The Professor Explains the Pharisees—Blind Guides is what They Are

The professor of the recorded lecture series—who teaches religion at the university—comes to the topic of the Pharisees. He defines them as people who knew that God gave a Law to Israel and so that’s what they would focus on—following it! He points out that pharisee has a negative connotation today—that of ‘hypocrite’—but that was not true in their day—how can people who ‘obey the Law’ be looked at negatively? he marvels. “It’s as though 200 years from now ‘Episcopalian’ comes to have a tertiary meaning of ‘drunkard’,” he says.

He does not mention how that connotation came about—Jesus called them hypocrites repeatedly. Presumably he does not do this because he is a critical thinker who will make his own assessments and not rely upon the judgement of someone else.

The challenge for those who made it their mission to follow the law—and what a commendable mission it was in their eyes!—was that the Law was frustratingly vague, the professor points out. ‘For example, it said that you must do no work on the seventh day, but what is work? Well, there is work work, like when you go into the field on the seventh day just like you go on every other day—we would all probably agree that is work. But what if on the seventh day you suddenly get hungry and sneak into the field to grab a quick snack of grain—is that work? Or what if you walk through the field and knock some grain off the stalks—is that work (harvesting)?

The professor is doubtless anticipating what happens when Jesus’ disciples do just those things, but he makes no mention of this. No, he carries on as though these are perfectly valid questions that might stump any reasonable person. He is trying to make me mad. In fact, when Jesus deals with just that ‘violation’ of Law, he says in effect: ‘It would be nice if you fellows got the bigger picture:’

Jesus went through the grainfields on the Sabbath. His disciples got hungry and started to pluck heads of grain and to eat. At seeing this, the Pharisees said to him: “Look! Your disciples are doing what is not lawful to do on the Sabbath.” He said to them: “Have you not read what David did when he and the men with him were hungry? How he entered into the house of God and they ate the loaves of presentation, something that it was not lawful for him or those with him to eat, but for the priests only? Or have you not read in the Law that on the Sabbaths the priests in the temple violate the Sabbath and continue guiltless? But I tell you that something greater than the temple is here.  However, if you had understood what this means, ‘I want mercy and not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the guiltless ones.”

Of course! This is not a matter of the head—it is a matter of the heart. The Pharisees expanded the ‘no work’ law into infinite bits of minute applications, but parts of the Law dealing with love for God and neighbor—not so much with that. ‘You don’t blow the first away as nothing,’ he said, but to harp on the first and say nothing about the second was just too outrageous. See how he nails those characters in the 23rd chapter of Matthew:

Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because you give the tenth of the mint and the dill and the cumin, but you have disregarded the weightier matters of the Law, namely, justice and mercy and faithfulness. These things it was necessary to do, yet not to disregard the other things.” vs 23

I once studied with a young man named Jay. He was a hoot to study with because if the answer to the question was, ‘scribes and Pharisees,’ he wouldn’t just say ‘scribes and Pharisees’—he’d get up and prance around the apartment, nose in the air, acting out the role! He instantly spotted those guys for what they were.

He loved the follow-up verse, too: “Blind guides, who strain out the gnat but gulp down the camel!” and he would make motions with his hands to illustrate the size difference.

He liked a few more of Jesus’ pithy pushback sayings at those Pharisees—in fact, the liked all of them—dig out the whole chapter and read them yourself. He liked: “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because you cleanse the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside they are full of greediness and self-indulgence.”

He liked also: “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because you resemble whitewashed graves, which outwardly indeed appear beautiful but inside are full of dead men’s bones and of every sort of uncleanness. In the same way, on the outside you appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.”

He liked them all and instantly got the sense of them, in a way that the professor does not. For him it is a fascinating contrast in how different ones reason.

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Man Gave Names to all the Animals

The beavers are hard at work out where I walk the dog. I wonder if they will cause back up flooding at the apartments where I don’t live. That outcome doesn’t concern them in the slightest. They will drive in upright poles and then fetch branches and sticks for the horizontal. Ponds form, and they use the waterways to float food and debris so as to build homes entered from below.

They are all of them skilled engineers, all of them graduates of Dam U. When the kids were small and we would camp at Allegheny State Park, visiting beaver dams was one of the attractions. You had to go early in the morning and be very quiet—alarm them and they will dive out of sight after slapping the water with their tails to alert their buddies.

Now Jehovah God had been forming from the ground every wild animal of the field and every flying creature of the heavens, and he began bringing them to the man to see what he would call each one; and whatever the man would call each living creature, that became its name.” - Genesis 2:19

Bob Dylan has explained just how this worked:

He saw an animal that liked to growl, Big furry paws and he liked to howl, Great big furry back and furry hair. "Ah, think I'll call it a bear."

He saw an animal up on a hill, Chewing up so much grass until she was filled. He saw milk comin' out but he didn't know how. "Ah, think I'll call it a cow."

He saw an animal that liked to snort, Horns on his head and they weren't too short. It looked like there wasn't nothin' that he couldn't pull. "Ah, think I'll call it a bull."

He saw an animal leavin' a muddy trail, Real dirty face and a curly tail. He wasn't too small and he wasn't too big. "Ah, think I'll call it a pig."

Next animal that he did meet. Had wool on his back and hooves on his feet, Eating grass on a mountainside so steep. "Ah, think I'll call it a sheep."

So it was pretty much like that. The Watchtower—no doubt others have said it as well—has written that Adam would have taken his time, observed unique characteristics, before naming names.

Let me see if I can do one:

He saw an animal that was great and gray, Swimming about freely every day. Catching its food without a fuss, “Ah, think I’ll call it a hippopotamus.”

And God said to Himself, ’Oh, come on!’ but he went with it.

And just to bring this full circle:

He saw an animal building dams, flooding just like a jailbird on the lam, carving up waterways like with a cleaver. ”Ah,” think I’ll call it a beaver

5B4E37D6-FEA2-423C-B86C-F57138B98049

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‘We’re the Apostates of the World’—sung to the tune of ‘We Are the Champions’

The mission statement of Tom Irregardless and Me appears directly on the title page: “For we have become a theatrical spectacle to the world,” Paul writes to the Corinthians. “That being the case, let’s show them some theater!” is my addition.

It is the greatest show on earth, with actors playing characters good and bad, strutting their stuff, playing out their roles under the big tent. For the longest time I was frustrated that The Watchtower seldom names names—“one politician said” is the blandness that they usually served up. Then I realized the underlying truth: it is a play that we are watching. You don’t have to name the actors of the play—it can even be a distraction if you do. Name a villain and you create the illusion that holding that villain accountable and making him take responsibility solves the problem. Instead, cart him off to the hoosegow and another actor instantly steps into his shoes—the show goes on with barely a hiccup.

As the greatest showman on earth—Cecil B. DeMille—and every showman worth his salt before of after well knows, every show needs not just a hero. It needs a villain! The show will tank in popular estimation without a villain—it simply becomes too dull to hold interest. “There’s a great villain in that Bond movie,” people will say as they change channels. Fortunately, in the Greatest Show of Earth, there are villains galore! Who are they? Apostates! “Taste and see that Jehovah is good,” says the verse. They have tasted and seen that he is bad. They are the villains.

Let us assign them a theme song, taking inspiration from Queen’s ‘We Are the Champions:’

We’re the apostates, my friends

And we’ll keep on fighting ‘til the end

We’re the apostates

We’re the apostates

No way we’ll lose this

We hope you choose us

‘Cause we’re the apostates of the world!

There! Isn’t that nice? What! Do you think only the Israelites can come marching to battle singing their song? No! They came marching for battle that day, but they didn’t expect to draw a sword! Singers were out in front! (2 Chronicles 20:17-21) But if they listened very closely, they might have heard the approaching enemy also singing—the Queen song!

See the scoundrels attacking what they always attack—the divine/human interface. Has that not always been the case? It was the case with Moses and the rebellious Israelites. It was the case with the apostles and the malcontents that they strove with all their might to restrain. It was even true with the one who turned on Jesus—Judas. He and God were tight—there we no problems there! But this imposter claiming to be the Messiah! He was not at all what Judas had come to expect. And those yo-yos that he was attracting! “Untaught and ignorant,” Acts 4:13 (KJV) calls their head ones—don’t even go there!

See the apostates diving into the archives! ‘Have Witnesses predicted the end before?’ they mutter their empty thing. ‘Yes! They have—several times! And now they would cover it up!! Well, we won’t let them! Aha ha ha ha!!!!!’

Witnesses want to cover it up? Really? Anybody see Gerrit Losch speaking to hundreds at the Gilead graduation—it being broadcasted to millions? He’s the one noted for digging up stats. He must have referred to a couple dozen predictions for the end—starting with one in the year 400. Christopher Columbus even had one! I hadn’t known that. Isaac Newton as well, who wrote more on religion than he did on mathematics and science combined. That’s one that he didn’t mention, perhaps because the date is yet ahead: 2060.

Our brothers, too, have made some, he said, pointing to two in the 1800’s and a gaggle of them around 1914, so many that I thought he might not even slap me down for when I characterized them as that time you missed the nail with the hammer, and in frustration swung several times more, again missing each time!

Did he soft-peddle 1925 or 1975? He doubled down on them! He did not even use for an out the two perfect ones he had—that the early Christians, too, were obsessed over the end date: “Lord, are you restoring the kingdom to Israel at this time?” they asked the resurrected Jesus the moment they laid eyes upon him. What godly person doesn’t want to see the end of this experiment with human rule? But Losch doesn’t even go there.

He’s trying to cover something up, is he? Doesn’t sound that way to me. Who knew that the stiff old German had it in him? When the blaggard throws a punch that he expects to smash in your face, you simply step aside, admit everything, fill in a few details he doesn’t know, and the slob’s own momentum sends him hurling past you head over heals! ‘The Governing Body humbly admits its mistakes and moves on,’ Losch states.

See the apostates reframing obviously good works as bad! Is it actually possible to characterize the Witnesses’ disaster relief mobilizations as evil? They find a way! One vile character says it is one of Satan’s lying signs and wonders, proving he can transform himself into an angel of light! When that doesn’t work, she says, ‘Big deal. Everybody does it!’ When that doesn’t work, she says, ‘Witnesses only help themselves—why don’t they rebuild everybody?’ They don’t because they are in no position to. They are volunteers, for the most part, using vacation time. What they can do is show others how it is done, show them the model that makes it possible for them to do likewise if they wish to or are capable of.

Then she says—it’s unbelievable! it’s her fourth tactic!—if the homeowner has insurance, they suggest donating the check! Duh! They commence repairs without knowing or caring whether there is insurance. What! She would accept $100K worth of work, and when the friends suggest donation, tell them to take a hike? Are you kidding me? What does she plan on doing with that check, anyway? Doesn’t she come mighty close to suggesting insurance fraud, which she doesn’t notice in her quest to make it hot for her former friends? I can’t imagine it happening very frequently because Witnesses are decent folk who would never dream of so taking advantage of others’ generosity. But she has no problem with it.

See them try to reframe reality—turning the good into evil that Jehovah’s Witnesses police their own as few others do so that they may best ‘practice what they preach.’ See how they deliberately sow confusion that leaving the reporting of child abuse to the digression of parties involved equates to ‘covering it up.’ When the gold standard of child abuse is to “go beyond the law,” impossible situations arise with regard to persons who, not surprisingly, expect you to abide by the law. Change the law! as Geoffrey Jackson pleaded, and everyone will be happy. It will make the Witnesses’ job “so much easier.” Few others undertake that job—of self-policing—so if the laws are screwed up it affects them not at all.

Who are these “apostates”—and I usually call them malcontents, detractors, or some like word, because outside of the Witness community, and even inside it, people tire of the term.

From the meta-data of ‘TrueTom vs the Apostates!’—

No New Testament writer fails to deal with then-rampant apostasy—a movement which finds its counterpart today. Two Bible chapters are entirely dedicated to it. Apostates of that time would “despise authority.” How could that become a problem unless there was authority? They loved “lawlessness.” How could that become a problem unless there was law? They favored acts of “brazen conduct,” had “eyes full of adultery,” and were “unable to desist from sin.” How could that become a problem unless there was someone to tell them that they could not carry on in that way? Not only is the nature of apostates revealed in the above Bible verses, but also the nature of the Christian organization.”

Any faith too bland to have quality apostates—I am almost proud of ours—is too bland to be given the time of day. They validate us. The more “respectable” churches where anything goes—what would people apostatize from?

See them snarling in their lairs! What accounts for their discontent? Well—let us not get too flippant (as we have several places in this post)—some of them genuinely caught the short end of the stick and then declined congregation efforts to restore them. But in general, whenever one discards a scenario in which there is discipline for one in which there is not, it will be like releasing a compressed spring—it rebounds wildly, delirious with its newfound freedom, caring not where it goes. This will be true when one leaves behind the school, the military, or the job. It will especially be true if one quit or was expelled from that institution—and that is the case of most on the anti-JW site. Many of them have come out as gay. Witnesses may not gay-bash as do some evangelicals, plenty of whom froth on the subject and tirelessly prod legislators to make it hot for gays in general society—Witnesses don’t do that—still, there is no place for gay sex relations within the Witness organization—and that hardly endears them to former members who have gone that way. There is a plain backdrop of ‘settling the score’ to be detected in many posts. It is anything but easy to hold the line on Bible morality in a quickly changing world.“

to be continued.....maybe

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Haiti Ten Years Later—Isn’t Anything Fixed?

Ten years to the day after Haiti suffered a magnitude 7 earthquake that killed 250,000, CBS News sent Jeff Glor to Port au Prince to report on progress. There wasn’t any—or at least, it didn’t seem that way.

“Mass protests, gang violence, rampant political corruption...jobs are scarce,” was his glum assessment. 80 million dollars had immediately after the quake been allocated to rebuild the hospital, and CBS showed the unfinished building standing empty. As to the condition of the old hospital still in use—the only hospital in town? It “reeks of raw sewage, piles of trash are everywhere.”

“Sorry, Buddy, I’m sorry,” a shaken Jeff Glor murmurs, stroking the head of a writhing infant unable to relieve himself. “I can’t imagine the pain he’s in right now,” he says to his parent.

Read the report of how the beacon of relief looked to by humanists ten years ago raised half a billion dollars in the wake of the earthquake—and squandered almost all of it: here

Yes, but surely ten years later, mighty progress has been made. Nope. Doesn’t seem so. In contrast, disaster relief teams organized by the Coordinator’s Committee of the Jehovah’s Witnesses’s Governing Body, quickly attended to physical needs of members back then. Not only physical needs, but the more important spiritual needs, for it is widely recognized that hope is what people need to get through such a time at least as much as physical relief.

An excerpt from Tom Irregardless and Me:

In contrast, the Red Cross, America’s ‘charity of choice,’ succeeded in raising half a billion dollars after a 7.0 magnitude earthquake struck Haiti in January 2010. Five years later, ProPublica and NPR jointly reported that they had astonishingly little to show for it; “It’s difficult to know where it all went,” they wrote. Search through their June 3, 2015 report and read the devastating consequences of not having Bible education.

Read how the ones in charge couldn’t speak the native languages and often skipped community meetings on that account. Read how some disrespected the local workers. Read how Washington headquarters micromanaged everything, how shifting senior management slowed progress to a crawl, how leaders with “absolutely no expertise” wielded authority. Read about hand-washing campaigns launched with huge fanfare to people who had no access to soap or water. Read about the 130,000 claimed to have been housed, but who actually just attended a seminar on how to fix their own homes, received temporary rental assistance or provisional shelters that started to disintegrate after three to five years. And be fair to the Red Cross: Read their response. Read it all. Were it not so tragic, it would be laughable. It was all so preventable. All that was needed was Bible education. Jehovah’s Witnesses have it. They value it. They didn’t suffer from the Red Cross’s problems.

You should be fair to the Red Cross - don’t pile on just because the herd does. Haiti is a spectacular train wreck for them, but probably they do better elsewhere. Doubtless they have fine people doing their best. No one alleges theft. They offer an explanation for their performance. Read it. Essentially, they had problems because they didn’t know what they were doing: they didn’t mesh with the locals, they didn’t understand the local laws. Cut them slack on these things, if you like, but also note that such problems would never occur in Jehovah’s organization, where local people are highly valued, if not placed in charge.

Author Bill Underwood in the now defunct examinier.com compared the disaster relief efforts of several religious organizations. Most issued urgent appeals for money. Most provided only sketchy details as to what they would do with those monies. But when it came to the Watchtower:

Well, that was refreshing. I went to watchtower.org and searched it for references to money, donations, charity. All I found were Watchtower articles such as ‘Is money you master or your servant?’ Try as I might, there was no way to donate any money to the organization, nor any request for donations. The only mention of money I found, in connection with Haiti, was in a public news release at jw-media.org entitled “Witnesses’ relief efforts well under way for victims of earthquake in Haiti.” A single line at the bottom read, ‘The Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses is caring for these expenses by utilizing funds donated to the Witnesses’ worldwide work.’

....At the home of Victor Vomidog, an alarm panel light pulsed red. Victor read the incoming feed. It was serious. Someone was saying nice things about Jehovah’s Witnesses. Instantly, he swung into action. There was not a moment to lose. He opened his door and whistled. The media came running. “Witnesses are selfish!” he cried. “They only think of themselves! Why don’t they help everyone? Why do they just do their own people?” That evening, media ran the headline: “WHY DON’T THEY HELP EVERYONE?”

But they had asked the wrong question. The headline they should have run, but didn’t, because they didn’t want to deal with the answer, was: “WHY AREN’T OTHERS DOING THE SAME?” The answer to the first question is obvious: Witness efforts consist of volunteers using their vacation time. Just how much time is the boss going to grant?

So do it yourself, Victor! Organize your own new chums! Or send your money to some mega-agency where they think Bible education is for fools. Be content to see monies frittered away on salaries, hotels, travel, retirement, health care benefits, and God knows what else! Be content to see much of what remains squandered! It’s the best you can do - embrace it! Or at least shut up about the one organization that has its act together.

The obvious solution, when it comes to disaster relief, is for others to do as we do. Why have they not? There are hundreds of religions. There are atheists…aren’t you tight with Sam now, Victor? Organize them, why don’t you? They all claim to be unGod’s gift to humankind. Surely they can see human suffering. Why don’t they step up to the plate themselves?

They can’t. They are vested in a selfish model that runs a selfish world. Let them become Jehovah’s Witnesses and benefit from the Bible education overseen by the Governing Body, Plato’s and Sider’s dream brought to life. But if they stay where they are, they must look to their own organization or lack thereof. There’s no excuse that they should not be able to copy us. They have far more resources to draw upon. We’re not big enough to do everyone for free, and we don’t know how to run a for-pay model; we’ve no experience in that. Instead, other groups must learn how to put love into action, as we did long ago.

C’mon, Victor! If all the world needs is to ‘come together,’ then see to it! We don’t know how to do that. People without Bible education tend not to get along. You make them do it! You don’t want to, or can’t, do large-scale relief, yet you want to shoot down those who do! What a liar!

...

CBS News and Jeff Glor is determined to find a silver lining in this total failure uncovered during his 2020 visit. He does find one—but it is not in Port au Prince, which is still apparently a lost cause, despite humanists throwing everything they have at it.

“But take a trip outside the capitol and you find a remarkable place that many people doubted could ever exist in this country.” Jeff reports of St Boniface hospital, a remarkable (for Haiti) institution run by Health Equity International, caring for needs that cannot be cared for anywhere else in the country, says it’s director. People travel hundreds of miles to get there. It was started in 1983 and thus has nothing to do with human efforts in response to the 2010 devastation, but it clearly has found a place since then.

No bad things will be said about Health Equity International. Only good things. It represents dedication at its best. Still, in the context of the greater picture....well—you must “take a trip outside the capitol” to find it—something, unless I am very wrong, that the majority of residents will not be able to do. Inside the capitol—where everyone is—there appears scant improvement in 2010, in fact, worse than scant improvement, for there were not “mass protests” prior to the quake, and probably “gang violence” was not as bad. “Rampant political corruption” probably was, but that is business as usual in large portions of the world.

Fix it, you humanists. Fix it, you anti-cultists. Fix it, you “evidence-based” atheists. Or at least lay off on deriding JWs, since your people certainly aren’t rising to the occasion.

 

 

 

 

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Reversal in Montana

After the multi-million dollar verdict against Jehovah’s Witnesses in Montana was reversed, I visited the Witness-bashing website to see how they were taking it. They were not happy. However, the ones who knew law were analytical.

“This isn’t the fault of the courts,” one said. “It’s the fault of the Montana law as written. Courts must follow law or risk reversal on appeal. This case was never going to be ultimately won. The law was way too clear on the matter.”

Another: “Montana followed the law. It’s that simple and of course Watchtower followed the law...”

Yet another: “The case never should have been started, as the law clearly backed JW’s actions. It never had a chance of surviving appeal.”

They sure didn’t talk that way after the first trial. Some of their cohorts wanted to rub my nose—line by line—through that first transcript. ‘The court found your people guilty, TrueTom! Why would they do that unless they had broke the law—they who say they follow the law!’ I didn’t respond because I am not a lawyer that would try to unravel their affairs. Moreover, courts, while they may represent the best human justice available, are clearly not above bias from pre-existing philosophical leanings—if they were, confirming a Supreme Court Justice would take ten minutes. ‘Wait until the fat lady sings,’ was my attitude. When she did, it was to throw out the judgment of the skinny lady.

Not all were so retrospective after that reversal. “F**k the Montana Supreme Court!” was the outraged complaint woven throughout the thread, with some accusing those seven justices (the reversal was 7-0) of being enablers themselves! Child sexual abuse is the most white-hot topic of all and calm heads rarely prevail. One of them muttered at how they must be “celebrating this victory” at Watchtower HQ. But if so, they showed no sign of it. The Witness attorney summed up events: “There are no winners in a case involving child abuse. ‘No child should ever be subjected to such a debased crime....Tragically, it happens, and when it does Jehovah's Witnesses follow the law. This is what the Montana Supreme Court has established.’” Obviously if one is on the hook for several million dollars and then no longer is, they will not mourn over it. But the focus was kept on the victim, as it should have been. Ideally, she gets full justice from the perpetrator directly responsible.

The gold standard in matters of child sexual abuse is to “go beyond the law.” It is a crazy expectation and I can think of no parallels to it. The expectation is found in a remark already presented, but in truncated form. The full remark was: “Montana followed the law. It’s that simple and of course Watchtower followed the law, rather than just simply reporting child abuse like a good Christian organization.”

If the gold standard regarding child abuse is to “go beyond the law” then MAKE that the law! That’s what law is for! Three times before the ARC Geoffrey Jackson pleaded for such a change—it would make his job “so much easier.” ‘Going beyond the law’ is surely to trigger the wrath of those who, not unreasonably, expect you to abide by the law! Change the law and everyone is happy.

As though on cue, a report surfaced regarding another faith. An Oregon woman has filed a lawsuit for $9 million against the Mormon church because they DID report a confidentially disclosed sexual abuse of a minor. “Clergy are not required to report known or suspected child abuse if the knowledge results from a congregation member's confidential communication or confession and if the person making the statement does not consent to disclosure," Justice Beth Baker wrote in the Montana Supreme Court opinion. It is a statement that will clearly help the Oregon woman, but would not if it were not the law. Change the law if you are really serious about nabbing pedophiles.

The way everything unfolded in Montana pretty well accords with my initial assessment. So great is the world”s frustration at not being able to make a dent in the child sexual abuse pandemic that the first court chose to ignore law in pursuit of that end. It might well be combined with some religious bias, but I would not hang my hat on the latter—outrage over child sexual abuse is sufficient in itself. The Witness organization did follow law, as the Supreme Count confirmed, but the first court reinterpreted law and made it retroactive to make it seem that they did not. I wrote about it here:

Change the law! Why cannot that be done? If Watchtower wants to change a policy, they can do it overnight and have it implemented worldwide within the week. It is the basket-case eternally squabbling, turf-guarding, plethora of competing jurisdictions that cause many Witnesses to become Witnesses in the first place—they see how hopeless it is with human governments.

Ones who want to bring the Watchtower down on the pretext of child sexual abuse, such as those who predominate at the Witness bashing site, are hardly out of bullets, but they are continually frustrated. Their efforts to put Witness stories above all others gains little traction because the pattern elsewhere is that the leaders of organizations, religious or otherwise, are the abusers themselves, something rarely true with the Witness organization, and also that child sexual abuse appears to be the primary export of the planet, crowding out stories of “lesser” significance. With Watchtower (as in Montana) the situation is typically that of abuse within a family or step-family and Witness leaders come under the gun for evoking law and not reporting it, leaving that up to the persons involved—sometimes they do but often they don’t. History may well judge that harshly, but it does not hold a candle to leaders actually committing the abuse themselves. The class action suit in Quebec that I wrote about was similarly dismissed. Moreover, that contributing perception—that it is a disgrace to call attention to child sexual abuse—has been firmly put to rest among Witnesses.

The Epstein joke making the rounds is: “If you were surprised at Jeff Epstein committing suicide, just think how surprised he must have been!” Of course. With prison security protocol breaking down “at every level” and with 60 Minutes concluding that his injuries far suggest homicide over suicide, the conclusion that he was put to sleep by powerful interests to protect other pedophiles will never be squashed. People are naive, but not that naive.

A DisneyLand executive was recently sentenced for pedophile offenses, and Erin Elizabeth of HealthNutNews, who has lived in the area, says it happens all too often. The point is, there is no place where child sexual abuse is not, but participants on the anti-JW site see it in only one place—a place where its intensity pales next to places where leaders are the abusers, not just ones trying to stem it who may have done so clumsily.

Thirty years into all-out war against child sexual abuse and barely a dent has been made! For my money, the JW organization is the most proactive of all, gathering every single member on earth to consider detailed scenarios in which child abuse might happen—if there are sleepovers, if there are tickling sessions, if there are unsupervised trips to the rest room, if someone, even a relative, shows unusual interest in your child, and so forth—so that parents, the obvious first line of defense, can be on the alert. This was done at the 2017 Regional Conventions, which were held globally.

It is the common and accepted legal practice to go as high up on the food chain as possible with regard to any lawsuit—everyone knows this and judges it an unremarkable fact of life. “Knew or should have known” is the legal expression that carries the day and effectively amounts to a tax on the common person. Governments raise taxes. Businesses raise prices. When I hear that my neighbor’s lawyer secured him millions of dollars for his auto accident, I rejoice with him—then I open my insurance premium bill.

As people become ever more debased, just where does this end? Women on airlines are reporting sexual abuse. Even rape has been reported, and with passengers being packed in like sardines, attendants expected to monitor this are caught dumbfounded. Do they “know or should have known?” In an increasingly depraved world, your guess is as good as mine.

As to sentiment on the Witness-bashing website? Look, whenever one discards a scenario in which there is discipline for one in which there is not, it will be like releasing a compressed spring—it rebounds wildly, delirious with its newfound freedom, caring not where it goes. This will be true when one leaves behind the school, the military, or the job. It will especially be true if one quit or was expelled from that institution—and that is the case of most on the anti-JW site. Many of them have come out as gay. Witnesses may not gay-bash as do some evangelicals, plenty of whom froth on the subject and tirelessly prod legislators to make it hot for gays in general society—Witnesses don’t do that—still, there is no place for gay sex relations within the Witness organization—and that hardly endears them to former members who have gone that way. There is a plain backdrop of ‘settling the score’ to be detected in many posts. It is anything but easy to hold the line on Bible morality in a quickly changing world.

......

From Anna: “Interestingly, in the Montana case (and I only know this because as I said, I read the court transcript, over 400 pages of it, in order to get a clear and unbiased view) one of the victims (the other sibling who also reported the abuse) did not want to become a part of the lawsuit. He said in his deposition that he just wants to get on with his life. In other words, he was not interested in money to "repair his trauma". This victim was the only one who is still in the truth....Now I am sure there will be malcontents (as you call them) who will claim that he must have been brainwashed into being loyal to the organization. All speculation of course. But the more realistic approach is; maybe he just liked being one of Jehovah's Witnesses, and therefore why would he want to claim damages from a community that he likes being a part of, especially when he knew they were not responsible for what his stepdad did to him. He knew his step dad was going to be prosecuted, and that was enough justice for him. Obviously, he felt that his spirituality helped him in overcoming his trauma. But if one doesn't have that kind of faith, then money is the next best thing.”

Exactly. Look, if someone offered me $20 massive dough (or bought enough of my books to total that amount—hint, hint) I would take it in a heartbeat if there were no strings attached. But the “strings attached” in this instance is kicking the very organization which is likely among the most proactive in actually preventing child sexual abuse.

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“Does God Care About Women?”—“No”...Really? Where is Quality Control When You Need Them?

Oh, for crying out loud! Where is Quality Control on these things?

From The Watchtower, September 1, 2012: “Does God Really Care About Women?”

“No” is the answer, as reproduced in the Research Guide, followed by: “Genesis 1:27 states: ‘God proceeded to create the man in his image, in God’s image he created him; male and female he created them.’ So from the very beginning, humans—both male and female—were created with the ability to reflect God’s qualities. Although Adam and Eve had their own unique emotional and physical makeup, they both received the same commission and enjoyed the same rights before their Maker. (Genesis 1:28-31)

This explanation accords with a ‘Yes’ answer, not a ‘No’ answer. Something is goofy. What is going on?

Look up that September 1 Watchtower and you will see a heading that is not reproduced: “Did God Create Woman Inferior to Man?” Ah—this clears it up. The answer to the missing heading is “No.” But why is that paragraph cited without the heading that explains it all? What’s with THAT? It is the collection of bloopers in the movie that appears as the credits roll—except this one has been left in the movie! So it is the scene of George Washington crossing the Delaware and the actor playing George has neglected to remove his wristwatch! Quality control, if you please? Find that brother and assign him potato-peeling duty in the HQ basement for the next 20 years, right next to the fellow who thought it a fine idea to hang out at the UN library.

My first reaction was mortification. I told a certain pal who seems to know every other person in Bethel—to have them make corrections. But he just laughed his sides off. Whether he did it or not I do not know. Then I said, “Nah—leave it in. They’ll discover it soon enough and the next update will make changes.” Leave it in so the rabid JW detractors can zero in, highlight it, gleefully sing it to the heavens, and then look like utter fools when anyone with a brain can go to the source and see the missing heading. Even if the Watchtower did feel in their heart of hearts that women are second class citizens—What! They are going to run a headline: “Does God Care About Women? No.” I don’t think so. Let those detractors go way way out on a limb with it, the same way they did with that article on women dealing with a difficult home life—the crash will be all the more spectacular when it comes.

The fact of the matter is that Jesus does this kind of thing all the time, and he does it deliberately—not exactly this sort of thing, but close enough in my book. He does it when he likens God to that unrighteous judge who will grant justice but only when you pester him to death. (Luke 18:6) He does it when he likens his ideal follower to the crook who robs his master blind and the master praises him for his use of “practical wisdom”—even adding: “for the sons of this system of things are wiser in a practical way toward their own generation than the sons of the light are!” (Luke 16:8)

What in the world is Jesus thinking? My guess is that he gives the “wise and intellectual ones” rope with which they can hang themselves. They mock the verse for its logical inconsistency and miss entirely the greater lesson taught! It is not unlike—sorry to switch to politics here—when Trump tweets that North Korea has launched its missels and anyone with common sense runs for the hills. The “wise and intellectual ones,” however, run to their keyboards to point out that the idiot can’t even spell the word right! It may be deliberate. Or it may just mean that he can’t spell—It is not JWs who buy into that concept of Trump the “flawed messiah”—that is the evangelicals that you are thinking of.

“I publicly praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and intellectual ones and have revealed them to young children,” said Jesus at Matthew 11:25. I think he uses hyperbole as a tool in his toolbox because humble, honest, and hungry ones will instantly get the sense of it but the critical thinkers will not. “He catches the wise in their own cunning, so that the plans of the shrewd are thwarted,” is the thought expressed at Job 5:13.

I think that is what Jesus is doing—I don’t know it. Others may take it differently. “Why would he deliberately mislead people?” one atheist flung at me. The answer is that “he catches the wise in their own cunning.” Look to your heart. Note from that same Research Guide the commentary on Genesis 1:31, this one from the 1/1/2008 Watchtower:

“Evolution presents modern man as an improving animal. The Bible presents modern man as the degenerating descendant of a perfect man.”

Though the Watchtower does not make the application, I believe this explains why the essentially “top-down” approach of the JW organization resonates with its members—the “top” of the human organization taking the mantel of the “older men in Jerusalem” who had brought Christianity to the rank and file in the first place. “Critical thinking,” on the other hand, is far more in keeping with the approach of man as an “improving animal”—developing powerful skills of thought to lift us all up by our own bootstraps. It is not that the tool is valueless. It is that it should not be relied upon as the be-all and end-all—which is the way humanists usually do think of it. Let them debate themselves right off the deck of the ship before it reaches Port Newsystem.

Now, to be sure, The Watchtower is not inspired, nor is the Research Guide where I first discovered this blooper, a commentary on Genesis 1:27. It is not even as clever (sorry—politics again) as the trap Trump laid for his enemies in calling a press conference—and boy, did they come running!—expecting him to duck out of the 2016 presidential race after his ‘grab them by the you-know-what’ remark* came to light, but instead, they found him flanked with the three women that had accused President Clinton of gross misconduct! No. This one from the Watchtower is just pure clumsiness. It might even be deliberate—a prank by some immature kid at Bethel to see what he could get away with. It will be corrected soon enough—and I, having the rare “collector’s edition,” will sell it to Nemo for $100K.

It has not been a good week for Witness enemies—Nemo will be pulling his hair out. They were putting huge stock in that multi-million dollar verdict against Watchtower in a child sexual abuse matter and now that verdict has been reversed without a single dissenting vote. One of them muttered how they must be “celebrating this victory” at Watchtower HQ. But they showed no sign of it. The Witness attorney said, “there are no winners in a case involving child abuse. ‘No child should ever be subjected to such a debased crime,...Tragically, it happens, and when it does Jehovah's Witnesses follow the law. This is what the Montana Supreme Court has established.’” Obviously if one is on the hook for several million dollars and then no longer is, they will not mourn over it. But the focus is kept on the victim, as it should be. Ideally, she gets full justice from the perpetrator directly responsible.

If the actual requirement is that Witnesses or anyone else go “beyond the law,” then make that the law—Witnesses have demonstrated themselves pretty good at following law—and the problem is solved. Ones who want to bring the Watchtower down on this pretext are hardly out of bullets, but they are continually frustrated. Their efforts to put Witness stories above all others gain little traction because the pattern elsewhere is that the leaders of organizations, religious or otherwise, are the abusers, something rarely true with the Witness organization, and also that child sexual abuse appears to be the primary export of the planet, crowding out stories of “lesser” significance. With Watchtower (as in Montana) the situation is that of abuse within a step-family and Witness leaders come under the gun for evoking law and not reporting it, leaving that up to the persons involved—sometimes they do but often they don’t. History may well judge that harshly, but it does not hold a candle to leaders actually committing the abuse themselves. The class action suit in Quebec that I wrote about was similarly dismissed.

It is the common and accepted legal practice to go as high up on the food chain as possible with regard to any lawsuit—everyone knows this and judges it an unremarkable fact of life. How much did whoever “know or should have known” is the legal expression that carries the day and effectively amounts to a tax on the common person. Governments raise taxes. Businesses raise prices. When I hear that my neighbor’s lawyer secured him millions of dollars for his auto accident, I rejoice with him—then I open my insurance premium bill.

As people become ever more debased, just where does this end? Women on airlines are reporting sexual abuse. Even rape has been reported, and passengers being packed in like sardines, attendants expected to monitor this are caught unawares Do they “know or should have known?” In an increasingly depraved world, your guess is as good as mine.

...*

The President’s wife passed off her husband’s remarks to Billy Bush as “locker room talk.” Given that the media was every day trying to take him out and had apparently been sitting on that sound bite for ages, waiting for just the right moment, I made up a broadcast (in No Fake News but Plenty of Hogwash) that I named: Live From the Locker Room:

Good evening. We’re broadcasting live from the locker room tonight to reveal to America just what goes on in this previously obscure culture that has so suddenly thrust itself upon the national stage. We’ll interview some players in this intriguing venue. Ah, here’s comes a jock now. “Hey! Yo! Whazzup? We’d like to ask you some questions.”

“Why, good evening sirs, madam. You must be members of the news media. Welcome to our humble locker room. It’s not much, but please make yourself at home. There are refreshments in the adjacent room, just past the gentleman snapping his neighbor’s buns with the wet towel.”

“Charlie, it is as we thought. ‘Locker room talk’ is but a lame excuse. They’re not crude at all here. They are quite refined and sensitive and…”

Hey, ya wanna get your crap outta here?! I can’t get to my @%!# locker!”

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How Long Are the Creative Days of Genesis - With a Nod to the Sean Carrolls

Let scientists be scientists and Bible teachers be Bible teachers. Don’t squabble unless there is a reason to.

That there is not a reason to in some battlegrounds is highlighted in the downloadable Research Guide to accompany the NWT Study Bible. Regarding Genesis 1:14 and the creative days, there is a link to a 9-year old Watchtower article:

These are not 24-hour days but are epochs. On the first creative day, Jehovah caused light to begin to appear at the earth’s surface. That process would be completed when the sun and the moon later became discernible from the earth. (Gen 1:3,14) On the second day, the atmosphere began to be formed. (Gen 1:6) Earth then had water, light, and air but still no dry land. Early on the third creative day, Jehovah used his holy spirit to produce dry land, perhaps harnessing powerful geologic forces to push continents up out of the global sea. (Gen 1:9) There would be other astounding developments on the third day and during later creative periods.”

I made reference to this article in my own post, entitled “Epochs and Aeons,” after reading the Sean B Carroll book, “The Making of the Fittest - DNA and the Ultimate Forensic Record of Evolution.” You have to use the middle initial of Sean Carroll, a ‘B’, because there is another well-known contemporary scientist with an ‘M’ for a middle initial—this one specializing in physics. It’s surprising, but no more surprising than to consider that the public face of JW persecution in Russia—the first one to be sentenced (to six year’s imprisonment) has a surname (Christensen) that evokes both his Lord and his Lord’s profession.

It turns out that there is also a local broadcaster by that name—Sean Carroll—who has since moved to Syracuse. I followed them all on Twitter and introduced them to each other. They hit it off and began to talk baseball! Then I made some remark about the trinity and in what way the three men might foreshadow that. All three Seans fell silent at that. Who can blame them?

They would have fallen more silent still had I tweeted the skit that I inserted in No Fake News but Plenty of Hogwash:

Crack! “Mike Behe hits a grounder to shortstop! Sean Carroll scoops it up and flips it to Sean Carroll at second base – one out! Sean Carroll fires it to Sean Carroll at first – double play! And the Denver Denyers lose to the Cincinnati Smarts! Jock, those Smarts have one helluva team this year. I almost think Sean Carroll will be named MVP.” “Yeah, and if not Sean Carroll, then maybe Sean Carroll! Or maybe even Sean Carroll!”

Oh, and I also like this link to a 2004 Awake with regard to verse 16:

How could God produce light on the first day if the luminaries were not made until the fourth day?” is the question. The answer is that the Hebrew word rendered “make” in 16 is not the same as the word for “create” in 1, 21, and 27. The bodies that are the source of light were created before any of those creative days began. Their light did not reach the earth, however, until the early impenetrable atmosphere began to clear. Not surprisingly, Genesis is written from the standpoint of someone on earth, not someone hovering in space.

 

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The downloadable research guide is going to add much to the current cycle of Bible reading.

The downloadable research guide is going to add much to the current cycle of Bible reading.

Already with Genesis 1:1 are links to articles observing that there is no reason to quarrel about the age of the earth. Scientists say 4 billion years? Let them. There is no objection, since “in the beginning” is BEFORE the creative days begin.

Nor is there any objection to a ‘big bang’ as a means to which God created the cosmos. Let scientists be scientists and Bible teachers be Bible teachers. Don’t manufacture conflicts until there are some.

Genesis 1:3 I have always loved: “and God’s active force [spirit] was moving about over the surface of the waters”—as though saying, “okay—ready, here—gimme something to do.”

“The riot squad is restless; they need somewhere to go.” - Bob Dylan. Nah, it doesn’t really fit, but I do like Bob Dylan.

And, technially, my prediction that the system should have ended yesterday since JWs have reached the end of their multi-year Bible reading cycle and it would be too inconveiniest to make them start all over again still holds, since I know of no mid-week meetings that falls on Monday.

[Edit: Within a half hour of this post, two persons contacted me to say they new of some Monday meetings. Rats. So much for home-baked prophesy.]

The following represents my taking my eye off the ball, to be sure, but not to worry—it’s my blog and I will not forget what it is about: My quote of Dylan recalled to mind some history.

My all time peak in internet hits came in response to a review of a Bob Dylan concert at Gordon Field House linked to above—some Dylan site picked it up & I had 1000+ hits in a day—nothing for some people I follow but a big deal for me. For a post or two, Morristotle and I played with idea of whether we could make lightening strike twice, and we sprinkled in Dylan references where they had no conceivable place. The lightning never did strike again, and we both resumed normal activity.

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An Entirely Unexpected Gift of Politics—Revelation of the BITE Man

Steven Hassan is the David Splane of anti-cultists. He is the Great Explainer who works tirelessly in their behalf. He is the originator of the BITE model of “mind control”—Behavioral, Informational, Thought, and Emotional Control! He is the man who, as a youth, was naive enough to join the Moonies—the robe-dressing, flower-hawking Moonies! and now, having quit them, he insists that even the most intelligent people [such as himself] can be misled into a cult. 

Of course, there are only so many Moonies in the world. Mr Hassan expands the C-word into ever more frontiers, and one of them is Jehovah’s Witnesses. You would think that it is the only one, to hear JW detractors carry on, but it is but one of an ever-growing stable. I have witnessed JW opponents on social media counseling each other as to the most effective way to conduct themselves, referring back to the BITE model of Hassan as a guide, as though he was a cult leader of himself.

His horizon’s continue to expand. His current book is: “The Cult of Trump—A Leading Cult Expert Explains How the President Uses Mind-Control.” A review of it begins with: “Can’t understand why a loved one would vote for Donald Trump? Let the experts who spend their lives studying cults help break it down.” Of course! A vote for Trump is completely inexplicable otherwise! Only cult delusion can account for it. When you think that half the country has fallen victim to cult influence and mind-control, it is strong evidence that you have drunk too much of the Kool-Aid yourself.

So he comes out of the closet. He reveals himself. He is a leftist—nothing more. He is of the victimization society. I’m glad to see it, for it undermines his alleged expertise elsewhere—like with JWs, for example. Up to the point of his new book on Trump, one can begin to suspect that maybe, just maybe, Jehovah’s Witnesses are like a cult. They pay far more attention to their Governing Body than other groups do to their leaders. They certainly take their faith much more seriously than do others, and they deviate from the accepted goals of society in fundamental ways. 

Yes, you can just begin to envision it—and then Hassan, who got the ball rolling in the first place, comes along and says half the country is under the spell of a cult leader! Okay. That it says it all. He is just “out there” himself, just upset that his candidate did not win, and that recognition qualifies whatever he has said about Jehovah’s Witnesses or anyone else.

It’s not that the idea of influencing people is ridiculous. It is the over-application of the idea that is. No meaningful outfit does not incorporate some application of “behavioral, informational, thought, and emotional control”—the most striking example is that of the family. Is it really brainwashing that he objects to—or is it just brainwashing that is not his? Read him as he carries on about Trump and realize that the spillover will taint his mission with regard to anything else.

Leaving the sects that were his bread and butter far behind, he tweets: 

We need to have a fundamentally NEW conversation about how we interact with Trump supporters.  Online arguing doesn’t work. When we label Trump supporters as “dumb” or “evil”, it only reinforces their own image that they are persecuted and cuts off any chance of them changing.”

“Though I know it’s hard to do when they say such vitriolic things, we need to imagine they are stuck inside a religious cult. How would we try to get them out?  At first, we would make sure to avoid argument and really try to CONNECT. This may take a while but is vital.”

“After we’ve established some trust and rapport, we need to be delicate. We don’t rush to talk about Trump (they will still be defensive and unmovable).  We need to find a subject that has parallels to their situation but doesn’t feel personal (i.e. Chinese Communist Brainwashing)”

“Using that example, we can highlight examples of behavior control, information control, thought control, and emotional control.  Very delicately, we can ask them questions about their beliefs and reflexively listen to the answers without ANY judgment.”

What if they bring up the economy?” I interjected. It worked for Bill Clinton—“It’s the economy, stupid” instantly trounced all other considerations and won him the election. I follow Mr. Hassan on Twitter. When he returned the follow, I promised that I would take no cheap shots. I find this promise hard to keep these days, since his new horizons strikes me as no less absurd than his old. But I have, more or less, kept it.

Incredibly, he answered me privately, though DM. He recommended that I read his book! Nobody answers privately on Twitter, yet that’s what he did. My only explanation is that he saw my Twitter banner, which suggests that I am a Witness—it’s an advertisement of Dear Mr. Putin - Jehovah’s Witnesses Write Russia—and he simply assumed that if he gently gave me opportunity, not publicly where I would not dare respond lest my OVERSEERS take note, but in private, like Jesus pulled aside the deaf man so as not to put him on the spot, that I would gratefully let him take me by the hand so as to escape from the JW cult!

I don’t troll the guy. Everyone has a right to prevail on their own feed. I am not disrespectful when I reply and I don’t do it often. The next time he advised me, this time publicly, to read his book, I responded that I had a book, too. A third party to the thread tweeted that he had no book. “Get off your duff and write one!” I replied with a smiley emoji. “It is apparently the price of admission.”

Hassan stays at it—keeping on the watch:

Has everyone seen this video of Donald Trump?  Senior cabinet members grovel in the exact same way Scientologists do with Miscavage.  Does this LOOK like a healthy organization to you? This is not normal.  This is cult behavior.”

“He has actually said just the opposite,” I replied, “that his advisors do not have to agree with him and he likes the mix they bring to the table. To be sure, not many of them last too long.”

He says often what he thinks people want him to say or what he is told to say, but actions are what count!”

“I don’t see it, Steve,” I wrote. “To get a job, you must convey that you are a “team player” Try putting on your resume that your talent lies in challenging or broadening out the boss. Most bosses want a cohesive team that will recognize who leads. Have other presidents not done this also?”

Of course! Trump does bully on his feed, but the Presidency has been called the “bully pulpit,” after all. It is just that he is better at it than others that gets into Steve’s craw. If he bullied on Steve’s side, I can’t imagine him having any problem with it. It’s not mind-control that bothers him. It is the mind-control that is not that from his side. I barely restrain myself from playing devil’s advocate far more than the little bit that I do. There are genuine reasons to dislike Trump, and plenty of people take up those reasons.  You cannot really call him a bull in a china shop, because to do so you must accept the premise that government as usual is a china shop. Junkyard dog in a junkyard may work, though. But this additional “mind control” charge strikes me as pure looniness. It’s not my cause anyway, being a Witness, but I do appreciate how the Trump presidency has served to flush out the BITE-man.

How is it that SO MANY people in this country are STILL under the spell of Donald Trump?” he tweets.

“Though most of us throw our arms up in disgust or confusion, the answer to this question is actually quite simple:”

“Trump, the Republican Party and the right-wing media industrial complex are manipulating the public. They are employing the same techniques advertisers and public relations professionals use but have done so in an even more potent way.”

“They harness fear.  They repeat messages over and over again.  They disorient with conflicting messages.  They wage war on detractors.”

It is not that they don’t do it. It is that everyone else doesn’t do it as well.

We somehow think that “mind control” and “brainwashing” only exist in Hollywood movies but they are very REAL phenomena and through the relatively new medium of the internet, we are seeing mind control like we’ve never seen in human history.”

“The only remedy is knowledge. We need to educate ourselves so we can educate others.  If you want to understand more, let me know,” thus taking for granted his role in disseminating true knowledge. 

Still, I want to take his message to heart. There is on the big bad forum where I sometimes hang out an unabashed Trump advocate. Can I help him break free from his cult? Mr. Hassan sets the goal:

At EVERY point in this process (and I’ve been doing this for 40+ years for people lost in cults) we want to be gentle and caring. Arguing or TELLING them they are wrong will accomplish nothing.  We want them to have their OWN “Aha!” moment.  We never force it.”

Okay. I will try with this fellow James. Let’s see if I can help him to have his own “AHA!” moment. It won’t be easy because he is a blockhead. But I owe it to him to try.

Hello James. Have I told you lately that I feel love for you, just like Jesus felt love for the rich young ruler? I only want to help you—you must believe me. I do not want to take your trump-trump away. No.

But I have noticed—I say this only because I love and respect you—that whereas you used to be the most fun and pleasant person to be around, lately you have turned into a mean-spirited so-and-so. Do you even realize that the “Arab” you just spit at was actually a Jew?

Have you noted that the President does name calling? Do you think this is very nice? How do you expect other countries to respect this country if it’s leader is not nice? [Have your “Aha!” moment yet? No? Well, let’s continue] 

Hitler was not nice, was he? I know that we will agree on that. See, I am trying to build a bridge to you. I am establishing trust and support, and I will be delicate. Stalin was not nice either. And Pol Pot—what a meanie he was! These are facts I am telling you, James. I know that you will recognize that, for you are very smart. Trump is just like them. See? I am attempting a fundamentally new conversation with you, James. Thank you for allowing me to prove my point.

Alright, that’s enough! Am I my brother’s keeper? If he comes around, so be it. I hope he does, but there is only so much one person can do.

If Trump hadn’t been elected President, I would not have had the gift—an entirely unanticipated one—of Steve Hassan the anti-cultist revealing to all that he is just another political leftist.

 
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