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For all those holding church services in quasi-worship of the environment, a Catholic priest, the Revd Nicholas Gregoris, asks:

Would that these young Christian environmentalists valued life in the womb as much as plants and animals.

However, the priest makes the essential point that obeying the tenets of the Gospel and the Ten Commandments are what Christianity is all about. Failure to uphold those in favour of the world’s trends — e.g. making a religion out of environmentalism — will not win notional believers eternal life.

Repent of the Church of Gaia now or face eternal judgement without eternal God-granted rest.

The Church of Gaia is one of the devil’s best tricks today.

Be a steward of the environment, not an idoliser of it.

Activity in the Church of Gaia continues.

The other day we saw that students at New York’s Union Seminary confess to plants.

Another recent development is the anointment with chrism of Washington DC’s Catholic school students in a pledge to the environment.

Last Friday, September 20, 2019 — Greta Thunberg’s first school strike day of the autumn — some students in the Archdiocese of Washington assembled in churches for Catholic Charities’ Season of Creation Prayer Service:

This included showing Greta’s climate address to the UN — and anointing students’ hands with blessed chrism (sacramental oil):

Chrism is used in Catholic sacramental rites of Baptism, Confirmation and the Anointing of the Sick and Dying.

Therefore, use of sacramental oil is suspect when used in another context, such as this one.

Furthermore, anointing of the head — not the hands — is the general practice for Baptism and Confirmation. The brain rules what our hands do.

Devout Catholics had this to say about the service which elevates the environment above God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ:

There was more reaction here:

I’ll end with this tweet:

The practice you are depicting is blasphemy and idolatry. Pray for the conversion of all who participate in this sinfulness.

Indeed.

This ceremony is blasphemous and idolatrous. It also opens the door to heresy, elevating God’s creation above God Himself.

These are dangerous days for young Christians, whether Catholic or Protestant. Pray that the Holy Spirit works in them, turning them away from error and heresy towards the eternal truth as expressed in Holy Scripture and the Sacraments.

Once upon a time, I knew a couple who attended Union Seminary in New York.

As it was a long time ago — so last century — and I was young then, I thought that all seminaries were theologically conservative.

How wrong I was.

This couple, although they conducted themselves conservatively in apparel and manners, were among the most left-wing people I’d ever met. She went to study Theology. He was going to become an ordained minister until he realised he could make bags of money in the private sector.

Someday, I will examine Union Seminary here in more detail.

For now, this is what they got up to on Tuesday, September 17, 2019.

This is not from The Onion or Babylon Bee. It’s from the seminary’s own Twitter feed.

Read it and weep:

Our Lord Himself warned against false teachers, yet, this is how Union Seminary justifies their pagan pseudo-pantheism:

I cannot help but wonder where that leaves their vegetarian and vegan students.

I hope the following is not in any seminary’s future:

The thread garnered excellent replies from the devout:

What about Jesus’s withering the barren fig tree?

Guess Jesus has some repenting to do regarding that fig tree.

It’s time to return to Holy Scripture, folks, before it is too late:

Yep, they will ask for redemption one day.

Pray it’s not too late:

The reply was in response to ‘a few potted plants from Home Depot’ rather than the sentiment.

There were other calls to repentance, such as this one:

Then someone recalled that Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a student at Union in 1930 and loathed it. A female cleric had a go at him:

Even a pagan thinks Union’s veggie worship is weird:

There were some funny plant-based puns, such as this:

But, ultimately, it comes down to this — a return to the Bible and its doctrine. Otherwise, these students and their professors could meet with a dreadful judgement from On High:

Pray not only for Union Seminary but for the countless others around the world that have turned to Gaia, rejecting Holy Scripture and Jesus Christ, our only Mediator and Advocate with the Father.

It’s been a long time since I’ve tagged a post with ‘Church of Gaia’.

Yet, this syncretic sinfulness remains alive and well.

My reader Underground Pewster recently wrote about prayer petitions from the Episcopal Church’s Blue Book, likely to be used at their General Convention which started on June 25, 2015 and ends on July 3, 2015.

What he cites reads as if it were written by people who have a death wish for humanity (emphases in the original):

Most of what follows comes from the SUPPLEMENTAL MATERIALS From the STANDING COMMISSION ON LITURGY AND MUSIC (SCLM)

A Litany for the Planet: 

On rocks and minerals that form the foundations for life,
Creator, have mercy.
On volcanoes and lava flows that reveal the power of earth’s core,
Creator, have mercy…

I for one pray that God will show no mercy on volcanoes and lava flows. Was that prayer written by the guys who run the lava flow cruises or helicopter rides in Hawaii?

On micro-organisms of endless variety, the complex and the simple,
Creator, have mercy (
pp 248-9)

I hoped this one would go away when I pointed it out three years ago, but I guess we will soon be praying for multidrug resistant tuberculosis along with botulism, salmonella, and HIV.

Too right! What are these people thinking?

And it gets worse. The Blue Book promotes syncretism — combining Christianity with other religions’ deities — strictly anathema. In this case, the Episcopal Church has a prayer to the Native American Great Spirit, Gitchi Manadoo. It can be found in the Blue Book on p. 243 in “Prayers of the People Honoring God in Creation”, Form 2. Briefly:

[Gichi Manidoo,] Great Spirit God,
we give you thanks for another day on this earth.
We give you thanks for this day
to enjoy the compassionate goodness of you, our Creator.

Whoa!

Underground Pewster investigated further and discovered the following information on native-languages.org. Two brief excerpts follow, with more on Pewster’s admirable post:

Gitchi Manitou is the great creator god of the Anishinaabe and many neighboring Algonquian tribes. The name literally means Great Spirit, a common phrase used to address God in many Native American cultures.
As in other Algonquian tribes, the Great Spirit is abstract, benevolent, does not directly interact with humans, and is rarely if ever personified in Anishinabe myths–

Also:

It is Gitchi Manitou who created the world, though some details of making the world as we know it today were delegated to the culture hero Nanabozho.

Hmm.

We do need to be careful about whom we are addressing our prayers and supplications. Although certain tribes consider the Great Spirit and the Christian God to be the same, He is not.

Another thing Episcopalians would do well to remember is that (emphases mine in purple):

the same SCLM geniuses who are foisting Gitchi Manitou on us are the ones who prepared the liturgies for same sex marriages

Underground Pewster followed this post up with a round-up of Episcopalian Summer Solstice services which appeal to their inner Druid.

To show the falsehood of such services, Pewster has helpfully provided a lengthy quote from St Augustine of Hippo’s Confessions, part of which is cited below. Those unfamiliar with Augustine’s personal story should note that he came to Christianity well into adulthood after years of libertinism and paganism. This is part of what he wrote about Creation:

I asked the earth; and it answered, “I am not He;” and whatsoever are therein made the same confession. I asked the sea and the deeps, and the creeping things that lived, and they replied, “We are not thy God, seek higher than we.” … I asked the heavens, the sun, moon, and stars: “Neither,” say they, “are we the God whom thou seekest.” And I answered unto all these things which stand about the door of my flesh, “Ye have told me concerning my God, that ye are not He; tell me something about Him.” And with a loud voice they exclaimed, “He made us.” … I asked the vast bulk of the earth of my God, and it answered me, “I am not He, but He made me.”

As Christians, it is essential that we remember the Creation story in Genesis, Jesus’s references to God as Creator in the Gospels and keep St Augustine’s quote in the forefront of our minds.

May we never fall into the trap of syncretic worship and break the First Commandment.

Below are a few facts about Pope Francis:

He was quite the imp in primary school. Martha Rabino is five years younger than Jorge Bergoglio but recalls that he used to visit one of his schoolteachers, Sister Rosa, who died recently at the age of 101. Sister Rosa, according to Sister Martha Rabino, told Bergoglio that he was ‘a devil’ and asked him whether he got any better. Sister Martha, incidentally, taught Argentina’s President Christina Fernandez (Mrs Kirchner) catechism many years ago.

He had his first — and only — crush, it would seem, at the age of 12. His young ‘girlfriend’ was the same age. Her parents put an end to their puppy love, but not before he drew the girl a picture of the house they would live in once they were married. He said that if she wouldn’t be his girlfriend, he would become a priest.

He is known for his austere style of living, declining to reside in the Cardinal’s mansion. Instead, he lived in a small flat in downtown Buenos Aires, cooked for himself and relied on public transport. He is no stranger to the slums and has a keen interest in the poor.

– He loves Argentina and believes that Great Britain has usurped the Falkland Islands.

He chose his name in memory of St Francis of Assisi rather than St Francis Xavier, one of the seven original Jesuits who journeyed to the Far East as a missionary in the Middle Ages.

– His sister believes he will have a life of ‘infinite loneliness’ in the Vatican and confirms he did not want the post.

President Christina Fernandez has asked the Pope to intervene in the Falklands dispute, after residents overwhelmingly voted — 99% — to remain British.

On Tuesday morning, March 19, 2013, I watched the Pope’s installation Mass on BBC1. In 2005, I watched Pope Benedict XVI’s, which was glorious. Pope Francis’s was quite different and left me uneasy. I took several pages of notes which contain many exclamation marks.

Jon Sopel, who normally presents political programmes, led the panel of Archbishop Peter Smith of the Roman Catholic diocese of Southwark (London), Joanna Moorhead of Faith Today and Dr Eamon Duffy, prominent papal historian.

They made little mention of Pope Benedict, who, by the way, did not attend the Mass. The only time his name came up was when the panel discussed the paedophilia scandals. The Archbishop thought that it was time to stop talking about the issue, a sentiment I have read from other Catholics lately. It seems to be a new meme. That said, the Archbishop said that the scandals would continue to come to light.

Let’s not forget that this was John Paul II’s mess which he refused to clean up and left Benedict XVI to do it. John Paul II thought many of these incidents were fiction based on Communist propaganda techniques used against Catholic clergy behind the Iron Curtain in the old days.

I find it disappointing that the media gave John Paul II a pass on everything because he looked so good on television. He should have; he was a stage actor before becoming a priest.

Still, the question remains — and many Protestant ministers have blogged on it — where is the church discipline? There has been some, but the stories which reach the press are those where secret or quiet deals have taken place where these priests — and now a cardinal — are still allowed to exercise their office.

Now on to highlights of the Mass and the BBC’s commentators.

– Pope Francis’s ring is recycled. Normally, these are made new for each Pope from gold and a precious stone. Francis’s does not appear to have a jewel and is silver-plated.

– Pope Francis will not be wearing the traditional red slippers nor will he continue with Benedict XVI’s penchant for the traditional fur-trimmed red cape. Francis reportedly said, ‘Carnival time is over‘. I’m not so sure that Benedict intended his revivals of traditions as a circus but rather as reverence for papal history.

– Francis’s papal vestments for Mass are off-white with black and gold trim.  They looked very austere and depressing. The use of black is no doubt a nod to the Jesuits, whose colour is black. His pallium — a papal stole with a collar, to represent the Good Shepherd with a lamb around His neck — has a long black tip. The Black Pope?

This AFP graphic based on information from the Vatican illustrates the differences between Francis and Benedict with regard to their attire. N.B.: If there is a large gap after the image, please scroll down to continue reading the post. Apologies for the formatting problems!

Pope attire 2013 AFP photo_1363680589061-3-0

Before Mass, the cameras showed Francis going to visit St Peter’s tomb underneath the eponymous basilica. Afterward, on the steps of St Peter’s, he was presented with his aforementioned pallium, which was made by the Sisters of St Agnes, traditional weavers of this papal vestment.

After the pallium placement, Francis sat down and rubbed his nostris with his right thumb and forefinger. Errgh. He would go on to shake cardinals’ hands and celebrate the Mass using his right hand.

He next received his ‘recycled’ (the BBC’s words) papal ring.

Whereas the liturgical music used for Benedict’s first papal Mass was glorious, Francis’s sounded as if it was from the usual Vatican II Mass Catholics hear every week. The choirs sounded flat; the only singing ‘star’ was the soloist choirboy who sang between the first two readings. Well done, that lad!

By contrast, Benedict’s 2005 Mass was so uplifting that when I went to the supermarket later, one of the clerks — a Muslim lady — told me that she watched the whole Mass and was very moved by it. She said, ‘I was only going to watch a few minutes of it out of curiosity. Instead, I watched all of it before coming to work. It was beautiful. I was transfixed.’ I pray that God watches over her and brings her to life in Christ.

What follows are what I could derive from the Scripture passages, none of which had a clear specification. My apologies if I got these wrong vis à vis my notes.

The first reading featured verses from II Samuel 7, among them:

13 He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. 

The second reading was taken from Romans 4:

16 That is why it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his offspring—not only to the adherent of the law but also to the one who shares the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all, 17 as it is written, “I have made you the father of many nations”—in the presence of the God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist. 18 In hope he believed against hope, that he should become the father of many nations, as he had been told, “So shall your offspring be.” 19 He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was as good as dead (since he was about a hundred years old), or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah’s womb. 20 No unbelief made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, 21 fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised.

The Gospel reading came from Matthew 1 and specifically concerned St Joseph as March 19 is his feast day — a public holiday in Rome:

19 And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. 20 But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”

Afterward, Pope Francis delivered his first Vatican homily. As it was the feast of St Joseph, he began by exhorting those in attendance to emulate his example. Francis spoke of Joseph’s obedience to God in his role as protector of Mary and Jesus. He added that this can be extended to the Church. Francis said that Joseph carried out this responsibility ‘discreetly’ and with humility, even when he found his duty ‘hard to understand’. Yet, Joseph was present in fidelity and ‘loving care’ through times good and bad. Francis emphasised that Joseph was open to God’s presence, not his own wishes.

That was a good message which spoke to everyone — the ordained, heads of state, Catholic religious and laity. It also gave an indication as to how Francis would exercise his responsibilities as Pope — discreetly and humbly.

Then, Francis discoursed on the Catholic responsibility to the world’s poor and urged heads of states and governments to ensure the poor had more. He banged home the message that we all had to DO SOMETHING about poverty.  Yet, Jesus Himself told us that poverty was intractable. Many non-Catholics press the Catholic Church to start selling off the Vatican’s ‘riches’. It is possible that Francis will consider this. Unfortunately, such a gesture would not cure poverty. The proceeds would be spent within a couple of hours and probably only buy every poor person one small meal.

His next action point was environmentalism: ‘We are called to protect all creation!’ This reminded me of the big Gaia movement in South America which revolves around the Earth mother, Pachamama, and has enticed left-wing governments and Catholic religious towards new rights for nature and Pantheism (a heresy, for those who don’t know).

Therefore, two-thirds of the homily was directed towards the developing world, particularly South America.

Francis’s homily was also an excellent example of nouvelle théologie, where dogma changes with the world. Benedict XVI also espoused this way of thinking, saying that the Church is communitarian and that we must avoid strict biblical interpretations which would fossilise the Church or place Christ in ‘yesterday’.

This is Modernism, which St Pius X — the last Pope to be canonised — declared a heresy in 1907 (read here, here and here).

Francis’s homily had no mention of Christ’s sacrifice for us on the Cross, no mention of God’s grace, no mention about spreading the Gospel — by which I mean the Good News, not wealth redistribution or environmentalism.

This is why I felt so queasy afterward. It was not helped when Archbishop Smith said (only somewhat paraphrased) of Francis’s redistribution and environmentalism:

That’s the Gospel we will be judged on now.

To which Joanna Moorhead added (again, only somewhat paraphrased):

The environment is a very unifying message for the Church.

You don’t have to be Catholic or Christian to be part of these movements. During Francis’s first weekend as Pope, the BBC broadcast Comic Relief, a charity effort featuring top British entertainers, while France’s TF1 showed the annual benefit concert by Les Enfoirés, a pop group whose proceeds go to the charitable organisation Les Restos du Coeur (Restaurants of the Heart), where the poor are guaranteed a hot meal, a kind word and a smile as often as they need it.

It would not surprise me if Francis really were the last Pope, although perhaps not in the apocalyptic ways which St Malachy imagined. Archbishop Smith and Eamon Duffy both said afterward that Francis would attempt to reform the Curia and decentralise the administrative authority, devolving it to bishops. The Archbishop reminded us that the first bishops in the Church were elected by their congregations.

More urgent than that, however, is their need for the Gospel. It matters not how many Masses Catholic clergy and the Pope celebrate. For them and for too many Catholics, Jesus Christ is but a backdrop, overshadowed by the world.

Friday’s post featured excerpts from Invisible Serfs Collar, authored by an attorney named Robin who is busy exploring the education establishment in the Anglo-Saxon world with a particular concentration on the United States.

The education programmes Robin explores are designed to help the United Nations implement their desired inculcation of young people in the West, no doubt for a successful implementation of Agenda 21.

Although this education system appears to be new, it goes back in America to John Dewey, the developer of the Dewey Decimal System used in libraries. Dewey also had socialist ideas about the role of education which he took from Prussian schools in the 19th century. However, that is another topic for another post.

Although our grandparents and great-grandparents learned much more than most of us have since the Second World War, there is still some way to go before education becomes fully dumbed down and completely values-based in order to enable a new collectivist society.

When a parent hears the terms outcome-based, Common Core, digital-based learning, Cambridge Education, Amplify and so on — all these have their part to play in helping to achieve UNESCO’s aims for the 21st century.

Robin gives us a bit of modern history regarding the education system in the United States (emphases mine):

UNESCO really does now seem to serve as the repository for schemes in the West against capitalism, individualism, and rational, logical, academic knowledge. But during the Cold War, much of that same aim came from the NEA, especially its ASCD subsidiary. In March 1978, Educational Leadership published a special issue called “Education of Judgment and Action: Personal and Civic.” It appears to be the launch of the formal push to make Values Education an integral part of US education going forward. The listed rationale was:

“the cultivation of decision making particularly as it relates to political virtues that are appropriate to constitutional self-government and that are required to achieve a society that stands for justice, equality, and freedom in the modern world.”

And that’s how the War commenced to permanently change the behavior of future voters via the schools by changing the underlying Values. To cultivate that herd instinct that can cause any nation so much grief. And if you actually read the 1978 essay “The Status of Education of Judgment” by … John R Meyer, you would learn that the value of freedom to be fostered is not the traditional American belief that it is a natural right existing prior to any compact with government. No, the essay rejects that definition of Freedom in favor of the John Dewey definition then being pushed hard again (1977) by Columbia Teachers College.

“Freedom is a social benefit conferred by the collective intelligence of society.”

‘Gosh,’ you say, ‘that could mean anything.’ Indeed. That is the point. This is part of the reason why the TEA Party, fellow conservatives and libertarians receive so much opprobrium from the Left, especially adults under the age of 30.

All this can be traced back to the Soviets, including sustainability and Gaia, as Robin points out:

The government power to tax and coerce and reward cronies with special benefits has always been a danger to the average person. And really that’s all the socio-cultural perspective and the Belmont Challenge and Future Earth really are when you boil them down to their essence. They are power grabs. Schemes to put the average person in an assigned place, dictate their permitted behavior, and gain financial benefits from that ability to assign and dictate.

That was what the Soviet nomenklatura wanted from socio-cultural psychological research into creating the perfect new citizen. It appears to be what the bureaucrats now have in mind for Common Core when they target the human personality in the classroom and proclaim it to be “malleable” and capable of change. Yes they did say that and yes I made copies.

In fact the updated version of the Soviet socio-cultural perspective is called the Bronfenbrenner Ecological Systems Theory. It was created in 1979 to target social programs and practices in Western countries. I became familiar with it because it is the learning theory used to justify the Transformational Outcomes Based Education practices in Australia and New Zealand … BEST is all about the process of interactions among people as the measure of learning. Here’s a brief link to an explanation and graphic showing why it is such a perfect theory and education model for government bureaucrats wanting to restructure an economy around sustainability. http://virtual.yosemite.cc.ca.us/childdevelopment/Cheryl/Sp10/EcologicalHandout.pdf

As you can see it’s all encompassing: mind, people, climate, community, Planet Earth. And it is an honest theory. It does not pretend to be factually true. It acknowledges it was created to justify desired political policies. Except many of us do not desire them. Certainly not in our schools. Using our children as social guinea pigs.

I am going to close with an explanation for all this maneuvering that is tucked into that Good Work book we talked about in the previous post. It develops the idea of memes“units of information that, once mastered, condition–indeed constitute!–the way we think and that can be passed along from person to person.” The book then goes on to say in that chapter on reshaping minds that “memes can then be mobilized to favor, annihilate, or refashion genes.”

That’s the aspiration. Written by prominent professors whose work has been pushed and adopted all over the West through education “reforms.” The definition of Global Competence comes from this group. This is what transformational education change is all about. It turns out the Common Core to be accessed is deeply embedded.

In another post, Robin outlines the core values schoolchildren are being forced to adopt. These come from CASEL, the Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning. SEL stands for the last three words:

I am going to give CASEL’s descriptions verbatim but before I do that, please remember that this will be in elementary school classrooms where we refuse to teach reading phonetically because that would introduce students to an abstract symbol system and thus nurture abstract thought. I have seen the Common Core literacy progressions and they amount to doling out the words and concepts students are to be allowed to encounter and become familiar with. Years to learn words that most kids could be ready for by second grade if taught properly. And I am not guessing on the reasons either even if the classroom teacher has no idea. Finally, Common Core distinguishes between oral and print and formal and informal in a way that appears tragic. And I really was not happy to read this week that those distinctions tracked back to Mikhail Bakhtin and his war against individualism. So here, please appreciate the planned manipulation already in place:

Self-awareness: The ability to accurately recognize one’s emotions and thoughts and their influence on behavior. This includes accurately assessing one’s strengths and limitations and possessing a well-grounded sense of confidence and optimism.

Self-management: The ability to regulate one’s emotions, thoughts, and behaviors effectively in different situations. This includes managing stress, controlling impulses, motivating oneself, and setting and working toward achieving personal and academic goals.

Social awareness: The ability to take the perspective of and empathize with others from diverse backgrounds and cultures, to understand social and ethical norms for behavior, and to recognize family, school, and community resources and supports.

Relationship skills: The ability to establish and maintain healthy and rewarding relationships with diverse individuals and groups. This includes communicating clearly, listening actively, cooperating, resisting inappropriate social pressure, negotiating conflict constructively, and seeking and offering help when needed.

Responsible decision making: The ability to make constructive and respectful choices about personal behavior and social interactions based on consideration of ethical standards, safety concerns, social norms, the realistic evaluation of consequences of various actions, and the well-being of self and others.

Whatever you expect from your area schools or need in future employees, Race to the Top and Common Core are premised upon the classroom being accessible to ALL students. Repeated references are made to a levelling purpose for public education. I have seen what the accreditors envision and it fits with those Five SEL Competencies and virtually no transmission of knowledge beyond basic, politically useful concepts.

The systems theorists have plans for radical transformation … As a result their goal of education in the 21st century is an “individually and socially competent citizen.” Not much knowledge there, but remember these same schemers plan to redesign the economy. To fit the education qualifications they are willing to provide.

You can read about the late Mikhail Bakhtin here; it seems that details of his life and work, some of which he promoted himself, turned out to be false.

One of Robin’s commenters adds that, as well as values, all races must now be disciplined in equal measure. That doesn’t mean a uniform punishment for an infraction, but a race-based quota system of punished students. This is to move black students away from being statistically the most frequent offenders in schools. Therefore, trumped-up accusations and sanctions against other races, whether students are guilty or not, will be instituted:

“What this means is that whites and Asians will get suspended for things that blacks don’t get suspended for,” because school officials will try to level punishments despite groups’ different infraction rates, predicted Hans Bader, a counsel at the Competitive Enterprise Institute. Bader is a former official in the Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights, and has sued and represented school districts and colleges in civil-rights cases …

The [Maryland] state’s board of education established a policy demanding that each racial or ethnic group receive roughly proportional level of school penalties, regardless of the behavior by members of each group.

Chilling.

In addition to all this — and every bit as bad as the cessation of phonics-based teaching — is the withdrawal of written work. Robin notes that digital tools are also intended to substitute for part of the child’s brain:

Symbolic cultural tools identified by Soviet psychologists Vygotsky and Luria as strengthening individual mental capacity like written language must be weakened. Tools with the innate capacity, like the computer, to weaken mental function by becoming a substitute for it, must be pushed. It is desired cultural evolution where we are under attack to STOP “our nature-transcendent innovation as a species” … Here’s the political vision being pushed by our ed schools and the accreditation agencies all over the world. It is the essence of what CCSSI is seeking and why Arne Duncan wants all curriculum to be digitized by 2017 at the latest. 

All of this partly explains why many conservatives lament the lack of thought processes on the part of young leftists. We stand aghast at their practical and factual ignorance.  This is the reason why. They do not know their history. They have difficulty writing a sentence, let alone an informed argument.  They can only attack their opponent using the most vicious rhetoric and vocabulary.

If today’s Left reminds you of Bolsheviks, this is why.

In closing, I do not know Robin of Invisible Serfs Collar, however, s/he invites concerned parents and guardians to write in with any questions and concerns they might have about education today:

If your school or district is already there, please comment or drop me a line. I will help you get more info to try to prevent your child from being a victim of utopian newmindedness.

Robin’s enquiry page is here.

Cranmer reports that a Christian councillor on the Brighton and Hove (Sussex) City Council has been expelled from the Green Party.

In July 2012 Christina Summers was the only city councillor to vote against gay marriage. Although, as I write, the Green Party have not yet released the official report for her expulsion, this and other matters are thought to have contributed. Scrapper Duncan has more on the story here and here. Some of these objections concern her Evangelical Christianity.

Greens do not mind Christian members as long as they practice a liberal brand of Jesus’s teachings. Evangelical churches in the UK are, by and large, quite conservatively biblical in their views. Green Party members must sign up to an equality clause, which Summers did. Perhaps since then she has come to a greater knowledge of the New Testament.

It would appear that Summers has since contacted Christian Concern, allied with the Christian Legal Centre, about her expulsion.

Personally, I would say it was time to move on and join another political party. The problem is — where would Summers go? Nearly all the parties in England have a pro-gay marriage position, although one can quietly object for now. I’m not sure where UKIP stands, but they might be too conservative for her in terms of environmentalism. Maybe, then, it’s time to choose another career.

This is one of the drawbacks with the Church of Gaia. It claims to be about environmentalism but dabbles in other areas of social transformation. Greens elsewhere in the West are the same.

Rambling Steve Appleseed describes them aptly in the comments on Cranmer’s post:

I was a member of the Green party for several years a couple of decades ago until I saw though the touchy feely rhetoric and realised that they are not merely innumerate Utopian socialsits with dope addled brains but highly intolerant and profoundly anti Christian. Bet I’ve planted more trees than any of them. They are a menace in a one moron one vote society because their rhetoric and imagery is so catchy but heaven help us if a tenth of their uncosted, untested sub-Marxian Utopian dreams became policy.

How true.

I also find it vaguely amusing that a party which takes the Lord’s name in vain (see the first of Scrapper Duncan’s posts) is lecturing us on secular pietism in terms of smoking, drinking and food. Whited sepulchres.

The speculation below regarding smart meter marketing in Britain is mine, except for one item.

It seems to be a happy accident that 51% of British energy bill payers have never heard of smart meters. That means they have no negative preconceptions. Therefore, this makes it easier to introduce a positive outlook on smart meters, which could prove to be yet another bone of contention in our society.

Below are three possibilities — probabilities? — for their introduction to the UK:

1/ Adverts about saving money whilst helping the environment: Many Britons are divided on the Church of Gaia premise of ‘saving’ the environment. My neighbours’ commitment to Gaia is varied. Yes, we all recycle, but one man brings home the weekly shop in carrier bags whilst his wife uses bags for life or cardboard boxes. Our clergy seem particularly committed to bags for life. Other residents prefer using carrier bags for their purchases because they can reuse them for other purposes.

So, energy companies — namely British Gas — need to ‘sell’ the smart meter idea to the 51%. We do not, as yet, know how many of them are adherents of Gaia. Therefore, it is impossible to assess the difficulty of the learning curve involved.

As most of us are fairly materialist, mainly because of the dismal economy, we’re continually assessing the value of money spent. Much of this centres on tax — who is worthy of receiving unemployment benefit or health services, to cite two examples. However, another element is how much we pay for goods and services, and here a magnificent marketing coup can take place nudging consumers towards smart meters.

Imagine adverts with interviews of energy company customers discussing how much they save now that they have smart meters installed. Useful talking heads for these adverts would be a middle class elderly couple and a low-income single mother with children around her. ‘I never thought it was possible to save on electricity — until now. My smart meter has given me more money for holiday and treats for the kids.’

2/ Politicians talking up smart meters in media appearances. All this involves is slipping smart meters into as many discourses on the environment and carbon footprint as possible. ‘And, of course, we now have smart meters which will actually measure how and when we use a precious commodity like electricity. They’re perfectly safe and easy for homeowners to have installed. Many of our European neighbours have found that they can now reduce their energy consumption, thanks to smart meters.’

Expect propaganda and obfuscation on safety and savings, a bit like the MMR debate of the Blair years which centred on vaccine safety and children’s health. We never did find out if Leo Blair had the MMR or separate vaccines. We don’t really care, either, but it is the principle of the thing, especially when British parents are unable to obtain separate vaccinations for their own children.  Therefore, not installing a smart meter might prove difficult.  As my post yesterday explained, California’s Pacific Gas & Electric forces customers without smart meters to pay annual and monthly penalty charges for that privilege.

3/ Schoolchildren receiving temporary smart meters to take home. This has already begun happening in some schools. Last Spring some primary schools were given smart meters to hand out to pupils to test energy output for 24 hours. They went home with the meter and a short user guide on how to work with their parents to measure electricity output, the results of which they later discussed in class.  Apparently, the kettle uses up the most energy. Yet, in most households it is on only a very limited time per day.

In the sinister 20th century propaganda tradition of using children to influence parents, schools present a great marketing opportunity for smart meters through pester power. In the school ‘test meter’ situation that I know of, the children were quite insistent that smart meters were a good thing, should they become available. In one household, the parents were unsure until they did their own online research. They decided that issues of privacy and control outweighed any possible savings. As a parent explained to me after having the test meter plugged in for 24 hours, one knows what appliances use the most electricity and can reduce usage accordingly.

It will be interesting to see how smart meters are positioned here in the UK. I’ll keep tabs on France as well. To date, I have not heard or read any discussions about them.

More on the subject later.

In the meantime, any readers from California who have any anecdotes or experiences they would like to share should feel free to leave a comment.

British readers can consult Stop Smart Meters (UK) (see my UK blogroll at the bottom left hand corner), which gives more information about them, including the risks to personal privacy.

As Stop Smart Meters notes:

In the UK, ‘Smart’ Meters are NOT compulsory and you have the lawful right to refuse one.

Another factor which might slow their take-up is our deregulated energy market. A new regulatory framework would need to be devised for smart meters, which, all being well, would take some time.

The far-left journalist and author Alexander Cockburn (‘Coburn’) died recently at the age of 71.

Known for his outspoken views, he was never afraid to rattle someone’s cage. I used to read his columns when he wrote for the Village Voice many moons ago. He also wrote for The Nation and was co-editor of Counterpunch. Whether one agreed or disagreed with him, he generally made his readers think.

It was no different to his position on climate change, which alienated him from some of his fellow travellers. After all, isn’t climate change the main doctrine of the Church of Gaia?

Spiked recently reprinted Cockburn’s article from 2008, ‘I have committed intellectual blasphemy’.

Although I cannot reproduce any of the text without Spiked‘s permission, this is a summary of what Cockburn had to say:

Our climate change is not a first: Cockburn pointed us towards the Mediaeval Warm Period, a time when there were fewer people and no mechanisation.

Environmental policies disadvantage the Third World: He said that India has developed an automobile which is cheap and offers greater scope for travel for the country’s population. However, Greens have already attacked the Tata Nano as being environmentally unfriendly. Cockburn was also concerned about disadvantaged farmers being forced to use certain types of seed in order to decrease their carbon footprint. This puts them in a state of powerlessness and dependence on major international corporations.

The new ‘indulgences’: Cockburn likened extra taxes and carbon offsets to the indulgences which the mediaeval Church peddled. We won’t be ‘saved’ without them and they make a nice little earner for the third parties which manage the offset trade. He called such behaviour ‘demented’.

Ignoring the big polluters: He pointed out that the largest polluters are still power plants but that politicians did not — and do not — want to do battle with them.  Consequently, legislation shifts to the individual motorist, who is unable to avoid environmental legislation.  The same can be said for smart meters, which in California are mandatory unless you pay Pacific Gas & Electric an annual penalty for opting out:

In PG&E’s plan, “PG&E customers who want to opt-out of smart meters will be required to pay a one-time $75 fee and a monthly charge of $10. Low-income customers will pay an initial fee of $10 and a monthly charge of $5,” reports the San Jose Mercury News.

Cockburn noted that it is dangerous to speak out against climate change in a research or a political environment. Pressure is brought to bear on dissenters with the threat of loss of funding, one’s employment and a damaged reputation.

He added that ‘peer reviewed’ science is meaningless. Findings say whatever they are supposed to. Research institutions and journals have peer review boards which approve what supports the general consensus and put a red ‘X’ across anything which doesn’t. This system, he said, controls and curtails debate.

Cockburn had his own travails in this debate. He recounted how a member of the board of the Sierra Club told him he should be ‘criminally prosecuted’ for his views. He likened that and other hostile denouncements to persecution by the Church in the Middle Ages.

To the Church of Gaia adherents, Cockburn was a blasphemer and a heretic. What he had to say is worth reading in full for a glimpse of wit as he puts forth his case.

Yesterday, I included this link to Bron Taylor’s Books, which you will find interesting for its variety of publications, thought and praxis within the Church of Gaia.  Excerpts from his Dark Green Religion follow, emphases in bold mine.

Dr Taylor is Professor of Religion and Nature at The University of Florida. He is also an Affiliated Scholar with the Center for Environment and Development at Oslo University.  He has, among other degrees, an MA in religious ethics from Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California.

This is an interesting page to study.  Many of us may be surprised to find out deeply embedded environmentalism and Gaia are in the elite thought process.

In ‘Dark Green Religion and the Planetary Future’, Dr Taylor tells us:

a terrapolitan earth religion (or civil earth religion) is beginning to emerge, which is promoting kinship ethics and the construction of environmentally sustainable societies.

Indeed it is, as evidenced by Ecuador’s 2008 formalised treaty on behalf of Pachamama, or Mother Earth.  Gaia, Gaia.  Here’s a portion of Ecuador’s revised constitution, Title II, Chapter 1:

Art. 1. Nature or Pachamama, where life is reproduced and exists, has the right to exist, persist, maintain itself and regenerate its own vital cycles, structure, functions and its evolutionary processes.

Art. 2. Nature has the right to be completely restored. This complete restoration is independent of the obligation on natural and juridical persons or the State to compensate people or collective groups that depend on the natural systems …

Art. 5. The persons, people, communities and nationalities will have the right to benefit from the environment and from natural wealth that will allow wellbeing.

The environmental services cannot be appropriated; its production, provision, use and exploitation, will be regulated by the State.

Dr Taylor observes:

They seemed to echo Christopher Stone’s novel legal argument, first advanced in 1972, that trees and other living things should have standing in the courts, and people ought to be able to represent their interests.

Below, you will also see the words ‘change’, ‘peace’, ‘shift’ and ‘community’.  The red flags are up!

Here is part of a statement from Thomas Derr about the Earth Charter:

The prior language of ‘intrinsic value of all beings,’ an arguable point at best, is gone, but its replacement is its functional equivalent: ‘[E]very form of life has value regardless of its worth to human beings.’ This is the point that the Charter’s originators regard as indispensable and at the heart of the values shift that they advocate. We are enjoined to ‘declare our responsibility [not only] to one another, [but also] to the greater community of life’… Peace requires ‘right relationships’ not only with other people but with ‘other life, Earth, and the larger whole of which we are a part’ …

On this, Dr Taylor says:

It is not surprising that Derr and others would make this kind of statement given the kind of pantheistic statements made by proponents such as Strong and Gorbechev … For less measured criticisms … see the article by Lee Penn (sourced in Dark Green Religion, 286, note 85), which considers the Earth Charter “totalitarian.” Penn spends a great deal of time looking at the religious beliefs and backgrounds of prominent Earth Charter proponents, including Strong and Gorb[a]chev. One need not appreciate the vitriolic tone to recognize that Christians such as Penn are quite able to discern nature religion when they see it.

Incidentally, I cited Lee Penn in my December 1, 2009 post, ‘More on Cardinal Levada — help of Anglicans’.  He’s a good investigative journalist.

Dr Taylor supplies various titles about Gaia worship and a one-world religious unity, some of which follow:

This Sacred Earth: Religion, Nature, Environment, first ed. (New York & London: Routledge, 1996)

Oxford Handbook of Religion and Ecology (Oxford & New York: Oxford University Press, 2006)

Ecospirit: Religions and Philosophies for the Earth, 1st ed. (New York: Fordham University Press, 2007)

the ten volume “Religions of the world and ecology” book series edited by Mary Evelyn Tucker and John Grim, published between 1997 and 2007 by the Center for the Study of World Religions at Harvard Divinity School

an in depth ethnography exploring a movement among Roman Catholic Nuns who have significant affinities with dark green religion, see Sarah McFarland Taylor, Green Sisters: A Spiritual Ecology (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2007).

Finding God in the Singing River: Christianity, Spirit, Nature (Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg Fortress, 2005)

So, it appears we have prominent Catholic and Protestant proponents of these syncretic ideas. Hmm.

And, he has more for us to digest:

The environmental philosopher Max Oelschlaeger … wrote a provocative book promoting a return to Paleolithic religious consciousness, by which he meant perception that considers nature sacred and that represented a clear rejection of the world’s major religious traditions. Later, thinking strategically and ignoring the irony, Oelschlaeger produced a book that endeavored to turn Christianity green; see Max Oelschlaeger, The Idea of Wilderness: From Prehistory to the Age of Ecology (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1991) …

Par. 1, For books specifically about the sustainability revolution, which provide many examples of phenomena with dark green dimensions, see Andres R. Edwards, The Sustainability Revolution: Portrait of a Paradigm Shift (Gabriola, BC: New Society Publishers, 2005), and Paul Hawken, Blessed Unrest: How the Largest Movement in the World Came into Being, and Why No One Saw It Coming (New York: Viking, 2007).]

If anyone has read the Hawken book, please feel free to comment with a brief synopsis.  I would be interested in knowing ‘why no one saw it coming’.

Other important publications that reflect the trend include John B. Cobb, Jr., Sustainability: Economics, Ecology, and Justice (Maryknoll, New York: Orbis, 1992) …

More Catholics!  And look how they wrap liberation theology into it.

On the corporate front, we have:

Green to Gold: How Smart Companies Use Environmental Strategy to Innovate, Create Value, and Build Competitive Advantage (New Haven, [Conn.]: Yale University Press, 2006)

Walking the Talk: The Business Case for Sustainable Development (Berrett-Koehler, 2002)

The Triple Bottom Line: How Today’s Best-Run Companies Are Achieving Economic, Social, and Environmental Success-and How You Can Too, 1st ed. (San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass, 2006)

The Next Sustainability Wave: Building Boardroom Buy-In (Gabriola Island, BC: New Society Publishers, 2005)

In terms of business organisations:

There has also been a proliferation of business organizations devoted to sustainability, such as the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, see http://www.wbcsd.org/, and CERES, a coalition of investors and environmentalists that has developed important environmental principles and benchmarks for corporations and businesses, and states its mission as “integrating sustainability into capital markets for the health of the planet and its people.” See http://www.ceres.org

As the environmentalist milieu broadens, there will be further cross-fertilization as environmentalists and business people learn from one another and some of them re-configure their views.

Two of the prime texts in adaptive management well illustrate the value of breaking down such barriers between environmental and corporate sectors; see Gunderson and Holling, Panarchy and Fikret Berkes, Johan Colding, and Carl Folke, Navigating Social-Ecological Systems: Building Resilience for Complexity and Change (Cambridge, United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press, 2003).

Note the words ‘complexity’ and ‘change’ there.

In closing, Dr Taylor shares what he wrote about Sanyo’s ‘remarkable Gaian spirituality, lest readers think I am making this up’.  Please click on the link at the top of the post to read what he wrote in full.  Here is a brief excerpt:

[a second hyperlink explained, “Sustainability is synonymous with preserving and maintaining. Its goal is to provide future generations an environment they can strive in. At SANYO, in order to create a sustainable future, we will move away from the commonly-held view of “technology manipulating nature” to a cooperative “technology assisting nature” ideal.”] and equipped with world-leading technologies, SANYO will provide solutions to help sustain a positive co-existence with Gaia.

Seriously, can you believe it? You really couldn’t make it up.

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