03 January 2014

Propaganda Mills- Think Tanks and the Ivory Towers of the Christian Right (1/2)


The Danger of Believing Your Own Propaganda

I listened to this podcast awhile back and wanted to share a few thoughts. This is Albert Mohler's interview programme where he sits down with a fellow intellectual and conducts about a 45 minute interview with some of his commentary along the way. Sometimes it's interesting, but often I find it to be not only intellectually dull but often misguided. But that assessment would go for most things Mohler does. As a leader of the Christian Right I believe he is completely misguided with regard to history, theology, politics and most of all, the Bible. That may sound like a harsh and needless insult but since I believe he (and many like him) are a great danger to the Christian Church... I feel the denunciation to be more than warranted.

Is he a fellow believer? I have no idea. That's hardly for me to decide. But, on earth he's diligently playing the part of the lamb speaking with the dragon's voice. He's part of the Harlot mission to seduce the Church into adulterous apostasy and the worship of the Beast.

Is he as bad as some? By no means, but his influence is vast. On the one hand he's an 'orthodox Christian' that stands for many historic doctrines, but history alone is not our guide. The historical Church has been riddled and afflicted by error and apostasy. Anyone who is not a Roman Catholic or a member of the Eastern Orthodox Churches must admit this fact. It's not a matter of whether or not we think the historic Church slipped into grievous error or apostasy. We all agree on that. The question is to what extent? And what exactly are the foundations of this departure from Biblical Christianity?

History cannot be ignored. How we answer these basic questions will determine how we view the contemporary Church and men like Mohler. Do they represent Biblical fidelity? Compared to the theological liberalism, Mohler seems a shining star. He's certainly correct on issues like the Resurrection, the Incarnation and the Virgin Birth. His verbal affirmation that the Bible is the Word of God is to be appreciated.

Rome also maintains these truths. Does this grant Rome legitimacy? Some think so but I digress. For those would grant Rome the status of a legitimate ecclesiological entity, they have a host of other questions they must now answer that are beyond the scope of this piece.

Why do I listen to his show? I can't help it. I want to hear what is being said because like it or not these folks wield a tremendous influence and over the years I've run into more than a few people who respect if not revere Mohler. In one case the leader of a church plant who was a dedicated disciple and former student of Mohler was echoing his ideas. Since I was attending, I was less than pleased and it generated some confrontation. I was not keen to go along with his nationalistic, militarist and legalistic form of Hyper-Calvinism.

I found this particular show to be illustrative of one glaring facet of their error. At the end of the podcast Mohler took a moment to praise the work of the Think Tanks and their great contribution to society.

The Think Tanks are of course very influential. Needless to say most politicians are hardly brilliant minds and do not actually craft their own legislation, nor are they experts (at least initially) on much of anything to do with the Washington process. Behind every committee and every piece of legislation are teams of scholars, intellectuals and lawyers helping to craft and shape not only individual bills but the overall policy. They provide the technical help in seeking to implement ideas and avoid legal challenges along the way.

Well, calling them scholars and intellectuals can be a bit of a stretch at times, especially when it comes to the Think Tanks. It's mostly propagandists and lawyers...the lawyers in some ways being the most important element. These are agenda-driven and funded organisations that exist to promote the ideas of those backing them. Scholarly pursuit of the truth is not really on the table. Manipulation of statistics is more like it.

For years I have received piles of propaganda from the Heritage Foundation and other groups. And it is just that...propaganda. The word itself is not problematic unless tied to its negative connotation and that's exactly how I'm using it. It's material that is deliberately obfuscating or manipulating information, a deliberate misrepresentation in order to shape thinking. Fundamentally it's a lie.

They send out these ridiculous surveys and brochures which are so engineered, rigged and biased that it beggars belief. I consider it rather insulting to my intelligence and am astonished that anyone would actually turn in these rigged surveys where you can't answer the question except in the way they want you to. You're either a patriotic Capitalist or a militant Communist. There are no other options.

I'm neither of these things but I know what they are. These are people that have no integrity whatsoever. And that's a pretty sad reality when a group like Heritage employs many Christians and is presently headed by Jim DeMint the former senator, and a member of the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA).

Of course the Think Tanks produce propaganda their adherents want to hear. They interpret the world, not according to a truthful attempt to understand reality, let alone what the Bible teaches, but according to the dictates and interests of their backers and their gullible audience which has been manipulated mostly through scare tactics. 

And sometimes it is nothing less than laughable.

It's dangerous and perhaps a little frightening when people who wield power not only seek to implement the policy based on the false data, but what's really disturbing is when they actually believe it. For those trying to make money and garner power as well as for those who willingly believe lies...the problem lies in the heart.

And in the case of Heritage not only have they re-written the history of the 1980's but they have sought to exonerate themselves of any guilt. The truth is they have blood on their hands...literally. The blood of many in Central America and Africa was shed as a result of Heritage policies being implemented. And that's just for starters....

I'm afraid in my experience the most gullible audience out there is the Christian Right. For various reasons they are the most susceptible to this kind of propaganda that feeds them a message, a delusion they want to hear. What is the message? The Kingdom of God is best served by an American Empire, legally enforced Christianity, militarism, and Capitalism. They don't put it that way, but to expect truthfulness and transparency from a Think Tank is to expect the impossible. A tree is known by its fruit.




Eliyahu BenYsrael said...

John- can you share some resources proving the link between the Heritage Foundation and American actions in South America and Africa? Very interesting Thanks bro.

Protoprotestant said...

Most of this stuff is stored in my head and as I write I will pop online to check spelling or a date. For example in the new series I mention John Stockwell the ex-CIA guy who helped expose US activities in Angola. There's a bunch of stuff with him on YouTube. Anyway, I had to check because I couldn't remember what year he bailed on the CIA... actually before Heritage came into being, but Heritage still picked up the policy and enhanced it.
The second series may help you some as far as names and places to look. There are a host of internet sources that back up the things I'm saying...but also hokey ones to be avoided.
Try searching for things like Heritage Foundation, Reagan Doctrine, UNITA, and Angola or the Contras etc...
Certainly to the dissatisfaction of some, many are from Leftist sources. Of course the Left doesn't always properly understand the Christian Right or the Church, so some discernment must be used.
A massive amount of stuff is available on Wikipedia. Don't trust it but use it as a place to start. Follow the links, tease it out. There are some pretty good articles available on some of these topics...enough to whet the appetite.
For books in print try some of the following:

Good Muslim, Bad Muslim: America, the Cold War, and the Roots of Terror by Mamdani

Rollback!: Right-wing Power in U.S. Foreign Policy by Bodenheimer and Gould

The Jesus Machine by Gilgoff

These books aren't expensive to acquire. And I really recommend Johnson's Blowback Trilogy. That's beyond the scope of Heritage but he does a wonderful and very thorough job exposing and explaining how the American Empire works.