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Archive for the ‘Judaism’ Category

from The Middle East Quarterly:

A mere decade ago, Christian Zionism was seen as an emerging force in American politics. As if out of nowhere, a block of fifty to one hundred million friends of Israel were poised to enter the national debate and safeguard the U.S.-Israel relationship for generations to come. Evangelical love for Israel appeared so solid that the only debate within the Jewish community was whether or not to “accept” it.

How quickly things change. The days of taking evangelical support for Israel for granted are over. As they are increasingly confronted with an evangelical-friendly, anti-Israel narrative, more and more of these Christians are turning against the Jewish state.

There is troubling precedent for such an about-face. At one time—prior to the 1967 war— the mainline Protestant denominations were among Israel’s most reliable American supporters. Israel’s opponents, therefore, targeted these denominations with mainline-friendly, anti-Israel messages. There are still many mainline Protestants who support Israel today. But to the extent the mainline denominations act corporately in connection with the Jewish state, it is to divest from it. And it is from Israel—not Iran—that they seek to divest.

In a similar fashion, Palestinian Christians and their American sympathizers are successfully promoting a narrative aimed at reaching the rising generation of evangelicals and turning them against Israel. As a result, more leaders of this generation are moving toward neutrality in the conflict while others are becoming outspoken critics of Israel. Questioning Christian support for the Jewish state is fast becoming a key way for the millennials to demonstrate their Christian compassion and political independence. In short, this population is in play.

The Shift

There is nothing new about the efforts to drive a wedge between America’s evangelicals and Israel. Many in the anti-Israel camp have been working for years to do exactly that. Anti-Israel Palestinian Christians such as Sami Awad and Naim Ateek have traveled the country telling American Christians how their “brothers and sisters in Christ” are being oppressed by Israel’s Jews. Left-leaning evangelicals such as Jim Wallis, Tony Campolo, and Serge Duss have echoed this narrative in their corner of the Christian world. Duss’s sons, Brian and Matt, have worked diligently to mainstream their father’s views within the fields of Christian philanthropy and Democratic Party policy-making, respectively.

Until the past couple of years, however, there was little reason to believe that these individuals were influencing Christians beyond their own narrow circles. Almost every significant evangelical leader who took a position on the issue came out squarely behind the Jewish state. A center-right evangelical world simply was not taking its political cues from these stalwarts of the left.

This situation is changing dramatically. With every passing month, more evidence is emerging that these anti-Israel Christians are succeeding in reaching beyond the evangelical left and are influencing the mainstream. In particular, they are penetrating the evangelical world at its soft underbelly: the millennial generation. These young believers (roughly ages 18 to 30) are rebelling against what they perceive as the excessive biblical literalism and political conservatism of their parents. As they strive with a renewed vigor to imitate Jesus’ stand with the oppressed and downtrodden, they want to decide for themselves which party is being oppressed in the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Whoever first defines the conflict for these young people will win lifelong allies.

Of Polling and Documentaries

In October 2010, the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life conducted a major survey of evangelical leaders attending the Third Lausanne Congress of World Evangelization in Cape Town, South Africa. When asked with which side of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict they sympathized, these leaders answered as follows:

All Evangelicals (Global)

Sympathize With Israel—34%
Sympathize with the Palestinians—11%
Sympathize with Both Equally—39%

American Evangelicals

Sympathize with Israel—30%
Sympathize with the Palestinians—13%
Sympathize with Both Sides Equally—49%

The survey contained two bombshells. It showed that only a minority of those evangelicals polled sympathized primarily with Israel. And it demonstrated that American evangelical leaders were actually less inclined to support Israel than evangelical leaders in general.

These figures may mean that evangelical support for Israel was never as universal as was commonly believed. But they may also demonstrate that years of grassroots efforts by Israel’s critics were beginning to bear fruit even before their recent intensification.

The year 2010 was one of dramatic escalation in the efforts to drive a wedge between American evangelicals and Israel using the medium of film. In the span of that one year, no less than three major documentaries were released attacking Christian support for Israel. These were hardly the first anti-Israel movies to be produced. What made these films special was that they were focused on discrediting Christian support for Israel. While First Run Features’ Waiting for Armageddon was produced and directed by a team of secular documentarians, two other films—With God on Our Side (Rooftop Productions, 2010) and Little Town of Bethlehem(EthnoGraphic Media, 2010)—were made by Christians specifically for Christians. With God on Our Side was produced by Porter Speakman, a former Youth with a Mission (YWAM) activist while Little Town of Bethlehem was funded and produced by Mart Green, chairman of the board of trustees of Oral Roberts University and heir to the Hobby Lobby arts and crafts stores fortune.

These two Christian-made films are masterpieces of deception. They feature compelling protagonists wandering earnestly through a Middle Eastern landscape in which all Arab violence, aggression, and rejectionism have been magically erased. Thus the Israeli security measures they encounter along the way—from the security fence to Israel’s ongoing presence in the West Bank—are experienced as baffling persecutions, which any decent person would condemn.

More recently, in November 2013, another anti-Israel documentary—The Stones Cry Out—was released. Like its 2010 predecessors, this documentary specifically tailors its anti-Israel message to a Christian audience. The film’s website laments: “All too often, media coverage of the conflict in Palestine has framed it as a fight between Muslims and Jews.” The not-too subtle goal of The Stones Cry Out is to reframe the conflict as a fight between Christians and Jews.

The Stones Cry Out begins with the story of Kfar Biram, a Christian Arab village on Israel’s border with Lebanon. Israel expelled the village’s residents in 1948 in order to, in the words of the film’s website, “make way for settlers in the newly created state of Israel.” The film then moves on to “the expropriation of the West Bank in 1967” and the plight of modern Bethlehem, which is “hemmed in by the wall.” As such language repeatedly makes clear, the filmmakers did not craft a nuanced critique of Israeli policies. They produced instead a modern passion play.

In an interview about the film, Bethlehem pastor Mitri Raheb summarizes the changes taking place in the American evangelical world:

It’s not a hopeless case. The first time I went to the States in 1991, most of the people I met knew nothing about Palestine. That has changed a lot. I see among the evangelical Christian community more openness towards the Palestinians.

Raheb is right about the openness. And this could be a good thing if it leads to an honest examination of the issue. Unfortunately, Raheb and his colleagues are exploiting this openness by telling a one-sided narrative of Jewish persecution of Christians that may sow the seeds of future hate.

Of Campuses and Conferences

The effort to delegitimize Israel on America’s college campuses has quickly progressed from news item to cliché. The annual Israel apartheid weeks and the repeated divestment campaigns targeting everything from university pension funds to cafeteria humus have become all too familiar. But what many observers do not realize is that the effort to demonize Israel is also being waged on America’s Christian campuses.

Perhaps the most troubling example comes from Wheaton College in Illinois, commonly referred to as the “evangelical Harvard.” Some of the most prominent church leaders in America have graduated from Wheaton, including the Rev. Billy Graham, Sen. Dan Coats (Republican, Indiana), and George W. Bush’s former speechwriter Michael Gerson.

Wheaton is also the home of Gary Burge, one of America’s most prominent anti-Israel evangelicals. Burge travels the country and the world accusing the Jewish state of the worst of crimes and engaging in a mockery of Judaism that borders on anti-Semitism. When Christians United for Israel (CUFI) announced plans to hold an event at Wheaton in January 2009, Burge went on the offensive. CUFI’s student members came under such intense pressure that they moved their event off-campus: There would be no pro-Israel event at the evangelical Harvard.

Another of America’s leading Christian schools, Oral Roberts University (ORU), has deep conservative Christian roots. Oral Roberts himself was a Pentecostal televangelist and a strong friend of Israel. Some of the leading preachers in America graduated from ORU, and its board of trustees has included pro-Israel Christians such as pastors John Hagee and Kenneth Copeland and Bishop Keith Butler.

But things may be changing at ORU. The current chair of ORU’s board of trustees is the aforementioned Mart Green. He is reported to have “saved” ORU with a $70 million cash infusion. In January 2013, ORU’s board of trustees elected Billy Wilson as the university’s new president; a few months later, Wilson was named as a speaker for 2014 at the leading anti-Israel Christian conference, “Christ at the Checkpoint.”

Bethel University in Minnesota provides a further example. While this school lacks the national reputation of Wheaton or ORU, it is likely more representative of the direction that America’s Christian colleges are taking. Bethel’s leaders are neither leading nor funding the effort to delegitimize Israel but are merely the products thereof. Like many Christian schools, Bethel emphasizes racial reconciliation and cultural openness and has accordingly developed numerous opportunities for its students to study abroad. In 2010, Bethel’s president Jay Barnes and his wife Barb visited Israel and the Palestinian Authority to explore the prospect of building a study abroad program there. During the trip, they visited Bethlehem and were exposed to the standard Christian anti-Israel narrative. Like so many of her fellow travelers, Barb Barnes apparently bought into this one-sided presentation. Shortly after her return, Barnes posted a poem on the university’s website that summarized the leading anti-Israel themes of these tours:

Incredible conflict exists in the land of Jesus’ birth/ I believe God mourns.

The wall is a constant reminder of many lost freedoms/ I believe God mourns.

For more than 60 years, people have lived in poverty in refugee camps/ I believe God mourns.

Apartheid has become a way of life/ I believe God mourns.

Extreme disproportional distribution of resources, such as water, exists/ I believe God mourns.

Hundreds of villages have been demolished to make room for settlements/ I believe God mourns.

Human rights violations occur daily/ I believe God mourns.

The Christian population is declining as many are leaving to avoid persecution/ I believe God mourns.

The Barnes visit did not motivate further study ultimately yielding a more nuanced understanding. In October 2012, President Barnes hosted a “Hope for the Holy Land” evening at Bethel, a one-sided, blame-Israel speaking tour featuring Sami Awad, Lynn Hybels, and other long-standing Christian critics of Israel.

One need not be a student to be exposed to this anti-Israel narrative. In recent years, the number of Christian conferences focusing entirely or partially on criticizing Israel has grown along with the attendance at these conferences.

Since its founding in 1979, Bethlehem Bible College in the West Bank has been a leading source of the anti-Israel Christian narrative. In 2010, it launched a biennial conference called “Christ at the Checkpoint.” The name of the conference along with a photo of the Israel security fence that forms its logo invoke the increasingly popular meme that Jesus was a Palestinian who would be suffering under Israeli occupation today much as he suffered under Roman occupation millennia ago.

In 2010, the conference brought 250 Christian leaders and activists to Bethlehem; in 2012, that number was more than 600 including such mainstream evangelical leaders as mega-church pastor Joel Hunter and Lynne Hybels, wife of mega-church pastor Bill Hybels, who has since become a key evangelical critic of Israel.

The days when one had to travel to Bethlehem to hear such anti-Israel voices are now over. The anti-Israel narrative of “Christ at the Checkpoint” is now being shared at major Christian conferences in the United States including those organized by Empowered21 and Catalyst.

Empowered21, the preeminent gathering of Pentecostal/Charismatic Christians, provides a troubling example of this trend. Its leadership is a who’s who of Pentecostal and Charismatic luminaries from around the world, including many longstanding friends of Israel. However, the leading critic of Israel among these leaders, Mart Green, appears to be playing an outsized role in setting the conference’s agenda: Its 2012 conference in Virginia included a talk by Sami Awad and a screening of Green’s film, Little Town of Bethlehem.

Empowered21 has announced that it will hold its 2015 global congress in Jerusalem. Given the conference’s connections to Sami Awad and Mart Green, there is some skepticism whether the choice of location was intended as a sign of solidarity with the Jewish state. Only time will tell if the organization’s leadership will permit the conference to become a one-sided Israel bashing fest.

Troubling developments are also taking place at the annual Catalyst conference. First launched in 1999, Catalyst has quickly grown into the largest gathering of young evangelical leaders in America with more than 100,000 leaders having made the annual trek to Atlanta to participate in this conference since its inception. Additional Catalyst events are now being held in Florida, Texas, and California.

In the past, Catalyst studiously avoided discussions of the Arab-Israeli conflict. In 2012, however, Lynne Hybels was invited to address “Peacemaking in Israel/Palestine.” No one was asked to provide a pro-Israel perspective. As journalist Jim Fletcher observed after attending Catalyst 2012:

In dozens of random conversations, I noted that Millenials … expressed solidarity with the Palestinians and annoyance with Israel. This is a seismic shift in the American church and a serious threat to Israel’s one traditional area of support.

In addition to speaking at major conferences, anti-Israel speakers such as Burge, Awad, Hybels, and Steven Sizer tour churches across the country. The flyer for a September 2013 evening with Burge provides a sense of the climate at these events. Entitled “Christian Zionism: A Problem with a Solution,” the flyer includes a string of three lies that form the core of the new Christian anti-Zionism:

Zionists in Israel have created a state that wants racial purity. Many Zionists want native-born Christians to leave Israel. Christian Zionists in America support Israel because they believe this will accelerate the second coming of Christ.

Trips to “Israel/Palestine”

A growing number of organizations are bringing an increasing number of Christian leaders, influencers, and students to visit “Israel/Palestine.” These trips are well marketed and seek out mainstream evangelicals by claiming to be both pro-Israeli and pro-Palestinian—or simply “pro-people”—but never anti-Israel. Yet these trips tend to focus on Palestinian suffering and to blame Israel alone for this suffering.

The Telos Group, founded in 2009 and funded by George Soros, is typical of these new organizations. Run by a savvy team professing a moderate agenda, Telos promotes itself as “a leading organization of America’s emerging pro-Israeli, pro-Palestinian, pro-American, pro-peace movement.” Their tours take visitors to both Israel and the Palestinian Authority where they meet with both Israelis and Palestinians. What could be more evenhanded?

Yet these tours are carefully calibrated to teach their participants that Israeli policy is the source of Israeli and Arab suffering and the only real barrier to peace. The Palestinian speakers include extreme critics of Israel such as Mitri Raheb and Archbishop Elias Chacour (both featured prominently in The Stones Cry Out). The Israeli speakers, while not as extreme, are stalwarts of the far Left who likewise blame Israel for the region’s problems. A brief visit with an Israeli right-winger—usually a settler—does more to confirm this one-sided narrative than challenge it. Telos organizes approximately fifteen of these trips every year.

Another recent arrival on the scene is the Global Immersion Project. Founded in 2011, the project seeks to “cultivate everyday peacemakers through immersion in global conflict.” But thus far, the only conflict they study is that between Israel and the Palestinians, and the only trips they make are to “Israel/Palestine.” In 2014, they have two “learning labs” scheduled in the Holy Land.

These newcomers have joined an old stalwart of the movement, the Holy Land Trust. Founded in 1998 by Palestinian Christian activist Sami Awad, the organization claims to promote nonviolent solutions to the conflict with Israel. However, Awad has stated quite clearly on his blog that nonviolence is “not a substitute for the armed struggle. This is not a method for normalization with the occupation. Our goal is to revive the popular resistance until every person is involved in dismantling the occupation.” The Holy Land Trust promotes a strongly biased version of history in which Israel alone is to blame for the absence of peace. It shares this message to those who visit on their various service projects, olive harvesting initiative, and “Palestine Summer Encounter.”

The Generational Divide

Despite these troubling inroads, it is unlikely that an older generation of evangelicals raised to support Israel will abandon it en masse. The greater threat comes from the younger generation that never developed such bonds and seems quite eager to question them. There is a real danger that these films, conferences, and campus attacks will combine to create a generational shift in attitudes toward Israel.

Most of the evangelicals who dominated Christian political activism for the past few decades—men such as Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, and Francis Schaeffer—were vocal supporters of Israel. While their children may share this perspective, they tend to talk about it less. In fact, Schaeffer’s son Frank has become a vocal critic of “the largely unchallenged influence of Christian Zionism.”

Making matters worse, there is a cadre of rising young evangelical stars who are bonding on trips to Israel and the Palestinian Authority and returning to push their fellow evangelicals away from the Jewish state. This is a largely well-coiffed and fashionably dressed bunch dedicated to marketing Christianity to a skeptical generation by making it cool, compassionate, and less overtly political. Questioning support for Israel and expressing sympathy with the Palestinians is fast becoming a hallmark of this clique.

This generational divide is best highlighted by the example of Christian publisher Steven Strang and his son Cameron. Steven Strang publishes Charisma, a leading evangelical monthly with a consistently pro-Israel perspective. He has also published works by many prominent Christian authors, including pro-Israel stalwart John Hagee. Strang was, until recently, regional director for Christians United for Israel. His son Cameron publishes Relevant, a highly popular magazine among millennial evangelicals, claiming to “reach about 2,300,000 twenty- and thirty something Christians a month” through its print and online publications.

Less than a decade ago, Relevant was as pro-Israel as Charisma. In December 2005, for example, it published a powerful, pro-Israel piece called “Israel: Why You Should Care.” In 2006, Relevant interviewed the author of this article for its weekly podcast, and the interview could not have been friendlier.

Then Lynne Hybels took Cameron Strang to visit Israel and the Palestinian territories, and everything changed. During Israel’s 2008-09 Operation Cast Lead in Gaza, Relevant published an article titled, “Is Israel Always Right?” in which the author dispensed with any balanced analysis of urban counterterror operations to conclude: “When I examine Israel’s choices like I would that of any other nation, I find myself appalled that they’re not doing more to protect the innocents [in Gaza].”

When Israel confronted Hamas again in November 2012, Relevant published an article titled, “How Should Christians Respond to the Middle East Crisis” by Jon Huckins, a co-founder of the Global Immersion Project. The article was an extended exercise in moral relativism, noting the suffering on each side without attributing blame. Huckins never once criticized Hamas, but he did take a thinly veiled swipe at Christian Zionists by blasting the “hateful stereotyping, racism, and violent response [to events in Gaza] being disseminated by Christians.”

Relevant‘s May/June 2012 cover featured Donald Miller, author of the New York Timesbestseller Blue Like Jazz (2003), which was made into a 2012 movie. In August 2008, Miller delivered the first night’s closing prayer at the Democratic National Convention. He is considered a rising star among America’s 20-something evangelicals who comprise many of his 189,000 Twitter followers. Miller visited Israel and the Palestinian territories with Strang and has since embraced the anti-Israel narrative. On November 12, 2012, Miller blogged “The Painful Truth about the Situation in Israel.” Here he repeated a number of outrageous lies about Israel he likely heard during his visit:

In September a group of journalists and I visited Israel and stood on a hill overlooking the wall separating Israel from Gaza. From our viewpoint, we could see the controversial territory where 1.6 million Palestinians have been walled in and secluded from the outside world. They are, essentially, imprisoned.

The walls erected around the West Bank and Gaza separate families from families. Many mothers will not see their children again. Millions will never return to the homes their families had occupied for hundreds of years. … Thousands of Palestinian students at American universities will never see their families again.

Israel gives most Palestinians fresh water once each week. … In Gaza, Israel also rations their food, allowing only so many calories per human being.

The Response

Freeze the frame today, and the pro-Israel side is still far ahead in the battle for the hearts and minds of America’s evangelicals. Just one pro-Israel organization, Christians United for Israel, has over 1.6 million members, chapters on more than 120 college and university campuses, and sponsors thirty-five pro-Israel events across the country every month. Anti-Israel Christians do not come close to matching CUFI’s size, activity, or influence.

But the long-term trends are now coming into sufficient focus to discern a challenge. Anti-Israel Christians are on a roll. While small in number, these activists seem to have extensive funds. They are taking far more Christian leaders and influencers to Israel and the Palestinian Authority than the pro-Israel side. Through these newly-minted allies, they are reaching an ever expanding network of evangelicals in the United States.

The threat is not that these activists will turn the majority of American evangelicals into Israel haters. They do not have to. The real danger is that they will teach their fellow evangelicals a moral relativism that will neutralize them. The day that Israel is seen as the moral equivalent of Hamas is the day that the evangelical community—and by extension the political leaders it helps elect—will cease providing the Jewish state any meaningful support.

Those who reject such facile moral equivalence must take this threat seriously. They cannot let the evangelical community go the way of the mainstream Protestant leadership. They must not forget that big lies must be confronted early and often. And they dare not ignore the fact that Israel’s enemies are telling very big lies to some very influential Christians—and telling them quite well.

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From The Times of Israel:

A Romanian public broadcaster aired a Christmas carol celebrating the Holocaust.

TVR3 Verde, a television channel for rural communities, presented the carol on December 5 during its maiden transmission.

Sung by the Dor Transilvan ensemble, it featured the lyrics: “The kikes, damn kikes, Holy God would not leave the kike alive, neither in heaven nor on earth, only in the chimney as smoke, this is what the kike is good for, to make kike smoke through the chimney on the street.”

In a statement, TVR3 (Romanian Public Television Channel 3) distanced itself from the broadcast, saying it did not select the carol but only broadcast songs that were chosen and compiled by the Center for Preservation and Promotion of Traditional Culture, which belongs to the eastern county of Cluj.

TVR considers the selection “an uninspired choice and therefore notified the Cluj County Council of this,” the broadcaster’s statement read.

MCA Romania, a local watchdog on anti-Semitism, has written to Romanian President Traian Basecu and to Prime Minister Victor Viorel Ponta, to complain about the broadcast.

“We are shocked to see that the Romanian Public Television Channel 3 broadcast an anti-Semitic Christmas carol,” Maximillian Marco Katz and Marius Draghici of MCA Romania wrote in the letter. “It is outrageous that none in the audience took a stance against the anti-Semitic Christian carol that incites to burn the Jews.”

They added it was “absolutely unacceptable that TVR 3 tried to deny responsibility” by claiming it was the responsibility of Cluj County.

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Hebrew Roots teaching is all the rage right now, you are seeing a large number of false teachers running about telling Christians that they cannot properly understand God’s Word or be able to “Rightly Divide” the word unless they understand the Original Hebrew and or keep all of the Jewish Festivals and Old Covenant laws.

As the Apostle Paul said in Galatians 1:6-9:

I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel,  which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed.

And: Galatians 2: 19-21:

For I through the law died to the law that I might live to God.  I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain.”

And: Galatians 3:1-4:

O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you that you should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed among youas crucified?  This only I want to learn from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh? Have you suffered so many things in vain—if indeed it was in vain?

And: Galatians 4:21-26:

Tell me, you who desire to be under the law, do you not hear the law?  For it is written that Abraham had two sons: the one by a bondwoman, the other by a freewoman. But he who was of the bondwoman was born according to the flesh, and he of the freewoman through promise, 24 which things are symbolic. For these are the two covenants: the one from Mount Sinai which gives birth to bondage, which is Hagar— for this Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia, and corresponds to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children— but the Jerusalem above is free, which is the mother of us all.

And finally: Galatians 5:1-2

Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.  2 Indeed I, Paul, say to you that if you become circumcised, Christ will profit you nothing.

One such false “Hebrew Roots” teacher is a “Dr.” Roy Blizzard, his false teaching is infecting many pentecostal churches due to their abandonment of  Biblical Doctrine in favor of any lying spirit that will make them shake, utter gibberish and have a warm fuzzy feeling!

His false teaching has even infected a former “church” that my family and I attended.

“Dr.” Blizzard has an affectation for Rabbinical Jewish Teachings, and he teaches that to properly understand God’s Word not only must you understand Hebrew but you must interpret that Hebrew using Rabbinical Jewish Teachings.

Not many Christians know it today, but all Rabbinical Jewish Teachings find their origin in the Oral Tradition or Oral Law of the Pharisees. After the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 A.D., Pharisaic beliefs became the liturgical and ritualistic basis for Rabbinic Judaism. The Mishnah written around 220 A.D. put into written form those oral traditions.

In Galatians the Apostle Paul is warning new Christians about some who were coming in after he had established the Church in Galatia, and convincing the new Christians in Galatia that they needed to be circumcised and follow the Oral and Written Jewish Law as interpreted by the Pharisees.

This “Dr’ Roy Blizzard is doing the same thing, I have posted an article from him below on Genesis 3:1-7:.

Now to give you some context “Dr’ Blizzard does not believe that Satan exists! He uses modern Rabbinical (Pharisaic oral tradition) teaching to say that Satan, the Devil is actually just allegorical terms for the bad side of human nature, known in Rabbinical Jewish Teaching as the “Yetzer Hara” or evil inclination.

Read the article below and weep for the Christians who are being seduced by this false teacher attempting to drag Christians from the liberty that they have in Christ to the Bondage of Rabbinical Jewish Teachings.

From Bible Scholars:

Genesis 3:1-7

By: Roy B. Blizzard Posted: June 04 2012

The Passage in Translation for today is going to be Genesis 3:1-7.

Biblical commentators have found extreme difficulty in explaining this passage and especially the nature of the serpent. Some commentators have suggested that the serpent was Satan; one who was separate from God and in opposition to God.

In popular thought and language, the concept of evil is strongly associated with the serpent and hence the serpent is chosen out of the animal world as a symbol of evil. However, we must not regard the serpent as an independent entity in opposition to God. A special characteristic that the Bible attributes to the serpent is “cunning.” Since there is no other quality ascribed to him, the intent is to convey that the evil flowing from the serpent emanated only from his cunning. In the ultimate analysis, we have here an allegorical illusion to the craftiness to be found in man himself. That is, the duologue between the serpent and the woman is actually in a manner of speaking, a duologue that took place in the woman’s mind between her wiliness and her innocence clothed in the garb of a parable.

In reality, it is not the serpent that thinks and speaks but the woman who does so in her heart. There is a play in Hebrew on words between the word “cunning” arum and “naked” arummin. They were naked because of their ignorance of good and evil, or their lack of knowledge. However, they were not lacking in cunning. The woman emphasizes that the tree from which they were forbidden to eat was in the center of the garden. And, she adds the additional statement that God had said, “neither shall you touch it,” which of course he had not. But the clause “neither shall you touch it” is simply synonymous with the preceding clause “ye shall not eat thereof.” The woman concludes that the underlying cause must be none other than God’s jealousy. He who knows everything does not wish his creatures to possess the same knowledge as himself.

It seems to be the way of the world for the man to be easily swayed by the woman. However, the man was with her and evidently consenting to the action all the time.

In truth, their eyes were opened but the outcome was not what they had expected. They had hoped that by eating the fruit they would obtain divine knowledge. The cognition that had seemed so desirable to them as to warrant the transgression of God’s precept was vastly different from what they had originally imagined. The first knowledge that they acquired led not to edification but to shame. There is much to be learned from this passage and what follows. But, perhaps we can conclude with “Be careful! What you ask you may get it.”

… to be continued

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Another apostate self promoter caught in a lie!

from The Florida Courier:

FROM THE FLORIDA COURIER STAFF: An Orlando-area rabbi, upset that Florida-based televangelist Paula White strongly denied participating in “scroll-wrapping” considered “repulsive and inappropriate”by some Jewish religious scholars, submitted a video that seemingly corroborates that such an act did occur. The video surfaced just hours after White’s attorney categorically and unconditionally denied, to the Florida Courier’s publisher, White’s involvement in any such act.

White’s ‘wrapping’ – allegedly symbolic of being “wrapped in the Word of God,” according to  Rabbi Ralph Messer on the video – is almost identical to Messer’s wrapping of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church’s Rev. Eddie Long during a controversial, widely ridiculed ceremony that went viral on YouTube.

Criticism of Long was swift and severe from Jewish religious scholars and the Anti-Defamation League, forcing Long to publicly apologize.

White is now pastor of New Destiny Christian Center, founded by the late Zachery Tims. New Destiny is one of Central Florida’s largest churches. She is also pastor of Without Walls International Church, one of Tampa’s largest churches.

How it all started

On Friday afternoon, Feb. 3, the West Orlando News Online reported “rumors that Messer will be in Orlando over the weekend to crown pastor Paula White, new leader of the New Destiny Christian Center (NDCC), queen.”

At 6 p.m. that Friday evening – just after the Florida Courier broke a story on the Internet addressing rumors of White’s possible ‘coronation’ – Messer became the focus of discussion on Orlando’s WEUS-AM 810, a local talk radio station.

Host Don Miller of “The Don Miller Show” harshly criticized both Long and Messer. One of the featured guests on the show was  Rabbi Ira Michaelson of the Beth Tefillah congregation in Clermont, just outside of Orlando.

About 10 minutes into the broadcast, Miller confirmed that he heard rumors that Messer was coming to Orlando “to do this” (another Eddie Long-style ‘coronation’) at another church.”

In response, Michaelson said, “He actually already did this to Paula White some years ago…this was after she was divorced from Randy White and before the scandal with Benny Hinn came out. He took her and wrapped her in a scroll and said the same thing – ‘I’m wrapping you in the Word of God.’”

For the remainder of the hour-long show, Miller and Michaelson continued to castigate Messer and Long. Keith Johnson, a minister, author, and former NFL Minnesota Vikings chaplain, spoke of his concern about Long’s New Birth congregation and the impact of Messer’s actions on the relationship between Black Christians and Jews.

(On Sunday, February 5, Johnson preached at an Orlando-area church about how Messer convinced Long’s New Birth congregation “to pronounce a curse on themselves. Click here for video.)

The Rev. Dr. Wil Gafney, an associate professor of Hebrew and Old Testament at The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia, spoke to Miller’s show by phone about how the New Birth ceremony was disrespectful of Jewish religious traditions.

Saturday morning call

In multiple phone calls and emails to Florida Courier Publisher Charles W. Cherry II, Daniel Beirute, Paula White’s attorney, unconditionally denied that White would be ‘coronated’ as was Long.

In response to Michealson’s quoted allegation that “He (Messer) actually already did this to Paula White some years ago…”, Beirute wrote in an email to Cherry as follows:

“I don’t know where Rabbi Michaelson gets his information, but my client categorically and unequivocally denies that that ever happened.”

No longer a story

Based on White’s unconditional denial of the Super Bowl ceremony, Florida Courier editors decided that there was no longer a story and posted a “Final Paul White update with links.” But that was not to be the last word.

Rabbi Michaelson, concerned that White’s denial damaged his reputation, emailed a video to Cherry that seems to corroborate his statement about White.

The video opens up with various instances in which an energetic White picks up or drops Bibles on the floor while preaching. About 36 seconds into the video, a caption appears: “Notice Bible on Floor.” There’s more video of White preaching, speaking ‘in tongues’, and dropping more Bibles.

About two minutes into the video, another caption appears. “If Paula had thrown the Koran to the floor, she would have faced certain death. The Jews rejected her from speaking at their 2007 “day of prayer” (sic) because of the following sacrilege to their sacred scrolls,” it states.

Then, in an undated broadcast that seems to be recorded from White’s TV show “Paula,” White agrees to allow Messer and another unidentified man to wrap White in what appears to be a Torah scroll. After saying the wrapping represents protection and being “hidden in the Word of God,” Messer tells White, “Out of something that was thrown off the tracks – like your life – God says, ‘I’m going to raise it up and people will read from it and quote it for generations.'”

Messer then says to White, “…The Lord says, ‘You are so sacred to the Body of Christ, I’m wrapping you in the Word of God.’” The scroll seemed to be torn in the process. White appears to be overcome with emotion, then happily shakes Messer’s hand.

Paula White ‘wrapped in the Word of God’ – click here for an abbreviated version posted on YouTube of the video submitted to the Florida Courier.

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When you drop off the cliff into the depts of depravity and abject apostasy as Mr. Long has nothing is surprising anymore, except for the fact that ANYONE actually attends a “church” that he leads!

from The Atlanta Journal and Constitution:

“Bishop” Long Crowned King!

A ceremony held Sunday at New Birth Missionary Baptist Church, in which Bishop Eddie Long was wrapped in a sacred Torah scroll and carried upon a throne, has the Internet abuzz and Jewish religious leaders offended and questioning its appropriateness.

“He’s a king. God has blessed him,” said Rabbi Ralph Messer before covering Long in a scroll “[that] may still have the dust of Auschwitz and Birkenau.” Messer referred to the Nazi extermination camps in Poland where millions of Jews were murdered during the Holocaust.

A Torah’s use in a ceremony ordaining Long as “a king” is  offensive to many Jews, said Bill Nigut, Southeast Regional Director of  the Anti-Defamation League.

The ceremony at Long’s Lithonia church, viewed more than 139,000 times on YouTube, “in no way represents any Jewish ritual that I’m familiar with,” Nigut said. “We do not proclaim individuals to be kings.”

Messer said his parchment, a handwritten copy of the holiest book within Judaism, was 312 years old. His mention of Auschwitz-Birkenau implied the scroll was one of those recovered from the death camps when they were liberated by the Allies toward the end of World War II.

It’s impossible to authenticate Messer’s claim without examining the texts up close, said Rabbi Joshua Heller of Congregation B’nai Torah in Sandy Springs. While rare, Torahs can be easily purchased, even on eBay, he said.

“There are a fair number of Torah scrolls that survived the war,” said Heller, adding roughly 1,500 were rescued from Czechoslovakia alone.

More disturbing was the use of this particular Torah in an inappropriate setting, experts on religion say.

“The connection of the Torah scroll to the Holocaust and then to Eddie Long is incomprehensible to me,” said David P. Gushee, a professor of Christian ethics at Mercer University. Gushee is a scholar of the Holocaust and has visited Auschwitz several times.

“What was the point? Was it to signal that Eddie Long was suffering persecution like the Jews at Auschwitz?” Gushee asked.

Messer’s son, Minister Russell Messer of Simchat Torah Beit Midrash in Parker, Colo., said his father purchased the parchment and relied on the word of its seller regarding its provenance. “It came through that generation of Europe,” the younger Messer said.

Russell Messer said that in the next two days, his father — who has no formal rabbinical training — plans to post on his organization’s website the full video of his sermon along with additional comments regarding Sunday’s service.

When asked for comment about the event, New Birth emailed a statement Thursday in which Ralph Messer said critics misunderstood his intent.

“My message was about restoring a man and to encourage his walk in the Lord,” Messer said. “It was not to make Bishop Eddie L. Long a king.”

The YouTube video indicates otherwise, Heller told the AJC.

“We wouldn’t wrap a Jewish person in a Torah scroll and declare him king,” he said. “As a Jew, I find that use of symbols very off-putting.”

The messenger is as controversial as the message, Jewish leaders say.

Ralph Messer, according to a biography on his organization’s website, is “pioneering a work to bring the ‘Good News’ of Yeshua (Jesus Christ) in the Torah to the ends of the Earth.” He is active in the Messianic Judaism movement, which fuses evangelical Christian beliefs with elements of Jewish tradition.

“The Jewish community does not associate itself with the Messianic congregations,” Heller said. “We don’t feel like this does due justice to either the Jewish or Christian community.”

Messer’s biography says he has ties with prominent evangelicals including the Rev. Kenneth Copeland of Lubbock, Texas, and Paula White, pastor of a charismatic mega-church based in Florida. It says he has made frequent appearances on the Trinity Broadcasting Network.

In his statement Thursday, Ralph Messer said Sunday’s presentation “was simply a way of bringing  honor to a man who had given his life to the Lord and had given so much  to his church, the Atlanta metro area and throughout the world.”

“Lifting him on the chair was to acknowledge and honor him,” he said, adding it is consistent with rituals performed at Jewish weddings and Bar mitzvahs.

One worshipper present at the service said it was “so much more than the video.”

“If you actually attended the service you would know that Bishop Long was not ordained or considered a king in the worldly sense,” said New Birth member De’Yolanda Lowery. “I do know that Bishop Long is truly a man of God.”

Russell Messer said that his father and Long “just got to know each other in the last six months.”

Long was appointed New Birth’s pastor in 1987 when the church had only 300 members. By its 10th anniversary, New Birth reported a membership of roughly 18,000, peaking at 25,000.

But in September 2010, Long was sued by four former church members who  alleged he used his influence, trips, gifts and jobs to coerce  them into sexual relationships. The suit was settled in May. The church’s attendance has declined since the sexual coercion lawsuit was filed.

The bishop may have taken comfort in Messer’s message.

“You can’t attack [Long],” Messer said Sunday. “He’s sealed. Wherever he turns, the power of God is there. … It’s not him, it’s the king in him.”

As Long sat behind him, perched on a throne under a spotlight, Messer chanted repeatedly, “It’s a new birth,” eliciting cheers from the congregation.

Mercer’s Gushee said the  service  may have been an attempt to shore up Long’s standing in his ministry.

“A lot of things could have been done to shore that up, but this  particularly bizarre ritual was deeply disturbing,” Gushee said. “One  problem with Messianic Judaism, in which leaders attempt to fuse Jewish  and Christian traditions and symbols, is that it can easily stray into  profound insensitivity.”

Jamal-Dominique Hopkins, associate professor of Biblical studies at  Interdenominational Theological Center, said that on viewing the video, “My first impression was, ‘Who is this individual who has the authority to make Bishop Long a king?’

“It’s something I’ve never seen or read within the  Judeo-Christian tradition,” Hopkins said. “There’s nothing within Scripture that  supports such a practice of this ceremony. It really just stands outside  of the Christian faith.”

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from Got Questions:

Replacement theology (also known as supersessionism) essentially teaches that the church has replaced Israel in God’s plan. Adherents of replacement theology believe the Jews are no longer God’s chosen people, and God does not have specific future plans for the nation of Israel. All the different views of the relationship between the church and Israel can be divided into two camps: either the church is a continuation of Israel (replacement/covenant theology), or the church is completely different and distinct from Israel (dispensationalism/premillennialism).

Replacement theology teaches that the church is the replacement for Israel and that the many promises made to Israel in the Bible are fulfilled in the Christian church, not in Israel. So, the prophecies in Scripture concerning the blessing and restoration of Israel to the Promised Land are “spiritualized” or “allegorized” into promises of God’s blessing for the church. Major problems exist with this view, such as the continuing existence of the Jewish people throughout the centuries and especially with the revival of the modern state of Israel. If Israel has been condemned by God, and there is no future for the Jewish nation, how do we explain the supernatural survival of the Jewish people over the past 2000 years despite the many attempts to destroy them? How do we explain why and how Israel reappeared as a nation in the 20th century after not existing for 1900 years?

The view that Israel and the church are different is clearly taught in the New Testament. Biblically speaking, the church is completely different and distinct from Israel, and the two are never to be confused or used interchangeably. We are taught from Scripture that the church is an entirely new creation that came into being on the day of Pentecost and will continue until it is taken to heaven at the rapture (Ephesians 1:9-11; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17). The church has no relationship to the curses and blessings for Israel. The covenants, promises, and warnings are valid only for Israel. Israel has been temporarily set aside in God’s program during these past 2000 years of dispersion.

After the rapture (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18), God will restore Israel as the primary focus of His plan. The first event at this time is the tribulation (Revelation chapters 6-19). The world will be judged for rejecting Christ, while Israel is prepared through the trials of the great tribulation for the second coming of the Messiah. Then, when Christ does return to the earth, at the end of the tribulation, Israel will be ready to receive Him. The remnant of Israel which survives the tribulation will be saved, and the Lord will establish His kingdom on this earth with Jerusalem as its capital. With Christ reigning as King, Israel will be the leading nation, and representatives from all nations will come to Jerusalem to honor and worship the King—Jesus Christ. The church will return with Christ and will reign with Him for a literal thousand years (Revelation 20:1-5).

Both the Old Testament and the New Testament support a premillennial/dispensational understanding of God’s plan for Israel. Even so, the strongest support for premillennialism is found in the clear teaching of Revelation 20:1-7, where it says six times that Christ’s kingdom will last 1000 years. After the tribulation the Lord will return and establish His kingdom with the nation of Israel, Christ will reign over the whole earth, and Israel will be the leader of the nations. The church will reign with Him for a literal thousand years. The church has not replaced Israel in God’s plan. While God may be focusing His attention primarily on the church in this dispensation of grace, God has not forgotten Israel and will one day restore Israel to His intended role as the nation He has chosen (Romans 11).

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from The Daily Mail:

A worker who claims she was the victim of a race-hate campaign by fundamentalist Muslims because of her Christian beliefs has launched a  landmark case against her former employers.

Nouhad Halawi, a saleswoman at Heathrow Airport’s World Duty Free shop, said she and other Christian staff were systematically harassed by Muslims.

She alleged the intimidation included:

  • Bullying a friend at the airport for wearing crosses.
  • Muslims telling her she would go to hell if she didn’t convert.
  • A Muslim colleague insisting she read the Koran. And;
  • That Jews were responsible for the September 11 terrorist attacks.

Mrs Halawi lost her job at the perfume counter in Terminal 3 in July after 13 years when she spoke out about bullying by a small group of ‘extremist’ Muslims at the airport.

The mother-of-two had been the subject of a complaint by an Islamic colleague but when she raised her own concerns as a Christian, she said she was the one who was dismissed.

Her case for unfair dismissal is being supported by the Christian Legal Centre, who believe it raises important legal issues over whether Muslims and Christians are treated differently by employers.

Mrs Halawi, 47, who came to Britain from Lebanon in 1977, said: ‘I have been sacked on the basis of unsubstantiated complaints.

‘There is now great fear amongst my former colleagues that the same could happen to them if one of the Muslims turns on them.

‘This is supposed to be a Christian country, but the law seems to be on the side of the Muslims.’

She says that she had always got on well with her Muslim colleagues,but  the atmosphere changed with a growing number of employees promoting ‘fundamentalist Islam’.

Mrs Halawi told the Sunday Telegraph: ‘One man brought in the Koran to work and insisted I read it and another brought in Islamic leaflets and handed them out to other employees.

‘They said that 9/11 served the Americans right and that they hated the West, but that they had come here because they want to convert people to Islam.

‘They say that Jesus is s***** and bullied a Christian friend of mine so much for wearing her crosses that she came to me crying.’

She claimed she became a targeted for the fundamentalists after she stood up for her friend who wants to be anonymous because she still works at the terminal.

In May, five of her Muslim colleagues complained to David Tunnicliffe, the trading manager at World Duty Free, accusing her of being anti-Islamic following a heated conversation in the store.

According to the Telegraph, her description of a Muslim colleague as an allawhi – ‘man of God’ in Arabic –  sparked a row when another worker overheard the remark and thought she said Alawi, which was his branch of Islam.

Following the complaints she was suspended but was not told on what  grounds until she met Mr Tunnicliffe in July.

Two days after the meeting she received a letter withdrawing her Heathrow security pass – needed to work at World Duty Free – because her comments were deemed ‘extremely inappropriate.’

Mrs Halawi, paid at World Duty Free on a freelance basis by cosmetic staff agency Caroline South Associates, was told that she would not be unable to continue working without her pass.

A petition signed by 28 colleagues, some of them Muslims, argued that she has been dismissed on the basis of ‘malicious lies.’

The Christian Legal Centre has instructed Paul Diamond, a leading human rights barrister, to represent Mrs Halawi in taking both Caroline South Associates and Autogrill Retail UK Limited, which trades as World Duty Free, to an employment tribunal.

A lawyer acting for CSA told the Sunday Telegraph: ‘The case is still pending so the company is not in a position to comment, but as far as the company is concerned she’s never been an employee and has never been dismissed.’

A World Duty Free spokesman said they were unable to comment because of  ‘ongoing legal proceedings’.

Last week, Jewish businessman Arieh Zucker complained that he has been repeatedly singled out for full-body scans by Muslim security staff at the airport.

The 41-year-old mortgage broker, from London, has accused them of ‘race hate’ and is threatening to sue for racial discrimination after being made to ‘feel like a criminal’ while being scanned.

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James 4:4

You adulterers and adulteresses, know you not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.

And a thousand masses in reparation is not going to change that!

from Capital FM News:

Pope Benedict XVI has invited 300 religious leaders to a meeting in Assisi in Italy to repudiate “violence in the name of God” amid growing tensions fuelled by fundamentalists across the world.

The day of interreligious council, which will be held on Thursday in St. Francis of Assisi’s birthplace, is intended to be a “journey of reflection, dialogue and prayer for peace and justice in the world,” the Vatican said.

Over 50 Islamic representatives are expected to attend the talks from several countries, including Saudi Arabia and Iran.

They will be joined by Rabbis, Hindus, Buddhists, Jains, Sikhs, a Zoroastrian, a Bahai and representatives of Taoism and Confucianism as well as of other traditional religions from Africa and America.

For the first time, four atheists will also attend the meeting, which is traditionally organised so as not to coincide with the Muslim day of prayer on Friday, the Jewish one on Saturday or the Christian one on Sunday.

However, the Imam from the Al-Azhar University in Cairo, a heavyweight authority on Sunnism, will not be coming, having fallen out with the pope after he urged Egypt to protect Christians from attacks by radical Islamists.

The meeting is being criticised by Catholic fundamentalists who are strongly against the idea of dialogue with other religions. French fundamentalist Regis de Cacqueray said 1,000 masses would be needed to be said in reparation.

The event marks the 25th anniversary of the first interreligious meeting in Assisi, organised by John Paul II in 1986 as a “day of prayer” inspired by the United Nation’s proclamation of an International Year of the Peace.

Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the then prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, chose not to attend because of concerns shared by traditionalists that it risked mixing religions into a vague common belief.

While guests attending this year’s encounter — the third in Assisi — will in principle follow a “common course”, those who wish to pray will do so separately, according to their beliefs, the Holy See has said.

Cardinal Roger Etchegaray, who helped organise the first Assisi day in 1986, said John Paul II had been careful to avoid mixing beliefs, and Benedict XVI was no different.

“Interreligious dialogue has spread” over the last 25 years, and the pope sees it “as a common, irrevocable heritage of Christian sensibility,” he said.

The pope’s main aim is for participants to agree to “a common commitment to reject the instrumentalism of religion and the use of violence in the name of God,” said a Vatican insider.

Number two of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, Pier Luigi Celata, said the problems that particularly concern religions are immigration, cultural diversity, religious liberty and the defence of the family.

“These issues oblige faithful people from different religions to look for common solutions,” he said.

At the end of the day of talks, the main participants will renew their commitment to peace in the square in front of St. Francis’ Basilica.

A burning torch will be symbolically presented to the delegations in the hope that they will take the message back with them to their communities.

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from the Atlanta Journal Constitution:

Jews conversed with Muslims. Hindus laughed with Sikhs. They did this in the spirit of creating something positive from the tragedy of Sept. 11, 2001.

On Sunday, before an interfaith ceremony  at the Decatur Hotel and Conference Center, hundreds of people stood in clusters of conversation in the lobby, bridging differences.

“There are so many things in common — the food, the culture,” Ebrahim Esmail, a Muslim living in Snellville,  told Dr. Bhagirath Majmudar, a Hindu living in Chamblee.

The interfaith service drew 500 people to the conference center ballroom, making it one of the largest of the metro Atlanta events marking the 10th anniversary of the terror bombings.

Looking out at the people of different faiths, many dressed in religious clothing, Shelley Rose of the Southeast chapter of the Anti-Defamation League, told the group: “I wish you all could stand up and see what you look like. This is an amazing group of people.”

Event organizers said the events of 9/11 ignited a profound change among metro Atlanta’s community of faith, spurring more efforts to reach across religious boundaries.

“We realized we were part of the problem,” said Jan Swanson, 69, a founding member of the Faith Alliance of Metro Atlanta who wore a peace sign necklace. “We changed.”

People said they hoped events like this would close the divisions that opened after the attacks.

Rev. Tessie Mandeville of Decatur said she carried a deep sadness for those who perished on 9/11 and their loved ones.  She also felt sorrow over the prejudice that grew from those events.

“No act of love is ever wasted,” said Mandeville, attired in her white clerical collar. “That’s why I’m here today.”

Beyond honoring the deceased, people said they wanted to unify the different faiths.  They felt events like this could help educate people about their common hopes.

“Learning about your neighbors is right,” said Gulbarg Singh Basi, 69, who wore a turban. “We are all creatures of the same creator. The boundaries are man-made.”

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from The Denver Post:

Some say it was fanatical faith that led to the 9/11 attacks on the U.S.

Denver’s religious leaders said on the 10th anniversary that the best hope for peace begins with the world’s faith traditions coming together.

In service of that ideal, representatives of the three Abrahamic faiths — Judaism, Islam and Christianity — gathered at St. John’s Cathedral Sunday to have “Conversations That Matter” and “A Multifaith Service of Remembrance Healing and Hope.”

“I don’t know that any of this accomplishes anything,” said participant Ann Kelly, “but it makes me feel better. More understanding can’t be a bad thing.”

In forums held all afternoon, people talked about difficult subjects, including what bothers them about their own religions.

They talked about their greatest fears about other religions. They learned some of what each faith’s sacred texts says about the other. They discussed ways for different groups to conduct respectful dialogue with each other.

To wrap up the forums, Jonny 5 of the Flobots, a Christian rapper brought up in a tiny Presbyterian congregation, hosted a final special event called “an interactive, interfaith performance/workshop.”

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