How The First Amendment impedes Our Understanding of The Middle East

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Intolerance breeds injustice. Injustice invariably leads to rebellion and retaliation, and these will lead to escalation on the part of both making reconciliation almost impossible. It would appear that during times of stress, despair and frustration, people become increasingly irrational, and they do things which they never think they are capable of. And so we see hideous brutality perpetrated by the most gentle people.

Once started religious strife has a tendency to go on and on, to become permanent feuds. Today we see such intractable inter-religious wars in Northern Ireland, between Jews and Muslims and Christians in Palestine, Hindus and Muslims in South Asia and in many other places. Attempts to bring about peace have failed again and again. Always the extremist elements invoking past injustices, imagined or real, will succeed in torpedoing the peace efforts and bringing about another bout of hostility.” Datuk Seri Dr Mahathir Mohamad, Prime Minister of Malaysia, addressing the World Evangelical Fellowship on 2001-MAY-4. 4(excerpts)

We live in a country that was founded on the desire for religious freedom. We have carried through, for this reason, the separation of church and state. The Pilgrims who landed on Plymouth Rock came here from the same type of environment that exists in Africa and the Middle East today.

“The separation of church and state is a legal and political principle derived from the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, which reads, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof . . .” The phrase “separation of church and state”, which does not appear in the Constitution itself, is generally traced to an 1802 letter by Thomas Jefferson to the Danbury Baptists, where Jefferson spoke of the combined effect of the Establishment Clause and the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment. It has since been quoted in several opinions handed down by the United States Supreme Court.”…

“Early immigrants to the American colonies were there motivated largely by the desire to worship freely in their own fashion, particularly after the English Civil War, but also religious wars and disputes in France and Germany.[2] They included a large number of nonconformists such as the Puritans and the Pilgrims, as well as Catholics (in Baltimore). Despite a common background, the groups’ views on broader religious toleration were mixed. While some notable examples such as Roger Williams of Rhode Island and William Penn ensured the protection of religious minorities within their colonies, others such as the Plymouth Colony and Massachusetts Bay Colony had established churches. The Dutch colony of New Netherland had also established the Dutch Reformed Church and outlawed all other worship, although enforcement by the Dutch West India Company in the last years of the colony was sparse. Part of the reason for establishment was financial: the established Church was responsible for poor relief, and dissenting churches would therefore have a significant advantage.” – Wikipedia

Without an understanding of history and what this means, we cannot understand what is happening in Iraq. In actuality, we went to Iraq to defeat Saddam Hussein, operation Iraqi freedom was supposed to free the Iraqis from the oppressive rulership of Saddam. We won that war in 2003. The problem is that we did not, and do not understand the region and what happens to a region when Church equals State. Winning the war was easy what we are unable to win is the peace. Why is it that we cannot with the peace for the Iraqi people?  Why are the conflicts in the Middle East so hard for us to enter into with success?

Imagine that instead of Democrats, Republicans and Independents, as political parties, we had Christians, Jews, and Muslims. Imagine too, that the Christians, are further divided between Roman Catholics and the various groups of Protestants. In this scenario our government is run by the Roman Catholic group of Christians. They declare Catholicism as the ruling religion of the country, banning the practice of any other religions. Now, Texas is predominately Baptist. Texas is an important region because of its oil fields. New York City, which is largely Jewish, is also important because of its financial institutions. The country is under oppressive Catholic rule, many who rebel against being forced to worship in Catholic Churches are being massacred. Now a third party, let’s imagine it is China with an economic stake in the stability of our country, and with no religious leanings, enters our country to free us from the oppressive Catholic rule and manages to defeat the strong-hold of the Catholic government. With the mighty Catholic military disbanded, the other Christian groups, begin to fight for power amongst themselves. At the same time, the Jews and Muslims begin to gather strength in their own states to gain religious control over our country for the sake of their own religions and our country becomes divided into religious territories.

In the midst of all this turmoil created by the dismantling of the strong Catholic Military, China decides to back a Muslim government. Backed by the Chinese military, the Muslim government begins to enter each state and take control. Jews, Baptist, and even Catholics rise up to prevent this from happening – China calls these religious groups, “insurgents” that must be put down. The only way is to cleanse the regions of each group, city by city. Feeling that if our country is taken over by the Chinese backed Muslims it will be the greatest offense against God, Jews, Christians, and Catholics come from all over the world to join in the fight against the Muslim government, seen by many as a puppet regime of the Chinese trying to control the worship of God in the US. The biggest battles are being waged in Texas, where the Baptist, many of them devout Christian Fundamentalists, refuse to allow the rich resources of their state to go to the benefit of the Chinese backed Muslim government. However, violent fighting among all of the religions ensues nationwide as each religion attempts to build a stronghold in a particular state. Money, guns, and ammunition are being smuggled into the country by Protestants, Jews and even Catholics from around the world to support the fight of their particular religion. All of the religious groups are united in their animosity towards China because each group sees that the only peace that China can bring to our country, will cost each religion their faith in God. This scenario is imaginary – only because of the First Amendment to The Constitution.

We have had four hundred years of desire and practice in the separation of church and state. We have had four hundred years of living side by side with so many religions that we forget the world before. We think of ourselves as a nation and its people, not of a religious faith and the affront to God of any other faith existing in the same territory.

The “ethnic cleansing” in Bosnia was the Orthodox Christian Serbians “cleansing” the country of Muslims. The conflicts in Israel are not Arab vs. Israeli, they stem from the fact that Israel was established as and needs to remain a Jewish State. If the Palestinians, mostly Muslim and Christian were granted the same rights under the law as Jews, which would of course include full voting rights, Israel would soon cease to be a Jewish State, in effect, it would cease to be Israel. In India, the religious and political battle over rulership of the country was between the Hindus and the Muslims, it was only resolved by the formation of the “Islamic Republic of Pakistan”.

Religion has no borders. Shiite Muslims will fight from all over the world with and for the Shiite Muslims in Iraq, Sunni’s will fight from all over the world with and for the Sunni Muslims in Iraq. The people of the United States are here because they have chosen to live or remain after birth in a country where one is first an American Citizen and then a Catholic, Baptist, Muslim, Buddhist, Christian or Jew. Because of the separation of church and state that we enjoy, loyalty to the country does not require loyalty to a particular form of worship. This is our Democracy. It is the Democracy, envisioned by our Constitution, which can only survive in a nation where there is an explicit separation of Church and State. Today there are 56 religious based “conflicts” including Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Thailand, Uganda, Chechnya, the Philippines, Kurdistan, Nigeria, Sudan, the Middle East and Kosovo. The Problem with our intervention in any religious conflict, the problem with any outside intervention in any religious conflict is that whatever group we back, we are backing a religion. In removing one religion from power and replacing it with the only alternative, another religion, we simply buy a temporary cease fire. Soon enough the worshipers of the defeated faith, feeling repressed, afraid, and more determined than ever to fight in the name of God, will gather support from the unlimited well of followers devoted to their faith, and God and rise up, and continue the battle. It is not a battle that is won or lost on earth but in Heaven. It is not a battle for a place on earth but for a place in Heaven. If they lose their place on land by fighting and sacrificing their lives in the name of God, they guarantee their place in Heaven.

We have won the war in Iraq that we set out to win. We cannot win the peace, because we are fighting a battle over borders, and they are fighting a battle over love, honor and devotion to God. Where Church, Temple, Mosque, or Ashram, equals State, we can only make things worse.

If there is any lesson that we should learn from this, it is that what prevents us from becoming them, what prevents the United States from becoming Iraq, Serbia, or any of the other nations embroiled in religious wars, is the First Amendment. Those who would like to see it abolished, or even relaxed should pay close attention to what is happening in Africa, Asia and the middle east because the First Amendment is all that separates us from them.

The Bible Story of Joseph and the journey of the Soul


The story of Joseph is a story of the journey of the soul. It seems that this is a soul that has gained wisdom through other lifetimes, and is able to maintain its connection with God throughout its trials on earth. Therefore, it is safe to say that this is the story of an old soul and its journey through the senses and desires of the physical body and the earth plane. In the Bible story of Joseph we see the story of the soul. Joseph has a dream:

5. And Joseph dreamed a dream, and he told it to his brethren: and they hated him yet the more. 6. And he said unto them, Hear, I pray you, this dream which I have dreamed: 7. for, behold, we were binding sheaves in the field, and, lo, my sheaf arose, and also stood upright; and, behold, your sheaves came round about, and made obeisance to my sheaf. 8. And his brethren said to him, Shalt thou indeed reign over us? Or shalt thou indeed have dominion over us? And they hated him yet the more for his dreams, and for his words. 9. And he dreamed yet another dream, and told it to his brethren, and said, Behold, I have dreamed yet a dream: and, behold, the sun and the moon and eleven stars made obeisance to me. 10. And he told it to his father, and to his brethren; and his father rebuked him, and said unto him, What is this dream that thou hast dreamed? Shall I and thy mother and thy brethren indeed come to bow down ourselves to thee to the earth? And his brethren envied him; but his father kept the saying in mind.

Here, we see Joseph, as a soul, envisioning the time when he will become the master over his sense represented by the sheaths of corn, and finally over his fate, as described by the Sun, Mon and eleven Stars. Jacob – here representing the higher self, the connection with God, hears the goal of the soul and keeps note of it, knowing that it is seeking to return – to rise above the body. Most likely, this story represents a soul which has had many lives already and facing the return home.

The brothers, here representing the senses and the desire nature of the body betray Joseph take his coat and throw him into a pit in the wilderness, the pit representing the body where at first , the soul cannot see its way to God through the Maya. The fact that there is no water probably tells us that there is no way for wisdom to flow to the soul at this point:

22. And Reuben said unto them, Shed no blood; cast him into this pit that is in the wilderness, but lay no hand upon him: that he might deliver him out of their hand, to restore him to his father. 23. And it came to pass, when Joseph was come unto his brethren, that they stripped Joseph of his coat, the coat of many colors that was on him; 24. and they took him, and cast him into the pit: and the pit was empty, there was no water in it.

Later, the brothers sold Joseph to a passing caravan – he is sold into slavery. So here we see Joseph given by the senses over to one of the desires of the body – greed.

What profit is it if we slay our brother and conceal his blood? 27. Come, and let us sell him to the Ishmaelites, and let not our hand be upon him; for he is our brother, our flesh. And his brethren hearkened unto him. And there passed by Midianites, merchantmen; and they drew and lifted up Joseph out of the pit, and sold Joseph to the Ishmaelites for twenty pieces of silver.

Yet, despite the desire of the senses to break Joseph, God is within him, he is aware of his goal – he is a light within, one that glows without. And because of the light that is steadily growing, the soul continues to maintain his direction. Then, as happens to all souls – Joseph is tempted by the wife of his master. As the soul is always tempted by the desires of the body. Although Joseph does not fall to the temptation – he is then tested further by being punished anyway. He is thrown into jail. Here we see that this soul, cannot be tempted by glitter, nor can he be tempted by adversity. Because of his unwillingness to succumb to the tests of the physical – the greatest of desires and temptations do not stand in his way.

Ultimately, Joseph interprets a dream for Pharaoh. He tells Pharaoh that his dreams state that there will be seven years of plenty and seven years of famine. Because of this interpretation of the dreams, Pharaoh makes Joseph the final authority in all that happens in the kingdom. Here, Joseph is expressing the wisdom of an advanced soul. He expresses the fact that there are cycles of abundance and cycles of loss in life on earth. If one is not greedy during cycles of abundance one will have enough during cycles of loss. This is very much a statement of the middle way. Pharaoh, representing the higher self, sees that the soul cannot again be affected by what happens in the environment. The soul is prepared for the end of the journey, with its connection to God intact. It has been declared that the senses and the destiny will be under the rule of the soul, and the battle for the soul – has been won by the higher self.

When his brothers come to him in need of food for their families and for their father, he was generous to them. Here the soul ruled person, being ruled by the principal of love is generous and benevolent to all, regardless of what others might have done to him. The soul, is advanced enough to understand that nothing happens that is not determined by God, and so all is good.
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15. And when Joseph’s brethren saw that their father was dead, they said, It may be that Joseph will hate us, and will fully requite us all the evil which we did unto him. 16. And they sent a message unto Joseph, saying, Thy father did command before he died, saying,
17. So shall ye say unto Joseph, Forgive, I pray thee now, the transgression of thy brethren, and their sin, for that they did unto thee evil. And now, we pray thee, forgive the transgression of the servants of the God of thy father. And Joseph wept when they spake unto him. 18. And his brethren also went and fell down before his face; and they said, Behold, we are thy servants. 19. And Joseph said unto them, Fear not: for am I in the place of God? 20. And as for you, ye meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive. Now therefore fear ye not: I will nourish you, and your little ones. And he comforted them, and spake kindly unto them.

The soul goes from the pit, to slavery, to temptation, to adversity, to clear perception, and finally to mastery and home. This is only one of the many stories in the bible, which give us such light as to the meaning of life from the perspective of the soul’s journey. When we are ready to understand the scriptures, all scriptures as guides to life at all stages, we will truly see how they are all great master teachers. We see this repeated again when Jesus having received the Christ enters into the wilderness (the descent of the soul into flesh) and faces the temptations of Satan. This is the path of all souls that come into incarnation. It is the facing of the tests, the tests of temptation, and the tests of adversity, to ultimately overcome them all and free the true self that lies within.

How The World Changes

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I have been looking for signs that would tell me how close we were to the Age of Aquarius, and certainly – what would build it. Then, the other day I had the television on as background noise and I heard a commentator speaking about something that the government had attempted to keep secret. The other person on the show remarked that they should have known better in this time of ‘transparency’ with cell phones and other recording devices always around. That conversation struck me as the ‘sign’ that I had been seeking. I could not find a better word to describe the undercurrent that I had been feeling from the people that I had been counseling over the past few years it was the need to live transparently. That saying, “The truth shall set you free” has been playing over and over in my head because over the past few years I have noticed so much of a sense that people were enslaved by the lies that they were living.

I did not grow up in the energetic environment of my parents, grandparents, or great-grandparents so I can’t say how they felt in their lives. I do know that their lives, at least until my parent’s generation, were ruled by the roles society had carved out for them. They seemed to have their ‘place’ and the ‘place’ that they could aspire to. I really can’t say whether or not they were happy once they arrived in their ‘place’. Were wives generally happy serving their husbands and catering to the needs of their children? Did they have needs of their own? If they did, did they believe that the sacrificing of those needs was a worthwhile price to pay for what they received in return? Did they honestly believe that the Church was an ordained pillar of righteousness and all who served were above reproach? Did they honestly believe that our elected officials were moral and honest leaders above and self-serving desires or ulterior motives? In the age of Pisces, illusion is real. And obviously the set up was all an illusion. With all of the rugs being overturned and all of the closets being opened today, it seemed that on the whole, they either closed their eyes, fooling themselves into believing what they were told, and not looking behind closed doors or asking too many questions, or, they told themselves that their lives would be better off if they just lived as if it were right. I imagine that the whole ‘person fit the mold’ thing, rather than, ‘the mold fit the person’, worked for generations.

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What I have noticed in people that I have counseled is a profound unhappiness within seemingly happy lives. In other words, I keep hearing people say that they have everything that others say should make them happy, everything that they believed would make them happy, but they are deeply unhappy. This unhappiness is compounded by the fact that they feel ungrateful because they have what others seem to want. So they feel ashamed of their pain and as a result, too guilty to seek help. If they do seek help, the help that they seek is help in fixing themselves so that they can find the happiness that they are supposed to have with the lives that they are living rather than finding the courage to look within their souls for keys to the true life that would contain their happiness. I am seeing people who either have what they believed would make them happy, or what they were told would make them happy but instead it is the cause of their pain. It is this widespread inner discontent that changes the world. This sense of dissatisfaction – this intense need for some kind of change grows within the collective unconscious until it reaches critical mass and something happens to force a change. We are accustomed to quick fixes, but we need a lasting resolution. Humanity is entering an age that is taking it from the surface to the heart, from the world to the soul, from a world of greater and lesser beings to a world of equality, honesty, freedom and brotherhood. All of the boxes are the same as they always have been, there are still the many ‘things’ out there, the many awards, achievements and ways to find self-gratification – and goodies to buy to advertise our personal greatness, so that we are not overlooked, but God moved the cheese - the happy – to another place.

Everyone wants the brass ring, but we are conditioned to want the brass ring that we can have. Everyone can’t be the queen of England, but some people can, for a time, be the queen of Broadway. So it is to that, which they aspire. Up until about seventy years ago, people were able to be happy because their expectations were very limited. If you were a woman – then you had your list of achievable goals. If your father was a coal miner, you had your list of achievable goals, if you were Black, you had your list of achievable goals and to get to the top of your list, or even close, left most people at least content and usually happy with their lives.

It seems to me that World War II pretty much blew that boat out to sea. Suddenly, people found themselves in strange new roles – roles that were believed and accepted as beyond their reach, or just plain unnatural for them. Women went out to work, formed sports teams, took over supervising positions, supported the country, brought home the bacon and cooked it. Whites had to fight with and often found their lives in the hands of Negro soldiers, all lines, including the color lines were temporarily but still irrevocably crossed. Factory workers became Sergeants, bosses became privates, all in all, everyone found themselves living somehow outside of the box that seemed before to be set in stone. Although the world expected everyone to return to their original roles -and most had to – the taste of the possible never left their palates. Soon, ‘Equality’ was to be the never-ending hum in the background of life from then on. The first key-word for Aquarius was ushered into the age.

Of course, the first harbingers of change are always met with violent opposition, so the shouts for equality were labeled Communist, and the McCarthy era showed that those in power would do anything to combat the massive changes that a movement towards freedom and equality would bring. The generation of children born during and after that war was, as would be required, the “Me” generation. If you think about it, this was the perfect and timely reaction to all of the “everything but me” generations that came before. It made sense because we had to come from ‘what is good for the whole is good for the parts’ to ‘what is good for the parts is good for the whole’ in order to get to our destination of ‘the whole is equal to the parts’ – Aquarius. Change – this kind of change – is not something that happens, like walking out of one room into another. We must transition. For more than two thousand years, power has been held by those who maintained the greatest secrecy. Sometimes it was the manipulation of the ignorant populace by the few who understood the workings and cycles of nature, to pretend to create miracles, such as eclipses, lightening, or droughts. Or, it was by the use of the fear of the gods or God to manipulate the people into submission. Today it is still done, but more through covert actions of institutions, governments, covert deals made with those who manipulate the world’s economies.

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The church has always governed in secrecy the Vatican contains vaults of secret writings, hidden documents etc. For so many years the perverted actions of the clergy went on, hidden and protected by the accepted secrecy so pervasive in this age. Government officials hid their true identities and true motives behind vast networks of cover-ups for as long as we can remember. Then suddenly, bit by bit, the truths have been unearthed, perhaps beginning with the Dead Sea Scrolls and the scrolls found at Nag Hammadi. This, followed by expository journalism, tabloid press, cell phones, hidden cameras, whistle blowers and the internet has made for a growing overall transparency. This is a time of revelations. Everything hidden is being revealed. It is this truth – this revelation – that will ultimately set us free of the shackles of deception and illusion. People said one thing and lived another. We idolized our celebrities as perfect and they had to maintain a public persona. When I was a child I heard the fear of one day having “Big Brother” watching our every move. Today, big Brother is watching us, but we are also watch Big Brother. Everything and everyone is being exposed, more and more. It will only continue to grow. We ourselves are being exposed to ourselves and any lives that we have been living that are not true to our hearts, and our souls, will cause more and more of us heightened levels of pain. I once looked at the supermarket counters loaded with tabloid papers as a part of the degeneration of our society. Until I saw a headline in one of those tabloids saying that two actors, renowned for their humanitarian efforts were going on a spending spree, flying doctors over continents, spending upwards of eight figures for a home and I realized that if we admire people if must be not just for what they do but also for how they live.

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Today, with the world as small as it is, it seems a bit obscene to live large, while others are struggling just to live. And living large is OK, for those who claim with all honesty and candor to be card carrying members of the greedy few. It’s honest. But if you profess a sense of responsibility to the world and the suffering within it, if you believe that to whom much is given, much is expected, and want your name in that book, then you must not just do charity but live a charitable life. It is time for us to be ourselves, live as ourselves, wear one face, and walk our talk.  The United States now has a Bi-racial President.  One whose father was a Muslim and mother was a Christian.  He is a reflection of the New Age – but more importantly, he is a reflection of the changing world in which we live.  I believe that man is evolving at a fast pace now.  It is a spiritual evolution.  The last time that the stars lined up as they will in 2012 was approximately 25,000 years ago.  At that time we had the extinction of a certain type of human called the “Neanderthal”.  I believe that the modern human that survived, did so because it had evolved intellectually in a way that better prepared it for survival in the following cycle.  I see this occurring now, in each generation there have been a small percentage of these new humans born.  Each generation increasing the number until these new spiritual humans will be all that are left.  It is the voice of these “new” humans that brought Barack Obama to the Presidency.  They are the ones who will be prepared to join together to build the New World.  They are in “Society” but not of it.  They believe in diversity, equality, and the best of humanity.  They have always felt different.  Some clearly struggle to make the swim upstream, others fake it, and still others lash out against the old with violence.  Then there are those who just check out.  But most of these new beings find each other and join together.   They embrace physical diversity and spiritual oneness.

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This is what the Age of Aquarius is all about. When everyone says, “This is who I am and I am proud of it”, tabloids will have nothing to expose. When we no longer put people on pedestals, we will no longer feel the need to knock them off. There are no pedestals in Aquarius. As we draw nearer and nearer to that Age we will learn that death is not the only great equalizer. God has moved the cheese. The power box is now empty, the material wealth box is now empty, the public adoration box is now empty. The sooner we figure out that God has put the cheese in the box of love given, time shared, selfless service and brotherhood, the sooner we will find the transition into the new Age a rewarding journey of gain, and not a painful succession of losses.  Someone once said that before a wheel can change direction it must stop.  When it stops everything falls apart.  But then it changes direction and moves in a new and better direction.  We are now on a wheel that has stopped.  But it has stopped only to change direction.  We are experiencing the end of the world as we know it, the end of the journey in one direction only to begin the journey in another.  This is a long process, I once heard a scientist say that science does not embrace a new direction until everyone who embraced the old direction dies.  We are in a time when those who want to repair and return to what was, still have power and are hanging on to the wheel in an effort to turn it back.  Those who want to change and move in a new direction, a more spiritual and holistic direction do not yet have the power to move the wheel forward, but they do have enough power to prevent the wheel from moving backwards.  And this is why the wheel is stopped.  There is equal force pulling in both directions.  This will change because of all that is being lost, the losses will weaken the resistance to change, and we will move openly, honestly and together into the New Age.

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Secrets require darkness. A life that cannot stand up under the Sun twenty-four hours a day is a painful life lived in fear and darkness. But sometimes we are more afraid of what will happen to us in the light than we are of the continued fear of the darkness. When we are here, then the Universe must intervene and expose us to the light that we have hidden from and regardless of what we lose from exposure to the light, it pales in comparison to the sense of joy and freedom that comes from not ever having to hide again. When no one has to hide, when no one wants to hide, when no one will hide – we will know that we have officially become a part of the Age of Aquarius.

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