What Does the Ayatollah Want?

My previous analysis of the Iranian crisis focused on whether Israel or the United States will preemptively attack Iran’s nuclear facilities. This question does not require us to investigate which course of action is right or wrong, strategically sound or unsound. The question is whether a certain military action will be taken or not. Today’s column will leave this question and focus on the Iranian side. What does the Iranian leadership want? What are they trying to achieve? What unintended consequences are likely to follow?

On Saturday President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Iran is about to unveil “major achievements in the nuclear domain.” He said an announcement would follow in a matter of days. More than a week ago, the Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said that Iran would never give up. “We will respond to threats of war and oil sanctions.” Indeed, Iran is suffering from sanctions and the freezing of assets.

UN Security Council Resolution 1696 calls on Iran to suspend all uranium enrichment and related activities. Several other UN Security Council Resolutions have been passed, basically restricting Iranian access to technology and equipment. The European Union has passed sanctions against Iran, as well as several nations – including Canada, Australia, Switzerland, India, the United States and South Korea.

Iranian President Ahmadinejad does not hide the fact that Iran is attempting “major achievements in the nuclear domain.” Undoubtedly, a country that is floating on oil, and has a plentiful supply of domestic energy, does not need nuclear power. Furthermore, why should Iran defy the international community in pursuit of this power? Nuclear power is more expensive than energy from fossil fuels. Add to this the cost of an embargo and sanctions. Is it not madness to persist?

What could the Iranian leaders be thinking? There is only one path to discovery. You have to ask someone who has been inside the Iranian system. Iranian defector and former Revolutionary Guardsman Reza Kahlili has written a book about the inner workings of the Iranian regime, titled A Time To Betray. It describes a leadership that believes in the coming of the Mahdi (or twelfth Imam), a figure from Islamic eschatology who will annihilate the unbelievers worldwide. According to Kahlili, Ahmadinejad “believes that many of the signs of the Madhi’s return have emerged. Known as Hadiths, these signs include the invasion of Afghanistan, the bloodshed in Iraq, and the global economic meltdown.”

Islamic prophecy says chaos and war, famine and mass death will set the stage for the appearance of the Mahdi. What could such a prophecy signify, if not the aftermath of a nuclear war? “People like Ahmadinejad so completely believe that these conditions would hasten the return of the twelfth Imam [Madhi], that they were willing to foment universal war, chaos, and famine to bring it about.” What the Iranian regime wants, according to Kahlili, is to immanentize the Islamic eschaton. Kahlili claims that the Iranian regime plans to unleash a nuclear war – a thousand suitcase nukes detonated in Europe and America at one time (or some such terrorist fantasy).

There is little doubt that Kahlili is accurately describing the openly professed beliefs of the Iranian leaders. What is unclear is whether the pragmatic business of statecraft can be entirely given over to a religious enthusiasm. Do the Iranian leaders govern with the idea of triggering the appearance of the Mahdi?

Last 7 November Joel C. Rosenberg wrote a piece for Fox News with the title Why Iran’s Top Leaders Believe That the End of Days Has Come. In this piece Rosenberg refers to a July 2010 claim by Ayatollah Ali Khamenei that he personally met the Mahdi (or twelfth Imam). Furthermore, the Ayatollah claims to be the Madhi’s representative. And there is more.

Last year a CD was widely distributed within Iran, titled The Appearance Is Imminent. From this CD we learn that the Mahdi is soon to appear. The CD also suggests that the Ayatollah Khamenei and President Ahmadinejad are the Mahdi’s helpers. Atousa Bayan, writing on balatarin.com, tells us the CD was “widely criticized” and that Iranian clerics and officials admonished the people who produced it, “and distanced themselves from the program.” However, wrote Bayan, “[T]wo important people did not react to the whole debacle – Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.” Bayan went on to site a prominent Qom cleric who insisted on “the story of a miracle in which witnesses said that at the time of his birth, Ayatollah Khamenei uttered the name of Imam Ali.” Such claims, according to Bayan, show “the deteriorating image of clerics who would resort to telling unfathomable stories in order to create an air of sanctity around Iran’s Supreme Leader, a man bestowed with unlimited and unchecked power….”

In 2008 The Middle East Quarterly offered an article by Mohebat Ahdiyyih, titled Ahmadinejad and the Mahdi. According to Ahdiyyih, “After the 1979 revolution, the Islamic Republic incorporated the idea of Mahdism into its complex system of governance.” In this concept, the government of Iran and its top leaders are, by definition, “representatives of the Madhi in the ‘first government of God’ on earth.” In fact, the Iranian parliament is allowed to exist only insofar as its deputies offer their “services to [the] Lord of the Age [the Mahdi], may God speed his blessed appearance.” Since the first days of Ayatollah Khomeini’s regime, officials of the Iranian government paid lip service to the Madhi. Ahmadinejad and Khamenei are not the first Iranian leaders to pose as harbingers of the messiah. They have merely brought this belief front and center.

Reza Kahlili worked inside the Iranian Revolutionary Guard. He witnessed atrocities. He saw how crazy the regime’s beliefs were; so he decided to work for the CIA – to become a spy. In Kahlili’s account the Iranian regime plans to inflict massive destruction on Israel, the United States and Europe. If Iran becomes a nuclear power, he says, it will be too late for the world. Unprecedented destruction and suffering will follow.

How do we analyze Kahlili’s claim? First, we do not wish to believe such a claim. If we accept what he says, then we must invade Iran with ground forces. This would be expensive and unpopular. No American politician would publicly advocate such a plan. As the Iranian regime has total control over its own population, an internal uprising is unlikely. What is more likely, then, is that Iran will eventually attack the United States. Unfortunately for Khamenei and Ahmadinejad, the chaos unleashed in this attack will not bring forth the Mahdi. Instead, the chaos will bring forth the ascendancy of the undamaged powers (those not hit by Iran’s planned nuclear assault).

Jeffrey Nyquist is the President of the Strategic Crisis Center and Distinguished Senior Fellow in Political Science at the Inter-American Institute for Philosophy, Government, and Social Thought.

This article was originally published on Financial Sense on February 13, 2012. The opinions published here are those of the writer and are not necessarily endorsed by the Institute.

Family Takeover

Imagine a law in America that could set children against their parents, centralize power away from the states toward the federal government, mandate increases in government spending regardless of taxpayer wishes, bypass the House of Representatives, and abrogate constitutional limitations on government power. Such a measure may soon come up for ratification by the US Senate: the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC).

Children have become today’s favorite political weapon. From gun restrictions to mandatory seat-belts, the way to neuter opposition to intrusive government measures is to present them as being “for the children.” But the first casualties in the politicization of children are parents and therefore the family. Professionals who advocate for other people’s children inevitably do so at the expense of those whose first responsibility is their own children.

The CRC illustrates how radically human rights law has turned from its fundamental purpose, to be a shield protecting individuals from government intrusion, to being used as a tool of government intrusion. As Geraldine Van Bueren, a law professor and one of the drafters of the CRC, approvingly observed in a 1999 article in the Human Rights Quarterly, these laws are not about protecting political prisoners or dissenters from repression, but about redistributing power and wealth among social groups:

International human rights law is a peaceful but powerful instrument of change. In essence, human rights is about peacefully redistributing unequal power. . . . The essence of economic and social . . . rights is that they involve redistribution, a task with which, despite the vision of human rights, most constitutional courts and regional and international tribunals are distinctively uncomfortable.

She bluntly states that “the CRC provides an ideology for state intervention” into social and economic life. It is not a limitation on state power but a rationale for expanding it.

Subverting Sovereignty

Indeed, human rights conventions like the CRC can even transform the very nature of treaties, especially in the United States. At the time of the American founding, treaties were forged between sovereign states and were clearly limited to matters of foreign policy, such as alliances and trade. That is why the Constitution provides for them to be concluded by the president and Senate alone, without the participation of the more democratic House of Representatives.

Modern human rights conventions, however, increasingly govern not just nation-states but also sub-national groups and even individuals. Whereas in most countries treaty enforcement is carried out as part of a nation’s foreign policy, in America a ratified treaty becomes by constitutional stipulation the “supreme law of the land,” equal to the Constitution itself. That means that domestic courts are automatically required to enforce its provisions, without recourse to international tribunals.

Treaty-making thus presents a loophole through which various interest groups can effectively legislate American domestic policy while bypassing the people’s elected lawmakers in the House of Representatives and in state legislatures. “Other nations preserve their right of sovereignty and the people’s right to self-government,” says Michael Farris of the Home School Legal Defense Association. “The U.S. is unique in forfeiting the right of self-government to ratified treaties.”

The CRC thus contributes to the dissolution not only of national borders but also of boundaries between national and local governments. Areas of jurisdiction now constitutionally forbidden to the federal government would be subject to mandated federal intervention. Moreover, the federal government itself would become the marionette of a UN committee. At a stroke, the CRC would undermine every authority below the UN: parents and the family, state governments, and the national government. The entire federalist principle—the original justification for the United States Constitution itself—would become worthless.

Anyone who doubts this need only glance at the family policy of the European Union. The EU has no legal authority to legislate in areas of family law or policy, which theoretically are left to national governments. Yet in practice, the EU sponsors many activities that undermine parents and traditional families. Driving much of this activity is EU collaboration with the CRC.

One should also note the recent, innovative use by American courts of the concept of “customary international law” to incorporate treaty provisions into their rulings, even when the relevant treaty has not been ratified by the United States. In Lawrence v. Texas (2003), for example, the Supreme Court invoked international law in striking down a Texas sodomy law. Since then, the Court has twice cited the CRC itself to decide a case: one involving the death penalty (Roper v. Simmons, 2005) and one involving life sentences without parole (Graham v. Florida, 2010). If courts are doing this even before ratification, imagine what will happen afterward.

The Dubious “Best Interest” Standard

One seemingly unexceptionable requirement of the CRC is that governments ensure the “best interest of the child.” In fact, however, the “best interest” standard is highly destructive of parental rights, because it allows government officials to decide the “best interest” of other people’s children, usurping that prerogative from parents.

Traditionally, legal authority over children has been recognized as residing with their parents, unless they somehow forfeit it. In Parham v. J. R. (1979), the Supreme Court recognized “that natural bonds of affection lead parents to act in the best interests of their children.” As Justice Potter Stewart observed in that case, “For centuries it has been a canon of the common law that parents speak for their minor children. So deeply imbedded in our traditions is this principle of law that the Constitution itself may compel a State to respect it.”

This principle has been so eroded in American domestic law that it is now the norm to assume precisely the opposite: that “the child’s best interest is perceived as being independent of the parents,” as family law practitioner Robert Williams writes, “and a court review is held to be necessary to protect the child’s interests.”

The CRC would place additional international pressure on this principle. According to Professor Van Bueren:

Best interests provides decision and policy makers with the authority to substitute their own decisions for either the child’s or the parents’, providing it is based on considerations of the best interests of the child. Thus, the Convention challenges the concept that family life is always in the best interests of children and that parents are always capable of deciding what is best for children.

Perhaps most extreme is Article 9, which permits children to be removed from their parents on the simple judgment by the government that it is necessary “for the best interests of the child.”

More Dubious Provisions

Then there is Article 12, which provides that signatory governments

shall assure to the child who is capable of forming his or her own views the right to express those views freely in all matters affecting the child, the views of the child being given due weight in accordance with the age and maturity of the child.

This provision essentially institutionalizes the right of children to rebel against their parents’ authority and puts the state on the side of the child, with the backing of international law. “The Children’s Convention potentially protects the rights of the child who philosophically disagrees with the parents’ educational goals,” writes Van Bueren.

Any parent can recognize the threat. What makes the disagreement “philosophical”? What is the difference between a child who “philosophically” disagrees with his parents and one who simply doesn’t want to do his homework?

Consider also the provision regarding children’s “privacy.” Article 16 says that “no child shall be subjected to arbitrary or unlawful interference with his or her privacy, family, home, or correspondence” and that “the child has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.” But against whom is the child’s privacy being protected? His parents?

Ironically, authorizing the state to protect a child’s “privacy” justifies massive state intrusion into family privacy. This illustrates how the concept of privacy—while valid (and in my view undervalued by many family advocates today)—is meaningless outside the context of the family.

These types of provisions might be innocuous when used to protect adults against government repression. But when applied to children, they have the effect of abolishing parental and all other authority between children and the state. This starkly illustrates how the family is essential to freedom, and how the state, when it claims to be protecting “freedom” and “privacy” and “rights”—without the mediating authority of the family—is the fox protecting the henhouse.

Out of the Mouths of Lawyers

The CRC’s provisions allow government officials to pose as the mouthpieces and defenders of other people’s children, children they do not know and do not love. The altruism of these officials is assumed without question, while parents are depicted as selfishly promoting their own interests, which are cast as contrary to those of their own children.

This mentality was expressed by Linda Elrod of the Washburn University School of Law in a 2007 paper in the Pace Law Review:

The interests of the child should be at the center of any decision-making. If the child is capable of articulating a perspective, the child should have client-directed counsel to get that voice before the court and the court should seriously consider it. Even if the child is unable to articulate a view, the child’s attorney can offer a child-focused assessment of the child’s needs. Because the child’s best interests may be different than one or both of the parent’s interests, the child should have a voice.

Elrod goes on to claim that “giving the child a voice, however, does not necessarily ‘conflict.’ Listening to the child does not mean not listening to the parents or others involved in the dispute. The key is to add the child’s voice to the voice of others being presented.”

However, in practice, this “child’s voice” comes out of the mouth of a lawyer or some other government official. The parents’ “voice” is just one among several, which officials may heed or ignore as they please. Indeed, it is difficult to see how the CRC can have any other purpose than to marginalize parents, a process that effectively abolishes the family.

Michael Farris remarks that “the child’s wishes seem to get special attention only when the parents want something different from the wishes of the government.” For example, he points out, “No criticism was leveled against either Ireland or the UK for failing to consider the child’s viewpoint in those cases where the parents left the child in the sex education classes.”

Payoffs & GONGOs

The CRC also allows UN and government officials to demand that expenditures be made to implement certain of its policies. One UN report cites Moldova for “inadequate financial support out of the state budget . . . for the implementation of the rights recognized in the Convention.” The Committee has also criticized Austria, Australia, Denmark, the UK, and other countries for not spending enough on social welfare programs. Thus, under the guise of “human rights,” the UN is trying to control the spending priorities of sovereign nations.

This paves the way for patronage payoffs to favored clients, in this case groups professionally involved in child welfare. The UN demands that Moldovan taxpayers fund pressure groups and “provide financial and material support to NGOs [non-governmental organizations] working for the protection and promotion of children’s rights.” Here UN officials are attempting to funnel Moldovans’ money to their cronies, who become extensions of the government.

This creates what some call “GONGOs” or oxymoronic government-organized non-governmental organizations. “At what point does government funding of NGOs make them no longer NGOs?” asks ParentalRights.org, an organization opposing the CRC. “If Moldova were to accede to the UN’s wishes and fund these non-government organizations, just how ‘non-government’ could they hope to remain?”

In their origins, writes philosopher Pierre Manent, “the protection, and first of all the recognition, of equal human rights was strongly tied to the construction of the sovereign state.” If we allow “human rights” to become a grab-bag for anything we choose to put on the political agenda—to the point of undermining the very institutions we have cultivated over centuries to both exercise and protect our rights—then not only will our freedoms become subject to exploitation by any number of cynical interests but so will everything else that is dear to us—including, in this case, our children.

Stephen BaskervilleStephen Baskerville is IAI’s Senior Fellow in Political Science and Human Rights. He is Associate Professor of Government at Patrick Henry College and Research Fellow at the Howard Center for Family, Religion, and Society and at the Independent Institute.

This article was originally published at touchstonemag.com on February, 2011.

The opinions published here are those of the writer and are not necessarily endorsed by the Institute.

League of Acceptable Nations

RIn his recent syndicated column “A U.N. for the good guys,” Jonah Goldberg evokes the mindset of seventeenth-century puritanism. This is entirely understandable. Much of what the American left teaches, including its neoconservative element, resembles American Calvinism—albeit in a warmed-over form. In Puritan New England, Congregationalists—the only authorized communicants—were deeply troubled that unredeemed polluted their assemblies. Those who considered themselves visible saints were forced to break bread with those who could not properly prove their divine election. This led to a sectarian split that resulted in Rhode Island’s settlement by breakaway Calvinists disgusted by the toleration of impure religious assemblies in Massachusetts. This determined group of dissenters formed a purified congregation of the saints

In a similar way Jonah is looking for pure souls. He is agitated that Russia and China would not vote for “a fairly toothless U.N. resolution condemning the regime in Syria and calling for President Bashar Assad, the lipless murderer who runs the place, to step down.” Jonah points to a terrible spiritual defect in the governments that opposed the resolution. To him it is an outrage that the UN Security Council assigns seats to countries “because they are powerful, not because they are decent, wise or democratic.” This stems from what Jonah says is a “category error”: “There is nothing in the UN Charter…that says a government has to be democratic or even care for the welfare of its people.” The UN does something even more grievous from the neoconservative standpoint: It serves as a “counterweight to the United States” and allows morally reprehensible countries to thumb their noses at America..

Although Jonah holds back on the idea of “getting rid of the UN” completely, he says it may be possible to create a “league, or concert, of democracies” under American ideological leadership. Here the pure of heart would be able to assemble and act in concert because “good nations want to see good things done.”

Goldberg writes:

A permanent global clubhouse for democracies based on shared principles would make aiding growing movements easier and offer a nice incentive for nations to earn membership in a club with loftier standards than mere existence.

Has it ever dawned on Goldberg that not all nation-states have identical interests? Some of them vote against the American government or our establishment media because they are pursuing their self-interest, at least as they perceive it. In Syria’s case, as Taki astutely points out, the Sunnis’ supporters, led by the very undemocratic Saudi Arabia, are inciting an overthrow of the present Shiite-friendly regime. Whatever replaces that government is not likely to be any nicer than what it supplants, just as Mubarak’s ousting has not led to a surge of democratic liberties in Cairo. We are talking here not about a return to Edenic purity, but about a circulation of elites. The Chinese and Russians have opted for Syria’s Alawi rulers, who depend on their Iranian connection. This leadership is being opposed by the surrogates of the Saudis and other Sunni militants, who are trying to take power from Assad.

It is the US government, or more exactly its neoconservative priesthood, whom Jonah would like to see make the admissions decisions for his “permanent global clubhouse for democracies.” Besides voting in lockstep with American interests as neoconservative journalists define them, all members will be required to support Israel’s Likud government.

Will any deviations be allowed? How long will dissenting members be indulged before they get booted? How closely will membership candidates have to approximate the current American regime before they are let in? Will applicants have to grant women the right to vote, and will they have to enforce what now passes for racial equality?

If such criteria are to be applied, then until recently the US would have been blackballed under its current standards. Women did not achieve national suffrage until 1920, and blacks were denied the vote in some areas until the mid-1960s. What about such democratic blessings as gay marriage? I gather they are now integral parts of our democracy, so we should insist that our cohorts introduce them as well. Will applicants be expected to protect intellectual and religious freedom within their borders—principles that our journalists complain are lacking in China and other bad places? If such freedom is to be the rule, then all Western countries that enforce political correctness against conservative Christians and arrest scholars for expressing criminalized positions will have to be excluded. But it may be such not-very-libertarian Western “liberal democracies” as Canada that Jonah would enlist for his league of “good nations.”

It is doubtful that he would judge their deficient liberty in the same way as he would judge, say, Turkey or Russia. Apparently, arresting people for questioning the Holocaust or for sermonizing about the prohibition against homosexuality in Leviticus is not the same as punishing those who blaspheme the Koran.

I noticed this double standard in looking at recent ratings regarding which countries are “free” according to the less-than-unbiased monitoring organization Freedom House. Turkey, which discourages discussions of the massacre of Armenians during World War I, was rated low for suppressing intellectual dissent. But France, which has criminalized any denial of the “Armenian genocide” and other historical events, received comparatively high ratings for intellectual freedom. What I learned from such strange ratings is that it’s OK to curtail liberties only for what Western progressives want to suppress.

But Goldberg’s “nice incentives” for moral inclusion may never reach such complexity. All that may be required for membership in his club is that a nation votes in the manner he deems appropriate.

In the meantime Jonah has a problem. He can’t seem to get the entire world onboard for what he wishes to see universally enacted. Our world is simply too damned complicated for his latter-day puritanical imagination.

Paul_GottfriedDr. Paul Gottfried is IAI’s Distinguished Senior Fellow in Western Civilization and the History of Ideas.

This article was originally takimag.com on February 16, 2012..

The opinions published here are those of the writer and are not necessarily endorsed by the Institute.

They’re Mainstreaming Pedophilia

Alfred Kinsey’s ongoing sexual anarchy campaign has no end in sight.

Matt Barber, associate dean of the Liberty University School of Law, and I attended the “B4U-ACT” pedophile conference Aug. 17. To eliminate the “stigma” against pedophiles, this growing sexual anarchist lobby wants the American Psychiatric Association (APA) to redefine pedophilia as a normal sexual orientation of “Minor-Attracted Persons.”

Adhering to the Kinsey principle of lulling “straights” into a false sense of security, pedophile dress was largely conservative – short hair, jackets, some ties and few noticeable male ear piercings.

Matt Barber and I sat in the back of the meeting room among roughly 50 activists and their “mental health” attending female enablers. “Pedophilia, Minor-Attracted Persons, and the DSM: Issues and Controversies,” keynoted “Fred Berlin, M.D., Ph.D., as founder, National Institute for the Study, Prevention and Treatment of Sexual Trauma; Johns Hopkins Sexual Disorders Clinic.”

However, the sex clinic was initially founded by John Money, Ph.D., to give judges “leeway” to keep child molesters out of jail. Money (deceased), a pedophile advocate, also called for an end to all age-of-consent laws. Dr. Berlin was his disciple.

In 1973, our “post Kinsey era,” a small APA committee of psychiatrists, quite terrified by homosexist public harassment, agreed to rely on Kinsey’s fraudulent human sexuality “data” to redefine homosexuality as normal, removing it from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) of mental disorders.

The APA decision was hyped in college textbooks, law journal articles, judicial rulings, and by 1974 pitched as high-school sex education. Soon the homosexist lobby would sail into primary schools and kindergartens by agitating recurring AIDS “prevention,” “bullying” and “hate” panics.

To redefine homosexuality as a normal “orientation,” nature not nurture, researchers were told to ignore all data of early sex abuse or other trauma. This hoax was followed by the 1999 U.S. Department of Justice data that found 64 percent of forcible sodomy victims to be boys under age 12.

For after claiming 10 percent to 37 percent of men were sometime homosexual, Kinsey also said children are sexual from birth and so deserve to have sex with adults or youths (taught as a 1974 Planned Parenthood sex ed doctrine).

The APA path to pedophile norms follows the success of the homosexual anarchy campaign. Arguably, the pedophile media lobby directed the passionate boy-boy kisses on the TV series “Glee,” to enable fellow “Minor-Attracted Persons” to increasingly be seen as a boy’s sex “friend.”

B4U-ACT claims to “help mental health professionals learn more about attraction to minors and to consider the effects of stereotyping, stigma, and fear.” While the group claimed they want to teach pedophiles “how to live life fully and stay within the law,” no one suggested how to stop their child lust or molestation.

Barber asked what “age of consent” the group proposed and what role pornography plays as a causative factor in child sex abuse. No one would answer the first question, and all denied any harm from pornography.

Arguably, due to our presence, Dr. Berlin (who sat next to me during the entire event) admitted that occasionally pornography could trigger sexual acting out. He also expressed a personal belief that pre-pubescent children (that is, under about age 10) cannot consent, and that perhaps even teenagers might be sexually vulnerable.

All speakers focused on pedophiles as healthy, normal and unfairly victimized by stigma and mean words. Following repeated assertions that pedophiles never force children, are gentle and loving, one researcher did cite a child “victim” who was raped and sodomized.

One speaker laughingly compared doing an obscene act “on” a child to doing the same obscene act on a shoe. No one protested, and some chuckled. One young female suggested pedophiles might be helped by engaging in “sex play” using naked pictures of pseudo children, allied with some sadism, bridal gowns, etc. This Ph.D. social worker candidate proudly noted her objection to any “repression.”

For their attendance, the pedophile political activists could earn 6.0 units of continuing education credits by the “Maryland Board of Social Work Examiners.” These 12 board members credentialed this pedophile academic farce, giving higher education credits to allow felons and near-felons to advance their child sexual abuse agenda by using bogus and fraudulent research. I would encourage people to complain to the board at this link.




Committed to quietly monitoring this meeting, I offered a few unwelcome closing remarks. I noted the arrogance of this group’s conclusion that Americans’ fear for child safety is due to a puritanical “sex panic.” Since the Department of Justice found 58,200 children kidnapped by non-family members in 1999, such fear seems well-placed.

Before leaving the issue of stigma and hate speech, note a few excerpts from BOYCHAT April 15 by some of these “social worker” credentialed pedophiles:

“Judith Reisman” is “with the worst of them … dehumanizing hate speech … extreme christian [sic], right wing … alarmist … creating gross distrotions [sic] … no genuine integrity … a harlot. … Judith did, in fact, make [Kinsey’s sexual stimulation of infants and toddlers] sound like horrendously violent, child sexual assault … [she is a] horrible, wretched scumbag … pathetic, sorry excuse for a human being. … The world will become a less wretched place, the second Judith Reisman drops dead [from natural causes, of course, though I’d not complain if she got accidentally ran over by a semi]. … With Love, Stevie-D.”

Love? What was that about stigma and hate speech?

6Dr. Judith Reisman is a Distinguished Senior Fellow in the Study of Social Trends, Human Rights, and Media Forensics.

The opinions published here are those of the writer and are not necessarily endorsed by the Institute. This article was originally published on WorldNetDaily on August 22, 2011. You can buy Dr. Reisman’s book Sexual Sabotage on her website.

Imago Dei

“And the Logos (Word) became flesh, and dwelt amongst us.” (John 1: 14).

There is a mystery of the human soul which, by itself, implicates the platonic world of Ideas. In other words, it is as if we were rediscovering the pre-historical times, or, more precisely, the mythological experience of what we are as a creation of God. In this fashion, we must remind ourselves of the numb condition of Narcissus when he saw his own reflection in the waters and fell in love with it, or even the Myth of Eros who, according to Plato’s Socratic dialogue, the Symposium, was conceived by Poros («Resource») and Penia («Poverty») during the divine birth celebration of Aphrodite, the goddess of love.

So, the numb condition of Narcissus can be understood as the fall of the astral or ether substance of the soul into material darkness. This fall is also present in the Myth of Eros, namely when Poros, just before his sexual union with Penia, fell asleep due to being enraptured by the nectar of the gods. Besides, this is probably the reason why a Portuguese occultist, universally known as Fernando Pessoa, said that whoever had invented the mirror had also poisoned the human soul. Therefore, according to the impenitent Heterodox, every man remains naturally powerless to face himself, even when he is symbolically capable of taking a bent posture to contemplate his own reflection in rivers and lakes.

Nevertheless, it is through the “Image of God”, often appearing in Latin as Imago Dei, that we should more properly embrace the sacred mystery of God’s creation. The cornerstone of such a mystery can be found in Genesis (1: 26. 27), where Revelation took place in the following terms: God created Adam in His image and likeness, that is to say, God created him, male and female. Therefore, the Fall of Adam and Eve can be seen as the mythical process separation of the “androgynous”, which, in Biblical terms, corresponds to a rejecting process of their spiritual likeness to God.

But, meanwhile, a miracle occurred in the entire universe: Christ, who is the image of the invisible God, was born among us in order to redeem us and forgive us our sins. So, glorious light shone out of darkness as the glory of God in the holy face of Jesus Christ. In other words, the ancient and sacred Mysteries were no longer a supreme legacy reserved to initiates, because once, through Jesus Christ, God’s spiritual love could finally be revealed to all mankind.

By no means is this loving and cosmic phenomenon compatible with pseudo historical theories about the life and death of our Lord Jesus Christ. Many of those theories can be found, for instance, in Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh and Henry Lincoln, the authors of The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail (1982), as also in The Messianic Legacy (1986), or even in Lyn Picknett & Clive Prince’s Templar Revelation (1997)[1], not to speak, of course, of Dan Brown’s novel The Da Vinci Code (2003).

Here are, generally speaking, some aspects of such false and irreligious theories:

1.The divine nature of Jesus Christ has no substantiality, because he was, on the contrary, a revolutionary nationalist whose purpose was to free Israel from the Roman domain. Besides, he was, in this very context, a royal descendent of the House of David, who had also married with a royal descendent of the Jewish House of Benjamin: Mary of Magdalene.

2.The Holy Grail was not a chalice, but more precisely Mary of Magdalene, who carried the bloodline of Christ to France, where she was sheltered by the Jews of Marseille. Meanwhile, the bloodline of Christ became the Merovingian Dynasty of France, which was the secret discovered by the Crusaders after they conquered Jerusalem in 1099. That secret was kept till our days by the mythical Priory of Sion, a secret society founded by Godfrey of Bouillon on Mount Zion in the Kingdom of Jerusalem (1099).

3.The Church has suppressed this secret about Jesus’ bloodline for 2000 years in order to establish the primacy of Saint Peter over the sacred feminine represented by Mary of Magdalene. From there the reason appears why the wife of Jesus was a prostitute invented by the Church to obscure their true relationship.

4.This secret is also revealed in Leonardo Da Vinci´s work, “The Last Supper”. So, the figure next to Christ is not the Apostle John, but “the Disciple Jesus loved”, or, in other words, the code for Mary Magdalene. Moreover, the same idea can be found in the letter “V” that is formed by the bodily positions of Jesus and Mary, as “V” is the symbol for the sacred feminine. On the whole, the parity between the cosmic and archetypal forces of masculine and feminine has long been a serious threat to the established and concentrated power of the Church.

In the midst of these controversial theories, we should note that, in March 2006, Baigent and Leigh filed a lawsuit in a British court against Brown’s publisher, Random House, claiming copyright infringement. This claim was rejected by the High Court judge Peter Smith on 7 April 2007 whereby Dan Brown won the court case. But why, in the meantime, was not Lincoln involved in the proceedings in Dan Brown’s lawsuit? Because, as he stated in the Channel Five documentary, Revealed… The Man behind the Da Vinci Code, the ideas brought forth in Holy Blood were not even original themselves.

So, this “revelation” is by itself a very interesting and crucial fact, especially when we carefully observe the bibliographical elements included in books such as The Holy Blood and The Messianic Legacy. However, there is a French author who is strangely not quoted among the former ones, namely Robert Ambelain, who became, in 1953, the founder of l’Église Gnostique Apostolique (The Gnostic Apostolic Church), as well as, in 1960, the Patriarch of l’Église Gnostique Universelle (The Gnostic Universal Church) under the name of Tau Jean III. Besides that, he was also a Freemason[2], becoming inclusively the Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Memphis-Misraim. But for what reason is not Robert Ambelain – as a specialist on esoteric issues -, quoted or bibliographically considered by the co-authors of The Holy Blood and The Messianic Legacy? We do not know for certainty. Nevertheless, it is perfectly evident that many aspects presented in Ambelain’s books, such as La Vie Secrète de Saint Paul (The Secret Life of Saint Paul, 1972) or Les Lourds Secrets du Golgotha (The Dark Secrets of the Golgotha, 1974), are directly related with an extreme desacralization of the life, passion, death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Just to give an example of such misconception, in order to degrade the Bible, Ministry and Sacred Tradition of the Roman Catholic Church, here are some proving points extracted from another Ambelain’s book, entitled Jesus ou Le Mortel Secret des Templiers (Jesus or The Mortal Secret of the Templars”, 1970):

1.Jesus had a mysterious brother called Thomas – who according to the Gospel of John (XI, 16; XX, 24) was also called Didymos, a Greek expression which means twin. On the other hand, Thomas comes from the Hebrew taoma or toama, which again means twin. From this philological point of view, Ambelain’s conclusion is that we are before a nonsensical expression: «Thomas called Didymos», that is to say «Twin called Twin»[3].

2.Based on the “Acts of Thomas”, an apocryphal that still exists in Latin, Greek and Syrian versions, Ambelain states that, regarding the true name of Thomas, the former one was Judas.

3.The Gospel of John was especially designed in such a way that Thomas could be presented as the doubting disciple of Jesus Christ, when, in reality, he was an accomplice of an extraordinary deceit: the resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ to heaven.

4.According to Ambelain’s misconstruction, Thomas, “the second Christ”, had to use a mask to not be publicly recognized by the Roman legionaries. Consequently, the author refers to some Biblical passages to barely sustain this materialistic point of view, such as: a) after the resurrection of Christ, Mary of Magdalene didn’t recognize Jesus, for whom she took as the gardener (John: XX, 15); b) in front of Jesus’ appearance in the Road to Emmaus, two disciples didn’t recognize him either (Luke: XXIV, 13-32); c) two more disciples of Jesus saw him «in another form» (Mark: XVI, 12); d) Jesus’ appearances indicate traces of usual materiality, due to the fact that he could eat and absorb food, which is by itself very strange in a disunited spirit (Luke: XXIV, 38-43).

5.Between 200 and 300 A.D., the existence of a Jesus’ twin brother was not a scandal. So, it was much later that the miraculous conception was forged about Christ’s Incarnation, or, more precisely, the fundamental theological teaching of orthodox Christianity which affirms the belief that a non-created second hypostasis of the triune God joined but did not mix in a human body and nature and became both man and God. Therefore, this is why Jesus’ twin brother had practically disappeared in the New Testament, or simply been obscured by the Mother of God (Theotokos), who, as we know by the Roman Catholic Tradition, conceived her son miraculously through the Holy Spirit.

As we see it, there is not a simple coincidence on how this sort of «campaign» against the Roman Catholic Church continues nowadays. In The Templar Revelation: Secret Guardians of the True Identity of Christ, Lynn Picknett and Clive Prince proposes a superficial hypothesis regarding the relationship between Jesus, John the Baptist and Mary Magdalene. In other words, they upheld that Jesus was a disciple initiated in the inner circle of John the Baptist[4], whose teachings were basically that of the Egyptian mystery religion of Isis-Osiris-Horus. Briefly speaking, Jesus was not only an astute and aggressive political competitor against John, but also an initiate in the ritualized and sexual sacred mysteries of Mary Magdalene, who, afterwards, had an equal relationship with Jesus. In short, he was simply one god in the line of many dying-and-rising gods, who just share similar or common traits.

Despite all those imagery elements, it is a fact that the co-agetsemani-versao-castelo (2)uthors[5] of The Templar Revelation have also teamed up on several similar works, such as the following ones: Stargate Conspiracy: The Truth about Extraterrestrial Life and the Mysteries of Ancient Egypt; The Sion Revelation (2006); The Masks of Christ: Behind the Lies and Cover-ups About the Man Believed to be God (2008); Turin Shroud: in Whose Image? the Truth Behind the Centuries-Long Conspiracy of Silence (1994).

In the last mentioned book, it was proposed that Leonardo da Vinci had faked the Shroud by using a real corpse treated with chemicals and then exposed to be reproduced by an early form of camera obscura (pinhole camera) to obtain the image. Due to his secret alchemist experiences, Leonardo also used his own face for the model of Jesus, thereby creating a double photographic exposure. So, according to the authors, the Shroud seems to be the oldest known surviving photograph, notwithstanding that John Jackson, in the quality of director of the Turin Shroud of Colorado, had meanwhile dismissed the possibility of it.

There is no doubt that the image on the Shroud is much clearer in black-and-white negative than in its natural sepia color. This fact was first observed in 1898 by Secondo Pia, an Italian photographer who was allowed to photograph the Shroud while it was being exhibited in the Turin Cathedral. He was finally startled by the visible image on the reverse photographic plate in his darkroom, as if the Shroud image was itself effectively a negative of some kind.

But, even optically speaking, the Shroud image is far beyond being a negative image. And the main reason is based on this axial fact: the Shroud image has properties that, when submitted to a digital image processing, yields a 3-dimensional image[6]. Consequently, this is not a process that occurs in photography, which, as we know, is strictly confined to a bi-dimensional structure.

Otherwise, there is also the controversial radiocarbon dating test performed in a small sample of the Shroud in 1988. The laboratories at the University of Oxford, the University of Arizona and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology dated the Shroud material from the Middle Ages, between 1260 and 1390. In the meantime, criticisms have been raised regarding the choice of the sample taken for testing, because it may have not been representative of the whole Shroud, or it could even be a medieval repair fragment rather than the image-bearing cloth.

In 1983 the Shroud was given to the Holy See by the House of Savoy. The Roman Catholic Church made no pronouncements claiming whether the Shroud is authentic or not. But one thing we can be certain of: being or not being Jesus Christ’s burial cloth, the death and resurrection of the Son of God remains an objective belief to most Christians in the world.

But who better than the Philosopher Pope John Paul II to testify the mystery of the Incarnation, according to some words of his Holiness’s address in Sunday, 24 May 1988:

«The Shroud is a challenge to our intelligence. It first of all requires of every person, particularly the researcher, that he humbly grasp the profound message it sends to his reason and his life. The mysterious fascination of the Shroud forces questions to be raised about the sacred Linen and the historical life of Jesus. Since it is not a matter of faith, the Church has no specific competence to pronounce on these questions. She entrusts to scientists the task of continuing to investigate, so that satisfactory answers may be found to the questions connected with this Sheet, which, according to tradition, wrapped the body of our Redeemer after he had been taken down from the cross. The Church urges that the Shroud be studied without pre-established positions that take for granted results that are not such; she invites them to act with interior freedom and attentive respect for both scientific methodology and the sensibilities of believers.

(…) The Shroud is also an image of powerlessness: the powerlessness of death, in which the ultimate consequence of the mystery of the Incarnation is revealed. The burial cloth spurs us to measure ourselves against the most troubling aspect of the mystery of the Incarnation, which is also the one that shows with how much truth God truly became man, taking on our condition in all things, except sin. Everyone is shaken by the thought that not even the Son of God withstood the power of death, but we are all moved at the thought that he so shared our human condition as willingly to subject himself to the total powerlessness of the moment when life is spent. It is the experience of Holy Saturday, an important stage on Jesus’ path to Glory, from which a ray of light shines on the sorrow and death of every person. By reminding us of Christ’s victory, faith gives us the certainty that the grave is not the ultimate goal of existence. God calls us to resurrection and immortal life».


[1] Picknett and Prince’s book was certainly inspired by The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail. It has also become central to the best-selling novel The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown.

[2] Furthermore, it is also publically known that Michael Baigent is a Freemason and a Grand Officer of the United Grand Lodge of England.

[3] These philological relations are practically repeated in The Messianic Legacy, without any reference to Ambelain’s analysis of the subject.

Imago Dei[4] The pointing gesture of St. John the Baptist, painted by Leonardo da Vinci, is also seized, in this particular context, as a possible sign of unorthodox Christian thinking. In fact, and beyond all this heterodox assumption, the same pointing gesture can be found in The School of Athens, the most famous frescoes made by the Italian Renaissance artist Raphael between 1510 and 1511. In the centre of the fresco are the two indisputable philosophers of all times: Plato and Aristotle. And that is precisely Plato, to which Leonardo’s portrait was used as the iconic image of the Greek philosopher, who personifies the pointing gesture into the beautiful vault above, while Aristotle initiates a horizontal and powerful flow of spiritual energy toward viewers. On the whole, we are in front of a theoretical or speculative conception, and not before a “thread of heresy” that reaches back over 2000 years.

[5] Regarding the Works of Lynn Picknett, there are at least two of which stand out in our context research: Mary Magdalene: Christianity’s Hidden Goddess and The Secret History of Lucifer. Lynn Picknett is, on the other hand, a member of The Ghost Club, a paranormal investigating and research organization that was founded in London in 1862. Notable members since its foundation includes Charles Dickens, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the creator of Sherlock Holmes, Sir William Crookes, Arthur Koestler, W. B. Yeats, Peter Cushing, Nandor Fondor, psychologist and a former associate of Sigmund Freud, Maurice Gross, famous for his investigation of the Enfield Poltergeist.

[6] This image analysis was firstly made by John Jackson and Eric Jumper in Colorado Springs in 1976. For this purpose, an analog computer was used, the VP8 Image Analyzer, produced by Peter Schumacher. As we know, no researcher was capable to replicate the 3-dimentional effect, even when they have already attempted to transfer similar images using techniques of block print, engravings, a hot statue or a bas-relief. At that rate, this same process converges, in a certain sense, with a detailed examination that it was carried out by a team of American scientists called STURP, in 1978. In other words, they did not find any reliable evidence of forgery, while, at the same time, were incapable to explain the question of how the image was formed. So, according to them, it remained “a mystery”.

19Miguel Bruno Duarte is a Fellow in Philosophy and Political Science at the Inter-American Institute for Philosophy, Government, and Social Thought.

The opinions published here are those of the writer and are not necessarily endorsed by the Institute. Translated from the Portuguese by Alessandro Cota.

A Lesson in Law

Many persons have written extensively about the law, but very few of them have done what needs to be done by any and every legislator, judge, or president—that which St. Paul does in the Epistle for the Romans 13:1-7. Paul declares that all power (one can read “authority”) comes from God. Actually both come from God, all power and all authority.

In our usage, there is commonly a difference between power and authority. “Power” means the ability to get something done, whereas “authority” means the right to have it done, the right to command obedience. The ability might be the power of enforcement, but that is quite different from the right to command something. Many governments enforce things they have no right to command, and therefore no right to enforce. They do it anyhow because they have that ability, and do not care about someone else’s rights.

We can have the power to force something without the right to command it. That is THE major problem of civil government—for which God has the only answer.

That distinction between power and authority is latent in the Gospel lesson where a Roman centurion asks Jesus to heal his servant who is apparently dying. The centurion is an officer in the Roman army which is occupying Judea.  They are, in that sense, an enemy of the Jews.  But there were many Roman legionaries who had become God fearers, those who honored the religion of Judaism without becoming actual Jews by circumcision.  Such was the centurion who pled with Jesus for help.

The centurion describes how he has the ability to command this and that to his servants.  But he does not have the ability or authority to heal his sick servant.  The centurion humbles himself, admitting that he has a need for one of his conquered foes.  He knows that Jesus can do something which he cannot.  And, the centurion recognizes something which startles even Jesus – that there is a connection between authority and healing.  The centurion compares the authority which he has to order his servants with Jesus’ authority to command healing.  He understands that healing comes from authority, a command, not from incantations or other abilities which some claim to have.

Jesus says that he has not seen such faith even in all Israel.  His disciples standing around must have wondered about their own faith—who had known Jesus for some time.

The centurion understands that Jesus has an authority which very few have, that Jesus is indeed someone very special. He must certainly have heard of Jesus doing healings, but likely he also has seen Jesus heal someone because he is so certain that Jesus can heal his servant, even without coming to his home. He has only to say the word. That is authority. Command. Even the forces of nature jump to obey.

We secularized Westerners think of such things quite differently. We would not likely say that physical events such as healings can happen by command. But that is what both the centurion and Jesus are saying. And that is what the disciples learned from Jesus…, “In the name of Jesus Christ, rise up and walk,” said Peter to a cripple. A command, not a pleading with God to heal the lame man.

The words of Paul that all authority comes from God are anathema today.  They are routinely denied by Christians as well as by secular or pagan folks.  Our denial of them is precisely the reason why we are in the political and economic chaos of today.  God tells us over and over that if we will obey Him, our lives will go well. But we know better, thank you.

Paul declares that all authority comes from God, meaning, from God alone.  It does not originate from any other source.  We humans cannot produce our own authority, independently from God.  That is not a thought which passes the minds of contemporary politicians of any major political party.  It was a thought which was common among our founding American politicians, and which was standard legal doctrine in England and America. No law could contravene the law of God—which was the source of all law.  We humans cannot invent our own law, we have only the law of God, which we are required to administer.

That has some rather radical (to us today) consequences.  It means that any government which makes up and enforces its own laws (either by ignorance or willfulness) is an outlaw government.  All legitimate government must be under the law of God.  That is how it gains its legitimacy.  There is no other way for a government to be legitimate.  The primary purpose for civil government is to bring the use of coercive force under the law and grace of God.

American Christians in the 1800’s failed to clarify the logic of that, so that as the 1800’s wore on, secular legal experts, eager to dispense with the law of God, reinvented the old pagan way of making law, and gave it a new name, “positivist law”. That does not mean law which is especially positive, that is, good, but rather it means law that is posited, placed or put, as in “deposited”. The legal experts simply posit what they deem to be a good idea as the law of the land. It needs, they thought, no back up from God. Their own expertise is sufficient, they thought. They made up law by trial and error, to see what “worked best”— that is, according to their secular standards. In the end, it always comes to mean—by the standards of some individual or oligarchy. Tyranny.

That is the legal system by which we operate today. It is, by the standards of God, an outlaw system. Or, we might say, an anti-Christ system because it forbids the law of God, and denies that Jesus is King of kings and Lord of lords—that is, over all governments, all kings, all lords, all presidents.

That is no small matter because it always leads to legal chaos, as we see all over the West and in our own present administration. And that chaos leads always to more and more centralization of government and tyranny. Exactly what God warned the Hebrews would happen when they chose a king for themselves (see I Sam. 8). The only way to stem the tide of growing chaos is to have some strong man rescue society from the chaos by himself taking over—just as did Napoleon for the tragically disintegrating French Revolution. That, as our founding fathers understood, is where “democracy” leads—unless the people themselves are submitted to the law of God and insist that their government be likewise so. And then we are no longer a democracy, we are (at least in America) a constitutional democratic republic under God.

The Hebrews had a written constitution. Ours was not the first. The king was ordered by God to keep a copy of the Torah under his pillow, ready for reading. The law of God is our universal cosmic constitution—meant for everyone, every government. Star Wars included. Whether secular folks like it or not, that is why the Decalogue was placed by our founding fathers in the Supreme Court. The judges were to read it.

But, what justifies this absurd sounding assertion that God already rules all governments? The fact is that if you ask a pagan or secular person what is the source of government authority, the government’s right to command other persons, and the people’s obligation to obey the government—they cannot come up with any reasonable explanation. They end up just having to assert their authority. And maybe think you a fool for denying their assertion.

Well, then, what is the Biblical justification for the rulership of God over all things? As English law once recognized in print, the justification was that God, being the creator of all things, owns them, outright, 100%. Just as we recognize that the creator of a book, or a song, or a new invention can have a copyright or patent on it and decide how it will be used, just so, God, being the absolute creator of all things, has, as it were, an eternal patent and copyright on the cosmos. He wholly owns everything. Owning something means that you have the ability to say how it will be used. That is because the creator of something is the only being who logically can give that thing is “reason for existence”. No one else can do that, only the creator, precisely because He created it.

This principle that there is a designer of the cosmos is the foundation for the growing “Intelligent Design” movement, successfully countering the secular/pagan notion of evolution.

“Reason for existence” is the only logical basis for moral obligation. God, being the source of moral obligation, can obligate any and all of us, as He chooses. That is why all civil governments are obligated to assent to the law of God, to administer that law, and to refrain from making up their own laws independently of God’s law. The law of God is universal, covers all possible situations, and is understandable by the people—in well under 1000 words, believe it or not.

Christians have allowed this secular/pagan nonsense to become the “law of the land”. It is outlaw law. And we Christians must learn how publically, politely, and gracefully to proclaim the truth—which is why I am preaching this sermon with these Bible passages.

Deuteronomy 4 takes this theme further. Moses tells his people, “I have taught you statutes and ordinances, as the Lord my God commanded me… Keep them and do them; for that will be your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the peoples, who, when they hear of all these statutes, will say, ‘surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.’ For what great nation is there that has a god so near to it as the Lord our God is to us, whenever we call upon Him.”

Moses tells them to make these things known to their children and to their children’s children. He told them that the law of God will “be their wisdom”. That is a statement which I would never have thought until about 1992 when I began to take seriously the law of God myself, not only for myself personally, but for the public arena.

I discovered that America had been formed as a Biblical nation, that is, that our founding documents could have been written only by a people who understood and believed the Biblical principle that we are both personally and corporately responsible before God. Everyone of our founding fathers would have assented to that. It was not a perfect beginning for us, but it had the basic principles which we Christians then failed to develop.

We spent much of our time during the 1800’s fighting with other Christians rather than with the secular influences which were growing steadily. Evangelicals, by supporting the government school system, even sided with secularists—to control the Roman Catholics who were coming over from Europe. Government schools created a monumental disaster, which as much as anything in the last two centuries, sealed the fate of Christian culture for the 20th century, and probably most of the 21st. On the good side, home schoolers are winning that battle, with some possible great advances coming in New Hampshire.

Moses tells the people that their government will be a “witness to the nations”. Amazing. There is hardly an American alive today, I suspect, who sees America in that role. Every week, I go out Friday mornings on a two hour prayer walk, praying primarily for two things, that God will raise up truth-seekers and truth-speakers, and that God will raise up among us Americans witnesses for Godly government, both here and abroad, that we will become a missionary nation, that “city on a hill”, a testimony for the whole world. People must learn that their political freedom comes from God just a much as their personal salvation freedom. Our founding fathers understood that.

Moses goes on: “Did any people ever hear the voice of a god speaking out of the midst of the fire… and still live? Or has any god ever attempted to go and take a nation for himself from the midst of another nation, by trials, by signs, by wonders, and by war, by a mighty hand and an outstretched arm….?” “Therefore you shall keep his statutes and his commandments, which I command you this day, that it may go well with you, and with your children after you….”

There is that promise again—keep these commandments and it will go well with you. These commandments are for your good. They will enhance your lives and your relationships. They are a light upon your path. They are your wisdom, even in the eyes of the pagans out there. Why would you be your own worst enemy by deserting God who has saved you and wants you to prosper?

We Christians MUST learn how to say the same thing to our people, to our voters, to our government. It is a provable fact of life—that when you do things God’s way, they go better. I know of no contradictory evidence in any area of life. Why cannot Christians stand up and say that?

The answer, I believe, is because we do not know how to be truth-seekers. And we are not typically very good even at position-defending.

The first business of any political order is to decide who is God, who owns the cosmos, who has authority to rule over people, to command others to obey. The first and most important question of politics is just that. Who owns the cosmos? We have in practice only two choices: God or civil government. As one Speaker of the House of the 1850’s said, “We will be ruled by the Bible or by the bayonet.”  God or tyranny—take your pick.

For at least 150 years, we American have sadly chosen to drift towards tyranny.  We are well along that path.  We Western Christians are currently a sorry lot, so often just like the Hebrews.  But we can, by the grace of God and a lot of hard work, repair the damage to our own witness, and learn again the meaning and substance of Biblical government.   We need government first for ourselves, our salvation, and then, people secure in the Lord, out in the public arena.

It begins with “Jesus is Lord”.  Jesus is King of all kings, and Lord over all lords.  That is our message to the world.  He cannot be our savior unless He is King over ourselves first, and then including most emphatically, civil government.

Dr. Earle FoxDr. Earle Fox is IAI’s Senior Fellow in Philosophy of Science and the Worldview of Ethical Monotheism.

This article was oiginally published at TheRoadtoEmmaus.org. See also Dr. Fox’s new Book Abortion, the Bible and America.

The opinions published here are those of the writer and are not necessarily endorsed by the Institute.

Hollywood gives ‘Iron Lady’ a rusty mind

Thousands of studies have shown that the media, including movies and television programs, can shape the thoughts and behavior of people. Politicians, advertisers and educators depend on this being true.

People’s view of history also can be shaped by movies and television programs. For instance, in 1915, the popularity of D. W. Griffith’s “Birth of a Nation” led to an increase in the Ku Klux Klan’s membership, and, in the 1930s, Adolph Hitler’s propaganda minister, Goebbels, took command of the German movie industry to solidify Hitler’s power across Germany.

Thus, people of truth and values understandably view the release of “The Iron Lady,” a new biopic about former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher starring Meryl Streep, with trepidation.

First, the good news. “The Iron Lady” doesn’t completely bash Margaret Thatcher and her conservative politics. In fact, it has several scenes showing Mrs. Thatcher ably defending her conservative, capitalist, democratic ideals of limited government and free markets.

The bad news? “The Iron Lady” fails to capture the regal strength, wit, faith and intelligence of Margaret Thatcher, even in her aging years. Half of the movie is a stagey presentation of an aging Thatcher reminiscing about her life while she interacts with a hallucination of her late husband, Denis. The movie also spends too much time concentrating on the outcry and street protests among the radical left against some of her policies.

The movie starts off by showing Margaret Thatcher in the twilight of her years. Her daughter and staff have given her the task of throwing out her late husband’s things. Facing this sad prospect, Mrs. Thatcher procrastinates and envisions herself talking with her beloved husband, Denis. As they converse, Mrs. Thatcher recalls her political career, beginning with her memories of her conservative, politically oriented father. As the timeline goes back and forth, Mrs. Thatcher recalls the beginning of her political career in the House of Commons, her marriage to Denis, her takeover of the Tory Party, her election as Prime Minister, her tussle with Argentina over the Falkland Islands, her renovation of Britain’s economy and, finally, her resignation.

Supporters and opponents of Margaret Thatcher can agree on at least one point. She was, without a doubt, one of the most influential and results-driven political leaders of the 20th Century. She was the first woman to lead a major political party in the United Kingdom and, after leading her party to victory in the 1979 general election, became the U.K.’s first and only female prime minister. Thatcher was re-elected to an unprecedented three terms and voluntarily resigned in 1990 after Michael Heseltine’s challenge to her leadership of the Conservative Party.

In over three decades as prime minister, she successfully reversed a precipitous national decline and, as the movie eloquently states, “left the country in a better state than [she] had found it.”

In recognition to her service to her country, she holds a life peerage as Baroness Thatcher (only mildly referenced in the movie when she is once addressed as “Lady” Thatcher), and is entitled to sit in the House of Lords.

One thing and one thing alone stands out in the 2011 movie, which fictionalizes the life of Lady Thatcher: Meryl Streep’s enchanting, masterful performance. In fact, at times, viewers will have to pinch themselves in order to remember that they are watching a work of fiction. Even so, Meryl fails to capture the regal dignity of Thatcher, and therein lies one of the movie’s major problems.

Fiction is, precisely, the greatest failing of the movie, marketed as a biopic about the former “Iron Lady.” The movie deceptively downplays the former prime minister’s successes by drawing the viewer’s attention to the weakness and sickness that allegedly dominate her later life. In the real world, however, Thatcher leads an extremely private life in London, and such allegations are purely speculative.

At the end of the day, audiences are misled (intentionally or not) by director Phyllida Lloyd, a distinguished professor of Theatre at Oxford, who was also named one of the 101 most influential gay and lesbian people in Britain by the Independent.

Lloyd re-envisions Thatcher’s political successes in light of her later frailty: “I will not die washing a teacup,” the young Margaret Roberts proclaims when Denis proposes to her; and yet, at the end of the movie, that is precisely what she does. The movie’s iconography, though perhaps subtle, is dangerous because it leads viewers to believe, at the end of the day, that Mrs. Thatcher’s life, no matter how grand and how accomplished, is reduced to that very moment, when finding herself alone after saying goodbye to her dead husband, she cleans up a teacup.

Although one might argue that this constitutes a portrayal of the eventual state of all human beings reaching a certain elderly age, it’s a dangerous, misleading view of Thatcher and her impact on history. One cannot help but wonder how much stronger Streep’s portrayal could have been if the movie had closed on the extraordinarily powerful eulogy Thatcher delivered via video for President Ronald Reagan’s funeral in 2008.

Overall, therefore, Mrs. Thatcher ultimately comes off as weak, befuddled, and sometimes strident, not regal, tough, smart, and faith-filled. Only a few scenes point to her underlying personal strength.

A watery script further weakens “The Iron Lady.” The script skims the surface and jumps from postcard to postcard images and recollections of Margaret Thatcher’s life, interspersed with scenes from her now allegedly precarious mental state. These scenes of an elderly Thatcher take up too much time. They could have been made better if Thatcher didn’t look so befuddled so much of the time and if the movie made the scenes seem more like just imaginary conversations with a dead loved one rather than hallucinations. For contrast, see the dignified, touching scenes in “She Wore a Yellow Ribbon,” where a middle-aged John Wayne talks to his clearly beloved dead wife at her grave.

Another failing of the movie is its focus on Thatcher as a grocer’s daughter. Although Lloyd does include two references to Thatcher attending Oxford University (one of the most prestigious institutions of higher learning in the world), it fails to note she was a successful chemist and lawyer. When she first took office in Parliament, it was based on those talents and abilities, and her clear conservative philosophy, not on her popularity as a commoner’s daughter.

Perhaps the most bizarre aspect of the movie is the director’s choice not to emphasize Thatcher’s relationship with Ronald Reagan and Pope John II. Together with Mrs. Thatcher, these Western leaders helped defeat the Communists in Russia and Eastern Europe in the 1980s while forcing the Russians to tear down the Berlin Wall. Only about 30 seconds in the movie makes note of this remarkable and enduring achievement.

In contrast to this, the movie spends a lot of time focusing on some of the riots and political unrest that greeted her election as prime minister and led to her resignation. Very little of the movie focuses on how her conservative policies led to a huge reinvigoration of the British economy.

As a result of all of these problems, one cannot help but wonder, What is the agenda of the filmmakers? Apparently, Meryl Streep’s agenda was to offer the most heart-wrenching, memorable performance she could, and for this, she should be commended. However, it seems that the filmmakers didn’t achieve such a noble end. Without Streep’s performance, in fact, Thatcher would lose any resemblance to the regal, strong and wise woman who helped change the course of Great Britain and the world. As Norman Tebbit points out in a recent interview with the Telegraph, that is how we ought to remember her – instead of as the elderly, weakened, slightly befuddled retiree the scriptwriter and the director decided to bring to the forefront.


Dr. Ted Baehr is the founder and publisher of MOVIEGUIDE, chairman of the Christian Film & Television Commission, and a well-known movie critic, educator, lecturer and media pundit. He also is the author of several books, including “The Culture-Wise Family” with legendary entertainer Pat Boone, and a Distinguished Senior Fellow for Study of Culture, Media, and Mass Entertainment at the Inter-American Institute for Philosophy, Government, and Social Thought. For more information, please call 800-899-6684 or go to the MOVIEGUIDE website.

This article was originally published at wnd.com on December 23, 2011. The opinions published here are those of the writer and are not necessarily endorsed by the Institute.

The God of the Philosophical Dabblers

If there is an omnipresent, omniscient, and omnipotent God, it is obvious that we cannot know Him as an object, or even as an external subject, but only as the active foundation of our own self-consciousness, maximally present as such at the very moment in which our self-consciousness, entering into full possession of itself, asks itself about Him. Such is the method adopted by experts on the subject, like Plato, Aristotle, Saint Augustine, Saint Francis of Sales, the mystics of the Philokalia, Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection, or Louis Lavelle.

When a Richard Dawkins or a Daniel Dennett examine the question of a “Supreme Being” that would have “created the world” and naturally arrive at the conclusion that this Being does not exist, they reason as if they were present at the moment of Creation as external observers, and what’s worse, as external observers from whose intimate constitution the omnipresent God had had the kindness of becoming absent for a few moments so as to allow them to observe Him from the outside and witness His existence or non-existence. This objectified God does not and cannot exist, since he is logically self-contradictory. Dawkins, Dennett, and tutti quanti are absolutely right when they declare him to be non-existing, for they themselves were the ones who invented him. And in addition, through some sort of unconscious shrewdness, they were careful enough to conceive him in such a way that the empirical proofs of his non-existence are, rigorously, infinite, being able to be found not only in this universe but in all possible universes, since the impossibility of a self-contradiction is universal to the maximum degree and in the eminent sense, not depending upon the physical constitution of this of any other universe.

If you do not “believe” in the God of the Bible, this does not make the slightest methodological or logical difference in your attempt to investigate His existence or non-existence, provided that your attempt is honest. Whatever the case, you can only discuss the existence of a previously defined object if you discuss it according to the definition given at the outset and do not change this definition in the course of a conversation—which is tantamount to substituting the object with another and discussing something else. If God is defined as omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent, you have to demonstrate the non-existence of this God, and not of some other god that you invented in order to suit the needs of what you intend to prove.

The method adopted by the likes of Dawkins and Dennett is based upon such an elementary, such a grotesque logical mistake that it is enough not only to intellectually disqualify them in this particular realm, but also to cast a shadow of suspicion upon the whole of their work on any other subject-matter, although it is possible that people who are incompetent to deal with a question that is fundamental to all mankind may reveal some ability in treating secondary problems, where the emotional charge is lower.

Far from being able to be investigated as an object of the external world, God is also defined in the Bible as a person, and as a sui generis person who maintains an intimate and secret dialogue with all human beings and indicates to each of them an inner path for them to know Him. Only if you look for signs of this person in the intimacy of you soul and do not find them at all, even following all the indications given in the definition, it will be legitimate for you to declare that God does not exist. Otherwise you will be proclaiming the non-existence of another god, a point on which the Bible will completely agree with you, with the only difference that you imagine, or you pretend to imagine, that this god is the God of the Bible.

When an enemy of faith makes an effort to cling to the Biblical definition of God, he always does so in a partial and caricatural way, and the results at which he arrives are even worse than those of the “creation” argument. Dawkins argues against omniscience, asking how God could possibly be aware of all thoughts of all human beings at the same time. The question is formulated in an absurd way, assuming that self-consciousnesses are objects that exist per se and questioning the possibility of knowing all of them at once ex post facto. But self-consciousness is not an object. It is a vacillating power, which constitutes and conquers itself to the extent that it asks itself about its own foundation and, not finding such foundation within its own boundaries, it is led to open itself to more and more consciousness, until it disembogues into a source transcendent to the universe of experience and notices that out of this source, which is per se unattainable, comes its strength to intensify itself. Ten lines by Louis Lavelle on this subject, or the paragraph in which Aristotle defines God as noesis noeseos, self-consciousness of self-consciousness, are worth more than all the works that Dawkins and Dennett could possibly write in the course of infinite earthly existences. A God who supposedly “observes” every consciousness from the outside is a character of a cock-and-bull story—one who was especially invented to prove his own non-existence. Instead of asking how such god would be possible, and knowing in advance that this god is impossible, a qualified philosopher starts off from the contrary question: how is self-awareness possible? God does not know self-awareness as an external observer but as the transcendent foundation of its possibility of existence. But you can only perceive this if, instead of playing logical games with made-up concepts, you seriously investigate the problem from your own inner experience, with the maturity of an accomplished philosopher and having a comprehensive knowledge of the status quaestionis.

What is killing philosophy in today’s world is amateurism, the intrusion of dabblers who, ignoring the very formulation of the question they discuss, take delight in puerile and inconsequential guesswork, which is even more ridiculous when adorned with a varnish of “science.”

Olavo de Carvalho is the President of The Inter-American Institute and Distinguished Senior Fellow in Philosophy, Political Science, and the Humanities.

The opinions published here are those of the writer and are not necessarily endorsed by the Institute. This article was originally published in the Brazilian newspaper Diário do Comércio on March 18, 2019, and translated from the Portuguese by Alessandro Cota.