Meanwhile Back on Planet Earth
In the cyber world that so many of us inhabit, life has become startling of late. It is hard to ignore claims of the looming presence of the planet Nabiru. It is supposedly so close many claim to have already spotted it in the night sky! Soon we will feel its gravitational effect as it reverses the magnetic poles, unleashes untold cataclysms and perhaps even awakens the Nephelim (details hazy here, of course). But maybe they are here already in the reptilian bloodline that seems to have the entire human race under its spell and genetic control!
While I’ve never actually seen or heard proof of a real live member of the Illuminati, the Internet is positively buzzing with news of their latest plots. Tip: they are behind everything! The Protocols of Zion was a mild fabrication compared with the omnibus attributions given for their activity in wars, calamities and political machinations. By the way, I’d be less inclined to believe any of it if it were it not for that pesky Masonic-themed dollar bill and the unsettling shadows cast by a phallic symbol near the U.S Capitol.
And for background ambience dip your search engine into the lurid world of the mysteries of Antarctica: did outgoing Secretary of State Kerry really make an Election Day trip down south! And why have world religious leaders been rushing down to that pole to look-see. Is it global warming or UFO madness at work; or maybe just a New Swabia Thule Society reunion? Or just a flat earth peek-over-the-edge thing! Enquiring minds have never been more abuzz.
And here is the rub. The Internet may be populated with every species of conspiracy theory but it does give great evidence of a hungering for truth in a time of lies and dissembling. The zeitgeist is clearly troubled by things gone awry. Where once the optimists looked to the stars for consolation many now see only portents of doom.
I have long noted that when looking at the state of religious liberty you can’t separate it from the general state of liberty and the prevailing state of affairs generally.
Whatever the underlying cause, it is a sad fact that recent events have conjured up the “worser” angels in the American psyche. The frank jingoism that was so evident during the Cold War and such episodes as the 1973 gas crisis and Vietnam is “baaack,” to borrow from its pop culture manifestation.
It is a fact that much of the continuing confusion about a First Amendment separation of church and state is a byproduct of the cold war ideological rivalry between “Godless” Communism and a Christian West. Wrong on both counts; as Communism worshipped the false god of human progress and the West increasingly converted to a “Free Market” Polytheism that shared its pew space with any dictator and libertine opposed to the Reds. But in plighting our troth we allowed it was fitting to crowd our public spaces with 10 Commandment Monuments, allow religion into public schools, and make it a matter of theological certainty when we invoked the pledge of allegiance. No wonder desegregation and the civil rights movement caused such strife—it pitted one religious vision of a Godly nation against another. Thank God some clarity came out of that struggle; but it was not bloodless.
Now in our post Cold War angst we have reverted to skepticism on separation of church and state again, if I am to believe a myriad of statements by leading churchmen and the new administration’s chief law officer.
During the Cold War the United States in particular opened its arms to many refugees from the horrors of totalitarian repression. But something odd happened: as the West adopted some of the security habits of the other and--as Edvarde Shevardnadze put it, “We are going to deprive you of an enemy—the Soviet threat evaporated, we began to close our hearts and borders. The result may be “The Wall”—which even if it fails to rise out of the southern desert like some modern feat of an Ozymandius is a corporate reality nonetheless.
There is no question the United States faces some existential threats; not least of which is a virulent form of militant Islam. But ironically it is the increasingly assumed role of religious/moral champion that most enrages them. A true separation of church and state and an upheld respect for all faiths may appear a vulnerability against those that clamor for a caliphate, but it will tend to drain the energy of their cause.
The United States was early on thrust onto the world stage. And ironically it was a variant of the issue facing us today. Without international treaties and a navy, United States merchant ships were vulnerable, and many fell prey to “Barbary Pirates”—actually controlled by the various rulers along the coast of what is now Libya. Ships were taken and crews enslaved and officers held for ransom in a system that stretched all the way to the rulers of the Ottoman Empire based in Istanbul.
Presidents Adams and Jefferson were perplexed by the challenge. They raised a navy and confronted the pirates. As today, the issue was complex. Admiral Murad Rais of the Tripoli pirate fleet was born Peter Lisle of Scotch ancestry—he was a captured U.S. sailor who chose conversion rather than slavery and rose in the ranks of piracy. The whole adventure makes racy reading. It was eventually settled by the Treaty of Tripoli, which made a point of specifically stating that “the government of the United States is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion.” A smart call in dodging what almost automatically was a conflict of faith views!
Meanwhile in the real world we have filled the skies over Syria with Tomahawk missiles to punish an immoral act (the PC battles that have challenged sports team nomenclature obviously leave the deeper ironies unchallenged). And our resolve is further shown by dropping the biggest ever non-nuclear device on Afghanistan—a device which operates eerily like a napalm attack. The level of public opprobrium is startling—I hope it is not blood lust. One wonders what’s next.
In the Bible Book of Revelation there is an ominous prediction of an end-time nation that rises out of the sea—interpreted by this figure as a new land and people. It is described as a “lamb-like beast” which begins to “speak like a dragon.” That speaking takes the form of “bringing fire down from heaven in the sight of men.” And then it compels all to worship a certain way. (See revelation chapter 13.) This power has often been interpreted as the United States. I hope and pray that such an eventuality is far off or prevented by us staying the course on religious freedom--complete with a separation of church and state!
It seems apparent to any who ponder on these things that the myriad murmurings of the Internet are vastly overshadowed by the offline drama. It seems self evident that we have never been so close to the unthinkable—certainly not since the Cuban missile Crisis. It might evoke a quick rebuke to reache back to the Nazi era for illustration, but I’ll risk it. One of the more enigmatic figures of that regime was the Minister of Armaments and War Production, Albert Speer. He was a genius of organization if not morality; doubling industrial output during heavy Allied attacks. He was the only Nazi leader to admit culpability at Nuremburg, and was sentenced to 20 years, most spent in near isolation at Spandau prison. After release in 1966 he lived till 1981, and wrote some of the most insightful analysis of his experience. Let me quote from his memoirs, “Inside the Third Reich,” published in 1969. “’The catastrophe of this war, ‘ I wrote in my diary in 1947, ‘has proved the sensitivity of the system of modern civilization evolved in the course of centuries. Now we know that we do not live in an earthquake-proof structure. The build-up of negative impulses, each reinforcing the other, can inexorably shake to pieces the complicated apparatus of the modern world. There is no halting this process by will alone. The danger is that the automation of progress will depersonalize man further and withdraw more of his self-responsibility.’” Page 619.
Article Author: Lincoln E. Steed
Lincoln E. Steed is the editor of Liberty magazine, a 200,000 circulation religious liberty journal which is distributed to political leaders, judiciary, lawyers and other thought leaders in North America. He is additionally the host of the weekly 3ABN television show "The Liberty Insider," and the radio program "Lifequest Liberty."