Believe As We Believe! Part One
A Guest Editorial
The interpretation of history and opinions expressed in this article are by the author and do not necessarily reflect those of other subscribers of People of One Fire, the organization’s founders or the editorial staff of the People of One Fire educational website. This guest editorial is being provided to the readers as an alternative perspective on history than currently is being broadcast by the mass media, religious propaganda web sites and both major American political parties.
Jim and Nina Rhodes have lived extraordinary lives that few Americans know about. Both have taught at the Oxford English Academy in Hanoi, Vietnam . . . but there is much more to the story than that. They played an extremely important role in the normalization of government relations between the United States and Vietnam . . . the two nations recently becoming, literally, allies!
Jim is an Alabama Creek and a leader of the KVWETV Creek tribe. He is a decorated veteran of the Vietnam War and still suffers terribly from exposure to Agent Orange. He served in the very dangerous Special Ops units, but very soon after the war ended, embarked on a personal diplomacy effort to make amends for past wrongs. He was initially in Vietnam when it was still illegal to do so. He is the only American and especially a war veteran, to ever have worked for Bao Dien Tu – the government’s on line daily newspaper; Quan Doi Nhan Dan – the Vietnamese army’s on line daily newspaper; Vietnam Television International; Vietnam News Agency; Voice of Vietnam and VietNet. In recent years, he and Nina have been sent by the United States Department of State as goodwill ambassadors to Vietnam. They go into rural areas of the nation that few foreigners ever see to give the Vietnamese firsthand exposure to “real Americans” . . . if one can call their lives “regular.”
The precious First Amendment to the US Constitution
Throughout the debate about the wording of the United States Constitution, many delegates were concerned that the federalists were creating a blueprint for an authoritarian government in which most of the citizens would be worse off than under the constitutional monarchy of Great Britain. On June 8, 1789, Representative James Madison introduced nine amendments to the constitution in the House of Representatives. Three more were added during the debates, but only ten were voted upon and passed. The eleventh amendment of the Bill of Rights was finally approved in 1992. The twelfth amendment is being considered by a committee of the House of Representatives at this current time.
These ten amendments started out as laws, but very soon the First Amendment began to define North American civilization. It so deeply ingrained into the lives of the United States citizens today that it is given the same status as the Ten Commandments. Freedoms of religion, speech and press have become am American way of life, which define the difference between United States citizenship and the lifestyles of many other countries in the world. They clearly place the American legal system to be diametrically opposed to Sharia . . . the Islamic legal code. The First Amendment reads:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
Almost as soon as the Constitution and Bill of Rights were ratified national and state leaders were faced with a dilemma. What if a particular set of beliefs are defined as a “religion hostile to the Constitution and People of the United States?” In recent decades another reoccurring issue has been the extreme efforts of members of certain religious denominations, representing a small minority of citizens, to change the US Constitution and code of laws to be compatible with their own belief systems.
Native American Religion and the Federal Government
America’s first documented case of dealing with identified “hostile religions” were that of the Native Americans, whom the nation’s ruling class categorized as “uncivilized savages” that were “unworthy of redemption.” There was no political correctness or fear of offending anyone when it came to darker, non-tax-revenue-producing, non-Christian peoples, whose civilization predated Europe’s by thousands of years!
President George Washington and Secretary of War Henry Knox had a hand in crafting the Indian Trade & Intercourse Act of 1790 which granted liberal concessions to the Natives including their right to own their own land; however, amazingly, Congress, in effect, disregarding this legislation in favor of the European “Doctrine of Discovery” which viewed Native subjects as inferior colonial wards in need of Christian overseers for their own redemption and salvation.
Indian Mission Schools were established by Congress in 1819 under the Indian Civilization Act which provided funds to Christian organizations for the direct purpose of converting Indians to (the true religion) Christianity. Congress also allocated funding to those Christian organizations for this purpose in essence outlawing all Native religious beliefs in favor of a de facto approved federal religion.
Although Alabama was a residence of what historian have termed the “Five Civilized Tribes,” among other things because of a written language, schools, press, etc., to repay political contributors President Andrew Jackson pushed through the Indian Removal Act of 1830 which gave Native land, homes, buildings to white settlers. Because there was resistance, including legal briefs filed by some affected Natives, Jackson ordered mass removals of Indians from their properties in 1838 and were marched at gunpoint by the army, during the dead of winter, to reservation lands in Oklahoma.
During this act of genocide, it is estimated that approximately 6,000 Native Americans died of exposure. The Natives that escaped relocation were hunted down and imprisoned; laws were passed to prevent them from functioning as tribal units and owning land. It was not a crime to rape Indian women or to torture and execute any Native.
Amazingly, over a century later when blood relations of some of the Alabama (Kawita) – Georgia (Koweta) Creeks applied for federal recognition, that petition was placed on hold until documents could be produced “proving” a tribal unit existed “after relocation” even though that by doing so, at the time, would have meant prison and relocation for sure. plus possibly death from the elements or accidents.
During 1879 Congress, under pressure by Christian religious lobbying, expanded the Indian boarding school and educational system. Indian children are removed from their homes and sent away to Christian schools where they are forbidden to speak in their native language, worship their ancient religions, have their hair cut. They were required to wear civilized European style clothing. They even had to memorize the motto, made prevalent at Carlisle: “Kill the Indian to save the soul.”
On 29 December 1890 a large religious protest gathering occurred at Wounded Knee, South Dakota. It was described by historian Dee Brown. A mystical ceremony, called the Ghost Dance, allegedly put the participants in touch with the world beyond and in direct contact with the Native Messiah, the returned Jesus Christ (as an Indian).
Not understanding what was going on with the hundreds of dancers who were chanting, twirling and turning-elements of Battery E, 1st Artillery, General Nelson A. Miles commanding, along with what was left of Custer’s 7th Calvary gunned down over 300 old men, women, and children. Those who attempted to escape the gunfire by running away were simply shot in the back.
This event in 1891 gave renewed zeal and vigor to Christian lobbying groups whose goal became mandatory Indian education with compulsory Christian religious training, primarily funded by Congress. The law enslaved an entire nation of people within their own country. They were not citizens of the United States until 1924.
The Indian Citizenship Rights Act of 1924 gave American Indians the right to vote. Until that time, most states had interpreted the 14th Amendment as not applying to American Indians. The Indian Civil Rights Act of 1968 gave Indians the same citizenship rights as other Americans, plus special protection of those rights. In 1978 Congress passed the American Indian Religious Freedom Act. It allowed Native Americans to worship as their ancestors once did, prior to their lands being stolen by Europeans in the name of their God and their religion.
Radical fundamentalist Christians become political activists
In the 1970s, especially after the 1973 Roe v Wade Supreme Court decision, fundamentalist and Roman Catholic Christians began to politically organize, attempting to merge their brands of religion into the daily operation of state and federal governments, in spite of the fact that our Constitution guarantees the separation of church and state. Even though pregnant women, who thought abortion was immoral, were not required to have abortions as is the case in China, the opponents to abortion felt that it should be equated to the crime of murder.
Because conventional political efforts were not moving fast enough, the Army of God was founded with its main focus being the killing or kidnapping abortion providers, plus bombing medical clinics that also provided abortion and government buildings that symbolized governmental support for abortion. Domestic terrorists and murderers, Eric Rudolph, James Kopp, Paul Hill, Scott Roeder, Michael Griffin, James Knight, Timothy McVeigh, Terry Nichols, Michael Fortier and Shelly Shannon were influenced by this philosophy. A spin off of these activities was the attempt to restrict, through state and federal legislation, any female’s freedom of choice when it came to their own personal reproductive rights. Vast sums were donated to politicians strictly on the basis of whether they were “Pro-Life” or “Pro-Choice” . . . irregardless of their competence to serve as elected leaders.
Utilizing passages from Leviticus, 1 Corinthians, Romans, 1 Timothy, Mark, Jude, and James, an all out assault on the Lesbean-Gay-Bisexual-Transexual (LGBTQ) communities ensued. The Westboro Baptist Church is a good example of how fundamentalist attempt to suppress and oppress the LGBTQ) communities through intimidation, threats, and violence. Disgracefully, at funerals of gays, this group congregates to harass mourners. The congregation particular targets funerals of those slain in combat, whether or not they were homosexual. The fallen warriors are not spared this hatred and bigotry because “God punished them for protecting fags.”
The “gay bashing” movement lost its main political support in the Republican Party during the George W. Bush Administration. The remaining “Pro-Family” Democrats quickly declared themselves to be buddies with gays. Again it was the cash guzzling American political system that sparked the sudden change. The largest individual contributor to the 2000 Bush campaign was a gay Republican multi-millionaire from Georgia. Since then, activities by such organizations as the Westboro Baptist Church have been generally viewed as “hostile to American values.” Both major political parties came to the conclusion that gays could be good Christians or Jews, while making contributions to their campaigns.
The Equal Rights Amendment
At the same time in 1923 that a bill was introduced in Congress to give American Indians full citizenship, a companion omnibus proposal was submitted called the Equal Rights Amendment. It extended the full protection of the law to all women and to American Indians. The amendment was never ratified because white men were still adjusting to the fact that white women could now vote.
Utilizing fundamentalist philosophy against Eve as being the cause of original sin and solely responsible for man being kicked out of the Garden of Eden, renewed assaults on women’s rights took flight. This became glaringly evident after the Equal Rights Amendment re-entered the debates of Congress in 1972.
Phyllis Schlafly, self proclaimed mouthpiece of God, became a one woman wrecking ball. Her fundamentalist bullying made sure none of the Baptist South, and Latter Day Saint influenced states ofUtah, Arizona, Nevada ratified the legislation causing it to fail. This was the exact point that radical fundamentalist Christian doctrine was injected into the secular governing process of this nation.
Two of Schafly’s assumptions, pending the approval of the E.R.A., was that gender neutral public rest room facilities would be created and women would be drafted into the military and allowed to serve in combat roles. Schafley successfully promoted her rhetoric that women were second class citizens and had a moral obligation to be subservient to men.
Of course, Schafly’s predictions have essentially come true in the 21st century without ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment. Women can serve in combat and essentially using the First Amendment as its justification, the US Justice Department issued “guidelines” to states suggesting that people should be free to chose which gender they most closely identified with, prior to entering a public restroom.
Genesis 3:19 . . . “The sweat of your brow you will eat your food” . . . was utilized to target minority individuals on welfare or public assistance as they were portrayed by the Jim Crow ruling elite as a class of people joyfully living off white tax dollars. The Biblical inference being that those too lazy or unwilling to work should die. This interpretation apparently doesn’t apply to politicians who give themselves immediate and generous pensions and tax breaks for their wealthy corporate contributors who, under Calvinist religious philosophy, are “chosen” by some higher power to have dominion over others.
Continued debates on separation of church and state
The culmination of fundamentalist political influence into state governments can perhaps best be seen here in Alabama. Our chief justice, Roy Moore, will probably be removed from office a second time. According to Southern Poverty Law Center’s President Richard Cohen, “Moore has disgraced his office for far too long…He is a religious zealot unwilling to put aside his religious beliefs when it conflicts with the law…” The most recent episode involving Moore was his ‘invalidating’ federal judiciary rulings on same sex marriage because they conflicted with his personal fundamentalist beliefs.
We have is a Constitution that guarantees the separation of church and state. In certain states fundamentalist Christians’ view “God’s” law has become legally binding on everyone regardless of their political or religious beliefs. There is little difference in attitude between these types of people and apostles of Wahhabism (fundamentalist Islamic fanatics funded by Saudi Arabia) who believe their definition of Sharia should be globally enforced.
Of course, the big difference in many Muslim countries is that the death penalty, sometimes imposed in such cruel forms as stoning (as mandated by Mohamed in the Qu’ran) is applied to violation of religious laws. There are several Moslem countries that mandate the death penalty for those who leave Islam. Almost all of those countries are “allies” of the United States.
Religious fanatics in the United States enforce their will onto the people by donating large sums to state political candidates, who will gerrymander Congressional election districts and by pushing for appointment of judges, who will implement their will. These laws are used to social engineer the United States via a vast array of misdemeanor crimes than one can commit in violation of what are essentially, religious laws – not crimes against persons and property. The process is augmented by advertising media brain washing, identical to the techniques used by the German Nazis. People who hold different “beliefs” or “values” are so villainized that their very names become equivalent to the devil among Fundamentalists. Their Islamic counterparts typically choose to utilize violent methods of forced submission to their beliefs. We will talk about what they have been up to in the next article.
Editor’s Note: In Part Two of Mr. Rhodes editorial, he discusses how Great Britain and France created artificial nations in the Middle East after World War I, with the main goal of obtaining long term oil concessions. The United States got into this act by the early 1930s and by the 1950s was carrying out Machiavellian plots to manipulate the governments in the Middle East. Then in 1972, Islamic terrorism exploded onto the international headlines, followed by the Yom Kippur War in 1973. Since that time Muslims have continuously been belligerents in a war somewhere in the world and dominate the headlines almost daily. Indeed, there have been very, very few wars fought in the past four decades that didn’t involve Muslims. However, the demands of Muslim radicals has evolved from issues related national sovereignty to the submittal of the entire world to Muslim hegemony and Sharia law. A blood bath of Muslim religious persecution and terrorism is turning the world’s nations into police states.