TBC NewsWatch | thebereancall.org



R. Albert Mohler, Jr., Christian Post, 8/9/12: Gore Vidal and the Sky God [Excerpts] The death of author and controversialist Gore Vidal brought an end to one of America’s most gifted and flamboyantly offensive literary voices. For decades, Vidal was one of America’s most outrageous men of letters. His life was marked by a long series of confrontations and he died as one of the nation’s most famous and infamous literary figures.

Like many in his literary generation, Vidal was born to privilege, but suffered from an unhappy childhood....His literary talents were prodigious, though he scandalized the elites early in his career by writing a novel openly celebrating homosexuality.

Most of the media coverage after his death dealt extensively with his homosexuality and radical politics. He claimed, for example, that President Franklin D. Roosevelt knew in advance of Pearl Harbor and that President George W. Bush knew in advance of the September 11, 2001 attacks. Many also mentioned his antipathy to Christianity.

But the true nature of Gore Vidal’s theological protest was largely, if not totally, missing from the national coverage. In his 1992 Lowell Lecture at Harvard University, Vidal attacked not just Christianity, but the very notion of monotheism.

In his essay, “Monotheism and its Discontents,” based on the lecture at Harvard, Vidal perceptively and blasphemously blamed the existence of a binding sexual morality on monotheism.

“The great unmentionable evil at the center of our culture is monotheism,” Vidal asserted, “From a barbaric Bronze Age text known as the Old Testament, three anti-human religions have evolved—Judaism, Christianity and Islam. These are sky-god religions.”

He went on to describe the “sky-god” as patriarchal and jealous. “He requires total obedience from everyone on earth, as he is in place not just for one tribe but for all creation.”

He claimed that America’s founders were “not enthusiasts of the sky-god,” but that devotees have had an inordinate influence throughout most of the nation’s history. “From the beginning, sky-godders have always exerted great pressure in our secular republic,” he argued. “Also, evangelical Christian groups have traditionally drawn strength from the suppressed.” He blamed the “sky-godders” for “their innumerable taboos on sex, alcohol, gambling.”

In one scathing paragraph, he pressed his case: “Although many of the Christian evangelists feel it necessary to convert everyone on earth to their primitive religion, they have been prevented—so far—from forcing others to worship as they do, but they have forced—most tyrannically and wickedly—their superstitions and hatred upon all of us through the civil law and through general prohibitions. So it is upon that account that I now favor an all-out war on the monotheists.”

Christians should pay close attention to Gore Vidal’s argument, but the mainstream media have almost uniformly ignored it. The obituaries have celebrated his literary gifts and noted his radical political ideas and rejection of Christianity, but not his call for “all-out war on the monotheists.”


Brian TashmanRight Wing Watch, 7/27/12: Religious Right and Dominionist Leaders Come Together (Again) for “America for Jesus” [Excerpts] Back in February, we reported that pastor Anne Gimenez was in the process of recreating the 1980 Washington for Jesus rally, which she led with her late husband, Bishop John Gimenez. The new election-oriented prayer rally, called America for Jesus, is scheduled to be held in Philadelphia’s Independence Mall in September and has already received the endorsements of far-right dominionists including Cindy Jacobs, Lou Engle, Jim Garlow and Harry Jackson.

The latest solicitation mentions support from not only New Apostolic Reformation leaders like Che Ahn, Rick Joyner, Chuck Pierce, Doug Stringer and Barbara Yoder, but also from David Barton of WallBuilders, Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council and Mat Staver of Liberty Counsel. Even televangelists Kenneth Copeland, Gordon Robertson and John Hagee have endorsed the event.

In promotional materials, the event’s organizers use language closely centered around Seven Mountains dominionism, which calls for conservative Christians to take dominion over the seven spheres of society: family; arts and entertainment; business; education; religion and the church; media; and government. They also dabble in some Christian Nation revisionist history, using two fake quotes attributed to founding fathers George Washington and James Madison.


Dr. Jerry Rankin, Christian Post, 7/25/12: Ramadan—So What? [Excerpts]— Most Americans would be unaware that Ramadan, the Muslim month of fasting, [has recently passed]. Many would only be casually aware that this is one of the five pillars of Islam; the date changes each year due to the lunar calendar but faithful adherents fast from dawn to dusk until the month concludes....

Having studied Islam we were familiar with this expression of piety but learned much more regarding its practice during the years we lived on the mission field. In the more fanatical countries fasting is compulsory though in most countries allowances are made for foreigners and non-Muslims. All do without food, but the more devout don’t drink water and some don’t even swallow their saliva.

It was intriguing to find, however, that Muslims probably eat more during the month than at any other time. Women of the house arise in the early morning hours to prepare a very elaborate breakfast intended to provide nourishment throughout the day. Then when the call to evening prayer signals the breaking of the fast, everyone hurries home to indulge in what could be described, from our understanding, as a Thanksgiving Day dinner. Not much gets done during Ramadan as offices are open for only a few hours, no one has the strength for much physical labor, and it is easier to endure the denial of food by sleeping through the afternoon.

While most Muslims may fast due to mandatory legalism, it is still a time in which they are seeking God and praying God would reveal Himself. That is ironic since they have a fatalistic faith in an impersonal God who is aloof and cannot be known. But invariably God reveals Himself to many Muslims around the world during the month of Ramadan. In fact, the final night of fasting is called the “Night of Power” in which many will seek God all night.

Testimonies are abundant of those who have dreams and visions of Jesus appearing to them and saying, “Follow Me.” Others will be impressed to find someone with “the book” that tells the way to eternal life. None of these revelations are sufficient for salvation [TBC Emphasis] but they break down the barriers in their heart, they lead to an inquisitiveness to find out who Jesus is or to know what the Bible says. Certainly, many may not be sincere in their observing the fast and saying perfunctory prayers, but many are.