Saturday, October 31, 2015

PCG Vilifying Germans Again

PCG's Brad MacDonald has released an article entitled, How Many Germans Secretly Admire Hitler?

Here MacDonald fear mongers that Germans secretly love Adolf Hitler. It is insinuated that in the near future Germany will become radicalized in a way similar to what happened during the frightful days of Nazi rule (1933-45).

MacDonald exploits a recently released satirical movie to insinuate that Germans are still like the infamous Nazis. PCG teaches that Germany will lead Europe to soon conquer America in military conquest and this venomous accusation is used to keep PCG members fearful of Germany.
The success of a newly released film in which Adolf Hitler is resurrected and returns to Germany reveals a sobering reality. ...

I realize that we’re talking about a movie, and a comedy at that. But isn’t this a little odd and somewhat disconcerting? What should we make of the fact that most of the people Hitler came into contact with greeted him warmly and enthusiastically? Does this reveal a worrying complacency with Hitler and his despicable legacy? 
While the movie seems to make a pointed commentary on the problem of xenophobia within Germany today its purpose is woefully perverted by PCG's false fear inducing dogma that Germany will soon conquer America. That is just hateful nonsense. Being so fearful of Germany it is harder for PCG members to notice and act upon the problems within PCG.
During his interview with the Post, Wnendt—a German himself—shared how surprised he was by how many ordinary Germans had no qualms about conversing with Hitler, and at the same time expressed xenophobic, racist views about foreigners living in Germany. One woman complained that Germany’s problems were the result of foreigners living in Germany. One man explained that immigrants from Africa had caused Germany’s IQ to drop by 20 percent. Another complained that foreigners could do whatever they wanted because Germans were too full of guilt about World War II. “We Germans are not allowed to open our mouths because we still have that stigma,” he said.

These people made these remarks on camera, while in conversation with a man made to look like Adolf Hitler. 
Does it never occur to MacDonald that perhaps most Germans are more like Wendt then the boogeymen PCG fearfully proclaim will soon conquer America? 

Although MacDonald is happy to use this film to point out xenophobic attitudes among some Germans to vilify the German people as a whole thus failing to distinguish between the guilty and the innocent he condemns the film as trivializing the Holocaust.
Again, isn’t this disconcerting? It seems that Adolf Hitler, one of the cruelest men in history and a man once met with repulsion and disgust, is today more of a curiosity and amusement. ... This film, and its terrific success, reveals an alarming complacency—and even an affinity—for Hitler. This film, and the millions who watch it, trivialize the history of Hitler, the murder of 6 million Jews, and the entire history of World War II. The history of the Holocaust includes some of the most despicable behavior ever committed by humans. Shouldn’t that history be untouchable, at least by comedians? Isn’t it a little worrying that there is a healthy appetite for these sorts of films? Shouldn’t we be concerned that in 2015 Germany, Hitler sells? 
The leaders of the Armstrongite COGs have no right to condemn others for supposedly trivializing the Holocaust.

Armstrongism has exploited the Holocaust to demonize Germans collectively and make the COGs' absurd false prophecies of a future German military conquest seem reasonable. This shameful practice started with HWA himself. So many was recruited to convert to the various branches of Armstrongism by fear pronouncements of doom and gloom which often discussed the various atrocities that occurred during World War II.

Armstrongism has exploited the mass murder of six million Jews by the Nazi regime to make money out of people indoctrinated to fear that the Nazis are coming soon in the future to attack them.

There is a bizarre irony regarding MacDonald's paranoid demagoguery about Germans. A story was recently released in The Guardian which mentioned that some German Neo-Nazis are quite admiring of Australia's policy of preventing immigrants coming in by boat from reaching Australia, Brad MacDonald's original homeland.
Usually protesters crave media attention but here people turned their backs, pushed my camera away and threatened violence using a variety of gestures I understood all too well. I guessed that some didn’t want to be filmed because there’s a stigma attached to supporting Pegida – a social price to pay if you’re a schoolteacher or public servant. ...

But as soon as someone asked me where I was from, I realised I could instantly defuse the nasty vibe with one simple word: Australia.

Suddenly, it was all smiles. As far as the protesters were concerned, my nationality meant I was friend, not foe. Clearly Australia’s reputation for “stopping the boats” preceded me.

A week before, I’d been welcomed as a fellow traveller at a rally by the far-right National Democratic Party of Germany (NPD).

“I’m delighted to have an Australian TV crew here with us,” announced Jens Baur, the party’s regional leader in Saxony. “As you know we have a few similarities to Australia’s ‘No Way’ campaign’”.

The NPD are usually described as neo-Nazis, and Baur was a huge fan of the Australian government’s tough line on asylum seekers. (Amos Roberts, Being Australian gave me street cred at a neo-Nazi rally in Germany, The Guardian, October 13, 2015.)
It is worth mentioning here that PCG has long fear mongered about immigrants portraying them in a bad way. PCG's leaders have even insinuated that President Obama was deliberately letting immigrants into the United States to get more votes for the Democratic Party. What paranoia! In fact deportations actually increased under President Obama's watch.

Unlike PCG I will point out that this refers to a government policy. No doubt many Australians disagree with this policy and it is not fair to just blame the Australian people as a whole for this.

And so we see that PCG's long running and shameful demonization of Germans as a whole to promote their false prophecies proclaiming that Germany will soon conquer America continues. 

There is no need to fear PCG's dire pronouncements. PCG are false prophets.

Different Ways to Count Numbers

Fascinating video showing some of the many different ways various peoples have categorized numbers in varied ways.

58 and other Confusing Numbers - Numberphile.

Friday, October 30, 2015

PCG's Condemnation of Halloween (1994)

Back in the November 1994 issue of Philadelphia News, a PCG publication discussing developments within PCG, Wayne Turgeon wrote an article reciting Armstrongism's long standing ban on Halloween inherited from HWA.

Wayne Turgeon is married to Gerald Flurry's daughter, Laura Turgeon. Their son, Grant Turgeon, has been advancing within PCG's leadership recently.

Let us see what Turgeon has to say.
Halloween, a strange holiday, is increasingly stranger in terms of things which are occurring on or around this festival every year. You only need to look at the news to learn of the tragedies related to its observance. Is it merely coincidental? Though many will admit that it stems from pagan origins, they refuse to stop keeping it because it’s “fun.” Actually, it’s big business. (p. 1.)
It's always about money to Armstrongite sect leaders. HWA infamously complained that Christmas caused his income to slow down afterwards. The same motivation seems to be laying behind this article as well.

Why let PCG members spend money and time with family members celebrating Halloween when PCG's leaders could simply use their religion to ban PCG members from celebrating Halloween and hopefully using the money saved from not celebrating Halloween to tithe more to PCG?

Turgeon then claims that Halloween causes children to behave badly and is responsible for juvenile delinquency.
By keeping a holiday such as this, it should come as no surprise that there are so few ethics in the home when we teach our kids to get something for nothing by begging. And, when they don’t get what they want, they vandalize. Space does not permit a complete explanation of “trick or treat” and other degenerate and weird customs, but many secular sources can provide the details for us. (p. 1.)
Regardless of one's opinion regarding trick or treating it must be said that it is not begging. Rather it is a long established custom that most people have long since learned to expect on Halloween. It is not begging.

Also Turgeon's accusation that young people who do not get a treat are inclined to commit vandalism sounds so narrow minded. It is denigrating to the vast majority of people who do no such thing.

Turgeon then uses this article condemning Halloween to denigrate the entire world outside of PCG as false Christians. He even accuses those who celebrate Halloween as somehow "honoring Satan".
It is common knowledge to many that Halloween is pagan, but most do not fear God, though they profess to worship Him. It does matter to Him how we worship Him and any honest person can see that Halloween’s symbolism is based on darkness, not light, honoring Satan and his demons. (p.1.)
This is an absurd accusation designed to compel the readers to not celebrate Halloween. Those who celebrate Halloween do no such thing.

Turgeon says that Halloween promotes the immortality of the soul in order to denigrate mainstream Christians as false and to insinuate that PCG members are the only true Christians on Earth.

Turgeon insists that it comes from paganism and insists it is therefore forbidden for PCG members to celebrate Halloween. This same accusation is used to forbid followers from celebrating Christmas, Easter, New Year's Day and St. Valentine's Day. PCG's ban against other mainstream holidays are alluded to in this article.
(Past articles on other holidays such as Christmas, New Year’s, etc. are also available upon request.) (p. 1.)
These holidays and other are banned by PCG and other COG groups. HWA imposed these bans upon his followers imitating the Jehovah's Witnesses. These bans have the effect of isolating his followers from mainstream society and making the followers socially dependent upon the group, in this instance PCG. These tactics are strategy to isolate and control the member.

Turgeon ends his article with a call to PCG members to celebrate the holidays HWA imposed his followers in the Radio/Worldwide Church of God.
God has His own set of holy, sanctified days that we are commanded to keep. What could be better—for both adults and children—than restoring the observance of God’s holy days? Kept according to His instructions, God’s holy days, such as the Feast of Tabernacles, are much better than all of these other humanly devised (Satan-inspired) false substitutes put together! (p. 1.)
There is no need for a Christian to celebrate those holy days. HWA perverted those beautiful feasts to denigrate every Christian church that does not celebrate those days. While it was an attractive marketing tactic to attract new converts it exploited those holy days to condemn all Christians outside of the COGs. The Jews never asked HWA to do this to the feasts they celebrate. Armstrongism has perverted those beautiful feasts.

And so we see that PCG once again condemns a popular celebration in order to socially isolate their followers from mainstream society to make them socially dependent upon the group.

PCG's Stephen Flurry Responding to Netanyahu's Mufti Comments

Recently Prime Minister Netanyahu shocked a lot of people when he insinuated that Hitler had not wanted to exterminate the Jews until he had a meeting with Haj Amin al-Husseini. Of course this was not true. It was Hitler and the Nazis who chose to commit genocide against the Jews. It is inaccurate and morally troubling to blame some Palestinian mufti for the Holocaust.

So naturally PCG's Stephen Flurry felt the need to discuss this incident in a Trumpet Daily broadcast (October 22, 2015).

It is true that Haj Amin al-Husseini collaborated with the Nazis during World War II as, shamefully, so many others did. But unfortunately this historical fact is being used to dehumanize the Palestinian people today. This bitter historical fact is used emotively to make people loath Palestinians and be suspicious of them. This historical fact is being used for present day needs instead of being analyzed on its own terms.

Let's see what Stephen Flurry has to say in this broadcast.

He says that this historical anecdote which falsely accused a Palestinian of inciting the Holocaust has overshadowed Netanyahu's speech which discussed the tensions regarding the Temple Mount.

But if someone says something so inflammatory as accusing a Palestinian of starting the Holocaust what are those who listen to him supposed to do? Just pretend he didn't say it? So naturally journalists who are entrusted to keep people informed go to historians and ask them about this accusation. The historians say tat Netanyahu was completely wrong. Are the journalists supposed to just down play it and hide it? Of course not. 

Maybe Netanyahu took it too far, Stephen Flurry says. This is a rare criticism of Netanyahu. It is a sign of just how wrong Netanyahu was to say these words that even PCG would not wholeheartedly defend him. But because Netanyahu is right wing and PCG is right wing as well the PCG leadership have tended to view Netanyahu in a favorable way. These words of his will not change that. (6 minutes.)

Stephen Flurry says people not knowing about Haj Amin al-Husseini's collaboration with the Nazi regime is the real story. He says not many people know this history. But the fact of his collaboration with the Nazi regime is well known and well documented for anyone who wished to investigate this issue. Stephen Flurry emotively presents his story as being unknown but that is far from true.

But it is intriguing that Stephen Flurry thinks his listeners do not know about Haj Amin al-Husseini. It shows he assumes his target audience is not aware of Haj Amin al-Husseini. He is not looking for people who are well informed about this issue but rather those who do not know and are thus less able to rebut any incorrect information PCG might produce.

Stephen Flurry accuses historians and journalists of covering up the information of Haj Amin al-Husseini's collaboration with the Nazi regime. (12-14 minutes.) This is hyperbolic nonsense. The information is about what he did during World War II is widely available to anyone who wishes to investigate this issue.

In fact Netanyahu himself wrote about Haj Amin al-Husseini in a 1993 book and linked Haj Amin al-Husseini to the Holocaust previously.
Netanyahu had written feverishly on the Mufti’s collaboration with Nazi Germany in his 1993 book, A Durable Peace, citing dubious testimony by one of Adolph Eichmann’s underlings that the “Mufti was one of the initiators of the systematic extermination of European Jewry.” (In his 1961 trial in Jerusalem, Eichmann denied that Husseini played any such role or that he knew him well.) The long-dead Palestinian patriarch has been one of Netanyahu’s favorite boogeymen ever since, helping him implicate the Palestinians in crimes that had nothing to do with the occupation or settler-colonial domination. Back in 2012, in a speech before the Israeli Knesset, Netanyahu claimed the Mufti was “one of the leading architects of the Final Solution.” And a year later, at Bar Ilan University, Netanyahu attempted to draw a direct line between Nazi Germany and the Palestinian national struggle. (Max Blumenthal, Painting Palestinians as Nazis, Netanyahu Incites Wave of Vigilante Violence, AlterNet, October 22, 2015.)
In this broadcast Stephen Flurry said that Haj Amin al-Husseini was closely aligned with some of the Nazi leaders. Eichmann's denial regarding Haj Amin al-Husseini's alleged prominence among the Nazis was not mentioned by Stephen Flurry.

Stephen Flurry complains that so many people are making too much of an issue out of those comments. Perhaps he should complain to Netanyahu for making the inaccurate statement in the first place.

Stephen Flurry complains that Palestinians revere Haj Amin al-Husseini. (16 minutes.)

Stephen Flurry fearfully talks about those who (he says) have a desire to destroy Israel and to annihilate Jews. (16-17 minutes.)

Cites a speech Netanyahu made two weeks ago at Bar Ilan University. Most people don't know about this history, he emotively insists. (17 minutes.)

Complains that President Obama is blaming Israel instead of just the Palestinians alone as Stephen Flurry seems to wish was the case.

Says that the Palestinians are incited by a lie that Israelis are up to something bad against Al Aqsa Mosque. (25 minutes.)

This conveniently ignores the many fact that in recent times many Muslims have been forbidden by the Israeli authorities from entering Al Aqsa while more Jews are being allowed to visit while Palestinians have been increasingly forced from entering their own place of worship. 
In 2012, age restrictions were imposed on Muslim worshippers on just three occasions, a figure that rose to eight in 2013. In 2014, however, Israeli authorities imposed age restrictions for Muslim worshippers on 41 occasions – a five-fold increase from the preceding year.

In addition, Israel closed the compound to all Muslim worshippers and visitors for one day on October 30, 2014, the first such full closure in 14 years. ...

Meanwhile, the number of Jews visiting Al-Aqsa Mosque compound has markedly risen over recent years. According to official police statistics, the number of Jewish visitors to the site in 2009 was 5,658 – in 2014, this had almost exactly doubled to 10,906. (Ben White, Don’t believe Bibi - Israel has already changed the ‘status quo’ at Al-Aqsa, Middle East Eye, October 23, 2015.)
Also some of those Jews have been praying there contrary to the agreement the State of Israeli agreed to after the Six Day War as is shown in the following Reuters report.
As the group of Orthodox Jews came near the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem's Old City, one began to mumble while staring down at his mobile phone. Another looked up in awe, eyes half shut in concentration. The woman's lips moved silently.

Asked afterwards whether they had prayed, a violation of an 800-year-old ban on non-Muslim worship at the holy site, two of the group said they had done so in their hearts, while the woman declared proudly: "I prayed with my mouth moving."

Monday's visit to the compound known to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary and to Jews as Temple Mount was low-key by most standards - no fighting broke out, no one was ejected by the police, everyone left calmly and life returned to normal.

But in critical ways it cut to the heart of an issue fuelling the worst violence between Palestinians and Israel in years: whether the status quo at the site, also known as the Al-Aqsa mosque compound, is being properly enforced. (Luke Baker, With secret prayers, Jews challenge 'status quo' at Jerusalem holy site, Reuters, October 26, 2015. Also relevant is this Twitter post.)
So while some Muslims have been forbidden to enter Al Aqsa these surreptitious prayers are happening as well further inflaming the terrible situation.

Only a few extremists have tried to pray within Al Aqsa in this way. Traditionally Jewish religious authorities forbade Jews from going there

And so Stephen Flurry's discussion of this topic comes to an end. After this is an ad followed by Stephen Flurry talking about something else irrelevant to this topic.

After the broadcast Stephen Flurry wrote an article about Netanyahu's inflammatory comments.
The mufti met with Hitler in November 1941. By that point, the killing of Jews had already begun on the eastern front. But the “final solution” wasn’t made official until two months AFTER the mufti’s visit with Hitler. So whether or not the conversation between Hitler and the grand mufti happened exactly the way Netanyahu says, one thing we know for certain is that the mufti was definitely an ENTHUSIASTIC supporter of the final solution! (Stephen Flurry, Benjamin Netanyahu and the Grand Mufti: What Is the Real Controversy?, October 23, 2015.)
The supposed conversion Netanyahu talked about simply did not happen. Why does Stephen Flurry pretend Netanyahu just might be correct? There is no dispute. Netanyahu was simply inaccurate and wrong to say that Haj Amin al-Husseini inspired the Holocaust. It is demagogic nonsense to blame him as an originator of the Holocaust.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

PCG Glorifying Slavery in the Bible

The Pan-African Flag

There are some topics that should just be left as they are and must not be sanitized. Life is not perfect. Bad things happened. We have to work towards addressing these problems to build a better tomorrow now.

Back in March 2013 (presumably in Royal Vision) PCG's Joel Hilliker wrote an article about slavery as described in the Old Testament. Instead of just letting facts be what they are Hilliker somehow yearns to  present slavery as described in the Old Testament as something perfect, noble and ideal. He is also noticeably fixated upon the slave master. He talks of the slave master needing to be compassionate and filled with empathy for the slave under his control as though all would be well if only the slave master treated his slaves compassionately.

The article's title is:

Israelites Were Slaves—and Slave Owners

In this article Hilliker makes the mistake of assuming it is harmless to talk about slavery as described in the Old Testament without dealing with the horrors of slavery that was practiced in the United States until 1865. While I suppose one could well argue that slavery as described in the Old Testament was different from the type of slavery that was used against African Americans it cannot change the fact that the trauma of slavery as practiced until 1865 cannot help but affect how one views this topic. We must be respectful to the memory of those who suffered slavery in the United States and deal with this issue in a responsible way.

Slavery is a remainder of the painful problems facing America, particularly discriminatory treatment towards the African American community. To this day African Americans face all kinds of distinctive problems. When they endure injustice it is not possible to forget that it stems from the horror of slavery that was imposed on their ancestors by the slave masters. The ancestors of the African American community were ripped away from their homes and shipped over the Atlantic Ocean to be exploited and used as slave labor. The slave masters forced the African Americans to work and denied them the fruits of their labor. Many of those who were enslaved died under the severe oppression they were forced into enduring.

The Bible was written long before the slave trade forcibly robbed so many Africans of their homes and shipped them away from everything they held dear. But today it is not possible to look at this issue without addressing slavery in the United States that existed until 1865. (Of course there were other problems afterwards.) The traumatic memory of the salve plantation taints this topic. It is troubling that Hilliker seems determined to ignore how the terrible injustice of slavery taints his attempt to purify past events.
Israel’s history as a slave nation is knit within the fabric of its identity. In spiritual Israel [PCG] today, we identify with the rigors of bondage the ancient Israelites suffered. The Israelites’ slavery to Egypt typifies our slavery to sin and to Satan (e.g. John 8:34; Romans 6:20). Their miraculous redemption from captivity foreshadowed God freeing us. The spiritual imagery is profound, the lessons deeply personal.

But ancient Israel’s freedom did not end its association with slavery. Not only did the whole nation repeatedly go into varying degrees of captivity, but at times, individual Israelites actually became slaves and even owned slaves within the nation. Most of us probably haven’t thought much about this fact: While there is no indication Israel had a slave trade as some nations did, its people did own slaves. And God sanctioned and regulated this practice.
It is one of the most controversial aspects of God’s Old Testament law: slavery. Believe it or not, it is also a subject that glows with vision and even beauty when you properly understand it!
There are some African Americans who are members of PCG. What must go through their minds reading things like this?

It is strange that Hilliker should say "there is no indication Israel had a slave trade as some nations did" when he is clearly talking about not just any nation but his own, the United States. Why is it he feels compelled to resort to such a bland euphemism here when he is clearly talking about his own nation? Why is he so afraid of facts?

We should focus on making society today a better place and deal with the current problems caused by the trauma of slavery by working to overcome the injustices which are the tragic legacies of the horrors of slavery. It is unfortunate that PCG's leaders decided they had to justify a form of slavery to insist that PCG's God was always perfect and right.

Hilliker then justifies slavery as described in the Old Testament as a welfare program
God designed His welfare system so that the people, not the government, provided for those in poverty. He wanted the entire nation to look out for those in financial straits, and for the poor to work to get themselves out of poverty.
So Hilliker thinks the poor are that way because they do not work? That might be true with some but it is certain that most of the poor of not like that. He also ignores the problem of racism. Some people refuse to employ minorities and those minorities suffer because of that. Hilliker refuses to bring this problem up.

Also note Hilliker's denigration of the government providing for the poor. PCG is a right wing group and they imitate the right in this way as well.
Yet these aids did not eliminate poverty completely. So God provided a plan of last resort for a person in terrible financial shape. In extreme cases, a horribly indebted individual could enter a work program to get back on his feet.
Read Deuteronomy 15:12. Essentially this is God’s six-year work program for poor Israelites. For someone capable of working, this was a way to get out from under a crushing burden of debt. It also ensured that the lender received something in return. Contrast that against the modern practice of filing bankruptcy, which leaves creditors without compensation when the borrower defaults on a debt.
It is strange that Hilliker is so worried about the creditor instead of the man who becomes a slave for six years. Six years is a long time. That sounds like quite a long work program. Of course it is no such thing. Hilliker is projecting his fantasies upon these words.

Hilliker than talks about how one can become a slave in the kind of slavery that is described in the Old Testament.
God’s law outlines four other ways an Israelite might become a slave. In only one case did God actually command slavery: A thief without the money to pay the fine laid on him by the law was to be sold (Exodus 22:3). This punished the criminal for his crime and ensured that the grieved party received something for being wronged.
The other laws simply establish ground rules for this common practice. First, a father might sell his children (Exodus 21:7).
Second, someone might be taken as a prisoner in war and sold as a slave. Finally, an Israelite might ransom an Israelite from being a slave to a Gentile; he could then sell that slave to another Israelite (Leviticus 25:47-55).
Hilliker then clumsily tries to wring this out into some kind of lesson about avoiding sin.
All of these cases involve some kind of sin. If you consider these means by which someone could become enslaved, they illustrate one of the spiritual types at play in God’s laws regarding slavery: the fact that sin enslaves us. When an Israelite became enslaved, it was a sign that he had broken some laws—criminal or economic—and was now captive as a result.
They were probably more worried about being under slavery then about any allegorical lesson about obeying PCG's God as interpreted by PCG's leaders.

At least Hilliker says there will be no slavery after PCG's Christ returns, whether of the kind mentioned in the Old Testament or of the kind that was practiced in the United States until 1865.
It seems extremely likely that slavery will be a thing of the past in the World Tomorrow because God will eliminate all these causes for slavery. We will be teaching people—helping and guiding them—to ensure they are being responsible and actually growing their wealth. God wants everyone to prosper! God doesn’t intend people to be owned by other people. He wants all men to be free!
Then why bother justifying what happened in ancient times? It is maddening that PCG insists on justifying and even glorifying slavery as described in the Old Testament as some sort of family arrangement.
Notice Exodus 21:2. For six years, the master provided shelter, food and clothing for the servant, and would pay his debts. In exchange, the poor man would work. During that period, the master was forbidden from treating him harshly; he was commanded to acknowledge the servant’s status as a citizen of Israel and to treat him with justice in the fear of God. God gave many laws to ensure the servant was treated well—like family. And notice: “He shall go out free for nothing” means that at the end of the six years he no longer owed anything. His debts were considered paid in full.
It is wrong for PCG to minimize things in this way. Hilliker just mentioned earlier that one could become a slave as punishment for breaking the law. But now Hilliker wants us to believe that slavery could become a happy family if only the master was filled with compassion.
Read Leviticus 25:48. The man in this work program had this option: He or his family could buy his freedom at any time. That price was probably negotiated with the employer; the judges may have also gotten involved where necessary.
Instead of trying to make the past look beautiful and pristine one should instead work to make tomorrow better and work to resolve problems today.
Read Deuteronomy 15:13-14 and 18 to see what would happen when the poor man finished the six-year work program. Consider how different this was from slavery in other nations. This man was given a bonus so he could start life over again with some savings! That would help him stay out of poverty the next time. A man who experienced those six years of servanthood was strongly motivated to make sure he never fell into such a state again.
How contradictory Hilliker is. He tries to make slavery as described in the Old Testament as something beautiful, noble and divine, and even like a family. Now he portrays it as something a person would never want to go through again. It is made to sound like some sort of prison sentence with hard labor.

It is a hopeless endeavor to make the past perfect. Rather we must make the future better for all.
God really instilled within the master a strong sense of compassion toward the poor individual. This is reminiscent of when the Israelites went free from their slavery: As slaves they possessed little, but God made sure that as they started their life of freedom, they were rich! (e.g. Exodus 3:21-22; 12:35-36). God ensured the same for the Israelite slave who went free, commanding the master: Give to him liberally! God left the specific amount to the discretion of the master. Slaves knew about this law too; this would have been incentive to offer good service during those six years of work.
Now Hilliker appears to be trying to rehabilitate the slave master.

British Israelism has taught PCG that their nation is chosen by God to be the greatest on Earth. This teaches PCG to revere and love their "Israelite" nation. So they are disturbed at problems about the history of the United States. But instead of being responsible about this and just admitting that any society will be haunted by the injustices of the past PCG is trying to minimize the problem of slavery by portraying the slave master as having "a strong sense of compassion toward the poor individual."

This is wrong. Rather we should simply confront the fact that what happened under slavery in the United States was most awful and most terrible and work towards making society today a better place for all. We need to educate ourselves about racism to work against it.
Contemplate Deuteronomy 15:15. God wanted the master’s history as a slave and emancipation by God to inform his compassion and empathy toward the indentured worker. This principle applies anytime we have people working under us. There was a time when you were the child, the student, the employee or servant—when you were under another’s authority. Remember that experience, and be sure to exercise authority with compassion for the person who is now in the same position you used to be in. This is a law of love—and a law of liberty! Give those under you the same generous treatment God has given you.
So Hilliker seems to think the slave master will simply feel sorry for the slave and act generously towards him. It is terrible that while so many African Americans suffer racism today Hilliker decides to write this paean for the slave master and portray him as compassionate and filled with empathy.

I cannot help but wonder if Hilliker is trying to rehabilitate the institution of slavery. He does not wish to restore it by any means. Rather he seems to do this in order to pretend that his white "Israelite" ancestors in the United States were perfect, innocent and pure of the horrors of slavery. If so that would be most wrong. Rather we must be honest about what happened in times past and work to make our society better for all.
Consider the benefits of this program. It developed a stronger work ethic in the servant and provided a profit to both the employer and the worker. And it is worth mentioning that none of it required any public taxes.
Again note how concerned Hilliker is about the employer. What a sad perspective this is in regards to any kind of slavery. Slavery is made for the benefit of the employer at the expense of the worker. Considering this fact it is concerning that Hilliker should be so concerned for the employer.

It is also noteworthy how Hilliker boasts that this did not need any taxes. It is strange Hilliker should be so fearful of taxes when as a minister in a religious organization his religious groups does not pay taxes anyway. Odds are Hilliker has been influenced by some rightists on this matter.
The other spiritual type at play in God’s slavery laws regards the conduct of the master. God’s laws on slavery actually point to our servanthood to God, who is our faithful master.
Really study this subject in Scripture, and you see that God actually uses the master-slave relationship to typify our relationship with Him. God Himself is a “slave owner.”
Just because a now banned relationship such as slavery happened to be used as a metaphor to describe religious ideas does not justify in any way this bizarre attempt to sanitize the past. We should not sanitize the past but use it to inspire us to make this society better today and to work against injustice.
This idea is very foreign to modern ears: It goes against everything our culture promotes—glorifying the individual, worshiping personal expression, demanding selfish fulfillment.
How bizarre this is that Hilliker should dare to denigrate mainstream society in such a way.

It was no easy thing to abolish slavery. Alas, the issue was exploited by some who yearned to protect slavery and keep the slaves in chains to lead the southern states to secede leading to the most terrible conflict to afflict the United States, the Civil War. Those who wanted to continue the mass enslavement of African Americans led the United States into catastrophe.

How dare Hilliker denigrate mainstream society for not liking metaphors Hillikers wants to use in this article.
Nevertheless, this is the scriptural teaching. For example, God’s apostles often refer to themselves as the “servant,” or bondslave, of God (e.g. Romans 1:1; Galatians 1:10; Colossians 4:12; 2 Timothy 2:24; James 1:1; 2 Peter 1:1; Jude 1). As Gerald Flurry explains in the James booklet: “God’s very elect are a small little remnant of people who know a lot about the Father and Christ, and who want to be a slave to both of them. This is a bondage of love. We love being in bondage to God.”
Hilliker then tells the reader that what is really important is what the slave master is like.
The real issue is the attitude and motive of the ruler. Scripture teaches we are all slaves: slaves of sin, or slaves of righteousness. Satan is the cruel, oppressive, despotic master of slaves of sin; Christ is the benevolent master of slaves of righteousness. Satan oppresses and bludgeons all he can from his slaves. Instead, Christ paid for His slaves with His precious blood, and offers us everything. Christ says: “[M]y yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:30), compared to the hard bondage and destructive servitude Satan imposes.
Is it not amazing how Hilliker chooses to ignore the slave? He makes it seems the only important question is what does the master of slaves thinks and treats the slaves. What the slave thinks is here erased from discussion. This shows how the PCG leadership is so fixated on power.

Hilliker then decides that slavery is a lot like family.
Of course, God also typifies our relationship as a father-son relationship and a husband-wife relationship—but the way God views slavery, there isn’t necessarily a huge difference between those. The master-slave idea simply emphasizes the government—the authority and submission in the relationship. But in God’s view, it was almost like a family bond.

Reading about the relationships that some of the great men of the Bible had with their servants, you realize that they were very much like family. And we who are slaves of God are certainly family to God!
How bizarre this is. Hilliker seems to think there is little difference between slavery and a family. In this warped perspective within both slavery and the family the master or the husband makes the decisions and the others are to obey. This is so wrong and disturbing in so many ways. Reading bizarre words such as these it is little wonder that PCG has gained such a terrible reputation for authoritarian behavior.

Again we see Hilliker fixating his attention on the slave master. He seems to subconsciously assume that if only the slave master acts benevolently all would be well.
God wanted the physical level to mirror this spiritual reality. Thus, in His law, our spiritual Master heavily regulated the physical master’s conduct in order to prevent abuses. Read Colossians 4:1 and Ephesians 6:9, both of which explicitly draw the parallel between physical and spiritual. God enjoins masters to follow His example and to treat their servants with compassion. He instructs: Remember what I have done for you! Even masters are slaves of God, and they are to follow the example of how God treats them.
This sympathetic view towards slave masters is wrong in so many ways. Rather we should face the facts about slavery in the United States and inspire ourselves to speak out against wrongs and educate ourselves to stand up against racism in all its forms so that we can live together in peace and justice.

Now Hilliker pretends that masters and slaves were somehow equal.
Again we see how God’s law tends to protect the person likelier to be trampled on. In this case, it contains many provisions to safeguard the physical and spiritual wellbeing of the servant. In fact, one of these is contained right within the Ten Commandments! Look closely at the Fourth Commandment in Deuteronomy 5:12-14.

God commanded that all slaves receive the weekly Sabbath rest! That alone reveals a lot about how unusual was the treatment slaves in Israel received as compared to those in other nations. On a spiritual level, the master and slave were equals.
This is a crude minimization of the horrors of slavery. It is so wrong for Hilliker to act as though they are simply equal. The slave is bound. How dare Hilliker acts as though this is not the case. Earlier Hilliker said one could become a slave as a sentence for criminal acts. Clearly they are not equals.

Again I cannot help but think that Hilliker is trying to rehabilitate slavery in the United States in order to pretend that his ancestors were innocent and to suppress any uncomfortable feelings of sadness regarding the plight of deprived ethnic minorities.
In practical effect, these laws encouraged masters to view servants as extended family. All the laws that applied to natural-born Israelites applied to slaves as well.
Laws granting rights to slaves were almost unheard of in surrounding nations. But slaves in Israel had many God-given rights. The law says an Israelite slave was to be treated just like a hired employee, one who received a paycheck each day (Leviticus 25:39-46). It says that if a master maimed a slave, that slave was to be set free (Exodus 21:26-27). It explicitly forbids killing a slave (Exodus 21:20).
Study all those laws, and you will detect a common thread of godly empathy. In all the laws regulating this practice, God continually reminds the Israelites of their unique history as a slave nation in Egypt. He commanded that His people remember that difficult past and make sure it informed their conscience when they dealt with those in similar circumstances. This reality is particularly relevant to those of us in spiritual Israel [PCG] today.
Again note how fixated Hilliker is on the slave masters. He seems to think that if only the master treats the slaves well and feels compassion for them then all would be well. This is little acknowledgement that being a slave would have been a harsh trial. It is so vain to try to purify the past. Let us instead make the future better.
Consider the picture described in the law of Deuteronomy 23:15-16. This is an extraordinary law. If a slave from a foreign nation escaped to Israel, God commanded the Israelites to provide him asylum and allow him to live anywhere he wanted in the nation. This man could have a completely new life, transformed from being a slave in a harsh, pagan nation to being able to enjoy the choicest blessings of freedom within the nation of the true God!
Hilliker praises this practice but at the same time PCG constantly fear mongers about immigrants coming to the United States. They even accused President Obama of letting immigrants come into the United States as a plot to get more voters for the Democratic Party. In reality deportations skyrocketed under President Obama. Such false accusations seem to show that PCG is willing to say anything to get the desired reaction from their followers.
God has tremendous compassion for those in bondage! He hears the cry of the oppressed—even Gentiles who are enslaved to other Gentiles—just as surely as He heard the cries of His people Israel when they were in bondage in Egypt! He has a mind to graft them into His chosen nation.
Then why is it PCG so often refuses to do these things by indoctrinating their followers to shun family members, ex-members and members of the other COG groups? Some PCG members are in bondage to HWA's anti-medicine superstition and neglect their health by refusing to visit doctors or taking medicines.

And so this article comes to an end.

What a terrible article that was. This is what happens when one demonizes the entire world as being influenced by Satan except for one's own small sect. This is what happens when one declares that they alone are right in all the world. This is what happens when one chooses to go so far to the right politically speaking that they fail to give heed to those whose politics happen to be different. They isolate themselves from society and begin to develop strange ideas that seem reasonable within the group but outside of the small group the ideas inspire shock from those without. This is what happens when one fails to be educated about racism.

This article about slavery and about how PCG's God is so concerned about the slave master is appalling. We need to side with those who are oppressed and not sympathize with those who exploit the vulnerable.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Philadelphia Trumpet Circulation Now Lower Than in AD 2000

Back in August 2014 PCG's financial manager, Andrew Locher, expressed his hope that getting their recruitment program, The Key of David, broadcasting on British TV would cause the circulation of their recruitment magazine to increase.
Now with the increased potential audience in Britain and Europe, we can build Trumpet circulation and watch the Work gain momentum in this most prophetically active region. (Source.)
But despite all that PCG has done since then Trumpet circulation has fallen further. It is now lower than what it was in 2000.

For the August 2014 issue its circulation figure was 319,798. For the latest November-December 2015 issue the circulation figure is 293,184.

Where is all the money going?


Below are the circulation figures for PCG's recruitment magazine, The Philadelphia Trumpet.


March 70,000

May 44,800

June 72,900

July 86,400

August 90,000

September 95,000

November 87,500

December 89,000


January 98,250

February 102,750

March 105,300

May 116,500

June 135,000

July 178,000

At present it is not possible for me to know the circulation figures after this issue until the November 2003 issue. (August 1999-September-October 2003).

In the December 1999 issue Gerald Flurry boasts that the magazine had doubled its circulation in the last twelve months. This seems believable and to correlate with the figures presented here.

In the July-August 2000 issue of PCG's indoctrination magazine, Royal Vision, Gerald Flurry made the following boastful words: "We are on about 70 television stations and our Trumpet magazine has a circulation of more than 300,000." (p. 12.)

We continue from the November 2003 issue.


November 313,400

December 317,000


January 341,305

February 341,735

March 344,530

May 347,750

June 345,290

July 340,740

August 338,665

September 335,000

November 340,340

December 325,835


January 325,595

February 318,844

March-April 315,435

May 306,400

June 315,435

July 315,970

August 317,235

September 319,760

November 314,810

December 325,985


January 323,900

February 322,200

March 326,702

April 345,000

May 325,000

June-July 332,000

August 326,000

September 330,000

October 314,000

November-December 288,000


January 290,100

February 288,000

March 295,000

April 295,000

May 331,000

June 351,000

July 417,000

August-September 428,500

October 444,100

November-December 458,700


January 408,995

February 373,500

March 294,000

April 266,301

May 283,450

June-July 252,948

August 275,180

September 269,180

October 274,076

November-December 278,480


January 282,480

February 280,844

March 289,844

April 255,455

May-June 257,944

July 255,280

August 252,067

September 255,067

October 257,978

November-December 259,767


January 266,767

February 255,767

March 256,767

April 265,285

May-June 269,615

July 258,707

August 269,641

September 284,235

October-November 289,332

December 295,382


January 300,380

February 304,147

March 307,097

April 315,064

May-June 322,410

July 335,444

August 327,731

September 330,232

October 332,530

November-December 326,176


January 330,067

February 333,067

March 333,067

April 334,044

May-June 338,939

July 342,452

August 340,298

September 340,813

October-November 340,813

December 341,259


January 333,214

February 331,273

March 331,130

April 329,122

May-June 332,997

July 335,797

August 332,849

September-October 330,936

November 331, 830

December 328,019


January 325,014

February 323,585

March 323,583

April 320,572

May-June 319,107

July 322,017

August 319,798

September 317,863

October 317,130

November-December 313,286


January 314,408

February 312,399

March 311,350 

April 310,367

May-June 297,255

July 297,242

August 295,801

September 284,800

October 289,188

November-December 293,184

Beitar Jerusalem Soccer Fans Chant Name of Rabin's Murderer

What appalling behavior.

The following article is from The Times of Israel:
Israel Football Association officials are considering taking disciplinary action against Beitar Jerusalem after a group of its fans were seen chanting slogans praising former prime minister Yitzhak Rabin’s assassin, Yigal Amir, during a game Tuesday night. ...

Beitar Jerusalem is known for its right-wing fan base, and its recent games against Israeli Arab teams have required up to 600 police officers, private security guards and undercover detectives, who have attempted to root out displays of hostility and calls of racist incitement among fans.

Most of the hooliganism is attributed to a group of extremist fans known as La Familia. (Tamar Peleggi, Beitar Jerusalem fans chant name of Rabin’s killer, The Times of Israel, October 28, 2015.)

PCG and the Death of Freddie Grey

What terrible news.
WJZ has confirmed with multiple sources that Gloria Darden, the mother of Freddie Gray, tried to take her own life late Wednesday night.
The call came in around 9:35 p.m. Wednesday for a person needing medical attention in North Baltimore.
Sources tell WJZ that’s where Gloria Darden, the mother of Freddie Gray, attempted suicide and sustained superficial wounds. (CBS Baltimore.)
How terrible. I wish her well and hope she gets the help she needs. May justice prevail regarding this case.

At this point it might be good to remember what PCG has said about the tragic death of Freddie Gray.

When the riots following Freddie Gray's terrible death occurred soon afterwards PCG chose to respond to this crisis by placing a photo of the riot on their recruitment magazine with the following caption.
A car burns in Baltimore on April 27 during riots that broke out after the funeral of a drug dealer who died of injuries inflicted while in police custody. (The Philadelphia Trumpet, July 2015.)
After this issue was published Stephen Flurry cited some news article that denigrated the late Freddie Gray in a Trumpet Daily episode.
Stephen Flurry has made a Trumpet Daily episode along the same lines. In it he cites some news article accusing the late Freddie Gray of previously injuring himself to win lawsuits. This assertion is presented by PCG to minimize the severity of the fact that an American had lost his life while in police custody and to insinuate that he who died was responsible for his own death.
Considering the latest news regarding this continuing tragedy how dare PCG should denigrate an American who suffered violence and died for it. It is shameful how PCG reacted to this terrible event.

For anyone who wants to read about suicide I would suggest the following:

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Ultra-Orthodox and the National Religious in Israel

Shahak and Merevinsky in their book, Jewish Fundamentalism in Israel (1999, 2004), discusses two religious social groups within Israeli society, namely the ultra-Orthodox Israeli Jews and National Religious Israeli Jews. (This book was mentioned in a previous post discussing Arutz Sheva, a media outlet that caters for National Religious Israeli Jews.)

In the preface Merevinsky expresses regret at not discussing Meir Kahane because Shahak regarded him as too marginal to be described in this book.

Chapter 1 provides an overview of the ultra-Orthodox and national religious. The ultra-Orthodox and national religious split from each other back in the 1920s. The national religious chose not to renounce modern society as the ultra-Orthodox did.

Chapter 2 discusses the ultra-Orthodox in Israel.

Chapter 3 discusses the ultra-Orthodox and differences between those of European origins (Ashkenazim) and those of Middle Eastern origins (Sephardi/Mizrahim).

Shahak and Merevinsky are quite scathing describing various aspects of ultra-Orthodox Israeli society and politics. But for all that they viewed the ultra-Orthodox as for the most part wishing to be left alone and they used politics mainly to keep themselves insulated from mainstream society. Shahak and Merevinsky were more worried about the National Religious Israeli Jews who did not share the reclusive nature of the ultra-Orthodox.

Chapter 4 discusses the National Religious Israeli Jews and the religious settlers who organized themselves as Gush Emunim (Bloc of the Faithful). Shahak and Merevinsky identify Rabbi Avraham Kook as being the wellspring of the ideology of National Religious Israeli Jews.

Chapter 5 discusses the religious settlements in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Chapter 6 discusses the shameful sympathy expressed among national religious Israeli Jews and Israeli settlers towards Baruch Goldstein and his infamous massacre of Palestinians in Hebron atop Abraham's grave in 1994. Shahak and Merevinsky also exposes how Goldstein refused to give medical treatment to non-Jewish soldiers of the Israel Defense Force putting their health in jeopardy and how, alas, he was never properly disciplined for this dereliction of duty.

(This book does not mention this but it was after this massacre that Hamas began using suicide bombers against civilians. Hamas had started using this ghastly tactic in 1993 but at first they were directed against military targets. It was after this monstrous massacre that Hamas began to use suicide bombers against civilians. And so Goldstein's massacre led to even more violence and suffering. It appears Hamas stopped using suicide bombers around 2005.)

Chapter 7 talks about the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and seeks to explain why the morally depraved assassin believed himself to be religious justified in committing his heinous murder. This chapter is quite different from the rest of the book as it discusses historical events before the founding of the State of Israel. But I am more interested in what is happening today.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Reading PCG's Article, Is Smoking a Sin? (1994)

Let us now read Dennis Leap's article, "Is Smoking a Sin?" This article is dated February 1994. Presumably it was published in that issue of PCG's recruitment magazine, The Philadelphia Trumpet. You can read this article on their website.

Let us see what Leap has to say here.
God clearly states in the Sixth Commandment: ‘Thou shalt not kill.’ Smoking endangers not only your own life, but also affects the lives of others. In this article, we will prove that smoking is a sin!
It is certainly true that smoking tobacco is addictive and harmful. This is a well known fact. We do not need PCG to tell us this.
The Worldwide Church of God doctrinal changes have opened the door for the liberalization of many other teachings related to major Church doctrines. For example, the change in the healing doctrine has also brought about a change in the teaching related to the use of tobacco. It is clear that the ministry of the WCG no longer stresses that smoking is sin and should be stopped immediately.
As members of the Philadelphia Church of God, we must not only uphold the major doctrines restored to the Church, we must also uphold the teachings associated with each doctrine. Smoking is a problem for some attending the PCG. We must remember that smoking and all other uses of tobacco is a serious sin.
How grotesque it is for Leap to exploit the most serious topic of nicotine addiction to defend and promote HWA's anti-medicine superstition which he plagiarized from the Jehovah's Witnesses.

For many decades HWA taught his followers that they must not rely on medicines and doctors or else gain HWA's false God's wrath and go to the Lake of Fire. HWA said only his God can heal therefore doctors and medicines are not needed and useless in healing. This doctrine of death caused WCG members to neglect their health by not visiting doctors and refusing to take life saving medicines.

This deadly abomination is what Leap is referring to when he talks of "the healing doctrine". How dare Leap exploits widespread concern about nicotine addiction to justify that most horrid and deadly doctrine.

We now continue with Leap's article.

Leap then talks about how tobacco is advertised. 
What is God’s view of smoking? People who are addicted to cigarettes are quick to point out that the Bible says nothing about smoking. This is simply not true.
Considering that nicotine addiction was unknown outside of the Americas until after Europeans made contact with the Americas it is perfectly correct to note that the Bible in fact says nothing about smoking tobacco since they had no access to it.

But admitting that people in Biblical times had no access to tobacco would make it impossible for PCG to use religion to tell people what to do about nicotine addiction. So in response Leap insists that PCG's ministers have the power to interpret the Bible to make decisions for any situation. Including one problem that was unknown in Biblical times.

Afterwards Leap discusses some details about nicotine addiction. 

Leap then justifies Armstrongism's religiously based ban against smoking tobacco by crudely comparing it to suicide.
From God’s point of view, is there really any difference between pointing a gun to your head and pulling the trigger or lighting a cigarette? No! Pulling the trigger on a gun usually brings death instantly. But smoking also brings death—slow, agonizing death. Both are suicide! Both are a violation of the Sixth Commandment. If you are smoking, the most important thing you can do for your health is to quit the poisonous habit immediately.
It is curious that Leap should condemn nicotine addiction for the harm it does to people ("slow, agonizing death") and yet use this article to justify and defend HWA's anti-medicine superstition. Many WCG members and other people within Armstrongism have also suffered severely and even died as a direct result of HWA's extremist teachings on this matter.

Leap then talks about how second hand tobacco smoke is harmful.

Then Leap declares that smoking is a "physical sin". This loaded term is yet another part of HWA's anti-medicine superstition.

He also quotes HWA to justify PCG using religion to ban tobacco smoking. There is nothing wrong with encouraging people to give up tobacco but PCG exploits this issue to convince readers to give PCG the authority to order people what to do regarding so many things.

Letting PCG impose their many demands and requirements upon the unsuspecting yet trusting reader ultimately leads to the reader sending three tithes to PCG for the rest of his or her life and subject to authoritarian practices such as shunning ex-members and the members of the other COG groups even if they are close family members.

Leap insists that smoking tobacco will prevent the reader from being saved by (PCG's) God. 
Many people say that they cannot stop smoking. That is not true! Yes, you can stop smoking! How can you stop? Here is the method you should use. First, recognize that smoking is a sin that will keep you out of the Kingdom of God. 
This is ghastly. What a terrible thing to say to insinuate that smoking tobacco will doom one to the Lake of Fire. To use such fear and dread to compel people to give up tobacco is wrong. It only produce more stress and fear to those struggling to free themselves from nicotine addiction. This sort of fear mongering is wrong.

Leap then ends the article by encouraging the reader that giving up nicotine can be done. This fact is widely available elsewhere. We do not need PCG to tell us this fact.
Stop all smoking completely. Tapering the amount you smoke doesn’t work for most people. Smoking is an addiction. Trying to quit gradually only feeds the addiction. You should quit suddenly and totally! It is not easy to quit suddenly, but it is the most successful way. Commit yourself to quitting. Throwaway all cigarettes, snuff or pipe tobacco. Get rid of all those things that focus your attention on smoking such as favorite lighters, cigarette cases or pipes. Then never buy another ounce of tobacco!

The actual physical discomfort of nicotine withdrawal usually subsides within 3 to 5 days of your last cigarette (this differs with each person). The psychological withdrawal usually takes much longer. You may experience tension, hunger and symptoms of restlessness. These discomforts will subside. Usually the habit of smoking can be broken in 21 to 30 days.
Curiously Leap never mentions if he ever used to smoke tobacco and then gave it up. Those who wish to be free of nicotine addiction would doubtless be encouraged to know if the author of these words had experienced nicotine addiction for himself. But Leap gives no indication of this.

There is nothing inherently wrong about this but choosing to not mention one's personal experience makes it impossible for readers to know if Leap speaks from personal experience.

Leap ends the article with these words.
Finally, don’t become discouraged or fear failure. And if you slip and smoke—don’t give up! You can get rid of this life-threatening habit. When you do, you will not only live a better life, physically, but you will be living right spiritually!
It would be a lot less discouraging or fearful to the reader if Leap had not insinuated that smoking tobacco will prevent one from being saved by (PCG's) God.

One would think that even on a issue such as nicotine addiction, which is universally agreed to be quite harmful to one's health, PCG could give some good advice on this. Instead Leap exploits this issue to promote HWA's deadly anti-medicine superstition and absurdly insinuates that smoking tobacco "will keep you out of the Kingdom of God." What terrible and dangerous advice for the reader.

There are reasons why PCG has such a terrible reputation. This article provides yet more evidence that this bad reputation is richly deserved.

SHOCKING: Arutz Sheva Writer Calls for Imitating Hitler's Propaganda Methods

The following words from an Arutz Sheva writer are appalling and horrifying. Here the writer recommends using Hitler's foul book of hatred, Mein Kampf, to learn how to spread propaganda to vilify "Islamists" in the same way as Hitler demonized the Jews.
Off-the-shelf methods are available from Colonel Paul Linebarger's authoritative Psychological Warfare, as well as the propaganda chapter of Adolf Hitler's Mein Kampf. The fact that Hitler was a monster often causes people to overlook the fact that his methods (which were not originally his, he copied them from Triple Entente PsyWar practices) worked. Hitler was able to persuade one of the most advanced and best educated nations in Europe to hate some its most loyal and productive citizens, so why is it so difficult to evoke similar revulsion against Islamists who are really doing far worse deeds than those of which the Nazis falsely accused the Jews? (Arutz Sheva, October 25, 2015.)
It is sad to see a man recommend people study Mein Kampf in order to imitate Hitler's propaganda practices. I cannot understand how one could recommend a book written by a terrible man who did so many evil deeds in such a 'neutral' way. I fear for anyone who takes such advice to heart. No good can come from such advice.

Earlier in this article the writer said that if a religion is used to promote violence it should be viewed as "a disease and a cancer to be eradicated through all appropriate methods." Crude inflammatory talk like this will prevent Israelis and Palestinians alike from ever living in peace.
Militant Islamists have declared open war on the entire civilized world, which gives us both the right and the duty to destroy their entire ideology and, if Islam cannot reform itself, the entire Islamic religion. The instant you (the Islamist) use your Koran, your prophet, and your deity to menace us with physical harm and/or violation of our human rights, the inherent right of self-defense entitles us to destroy all three. ...
The bottom line is that, when somebody uses a religion to foment violence, it loses all of the social and legal protections that civilized people give to religions, and becomes instead a disease and a cancer to be eradicated through all appropriate methods. These include psychological warfare during peacetime, and virtually unrestricted violence in wartime. (Arutz Sheva, October 25, 2015.)
Talk like this will get us nowhere. It would be more profitable to understand each movement and faction under consideration individually instead of blaming the Islamic religion collectively. Each movement and organization must be assessed and responded to individually.


Some have said that Israeli society can be divided into four groups, secular Israeli Jews, national religious Israeli Jews, ultra-Orthodox and Israeli Arabs. Arutz Sheva caters for the national religious Israeli Jews.

Several COGs such as PCG, UCG, LCG and RCG have quoted Arutz Sheva without ever presenting any criticism about this media outlet. They all seem to trust a media outlet that could publish an article like this.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Peace Rally in Tel Aviv

Last Saturday thousands of protesters marched in Tel Aviv to call for peace.
The protesters marched from Rabin Square to Hakirya defense compound, chanting slogans like "Two capitals in Jerusalem" and "No closure or checkpoints – only peace is a solution." They carried signs reading "Intifada government, go home" and "Managing the conflict is killing us."

MKs from the left-wing Meretz party marched at head of the rally, accompanied by security guards. Party leader Zehava Galon addressed the crowd. "Bibi, you've failed. You've failed in providing personal security for the citizens of Israel, you've failed in proposing any kind of vision for changing the reality," he said. "The only thing the Netanyahu government has to offer is for us to arm ourselves, pop anyone who looks like a terrorist in the head. This government is calling for a boycott on Israel's Arab citizens, is allowing people to kill and agitating against members of the Left," she said. "I'm telling you Bibi – when blood is spilled here in the name of the Holocaust, the finger won't be pointed at the Mufti, it will be pointed at you," she added. (Ilan Lior, Thousands Call for Peace Talks at Tel Aviv Rally, Haaretz, October 24, 2015.)
Activist group Peace Now -- which organised the rally along with the left-wing Meretz party and others -- estimated there were some 6,000 people attending.
Daniel Dojon told AFP he came "because the situation is crazy. I am not talking about safety but the lack of (political) progress, the lack of hope. Israeli politicians are becoming more and more extreme."

Another protester, who identified himself only as Zeev, 67, blamed the lack of a peace process for the current violence.

"It will further deteriorate if we think that being passive is the answer." (AFP, Thousands of Israelis rally for peace talks with Palestinians, Daily Mail, October 24, 2015., )
May their dream of peace soon come true.

The COGs lean to the right in politically speaking. The COGs teach that there will be no peace in the Holy Land until Christ returns. It is quite unlikely the leaders of the COGs will inform their followers of such events as this.

The peoples of the Holy Land, Israelis and Palestinians, deserve to live in peace and safety.

The current terrible wave of violence which has killed about fifty Palestinians and nine Israelis just this month alone is a symptom of the severe political crisis. It is a political problem. To have peace there must be a political settlement that will let all live in peace.

The State of Israel is more powerful than any Palestinian faction and thus has more options to calm the situation than any other political force within the Holy Land. The Israeli government have more options then anyone else in the Holy Land. They need to start exploring other political options to, not manage, but solve this severe political crisis.

We cannot wait till Christ returns as HWA and his imitators teach. We need peace now.

May peace soon come to the Holy Land.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Less Than 7000 PCG Members in 1997

This is the 1300th post for the Living Armstrongism blog. Thank you to all you readers for inspiring me to carry on.


PCG is notoriously secretive about themselves. But every now and then they let out a glimpse of their internal affairs. One such glimpse may be seen in Stephen Flurry's August 1997 article, "Don't Waste Your Time!"

Here Stephen Flurry boasts that PCG is doing things in an efficient and effective manner. While doing so he mentions that PCG has less than 7000 members.
Just look at what the right priorities have done for the Philadelphia Church of God. Each month, you can receive the Trumpet magazine at no cost to you. Furthermore, our television program, The Key of David, seen around the world, never solicits contributions. And television and publishing are only two departments of this worldwide work. Yet the Philadelphia Church of God has less than 7,000 members! Many people are astonished at that figure. (p. 2.)
So it is evident from PCG's leaders themselves that by the middle of 1997 PCG had less than 7,000 members. All their work trying to convert as many WCG members as possible during the course of the Tkach changes and the consequent disintegration of WCG gained 7000 members.

The vast majority of WCG members were not interested in PCG and stayed away from this particular group which has since gained infamy as one of the more severe and authoritarian forms of Armstrongism.

According to a recent post on Banned by HWA it appears that PCG's membership is in decline.
I remember attending the Feast back in the early 2000s when we had over 1300 people attending at Greenville SC and Sandusky OH. Flurry would proudly shout and boast at the Feast that the PCG would eventually have 10,000 members. Now the members attending at the Feast are around 700-800 people.
Clearly buying the copyrights to some of HWA's writings clearly failed to persuade many within the other COGs to convert to PCG.

This claim by Gerald Flurry that PCG would have 10,000 members may be seen in his 2001 booklet, No Freedom Without Law, as mentioned in a previous post.
Being part of the former prophets, I Kings includes prophecy for us today. It doesn’t say men. This is 7,000 people who are converted and have the Holy Spirit of God, people who know God and haven’t caved in to Baal. These are the people who will join God’s work before this is all over. But [PCG's version of] God clearly says there will be 10,000 in the place of safety. He is going to come back with those 10,000. So maybe we will convert about 500 of our teenagers before and in the place of safety. And we’ll pick up between 2,000 and 2,500 from the world before the Great Tribulation. (Gerald Flurry, No Freedom Without Law, Chapter 5, p. 59.)
In 2014 Gerald Flurry repeated this claim in his book, The Former Prophets.

So it would seem that all is not well with PCG these days.

Settler Extremist Tries to Stab Rabbi

It is time to harvest the olives in the Holy Land. Recently during the course of the harvest some of the olives that some Palestinians in the West Bank were harvesting were set alight in an act of vandalism. A rabbi who was with the Palestinians to protect them proceeded to go out to the blaze to see what could be done. The rabbi was met by this masked assailant, an extremist settler, who proceeded to throw stones at the rabbi and try to stab him. Thankfully the rabbi was able to escape the extremist.

This terrible act of violence designed to terrify this rabbi into submission is reported by +972 Magazine.
A right-wing Jewish extremist threw stones at and attempted to stab president of Rabbis for Human Rights, Arik Asherman, following an olive harvest coordinated with the Israeli army on Friday. Nobody was significantly injured in the incident. ...

Following the harvest, the Palestinian farmers noticed suspected Israeli settlers stealing olives and another setting fire to the hillside. Rabbi Asherman said that because firefighters did not arrive quickly, he went to try and put out the fire himself.

At that point, the masked man who set the fire, ostensibly a settler from the nearby outpost, tried to prevent Rabbi Asherman from reaching the site of the blaze, threw stones at him and pulled out a knife and repeatedly swung it toward him. The man kicked and punched Asherman. (Michael Omer-Man, WATCH: Jewish extremist tries to stab 'rabbi for human rights', +972 Magazine, October 23, 2015.)
Will there be any outcry about this act of violence from the COGs? Will they bother to inform their readers of things such as this?

Thursday, October 22, 2015

The Horrific Rise of ISIL Terrorism

Extremism loves ignorance. Educating oneself is part of the struggle against extremism. In regards to learning about Abu Bakr al Baghdadi's murderous lackeys in a responsible way I recommend Islamic State: Rewriting History by Michael Griffin.

Events in turbulent times, especially in the current terrible war, are so hard to keep track of. It is useful and good that a resource like this puts the many tragic and terrible events surrounding the rise of the terrorist murderers and usurpers of Abu Bakr al Baghdadi's lackeys into a finely structured narrative.

May peace soon come to the long suffering people of Iraq and Syria free from the tyranny of Abu Bakr al Baghdadi's lackeys.

Netanyahu Blames a Palestinian Mufti for the Holocaust

Hitler and the Nazi regime exterminated about six million Jews in the Holocaust in 1941-5. The Nazis had a long history of constantly demonizing and slandering the Jews with all kinds of lying propaganda. The Nazis even projected their own genocidal hatred onto the victims.

And in a speech to the World Zionist Congress Prime Minister Netanyahu portrayed a Palestinian mufti as the man who inspired Hitler to exterminate the Jews. This downplays Hitler's role in conceiving and bringing about the genocide against the Jews.
My grandfather came to this land in 1920 and he landed in Jaffa, and very shortly after he landed he went to the immigration office in Jaffa. And a few months later it was burned down by marauders. These attackers, Arab attackers, murdered several Jews, including our celebrated writer Brenner.

And this attack and other attacks on the Jewish community in 1920, 1921, 1929, were instigated by a call of the Mufti of Jerusalem Haj Amin al-Husseini, who was later sought for war crimes in the Nuremberg trials because he had a central role in fomenting the final solution. He flew to Berlin. Hitler didn’t want to exterminate the Jews at the time, he wanted to expel the Jews. And Haj Amin al-Husseini went to Hitler and said, "If you expel them, they'll all come here." "So what should I do with them?" he asked. He said, "Burn them." (Source, as cited here.)
This is not true. Hitler and the Nazi regime made the decision to exterminate the Jews. The genocide had already begun by the time of that meeting.

In order to clarify the situation many historians stated that in fact the Nazi campaign of genocide was already underway at the time of this meeting.
The chief historian of the Yad Vashem, the World Center for Holocaust Research, Documentation, Education and Commemoration in Jerusalem, Dina Porat, told the Israeli news Web site Ynet that Netanyahu's statements were factually incorrect. "You cannot say that it was the mufti who gave Hitler the idea to kill or burn Jews," she said. "It's not true. Their meeting occurred after a series of events that point to this." (Washington Post.)
Also opposition MKs spoke out against this statement.
Meretz leader Zehava Galon also criticized Netanyahu's comments: "This is not a Jörg Haider speech. It's not a part of [Mahmoud] Abbas' doctorate. It's a real quote from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu," she said. "Maybe the 33,771 Jews murdered in Babi Yar in September 1941 – two months before the Mufti and Hitler met - should be exhumed and updated that the Nazis didn't mean to destroy them." Those who can't change the future, she said, "are left with rewriting the past." (Haaretz, October 21, 2015.)
It is true that Haj Amin al-Husseini collaborated with the Nazis during World War II as, alas, so many others. But it is absurd and morally disturbing to blame him for somehow inspiring the Holocaust. Hitler and the Nazi regime did that themselves.

About fifty Palestinians and nine Israelis have died violently this month. And Netanyahu inaccurately accused one of the countrymen of his Palestinian neighbors of inspiring the genocide against the Jews. But that is not true. It was the Nazis who conceived and committed the genocide against the Jews.

Ehud Barak Sued Over Deadly Flotilla Raid

Ehud Barak has been sued by the parents of Furkan Doğan regarding his death on the Mavi Marmara raid in 2010 conducted by Israeli personnel. (Haaretz.)

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

News from the Holy Land

So many things have been happening in the Holy Land recently. Sadly so many sad and tragic news have emerged in recent days. Here are a few pieces of news. May peace soon come to the Holy Land.


A Palestinian family in Silwan, East Jerusalem, was forcibly evicted from their homes after a thirteen year legal struggle to make way for settlers from a right wing settler organization named Ataret Cohanim. As though the situation was not tense enough.
This morning (Monday) a large body of Israeli police evicted a Palestinian family (Abu Nab) from their home in Silwan and handed the house over to settlers from the extreme right-wing movement “Ateret Cohanim”. Palestinian inhabitants of the neighbourhood were put under strict curfew, shut in their homes with no coming in or out under any circumstances.

Such a case of forceful displacement of a Palestinian family and handing over the home to Jewish settlers has not taken place in East Jerusalem since the last Evictions in Sheikh Jarrah in 2009. ...

Abu Nab’s family has been fighting to stay in their home since 2002, when the settler organisation, Ateret Cohanim, filed a lawsuit alleging that the land where Abu Nab’s property sits had been registered as hekdesh, or Jewish religious property, since 1881. A 2015 ruling from Israel’s Supreme Court gave Abu Nab’s family – comprised of 16 people living in two separate homes – until August 11 2015 to leave, and this was followed by an eviction order according to which the eviction is now being carried out. According to settlement watchdog Peace Now, the case is part of a larger scheme by Jewish settlers to seize 5,200 square metres in the area of Silwan’s Batan al-Hawa neighbourhood, where an estimated 80 Palestinian families live in more than 30 buildings. (Source.)
(Are those PCG members who have excavated in Jerusalem aware of these things going on so near where they excavate?)


Last Saturday Jews and Palestinians marched together saying "We will not surrender to despair." May their dream of peace and happiness come true soon.


Innocent Eritrean man lynched to death by a murderous mob who thought he was a Palestinian.


A bunch of Ultra-Orthodox Israeli Jews tried to go into Joseph's tomb in Nablus following the orders of a "renegade rabbi" who currently lives in exile in South Africa to avoid prosecution for allegations of sexual abuse.


Israeli authorities arrested a senior Hamas figure.


Recently released is a chilling report from Euro-Med Monitor for Human Rights discussing eight instances of Palestinians killed in the recent round of violence. Here is how it describes the death of one young Palestinian man who was killed recently.
On October 4, Israeli police shot and killed Fadi Samir Mustafa Alloun, 19, from the village of Issawiya near Jerusalem, under the pretext that he stabbed a 15-year-old Jewish boy. Eyewitnesses told Euro-Med Monitor that a group of Israeli settlers chased Alloun when he was walking in the Masrara area in Jerusalem. The settlers had gathered to protest the killing of two of their peers earlier in the morning. Apparently, when the settlers saw Alloun, they attempted to attack him before he ran to Haim Barlev Street. An Israeli police car arrived at the scene, and the officer shot seven live bullets toward the boy. Video recordings s hared on Israeli websites show settlers chasing Alloun and attacking him in the Almasserarh area before he was shot. (p. 3.)

And while all these serious affairs are going on an Arutz Sheva writer suggests demolishing the homes of Palestinians who go on stabbing attacks and deporting their families "without due process." In fact house demolition is a tactic dating back to British rule (1917-48). It did not seem to work for the British. Israeli authorities have demolished many Palestinian homes in this very sort of punishment for many years now but it seems to have failed to give peace to anyone.
Is it too late? Never! We have the promise from The One Above that He will never forsake us. Here is a straightforward plan that has never been tried and could conceivably bring a quick end to the state of terror gripping the country:

a) Kill or apprehend the perpetrator.
b) Immediately destroy his family home without due process.
c) Deport all the residents of his home with no permission without due process.

Why will it work? The Shahid gives up his life willingly in the hope of murdering Jews, as we have seen time and again. He does however, in a screwed up kind of way, love his own family and he does not want to bring them to hardships and grief. So this plan presents a promising possibility that after 10 or 20 times that it is actually followed, the streets will become safe, even safer than before.

And what makes it just? Parents who brought up their children to hate and kill indiscriminately deserve to be punished and what more fitting punishment than to be thrown out of the Land.

In order to put a plan such as this into action it would require that Martial Law be imposed in Israel for a preset time, as was done in Canada in 1970, in Poland in 1981, in China in 1989 and in Thailand in 2014. (Pesach Nussbaum, Prime Minister Netanyahu, Your Highest Priority is Saving Jews, Arutz Sheva, October 16, 2015.)
The current acts of violence committed by some individual Palestinians are a symptom of the current political crisis in the Holy Land. Therefore the current round of violence is a political problem which requires political solutions.

And just imagine: PCG, UCG, LCG and RCG all trust Arutz Sheva.


How dare Armstrongism exploit these tragic and terrible events to promote false prophecies and say that this terrible state of affairs is doomed to be like this until Christ returns. We need peace now.