Monday, 12 September 2016

Wes White on Politics

This is a short excerpt from the article appearing in the latest issue of The Journal. (see previous entry). The entire publication can be downloaded.

Journal photo
Many branches of the Church of God have become so establishment (some more than others) that they are openly right-wing Republican in their sermons. (I would mention COGs that have leftist leanings, but I have not run across any yet.)

Others are more subtle in their efforts to promote Republicanism. Their less-blatant approach keeps politics out of the pulpit, but the members receive the leaders’ promotions of the Fox News line via E-mails, tweets and Facebook posts.

It is indeed a problem when our people equate right-wing Republicanism with Christianity. Yes, some areas overlap between Christianity and Republicanism, things like our teachings against abortion and homosexuality.

But the liberals also have some overlap with Christianity when it comes to things like helping the poor and forgiving sinners.

No political party can be labeled as the party that represents the beliefs of
the Church of God.

Let’s be frank. When many of us left the WCG we moved away fromthings like top-down church government, the one true church and an endtime apostle. It was good that we rejected those teachings.

But the rejection of other teachings has not always had a beneficial effect on the Body of Christ. For example, even though the WCG was conservative in many ways, our leaders discouraged us from getting involved in politics.

Now that we are free to embrace worldly politics, many of our people do so to such a degree that it is a detriment to their prayer, Bible study and
service to the church.

When a congregation starts aligning itself with the Republican Party, it immediately alienates many minorities and young people.


Black Ops Mikey said...

Redfox over at Living Armstrongism has reported in detail many of the conservative and ultraconservative news sources which they use (and often distort as necessary) to support their cause. For example, a September 3rd entry speaks to the UCG Breitbart News (as does the LCG). The LCG and UCG have also been caught quoting (the now discredited) Glenn Beck.

The truth is that all the ACoGs I know of quote whatever news sources which they can used to support their particular conservative viewpoint. I can also tell you from sitting in the congregations of some these said sects of the Cult of Herbert Armstrong Mafia that they also say rather astonishing things and make rather extreme statements during sermons and announcements. These days they are particularly fond of bashing Islam. You might not get the full effect from their publications or even websites, but in the local church services you can sometimes get an earful.

Much of the problem has to do with the elitism of the venue: The leaders and the people believe that they have a superior view and superior standards to the rest of the world. Heck, for some of them, they think they are superior to the other sects of the cult (such as the Church of God in Truth which claim that the other ACoGs will fall down and worship them when Christ returns because they keep the holydays at the right time and the others keep postponements -- how elitist is that?).

Of course, there are those outlets for the Cult of Herbert Armstrong Mafia that whitewash Armstrongism so they can have their narcissistic supply for being so good at reporting non news.

With attitudes like that don't expect change short of an apocalypse.

Connie Schmidt said...

Wes and his wife are great people and progressive in thinking.

Near_Earth_Object said...

This same conservative Republicanism afflicts Grace Communion International. I know people who seem to have no other news source outside of Fox News and they believe everything they hear there implicitly and without question.

Jeff said...

Wes White hosts a webcast produced by the Church of God International

Byker Bob said...

The Journal does provide a venue in which writers like Wes White can present ideas from a sabbatarian believer's perspective, and not have their intelligence called into question, or to be pitied for basing their lives on something purely imaginary. To many of us, what he has presented in this article may seem to be a relatively modest deviation from Armstrongism. But for so many in the ACOGs, it would represent a huge paradigm shift.

If there is any commentary on what Wes has presented, I would suspect that it would come as a polite, measured, response published in the letters to the editor section of the Journal. And, this mild approach ends up being one of the only ways to reach certain types of members in the splinters soas to stimulate thought, possibly resulting in re-education. It's using feathers rather than hammers.

Don't get me wrong. I love the Painful Truth website, and have contributed to the body of work there on numerous occasions. Some can be and have been successfully reached by the materials presented there. But, the Armstrong problem must be attacked from numerous vantage points, so that members do not die needlessly, become ruined financially, blow off their educations, careers, and health (including mental), or ruin their childrens' childhood and personalities.

I believe the Journal is one more avenue of approach and is doing a humane and compassionate job of transitioning Armstrongism and Armstrongites into the nostalgia act which they really are. The ads may be a tad over the top, but they most certainly also illustrate and remind of the ridiculousness that has always been present in the movement.


Redfox712 said...

The COGs would do well to take heed to White's words. But will the leaders of the COGs have the humbleness to reform themselves in such a way? Will they be able to admit that perhaps some of views may be inaccurate and need to be de-emphasized or even discarded?

The Painful Truth said...

The people of armstrongism go into the institution either left or right. They come out as progressives. They reject anything armstrong had to say and rightfully so. They would do well to align themselves as political atheists. The lessons of the past should show them the future in that one cannot trust the leanings of another. Everything touted by a politician or a priest is utter bullshit. It is all for the expressed purpose of gain.

Near_Earth_Object said...

I scanned White's article and I was struck by a paradox. White comes at his call for reformation from an Armstrongist perspective. In essence, he is asking the question "How can we update Armstrongism and make it better?" A question that very few Armstrongists would acknowledge as legitimate. I don't believe he is going to build this into a movement.

And this is a question that I, too, as a critic of Armstrongism would not acknowledge as legitimate. It is like asking how might we make a heresy better. Many of the issues that White raises pivot on errant "theology" brewed up in a library in Des Moines and in Herman Hoeh's office in Pasadena. Interestingly, White refers to this homebrew as Christianity and rejects mainstream Christianity.

For, instance, he criticizes the COG stance on race - condemning the COG view on interracial dating and marriage as being antiquated. Yet, this is underpinned by Armstrongist theology. This is not something that can be discarded as if it were an odd and outdated cultural viewpoint. In my correspondence with Herman Hoeh, he would not admit the racism within the WCG was a product of its theology. He claimed the WCG was just trying to "get along" with larger American Society at that time. Of course, this is false and is well documented as false. Just have a look at his iconic "Races of Mankind" article.

What White is trying to do is take a fundamentally incorrect theology and apply it in a new, less harsh, more palatable way without abandoning its corrupt core. A kinder, gentler pit bull. He needs to look for another dog.

Wesley D. White said...

I appreciate the comments here about my Journal article on paradigm shifts. And I welcome disagreement. I think Jeff and Nancy and I are going to talk about websites like Ambassador Watch this Friday evening on our live show, "Bring On the Sabbath." It is at 7:00 pm Central on We take comments from our live audience. Feel free to join us. Thanks again.

Wesley D. White

The Skeptic said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Skeptic said...

"The people of armstrongism go into the institution either left or right." The vast majority go in very right-wing, in my experience.

"They come out as progressives." NOT TRUE for the hundreds of ex-WCG members I've had contact with. In my experience, most are trapped in the conservative "news" bubble and get their news from Fox (Faux) news and conservative radio hosts. They reject mainstream news sources.

"They reject anything armstrong had to say". This is true for those who have left the xCG world. However, keep in mind that tens of thousands of our former brethren still attend various splits, or attend nowhere but are still true believers. The vast majority of this group thinks HWA was right all along (they also think evolution is false and Noah's flood really happened).

"The lessons of the past should show them the future in that one cannot trust the leanings of another. Everything touted by a politician or a priest is utter bullshit. It is all for the expressed purpose of gain." I agree with your sentiment; however, "everything" and "utter bullshit" are extreme statements. I think you go too far. But I understand why.

Byker Bob said...

I dunno. It sounds as if white people have begun to embrace some of the things that our reasonable, and well-educated Jamaican friend has started. Kudos to Ian, wherever he might be, or whatever he might be doing at this point in time! Acknowledging that Armstrongism must at least be reformed is a great first step!


The Painful Truth said...

Skeptic wrote: 'I agree with your sentiment; however, "everything" and "utter bullshit" are extreme statements. I think you go too far. But I understand why.'

You mean we agree on something? Personally I call things as I see them. I am not politically correct on anything. An unadulterated word is one that comes from the heart and is not based on bias leanings. If someone does not like me for my opinions I could give a good goddamn one way or another.

Black Ops Mikey said...

It just seems already that the consensus is that no matter how well-intentioned the proposed reforms may be, they won't happen.

As for the academic 'polite discussion' approach, it's clear that won't work. See, it's like this: This is Boomer territory, where the Boomers like to have their say: They seem to think that if they can talk about it, the problems will magically be solved. We saw this in the 1990s with the Clintons discussing health reform -- all the stake holders got together, talked about it and then went their way. Nothing happened. Nothing happened, that is, until beginning in 2008, the Democrats became strident (remember, Dixie Cartrite says this doesn't work, that we need to have polite discussions) and pushed their Obama Care through (it's too important to let the people see what's in it). Brute force is the way problems are solved.

And so we have Da Journal with Dixie Cartrite serving up Boomer fare where they can have their say and go their way. It's a mish mash mess of mismatched ideas all vying for front stage. In the end, nothing is solved and nothing is changed.

Perhaps someone can cite examples within a pragmatic social structure rigidly controlled by the .1% where polite discussion actually acts as an agent of change. While I don't believe it exists and that revolution is the only way to go through superior force, perhaps someone somewhere can give a viable example where this actually did work -- albeit, if there is an example, it's very likely one off and an isolated incident.

And after all that is said and done, no matter how well intentioned this is, we've all sort of discounted it as being viable in producing results.

Minimalist said...

I watched his most recent Friday night webcast

I lasted about 3 minutes of the 90 minute show, as it was excruciatingly boring!
"Excruciating" in Latin means "from cross" or 'pain like crucifixion', which gives you an idea how mind-numbing and insufferable fundamentalist Armstrongism is in this age of enlightenment.