"The action I am taking is no more than a radical measure to hasten the explosion of truth and justice. I have but one passion: to enlighten those who have been kept in the dark, in the name of humanity which has suffered so much and is entitled to happiness. My fiery protest is simply the cry of my very soul. Let them dare, then, to bring me before a court of law and let the enquiry take place in broad daylight!" - Emile Zola, J'accuse! (1898) -

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The Presence Of Sarah Palin On The Political Stage Focuses The Spotlight Of Concern And Consternation On The Issue Of The Place Of Religion In Our Society, In Our Politics, In Our Government And On The Sanctity Of The Principle “Of The Separation Of Church State…The Absolute Wall!”

Sarah Palin And John McCain Are Dangerous And Barack Obama’s Supporters Are Going To Have To Come Out Fighting Like An Army On A Desperate Mission. Don’t Miss The End Of This In-depth Post!

Integrity requires, candor dictates and the truth demands, (as it always does of the historian), that I acknowledge, that though I have a great affinity for/with our forefathers who risked all in giving voice to The Declaration Of Independence, (My First and Highest Law of this land), and who authored The Constitution Of These United States; I do not hold them in any myth ridden reverence, but recognize that, like ourselves, that they were far from perfection, (some most disagreeable), and that the motivations that drove them spanned the continuum from the most altruist and lofty principled of ideas and ideals to the most base, unspoken, avarice, selfishness, greed associated with a convulsive hatred of what they perceived to be oppressive taxation, unwanted intolerable interference with their personal enterprises, commerce, position and power.

Yes, there were elements of pronounced ego, political and financial power and influence that were inherent ingredients of the fermented brew that gave rise to the march to The Revolutionary War and the framing of a new nation free of the colonial Imperial Shackles of Great Britain, as they defined them.

It is with the idyllic base with which I identify and continue my advocacy of attempting to see that this nation continue to evolve and to march towards an ever increasing civility and nourishing of “The Great Experiment”. I want to see it flourish; yet I know there are others who do share that goal because it does not allow them to trample on all that I hold dear to achieve their personal ambitions and fulfill their needs of greed or the need of domination and/or a social/political/economic structure that provides them with the platform for manipulation of others they desire with an unholy passion.

If you have followed me for any length of time you know that my deepest affections reside with Samuel Adams, Patrick Henry and Thomas Jefferson. You know that I am wrapped In The Declaration and accept resistance, rebellion and revolution when governments decay to the point that they approach dictatorship and fascism, the point where all of the safe guards of the people are not longer responsive, accessible or are simply set aside in a fractured collapse of a government no longer relevant having become functionally dysfunctional. Having provided those acknowledgements by way of introduction; I will set out as the premise for the remainder of this discussion that: “The Great Experiment is well on its way to the trash dump of History.”

What deserves celebration about these men is the fact that in the face of that diversity of motives is the fact that they were wise enough to accommodate those factors with their eyes wide open, free of denial, and to labor to fashion a system that would serve this nation and which was structured at the outset wary of human nature, power, the influence of wealth and the divisiveness of political ideologies.

It is popular to refer to those efforts and the product they produced as “The Great American Experiment” and experiment that requires constant vigilance, supervision and a watchful eye lest it explode from within for lack of attention.

As I do not intend to write a book at the moment; I will focus on the relevant matter of the moment and the position that our forefathers held as regards the issue of religion in that new experiment, an issue that has become muddied by design by those who would either have their way by the imposition of their will, their wishes or near fanatical embrace of ideas corrupted and blindly, unquestioningly accepted in a flock mentality.

At the heart of this matter is the simple expression: “I believe”, and the problem that wells up from any such statement arises when one stops there and arrogantly ignores, dismisses or endeavors to squelch the reverse side of that coin, the inherent right of the statement: “I do not believe”! The two are conjoined as surely as Siamese twins.

But let us begin the examination of this matter and evolution of things to the point of dangerous extremism and corruption of several basic “Christian” tenents that have given rise to this component of politically and financially driven culture wars.

If the separation debate is about nothing else, it is about history, in particular, what the founders of America believed about the role of religion in public life. Separationists believe that the founders intended to separate church and state by depriving the state of its power to either aid or hinder religion. Accomodationists believe that the state retains that power (with certain limitations), and so is constitutionally able to advance religion as a moral good.

To bolster their case, Accomodationists have produced reams of quotations from famous early Americans to the effect that religion is important to public life, or that the founders themselves were religious men. As we demonstrate elsewhere, some of these quotes are either fabricated or taken out of context. Others (as we suggest in this section) are taken from people who were either opponents of the Constitution (eg., Patrick Henry), or who played no role in the framing of the Constitution or other important American documents (eg., Daniel Webster). Finally, we argue that the overwhelming majority of these quotations are irrelevant to what's at issue in the separation debate: one can be religious, and even believe that religion is important for public life, without believing that the state should have the power to aid religion, either preferentially or non-preferentially.

In this section we do three things. First, we make an effort to determine who made the most important contributions to the founding of America (we can't examine everyone, but we can certainly look at those who are generally regarded as the most influential early Americans). Second, we look at what the most important founders wrote or said about separation of church and state. Third, we look at some of the quotations cited by Accomodationists to argue against separation and subject them to critical scrutiny.

We think that the results of this investigation will demonstrate that most of the important founders wanted and intended separation of church and state. We suspect that most of those who didn't agree with the separation principle ended up either opposing the Constitution, or publicly disagreeing with the Separationist provisions of that document.

What did the most important founders believe about separation of church and state?

Thomas Jefferson was a man of deep religious conviction - his conviction was that religion was a very personal matter, one which the government had no business getting involved in. He was vilified by his political opponents for his role in the passage of the 1786 Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom and for his criticism of such biblical truths as the Great Flood and the theological age of the Earth. As president, he discontinued the practice started by his predecessors George Washington and John Adams of proclaiming days of fasting and thanksgiving. He was a staunch believer in the separation of church and state.

Jefferson wrote a letter to the Danbury Baptist Association in 1802 to answer a letter from them written in October 1801. A copy of the Danbury letter is available here. The Danbury Baptists were a religious minority in Connecticut, and they complained that in their state, the religious liberties they enjoyed were not seen as immutable rights, but as privileges granted by the legislature - as "favors granted." Jefferson's reply did not address their concerns about problems with state establishment of religion - only of establishment on the national level. The letter contains the phrase "wall of separation between church and state," which led to the short-hand for the Establishment Clause that we use today: "Separation of church and state."

The letter was the subject of intense scrutiny by Jefferson, and he consulted a couple of New England politicians to assure that his words would not offend while still conveying his message: it was not the place of the Congress or the Executive to do anything that might be misconstrued as the establishment of religion.

Note: The bracketed section in the second paragraph was been blocked off for deletion in the final draft of the letter sent to the Danbury Baptists, though it was not actually deleted in his draft of the letter. It is included here for completeness. Reflecting upon his knowledge that the letter was far from a mere personal correspondence, Jefferson deleted the block, he noted in the margin, to avoid offending members of his party in the eastern states.

This is a transcript of the letter as stored online at the Library of Congress, and reflects Jefferson's spelling and punctuation.

Mr. President

To messers Nehemiah Dodge, Ephraim Robbins, & Stephen S. Nelson a committee of the Danbury Baptist association in the state of Connecticut.


The affectionate sentiments of esteem & approbation which you are so good as to express towards me, on behalf of the Danbury Baptist association, give me the highest satisfaction. my duties dictate a faithful & zealous pursuit of the interests of my constituents, and in proportion as they are persuaded of my fidelity to those duties, the discharge of them becomes more & more pleasing.

Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man & his god, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, thus building a wall of separation between church and state. [Congress thus inhibited from acts respecting religion, and the Executive authorised only to execute their acts, I have refrained from presenting even occasional performances of devotion presented indeed legally where an Executive is the legal head of a national church, but subject here, as religious exercises only to the voluntary regulations and discipline of each respective sect.] Adhering to this expression of the supreme will of the nation in behalf of the rights of conscience, I shall see with sincere satisfaction the progress of those sentiments which tend to restore to man all his natural rights, convinced he has no natural right in opposition to his social duties.

I reciprocate your kind prayers for the protection and blessing of the common Father and creator of man, and tender you for yourselves and your religious association, assurances of my high respect & esteem.

(signed) Thomas JeffersonJan.1.1802.

Many have gone to great lengths to rewrite history and to wrap our forefathers and our history in the glorious whole cloth of the justification and denial of myth. They were real people, and they were not all pious “God Fearing” men and that is just the simple fact. They didn’t hide their convictions and we should not be about the enterprise of sweeping the truth under the carpet to our personal agendas. That only corrodes the truth and washes away the pathway of reality.

Don’t you ever weary of our leaders who you know in your heart are absolute hypocrites, time after time ending their speeches with and “God Bless America” when you know they don’t believe, when you know they attend Church “sometimes” as a matter of political correctness and for public consumption, or association with members of the corporate ministry who have public sway and their cash cow flock well in tow?

I get sick!

Let’s just for moment examine An Example of The Contemporary Debate!

From: "Steven Taylor"To: "Positive Atheism" Subject: Abraham LincolnDate: Friday, August 25, 2000 6:25 AM


I want to know more about Abraham Lincoln and his views on God and religion. I have read quotes of his and those of his family and friends that claim he was not a Christian, and that he did sometimes border on atheism. How can I know that these claims are true? I have a hard time believing that our forefathers were agnostics or atheists. Is there any way you can prove to me that Abraham Lincoln was not a Christian and/or not even a theist? These are honest questions as I genuinely want to know more about Lincoln.

I look forward to your response. Please include any references that might help me.

Thank you,Steven Taylor

From: "Positive Atheism" To: "Steven Taylor"Subject: Re: Abraham LincolnDate: Friday, August 25, 2000 1:07 PM

Why would it be so bad for them to have been atheists? Does atheism equal wickedness? Does faith itself make one good? or is there more?

The biography by Lincoln's close associate, William Herndon, should remove most doubt about Lincoln's infidelity. Also, Robert Ingersoll, John E. Remsberg, and Joseph Lewis have compiled some thorough studies on Lincoln's lack of religious belief (links below). Follow these arguments and compare how the same thing happened to Paine and others (and is now happening to Jefferson of all people) and you will see that certain people live in their own world and follow no rules when it comes to historical inquiry -- they will claim any hero that it is convenient for them to claim and that they can get away with.

When the country has a genuine hero, the tendency among all citizens is to claim that hero as their own. Thus, whoever you are, Lincoln was just like you. Also, if one's system involves a method that alleges to make people moral (or worse, that one cannot be moral without that method), advocates of that method will naturally claim national heroes as their own. And since Christianity began to flourish shortly after the time of Lincoln, the myths of his piety flourished along with the factual accounts of his heroism.

While it feels good to know that Lincoln, along with Jefferson, Adams, Washington, Paine, and many other American heroes were either flat-out atheists or bordered on atheism or would have been atheists had Darwin lived back then, we are not claiming that atheism is superior or that all moral people are motivated by their lack of faith, etc. (Though some do make this claim, most of us teach that you're on your own and must make your own life. Some of us do, however, claim that faith impairs morality; I do not teach this as it simply is not true.)

Sure, I'd like to think JFK or MLK or Gandhi were in our camp, but all were devout theists (a argument can be made for Gandhi's eventual atheism, but this is almost impossible to establish). The type of atheism we advocate relegates one's religious beliefs as incidental to one's character. The only time religious dogma really plays a role is, I think, when one becomes a hero within the religion (such as a missionary or a preacher -- someone who stumps specifically for the faith).

Abraham Lincoln. 1894. Robert Green Ingersoll

Cliff Walker"Positive Atheism" Magazine

From: "Steven Taylor"To: "Positive Atheism" Subject: Re: Abraham LincolnDate: Friday, August 25, 2000 7:05 PM

Thank you for your response. I have not finished checking out the links you supplied, but I do appreciate you sending them.

As for your very first comment:

"Why would it be so bad for them to have been atheists? Does atheism equal wickedness? Does faith itself make one good? or is there more?"

I do not at all think it would have been bad for any of our forefathers to have been atheists. Not at all do I think that. I just have my doubts as to how much people questioned the existence of God at that time. With the scientific knowledge that we know today, I can see more easily why some would question the existence of God and even claim that God does not exist.

But, did our forefathers have enough knowledge and evidence that would make them question God? I am just skeptical as to how likely it really was for people to question God at that time because (as far as I know--and I very well may be wrong) that belief was still a strong part of their understanding of the world.

In any case, I will read the links you sent me, and if I have any questions I will be sure to come back and ask you again.

Thank you very much,Steven Taylor

From: "Positive Atheism" To: "Steven Taylor"Subject: Re: Abraham LincolnDate: Friday, August 25, 2000 10:37 PM

My question tried to point out the indignity heaped upon atheists throughout history -- especially in America today. This aspect is guaranteed to get me riled, as I have suffered from this stigma since childhood.

As for atheism being an untenable position during the Revolutionary period, Richard Dawkins concurs with you, as do I, but Dawkins explained it the most nobly:

-An atheist before Darwin could have said, following Hume: "I have no explanation for complex biological design. All I know is that God isn't a good explanation, so we must wait and hope that somebody comes up with a better one." I can't help feeling that such a position, though logically sound, would have left one feeling pretty unsatisfied, and that although atheism might have been logically tenable before Darwin, Darwin made it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist. -- The Blind Watchmaker, p. 6-

Most of the Founding Fathers were Deists, as were most intellectuals in America during the Revolutionary era. After Darwin they became Freethinkers or Ingersoll-esque agnostics (though Ingersoll more resembled an atheist of the dogmatic variety than any who would call themselves agnostics or even atheists today; Ingersoll's are hard core even amongst atheists). Only relatively recently, amidst the stigma of being an atheist, have scientists begun to say they are pantheistic, but this variety of pantheism is atheistic as well. It's like that old joke:

Q: What's the difference between an atheist and an agnostic?A: The agnostic gets invited to dinner.

The same can be said for the atheistic pantheist, the Unitarian, and any number of "in the closet" terms we use to describe ourselves.

Abraham Lincoln, though, knew about evolution, having been elected to the presidency a little over a year after the publication of Origin of Species. By then, speculation on evolution had been making the rounds within Freethought circles for years, and one of Lincoln's favorite activities, according to Herndon, was to argue Freethought issues with his rough-and-tumble Freethought buddies.

Is that the Lincoln we learned about in Sunday School? or even Public School?

Oh, and Washington used to duck out of Church whenever the Communion ritual was about to commence. He also is known to have forsworn the mealtime prayer at home.

And Adams and Jefferson: Recently, American Atheists published book covers for students to counter the Christian Nation book covers being distributed in Texas and elsewhere. The schools initially tried to ban the book covers as "hate literature" because they contained anti-Christian quotations from John Adams and Thomas Jefferson.

We have a thorough collection of these quotations in our Big List of Quotations, and just yesterday completed a separate Jefferson file, probably the biggest collection of Jefferson's quotes on religion on the entire Web -- and it's just a drop in the bucket. John Adams was outspoken as well, but he was not as adamant as Jefferson, speaking only to Jefferson and a few others, and only later in life.

Paine was so outspoken that his anti-Christian sentiments have cost him his rightful place in the cultural-historical memory of America. But it was he who coined the phrase "The United States of America," it was he who sparked the Revolution with is "Common Sense" series of pamphlets, and it was he who kept the Revolution going by glomming millions from Louis XVI and by publishing his "The Crisis" series to strengthen morale.

Call them rogues if you wish, but don't call them Christians. They may have had vague sentiments of a god, out there, somewhere, but they were not devout by any means.

And they were the rule rather than the exception for the post-Enlightenment colonies. Church membership had died off to a mere five percent during the Revolution. Church membership peaked a little during the Civil war, but didn't get that high until during the anti-Communist hysteria of the 1950s, and it peaked again during the Reagan administration. Today, though, the fundamentalists Christians consist mostly of the elderly and the poor; the under-30 crowd is least likely to believe, for example, in young-earth creationism or the imminent return of Christ within our lifetimes. And in Europe, Christianity is passé as to not warrant any notice; atheists in Europe have little or no work to do these days.

Cliff Walker"Positive Atheism" Magazine

A Cyber Friend Sent Me This and I am going to utilize it as a vehicle to begin the consideration of things pertinent to my concerns with Sarah palin and her state of mind and philosophical orientation.

All You Need to Know About the Assemblies of God: A primer for Palin watchers and others.

Rich Tatum posted 9/16/2008 02:14PM

"She is a longtime member of the Assemblies of God. That's all you need to know."

That's how political blogger Andrew Sullivan recently summarized Governor Sarah Palin's faith background.

But entertain the crazy thought that some people might want to know more. What would we learn from the media about the Assemblies of God?

It's "the evangelical experience on steroids," "where sitting is an option but clapping is not," where beliefs "stray a bit from the mainstream" and which "mainstream Christians don't understand." There's the usual report of tongues, faith-healing, and "end times" — threateningly caricaturized as "a violent upheaval that … will deliver Jesus Christ's second coming." Combine "holy laughter, divine dancing, silver tooth fillings turning into gold, [and] the regeneration of a large intestine," and you see why Palin's childhood faith has been "deemed irrelevant by the liberal intelligentsia because it is regarded as fundamentalist and … irrational."

Then again, news accounts of "rational faith" have been rather scarce.

The first wave

About one in four Christian believers worldwide are Pentecostal or charismatic, and the percentage is increasing daily. The World Christian Database says 8.7 percent of the world's population is part of this "renewalist" group. The AG is one of the most prominent Pentecostal groups, it's only a part of the movement. An AG study from 2006 found 60 million adherents in more than 300,000 churches worldwide. About 2.8 million of these are in the U.S.

The renewalist movement in the U.S. is often divided into three historical "waves." The first wave began in 1901, resulting in the "classical" Pentecostal denominations, including the Assemblies of God. The second ("charismatic") wave began around 1960, and the third ("neocharismatic") wave around 1980. While there are doctrinal and practical differences between the various Pentecostal and charismatic believers, what is common to all is the conviction that the Holy Spirit is personally active, immanent, and works through believers by giving gifts (charisms) for ministry, evangelism, and holiness.

While some scholars have traced a thread of Pentecostal and charismatic expressions throughout church history, the modern renewal began with the "touch felt around the world" on January 1, 1901, when students of Charles Fox Parham were "baptized in the Spirit" and spoke in tongues after studying the Bible to prove or deny the validity of such an experience. The fledgling movement found its tipping point at the Azusa Street Revival, led by a former student of Parham's, William Joseph Seymour. This California revival, from 1906 to 1909, is widely considered the true genesis of Pentecostalism and has been called " America 's most successful spiritual export."

The first Pentecostal denomination to form (in 1907) was the Church of God in Christ (COGIC), led by Charles H. Mason. The body that became the AG formed in 1914.

What do they believe?

Today, the Assemblies of God is generally considered orthodox with beliefs common to many denominations — excepting mainstream cessationist groups. George Barna reports that among the 12 largest denominations, Assemblies of God adherents tend to have the highest "overall purity of … biblical perspectives." They are more likely to be born again, to be "absolutely committed" to faith, to hold a high view of Scripture, to believe in a literal heaven and hell, to believe that Jesus was sinless, to believe that God created the universe, are more likely to pray, and are more likely to share the gospel with unbelievers.

Assemblies of God adherents are evangelical, believing in the need for personal salvation and the call to evangelize. They have a high view of biblical authority and believe in the literal death and resurrection of Jesus. They are Arminian, believing that God-given free will is compatible with divine sovereignty. They believe that salvation is by grace and unmerited but is conditional on faith and on accepting the sacrifice and lordship of Jesus — and therefore, one can willfully fall from grace. They are thoroughly Trinitarian, rejecting the modalism as expressed in the Oneness or "Jesus' Name"-only Pentecostal movement (e.g., the United Pentecostal Church).

Their essential doctrines are expressed in creedal form in their "Sixteen Fundamental Truths," and expanded on in a variety of position papers available online. Their four core doctrines are a belief in salvation, divine healing, Jesus' imminent "second coming" (along with the rapture, tribulation, and the millennial reign of Christ), and that the "baptism of the Holy Spirit" is a divine gift freely available to all believers.

(Now we can get into one helluva a debate and philosophical discussion over this concept and it’s origins in Nietzschean/Atheist/ Existential Nihilism)

“Nihilism is…not only the belief that everything deserves to perish; but one actually puts one shoulder to the plough; one destroys”. In this quote he is not only reaffirming his nihilist nature, but he is also making a statement that can help us to understand nihilism. Here he is saying that when a person is a nihilist they can take any value or belief, and run it into the ground. Thus, nothing is true, because everything can be destroyed, or negated. This is one of Nietzsche’s central theories.

This baptism is the core "distinctive doctrine" of the Assemblies of God, defined as a work of grace and an experience subsequent to and distinct from conversion (and not required for salvation), accompanied by the "initial physical evidence" of speaking in other tongues. This experience empowers believers for Christian witness, service, and holiness. Distinct from water-immersion baptism, Pentecostals see Spirit baptism as an immersion in the power, person, and experience of the Holy Spirit, and locate it biblically as promised in Joel 2:28-29, Mark 1:8, and John 16:5-16; made normative in Luke 24:49 and Acts 1:4-5; modeled in Acts 2:1-4; and universally extended as a gift to all believers in Acts 2:38-39.

Not just TV preachers

In addition to media-whipped anomalies such as Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker, Jimmy Swaggart, and Benny Hinn (all former Assemblies of God ministers), other AG churchgoers have gained national attention, including singer-songwriter Sara Groves, former U.S. Representatives Marilyn Musgrave (R-Colo.) and Linda Smith (R-Wash.), and former Attorney General John Ashcroft.

And, of course, Sarah Palin.

But while Palin may well have been "a longtime member of the Assemblies of God," she has not regularly attended an AG church since 2002. And a lot can change in six years.

Rich Tatum is a freelance writer who attends an AG church and blogs at TatumWeb.com/blog/.

Copyright © 2008 Christianity Today. Click for reprint information.
Related Elsewhere:

The AG has a history page.
At Azusa Remixed, Pentecostal and charismatic scholars discuss the movement's history and contemporary debates.

The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life has a demographic portrait of Pentecostals in 10 different countries.

And now we begin the walk to Apocalypse, To Rapture, To Armageddon to the End World as Religious Prophecy and Interpretation Become Corrupted, Some by Evolutionary Accident and More by the Need to Control the Flock and Keep the Coffers Of “Capitalism Christianity” Filled With Fear And Unhealthy Marriage With Nihilism.

Because you see it matters not if the destruction of the world comes at the hand of the philosopher, the clergy, either hand maiden to the insane powers of corporate government; it is still the final Nihilist act!

The New Nihilism

The twin events of World War 1 and the misnamed “Spanish Flu” (which actually appeared on a US military base in Kansas) shattered the ability of people to believe in tomorrow. The harsh lesson of both catastrophes was that it did not matter how hard you worked or what you did, your home could be destroyed in an instant, those you love die in your arms, and you yourself could be killed without a moment’s notice. Civilizations, once popularly viewed as enduring constructs, were proved fragile as entire nations were wiped from the face of the Earth, together with their cultural heritage. Society was now impermanent, and even the very young saw themselves as frail and mortal beings.

The result was a “live for the moment” mentality. Few wanted to work for tomorrow when tomorrow was so easily stolen. Money was to be spent at the moment, on the decorations of the “Gilded Age”, or for those who eschewed materialism, life was surviving for the moment and staying comfortable until whatever was going to happen, happened. It was the age of the Bohemian lifestyle, of frustrated artists in dusty attics in Paris, of what poet Gertrude Stein termed the “Lost Generation”.

Common to all these lives was Nihilism, which while popularly described as a “belief in nothing” is more accurately described as the absence of belief or faith. Whereas atheism was an absence of belief in gods, Nihilism was an absence of faith in anything, including society itself. The twin horrors of World War 1 and the Spanish Flu created a climate in which nothing seemed to be worthy of trust, either spiritually or governmentally. Those who had seen the horrors first hand could not bring themselves to plan or work for the future. “Future” was something that could not be relied upon.

A new nihilism is starting to appear in the United States. Like the Lost Generation, this malaise proceeds from multiple sources.

First and foremost is the specter of endless war, or worse, a new global war, started with the very weapons that ended the last global war. Having been raised with decades of dire warnings about how nuclear weapons can end the world amid cold-war exhortations to build personal fallout shelters, it should not come as a surprise that most people equate the current military buildup as a prelude to that much predicted end of the world. This is not metaphor; the kids with those brass keys in the silos can really do it. Who wants to work hard to build a future that might vanish in a flash of white light?

The concept of the end of the world carries with it religious overtones. Many religions have their own versions of the end times, and current world events have convinced many religious sects that those times are at hand. Parents are concerned that their children are starting to abandon their education in the belief that it will not be needed following the imminent rapture.

The economy is also playing a role in the new Nihilism. The stock market frauds of the last decade have wiped out entire lifetimes of work. The loss of high-paying jobs have forced people to accept employment far below their levels of education, causing them to wonder why they bothered. What can young people think about their own futures when they see adults with advanced degrees in menial positions?

Mainstream media has destroyed its own credibility over the last few years with overt government and corporate propaganda, leaving the general population unable to trust that they even know what is really going on in the world.

It is easy to count the costs of war and bad economic policy in terms of dollars, bodies, of flags won and flags lost. But the real cost of prolonged war and economic deprivation will be a new American “Lost Generation”, one so hopelessly devoid of trust in tomorrow that nothing can be done to save it.

We are headed in that direction now. Just look into the faces of our kids, and you can see it. When the sum of all the dead bodies, intentional impoverishment, lies and deceptions reaches a critical mass, people will stop supporting the nation, because they won’t trust it. They won’t support the economy, because they won’t trust that. Don’t look for a “rebound” because there won’t be one. Nobody will be willing to work towards a future they do not believe exists.

Of all the things Bush and the Neocons have stolen from us, the gravest loss is the loss of trust in a better tomorrow. Those who accepted in silence the war in Afghanistan did so in the trust that once Afghanistan was conquered, things would get better. Those who accepted in silence the war in Iraq did so in the trust that once Iraq was conquered, things would get better. With the obvious march towards war in Iran, the trust is gone. There will be wars from now on. None of us alive today will live to see a time of peace. That dawning awareness saps the national spirit and drives us towards a new nihilism, and a new “Lost Generation”.

The extent to which the average American today, who claims to believe in the Christian God, really does, is a debatable. The common cliches of the religious right which we’ve all heard are alone enough to raise some suspicions.

That is, very few if any of these have anything to do with helping the poor, the sick, or the homeless. On the contrary, rather than being altruistic or charitable in nature, most are quite egoistic.

That is, rather than tell you what you ought to do to show Christian love toward your neighbor, they’re more often than not about what you must do to save your own soul.

Pretty selfish, isn't it? And what must you do? Well, not a whole hell of a lot. Accept Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord, read a few lines of scripture now and then, sing a few hymns, donate money to the church, and you’re ready to be called up into “the rapture.”

No longer is there any requirement that you seek forgiveness or pay any sort of reparations to person you may have wronged. You simply need to ask Jesus Christ to forgive you; and he always will.

What is more, the severity of the harm you’ve done to someone doesn’t much matter either. “We’re all sinners,” and “Jesus Christ paid the price on the cross” for all of our sins. And because of this, one sin is not distinguishable, with respect to severity, from any other.

Whether one has committed some small petty theft of a candy bar at a Walmart store, or cheated some elderly people out of a good chunk of their life savings by means of some home improvement fraud, makes no difference.

This represents a considerable shift. In the Christianity of old, people defrauded and people otherwise wronged by others took heart in the belief that the perpetrators of the evil done to them would be duly punished in the next life— that theirs was a just God.

No more. The situation now is rather the reverse: the perpetrator now takes comfort in the knowledge that the price for his heartless cruelty and thievery, the “wages of his sin,” has already paid by someone else— his Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ. That is to say, whereas the old God loved and gave comfort to the poor, this New One of the fascist religious right loves and comforts the rich, the powerful, and the ruthless every bit as much (actually, when you think about it, a good deal more).

But such equality in the afterlife (in the terms of everyone who accepts Jesus entering the afterlife with an equally clean slate) means gross inequality here on earth, with the world’s biggest thugs and thieves now getting by far the better "new covenant" deal.

In fact, the bigger the thief and thug you are, the bigger the winner you are under these new “we’re all just sinners anyway, all sins are equal in the eyes of God,” rules of the new religious right theology. So why waste your time, merely defrauding senior citizens?

Why not attack an entire country and seize its natural resources? Jesus Christ, with his death on the cross, paid the wages of all sins. No longer (theologically speaking, at least) are there any greater or lesser sins. Whether you’ve merely visited some of the “wrong” web sites on the internet, or lied to an entire nation to justify going to war, it makes no difference.

You’re a sinner pure and simple either way, and you need God’s saving grace. All you have to do is ask, and it’s yours. Is this a deal or what? Well, if we bring all of this down to earth, a “deal” such as this is precisely what is called nihilism.

A God that will forgive worst crimes against humanity, merely for the asking, or one who cannot distinguish petty theft from mass murder, if not dead, may as well be. And if not dead, at the very least he’s been stood on his head. If not the death of reality (Realität) as Nietzsche claimed in one of his last works, what we have here, at the very least, is the death of justice in this modern day, fundamentalist fascist form of Christian theology.

And with the rise and fall of justice, so goes truth. And if scripture is to be believed at all, God is nothing at all, if not truth. So if there is no truth, and no reality, then there is no God— God is dead.

The American religious right, of course, with all of its slogans, didn’t exist in Nietzsche’s time. But capitalism most assuredly did. So quite possibly Nietzsche is not even talking about people’s professed religious beliefs at all, (and Nietzsche himself does use that term as well, when describing psychological states). With the possible exception of the American religious right, few will deny that Christianity, or any other religion, is usually a good deal more than a belief system, and that it is a way of life.

Included in any such way of life, of course, is a specific way of acting toward other people. And for the vast majority of Christians, this has traditionally meant treating others in a charitable and loving way.

Prior to the rise capitalism some four hundred or so years ago, the vast majority of Christians by and large probably lived according to this principle (when they weren’t on crusades murdering Moslems, and stealing their belongings, at least). But capitalism itself operates on altogether different principles or “articles of faith,” as John Brand calls them. The first of these, Brand tells us, is found in Adam Smith's The Wealth of Nations, Book I, chapter 2.:

It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker, that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest. We address ourselves, not to their humanity but to their self-love, and never talk to them of our own necessities but of their own advantage.

Not a terribly Christian “love thy neighbor” approach, to say the least. Then, in book IV, Chapter 2, Smith gives what Brand calls the second article of faith of capitalism, the so called “invisible hand” doctrine.

He generally, indeed, neither intends to promote the public interest, nor knows how much he is promoting it. By preferring the support of domestic to that of foreign industry, he intends only his own security; and by directing that industry in such a manner as its produce may be of the greatest value, he intends only his own gain, and he is in this, as in many other cases, led by an invisible hand to promote an end which was no part of his intention.

Nor is it always the worse for the society that it was no part of it. By pursuing his own interest, he frequently promotes that of the society more effectually than when he really intends to promote it.

Thus, we now see the original source of Rand’s “great discovery,” the doctrine of “rational self interest,” and, and the belief that “altruism” is bad for society as a whole.

It’s right here in Adam Smith (who in turn got it from Bernard Mandeville). Smith of course doesn’t use the word altruism here, but that’s merely because he wrote this in 1776, and the term had yet to be invented. But call it what you will, Smith finds here that society as a whole is better off with everyone pursuing selfish or egoistic aims, than it would be if everyone tried to promote “non selfish” ends. Whether such a proposition might have been more believable in Smith’s day (before anyone knew anything about ecology, and before the advent of the nuclear and biological weapons business) is a but a matter of conjecture.

Notice however, that Smith is talking about small business proprietors, not large scale industrialists— such as loggers, strip miners, and munitions manufacturers. This makes his argument sound a good deal more convincing than it might, had he been talking about industries such as these, or small children working dangerous sweat shop conditions of the textile factories of the day.

But by the late Nineteenth Century when Nietzsche wrote his little aphorism about the madman, these conditions, in Britain and America particularly, in which small children, and adults as well, worked long hours under horrible conditions were well known.

With this as background, we can perhaps more easily understand certain otherwise puzzling parts of Nietzsche’s story. When the madman says he’s premature in his announcement, this reflects (in my own view, at least) the fact the most people had not yet fully realized the contradiction between the way their Christian values told them they should live, and treat other people, and the way the capitalist system demanded they live if they wanted to prosper.

Donating food to feed the hungry on and the like was fine, but didn’t reverse any of the prior week’s activities (which may have well included paying one of the recipients of the donated food less than a living wage).

Christian ethics, in other words, was for all practical purposes dead, but few religious people had directly faced this simple truth. Instead they lived in two separate and isolate worlds: the real world of rationalism, science, and most importantly of all, the profit motive, on the one hand; the Kingdom of God within them [Luke 17:21] on the other.

But can these two worlds really coexist? Nietzsche thinks not. Indeed, as I read Nietzsche, it is this very God within that has been slain by the very act of living non Christian values. This is what the Madman is talking about. And why is he mad in the first place? The double life he tried to live drove him mad— a split personality, schizophrenia as we say today.

In any case, with the advent of Ayn Rand and Objectivism, the Madman’s God is effectively dead and buried. A new god (as per Nietzsche’s prediction), is born; his name is John Galt.

But this god is a good deal more pompous and crude than some of his predecessors. As we say in the vernacular, he is a bit full of himself. But to a follower of Rand his almost exactly what the person of Jesus Christ had formerly been to the devout Christian: a paragon of virtue, a paragon of rationality. He is mankind’s redeemer as well: he is the one who shows men what they must do in order to be “saved” from their current “fallen” state of socialism and altruism. He is “the way, the truth, and the light.

” If men follow him, they can live; if they don’t, they will surely perish. Of course, that which they must do is exactly what the God of Christians has told them not to do. God is dead; the new god is born.

One might very reasonably counter argue that far from being any sort of “god,” most people have never even heard of John Galt. And if they have, it is simply a name they’ve seen on some bumper sticker asking who he is.

This is quite true. But by the same token, as an archetype of human behavior, a far greater number of Americans could be seen as “following” Galt, than ever could be rightly seen as following Jesus Christ.

Those who follow him may never have heard of him, or read a word of Rand, but odds are they’re very familiar Limbaugh, Hanity, Savage, and the rest.

You can just about bet your life that they vote Republican. They may very well attend fundamentalist Christian Churches, and have fish symbols on the backs of their expensive luxury automobiles and SUVs. They may very well pay lip service to Jesus Christ and the Bible on Sundays, but during the week, at their businesses or executive jobs, their “Lord and Master,” in practical terms is anybody but Jesus Christ. It isn’t Nietzsche’s Zarathustra either. It is the “overman” Zarathustra was looking for: John Galt.

Let us now go back to Nietzsche, take a closer look, and see if what he wrote some 125 years ago might be brought to bear on what is happening today. Like Rand, Nietzsche was concerned with the whole issue of values, as well as morality in general. Like Rand, Nietzsche thought that Christian morality was a slave morality (or as Rand phrased it, a morality of “self sacrifice”), and that in the final analysis, it was born out of hatred— hatred of the superior noble class (See Nietzsche’s Genealogy of Morals).

Another theme of Nietzsche’s, not explicitly discussed by Rand (mainly because Rand’s thought is not nearly as profound as Nietzsche’s), but equally important for our purposes is that of nihilism. Nihilism, simply put, means that nothing exists— that there are no absolute values, no absolute truth.

Nietzsche is sometimes credited with being the originator of this doctrine, but that is not true. In fact, there is one ancient Greek philosopher, whose name escapes me, but of whom it has been written that “aside from the fact that he was a complete nihilist, nothing is known about him.” Would he have wanted it any other way?

No true nihilist would.

But Nietzsche was by no means an advocate of nihilism. Rather, he thought it was a problem endemic to modern society, and much if not all of his work, in one way or another, is an attempt to come to grips with it. More specifically, Nietzsche thought nihilism was an inevitable result of the “death of God.”

In fact, in the opening sentence of Heidegger’s aforementioned nearly 60 page essay on the subject, he says :

The following exposition attempts to point the way toward the place from which it may be possible some day to ask the question concerning the essence of nihilism... This pointing of the way will clarify a stage in Western Metaphysics that is probably its final stage.. Through the overturning (Umkehrung) of metaphysics accomplished by Nietzsche, there remains for metaphysics nothing but a turning aside into its own inessentiality and disarray.

The suprasensory is transformed into an unstable product of the sensory. And with such a debasement of its antithesis, the sensory denies its own essence.... It culminates in meaninglessness. It remains, nevertheless, the unthought and invincible presupposition of its own blind attempts to extricate itself from meaninglessness through a mere assigning of sense and meaning.

What Heidegger means by all of this becomes clearer as the essay unfolds. Later in the essay, to answer the question of“what is nihilism?” Heidegger quotes one partial answer given by Nietzsche himself. It is a situation in which: That the highest values are devaluing themselves.

But what are these highest values? Heidegger explains as follows:

God, the suprasensory world as the world that truly is and determines all, ideals and ideas, the purposes and grounds that determine and support everything that is human and human life in particular— all this is here represented as meaning the highest values.

But again, according to Nietzsche, these values keep devaluing themselves. How does that happen? When all attempts to put them in to practice in everyday life meet with failure and frustration. For example, I try to feed people better quality food at my fast food restaurant, nothing less, in fact, than what I would feed my own family. But I then suffer economically because my competitors who are far less conscionable, are able to cut prices, and eventually run me out of business.

Still worse, I’m labeled an eccentric or something far worse for having been such a poor businessman. My former customers look down on me because I drive an old automobile. And of course, if I myself go to someone else’s fast food restaurant after mine has failed, I’m going to be fed inferior quality food. All of this has a very significant psychological effect upon me.
So now, what good, if any, is a value that one cannot realistically practice? of what value are such values? None whatsoever. Such a supposed “value” is actually meaningless. So what now, of Christians values, which tell us that we must love our neighbors as we love ourselves?

To the capitalist, who pays his workers as little as possible, and works them as hard as possible, often to serious physical detriment, and fires them when “good business” practice demands, Christian morality is every bit as meaningless, for example, as a military general’s value of pacifism. No military general can do his job and at the same time be true to the value of peace.

If he does, he will be fired as soon as he refuses an order from his commander in chief to attack a supposed enemy. Likewise, running your business as though you really believed in absolute Christian values leads only to your own demise, benefitting only your competitors who, in turn, wish you nothing but harm. Hence, it turns out that in the real world, the only value that does you any good is all is self interest, about which there is nothing absolute at all— it is all relative to you. But this, precisely, is nihilism— the denial of all absolute good, value, and truth.

Acting as though such absolute truths and values really did exist, therefore, only works toward the utter frustration and defeat of the actor, thus proving in the end (practically speaking) to be anything but what one might call a value. Such “highest values, as Nietzsche calls them, thus act to negate themselves; or, as Nietzsche puts it, to devalue themselves.

This is, of course, the whole point of Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged. Christian values of peace, love and altruism lead to social decay, and thus “devalue” themselves. But what Rand failed to see (until perhaps, the very final days of her own unhappy life) was that contrary to her claim of Objectivism having to do with something called “absolutes,” it is, on the contrary, an utterly nihilistic philosophy. Under her “unknown ideal” system of capitalism, the only thing that means anything to anyone is his or her own profit and gain, which in turn means nothing to anyone else.
If this is an absolute anything, it is an absolute moral relativism— which is to say, nihilism.
Thus we see that pure laissez faire capitalism, Objectivism ’s supposed ideal, being based on the profit motive, is nihilistic to the core. It is in effect a war, not precisely of all against all, but of each against all, in which none have the greater good of society as a whole as any sort of practical motivation whatsoever. This, incidentally, is the very antithesis of what we call community.

Thus, contrary to Ayn Rand’s (more precisely, Adam Smith’s and Bernard Mandeville’s) picture of the selfish efforts of each actor adding up to one gigantic good for all, each is looking to get the most out of the rest, but only the richest and most powerful have any real measure of success. This is why XYZ Fast Food Corporation feeds you unhealthy food: it tastes better to you and costs them less. This is also why Hollywood produces violent and otherwise low grade films: they are highly profitable.

Occasionally, there are exceptions here; great artistic films are made frequently, but most people never see them. Thus, while each actor acts in what Miss Rand calls their “rational self interest,” this makes for a highly irrational society as a whole in which we all, more or less, wind up eating unhealthy diets, and seeing mediocre movies that do little to inspire us. And we certainly all suffer the effects of greenhouse gasses and global warming, simply because it is more profitable to keep the world running on fossil fuels, rather than more environmentally friendly alternatives. This can all be described, in a word, as nihilism.

Last but not least, one of the most profitable industries is the weapons industry, sometimes inappropriately called the “defense industry.”

These industries not only gladly produce and sell weapons of mass destruction; just as importantly, they support political candidates who will make their use all the more likely.

In the final analysis, a social system based on the profit motive becomes one of self destruction. Such is precisely the nature of nihilism. Each pursues his own selfish aims with total disregard for any “greater good” because such a “greater good” does not exist.

Such a system is thus, ultimately, on a path of self destruction because each is at war with the rest, each trying to gain the maximum advantage over the rest. Society thus gradually degenerates into something far more akin to a video game, in which each player wants to “kill” the other, than anything which might be reasonably termed “civilized society.”

To conclude, let us recall that nihilism knows only destruction. If nothing is true, then nothing is sacred.

Anything and everything must therefore be permitted, even nuclear annihilation.

How can this be so in a “philosophy” which on the contrary, claims that truth is absolute, and that one must think and be rational?

The short answer to this question is that just because one happens to believe his impulses and whims are reflective of some absolute objective reality, doesn’t mean they are; nor, does it make one any less of a nihilist than another who harbors no such illusion.

Such a person is simply one of those people Nietzsche’s Madman spoke about, one who had not yet heard the news of the death of God. Or perhaps more accurately, he has yet to hear the news that John Galt was born mentally defective, and they haven’t figured out yet the Capitalist “God” of the rapture is Nihilism that has crept between the sheets with Capitalist “Christianity”….Sarah Palin’s Kind!

And just how is all this presented from the Pulpits of Extremists?

Apocalypse, in the terminology of early Jewish and Christian literature, is a revelation of hidden things revealed by God to a chosen prophet or apostle. The term is often used to describe the written account of such a revelation. Apocalyptic literature is of considerable importance in the history of the Judeo-Christian-Islamic beliefs and traditions, because it makes specific references to beliefs such as the resurrection of the dead, judgment day, eternal life, final judgment and perdition. Apocalyptic beliefs predate Christianity, appear throughout other religions, and have been assimilated into contemporary secular society, especially through popular culture (see Apocalypticism). Apocalyptic beliefs also occur in other religious systems, for example, the Hindu concept of pralay.

The rapture is belief that is almost exclusively confined to conservative Protestants. It involves Jesus Christ returning from Heaven towards earth. In violation of the law of gravity. Saved individuals -- both dead and alive -- are expected by believers in the rapture to rise up in the air and join Jesus in the sky.

The concept of the rapture is a relatively new belief within Christianity, having been created in the mid 19th century.

What is the rapture?

The Rapture is a future event expected by many -- perhaps most -- born-again Protestants. They are certain that they, alone, will engage in a mass migration in the near future. They believe that those born-again Christians who have died will have their bodies reconstituted and will ascend through the air, and meet Jesus Christ in the sky. This will be followed by a second mass migration of the born-again who are currently alive.

The word "Rapture" comes from the Latin word "Rapare" which means to take away or to snatch out. This would be a remarkable event. As it is described in Evangelical literature, pilots would disappear from planes, truck drivers from their trucks; people from automobiles, etc. Some born-again Christians believe that a family will be eating dinner, when some of the members will float upwards from their seats, pass through the roof and keep rising through the air towards Jesus.

An associated event is Christ's imminent return (also known as the "second coming" and "parousia"). This has been expected by many Christians for almost 2 millennia. It was described by the Greek word "parousia" (coming, arrival, presence) during the 1st century CE. Justin Martyr introduced the term "second coming" in the 2nd century.

Ever since Christ's death, many Christians have been expecting the second coming in their immediate future. Most Fundamentalist and other conservative Christians believe that The Rapture will occur when Christ first returns towards earth. Most believe that Christ will not actually land or stay on earth at this time; the "real" second coming will occur later, when he returns on a horse leading an army on horseback who will exterminate one third of the earth's population in a massive, bloody genocide.

It will be numerically the largest mass extermination of humans in history. In terms of the percentage of humans to be killed in a genocide, it will be second only to the flood of Noah, which resulted in the deaths of every adult, child, infant and newborn on earth, with the exception of Noah and seven members of his immediate family.

The rapture concept is a relatively new belief. It is essentially ignored by most other Christian faith groups. It does not form a part of any other religion. It is dismissed by essentially all liberal Christian theologians. Many mainline and liberal Bible handbooks, commentaries, dictionaries and encyclopedia do not even list "rapture" in their indices.

What will happen?

Conservative Theologians and Believers: Most Evangelical Christians believe that the Rapture, as described in the three biblical verses listed elsewhere in this section, will happen precisely as described, sometime in the near future. All previously saved Christians, totaling perhaps 5 to 10% of the world's population, will suddenly have their bodies converted into a different form that they will wear for all eternity in Heaven.

They will rise vertically into the air. Many believe that they will pass right through ceilings, roofs of cars, etc. to meet Jesus Christ in the sky. The vast majority of humans will be left behind.
There will be extensive devastation on planes, trains and automobiles as their pilots, engineers and drivers suddenly disappear and the vehicles crash. The bodies of Christian believers who have died during the previous two millennia will be reconstituted into their original bodies which will then also be converted to spirit bodies. They will rise out of their graves and ascend to meet Jesus. Apparently the spirit bodies do not require oxygen to sustain themselves, because there is little air above 30,000 feet.

Liberal Theologians: Many regard the Tribulation belief to be a fascinating myth or vision. The elements of the story:

-Jesus descending in the sky.

-Believers rising to meet him.

-Parts of dead bodies, some individual organic molecules, somehow reconstituting themselves into their previous form.

-Bodies being changed instantly from their physical form to some type of spiritual form.
are simply a beautiful fantasy without any grounding in reality.

historical review prior to 1990

End of the world and religion:

-The Rapture, a miraculous event when many conservative Protestants believe they will meet Jesus in the sky.

Technically speaking, the Tribulation era officially begins when the spiritual seals on this Divine Scroll are loosed and the Scroll is opened and read. The Age of Grace is closed and now the age of Judgment begins. The Scroll contains 21 prophetic Judgments, broken down into 3 sets, with 7 Judgments each, complemented with some stand alone prophecies. The Judgments have been written by YHWH, and now HIS Messiah, Yahshua-Jesus, who qualified to rule, will allow the Angels to release the forces of nature and evil against the planet (Rev.ch.4-5).

The spiritual symbolism described in the Book of Revelation is reality, and parallel passages in other parts of the Bible give more detailed accounts of the events about to take place. The events in Revelation are generally written in chronological order (Rev.1:17). But many events are happening simultaneously, and sometimes the chronicle stops to relay more information. (I’ll do my best to keep it simple.)

Plagues border on the realm of the unreal. They are the stuff of tall tales, myths and legends. But in the Biblical world, plagues were very real, even ever-present. Plagues and pestilence were no respecters of persons. What we call epidemics, attacked king and commoner alike, to say nothing of the livestock.

Make-no-mistake, these are NOT Judgments written by an “angry God” looking for revenge. Our CREATOR cares about HIS creation, and even during these unfolding Judgments, HE gives humanity the many chances to repent and change.

These Judgments are consequences of our actions - it is as simple as that. We have misused our planet, our fellow man, the plant and animal kingdoms, and now a price must be paid. It is more like stretching a rubber band to it’s maximum size, sooner or later it’s gonna snap back – and it’s gonna hurt.

White Horse

The rider of the white horse is very commonly interpreted to be the Antichrist figure, but such an interpretation ignores much of the imagery presented throughout the Revelation and many cross references of whom the Bible names as being given a crown. For instance, every other time the colour white is used in the Revelation, it is always representative of righteousness and holiness, and whenever the author, John, depicts a malevolent force, he consistently shows it as evil (the two beasts of chapter 13, or the scarlet beast and the prostitute of chapter 17). Because of this there is no reason to interpret the white horse as representing anything other than something/someone that is righteous and holy.

Even the terminology “conquering and to conquer” alludes to a righteous person, as the Greek term used here is used throughout the New Testament as a word meaning “to overcome” and “to be victorious.” In the 23 other times it is used in the New Testament (15 times in the Revelation alone), 22 of those instances refer to Christ or to His followers overcoming evil. So, in this 24th instance of the word (one of 15 times in the Revelation), it should be taken to mean the same thing: a righteous or holy force who is able to overcome and gain victory. Also, considering the rider is given a crown (something only seen to be given to Jesus or the 24 elders -- Daniel 7:13, 14, 27; Luke 1:31-33; Revelation 4:4, 10; 14:14),[1] one might conclude that the rider of the white horse is on the side of good. However, it could be the Antichrist in disguise, as it is said that the Antichrist would seem pure, and make himself seem righteous and working for peace while actually deceiving mankind.

Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, by Viktor Vasnetsov (1887).

Thus by analogy with the white horse and rider of Revelation 19, one possibility is that the first horseman is Jesus Himself. Alternatively he could represent the Holy Spirit (the Third Person of the Holy Trinity, wherein Jesus is the Second Person, the Son) -- whom Jesus promises to send his disciples to aid them after his own departure from earth (Acts 1:4-8).

In Acts 2, 17-21, Saint Peter while preaching referred to the apocalyptic vision of the Old Testament prophet Joel (Book of Joel 2, 28-32), who foretold an "outpouring" of the Holy Spirit upon all flesh so that everyone should prophesy and dream prophetically. This according to Joel (and Peter) should prepare for the Last Day, when 'The sun shall be turned to darkness, and the moon to blood, before the great and terrible day of the LORD comes.' The writer of Revelation clearly knew this passage. The Holy Spirit was understood to have come upon the Apostles at Pentecost (as teacher, comforter, counsellor, and source of guidance to believers) after Jesus' departure from earth.

The appearance of the Lamb in Revelation 5 shows the triumphant arrival of Jesus in heaven. The crowned white horseman could therefore represent the sending-forth by Jesus of the Holy Spirit. In a similar vein, the white horse and rider may be held to represent the advance of the gospel of Jesus Christ[2] since the outpouring of his Spirit on the church. The sending forth of that gospel is unstoppable, since God's Word cannot be bound (2 Timothy 2:9) and does not return to Him void; it accomplishes the purpose for which He sends it forth (Isaiah 55:11). The rider of the white horse is also recognized as Conquest.

Red Horse

The rider of the second horse is generally held to represent War. The red color of his horse represents blood spilled on the battlefield. He carries a greatsword, which represents battle and fighting.

Revelation 6:4 - "And there went out another horse that was red: and power was given to him that sat thereon to take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another: and there was given unto him a great sword."

Black Horse

The third horseman, riding the black horse, is called Famine. The black color of the third horse could be a symbol of the dead.

Revelation 6:5 - 6:6 - “And when he had opened the third seal, I heard the third beast say, Come and see. And I beheld, and lo a black horse; and he that sat on him had a pair of balances in his hand. And I heard a voice in the midst of the four beasts say, A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny; and see thou hurt not the oil and the wine.’”

Pale Horse

The fourth horseman, on the pale, or sickly horse,( which may be the source of the notion of "pestilence" as a separate horseman) is explicitly named Death.

The Greek word interpreted here as "pale" is elsewhere in the New Testament translated as "paisley." The horse is sometimes translated as "pale," "pale green," or "green." The pale greenish color of the fourth horse could mean fear, sickness, decay, and famine. His horse is thin and weak, instead of strong and healthy.

Revelation 6:8 - "And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth

The first four prophecies in this chapter are also known as the Four Horseman of the Apocalypse, because in the Catholic Bible the last book is called the Apocalypse. These four horsemen are not singular events; they will promote their particular brand of evil throughout the Tribulation period. (Click on picture to enlarge.)

The real Messiah is prophesized in Revelation 19:11 riding a white horse with His heavenly army. The white horse in this verse represents a counterfeit messiah, commonly called the Antichrist. The verse continues, “he that sits on him has a bow with no arrow,” it symbolizes he will destroy many by a false peace. As the UN does today, they do not enter nations to make war, but to enforce peace. Hitler, an antichrist nominee once said: “Peace can only be kept by the sword.” It will be a tactic favored by the Antichrist. From a global population of 6 billion souls approximately 1/3 of the people die during his reign.

“...and the way that seemeth right to them.” - Proverbs 12:14

Martial law is only a temporary fix. A global crisis will need a global leader. The Antichrist rises to power on a peace platform from Europe. The world acceptance of his control comes because of his promise to bring a universal peace. Prophecy says, “he will be diverse from the rest,” meaning he will not be a politician moving into power through the normal channels. “And in the latter time of their kingdom, When the transgressors have reached their fullness, A king shall arise, Having fierce features, Who understands sinister schemes,” Daniel 8:23. He will have ties to the occult, and he will probably be unmarried, Daniel 11:37.

He will be a man with great pride, enormous charisma, and very elegant. He will rise to power through a revived Roman Empire described in Daniel 2:45. Today this is the European Economic Community. Publicly he will take total control of the European confederation using a very carefully crafted rule of law. Privately he will take control by subduing or probably killing three of its ten strongest leaders (Dan.7:24-25). (It is interesting to note here that the globalist organizations, Club of Rome, the CRF and the Trilateral Commission, each use a ten nation administrative model.)

He will have knowledge of the old beliefs and the new sciences. His leadership will appear as a mixture of holy and rational, when in reality he is irrational and hellish. To guarantee universal peace, he will make treaties with the other global trading organizations, making his power world-wide (Dan.7:23).

He will make a seven year peace treaty with Israel, which is the earthly sign of the start of the seven year Tribulation period (Dan.9:27, 12:1). The Prophet Isaiah calls this “the covenant with death” (Isa.28:15), because the peace will soon be shattered.

Much has been made of the term Antichrist, which means against the Christ/Messiah. Technically speaking, anyone who is against our CREATOR and HIS Christ/Messiah is possessed by the spirit of Antichrist. Throughout the centuries many men have been labeled the Antichrist, for example: From the Roman times, Nero and some of his successors, because of their Christian persecution.

Muhammad, because of his movement in conquering and converting large portions of Christian territory. During the middle ages, many heads of the corrupt papacy had the title because of the inquisitions, and of their corrupting many of the original Christian traditions. And over the past 100 years, Napoleon and Hitler were the major Antichrist figures.

This is the real one. The one who has been seven thousand years in the making, and will make the others seem like charm-school candidates. The Antichrist is human, but Satan will endow his powers and knowledge. His deceptive lies and stunts will appear to be miracles, and will be so powerful, and so convincing, that the world will see him as the leader that they have been waiting for (Rev.13:7).

He will feel the pain of the people, and will apply his higher understanding to insure every man women and child will go to bed happy and with a full stomach. He will have a health-care scheme to heal the people from their afflictions. The people will not greet him with fear and misgiving, they will greet him with open arms and a warm heart saying: “He is the key to peace, prosperity and a blessed path, and we will follow him.”

The Second Seal - The Red Horseman (II). Red symbolisms the power of war and blood - Revelation 6:3-4.

War around the world on a national level, not worldwide war. “For when they say, Peace and safety, then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape,” 1Thessalonians 5:3. The industrialists have always profited from war. History shows their behind the scenes manipulations of nations to fan the flames of war for their own profit. Soon after the false peace there will be ethnic wars among many nations (Mat.24:6).

The Third Seal - The Black Horseman (III). Worldwide famine... - Revelation 6:5-6.

This horseman represents the terrible worldwide famine of the last days. The measurement describes that a persons daily wage will buy only one days worth of food for that one person. There will be no money left over for shelter or extra food for the family. The oil and wine represent wealth, which means there will be some who accumulate vast wealth during this time, Revelation 18:3; James 5:1-6.

The Fourth Seal - The Pale Horseman (IV). Death by plague, sword, beasts... - Revelation 6:7-8.

This horseman represents death. During his reign one quarter of humanity will be destroyed, by diseases, killed by tyrants, or killed by animals. Today some preach that the Biblical plagues are here in the form of AIDS, the super TB, or the flesh-eating virus. It will get worse with no hope of “synthetic” control. A good book to read is “The coming Plague” by Laurie Garrett.

Another bazaar twist to this prophecy is that the supernatural fear of man YAHWEH placed in the animal kingdom after the flood will be removed. A small preview of this can be seen in Alfred Hitchcock movie “The Birds.

The Fifth Seal - The Tribulation Martyrs... - Revelation 6:9-11, 13:9-10.

“Unless proved wrong by Scripture and plain reason, My conscience is captive to the Word of GOD.

I cannot, and will not recant… GOD help me. Amen.” - Martin Luther’s defense at his trial by the papacy at the Diet Of Worms, April 1521.

Killing believers only makes them stronger!

The greatest revival in world history will make up this harvest of believers (more people then in the rapture), these are called the Tribulation Saints.

They come to believe in YHWH after the true assembly has been removed. These people were the fence sitters during the Age of Grace. Now, unfortunately, they will have to prove their faith with their lives.

These people will resist worshipping the Antichrist, they will resist the new global governing system and they will not accept the future compulsory computer chip implants. For their rebellious attitude they will be tortured, killed or beheaded (Rev.7:9-10, 13:9-10, 20:4).

The Bible verse states, when they are in Heaven, the martyrs cry out for vengeance. Vengeance as it was in the Old Testament period, an eye for an eye. This proves the Bride has been removed, as the believers in the Age of Grace were told to turn the other cheek and were not allowed to seek vengeance.

The Sixth Seal - Great Earthquakes. The sun is blocked. Moon as blood - Revelation 6:12-17.

During these years of Tribulation, prophecy warns of many earthquakes and other atmospheric disturbances. For information on the latest developments see the "Earth Watch" links at the bottom of the page.

For current earthquake report check the website: World Seismic Monitor

For a lesson on the global plate movements see the website: This Dynamic Earth

Seventh Seal - The Selah. Silence for 1/2 hour. The quiet before the storm - Revelation 8:1.

When the Hebrews read their Bible, the momentary silence between passages was called, “the selah,” it means to pause and consider, or give a rest. Remember the old science fiction movie “The Day the Earth Stood Still”? That is what will happen here. The silence begins in YHWH'S Throne Room, and spreads throughout universe.

Everything stops. The angels will stop in Heaven, and here on Earth humanity will be forced to stop when all the machines, the computers, automobiles, everything stops working. This is so, angels and humans alike, can pause and reflect on the coming judgments. Humanity is given one last chance to acknowledge their CREATOR and repent, unfortunately, the vast majority will not.

144,000 - Twelve thousand of each of the twelve tribes of Israel sealed - Revelation 7:1-8, 14:1-5.

Voice of the Resistance

“Resistance to tyrants is obedience to GOD.” - Thomas Jefferson

Resistance will begin in the old Protestant areas of northern Europe, and America. The Bible believing Protestant America was never fond of European royalty, or it’s dictatorships. With the Antichrist ruling from Europe, as in the past, America will not easily go along with the European mandates, it will have to be coerced. And the people will need to hear convincing propaganda.

The coercion will come from the globalist organizations. For example: President John F. Kennedy was alarmed about many events that might happen in the future when he stated: “The high office of the president has been used to ferment a plot to destroy America’s freedom, and before I leave office I must inform the citizens of their plot.” He was assassinated ten days later. One of his concerns was order #11490 giving the president the powers of a dictator over the finances of the economy, the political system, and over the military. In this decade, President Clinton has signed Presidential decree #25 giving the head of the U.N. forces power over the U.S. military.

In America, we have the Federal government, working in cooperation with individual State and local governments. Today, most of the coercion comes from the federal level. In the future when times get hard and money gets tight, this relationship will strain. Regardless of the financial maneuvering of the politicians and the multinational corporations to merge this country into the global dependent community, there will be great resistance to hand the country over to a global dictator. Today the convincing propaganda is already being promoted, and resistance into making this a Godless country is also in motion.

When news breaks, they fix it. During martial law, (or even before – like today), to promote a new way of thinking, the dictionary will be rewritten. The politically correct dictionary, with accompanying political speeches will appear, and the global problems will be redefined – with the politically correct definition of course. It will sound something like this: “Oh there will be some displaced people, the lazy, the criminal, the mentally unstable, the un-patriotic, the anarchists, they will need to be rounded up. But these are just correctional centers, to filter out problems - softly and with caring hands. It is only to protect everyone’s peace and safety.”

It will be inappropriate to publicly criticize or speak out against the government or question it’s actions. “Rumors must be investigated! The only ones who have to worry, are those who have something to hide. With our basic freedoms at stake, no response can be too extreme. We must all do our part, everyone has a job working for the government, if you don’t want the job then there must be something wrong with you.”

Every dictator has to have his scapegoat to persecute. “For political and religious crimes, there will be immediate fines and penalties. Rules of Evidence will be relaxed, investigations of those who are not ideologically correct, will also include past associations, family and friends. Troublemakers, spies, and those not ideologically pure, must be purged from their positions, but only till this crisis is over. And when it’s over, there will be no more prejudice, just one happy planet.”

The Bible says humanity will once again turn on each other – brother against brother - to find favor with the global dictator. At first martial law won’t seem so bad, the streets are safe and crime is down. Propaganda organs will report the good news: Drug dealing, auto thefts, burglaries, murders, are all down - society is better off with martial law!

Hello Stasi Files! The dark side of martial law is that now, like in Eastern Germany when they were under Communist rule, it will be neighbor watching neighbor, wife snitching on husband or visa versa, and children snitching on both parents and relatives.

Slowly it will begin to happen, just as Pastor Martin said at the time of his arrest by the Gestapo in 1937: “In Germany, they came first for the communists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn't speak up because I wasn’t a Jew. Then they came for the trade unionist, and I didn't speak up. Then they came for the Catholics, I didn’t speak up because I was a Protestant. Then, they came for me, and by that time no one was left to speak up.”

The 'signs' have been given, stay-on-target, stand against evil, but do not get involved in helping the Antichrist collect his scapegoats.

"In a free society, an individual’s loyalties are to GOD, family and country – in that order.

In a totalitarian society, obedience to the state eclipses all other allegiances."

– William Norman Grigg

The question one must ponder is that history shows, whenever a dictator had tight control over his people, to be defeated, he has to be conquered by an outside power. When people hand over power to a global central committee - the platform for a global dictator, how will that power be defeated if it becomes corrupted? Then only a power outside this world will be able to defeat it.

The Tribulation years will be perilous dark times. The Book of Ecclesiastes ch.2 says there is a time for everything, and when it comes time to confront evil, one can defend by wit and honesty, or by a tactical retreat as Yahshua did at times. And as a last resort, the Messiah said to the Disciples, recorded in Luke 22:36, “Then He said to them, but now, he who has a money bag, let him take it, and likewise a knapsack; and he who has no sword, let him sell his garment and buy one.” When the time comes, with a weapon, defend yourself, your family, your home, and your community. Our example is with Abraham when he used 312 ‘skilled’ men to accomplish what pagan armies couldn’t (Gen.14:14).

The dark political powers may suspend the rights of citizens, but they cannot take the light of freedom out of the hearts of the people. The freedom fighters – the leaders who stand for peoples ‘GOD-given’ rights - will be the heroes of the day. They are the new millennium-Protestants, the one’s who will be protesting against any mere-mortal who stands between GOD and man, and freedom.

“Discretion, extreme caution and careful consideration of risk are what makes a good intelligence operative.”

- Central Intelligence Agency

(A polite warning given to all Clandestine Services operatives.)

The standard method of the underground resistance groups is the organizational concept of “leaderless resistance” or phantom cells, which mean its adherents organize themselves in tiny cells with no central spokesperson or leader.

They share a common ideology not a common leader. Everyone knows who the enemy is, and anyone is authorized to take whatever action is deemed necessary by working alone or in small groups.

This system may be a bit more chaotic and there might be some bazaar actions or targets taken by some, but the prime objective of resistance to oppression is still accomplished.

This type of resistance movement is exceedingly difficult to detect or infiltrate, and has been used often in humanities history to drive the storm troopers of the police state crazy.

The first rule of leaderless resistance can be taken from Hitler: “What can be communicated verbally should never be put in writing [or into any computer].”

The 'signs' have been given and now is the 'time' to stash and bury.

And all of this assumes a place of so very much more importance when we consider the mental makeup, limitations and philosophical inclinations of Vice presidential Candidate Sarah Palin who clearly, and I have no evidence to the contrary, has drunk deeply from the Nihilist/Rapture End World Pentecostal Cocktail, while this nation is faced, should John McCain be elected with the real possibility, as noted below in ascending not into the heavens but into the oval office, first.

McCain's heavy smoking earlier in life, plus his age, suggest that Palin would have as high as a 40% chance of taking over from him if both were elected.

Former heavy smoker McCain has about a 20% chance of dying in office, and an even higher risk of disability, and this does not even take into account his substantially increased risk of early death from the malignant stage IIa melanoma removed in 2000 which has a 10-year survival rate of only 65%, according to the AMA.jama.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/full/300/11/1348
McCain's smoking boosts his risk of dying from lung cancer by about 700%, and his risk of dying of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) even more.

Also, his advanced age balloons his odds of becoming disabled from a variety of conditions - including a stroke or Alzheimer's - both diseases which can impair judgment, treatment may be debilitating, and where the risks increase very rapidly with age, notes Professor Banzhaf.
Male former smokers who are 75 years of age have a greater than 50% chance of dying during their next ten years, whereas those who are currently 70 have a 10-year risk of death over 35%.

McCain, who is 72, has a statistical risk of death somewhere between these two figures, which Banzhaf estimates could be as high as a 20% chance of dying during the next 5 years.

These figures do not include McCain's increased risk of death from his multiple bouts of deadly melanoma skin cancer, a condition which could reoccur, and which recent research shows also increases the risks of developing other types of cancer.

Indeed, notes Banzhaf, even if a reoccurrence of melanoma doesn't kill McCain, the treatments for it are often so debilitating that it might make it impossible for him to continue to serve in office and make crucial decisions.

Naturally, the odds that he will suffer from some disabling condition while in office are much higher that the risks of dying, with studies suggesting that the disability rate of persons 70-74 is almost 40%, and among those 75-79, the rate approaches 50%.

While a president's access to excellent medical care might tend to reduce these odds, the enormous stresses of the presidency - far greater than those experienced by most men over the age of 70 - could also increase the odds.

One potentially disabling disease McCain could face is Alzheimer's, where advancing age is the major risk factor, and the odds of coming down with the disease double every five years after the age of 65.

Unfortunately, the minor memory impairments and other mental problems often present during the early stages of Alzheimer's might be barely noticeable and of little consequence in a typical 72-year-old man enjoying retirement or working on a part- or even full-time basis, but they could be catastrophic in a president who must make crucial decisions regarding war, peace, and the economy, negotiate with other world leaders, etc.

Here it must be remembered that Ronald Reagan apparently exhibited early symptoms of Alzheimer's long before leaving office. For example, Lesley Stahl said in her book that she and others in the media thought he was "sinking into senility" even by 1986, but those around him "covered up his condition."Talking Points Memo notes: "

On the campaign trail this cycle, McCain frequently forgets key elements of policies, gets countries' names wrong, forgets things he's said only hours or days before and is frequently just confused. . . . It's whispered about among reporters. . . . But it's verboten as a topic of public discussion.

"However, all this discussion occurred before McCain selected a running mate who many have suggested now lacks sufficient experience to take over as president.

If these are possible early signs in McCain of Alzheimer's or some other deterioration in mental functioning brought on already by age, they are only likely to get worse with time. When they get serious enough and can no longer be overlooked or covered up, Palin may be forced to step in.

Another major risk for McCain is a stroke, the third leading cause of death in the U.S., and a major cause of serious long-term disability. The chances of someone having a stroke increase very rapidly with age, with two-thirds of all strokes occurring in people over 65. Stroke risk doubles with each decade past 55. In addition to causing physical disability which could affect McCain's ability to maintain his schedule, strokes can impair mental functioning, as well as the ability to communicate.

The potential health risks facing Barack Obama, age 47, are very different. Male former smokers who are 45 years of age have less than a 5% chance of dying within the next ten year. Even if he is classified as a current smoker - although he reportedly has quit with, at most, an occasional relapse - his 10-year death risk is still under 10%. Banzhaf estimates his chances of dying while in office are only about 4%.

The 25th Amendment provides for the vice president to assume the duties of the president if he has a disability which makes him "unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office." It further provides that, if the president does not himself recognize that a physical or mental disability renders him unable, that decision may be made by the Vice President and a majority of the principal officers of the executive departments.

This might occur, for example, if a president came down with Alzheimer's but refused - perhaps because of the disease, and/or his reluctance to accept the diagnosis - to agree to formally relinquish his powers.

John Banzhaf is a professor at George Washington University known in part for his statistical-type analyses ("The Banzhaf Index") as well as his very successful work against smoking. He stresses that he does not express or even imply any opinions or preferences regarding the four major-party candidates for high office, and that this analysis is designed simply to highlight some statistical factors regarding the candidates, especially as it relates to smoking.

Professor of Public Interest Law
George Washington University Law School
FAMRI Dr. William Cahan Distinguished ProfessorFELLOW,
World Technology Network
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Contact Information:George Washington University2013 H St., NWWash, DC 20006Contact Person:John BanzhafProfessorPhone: 202-659-4312email: emailWeb: banzhaf.net/

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Democratic strategists fear Obama missed chance to define McCain

By Alexander Bolton
Posted: 09/16/08 07:27 PM [ET]

Democratic strategists are criticizing Barack Obama’s campaign for discouraging liberal groups from waging an aggressive campaign this summer that would have defined John McCain as unsympathetic to the working class.

Democratic political operatives have scrambled in recent days to organize independent media campaigns to attack McCain, but some argue Obama missed a golden opportunity and that it may be too late to make up for the loss.

“You had really no one over the summer going after McCain, and the election became a referendum on Obama,” said Robert Borosage, co-director of the Campaign for America’s Future, a liberal political advocacy group.

“That led to a couple of lost months that were not good for the Obama campaign.”
After leading Sen. McCain (R-Ariz.) for months, Sen. Obama (Ill.) has fallen behind in most polls conducted since the Republican convention.

“I do think that the Obama campaign has paid a price for really shutting down the independent 527 operation,” Borosage said.

Outside groups allied with the Democratic Party, often known by their tax classifications as 527 or 501(c)4 groups, were much more active during the 2004 presidential election. A major reason is that Obama warned Democratic donors away from giving to these groups this year.

Obama aides wanted to control the political message environment without competition and distraction from outside groups. Obama officials also wanted to tamp down on negative campaigning that clashed with their message about hope and the dawn of an era beyond partisanship.

“There’s talk about doing it now, but it’s late now,” Borosage said in reference to last-minute efforts to mobilize an independent media campaign to define McCain. “There’s a lot of talk among liberals about putting it together.”

MoveOn.org has said it will double its advertising budget and begin highlighting ties between McCain and K Street.

Two other liberal groups, Democracy for America and Brave New PAC, have aired a cable television ad that features a former prisoner of war questioning McCain’s fitness to become president.

Mike Lux, a Democratic operative, has counseled big donors on making investments with outside, independent liberal groups.

But much of the recent activity of liberal strategists seeking to define McCain as out of touch with working-class concerns remains at the talk-and-planning stage, say Democratic strategists and allies.

Steve Grossman, a major Democratic fundraiser, said he has heard several pitches by independent groups in recent days but those plans are focused on turning Democrats and sympathetic independents out to vote. He has heard almost nothing from outside groups about planning an aggressive media campaign to undermine McCain’s credibility as an advocate for the working class.

“I have not had any conversations about any fundraising or any solicitations that have been focused on [the] need to raise $10 million to put such-and-such a message on TV,” said Grossman.

“I think the belief is the Obama campaign and DNC will have the resources to do what they need in the media world. Turnout among key constituencies is the principal goal of any 527 fundraising right now.”

Nick Shapiro, a spokesman for Obama’s campaign, defended the efforts to dissuade Democratic donors from funding attacks by outside groups.

“Barack Obama has consistently said that these outside groups don’t belong in our politics,” said Shapiro. “John McCain doesn’t share that view and has refused to steer his supporters away from giving to unaccountable groups.

“And when it comes to Swift Boat-style ads, it’s telling that the funders of that effort are now bankrolling ads on John McCain’s behalf. Just more of the same Bush politics.”

Chris Lehane, a senior adviser to former Vice President Al Gore’s 2000 presidential campaign, said Democrats should have begun defining McCain over the summer. He said it is difficult to begin less than 50 days from the election.

“There was an opportunity in June and July to really undermine the public trust as it relates to John McCain, that you can’t trust him to stand up for America’s families,” he said.

Lehane said that Democrats should have aired ads that would have defined McCain as an agent of the wealthy and of corporate America before Republicans had a chance to portray him as a selfless war hero at their convention in St. Paul, Minn.

“You could have really headed him off at the pass and it would have made a big difference for those 2 or 3 percent of voters who will make a difference in the election,” he said, in reference to white, working-class women who have emerged as a crucial swing bloc. “You can still do it, but it’s harder now that you’re in the late stages of the fall campaign.”

Other Democratic operatives offered harsher assessments of Obama’s summer campaign strategy.

“Clearly the Obama campaign lost the late summer — we know that — in terms of framing the debate,” said a Democratic consultant who requested anonymity for fear of sparking the ire of campaign officials. “It would have been helpful had there been a countermeasure out there to define McCain.”

Shapiro, Obama’s spokesman, however, said the campaign used June, July and August to define McCain.

“Throughout the summer we have been making the case that John McCain is out of touch and only offering more of the same failed Bush policies,” he said. “Right now we are in the most serious financial crisis since the Great Depression. Yet Sen. McCain stood up [Monday] and said, ‘The fundamentals of the economy are strong.’ He just doesn’t get it.”

Democratic-allied groups, known as 527s because of their tax classification, financed massive media and grassroots campaigns on the behalf of Sen. John Kerry (Mass.), then the Democratic nominee.

Two of the biggest players, the Media Fund and America Coming Together, which combined spent more than $100 million, folded after the election.

It was the Republicans, however, who were seen to use 527 groups most effectively in 2004. The GOP-allied group Swift Boat Veterans for Truth crafted a media campaign impugning Kerry’s war record that many Democrats later acknowledged as a devastating blow.

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