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Welcome Information Connoisseurs

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The Seduction of Judeo-"Christianity" by Orthodox Judaism

Truth Mission a Success in Sandpoint

From July 26-28 Christian revisionist historian Michael Hoffman brought his research on the curse of usury, and the seduction of Judeo-“Christianity” by Orthodox Judaism, to America’s Promise Bible Church in Sandpoint, Idaho.

America’s Promise Ministries, located in the foothills of the Selkirk mountains, has survived media vilification, vandalism and death threats, to win the respect of the local community while serving as a bastion of Christian integrity in a sea of Judeo-Churchianity.

On July 26, from our office near Coeur d’Alene, we drove approximately sixty-five miles north to beautiful Sandpoint, Idaho for Pastor and Mrs. Dave Barley’s annual bible conference, amid the magnificent Selkirk mountains, just a few miles from pristine Lake Pend Oreille. Amid the tourists, fishermen, hikers and boaters in Sandpoint, we settled down on the outskirts of town with a group that at times numbered nearly 60 fellow truth seekers, for a weekend of biblical exploration, inquiry and amicable discussion and debate.

Truth seeker Brian Wilson (left) who drove from Carson City, Nevada to meet and hear Michael Hoffman (right).

If you were not in attendance you missed not only the speeches, but the fellowship, solidarity and mutual support which was experienced by almost all present. The discussions and exchange of information continued over lunch, in the shade of trees on the grounds of the church and in the vestibule. We renewed acquaintance with old friends and met new ones, including patriot activist Jack Yoos of Sagle; Kimberly and her daughter Hanna from Sandpoint; and two of the Barley’s strapping sons, who were both knee-high to grasshoppers the last time we saw them. We were gratified by the arrival of folks from Montana (among whom were old friend Corey and his lovely children); Brian Wilson from Carson City, Nevada; Dennis and his wife, the parents of a large family in eastern Washington; Catholic scholar Justin, who drove the 90 miles from Spokane on two consecutive days - both Friday and Saturday - staying late in the evening; and others who came from California, Wyoming, Oregon and southern Idaho.

On Friday afternoon we spoke for nearly eighty minutes on usury and the rise of the Money Power, reviewing the Biblical, apostolic, patristic, conciliar and papal ban on all interest on loans of money, not just “excessive” interest. We dealt with objections of our opponents and corrected the historic record concerning the Renaissance Church of Rome’s initiation of this curse and the early Protestant resistance to it. After our talk, two gentlemen approached us to ask more questions and, as it turned out, to seek counsel. We were impressed by their sincerity. Both men had loans out at “moderate” interest. At the end of our luncheon discussion, both revealed their intention to return the interest they had received on the loans! We were deeply moved, and pointed out to them, from the words of St. Basil, that by so doing, they would put the God of the universe under obligation — "answerable to them for payment.”

Saturday evening we were honored to deliver the conference’ keynote address. Our topic was "The Seduction of Judeo-‘Christianity' by Orthodox Judaism.” The goal of our lecture was to make it clear that there is no possibility of an alliance between Christianity and Judaism, even on issues such as family values or "faith initiatives," as deluded "Conservatives" imagine. Marshaling facts based on fifteen years of research, we demonstrated Orthodox Judaism's hidden side: child molestation, homosexuality, blasphemy against Jesus and Mary, Messiah-denial, deprecation of the Biblical patriarchs, including Moses; as well as magic and paganism. We endeavored to present a short course in what Judaism truly represents, with new insights suitable for veteran combatants in this crucial spiritual and ideological battle, as well as enlightenment for other church groups and your Protestant fundamentalist and Catholic neo-conservative friends, relatives and neighbors. Our Truth Mission is concerned first and foremost with conversion of the wayward and the confused, not simply preaching to the choir.

Our usury talk is slated to be released on DVD soon. In the meantime, our 'Seduction of Judeo-Christianity’ speech is available on DVD now. You can order it online here: 

We didn’t just teach at the America’s Promise Bible Conference, we learned as well, from interesting and challenging Scripture scholars and exegetes. When we disagreed, each of us managed to do so with good will and mutual respect.

Speaking as someone who is repeatedly banned from addressing Christian gatherings elsewhere, or advertising our books in  “conservative” magazines and websites, it was refreshing to be able to use the talents God has bestowed upon us, in person at a public gathering, rather than in the usual remote and disconnected medium of the Internet, or the U.S. Mail.

Our gratitude and hearty thanks go to Dave and Martha Barley for their hospitality and friendship, and in particular for inviting someone who is not a “clone" of their own particular religious and historical views. Nonetheless, they had sufficient intellectual curiosity and respect for a free exchange of ideas and information, to invite us anyway. If this could be said of other conference organizers and website and magazine publishers, we would have the opportunity to bring truth to many hundreds or even thousands of new people who, in our estimation, thirst for it mightily.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Pope Francis bans the Tridentine Mass for Franciscan Order

Rorate Caeli writes:
"...our interest in this matter is not so much related to the internal workings and troubles of a particular order... but to the extremely grave precedent the Braz de Aviz Decree sets for the rights recognized (not created!) in Summorum Pontificum, and to the way the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and the Pontifical Commission 'Ecclesia Dei' (and the Apostolic Signatura, by the probable limitation of appeal) were short-circuited in a matter of their competence.”
Michael Hoffman’s comment on the preceding: Is it not true that 'traditional Catholics' support papal absolutism, indeed papal dictatorship? Absolute power corrupts absolutely, ergo don’t be too shocked when the people’s liturgical rights are steamrolled by the supreme monarchy that is the papacy. You have a revolutionary serving as pope. He will use the power you and other 'traditional Catholics' concede is his, to violate what are Biblical, apostolic and patristic rights that he has no divine right to derogate or abrogate. Without a mechanism to discipline a pope when he departs from his role as guardian of the faith of Jesus Christ, only masochists would complain about the blows that will inevitably come from a Jacobin pope with a revolutionary agenda to impose. Thanks for this are due in part to the author of Summorum Pontificum, our latter day “Celestine V” (Benedict XVI), who seems destined for the same fate in The Inferno which Dante Alighieri assigned to the other Celestine.

Pope forbids Franciscan order from offering traditional Tridentine Mass without special permission of the hierarchy

With an Afterword by Michael Hoffman

Franciscan group forbidden to use traditional liturgy
CWN - July 29, 2013



The Vatican has appointed a new leader for the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate, and ruled that all priests of the group must celebrate Mass using the ordinary form rather than the traditional Latin Mass.

The Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate have grown rapidly, and became especially prominent in traditionalist circles. But the group has also been torn by internal disputes-- including disputes over liturgical practices. The Congregation for Religious has now issued a decree that installs an outsider-- a Capuchin, Father Fidenzio Volpi-- as acting superior for the order.

The decree also states that the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate must use the ordinary form of the liturgy. Any use of the extraordinary form must be explicitly authorized by Church authorities, the decree states. This special rule, which applies only to the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate, marks a departure from Summorum Pontificum, in which Pope Benedict XVI ruled that priests are authorized to use the extraordinary form for their private Masses without any further approval from superiors.

The decree bears the date of July 11, 2013, the protocol number 52741/2012, and the signatures of the prefect of the congregation, Cardinal Joao Braz de Aviz, a focolarino,  and of the secretary of the same congregation, Archbishop José Rodríguez Carballo, a Franciscan. Carballo enjoys the pope's complete trust. His promotion as second-in-command of the congregation was backed by Francis himself at the beginning of his pontificate. It is difficult, therefore, to think that pope Bergoglio was unaware of what he was approving when he was presented with the decree before its publication.

The astonishment stems from the fact that what is decreed contradicts the dispositions given by Benedict XVI, which for the celebration of the Mass in the ancient rite “sine populo" demand no previous request for authorization whatsoever: "Ad talem celebrationem secundum unum alterumve Missale, sacerdos nulla eget licentia, nec Sedis Apostolicae nec Ordinarii sui.

The fact is that one pillar of the pontificate of Joseph Ratzinger has been cracked. By an exception that many fear - or hope - will soon become the rule.

There is a thorough pro-and-con dispute over the “Summorum Pontificum” in a book hot off the presses by Professor Pietro De Marco of the University of Florence and the liturgist Andrea Grillo: Ecclesia universa o introversa? (Edizioni San Paolo, Cinisello Balsamo, 2013).

In criticizing the motu proprio of Benedict XVI, Grillo rejects even its prescriptive validity. Because in his judgment, the ancient missal prior to Vatican Council II has been abrogated. And therefore there is no longer any reason that could justify its use. Grillo teaches sacramental and liturgical theology at the Pontifical Atheneum of Saint Anselm in Rome.

Michael Hoffman's Afterword
What do we say about a man who has been granted the authority to tyrannize, as Pope Francis is doing? The media paints him as an  avuncular, "humble" liberal, while they ignore his politically correct inquisition against the ancient Tridentine Mass. Are we doing our duty to God when we respond to this papal tyranny by saying that he is a bad pope or an anti-pope, as it has been said of at least three of the past four popes since 1960? Or might it not be time, at two minutes to midnight on the clock of destiny, to at long last question whether or not giving absolute power to any man --be he pope or potentate-- to nullfy and overthrow, with Leninist revolutionary ferocity, every noble or venerable rite that sanctified millions before him? Does the pope have the "right" to send souls to eternal perdition? We are not afraid to state that it is high time that Catholics rethink the absolute power that was granted to popes incrementally -- during the same centuries which saw the popes grant incremental permission for the mortal sin of usury. If Catholics refuse to think freely on this point with their God-given faculties of reason, they will have only themselves to blame as the popes of the revolution continue to dismantle, with a zeal equal to inquisitorial Protestant tyrants of the past, the Catholic faith of their fathers.

"Vicar of Christ on Earth" asks "Who am I to judge a gay priest?"

by Michael Hoffman

The Renaissance Catholic Church's embrace of usury was accomplished under a host of weasel words and euphemisms which have bedazzled and befuddled true believers in the Church of Rome since 1515. The encyclical "Vix Pervenit" of the usury advocate Pope Benedict XIV is a case in point. It was 95% anti-usury and 5% double talk that created an escape clause permitting certain types of usury. It is defended to this day by certain mind-bombed "conservative Catholic scholars" as a bastion against usury.

From instances such as this we should know that it is a major blunder to imagine that the double talk and fork-tongued lucubrations of the current Pope Francis are a product of a "Vatican II mentality of the 1960s." If you believe that, then the Vatican Cryptocracy has you wrapped in its mind control as tightly as a spider ensnares a fly. Let's banish the amnesia: "Vix Pervenit" was issued in 1745, not 1965.

Observe how Pope Francis approaches the sodomite issue. The New York Times reports that he stated to reporters aboard the papal jet, "If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?" (Cf. "Pope Says He Will Not Judge Gay Priests," NY Times (online), July 29, 2013).

Did he actually use the Orwellian Newspeak word for sodomy -- "gay"? If so, that in itself is a grave failure to call a thing that which it is.

Do you spot the hook in the pope's double talk? Do you see the escape clause he has given his right wing? He doesn't say he refuses to judge homosexual acts, only that he refuses to judge if some priest is a homosexual -- this gives his right wing the chance to suppose he is referring to a celibate priest of a "homosexual orientation." That's the escape clause his right wing supporters will use to tamp down the uproar: "The pope is only saying he will not judge priests of good faith who are of a gay orientation. He is not endorsing gay sex." (In the days ahead there will also be subsequent "clarifications" intended to serve as damage control to patch wounded right wing sensibilities).

Even in that case it’s a huge betrayal. Identifying human beings as being stamped indelibly with “gay orientation” reaffirms the popular myth that the majority of homosexuals “were born that way” and “cannot change.” Actually the reverse is true. The Cryptocracy encourages androgyny and homosexuality, for one thing because it helps to reduce the “surplus” population and for another, it leads them into a rootless anarchy that makes them susceptible to further revolutionary, anti-natural change. A normal young person with an attraction for the opposite sex can be seduced by the culture into experimenting with homosexual acts and then, as a result of the experiment, be told they have a permanent “gay orientation.”

Any true Vicar of Christ would have informed the journalists on his plane: “With God all things are possible, and some who believe that in their orientation they are homosexual, can, through prayer and purity of heart and mind, clarify their desires and discover a healthy attraction for the opposite sex, buried under assumptions and delusions imposed on them by a culture that values fashionable trends above Biblical ethics and human ennoblement. The homosexual is a celebrated person in contemporary culture. This leads to people identifying themselves with the homosexual condition even if, in the core of their being, it is not really the case with them. Meanwhile, the bedrock of society, the heroic mothers and fathers of many children who labor daily to provide their families with sustenance and an education, are viewed by the advertising and other media as unattractive drudges, the very last people to be emulated. Do not expect me to endorse these pathologies.”  This is what Francis would have said if he were a pope worthy of the name.

The supporters of "Pope Francis" on the left will seize on the obvious reckless symbolism of his statement and interpret his words broadly and in the manner most people, including youth, will perceive them --it's not morally objectionable to be a sodomite "if you seek the Lord" while doing so. 

If the pope's homosexual priests were of a neo-Nazi instead of a sodomite orientation, I'd bet you dollars to doughnuts that this pontiff would judge them right into the Inferno's eternal barbecue pit. But when it comes to priests who simply yearn for anal sex, it is not something that falls under his judgment as mere Pontifex Maximus.


"If the pope's homosexual priests were of a neo-Nazi instead of a sodomite orientation, I'd bet you dollars to doughnuts that this pontiff would judge them right into the Inferno's eternal barbecue pit. But when it comes to priests who simply yearn for anal sex, it is not something that falls under his judgment as mere Pontifex Maximus."

Imagine some sexually confused adolescent Catholic boy of 15 or 16 who is drawn to girls mostly, but somewhat tempted by boys, reading today's headlines about the pope. If that Catholic boy chooses a "gay orientation," Francis wants him to know that as pope he does not have the power or authority to "judge" him. If the boy goes out and gets sodomized, the Catholic right wing will reply, "It's not the Holy Father's fault, he didn't approve of sodomy, he only withheld judgement on sodomite orientation."

From our own research it is becoming increasingly clear that as the sterility of money-breeding-money (usury) was incrementally permitted by the Church of Rome beginning in the early 16th century, the practice of sodomy also rose exponentially inside the high ranks of the Roman clergy beginning in the early 16th century, shrouded in a prelatical secrecy which has endured from then until now. We draw your attention to the patent fact that sodomy is also a form of sterility.

Pope Francis is a reflection of this pro-sodomite current, formerly underground and now emerging in the open as Revelation-of-the Method, while the media gives its enthusiastic imprimatur to this latter day Uriah Heep as the pope of "humility." 

It's no wonder that millions of Latin American Christians are fleeing Rome for the chapels of Protestant churches that do not deviate from bedrock Biblical, Apostolic and Patristic Christianity. They don't have an "infallible" pope over them to misdirect them into losing their eternal salvation. They are free to choose to adhere to Biblical Truth and defy the sodomite movement, independent of Rome's latest coffin-riding grave digger, the most recent in a line stretching back through more than forty popes of usury. Catholics who are not brain dead need to begin to dare to think deeply and with the fear of God, about the deception and destruction that has been wrought by popes of Rome since 1515, tracking the trail of both prelatical usury and sodomy inside the Roman institution for the past 498 years. 

This ungoldly rot did not commence with the Enlightenment or the French Revolution or Vatican II. If you believe that hoax, which is a staple fiction among "traditional" Catholics, then you will never have the ability to decode the present manifestation of Mystery Babylon that has the putative "Vicar of Christ on earth" saying he cannot judge sodomite-prone Catholic priests. This type of boldface papal lying is nothing short of a challenge to the hypnotized sheeple to see if we're going to take this satanic spew lying down, or whether we will stand up and witness for the truth of God's Word and that of His apostles, patriarchs and saints.

Pope Francis has no moral compass save for situation ethics. It was situation ethics that determined the legalization of the mortal sin of usury, first in the Church of Rome when John Calvin was but a child, and later by Calvin himself, under the influence of Rome’s lawyer’s equity, or epikeia, which is sometimes just, when used to modify the laws of man, but is always Talmudic and rabbinic when employed to modify or abrogate the laws of God.

The zeitgeist determines the ethics of the Vatican’s rebels against God. Today the spirit of the time is thoroughly homosexual and hence, the papacy accommodates itself to that perverted state of affairs. When the Money Power subsumed the zeitgeist during the Renaissance, an absolutist papacy opened the door to the beginnings of predatory capitalism. No pope has the right to alter God’s law. When he dares to do so, there must be  a mechanism in place to correct or depose him.

For the past 498 years, God’s eternal law has not been the guide or rule for papal situation ethicists. Within the Renaissance papacy, situation ethics trumped God’s law, and popery will see to it that by the time self-described Catholics finally begin to grasp that the absolute authority given to a pope bears within it the seeds of catastrophe, the catastrophe will be upon us. Christ intended for His followers to be overcomers, not slaves of mere men, much less a sinister clown in a white suit who invokes Jesus so as to mock Him and His eternal and unchanging law, whether in matters of loans of money (Luke 6: 32-26), or men who lay with men (Leviticus 18:22; Romans 1: 26-27).

Finally, let's promise ourselves that we will henceforth quit trafficking in Orwellian Newspeak, which imprisons our minds by causing us to think in the occluding manner in which the hidden persuaders frame this controversy. This is about sex in the rectal sewer of the human body. There is absolutely nothing innocent and joyful ("gay") about it, so let us cease our submission to the doublethink agenda imposed on us by our media masters when we are contending for the purity of our children against a ravening wolf in sheep's --or in this case, St Peter's -- clothing.


Friday, July 19, 2013

Video of Christian preacher being arrested on a charge of homophobic hate speech

Either Christ will be supreme or the devil.

The sodomites will never tolerate us as we have, unfortunately, tolerated and now legalized their anal sex and raised it to respectability in a legal farce which designates it as the state of matrimony. The queen of England, the head of the Church of England, ratified homosexual matrimony this week.

Where are the millions of Christians to take to the streets in protest? The French did indeed protest last spring, though the American media barely covered their huge rallies and marches.

Observe as the comfortable, wealthy churches, even “conservative" ones, accommodate themselves to this revolutionary break with 3,000 years of Biblical and Christian civilization.

The tyranny of sodomy has arrived! The evidence is here in this video (see below), an outrageous arrest which the corporate media have barely reported; and this is only the beginning of the reign of the sodomites over us.

Learn more:
Sodomite Supremacy in America  
Michael Hoffman excavates the homosexual rights revolution in American law from the perspective of Communist revolutionary tyranny, Newspeak nomenclature, the Supreme Court's Talmudic legislating; and the heretofore unaccounted impact of the widespread use of contraception in heteorsexual marriage. Approximately 54 minutes. Audio CD. Order here

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Fundamental differences between the occult and Christianity

Interviewer: What is the difference between the occult philosophy and the Christian philosophy at its most fundamental point?

Michael Hoffman: I would answer that there are two fundamental differences that come to mind as being most striking.

1. The occult will have man play God. Man is a god. Human brain power reigns supreme and has license to tamper with Creation. The juvenile, if not downright infantile creed that whatever technology can be developed should be developed and applied as the scientist-god sees fit, is the religion of the elite at the top universities and laboratories.

The Christian, on the contrary, is in subjection to the Creator, the only God in the universe. Man may not usurp God's sovereign role. Techological change must be in accord with Nature. All other technology, as represented by "the Ring" in Tolkein's Lord of the Rings, leads to catastrophe.

2. I will have the eminent Timothy Dwight, grandson of Jonathan Edwards, chaplain to the patriot army in the American Revolution, and from 1795, President of Yale College, present the traditional Biblical-Christian view of human beings, totally at variance with “our" modern pop culture, which has been crafted by the occult:

"...all science...is founded in facts and is formed of facts, and the relations which spring from them. The first great fact in the science of man is that he is a depraved being. This is the first and fundamental fact, because out of it arise, and by it are characterized, all his volitions, and all his conduct. Hence, everything pertaining to Man is colored and qualified by this part of his moral nature; and no description of him can be true, and no doctrine sound, or defensible, into which this consideration does not essentially enter.”

[Timothy Dwight, Theology Explained and Defended (New Haven, Connecticut: 1839), vol. 1, p. 498].


Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Usury: Understandings of Just Lending

By John R.P. Russell 
July • 2013

With an Afterword by Michael Hoffman

The Church’s constant condemnation of usury, which has its origins in the teaching of Jesus Christ, excellently exemplifies the nature of Catholic social teaching as contrasted with dogmatic teachings. In the interest of social justice, the Church must always respond to social realities. While the essence and energies of God are constant, human social and economic situations, which include the Church but also everyone else, are in constant flux. While the Church must constantly seek justice and condemn injustice, particularly and preferentially on behalf of the poor, the concrete shape and features of that justice necessarily change in response to new situations. While the Church constantly condemns usury, the definition of usury has necessarily undergone change. Concern for economic justice, however, is changeless.

Usury originally meant the loaning of money with any interest and the early Christian tradition originally regarded this as always a grave sin. Usury has taken many forms and many of these are extant realities. Nowadays, loans with interest are the very stuff of American economic life. Most Americans are in debt – often debt so enormous that, each month, they are able to pay off only the interest – and many accept this as a quotidian fact. The forms and quantities of loans, the types of creditors and debtors, and the rates of interest all vary widely in the present economic milieu – from credit cards to student loans, from mortgages to savings accounts. Usury affects everyone, but most of the upper and middle class in this society do not seem to mind. This is because it does not generally deprive them of the necessities or even the comforts of life. Unfortunately, “at the moment, millions across the globe suffer at the hands of others who would happily keep them in poverty through excessive and crushing interest rates.”[1] The term “usury” has come to mean, not just loaning with interest, but rather, loaning with exorbitant interest. Undeniably, some interest rates are usurious, as is clear from the ruinous and binding effect they have on the lives of many poor.

"Currently the worst manifestation of unjust lending in the United States is the ‘payday’ loan, which is specifically designed to keep people in debt; with interest rates up to 400 percent, these companies amass profits in the amount of approximately $4.2 billion annually, intentionally creating financially desperate circumstances for individuals and their families."[2]
Yet other kinds of interest, such as that gained in savings accounts, seem to do no one any harm. Nonetheless, according to scripture and the tradition of the early Church, any interest rate is usurious. Furthermore, not only were the lives and well-being of the poor at stake, so also was the salvation of the lenders because usury was considered a grievous sin.

[1] Ihssen, Brenda. “‘That which has been wrung from tears’: Usury, the Greek Fathers, and Catholic Social Teaching.” Reading Patristic Texts on Social Ethics. Ed. Johan Leemans et al. Washington D.C.: Catholic University of America Press, 2011. 125.

[2] Ibid.

Biblical and Patristic Foundations of Catholic Social Teaching on Usury

The early Christian uncompromising rejection of usury in all its forms had its earliest origin in the scriptures. To this day, “a primary source for Catholic social ethics is the social teaching of the Bible.”[1] In the Hebrew Bible, each part of the Tanakh – the Torah, the Prophets, and the Writings – contain prohibitions against usury. From the Torah, Leviticus directly proscribes the practice: “You shall not lend him your money at interest” (25:37). Among the Prophets, the Lord said to the prophet Ezekiel: “If a man is righteous and does what is lawful and right... [he] does not lend at interest or take any increase” (18:5, 8). From the Writings, Psalm 15 celebrates the one “who walks blamelessly, and does what is right, and speaks truth from his heart” in part as one “who does not put out his money at interest” (15:2, 5). In the New Testament, Jesus maintained and even intensified this teaching. He taught, And if you lend to those from whom you hope to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to receive as much again. But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return (Luke 6:35).

Jesus is saying that not only should people lend without taking interest, but they should also lend even to their enemies from whom they may not even receive back the principal. Jesus wants his followers to give freely to all who have need.

The early fathers of the Church take the teaching of Jesus and the scripture to heart. They seek to follow it literally and in all cases, though, of course, their constant condemnation of the practice of usury demonstrates that the practice went on in full force throughout the patristic period. Sometimes the fathers strongly appealed to the authority of scripture, as with Clement of Alexandria (c. 195), who wrote, “Let it suffice to remark that the Law prohibits a brother from taking usury.”[2] Yet, he also has more developed reasons for his disapproval of usury. He deems it “right not to take usury for money” because he recognizes that it is better “with open hands and heart to bestow on those who need.”[3] If one needs a loan, a gift would serve him still better, and serving others is what Christ means his followers to do. The command against usury, says Clement, is “marked by philanthropy” and concern for the poor.[4]

Yet not even the notion of using interest for charity would persuade Commodianus (c. 250) that usury could be permissible. Concerning this, he writes, You have lent on usury, taking twenty-four percent, yet now you wish to bestow charity that you may purge yourself, as being evil, with that which is evil. The Almighty absolutely rejects such works as these. You have given that which has been wrung from tears.”[5]

This passage is interesting. On the one hand, its rejection of usury is absolute. On the other, it describes usury with specificity: “twenty-four percent.” Could this mean that a more moderate interest rate would not be usurious? If so, this would place him against the general opinion of the fathers. “For the Greek Fathers, however…, any percentage above the amount loaned was usury, and usury was equally foul regardless of the percentage of interest.”[6] They regarded it as a kind of theft, always born of avarice. They thought of it as the sale of nothing, a fraud, an abuse. They did not consider the time and risk of the lender as having any value that the borrower could justifiably have to pay for.

Just as petty theft is still theft and still a sin, so low-interest was still a sin even if its consequences were bearable by all concerned. Commodianus, however, decries usury precisely for its evil consequences. He says it is “wrung from tears.” For Commodianus, then, would an interest rate that did no harm and deprived no one of need be usurious? It seems that, primarily, usury is evil primarily for the harm that it does to the poor.

It is clear that the Old and New Testaments and, in continuity with these scriptures, the fathers of the early Church forbade usury absolutely as a social evil against the poor. In the context of discussing the special concern in the Hebrew prophetic books for the poor and those cut off from familial support structures, Curran, in Catholic Social Teaching 1891-Present, writes, “Usury or interest-taking on loans was forbidden, at least in the community”[7] Usury, as discussed above, unjustly afflicted the poor.

This is Curran’s only comment on usury in this book, which, after all, deals not primarily with scripture or Christian antiquity, but with the present and the more recent past. Perhaps it is partly possible to gauge the perceived importance of this issue in contemporary Catholic social thought by looking at the lack of attention paid to it – except as a historical issue – by contemporary Catholic ethicists. Thomas Massaro actually lists interest taking on loans as one of the “economic questions about which the Church has chosen to remain silent.”[8] Specifically, Massaro states, “the Church has chosen to remain silent” on “the proper… interest rates on federal college loans.” Note that his question is not whether or not such interest rates are permissible at all. That seems to be a settled question in contemporary social ethics – but when was it settled and how? Is usury no longer an important issue of social justice?

[1] Charles E. Curran. Catholic Social Teaching 1891-Present. Washington D.C.: Georgetown University Press,   2002. 2.
[2] Clement of Alexandria. “The Stromata.”Ante-Nicene Fathers. Ed. Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson. Vol. 2. Peabody: Hendrickson Publishers, 1885. 366.
[3] Ibid.
[4] Ibid.
[5] Commodianus. “The Instructions of Commodianus.”Ante-Nicene Fathers. Ed. Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson. Vol. 4. Peabody: Hendrickson Publishers, 1885. 216.
[6] Ihssen, Brenda. “‘That which has been wrung from tears’: Usury, the Greek Fathers, and Catholic Social Teaching.” Reading Patristic Texts on Social Ethics. Ed. Johan Leemans et al. Washington D.C.: Catholic University of America Press, 2011. 128
[7] Curran, 2.
[8] Massaro, Thomas. Living Justice. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc., 2012. 124.

Usury in the Catholic Social Documents

Massaro's statement ending the last post is a comment on John Paul II's 1987 encyclical Sollicitudo Rei Socialis (SRS), which states that "the Church does not have technical solutions to offer" and that "the Church does not propose economic… systems or programs, nor does she show preference for one or the other, provided that human dignity is properly respected and promoted."[1] This proviso keeps the Church in the discussion on usury. While it is true that the economic situations of contemporary life are scarcely comparable to those of Christian antiquity, and that thus it is improper to follow unilaterally the economic and social prescriptions of antiquity in the present context, it is also true that the Church's concern for human dignity and her concern for the welfare of the poor remains. Consequently, while some interest rates on loans may now be permissible, usurious interest rates are not. The meaning of "usury" now requires nuance.

In his landmark 1891 encyclical on social justice, Rerum Novarum (RN), Pope Leo XIII demonstrates an awareness of the constant teaching of the Church in condemnation of usury. He writes that "rapacious usury" has increased the evil of "misery and wretchedness, [which] press so heavily at this moment on the large majority of the very poor."[2] Such usury, he writes, "although more than once condemned by the Church, is nevertheless, under a different form but with the same guilt, still practiced by avaricious and grasping men."[2] Leo XIII acknowledges that the Church has repeatedly condemned usury and he repeats that condemnation for the same reasons. However, he introduces a descriptor perhaps previously unnecessary – "rapacious." To condemn "rapacious usury" is perhaps to indicate that there may be usury that is not "rapacious." Perhaps, given new economic conditions, there could be interest rates on loans that are not motivated by greed or excess.

Leo XIII gives a clearer idea later on in the encyclical about what he might mean by rapacious usury: "The rich must religiously refrain from cutting down the workman's earnings… by usurious dealing."[3] In this paragraph, he lays down the principle that makes usury evil. He writes, "To make one's profit out of the need of another, is condemned by all laws, human and divine."[3] He makes clear that rich employers must refrain from "usurious dealing" against their poor workers "because the poor man is weak and unprotected, and because his slender means should be sacred in proportion to their scantiness."[3] Usury, then, is an evil because it deprives the poor of even the little they have earned – thus keeping them poor and beholden to their creditors. The poor must be given aid and opportunity to overcome their poverty, not loans designed to keep them bereft even of the little they could otherwise accumulate. The Church always opposed usury due to its tendency to oppress the poor.

Forty years after Rerum Novarum, Pius XI demonstrates an understanding of the grave importance of lending practices and the effect they can have on the whole of society. In 1931, he writes in Quadragesimo Anno (QA),

"In our days…immense power and despotic economic domination is concentrated in the hands of a few…. This power becomes particularly irresistible when exercised by those who, because they hold and control money, are able also to govern credit and determine its allotment,[4] for that reason supplying, so to speak, the life-blood to the entire economic body, and grasping, as it were, in their hands the very soul of the economy, so that no one dare breathe against their will."[5]  Those who determine who may receive loans and at what interest rates, however ruinous, have far too much power over the poor. This is especially so given that those most likely to attain to such high positions may tend to be precisely those least likely to demonstrate compassion for others. "Unrestrained free competition… permits the survival of those only who are strongest. This often means those who fight most relentlessly, who pay least heed to the dictates of conscience."[6] If these "strongest" are the people to whom regulation of interest rates is given, those who are "weakest" – the poor – have much to fear. It is necessary to ensure that those with the needs of the poor foremost in mind are those who determine interest rates.

 With concern for the poor, Pope John XXIII, in his encyclical of 1961, Mater et Magistra (MM), continued the Church's teaching on usury by repeatedly emphasized the role of government in regulating credit, along with many other economic issues, with the ultimate goal of overcoming gross economic inequalities.

Pope Paul VI, with his 1967 encyclical Populorum Progressio (PP), may have been the first Church authority to every actually recommend loans as a means of helping the poor. Loans are one of many means of working toward "building a world where every man… can live a fully human life, freed from servitude."[7] Just as it is clear that usury can be a means of causing servitude, so does Paul VI now recognize that loans with low interest can actually be an aid toward climbing out of a position of servitude. Speaking specifically about the benefits of wealthy nations lending money to developing countries, he writes, "Rates of interest and time for repayment of the loan could be so arranged as not to be too great a burden on either party, taking into account free gifts, interest-free or low-interest loans, and the time needed for liquidating the debts."[8] He recommends as means of aid firstly, "free gifts," secondly, "interest-free… loans," and only lastly, "low-interest loans." The preference for absolute giving in charity remains. However, it is nonetheless remarkable for a pope to refer positively to low-interest loans when the fathers of the Church regarded interest of any kind as a grave sin.

Usury – in the sense of high-interest loans – remains a problem to this day. The comparatively recent (1986) USCCB document of the, Economic Justice for All (EJA) found it necessary to observe injustices taking place due to high interest rates. For example, "persistent high interest rates that make it difficult to repay or refinance loans" for many farmers experiencing various economic problems in the 1980s.[9] These "otherwise viable family farms… are threatened with bankruptcy or foreclosure."[10] The USCCB recommends a policy of "reduced rates of interest and programs of debt restructuring" to correct this injustice.[10] In other words, those in a position to do so should alleviate the suffering of those laboring under usurious interest rates.

The USCCB also recognizes, however, the possibility of offering low-interest loans as a means of aiding the poor. Echoing Populorum Progression, Economic Justice for All specifically recommends that industrialized nations provide assistance to Third World nations in the form of "low-interest/long term loans."[11] However, it first recommends not loans but "grants." A gift remains the primary recommendation, though now bishops of the Church are comfortable recommending moderate interest rates as a means of assistance to the poor, whereas long ago any interest rate would have been considered theft. A principle for the rich to keep in mind when they lend to the poor is to offer the loan not for their own profit or gain primarily, but for the good of the poor to whom they lend.

[1] SRS 41; Catholic Social Thought: A Documentary Heritage (CST). Ed. David J. O’Brien and Thomas A. Shannon. Maryknoll: Orbis Books, 2012. 455. emphasis mine.
[2] RN 2; CST 15.
[3] RN 17; CST 21.
[4] The phrase, “determine its allotment,” is elsewhere translated, “rule the lending of money.”
[5] QA 105-106; CST 67.
[6] QA 107; CST 67.
[7] PP 47; CST 264.
[8] PP 54; CST 266.
[9] EJA 223; CST 749.
[10] EJA 242; CST 753.
[11] EJA 265.

An Eastern Christian Perspective on Usury

Contemporary Eastern Christian commentators on usury are few. One important Eastern Christian thinker on this subject, however, is Metropolitan Hierotheos Vlachos of Nafpaktos and Agios Vlasios, who is probably most famous for his book Orthodox Psychotherapy. In his essay, "Interest, Usury, Capitalism," Vlachos provides a nuanced perspective on usury that is substantially in harmony with the contemporary Catholic understandings of the subject discussed in the last post. Concerned to demonstrate continuity with the Hellenic fathers on this subject, he condemns usury in the strongest possible language. However, he also provides an understanding of usury that does not include every instance of interest taking. He acknowledges some exceptions.

For example, he writes, "In certain cases like acquiring a house, one can say that loans are beneficial." Housing is a legitimate need and if a loan provides for this need without harming anyone, then it is worthwhile. He continues, "In these cases, a fair society can be of help to those in need – without of course causing damage to those who aren't." Should the lender violate that principle by charging usurious rates of interest, the loan would be impermissible. If the rates are not usurious, however, and "if this is put into effect in a legal and fair manner, then it can function along the principle of brotherly love." Even balanced and measured benefits for the banks are legitimate, he writes, so long as they do not impede the freedom of the borrower.

A second exception he brings up is the use of savings accounts. He writes, According to contemporary reality, the hoarding of money in Banks is considered a necessity and interest is something fair and legitimate. No one can deny such a logical possibility, especially for householders. However, people can use something as seemingly innocuous as a savings account immorally, Vlachos maintains. What principally matters is the intention. If the account exists to provide for need, then it is a good. If, however, it exists to provide for the passions, then it is an evil. Vlachos writes, The crucial matter is that when bank savings are seen in the context of the passion of acquisition and avarice, and more so when charity and philanthropy are withheld and Man's hopes now hinge on money and his faith in God's Providence is cast out, then this cannot be justified by ecclesiastic morality.

As noted above, Vlachos condemns usury with the strongest possible language: "We must stigmatize and cauterize usurers who exploit the anguish of their fellow-man and who remain unemotional in the presence of their misfortune.” Vlachos does not understand usury to be avoided simply by mutual agreement or mutual benefit. Rather, taking interest may only be justified as a means of providing for legitimate needs – not as a way of providing for unnecessary pleasures or comforts. For, in the service of these ends, it deprives one of opportunities for charity and philanthropy. He writes, "When lending is linked to hedonism, easy living, bliss, the quest for wealth etc., then it cannot be acceptable." There is a tendency, particularly in American society with its highly inflated luxurious standards of living, to regard pleasures as needs and comforts as requirements. Condemning this capitalist attitude, Vlachos writes, "We should not increase our "needs." We should not strive to live opulently; that way, we will not be forced to borrow money, because that is the way we will lose our freedom."

As a means of avoiding the subjugation consequent to the multiplication of perceived "needs," Vlachos recommends two things. Firstly, he recommends frugality and "the ascetic lifestyle, which also involves avoiding luxury and bliss." Secondly, he recommends generosity and a reasonable detachment from our possessions. He writes, "Those who have money should practice philanthropy and provide interest-free loans to those who are in need of money for coping with the hardships of their life." Therefore, while lending with interest is at times morally permissible, this does not absolve the wealthy from the moral obligation to lend without interest in ways that will benefit the poor, which Jesus commands (Luke 6:35).

As with the Catholic understanding, Vlachos sees need or poverty as the barometer of determining whether an instance of lending with interest is usurious. If a particular loan results in providing for genuine needs all around and avoids the stain of avarice then it may indeed be justifiable. A principle for the rich to keep in mind when they lend to the poor is to offer the loan not for their own profit or gain primarily, but for the good of the poor to whom they lend. Should the wealthy loan with subjugating interest – as still happens today – it remains a moral crime.

A Contemporary Pastoral Approach to Usury

Whereas in former eras it may have been usual for confessors to hear anxiety about any small interest taken on a loan, in the present era they are not likely to hear any concern over it at all. If usury of any kind is a sin, it is news to most of the faithful. Consciences  are often ill formed on the subject - or not formed at all. Many Catholics have swallowed completely the assumption of capitalist economies that the endless pursuit of gain is worthwhile and permissible. Money and possessions – once widely regarded by Christians as dangers to the well-being of the soul, temptations to avarice, and as obstacles to relationship with God (cf. Matt 6:24; Luke 16:9-13) – many now regard instead as signs of God's blessing. This is an interesting cultural and theological change. It may be time for pastors to address this issue, so dear to the consciences of the early Christians, with those entrusted to their care.

The changes that the social teaching on usury has undergone compound the problem of teaching effectively on proper lending practices. The one constant has been concern for the welfare of the poor. The primary reason that some kinds of low-interest loans are permissible is because, in the current economic system, these can actually help the poor directly, rather than hindering or enslaving them. Other high-interest loans practiced in this economy remain usurious – even sinful in their oppression of the poor – and pastors should again condemn these practices forcefully. Radically, loans should exist primarily for the benefit of the borrower, not the lender. The Church must constantly seek economic justice and condemn economic injustice on behalf of the poor. In the present economic situation, that may no longer mean a unilateral condemnation of all kinds of interest taking, but it must still mean condemning usurious interest. [End quote from John R.P. Russell]


Mr. Russell wrote: "Pope Paul VI, with his 1967 encyclical Populorum Progressio (PP), may have been the first Church authority to ever actually recommend loans as a means of helping the poor.”

The first pope to "actually recommend loans [at interest] as a means of supposedly helping the poor, was Leo X, who, in 1515, granted permission for the establishment of so-called “charity banks” (Monte di pieta), the first of many gradual encroachments on the Biblical, apostolic, patristic, conciliar and papal dogma against usury.

Another statement by Mr. Russell: "The primary reason that some kinds of low-interest loans are permissible is because, in the current economic system, these can actually help the poor directly, rather than hindering or enslaving them. Other high-interest loans practiced in this economy remain usurious – even sinful in their oppression of the poor – and pastors should again condemn these practices forcefully. Radically, loans should exist primarily for the benefit of the borrower, not the lender. The Church must constantly seek economic justice and condemn economic injustice on behalf of the poor. In the present economic situation, that may no longer mean a unilateral condemnation of all kinds of interest taking, but it must still mean condemning usurious interest.”

Perhaps you do not realize the extent to which what you are advocating here is a branch of situation ethics. You have used the situation of modernity to claim that the eternal law against interest on loans of money may be abrogated for the sake of present circumstances ("the current economic system”), allowing, in your view, for what you call non-predatory loans that allegedly help the poor.

But if you are going to revise divine law in this matter of loans, what keeps you or any other Christian from declaring other revisions based on the ethics of the moment? For example, it can be said that in the modern world where community and friendship have atrophied and individuals are more isolated than ever, that the evangelical virtue of poverty is no longer recommended since people need to be affluent in order to supply basic needs formerly supplied by the community and a network of friends. Home insurance must be afforded and purchased, often at high rates, to compensate for the fact that if your house burns, no neighbors or community will come to rebuild it themselves.

By this reasoning all sorts of loopholes can be created in what God intended as the eternal law. Where does it end? It can only end at the point where we rescind the very first loophole we ever created in any dogma, and all subsequent escape clauses.

Once temporal chauvinism comes into play, and the zeitgeist becomes any kind of factor in determining our allegiance to, or rejection of, God’s truth, every other divine command and dogma is up for grabs, from birth control to the laws against homosexual eros and “matrimony.”


Sunday, July 14, 2013

Letter from Richard

On Jul 14, 2013, at 6:54, Richard  wrote:

Dear Michael,

Have you ever seen the wonderful film "Shakespeare in Love" (1998)? It may be too Hollywoodish filth for your taste, but I have to admit to really loving the movie.

Kit Marlowe is killed in a knife fight in the film, which does not seem plausible, your explanation sounds more likely!

Why do you think the secret police killed him? His exposing of usury?

All the best,


Tokyo, Japan

Dear Richard

Christopher Marlowe was killed by a knife, but it wasn't a fight. British secret agent Ingram Frazer stabbed him through the eye as a symbol of Marlowe having "seen too much."

In Marlowe's scathing play Tamerlane the protagonist is a thinly disguised stand-in for Queen Elizabeth I, who Marlowe was exposing as an Oriental type of despot. He also forced her hand in the Dr. Lopez affair, wherein she had been harboring a cabal of Sephardic Judaics in London as a beachhead for an influx of Judaic occultists. Marlowe had the courage to call her out on it and she had no way to extricate herself but to have Lopez executed on phony charges of having tried to poison her.

In the usual pattern, after Marlowe was assassinated his reputation was blackened ("atheist homo") and the trail of his assassins almost hopelessly muddled. Almost.

I have tons of arcana on Bad Queen Bess and her regime (which wasn't quite hers, as I alluded to yesterday in the note to Bernard). But I despair at ever finding the time to do the Elizabethan book I have been planning for 20 years...  Ce'est la vie, mon ami.

Michael Hoffman


Israeli P.M. Binyamin Netanyahu claims Iran building missiles to strike the USA

Source: Chemi Shalev | Jul.14, 2013 | Haaretz
Your padded cell awaits you, Bibi

Michael Hoffman • www.revisionisthistory.org

On CBS News, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu warned Americans that Iran is, according to him, developing intercontinental ballistic missiles – ICBMs – that are capable of reaching “the American mainland.”

“It’s to reach you, not us,” he claimed. “They don’t need them to reach us.”

After retailing that whopper, the self-appointed policeman of the world also declared that Iran “would be sorely mistaken if they think that Israel will let them make an atomic bomb."

Who was it that let Israelis make an atomic bomb?

Why doesn't Iran have the same prerogative?

Bibi says it's because Iran is a "messianic apocalyptic regime," and that's why he has decided that the sovereign nation of Iran cannot have nukes.

But we reply: is not "Israel" a messianic apocalyptic regime?

How then is it allowed to have nuclear weapons of mass destruction?

For the answer to that one, read the Talmud.


Saturday, July 13, 2013

A letter from Bernard

On Jul 13, 2013, at 5:20, Bernard wrote:
Buongiorno Mr. Hoffman,
I enjoyed reading your recent Revisionist History newsletter No. 67 on the great Italian Dante, and your deconstruction of the Dan Brown book. It is telling that Brown completely omits usury from his book.
If you have not read it, I would highly recommend to you Christopher Marlowe's play The Jew of Malta (formally, The Famous Tragedy of the Rich Jew of Malta).  The play was written in 1589, and was performed with great popularity in the London until 1642. The central character, the miser Barabas, operates a counting house in Malta (much like Tom Walker in "The Devil and Tom Walker").  Although written over 400 years ago, the play foreshadows many of today's evils. In fact, with the full ascendancy of usury and the money power, it might fairly be said that New York and London today amount to little more than two massive counting houses.
I also enjoyed the newsletter’s "War on Reality" piece which discusses Plato's cave and creation of false reality.  Webster Tarpley's excellent book 9/11 Synthetic Terror Made in the USA (5th Edition), in chapter XIII entitled “The 9/11 Myth: Collective Schizophrenia", also discusses Plato's cave as it applies to Americans' inability to see the reality of  9/11.  
PS. You should not be concerned that Pat Buchanan's “American Conservative” magazine would not accept the advertisement for your excellent book. As a long-time Washington insider, he too apparently cannot come to terms with the reality of the 9/11 false flag. Inroads are being made in DC  however – Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth are now running taxi top advertisements there.

Dear Bernard

Thank you for your letter.

I am long time fan of Kit Marlowe, and I believe he was killed by the fledgling English Secret Service. Some day I hope to write a book on Elizabeth I, her regime and the actual hidden king of England behind her throne.

As for Pat Buchanan, I don't necessarily make my own belief that the US government used controlled demolition to bring down the buildings in New York on 11 Sept., a litmus test of fellowship or even one's lucidity. 

But timidity that breeds censorship of a book (Usury in Christendom) that doesn't even have anything seriously negative to say about Judaics or Judaism, but plenty to say concerning filthy gentile usury -- that is prima facie evidence of a magazine (The American Conservative) being not what it says it is in its monthly preachments. They figured the Zionists can hurt them more than my supporters can, and they played their poker chips on that basis. But for me this battle is not a game.

Best wishes,
Michael Hoffman


Monday, July 08, 2013

Only uncensored Babylonian Talmud in English may be complete in a few years

By Michael Hoffman

If the Koren translation of Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz's Babylonian Talmud is as faithful to his text as was the Random House edition, and if all Steinsaltz volumes are printed, this will represent a milestone in the history of the publication of the Babylonian Talmud - the first complete edition in English which has not been redacted.

A little more than half way through the project, Random House stopped publication of the uncensored Steinsaltz Talmud after printing 21 volumes and a "reference guide," for reasons never fully explained. A set of those 21 Random House Steinsaltz volumes have commanded relatively high prices on the rare book market, when they can be located.

One reason for pressure perhaps being brought to bear on Random House may have been Steinsaltz's unprecedented candor.

Unlike the Schottenstein edition which is basically a whitewash, or the Soncino, which confines controversial passages to footnotes, Steinsaltz candidly translated the most revealing and troubling Talmud Bavli passages which, heretofore, had been concealed from gentiles, as well as those Judaics who did not read Aramaic and the middle Hebrew jargon in which the Babylonian Talmud is written.

Caveat: this Koren edition is not a reprint of the superb Random House translation. The 2012-2013 Koren edition of Steinsaltz represents a new English translation, and may or may not constitute a strictly uncensored rendering of Steinsaltz's Israeli Hebrew edition. It remains to be seen how faithful Koren will be to the Random House translation (we will exercise due diligence in comparing the two as the Koren volumes appear).

From our preliminary examination of the first five inaugural volumes, it appears that the Koren edition has not been censored. We began our analysis by turning to sensitive passages in tractate Berakhot. We started by examining the portions pertaining to the halachos of niddah (the vertiginously oppressive laws on menstruation), and the permission for the use of lies and deception — "circumventions by artifice" (Berakhot 31a [p. 205]). In these cases there was no evidence of redaction. However, we have not yet read the entire set (approximately 25 volumes yet to be printed), consequently our initial enthusiasm is, at this point, necessarily conditioned by the fact that we will need to examine the entire printing before we can say for certain that the Koren English version is faithful to Rabbi Steinsaltz's modern Hebrew version.

Our hope is that the Koren edition both accurately translates Steinsaltz and gives us the Steinsaltz Talmud tractates never published by Random House, in which case the Koren Talmud Bavli will represent a true landmark in the study of the Torah SheBeal Peh in English.

Hoffman is the author of the 1100 page textbook, Judaism Discovered, available on the Amazon Kindle.

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

"Why does America want all of the Christians out of the Middle East?"

Today’s column is dedicated to the memory of Rev. Fr. Francois Murad

A question that ought to be asked in Congress and in pulpits across the USA:
"Why does America want all of the Christians out of the Middle East?”
--Hussam Azar, Syrian Christian leader

The Convent of Our Lady of Sednaya, one of the most venerated sites in the Orthodox Christian world, has recently been under mortar attack from US-backed Syrian rebels.

The US invasion of Iraq led to the persecution, murder and extrusion of a considerable segment of Iraq’s Christian population. Coincidence? 
"The Christians of Sednaya, Syria are only too aware of what happened to the ancient Christian community of neighboring Iraq, where, after the U.S.-led invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein in 2003, Islamic militants unleashed a reign of terror against Christians, bombing churches, burning shops and assassinating community leaders. Much of Iraq's Christian population fled, many to Syria..."
Now the US is arming and training Sunni rebels in Syria who despise Christians and Christianity. Coincidence?

 A rebel overthrow of the Syrian government will lead to the murder and extrusion of the Christian population of Syria. 

The Sunni rebel threat to the existence of Syria’s Christians does not appear to be much of a hot-button issue for well-fed and cozy Protestants and Catholics in America, or their “Christian” representatives in Congress. The corporate media have paid little attention (with a few honorable exceptions such as the report below by  Patrick J. McDonnell). After all, the Syrians, in the eyes of “our” media are only goyim, destined, thanks to American taxpayers, to trod the path of extinction, as in Iraq. If this was a Judaic population threatened by Sunni Muslims, the hue and cry would resound throughout America. Why do we do little or nothing to save the lives of our brothers and sisters in Syria and the landmarks of our Faith in one of the oldest Christian nations on earth?  — Michael Hoffman

Two Syria shrine towns: Worlds apart yet united in battle
By Patrick J. McDonnell 
(Excerpt) Los Angeles Times • June 29, 2013

SEDNAYA, Syria — This prosperous hillside town north of Damascus appears a universe away from another capital suburb, Sayyida Zainab, a cluttered, frenzied urban patch off the road to the international airport. Sednaya is a Christian mountain bastion ringed by monasteries; Sayyida Zainab is a lowland Shiite Muslim island in the midst of a largely Sunni Muslim nation. But, in war-ravaged Syria, the two are in a similar position: Both are renowned shrine towns whose residents say they live under constant threat of attack — even annihilation — by Islamist Sunni rebels active in the outskirts of each locale.

And both are fighting back.

Here in Sednaya, a cadre of Christian militiamen armed with AK-47 rifles and other weapons staff checkpoints and closely scrutinize everyone who comes and goes, day and night, coordinating closely with the Syrian military. The militia chief is a burly pizza shop owner who goes by the moniker "the Whale.” 

About 12 miles away, on the southeast fringes of the capital, Shiite militiamen, including a contingent of fighters from the Lebanon-based Hezbollah movement, head the defense of the golden-domed shrine said to house the remains of a granddaughter of the prophet Muhammad. "We will forfeit our blood and lives for Sayyida Zainab," says a brown-uniformed volunteer manning the checkpoint leading to the mausoleum, one of the most revered sites in the Shiite world. From their bases in Turkey and Egypt, representatives of the U.S.-backed opposition coalition frequently proclaim that the mostly Sunni rebels fighting to oust President Bashar Assad do not target Syria's Christian and Shiite minorities or their religious symbols. Several Christians are prominent in the exile-based leadership.

But reports of rebel sectarian onslaughts are mounting. According to both pro-opposition and government reports, rebels this month targeted an isolated Shiite community in the eastern Syrian town of Hatla, where dozens of civilians were reported killed, their homes burned and a Shiite shrine destroyed. Near Sednaya, in the insurgent stronghold of Adra, rebels this year dug up the remains of a revered Shiite figure, Hujr ibn Adi, a companion of Muhammad, and destroyed his shrine, long a pilgrimage site. The desecration unleashed a furor in Shiite communities across the globe.

In Qusair, the Roman Catholic Church of St. Elias was defaced during a more than yearlong rebel occupation of the town near the Lebanese border. During a recent visit, a reporter saw vandalized images of saints and Christ and graffiti scrawled on church walls berating "infidels.”

Residents of minority communities, such as the Christians of Sednaya, predict that eviction or death will be their fate if they do not resist now. They don't buy the talk about democracy coming from Washington and other foreign capitals that support the rebels"If the terrorists come here, none of us will be left alive," says Hussam Azar, a.k.a. the Whale, who heads the self-defense effort here. "They will kill us all."

An epidemic of kidnappings has already traumatized Syria's Christian community, which is less than 10% of the population. Two Christian bishops remain missing since being abducted in April while driving in rebel territory near Aleppo. Last week, a Catholic priest, Francois Murad, was slain in northern Syria when Islamic militants attacked the monastery where he was staying, according to Agenzia Fides, the Vatican news agency.

Though the opposition demonizes Assad as a killer, residents here and in other minority communities often view the embattled president and his army — complemented by a growing contingent of loyalist militiamen — as the last bulwark preventing so-called sectarian cleansing.

The Christians of Sednaya are only too aware of what happened to the ancient Christian community of neighboring Iraq, where, after the U.S.-led invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein in 2003, Islamic militants unleashed a reign of terror against Christians, bombing churches, burning shops and assassinating community leaders. Much of Iraq's Christian population fled, many to Syria, then still a beacon of stability and relative religious tolerance.

"The Christians of Iraq ran away," says Azar, sipping espresso in his restaurant. "But Syria's Christians are not running away anywhere. We are fighting.”

Up the hill from the town sits the sublime Byzantine-era Convent of Our Lady of Sednaya, one of the most venerated sites in the Orthodox world, a historic pilgrimage site for solitary monks...Before the warfare, Christians and Muslims alike regularly arrived on bus tours to visit the convent, credited in Orthodox tradition with providing miraculous healing. In an inner sanctum where the walls are covered with images of Christ, Mary and saints, is stored an icon of the Holy Mother and child that is said to safeguard the convent. "We have survived many wars," says a black-robed nun showing now-rare visitors around the hushed corridors. "God protects us."

...Residents say Sednaya has often been targeted by rebel mortars from nearby villages, occasionally causing casualties. In one instance, residents say, a rebel mortar shell hit the wall of the convent but failed to explode, leaving only a small hole. Residents say the mortar attacks and abductions triggered the formation of a self-defense force, which has received weapons and training from the Syrian military, like similar loyalist militias elsewhere in Syria. Militiamen also vow to protect the convent. Many Syrian Christians here and elsewhere in the country are perplexed that the West has taken the side of the rebels, a position that has prompted no end of conspiracy theories in a nation steeped in dark speculation about the motivations of outside powers.

"I have a question for you," Azar asks a visiting U.S. reporter. "Why does America want all the Christians out of the Middle East?” 

(End quote; emphasis supplied; read more at the Los Angeles Times).
Special correspondent Nabih Bulos contributed to this report.


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