Rabbi’s Reflections – Sunday, April 11, 2021
Shavuah Tov *|FNAME|*,
Day 8 of counting the Omer
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ אֱלֹהֵֽינוּ מֶֽלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, אֲשֶׁר קִדְּשָֽׁנוּ בְּמִצְוֹתָיו, וְצִוָּֽנוּ עַל סְפִירַת הָעֹֽמֶר
Baruch Atah Adonai Elohenu Melech Ha-Olam, Asher Kid’shanu B’mitzvotav, Vitzivanu Al Sefirat Ha-Omer.
Blessed are You O Lord our God, King of the universe, who has sanctified us by his commandments and commanded us about counting the counting of the Omer. Today is one week and one day of the counting of the omer.
Daily Bread, reading plan by Lars Enarson (https://www.thewatchman.org/)
Sun 11 April-2021 29th of Nisan, 5781
Le 12:1-13:23 Isa 48 Job 6 (Mt 8) 1 Pet 3
Is the United States in a Downward Spiral?
Will Believers Try to Save America?
How Can You Help Your Family? Part 1
by Dr. Raymond Finney
INTRODUCTION: I have great concerns about America’s future. The America I have known in the past and the America I want for my children and grandchildren to know is fast disappearing. I am writing a two-part RR series to “vent my spleen” over politicians, bureaucrats, technocrats, and lackadaisical Americans who are allowing the transformation of our constitutional republic into a monstrous entity.
Most everyone has an opinion about this subject. Few have a solution, and no one can reliably predict the answer. I am concerned that the United States we have known in the past is fast being replaced by a form of government we will neither recognize nor desire.
In RRs this week and next week, I ask three questions for you to consider:
● Is America in a downward spiral (a death spiral)?
● Will Believers/ Christians rise up to save America?
● If America is dying, what should you do– what can you do– for your family?
VALUE IN STUDYING THE PAST: The three documents I cite in following sections were written decades ago. There is value in learning about the past thinking of enemies (and some socialist/ communist governments are our enemies) to predict their future actions. Political scientists separate communism and socialism, but I lump both of these anti-capitalism ideologies together as America’s potential enemies.
As the Spanish-American philosopher, essayist, poet, and novelist George Santayana said (1905): “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” Adonai also decried lack of knowledge (Hosea 4:6a): [Adonai said] “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge….”
To start our thinking, I quote three documents from the past to help us understand the mindset of America’s enemies:
(FIRST) TEN PLANKS OF KARL MARX’S COMMUNIST MANIFESTO: In 1848, Karl Marx wrote The Communist Manifesto. This evil manifesto is “The Bible” for Communists. In this manifesto, Marx listed ten planks for Communism, which are now mostly or partially completed. Even though somewhat dated, consider Marx’s goals, following, to see their influence on America’s government:
□ Abolition of private property in land and application of all rents of land to public purpose.
□ A heavy progressive or graduated income tax.
□ Abolition of all rights of inheritance.
□ Confiscation of the property of all emigrants and rebels.
□ Centralization of credit in the hands of the state, by means of a national bank with state capital and an exclusive monopoly.
□ Centralization of the means of communication and transportation in the hands of the state.
□ Extension of factories and instruments of production owned by the state; the bringing into cultivation of waste lands, and the improvement of the soil generally in accordance with a common plan.
□ Equal obligation of all to work and the establishment of industrial armies, especially for agriculture.
□ Combination of agriculture with manufacturing industries; gradual abolition of the distinction between town and country by a more equable distribution of the population over the country.
□ Free education for all children in government schools and abolition of children’s factory labor in its present form– combination of education with industrial production, etc.
Comment: How many goals of Marx’s Communist Manifesto have been fully or partially incorporated into the American government and citizens’ thoughts?
(SECOND) GOALS OF THE AMERICAN COMMUNIST PARTY: On January 10, 1963, Representative A. S. Herlong, Jr. (Florida) introduced the following into the Congressional Record (pp. A34-A35). These forty-five goals of the American Communist Party to overtake American government, businesses, media, educational systems, and other facets of Americans’ lives Herlong listed were:
□ U.S. acceptance of coexistence as the only alternative to atomic war.
□ U.S. willingness to capitulate in preference to engaging in atomic war.
□ Develop the illusion that total disarmament [by] the United States would be a demonstration of moral strength.
□ Permit free trade between all nations regardless of Communist affiliation and regardless of whether or not items could be used for war.
□ Extension of long-term loans to Russia and Soviet satellites.
□ Provide American aid to all nations regardless of Communist domination.
□ Grant recognition of Red China. Admission of Red China to the U.N.
□ Set up East and West Germany as separate states in spite of Khrushchev’s promise in 1955 to settle the German question by free elections under supervision of the U.N.
□ Prolong the conferences to ban atomic tests because the United States has agreed to suspend tests as long as negotiations are in progress.
□ Allow all Soviet satellites individual representation in the U.N.
□ Promote the U.N. as the only hope for mankind. If its charter is rewritten, demand that it be set up as a one-world government with its own independent armed forces. (Some Communist leaders believe the world can be taken over as easily by the U.N. as by Moscow. Sometimes these two centers compete with each other as they are now doing in the Congo.)
□ Resist any attempt to outlaw the Communist Party.
□ Do away with all loyalty oaths.
□ Continue giving Russia access to the U.S. Patent Office.
□ Capture one or both of the political parties in the United States.
□ Use technical decisions of the courts to weaken basic American institutions by claiming their activities violate civil rights.
□ Get control of the schools. Use them as transmission belts for socialism and current Communist propaganda. Soften the curriculum. Get control of teachers’ associations. Put the party line in textbooks.
□ Gain control of all student newspapers.
□ Use student riots to foment public protests against programs or organizations which are under Communist attack.
□ Infiltrate the press. Get control of book-review assignments, editorial writing, policymaking positions.
□ Gain control of key positions in radio, TV, and motion pictures.
□ Continue discrediting American culture by degrading all forms of artistic expression. An American Communist cell was told to “eliminate all good sculpture from parks and buildings, substitute shapeless, awkward and meaningless forms.”
□ Control art critics and directors of art museums. “Our plan is to promote ugliness, repulsive, meaningless art.”
□ Eliminate all laws governing obscenity by calling them “censorship” and a violation of free speech and free press.
□ Break down cultural standards of morality by promoting pornography and obscenity in books, magazines, motion pictures, radio, and TV.
□ Present homosexuality, degeneracy and promiscuity as “normal, natural, healthy.”
□ Infiltrate the churches and replace revealed religion with “social” religion. Discredit the Bible and emphasize the need for intellectual maturity which does not need a “religious crutch.”
□ Eliminate prayer or any phase of religious expression in the schools on the ground that it violates the principle of “separation of church and state.”
□ Discredit the American Constitution by calling it inadequate, old-fashioned, out of step with modern needs, a hindrance to cooperation between nations on a worldwide basis.
□ Discredit the American Founding Fathers. Present them as selfish aristocrats who had no concern for the “common man.”
□ Belittle all forms of American culture and discourage the teaching of American history on the ground that it was only a minor part of the “big picture.” Give more emphasis to Russian history since the Communists took over.
□ Support any socialist movement to give centralized control over any part of the culture– education, social agencies, welfare programs, mental health clinics, etc.
□ Eliminate all laws or procedures which interfere with the operation of the Communist apparatus.
□ Eliminate the House Committee on Un-American Activities.
□ Discredit and eventually dismantle the FBI.
□ Infiltrate and gain control of more unions.
□ Infiltrate and gain control of big business.
□ Transfer some of the powers of arrest from the police to social agencies. Treat all behavioral problems as psychiatric disorders which no one but psychiatrists can understand [or treat].
□ Dominate the psychiatric profession and use mental health laws as a means of gaining coercive control over those who oppose Communist goals.
□ Discredit the family as an institution. Encourage promiscuity and easy divorce.
□ Emphasize the need to raise children away from the negative influence of parents. Attribute prejudices, mental blocks and retarding of children to suppressive influence of parents.
□ Create the impression that violence and insurrection are legitimate aspects of the American tradition; that students and special-interest groups should rise up and use [“]united force[“] to solve economic, political or social problems.
□ Overthrow all colonial governments before native populations are ready for self-government.
□ Internationalize the Panama Canal.
□ Repeal the Connally reservation so the United States cannot prevent the World Court.
Comment: How many of these American Communist Party goals have been fully or partially attained? Notice the attack on religious institutions.
(THIRD) THE CLOWARD-PIVEN STRATEGY: Two professors in the Columbia University School of Social Work– Richard Cloward and Frances Fox Piven, who were married to each other– published a paper in The Nation (May, 1966), titled: “The Weight of the Poor: A Strategy to End Poverty.” Their proposal was aimed at stirring the Democratic Party to take action to eliminate poverty in America. Their suggested actions are known as “The Cloward-Piven Strategy.”
This strategy focused on forcing the Democratic Party to take federal action to help the poor. They stated that full enrollment of those eligible for welfare “would produce bureaucratic disruption in welfare agencies and fiscal disruption in local and state governments [that would] …deepen existing divisions among elements in the big-city Democratic coalition: the remaining white middle class, the working-class ethnic groups and the growing minority poor. To avoid a further weakening of that historic coalition, a national Democratic administration would be constrained to advance a federal solution to poverty that would override local welfare failures, local class and racial conflicts and local revenue dilemmas.”
Cloward and Piven continued: “The ultimate objective of this strategy– to wipe out poverty by establishing a guaranteed annual income– will be questioned by some. Because the ideal of individual social and economic mobility has deep roots, even activists seem reluctant to call for national programs to eliminate poverty by the outright redistribution of income.”
In other words, Cloward and Piven desired to create such a crisis in the welfare system (through excess demands, costs, dissatisfaction, etc.) that the system would collapse. Then, the collapsed welfare system could be replaced with a system of guaranteed annual income. This collapse and replacement would be aided by informing the poor of their rights to welfare assistance, encouraging them to apply for benefits and overloading/ collapsing an already overburdened bureaucracy. In brief, the goal of this strategy is: overload the American public welfare system ► create a crisis through failure of the system ► bankrupt the nation ► adopt a socialist/ communist agenda. (This concept is reminiscent of the Greek mythological phoenix, a long-lived bird which would rise to new life from the ashes of its predecessor.)
Comment: Although the Cloward-Piven strategy has never been official government policy, it thrives in the hearts and minds of many Washington, D.C. politicians and bureaucrats. Think of the current trajectory of the federal government– guaranteed incomes; reparations; stimulus checks; selective forgiveness of loans; massive spending on green deal resources, climate change, infrastructure; aid to leftist cities and favored institutions; wide-open borders for all immigrants; etc. You and I could not manage the finances of our households the same way Washington politicians manage the nation’s “household.”
THERE’S MORE MONEY WHERE THAT CAME FROM: President Biden-Harris (who is really the president now?) has gone on a spending spree. We all get many “goodies” from the government, and more are promised. Do we pay for these goodies by borrowing from China; or, have the Federal Reserve print more money; or, raise taxes; or, kick the can down the road for the next administration/ Congress? Or, …? When I was a teen, Mad Magazine was popular. Mad’s mascot was a goofy-grinned idiot, Alfred E. Neuman, whose solution to any problem was, “What, me worry?” Washington politicians have Neuman’s mindset and want their constituents to share the same mindset– “What, me worry?” Why worry? We should just relax, sit back, and let our government masters take care of us.
I will discuss a few of many problems facing America. (You surely know of others.)
PROBLEM 1– AMERICA’S ECONOMIC FUTURE: I am not an economist, but some problems should be obvious to all of us. Consider two thoughts relative to this RR discussion:
● Our financial system is based on fiat money (currency). Translating Latin to English, fiat = “let it be done.” Fiat currency has no more intrinsic value than the paper upon which it is printed. No precious metal (gold, silver– that is, finite and valuable resources) backs up the currency (that is, infinite and intrinsically valueless resource). The United States government states that a dollar is worth a dollar, and we all accept that statement on faith. In the past, American currency stated it was backed by silver. That assurance is now absent on our currency (now labeled “Federal Reserve Note.”) The value of a dollar is based on our belief in the government’s assertion that a dollar has value. We buy and sell on faith in the government. As long as we all accept this premise, the system seems to work. Should we be nervous that our economy is based on faith in the federal government, when there is so much distrust of that government?
SIDELIGHT: During the Tribulation, the Antichrist (anti-Messiah) will institute a faith-based financial system (Revelation 13:11-18): Then I [John] saw another beast [False Prophet] rising out of the earth. He had two horns like a lamb and spoke like a dragon. He exercises all the authority of the first beast [Antichrist] before him, and he makes the earth and all those who dwell in it worship the first beast, whose fatal wound was healed. He performs great signs, even making fire come down from heaven in the sight of men. And he deceives those who dwell on the earth through the signs he is permitted to perform, telling those who dwell on the earth to make an image in honor of the beast who has the sword wound yet lived. The second beast was permitted to give life to the image of the first beast, so that the image of the beast could even speak and cause all who would not worship the image of the beast to be killed. He also causes all– the small and the great, the rich and the poor, the free and the slave– to receive a mark on their right hand or upon their forehead. And so no one can buy or sell unless he has the mark– either the name of the beast or the number of his name. Here is wisdom: let the one who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is a number of a man, and his number is 666. END sidelight.
● The United States’ national debt exceeds the gross domestic product. The gap between these two economic markers, measured in trillions of dollars, continues to grow. On a personal basis, could you, year after year, spend more than you earn? One word describes such a profligate spending spree situation– “bankruptcy.”
SHOULD BELIEVERS BE CONCERNED? The Bible has harsh words about riches people accumulate. I believe the criticism is for the love of money (the quest to gain more and more, without concern for harm to others or without sharing it with those in need). Such love of money– the drive to gain more and more– can become a form of idol worship. For example:
● (1 Timothy 6:10): For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil– some, longing for it, have gone astray from the faith and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
● (Matthew 6:23-24): Then Yeshua said to His disciples, “Amen, I tell you, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” [Also, Mark 10:24-25 and Luke 18:24-25.]
● (Matthew 6:13): [Yeshua taught] “No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will stick by one and look down on the other. You cannot serve God and money.” [Also Luke 16:13. In this version, “money” translates Mammon = Aramaic for “wealth, money.”]
● (Matthew 6:19-21): [Yeshua said] “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in or steal. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”
● (Hebrews 13:5): Keep your lifestyle free from the love of money, and be content with what you have. For God Himself has said, “I will never leave you or forsake you,”….
● (1 Timothy 6:17-19): Direct those who are rich in this present age not to be proud or to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but rather on God– who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. Direct them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, to be generous, sharing, storing up for themselves a good foundation for the future, so they might take hold of the true life.
● (Jacob [James] 5:1-6): Come now, you rich, weep and wail over the miseries that are coming upon you. Your riches have rotted and your clothes have become moth-eaten. Your gold and your silver have rusted and their rust will be evidence against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have stored up treasure in the last days. Behold, the wages of the workers who mowed your fields– which you kept back by fraud– are crying out against you. And the cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of Hosts. You have lived on earth in luxury and self-indulgence. You have fattened your hearts for a day of slaughter. You have condemned, you have murdered the righteous person– he does not resist you.
● And, many more verses. God has much to teach us about the wise and God-honoring accumulation and distribution of wealth. In brief, America is economically bankrupt. More frightening, however, is this: America is morally, spiritually, and ethically bankrupt. Americans’ behavior is shaped more by the Kardashians’ shenanigans than by the Bible’s prophets.
PROBLEM 2– AMERICANS TODAY ARE CHANGED (FOR THE WORST): The United States today is not the same as it was in the beginning. For example:
● America’s Founding Fathers and Framers of the Constitution were men of faith in the Triune God. Having read many things written by these men, I am impressed by their words. The Declaration of Independence and Washington’s Farewell Address in places sound almost like a sermon of a devoted servant of God. Religious services were held in federal buildings in the early republic, with no one voicing “separation of church and state” concerns. Leaders in high places openly, unashamedly invoked a plea for God’s guidance and favor.
● In the infancy of the American republic (early nineteenth century), Alexis de Tocqueville was sent from France to the United States in 1831 to examine America’s prisons. Tocqueville came from Europe, where Roman Catholicism had grown stale and ineffective. He wrote to his fellow Europeans about America: “There is no country in the world where the Christian religion retains a greater influence over the souls of men than in America; and there can be no greater proof of its utility and its conformity to human nature than that its influence is powerfully felt over the most enlightened and free nation of the earth.” He wrote a two-volume classic, Democracy in America, which was published in 1835 and 1840. In a future RR, I may write more about Toqueville’s favorable views of Americans’ belief in Yeshua and the strengths of the United States. I do not have space in today’s RR.
- I may write more about the founding of America on words of the Bible around the time of our July 4 RR.
Only a biased fool would argue that America was not founded on Judeo-Christian principles. For many years, these principles remained strong and vibrant, but no longer. My beliefs were pretty much formed when I was a teenager in the 1950s. When I compare beliefs in the 1950s to those of today, I can see a marked difference. I will not chronicle all of America’s problems, which you probably know as much or better than I. The Bible has prophesied that this would happen. I will give you but a small sample of these sad prophecies next Sunday:
SIDELIGHT: Paul Harvey (b. 1918, d. 2009) was an immensely popular radio broadcaster a few decades ago, reaching up to 24-million listeners. In 1965, Harvey broadcast a short essay, “If I Were the Devil,” which hints at a major player in America’s demise– Satan. Harvey’s transcript follows:
“If I were the devil … If I were the Prince of Darkness, I’d want to engulf the whole world in darkness. And I’d have a third of its real estate, and four-fifths of its population, but I wouldn’t be happy until I had seized the ripest apple on the tree– Thee. So I’d set about however necessary to take over the United States. I’d subvert the churches first– I’d begin with a campaign of whispers. With the wisdom of a serpent, I would whisper to you as I whispered to Eve: ‘Do as you please.’
“To the young, I would whisper that ‘The Bible is a myth.’ I would convince them that man created God instead of the other way around. I would confide that what’s bad is good, and what’s good is ‘square.’ And the old, I would teach to pray, after me, ‘Our Father, which art in Washington…’
“And then I’d get organized. I’d educate authors in how to make lurid literature exciting, so that anything else would appear dull and uninteresting. I’d threaten TV with dirtier movies and vice versa. I’d pedal narcotics to whom I could. I’d sell alcohol to ladies and gentlemen of distinction. I’d tranquilize the rest with pills.
“If I were the devil I’d soon have families that war with themselves, churches at war with themselves, and nations at war with themselves; until each in its turn was consumed. And with promises of higher ratings I’d have mesmerizing media fanning the flames. If I were the devil I would encourage schools to refine young intellects, but neglect to discipline emotions– just let those run wild, until before you knew it, you’d have to have drug sniffing dogs and metal detectors at every schoolhouse door.
“Within a decade I’d have prisons overflowing, I’d have judges promoting pornography– soon I could evict God from the courthouse, then from the schoolhouse, and then from the houses of Congress. And in His own churches I would substitute psychology for religion, and deify science. I would lure priests and pastors into misusing boys and girls, and church money. If I were the devil, I’d make the symbols of Easter an egg and the symbol of Christmas a bottle.
“If I were the devil I’d take from those who have, and give to those who want until I had killed the incentive of the ambitious.
“And what do you bet I could get whole states to promote gambling as the way to get rich? I would caution against extremes and hard work in Patriotism, in moral conduct. I would convince the young that marriage is old-fashioned, that swinging is more fun, that what you see on the TV is the way to be. And thus, I could undress you in public, and I could lure you into bed with diseases for which there is no cure. In other words, if I were the devil I’d just keep right on doing what he’s doing.
“Paul Harvey, good day.” END sidelight.
I will continue discussing some of these issues in next Sunday’s RR. Until then, Shalom and Maranatha.