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Hocus-Pocus Religion, Politicized Churches and Federally-Funded Oppression

barbara-ann

There was a time when it was customary at Christian churches to hear preaching and teachings about righteousness and God.  Being a church member meant ‘kindred spirit brothers and sisters’, and reverence for the Holy Bible (we accepted as God’s Word, albeit we didn’t always comply). 

Back then, there were more professing Christians who put forth effort to fulfill personal ministries (1 Cor.3:9; 2 Cor.3:6), and to emulate Acts 2:42-47.  We encouraged, reproved, occasionally shared resources and scolded each other's children for misbehavior at church, home, and school.  “Lord I want to be a Christian in my heart” was among the songs we sang.  *RELATED>> Sir, We Would See Jesus ( LINK from Law & Grace 2009 -p.1)

Those times impacted the “calling” I received from God.  Also, around the mid-1980s, I began to learn from authors and preachers such as these:  J.I. Packer, Oswald Chambers, Jeremiah Burroughs, John R.W. Stott, Larry Crabb, C.S. Lewis, Watchman Knee, A.W. Tozer, Jonathan Edwards, Francis Schaeffer, Andrew Murray, Dwight L. Moody, John Newton, Charles Wesley, George Whitefield, Charles Spurgeon, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and R. A. Torrey.

Later on, I graduated New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary (NOBTS). (Nowadays, it seems possible to acquire religious credentials for euphoric ‘hallelujahs.)  I’m a 1997 published author (through Providence House Publishers), and a licensed “foot soldier” minister.  Still, I'll continually need to be taught Scripture and the “mind” of Jesus Christ.  Regretfully, nothing about my aspirations for God’s House (Luke 19:46) has mattered since I arrived in Shreveport from New Orleans two days before the August 29, 2005 hurricane.

Also I remember that between the 1960s up to the 80s, religious and church-going people were major factors in society’s well-being. Even  secular songs back then inspired straightforward sentiment, decency, merriment, and endearment.  Songs like these come to mind: “I Wanna Know What Love Is” (Foreigner) / “Sugar Pie Honey Bunch” (Four Tops)  / “Bridge Over Troubled Water” (Simon & Garfunkel) / “Have You Seen Her?” (Chi-lights) / "You Are the Sunshine of My Life” (Stevie Wonder) / “Baby Love” (Supremes) / “Let’s Stay Together” (Al Green) / “Lost Without You” (Bebe & Cece Winans) / “Love Train,” (the O’Jays); and later in 1990, Eros Ramazzotti’s “Se Bastasse Una Canzone” (If a good song was enough to make it rain love).

But nowadays it’s routine for church-going people to purposely wound and deceive one another –even after they ‘took sweet counsel together at the house of God’ (Psalms 55:14).  Likewise, deceptive flattery (1Thes.2:3-5) is incongruous to charitable love.  And sadly ‘love offering’ indoctrination supplants sermons on “love thy neighbor as thyself” (Mat. 22:37).  Worsening this predicament is hocus pocus religion rhetoric on fame & fortune / health & wealth that fosters social hostility, lasciviousness, envy, avarice, and idolatry.  Remarkably, Jesus was not a celebrity.  He “made Himself of no reputation” (Phil.2:7).

“Stop the Violence” and “No Justice / No Peace” rallies would be unnecessary if outside as well as inside church walls, there were more religious and church-going people who practice longsuffering (Col.1:10-11; 2 Cor.6:6; Eph. 4:2; Gal. 5:22). 

Arguably, we ARE the violence when we neglect precepts like these: 2 Chronicles 7:14; Luke 10:29-34; Matthew 6:33; and Amos 5:23-24.  There would be huge religious and social improvements if less churches comprised of “seducing spirits” (1Tim.4:1); Nicolaitans (Rev.2:6); Jezebels (Eze.13:17); false prophetess and prophets who “strengthen the hands of evildoers” (Jer. 23:14); and “make merchandise” of people (2 Peter 2:1-3); and others who “speak evil of the things they do not understand” (2 Peter 2:12).  Because ‘iron sharpens iron’ (Prov.27:17) –preferable to transitory kingdoms of capitalism, fame–we could help each other to live for the glory of God and build His kingdom. 

Transitory religion is not likely to improve as long there are church leaders, pastors and their family members who utilize churches for personal business ventures. Christian religion is impeded when churches are owned and controlled autonomously by preacher & wife teams that have neither accountability nor oversight boards that do not operate in secrecy.  Unhurried solitude prayer and meditation is needed so that preachers can receive from God both a sermon and anointing (Jer.3:15) that bestow “knowledge and understanding” for those who come to God’s house (Jer.7:11; Luke 19:46).  Further, it doesn’t help matters when “dark money” and political enticements lure church pastors away from time required for ‘preparing of the heart’ “to seek the law of the LORD, and to do it” (Ezra 7:10). 

Not only are personally-owned churches an affront to the life and teachings of Jesus Christ, too often those churches become entangled in unscrupulous secular enterprises that entail: unfair competition, tax evasion, deceptive trade practices, “quid pro quo” political agreements, “special interest group” agendas, laundering money, employment, and economical opportunity disparities. Further, appalling are religious and church-going people back-bite, anonymously mail character-assassinating misinformation about people, ‘throw a brick & hide their hand’, and apparently take immense pleasure in ‘sitting in the seat of the scornful’ (Psalms 1).  Irreparable, horrendous harms have occurred within untold numbers of churches; and from “false brethren” (Gal.2:4), “money changers” (Mat. 21:12), false teachers who make merchandise of people (2 Pet.2:1-3).  

Also, problems entertainment religiosity, misguided proclamations, UNCOUTH, heretical and ignorant hate speech hampers Christian development.  What’s worse is that people “love to have it so” (Jer.5:31).  Rev. John MacArthur’s post called “Unholy Trinity” states that “religious quacks are actually multiplying at a frightening pace.”  However, as professing Christians, it is imperative to study and cherish the Scriptures; we must not regard iniquity (Psalm 66:18); we must not become “at ease in Zion” (Amos 6:1); and we must not ‘love pleasures more than love  God’ (2 Tim.3:4).  And we should heed Romans 7:14-25.   

Indeed, problematic illicit religiosity happens across this nation. But it would be presumptuous of me to set forth statements concerning beyond what I have learned, experienced, and can prove.  So, this piece entails experiences and information that pertains foremostly to Shreveport –a location where thousands of displaced New Orleans Katrina disaster survivors became defrauded and exploited through means of sham religiosity and faith-based organizations.  Here, an alarming amount of faith-based and religion shams are primary tools for exploiting and preying upon select classes of people.  

For that matter, Louisiana embraces innumerable law firms, bar associations, municipal and governmental agencies that funnel money to churches and faith-based leaders under guise of philanthropy.  (For example, see http://lawgrace.org/2016/08/09/in-protest-of-judicial-political-nonprofit-racketeering-via-class-action-cy-pres-and-disaster-funding-source-of-totalitarianism-unfair-competition-inequity-disintegrated-communitie/.  Alarmingly, too much of that funneled money has consequences of undue influence and  dishonest profaning of the “household of God” church (Eph. 2:19-22).  Plus, while utterly disregarding James 2:1-10 precepts, more and more church members pursue each other and their neighbors in quests for government funding contracts and grants A considerable amount such jostling evolves around of natural disasters, Department of Housing and Urban Development “HUD” and McKinney-Vento funding, church pastors and public officials. (See for example http://lawgrace.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/Clergy-to-be-used.-.-.1.jpg  

Government agencies and programs should not a substitution for Christian empathy and sharing edifying knowledge (1 Cor.8:1) –even with people outside of our personal circles.  But instead of personal outreach to fellow humans, it is not unusual to hear it said: “There are government programs for THAT.“  Also, religion imposters should not be enabled to divert attention away from wrongful acts through means of disparaging sermons targeted at defrauded people.

Plus, empirical facts demonstrate that societal conflict and anger are linked to undue political influence by way of “pork barrel,” and other perks that are selectively furnished to certain church pastors and faith-based entities.  Such conflict often arises when certain members are hand-picked for “sealed-bid” contracts and employment that they may or may not be qualified for; especially when others have applied, and are on waiting lists.  But of course, not all “pork barrel” is bad; and not all faith-based institutions, businesses, and churches that receive government funding and political support are engaged in unprincipled activity.

Having stated the foregoing statements, it’s probably a good idea to bring up: “don’t judge.”  In the first place, a tree is known by the fruit it bears (Mat.7:16).  Plus, benign confrontation that yields transparency is vastly different from censorship.  And it's practical to consider whether protecting one's feelings and wallets is being confused with doctrine on gaining brethren (Luke 17:3-4; Mat.18:15-17; also see: Prov.27:5; John 7:24; Mat.7:16). 

Obviously, sometimes making a judgment call has its place and time (Hos.4:1;12:2; Isa.59:3-7; Jer.22:13-22; 2 Chron.7:14).  In addition, Scriptures like these ‘judge’ and expose conduct: Alexander the coppersmith (2 Tim.4:14), “whited sepulchers,” (Mat.23:27); Demas who forsook Paul (2 Tim.4:10), wicked lawyers (Luke 11:46, 52), unethical magistrates (Acts 16:37), Peter reprimanded by Paul (Rom.2:11); enemies of the church “dogs” (Phil.3:2); false prophets (Jer.14:14).  As I understand it, the primary principle that Christ Jesus teaches concerning judging is that actions and outcomes are to be judged, rather than actorsYet, for purposes of succor, reproof, exhortation, and edification. (see 1Thes. 5:5-28), identifying the actor is required.

Government-funded Tyranny, Religious Encroachment, Politics

Federal program contracts and grants awarded to churches for addressing social poverty, and other maladies are not intended for accomplishing “sealed” and “rigged” bidding, and “non-competitive” businesses and careers for pastors’ families.  Reiteratively, federal programs and funding are not to be transformed into private, family-owned church companies. Federal procurement statutes require government funding recipients to “take affirmative steps” to give economic opportunities to individual and small businesses.

Accordingly, countless churches should lose their tax-exempt status and / or be prohibited from federal programs because their church pastors and leaders (intentionally or not) refuse to provide economic opportunities to some of the very people who are being used as commodity for federal dollars.  Also, too many church leaders and pastors are involved in:  deceptive trade practices / undisclosed “identity-of-interest” relationships, transactions, and collusion / federal contract procurement non-compliance / illegal nepotism / “catching the poor” (Psalms 10:9) / and unlawfully refusing to extend jobs to people in need –instead of creating careers for their families and friends.

Compared to the former manner that scores of churches functioned with the shift in religious worship, the economy and national Homeland Security demonstrates unwanted consequences separation of church and state violations. Yet, innumerable religious leaders, church pastors, faith-based beneficiaries of government programs and federal funding for which there is little or no government oversight –and 'slaps on the wrist' for elites. President Bush’s 2002 and 2004 faith-based initiatives are why he was sometimes called the “best friend” of church ministers and preachers. In that regard, President Obama’s 2009 “White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships” must render him ‘best friend’ of everybody who wants federal programs funding “no matter their religious or political beliefs.”

Lots of tax-exempt businesses and organizations, churches and pseudo accredited Bible colleges are “partnered” with anonymous businesses and companies, money laundering, “pass-through frauds,” Shell Corporations, and dark money.  Sobering outcomes from these kinds of collaborations include: unlawful non-competitive contracts, careers, and employment positions; offshore tax abuses that drain the United States treasury; and it unfairly forces taxpayers to finance offshore subsidiaries and operations to where American jobs and businesses are outsourced.  Disturbingly, “lying wonders” (2 Thes. 2:9) religiosity is eating its own tail, and comparable to a “mark of the beast” (Rev. Rev.13:16-17; 14:9 regime.   

Furthermore, unconstitutional church and state improprieties encompass people who are not religious, who are not poor, who are small business owners, who don’t attend their churches, and who don’t believe in God.  Further significant is the fact that by way of school classrooms and nursing homes, good and bad inroads are being made into people's households through faith-based entities and special interests groups. Ensnared in federal funding illegalities are innumerable families, individuals, and businesses that become disaster victims through (tornadoes, hurricanes, wildfires, floods, oil spills, earthquakes).  Without people’s knowledge, if they received any type of disaster aid, some nonprofits are deceitfully listing and declaring such people and businesses as having been provided some type of HUD or “Stafford Disaster Act” assistance.   

Also, usage of people and social maladies as commodity for federal funding almost always happens in indigent neighborhood locations and requires honest and dishonest church pastors and leadersAmong downsides of federal funding fraud and illegal deprivation of intended aid and services, are when people with backs against the wall feel prompted to take up sublimation (home invasions, embezzlement, manipulation from religion, household violence, alcoholism, prostitution, robbery, theft, gambling, infidelity, overeating, overspending, murder, and other conduct that defeats well-being).

Beyond that, unbeknownst to many of us disaster survivors, our names, personal information, businesses and affiliation becomes added to “tracking systems,” and shared with innumerable government agencies, as well as legitimate and illegitimate nonprofits and churches.  As graphically described in my judicially covered up Hurricane Katrina civil action –unbeknownst to some of us hurricane exiles– we were placed in HUD funding and other federal funding programs. Moreover, facts and evidence demonstrate that lots of disaster funding was diverted for creating industries for unintended beneficiaries.  Additionally, as it relates to approximately $116 billion in Katrina funding, our team learned astonishing, frightening facts that entail Louisiana “Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness’ (GOHSEP).  For example, see this OIG Audit regarding former Governor Kathleen Blanco, http://bit.ly/2fYSToi and Katrina funds.  

With regard to forced-exile Hurricane Katrina displaced people like us who have striven to return (not ones with no need, nor interest in returning) –without collaborating with certain New Orleans judicial /political-connected African American church leaders, it would not have been possible to successfully ban hurricane victims from their home towns, families, and friends. Nor would there be such prolific Louisiana post-disaster poverty and homelessness –which annually yields billions in ”HUD” dollars for churches and faith-based entities!  Categorically, with cooperation of innumerable church pastors, billions of federal dollars are being obtained, laundered, and pilfered by means of 44 CFR 206.16, and 42 U.S.C. § 5182, under Robert T. Stafford Disaster Act.

Internet search results yield thousands of news stories, treatises, and details from reporters, journalists, law professors, and others concerning 2005 hurricane victims, billions of federal dollars, and appalling disparity. These are samples:10 Years After Katrina, New Orleans Is ‘Gentrification’s Ground Zero;” Five Years Later: A Richer, Whiter New Orleans;” and “A History of Disaster Capitalism | Mother Jones.”

Equally significant as it pertains “Stafford Act Disaster Legal Services” under 42 U.S.C.§5182 –it is preposterously irrational to expect that, without legal skills and training, victims of tornado, earthquake, floods, hurricanes, oil spills, and wildfires who are already devastated would somehow conjure up an ability to identify laws, statutes, and legal issues for which legal representation and advice is needed!

Yet, by contrast, seemingly every possible existing entity –and even newly-created post-Katrina disaster foundations, charities, businesses and corporations are able to ride federal disaster funding ‘gravy trains'.  Entities that get to benefit (lawfully and unlawfully) from Presidentially-declared Stafford Disaster Act federal funding bashes always include the legal community (due to §5182) and participating church leaders. Others who participate (lawfully and unlawfully) in disaster funding boons are certain: genuine and bogus volunteers / ambulance chasers / faith-based organizations / “parachuting” disaster response and recovery teams / agents and investigators for insurance companies that collect evidence and gain information / “disaster capitalists” / hundreds of so-called “task forces” and committees /“disaster recovery centers” / authentic and fraudulent call centers / and even some ‘first responders’, including the data miners who glean  glean personal data from people who either contact or receive services from those entities.

Understandably, disaster survivors cannot be expected to know about the withheld information about federal disaster provisions and services.  And it is awful how faith-based entities and their allies silently and unlawfully enrich themselves (and retaliate against people who ask questions) while incalculable disaster businesses and victims are being cheated and deprived of provisions under the “Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act” (Stafford Act).  Among disaster relief provisions are medical, dental, relocation, employment and business assistance, and more. [See Stafford Act -Federal Assistance to Individuals and Households (42 U.S.C.§5174)].  Plus, see the PBS report on Hurricane Sandy entitled: “The Business of Disaster.”

Shell corporation and various illegalities tied to the legal industry that are linked to for-profit and not-for-profit corporations demonstrate why Congress should enact the “Incorporation Transparency and Law Enforcement Assistance Act.”  Doing so would lessen tax exempt corporation abuses, as well as place more firm restraints on churches that are engaged in impermissible business dealings and partnerships.

Derision, Faith, and Enlargement

A few additional things have relevance to this commentary. In 2011, I began writing a new book entitled: “More than A Conqueror” (primarily after reading various Atheist writings).  Among things that book contains are: domestic abuse marriage ordeals, material possession losses, and judicial / political corruption horrors during my pursuit of legal remedies; unlawful repossession; private struggles; and why ‘I sanctify God and the reason for my hope’ (1 Pet.3:15).  Some aspects of the upcoming book have similarities to political conflict portrayed in  Clint Eastwood’s film, starred in by Angela Jolie. Here’s a link to a riveting review on Eastwood’s movie.  “Changeling Movie Review: Angelina On Fire – NewsBlaze”.

Delay in finishing the book has to do with my deference to Luke 4:18, and skirmishes with capitalist systems.  Even prior to coming to Shreveport –as far back as year 1996 up to this date, I have challenged gentrification, political oppression, inequity, intentional social impoverishment, unfair court systems and judicial corruption, unlawful foreclosures, fair housing exploitation and deception, nonprofit racketeering, federal disaster aid corruption.  

Lastly, the social condition of these times demonstrate that unwanted consequences happens when ‘each man does what is right is his own eyes’ (see the Book of Judge); and “righteousness exalts a nation” (Prov.14:34).  In fact, for a Jesus Christ believer, moral growth (2 Pet.3:18) is a necessity.   Despite understandable aversion to calumny, chastening (Heb.12:11), the ‘furnace of affliction’ (Isa.48:10), tribulation (John 16:33) – vicissitudes are valuable to God’s providence and purposes (Romans 8:28-29), and to “good success” (Josh.1:8).  From studying the Scriptures and “the early church,” it is evident that plenty of Christian missionaries, disciples, and gospel ministers –including Paul the Apostle and the Lord Jesus Himself had occasions of grief and distress (2 Cor.4:8; Isa.53:3).  So, I’ll keep “fighting on my knees” (my saying for ardent prayer).