MAY 2005

Red Easter

By Israel Shamir

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Easter has no fixed abode; this most important movable feast of the Orthodox Christian year flies like a shuttle between March and May and weaves the diverse important dates into a single metaphysical narrative. In the memorable year 2000, it coincided with the Western Easter proclaiming Christendom’s underlying bedrock unity. Last year, Good Friday fell on April 9, the Deir Yassin Massacre Day, when apostles’ children were slaughtered by Jewish terrorists in the land of Christ. This year, Resurrection Sunday comes on May Day, weaving back the unnecessary tear between the Reds and the Christ. The Russians, amongst whom I celebrate today, christened it Krasnaya Pascha, “Red Easter”.

In this unique country – nay, civilisation, - thousands of men and women stand up for the all-night-long Easter service and in the morning join mass demos under the Red banner. Thus for me, and for many Russians, May Day came as a second, unexpected apotheosis of the Easter celebration.

I came to Russia for the last weeks of their Lent and for Easter. The Spring was unusually long and cold; until recently, white snow covered the eternally green boughs of the pines and the naked white bodies of birches in the forest. Thick ice allowed fishermen to drill holes and catch fish in the frozen streams until mid-April. It was good: Russia is beautiful like a bride in her white dress of snow and ice, while rosy-cheeked and blue-eyed Russian girls in their modest fur coats are irresistible on frosty days. And the churches with their multicoloured onions and domes are embellished with exquisite icons and frescoes.

In Soviet days they served as coal stores, hardware shops, or at best, museums of atheism. Active churches were a rare thing. The rest was so run-down that they inspired no interest -- just dirty old structures ready to be demolished when a new bypass has to be built. And a lot was demolished. Since 1991, the Church embarked on a huge project of regaining surviving churches and repairing them. The result is mind-boggling – yesterday’s Cinderellas became today’s Princesses. I could not recognise them – their old domes a-blazing with gold plating, bells a-ringing, and interiors totally redone. The surviving frescoes were lovingly restored, ruined ones were painted anew in the traditional Byzantine style. The monasteries turned into soldiers’ barracks or boarding schools for young delinquents returned to their original purpose and many serious young and spiritual Russians take up the Orders. Even the long-demolished Cathedral of St Saviour in Moscow – a site of a swimming pool in Soviet days – was rebuilt. Thus the Russians succeeded where the Jews failed: they did rebuild their Temple.

The last days of the Holy Week were quite a build up. The churches were full day and night; the believers formed long queues to go to confession: the Russian church has no booths for this purpose, and confession is a face-to-face interview in a nave. Only after a three-day fast and confession one may receive the communion done with bread and undiluted wine, as in the church of Apostles. Besides the Communion, the Orthodox church also practice pre-Paschal unction reserved in the West only for the dying.

On Easter Saturday, Russian ladies baked their delicious Easter cakes and brought them to be blessed by the priest in the church, so in the afternoon the church compound was scented by spices, raisins and fresh dough. It is their custom to break the fast by eating these sweetish cakes with cottage cheese.

The night-time Easter service was very long, but people did not leave early – they felt it was the much-expected culmination of their long and hard Lent. Indeed, Orthodox Lent is very strict: even olive oil (do not even think of dairy foods or fish) is permitted on Sundays only, while marital joys are banished completely. I went to a church of a nearby monastery, a vast structure built in the beginning of the 20th century in Art Nouveau style with pre-Raphaelite frescoes, and stood all night long, until the dawn, among throngs of smartly dressed Russians with lit candles in their hand who answered the priest calling out ‘Christ is Risen!’ with their thunderous ‘Indeed, He is Risen!’

And just a few hours later I stood opposite the Bolshoy Grand Opera (where I was recently at the premiere of a specially commissioned by the theatre new opera Blumenthal’s Children, a fascinating and provocative treatment of the iconoclast Sorokin’s writing by St Petersburg composer Desyatnikov) in the May Day demo crowd, listening to a Communist leader who repeated just the same call; and from under the Red banners came a reply: “Indeed, He is Risen!”

Paradox? Not really. Even universal faiths have some local colour, and Russian Communism and Russian Orthodox Church share the same background. On every turn of their development, whether in their old Pravoslav Tsardom, or in the Red Republic, the Russians who strove for the unity and brotherhood of Man were motivated by compassion and acceptance of “losers.They consistently rejected Mammon. The Russians despise money and material belongings; for them, poverty is a welcome sign of an honest man rather than a mark of social leprosy as in the West. They suspect rather than admire a moneybag. The old adage of ‘the Spiritual East’ as opposed to ‘materialistic’ West still holds true: who does not like East, does not love the Spirit.

Today, Russian Reds are reconciled with the Church; the Communist Party members attend the services and joined the Pravoslav tradition. Gennady Zuganov, the CPRF leader, congratulated the demo with the May Day – and with Christ’s Resurrection as well. Rogozin, the leader of a breakaway Rodina faction, now a big party by its own right, was even more eloquent in referring to Easter. As various Red and nationalist parties and groups represent a clear majority of the Russians, it is an important and a positive change from the days when churches were dynamited and worshippers discouraged.

It is a good change, for the Reds’ loss of power can’t be understood but in context of Russian spiritual quest. The Russian Communists modernised Russia, they created a society of mutual support. They could not give villas and Cadillac cars to everybody, so they gave what they could. Everybody had more or less the same: they had their safe and assured employment, their free accommodation, free electricity, telephone, heating, public transport.

But they forgot to attend to spiritual needs of the Russians. They forgot the teleological ‘What for’. And people can’t live without a purpose. This lack of purpose became obvious when the pressing material needs of the people were satisfied. The Russians accepted Communism – not in order to live better; they had a greater goal of spiritual perfection. The trouble began from the top: the de-spiritualised Soviet elites of the last decades drifted to the right; they loved Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan, and had accepted the neo-liberal world-view a long time before the collapse.

Indeed, in the West, the neo-liberals solved the problem of “What for” by creating massive social insecurity: people are not liable to think of spirit if they can be thrown out of their homes by a bank. Gorbachev copied their solution when he allowed the Soviet ship to capsize. He was supported by the pro-Western reformers.

The West is full of variety and contains many ideas and paradigms. But the Russian Westernisers were a narrow-minded lot; they embraced the Chicago school of Milton Friedman with fervour; and despised the Russian people, their history and tradition. They privatised Russian national property, sold it to the trans-national companies and tried to integrate Russia as a supplier of raw materials. However, their victory was not as final and conclusive as they thought.

There are clear signs of Russians reasserting their history after the clean break of 1991. It is not only churches lovingly restored and filled with worshippers; not only restoration of historic names – thus Kalinin Avenue (named after a Soviet leader) became again the Invention of the Cross street. It was done by the winners of 1991. But the Soviet past is being reintegrated, too. The great celebrations of V-day due on May, 9 are a sign of the change. The liberal reformers of 1991 asserted that there was no difference between the Commies and the Nazis, between Hitler and Stalin. They mocked the veterans saying “Pity you weren’t defeated: we would live like Germans”. They forbade celebrations of V-day: not out of love to Hitler, but because of their hate to the Soviet anti-Mammonite past.

This year, every street in Russia bears some congratulatory poster blessing the vets for their great victory. Here again, it is not a sign of hate to Germany or to National Socialism, but of reconciliation with the Soviet past. At the May Day demo, Stalin was acclaimed by Zuganov and other Communist leaders as ‘the father of the great victory’. There were his portraits a-plenty. It’s not that the Russians miss the Gulag or industrialisation; but Stalin and his rule are part and parcel of Russian history. Likewise, the French Restoration regime of Louis the Eighteenth called Napoleon ‘the Corsican Monster’, but just a few years later, by 1840s, the late Emperor regained his place in the Pantheon of France.

The struggle for Russia's future is far from over; it has just started. Some people may think that this great country became an irrelevancy, a rusty oil pipeline and a consumer of Chinese goods and American ideas. But Russia is alive: Russians write great books still unknown in the West. Three books of the last decade, The Last Soldier of the Empire by Alexander Prochanov, The Blue Lard by Vladimir Sorokin and The Sacred Book of Werewolf by Victor Pelevin are as enjoyable, challenging and uplifting as Hundred Years of Solitude by Marquez. There are no contemporary writers or books in the West of a similar stature. In a properly arranged world, these treasures of spirit would be considered among great achievements of mankind. Indeed, who cares for oil – it is Russian writing that we should import!

Russians do read a lot. Another positive change since the Soviet days is freedom of creativity and publishing. In Soviet days, stifling Party control blocked incoming ideas and books and stopped their creation in Russia. Even revolutionary Marxist books were banned, unless written in boring Sovietese. Now, in a tiny bookshop in a Moscow Underground for a few roubles one can buy new editions of Guenon and Joyce, Murakami and Pavic, St Augustine and Chesterton – and certainly, the Russian writers and philosophers old and new, with their fusion of metaphysics, theology and politics: from pre-revolutionary Bulgakov, Florensky, Rozanov to contemporary Alexander Dugin, Serge Averintsev and Alexander Panarin. I felt myself as Gulliver in Brobdingnegg, the Land of Giants: there are hundreds of Russians one can discuss most complicated questions with and find oneself out of one’s depth.

Russians are aware of their problems and think of new solutions. Their problems are our problems, too: the Soviet collapse coincided with (or ushered in) the global Ice Age of social deep-freezing. More and more people in the once-protected West find themselves marginalised; the Third World outpoured unto New York and London; compassion is outlawed; spiritual search is non-existent.

The recently demised Russian thinker Alexander Panarin believed that the Orthodox Christian paradigm has a way to deal with the coming neo-liberal Ice Age by bringing in the Christian Eros as the force to revitalise the Universe. Russia may yet raise again the banner to summon the defeated, the outcast, the disenfranchised, the discarded against the new Masters of the World, he wrote.

In his view, Orthodox Russian Christianity is different and can offer a solution to perplexed mankind because it is centred on the Lady. Indeed, Her image occupies the place usually preserved for the Cross in the Western churches. She is often presented as the Queen sitting on the throne with the crowned Child on Her lap. For the Russians, the Mother of God represents Nature. She is divine, connected with the Spirit and bears Him in Her womb. The Russians’ love to Christ who is Spirit is not divorced from their love to the Lady who is Mother Earth and their Compassionate Intercessor. God the Father, the God of Old Testament, the God of Justice has very little presence in the Russian universe.

If Dan Brown were to visit Russia, he would never write his Da Vinci Code, for the female divinity is not suppressed or replaced here. In his very American bestseller, the Catholic Church tries to suppress the cult of Mary Magdalene as it is afraid of femininity; while the Jews (of all people) protect and guard Mary’s remains. In real life, Jews have no female saints and dislike Our Lady even more than they dislike Her Son, while the Church venerates the Lady and adores the female saints. But Dan Brown had to fit his perfectly normal, true and justified longing for the Earth-bound and Spirit-connected Mediatrix into the Judaeo-American neo-Calvinist picture of the world, where Jews are always right and the church is always wrong. That is why he turned everything upside down; the New York Times spread its fame and the public bought it. In Russia, he wouldn’t be able to misrepresent: here, the Lady reigns supreme, and the ideas of Compassion and Connection to nature and spirit wait to be unleashed.



Will it happen? Russia is at the crossroads. While new-found freedom of creativity, publications and religious freedom are very important achievements, probably they could have been had without the great social cost the Russians were forced to pay. Their national assets – from oil and gas to land and factories – were privatised and taken over by a small group of extremely well-connected oligarchs. Now Western companies try and buy these assets. Russian industry is in poor shape; de-industrialisation proceeds unhindered. Once an advanced country of great science and modern industry, Russia is being converted into a raw materials’ supplier. Though oil money makes this decline relatively comfortable for many Russians, in case of economic downturn catastrophe is inevitable.

Russians feel themselves threatened by the aggressive US drive to acquire military bases and political influence in the ex-USSR republics. The Orange revolution in the Ukraine and the possibility of NATO forces entering this Slav hinterland made the threat acute. Russian James Bonds, Putin’s ex-colleagues from St Petersburg branch of the State Security, are strongly represented in the state apparatus; usually such people – like George Bush the Senior – are considered patriotic chaps, but now the Russians are worried not only by their lack of liberalism and corruption, but also by their inability to meet the American challenge and their readiness to give in to American demands, including the much discussed question of a US presence at Russian nuclear facilities. The media is concentrated in a few hands; though as opposed to the West, there is a prominent state-owned media, but it is also quite pro-Western or provides poor-quality entertainment.

At the May Day demo, the Reds demanded just one hour a day on the state TV to be devoted to their programmes: this exceedingly humble request is not likely to be met. Meanwhile, TV broadcasts Swan Lake and concerts of rock groups, while political discussion is kept under wraps. The Reds and the Nationalists are unhappy with the regime, for it is not doing enough to stop embezzlement, corruption, privatisation, de-industrialisation and impoverishment of the people. Though the regime took up some of their slogans, their words remain words only and are not accompanied by action.

But the Reds and the Nationalists are not in fighting shape. They were defeated in 1993, when Yeltsin shelled the Parliament and took dictatorial powers. In 1996, the Red leader Zuganov actually won the presidential election, but the results were falsified, and Zuganov did not dare ‘to do a Yushchenko’ and forcibly take what was his by right. Since then, the Reds suffer from a certain weakness. This could change because of an alliance with two outsider groups.

A new force, National Bolsheviks led by Edward Limonov, a charismatic poet, are anything but vegetarian. Very young, practically teenagers or in their early twenties, the NBP made a few spectacular actions: takeovers of ministries and even of the President public reception office. They carry out an unusual form of ‘terror’ – instead of bombs, they throw eggs, rotten tomatoes and pies, slapstick-comedy-style, into politicians and officials’ faces. The authorities were duly terrified and meted out a five-year jail sentence for a well-aimed pie. Some forty NBP young men and women are now in jail, but their readiness to go into action where others just talk made them the cutting edge of the opposition. They are courted now by Communists and Liberals alike. At the May Day demo, Limonov was standing next to Zuganov and Rogozin, leaders of much bigger parliamentary parties.

The second force is quite different. These are a mixture of liberals and neo-liberals. Their numbers are tiny, their two parties could not even make it to the Parliament. They also had a demonstration on May Day at some distance from the main event; it was attended by two or three dozen people. But they have a lot of money and strong positions in the media, business and power structures. They are also dissatisfied with Putin; they want to speed up privatisation, open the country for foreign investors, privatise social housing, bring in immigrants, remove limitations of free movement within Russia, withdraw from Chechnya and win release of UKOS boss Hodorkovsky.

Though their demands are the very opposite to those of the Reds and the Nationalists, there is a tentative coalition of these groups against the President. The Reds and the Nationalists feel they can use some of the Liberals’ media access and money to advance their agenda; the Liberals need the masses mobilised by the Reds and the active fighters of NBP. In return, NBP dropped its more radical slogans and now speaks for greater freedom and democracy, for amnesty and general softening of oppressive policing.

All sides in the new setup believe in their ability to come out the top dog. The liberals are certain they will eventually get the power in the land; but so do the Reds and the Nationalists. The liberals have a precedent of the Ukraine to go by. There, Communists and Nationalists supported Yushchenko and installed pro-American neo-liberal regime. In case of a revolution, the liberals will rely upon their connection with the West, their media power and political sophistication.

That is why some opposition forces in Russia prefer to support the President as the lesser evil. These supporters of the President include, our Moscow friends, a very good left group, and the “Eurasia” of Alexander Dugin, an important and much admired Russian Orthodox thinker. They feel that the revolution will be utilised by their enemies, and the enemies of Russia. They say that they already tried to support the liberal agenda in 1991, and this experience cured them from entering such alliances.

Their opponents say that the President is under American control anyway; he gave up the Russian positions in Cuba and Ukraine, Georgia and Vietnam. He carries on privatisation. Though he speaks like a Red nationalist, his actions follow the liberal blueprint. They also feel that an ‘Orange’ revolution is inevitable: the Americans are fomenting it, and ordinary people are dissatisfied with the regime. With the support of the liberals, they can create instability and hope for the best. “Let us enter the melee,” as Lenin used to say, “and sort out our strategy later”.

Their slogan is ‘After February, October’ – a reference to the events of fateful 1917. The Bolsheviks did not overthrow the Tsar as is sometimes claimed; it was achieved by the liberal Westernisers who seized power in February 1917 in order to introduce full-blown capitalism in Russia; but the Russian soul had a very strong faith-based rejection of Mammon. Thus a few months later, in October 1917, the Bolsheviks kicked the Mammonite liberals out. While now the liberals intend to replicate their Ukrainian success, their tactical partners hope to repeat the 1917 feat. It is not impossible: Even a few months before it occurred, nobody expected the Bolshevik victory of October 1917. Indeed, the liberal revolutionaries, the victors of the February revolution, were well-positioned to rule. In order to win, the Bolsheviks cooperated with the German General Staff, with New York Jewish bankers and even with British Intelligence – but in the end they dispatched their yesteryear supporters without a thank you.

It is a dangerous game, but revolutions usually are. Should we be satisfied with the ‘lesser evil’ or may we try and gain the whole lot? I have no clear-cut answer. While a return to Soviet Communism is as unlikely as restoration of the Pravoslav Empire, the creative forces of the Russians may still move mankind forward, out of its present impasse. The divine spark in Man’s soul is not easy to extinguish, the Spirit will win as sure as Christ is Risen.

Resurrection Sunday 2005, Moscow

Bethlehem in May

By Delia Khano©

Anyone who has not recently been to see the revered sixth century Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem would hardly recognise today’s approach to the little town. It seems that the checkpoint with its roadblocks, watchtower and offices is soon to be a welcoming and exclusive entrance for the Ultra-Orthodox Jews who wish to visit Rachel’s Tomb; and this rerouting will put many Bethlehemites out of business.

At present all other sorts and conditions of men and women, including foreigners, are thoroughly checked there coming and going; West Bank cars are not allowed past; and a visit to Jerusalem or Israel requires a very special permit, difficult to obtain.

The old Israeli promise of ‘freedom of religion’ is shown to be just a sop for the media, although Jerusalem is the lodestar for both Christian and Moslem Arabs. Worse, families are divided and sources of work cut off.

 One would never think these embargoes would last into ‘peacetime’ but there is every indication that they will. A large tract of land to the south-east of the present checkpoint, about 250 metres square, has recently been taken, bulldozed and enclosed with a formidable fence, apparently to serve as the checkpoint for non-Jews, a carpark for taxis waiting for Arab labourers and others, lanes for queuing cars (it can take two hours to get out), and a new road which makes a detour past Rachel’s Tomb.

If we pass the present checkpoint without trouble or too much delay, it leads us to the inevitable roundabout in the midst of nowhere; and then comes the fearsome eight-metre high Wall. There is an opening in it and one may, as things are, just drive through it, but in future we understand it is only to be for the Orthodox going to Rachel’s Tomb, and for Patriarchs and Bishops of the western and eastern churches on Christmas Eve. Business for the many shops on this road is now at a standstill.

 Apart from this gap, the Wall is complete on the northern side of Bethlehem, and it links up with the barrier coming south from Al-Azarieh (Bethany) and Abu Dis. This leaves two or three kilometres between the Wall and the Green Line, and we do not know if this land and its villages will be annexed to Israel or left as a sort of no-man’s-land. Bethlehem was the marketing town for these villages in former times.

 The Bethlehemites on the north side of the town say already it is like living in a prison; when the Wall surrounds it completely it will indeed be terrible.

 Tourism, which has been the main source of income in the Nativity town since the Crusades, is now in steep decline: its many adjuncts hotels, restaurants, museums, tourist agencies, the staff for all of these, guides, souvenirs including the centuries-old olive wood carvings, Palestine pottery, jewellery, embroidery and other handmade crafts - have all suffered critically. Bethlehem University graduates are exceedingly keen to work in tourism but, with Bethlehem almost eclipsed, they need to go to Jerusalem to find a job and hopes of a permit are dim.

 It seems to be deliberate policy on Israel’s part to exclude Bethlehem: a Ministry of Tourism programme will not normally include it; and an Israeli tourist agent may tell his Christian pilgrims, ‘You should not go there: it is full of terrorists.’ I have been going to Bethlehem for forty-five years and I have yet to meet a terrorist or anything like one.

 In fact Bethlehem is very quiet - unnaturally so: the people are surrounded by settlements, imprisoned by the checkpoint and the Wall and decimated by emigration. There was a time when the population was mainly Christian, but nearly 10% of the Christians have emigrated just since the year 2000. The character of the town began to change in 1948 with the influx of refugees from western Palestine, and a certain number of Hebronites came into the town since then; but there is nevertheless still a sort of Christian establishment.

A Christian community that came to Bethlehem as the result of persecution by the Turks are the Suriani or Syriacs whose language is Aramaic. Two of the families are rich: the others have very slender means. They saved up from the 1950s to have their own village or quarter, and in the early ‘60s they managed to buy ten and a half acres of land in the shadow of the Ecumenical Institute of Tantur. Their plans were approved in Jordan’s day, but not by the Israelis when they took over. Now the Israeli government is confiscating it to extend Gilo. The Syriacs not only receive no compensation, but they are being harried to pay large amounts of land tax. The drain of Christians is likely to accelerate, and an attractive people with a fascinating history to be dispersed to the Americas and Europe.

Frustrated in their every endeavor and severed from their mother city Jerusalem, with a Jewish sect preferred to the diverse millions for whom Bethlehem has special importance, the diaspora from Bethlehem could become a flood if conditions do not improve. But because some of the Israeli establishment would manifestly wish for just that to happen, perhaps the Bethlehemites will endure the siege conditions.

If Jesus returns, Karl Rove will kill him
Harvey Wasserman
March 22, 2005

As we enter another Easter Season, it's become all too obvious that if Christ returns, those who hate in his name will libel him, then kill him.

Christ was a long-haired peace activist who would have been sickened to his soul by the war in Iraq.  "Blessed are the peacemakers"  Jesus said in his defining Sermon on the Mount.  "Turn the other cheek...Love thy neighbor."

Such hippie-radical ideals are the "Christian" right wing's worst nightmare.  The GOP would never tolerate an upstart like Jesus gathering a following in the face of their corporate-fundamentalist crusade.  These are self-proclaimed Christians who love power but would despise the actual Christ, just as they love a Zionist Israel but believe  actual Jews are doomed to Hell. 

In the wake of Jesus's inspiring life of non-violent rebellion, a perverse liturgy weighted by twenty centuries of intolerant bloodthirsty bigotry has erupted in his name.  Attacks on people of color, on nations with oil, on humans of the same gender who love each other, on youth who enjoy sex….all have become staples of a new fundamentalist crusade doing in Christ's name things that would have left him horrified. 

In large part through the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus came to be viewed as Divine because he spoke eloquently for a gracious, loving God. 

Karl Rove, Tom DeLay, George Bush and their  corporate-fundamentalist minions speak to and for a very different kind of God, one at war with the Deity described by Christ. Bush-Rove's Master is a spiteful dictator, defined by hate and greed, intolerance and hypocrisy. 

Christ kicked the moneychangers out of the temple.  Today's Republicans have enshrined them.

Christ spoke of a God of compassion and joy. 

Today's "religious" right wingers worship Meanness of Spirit, a greed-driven war-loving totalitarianism.  The only way to salvation, they say is their way, through a nature-hating Authority that tramples all Jesus preached. 

As Tecumseh, the great Shawnee spirit-warrior, allegedly shouted at William Henry Harrison in the early 1800s:  "When Jesus Christ came upon the Earth, you killed him.  The son of your own God.  And only after he was dead did you worship him and start killing those who would not. "

If Christ came back today to resume preaching the Sermon on the Mount, Karl Rove would curse him in the media, then kill him outright, then turn his words into conservative hatespeak, then kill those who refuse to follow in his name. 

If Christ came back to organize against Bush's war, Rove's pet bioviators would shriek about Mary Magdalene.  Isn't that her next to Christ in DaVinci's "Last Supper"?  Wasn't she pregnant with Christ's bastard child.  Who let her catch his blood dripping from the cross?

Rush Limbaugh would demand to how this  "Son of God" could have a relationship out of wedlock?  Who was he to feed  loaves and fishes to the undeserving poor, prolonging the existence of inferior racial stock?  Who said he could attack those moneychangers who are the Elect of God and the sponsors of Rush's air time?

Then O'Reilly would insult the Easter thing.  A self-anointed "peace prophet" rising from the tomb?  Poppycock, he'd say.  Just another pinko hippie terrorist conspiracy theory.   

But if Christ persisted, and built a following like, say, Martin Luther King or Malcolm X, Cesar Chavez or Nelson Mandela…well….they'd kill him. They'd blame a patsy, like, say the Jews, or the terrorists, or the Willie Hortons.  They'd designate a straw man to take the fall for the assassination. 
Rove would cloud his death in shadowy scandal.  Stories would surface of unconfirmed debts.  Or tainted investments.  Maybe something about hashish, no stranger to the region.  Hannity would feature some jilted lovers.  There'd be rumors Jesus was gay. Talk of a love triangle.  Ugly gossip about Mary and Judas.  False leads about Jews wanting him dead.  New doubts about that "virgin birth." 

Whatever it would take to slime the sheen off an anti-war "Son of God" and to turn his death tawdry, Rove would do. 

But would Jesus stand for the slaughter of 100,000 Iraqis in his name for oil and dubious Biblical prophecy?  What would Christ think about a president in love with the torture chamber and electric chair?   What would Jesus, who hated hypocrisy, say about a Bush who scampers back to prolong the life of a brain-dead woman, but who gleefully executed 150 people as governor and still more as president?  How would Jesus cope with a self-proclaimed Divinity demanding the death penalty for children?

And what would Jesus say about torture in American prisons, where much the same is being done to innocent inmates as was done to Christ himself on the way to Calvary?  Mel Gibson's "Passion of the Christ" could serve as a documentary of the daily torture and slaughter among the 2.2 million prisoners held in the US military and civilian gulag, a barbaric prison system that makes the Romans' seem benign by comparison. 

Systematic sexual abuse by both prison guards and Catholic priests?  The wholesale slaughter of Iraqi children?  The debasement by corporate money of both church and state? 

Christ would lead the non-violent charge against these cornerstones of GOP rule---until Rove killed him.

What would Jesus do about gay marriage?  "Love they neighbor,"  he'd say. 

What business is it of those who use his name, he would ask, to prolong bigotry and intolerance just as 50 years ago those same cynical haters claimed Biblical sanction for laws preventing people of different colors from marrying one another.

Christ would never stand for such bigotry.  So Karl Rove would have him killed.

Hitler claimed Christ was an Aryan supremacist.  Now Rove, DeLay & company use him to sell dictatorial, greed-driven, gay-hating, war loving hypocrisy. 

Easter says otherwise.  It should remind us that if Jesus returned to preach the Gandhian love-thy-neighbor subversion with which he challenged the Romans, Karl Rove would do what Pontius Pilate did. 

But Rove would be better at the spin. 

Free Press Senior Editor and "Superpower of Peace" columnist Harvey Wasserman is also senior advisor to Greenpeace USA and the Nuclear Information & Resource Service. He is author or co-author of six books, including four on nuclear power and renewable energy, and two histories of the United States.
Most recently Harvey has focussed on the rising renewable energy industry. In 2002 he co-authored, with legendary windpower pioneer Dan Juhl of Pipestone, Minnesota, HARVESTING WIND ENERGY AS A CASH CROP: A GUIDE TO LOCALLY OWNED WIND FARMING ( He is hoping to convert Ohio and the world to a "Solartopia" of wind and solar power. He is also working for the Superpower of Peace and its inevitable victory over the evil forces of the Bush Junta.

C. E. Carlson

The French author, Alexis de Tocqueville, wrote Democracy in America when he traveled here in the first third of the 19th Century.  In ringing tones he sang the praises of America's invulnerable strengthand spirit.  He attributed its greatness to its citizens' sense of morality... even with the abundant church attendances he observed in America.  De Tocqueville wrote in French and is credited with this familiar quote:  "AMERICA IS GREAT BECAUSE SHE IS GOOD, and if America ever ceases to be good, she will cease to be great."

World Zionist leaders initiated a program to change America and its religious orientation.  One of the tools used to accomplish this goal was an obscure and malleable Civil War veteran named Cyrus I. Schofield.  A much larger tool was a venerable, world respected European book publisher--The Oxford University Press.

The scheme was to alter the Christian view of Zionism by creating and promoting a pro-Zionist subculture within Christianity.  Scofield's role was to re-write the King James Version of the Bible by inserting Zionist-friendly notes in the margins, between verses and chapters, and on the bottoms of the pages.  The Oxford University Press used Scofield, a pastor by then, as the Editor, probably because it needed such as man for a front.  The revised bible was called the Scofield Reference Bible, and with limitless advertising and promotion, it became a best-selling "bible" in America and has remained so for 90 years. 

The Oxford University Press owned "The Scofield Reference Bible" from the beginning, as indicated by its copyright, and Scofield stated he received handsome royalties from Oxford.  Oxford's advertisers and promoters succeeded in making Scofield's bible, with its Christian Zionist footnotes, a standard for interpreting scripture in Judeo-Christian churches, seminaries, and Bible study groups.  It has been published in at least four editions since its introduction in 1908 and remains one of the largest selling Bibles ever.

The Scofield Reference Bible and its several clones is all but worshiped in the ranks of celebrity Christians, beginning with the first media icon, evangelist Billy Graham.  Of particular importance to the Zionist penetration of American Christian churches has been the fast growth of national bible study organizations, such as Bible Study Fellowship and Precept Ministries.  These draw millions of students from not only evangelical fundamentalist churches, but also from Catholic and mainline Protestant churches and non-church contacts. These invariably teach forms of "dispensationalism," which draw their theory, to various degrees, from the notes in the Oxford Bible.

It is no exaggeration to say that the 1967 Oxford 4th Edition deifies--makes a God of--the State of Israel, a state that did not even exist when Scofield wrote the original footnotes in 1908.  This writer believes that, had it not been for misguided anti-Arab race hatred promoted by Christian Zionist leaders in America, neither the Gulf War nor the Israeli war against the Palestinians would have occurred, and a million or more people who have perished would be alive today.

What proof do we have to incriminate World Zionism in a scheme to control Christianity?  For proof we offer the words themselves that were planted in the 1967 Edition, 20 years after the State of Israel was created in 1947, and 46 years after Scofield's death.  The words tell us that those who control the Oxford Press recreated a bible to misguide Christians and sell flaming Zionism in the churches of America. 

The most convincing evidence of the unseen Zionist hand that wrote the Scofield notes to the venerable King James Bible is the content of the notes themselves, for only Zionists could have written them.  These notes are the subjects of this paper.

Oxford edited the former 1945 Edition of SRB in 1967, at the time of the Six Day War when Israel occupied Palestine.  The new footnotes to the King James Bible presumptuously granted the rights to the Palestinians' land to the State of Israel and specifically denied the Arab Palestinians any such rights at all.  One of the most brazen and outrageous of these NEWLY INSERTED footnotes states:

JUDGMENT." (Page 19-20, footnote (3) to Genesis 12:3.) (Emphasis added)

This statement sounds like something from Ariel Sharon, or the Chief Rabbi in Tel Aviv, or Theodore Herzl, the founder of Modern Zionism. But these exact words are found between the covers of the 1967 Edition of the Oxford Bible that is followed by millions of American churchgoers and students and is used by their leaders as a source for their preaching and teaching. 

There is no word for "anti-Semitism" in the New Testament, nor is it found among the Ten Commandments.  "Sin," this writer was taught, is a personal concept.  It is something done by individuals in conflict with God's words, not by "nations."  Even Sodom did not sin--its people did.  The word "judgment" in the Bible always refers to God's action.  In the Christian New Testament, Jesus promises both judgment and salvation for believing individuals, not for "nations."

There was also no "State of Israel" when Scofield wrote his original notes in his concocted Scofield Reference Bible in 1908.  All references to Israel as a state were added AFTER 1947, when Israel was granted statehood by edict of the United Nations.  The Oxford University Press simply rewrote its version of the Christian Bible in 1967 to make antipathy toward the "State of Israel" a "sin."  Israel is made a god to be worshiped, not merely a "state."  David Ben-Gurion could not have written it better.  Perhaps he did write it!
The Oxford 1967 Edition continues on page 19:

"(2) God made an unconditional promise of blessings through Abram's seed. (a) TO THE NATION OF ISRAEL TO INHERIT A SPECIFIC TERRITORY FOREVER"

"(3)There is a promise of blessings upon those individuals and nations who bless Abram's descendants, and a curse laid upon those who persecute the Jews.." (Page 19, 1967 Edition Genesis 12:1-3)

This bequeath is joined to an Oxford prophesy that never occurs in the
Bible itself:

"It has invariably fared ill with the people who have persecuted the Jew, well with those who have protected him." and "THE FUTURE WILL
page19-20Genesis 12:3)

None of these notes appeared in the original Scofield Reference Bible or in the 1917 or 1945 editions.  The state of Israel DID NOT EXIST in 1945, and according to the best dictionaries of the time, the word "Israel" only referred to a particular man and an ancient tribe, which is consistent with the Bible text.  See "Israel," Webster's New International Dictionary 2nd (1950) Edition. 

The State of Israel's legal claims to Arab lands are based on the United Nations Partitioning Agreement of 1947, which gave the Jews only a fraction of the land they have since occupied by force.  But when this author went to Israel and asked various Israelis where they got the right to occupy Palestine, each invariably said words to the effect that "God gave it to us."  This interpretation of Hebrew scripture stems from the book of Genesis and is called the "Abrahamic Covenant".  It is repeated several times and begins with God's promise to a man called Abraham who was eventually to become the grandfather of a man called "Israel:"

It is upon this promise to a single person that modern Israeli Zionists base their claims to what amounts to the entire Mid-East. Its logic is roughly the equivalent of someone claiming to be the heir
to the John Paul Getty estate because the great man had once sent a letter to someone's cousin seven times removed containing the salutation "wishing you my very best."  In "Sherry's War," We Hold These Truths provides a common sense discussion of the Abrahamic Covenant and how millions of Christians are taught to misunderstand it.

Prescribed  by the Great  Physician
Fold two  hands together,  And express  a dash of sorrow.  
Marinate it  overnight,  And work on  it tomorrow.

Chop one  grudge in tiny pieces,  Add several  cups of love.  Dredge with  a
large sized smile,  Mix with  the ingredients above.

Dissolve  the hate within you,  By doing a  good deed.  Cut in and  help
your friend,  If he/she  should be in need.

Stir in  laughter, love and kindness,  From the  heart it has to come.  Toss
with  genuine forgiveness,  And give  your friends some.

The amount  of people served,  Will depend  on you.  It can  serve the whole
wide world.  If you  really want it to!!!  
author  unknown

The  next time you feel like GOD can't use
you,   just  remember...

Noah was a  drunk

Abraham was too  old

Isaac was a  daydreamer

Jacob was a liar

Leah was ugly

Joseph was abused

Moses had a  stuttering problem

Gideon was afraid

Samson had long  hair and was a womanizer

Rahab was a  prostitute

Jeremiah and  Timothy were too young

David had an  affair and was a murderer

Elijah was  suicidal

Isaiah preached  naked

Jonah ran from  God

Naomi was a widow

Job went bankrupt

Peter denied  Christ

The Disciples  fell asleep while praying

Martha worried  about everything

Mary Magdalene  was, well you know

The Samaritan  woman was divorced, more than once

Zaccheus was too  small

Paul was too  religious

Timothy had an  ulcer..AND

Lazarus was  dead!

* * * * * *

God wants  spiritual fruit, not religious  nuts.

Dear God, I  have a problem, it's  Me.
Growing old is  inevitable ... growing UP  is optional.

There is no  key to happiness.

Silence is  often misinterpreted but  never misquoted.

Do the math ..  count your  blessings.

Faith is the  ability to not  panic.

Blessed are  the flexible for they shall not  be bent out of  shape.

The most  important things in your house are  the people.

A grudge is a  heavy thing to  carry.

He who dies  with the most toys is still  dead.