Thursday, November 10, 2011

Anti-Semitic Jewish Authors' Connection with Stephen Sizer

Recently I posted a blog entitled, An Open Letter to Messianic Leaders and Congregants, in which I issued a wake up call for messianic Jewish followers of Jesus to take note of the growing anti-Israel movement slithering its way through evangelical Christianity.  The blog was re-posted on various blog sites such as the messianic Jewish Rosh Pina Project.

The majority of feedback I received was positive and encouraging.

One of the comments I received on Thinking Outside the Blog was from a Christian brother who suggested I read a list of books by Jewish authors who appeared to be anti-Zionist and part of the political Left.  In attempting to provide a response, I came across some research done on several of these Jewish authors and discovered these writers are more than anti-Zionist.  To my shock I found out several of these Jewish individuals are anti-Semitic.  I'm not even sure if the person who offered me the reading list of Jewish authors was even aware of this fact.

One of the authors listed was Israel Shamir who wrote a book called Galilee Flowers.  Shamire claims to be Jewish but several sources I came across doubted his Hebraic background. Only his mother knows for sure.

What we can gather from different sources is that Shamir a.k.a. Adam Ermash or Joran Jermas is a Russian born anti-Semite and Holocaust denier. Michael Moynihan, editor of contributed an article entitled, "Assange's Extremist Employees," in which he demonstrates Shamir functions as WikiLeak's content aggregator.  Shamir is responsible for selecting and distributing the cables to the Russian news organization.

Moynihan, no fan of Shamir, recounts Shamir's views about the Holocaust. The WikiLeak official has called the Auschwitz concentration camp "an internment facility, attended by the Red Cross," not a place for extermination.  Shamir told a Swedish journalist (and fellow Holocaust denier) that "it's every Muslim and Christian's duty to deny the Holocaust.  The Jews, he says, are a "virus in human form" and the Protocols of the Elders of Zion is real. 

I would assume that any Christian would not want to be associated with Shamir in any official capacity. Yet in a blog entitled Stephen Sizer's Friends I was disappointed to read that Sizer, Vicar of Christ Church has his books and website listed by Shamir.

I know if I had a Holocaust denier and anti-Semite promoting any of my writings or websites, I would make a public statement to distance myself from that individual.  I have yet to find Pastor Sizer make any such comments. In addition,  the blog Seismic Shock features an article, "The Neo-Nazi, the Pro-jihad priest and Stephen Sizer" that presents proof of Sizer's additional connection with Shamir. Someone can make an argument that it's unfair for me to tag Sizer as guilty of being an anti-Semite because of his association with Shamir.  However, until I discover a public statement by sizer disavowing any connection with Shamir, I am compelled to believe the Vicar is quite comfortable with the association.

Another author mentioned in the suggested reading list given to my by a ThinkingOutsidetheBlog reader is Gilad Atzmon, the author of The Wandering Who? In an article by Alan Dershowitz "Why are John Mearsheimer and Richard Endorsing a Blatantly Anti-Semitic Book?", the well-known attorney recounts how anti-Israel activists have shunned Atzmon due to his extreme antisemitism. Dershowitz writes,
At least ten authors associated with the Leftist publisher that published The Wandering Who? have called on the publisher to distance itself from Atzmon’s views, explaining that the “thrust of Atzmon’s work is to normalise and legitimise anti-Semitism.”
Hard-core neo-Nazis, racists, anti-Semites and Holocaust deniers, on the other hand, have happily counted Atzmon as one of their own. David Duke, America’s premier white supremacist, has posted more than a dozen of Atzmon’s articles on his website over the past five years and recently praised Atzmon for “writ[ing] such fine articles exposing the evil of Zionism and Jewish supremacism.”
Atzmon also has a connection with Shamir that is quite damaging:
Israel Shamir, a Holocaust denier(“We must deny the concept of Holocaust without doubt and hesitation”) who argues that Jews ritually murdered Christian children for their blood and that “The rule of the Elders of Zion is already upon us,” refers to Atzmon as a “good friend” and calls Atzmon one of “the shining stars of the battle” against “the Jewish alliance.”
From an article in Seismic Shock  I learned of Stephen Sizer's recommendation of a book Israel's Mossad Bomb Russian Plane To Kill Scientists? reviewed by the Palestine Telegraph, a news source filled with anti-Semitic articles. Palestine Telegraph is the hate publishing operation of independent Palestinian journalist Sameh Habeeb.

In a list of individuals featured over a period of time in several issues Palestine Telegraph is Gilad Atzmon who is reported as marking Holocaust Memorial Day by publishing a revolting "Israelis-are-Nazis" discourse.

Since Sizer references Palestine Telegraph in his book recommendation, it is probably safe to conclude Sizer feels

Sizer may appear to be soft-spoken, gentle and non-plussed when speaking to opponents.  He even cleverly wooed Calvin Smith, a leading Christian Zionist scholar in the UK, in a recent debate on RevelationTV. By the end of the debate Smith was convinced Sizer is a nice guy who he'd like to get to know more.  I think that's admirable for two Christians to want to become closer a brothers in the Lord. 

Yet if Smith had more information about Sizer's connection to Holocaust deniers and anti-Semites, the King's Evangelical Divinity School professor might see things differently.  

Stephen Sizer may make claims about his love for the Jewish people, but I have a hard time believing  from his talks, his writings and public comments that this Christian brother is a friend of the Jewish people. 


Thursday, November 3, 2011

An Open Letter to Messianic Jewish Leaders and Congregants

I've never written a letter like this, but I believe this correspondence is a dire necessity.

I've been involved in the messianic movement since the early 70s. I've served as a messianic pastor for over twenty five years, founded and headed a messianic organization and written numerous articles and blogs on the messianic movement.  I've happily observed the messianic movement grow - sometimes to the joy of the evangelical church and other times to their chagrin.

Throughout the years I noticed the messianic movement split into two entities:  the messianic congregational wing and the "missionary" model perpetrated by Chosen People Ministries, Jews for Jesus and other lesser known organizations.  In light of this duality within the messianic movement we ended up with one segment distancing itself from the evangelical church while the other side remained within the churches to collect contributions to help further their efforts to bringing the gospel to Jewish people.

The bottom line is that the messianic movement has not had the best relationship with the evangelical church.  In the midst of this messianic two-headed whatchamacallit , the Christian Zionist movement grew its own head, wanting nothing to do with messianic Jews but instead reaching out to the Jewish community with their overwhelming love for the people and land of Israel.  Of course, many of our Christian Zionist brothers and sisters keep the gospel that is the power of God unto salvation "to the Jew first" hidden behind their backs to make their Jewish guests and dignitaries feel comfortable.

This synopsis of the messianic movement and the growing Christian Zionist community forms a necessary background to what I want to say.

Brothers and sisters -Jews and Gentile followers of Yeshua - we are in the midst of a full on effort by many of our evangelical brothers and sisters to bring an anti-Israel message into the evangelical church.
This "Evangelical Intifada" has crept into the church through several major avenues:

*Theological anti-Israel thought.  Some of us are familiar with NT Wheaton professor Gary Burge and his well known publication Whose Land? Whose Promise? What Christians Are Not Being Told About Israel and the Palestinians in which he claims modern Israel has no right to the land today.  In a September 17, 2011 article by CAMERA writer Dexter Van Zile, a strong proponent of Israel, quotes Burge:
More ominously, under Rev. Dr. Burge’s scriptural analysis, Jews who reject Christ have forfeited their land and risk their lives by attempting to live in it. For example, on page 176, Rev. Dr. Burge interprets John 15:6 as follows: “The people of Israel cannot claim to be planted as vines in the land; they cannot be rooted in the vineyard unless first they are grafted into Jesus. Branches that attempt living in the land, the vineyard, which refuse to be attached to Jesus will be cast out and burned.Clearly, under Rev. Dr. Burge’s analysis, Jews living in Israel are transgressing limits set for them by the New Testament. 
Another anti-Israel theologian is Vicar Stephen Sizer from the UK, whose writings attack Christian Zionism and Israel in favor of the Palestinians. Sizer is not only an author but an activist who has shared podiums with Holocaust deniers, pro-Hamas advocates and has spoken his anti-Israel messages in Iran.

What these evangelical theologians have in common is their dedication to use both Old and NewTestaments to demonstrate God's covenant with the Jewish people promising them the land of Israel through Abraham is discontinued and now the Lord's only covenant is with the church. Therefore, there is nothing divine about the Jewish people having returned to the land of Israel and establishing a Jewish homeland. God's only relationship with Israel is for them to accept Jesus and become Christians.

*Political anti-Israel thought. The list is rather long when it comes to the political efforts put forth by these evangelicals to support Palestinians, point out Israel's so-called injustices towards the people in the Palestinian territories, attack Israeli government policies in dealing with the terrorist threat, fail to denounce anti-Semitic rhetoric broadcasted by Hamas and Fatah and argue to discredit the validity of a "Jewish" state. I cannot do this aspect of the "Evangelical Intifada" justice.

These Christian political activists include Palestinian Christian as well as American evangelicals like Lynne Hybels, wife of mega church pastor Bill Hybels; Sami Awad, a Palestinian Christian who advocates a non-violent approach in dealing with Israeli soldiers through his organization Holy Land Trust yet his tweets point to the fact he does not support a Jewish state and British journalist anti-Zionist polemicist Ben White who is quick to label Israel as an apartheid state as he does in his book Israeli Apartheid: A Beginner's Guide (for a great response to White click here).

You can tell I've quite a list that includes organizations that claim to be dedicated to peace and non-violence yet they send out daily blurbs through tweets, Facebook posts and blogs in which they do nothing but attack Israel and try to convince evangelical Christians to not support Israel. It is only a matter of time before these anti-Zionist Christians start calling for boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel. In a recent published set of seven evangelical affirmations from the Christ at the Checkpoint Conference at Bethlehem Bible College in March 2012, the seventh affirmation reads,
The Bible teaches us to pray for all in political authority. We are called to obey them, whether they are Israeli or Palestinian, as an expression of our faith in God’s sovereign rule. We are also called to be a prophetic voice, challenging injustice creatively and non-violently.
This statement clearly sets the groundwork for BDS on the part of evangelicals spearheaded by anti-Zionist evangelicals. An affirmation like this makes one wonder whether the drafters of these affirmations will ever call for boycotts against Fatah and Hamas for their terrorist attacks on Israelis.

One more examination of these affirmations will suffice. Affirmation number 6 states:

Messianic Jews are the brothers and sisters of all who follow Jesus or Yeshua. We are one family bound together in a fellowship of love. Although diversity in political opinions as well as theological emphasis inevitably exist, we refuse to allow these views to hinder our fellowship in Jesus.
Messianic Jews are welcome to attend the Christ at the Checkpoint Conference as long as we can set aside our "political opinions" aka Zionism. If that is true, then why are the conference speakers allowed to speak against Christian Zionism, the Israeli aspirations for a Jewish homeland and Israel's policies towards protecting the citizens of Israel -Jewish and Arabs- against Palestinian terrorist attempts.

This sixth affirmation is a call for Messianic Jews to set aside our Zionistic commitment. Yet once the CATC is over, our pro-Palestinian brothers and sisters will spread out over the globe to broadcast their anti-Israel propaganda messages.

*Anti-Israel propaganda films are also being shown in churches, Bible Study groups and Christian colleges across America: Little Town of Bethlehem, featuring Sami Awad and Porter Speakman's With God on Our Side. Both films are filled with historical inaccuracies regarding the Middle East conflict, erroneous analogies comparing the Palestinian Intifada with the Civil Rights Movement in America and ignoring Islamic Palestinian terrorism aimed at Israel. Both of these films are produced with the greatest of quality but filled with the lowest of bias against Israel. When these films are shown, a panel usually follows for the sake of discussion. The two that I am aware of did not include on the panel a pro-Zionist expert.

Thank the Lord we do have several websites that address the anti-Israel evangelical crowd and we should be familiar with them: HurryUpHarry, ElderofZiyon, MEMRI, SeismicShock, RoshPinaProject CAMERA, ThinkingOutsidetheBlog and many others.

In light of what I've shared, ask yourself, "Can the messianic movement afford to stay away from confronting these books, individuals, blogs, articles, tweets, films and lectures by anti-Israel Christians committed to the Evangelical Intifada?"

It is time for the messianic movement to end the separatism that exists between the church and messianic congregations and come alongside our Christian brothers and sisters to unmask the deception being hoisted upon them by anti-Israel evangelical proponents. Organizations already in churches presenting "Christ in the Passover" or "Israel in Prophecy" need to switch gears and go beyond prophetic messages to tickle the ears of Christians and present substantive responses to the anti-Israel advocates.

I call on messianic leaders and congregants to join in this effort to not sit still while Christians once again present an anti-Jewish message from within the ranks of Christendom. This is not new to us as Jews.

Christianity has presented an anti-Semitic message from the early church fathers, has purged the Holy Land of Jews during the Crusades, tortured our ancestors during the Inquisitions, preached replacement theology in modern times and now has crafted an anti-Zionist theology to once again alienate Jewish people from their own Messiah and Redeemer, Yeshua.

Messianic leaders, I encourage heads of organizations to start meeting and compose plans to deal with the Evangelical Intifada. Dialogue with anti-Israel theologians at Christ at the Checkpoint may be advantageous for a few days, but the Christians messianic Jews dialogue with at CATC are activists not merely theologians. They are on the internet day and night sending out their destructive missiles to convince the church to turn its back on Israel.

I am willing to work with any group to do what I can to help any effort to form a serious, relentless confrontation using scholarly materials to usurp the falsehoods being foisted by the Evangelical Intifada on unsuspecting Christians.

I close with one more example. In light of the upcoming 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration in 2017 a new website has been launched as a 5 year project. The goal of the project is to "promote a series of international conferences and cultural exchanges to enable participants to engage with empathy those who have been negatively impacted by the Balfour Declaration.”

From Stephen Sizer's website it is clear from his own words that he is instrumental in the launching of this five-year project. I strongly doubt if Sizer and his cohorts will give a fair presentation of Israel's side regarding the Balfour Declaration or for that matter anything that occurred after the issuing of that document and the ensuring establishment of the State of Israel.

Can we as messianic Jews afford to be silent while these events take place? Haven't we had enough silence when the church remained closed mouthed as our grandparents and great-grandparents were demonized by Hitler and his twisted theologians.

I do not want to compare what is taking place today to the Holocaust and thereby trivializing the Shoah.

However I do want to impress upon my readers the seriousness of sitting by and doing nothing while the church is once again duped by theologians with an agenda to place all the blame of the Middle East conflict on the Jews and to paint the Israelis as evil oppressors trampling the underdog Palestinians. Sadly, Christians fall for these kinds of comparisons and images. I trust this time we are wiser and that we will heed the call to activism.

In the Messiah's grace,

Louis Lapides


Saturday, October 29, 2011

Palestinian leader: Arabs erred on 1947 partition

JERUSALEM (AP) — The Palestinian president says the Arab world erred in rejecting the United Nations' 1947 plan to partition Palestine into an Arab and a Jewish state.
President Mahmoud Abbas also told Channel 2 TV in a rare interview with the Israeli media on Friday that he and former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert were "very, very close" to reaching a peace agreement in 2008.
"If he stayed two, three months, I believe that time we could have concluded an agreement," Abbas said.
He confirmed reports that Olmert had agreed to withdraw from 93.5 percent of the West Bank.
Abbas also said it was not clear the Palestinians could muster the requisite nine votes in the U.N. Security Council to approve the statehood bid they submitted last month.


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Christ at the Checkpoint 2012 Conference Attempts Sounding Evangelical

Recently, according to Stephen Sizer, Vicar of Christ Church in the UK, the 2012 Evangelical Affirmations for the Christ at the Checkpoint 2012 Conference have been agreed upon and published. Sizer, an outspoken critic of Israel and Christian Zionism, according to his own words, is among the authors of this affirmation.

Last years drafters of the 2011 Affirmations included Paul Alexander, Christine M. Anderson, Brother Andrew, Alex Awad, Bishara Awad, Mubarak Awad, Sami Awad, Gary Burge, Tony Campolo, Steven Haas, Lynne Hybels, Manfred Kohl, Jonathan Kuttab, Paul Johnson, Salim Munayer, Stephen Sizer and producer Porter Speakman, Jr.

The affirmations for this coming year are intended to reflect the views and hopes of the organizers of the Christ at the Checkpoint Conference to be held at Bethlehem Bible College in Bethlehem March 5-9.  The participants in the conference include Palestinian Christians, messianic Jews and an assortment of evangelical speakers and writers.

These affirmations state, "As Palestinian Evangelical Christians at Bethlehem Bible College, we seek to learn, through following the example of the life and teachings of Jesus, how to honor Christ and how to honor Palestinians and Israeli Jews, by accepting them as two peoples who have the right to live in justice, peace, security and dignity."

Yet as we read through the affirmations, it is clear only one entity is to blame for the Middle East crisis and it's not the Palestinians.

Here is the text of the Christ at the Checkpoint Affirmations from their website with my comments included.

Affirmation #1: Israelis and Palestinians

We affirm that all people are created in the image of God. In turn we are called to honor the dignity of every human being and to respect their inalienable rights. We affirm that Jews and Palestinians are loved by God and capable of living together within peace, justice and security. This is God’s view toward all of humanity, residing in any political boundary and manifested through the mission of Jesus in bringing to everyone, “life to the full” (John 10:10).

Affirmation #2: Theology and Land
The New Testament clearly teaches that God continues to invite Jews and Arabs into His kingdom and in no way is finished with any people group. Further, Scripture speaks of Jesus as its ultimate fulfillment. For example, the need for animal sacrifices, Levitical priesthood, and expectation of a rebuilt Temple, find their ultimate fulfillment and completion in Jesus Christ.

I find Affirmation #2 to be written in a way that permits the leadership and participants in the Christ at the Checkpoint Conference to slip in their adherence to Replacement Theology. The second affirmation reads, "and in no way is finished with any people group."  

These words can be meant to say, "God is not finished with the Jewish people since He offers them salvation through their acceptance of Jesus as their Messiah."  However, the statement provides freedom to the conference participants to advocate that God is no longer committed to the provisions of the Abrahamic Covenant which gives the people of Israel possession and ownership of the land of Israel.  

This covenant relationship does not eliminate the Palestinian from living in the land as over a million Arabs do today in Israel proper. However, to deny the continuance of the Abrahamic Covenant for the Jewish people today is a major bone of contention for theologians and individuals connected to the Christ at the Checkpoint Conference and the drafters of the 2011 Affirmations such as Gary Burge, Stephen Sizer and Sami Awad.  The fact the drafters of these affirmations skirt around God's continued covenant with Israel is obvious in their refusal to believe the God of Israel would allow a temple to be rebuilt in Jerusalem. 

Affirmation #3: The Palestinian-Israeli conflict

As followers of Jesus Christ we regret more than 60 years of conflict. We look forward to the time when the conflict will end and both peoples will enjoy genuine reconciliation. We commit ourselves to be peacemakers and to this ministry of reconciliation. As such we stand resolutely against all forms of violence and racism, regardless of the perpetrators.

Other than in words, where are any attempts on the part of Palestinian Christians to be peacemakers towards Israeli soldiers and citizens? To affirm this agreement we would need to see Palestinian Christians condemn the use of terrorism against Israelis by Palestinian Muslims.  

The terrorist Hamas group governing the Palestinian territories is committed to a doctrine in which they seek the destruction of the Jewish state and annihilation of the Jewish people.  Why aren't Palestinian Christians condemning Hamas? 

Instead, most of the Palestinian Christian groups in their literature and speeches place the responsibility of the Middle East conflict on Israel.  Having a conference where messianic Jews are invited to speak is a drop in the ocean when it comes to the reality of resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Affirmation #4: The Second Coming of Christ

There are several views which Christ followers hold to explain the future. Rather than focus on the signs of the return of Christ, our reading of the New Testament indicates that our primary mandate is to proclaim the “Good News” to the entire world. 

Palestinian Christians and their supporters  do not want to focus on the Second Coming since the New Testament scriptures place the people of Israel on center stage of the events of the last days as seen in Matthew 24, Mark 14 and Luke 21.  Christ at the Checkpoint theologians do not want to consider Jesus as the Messiah of the Jewish people and returning to earth to set up His kingdom in Jerusalem to rule as the last Davidic King.  Then they would have to acknowledge the continuance of the Abrahamic covenant with the modern state of Israel.

Affirmation #5: Zionism

Modern Zionism is a political movement created to meet the aspirations of Jews around the world who longed for a homeland. It has become ethnocentric, privileging one people at the expense of others. Christianity calls believers in Jesus to focus on building God’s kingdom on earth.

It is interesting that a group consisting largely of Palestinian Christians seeks to define Zionism without consulting Jewish sources. Rather than being a "political movement . . . privileging one people at the expense of others", the Encyclopedia Britannica defines Zionism, 
Zionism is a movement of national liberation, seeking self-determination for the Jewish people within a sovereign Jewish nation located in their ancient homeland. Zionism is a direct continuation of the Biblical religious attachment of the Jews and Judaism to this specific historic holy land. Zionism is non-partisan, trans-denominational, and not related to the policies of any Israeli government.
Affirmation #6: Messianic Jews

Messianic Jews are the brothers and sisters of all who follow Jesus or Yeshua. We are one family bound together in a fellowship of love. Although diversity in political opinions as well as theological emphasis inevitably exist, we refuse to allow these views to hinder our fellowship in Jesus.

I find this affirmation hard to swallow. Vicar StephenSizer in a recent blog condemns the human rights violation by Israel towards Palestinians without placing any responsibility on Palestinian terrorists. I would have liked to see Sizer condemn the brutal attack on the Israeli family who had their throats cut in the middle of the night in the Ithamar back in March 2011. While they were sleeping Palestinian terrorists stole into the settlement, killing a husband and wife, and an 11-year-old, a 3-year-old and a baby girl. Where is Rev. Sizer's condemnation of such atrocities committed by Palestinians? 

Does Sizer think this affirmation is going to smooth over the differences between messianic Jews and Palestinian Christians? Does he think messianic Jews are going to sit by in silence while any Israeli retaliation to Palestinian acts of terrorism are condemned by Palestinian followers of Christ?  

In his blog Stephen Sizer quotes theologian John Stott who says of Zionism, "I myself believe that Zionism, both political and Christian, is incompatible with biblical truth." Sizer thinks he can embrace messianic Jews as brothers in the Lord while stabbing us in the back with his condemnation of Zionism - Christian and Jewish.  

Affirmation #7: Palestinian and Israeli Authority
The Bible teaches us to pray for all in political authority. We are called to obey them, whether they are Israeli or Palestinian, as an expression of our faith in God’s sovereign rule. We are also called to be a prophetic voice, challenging injustice creatively and non-violently.

As I stated above, I am waiting for a prophetic voice to come from the Palestinian Christians pointing out  the evils committed by their Palestinian brothers in their terrorist attacks on Israel and stop placing all the blame on the Israelis.  

Will Palestinian Christians obey Hamas in desiring the destruction of the Jewish state and the annihilation of the Jewish people in Israel?  I'm anxious to hear an affirmation from the Christ at the Checkpoint leadership in which they condemn the evil goals of their own government.  Until these affirmations are just empty words. 

Rather than seeking true  peace with Israel, many in the Palestinian leadership of the Christ at the Checkpoint are mostly dedicated to bringing young American evangelicals to live among Palestinian families to indoctrinate them against Israel, produce propaganda films such as With God on Our Side to show in evangelical churches to turn Christians against Israel and produce books that attack Christian Zionism and advocate replacement theology. 


Monday, October 17, 2011

It's Those Zionist Jews Again!

It was bound to happen. Put a bunch of lefties together in the streets calling for revolution and soon enough someone is going to blame the Jews for all the ills of society. Ho hum!

Tonight on Fox TV News, a video was shown of a black woman, Patricia McAllister who works for the Los Angeles Unified School District being interviewed.

This misinformed woman stated that the corrupt heads of corporate banks and the Federal Reserve are Jewish Zionists who need to be run out of this country.  Well, I'm a Zionist Jew and I'm not the head of a bank and I'm not leaving this country!

Why did I mention she is black?  Why did she mention the heads of banks and the Federal Reserve are Jewish?

Of course, this was one voice out of hundreds of thousands who made an anti-Semitic remark. I'm not as stupid as this woman.  I did read one more sign that equated corporate bank heads with the Rothchilds - another anti-Semitic comparison. A white person was holding the sign.

My point is to show my readers how ignorant people are.  Here are the names of the CEOs of three major banking corporations:

Jamie Dimon - of Greek descent and Chairman and CEO at JP Morgan Chase and Company

John G. Stumpf - from Minnesota and Chairman, President and CEO of Wells Fargo and Company

Brian Moynihan - President and CEO of the Big Monster of them all -  Bank of America. 

Ben Bernake - Chairman of the Federal Reserve and he is Jewish!  Ah ha! A Jew is behind all this corporate greed after all.

Let's speak about the significance of Patricia McAllister's statement.  First, it was anti-Semitic. As an employee of the LA Unified School District, she should be fired for her antisemitism. If a white employee of the LAUSD make a derogatory comments about blacks on national TV, he or she would be canned on the spot - a boot in the butt. 

Second, this woman's comments sound strangely familiar.  I wonder if she's been listening to Minister Louis Farrakhan, head of the Nation of Islam?  Farrakhan is noted for his Jew hatred and for making similar comments about Zionist Jews.  

Don't forget that Minister Farrakhan was awarded a lifetime achievement award by Rev. Jeremiah Wright, the pastor of the church where President Barak Obama attended for twenty years.

Yes, I almost forgot.  Out of twenty years of attendance at Rev. Wright's church, the president never heard his pastor say anything derogatory about Jewish people or America. 

Last, if antisemitism starts to make inroads into the largely leftist Occupy Wall Street movement, then the Democratic Party - whose members make up the largely liberal protest -  is in for a lot of trouble.

President Obama will have no choice but to distance himself from this movement lest he lose the Jewish vote and a huge chunk of his credibility as someone who does not belong in the White House.

Once again, Obama's feet will be put to the fire as he will be forced to distance himself from the beliefs of black leaders like Louis Farrakhan, Jesse Jackson and Rev. Wright who have made similar anti-Semitic comments to Patricia McAlllister.

I prefer not to see anti-Semitism rear it's ugly head in  the Occupy Wall Street movement. Ironically, Jewish individuals have been largely associated with left wing movements - Jerry Rubin, Abbie Hoffman, Karl Marx and others. Yet in the majority of situations, most left wing movements started by Jewish people end up turning against Jewish people as they are vilified and demonized as "rich Jews who control the world's banks." 

Racist charges were thrown at Tea Party participants, but no one was quick enough to put the evidence on tape. As far as I am concerned, those racist comments allegedly made by Tea Party members never happened. It's also very ironic since there are a lot of black people in the Tea Party movement and many Tea Party members support the presidential bid by black leader Herman Cain.

In the case of Patricia McAllister, her hatred for Jewish people is recorded, posted on You Tube and available for everyone to watch.  In fact, if you want to tell Ms. McAllister what you think of her racist stunt, here is her email address:


Friday, October 14, 2011

Jewish Group Urges Starbucks to Take Down Anti-Israel Post

SWC Urges Starbucks to Remove Misleading Middle East Posting from its Digital Network

October 12, 2011

Various members of the Simon Wiesenthal Center have alerted the SWC to this (see graphic) misleading posting on the history of the Land of Israel which ran on Starbucks Digital Network. The Center immediately contacted Starbucks headquarters.

The Center wrote in part, “…we'd like to hear from Starbucks about what steps you are taking to remove it and what steps… you'll be taking to assure that Starbucks won't serve as a platform for such material in the future.

The propaganda presentation called Palestine: A Century of Shrinking present maps that falsely assert that the historic Land of Israel belonged to the Arabs.

“The material presented on the Starbucks Digital Network is similar to other anti-Israel propaganda being promoted by extreme anti-Israel groups. We urge our members to join us in urging Starbucks not to allow itself to be a platform by extremists, “ said Rabbi Abraham Cooper, SWc Associate Dean.

Go to to let Starbucks know what you think of this, site case #7361732 in your email.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center is one of the largest international Jewish human rights organizations with over 400,000 member families in the United States. It is an NGO at international agencies including the United Nations, UNESCO, the OSCE, the OAS, the Council of Europe and the Latin American Parliament (Parlatino).

For more information, please contact the Center's Public Relations Department, 310-553-9036, join the Center on Facebook,, or follow @simonwiesenthal for news updates sent direct to your Twitter page or mobile device.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Starbucks Takes Pro-Palestinian Stance on Website

As customary I unlatched my Mac Book Pro at my favorite Starbucks, with a Grande Iced Coffee at my side, ready for work.

Once I moved past the opening Starbucks Connection page, I was directed to a Splash page sponsored by Starbucks. Featured on the portal page was a five panel Cartographic Regression of the Map of Palestine that portrayed the idea that in 1917 only Palestinians were living in Israel at that time, which is historically inaccurate since Jewish people have always been living in the land of Israel.

The chart of maps went on to demonstrate all the land the Israelis "stole" from the Palestinians.

The accompanying text reads, "The battle over Palestine has lasted for most of the 20th century and all of the 21st, causing the region's borders to change several times over the years. Here's a look at how Palestine has shrunk since 1917."

"The battle over Palestine" is a loaded statement since the Palestinians during the 1947 UN Partition plan were offered the Transjordan as a Palestinian state, a span of land three times the size of Israel.  Not until the aftermath of the Six Dat War were Palestinians even concerned about a "Palestinian state." Who are they kidding?

No explanation is offered by Starbucks/Good Politics about the 1947 and 1967 maps that the shrinking "Palestine" was due to Arab inspired and initiated attacks on the Jewish people at which time the Israelis won the land from the Arab bloc due to superior military prowess.

Starbucks is being deceptive and presenting itself as anti-Israel by featuring this misleading chart in this morning's opening portal page. Shame on Starbucks. To be fair, perhaps tomorrow's splash page should
include an historical cartograph of the terrorist attacks by individuals, Palestinians terrorist organizations and Arab nations against the civilians of Israel since 1917.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Feds To Close Down California Pot Shops

I awoke this morning totally bummed knowing the NY Yankees lost the ALDS to the Tigers.  And I don't want to wait to next year. I'm a Yankee fan.  Next year is always NOW!

However, the headlines in this morning's Ventura County Star lifted my spirits:

Yes, I support federal law superseding the stupid state law of California that made medical marijuana legal.  Now the feds are going to close down federally illegal pot shops in the land of fruits, nuts, twigs and seeds.  Here is the essence of what Big Brother is going to do to medical marijuana dispensaries in CA: 
'Under United States law, a dispensary's operations involving sales and distribution of marijuana are illegal and subject to criminal prosecution and civil enforcement actions,' according to the letters signed by U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy in San Diego. 'Real and personal property involved in such operations are subject to seizure by and forfeiture to the United States ... regardless of the purported purpose of the dispensary.'
Plenty of reasons exist why pot shops need to be shut down.  

First, the so-called doctors that prescribe marijuana for patients are mostly incompetent. I've sat in on a session where someone was getting a card to enable them to purchase pot.  The doctor asked a few basic fifth grade level medical questions, took the person's blood pressure and the exam was over. The encounter with the doctor was a perfunctory procedure in order for the patient to get pot. 

Second, the regulations for obtaining pot are virtually absent. I can obtain pot right now simply because I often have trouble staying asleep.  I can call a medical marijuana "doctor" with the questionable diplomas on his wall, tell him I have sleep issues and in two hours, I'm toking on a doobie.  But that's not all.

In another hour or so, I can go to another dispensary and buy more pot and keep repeating the same action until the clinics close for the day. What's to stop me from purchasing all the pot I want? I cannot do that in a regular medical pharmacy.  If I am prescribed Oxycontin, a physician normally prescribes a 30 days supply and the patient cannot get anymore of the drug until after the thirty days are over. 

Third, young adults who underhandedly obtain pot from a clinic because of "back pain" or "insomnia" often sell their stash to younger kids.  If you don't believe me, call the narcotics division of your county's sheriff's department, and ask them about the illegal activity taking place with minors obtaining weed from legitimate card holders.  It's a racket. 

Let's be honest. People who have legitimate cards to purchase grass really just want to get high. 

Pot is not the only painkiller on the face of the earth or sleep aid.  The medical benefits of pot are highly contested, but the motivation to obtain pot at one of these clinics is never questioned:  to get high.  

Finally, I am against the legalization of marijuana period. Why?  I admit I smoked grass for five years of my life or maybe more. I forgot . . . which is the problem.  Pot destroys brain cells. 

In addition, individuals who smoke pot at an early age usually slow down their emotional maturity process.  Smoking dope stunts a person's emotional growth. Hang around a bunch of twentysomething dopers, and you'll witness this phenomenon for yourself. They laugh at everything that isn't always that funny. 

The majority of pot smoker share the same personality traits. Talk the same. Laugh the same. If I was looking for Big Brother, I say look no farther than a lit joint being passed around at a party. 

Neither are pot smokers the smartest bunch on the planet.  School grades start to plummet once a student starts indulging with a bong. 

Pot smokers are often listless, incoherent, slow in reacting while driving a vehicle (as many studies have proven) often unambitious. 

The police can't really arrest someone for driving under the influence of pot since THC stays in a person's system for 30-40 days.  A pothead could have smoked two joints right before entering his vehicle or he may have smoked a reefer two weeks ago and is just a bad driver. 

My biggest complaint about dopers is that they are narcissistic.  Their main concern is their need to get high and then relax or seek entertainment and food.  

 I've spoken to owners of medical marijuana dispensaries and challenged them to visit drug rehabs where kids who started smoking pot soon graduated to cocaine or a harder drug. These pot professionals could care less. I was told, "It was their choice to stop smoking pot and move on to crack cocaine"  That was not the answer I was looking for.  I was seeking some human compassion. Instead, I receive the same old pot smoker narcissistic answer - I don't want anyone infringing on my right to get high.

Will closing the dispensaries solve the marijuana problem here in LA? Not really. Most likely, the closure of these dispensaries will boost the sales of pot among drug dealers and black market drug cartels. 

Still I applaud President Obama for taking a bold step in overriding state law to impose federal law.  I think a few other presidents did the same thing throughout history, such as President Lincoln regarding the ugly sin of slavery.

If closing dispensaries serves as a deterrent to some from smoking pot, then this federal action is worth it.  I've seen enough kids ruin their lives due to entering into the world of drugs through the gateway drug of marijuana.  


Thursday, October 6, 2011

My Tribute to Steve Jobs is My Job

I started using Apple computers in 1984 when they were first made available to the general public.
For me computers were never used for play, but for work purposes. Even though I love the iPod, the iPad, the iPhone, Apple laptops and desktop computers - and I used them all - I didn't incorporate the use of Steve Job's genius for play.

With the Apple Macintosh I compiled articles and blogs and edited and organized photos.

I researched sermon materials and wrote hundreds of biblical messages using the current version of Apple's operating system. I wrote countless emails, listened to endless hours of music and once in a while I watched a YouTube video.

I changed and influenced lives through the messages and articles I wrote while using Apple computers.

Thanks to the expertise of Jobs,  I never had to deal with viruses and only occasionally tinkered with a crashed PC. I learned to fix at least 90% of the problems I ran into with an Apple product. Jobs made computing easy.

 When I ran out of problem solving ideas, I would break down and call AppleCare.

Apple computers have always been reliant for me and made computing fun. I read all the boring manuals and Macs For Dummies books, and soaked in everything I could using this incredible product.

To Steve Jobs I tip my hat for using his genius to not merely improve our lives, but to make it possible for a person like me - devoted to sharing the Word of God with others - to have an eternal impact.

My greatest joy was not switching from a PC to a Mac - which I never had to do. My greatest joy was switching from a Smith Corona typewriter to a Macintosh computer and never needing to switch to anything else.

As an Applephile I shall ever remain thankful to Steve Jobs. His yearly keynote speeches will be missed but knowing Steve, he used his genius once more in leaving his company in good hands.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Texting For Dummies

If you're thirty years of age or younger, you're in danger of becoming a "texting dummy".
I admit I am not a heavy texter. I find it annoying and a potential source for face-paced emotionally packed misunderstandings between two plugged in iDroids.

Yet what irks me the most is the grammar and spelling errors that accompany those two liners that appear on the screen of our iPhones and Droids.  Here are some examples: "What's" has become "wuts." "When" is now spelled "wen." Punctuation marks are a thing of the past.  "To" is now a number.

Then there are the codes of which I know very little: AAP - Always a pleasure; AAK - Asleep at keyboard; BBS - Be back soon; ACK- Acknowledge; BOYF - Boyfriend; DF- Don't even go there; BIH- Burn in hell; BAY- Back at ya.

Recently I came across an article entitled "Uptight Texter"  by Ventura County Star columnist Starshine Roshell. Ms. Roshell is a journalism professor, magazine writer and an award-winning contributor.  I enjoyed Sunday's column since it "hit the spot" on one of my pet peeves:  texting illiteracy.  

I'm no stickler for rules — at least, not most of them. I've always favored whimsy, irreverence, and originality over propriety, decorum, and tradition. I'm the mom who lets my kids run naked in the front yard, sneaks massive snack sacks into movie theaters under my shirt, and is proud to demonstrate my belching skills at the dinner table. As I type this, I'm staring at a recent moving-violation ticket for rolling through a stop sign (I'm sorry, but some rules just beg to be broken). 
Why, then, do I find myself stiffly — stubbornly — adhering to fusty old spelling and grammar rules when I'm texting my tech-savvy 8th grader? 
I can't fire off a "Heads up: I'm running a few minutes late," or bang out a "How did you do on today's geometry test?" without spelling out every word in its inconvenient entirety, and punctuating each trivial missive impeccably.

Regardless of the rush I'm in — or my hair-tearing frustration over the diabolically obscured tilde and discriminatory lack of an em dash on my phone's treacherously tiny keypad — I'm incapable of embracing the medium's abbreviated style and typing "c u @home in 10".
Not to my son.

For one thing, I don't want to be perceived as trying to co-opt "his" lingo. Every generation needs its own nearly inscrutable vernacular and parents who try to clamber aboard by lauding their kids' new Vans as "sick kicks" or texting "ikr dont b a h8r g2g ttyl" only embarrass the rest of us. To me, Textese is like one of those damned pashminas that's supposed to look effortlessly twisted and tossed about the neck and shoulders; I just don't wear it well.

But the main reason for my reverent texting is plain fear. With the amount of time my kid spends communicating in abridged, thumb-pecked snippets, I'm afraid he might forget what true written English looks like.
As a writing instructor myself — who once had a student type "lol" in an essay for my class — I can't run the risk that my son might one day offer up "2b r not 2b" on a literary response.

My inner rule-thwarter has to wonder: Why should it matter? Why cling to old-fashioned practices in a modern age? If technology is rapidly evolving for the better, why can't we let language follow suit, slipping and sliding down the wide and inviting slope of casual convenience?

As a parent, I'm hoping to impart some life lessons to my son by modeling proper English in my texts. I want to squelch laziness and encourage attention to detail. I want to remind him that it's important to adjust one's communication style to one's audience — just as he ought not try to fist-bump grandma or test out fart jokes on his junior-high principal.

If I'm being honest, though, I must admit that my persnickety texting is a passionate if pathetic attempt to push back against society's increasing carelessness with the written word. On Facebook and Twitter, in emails and ads, no one seems to recall the distinction between there, their, and they're. Why else would my son's school have invited parents (I wish I were kidding) to Back to School Nite?

At the very event in question, I stealthily took a Sharpie to some anti-bullying posters in the halls that were sorely missing a semicolon; my child was mortified.

But don't you see? I don't have a choice! I may be the last holdout, the only person left unwilling to trade "Don't be late for dinner" for "dont b L8 4dnr." If I give up, who'll teach the next generation how to spell and punctuate? What happens then?

I'll tell you what: we r scrood


Monday, October 3, 2011

Pastor Rob Bell Turns Christian "Rock Star"

From Christianity Today I learned author and pastor Rob Bell is stepping down from the pulpit of the church he founded, Mars Hill Bible Church in Grandville, Michigan.  The best selling author is moving his family to the brighter lights of Los Angeles, CA.

Pastor Bell is joining the ranks of other Christian rock stars who hit the evangelical circuit with their driving metal guitars of false theology and adoring clueless fans.  Rock on, Pastor Rob!

Having been a pastor in Los Angeles for over twenty six years, I can safely say Bell may either sink or swim in So Cal as he tries to broaden his audience with his controversial beliefs.

Remember . . . Bell is the pastor that ignited a hot debate over the existence of heaven and hell.  But that's not all.  He questions the meaning of salvation, the whereabouts of heaven and the entry fee to gain access to eternal life. After reading Love Wins I called StubHub and managed to scalp two tickets in the Loge section of the New Jerusalem Section 104, Row G, Seats 3-4.

Since LA is an eclectic playground for the likes of Rob Bell, he'll most likely fit in and then slowly fade away after he's spent a few years spraying the bullets of his drive-by false theology throughout Southern California.

According to CT Bell:
  . . .  will launch his "Fit to Smash Ice Tour" in Canada in November and continue the tour in the U.S. "We serve a big God and none of this is shocking to him,” WZZM reports Bell said during his sermon. “All we can do is embrace a future that is going to be brilliant."
One another bit of juicy evangelical gossip comes from CT:  David Vanderveen, editor of the Mars Hill Review announced the completion of the Love Wins companion study guide due from HarperOne in November.  So now the erroneous theology of Rob Bell will be propagated in more and more unsuspecting churches and among more and more clueless Christians as they study a book I call a "masterpiece of confusion and theological uncertainty."

Why should I even report on such an a potentially insignificant event as a pastor leaving a church?  I admit it. I was inspired by Pastor Rick Warren, author of The Purpose Driven Life.  Upon the news that Bell is departing his pulpit to take his show on the road, Pastor Rick tweeted:
 "Always less. No base 4credibility @LarsRood Do u think well-known pastors who leave their churches have more or less impact?" and "Speaking tours feed the ego=All  applause&no responsibility.It's an unreal world. A church gives accountability& validity" after tweeting "Bell resigns."
Thank you, Pastor Warren.  Now it all makes sense.  Without any accountability to a church board and without any need for validity from older and wiser Christians, Rob Bell can let his theology all hang out.

Rob Bell, the Christian rock star has arrived, tight leather pants and all.   I can see it now - speaking tours sprinkled across the U.S. as adoring fans scream for more theological junk from an ego driven former pastor from Mars Hill Bible Church.

The good news?  Once Bell leaves Mars Hill Church, perhaps they will hire a pastor who will help them put the word "Bible" back into the name of the church.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Nobel Peace Prize Winner Arafat Attempted to Free Murderer of RFK

In 1994 the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded jointly to Yasser Arafat, Shimon Peres and Yitzhak Rabin "for their efforts to create peace in the Middle East".  However, let me share a little known fact about the PLO leader that deeply affects our country.

On June 5, 1968 Palestinian Christian Sirhan Sirhan shot and ended the life of democratic presidential hopeful Senator Robert F. Kennedy in the ballroom at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles, CA.

Sirhan, a 24-year-old Palestinian-born Jordanian, opened fire with a .22-caliber revolver. Kennedy was hit three times and five other people also were wounded.

Sirhan was sentenced to life imprisonment and is currently serving his term in solitary confinement at Pleasant Valley State Prison in Coalinga, California.

Let it not be forgotten that Sirhan shot RFK during the one year anniversary of the Six Day War involving the Arab nations of Syria, Egypt, Jordan and Iraq against the nation of Israel. Due to his hatred of Israel and RFK's strong support of Israel, many historians have concluded Sirhan's motives are found in his anti-Israel sentiments.

What's most astounding is that according to Mel Ayton's book The Forgotten Terrorist, he records that in 1973 Palestine Liberation Organization chairman Yasser Arafat and soon to be named Nobel Peace Prize winner, ordered the kidnapping of three American diplomats.  Arafat offered them in exchange for Sirhan, the murderer of a potential American president!

When President Nixon refused the offer, according to Ayton, the PLO leader ordered the diplomats be tortured and then murdered. During a private dinner with Romanian President Nicolai Ceausescu, Arafat took credit for the slayings of the three U.S. diplomats.

One cannot ignore Arafat's response to the cold blooded murder of pro-Israel presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy, was to free the murderer. When his offer for a prisoner exchanged was refused by an American president, this "man of peace" murdered three of our diplomats.

The stance of the Palestinian Authority today has not changed since the days of Yassar Arafat.  Their stated goal is to deny the legitimacy and destruction of the Jewish state and to reject any diplomat's efforts to persuade the Palestinian governing authority to recognize the state of Israel.

As Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas plead this week before the U.N. for the acceptance of Palestinian statehood without the Palestinian recognition of the legitimacy of Israel, I could not erase the memory of the bloody roots of this would-be nation; a nation founded by a gun-toting terrorist, Yassar Arafat, and presently ruled in part by the terrorist regime of Israel-hating Hamas.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Introducing Scripture Solutions

People have asked where they can obtain copies of my sermons, links to articles and updated information on projects I am involved in.  To fulfill these requests, is a new website I am launching today. contains many of the messages I have given over the past years. These are sermons that are biblically based and centered on giving the listener wise and easy-to-follow responses to God's word.

I have a strong convictions the Word of God is being neglected in many pulpits today and too much erroneous theology is being taught by individuals who dare to call themselves teachers of the scriptures.  In the name of progressive theological thought the Bible is taking a beating by those who are subjecting the biblical text to their own thinking rather than place their own thinking in submission to the precious Word of the Lord.

As a result of errant teaching Christians are hearing messages that question the basic tenets of the faith regarding the authority of the Scriptures, salvation, the person of Christ, Jesus' second coming and the relationship of Christianity to other religions.  The church is suffering from the poor teaching of a new generation of Christian "intellectuals" who question conservative Christianity in favor of a more progressive, emergent brand of the faith.

Young, biblically uneducated followers of Jesus are being duped by the teaching of today's misguided Christian intelligentsia and I am deeply concerned.  Hence, the need for

In addition to my commitment to the expository teaching of the Scriptures, I provide a strong emphasis on the Jewish background of the Scriptures in my messages.  Many passages in the New Testament have been wrongly interpreted by well-meaning biblical scholars due to their lack of sensitivity to the first century Jewish influence on the New Testament.  Let us not forget the majority of the New Testament was penned by Jewish followers of Jesus who remained committed to their Jewish roots and customs.

Currently, a strong opposition to the preeminence of Israel exists in the teaching of both evangelical traditional and left leaning progressive theologians.  The list of theologians who fail to see God has a present-day plan for the Jewish people is growing.

A need exists to take a stand on the biblical importance of Israel from both the Jewish Scriptures and the New Testament. Apart from any political commitment to Israel or due to the fact Israel is America's only democratic ally in the Middle East, the Bible is clear on God's unending commitment and covenants He has made with Israel.

Furthermore, since I have earned two master degrees in Old Testament and Semitic Languages, I am devoted to focusing on the continuity of the Jewish Scriptures with the New Testament.  Too many teachers of God's word either omit preaching from the Old Testament, use the Old Testament merely as a resource to prove the Messiahship of Jesus or fail to see the value of the Jewish biblical text as profitable for today's Christians.

It is my conviction the Old Testament text must be understood first as though there is no New Testament. With that deep comprehension of the Jewish text,  the expositor needs to bring New Testament truth as a light to bear on the older covenant.

One cannot start with the New Testament and work backwards to interpret the Old Testament.  Instead, the Old Testament principles must be understood first before interpreting the New Covenant.

Replacement theologians who believe the church has superceded Israel and all the promises God made to Israel has been fulfilled in the Church are commonly deficient in Old Testament theology. These biblical academicians ignore Old Testament passages that contradict their erroneous view of Israel evidenced through the blurry lens through which they interpret the New Testament.

In a strong sense, is also an apologetics website - a messianic research institute of biblical theology.  Please feel free to re-post the blogs you find to be helpful in defending the faith to others.  Suggestions for additional articles are always welcome. will grow as I add more sermons, write more resources, share new projects and grow in my own understanding of the messianic faith.

My goal is to shape into a refuge for an individual to utilize where they can be sure they will be hearing messages based on the centrality of the biblical text and not religious gimmicks or contemporary, unbiblical trends that sweep through the church like a tornado leaving the wreckage of innocent lives in its path. should be a haven for individuals who are not committed to Christianity, but are searching and asking questions.

If churches or groups want to invite me to come speak or present a series on a contemporary topic, ScriptureSolutions will provide an avenue to contact me.

I close with the mission statement of with the hope you'll visit the site over and over, read the blogs, download the messages and share your comments:
Recognizing the lack of a biblical focus in many churches and ministries throughout the United States, Scripture Solutions is dedicated to an expository perspective on the Word of God as communicated through the sermons and printed materials of Louis Lapides.
 In addition, Scripture Solutions has set its sights on shedding light on much of the questionable teaching in today’s congregations and seeks to enlighten believers about false doctrine permeating Christianity both on an individual and corporate level.


Monday, August 15, 2011

Major League Adball

I love baseball but I despise anything that takes away from the purity of the game.  Steroids. Gambling. Scandals. Strikes. You name it.

During this past Sunday's afternoon game between the cellar-hugging Houston Astros and the barely surviving Los Angeles Dodgers, I was excited to witness three home runs slugged into the stands by several Dodgers. One of those home run champs was Bellflower native Justin Sellers, whose contract with the Dodgers was just purchased this week. What a joy to witness a young rookie hit his first career home run.  Now that's baseball purity at its finest.

Yet when centerfielder Matt Kemp shot his 28th homer out of Dodger Stadium, I noticed an impurity take place inside the stadium.  Amidst the usual home run fanfare with dazzling lights and loud music, the center field scoreboard started flashing the words, "State Farm."  I was confused.  I thought Matt Kemp hit the ball out of the park not State Farm.

Dodger Stadium 8/14/11 iPhone Photo
Then on the cascade that runs around the stadium below the Loge seats, the following bright letters were flashing alternately to the delight of the fans:  "Home Run - State Farm  Matt Kemp -  State Farm."

I wondered to myself, "Is State Farm on the Dodger roster? Does manager Don Mattingly know this? Who is State Farm?  Why is his name being flashed on the main scoreboard along with Matt Kemp's?

And one other thought. I don't want to be thinking about auto insurance while watching Matt Kemp run around the bases.

The only conclusion I can come to is that State Farm Insurance wants the fans to associate their company with a home run.  Their thinking must be:  "As you enjoy this four bagger hit by a member of your home town team, remember State Farm insurance is the home run of all the insurance companies. Hit one out of the park by calling State Farm as you leave Dodger Stadium today."

I was resentful, and on top of everything . . .  I have State Farm for my car insurance!

Major League Adball is going too far by brazenly ruining memorable baseball moments by pushing products in our faces while we're trying to soak in the game.  Who wants to be bombarded with ads for pistachio nuts or Wetzel's Pretzels after the third baseman makes a diving catch and manages to throw out the runner heading into first base?

My suggestion is to only play the ads in between innings just like they run ads in between segments during TV shows.

I don't want to watch no-hitters or perfect games peppered with commercials for upcoming movies. I'd rather enjoy the tensions associated with with the game of professional baseball.

Sorry to say this, State Farm, if I didn't already own your product, I would intentionally avoid buying it because you ruin home run moments.  I'm just too lazy to switch insurance companies and I happen to like my agent.

As the baseball season is starting to wind down my prediction for the World Series involves  two of the following four teams:  American League: Boston Red Sox or the  New York Yankees. National League:  San Francisco Giants or the Philadelphia Phillies. Regardless of who wins, I surely don't want to see a State Farm ad being flashed on the stadium scoreboard when the World Series team is finally crowned.

Friday, August 12, 2011

McInerney Trial Reveals What's Wrong with America's Culture Part 2

There's a lot wrong with America right now. From the moral failures of politicians, religious leaders, educators to blue collar workers, we are witnessing an unprecedented disintegration of values affecting every aspect of life in the good 'ole USA.

The McInerney trial unfolding in a courtroom in Chatsworth, CA is a prime example of America's moral breakdown.

In my last blog I discussed the failure of O. E. Green Middle School officials to step in and do their job when they witnessed acts of unwanted sexual advances by 14-year-old gay student Larry King towards15-year-old heterosexual male student Brandon McInerney.

Whether or not King's actions led to his fatal shooting by fellow classmate McInerney, we'll never know. King's flamboyant homosexual behavior and  feminine clothing may have nothing to do with his tragic death.  However, we cannot squelch the fact that school officials knew a volatile tension was building in the school between King and other students.  In step with the breakdown of values in this country, the O. E. Green school staff did nothing to intervene.

Fingers are pointing at Assistant Vice Principal Joy Epstein for not doing her job of enforcing the California educational code regarding sexual harassment in the case of Larry King.  Epstein, a lesbian, was more concerned with gay rights than she was in the safety of O. C. Green Middle School student. With Epstein the gay rights agenda took precedence over the greater value of protecting a student who was crossing the line with his display of sexuality. Epstein did nothing to enforce the school dress code in the case of the gay student though King's teacher's complained about the student's outlandish behavior.

According to  Brandon's history teacher, Arthur Saenz, the day before King was shot, Brandon displayed a lot of anger and rage in his conversation with his friends. It might have been due to the fact King had asked Brandon to be his valentine, and McInerney's friends were making fun of him.

While McInerney was raging to his friends on the school grounds,  Assistant Principal Epstein surveyed the scene, and according to Saenz, Epstein wagged two fingers at Brandon and said something about "rights." Was she supporting King in his unwanted sexual advances towards McInerney?  Would she have done the same thing if a heterosexual girl was being sexually taunted by one of the boys?  Furthermore, what does sexual harassment by a gay student have to do with "gay rights"? As you can see, Epstein's favoritism towards King is very explosive as well as another example of our moral breakdown.

Saenz was asked in the Chatsworth courtroom if he thought King was sexually harassing Brandon, why did he fail to report it as required by state law.  "I thought Ms. Epstein was handling that. She's an administrator and it is  her job to handle that situation, not mine," said Seanz.

Not all fingers should point at O. C. Green Middle School.  A dark deep shadow is also cast over the McInerney family and their failure to protect Brandon.

According to the August 4th edition of the Ventura County Star, Brandon's half brother James Bing testified that Brandon was sexually abused as a child by a cousin.

Billy McInerney, Brandon' step-father, now deceased, expressed his belief after the shooting that his son shot King because of the abuse.

Unfortunately, the abuse Brandon McInerney experienced did not stop with his cousin taking sexual advantage of the boy. Bing also detailed instances of physical abuse that Billy McInerney would level on his stepsons, including putting Tabasco sauce in their mouths while they slept and beating them with a bar of soap inside a sock.

When Brandon's half brother was asked by Maeve Fox, Ventura County senor deputy district attorney, why nobody ever called police over the sexual abuse, he responded, "He's still family."

The commitment to protect the family unit was more important than protecting Brandon from a sexually perverse relative.  Hence, another example of the breakdown of values in America. but now in the family unit.

Assistant Vice Principal Dawn Epstein and James Bing are guilty of the same failure to protect the innocent in order to support another set of personal priorities - gay rights or family reputation.

On Thursday August 5th Brandon's aunt Megan Csorba, sister of Billy McInerney testified her brother would sit on his son until he couldn't breathe, pull his thumb back until he screamed and punch him in the face.

Brandon's aunt added that the boy's step father would verbally abuse his son, berating him and calling him names. Billy McInerney, according to his sister, was often smoking pot and popping pills.  The abuse of his son would grow worse when he was on drugs. Csorba also testified that Kendra, Brandon's mother smoked crystal methamphetamine when she was pregnant with Brandon.

The real kicker came when when Fox asked Csorba if she ever called the authorities after witnessing the abusive craziness at the house. "No," the aunt commented. "I was going through my own abuse, and I was not going to do that to my brother." Another adult who failed to act in a mature, responsible fashion and report abuse that was happening to a minor.  She'd rather protect the abuser and ignore the victim.

If you put this all together, it's clear that a group of adults were passing the buck, protecting themselves and making decisions out of total self interest.

Teachers failed to report King's overtly gay dress because they were concerned about their tenure and being politically correct about their views on homosexuality.  These teachers had no problems giving special treatment to Larry King because he was gay. The same treatment was not offered to heterosexual students when they broke school dress code rules.

Finally, we witness family members who dropped the ball on reporting both physical and sexual abuse taking place to one of their family members.  Instead, they chose to protect the abuser out of  a need to protect the reputation of a seriously dysfunctional and amoral family.

Is there something wrong with values in America?  If you look hard enough into the details of the McInerney case, you can't help but notice this trial is a microcosm of the loss of values in America.

Friday, August 5, 2011

McInerney Trial Reveals What's Wrong with America's Culture Part 1

Chatsworth Courthouse
I can't stop reading about the McInerney trial currently being tried in Chatsworth, CA. This case is so important as a commentary on our culture of tolerance.

Brandon McInerney, 17 is charged with murder and a hate crime in connection with the death of gay student Larry King.  Both boys attended O.C. Green Middle School three years ago at the time of the murder.

As the trial unfolds in its fifth week, more data is being disclosed about the McInerney family, the behavior of Larry King and the poor oversight exercised by the E.O. Green Middle School staff.  Most significant is the more we learn about the players in this senseless crime, the more we are faced with the  lack of values in our society and how it has hurt us.

Special Privileges Given to Minority Groups Have Backfired
Larry King, according to Susan Crowley, King's seventh-grade special education teacher, "desperately wanted to be liked, but he didn't have the social skills to get along with his peers."  King showed up to her class wearing a pink scarf. When he was told to remove it, he defiantly came to school the next day wearing jewelry and makeup.

Crowley surmised King's flamboyant clothing was designed "to draw negative attention to himself."  She remarked that former Assistant Principal Joy Epstein was not being truthful when she claimed King's behavior was being adequately addressed by the school staff and  according to Epstein "only a small minority of people were bothered by King's clothing". We find out from additional testimony that Epstein's perspective is sadly skewed.

E. O. Green Middle School is a California public school -  not a place to display or "test case" one's sexual orientation.  Larry King did not come to school for the education but to educate others about gay rights in the way he behaved.

During Monday's trial, Crowley was asked if she thought Assistant Principal Epstein, a lesbian, empowered King.  Crowley answered yes.

Since King's  feminine dress was well known among teacher and administrators, it's evident Epstein ignored the complaints about the disruptive behavior King was causing.  Why?  She provided special privileges to a child that was of her same sexual persuasion.

E. O. Green's Assistant Principal was acting out of self interest as a gay person, She was more concerned with the issue of "gay rights" than performing her job as an educator and administrator.

Another teacher, Shirley Brown, a seventh grade instructor, argued in court Epstein was not addressing the issue of King's behavior and its impact on students.

Epstein put her gay lifestyle first.  How tragic that she could not see King as a human being crying out for help.

To make matters worse, Jill Ekman, King's seventh=grade English teacher tried to get King to not call so much attention to himself. When she saw King wearing makeup in the eight grade, she told him to remove it.

To no avail, King came to class the next day wearing more makeup. King claimed Assistant Principal Epstein had given him permission to wear the makeup.  She told him it was within his constitutional rights to do so.

Face it, Larry King was pushing his homosexual identity in the faces of  his fellow student and a lesbian Assistant Vice Principal was backing him up.

An email was also sent out from the school office instructing teachers that Larry King's attire was allowed. The email directed E. O. Green teachers to instruct their students to become more tolerant. This did not stop King from disrupting other students.

What if a heterosexual girl came to school exposing herself and trying to grab attention. She'd be disciplined.

Gay rights within the context of a school or working environment stop at the door where certain rules are ignored to make one's homosexuality the central focus. This is not homophobic, but an observation of the behavior of Larry King and the failure of the school to treat him like  any other student.

Sexual Harassment Even by A Gay Person is Not to be Tolerated
Larry King took his sexual orientation another step further than just his clothing.

Jill Ekman told the court that the boys in the Middle School were having problems with King.  The boys who had any connection with King were being called gay.  At a time in the life of a young man when masculine identity is important being called gay can be devastating.  Like it or not, this is how it is in Middle School. No amount of taxpayer financed, state supported classes in the public school about homosexuality are going to change that,.Boys will be boys.

In another incident Ekman explained there was a rumor going around the school that King asked McInerney to be his valentine.  She also pointed out boys complained to her that King was chasing them into the bathroom.  King laughed when the teacher warned him that his behavior was inappropriate. Emboldened by the Assistant Vice Principal,  King felt his behavior was acceptable.

Ekman went to Epstein to complain about King's advances towards other boys [aka sexual harassment], but Epstein closed the door on her informing the teacher there was nothing she could do about it.

Regardless of Epstein's personal sexuality, she has a duty to take any reports of sexual harassments or unwanted sexual advances among the students seriously.

This is how far our culture has come with the issue of gay rights. People are afraid to comment when a person's rights turn into privileges that break rules everyone else must adhere to. Even in a case where a gay student is sexually harassing his peers is being ignored.

No one will ever know how much the special treatment afforded to Larry King was a contributing factor leading to his tragic shooting.