Saturday, January 29, 2011

The False Scare: Fear over Non-Existant Social Security Crisis

The Daily Howler has once again published a post discussing how the Right have created the widespread false perception that there is a crisis in Social Security.

Many reports about Social Security often presents information in such a way that readers assume that Social Security will go bankrupt by 2037. This is an incorrect message. What will happen in 2037 is that, “Social Security would collect enough in payroll taxes to pay out about 78 percent of benefits” as stated by a source in the linked article.

So you would get 78 cents for every dollar from 2037. It is not going to disappear.

And it is relatively easy to solve this problem, as seen in this previous post:
Myth: Benefit cuts are the only way to fix Social Security.

Reality: Social Security doesn't need to be fixed. But if we want to strengthen it, here's a better way: Make the rich pay their fair share. [More on that here.] If the very rich paid taxes on all of their income, Social Security would be sustainable for decades to come. Right now, high earners only pay Social Security taxes on the first $106,000 of their income. But conservatives insist benefit cuts are the only way because they want to protect the super-rich from paying their fair share.
So it is not going to disappear. Social Security is secure as is, and as seen above it is easily sustainable well past 2037 if only the rich paid for Social Security over the rest of their income and not just $106,000 of it.

There is no Social Security crisis in fact. However the Right are doing all they can to convince people that it will not be there for them in order that they may cut it. After all, if you think Social Security won't be there for you, why wouldn't you let the Right just cut it in order to make it better, as they incorrectly tell you.

Any such cuts must be resisted and not allowed to be put in force.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Dave Pack's Selective Use of Statistics

LCG apologist Bob Thiel has revealed some of the dishonest tactics used by Dave Pack to lure people into his group in his News of Those Once Affiliated with the Global Church of God page.

From the January 26 update:
If RCG had the fruits, RCG would publicly list its income for each year since it formed, its members for each year since it formed, and other statistics. Instead, David Pack has demonstrated a pattern of pointing to one or two statistics one year, then others in other years, while at the same time not revealing publicly his membership.

This selective use of statistics seems to have worked for him, but this is not proof of fruits.
And from the January 27 update:
RCG's David Pack has a history of selectively focusing on certain statistics to give the impression that RCG has phenomenal growth or is highly successful in some area.

Yet, he tends to be inconsistent in the fact that David Pack has to change what particular area he is reporting about. For example, for nearly a year he has been focused on the number of what he calls "church inquiries" that RCG gets and how that has increased. In 2010, that total number of inquiries was 4,790. Now the fact that the Living Church of God has often received more responses to its telecast in a single week than RCG's record high "church inquiries" is discounted by David Pack.

But there is more. David Pack historically has made a big deal about his internet reach. He even asked his membership to take out mortgages on their homes and cash out their retirements a few years back so that, amongst other things, RCG would improve its internet reach.

Yet, David Pack has no longer been making such a big deal of his internet reach.


Well, perhaps because RCG does not do that well with it right now.

For example, as of this morning, according to Alexa (an independent internet rating company), RCG's website had an internet ranking of 185,503. This means that 185,502 websites are more popular than RCG's. And while 185,503 is not a bad ranking, the COGwriter website had an Alexa internet ranking of 154,255 this morning.

This means that the COGwriter website, which has never spent any money on advertising itself, is significantly more popular than RCG's, despite the fact that RCG does spend advertising money to promote its website.
So if you ever find his group alluring and you hear the siren song to join with Pack and Co. just remember that he selectively use only the statistics that make RCG look successful.

It is a cunning slight of hand.

Some Guy who Wishes He Could Slap Women in Public

Recently I saw this little video: British salafi Abu Mounisa - The Islamic Awakening Conference in which the speaker calls for democracy, capitalism, etc, to be beheaded and replaced by Islam.

Please watch the video first if you can. It's more fun that way.

For those of you who were unable to watch it in the video you will hear some Muslim activist of some sort saying we (his kind of Muslims, he means) need to uproot and behead democracy, capitalism, etc, and replace it with Islam.

In one curious section (around 4:20) he cited how one of the Caliphs was in the street in Medina and slapped a woman for dressing inappropriately and rebuked her for that.

The speaker in the video complains that he can't do that today. (Oh! So you think you should act like the Caliph.)

Now if I was Muslim (which I'm not) my response would be something like this: he's the Caliph. The ruler of the realm.

In contrast the speaker in the video above is just some guy. I'm pretty sure that sort of behavior could actually be punished by the state as some kind of assault.

My heart goes out all the reasonably minded Muslims, who I am sure are not like him at all, who are forced to endure the fear and hostility which is unfortunately provoked by people like the speaker in this video.

Just because you share the same religion as that Caliph does not mean you can act like him.

He had an army. You do not. He ruled over a vast empire. You are just some guy.

Man, he needs to really rethink his attitude towards women.

Hey, did that rant just remind you of anyone?

Hey, that's what Herbert W. Armstrong suggested in his "Women's Dress Ruling concerning too short and too tight skirts, and extra-low-neck dresses" in the September, 1962, Good News, pp. 9, 16.

In this infamous article HWA states that seeing inappropriately dressed makes him so mad he feels they deserve a "sound spanking" or to be called a "common prostitute." (p. 9, middle column, paragraphs 4-6.)

Well, there you have it. No wonder his attitude struck us the wrong way. He is talking like Herbert W. Armstrong.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Good News: Social Security is Secure and SALT III Passed

I just read that SALT 3 has just been approved by Russia so there will be less nuclear weapons held by both the US and Russia. I regard this as very good. Now onto another story.

PCG has published a story saying that Social Security will go bankrupt. It cites this AP story to frighten their eternally abused flock that Social Security will go bankrupt.

I would like to once again share these facts with you.
  • "The Social Security trustees—the official body charged with evaluating the program’s long-term finances—project that Social Security can pay 100 percent of promised benefits through 2037 and about three-quarters of scheduled benefits after that, even if Congress makes no changes in the program." (See this post.)
It is truly sad to see that while having to deal with all the problems the people of the USA are enduring (wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the lack of universal health care coverage, the recession, intrusive TSA tyranny at the airports, etc.,) many are mistakenly informed that Social Security is going to go broke. Many Americans labor under the misconception that Social Security won't be there for them

They do not realize they are being tricked by the Right in order to whittle down Social Security. It is not necessary at all for financial heath.

PCG, as is so often the case, has swallowed this piece of Right wing misinformation and are using it to instill fear into their followers.

I am glad to see the Daily Howler has once again tackled this issue.
Our public discourse is a howling mess—has been so for many years. The source of this disaster is clear:

On the one hand, skillful, well-financed conservative think tanks push poll-tested disinformation into the public sphere. (The Social Security trust fund is an elaborate accounting trick—a pile of worthless IOUs! The money isn’t there—we’ve already spent it! The left hand has been borrowing from the right! By 2037, the program will be bankrupt!)

In response, the mainstream press corps flounders and flails. It proves unwilling, or unable, to deal with the massive public confusion produced by this onslaught.

Surely, liberals and progressives know how these two sectors will continue to function. If we hope for a better public discourse, it’s plainly up to us to create it. But alas! Our major progressive organs have never been up to the task of “repealing and replacing” the bogus narratives which come from the right. ...

the standard claims are grossly misleading, but they are skillfully constructed, fiendishly persuasive and extremely well-known.
There is much more to be said on this subject.

Anyway the point is: the Social Security Scare is a non-existent crisis that you do not need to worry about.

PCG's Inept Advice on Surviving the Recession

In the latest Philadelphia Trumpet the writers have included a list of advice for those undergoing this dreadful recession: Penny-Saving Tips.

Reducing tithes is not mentioned at all, but considering that that is PCG's source of income this is sadly unsurprising.

Presumably this is written by someone employed by the Philadelphia Church of God from their main income, tithes provided by their members. I have to ask would such people really know how to survive during this recession?

There are some advice I cannot disagree with but some of their advice makes me rather suspicious at the writer(s) skill in dealing with this issue.

Let's see what they have to say.
  • Walk or bike when possible—it’s healthier.
I won't discussing the walking advice but I must speak about biking on the roads.

Frankly I feel that people biking on the road are in a position of danger. Roads, alas, are made for cars, not bicycles, not even motorbikes, but cars. I feel that in too many circumstances it may be too dangerous use a bike on the road. I would strongly encourage anyone thinking of making such a change to take their personal safety into consideration when making such a decision.
  • Cut out Internet use. When you need to “search the Net,” use the public library.
This piece of advice strikes me as ignorant of modern conditions. I would like to share this story from a struggling substitute teacher posted on the leftist community blog, DailyKos:

The internet IS a basic need for many working poor who want to stay working.
I have seen too many post [sic] with comment [sic, and so on throughout] the likes of "if you can afford to have Internet ... you're not really poor." I have had similar things said to me about the fact that I have a cell phone.... [It is] my one and only way to find work and try to get out of poverty ... there has never been a time I did not have internet access and a cell phone. Why? Because I have to work. ...

I have worked summers on an on call temp job. If you are called and do not answer the phone immediately the job goes to someone else. This leaves two options, sit by the phone all day and ignore your family or have a cell phone.

I have found two of my jobs while living over an hour away. I found them through the internet also, they were not posted in newspapers or on local job boards and I would never have found them without looking online. ...

I know that if I did not have internet and a cell phone I would not have had ANY of the jobs I have had since I finished my undergraduate education. ...

Internet is NOT a luxury for many of the working poor. Having a working heater, door handle, window, etc in my car is a luxury I cannot afford right now, but having the means to find work in the internet age is a necessity.
So PCG's advice on this matter strikes me as painfully ignorant of the current situation of many of the poor.

It also must be noted that PCG have actively discouraged members from getting to used to the Internet, as seen in Andrew Locher's infamous Facebook sermon when he demonized Facebook as a tool of the Devil best to be avoided. PCG did this in order to better enforce their infamous No Contact rule against ex-members and members of the other COGs.

If PCG were really concerned about their members' financial welfare they would relax the tithing rules. But, alas, they will not do that.

xHWA on Armstrongism's Distorted Dogmas of History

xHWA has produced an excellent blog, A Pattern of Dishonest Documentation.

It details how one columnist in LCG quotes the Encyclopedia Britannica, and then xHWA checks the source and discover that it does not present information quite exactly how the LCG columnist presents it.

He has also written Is Valentines Day the Lupercalia? Here he presents evidence everyone of us who had any kind of association with Armstrongism needs to read that the origins of this day are not how Armstrongites have taught it. It is a fascinating read.

Alas, I cannot help but agree that this sort of thing happens all the time in the world of Armstrongism. In 1999 John Ogwyn wrote an article stating that Herbert W Armstrong was a marvelous foreseer of the fall of the Iron Curtain by quoting some articles he wrote in 1952 and 1956.

John Ogwyn deceptively ignored the countless other failed speculations HWA made, that Christ would return in 1936, that Mussolini, then Hitler was the Beast who would be slain by the returning Christ outside Jerusalem, that Christ would return in 1975, in Mystery of the Ages HWA predicted Christ to return by 2005 at the latest, that the Soviet Union would last several years after the return of Christ, and countless other false predictions.

Alas resorting to such omission of information is all too common among Armstrongites, because they operate upon the false assumption that 1) HWA was a man used by God (which is not true, his many false prophecies prove that) and what he taught was true (which in many cases were not true).

Monday, January 24, 2011

The Oppression of Pakistan's Man Made Blasphemy Law

It is very sad to hear about Pakistan's blasphemy laws and how they are used to intimidate religious minorities within Pakistan. Here is some background about these laws:
For background, here is the text of the original law introduced into the Indian Penal Code by British colonial rulers in 1860:
Section 295: Injuring or defiling place of worship, with intent to insult the religion of any class:

“Whoever destroys, damages, or defiles a place of worship, or any object held sacred by any class of persons with the intention of thereby insulting the religion of any class of persons or with the knowledge that any class of persons is likely to consider such destruction, damage or defilement as an insult to their religion, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine, or with both.”
Here is the version of one of the added clauses which have caused so much acrimony in Pakistan, as amended in 1986 by Pakistan’s then military ruler, General Zia-ul-Haq:
Section 295-C: Use of derogatory remarks, etc, in respect of the Holy Prophet (pbuh)

“Whoever by words, either spoken or written, or by visible representation, or by any imputation, innuendo, or insinuation, directly or indirectly defiles the sacred name of the Holy Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him) shall be punished with death, or imprisonment for life and shall also be liable to fine.”
The amendment loses any acknowledgement of intent. Yet intent is not only a fundamental part of any legal system but also an essential attribute of faith. Indeed when Britain abolished its own archaic blasphemy laws in 2008, and these were replaced with laws against inciting religious and racial hatred, the idea of intent was retained.

The row which caused Taseer’s death was about amending the Pakistani penal code to reintroduce the concept of intent and end the death penalty. It was never about repealing the laws, nor about allowing people to insult Islam or the prophet Muhammed. (Pakistan, blasphemy, and a tale of two women, Reuters.)
A lot of attention upon those laws have occurred due to the murder of Salman Taseer, an MP who wished to reform the law in order prevent it being used to abuse religious minorities.

Salman Taseer was driven to speak out against the abusive nature of this law because the tragic case of Asia Bibi, a Christian woman, a mother of five, who has been sentenced to death.

While working in the fields last June, she was sent to fetch water. When some of the other woman refused to drink it because it had been carried by a Christian, a spat ensued about the merits of both religions. The other women later went to a cleric and complained that Bibi has blasphemed the name of the Prophet Muhammad.

A complaint was filed and Bibi was charged, convicted, and given a death sentence. (Some Christians in Pakistan convert fear into safety, Toronto Star.)

The abuses of this infamous blasphemy law are well documented. Here is one particularly disgusting case which well illustrates how abusive this law is:

Here's the case when an Ismaili Muslim, Naushad Walyani, was charged with blasphemy for simply throwing away a business card of a man named Muhammad.
As protests and appeals for the freedom of Asia Bibi mount, the controversial blasphemy law has claimed another victim from a religious minority, this time of the Ismaili Muslim sect that is headed by the Aga Khan. The episode proves, if proof were ever needed, how the blasphemy law harms Pakistani civil society of [sic]. The incident took place in Hyderabad, the second city of the province of Sindh. Naushad Walyani, a doctor, is in prison for a seemingly trivial gesture. A pharmaceutical salesman, Muhammed Faizan, visited him on December 9 to sell certain products. The doctor ''after taking the business card of the sales representative threw it in the trash'' writes a local newspaper. Clearly annoyed by the gesture, Faizan returned later with some colleagues to "teach the doctor a lesson". A violent quarrel broke out between the two.
The agent threatened to report the doctor for blasphemy for not respecting the sacred name engraved on the business card. According to local media reports, on December 10 Faizal's colleagues attacked the doctor, who, following a complaint to police under the Blasphemy Act was arrested and is now awaiting trial. His apology and the assurance that he "had no intention of insulting the Prophet by throwing the card in the trash' has served no purpose. The complaint was supported by local religious leaders.
And when you consider that Muhammad happens to be the common given name in the world that is unutterably obscene.

In another case two Muslims were sentenced for life after alledgedly removing a poster on their store which contained Qur'anic verses.
A Pakistan court has jailed a Muslim prayer leader and his 20-year-old son for life on controversial blasphemy charges in the rural centre of the country, court officials said Tuesday....Mohammad Shafi, 45, and his son Mohammad Aslam, 20, were arrested in April last year for removing a poster outside their grocery shop advertising an Islamic event in a nearby village which allegedly contained Quranic verses. (Court convicts imam and son for blasphemy, AFP.)

(That reminds me of a story I read in one of Jean Sasson's books, either Daughters of Arabia or Princess Sultana's Circle. These books are about a Saudi princess known only by the alias Sultana. One of Sultana's daughters became somewhat fanatical in her faith after attending the pilgrimage to Mecca, much to the annoyance of her family. At one point she suggested that the family could not throw away the newspaper because the newspapers contained verses from the Qur'an. Her family were not impressed.)

No wonder the Pope has called for this law to be repealed.

The mere accusation of blasphemy is often enough to whip an angry mob against the unfortunately accused, as may be seen in the terrible case of Latif Masih, 22, who was murdered on November 18, 2010 by his accusers after being granted bail.

The murderer, one of his bodyguard, Mumtaz Qadri, seems to have been motivated after hearing polemics against Taseer by Islamic religious authorities:
Qadri told a judge Monday in written testimony that he decided to kill Taseer after he attended a gathering on Dec. 31 organized by Shahab-e-Islam, a small Islamist group that operated in his neighborhood in Rawalpindi, just outside the capital, Islamabad. He said speeches given by a cleric leading the group, Qari Hanif, and another member, Ishtiaq Shah, played a major role in his decision. (Sermons motivated killer of Pakistani politician, Yahoo News.)
Just as the forces of reaction did all they could to maintain racial segregation in the South of the US so those who wish to preserve these abusive laws in Pakistan have done all they could to make sure the government will not change this law.

Before the murder a national strike was held by those supporting the abusive law.
Violence flared Friday as police and protesters clashed during a mass protest strike that closed businesses across Pakistan over a bid to end the death penalty for blasphemy. Police said protesters near the home of unpopular President Asif Ali Zardari in the financial hub of Karachi pelted stones as they shouted slogans including "We'll sacrifice our lives -- we'll save the sanctity of the Prophet". (Violence as Pakistan strikes over blasphemy law.)
The murder of Salman Taseer, among other things, seems to have intimidated some Christians into converting to Islam, as documented in this heartbreaking Toronto Star story, Some Christians in Pakistan convert fear into safety.

Although only about 10% of the country vote for Islamist parties they are highly organized and thus are able to wield an impact upon society much greater than their voting figures suggest.

Alas many of the politicians within Pakistan appear to have meekly followed the Islamists' lead are refusing to consider changing this abusive law. The current government insists that no change is being contemplated, even before Taseer's murder.
Pakistan's prime minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani on Tuesday reiterated that the government does not intend to amend the country's controversial blasphemy law, under which a Christian woman has been sentenced to death.

"Everybody trust me. The government trusts my statement and even the opposition parties believe whatever I promise to them," he told Muslim scholars and spiritual guides from the mystical Sufi strand of the faith.

"You (Sufis) belong to me. Why don't you trust when I say that government would never amend the Blasphemy law?" added Gilani, who hails from a revered Sufi family. (

Pakistan: Prime minister confirms govt has no plans to amend blasphemy law )
Furthermore the Interior Minister has discouraged people discussing the problems caused by this law.
Interior Minister, Rehman Malik on Thursday reiterated that government has no intention to bring any amendment in blasphemy laws, owing to its sensitivity, the people should not play up the issue after the government categorical stance on the subject....The Interior Minister announced to block all un-Islamic materials put on various websites and urged people to inform government if they found any matter of blasphemy on the Internet. He said the government has highest regards for judiciary and its decisions are being implemented in latter and spirit. (Malik for blocking un-Islamic content on websites)
Former Pakistani leader Musharraf, who is currently attempting to re-enter politics, has stated that the blasphemy law must not be repealed.

Even the editor of a newspaper stated to a BBC reporter that Govenor Taseer deserved to be killed, saying incorrectly that the law is divine, completely disregarding the fact that the law is man made and was amended into its current abusive form in 1986. (Alas this particular radio interview is no longer available.)

No wonder so many are willing to protest in support of this abusive law, if even such a presumably intelligent and educated man can carelessly and thoughtlessly believe that the man made law in question is actually divine.

Asia Bibi's current situation in prison has been reported upon by Compass Direct News.
The female warden tasked with Noreen’s security the day Taseer was killed told Compass of the Christian woman’s reaction to the news.

“I was escorting her for her routine walk on the evening Governor Taseer was gunned down,” said the warden, who requested anonymity. “We were passing by a barrack when the news broke out on TV that the governor was dead … She stood there in shock for some time, and then she started screaming and crying.”

The warden added that she helped Noreen back to her cell, “as she could barely walk and kept weeping.”

“She cried all evening and also refused to have supper,” the warden said. “The governor’s killing shattered her
However it appears attempts are being made to keep her safe.
Masih [Asia Bibi's husband] said prison authorities had improved Noreen [Asia Bibi]’s security considerably after Taseer’s killing.

“She’s being kept in a separate cell with a warden deployed 24 hours for her security,” he said. “Only I am allowed to meet her, but even I am searched completely before they bring her out for the meeting. I just hope and pray she keeps safe inside the prison.”

Still, prison officials have reportedly said she will be transferred to another prison soon because of security concerns. ...

Sheikhupura District Jail Superintendent Sheikh Khalid, who recently assumed charge, told Compass that Noreen was the most “high value” inmate of the prison and that he was not going to take any chances regarding her security.

“She is on the hit list of several extremist organizations,” he said, “and there are reports that she might be targeted inside the jail – moreover, she has a 30 million rupee [US$350,000] prize on her head. This is enough incentive for anyone to kill her.”

He said the prison had enhanced its security measures, and additional forces have been employed to guard the premises at night.

“No one except her husband can meet her,” Khalid said. “I have also directed her not to eat anything given to her by any person other than the wardens deployed for her security. We are trying our best to keep her safe, but life and death are in the hands of Allah.” (Jailed Pakistani Mother Living in Constant Fear, Husband Says, Compass Direct News.)
It is good that some are still nevertheless speaking out against Pakistan's abusive blasphemy law.

It is clear that this law is being used to oppress religious minorities within Pakistan and therefore needs to be removed to insure the security and rights of the members of religious minorities so that they may live peaceful and productive lives as citizens of Pakistan.

(Hat tip to Jihad Watch for providing most of these links. I do not agree with everything that is written there.)

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

How Dare You, Stephen Flurry

I was just thinking again about Stephen Flurry's first UCG crisis related polemic, Making Sense of the Church Split: Judge By the Fruits, which I have discussed previously.

His complaints are so thin skinned and hypocritical.

Stephen Flurry complains that some nameless UCG minister neglected to mention PCG as a possible choice for those leaving WCG.

Stephen Flurry complains that the other COGs remained neutral during PCG's court case with WCG.

(Never mind that most of HWA's major writings were freely available over the Internet in unofficial COG websites throughout most, if not the entire, time the court case proceeded.)

Meanwhile the victims of PCG can complain that their families and their relations with loved ones have been destroyed due to PCG's (Gerald Flurry's, Stephen Flurry's, Joel Hilliker's, Ron Fraser's) policy of forbidding PCG members from making any contact with "Laodiceans".

Recently ESN has published a letter from one who suffers from this No Contact policy.
My brother is one of Flurry's sheep and has not had anything to do with me or our father for the past 4 years. Without calling or letting us know he was coming to the funeral, which we assumed he wasn't, it made a stressful and mournful situation even more so. My question to you other Flurryites that I know visit this site is: Why come to a man's funeral service when you have not visited him in his lengthy illness and made the illness worse by the grief of losing a son? How can this possibly be a "light" to anyone involved or make anyone think? (January 8 letter.)
This is Stephen Flurry's policy.

The victims of PCG can complain that PCG's teaching are causing people to die, because of their negative attitude towards healing by medicine. (How is healing by medicine any different from eating only clean meats? Are you not also hoping the avoidance of unclean meats will make you more healthy? Then what is wrong with medicine?)

This wicked doctrine ultimately comes from the Rutherford era Jehovah's Witnesses who from 1921 - 1953 forbade followers from using vaccines.

While PCG are doing all of these terrible things Stephen Flurry chooses to whine that some nameless UCG minister fifteen years ago did not mention PCG as a possible choice for those leaving WCG.

These are your policies, Stephen Flurry.

How dare you choose to whine about these small slights when you do all these terrible things.

When you tell members they cannot contact "Laodiceans" (and then blame it on God! Besmirching His name.)

When you tell members, or even imply, that healing by medicine is somehow wrong, imitating Rutherford era Jehovah's Witnesses.

When you throw your followers' precious money away to build some $20 million white elephant during this Great Recession. Do they have health insurance.

When you use a book (Malachi's Message) that was viciously plagiarized from Jules Dervaes' Letter to Laodicea. When Jules Dervaes received Malachi's Message through unsolicited mail he knew immediately that the book was merely a rip off of his writings.

And you choose to whine over how one UCG minister did not mention your sect fifteen years ago.

How dare you, Stephen Flurry.

How dare you.

Christians Fleeing Iraq

While the ministers in UCG allow their tensions to erupt in this latest split, further burdening their unfortunate followers (I do not doubt for an instant that it is a hard experience for the members caught up in it), while the plagiarist Gerald Flurry dares to call himself an Apostle, while the COGs spread fear inducing prophecies based on the misinterpretations of another plagiarist to gain money, the Christians of Iraq are fleeing from the unimaginable violence there which, alas, has now turned its wrath upon them and other religious minorities.

It seems clear that the terrible terrorist attack against Baghdad has caused many Christians to flee from Iraq.

Haunted by violence, Iraqi Christians flee to Turkey (Hürriyet Daily News).
According to church records, some 150 Christian families, or more than 600 people, arrived in Turkey in December, almost the same as during the whole of 2009....

Figures by the Turkey office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees tend to confirm the trend: The number of asylum applications by Iraqi Christians has more than doubled in three months – from 183 in October to 428 in December.
Meanwhile the persecution of Christians and other religious minorities in Iraq continues.

Christian Doctor Assaulted in Mosul (Asia News). A doctor "seriously wounded" by a gunman but survives.

Baghdad Raids on Alcohol Sellers Stir Fears (New York Times). This article also includes an account of a (thankfully non-fatal) assault upon an Assyrian cultural center.

Persecution is not something that just occurred in ancient Rome, it is happening right now.

(Hat tip to Jihad Watch. Please note I do not agree with everything written on that site. )

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Conviction for Nag Hammeddi Shooting

Some readers may recall a previous post reporting a mass shooting in Nag Hammedi, Egypt in January, 2010, which killed eight Coptic Christians.

I have just learned that one Mohamed Ahmed Hussein has been sentenced to death for that shooting.

Two other accused are to be sentenced next month.

A Sugested Name for COGaWA: Cogawa

I don't know what you do but whenever I read something with an acronym for one of the COG groups, (WCG, UCG, RCG, GCG, PCG, LCG, etc, etc,) I read it to myself using a word to make these horribly impersonal acronyms more like a name instead of those coldly impersonal line of letters.

WCG is Worldwide. UCG is United. RCG is Restored. PCG is Philadelphia, GCG is Global, LCG is Living, and so forth.

But what to do with COGaWA?

Worldwide? I already use that word for WCG.

So I called it New Worldwide in my head at first.

But now I have an idea for giving COGaWA a proper name.

We should call it:


(pronounced Ko-gah-wah) O" as in "cove". Stress may be placed first or second syllable.

A meaningless name for a badly named church.

Maybe we should even spell it Kogawa.

Lets make the acronym a name to be pronounced as though it was a word.

There. Problem solved. It is now Cogawa.

Monday, January 17, 2011

PCG's Hilliker's Polemic Against UCG

Joel Hilliker also wrote a column discussing the UCG schism, To Our Family in the United Church of God.

I found it rather boring. [Addition: Though I'm sure not everyone will feel that way.] It's mainly saying, Look at all these prophetic events that are happening right now [which HWA did not foresee, having predicted Christ to arrive in 1975, then by 2005] and all you Laodiceans can do is bicker and argue among yourselves. (Well then, why bicker with them?)

The reason this is happening, he seems to say, is because you use the wrong form of Government, he says, completely ignoring the fact that many other COGs operate in the same form of government which HWA's WCG operated in, and yet they have not had the same membership growth.

Let me state again, the idea that "fruits" do not just mean membership growth as HWA and his imitators so crudely teach.

Also Hilliker makes no mention of the fact that PCG has forced members to have no contact with Laodiceans, namely those who belong to WCG or any other offshoots.

At least the other COGs are mainly bickering, as far as I can tell, but PCG has chosen to shatter families by this draconian no contact policy just to enhance the leadership's authority and intimidate members from speaking out against them so that they can never leave.

In other words it's just your typical hypocritical PCG polemic against other the other COGs.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

January 16 Remembered

It is now 25 years since the man who created the COGs, Herbert W. Armstrong, died.

Let it be remembered that he told us that Jesus Christ would return by 2005 in his last book, Mystery of the Ages, but we are still here.

Let it also be stated that I am persuaded that he would have been astounded at what happened to WCG and the rest of the COGs since his death.

I would like to share this blog from Shadows of WCG's J: Would Anyone Have Believed It?

What is will be no more. What you have will be gone. What was is not to be. Your leader, Herbert Armstrong, has five years. He will select an individual who will tear down everything you know and cherish. Your treasures, your grounds, your possessions, they will disappear. Your college, your precious Ambassador College, will exist no longer. Your beautiful auditorium will be sold to those you have despised and cursed. Your grounds will be sold off and scattered, just as your people will scatter to all four corners of the earth. Your gigantic conventions will dwindle to near nothing. You will never be able to replicate what was. What is will be no more. You will have nothing.

You will be given a leader who will dismantle all that was. Your congregations of tens of hundreds will be reduced to tens, and tens of tens. Your plain truth will stop. Your television broadcasts will stop. Your magazines, brochures, they will stop. Some will attempt to revive what was but their attempts shall never come close to what was. They will be working in vain, and though they beat the vines with sweat and tears, they shall not yield fruit. There shall never be the growth that was, never again. What was is to be no more.
You can read the rest at the link.

Let it also be noted that one particular COG, "That Prophet" and "Apostle" Gerald Flurry's Philadelphia Church of God, has taken January 16 as a day of prophetic importance. Hence I am reposted this blog entry: January 16:

A peculiar belief within PCG is that January 16th, the day Herbert W. Armstrong died, will be marked by important events. This belief is generally absent from the rest of Armstrongism.

This belief is also continued in Raising the Ruins. From the end of Chapter 14 detailing the first mailing out of Malachi's Message to WCG members we read the following:
With me [Stephen Flurry] now added to the original group, 13 of us gathered at the Thompson home Wednesday night, January 10. We packaged 921 copies of Malachi’s Message, several hundred of which included the above letter....We delivered the bundles to the post office the next day, Thursday [January 11]. Many of those books from the first mailing landed in mailboxes on or just before [Tuesday] Jan. 16, 1990—four years, to the day, after Herbert W. Armstrong died.
The link this to January 16 here is quite week. There is nothing specific here that would cause one to pick January 16 as the important date unless one had already picked that date for another reason. The book is simply using a predefined belief that is artificially placed on events. The January 16 Myth.

In Chapter 23, part 2, under the heading 'Sealing the Deal', the date is again called upon in relation to the back room deals PCG was making with WCG to buy the books. (Again, PCG did not win the Court Case, it was an out of court deal with the man they say is the Son of Perdition.) 'On Thursday morning, January 16—17 years to the day after Herbert W. Armstrong’s death—the WCG agreed to sell us all the copyrights for $3 million.' The January 16 superstition again.

This belief comes from Gerald Flurry's Malachi's Message, which is [PCG teaches that it is] believed to be the Little Book of Revelation 10. Raising the Ruins omits to mention that Gerald Flurry himself referred to the date in the first edition of Malachi's Message. 'This message is being received by many people on the very day of the anniversary of HWA's death (January 16, 1986). We didn't plan it, but we are very happy it happened that way. You are going to see the date of HWA's death take on more significance as time goes on.' (p. 82). Maybe Flurry did not plan it that way but he certainly took advantage of that anniversary and instantly latched onto that date even before Malachi's Message was first published. This is evidence that Gerald Flurry tried to sanctify the mailing out of Malachi's Message by appealing to the memory of the date of HWA's passing. This does not prove that God attaches any significance to January 16.

The first sentence of that part has been changed in the modern version: 'Malachi’s Message was first received by many people on January 16, 1990, the very day of the anniversary of Mr. Armstrong’s death (January 16, 1986).' He then tries to use the 19 year time cycles to pinpoint January 16, 1991 as an important date. Gerald Flurry then identified the Gulf War as the prophesied event, ever so conveniently ignoring the fact that fighting actually began a day later on January 17. See also the March 16, 2004 letter here. Thus this prophecy is a failure and furthermore is a misrepresentation of the facts.

The Jehovah's Witnesses have this peculiar belief that Jerusalem fell in 607 BC but everyone else knows that it happened in 587/6 BC. It is the same with PCG, insisting that the Gulf War began on January 16, but everyone else knows it started a day later on January 17.

This is similar to what happened with the infamous Northridge Earthquake which occurred a day late to be useful to Gerald Flurry, on January 17, 1994.

It is very interesting to note, however, that in Chapter 13 of Raising the Ruins Stephen Flurry relates that Gerald Flurry wanted to 'reveal' Malachi's Message in January 1991 to coincide with the end of WCG's third 19-year time cycle.
But believing it was from God, he [Gerald Flurry] fully intended to deliver the message to church leaders in Pasadena—perhaps in January of 1991—the end of the work’s third 19-year time cycle. That was still a year and a half off, I thought.
This is evidence that from the beginning Gerald Flurry was determined to sanctify his work with some sort of chronological pattern, to give the appearance of having divine favor. Gerald Flurry completely disregardedthe fact that the time cycles was invented specifically to devise the infamous 1972-1975 prophecy of Christ's return. Gerald Flurry completely ignored the time cycle's previous failure in 1972. World War III, the nuclear Great Tribulation that would destroy all humanity unless Jesus Christ came back in 1975, was supposed to begin then. Maybe he has, ever so conveniently, forgotten about that.

However events soon spun out of control too quickly for this timeline to be fulfilled. By December 7, 1989 Gerald Flurry and his assistant John Amos were fired. Soon GF was well on his way to establishing his own church, the Philadelphia Church of God. He was unable to pull off his original timeline scenario, so he needed to quickly latch onto another event to sanctify his removal and/or the establishment of PCG in order to appear to have divine favor. He quickly latched onto January 16. Even before Malachi's Message got published he had already sanctified January 16 as an important day.

There was nothing important for January 16 in regards to Malachi's Message. It was sent in the mail on January 11. Even if WCG members received it on January 16 why is that day special and not January 13 or 14 or 15 or 17 or any other day in which WCG members received Malachi's Message? Why should not the printing be important, or the mailing of it? Because it would not fit the highly artificial pattern that Gerald Flurry devised.

And why is January 16 important? Is that not the 'pagan', 'papal', 'Satan inspired' Gragorian Calendar? Why not use the date on the Biblical Calendar as an important date? Why is it that the Gregorian Calendar is viewed as flawed and yet PCG uses that date in order to sanctify its founding and give the appearance of divine favor with no reference to what they acknowledged as God's Sacred Calendar? (Addition: As may be seen here January 16, 1986 was Shebat 6 and in the 1987-2010 period it falls on January 16 only once in 2005. In 1989 HWA's anniversary according to what 'That Prophet' Gerald Flurry acknowledge to be God's Sacred Calendar Shebat 6, the true anniversary of HWA's death, was February 1. That is 22 days, over three weeks, after MM was first posted. In 1991 it was on January 21, so the Gulf War started four days too early. In 1994 it was on January 18, so the earthquake was a day early. It never falls on January 17 either in that period. And also where is any of this in the Bible?)

If God does attach any significance to January 16 why does PCG need to pretend that the Gulf War started a day earlier than it actually did? Where in the Bible does it say that January 16 is important? This is simply an extra-biblical superstition. It is simply further evidence that PCG is simply the work of MEN and that God is not in PCG.

More on Raising the Ruins may be read here.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Ron Fraser: Ignoring Church Abuses Since 1968

PCG author Ron Fraser has written this article, Marriage—Soon Obsolete?

Here he reveals some details of how he joined WCG.
Well, I’m thankful that amid the search for the absolutes as a young seeker after truth crossing the threshold from teens into young adulthood, I came across one who preached the truth, no holds barred, and who challenged his listeners to prove he was right!

I took the challenge and proved it!

As a young married parent of two at the time, I read Herbert Armstrong’s booklet prophesying of a coming generation which would see marriage as largely obsolete. That was 42 years ago. [c. 1968.] Yesterday I read the headline that spoke of the fulfillment of that prophecy.
Now this article makes no mention of when he joined WCG. All it reveals is he was reading their writings around 1968. So it is impossible to know when he joined and became a participating member of WCG from this article.

It must be noted that Ron Fraser wrote this:
I know the negative statistics surrounding the families that are not embedded in the tradition of monogamous marriage. And I have, over the years, worked with people who have shattered their lives as a result.
Did Ron Fraser encounter the effects of HWA's abominable Divorce and Remarriage doctrine? Until 1974 HWA enforced a shocking policy that those who have remarried are living in adultery and must separate themselves. Only Heaven knows how many families were destroyed by this most monstrous policy. Did Mr. Fraser personally observe this happening?

In 1974 he changed this doctrine after others pointed out to him that his doctrine rested on a misunderstood word.

He was with PCG when Gerald Flurry changed the government in PCG letting a Prophet, which he claims to be, have administrative rule over the church, contrary to HWA's teaching on this matter.

But since Gerald Flurry pays him, of course, he does as he is told.

He was with PCG when they implemented the No Contact policy forbidding PCG members from having any contact with "Laodiceans" members of other COGs. As far as I am aware he implements this draconian policy.

But since Gerald Flurry pays him, of course, he does as he is told.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Gerald Flurry Changed the Government in PCG

Stephen Flurry has used the controversy in UCG as an opportunity to bad mouth LCG, as may be seen in his most recent column, Rod Meredith and Church Branches.

In these recent columns Stephen Flurry has focused his polemical retorts upon the two largest COG sects, UCG and LCG. He accuse UCG of changing the style of government. As for LCG he focuses on Meredith's attempts to implement collegial leadership during Global (1993-8).

Flurry's polemic ignores the fact that many COGs in fact practice one man leadership as practiced by old WCG.

In Meredith's case he focus on Meredith's attempt while in Global (1993-8) to have collegial government. He knows that after LCG was created Meredith reverted to one man rule but for the purposes of his argument this is de-emphasized and Flurry questions why this man chose to change things during that time to delegitimize him.

Let's see what he has to say:
When Rod Meredith left the Worldwide Church of God to start a new church in 1993, he clearly called into question the way Herbert W. Armstrong had governed the Worldwide Church of God.
Just like Gerald Flurry!
PCG changed that and allowed a Prophet to rule over them.

This clearly contradicts HWA's teaching on this matter.

PCG has deceptively deleted these words which HWA wrote in Mystery of the Ages (Chapter 6):
No prophets are mentioned as having either administrative, executive or preaching functions in the New Testament Church.
If you view MOA from a non-PCG source you will find this statement. You will not find this statement in PCG's copies of Mystery of the Ages because they deleted it.

Therefore PCG has changed the form of government under HWA.

(I am aware that recently Gerald Flurry has declared himself an Apostle. This does not change the fact that until then PCG was ruled by a Prophet in clear contradiction to HWA's teaching.)
  • 2: Gerald Flurry has called for "abnormal government" to be implemented within PCG in 2003.
On November 1, 2003 Gerald Flurry made a sermon in which he commented that PCG was entering a time of crisis because Satan is now on the earth. (PCG teaches that Satan was cast down to the Earth upon HWA's death in 1986.) He speculated that because of this time of crisis before the Great Tribulation it will be necessary to change create an "abnormal government" within PCG.


(Sniffs, voice changes) “Not that you’re abnormal! but this is abnormal administration of God’s Government.”

“Instead of setting up abnormal machinery to meet the highly abnormal need, the normal standards were not good enough at such a critical time. So they had to change the way they administered the Government. And so we enter into this time, brethren, and let me tell you, it’s getting to be pretty, pretty, fiercely bad. We enter into this time and Jesus Christ is showing me that there really is a change in the administration of our Government. There really is a change in that.

Satan has been cast down. Now that’s a different situation. I mean that’s like Hitler attacking, only it’s worse.And so we have that to contend with. And it’s, as I said, in the last hour, and no more delay, so Mr Armstrong’s structure of Government really will not work ... to get this job done.
Gerald Flurry knows how dangerous this rhetoric can be among people who has been (falsely) taught that PCG is the true church because they (alledgedly) have the same form of government as old WCG. So he tries to deceptively hide the fact that he is changing the government by pretending he isn't.
“It’s different brethren, but again, you see, it’s the same government, the same law that Mr Armstrong had!” And so I submit to it, you submit to it, but we do have to administer it in a different way.
This is merely deceptive doublespeak. Wikipedia offers these helpful words in discussing this concept.
Doublespeak (sometimes called doubletalk) is language that deliberately disguises, distorts, or reverses the meaning of words. ... It may also be deployed as...reversal of meaning (for example, naming a state of war "peace"). In such cases, doublespeak disguises the nature of the truth, producing a communication bypass.
That is what Gerald Flurry is doing.

All of this, (having a Prophet wield administrative power over the church contrary to HWA's teaching, Gerald Flurry's call for "abnormal government" in 2003,) is deliberately ignored by Stephen Flurry to pretend that PCG preserves the same form of government, when they do not.

Let us continue with Stephen Flurry's column.
[Meredith] wrote in Church Government and Church Unity that the subject of church government had been seriously misunderstood during the days of Mr. Armstrong’s leadership.
How is this any different from your father, and employer, saying in the sermon cited above that
we’re in a fierce, fierce battle, just before the Great Tribulation and we’re going to have to do things differently; we already are doing them differently ... you are, I am, we ALL are and WE LIKE IT THAT WAY ...
I know Gerald Flurry claimed that this different way is "the way Christ leads us.” but that's just deceptive doubletalk.

Most of Stephen Flurry's column is devoted to discussing Meredith's booklet, Church Government and Church Unity, and Flurry insists that HWA always believed that there was one man in charge in the church.

Alas that booklet is, as far as I know, not available on the Internet, so it is hard for me to talk about what Meredith said.

This must be said: HWA was a false prophet so, as far as I am concerned, there is no need to wonder what his views on government were, because God was not with him.

A Brief History Of Pakistan's Blasphemy Law

Just read this article, A, B and C of the Pakistan blasphemy law, from ASSIST News, detailing some of the historical reasons why this infamous law was adopted in Pakistan.

Alas, this law tends to be used to intimidate religious minorities within Pakistan.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Pack Also Goes Poaching For UCG Members

Stephen Flurry has recently been boasting how great PCG is.

Dave Pack has been doing exactly the same thing as may be seen in his article, RCG Fruits—Phenomenal Growth Continues!

Imitating HWA's twisting the Scriptures that "Fruits" means "Membership/Material growth" of the organization Pack asserts that his sect has grown more then any other COG. Like HWA before him and Stephen Flurry as seen earlier "Apostle" Pack assures us that this growth is a sign of divine favor.

None of that changes the fact that HWA was a false prophet who spread countless fear inducing prophecies which simply did not happen.

Let the reader remember these words of Scripture.
When a prophet speaketh in the name of the LORD, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the LORD hath NOT SPOKEN, but the prophet hath spoken it PRESUMPTUOUSLY: thou shalt not be afraid of him.' (Deuteronomy 18:22, emphasis mine).
What is HWA's track record?
  • He predicted that Mussolini then Hitler was the Beast.
  • In Mystery of the Ages he claimed Christ would return by 2005. (PCG altered that book after the court case so if you look up their version you won't see that prediction.)
It does not matter how much growth RCG or PCG or any of the other COG sects have when it can be shown by his false prophecies that Herbert W. Armstrong was a false prophet. From at least 1936 HWA spoke presumptuously on his own authority, not that of God, in regards to prophecy.

Claims of growth are meaningless.

PCG Members Are About 5500

LCG apologist Bob Theil has an intriguing article, PCG Statistics commenting on Stephen Flurry's column, which among other things confirms what PCG observers have long suspected since at least 2003: that PCG's membership stands at around 5000 and is thus the smaller than LCG and UCG.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Stephen Flurry's Deceptive Polemic Against UCG and LCG

Stephen Flurry has unleashed another column discussing the UCG split, Making Sense of the Church Split: Judge By the Fruits. (He means you are to choose his own: PCG.)

He takes this opportunity to spread cheap and deceptive propaganda to insist that PCG is the only true church.

He weaves mundane circumstances and insists that they reveal the hidden workings of the universe.

First he uses the old if-they-didn't-mention-us-it's-because-they-wish-we-didn't-exist rhetorical trick. Observe how he uses it.

After joining the United Church of God in 1995, one former minister of the Worldwide Church of God outlined four choices for disgruntled members of the wcg: 1) Stay with the Worldwide Church of God; 2) join the United Church; 3) go with Rod Meredith’s Global Church of God; or 4) wait on God to clearly reveal where to go. In his mind, the Philadelphia Church of God wasn’t even worthy of consideration!
Never mind all the other choices that were around at the time, such as joining Dankenbring, who was actually kicked out of WCG by Tkach even earlier than Flurry, the pre-1986 splits such as Garner Ted Armstrong's sect, or the pre-1974 splinter groups which retained the Monday Pentecost and that abominable Divorce and Remarriage doctrine.

There were in fact many other choices available to WCG members in 1995. Or even simply abandoning the heretical Armstrongite tradition altogether.

Suephen Flurry however focus his attention on Meredith in the Global era and UCG to deceptively insinuate that every other COG does not have the correct government when most COGs, as far as I can tell, still practice one man government as old WCG.

Stephen Flurry then complains that other COG ministers complained that PCG retained the same form of government as WCG. He brings that point out to make it appear as though only PCG had the courage to retain government precisely, when actually PCG have made changes, such as allowing a Prophet (Gerald Flurry) to hold administrative power over the church. This is contrary to what HWA always taught, that Prophets can have no administrative power over the church.

Stephen Flurry omits the many other legitimate complains made against PCG: that Malachi's Message is plagiarized from Jules Dervaes' Letter to Laodicea, PCG's idolatrous reverence for Malachi's Message, the fact that prospective members were required to believe that HWA is the end time Elijah before being allowed to attend, a completely new requirement.

In reality many COGs continue to embrace the one man rule as practiced by old WCG, but PCG continues to lie and confuse their members on this subject.
Back then [circa 1995], it wasn’t so much where you went, you just needed to get out of the Worldwide Church of God. There were plenty of “branches” you could join. Any of them would work—as long as it wasn’t the Philadelphia Church of God. [This is simply a straw man Stephen Flurry made to make PCG look special.] We, after all, had that old authoritative government. It was much too harsh and austere, Laodicean ministers would tell prospective members if they inquired about the PCG.

Publicly, however—because we were never considered a viable option [by whom? Straw man again.]—these ministers simply ignored the work of the Philadelphia Church of God—even as it became more and more difficult to overlook.
Stephen Flurry then complains that the other COGs remained neutral during their "war" with WCG over HWA's copyrights.

He completely neglects to mention that
  • HWA's writings were freely available for viewing on the Internet during the entire time of the court case. I can personally testify that I found and read Mystery of the Ages on the Internet about 2000-1 and it has remained online to this very day.
He then writes crowing over how COG members are requesting their HWA writings:
Now that the lawsuit is over and we own the literature, many brethren from other churches have contacted us for copies, since we offer it freely to anyone who makes a request. In private, some ministers from other groups have even encouraged their members to come to us for personal copies of Mr. Armstrong’s books.
Of course these books have been sanitized to fit PCG innovations in doctrine.

He then spends a lot of time bragging about how great and wonderful PCG is. Never mentions how he requires PCG members to have "no contact" with former members and "Laodiceans".

He makes this statement which I found quite disgusting:
Our total worldwide income in 2010 amounted to $20.6 million—a solid 5 percent increase over 2009....[Please note, as I understand it UCG had abolished third tithe.] The UCG had about 20,000 people attend its fall festival in September—roughly four times the amount we had at our sites. Yet its overall income for 2010 was only 16 percent more than the PCG’s—$23.9 million.
Our members are so much more profitable than yours! Stephen Flurry seems to be saying.

He thinks this is a good thing.

To me this demonstrates how viciously exploitative PCG has been towards their eternally suffering flock.

Stephen Flurry then turns his barbs on Meredith and accuse him of showing poor judgment in adopting a collegial form of government under Global, insinuating that he has lost divine favor. Flurry also manages to throw in a They-called-me-a-Nazi accusation at Meredith.

He then ends with this:
How, then, can you know if that man is humbly submitted to the government of God and is faithfully following Jesus Christ as the Head of the Church? You shall know, Jesus said, by their fruits.
The unsuspecting reader will not know that PCG's fruit include shattered families torn apart by the No Contact rule, and exploited members being used to empower the oppressive leadership in Edmond, while laboring under a web of deceptions all perfectly calculated to say, PCG is the one true church so give your three tithes.

The Original Bible Story

Most of us are familiar with Basil Wolverton's The Bible Story, a retelling of the events of the Old Testament, covered with a heavy dose of HWA's heretical teachings.

It debuted in the November 1958 Plain Truth and was serialized in the Plain Truth and later Tomorrow's World until April 1972. (Which happened to be the last issue of Tomorrow's World. If wonder if those events were connected?) Eventually it was compiled into six volumes.

I have just learned that from 1952-7, ending one year before Wolverton began his work, one Arthur Maxwell, a Seventh Day Adventist, wrote and published a series of 411 tales, compiled into ten volumes, entitled The Bible Story. Here is its official website advertising it. The title is exactly the same as Wolverton's work.

Also it should be remembered that Wolverton's work was also referred to as The Story of Man. Still I find this similarity remarkable.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

PCG Discussing The UCG Split

PCG's Stephen Flurry has written a column discussing the UCG split, entitled The United Church of God and the Evils of 300-Man Rule.

In this column Stephen Flurry insists that David Hulme and Roderick Meredith disregarded how HWA governed WCG thus disqualifying them as true Christians. Stephen Flurry completely ignores these comments which were made by his father in a sermon he made on November 1, 2003 in which Gerald Flurry implies that the immanent end of this world will necessitate a change in government:
I think God is saying alright, NOW LET’S CHANGE THE GOVERNMENT TO FIT THE TIMES!” Here we are in a time of no more delay. We’re in the last hour, and I think Christ is saying ‘NOW I WANT YOU TO RISE UP AND I WANT YOU TO RUN THIS THING DIFFERENT THAN THE WAY IT WAS DONE IN THE PAST.”
Furthermore Stephen Flurry speaks of Hulme and Meredith as deviating from HWA's teachings. It must be remembered here that PCG has altered HWA's writings, including Mystery of the Ages, a book which PCG's lawyer in the court case with WCG said HWA was inspired by God and which cannot be rewritten.

PCG has rewritten Mystery of the Ages. Here it is.

If one bears these facts in mind one is struck by how utterly hypocritical Stephen Flurry's assumed righteous stance is.

Let us see what he has to say.
Today, both Meredith and Hulme head up two spin-offs of WCG offshoots. All totaled, there must be at least 100 offshoots of what once was the Worldwide Church of God. [There's actually far more.-Redfox.]

It makes you wonder: How many failed experiments with collaborative government will it take for former members of the Worldwide Church of God to wake up and figure out where God is working today?
Did you see that? He's deceptively implied that each and every one of the other COGs tried to use a different manner of Government ("collaborative government") contrary to HWA's example. That is absurd. Many COGs practice one man rule just as HWA did.

But PCG members won't know that. Because the other COGs are constantly denounced by PCG ministers as "Laodiceans" who will be doomed to suffer in the Great Tribulation many PCG members will not see that this accusation of Flurry's (that every other COG practices a deviant form of Government) is completely wrong and even deceptive.
Meanwhile, the one organization that actually started the right way—as a tiny mustard seed planted in 1989, without any of the best-known former ministers of the WCG or their many thousands of supporters, but with God’s government
How is PCG's any different from that of any other COGs which have one dominant leader? This accurately describes just about all of them, aside from UCG.

The method of rule employed by HWA within WCG from about 1953 onwards was one man rule. Many other COGs also employ this method of organization. Stephen Flurry highlights these two instances (Hulme 1995-8 and Meredith 1993-8) in order to deceptively insinuate that every other COG somehow employ a different method of government.

This is a bold lie.

Insinuating that every other COG has a different form of government is a lie carefully crafted to subtly persuade unsuspecting readers to believe that only PCG is a legitimate continuation of HWA's work.

But he can get away with such bold lies. Stephen Flurry knows that if any PCG member complains that he is not speaking the truth about this matter, then that person can simply be disfellowshiped from PCG and forbidden to contact PCG members.

PCG uses "God's government" as a euphemism for PCG rule. PCG wishes to be the only true church and so every other COG is denounced as corruptions of WCG. PCG members are actually forbidden from having any contact with any member of WCG or its offshoots, even if they are close family members. Unsuspecting readers would have no idea that this is demanded of those who wish to submit themselves to what PCG deceptively calls "God's government" (which is actually PCG rule).

As far as I can see many COGs employ one man rule just as HWA's WCG did. UCG is very much the exception.

To insinuate, to state, that every other COG employs a different form of government from that of HWA's WCG is simply a lie to deceive people.

Let Us Remember Salmaan Taseer

Salmaan Taseer, the governor of Punjab, Pakistan, was assassinated by one of his bodyguards, it is widely reported that this murder was committed for Taseer's opposition to Pakistan's notorious blasphemy laws.

These laws forbid "defaming" Islam and are notorious for being used to intimidate the religious minorities within Pakistan.

It is a terrible shame that a man who speaks out against this law, because he knows that it is being used to intimidate religious minorities, he knows it is being ruthlessly used by some scheming opportunists to settle personal grudges, he knows that those even accused of blaspheming Islam can face severe discrimination by those who judge the accused guilty, even murder, and so he speaks out, he wants to change things to make them better. And for standing up for religious minorities so that they may live peaceful and productive lives in Pakistan, he pays with his life.

It is a terrible injustice that such a thing should happen.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Christmas Topics As Discussed By "Professing Christians"

The Creationist Answers in Genesis has published some articles discussing some topics concerning Christmas that will be familiar to those of us familiar with Armstrongite teaching on this matter. I bring to attention in order to show that "professing Christians" are aware of what the various details mentioned by Armstrongites.

Miscellaneous Misconceptions About Christmas mentions the assertion that Jeremiah 10 is discussing Christmas trees, discusses how it is unlikely that Jesus was born on December 25, and discussing how some people (who are left unnamed) who teach that Christmas is not to be celebrated.

Regardless of what your opinion is of how the writer deals with these issues I bring

Footnote 3 of this article also discusses the argument that Zachariah, father of John the Baptist, was of the course of Abijah.

A Matter of Time discusses the timeline of the events concerning in Jesus' birth. It mentions that the Magi visited Jesus long after Jesus was born. I recall Meredith mentioned this point in his online study of Matthew. This detail about Jesus' early days is also mentioned in The Picture Bible, in which the Magi reach Jesus well after his birth.

I mention all this here to show that those the COGs teach us to look down on as "professing Christians" are actually aware of these details. The COGs are merely reciting information that was available from other sources.