Wednesday, 2 August 2006

The COGs and racism

At a time when the churlish, drunken rantings of Mel Gibson have hit the headlines, the spectre of anti-Semitism has reared its ugly head on XCG with comments by a former WCG member. The moderator, Gary Scott, has responded with a clear statement that expresses his disgust at the sentiments.

Gary has it right. Anti-Semitism, like any other form of racism and ethnic prejudice, is contemptible: especially so among people who claim to bask in the love of God.

Anti-Semitism has always existed in a precarious balance with philo-Semitism in the Armstrong sects. John Trechak reportedly pleaded with David Robinson to remove openly anti-Jewish passages from his book, Herbert Armstrong’s Tangled Web. Robinson eventually agreed. Robinson saw Stanley Rader as the “Jewish threat” to the church, a view that Garner Ted Armstrong may have exploited. Whether Rader was the Rasputin figure he was made out to be is beside the point: whatever issues surrounded him, they had everything to do with personal ethics and nothing to do with his Jewish heritage.

Armstrong himself was a strong supporter of Israel, and even today the rhetoric in COG publications such as Flurry’s Philadelphia Trumpet amounts to knee-jerk endorsement of militant Israeli policy. But the very basis of Armstrong prophetic teaching, British Israelism, is by its very nature grounded in a variety of racism that proclaimed the primacy of white, English speaking nations. No one expresses this with less sophistication than Roderick Meredith with his constant references to “our English speaking peoples.” British Israelism is the ultimate insult to Jews, appropriating their identity in a fictional history that relegates them to bit players while Anglo Saxons become the new, true stars of Bible history and prophecy.

Catholicism and Lutheranism in particular have unenviable records of bigotry toward Jews, both to the religion and the people. It is to their credit that much of this has been swept aside in wake of the holocaust. It’s ironic then that some “Hebrew roots” groups – especially those with WCG connections – seem to have made little or no progress. Even when positive statements abound, the price is a vitriolic contempt for Arabic people. Contempt toward Palestinians or Lebanese (many of whom are not Muslim but Christian) is every bit as vile as anti-Semitism. A gospel that embraces all people without distinction still sadly seems very far removed from the public proclamation of the Churches of God.


charlie kieran said...

Gavin - Along those lines I've always wondered how non-whites in the WCG felt about that whole BI doctrine. Calling them 'Spiritual Israelites' is akin to Jim Crow and that separate but equal garbage that Black Americans had to endure. Perhaps someone who endured that can comment.

Felix Taylor, Jr. said...

As a black Canadian, growing up in Worldwide, the doctrine of BI didn't bother me per se, it was the attitude of some who thought they were the literal seed of Abraham thinking it was their right to brag about it like crazy. It just seems like being a child of God was not enough for some. They had this sick fixation of being "extra, extra" special to God.

I could remember at 14 my then associate pastor, the late Rob Elliott was giving a Bible Study on the races and was prophecying that blacks will rise up cause upheaval in North America. There was a riot in L.A. in '92 but nothing major of what Mr.Elliott was proposing after that. Let us make no mistake, it was hard to be a person of colour in the historic WCG. Anyone who says otherwise, please link here

Dennis said...

While a noble topic in any denomination of white western thinking Christians, having a whole Department in WCG on racial reconcilliation, for years seems rather stupid. This is a church that has offended, hurt, marginalized, made fun of, pissed off and drove out just about every human being that ever crossed it's path, but they have a whole department for racial, i.e. black/white reconciliation. I never had a problem as a pastor in any of the 14 congregations I pastored with black/white relations. NONE! I was not naive either, I was inclusive as can be. I know there were problems at times elsewhere.

I have told Curtis May that they are reconciling with the wrong people and he said to "hang in there," he'd pray for me and wished me well. So I felt warmed and filled and went on my way, totally reconciled..amen...majoring in the minors without end.

Neotherm said...

A number of years back, I wrote to GTA and asked him about the racism in the WCG. It is interesting that he did not deny the existence of racism but stated that this view did not come from HWA but was a by-product of British Israelism.

Just before Herman Hoeh died, I had a correspondence with him and asked him about the origins of racism in the WCG. My question was: Did racism develop from a Biblical exegesis of some sort or were the original AC students of a racist view already and simply read their beliefs into the Bible?

Herman Hoeh carefully skirted this issue and simply responded that the segregationist practices of the WCG were implemented so that the WCG would be compatible with the surrounding American society and public policy problems would not develop for the Church.

At Big Sandy, back in the Seventies, a small clique of ministers and faculty members adopted a bizarre view of the Jews. this was during the Stanley Rader era and the dislike of Stanley Rader was obvious on the Big Sandy campus. But this clique of anti-Semites would tell you, no doubt, that it is impossible for them to be anti-Semites. This is because the people we know as Jews are really not Semites. They are Gentiles, probably descended from Ashkenaz -- the Synagogue of Satan of the Book of Revelation. This follows the notions of Arthur Koestler in his book The Thirteenth Tribe.

I was looking through the journal collection at the University of Texas at about this time and discovered a journal that contained these same ideas that were espoused by the clique at Big Sandy, down to the Bible scriptures. I was startled at finding these "new" ideas in print. I then researched the journal and discovered that it was a neo-Nazi rag.

My experience was that some ministers in the WCG were openly racist. Others made statements that were rooted in British-Israelism but were interpreted as affirming racism by members of congregations who possessed little
education and came from the lower class white stratum of society where racism was a cultural distinctive.

No matter what the dynamics, Armstrongism ended up with a strong racist component.


Anonymous said...

My longstanding friends in the WCG for decades would be outraged at any kind of racism. There was no problem with racial relations with the congregations in the congregations I attended, certaintly no need for years and years of spending on racial reconcialiation.
ORM struts as a Preacher, but ORM really a WCG Fleecer. Read Shakedown on Jesse Jackson and confirm what you intuitively knew all along.

charlie kieran said...


An absence of racial conflict / tension in the WCG is not an absence of racism and racist policies and doctrines. Of course a WCG apologist wouldn't recognize it as such...They think they are implementing God's will regarding the races and keeping them 'pure'. There was another man only five or six years older than HWA that thought along these same lines...

I would also reference black canuck's comment regarding members thinking they were the "literal seed of Abraham". There was plenty of that going around as well.

xbeliever said...

In my experience in the NYC area, there were plenty of racist remarks from the "more powerful" ministers although there were those who tried to be fair but they were usually labled liberals. Most members fellowshipped interracially although back in 1970 is was frowned upon.There was one minister who was such a racist that he was thrown out of the Brooklyn congregation and sent out to Long Island where he continued his racist and anti women rants. A few years ago a black woman who raised her daughter in the church couldn't understand why her daughter wouldn't attend her brand of xcg because she felt the church is racist. The only thing I could think of saying is that I don't blame her. A lot of compartmentalism has kept many trapped in Armstrong's cult.

Neotherm said...

In the pre-1995 WCG, some church areas had ministers who were tolerant, compassionate and humanitarian. Other areas had ministers who crusaded against minority groups, so the experience people have had is uneven.

The fact remains that there were segregationist policies in the WCG that demeaned people of color. At the Feast there was a separate "Fun Night" for blacks, and a separate on for Hispanics, not only was interracial marriage was forbidden but whites and blacks were not even supposed to socialize together, blacks could attend only certain Feast sites and when there, could only sit in only certain places in the auditorium.

Armstrongites may try to say that all of this policy was done "in love" and that nobody was harmed. But the practical effect was that I saw deacons with a gestapo-like manner herd blacks into the right areas in the auditorium, I heard a popular minister in Big Sandy use the N-word at Spokesmans Club, I heard all kinds of jokes about blacks and I encountered a Big Sandy employee who worked in the business office peeping from concealment at a black gentleman sitting in the field house. It turned out the man he was "keeping an eye on" was the father of a student. The list could go on. My guess is that there are people attracted to Armstrongism because it does permit them to preserve their racists beliefs and to put the weight of (misintrepreted) Scripture behind their cherished biases.

One of the most remarkable experiences I had was a Bible Study in Wichita, Kansas presented by the late Dean Blackwell. He misquoted a scripture in Isaiah and twisted it to make it sound like the Assyrians and Egyptians would serve Israel. Pages rustled as almost everyone in the audience turned zealously to the scripture. After services not a single person mentioned the gross misconstruing of scripture from the pulpit even though, ostensibly, everyone read it along with Dean. Who said there wasn't brainwashing .........


Anonymous said...

Sunday morning church at 11:00 a.m. remains the most segregated hour in all of America. None of those mainstream Sunday denominations maintain British Israelism as a doctrinal tenet.
Try practicing your Christian love and tolerance in many Muslim countries. Get your infidel throat sawed through courtesy of Mohammed, or wish you had your neck cut off. Christainity, freedom, and equality is not tolerated amongst Arab Muslims.

Anonymous said...

Actually Islamic societies were far more tolerant toward Jews in the pre-modern world. Jews escaped from persecution in Europe to find a place in countries like Egypt where they could practice their religion in relative peace. The Cairo synagogue is one of the oldest. Muslims regard Jews and Christians as "people of the book" because they have written scriptures like themselves. As long as they didn't try to convert Muslims they were tolerated - unlike Jews and Muslims in "Christendom". Fact: Iraq has a large Christian community that goes back centuries. Even modern Christian sects like Seventh-day Adventists were able to practice their faith under Sadaam's regime. The Coptic Church has existed as a minority religion in Egypt since the rise of Islam. "Christian tolerance" is a very modern thing - like it or not Islam has a better track record!

Ned B

Anonymous said...

Islam has been intolerant of Jews since its inception. The idea Jews sojurned in Islamic countries outside Europe without periodic persecutions is a myth. More modernly, since oil was discovered in the Middle East, petrodollars have been used to fund terrorist mosques and Islamic schools which teach outright hatred of the United States and Israel.
Link on treatment of Jews in Arab/Islamic countries:
Regarding ‘people of the book’ - there are some statements in the Qur'an that promote tolerance towards People of The Book. This people of the book belief is used to convert outsiders to Islam as a friendly bridge to Islam. But there are also a considerable amount of statements that promote an adversarial relationship within Islam to people of the Book. These usually are dismissed as inapplicable. For example:
* O you who believe! Do not take the Jews and the Christians for friends/protecters; they are friends/protecters of each other; and whoever amongst you takes them for a friend/protecter, then surely he is one of them; surely God does not guide the unjust people. 5:51
* And ye know of those of you who broke the Sabbath, how We said unto them: Be ye apes, despised and hated! 2:65
* And whoso seeketh as religion other than the Surrender (to God) it will not be accepted from him, and he will be a loser in the Hereafter. 3:85
Your assertion that Islam has a better track record on tolerance than Christianity just that, an empty assertion. Try this track record for Islam from inception to modern times, beginning with the facts about the expansionist conquest of Islam: There are other references I could make dealing with the mass emigration of Christians from the Middle East with the exception of Israel, and the current horrific treatment of Christians in Islamic countries.

Nick Berg

charlie kieran said...

"Sunday morning church at 11:00 a.m. remains the most segregated hour in all of America. None of those mainstream Sunday denominations maintain British Israelism as a doctrinal tenet."

That is a pretty broadbrush you are painting with anonymous. I belong to one of those mainstraim 11:00AM (Actually 10:00AM)Sunday denominations...and our service is not segregated at all!! We have a fairly even congregation of black, white, indian, asian (Sino) asian (Korean), Caribbean islanders, and even a couple of Persians...Of course NJ is a melting pot of various peoples.

If you come across a Christian church that is more one thing than another, my money would point to the neighborhood the church is located in...Birds of a feather tend to flock together...Not some type of latent racism.

Neotherm said...

"Sunday morning church at 11:00 a.m. remains the most segregated hour in all of America. None of those mainstream Sunday denominations maintain British Israelism as a doctrinal tenet." (Quoted from a previous comment.)

But what does the "one and only true church" care about what the rest of churchianity does. A good Armstrongite would expect this kind of flawed behavior in Protestant-land.

Where we would not expect it is in the hallowed halls of the Armstrongite congregations. But we do find it there and it is based on theology and not just on cultural affinity or simple demographics or logistics.

When I wrote to Herman Hoeh about the racism in the pre-1995 WCG, through the course of several exchanges of correspondence, he maintained that it was a public policy issue and not a theological issue. This seemed to me remarkable coming from a man who wrote the article "Races of Mankind" that espoused segregationist views.

One may argue that the segregationist views of Armstrongism were well intentioned and meant for the well being of both the white majority and the various minority groups. This is a delicate topic to bring up, but Armstrongite racism goes much further than some kind of dysfunctional public policy. Armstrongites believed that certain peoples should be exterminated: some black tribes, Native Americans, Lapp Landers and Australian Aborigines. Because these people were descended from Canaan and God clearly gave the command for their extermiination in the Old Testament. Though they believed this theologically, they never attempted to implement it pragmatically. It did remain implicit in the thinking of Armstrongite lay members.

The fact is, Armstrongite racism is institutionalized racism. It is not a flaw, an act discordant with scripture, as it might be for Protestant churches, but a merit badge to the Armstrongite faithful.


xbeliever said...

Doc Thiel(8/3/06 COGwriter) is crying because some here have called his god(HWA)and his cult racist. And they certainly are.

Anonymous said...

Let's not forget HWA's absurd Bullinger-inspired interpretation of Noah's being "perfect in his generations" as meaning the Ark-builder was racially "pure." If Noah was preserved because he was neither a product nor a practitioner of miscegenation, how was it possible for his sons to engage in it without incurring divine wrath? It was, of course, an incoherent and racist view. Moreover, how could Noah be given credit for what his ancestors had or had not done? Let's not forget, HWA was a product of his time and, unfortunately, America as a whole was an openly racist society until well into the 1960s.

charlie kieran said...

I just read Bob's (COGWriter) article. Not only did he not directly address all of the points made in this series, he couldn't help himself from more HWA adulation and exultation.

Bob, HWA was a friend of Israel insofar as A) He could continue to feel superior to them since (In his mind) he was an actual Israelite and they were the wayward tribe of Judah. B) He could turn his bribes, cash, and gifts into "Opened Doors" C) He needed access to Israel to further buttress his many and failed prophecies.

If I never hear "Dome of the Rock" again it will be too soon.

Unfortunately, recovery from Optical Rectumitis is more difficult and lengthy for some.

Anonymous said...

The Congregations Project, based at Rice, is believed to be the first large study focused on racial and ethnic diversity within Christian houses of worship. Emerson and colleagues say the DATA SHOW THAT MIXED CHURCHES ARE A RARE BREED IN AMERICA--COUNTING FOR ONLY 8 PERCENT. The researchers regard a "mixed" congregation as one with at least 20 percent of its members providing racial or ethnic diversity.

Ironically, the poorest record on diversity--only 2 to 3 percent mixed on average--belongs to historic Protestant churches, which were among the first to trumpet the ideal of integrated congregations. Many mainline clergy were stirred by the civil rights movement of the 1960s to render obsolete the observation, usually attributed to Martin Luther King Jr., that "11 A.M. SUNDAY IS THE MOST SEGREGATED HOUR OF THE WEEK IN AMERICA."

Emerson's project, funded by the Lilly Endowment, began with a telephone survey of 2,500 Americans about their congregations. Nearly 500 of those churches, selected at random, were sent mail surveys. Researchers then visited 30 churches in four metropolitan areas--Houston, Los Angeles and unnamed cities in the Midwest and Northeast. "We considered 18 of the churches to be 'multiracial' as we defined it," said Emerson.

Catholic churches "are almost three times more likely to be multiracial than are Protestant congregations" because the large parish boundaries normally embrace several neighborhoods, he said. Yet the Congregations Project found LESS SOCIALIZATION AND INTERACTION BETWEEN ETHNIC AND RACIAL GROUPS IN CATHOLIC PARISHES, WHICH OFTEN HAVE SEPARATE MASSES for different language groups.

The more integrated churches among Protestants usually were the more theologically conservative, non-denominational congregations. OVERALL, THE STUDY FOUND THAT ONLY 7 PERCENT OF PROTESTANT CONGREGATIONS NATIONALLY COULD BE CALLED "MIXED."

The Congregations Project, which completed its field work this year but has yet to publish its findings, found fewer integrated churches than have some other recent surveys, apparently because it MADE SOME ON-SITE CHECKS of the estimates given by churchgoers and church representatives.

For instance, the 1998 National Congregations Survey, which also defined a racially mixed church as having at least 20 percent of members from minority groups, asked thousands of churchgoers about the makeup of their congregations. Mark Chaves, a sociologist of religion with the University of Arizona, said that survey showed that 4 PERCENT OF MAINLINE CHURCHES AND 11 PERCENT OF ALL U.S. CHRISTIAN CHURCHES HAVE MIXED MEMBERSHIPS, compared to the Emerson study, which found a 2 TO 3 PERCENT FIGURE FOR MAINLINE AND 8 PERCENT FOR CHURCHES OVERALL.

Emerson's survey also obtained higher figures when researchers asked individuals if they worshiped in mixed-race congregations. For instance, 11 PERCENT OF WHITES SAID THEY DID. But when investigators VISITED these reputed multiracial churches, they found many respondents had EXAGGERATED THE AMOUNT OF RACIAL INTEGRATION.

Another recent study confirmed the finding that there are relatively fewer integrated churches in mainline denominations and relatively more among Catholic and conservative Protestant churches. The Organizing Religious Work (ORW) project out of the seminary-based Hartford Institute for Religion Research in Connecticut surveyed 550 churches in seven areas of the country, mostly in 1998-99. The ORW survey, which asked church representatives to assess the mix in their churches, yielded higher estimates than the Rice-based study, but again indicated a relative lack of success in mainline congregations.

"Mainline folks, for all their talk about diversity, lag significantly behind," said Nancy T. Ammerman, ORW's project director. She said there are a host of reasons for this.

"ONE SURELY IS THE DISPROPORTIONATELY UPPER-MIDDLE-CLASS, HIGHLY EDUCATED CHARACTER OF TRADITIONAL ANGLO MAINLINE CONGREGATIONS," said Ammerman. "Another barrier to integration, in many instances, is a 'high church' style of worship steeped in European literary and musical culture." Age too is a factor: "Their members are older and perhaps on average less inclined toward multicultural experiences." Even the actual churches are older. "Half of mainline congregations were founded before 1900," she said.

"This cluster of factors has made INTEGRATION DIFFICULT FOR MAINLINE AND EASIER FOR CONSERVATIVES and Pentecostals whose demographics and history situate them better for the task," Ammerman said.

Looking at independent, nondenominational churches in the Hartford study, research associate Scott Thumma said that nearly 25 percent of them had a substantial mix in which the dominant racial group was no more than 60 percent of the congregation. "A plausible explanation is that denominational labels create a cultural expectation of whether they are 'white' or 'black' churches," said Thumma, noting that, like Pentecostal churches, nondenominational congregations have more contemporary worship styles and flexibility.

Floyd "Butch" Gamarra, missioner for multicultural ministries in the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles, put it another way: "In a lot of mainline churches the issues are race and class." Liberal churches present the theological idea that "the world is supposed to be a rainbow," but the upper-middle-class church members "want to be cerebral" about it, Gamarra said. The Pentecostal and independent churches "tend to attract more working-class people who are in the same social, economic class," Gamarra said. "The mix is a lot easier."

A parish priest for 33 years, Gamarra has--like Rodney Woo in Houston--a mixed heritage himself. "I am half Chinese, part black, part Indian and I have a white great-grandfather, but my native language is Spanish," he said.

Episcopal parishes in the HEAVILY LATINO LOS ANGELES AREA ATTRACT MANY FORMER CATHOLICS who see similarities in the two worship traditions. In addition, "We get a lot of people because we are doing social justice--on immigration, housing, education, language learning and after-school stuff," he said.

Identifying the signs of a successfully -integrated congregation--regard-less of geography and denomination--is a major purpose of the Congregations Project at Rice. One key conclusion researchers reached may be surprising. It was, in effect, "Stop looking at yourself in the mirror all the time."

In other words, FEW CHURCHES ARE GOING TO GROW BECAUSE THEY HAVE MADE INTEGRATION FOR INTEGRATION'S SAKE A PRIMARY GOAL. "Almost none of the multiracial churches that were successful had [integration] as their goal," said co-investigator George Yancey of the University of North Texas. "Something else was the goal that united them," Yancey said. "For evangelicals it was reaching the neighborhood and urban areas, and maybe for liberal mainline churches it would be the environment or social justice issues."

Among other project findings:

* Congregants in mixed churches typically were those who already socialized with people of different backgrounds at work, school or in recreational activities. "By becoming part of the [racially mixed] church, their social networks became even more diverse and extensive," Emerson said.

* Three strategies for building a diverse congregation rarely work: a church merger, renting space to smaller ethnic congregations, or placing ethnic congregations under one roof with occasional joint services.

* Conflict and controversy do not usually beset integrated churches; strife occurs more often in racially homogenous congregations than in mixed ones. The reason: If the ratio of minority congregants rises enough to make some members uncomfortable in a mixed church. "the people who are disgruntled simply leave and you are left with people committed to that vision," said co-investigator Karen Chai, a postgraduate fellow at Rice.

In a preliminary report on their project last year at the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion, Chai, Yancey and Emerson said that MANY CONGREGATIONS SEE A QUIET EXODUS OF THE ONETIME MAJORITY WHEN THE BALANCE SHIFTS. NEVERTHELESS, A FEW CHANGING CHURCHES BECOME DYSFUNCTIONAL. "They spend so much energy engaged in a POWER STRUGGLE that they lose sight of the other aspects of church life," the researchers reported.

They listed several characteristics of successful mixed churches:

* A strong, charismatic pastor who prepares the congregation well for change. The pastors are often non-white or part of an interracial marriage.

* A "something for everyone" approach to worship services and music, Larger churches may have a better chance to make this work.
* A core membership with common theology, lifestyle or upwardly mobile values, especially in the same generation--usually people in their 20s and 30s. A common evangelical identity often overcomes racial differences. Liberal churches may celebrate varieties in theology that enhance cooperation at the institutional level, they said, "but we did not find them to be well integrated at the individual or social level."

Told of the project findings about mainline churches, Carnegie Samuel Calian, longtime president of the Presbyterian-related Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, said that the study matches "MY OWN IMPRESSION THAT WE TALK A BETTER GAME OF INCLUSIVITY THAN WE PRACTICE."

There are "good examples of our mainline churches that are truly multicultural and multiracial," Calian said. But he conceded that mainline denominations do a better job at creating a mix of people running institutions and sitting on commissions "where we have more control." He suspected that mainline congregations have an improved chance for success when the demographics are favorable in their area.

The Congregations Project had other observations pertinent to new opportunities for growth. Pan-Asian or multinational Latino churches MIGHT WORK WHEN ENOUGH SECOND- AND THIRD-GENERATION FAMILIES WANT TO CONVERSE AND WORSHIP IN ENGLISH WITHOUT FULLY EMBRACING THE ANGLO-EUROPEAN CULTURE. Rice's Karen Chai said that a pan-Asian congregation near Los Angeles illustrates that. "Over and over again, I heard interviewees saying, 'I can't remember who is Chinese and who is Korean,'" she said.

Another intriguing finding was that about one-quarter of mixed-race congregations "said the new converts and the UNCHURCHED WERE THE SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT SOURCE OF NEW GROWTH FOR THEM." That compares with 8 percent of white churches and 14 percent of black churches that say that is the "most important" source.

Certainly that is the case with Rodney Woo's church in Houston, which was part of the study. Nine years ago, that Southern Baptist congregation adopted a self-definition: "God's multiethnic bridge that draws all people to Jesus Christ and transforms them from unbelievers to missionaries." A placard with the mission statement is visible at the church entrance and found in the congregation's literature.

Woo said that increasingly fewer of its new members come by transfer from another church. "If you grew up in a homogenous church, you may be fascinated with our mixture but you are more likely to leave," he said. "UNCHURCHED PEOPLE WHO COME IN BY CONVERSION THINK THIS IS NORMAL FOR A CONGREGATION."

So the WCG is not in need of a never-ending department with a wannabe Jesse Jackson jetting all around the world giving guilt trip speeches on racial repentance stirring up either racial animosities or condoning Christian anti-semitism in his own church.

BB said...

I recall hearing HWA say many times that he had never met a converted Jew. This was usually said defensively when outsiders compared the old Radio Church of God to Judaism. It seems he was always on the defensive, as he also wrote articles reassuring his PT subscribers that he had never been a Seventh Day Adventist or Jehovah's Witness.

The remarks about Jews seemed to subside coinciding with the ascent of Stan Rader and Dr. Bob Kuhn within the WCG power structure.


Neotherm said...

"So the WCG is not in need of a never-ending department with a wannabe Jesse Jackson jetting all around the world giving guilt trip speeches on racial repentance stirring up either racial animosities or condoning Christian anti-semitism in his own church. (Contributed by Anonymous)"

I seem to be missing something here. You contributed a lengthy comment seeking to establish that racism exists in orthodox Christianity as a cultural characterisic. (I think implicitly you are saying that this makes the theologically based racism of Armstrongism not so bad.) And then conclude by attacking a ministry that is trying to address this problem.
This does not connect.

I would add that while I have abundant personal experience with Armstrongite racism, I have never found it to be a problem within the new, orthodox WCG. It will always be a problem within Armstrongite congregations because it is theologically based. Remove the inherent racist element from Armstrongism and it is no longer Armstrongism.


Anonymous said...

“I seem to be missing something here. You contributed a lengthy comment seeking to establish that racism exists in orthodox Christianity as a cultural characterisic.”

Huh? No, I didn’t. The university based research cited concerned segregation, not racism. Perhaps you see racism behind every bush. To recap:

“Mark Chaves, a sociologist of religion with the University of Arizona, said that survey showed that 4 percent of mainline churches and 11 percent of all U.S. Christian churches have mixed memberships, compared to the Emerson study, which found a 2 to 3 percent figure for mainline and 8 percent for churches overall.

You state that you had abundant personal experience dealing with racism in the WCG. Since you had such a racist personal experience, why continue to worship there?

Next you say “I have NEVER found it to be a problem with the new, orthodox WCG.”

Great. Very good. Transformed by Truth. Since racism is never a problem in the orthodox WCG, then why is an Office of Racism Minister even needed in the WCG? Is it because ORM itself is an opportunistic, racist, anti-semitic way of pointing the finger of guilt in the evangelical WCG?

xbeliever said...

Racism is not part of modern, mainstream Protestant theology or most evnagelical groups. There are some fundamentalist groups that teach racist theology. Armstrong absolutely did and British Israelism promotes racism and anti Judaism. The anti Judaism is more direct in non Armstrong groups that believe in the British Israelism myth. Armstrongites aren't full fledged hate groups like some KKK type churches but it's understood that northern Europeans are the chosen race of God and that the so called descendants of Ham are condemned to inferiority with all others somewhere in between. As an Italian American in the cult I've been aware of the idea that Italians are not the chosen ones and therefore inferior. A quick review of world history debunks that for me. When I left WCG in 1995 they were trying to heal the wounds of past racist attitudes.

Neotherm said...

"Huh? No, I didn’t. The university based research cited concerned segregation, not racism. Perhaps you see racism behind every bush.
(Contribution by anonymous)"

If you are talking about some kind of "non-racist segregation", who cares.

The racism I encountered was in the pre-1995 WCG not in the current orthodox WCG. I do not attend any of the Armstrongite offshoots, where no doubt I would encounterd the traditional Armstrongite racism/segregationist attitudes, policies and doctrines.


waisok said...

you know if you think about it, our persceptive, point of view, our understanding has ben largely manufactured by what we have thought is right over time....if this makes you angry are you capable off asking why?

Israel - 'We Are Untouchable'
By Tanya Hsu

We are Israel. We are untouchable. No matter what we do the international community will not act against us. Oh, there will be talks at the United Nations but we know that the United States will intervene on our behalf. There will be Arab League discussions but we know that no state will take action against us. There will be mass protests and demonstrations; there will be activists and advocates begging for peace; there will be rallies and fundraisers to help the targets of our bombs. And we know that nothing will make a difference because we are Jews - we are victims of the Holocaust. We have suffered such that we have the right to make the rest of the world pay (even though organised Zionism officially declared war on Germany in 1933, long before Hitler's Final Solution). Because we are victims.

Yes, we know that peoples all over the world have suffered worse crimes than ours, but they were not the Chosen People. We know that over 22 million Russians were killed under Stalin, 15 million Chinese killed by the Japanese, millions elsewhere in the world who suffer the same fate in the bloodiest 20th century. We know that Zionism is an athiest Marxist creation using Judaism as its weapon; that we were founded upon terrorism and our leaders became Israel's prime ministers and Nobel Peace Prize winners; that less than 10% of Jews worldwide supported the Zionist cause for decades until WWII. We know that the crimes committed by Hitler equally affected Communists, gypsies, the handicapped, and political prisoners.

That does not matter - we are special. The rest of the world will not touch us because they are terrified of the label "anti-Semite". World leaders: terrified of this most glorious ad hominem even though we are mostly not Semitic peoples. Jews of Israel, the Sephardim Jews, were almost non existant when we arrived from Russia, Poland, Austria-Hungary and elsewhere in the 20th century and demanded Arab land. They had spread out and moved on. We did not come from Yemen, Ethiopia or Iraq, but who cares? We are the victims and that is all that counts.

Time and again we wonder at how far American gullibility will take us. We push it to the limits on cable television and get away with it repeatedly. We know that the majority of the world is aware we blatantly lie when we express our "deepest regrets" because "terrorists" were hiding in the villages we destroy. We even have the gall to pick the precise same targets as a decade ago, ignoring the cries of outrage from America and the West. We'll just repeat the mantra "a tragic mistake".

Honestly, we, too, are rather surprised to see that America patiently sits back and buys our words each time. We have trained our diplomats well, not only in the art of deception to the media, but by using powerful strong arm behind the scenes tactics to mold the views of US Congressmen and women in our favour. We have worked on this for decades and it has been perfected for the one place it counts: our bank America. We rely upon those weapons; we need to create constant conflict so as to receive a perpetual $13 billion annual aid package from the US, including unsecured loans that we have never been, nor ever will be, required to pay back. We are living a dream: what we want is given to us on a silver patter because we are Jews, and we have the Holocaust.

The above is only daring in that it is never voiced publicly in the West. The world is watching as Israel incinerates the Lebanese, next the Syrians and Palestinians, then Iran. Diplomats call for peace, a cease -fire, and negotiations. They speak the language of non committance. It takes a few brave men and women in leadership positions to dare to speak the truth; losing that AIPAC support in government is the kiss of death, and academics who dare write the facts know that their tenured careers are over. Israel is in the position of dominating the US government to an extent never before seen in history, creating a regime who will fully fund a "new Middle East" which in reality means Eretz Israel consisting of Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, northern Saudi Arabia and even Cyprus by some accounts. There is nothing speculative about these plans for hegemony - everything has been laid out, written down, and presented for years.

This war will not end with a cease-fire next week. This war will not end with a security zone controlled by the UN. This war will not end if Hezbollah and Hamas disappeared tomorrow. This war will not end as long as leaders and diplomats continue to fear the trump card charge of anti-Semitism by Israel.

So, when hundreds of children are torn apart by uranium tipped missiles provided courtesy of the US government, look in the mirror. Have you dared to offend Israel? Have you risked? Ask yourself what role you may have played in contributing to this global disaster. Nothing will change until you do.

Tanya Cariina Hsu is a British Saudi-US Political Analyst. She lives in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Anonymous said...

Curtis May in his sermon “Let the Walls Come Down”
makes the following statement: :
(From the ORM website at

“The JEWS And Their World View”
“Two factors made their PREJUDICE RUN DEEPER run deeper than most”
“Jews became separatists, EXTREMELY PREJUDICED”
“GENTILES were “DOG” with who they had contact only when necessary”

I find these statements made by the ORM director about the Jewish people being extremely prejudiced and their world view as being divisive, highly offensive to Jews as as well as anti-semitic.

xbeliever said...

Waisok, you said:"....(even though organised Zionism officially declared war on Germany in 1933, long before Hitler's Final Solution)."

I don't know what your point is but if organized Zionism did declare "war" on Germany that didn't justify murdering almost six million Jews in Europe. I don't think that was Hitler's motive.

camfinch said...

As a teenager and young adult man in the WCG, back in the '60s and '70s, I personally felt a strong vibe that being "Israelite" (as the church defined that) was "better" than being "gentile", although this was not usually openly stated. My maternal ancestry is Anglo-Celtic, and I took gratification at my "Israelite" blood on that side. My dad's side is Slavic, and in my late teens I used to want to try to show that the ancestry on Dad's side actually was "Israelite" as opposed to "gentile".

At Ambassador College in Pasadena, in the early '70s, a lot of the students were deeply interested in all things Jewish (the "cousins" of us western European-derived "ten tribes"). I probably had the fascination for awhile, but probably had lost it by the end of my freshman year. Also, I believe that whether I was "Israelite" or not stopped being an issue for me. Realize that there is a lot of romanticism in theories such as Anglo-Israelism/Lost Ten Tribes ideas. Much like those who, say, are obsessed with going to Celtic festivals or such cultural things, finding a deep identity with certain groups of people and their culture. Mind you, this can be, and perhaps usually is, not harmful, and maybe even healthy. There is nothing wrong with celebrating one's own culture or ancesty, but the BIG PROBLEM is when it becomse a matter of comparison and judgment of other cultures or ethnic groups. I do believe that there was a strong level (unknown to me 35 years ago in my youthful enthusism for Armstrongism) of beneath-the-surface racism in the church, devolving from the Lost Tribes belief. And many or most people of color from the old days in the church would be able to cite overt racist abuses.

Bamboo Bends said...

Semites are people of middle eastern origin.

So wouldn't hatred towards Arabs be anti-semitism too?

camfinch said...

True, many Middle Eastern people are semitic, mainly Arabs and Jews. Technically, and precisely, that is correct: to be anti-Arab is to be anti-semitic. Jews are not the only semites, as the term is most accurately used.

The thing is, that Arabs/Muslims do recognize the Jews as "cousins", thinking of Jews as descendants of Isaac, while they believe that many Arabs are descended from Ishmael. (Muslims also believe that it was Ishmael, not Isaac, that Abraham was going to sacrifice on that mountain.) The big puzzler for many is: if these people consider themselves related, they why all the trouble?

Anonymous said...

Glendora nearly 70% White

* White Non-Hispanic (67.9%)

* Hispanic (21.7%)
* Other race (7.2%)
* Two or more races (4.0%)
* Filipino (2.1%)
* Chinese (1.6%)
* Black (1.5%)
* American Indian (1.2%)
* Japanese (0.7%)
* Asian Indian (0.7%)
* Other Asian (0.5%)

(Total can be greater than 100% because Hispanics could be counted in other races)