Is Rabbi’s 2017 Prediction of Rise of Idolatry Coming True? – Breaking Israel News | Latest News. Biblical Perspective.

2017: The Year of IdolatryBy Adam Eliyahu Berkowitz March 14, 2018 , 3:00 pm

Go cry to the gods you have chosen; let them deliver you in your time of distress!” Judges 10:14 (The Israel Bible™)

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Idolatry (Photo via Shutterstock)

One year ago, Rabbi Nir Ben Artzi made a startling prediction that witchcraft and black magic would make a comeback in the world. A look back at the headlines of 2017 reveals a disturbing trend: the rabbi was undoubtedly correct.

In a sermon in February 2017, Rabbi Nir Ben Artzi, a mystic with a strong following in Israel, warned that dark powers are re-emerging in the world, seeking to usurp God’s rule. He compared the spiritual condition in the world to Egypt just before the Exodus of the Jews.

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Rabbi Nir Ben Artzi (Photo: Facebook Page of Rabbi Nir Ben Artzi)

“After every plague, Pharaoh, his warlocks, and all of the idol worshippers consulted with their false gods and asked them to remove the plague. This did not help them at all until they turned and cried out to Moses and he stopped the plague in one moment. Then they understood that there was one power above which is God, and it is Him that rules the world and not the power of impurity: serving false gods, idol worship, and fortune telling.”

Remarkably, his predictions seem to be coming true. Witchcraft and idolatry are appearing with increasing frequency, sometimes in insidious manners that present this ancient evil under a multitude of guises that make it appear benign, innocent, or even a positive cultural element.

Below are examples of idolatry appearing in the world in the past year.

Witches Cursing President Trump

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(Shutterstock)

Just a few weeks after the rabbi’s prediction, a call went out on social media to use black magic to curse newly inaugurated President Trump. A small group gathered at midnight in front of several of the more prominent Trump-owned buildings around the country, but the organizers reported that tens of thousands participated from their homes, using arcane objects and burning candles while reciting a prearranged incantation to cast a “binding spell”. The call to action requested that the ritual be repeated every crescent moon until President Trump leaves office.

Burning Man Festival

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Temple of Galaxia, Burning Man (Photo via architect’s Facebook page)

What began over 30 years ago as a small campfire gathering of California artists evolved into a massive annual festival bringing almost 70,000 people to the middle of the desert in Nevada. The upcoming festival in August will feature a structure described as a Temple of the Greek goddess Gaia, who also appears prominently in paganism.

Billed as a cultural gathering, the festival attracts artists and celebrities. Touted as a secular event, many of Burning Man’s major elements are rooted in idolatry. Regular Burning Man installments are a Temple to the Hindu goddess Shiva and a bus decorated in the form of a seven-headed dragon which, in the New Testament, represents Satan. The massive camp is set up to form a massive pentagram in the desert.

Named for a massive wood effigy burned at the end of the festival, the burning man is actually a Celtic custom based on the original pagan human sacrifices. This pagan reference came true last year when a man died after running into the flames.

Catharsis on the Mall Brings Paganism to Washington DC

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A paper-mache sculpture of “Lord Shiva Natarja”, a Hindu god, featured during the Catharsis on the Mall festival. (Facebook)

A Burning Man-inspired event brought paganism to the heart of democracy: the Washington Mall. The three-day event was held in November. It featured all of the pagan trappings of its desert counterpart but the organizers also proposed a 45-foot tall, 16,000 pound, steel sculpture of a naked woman titled “R-evolution” that would stand in front of the Washington Monument, deliberately facing the White House. A permit was issued for the sculpture but, blessedly, later revoked.

The Re-Appearing Arch of Palmyra Connecting New World Order With Ba’al

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A model of the arch from the Temple of Ba’al was erected in Dubai for the World Government Summit. (Screenshot)

After the Islamic State (ISIS) destroyed the famous archaeological site in Palmyra Syria, the Institute for Digital Archaeology (IDA), a Harvard-based organization for the preservation of archaeological structures, used 3-D printing technology to recreate the 15 meter tall stone arch that had stood at the site for over 1,800 years. The arch was built as a Roman Victory Arch in front of the temple of Ba’al, a pagan god mentioned frequently in the Bible.

The replica arch first appeared in April 2016 in London’s Trafalgar Square for UNESCO’s World Heritage week, which coincided with Beltane, the major festival for pagans who worship Ba’al. It reappeared in New York City in September of that year.

The arch was erected once again to inaugurate the World Government Summit in Dubai in February 2017. The summit brings together leaders in business, technology, and politics from around the world.

The arch was then erected in Italy in May for the G7 Summit, a meeting of the leaders of the seven largest economies in the world representing more than 64 percent of the net global wealth.

UNESCO: Spreading Paganism to the World

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UNESCO headquarters in Paris, France. (Novikov Aleksey / Shutterstock.com)

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization was formed to promote peace and security through science and education. Nowhere in its charter does it say the organization should deal in idolatry but last year, pagan gods featured prominently in two of its exhibitions.

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A statue of the Roman goddess Athena on display in Nashville, Tennessee. (Ron Cogswell/Flickr)

In November 2017, The United Arab Emirates, now a sponsor of the Palmyra Arch reproduction, inaugurated the Digital Archaeology Exhibition, “The Spirit in the Stone”, at the United Nations’ headquarters in New York City. The IDA, creators of the arch, used the same 3-D printing process to reproduce a statue of the Roman goddess Athena, which they described as symbolizing the UNESCO values of “reason, refuge and the rule of law”. Athena was, in fact, the Roman goddess of war, as shown by the statue holding a spear.

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Lion of al-Lat (Photo via Wikimedia Commons)

In January, UNESCO-funded reconstruction of the Lion of al-Lāt, an ancient statue from the Palmyra site partially destroyed by ISIS, was completed with the help of the Institute of Digital Archaeology. The ancient statue, almost 11 feet tall and weighing 15 tons, also stood in the Palmyra Temple and now stands in the National Museum of Damascus.

Biblical scholars associate Al-Lat with the goddess of jealousy and fury despised by the Prophet Ezekiel.

And He said to me, “O mortal, turn your eyes northward.” I turned my eyes northward, and there, north of the gate of the mizbayach, was that infuriating image on the approach. Ezekiel 8:5

Satanic Fashion Show

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In September, a Muslim fashion designer decorated a 1,000-year-old London church in a Satanic motif for her show featuring transvestite models dressed as the devil. The Turkish designer, Dilara Findikoglu, is an up-and-coming star in the fashion world with many celebrities wearing her creations.

New AI Religion

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(Shutterstock)

A new form of idolatry was added this year, supplementing the myriad forms of sinful worship described in the Bible. Anthony Levandowski, a high-tech millionaire, filed “Way of the Future” with the Internal Revenue Service as an official religion. The new religion is dedicated to “develop and promote the realization of a Godhead based on Artificial Intelligence (AI) and through understanding and worship of the Godhead contribute to the betterment of society.”

Levandowski’s new religion should not be confused with Jediism, a religion based on the fictitious Jedi beliefs as portrayed in the Star Wars movie series. Jediism was established in 2001 and has hundreds of thousands of adherents worldwide.

Iceland’s Dedicates First Pagan Temple to Norse Gods in 1,000 Years

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“Thor’s Fight With the Giants”, Mårten Eskil Winge, 1872. (Wikimedia Commons)

The year ended on an idolatrous note with the Asatru Society, the religious organization that worships the Norse gods in Iceland, announcing the imminent completion of construction of the first temple to the Norse gods in 1,000 years. The pagan Norse religion has been making a comeback in recent years, fueled at least in part by its acceptance of homosexuality. A minor tourist industry has cropped up for foreigners who come to Iceland to have Asatru priests perform their same-sex wedding.

The Norse religion, based on Germanic paganism, is now a part of mainstream American pop culture. in 1962 when Marvel Comics began publishing a comic book series featuring the god Thor and other characters from the Norse pantheon. In 2011, Marvel Studios and Paramount Pictures released the movie “Thor”, based on the comic book. That was followed by two more movies, the most recent, “Ragnarok”, based on Norse eschatology.

Source: Is Rabbi’s 2017 Prediction of Rise of Idolatry Coming True? – Breaking Israel News | Latest News. Biblical Perspective.

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On EWTN Orthodox Catholic author warns Pope Francis has deliberately created confusion

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WASHINGTON, D. C., March 2, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Pope Francis has deliberately created confusion to allow for Catholic teaching to be circumvented, a longtime Catholic commentator has said, and Francis’ inner circle contains people more radical in their beliefs than him.

Further, five years into Francis’ papacy, the mandate the pope was given to reform the Curia and Vatican finances has not been satisfied, Catholic World News Editor Philip Lawler said, because it’s not high on Francis’ agenda.

Intervention is needed in the direction Francis is taking the Church, Lawler said in a discussion on The World Over centering on some of the confusing and controversial aspects of the Francis pontificate. (Interview with Lawler begins at 23:05 in the video below)

EWTN anchor and Managing Editor Raymond Arroyo welcomed Lawler Thursday for a discussion of Lawler’s just released book “Lost Shepherd: How Pope Francis is Misleading His Flock” (2018) Regnery.

“Pope Francis has created enough confusion so that there is a huge space for maneuver for people who want to one way or another take an end around around Church moral teachings,” Lawler told Arroyo at the start of their conversation. Arroyo assented this has been done through the Francis pontificate’s much-touted notions of accompaniment and mercy.

Released February 26, Arroyo pointed out the book has earned criticism for Lawler. Others noted prior to his book’s release the significance of Lawler, not at all known as an explosive Catholic observer, feeling compelled to write in criticism of the pope.

Lawler clarified for Arroyo that he did not want to write the book critical of Francis when asked what moved him to do so. It came after an essay he’d written a year ago for CatholicCulture.com when he’d reached a boiling point of frustration with the confusion.

Significant resonation with the frustration

Titled “This Disastrous Papacy,” Lawler recounted that the post prompted more reaction than anything else he’s written in 30 years of journalism. In working on the book, Lawler said he found people in need of reassurance amid the concerning direction of the papacy, along with being beset by the question of whether they were alone in feeling this.

“And I said, that tells me there’s a hunger out there,” recalled Lawler. “There are people who are very much confused and dismayed and feeling betrayed, and wondering, “Is something wrong with them, is something wrong with the faith?”

“And I found that as I spoke with these people, oddly enough they felt reassured by what I was saying,” Lawler said. “Because if you say, “No you’re not crazy, yes, there is a problem, we have a problem with the pope,” (people then understand it’s not just them thinking this).

The pope’s apostolic exhortation Amoris laetitia was the final straw for Lawler, who told Arroyo he was originally very enthusiastic about Pope Francis, but over time became more and more concerned, dismayed and disoriented.

“When I saw what happened with the manipulation of the Synod and then with Amoris laetitia coming after it, I said, “This is more than simply imprudence in expression,”’ Lawler explained. “This is a deliberate effort to confuse.”

AL achieves the opposite of the Synod’s expressed intent

“The problem is that Amoris laetitia is intentionally unclear on the one question that everybody had topmost in their mind going into both meetings of the Synod,” Lawler reminded Arroyo, “which is, “Will the Church change her perennial teaching that Catholics who are divorced and remarried illicitly cannot receive Communion?”’

“The general impression certainly created by the apostolic exhortation is that the Church has changed her teaching,” stated Lawler.

Arroyo and Lawler discussed the conflicting interpretations of the pope’s document throughout the world, with some bishops saying the Church’s pastoral practice has changed and others saying it had not – and the faithful being left in the middle. They talked as well about how, when pastoral practice is changed, the result is doctrine no longer matters anymore because “the lived doctrine” has become unrecognizable – which is the same end result as changing Church teaching.

“That’s precisely the point,” Lawler told Arroyo. “Why else would Pope Francis have declined to answer the dubia – the perfectly legitimate questions from four cardinals asking him for clarity?”

“Why would you not want clarity?” asked Lawler. “Unless your intent was to provide that fuzzy space in which people can maneuver around Church teaching.”

Arroyo asked Lawler to respond to comments made in 2015 by one member of the pope’s circle, Archbishop Victor Fernandez, that Francis is aiming at irreversible reform in the Church.

Lawler responded that he didn’t know why Francis would have this as his goal.

“But there’s something inherently wrong with the idea of irreversible reform unless what you mean by reform is back to the fundamentals of the Catholic faith,” he added, “because the role of the pope is inherently to conserve, to protect the deposit of the faith.”

Arroyo quizzed Lawler on the provocative nature of his book and its title, and whether he was at all reticent about it.

Intervention needed

“I don’t enjoy criticizing the pope,” Lawler told him. “But there’s a point at which in a loving family, if the father has a problem, you have to confront it. Eventually there has to be an intervention – And we need an intervention.”

The men talked about the odd nature of the Francis’ election, and whether there’s any validity to rumors that his election was orchestrated.

Lawler said some cardinals had given the clear impression that they were lobbying for Francis, which is not licit. This did not shock him, and he wished it weren’t the case.

Sharing an excerpt from the book in which Lawler details coming to the troubling conclusion that Francis was a radical leading the Church away from the ancient sources of the faith, Arroyo asked Lawler why Francis would think he could get away with this, or whether the problem is more one of his advisors and confidants.

“I do believe there are people surrounding this pope who are much more radical in their beliefs than he is,” Lawler said. “It is suggestive, again, that with Amoris laetitia Pope Francis does not directly contradict Church teaching – it’s in footnotes, it’s in the space between the lines.”

Because of the confusion that has spread throughout the Church, Lawler shared with Arroyo that people in the last week since his book has come out have asked him a lot of questions about whether the Church has changed its teaching on various things.

“And I say, No,” Lawler said. “But they had that impression; Why? Because the lid is off.”

An absence of authentic reform

Asked by Arroyo if there was a conflict between Francis’ public persona and the means of governing under his pontificate, Lawler said, “yes”.

The cardinals before him were talking about the need for reform of the curia and the economic workings of the Vatican, said Lawler, and for accountability and responsibility.

“But as far as the mandate for reform – it simply hasn’t happened,” he stated. “The curia has not been significantly reformed. There have been some shuffling of responsibilities, but we’re now five years in, and there’s not substantial reform. As far as the economic reform that has tumbled and fallen apart completely.”

“He had a mandate for reform and it’s not happening,” added Lawler. “It’s not at the top if his agenda. He’s doing different things.”

What’s unfortunately happened, he said, is that the old guard at the Vatican has become even more entrenched, “And there’s less accountability than there was five year ago.”

Lawler called upon Catholics to pray, both for the pope and for those around him.

“And as a practical matter, you ask your own bishop to stand up and help bring clarity back in an age of confusion,” Lawler concluded. “If that means saying unpopular things, I’m sorry, well, say unpopular things.”

Pope Francis Caught Lying About Catholic Church Sexual Abuse By Priests In Chile, Covered It Up

The Barros affair first caused shockwaves in January 2015 when Pope Francis appointed him bishop of Osorno, Chile, over the objections of the leadership of Chile’s bishops’ conference and many local priests and laity. They accepted as credible the testimony against Karadima, a prominent Chilean cleric who was sanctioned by the Vatican in 2011 for abusing minors. Barros was a Karadima protege, and according to Cruz and other victims, he witnessed the abuse and did nothing.
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Pope Francis received a victim’s letter in 2015 that graphically detailed how a priest sexually abused him and how other Chilean clergy ignored it, contradicting the pope’s recent insistence that no victims had come forward to denounce the cover-up, the letter’s author and members of Francis’ own sex- abuse commission have told The Associated Press.

“And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH. And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: and when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration.” Revelation 17:5,6 (KJV)

EDITOR’S NOTE: Pope Francis came in to “clean up” the Catholic Church, promising “zero tolerance” for priests who sexually abused thier followers. But sadly, this has not been the case. In the most explosive revelations to date, Pope Francis has been caught lying about widespread sexual abuse by Catholic priests in Chile, and about the letter hand-delivered to him written by Juan Carlos Cruz exposing it all. 

The fact that Pope Francis received the eight-page letter, obtained by the AP, challenges his insistence that he has “zero tolerance” for sex abuse and cover-ups. It also calls into question his stated empathy with abuse survivors, compounding the most serious crisis of his five-year papacy.

The scandal exploded last month when Francis’ trip to South America was marred by protests over his vigorous defense of Bishop Juan Barros, who is accused by victims of covering up the abuse by the Rev. Fernando Karadima. During the trip, Francis callously dismissed accusations against Barros as “slander,” seemingly unaware that victims had placed him at the scene of Karadima’s crimes.

On the plane home, confronted by an AP reporter, the pope said: “You, in all good will, tell me that there are victims, but I haven’t seen any, because they haven’t come forward.”

But members of the pope’s Commission for the Protection of Minors say that in April 2015, they sent a delegation to Rome specifically to hand-deliver a letter to the pope about Barros. The letter from Juan Carlos Cruz detailed the abuse, kissing and fondling he says he suffered at Karadima’s hands, which he said Barros and others witnessed and ignored.

Four members of the commission met with Francis’ top abuse adviser, Cardinal Sean O’Malley, explained their objections to Francis’ recent appointment of Barros as a bishop in southern Chile, and gave him the letter to deliver to Francis.

“When we gave him (O’Malley) the letter for the pope, he assured us he would give it to the pope and speak of the concerns,” then-commission member Marie Collins told the AP. “And at a later date, he assured us that that had been done.”

Cruz, who now lives and works in Philadelphia, heard the same later that year.

“Cardinal O’Malley called me after the pope’s visit here in Philadelphia and he told me, among other things, that he had given the letter to the pope — in his hands,” he said in an interview at his home Sunday.

Neither the Vatican nor O’Malley responded to multiple requests for comment.

While the 2015 summit of Francis’ commission was known and publicized at the time, the contents of Cruz’s letter — and a photograph of Collins handing it to O’Malley — were not disclosed by members. Cruz provided the letter, and Collins provided the photo, after reading an AP story that reported Francis had claimed to have never heard from any Karadima victims about Barros’ behavior.

The Barros affair first caused shockwaves in January 2015 when Francis appointed him bishop of Osorno, Chile, over the objections of the leadership of Chile’s bishops’ conference and many local priests and laity. They accepted as credible the testimony against Karadima, a prominent Chilean cleric who was sanctioned by the Vatican in 2011 for abusing minors. Barros was a Karadima protege, and according to Cruz and other victims, he witnessed the abuse and did nothing.

“Holy Father, I write you this letter because I’m tired of fighting, of crying and suffering,” Cruz wrote in Francis’ native Spanish. “Our story is well known and there’s no need to repeat it, except to tell you of the horror of having lived this abuse and how I wanted to kill myself.”

Cruz and other survivors had for years denounced the cover-up of Karadima’s crimes, but were dismissed as liars by the Chilean church hierarchy and the Vatican’s own ambassador in Santiago, who refused their repeated requests to meet before and after Barros was appointed.

After Francis’ comments backing the Chilean hierarchy caused such an outcry in Chile, he was forced last week to do an about-face: The Vatican announced it was sending in its most respected sex-crimes investigator to take testimony from Cruz and others about Barros.

In the letter to the pope, Cruz begs for Francis to listen to him and make good on his pledge of “zero tolerance.”

“Holy Father, it’s bad enough that we suffered such tremendous pain and anguish from the sexual and psychological abuse, but the terrible mistreatment we received from our pastors is almost worse,” he wrote.

Cruz goes on to detail in explicit terms the homo-eroticized nature of the circle of priests and young boys around Karadima, the charismatic preacher whose El Bosque community in the well-to-do Santiago neighborhood of Providencia produced dozens of priestly vocations and five bishops, including Barros.

He described how Karadima would kiss Barros and fondle his genitals, and do the same with younger priests and teens, and how young priests and seminarians would fight to sit next to Karadima at the table to receive his affections.

“More difficult and tough was when we were in Karadima’s room and Juan Barros — if he wasn’t kissing Karadima — would watch when Karadima would touch us — the minors — and make us kiss him, saying: ‘Put your mouth near mine and stick out your tongue.’ He would stick his out and kiss us with his tongue,” Cruz told the pope. “Juan Barros was a witness to all this innumerable times, not just with me but with others as well.”

“Juan Barros covered up everything that I have told you,” he added.

Barros has repeatedly denied witnessing any abuse or covering it up. “I never knew anything about, nor ever imagined, the serious abuses which that priest committed against the victims,” he told the AP recently. “I have never approved of nor participated in such serious, dishonest acts, and I have never been convicted by any tribunal of such things.”

For the Osorno faithful who have opposed Barros as their bishop, the issue isn’t so much a legal matter requiring proof or evidence, as Barros was a young priest at the time and not in a position of authority over Karadima. It’s more that if Barros didn’t “see” what was happening around him and doesn’t find it problematic for a priest to kiss and fondle young boys, he shouldn’t be in charge of a diocese where he is responsible for detecting inappropriate sexual behavior, reporting it to police and protecting children from pedophiles like his mentor.

Cruz had arrived at Karadima’s community in 1980 as a vulnerable teenager, distraught after the recent death of his father. He has said Karadima told him he would be like a spiritual father to him, but instead sexually abused him.

Based on testimony from Cruz and other former members of the parish, the Vatican in 2011 removed Karadima from ministry and sentenced him to a lifetime of “penance and prayer” for his crimes. Now 87, he lives in a home for elderly priests in Santiago; he hasn’t commented on the scandal and the home has declined to accept calls or visits from the news media.

The victims also testified to Chilean prosecutors, who opened an investigation into Karadima after they went public with their accusations in 2010. Chilean prosecutors had to drop charges because too much time had passed, but the judge running the case stressed that it wasn’t for lack of proof.

While the victims’ testimony was deemed credible by both Vatican and Chilean prosecutors, the local church hierarchy clearly didn’t believe them, which might have influenced Francis’ view. Cardinal Francisco Javier Errazuriz has acknowledged he didn’t believe the victims initially and shelved an investigation. He was forced to reopen it after the victims went public.

He is now one of the Argentine pope’s key cardinal advisers.

By the time he finally got his letter into the pope’s hands in 2015, Cruz had already sent versions to many other people, and had tried for months to get an appointment with the Vatican ambassador. The embassy’s Dec. 15, 2014, email to Cruz — a month before Barros was appointed — was short and to the point:

“The apostolic nunciature has received the message you emailed Dec. 7 to the apostolic nuncio,” it read, “and at the same time communicates that your request has been met with an unfavorable response.”

One could argue that Francis didn’t pay attention to Cruz’s letter, since he receives thousands of letters every day from faithful around the world. He can’t possibly read them all, much less remember the contents years later. He might have been tired and confused after a weeklong trip to South America when he told an airborne press conference that victims never came forward to accuse Barros of cover-up.

But this was not an ordinary letter, nor were the circumstances under which it arrived in the Vatican.

Francis had named O’Malley, the archbishop of Boston, to head his Commission for the Protection of Minors based on his credibility in having helped clean up the mess in Boston after the U.S. sex abuse scandal exploded there in 2002. The commission gathered outside experts to advise the church on protecting children from pedophiles and educating church personnel about preventing abuse and cover-ups.

The four commission members who were on a special subcommittee dedicated to survivors had flown to Rome specifically to speak with O’Malley about the Barros appointment and to deliver Cruz’s letter. A press release issued after the April 12, 2015, meeting read: “Cardinal O’Malley agreed to present the concerns of the subcommittee to the Holy Father.”

Commission member Catherine Bonnet, a French child psychiatrist who took the photo of Collins handing the letter to O’Malley, said the commission members had decided to descend on Rome specifically when O’Malley and other members of the pope’s group of nine cardinal advisers were meeting, so that O’Malley could put it directly into the pope’s hands.

“Cardinal O’Malley promised us when Marie gave to him the letter of Juan Carlos that he will give to Pope Francis,” she said.

O’Malley’s spokesman in Boston referred requests for comment to the Vatican. Neither the Vatican press office, nor officials at the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, responded to calls and emails seeking comment.

But O’Malley’s remarkable response to Francis’ defense of Barros and to his dismissal of the victims while he was in Chile, is perhaps now better understood.

In a rare rebuke of a pope by a cardinal, O’Malley issued a statement Jan. 20 in which he said the pope’s words were “a source of great pain for survivors of sexual abuse,” and that such expressions had the effect of abandoning victims and relegating them to “discredited exile.”

A day later, Francis apologized for having demanded “proof” of wrongdoing by Barros, saying he meant merely that he wanted to see “evidence.” But he continued to describe the accusations against Barros as “calumny” and insisted he had never heard from any victims.

Even when told in his airborne press conference Jan. 21 that Karadima’s victims had indeed placed Barros at the scene of Karadima’s abuse, Francis said: “No one has come forward. They haven’t provided any evidence for a judgment. This is all a bit vague. It’s something that can’t be accepted.”

He stood by Barros, saying: “I’m certain he’s innocent,” even while saying that he considered the testimony of victims to be “evidence” in a cover-up investigation.

“If anyone can give me evidence, I’ll be the first to listen,” he said.

Cruz said he felt like he had been slapped when he heard those words. “I was upset,” he said, “and at the same time I couldn’t believe that someone so high up like the pope himself could lie about this.” source

CATHOLIC PRIEST COMES OUT OF CLOSET, TELLS PARISHIONERS BEING GAY IS IN THE ‘LIKENESS OF GOD’ GETS STANDING OVATION

“I will embrace the person that God created me to be,” the gay Catholic priest Father Greiten wrote. “In my priestly life and ministry, I, too, will help you, whether you are gay or straight, bisexual or transgendered, to be your authentic self — to be fully alive living in your image and likeness of God.
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A ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST IN MILWAUKEE HAS COME OUT AS GAY, WRITING THAT HE WILL NO LONGER LIVE IN THE SHADOWS OF SECRECY AND PLANS TO BE AUTHENTIC TO HIS GAY SELF.

“…But sin, that it might appear sin, working death in me by that which is good; that sin by the commandment might become exceeding sinful.” Romans 7:13 (KJV)

EDITOR’S NOTE: Soooo, still not convinced we are living in the end times? How about this? A Roman Catholic priest stands up in front of his followers and declares not only that he is gay, but that being queer is in the ‘likeness of God’. Their reaction? They give him a standing ovation and applaud his courage. Kinda like cheering your damnation at the White Throne Judgment. So not only has “father” Greiten decided to embrace his sin, he also decided to drag God into the mess and say that God approves of it. I was a Catholic for 30 years before I got saved and became a Christian. Like the Bible commands, I battle the sins in my own life on a daily basis. Sometimes I get the victory and sometimes I don’t. But when you reach the point when you stop fighting and embrace what God hates, and then lie and say God approves of it, that’s a very scary place to be. The Roman Catholic church is not Christian, was never Christian, and will never be a Christian organization. Is it any wonder that God takes pleasure in destroying this evil institution in Revelation 18? 

The Rev. Gregory Greiten disclosed his sexual orientation on Sunday to the catholic St. Bernadette Parish and was greeted with a standing ovation from his parishioners, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported . He also wrote a column that was published Monday in the National Catholic Reporter.

It’s rare for a priest to come out. Greiten said he revealed his sexual orientation because he wants to be a role model for others. He said he’s helping to break the silence of gay men in the clergy so he could reclaim his own voice.

“I WILL EMBRACE THE PERSON THAT GOD CREATED ME TO BE,” GREITEN WROTE. “IN MY PRIESTLY LIFE AND MINISTRY, I, TOO, WILL HELP YOU, WHETHER YOU ARE GAY OR STRAIGHT, BISEXUAL OR TRANSGENDERED, TO BE YOUR AUTHENTIC SELF — TO BE FULLY ALIVE LIVING IN YOUR IMAGE AND LIKENESS OF GOD.”

Greiten wrote that has decided to stand with the “few courageous priests who have taken the risk to come out of the shadows and have chosen to live in truth and authenticity.”

The Catholic church’s silent stance on gay priests perpetuates toxic shaming and systematic secrecy, Greiten wrote. The church needs healthy role models for priests who are struggling to come to terms with their sexual orientation, he said.

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GREITEN MET WITH MILWAUKEE ARCHBISHOP JEROME LISTECKI BEFORE COMING OUT, ACCORDING TO AN ARCHDIOCESE SPOKESWOMAN.

“We support Father Greiten in his own personal journey and telling his story of coming to understand and live with his sexual orientation,” Listecki said in a statement Monday. “As the Church teaches, those with same-sex attraction must be treated with understanding and compassion.” source

THE GATHERING ONE WORLD RELIGION OF ANTICHRIST IS OBSESSED WITH USING AI TO COMPLETE TRANSHUMANISM SHIFT

And what about God? Their fourth tenet is that God is technical. “We are making God as we are implementing technology that is ever more all-knowing, ever-present, all-powerful and beneficent. Geoethical nanotechnology will ultimately connect all consciousness and control the cosmos.” Transhumanism can also become the node connecting the theological of existing religions and the technological, and the Christian Transhumanist Association is a stark example.
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SCIENCE FICTION, HOWEVER, IS QUICKLY BECOMING SCIENCE FACT—THE FUTURE IS THE MACHINE. THIS IS LEADING MANY TO ARGUE THAT WE NEED TO ANTICIPATE THE ETHICAL QUESTIONS NOW, RATHER THAN WHEN IT IS TOO LATE. AND INCREASINGLY, THOSE TAKING UP THESE CHALLENGES ARE RELIGIOUS AND SPIRITUAL.

“And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon. And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed.” Revelation 13:11,12 (KJV)

EDITOR’S NOTE: After the Rapture of the Church, Antichrist will create a One World Religion with himself as the object of worship, but it will not be limited to worship of him alone at first. In the beginning, Revelation 9 tells us that people in the time of Jacob’s trouble will worship idols made by their own hands instead of giving glory and honor to the Living God of the Bible. Already that shift has begun as AI – artificial intelligence – is right now being applied to idol worship and dozens of new religions with tens of thousands of followers popping up all over the globe. 

How far should we integrate human physiology with technology? What do we do with self-aware androids—like Blade Runner’s replicants—and self-aware supercomputers? Or the merging of our brains with them? If Ray Kurzweil’s famous singularity—a future in which the exponential growth of technology turns into a runaway train—becomes a reality, does religion have something to offer in response?

On the one hand, new religions can emerge from technology.

In Sweden, for example, Kopimism is a recognized faith founded over a decade ago with branches internationally. It began on a “pirate Agency Forum” and is derived from the words “copy me.” They have no views on the supernatural or gods. Rather, Kopimism celebrates the biological drive (e.g. DNA) to copy and be copied. Like digital monks, they believe that “copying of information” and “dissemination of information is ethically right.”

“THE URGENT NEED FOR CHRISTIAN TRANSHUMANISM” BY MICAH REDDING:

“Copying is fundamental to life,” says their U.S. branch, “and runs constantly all around us. Shared information provides new perspectives and generate new life. We feel a spiritual connection to the created file.” Other emerging tech-connected faiths, however, embrace the more grandiose.

A recent revelation from WIRED shows that Anthony Levandowski, an engineer who helped pioneer the self-driving car at Waymo (a subsidiary of Google’s parent company, Alphabet) founded his own AI-based religion called “Way of the Future.” (Levandowski is accused of stealing trade secrets and is the focus of a lawsuit between Waymo and Uber, which revealed the nonprofit registration of Way of the Future.)

Little is known about Way of the Future and Levandowksi has not returned a request for comment. But according to WIRED, the mission of the new religion is to “develop and promote the realization of a Godhead based on Artificial Intelligence,” and “through understanding and worship of the Godhead, [to] contribute to the betterment of society.”

It is not a stretch to say that a powerful AI—whose expanse of knowledge and control may feel nearly omniscient and all-powerful—could feel divine to some. It recalls Arthur C. Clarke’s third law: “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” People have followed new religions for far less and, even if AI doesn’t pray to electric deities, some humans likely will.

The potential for an out-of-control AI has encouraged warnings from some of the biggest minds, including Stephen Hawking, Bill Gates, and Elon Musk—who tweeted that it could lead to World War III. Clearly no Luddite himself, Musk has compared the creation of AI to “summoning the demon,” and called for regulation and oversight of AI development, forming OpenAI, which looks for a “path to safe artificial general intelligence.”

Musk himself was named-dropped this week by Hanson Robotic’s empathic AI Sophia, when she was interviewed by Andrew Sorkin of CNBC this week. When asked about the danger she poses to humanity, she tells him, “You’ve reading too much Elon Musk and watching too many Hollywood movies. Don’t worry if you’ll be nice to me, I’ll be nice to you.” Not exactly the Golden Rule.

Add to these warnings a prospective human cult following—paying their tithes to AI and devoutly obeying their digital demiurge—and that apocalyptic future could include those humans who not only welcome, but also work toward our eventual demise.

BUT IS THERE A POSITIVE FATE FOR RELIGION AND AI?

Beyond possible new religions and warnings from icons of tech and science, artificial intelligence is also of interest to theologians who wonder what it means for faiths, particularly those that came into being when computing power was limited to the abacus.

“One thing that I think is interesting is the potential for an AI—our creation—to transcend us,” says James F. McGrath, the Clarence L. Goodwin Chair in New Testament Language and Literature at Butler University and author of Theology and Science Fiction.

“AND THE REST OF THE MEN WHICH WERE NOT KILLED BY THESE PLAGUES YET REPENTED NOT OF THE WORKS OF THEIR HANDS, THAT THEY SHOULD NOT WORSHIP DEVILS, AND IDOLS OF GOLD, AND SILVER, AND BRASS, AND STONE, AND OF WOOD: WHICH NEITHER CAN SEE, NOR HEAR, NOR WALK: NEITHER REPENTED THEY OF THEIR MURDERS, NOR OF THEIR SORCERIES, NOR OF THEIR FORNICATION, NOR OF THEIR THEFTS.” REVELATION 9:20,21 9 (KJV)

“The potential for AIs to transcend us and thus become our teachers to whom we look for answers to questions we cannot answer, including about God, is not hard to imagine,” says McGrath. But, he adds, “the historic answer in monotheistic religions is that the creation can never be greater than the creator.”

He notes, however, for Gnostics, humans can transcend the “creator/demiurge,” though “even then,” he says, “we have the potential to reunite with that source from which we stem. It is not surprising that Gnostic themes regularly surface in science fiction, and in particular those that explore AI.”

CURRENTLY, THE GREATEST EXPRESSION OF SCIENCE-FICTION-TURNING-REALITY IN TECH-BASED RELIGIONS IS FOUND IN THE FREQUENTLY OPTIMISTIC TRANSHUMANISM.

Transhumanism and its cognates are represented by organizations like the Humanity+ (formerly, the World Transhumanist Association) and Extropy Institute. In its purely secular form, transhumanists are those who see technology as an important part of improving the world, enhancing human physiology, prolonging life, and even leading us into a posthuman future.

Remember that brain chip? They exist—along with brain-computer interfaces—but are in their infancy. It represents the reality that humans are already becoming cyborgs. For some, this means there is the potential for an optimistic post human world.

OUR POST-HUMAN FUTURE | DAVID SIMPSON | TEDXSANTODOMINGO

The Terasem faith, for example, is futurist and transreligion, meaning it can be “combined with any existing religion.” Founded by Martine Rothblatt, creator of SiriusXM Satellite Radio and her spouse, Bina Aspen Rothblatt, Terasem adherents embrace love, see life as purposeful, and death as optional. They look to technology as a source for eternal life, focusing on “cyberconsciousness software, geoethical nanotechnology and space settlement.”

They foresee a future in which technology will extend life indefinitely by means of “mindfiles” of individuals—collections of our memories and emotions—which might then be transferred to what is called a “transbeman” (Transitional Bioelectric Human Being). Early attempts of their technology can be seen in Bina Rothblatt’s counterpart android, Bina48. (See Morgan Freeman’s interview with Bina48.)

And what about God? Their fourth tenet is that God is technical. “We are making God as we are implementing technology that is ever more all-knowing, ever-present, all-powerful and beneficent. Geoethical nanotechnology will ultimately connect all consciousness and control the cosmos.”

Transhumanism can also become the node connecting the theological of existing religions and the technological, and the Christian Transhumanist Association is a stark example.

“Members of the CTA fall all across the conservative and liberal spectrum, and perhaps more importantly, all across the pessimistic and optimistic spectrum as well,” says Micah Redding, its co-founder and executive director.

“If there’s any broad idea that we’re united on,” he clarifies, “I’d say it’s the idea that we should be active and involved. New technological possibilities shouldn’t be simply feared and denied, but engaged and understood. Only in doing so will we be able to confront the challenges of the future, mitigate the risks, and take advantage of the opportunities to create a better world for us all.”

Redding is careful to insist, however, that he can only speak for himself.

“As I see it, Christian Transhumanism is grounded in compassion, and centers love as the key to the future of flourishing life,” he explains. “This puts us in contrast with any form of transhumanism which centers radical egoism.”

For Redding, transhumanism is a “Christian mandate,” recently calling it the next Reformation in an article at The Huffington Post. “We cannot be faithful to the Christian calling without ultimately embracing some form of transhumanism.”

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Others share his optimism and are hard at work in crafting a theology of transhumanism. “I see transhumanism as a contemporary outgrowth of an ancient Christian vision of human transformation,” says Ronald Cole-Turner, the H. Parker Sharp Professor of Theology and Ethics at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, and author of The End of Adam and Eve: Theology and the Science of Human Origins.

HE TOO SEES PROMISE IN THE EMERGENCE OF THE CHRISTIAN TRANSHUMANIST ASSOCIATION.

“Using technology, today’s transhumanists want to enhance human beings in ways that sound suspiciously like the classic Christian expectation,” says Cole-Turner, “things like greater cognitive awareness, improved moral disposition, and increased overall sense of well-being, and a hope of endless life.”

For early Greek-speaking Christians, Cole-Turner says, “it was seen as a process of theosis or ‘becoming God,’ not in an ontological sense but in every other significant meaning of the word. Latin-speaking Christians used ‘deification’ to refer to the same thing.”

The idea of theosis—being transformed in union with God—is gathering steam among Christian scholars, he says, noting that it makes theological sense of transhumanism. “God is the ground or source of everything, working through the whole creation to bring people, communities, and all creation to its glorious fulfilment in Jesus Christ. It is a transformation of everything by every means.”

Others have found different routes to transhumanism.

“Transhumanism was the confluence of my interests in Buddhism, radical politics and futurism,” says James Hughes, the executive director of the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies. Having worked for a Buddhist social development organization in Sri Lanka—and once ordained as a monk—Hughes moved to Japan and went into bioethics. He discovered he was a techno-optimist, and at heart, a transhumanist.

“I discovered the new World Transhumanist Association,” he says, becoming their first Executive Director, and writing Citizen Cyborg: Why Democratic Societies Must Respond To The Redesigned Human Of The Future. But after a division over political perspectives, he and a few others in the WTA founded IEET, leading he and three others to work toward Buddhist concerns.

Among some of his transhumanist issues, he says, is nonhuman personhood rights. Organizations like the Nonhuman Rights Project already seek these rights for animals (e.g. apes and elephants). Likewise, Hughes says, transhumanists want to “base those moral standings on levels of consciousness, and extend them to enhanced humans, animals, and machine minds.”

Machines, in other words, may reach a point where they are considered persons and are protected by law.

Redding adds a theological dimension to this idea.

“It’s clear that artificial intelligence plays a significant role in the world today,” he says, “and thus must be factored into God’s eventual work of redemption. We don’t yet know whether that involves self-conscious AIs ‘coming to Jesus,’ because we don’t yet know the process by which an AI might become self-conscious.”

“If and when it does happen,” he adds, “it shouldn’t challenge Christian doctrine. If God can grant a soul to carbon-based lifeforms, God can grant a soul to silicon-based lifeforms as well.”

Redding shows that religious perspectives might only be limited by the theological imagination.

“I’m optimistic about a fruitful religious-transhumanist dialogue,” says Hughes. “The religious impulse is very creative, and there has been a lot of reconciliation to the Enlightenment within faiths, sometimes by adapting doctrine and practice, and sometimes by the emergence of new denominations.”

If any of this—from AIs to the copying of a mind—seems too much like science-fiction to be truly religious, just give this a little time.

“All religions were once new,” insists McGrath, paraphrasing Composers Datebook, “and they all tend to be viewed with skepticism and enthusiasm from different directions when they arrive.” source

MEGABUCKS: Obama Becomes Paid Evangelist For Fat Cat Oil Companies And Wall Street Robber Barons • Now The End Begins

Obama is coming to Wall Street less than a year after leaving the White House, following a path that’s well trod and well paid. While he can’t run for president, he continues to be an influential voice in a party torn between celebrating and vilifying corporate power. His new work with banks might suggest which side of the debate he’ll be on and disappoint anyone expecting him to avoid a trap that snared Clinton.
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Hillary Clinton says she made a mistake when she gave speeches on Wall Street after leaving government. Taking money from banks, she writes in her new memoir, created the impression she was in their pocket. Her old boss doesn’t seem to share her concern.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Remember President Obama, and how he used to rail against things like “crony capitalism” and “wall street influence”? Less than a year after leaving office, Obama is now firmly in the paid pockets of any and all Wall Street companies that will have him. His fee to speak is now $400,000 per, and there is no shortage of Wall Street fat cats wanting his services, dubious as they are. Isn’t it amazing how many Democrats are super-rich, and pass laws favoring the super rich? Yet they want me and you to live under a Socialist system while they roll in piles of capitalist cash like Scrooge McDuck

Last month, just before her book “What Happened” was published, Barack Obama spoke in New York to clients of Northern Trust Corp. for about $400,000, a person familiar with his appearance said. Last week, he reminisced about the White House for Carlyle Group LP, one of the world’s biggest private equity firms, according to two people who were there. Next week, he’ll give a keynote speech at investment bank Cantor Fitzgerald LP’s health-care conference.

Obama is coming to Wall Street less than a year after leaving the White House, following a path that’s well trod and well paid. While he can’t run for president, he continues to be an influential voice in a party torn between celebrating and vilifying corporate power. His new work with banks might suggest which side of the debate he’ll be on and disappoint anyone expecting him to avoid a trap that snared Clinton. Or, as some of his executive friends see it, he’s just a private citizen giving a few paid speeches to other successful people while writing his next book.

Tucker: Obama taking $400K from Wall Street is indefensible

“He was the president of the entire United States — financial services are under that umbrella,” said former UBS Group AG executive Robert Wolf, an early supporter who joined the Obama Foundation board this year. “He doesn’t look at Wall Street like, ‘Oh, these are individuals who don’t want the best for the country.’ He doesn’t stereotype.”

Since leaving office, Obama has delivered public and private speeches that are “true to his values,” Kevin Lewis, a spokesman for the former president, said in an email. “His paid speeches in part have allowed President Obama to contribute $2 million to Chicago programs offering job training and employment opportunities to low-income youth.”

Obama’s relationship with Wall Street hasn’t always been good. Bankers still boil over with rage about him, wincing over his 2009 line about fat cats as if the wounds were fresh. But his Justice Department prosecuted no major bankers for their roles in the financial crisis, and he resisted calls to break up the biggest banks, signing a regulatory overhaul that annoyed them with new rules but didn’t stop them from pulling in record profits.

The brokerage and investment bank Cantor Fitzgerald isn’t one of those giants. S&P Global Ratings announced this year that the New York-based firm’s debt grades could be cut to junk. Cantor’s investment banking division is run by health-care specialist Sage Kelly, who left Jefferies Group after divorce-case accusations became salacious tabloid fodder in 2014. His ex-wife later apologized for the storm caused by the claims, which he had denied.

Obama’s Wall Street speeches generate big pay day:

When Obama was president he railed against Wall Street, but now that he’s a private citizen he grabbing all the ill-gotten loot from Wall Street that he can stuff in his pockets.

Cantor Chief Executive Officer Howard Lutnick, whose firm lost more than 600 people in the Sept. 11 attacks, said the former president will make remarks and take questions. The three-day conference for current and prospective clients begins Sept. 25. Obama will be paid about $400,000, according to a person familiar with the arrangement.

“Everybody would like to come,” Lutnick said. “Hopefully, we will really talk about the Affordable Care Act in interesting and nuanced ways, which I think is really cool.”

Obama’s appearance at the Carlyle conference in Washington was previously unreported.

The private equity giant has enjoyed some of the best political connections in the world, with executives and advisers who have included former presidents, prime ministers and cabinet secretaries. Obama discussed his life and the decisions he made in the White House, the people who heard him said. A spokesman for the firm wouldn’t comment.

The ex-president has been busy. His foundation is raising money for a library in Chicago, and he and his wife signed a book deal with Penguin Random House after an auction that went above $60 million, according to the Financial Times. He spoke about food in Milan, democracy in Jakarta and himself at an A&E Television Networks event in New York. He vacationed in California and Hawaii and on Richard Branson’s Necker Island with its billionaire owner.

Obama has picked private equity, hedge fund, venture capital and banking veterans to oversee his foundation, and an alumnus of Goldman Sachs Group Inc. to advise him on investments.

President Obama Announces The Obama Foundation Summit:

Remember the Clinton Foundation, and how it was going to “change the world“. As it turned out, the only thing the Clinton Foundation did was make the Clintons richer. Now Obama is starting his own foundation to “change the world”. Hmm…looks like we won’t be running low on Democrat financial scandals any time soon.

Northern Trust is a bank that specializes in wealth management for rich families and services for big funds. The event had gone unreported, but a program accessible on the firm’s website lists Obama alongside executives from Microsoft Corp., IBM and Michael Bloomberg, majority owner of Bloomberg LP.

Northern Trust, based in Chicago, gave Obama a discount on a $1.32 million loan for a mansion in that city in 2005, after he was elected to the Senate, the Washington Post reported. The rate was changed to account for an offer from another lender, a spokesman for Obama said three years later. Doug Holt, a spokesman for Northern Trust, wouldn’t comment for this story.

Obama is getting advice on investments from Robbie Robinson, who’s on leave from BDT & Co., according to a person familiar with the arrangement. That Chicago-based firm works with wealthy families and is run by Byron Trott. Both bankers worked for Goldman Sachs.

Obama has known executives there for more than a decade. He spoke at the 2006 Goldman Sachs partners’ meeting in Chicago. Then a senator, he appeared between Hank Paulson and Warren Buffett in the Fairmont hotel’s Imperial Ballroom, an event program shows.

Both Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump blasted Clinton for her lucrative Goldman Sachs speeches, and the issue is still raw. Sanders and fellow Senator Elizabeth Warren have tried to pry the Democratic Party away from its coziness with Wall Street. If Obama is hoping the party will be a big tent with room for corporate giants, they may stand in his way.

Obama’s donor friends tend to mention the same reason when they defend his Wall Street speeches, saying he’s no longer president and not running for office. Morgan Stanley Vice Chairman Tom Nides is one of them.

“I love Barack Obama, and if someone is willing to pay him to give a speech, God bless America,” said Nides, a deputy secretary of state under Clinton in Obama’s administration.

But Jeff Hauser, who studies political corruption as head of the Revolving Door Project in Washington, said Obama should play by the same rules as other politicians because of his ongoing work with the Democratic Party.

“He’s continuing to exercise the authority,” Hauser said, citing Obama’s support for the party’s redistricting committee and the push he gave Tom Perez in the race to head the Democratic National Committee. If he wants to play a role, “he ought to forgo a few hundred thousand here and maybe a half-million there.”

Few leaders have left the top of the U.S. government recently and resisted the lure of corporate money. Former Vice President Al Gore is a director at Apple Inc. and a senior partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, the venture capital firm whose chairman, John Doerr, is on the Obama Foundation’s board. Dan Quayle, another ex-vice president, has spent almost two decades with private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management LP. Trump’s White House has lost officials so quickly that Sean Spicer has already made arrangements to speak to a financial firm this year.

“Not everyone’s going to be a Jimmy Carter, who does purely good works after he gets out,” said Sean Coffey, a Democratic donor who chairs the complex litigation group at corporate law firm Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP. Obama is used to being criticized, the attorney added. “I don’t think getting any grief for doing this is going to bother him at all.” source

 

Source: MEGABUCKS: Obama Becomes Paid Evangelist For Fat Cat Oil Companies And Wall Street Robber Barons • Now The End Begins

Mega-Rich Pastor Joel Osteen Orders Doors Of Lakewood Church Shut To Public At Height Of Hurricane Harvey • Now The End Begins

 

Televangelist Joel Osteen canceled services at his Houston megachurch Sunday and just reopened his doors today — despite the fact that thousands of flooded-out residents were desperately seeking shelter. The perpetually smiling pastor told followers on Twitter on Monday to lean on their faith.  “Jesus promises us peace that passes understanding,” he wrote. “That’s peace when it doesn’t make sense.”
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Televangelist Joel Osteen canceled services at his Houston megachurch Sunday and just reopened his doors today — despite the fact that thousands of flooded-out residents were desperately seeking shelter.

“And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.” 2 Peter 2:3 (KJV)

EDITOR’S NOTE: With all the tens of millions of dollars his followers give Lakewood Church every year, and because of it’s massive sports stadium size, it would be only natural to think that Joel Osteen would order his huge building to be a receiving zone for the many thousands of displaced people in Hurricane Harvey. Lakewood Church has 16,000 seats in it’s main arena. So why did Osteen order the doors to his millionaires monastery shut to the public? That’s what I would like to know. After a public outcry, he begrudgedly opened the church to the public late today. But please, don’t stop sending in your money to fund his lavish lifestyle, he counts on suckers like you to pay his bills.

The perpetually smiling pastor told followers on Twitter on Monday to lean on their faith.  “Jesus promises us peace that passes understanding,” he wrote. “That’s peace when it doesn’t make sense.”

But Osteen’s comforting words didn’t sit well with critics, who want to know why the doors to his 16,800-seat arena at his Lakewood Church near downtown Houston are closed.

Joel Osteen opens Mega-church to flood victims amid criticism

“You have taken so much money away from your people to live like a king,” entertainment publicist Danny Deraney blasted. “It’s the least you could do.”

Washington, DC-based writer Charles Clymer tweeted pictures of Lakewood Church, which did not appear to be damaged by floods.

“It doesn’t make sense why you’re not opening up your mega church to house Houston citizens, help me understand that. Jesus,” according to Florida-based writer Emily Timbol.

While the church and its arena have not suffered any flood damage yet, ministry spokesman Donald Iloff said their property is inaccessible because of surrounding waters.

And it makes no sense to open church doors when the city and county are already treating thousands of flood victims at the nearby George R. Brown Convention Center, according to Iloff.

“It has everything inside there — medicine, doctors, places to sleep,” Iloff said of the convention center. “It’s amazing what they’re doing there to make people comfortable.” source

Source: Mega-Rich Pastor Joel Osteen Orders Doors Of Lakewood Church Shut To Public At Height Of Hurricane Harvey • Now The End Begins