Monday 24th of June 2024

on the footpath of st bernard...


Biden, commander of the "true believers"


by Thierry Meyssan


As the United States moves resolutely towards civil war, President Joe Biden is relying on left-wing believers of different faiths. He sees Donald Trump’s voters as people who have been abused in their faith and whom he must bring back to the true path. By manipulating religions, the Democratic Party is dividing the country, not between different faiths, but between ways of thinking about faith. President Biden’s ambition is to unite all his fellow citizens under his own magisterium in order to continue along the path laid out by Barack Obama. In fact, far from appeasing, he is unwillingly radicalizing the political debate...


I have previously presented the supporters of woke culture in the US as "Godless Puritans". This is a shortcut to point out that many of them do not believe in God. I would like to correct this picture by dealing here with the imprint of believers within the American left. This is a subject that is very little discussed in the USA [1] and totally ignored in Europe, where the US overlord always erases the outrageous aspects of religions.


First of all, it is necessary to set the context:


- The United States would have been founded by a Puritan sect, the Pilgrim Fathers, who came in the 17th century on board the Mayflower. They left England, crossed the Atlantic, found an almost empty continent where they brought their demand for purity and built a "City on the Hill" that illuminated the world. In fact today, the United States is the champion of religious freedom in the world, but not of freedom of conscience: the testimony of a renegade against his former church or sect is not admissible in a court of law.


- During the Cold War, President Eisenhower positioned the United States as the champion of Faith in the face of the Soviets’ "Godless Communism" [2]. He distributed "Christian" propaganda to all his soldiers and set up an ecumenical prayer group in the Pentagon, now known as "The Family" [3]. He spread it throughout the Western world. All the presidents of the Chiefs of Staff Committee have belonged and still belong to it, as well as many foreign heads of state or government.


- Finally, since the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Americans have been detaching themselves from their Churches, and 17% of them claim to be agnostic, and sometimes even atheist. As for the number of believers who do not claim to be affiliated to a particular church, it is constantly increasing. Political discourse is no longer directed only at believers of all Christian denominations, or even at believers of all religions, but also at non-believers.


This development was first expressed at the Democratic Party Convention in 2012. While many workshops were organised by religious groups, the texts presented and adopted no longer mentioned God. Not because the party no longer had an overwhelming majority of believers, but because they wanted to continue to speak to everyone and the US people had changed.


In the 2004 presidential election, the Democratic candidate, John Kerry, is a Catholic who had hesitated to become a priest. He believes he can count on the electorate of his religious community, but is unable to do so. Left-wing Catholics are not yet organised. His speech on abortion shocked the future Cardinal Burke, who asked the Episcopal Conference to refuse him the Eucharist. Finally, Pope Benedict XVI would evoke, after his defeat at the hands of George W. Bush, his de facto excommunication.


In 2008, the election of Democrat Barack Obama, which was presented as a victory for black organisations, was in reality an even greater victory for left-wing, predominantly white Christians. His chief of staff, John Podesta, being a Catholic activist, had gathered all the chapels of left-wing Christians, Protestant and Catholic, to support his accession to the White House.


Similarly, the passage of the law on the obligation for workers to take out health insurance with a private company is above all a victory of left-wing Christians against those on the right. The former intended to follow the precepts of their religion, while the latter wanted to save their values. Note that Jesus the Nazarene always refused to position himself on these grounds, but taught by his example. Note also that Barack Obama’s legislative choice was not political. He never cared about what his fellow citizens wanted.


Barack Obama has a great religious culture, not only Christian but also Muslim. Not much is known about his faith, but he has always appeared to be very respectful of all forms of religion. This has long allowed him to appear wise and to unite believers from all walks of life behind his name.


He reformed the White House Office for Faith-based Initiatives created by his predecessor. He made sure that federal subsidies would not be used for any particular faith. He placed the young Joshua DuBois there to coordinate the left-wing believers and added a council composed of their leading figures:

- Reverend Traci Blackmon, who was committed to health care for all; 

- Reverend Jennifer Butler, founder of Faith in Public Life; 

- Reverend Jim Wallis, editor of Sojourners magazine and spiritual advisor to the President; 

- Reverend Michael McBride, committed to fighting guns and police violence against blacks; 

- best-selling author Rachel Held Evans, author of A Year of Biblical Femininity: How a liberated woman found herself sitting on her roof, covering her head and calling her husband master; 

- Rabbi David Saperstein, Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism. He was also appointed U.S. Ambassador for International Religious Freedom; 

- Harry Knox, leader of the Human Rights Campaign’s Religion and Faith Program and then director of the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, leader of gay rights and the fight for abortion rights; 

- Rami Nashashibi, Director of the Inner-City Muslim Action Network. He campaigned to distinguish Muslims from terrorists after the 9/11 attacks.


All of these personalities actively participated last year in the debates on the statues to be toppled or in the Black Lives Matter demonstrations.


During her presidential campaign Hillary Clinton spoke as little as possible about her personal faith. She spoke a lot to believers, especially evangelicals. With a discourse on the precepts of Christianity which would impose to confess the original sin of slavery and to receive all migrants, she did not succeed in convincing them. It was only after her electoral defeat that she announced that she was thinking of becoming a Methodist pastor.


On the contrary, her rival, Donald Trump, who does not seem to have any religious preoccupation, managed to rally to him the majority of right-wing Christians and particularly white Evangelicals. He presented himself to them not as a believer, but as a "guy who was going to get the job done" and save the values that left-wing Christians were neglecting. Right-wing Christians appreciated his sincerity and saw him as a miscreant sent by God to save America.


During Obama’s term, American left-wing believers felt - rightly or wrongly - that Pope Francis was speaking to them in particular. Indeed, they interpreted his first apostolic letter, Evangelii gaudium (2013), which invites the faithful to evangelise the world, as a justification for their political commitment, since it deals with "the preferential option for the poor". However, contrary to what left-wing believers in the United States think, the Catholic Church has never taught to prefer some men to others. Especially left-wing believers have received the encyclical Laudato si’ (2015), devoted to environmental issues, as a support for their environmental activism. On the whole, all confessions combined, they now consider Pope Francis as the most legitimate religious leader.


Joe Biden is the second President of the United States to be Catholic after John Kennedy. But while Kennedy had to prove that he was independent and would not accept an injunction from a foreign pope, Biden tried by all means to be worshipped by a pope adulated by his constituents. During his election campaign, he aired an advertising clip in which he explains what he owes to his faith. When he lost his wife and daughter in an accident, and then one of his sons to cancer, it allowed him to overcome his grief and keep hope.


At the beginning of this article, I mentioned the Pentagon prayer group. Since its creation by General Eisenhower, it has organized a prayer lunch with the current President of the United States every year at the beginning of February. Everyone was waiting for President Biden’s speech. It lasted 4 minutes by video conference. The speaker condemned "political extremism" (an allusion to his predecessor) and celebrated fraternity among "Americans".


For the new president, the Americans are "good", as he proclaimed at the inauguration ceremony. The Democratic Party seeks Social Justice in the tradition of the "Social Gospel" of the 1920s. All Americans should have spontaneously followed him. Unfortunately, right-wing believers were blinded by Donald Trump; a man without religion. They voted for this billionaire without realizing that they were betraying their faith. That is why it is his duty to open their eyes and make them happy in spite of themselves.


President Biden has never tried to understand why right-wing believers voted for Trump. He has always considered this fact to be an intellectual anomaly. So today he is trying to equate the group QAnon with a delusional sect that imagines Satan everywhere in Washington. In each of his statements, he tries to present the Trump presidency as a mistake, a sinister parenthesis with no future.


For left-wing believers, the only thing that matters are the decisions taken since 20 January in favour of immigrants, women, sexual minorities, and against the violation of the sacred spaces of Indian minorities.


We are witnessing a vast misunderstanding. Left-wing believers think that they should impose their political beliefs in the name of God, while the Democratic Party thinks that it should not think politically, but seduce its voters. The separation of church and state still exists institutionally, but not in daily practice. The problem has shifted: it is no longer between religions, but between different conceptions of Faith.


Saint Bernard, who preached the Second Crusade, recognised that "Hell is paved with good intentions". This is exactly what is happening here: left-wing believers are behaving like fanatics. They talk about national unity, but have launched a witch hunt, compared to which McCarthy’s witch hunt was no big deal. They dismissed hundreds of advisers in the Pentagon; they have tried to remove an elected representative from the House of Representatives because she questions the official version of the 9/11 attacks; or they want to arrest all the members of the QAnon movement. They don’t pacify the United States after the capture of the Capitol, but push it into civil war.


Thierry Meyssan


Roger Lagassé



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our father, which art in heaven...

the plan is...

NATO in a quandary as it awaits Joe Biden's Afghanistan plans

Women's rights advocates worry that gains could be lost if foreign troops leave Afghanistan before real peace is achieved. The stakes are high as US officials analyze their options.

Setara Hassan has been on the frontline of fighting for gender rights in Afghanistan, helping women tell their stories in their own voices with the all-female television network Zan TV. Now working with a program to lift women out of poverty, Hassan sees violence surging, peace talks with the Taliban floundering and the international troop presence uncertain, and she fears the worst — right up to civil war.

"I want to be optimistic. I think it's time for the Afghan people to sit around the table and negotiate on a peace deal," Hassan says. "However, I have lost hope, like many other Afghans, seeing the escalation of violence  during the peace talks."


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working the room...

WASHINGTON — As Senators Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska walked the halls of the Capitol recently, the two moderate Republicans marveled to each other about how much time President Biden had spent with them during a meeting in the Oval Office.

The session had been scheduled for an hour, but then it stretched on and on, doubling in length as the conversation bubbled. The president, who has at times angered the left wing of his party by insisting there is still room for compromise with Republicans, told the lawmakers that he felt like he was back in the Senate, which he “liked the best” of any job he’s had.

Mr. Biden, it seemed, did not want the meeting to end.

“We go back a long, long time,” Ms. Collins, a senator for 24 years, said of Mr. Biden, who served in the body for 36 years. “He loves the Senate.”

Weeks into his presidency, Mr. Biden’s identity as a creature of the Senate and a deft navigator of its clubby idiosyncrasies has become a defining feature of his governing approach. He has leveraged his relationships with Republicans like Ms. Collins to create space and pressure for bipartisan compromises, even if none have yet materialized. And he has taken a hands-on approach to rallying Democratic lawmakers around his agenda, in the process ensuring that his party has a singular message and unified front against the many obstacles standing in his way.

To be sure, Mr. Biden is encountering a deeply polarized Senate that at times bears little resemblance to the one in which he served more than a decade ago, and he has made clear that he is willing to bypass Republicans on issues where he has the votes to do so and public opinion on his side. For all his chummy meetings and talk of bipartisanship, it now appears highly likely that his $1.9 trillion stimulus plan will be forced through on partisan votes over the opposition of Republicans — including many Mr. Biden has actively courted — who say it is far too large.

Still, the president is personally working Capitol Hill in a way that his recent predecessors could not, leveraging decades-old relationships and experience in Congress that they did not have.

The approach reflects the challenges Mr. Biden faces in maneuvering his priorities through an evenly split Senate, which has elevated the importance of working closely with its members. Already, he has transformed the West Wing into a veritable revolving door for senators.

Not long after his session with 10 Republicans that included Ms. Collins and Ms. Murkowski, a contingent from Delaware, Senators Thomas R. Carper and Chris Coons, both Democrats and allies of the president, met with him for an hour. After them came a group of top-ranking Democrats, including Senator Chuck Schumer, the majority leader from New York, who were in the Oval Office for 90 minutes. Last week, a bipartisan group of senators sat down with Mr. Biden to discuss infrastructure.

Afterward, Mr. Biden exchanged letters and phone calls with the senators, including Ms. Collins.

The sessions are starkly different from the sort former President Donald J. Trump held with lawmakers in either party, especially the anger-fueled, insult-filled meetings he had with top Democrats, complete with the president’s name-calling (he once told Ms. Pelosi she was a “third-rate” politician) and boasting (“I hate ISIS more than you do,” he told her).

Instead, Mr. Biden has gone out of his way to court Republicans, treating them to his first official Oval Office meeting — an honor he knew, as a former senator, would flatter them — from which they emerged with no agreements, but a palpable sense of bonhomie.

“The president was very gracious,” Senator Bill Cassidy, a Louisiana Republican who discussed education funding with Mr. Biden, said after their meeting. “If we’re going to go forward as a country, we have to do a better job than we’ve been doing of figuring where those who disagree with us are coming from.”

Senator Jerry Moran, a Kansas Republican who gushed to the president about how nice it was to talk with other humans during the pandemic, confessed to his colleagues after their meeting that Mr. Biden “knew more about his plan than we did and Joe Biden knew more about the Republicans’ plan than they did,” Mr. Carper recalled.

When weather prevented Senator Mike Rounds, Republican of South Dakota, from attending in person, he called in to one meeting with Mr. Biden, whom he later described as “cordial,” “interested” and “engaged.” Mr. Rounds told the president that he had personally received a stimulus check — evidence, the senator argued, that the next round of relief payments should be more targeted.

“He made it clear that he thought that the relationships that he had established in the United States Senate were still pretty important,” Mr. Rounds said. “But he didn’t give up any of the aces that he may have in his hand.”

Yet Mr. Biden is using the sessions to cultivate relationships with important potential allies.

Senator Jon Tester, a centrist Democrat from Montana who could be a crucial swing vote on the stimulus plan, said after his audience with Mr. Biden that in his 14 years in the Senate, no president had ever invited him to the Oval Office before.

“I’m going to be honest with you: It was pretty emotional for me,” Mr. Tester said. “I told the president that.”

Senators who had visited during Mr. Trump’s term remarked at the makeover of the room. Mr. Biden had taken down a portrait of the populist President Andrew Jackson, and replaced it with one of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who helped bring America out of depression with the creation of robust government programs. As they looked around the room, they saw busts of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Cesar Chavez and Robert F. Kennedy, each civil rights heroes.



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our father, which art in heaven...

under investigation for unspecified allegations...

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) — The Jesuit priest who presided over an inaugural Mass for President Joe Biden is under investigation for unspecified allegations and is on leave from his position as president of Santa Clara University in Northern California, according to a statement from the college's board of trustees.

Rev. Kevin O'Brien allegedly “exhibited behaviors in adult settings, consisting primarily of conversations, which may be inconsistent with established Jesuit protocols and boundaries,” according to the statement by John M. Sobrato, the board chairman.

O'Brien gave the service at Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle, one of the most prominent Catholic churches in Washington, in January for Biden, who is the nation's second Catholic president, as well as Vice President Kamala Harris, their families and elected officials before the inauguration ceremony at the U.S. Capitol.

O’Brien also presided over services for Biden’s inaugurations as vice president.

The priest has known Biden's family for about 15 years, according to the university. O’Brien was then serving at Georgetown University, another Jesuit college. O'Brien has been president of Santa Clara University since July 2019.

Sobrato's statement, posted Monday to the university's website, did not specify the allegations against O'Brien but said the trustees “support those who came forward to share their accounts.”

Sobrato said that while O'Brien is on leave, the priest will be cooperating with the independent investigation, with conclusions to be shared with the Santa Clara University Board of Trustees. O'Brien didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Tracey Primrose, spokeswoman for the Jesuits West Province, which is overseeing the investigation, did not elaborate on the investigations to The Mercury News.

“Jesuits are held to a professional code of conduct, and the Province investigates allegations that may violate or compromise established boundaries,” Primrose told the newspaper.

Primrose did not immediately respond to The Associated Press' request for comment Thursday night.

O’Brien joined the Society of Jesus in 1996, according to the university, and was ordained to the priesthood in 2006.

Located in Silicon Valley, the Jesuit institution has an annual undergraduate enrollment of roughly 5,500 students. Ranked as one of the top 25 schools for undergraduate teaching nationwide, the private university has a million-dollar endowment and counts California Govs. Gavin Newsom and Jerry Brown among its alumni.



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no sacrament...


The Roman Catholic bishops of the United States, flouting a warning from the Vatican, have overwhelmingly voted to draft guidance on the sacrament of the Eucharist, advancing a push by conservative bishops to deny President Biden communion because of his support of abortion rights.

The decision, made public on Friday afternoon, is aimed at the nation’s second Catholic president, perhaps the most religiously observant commander in chief since Jimmy Carter, and exposes bitter divisions in American Catholicism. It capped three days of contentious debate at a virtual June meeting of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. The measure was approved by a vote of 73 percent in favor and 24 percent opposed.

The Eucharist, or holy communion, is one of the most sacred rituals in Christianity, and bishops have grown worried in recent years about declining Mass attendance and misunderstanding of the importance of the sacrament to Catholic life.

But the move to target a president, who regularly attends Mass and has spent a lifetime steeped in Christian rituals and practices, is striking coming from leaders of the president’s own faith, particularly after many conservative Catholics turned a blind eye to the sexual improprieties of former President Donald J. Trump because they supported his political agenda. It reveals a uniquely American Catholicism increasingly at odds with Rome and Pope Francis.

Asked about the bishops’ decision at a vaccination event on Friday, Mr. Biden said it was “a private matter and I don’t think that’s going to happen.”

The action is the latest sign of how the nation’s bitter political divisions are shaping religious life. Christians across denominations are facing similar divides. Earlier this week at the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Nashville, a more moderate majority narrowly headed off a takeover attempt by a hard-right movement.


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tax all churches...


As U.S. Catholic bishops draft a controversial document on whether priests can deny communion to politicians who support abortion, one House Democrat has implied that the Catholic Church should lose its tax-exempt status if churches institute such a ban.

“If they’re going to politically weaponize religion by ‘rebuking’ Democrats who support women’s reproductive choice, then a ‘rebuke’ of their tax-exempt status may be in order,” wrote Rep. Jared Huffman, D-Calif., in a Twitter post lashing out at Catholic bishops.

Huffman's post came after nearly 60 House Democrats released a “statement of principles to warn the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops against what they deem as “weaponizing” the Eucharist.

The statement was released after the USCCB voted Friday to approve the continued drafting of the document “on the meaning of the Eucharist in the life of the Church.”

An overwhelming majority of the bishops (168) voted in favor of proceeding with the draft document, while 55 voted against proceeding. The bishops will continue working on the document, which will be presented to the public at a later date. While the document will provide guidelines for the reception of communion, it will leave “decisions on withholding Communion up to individual bishops.”

In their statement, the Democrats “solemnly urge” the Church “to not move forward and deny this most holy of all sacraments, the source and the summit of the whole work of the gospel over one issue.”

“… We seek the Church’s guidance and assistance but believe also in the primacy of conscience,” it reads. “In recognizing the Church’s role in providing moral leadership, we acknowledge and accept the tension that comes with being in disagreement with the Church in some areas.”

It continues: “We recognize that no political party is perfectly in accord with all aspects of Church doctrine. This fact speaks to the secular nature of American democracy, not the devotion of our democratically elected leaders. Yet we believe we can speak to the fundamental issues that unite us as Catholics and lend our voices to changing the political debate — a debate that often fails to reflect and encompass the depth and complexity of these issues.”

It adds: “We believe the separation of church and state allows for our faith to inform our public duties and best serve our constituents. The Sacrament of Holy Communion is central to the life of practicing Catholics, and the weaponization of the Eucharist to Democratic lawmakers for their support of a woman’s safe and legal access to abortion is contradictory."


The debate over whether pro-abortion Catholic politicians should receive communion has intensified following the election of President Joe Biden, a pro-abortion Catholic who attends mass regularly. As he campaigned for president ahead of the 2020 presidential election, a priest in South Carolina refused to serve Biden communion due to his abortion advocacy.

Last month, more than 60 bishops also wrote a letter to Archbishop Jose Gomez calling for the delay of the debate over whether pro-abortion Catholic politicians should receive communion, citing concerns that implementing a national policy on the matter would pose a threat to the unity of the Church.

Supporters of withholding communion from pro-abortion Catholic politicians, both inside and outside the Church hierarchy, point to the Church’s Code of Canon Law as the justification for their position. The Code of Canon Law states that those who are “obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to Holy Communion.


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Are the American Catholics about to join the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster in Australia?...


The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster will remain in the realms of satire, after an attempt to have its Australian wing formally recognised was rejected by a South Australian legal authority on the grounds that the purported religion is nothing more than a "hoax".

Key points:
  • An adherent of the offbeat movement launched a legal bid to secure it legal status as an incorporated entity
  • She said formal recognition would have allowed greater transparency
  • SA's Civil and Administrative Tribunal rejected the bid, describing the church as a "sham" and a "parody"

Adelaide woman Tanya Watkins, a self-described "captain" of the church and adherent of its creed of "Pastafarianism", has made repeated attempts to secure the offbeat movement official status as an incorporated association.

After the latest attempt was knocked back by the Corporate Affairs Commission, Ms Watkins sought a review of that decision, and the matter was subsequently referred to the South Australian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (SACAT).

The tribunal heard evidence from the commission and from Ms Watkins, who contended that the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster was formed for a "religious, educational, charitable or benevolent purpose", thereby meeting the criteria of South Australia's Associations Incorporation Act.

Ms Watkins told the tribunal the church placed emphasis on helping others, and had engaged in acts of charity such as an event at Flinders University to "feed the hungry".

In a ruling handed down earlier this year, and recently published online, SACAT Senior Member Kathleen McEvoy rejected the arguments for incorporation.

"Ms Watkins explained to the tribunal that she was seeking incorporation for the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster Australia in order that the association would be recognised as a not for profit organisation under the Act, and be a legal entity in its own right," Ms McEvoy stated.

In the ruling, Ms McEvoy noted that while various "Pastafarian texts" are set out in traditional religious forms, they "contain some surprising articulations", such as references to the books of the Bible as the "Old Testicle" and "New Testicle".


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Considering that all religions are hoaxes... some are more satirical than others....


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