abuse” — and said that when he complained to the church where he was christened he was told to contact the European Court of Human Rights.
The Church of England said its official position was not to amend its records. “Renouncing baptism is a matter between the individual and God,” a Church spokesman told AFP.
De-baptism movements have already sprung up in other countries.
In Spain, the high court ruled in favour of a man from Valencia, Manuel Blat, saying that under data protection laws he could have the record of his baptism erased, according to a report in the International Herald Tribune.
Similarly, the Italian Union of Rationalists and Agnostics (UAAR) won a legal battle over the right to file for de-baptism in 2002, according to media reports. The group’s website carries a “de-baptism” form to facilitate matters.
According to UAAR secretary Raffaele Carcano, more than 60,000 of these forms have been downloaded in the past four years and continue to be downloaded at a rate of about 2,000 per month. Another 1,000 were downloaded in one day when the group held its first national de-baptism day last October 25.
Elsewhere, an Argentinian secularist movement is running a “Collective Apostasy” campaign, using the slogan “Not in my name” (No en mi nombre).
Palestinian officials in a West Bank refugee camp say they have disbanded a youth orchestra after it played for Holocaust survivors in Israel.
Jenin refugee camp official Adnan Hindi says the 13-member Strings of Freedom orchestra should not have played for the survivors, calling the Holocaust “a political issue.”
Hindi added Sunday that the conductor has also been barred from entering the camp.
Conductor Wafa Younis says she was not informed of the ban.
The orchestra performed a goodwill concert for elderly survivors in the Israeli town of Holon Wednesday.
“I feel sympathy for them,” Ali Zeid, an 18-year-old keyboard player said after the concert. He said he was shocked by what he learned about the Holocaust, in which the Nazis killed 6 million Jews in their campaign to wipe out European Jewry.
“Only people who have been through suffering understand each other,” added Zeid, who said his grandparents were Palestinian refugees forced to flee the northern city of Haifa during the war that followed Israel’s creation in 1948.
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Christian Gifts from Israel – The Jerusalem Gift Shop
Friends of Israel Editor: Accusations Against “Christian Zionists” Couldn’t be “More Slanderous or Perverse”Friday, March 27th, 2009
We are Christian Zionist.
We support the Nation of Israel as a sovereign country. We believe this nation has roots directly from the ancient Hebrews and Israelites of the Bible, and are one and the same people. We believe the Jews, and by extension, the current Nation of Israel, have exclusive rights to the area commonly known as the “Holy Land”, and have the sole right to determine who is allowed to reside within that territory. We classify ourselves as “brothers” and “sisters” to modern Jews, with a commonality through Almighty God, Creator of the Universe; the same God of the Jewish Torah and the Christian Bible, with all of us descended from Adam and Eve of Genesis. We fully support Israel’s right to exist and live peacefully and securely with their neighbors. We fully support Israel’s right to defend herself against all enemies, both internal and external. We consistently pray for our Jewish friends and for God’s protection for the Nation of Israel. We believe Genesis 12:3 where God states: “I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.”
Few accusations by those who claim to be frontline seekers of peace and tranquility could be more slanderous or perverse. Furthermore, in addition to other gross inaccuracies in the brochure, there is this one: Christian Zionists “treat Israelis and Palestinians not as neighbors to be loved, but as pawns in a cosmic drama of divine vengeance and retribution. The conclusion of this drama involves the death of all non-Christians, including Jews, through apocalyptic warfare or divine judgment.”
No genuine Christian Zionist can justifiably be accused of “the dehumanization of Israelis and Palestinians.” The very hint of such an accusation is preposterous.
Sadly, the clarifying paragraphs of the brochure reveal the guts of an agenda based more on reactionary bigotry than scholarly research and legitimate observation. It is but one more example of an organization that has consistently endorsed, defended, and enabled the most radical elements in society while targeting those with whom it disagrees. Never mind the protestations about an inclusive, loving embrace for all people of faith, stripe, or distinction.
Mark D. Tooley, director of the United Methodist committee at the Institute on Religion and Democracy, put his finger on the problem. In an article titled “Christian Zionists: The Real Terrorists,” published in December in FrontPageMagazine.com, he wrote, What actually frustrates the NCC is that pro-Israel sentiment in the U.S.-which includes but is far from restricted to evangelicals-has prevented the U.S. from forcing Israel into surrender and a disastrous settlement. A 2003 Pew poll showed that U.S. white evangelicals favored Israel over the Palestinians by 54 to 6 percent, compared to general American support, which tips toward Israel by a robust 41-to-13 percent.
Mainline Protestants and Catholics favored Israel by two-to-one margins. More than 60 percent of evangelicals thought Israel would play a role in the Second Coming, along with 21 percent of Mainline Protestants and one quarter of Roman Catholics.
That Americans as a whole . . . are more partial to Israel than the Palestinian cause is informed not just by Israel’s role in the Bible but by modern history. Democratic Israel is seen as a miraculous regathering of an ancient people into a successful nation state. Terrorist factions often seem more enthusiastic about destroying their Jewish neighbors than creating a country of their own.
And about the claim that Christian Zionists ignore or minimize the suffering of Palestinian Christians, believers in Iraq and Iran, and Muslims under such radical Islamist rules as Hamas, Hezbollah, and the horrifically murderous Sudanese Islamists: Take a look at who is praying, reaching out, rescuing, and speaking out for these beleaguered people. You’ll find that a large majority are Zionist Christians who understand what is going on and other believers, many in Mainline churches, whose compassionate convictions are at odds with their leaders’ prejudices.
If you think there are no consequences to hysterical, anti-corporate grandstanding in Washington, pay attention to what’s happening across the pond: “This is just the beginning.”
So warned a public letter signed this week by a vigilante group called “Bank Bosses are Criminals.” The thugs claimed responsibility for vandalizing a former financial executive’s home and car in Edinburgh, Scotland. The bank official, Sir Fred Goodwin, was excoriated by U.K. politicians for refusing to give up company pension benefits dubbed “obscene,” “grotesque,” “unjustifiable and unacceptable.” The vigilantes were stoked by a former newspaper editor, one Max Hastings, who wrote a diatribe exhorting citizens to violence:
“The time has come to address the entire robber banker culture. Investment banks have been run not for the benefit of society, customers or even shareholders, but exclusively for the advantage of the bankers themselves. … This is why we must stand outside their homes throwing rocks through the windows until they do.”
This is no marginal movement. Some 3,000 protesters from around the world are expected to wreak havoc on the G20 summit next week in London. What happened at Sir Fred’s house is a mere dress rehearsal. Bankers are being told to dress down to disguise themselves and avoid becoming riot targets.
Demonstrators are threatening to hang effigies. Protest organizer and university professor Chris Knight vowed worse: “We are going to be hanging a lot of people like Fred the Shred from lampposts on April Fools’ Day, and I can only say let’s hope they are just effigies. To be honest, if he winds us up any more, I’m afraid there will be real bankers hanging from lampposts, and let’s hope that that doesn’t actually have to happen.”
How soon before we see this same kind of anarchic domestic terrorism on this side of the Atlantic? It’s already here.
Animal-rights terrorists have firebombed researchers’ homes, Molotov cocktail-bombed their cars, and been convicted of inciting threats, harassment and vandalism against employees of a private company engaged in animal research. Environmental terrorists have set private real estate developments on fire. Self-proclaimed “bank terrorist” Bruce Marks of the government-supported Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America, whom I reported on last March, has been threatening bank employees in their homes and harassing their children for years. And last weekend, of course, the radical ACORN mob and its corporate shakedown allies chartered a bus — with twice as many outrage-stoking mainstream media photographers in tow — to menace AIG executives at their homes.
Democratic Rep. Barney Frank shrugged off testimony from AIG CEO Edward Liddy concerning death threats leveled against the company’s employees. GOP Sen. Charles Grassley recklessly called on executives who accepted retention bonuses to commit hara-kiri. Left-wing billionaire George Soros’ ground troops in the ANSWER coalition waved signs decrying, “CAPITALISM IS ORGANIZED CRIME! STOP AIG!” And 85 House Republicans, led by Minority Whip Eric Cantor, abetted the demagoguery by voting for the retroactive 90 percent bonus tax.
Pundits on both sides of the aisle demonized the business people whose sin was continuing to work for a company that accepted taxpayer funding from Chicken Littles in Washington who forked it over in a blind frenzy. Washington scribe Mort Kondracke joked about boiling the execs in oil. But the families who received the following threats through AIG’s website can’t afford to be so glib. Among the vile messages disclosed this week in response to a Freedom of Information Act request by Hearst Newspapers:
We blogged about the consequences of over taxation. Now I want to talk about the consequences of the flap over the AIG corporate bonuses.
I thought the cartoon above really made the point about the outrage shown to AIG executives who were paid bonuses they were for staying with the beleaguered company. Aside from being contractually correct, targeting these executives is also unconstitutional.
Many of the executives have returned their bonuses, even though they were not legally bound to do so, but did out of fear of the witch hunting congress and senate who threatened to “name names”.
After all of this hoopla over the AIG bonuses and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner request to Congress to give the White House unprecedented powers to seize large insurers, investment firms and hedge funds that aren’t, in their opinions, solvent enough, does the government actually believe that these very same CEO’s are going to be the least bit interested in buying so called “toxic assets”?
I would think this is a true case of Obama and the Pelosi-ites in congress biting the hand that feeds them.
The Defense Ministry announced on Thursday evening that it had carried out a variety of tests on the “Iron Dome” rocket interception system over the last few days.
Defense officials described the tests as successful, adding that the creation of a timetable for the system’s installation in the South was in the process.
A Grad-type rocket was successfully intercepted during the tests. Moreover, the tests included the location and uncovering of rockets fired from the Gaza Strip, as well as live testing of arms supervision systems against real missiles.
A new battalion responsible for operating the “Iron Dome” will be created in the airforce once the system becomes operational in the coming weeks.
Defense officials said that the results of the tests reinforced research and simulations that were done in preparation, adding that the tests signaled an important stepping stone in the system’s ability to meet the scheduled time for its use.
In January, Israel used Operation Cast Lead to help perfect the interception system. Weapons-development teams had been posted outside Gaza to track the hundreds of rockets fired by terrorists during the three-week offensive against Hamas.
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Christian Gifts from Israel – The Jerusalem Gift Shop
On Sunday, November 9, 2008, Rahm Emanuel, now White House Chief of Staff, famously described the Obama administration’s philosophy for governing: “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste. What I mean by that is it is an opportunity to do things you couldn’t do before.” O-Team sycophants in the so-called mainstream media chuckled. Conservatives were alarmed. We now know we had reason to be.
At the time Mr. Emanuel made his comment — five days after the election — we thought he was referring to the ongoing “economic crisis” to justify life-altering legislation on new government spending, social entitlements, higher taxes and massive debt. A quick glance at the Obama budget proves we were right. However, it turns out we grossly underestimated the willingness of the O-Team to apply their carpe crisis maxim to every situation — foreign or domestic.
Anyone who has followed the current travail of the Mexican government in dealing with hyper-violent drug cartels south of the Rio Grande agrees that it is a serious calamity. In 2008, more than 5,800 people were killed in Mexican drug-related violence, double the number in 2007. At least 1,100 have died thus far in 2009.
The $40 billion that drug lords reap annually from U.S., Canadian and European “customers” has fueled massive corruption in Mexico, allowing cartels virtually unlimited power. Ruthless killings of civil, police and military officials who resist has become endemic. When the chief of police in Ciudad Juarez refused a cartel order to resign, he was told that they would kill one of his police officers every 48 hours. Five of his officers were murdered in ten days. The chief quit and went into hiding.
Not all of the problem is south of the border. Well-funded Mexican-affiliated drug gangs operate in at least 230 U.S. cities and towns — keeping their American “clients” supplied — and fighting for “turf.” Last year in Phoenix, Arizona, there were more than 370 drug-related kidnappings. Cartel-related crimes have been reported from Albuquerque to Anchorage and Seattle to Savannah.
Last month Mexico’s courageous and beleaguered President, Felipe Calderon, began deploying military units to fight well-armed narco-terrorists in northern Mexico. On the U.S. side of the border, DEA, ATF, FBI, CBP (Customs & Border Patrol) and ICE (Immigration & Customs Enforcement) agents along with state and local law enforcement officers, commenced a coordinated, multi-state crackdown on drug gangs. According to the Department of Justice, the operation netted 755 drug dealers, money launderers and smugglers.
Message to the Federal Government – Don’t Tread on Me (Click Here to Learn More)
I’ve made mention of the fact (see here and here) that the “volunteer” corp and youth brigades are exactly the method Hitler used to raise his Sturmabteilung, or otherwise known as “Brown Shirts”, because of the color of their uniforms. I continue to see massive government intrusion into our lives and more rights being eroded in the name of “saving” us from peril (economy, terrorist, etc.).
Is this the change you really voted for?
President Obama has only been in office for two months.
Now we have
HR 1388. The Bill was sponsored by Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY) with 37 others. The Bill was introduced to the floor of the House of Representatives where both Republicans and Democrats voted 321-105 in favor. Next it goes to the Senate for a vote and then on to President Obama.
This bill’s title is called “Generations Invigorating Volunteerism and Education” (GIVE). It forms what some are calling “Obama’s Youth Brigade.”
Obama’s plan is require anyone receiving school loans and others to serve at least three months as part of the brigade. His goal is one million youth! This has serious Nazi Germany overtones to it.
The Bill would forbid any student in the brigade to participate in “engaging in religious instruction, conducting worship services, providing instruction as part of a program that includes mandatory religious instruction or worship, constructing or operating facilities devoted to religious instruction or worship, maintaining facilities primarily or inherently devoted to religious instruction or worship, or engaging in any form of religious proselytization.” That means no church attendance or witnessing.
Again, is this what America voted for?
From the Bill:
SEC. 1304. PROHIBITED ACTIVITIES AND INELIGIBLE ORGANIZATIONS.
Section 125 (42 U.S.C.
12575) is amended to read as follows:
SEC. 125. PROHIBITED ACTIVITIES AND INELIGIBLE ORGANIZATIONS.
(a) Prohibited Activities- A participant in an approved national service position under this subtitle may not engage in the following activities:
(1) Attempting to influence legislation.
(2) Organizing or engaging in protests, petitions, boycotts, or strikes.
(7) Engaging in religious instruction, conducting worship services, providing instruction as part of a program that includes mandatory religious instruction or worship, constructing or operating facilities devoted to religious instruction or worship, maintaining facilities primarily or inherently devoted to religious instruction or worship, or engaging in any form of religious proselytization.
DEAR Mr. Liddy,
It is with deep regret that I submit my notice of resignation from A.I.G. Financial Products. I hope you take the time to read this entire letter. Before describing the details of my decision, I want to offer some context:
I am proud of everything I have done for the commodity and equity divisions of A.I.G.-F.P. I was in no way involved in — or responsible for — the credit default swap transactions that have hamstrung A.I.G. Nor were more than a handful of the 400 current employees of A.I.G.-F.P. Most of those responsible have left the company and have conspicuously escaped the public outrage.
After 12 months of hard work dismantling the company — during which A.I.G. reassured us many times we would be rewarded in March 2009 — we in the financial products unit have been betrayed by A.I.G. and are being unfairly persecuted by elected officials. In response to this, I will now leave the company and donate my entire post-tax retention payment to those suffering from the global economic downturn. My intent is to keep none of the money myself.
I take this action after 11 years of dedicated, honorable service to A.I.G. I can no longer effectively perform my duties in this dysfunctional environment, nor am I being paid to do so. Like you, I was asked to work for an annual salary of $1, and I agreed out of a sense of duty to the company and to the public officials who have come to its aid. Having now been let down by both, I can no longer justify spending 10, 12, 14 hours a day away from my family for the benefit of those who have let me down.
The profitability of the businesses with which I was associated clearly supported my compensation. I never received any pay resulting from the credit default swaps that are now losing so much money. I did, however, like many others here, lose a significant portion of my life savings in the form of deferred compensation invested in the capital of A.I.G.-F.P. because of those losses. In this way I have personally suffered from this controversial activity — directly as well as indirectly with the rest of the taxpayers.
I have the utmost respect for the civic duty that you are now performing at A.I.G. You are as blameless for these credit default swap losses as I am. You answered your country’s call and you are taking a tremendous beating for it.
But you also are aware that most of the employees of your financial products unit had nothing to do with the large losses. And I am disappointed and frustrated over your lack of support for us. I and many others in the unit feel betrayed that you failed to stand up for us in the face of untrue and unfair accusations from certain members of Congress last Wednesday and from the press over our retention payments, and that you didn’t defend us against the baseless and reckless comments made by the attorneys general of New York and Connecticut.
My guess is that in October, when you learned of these retention contracts, you realized that the employees of the financial products unit needed some incentive to stay and that the contracts, being both ethical and useful, should be left to stand. That’s probably why A.I.G. management assured us on three occasions during that month that the company would “live up to its commitment” to honor the contract guarantees.
That may be why you decided to accelerate by three months more than a quarter of the amounts due under the contracts. That action signified to us your support, and was hardly something that one would do if he truly found the contracts “distasteful.”
That may also be why you authorized the balance of the payments on March 13.
At no time during the past six months that you have been leading A.I.G. did you ask us to revise, renegotiate or break these contracts — until several hours before your appearance last week before Congress.
I think your initial decision to honor the contracts was both ethical and financially astute, but it seems to have been politically unwise. It’s now apparent that you either misunderstood the agreements that you had made — tacit or otherwise — with the Federal Reserve, the Treasury, various members of Congress and Attorney General Andrew Cuomo of New York, or were not strong enough to withstand the shifting political winds.
You’ve now asked the current employees of A.I.G.-F.P. to repay these earnings. As you can imagine, there has been a tremendous amount of serious thought and heated discussion about how we should respond to this breach of trust.
As most of us have done nothing wrong, guilt is not a motivation to surrender our earnings. We have worked 12 long months under these contracts and now deserve to be paid as promised. None of us should be cheated of our payments any more than a plumber should be cheated after he has fixed the pipes but a careless electrician causes a fire that burns down the house.
Many of the employees have, in the past six months, turned down job offers from more stable employers, based on A.I.G.’s assurances that the contracts would be honored. They are now angry about having been misled by A.I.G.’s promises and are not inclined to return the money as a favor to you.
The only real motivation that anyone at A.I.G.-F.P. now has is fear. Mr. Cuomo has threatened to “name and shame,” and his counterpart in Connecticut, Richard Blumenthal, has made similar threats — even though attorneys general are supposed to stand for due process, to conduct trials in courts and not the press.
So what am I to do? There’s no easy answer. I know that because of hard work I have benefited more than most during the economic boom and have saved enough that my family is unlikely to suffer devastating losses during the current bust. Some might argue that members of my profession have been overpaid, and I wouldn’t disagree.
That is why I have decided to donate 100 percent of the effective after-tax proceeds of my retention payment directly to organizations that are helping people who are suffering from the global downturn. This is not a tax-deduction gimmick; I simply believe that I at least deserve to dictate how my earnings are spent, and do not want to see them disappear back into the obscurity of A.I.G.’s or the federal government’s budget. Our earnings have caused such a distraction for so many from the more pressing issues our country faces, and I would like to see my share of it benefit those truly in need.
On March 16 I received a payment from A.I.G. amounting to $742,006.40, after taxes. In light of the uncertainty over the ultimate taxation and legal status of this payment, the actual amount I donate may be less — in fact, it may end up being far less if the recent House bill raising the tax on the retention payments to 90 percent stands. Once all the money is donated, you will immediately receive a list of all recipients.
This choice is right for me. I wish others at A.I.G.-F.P. luck finding peace with their difficult decision, and only hope their judgment is not clouded by fear.
Mr. Liddy, I wish you success in your commitment to return the money extended by the American government, and luck with the continued unwinding of the company’s diverse businesses — especially those remaining credit default swaps. I’ll continue over the short term to help make sure no balls are dropped, but after what’s happened this past week I can’t remain much longer — there is too much bad blood. I’m not sure how you will greet my resignation, but at least Attorney General Blumenthal should be relieved that I’ll leave under my own power and will not need to be “shoved out the door.”