301) America’s Imperial Religion

How can anyone miss the religious legacy of Roman culture in Christianity?

The Pantheon, which means “temple of every god”, has been in continuous use throughout its history. Built during the reign of Augustus Caesar, it was converted to a Christian church in the 7th century. To this day, English and American Christian church buildings around the world are modeled after classic Greco-Roman temples.

What is this telling us?

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It is indisputable that the classic pagan religion of the Roman, empire that has moved over the two millennia from Rome, to Constantinople, to European capitals, is now settled in… Washington.

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The Apotheosis of Washington – literally, the deification (or god-making) of George Washington. The fresco depicts Washington as Zeus on a throne in heaven surrounded by various gods and goddesses from classical mythology. Painted on the ceiling of the dome of the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. during the Civil War by Vatican artist Constantino Brumidi.

The similarities between pagan idols and monuments to our national leaders cannot be coincidental. Do you really think Satan is just sitting out history on the sidelines? Wouldn’t we expect him to be wherever the greatest power is concentrated?

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lincoln2band2bzeusBoth statues of Washington and Lincoln were deliberately modeled after Zeus, with Washington’s entitled “Enthroned Washington” and Lincoln’s placed in a monument expressly modeled after one of Zeus’ temples and defined as a temple on the plaque above Lincoln’s head. The timing and association of these images of Zeus is no accident of history.

And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write…I know thy works, and where thou dwellest, even where Satan’s seat is...where Satan dwelleth. But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication.” (Revelation 2:12-14)

Asklepion is an ancient healing complex located at the base of the Pergamon acropolis in Turkey built in honour of Asklepios, god of healing…The site…was founded in the 4 th Century BC around a sacred spring that still flows…it became one of the best-known healing centres of the ancient world, second in importance only to Epidaurus in Greece and was also the world’s first psychiatric hospital…

According to ancient myth, the god Asklepios had the power to raise people from the dead and he himself was restored to life by Zeus: for this reason he was thought to also have a snake form.  Tame snakes were kept in his temples…

Treatments included psychotherapy, massage, herbal remedies, mud and bathing treatments, surgeries and the drinking of water, which were prescribed according to what dreams the patient had experienced – it was believed that dreams recounted a visit by the god Asklepios, who held the key to curing all illness.

Following the political transfer of power, the religious seat of Satan’s dynasty moved West from Babylon to Pergamon at the Roman Altar of Zeus.

The greatest example of Hellenistic Greek sculpture, the colossal Altar of Zeus at Pergamonis a monumental work built…about 166 to 156 BCE. The altar is adorned with a 370-foot long marble frieze which depicts the Gigantomachy from Greek mythology. Like the Parthenon in Athens – another icon of classical antiquity – the Zeus Altar was constructed on a terrace of the acropolis overlooking the ancient city of Pergamon…in Asia Minor. However, unlike the Parthenon, it was not a temple but merely an altar…achieving excitement, wild movement and strong feeling…9-foot high frieze is alive with huge figures of gods and giants locked in mortal combat…carved in such high relief that they were almost detached from the background…portray the mythical victory of Zeus and the Gods over the Giants…All that remains of this extraordinary work of art – arguably the greatest narrative relief in the history of sculpture – is part of the Berlin Collection of Classical Antiquities, and can be seen at the Pergamon Museum, Staatliche Museen, Berlin.

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It provided the model for Hitler’s Zeppelin tribune, the megalithic grandstand for Nazi political rallies raising to power the man who took the reigns of power from the Kaiser.

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I assume we don’t have a problem following a trail that leads from Zeus’ seat at Pergamon to Berlin and connects Satan to Hitler. Are we willing to keep following the trail even if it leads to an admired political leader…or a city in our own country? If “Bible believers” really believe that Daniel’s fourth world empire, the Roman, stays in power until the Rock returns and destroys it, we should be able to see it even when it is hiding in plain sight.

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There is a direct parallel between writing amendments to the Constitutions that strengthened, through centralization, the power of the existing Republican governments in both Washington and Rome during

  • the American Civil War resulting from the wealthy plantation owners claiming to right to own slaves
  • and the Roman Conflict of the Orders resulting from the wealthy Roman aristocratic landowners claiming the right to enslave indebted plebeians.

The federal government grew enormously in power and prestige, particularly the office of the President. Abraham Lincoln’s assertion of the “war powers” of the President has been used (abused) consistently by his successors to spread American “democracy”. And which red-blooded American can argue against that most noble of objectives

A central theme of all recorded history has been the use or abuse of power — how it lurks in the shadows behind the professed idealism of politicians and the compelling reasons they expound when they bring their nations to war. Such words often cloak those who wield political power and redistribute it among themselves as a consequence of success or failure on the battlefield.

It is important in this discussion to emphasize the contrast between “rights” and “powers.” Ironically, many strong reservations about “powers” came from the Northern states during the [Constitutional] ratification debates. The Massachusetts legislature expressed a fear that the Constitution might be interpreted so as to extend the powers of Congress, and Rhode Island proposed a remarkable statement of states’ rights similar in sentiment to that used by Southern secessionists two generations later. Even New England politicians resorted to their rights and threatened secession if their demands were not met. Among the Southern states, the people of Virginia required that the powers granted the national government under the Constitution “be resumed by the states, whensoever the same shall be perverted to their injury or oppression.” Both Thomas Jefferson and James Madison believed that the states were “not united on the principle of unlimited submission to their general government” but reserved “each State to itself, the . . . right to their own self-government…”

  • However, the Union victory virtually eviscerated the 10th Amendment leaving the Federal (national) government with perhaps too much power. The idea of limited federal power was much older than the slavery debates of the nineteenth century and was recognized as an unresolved issue at the time. Would the united states, melted down into one nation, be practicable or consistent with freedom? Is it consistent with freedom today?

The phrase public diplomacy may not have become an official term in the popular press until World War I.But it was during the Civil War that deliberate, state-sponsored programs began attempting to influence the public mind abroad about American foreign policy.

The Civil War left an enormous imprint on the American consciousness in much the same way as World War I did on the European mindset...

During the Civil War almost the entire population of those who were of military age in both the South and North [bore arms].

The scales of the armies were enormous…in a single battle there might be 100,000 men on each side, and casualty rates ran as high as 20 to 25 percent. Cities were razed. Thousands of prisoners of war starved to death. And many were simply shot and left to die on the roadside…

The Cause of All Nations: an International History of the American Civil War…takes us through the trajectory of the intellectual and diplomatic international debate that continually evolved as each stage of the Civil War progressed…into a grander narrative about universal human freedom —and progressive enlightenment values—in a global context during the 19th century.

the public debate that was happening in Europe by prominent intellectuals of the daysaw the Civil War as far more than just internal strife between the Confederacy and the Union. They viewed it instead as an epic showdown between democracy and aristocracy. [Exactly like the founding of the Roman Republic.] It was a matter of free versus slave labour, where the winners would decide how the capitalist world would progress in tandem with modernity.

Before 1860 the United States had offered aspiring republicans around the globe a template for how a free, self-governing nation might live in peace and prosperity. And America…thus automatically became, in many European minds, a model country to aspire to when thinking about progressive ideas such as liberty, equality, and self-rule. And with the Civil War, the U.S. seemed to offer to the rest of the world a literal battle between those values and rights.

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And here is where Evangelicals are amazingly blind to reality. 

America has been invaded by an invisible army of millions who intend to destroy this nation.radical Islamic extremists have poured across our open borders and are waiting patiently for the hour of their unified attack, designed to bring chaos and governmental collapse…

America’s leaders will not admit that our enemies exist much less produce a plan to defeat them.

I am asking you this November, to head to the polls and vote a leader into office that will make a difference for our country. America needs some big changes in order to survive…

I would never have dreamed that I would be preaching a sermon series on “The Coming Fourth Reich,” teaching on the similarities between Hitler and our modern day existence…but here I am waving a red flag and saying as boldly as I know how…GET READY!

The United States is the invader of the Islamic States!!

In 1953, the Iranian coup d’état, engineered by the United States and the Western Bloc, set up Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi to rule in favor of Western interests against the Iraqi peoples’, leading to the arrest and exile of opposition leader Ayatollah Khomeini in 1964. By 1978, strikes and demonstrations paralyzed the country, and the Ayatollah returned to establish an Islamic state.

After decades of Western friendships and decadence, the corrupt Saudi regime needed to shore up respectability and acceptance by the people, so in 1962 the it established the Muslim World League to promote the spread of Islam. However, Islamic religious leaders are demanding much more – greater and more comprehensive implementation of Sharīʿah in Saudi society and breaking the monarchy’s ties with the West.

At this same time Prime Minister Qasim invited Mustafa Barzani to return to Iraq in return for his political support. When the politician reneged on his promise to grant freedom to his nation (haven’t we heard that before), Barzani began what became known as the “First” Kurdish Iraqi War lasting from 1961 until 1970. Throughout the 1960s, the uprising escalated into a long war during which 80% of the Iraqi army was engaged in combat with the Kurds.

Not to fear. Any potential trouble-making against the West was certainly prevented by The 33 Strategies of War such as “Make enemies work for you.”

As well as this one in the Taking Offensive section: “Find moral justifications for amoral behaviors.”

The Iraq War from 2003 to 2011 began with the invasion of Iraq by the United States–led Western coalition under false pretenses.

  • The Bush administration claimed that Iraq had a weapons of mass destruction (WMD) program, and that Iraq posed a threat to the United States and its allies. No stockpiles of WMDs or an active WMD program were ever found.
  • Some US officials falsely accused Saddam of harbouring and supporting the terrorist group al-Qaeda which was blamed for 9/11. In 2004, the 9/11 Commission said there was no evidence of an operational relationship between the Saddam Hussein regime and al-Qaeda.
  • The rationale for war faced heavy criticism both domestically and internationally.
    • Kofi Annan of the United Nations called the invasion illegal, under international law it violated the UN Charter.
    • The Chilcot Report, a British inquiry into its decision to go to war published in 2016 concluded that peaceful alternatives to war had not been exhausted,
    • that the United Kingdom and the United States had undermined the authority of the United Nations Security Council,
    • that the process of identifying the legal basis was “far from satisfactory”,
    • and that the war was unnecessary.

stirthepotIraq held multi-party elections in 2005…The al-Maliki government enacted policies that alienated the country’s previously dominant Sunni minority and worsened sectarian tensions, changing the invasion to an occupation.

The Iraq War caused

  • at least 100,000 civilian deaths,
  • as well as 10’s of 1,000’s of military deaths, the majority of which occurred as a result of the insurgency and civil conflicts in 3 years between 2004 and 2007.
  • Subsequently, the War in Iraq of 2013 to 2017, which is considered a domino effect of the invasion and occupation, caused at least 155,000 deaths,
  • in addition to the displacement more than 3.3 million people within the country.

I supported the Iraq War in 2003 because I believed the Bush administration’s case that Iraq was again actively seeking to acquire nuclear weapons…

Yet the goal in 2003 was bigger than denuclearization. Iraq’s Saddam Hussein was both oppressing his own subjects and menacing his neighbors. By replacing Saddam’s regime with a more humane and peaceful successor, the U.S. could set the Arab Middle East on a path to a better future—contributing to America’s own security after 9/11.

Inside the Bush administration, we thought we were ready to remake Iraq for the better—but we were not. We were ignorant, arrogant, and unprepared, and we unleashed human suffering that did no good for anyone: not for Americans, not for Iraqis, not for the region. Almost two decades later, the damage to America’s standing in the world from the Iraq War has still not been repaired, let alone that war’s economic and human costs to the United States and the Middle East.

In 2011, coincident with America’s exit from Iraq, The Arab Spring erupted as a series of pro-democracy uprisings  enveloping several largely Muslim countries, including Tunisia, Morocco, Syria, Libya, Egypt and Bahrain… The political and social impact of these popular uprisings remains significant today, years after many of them ended. Many of these protests tore down regimes, leading to instability that ended with violent civil wars.

The opportunity to seize power is tantalizing for many players. In the rush by America’s enemies to defend themselves against her current hegemony, WWIII is inevitable.

Who will dare lead the face off against American claims to world power? Dare? There are zealot-led armies begging to be let off the chain. To date it seems that the only thing that has kept any one of them from leaping to the top of the food chain is the incessant internecine warfare America has managed to keep in play.

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