it is to be of an humble spirit with the lowly, than to divide the
spoil with the proud.
With The Lowly
The second article below by Paul Craig Roberts, entitled “Hubris as the Evil Force in History”, does bring out some very interesting points and the role “hubris” plays in wars and conflicts, although we may not agree with every point .
Wikipedia, defines 'hubris' as “extreme pride or arrogance”. Hubris often indicates a loss of contact with reality and an overestimation of one's own competence or capabilities, especially when the person exhibiting it, is in a position of power.
The word was also used to describe actions of those who challenged the gods or their laws, especially in Greek tragedy, resulting in the protagonist's fall.
“Seest thou how God with his lightning smites always the bigger animals, and will not suffer them to wax insolent, while those of a lesser bulk chafe him not? How likewise his bolts fall ever on the highest houses and the tallest trees? So plainly does He love to bring down everything that exalts itself. Thus ofttimes a mighty host is discomfited by a few men, when God in his jealousy sends fear or storm from heaven, and they perish in a way unworthy of them. For God allows no one to have high thoughts but Himself.” Herodotus, Histories Book 7
Interestingly hubris or extreme pride was the reason behind Lucifer's fall and all the world has suffered since his fall. “Thy pomp is brought down to the grave. How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!
For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north:
I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.
Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.” Isaiah 14:11-15
This was the case from the beginning and carries right on through to the second coming of Jesus with the son of perdition, the anti-christ, the Devil incarnate, again being guilty of hubris, extreme pride, in his desire to be God. “That day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.(2 Thessalonians 2:3-4)
Just to once again reiterate God's position on the matter of hubris; "The fear of the LORD is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate." (Proverbs 8:13)
"Only by pride cometh contention (wars?).” (Proverbs 13:10)
We believe, one recent example that personifies this spirit of hubris took place near the closing of the recent Bilderberg conference in Virginia, in the United States. London Guardian writer, Charlie Skelton, shares this snippet he picked up while covering the Bilderberg conference in the US.
“I was helping a cop move a security cordon near some trees, when he lowered his voice and casually let slip: "We don't support Bilderberg, trust me." And there's what a hotel employee told me as he drove through the gates of the hotel. He lowered his window and beckoned me over. "I want you to know that they call you people 'cockroaches'. I work in the hotel and they asked me if those 'cockroaches' were still out there. They meant you."
God said "Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall. Better it is to be of an humble spirit with the lowly, than to divide the spoil with the proud.(Proverbs 16:18-19)
"In ancient Rome generals and emperors who had won a great victory
over one of Rome's enemies received on their return a triumphal
procession through the city's streets. In the procession were slaves
and captives, carts loaded with plunder, ranks of marching soldiers
and jaunty cavalry...
Always in this triumph a slave stood in the chariot behind the
victorious general. Over the general's head he held a garland of
laurel, signifying victory. Into the general's ear the slave
repeatedly whispered a caveat: 'All glory is fleeting. All glory is
RUSSIA WARNS WAR IS COMING
Source reveals government given 4-6 weeks to crush opposition
June 12, 2002
by AARON KLEIN
JERUSALEM - Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is preparing a major offensive in the coming days against the opposition targeting his regime, an informed Syrian government source confirmed.
The source told WND yesterday Assad was warned by Russia that if the coming counterinsurgency targeting the opposition is not successful in the next 4-6 weeks, Syria should be prepared for a war.
The source did not say whether the possibility of war referred to a Russian expectation of international intervention in Syria.
The information comes after Secretary of State Hillary Clinton yesterday accused Russia of sending helicopter gunships to Syria for use in crackdowns on rebel positions across Syria.
"We have confronted the Russians about stopping their continued arms shipments to Syria," said Clinton. "They have, from time to time, said that we shouldn't worry - everything they are shipping is unrelated to their [the Syrian government's] actions internally. That's patently untrue."
Continued Clinton: "And we are concerned about the latest information we have that there are attack helicopters on the way from Russia to Syria, which will escalate the conflict quite dramatically."
Also yesterday U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland echoed concerns by UN envoy Kofi Annan that a so-called massacre is being organized against the Syrian opposition.
"The United States joins joint special envoy Kofi Annan in expressing deep alarm at reports from inside Syria that the regime may be organizing another massacre," Nuland said. "People will be held accountable."
A previous attack against civilians in the Syrian neighbourhood of Houla saw 108 people, including 49 children, reportedly executed at close range on May 25. The international community quickly blamed Assad's forces for the massacre.
This past weekend, Germany's leading daily, the Frankfurter "Allgemeine Zeitung," quoted sources claiming the Houla massacre was actually committed by anti-Assad Sunni militants.
Immediately following the massacre, WND reported Syria presented the United Nations and the U.S. with information that claimed it was a group affiliated with al-Qaida, armed by Turkey, that slaughtered the civilians in their homes in Houla, according to informed Middle Eastern security officials.
The international community has widely condemned Syria, pinning the blame for the Houla massacre on forces acting under the direction of Assad's regime.
Assad's regime several times has claimed al-Qaida was behind a series of attacks blamed on Syrian forces.
Last month, Syria said it arrested 26 al-Qaida "foreign terrorists," including one Jordanian.
Two weeks ago Assad used a rare national address to blame "terrorists" and foreign elements for the Houla massacre.
The massacre furthered galvanized world opinion against Assad and has led to stepped-up calls by the opposition for the use of military force to oust the Syrian regime.
The U.S., Italy and Spain announced last week they are expelling Syrian ambassadors after similar moves by France, Germany, Britain, Australia and Canada.
In retaliation, Syria said it is expelling diplomats from Turkey and 10 Western countries, including the U.S. and the U.K.
Much of the Western news media blamed Assad's troops for the Houla massacre.
But underscoring the gap of information on the ground, many news media reports at first claimed the civilian deaths in Houla were caused by mortars and shelling by Assad's forces.
Two days later, much of the news media changed its tune, parroting a U.N. report that says most of the 108 victims of the Houla massacre were shot at close range, some of them women, children and entire families gunned down in their homes.
Survivors and witnesses cited by the U.N. blamed the house-to-house killings on pro-government thugs known as shabiha.
Largely unreported is Syria's claim that an armed terrorism element is behind the massacre.
Middle East security officials told WND Syria has sent information to the U.S., U.N. and other international bodies indicating the house-to-house slaughter was carried out by a group affiliated with al-Qaida that came from North Africa.
According to Syria, the jihad organization entered Syria via Turkey, where the militants were first armed. Syria did not blame Turkey directly for the massacre, the security officials said. The Syrian report stated Turkey likely believes the al-Qaida elements were going to fight Assad's regime.
For months now, Turkey has been hosting the Syrian opposition and agitating for international military intervention against Damascus.
Two weeks ago one Egyptian security official told WND there is a growing collaboration between the Syrian opposition and al-Qaida as well as evidence the opposition is sending weapons to jihadists in Iraq.
An Egyptian military attaché detailed the alleged collaboration between al-Qaida and the U.S.-aided opposition in Syria that operates under the banner of the National Free Army.
The purported cooperation extends to recent suicide attacks and bombings in Damascus and in the embattled Syrian city of Homs.
The military official told WND that Egypt has reports of collaboration between the Syrian opposition and three al-Qaida arms:
Jund al-Sham, which is made up of al-Qaida militants who are Syrian, Palestinian and Lebanese;
Jund al-Islam, which in recent years merged with Ansar al-Islam, an extremist group of Sunni Iraqis operating under the al-Qaida banner;
Jund Ansar al-Allah, an al-Qaida group based in Gaza linked to Palestinian camps in Lebanon and Syria.
The Arab League, which has condemned Syria, previously privately recognized an armed terrorist element agitating against Assad's regime.
A leaked Arab League dispatch, posted in February by the Anonymous group, said Arab League monitors on the ground in Syria several times witnessed an "armed entity" provoking Syrian forces and placing civilian lives in danger.
That section of the classified report read: "The Mission determined that there is an armed entity that is not mentioned in the protocol. ... In some zones, this armed entity reacted by attacking Syrian security forces and citizens, causing the Government to respond with further violence. In the end, innocent citizens pay the price for those actions with life and limb."
Institute For Political Economy
Hubris as the Evil Force in History
Paul Craig Roberts - -
June 13, 2012
I have always been intrigued by the Battle of Bull Run, the opening battle of the US Civil War, known to southerners as the War of Northern Aggression. Extreme hubris characterized both sides, the North before the battle and the South afterwards.
Republican politicians and their ladies in their finery road out to Manassas, the Virginia town through which the stream, Bull Run, flowed, in carriages to watch the Union Army end the "Southern Rebellion" in one fell swoop. What they witnessed instead was the Union Army fleeing back to Washington with its tail between its legs. The flight of the northern troops promoted some southern wags to name the battle, the Battle of Yankee Run.
The outcome of the battle, left the South infected with the hubris that had so abruptly departed the North. The southerners concluded that they had nothing to fear from cowards who ran away from a fight. "We have nothing to worry about from them," decided the South. It was precisely at this point that hubris defeated the South.
Historians report that the flight back to Washington left the Union Army and the US capital in a state of disorganization for three weeks, during which time even a small army could have taken the capital. Historians inclined not to see the battle as a victory for the South claim that the southerners were exhausted by the effort it took to put the yankees to flight and simply hadn't the energy to pursue them, take Washington, hang the traitor Lincoln and all the Republicans, and end the war.
Exhausted troops or not, if Napoleon had been the southern general, the still organized southern army would have been in Washington as fast as the disorganized Union. Possibly the southerners would have engaged in ethnic cleansing by enslaving the yankees and selling them to Africans, thus ejecting from the country the greed-driven northern imperialists who, in the southern view, did not know how to behave either in private or in public.
It was not southern exhaustion that saved the day for the North. It was southern hubris. The Battle of Bull Run convinced the South that the citified northerners simply could not fight and were not a military threat.
Perhaps the South was right about the North. However, the Irish immigrants, who were met at the docks and sent straight to the front, could fight. The South was dramatically outnumbered and had no supply of immigrants to fill the ranks vacated by casualties. Moreover, the South had no industry and no navy. And, of course, the South was demonized because of slavery, although the slaves never revolted even when all southern men were at the front. When the South failed to take advantage of its victory at Bull Run and occupy Washington, the South lost the war.
An examination of hubris casts a great deal of light on wars, their causes and outcomes. Napoleon undid himself, as Hitler was to do later, by marching off into Russia. British hubris caused both world wars. The second world war began when the British, incomprehensibly gave a "guarantee" to the Polish colonels, who were on the verge of returning that part of Germany that Poland had acquired from the Versailles Treaty. The colonels, not understanding that the British had no way of making the guarantee good, gave Hitler the finger, an act of defiance that was too much for Hitler who had declared Germans to be the exceptional people.
Hitler smacked Poland, and the British and French declared war.
Hitler made short work of the French and British armies. But the British in their hubris, hiding behind the English channel, wouldn't surrender or even agree to a favorable peace settlement. Hitler concluded that the British were counting on Russia to enter the war on their side. Hitler decided that if he knocked off Russia, the British hope would evaporate and they would come to peace terms. So Hitler turned on his Russian partner with whom he had just dismembered Poland. Stalin, in his own hubris, had recently purged almost every officer in the Red Army, thus making Hitler's decision easy.
The outcome of all this hubris was the rise of the US military/security complex and more than four decades of cold war and the threat of nuclear destruction, a period that lasted from the end of world war two until Reagan and Gorbachev, two leaders not consumed by hubris, agreed to end the cold war.
Alas, hubris returned to America with the neoconservative ascendency. Americans have become "the indispensable people." Like the Jacobins of the French Revolution who intended to impose "liberty, equality, fraternity" upon all of Europe, Washington asserts the superiority of the American way and the right to impose it on the rest of the world. Hubris is in full flower despite its defeats. The "three week" Iraq war lasted eight years, and after 11 years the Taliban control more of Afghanistan than the "world's only superpower."
Sooner or later American hubris is going to run up against Russia and China, neither of which will give way. Either the US, like Napoleon and Hitler, will have its Russian (or Chinese) moment, or the world will go up in thermonuclear smoke.
The only solution for humanity is to immediately impeach and imprison warmongers when first sighted before their hubris leads us yet again into the death and destruction of war.
This article first appeared at Paul Craig Roberts' new website Institute For Political Economy. Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy and associate editor of the Wall Street Journal. He was columnist for Business Week, Scripps Howard News Service, and Creators Syndicate. He has had many university appointments. His Internet columns have attracted a worldwide following.
As Japan debris washes up in the US, scientists fear break in natural order
Remnants from Japan's earthquake and tsunami continue to arrive on the west coast, bringing exotic organisms with them
9 June 2012 15.24 EDT
Volunteers remove marine organisms from the dock that landed in Oregon after drifting from the earthquake and tsunami in Japan. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images
When a floating dock the size of a boxcar washed up on a sandy beach in Oregon, beachcombers got excited because it was the largest piece of debris from last year's tsunami in Japan to show up on the US west coast.
But scientists worried it represented a whole new way for invasive species of seaweed, crabs and other marine organisms to break the earth's natural barriers and further muck up the area's marine environments.
And more invasive species could be hitching rides on tsunami debris expected to arrive in the weeks and months to come.
"We know extinctions occur with invasions," said John Chapman, assistant professor of fisheries and invasive species specialist at Oregon State University's Hatfield Marine Science Center. "This is like arrows shot into the dark. Some of them could hit a mark."
Though the global economy has accelerated the process in recent decades by the sheer volume of ships, most from Asia, entering west coast ports, the marine invasion has been going on since 1869, when the transcontinental railroad brought the first shipment of east coast oysters packed in seaweed and mud to San Francisco, said Andrew Cohen, director of the Center for Research on Aquatic Bioinvasions in Richmond, California.
Now, hotspots like San Francisco Bay amount to a "global zoo" of invasive species and perhaps 500 plants and animals from foreign shores have established in US marine waters, said James Carlton, professor of marine sciences at Williams College.
They come mostly from ship hulls and the water ships take on as ballast, but also get dumped into bays from home aquariums.
The costs quickly mount into the untold billions of dollars. Mitten crabs from China eat baby Dungeness crabs that are one of the region's top commercial fisheries.
Spartina, a ropey seaweed from Europe, chokes commercial oyster beds. Shellfish plug the cooling water intakes of power plants. Kelps and tiny shrimp-like creatures change the food web that fish, marine mammals and even humans depend on.
A 2004 study in the scientific journal Ecological Economics estimated 400 threatened and endangered species in the US are facing extinction because of pressures from invasive species.
It is too early for scientists to know how much Japanese tsunami debris may add to the invasive species already here.
"It may only introduce one thing," said Cohen of the Aquatic Bioinvasions research center. "But if that thing turns out to be a big problem, we would rather it not happen. There could be an economic impact, an ecological impact, or even a human health impact."
The dock, torn loose from a fishing port on the northern tip of Japan, was covered with 1.5 tons of seaweed, mussels, barnacles and even a few starfish. Volunteers scraped it all off, buried it above the high water line, and sterilized the top and sides of the dock with torches.
But there was no telling whether they might already have released spores or larvae that could establish a foothold in a bay or estuary as it floated along the coast, Carlton said.
One thing they know is that the bigger the debris, the more likely it has something on it.
Chapman estimated there were hundreds of millions of individual living organisms on the dock when it washed up on Agate Beach outside Newport, Oregon.
But even a small plastic float that washed up on a beach in Alaska carried a live oyster, said Mandy Lindeberg, research scientist at the NOAA Fisheries Auke Bay Laboratories in Juneau, Alaska.
Whether hitchhiking species will survive here depends in large part to randomness, it is thought. Seaweeds probably would not have survived to reproduce in the crashing surf at Agate Beach. It's the wrong kind of environment. But if they had floated into Yaquina Bay, very similar to their home waters in Japan, they could grow and reproduce.
Lindeberg said, "The only defense for invasive species is early detection. Just like cancer."
While monitoring is relatively cheap, say $30,000 to watch nearby waters for species from the dock, trying to stop an established invasion is expensive. California spent $7m trying to eradicate a seaweed, she said.
James Morris, a marine ecologist and invasive species specialist at the NOAA National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science, in Beaufort, North Carolina, said the idea a natural disaster like the tsunami could introduce a new avenue for invasive species is intriguing.
"It goes to show you that when it comes to invasive species, there are some things you can work to regulate and control," he said. "And there are issues like this that come up that open up a whole different realm of possibilities."
Election apocalypse: Greeks hoard canned food
Greek retailers say consumers are stocking up on non-perishable foods like pasta and canned goods. Picture: Thinkstock
Greeks hoarding euros, non-perishable foods
Fears of a return to the drachma after election
Julia Gillard at the centre of a "global superweek"
Analysis: What the Greek elections mean for all of us
NERVOUS Greeks are withdrawing up to 800 million euros ($1.01 billion) a day and stocking up on canned food as they fear the country will be forced to leave the eurozone after this Sunday's election.
Greek citizens fear the ramifications of a return to the country’s previous currency, the drachma, if the radical left-wing party and strong election contender SYRIZA wins this weekend.
Bankers said daily withdrawals from the major banks were hitting €500-€800 million ($631.8 million-$1.01 billion), Reuters reported.
Meanwhile, retailers say consumers are stocking up on non-perishable foods like pasta and canned goods.
Analysis: What the Greek elections mean for all of us
Latest polls showed the conservative New Democracy party, which supports a €130 billion international bailout, is running neck-and-neck with the leftist SYRIZA party.
SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras is pledging to tear up the bailout deal, saying that the austerity conditions attached to the money are so catastrophic for the country they must be rejected.
If the country renounces its bailout terms, Greece's international partners could stop providing the rescue loans, which would lead it to default and force it out of the eurozone.
Reports overnight said that Greece only had about €2 billion euros ($2.52 billion) left in its coffers, which would only last until July 20.
Greece’s finance minister refused to comment but the country’s labour minister said that Greece should have enough cash to pay pensions at least for July.
If Greece walked away from the euro, the drachma’s value against other currencies would plunge along with the earnings of Greek workers.
Cost of living would spike on the back of rises in interest rates and import prices.
Former 'God's Banker' could blitz Vatican with cache of secret documents
June 11, 2012
The former head of the Vatican Bank has become the Papacy's Enemy Number One, after police discovered a trove of documents exposing financial misdeeds in the Holy See. The banker now reportedly fears for his life.
Earlier this week police conducted a dawn raid on the house and office of Ettore Gotti Tedeschi. Investigators say they were looking for evidence in a graft case against defense and aerospace firm Finmeccanica, which was formerly run by a close friend of Gotti Tedeschi.
Instead, as it turns out, police stumbled upon an entirely different find.
They discovered 47 binders containing private communication exposing the opaque inner workings of the secretive Holy See. They included financial documents, details of money transfers and confidential internal reports - all prepared by Gotti Tedeschi to build a convincing expose of corruption in the Vatican.
A renowned economics professor and head of the Italian branch of the giant Bank of Santander Gotti Tedeschi took what turned out to be a poisoned chalice of a job in 2009, when he became the President of the Institute for Works of Religion, the formal name for the Bank of Vatican. His brief was formidable - to introduce transparency to a lucrative enterprise that had become a byword for money-laundering and corruption.
After a tumultuous three years marked by in-fighting and public scandals, Gotti Tedeschi was unanimously dismissed from his post by a board of Vatican officials in May.
"I have paid for my transparency" the indignant banker said to the media, as he stormed off even before his dismissal hearing was over.
The confidential minutes of the stormy meeting obtained by Reuters showed the banker accused of "progressively erratic personal behavior" and "exhibiting lack of prudence and accuracy in comments regarding the Institute".
But there may have been other reasons.
Aware that his crusade against corruption was failing, Gotti Tedeschi probably began to leak important documents to the media.
The drip-drip of damaging revelations (alongside more personal ones presumably passed onto the media by the Pope's own butler) has been dubbed 'Vatileaks', and has captivated Italy in recent months.
At the hearing, the board that dismissed the banker also indirectly accused Gotti Tedeschi of being behind some of the leaks, pointing to his "Failure to provide any formal explanation for the dissemination of documents last known to be in the president's possession."
While the leaks were a weapon with which to attack his enemies, Gotti Tedeschi was also preparing a last resort option if the battle was lost - a 'suicide belt' that would blow the lid off Vatican.
Several months ago, he reportedly told his friends that he began collecting an exhaustive dossier "in case something happened to him."
It is this dossier that the police have now apparently discovered.
The Vatican is barely concealing its panic - and wants the folders handed back unopened.
"We have faith that the prosecutors and Italian judicial system will respect our sovereignty--recognized internationally--with regard to these documents," said an official statement.
But there is little chance the Papacy will get its way this time.
Italian prosecutors have frequently been at loggerheads with the Vatican and have accused it of using its sovereignty as a shield against proper regulation.
If the documents do spark a legal firestorm, Ettore Gotti Tedeschi is sure to be a key witness in any trial. A former employee against his employers, and a conservative Catholic pitched against the Vatican itself.
Allegedly, Gotti Tedeschi keeps a list of personal enemies in the Vatican - people who he had felt would stop at nothing to prevent him from reforming the Institute for Works of Religion. His friends have told the media he is shaken and scared.
Police are now considering putting the whistle-blowing banker under armed protection.
Vatican reels as blackmail plot thickens
Pope Benedict's papacy is now 'under grave threat' after confidential documents were leaked from the Vatican.
Photograph by: AP , Daily Telegraph
The Vatican said Wednesday it was being blackmailed by the leaking of confidential documents taken from the Pope's private apartment as an anonymous mole threatened to release more embarrassing material unless two senior officials were fired.
In the latest round of leaks, an Italian newspaper was sent three letters apparently stolen from the Vatican, two of which were signed by the Pope's private secretary and had their contents blanked out. An anonymous note claimed that they dealt with "shameful events inside the Vatican" and threatened to reveal the contents of the letters "if there is an attempt to hide the truth of the facts."
The accompanying letter called for the resignation of Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, who as secretary of state is the Vatican's de facto prime minister, and Mgr. Georg Ganswein, the Pope's secretary. It claimed that Paolo Gabriele, the butler arrested over the affair, was simply a scapegoat.
Federico Lombardi, the Vatican spokesman, said the note represented "a grave threat" to Benedict's seven-year papacy. "Black-mail is a plausible way of defining it," he said. "We have arrived at a situation of blackmail threats."
Vatican prosecutors were questioning Gabriele for the second day Wednesday. He has been accused of stealing the papers.
Lombardi said reports in sever-al newspapers that two cardinals were part of a network of moles who stole and leaked compromising documents were "with-out foundation." He insisted that, for the moment, the butler was the only person being investigated in the scandal, which has provided a rare glimpse into high-level feuds and jockeying for power within the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic church.
Many of the leaked documents appeared to be aimed at discrediting Bertone, the Pope's deputy, and toppling him from power.
Gabriele, 46, was arrested two weeks ago after investigators allegedly found a cache of stolen papers in his Vatican apartment. If found guilty of theft, he would lose the apartment and could be "exiled" from the Holy See.
Many of the leaked documents were published last month in a book entitled His Holiness - The Secret Papers of Benedict XVI, which has become a bestseller.
BANNING BIBLES OUT OF LINE, CONGRESS TOLD
Resolution also would address censorship of faith elements at military funerals
June 3, 2012
By Jack Minor
The Veterans Administration in recent months has tried to prohibit Bibles at its military hospitals and ban the use of the word "God" at military funerals, and now there are members in Congress who say enough is enough.
So HR 2720 has been introduced, stating emphatically that "no official of the federal government, including the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, may interfere with the content and creed of the funeral, memorial service, or ceremony of a deceased individual, as expressed by the last will and testament of the individual or as determined by the family or agent of the individual, as provided under state law.:
The resolution also requires federal officials to provide access to health care facilities, cemeteries and other facilities if access is requested by either veterans or their families.
The proposal came about because of a series of events that took place last year where veterans and their families were prohibited from exercising their First Amendment right to freedom of religion.
It was then that officials at Walter Reed Medical Center issued a regulation telling families they would not be permitted to bring in Bibles to read to their loved ones. The memo stated that "no religious items (i.e. Bibles, reading material, and/or artifacts) are allowed to be given away or used during a visit."
When news of the ban was made public, the hospital quickly backpedaled and rescinded the policy.
Just this week, on the anniversary of D-Day, Kelly Shackelford, president and chief executive officer of Liberty Institute, testified before the House of Representatives Subcommittee on Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs about the importance of the bill.
It was May of last year that Liberty Institute filed a lawsuit against federal officials after Arleen Ocasio, of the Houston National Cemetery, attempted to edit and censor a prayer that was to be offered by Pastor Scott Rainey at a Memorial Day service. Ocasio told Rainey that his prayer needed to be submitted to her for approval and its contents needed to be "non-denominational."
While Liberty Institute was presenting its argument to the court, officials learned of several other instances where religious freedom was being suppressed.
Ocasio had instituted a policy titled, "Houston National Cemetery Honor Guard Guidelines." The guidelines required volunteer honor guards to omit any and all religious elements from their rituals, unless the family specifically requested otherwise.
"Instead, they could only do what she described as the 'four core elements,' the folding of the flag, the presentation of the flag, the rifle salute, and the playing of taps," Shackelford said. "Ocasio stated that the VFW District 4 Honor Guard members could not provide texts of prayer to the family for consideration. She also stated that if family members wanted a certain prayer read, they would have to submit the prayer to the cemetery in writing and cemetery officials would then give the prayer to the VFW District 4 Honor Guard to read."
A representative from the cemetery went even further and told the VFW District 4 Honor Guard that they would not be permitted to conduct the burial ritual because the word "God" was included.
"The cemetery representative did state that they could say the Lord's Prayer and the 23rd Psalm since the word 'God' is not included in those texts. When questioned regarding the source of the authority for these pronouncements, the cemetery representative responded 'by my supervisor's orders.'"
While it could seem as if the guidelines were reasonable since it claims the family can request the full burial ritual, Shackelford says the reality is that families were denied that right.
"At least on three occasions, cemetery officials interfered with families of deceased veterans in their making arrangements for burial service," he said.
James Haycraft, Geri Lakey and Lisa Ward, representing families of deceased veterans, each claimed the cemetery interfered with and precluded their wishes in honoring their loved ones.
"Mr. Haycraft's brother did not receive the burial service he desired, being prohibited from having the VFW honor guard perform the entire VFW burial ritual. In the case of Ms. Lakey, cemetery officials attempted to stop her husband from receiving the entire VFW burial ritual. But for the actions of her husband's VFW post commander (a former judge), his final wishes would have been thwarted," he testified. "Ms. Ward had to have her husband's burial service at a private funeral home rather than the Houston National Cemetery so that the honor guard could perform the entire VFW burial ritual, as she desired. Nevertheless, because of the cemetery's restrictions, her desire to have the service at the cemetery was denied."
In December, the VA settled the lawsuit by agreeing to stop interfering with the religious content of military funerals and to censoring the speech of clergy at any type of ceremony.
Despite prevailing in the suit against the government, Shackelford told Congress the very fact it needed to be brought in the first place showed the necessity of passing the resolution.
"There is a real threat to religious liberty at national cemeteries. This legislation will further protect the religious freedom of veterans and those who seek to serve and honor them," he said. "They deserve nothing less."
Letters Of Note
Dear Einstein, Do Scientists Pray?
In January of 1936, a young girl named Phyllis wrote to Albert Einstein on behalf of her Sunday school class, and asked, "Do scientists pray?" Her letter, and Einstein's reply, can be read below.
(Source: Dear Professor Einstein; Image: Albert Einstein in 1947, via Life.)
The Riverside Church
January 19, 1936
My dear Dr. Einstein,
We have brought up the question: Do scientists pray? in our Sunday school class. It began by asking whether we could believe in both science and religion. We are writing to scientists and other important men, to try and have our own question answered.
We will feel greatly honored if you will answer our question: Do scientists pray, and what do they pray for?
We are in the sixth grade, Miss Ellis's class.
January 24, 1936
I will attempt to reply to your question as simply as I can. Here is my answer:
Scientists believe that every occurrence, including the affairs of human beings, is due to the laws of nature. Therefore a scientist cannot be inclined to believe that the course of events can be influenced by prayer, that is, by a supernaturally manifested wish.
However, we must concede that our actual knowledge of these forces is imperfect, so that in the end the belief in the existence of a final, ultimate spirit rests on a kind of faith. Such belief remains widespread even with the current achievements in science.
But also, everyone who is seriously involved in the pursuit of science becomes convinced that some spirit is manifest in the laws of the universe, one that is vastly superior to that of man. In this way the pursuit of science leads to a religious feeling of a special sort, which is surely quite different from the religiosity of someone more naive.
With cordial greetings,
your A. Einstein
CHARIOTS IN RED SEA: 'IRREFUTABLE EVIDENCE'
'Horse and human remains strewn like battlefield wreckage'
by JOE KOVACS Email
Joe Kovacs, author of the forthcoming book (out July 17),
Coral-encrusted object in Red Sea could be ancient Egyptian chariot wheels
A news report that stunned the world nine years ago about the discovery of possible ancient chariot wheels at the bottom of the Red Sea is suddenly gaining fresh attention with new video claiming "irrefutable evidence" that corroborates the find.
In June 2003, WND interviewed Bible enthusiasts who dove the waters of the Red Sea, alleging they found and photographed parts of chariots that may be the actual remains of the catastrophe brought upon the Egyptian army which pursued the Israelites, according to the Book of Exodus in the Bible.
"I am 99.9 percent sure I picked up a chariot wheel," said Peter Elmer, a forklift mechanic from Keynsham, England, who made two diving trips to the Gulf of Aqaba branch of the sea. "It was covered in coral."
"I believe I actually sat in an ancient chariot cab," he told WND at the time, referring to his time exploring a submerged item in the underwater junkyard. "Without question, it is most definitely the remains of the Egyptian army."
Now, Michael Rood, a Hebrew-roots teacher, has produced a video proffering evidence Elmer is absolutely correct.
His DVD, titled "The Red Sea Crossing," documents the work of numerous researchers from the U.S. and overseas who have probed an underwater land bridge between a beachhead at Nuweiba, Egypt, and what is today Saudi Arabia.
"What they found strewn across the bottom of the reed sea has shaken the religious and scientific community," says Rood. "Cameras mounted on remote-controlled submarines revealed coral-encrusted chariot parts, horse and human remains strewn like battlefield wreckage on the bottom of the reed sea."
He uses the term "reed sea" instead of Red Sea, as that's the literal translation of the words "yam suph" in Holy Scripture, referring to the body of water God miraculously opened for the ancient Israelites to cross on dry land, before drowning the Egyptians in hot pursuit.
"Even a novice can readily see that these are not natural coral formations," Rood said, showing a variety of circular shapes he insists are chariot wheels, some with axles still intact.
He gave special attention to a single gold-veneered, four-spoked chariot wheel that was photographed and buried in place with a marker buoy nearby.
Is this the actual golden chariot wheel of the Egyptian pharaoh who chased the ancient Israelites into the Red Sea, only to be drowned by God?
"Because coral does not attach to gold or silver, this priceless specimen remains untarnished by time," he said, calling it "strong evidence that this is actually one of the two chariot wheels that the pharaoh rode to his death."
Rood also explained giant pillars have been found on both sides of the crossing to mark the event. One was discovered eroded on the Egyptian shore by the late American archaeologist Ron Wyatt. Later, another was located on the Arabian side with "the legible remains of ancient paleo-Hebrew inscriptions."
He says the words for pharaoh, death, Egypt, King Solomon and the sacred name of God, YHWH, are all present on the second pillar.
Pillars that may commemorate the Red Sea crossing by the ancient Israelites have been discovered in recent years on both sides of the Gulf of Aqaba arm of the Red Sea.
"King Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived, knew exactly where the children of Israel made their escape just 500 years before, and so he established pillars to memorialize the yam suph crossing," said Rood.
He points out the depth of water would make it impossible for a crossing to have taken place anywhere with the exception of the shallow land bridge at Nuweiba.
"If the water were to be removed, it would still be impossible to cross this chasm which is as deep and wide as the Grand Canyon in Arizona," Rood said.
"But," he added, "at the beach where Israel camped, an underwater land bridge gently slopes at a 6-degree angle, levels out at about 900 feet, and then gradually rises to meet the western shore of Midian."
For hundreds of years, many have been under the impression that Mount Sinai, the place at which Moses received the Ten Commandments from God, was located on the Sinai peninsula of Egypt. It was Helena, the mother of 4th century Roman emperor Constantine, who made the declaration of its position when she established two churches there.
But if Rood and the other researchers are correct, the real Mount Sinai is actually in Arabia on the eastern side of the Gulf of Aqaba. The New Testament apostle Paul even refers to "Mount Sinai in Arabia" in Galatians 4:25.
"What is so difficult about determining the body of water that Moshe (Moses) crossed?" asks Rood.
"The Bible gives us just one choice, and this is it! I know that Constantine would have you dismembered for implying that his mother picked out the wrong site for Mount Sinai. But Constantine is dead! And so are the traditions that have enslaved our minds to such idiocy that we cannot even read the plain text of the Bible and think for ourselves."
A well-known Swedish scientist who is among the Red Sea researchers believes the waters of Aqaba were indeed split supernaturally.
Lennart Moller of the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm told WND there are no natural, scientific explanations for the parting miracle described in Scripture.
"The wind did not separate the water," he said. "No person could be in that wind and survive. ... If God has created all the Earth, it's no problem for Him to separate the water for a while."
Rood says for many people, finding the genuine crossing site is bad news because, "Blissful ignorance has died, and you recognize that the Creator has revealed himself through His people and His prophets. But this is good news to those who truly believe in the God of Israel and obey His commandments.
"Here on the bottom of the [reed sea] rests the evidence that the Creator has acted on behalf of His people in the past, proof that you can count on His promise that in the last days, He will perform a miracle that will make the parting of the reed sea pale by comparison."
Until next week...keep on believing.
faith they passed through the Red sea as by dry land: which the
Egyptians assaying to do were drowned.”