Thursday, January 29, 2009

The New Global Civility

Part 1

“And as we face these difficult days ahead, may we have a new birth of clarity in our aims, responsibility in our actions, humility in our approaches, and civility in our attitudes, even when we differ.

“Help us to share, to serve and to seek the common good of all. May all people of good will today join together to work for a more just, a more healthy and a more prosperous nation and a peaceful planet. And may we never forget that one day all nations and all people will stand accountable before you.”*

“….the old hatreds shall someday pass; that the lines of tribe shall soon dissolve; that as the world grows smaller, our common humanity shall reveal itself; and that America must play its role in ushering in a new era of peace….

"What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility--a recognition, on the part of every American, that we have duties to ourselves, our nation, and the world, duties that we do not grudgingly accept but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character, than giving our all to a difficult task."

Welcome to the new era of global "civility,” the emergence of a civic “common ground” happening at the global level. It is no accident that Rick Warren was invited to deliver the invocation at President Obama’s Inaugural. “Civility” is a term laden with special meaning to those who have goals to change the governance structures of society at the international level. To the average American, “civility” is one of those mantra-type buzz words that invokes nice feelings of camaraderie, implying polite disagreements. But in the new order of things “civility” is destined to become a way to shut off the more polarizing aspects of culture and theology. In this series Herescope will conduct an in-depth look at this issue.

Rick Warren's Global P.E.A.C.E. Civility

Since Rick Warren is at the forefront of the new global civility movement, it is important to investigate what this might mean. His newly formed Saddleback Civil Forums leaped onto the global stage when he brought in the nation’s presidential candidates for a high-profile joint appearance, described by Warren as “a civil and thoughtful format absent the partisan 'gotcha' questions that typically produce heat instead of light.”[1] This particular Civil Forum was said to be Warren's:

latest attempt to introduce civility into public discourse, even if it irks some of his fellow evangelicals. Warren faced biting criticism in 2006 when Obama spoke at his church for a global AIDS summit. Last year Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) appeared at another AIDS conference at the church. [2]

New civility of this nature is accompanied by a shift in political alignment. One article commented, “The 54-year-old pastor, they say, is emblematic of a new breed of evangelicals who put social justice ahead of partisan politics….”[3] But already Warren has run afoul of this maneuver, managing to alienate both the Left and the Right on the gay marriage and abortion issues. Nevertheless, the old polarizing political debates are destined to subside when the new era of global civility takes over. Existentially one will be permitted to hold their own beliefs, but beliefs are not to become manifest in the public square unless they fit the prefabricated criteria of "tolerance," "justice" and "responsibility." And it must all be done under the banner of a mushy feel-good “love,” accompanied by the prerequisite community service

"Jesus told us to love our neighbor," Warren said, "even if they don't agree with you." [4]

Rick Warren describes the new civility as entailing “responsibility” and “credibility,” however these terms come to be defined:

“these Civil Forums further my three other life goals: helping individuals accept responsibility, helping the Church regain credibility and encouraging our society to return to civility....” [5]

Another reason for this new civility is exemplified by the catch-phrase “common ground for the common good.” A press release by A. Larry Ross described the joint appearance by Obama and McCain at the Saddleback Civil Forum as “Pastor Rick Warren Stakes Out Common Ground for the Common Good in Presumptive Presidential Nominees First Joint Appearance.”[6]

The Saddleback Civil Forum on Global Health, held in Washington, D.C. this past November, honored President George W. Bush on World AIDS Day with a newly minted “International Medal of PEACE” award for his “Humanitarian Initiatives.” This award was said to be “given on behalf of Rick Warren’s newly created Global PEACE Coalition,” which is described as “a plan of epic ambition, to turn at least half of the world's tens of millions of Christian churches into a giant "network of networks" dedicated to relieving the poverty and misery of the developing world.” [7] A "network of networks" is precisely what the 3-legged stool looks like at the global level - an interlocking and interconnecting collaborative hub. Obviously, if the church is supposed to "get along" with everybody and everything, it helps if all of the sharp edges have been removed so that no one can become offended by the Gospel. This Washington-based Saddleback “civility” event was described as including all three legs of the 3-legged stool:

Leading representatives from the U.S. Congress; faith- and community-based organizations; non-governmental organizations; the diplomatic community; multilateral groups; foundations; local churches and representatives from other private sector entities are being invited to attend this invitation-only, ticketed event. [8]

In fact, the new civility requires the building of the 3-legged stool, a mammoth endeavor to bridge networks of public, private and corporate entities into a single international system. The easiest way to do this is through various crises in healthcare. For example, according to another A. Larry Ross press release, Rick and Kay Warren

“moderated a panel of Rwandan government and church leaders; business and medical experts; and Saddleback HIV/AIDS Initiative directors… to address the issue of global partnership ventures to help people living with HIV/AIDS in a satellite session titled, “Government, Faith and Business: Building Effective Multi-Sector Partnerships,” was held …Tuesday, August 5, 2008… as part of the XVII International AIDS Conference in Mexico City”

The press release stated that “community health” would be the platform and the “common purpose” for building this collaborative networking 3-legged hub.

“This satellite session differed from all others during the six-day, biennial conference in that it focused on a revolutionary concept of transforming health care delivery through the full engagement of the local church linked to existing health care systems to work together for the common purpose of community health.”

“Both a one-legged and a two-legged stool will fall over, but a three-legged stool will stand,” Pastor Warren explained. “There is a public sector role of government and NGOs; there is the private or profit sector role of businesses; and there is the faith sector role of churches and houses of worship.”

Giving an indication of how his “Second Reformation” concept ties in to the new era of global civility, Rick Warren, speaking at a Sunday Forum at the Washington National Cathedral a year ago on the topic of “A New Century: A New Reformation,” linked “religious pluralism” to the idea of “trying to increase civility in the world”– something he refers to as “promote reconciliation through service” as part of his Global P.E.A.C.E. Plan. [10]

Rick Warren also signed the “Loving God and Neighbor Together: A Christian Response to 'A Common Word Between Us and You'” document, which is a study in the emerging global civility of pluralism and ecumenism.[11] This document sets the stage for what are rapidly becoming civic religions, i.e. historic faiths denuded of their foundational theological trappings and propped up in the public square as laudable examples of intentional ambiguity and saccharine tolerance. “A Common Word” has been described by the Tony Blair Faith Foundation as a

“letter issued by 138 Muslim clerics, scholars and intellectuals, addressed to all Christian leaders across the globe, in October 2007. It was prompted by a deep concern over the state of Christian-Muslim relations and a firm conviction that Christians and Muslims are bound together by a common belief in the Unity of God and a shared commitment to the dual commands to love both God and neighbour. It invited dialogue on that basis.” [12]

Tony Blair's Global Civic Religion

In fact, Tony Blair is leading the way with creating a more tolerant global civic religion. Describing a Yale Divinity School Center for Faith and Culture conference on the topic of finding common ground between the faiths, the Tony Blair Faith Foundation, explained several key tenets of the new common ground: 1) Your faith can no longer be private, and 2) It must serve the common good.

"Religion is not simply a private affair, a common misconception in the West in particular, but a force with profound implications for the public arena.... Prince Ghazi stressed that this was not an attempt to create an artificial union between the two faiths but an endeavour to find an essential common ground, the better to ensure that religions are part of the solution and not an impediment." [13]

According to one news account, the participants at this Yale Conference "unanimously approved a cooperative statement that signaled a new beginning of collaboration between Christians and Muslims where stronger assertions of faith would be not just be allowed but required." [14]

Note that this emerging religion of civility requires collaboration and cooperation. The 3-legged stool isn't optional, it is mandatory. Tony Blair described his ongoing exploration of the "multiple aspects of faith and globalisation" at Yale University, where his Faith Foundation is now situated. In an e-mail dated December 17, 2008, he explained how

"religious faith and economic and social globalisation are partners – globalisation needs values to succeed. In pushing people together, globalisation has made multicultural and multi-religious societies, and it is necessary now for human capital and spiritual capital to link. This, combined with an increased need for multi-faith dialogue and action, will in time be seen as a defining question, and perhaps the leading question of the 21st century." [15]

Clearly, this new civic faith is being used as a tool to facilitate the expansion of globalization, i.e. global governance. It is therefore significant that Rick Warren sits on the Advisory Board of the Tony Blair Faith Foundation.[16] The offensive concept of "human capital" - that man has an economic worth to Society - is linked to "spiritual capital" in this quotation by Blair above; and one must ask how "spiritual capital" will be assessed. TIME Magazine reported that Tony Blair thinks

faith can be used to induce ignorance, fear and a withdrawal of communities into mutually antagonistic spheres at just the time that globalization is breaking down barriers between peoples and nations. "Faith is part of our future," Blair says, "and faith and the values it brings with it are an essential part of making globalization work." For Blair, the goal is to rescue faith from the twin challenges of irrelevance—the idea that religion is no more than an interesting aspect of history—and extremism. [17]

The opposite of this kind of civility according to these definitions, then, is ignorance, fear, or extremism. To accomplish these aims, Blair is also piggybacking his ideals onto the global community healthcare agenda, utilizing the 3-legged stool. His “group has received donations and pledges in the tens of millions of dollars from individuals, charitable groups, companies and governments.[18] His goals sound very similar to those of Rick Warren.

Blair now wants to tap into the global links that have been built between development activists and people of faith. "Faith," he says, "can be a civilizing force in globalization," which will doubtless be the theme of the course on the topic that he will be teaching at Yale this fall. His foundation will seek to partner with organizations to advance the U.N.'s eight Millennium Development Goals adopted in 2000. Blair's first target is malaria, which kills around 850,000 children each year; many of these deaths could be easily avoided by prophylactic bedding. "If you got churches and mosques and those of the Jewish faith working together to provide the bed nets that are necessary to eliminate malaria," says Blair, "what a fantastic thing that would be. That would show faith in action, it would show the importance of cooperation between faiths, and it would show what faith can do for progress." [19]

The new global civility includes supporting the United Nations, being enthusiastic for the "cooperation between faiths," and being willing to partner with just about anyone and anything in order to solve problems like the global healthcare crises. It isn't just a matter of agreeing with the principles, however. Each and every global citizen will soon be called upon to "show faith in action."

Stay tuned for Part 2. . . .

The Truth:

"For they stumbled at that stumblingstone." (Romans 9:32b)

*All bold in quotations throughout this article has been added.

"Presumed Presidential Nominees McCain and Obama to Make First Joint Campaign Appearance on August 16 at Saddleback Church."

2.,0,5700586, "Visits by McCain, Obama to Orange County church underscore Pastor Rick Warren's prominence," by Duke Helfand, Los Angeles Times, August 13, 2008.
3. Ibid.
4. Ibid.
5. "SADDLEBACK CIVIL FORUM ON GLOBAL HEALTH TO HONOR PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH ON WORLD AIDS DAY: President to Receive First ‘International Medal of PEACE’ for Humanitarian Initiatives," A Larry Ross press release, 11/24/08.
6. A. Larry Ross press release, 8/16/08,

7. TIME Magazine,,8599,1809833,00.html "Rick Warren Goes Global," by David Van Biema, May. 27, 2008.
8. "SADDLEBACK CIVIL FORUM ON GLOBAL HEALTH TO HONOR PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH ON WORLD AIDS DAY: President to Receive First ‘International Medal of PEACE’ for Humanitarian Initiatives," A Larry Ross press release, 11/24/08.
9. Cited in article August 6, 2008, Pastor Rick & Kay Warren Bring Together Leaders To Discuss Unification Of Expertise To Stop HIV/AIDS: Saddleback Church Hosts International AIDS Conference Satellite Session on the Partnership of Government, Business & the Church, by Dan Wooding.
See Herescope post "Rethinking P.E.A.C.E. - Loving God and Neighbor Together," 11/26/07.
12. "A Further Step Forward for Muslim-Christian Relations," 8/8/08,
13. Ibid.
14. "Christian-Muslim Statement Among First Fruits of 'Common Word' Gathering," 8/3/08,
"Tony Blair's Leap of Faith," by Michael Elliott/Bethlehem, TIME Magazine, 5/28/09,,8599,1810020,00.html
19. "Tony Blair's Leap of Faith," by Michael Elliott/Bethlehem, TIME Magazine, 5/28/09, link added.,8599,1810020,00.html

Friday, January 16, 2009

"Rick Warren's Clout"

Rick Warren vs. The IRS
15 January 2009

Just how powerful is Rick Warren? Ask the IRS. When they tried to collect back taxes from the pastor, Warren used his mega-clout to campaign against them--and won. With the help of Congress, that is, which stepped in to preempt a court ruling on the Cold War law Warren appears to have twisted to his advantage. Jon Weiner reports. This small piece is in many ways the most revealing article we've read on Warren -- and church and state -- in awhile. That it's published in the left-liberal Nation shouldn't dissuade more conservative readers from considering the facts.

This item above comes from The, a website associated with Jeffrey Sharlett, who authored The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power, which detailed his experiences and research into the secretive Washington Fellowship, which has been a hub of international church/state/marketplace (3-legged stool) activities for many decades.[1]

The link takes the reader to a newly published article in The Nation by Jon Wiener entitled "Rick Warren's Clout" (1/15/09) which reminds readers of a series of controversial activities involving Rick Warren and the IRS back in the late 1990s that ended up in court, culminating in an unusual act of Congress. Weiner is bringing this matter up again now because of Rick Warren's scheduled appearance delivering the invocation at the inauguration.

For readers unfamiliar with this case, Weiner reviews the scenario. The full article is a MUST READ. Warren was challenged by the IRS for claiming an extraordinarily high exemption for his housing, and in May of 2000 he won in court. Weiner wrote: "The IRS appealed, and since Warren lives in California, the case went to the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, known for its liberal judges." But what transpired next is quite interesting:

But before the three-judge panel could rule, either on the IRS effort to collect back taxes from Warren or on Chemerinsky's broader argument for declaring the entire exemption unconstitutional, Congress stepped in--and acted with "almost miraculous" speed, as Richard Hammar, editor of the Church Law & Tax Report newsletter, explained to the New York Times. The new law granted Warren his deductions (along with any other clergy who had done the same--although Warren was the only one to end up in court). Congress also put into law, from that time forward, the IRS's "fair rental value" rule.

This congressional act is "very rare" according to an expert quoted in the article. Not only that, but, "The Clergy Housing Allowance Clarification Act of 2002 was approved unanimously by Congress, then signed into law by George W. Bush on May 20, 2002, rendering the IRS case against Warren moot."

The author ponders the significance of both the political Left and the political Right in Congress siding unanimously with Warren. He finds "Obama's invitation to Warren is dismaying, but this history may make it more comprehensible."

It is not so incomprehensible. There is so much more to the history of the rise of the political Right and Left in evangelicaldom than meets the eye. This is probably why Jeffrey Sharlet linked to Weiner's article yesterday. Sharlet in his book The Family chronicles how the Left and Right have worked together at the highest echelons of power, interlocking the 3-legged stool for global power grabs, using secretive cultish methods, and all done under the cloak of "Christianity."

Rick Warren represents the emerging "new breed" of evangelical leaders[2] who are working to create a Communitarian paradise on Earth, building a "kingdom" for a nebulous "God" utilizing state-of-the-art psycho-social manipulations and marketing techniques. These men in power are neither Left nor Right according to the old dialectic game played out for the past three decades in American politics. At the present time they are rapidly eschewing the social issues (abortion, e.g.) and have become refocused on pre-defined "social justice" issues that just happen to mesh completely with the goals for an international world order. They are intent on building a complex global governance SYSTEM based on networking structures. As Rick Warren explained in Forbes magazine (5/07/07, "The Power of Parishioners"), in describing how the 3-legged stool will operate via these networking structures,

"The network is a far older and more basic organizational pattern than the hierarchy. Our bodies, families and the environment are just a few examples. What's different now is that technology turns this organic paradigm of networking into a global force. It transforms every social structure that was previously organized by command and control. Whether in the war on terror, the presidential campaign or American Idol, the power and effectiveness of networking--for good or bad--is undeniable."

As the titular head of this emerging global peace networked system, it seems very appropriate that Rick Warren will give the invocation at the coming inaugural.

The Truth:

"I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot:" (Revelation 3:15a)

1. For more reading on this group, see Constance Cumbey's excellent on-going series entitled "The Family' and its Hijacking of Evangelicalism," archived at .
2. For example, an Orange County Register article ("Visits by McCain, Obama to Orange County church underscore Pastor Rick Warren's prominence," 8/13/08) says that Rick Warren " is emblematic of a new breed of evangelicals who put social justice ahead of partisan politics. Some go so far as to call the plain-talking Warren, a bear of a man who prefers bluejeans to business suits, the Billy Graham of his era."

Friday, January 09, 2009

Food Tactics

Now, what the church has, when I talk about churches, first thing, universal distribution. I could take you to 10 million villages around the world the only thing in it is church. They don't have a school. They don't have a clinic. They don't have anything else. It is the only social structure in much of the world. You get out of the capital, there isn't a government in most of the world. The church is universally there. The boots are already on the ground. The church is bigger than the United Nations. It speaks more languages than the United Nations. It's with more people groups than the United Nations. There are 2.3 billion people in the world who claim to be followers of Christ. Now, that's all different varieties, factions, and levels of commitment. But there are 2.3 billion people who are church members. That means the church is bigger than China. [1]

In a little-noticed Wall Street Journal article last week (1/2/09) a new way to address the problem of world hunger was proposed. Rather than simply handing out food to the poor and needy, from now on the United Nations World Food Program (WFP) will be databanking and monitoring food distribution to starving individuals.

"U.N. Tackles Rising Threat of Urban Hunger in Africa" authored by Sarah Childress is subtitled "High Food Prices Spur World Food Program, Usually Employed in Rural Crises, to Find Tactics That Work in Crowded Cities."

Just what tactics? According to the article, the "escalating hunger in Africa is forcing aid agencies... to scramble for strategies" that will help "identify who's most in need of help." As part of this identification process, the WFP will be conducting an "experiment with cash and voucher systems" ostensibly for the purpose of avoiding the upset of local economies. The recipient will receive a "beneficiary card" which they can show at "a local office each month to receive vouchers" for cash, and a "local microfinance agency... will take the vouchers and handle the reimbursements."

The aid groups are using "more nuanced surveys" as one of the tactics to identify the "neediest people" and will be "evaluating them on factors including access to clean water and the size of their dwellings." The article then says that the aid "organization will analyze the data."

In a perfect world this idealistic plan might work to help local microeconomies. But that isn't what this plan is all about. It isn't about simple food distribution to the poor, starving and needy in Africa. Rather, this plan represents a fundamental shift in how aid will be given to people. This shift is taking place at both the macro and micro levels in tandem with international foundations, NGOs, corporations, mission and aid groups.

This food voucher plan requires people to register first before they receive food. Register with whom and for what purpose? From the point that someone registers for and/or receives the voucher they will enter the "system." Everything they do from that point on will be monitored, databanked and assessed. This is how the emerging global governance system will work.

What role will Rick Warren and his church-based health clinics play in all of this? Perhaps none. But it is remarkable how similarly structured this food voucher plan is to the purpose-driven formula of "transforming health care delivery through the full engagement of the local church linked to existing health care systems to work together for the common purpose of community health.”[2]

The Pied Pipers of Purpose monograph published in 2004 (Conscience Press) examined management guru Peter Drucker's activities on overhauling the conduct of the Private Sector (the 3rd leg of his 3-legged stool concept). Drucker, who mentored Rick Warren, advocated an assessment-based system of monitoring efficiency and effectiveness for charitable organizations, which included the concept of merging State and Church (including private charities) into faith-based endeavors. A key facet of this results-based system was regulating "choices," which notably would include the concept of "vouchers." These vouchers, while purportedly giving people "choice," would actually function as a method of human control. "Accountability" for quantifiable and qualitative results would be based on institutional standards -- benchmarks for human performance that were inflexible, restrictive, unyielding, and even punitive. And in Drucker's model, human beings are referred to as "human capital" -- their "value" is assessed in terms of how much they can contribute to the common good of Society. The monograph explained how "vouchers" work in the education realm:

Charter schools and vouchers blur the lines between Drucker’s three sectors of society – nonprofit, corporate and state – because of how the money passes hands and who is ultimately in control. Charter schools and vouchers, which are run by business corporations and/or sub-entities of the government, operate in compliance with education reform standards set by the State. The State defines the results and prescribes the assessments to measure the learners, who are technically public students. State monies are then, in turn, paid to the corporations who operate the charters.

Now, apply this same concept of vouchers to global food distribution and it becomes apparent that this system could quickly become fraught with trouble. The Wall Street Journal article does not mention the corporate partners in this voucher-for-food program. But State (local, national and international) corruption alone, including bribery, unseemly conduct and unethical collusion, could easily cripple this system. The poor starving individual who just wants food to eat could become caught up in a web of unsavory interconnections and entanglements.

And what role would the 3rd leg of the stool -- the church and/or aid groups -- play in this food-for-voucher scheme? What if the local church "distribution center" in every local village became an outlet for food voucher registration and management? It may not be a far-fetched possibility. The monograph observes the downside to all of this:

Many advocates of government-funded faith-based charities believe that the end justifies the means, and will point to the “results” as evidence of a good work being done. These good-intentioned people probably don’t realize that their activities further the political goals of communitarian societal transformation. These folks may not understand the long-term negative repercussions of cooperating with this new system of governance. In a communitarian worldview any truly private entity (family, charity, church and small Christian school) poses a direct challenge to the “common good.”

This is an interesting statement in light of Rick Warren's recent activities in promulgating Communitarian agendas and ideals such as the "common good." When one considers that his church-based clinics in Africa are health-care data-driven centers, cooperating with a multitude of partners across the full spectrum of a global 3-legged stool, it raises many uncomfortable questions about their ultimate "purpose." Is it really to offer care and meet physical needs? Or is there more to it? What happens to the survey information once it is databanked? Is this just a way to get poor people into the international governance "system"? The monograph comments on the negative effects of Peter Drucker's plans for overhauling the 3rd leg of the stool:

This is institutional charity, not the private act of a widow’s mite. The Scriptural admonitions to give to him that asketh thee (Matt. 5:42) and freely ye have received, freely give (Matt. 10:8b) no longer apply. If a charity doesn’t perform up to par, monies are withdrawn. This is because organized charitable donations are now being used as an instrument to effect change, to produce transformation....

Transformation is being built on the backs of those who are the most vulnerable, helpless, and powerless. To put this post in its larger global context, check out Berit Kjos's new webpage topic GLOBAL FOOD MANAGEMENT and follow the many links. It is not too far-fetched to question any new-fangled global food management program. And it is important to raise ethical concerns about how food is being used as a lever for transformation.

The Truth:
"Give to every man that asketh of thee; and of him that taketh away thy goods ask them not again. And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise." (Luke 5:30-31)

1. Link added. Transcript of American Public Media radio program "Speaking of Faith" with Krista Tippett hosting, Part II: Rick & Kay Warren,
2. Quote from a Larry Ross Press release and (8/6/08) "PASTOR RICK & KAY WARREN BRING TOGETHER LEADERS TO DISCUSS UNIFICATION OF EXPERTISE TO STOP HIV/AIDS: Saddleback Church Hosts International AIDS Conference Satellite Session on the Partnership of Government, Business & the Church." Cited in an ASSIST News Service story published 8/6/08, "Pastor Rick & Kay Warren Bring Together Leaders To Discuss Unification Of Expertise To Stop HIV/AIDS: Saddleback Church Hosts International AIDS Conference Satellite Session on the Partnership of Government, Business & the Church," by Dan Wooding.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Good Apologetics

"A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver."
(Proverbs 25:11)

For those desiring to hear some good instruction on biblical apologetics, we refer the reader to 4 audio seminars posted online. These four lectures were delivered back in September 2008 by Dr. Martin Erdmann.

Go to this link:
Here you can locate Dr. Erdmann's lectures (in reverse order).

Dr. Erdmann is the author of Building the Kingdom of God on Earth: The Churches' Contribution to Marshal Public Support for World Order and Peace, 1919-1945, a seminal work on Dominionism and how the Protestant churches worked in the first half of the last century towards global governance. Dr. Erdmann was a featured speaker at the most recent Discernment Ministries conference. CDs of his lectures at this conference are available: 903-567-6423.