Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Billy Graham, the Best of America to the World


Billy Graham, the Best of America to the World

By Julio Severo
Billy Graham (1918-2018) was a Baptist evangelist whose worldwide crusades and role as a spiritual adviser to 11 U.S. right-wing and left-wing presidents from both political parties made him one of the best known religious figures of the world and the best representation of the U.S. Christian spirituality.
Billy Graham with U.S. presidents George H. W. Bush, Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton
The best of America to the world is American evangelicalism, which has been a powerhouse inundating the nations with the Gospel for 200 years.
No other U.S. leader represented so finely the original Christian essence of America as Graham did. No one represented so excellently U.S. integrity, virtue, character, goodness and generosity as he did. And, above all, for 80 years he proclaimed the Gospel of Jesus Christ — the same Gospel that made America great in the past, the same Gospel that has been rejected in Hollywood and in the current American mainstream culture.
He was known as “America’s Pastor.”
He wrote 27 books, which included numerous best-sellers. Among them were his memoir, “Just As I Am,” released in 1997. His 1983 book “Approaching Hoofbeats: The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse” was on the New York Times best-seller list several weeks. In 1977, “How to Be Born Again” was released with the largest first printing in history, more than 800,000 copies. The book followed “Angel’s God’s Secret,” which sold more than 1 million copies in 90 days.
Graham also launched World Wide Pictures, producer and distributor of more than 130 films.
He was regularly listed in polls as one of the “Ten Most Admired Men in the World.”
In 1996, Graham received the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest award Congress can bestow on a private citizen.
More than anyone else, the magnetic, Hollywood-handsome Graham built evangelicalism into a force that rivaled liberal Protestantism and Roman Catholicism in the United States.
His Christian crusades took him from the frenzy of Manhattan to isolated African villages. According to the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA) website, he preached to more people in live audiences than anyone else in history.
The BGEA put his lifetime audience at nearly 215 million people in more than 185 countries and territories, with “hundreds of millions more” viewing him on television, video, film and webcasts.
“My one purpose in life,” he said, “is to help people find a personal relationship with God, which, I believe, comes through knowing Christ.”
“I have found that when I present the simple message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ with authority and simplicity, quoting the Word of God, He takes that message and drives it supernaturally into the human heart,” he said.
In 1957, he said, “I intend to go anywhere, sponsored by anybody, to preach the Gospel of Christ.”
His approach helped evangelicals gain the influence they have today. His stand on abortion and homosexuality, the most divisive issues in the U.S. culture, was conservative. He said,
“I do not feel the church as an organization should become involved in political matters… However, when political issues also have moral and spiritual dimensions… we have a responsibility to speak for the truth. I believe things like abortion are morally wrong… we have a responsibility to take a stand.”
“The serious student of the Bible cannot dismiss homosexual behavior simply as an alternate lifestyle. Nor can it be argued that homosexuals were ‘born this way’ or that such behavior is an illness.”
Yet, Graham avoided addressing these issues forcefully. In his biography “Billy Graham: His Life and Influence” (Thomas Nelson), David Aikman said,
“He has refrained from speaking out against homosexual behavior, and indeed even on the question of abortion has sometimes sounded distinctly equivocal. When asked on ABC’s Good Morning America show in September 1991 about his views on abortion, he responded, ‘There is a Christian position, I think. But I’m not prepared to say what it is.’ … When Bill Clinton won the presidential election in 1992, Graham was invited to lead prayers at the inauguration the following January, as he had done at almost every inauguration since 1952. Many evangelicals criticized him for doing so, on the grounds that Clinton was a liberal on moral issues and that he and his wife were pro-choice on the divisive abortion issue. Graham responded that he felt an obligation to pray for Clinton, even if he did not agree with everything the president said.”
Yet, his family legacy is impressive. His son Franklin Graham is a powerful conservative voice in America, speaking forcefully against abortion and the homosexual agenda. He has been a treasure for the U.S. conservative movement.
Billy Graham, a registered Democrat, also was noted for developing influential relationships with 11 presidents, from Democrat Harry Truman and Republican Dwight Eisenhower to Republican George W. Bush and to Democrat Barack Obama, who in April 2010 visited Graham at his mountaintop cabin in North Carolina. He consulted and prayed with all of them, but was careful not to endorse any candidate.
Graham described Republican Ronald Reagan as the president to whom he was closest.
George W. Bush recalls that at a time when he was a cynic and a heavy drinker with many questions about faith, Graham had an “enormous influence” on his life.
“Billy Graham helped me understand the redemptive power of a risen Lord,” he said in a Fox News Channel interview.
Graham also developed a friendship with Democrat Bill Clinton.
Clinton recalled attending a Graham crusade in Little Rock, Arkansas, when he was 13 and becoming so moved he sent a portion of his allowance to Graham’s ministry for years afterward.
Graham presided over the graveside services for Democratic President Lyndon Johnson in 1973 and spoke at the funeral of Republican President Richard Nixon in 1994.
On September 14, 2001 he led a national prayer service at Washington National Cathedral after the 9/11 attacks.
In 1979, when Jerry Falwell’s Moral Majority gathered strength, Graham refused to join.
“I’m for morality, but morality goes beyond sex to human freedom and social justice,” he explained. “We as clergy know so very little to speak with authority on the Panama Canal or superiority of armaments. Evangelists cannot be closely identified with any particular party or person. We have to stand in the middle in order to preach to all people, right and left. I haven’t been faithful to my own advice in the past. I will be in the future.”
“I have failed many times and I would do many things differently. For one thing, I would speak less and study more and I would spend more time with my family… Becoming involved in strictly political issues or partisan politics inevitably dilutes the evangelist’s impact and compromises his message. It is a lesson I wish I had learned earlier,” he said.
Graham developed a close friendship with Martin Luther King Jr., who credited him with helping reduce tensions between blacks and whites in the South.
“Had it not been for the ministry of my good friend Dr. Billy Graham, my work in the civil rights movement would not have been as successful as it has been,” King said.
Graham’s integrity was credited with salvaging the reputation of broadcast evangelism in the dark days of the late 1980s, after scandals befell TV preachers Jimmy Swaggart and Jim Bakker, who were Assemblies of God ministers.
In 1948, he resolved, to avoid pitfalls of earlier evangelists, never to be alone with a woman other than his wife. Instead of taking a share of the “love offerings” at his crusades, he drew a modest salary from the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. He said,
 “We determined to do all we could to avoid financial abuses and to downplay the offering and depend as much as possible on money raised by local committees in advance. ... From that day on, I did not travel, meet or eat alone with a woman other than my wife… We were determined to cooperate with all who would cooperate with us in the public proclamation of the Gospel and to avoid an anti-church or anti-clergy attitude.”
When he began his ministry, he took up the cause of fighting communism, preaching against its atheistic evils, and he called communists “Satan worshippers.” But in May 1982 he went to Moscow, the capital of the Soviet Union, to discuss world peace and nuclear disarmament at a conference run by the state-controlled church.
Many evangelicals criticized his trip to the Soviet Union. But Graham explained his actions.
“I learned that there are two sides to all these questions,” he said.
“Freedom is relative,” he said. “I don’t have freedom in the United States to go into a public school and preach the Gospel, nor is a student free in a public school to pray, or a teacher free to read the Bible publicly to the students. At the same time, we have a great degree of freedom for which I am grateful.”
“People of the West have various forms of democracy based on a belief in God as well as on a general acceptance of moral law. However, in practice we are beginning to resemble the Marxists, who have little respect for moral law or religion,” he said.
Graham had an opportunity that no pope ever had: He preached the Gospel in the Soviet Union.
“How marvelous it was to stand in a place like the Soviet Union and talk about the coming kingdom and to tell them that Communism will not win. I told them capitalism would not win either; it’s the kingdom of God that is going to win,” he said.
Billy Graham walked with and ministered to the leaders of the world. During his ministry years, he ministered to everyone, from royalty to the lowest of the low. He was a friend of Winston Churchill and Margaret Thatcher. The Queen of England loved his visits.
When Jim Bakker, a televangelist of the Assemblies of God, was in prison for fraud, Graham visited him, threw his arms around him and said, “Jim, I love you.”
Bakker remembered the visit:
“The day before, I had heard that he had been voted one of the top three most respected men in the world, and now he was in my prison, comforting me… The week I was released from prison, I was sitting in the Graham home eating chicken dinner. That first Sunday out of prison, I was surrounded by the Graham family.”
Graham was not afraid of touching the “untouchables,” even among evangelicals. Oral Roberts University (ORU), founded by charismatic televangelist Oral Roberts, was officially dedicated by a message of Graham in 1967.
In August of 2009, Roberts, who was one of the pioneers of the prosperity gospel, reflected on his friendship with Billy Graham:
“Billy was the most generous man in the ministry I’ve ever met. He accepted me as a brother. He said he fell in love with my ministry. I counted him the No. 1 evangelist in the world. We became very close friends.”
Upon hearing of Oral Roberts’ passing in December 2009, Graham said, “Oral Roberts was a man of God and a great friend in ministry. I loved him as a brother. We had many quiet conversations over the years.”
One recognized that he needed the other. Graham was also a friend of televangelist Rex Humbard. Their work was equally important. My mother understood the Gospel for the first time in her life by hearing Graham and next she was spiritually encouraged by the preaching of Rex Humbard and Pat Robertson. All of these American preachers were present on Brazilian television, some daily.
When Graham died in 2018, President Donald Trump said,
“The GREAT Billy Graham is dead. There was nobody like him! He will be missed by Christians and all religions. A very special man.”
Hollywood superstar Chuck Norris said, “My family’s hero: Billy Graham.”
Former U.S. president Barack Obama said,
“Billy Graham was a humble servant who prayed for so many — and who, with wisdom and grace, gave hope and guidance to generations of Americans.”
Former U.S. president George W. Bush said,
“A great man, a humble servant, and a shepherd to millions has passed on.”
Former Republican President George H.W. Bush said,
“Billy Graham was America’s pastor. His faith in Christ and his totally honest evangelical spirit inspired people across the country and around the world. I think Billy touched the hearts of not only Christians, but people of all faiths, because he was such a good man. I was privileged to have him as a personal friend. He would come to Maine to visit with Barbara and me, and he was a great sport. He loved going really fast in my boat. I guess you could say we had that in common. Then we would come home and talk about life. He was a mentor to several of my children, including the former president of the United States. We will miss our good friend forever.”
Former Democratic President Jimmy Carter said,
“Rosalynn and I are deeply saddened to learn of the death of The Reverend Billy Graham. Tirelessly spreading a message of fellowship and hope, he shaped the spiritual lives of tens of millions of people worldwide. Broad-minded, forgiving, and humble in his treatment of others, he exemplified the life of Jesus Christ by constantly reaching out for opportunities to serve.”
Graham ministered to everyone, from presidents to common people, from whites to blacks, from left-wingers to right-wingers.
He was indeed a Preacher of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He was the best of America to the world.
With information from WND (WorldNetDaily), FoxNews, Associated Press, Charisma News, Billy Graham in Quotes (Franklin Graham, Thomas Nelson), Billy Graham: His Life and Influence (David Aikman, Thomas Nelson), DailyMail and Franklin Graham.
Portuguese version of this article: Billy Graham, o melhor dos Estados Unidos para o mundo

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Help! Facebook Is Censoring Bible Verses


Help! Facebook Is Censoring Bible Verses

By Julio Severo
Facebook gave me a message on February 15, 2018:
We Removed Something You Posted
It looks like something you posted doesn’t follow our Community Standards. We remove posts that attack people based on their race, ethnicity, national origin, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, gender or disability.
Levítico 18.22:
Não de deitarás com homem, como se fosse mulher; abominação é.
The concluding text, which is in Portuguese, was targeted and removed by Facebook. This post had been originally published by me on June 2015 on my Facebook account and its translation into English is:
Leviticus 18:22:
You shall not lie with a male as with a woman. It is an abomination.
Willing or not willing, Facebook treated Leviticus 18:22 directly as a “attack” on “people based on their… sexual orientation, gender.” That is, Facebook treated the Bible as a criminal book!
Does Facebook guidelines warn its users that the Bible is a criminal book?
Does Facebook’s Statement of Rights and Responsibilities warn its users that the Bible is a criminal book?
Right now, I am under a 30-day ban by Facebook, since January 28, because on August 2013, I had published a post exposing the misuse of public funds by well-known homosexual group in Brazil. Facebook waited exactly 5 years to notify my exposé is “offensive.” So I am under a mandatory 30-day ban. This is the third ban in just six months. That is, 3 months of the last six months my Facebook account has been offline because of censorship.
What does Facebook have against the Bible and those mentioning its verses?
What does Facebook have specifically against Leviticus 18:22, a famous verse in the Bible?
Leviticus 18:22 is famous not only among Christians, but also among Jews. In fact, this verse was firstly written and addressed to the Jewish people.
By the way, Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg is a Jewish American. Does he approve what his company has done against the Jewish Scriptures? Is he aware of what his company is doing against the Jewish Scriptures?
Or does he think that Facebook is now bigger, greater and more important than the holy Jewish and Christian Scriptures?
I am a follower of the holy Jewish and Christian Scriptures. Why does Zuckerberg have removed my Bible post and blocked my account?
George Washington, the first U.S. president, said, “It is impossible to rightly govern a nation without God and the Bible.”
Would Zuckerberg and his company remove his Bible posts if he had a Facebook account?
Sadly, current America grants excessive freedom to homosexualists — a nonsense never imagined by the U.S. Founders, including the first U.S. president, George Washington, who loathed homosexuality and expelled homosexuals, but never killed them.
As recorded in “The Writings of George Washington” (March 10, 1778, 11:83-84, U.S. Government Printing Office, 1934), George Washington ordered: “At a General Court Marshall … Lieutt. Enslin of Colo. Malcom’s Regiment tried for attempting to commit sodomy, with John Monhort a soldier … and do sentence him to be dismiss’d the service with Infamy. His Excellency the Commander-in-Chief approves the sentence and with Abhorrence and Detestation of such Infamous Crimes orders Liett. Enslin to be drummed out of Camp tomorrow morning by all the Drummers and Fifers in the Army never to return.” (information from William Federer.)
Would Zuckerberg and his company block Washington’s Facebook account if he were living today?
Facebook not only removed my Bible post of Leviticus 18:22, but also a post with a picture of an “Islamic Barbie.” Here is the picture:
Medical or Christian criticism of homosexual behavior leads to censorship on Facebook. But pictures of the communist criminal Che Guevara, who murdered people, including gay men, remain unshakingly throughout Facebook’s social network, as if his filthy image did not deserve banishment for his crimes. Facebook punishes innocent Christians just for their views, but it spares communist criminals who did not spare human lives.
Christian criticism of Islamic behavior leads to censorship on Facebook. But praises to the pedophile and killer Muhammad and pictures of Islamic dictators who murder Christians remain unshakingly throughout Facebook’s social network, as if their filthy image did not deserve banishment for their crimes. Facebook punishes innocent Christians just for their views against Islam, but it spares Islamic criminals who do not spare human lives.
For treating Islamism and homosexuality as “sacred,” Facebook has blocked my profile for criticizing Islamic violence and homosexual filthy behavior. If only Muslims and homosexuals are left in the world, whom will Facebook privilege and treat as more sacred than the other?
It makes no sense for Facebook to censor a Christian like me because as far as Islam is concerned, Christians and Jews are supreme victims of this violent religion. In fact, some 100,000 Christians are martyred a year. Most of these murders are committed by Muslims. If Facebook were serious about human rights, it would ban Muslims from its platform, inclusive Saudi Arabia, until they banned all torture and murder of Christians. This is the simple and sheer truth.
If Facebook were equally serious about human rights of homosexuals, it would ban Muslim nations. Muslims, not Christians, have a high record of torture and murder of homosexuals. This is the simple and sheer truth.
In 1919, the communist theorist Antonio Gramsci said: “To tell the truth, to arrive together at the truth, is a communist and revolutionary act.”
In the left-wing Facebook universe, if you tell a “communist truth,” it is a welcome revolutionary act.
The communist truth includes the sample of Marxist commandments that say:
* Homosexual acts are normal.
* Islam is peace.
* Christianity is oppressive.
* Leviticus 18:22 deserves to be removed from the Facebook universe.
* Criticism and mockery of Christianity are allowed.
* Criticism and mockery of homosexuality and Islam are not allowed.
I face new Facebook bans if I violate Facebook’s Marxist commandments. I face new Facebook bans if I post more Bible verses against homosexual depravity or the Islamic culture of violence.
Paraphrasing and reversing words ascribed to George Orwell, but actually authored more or less by Gramsci, I say, “In a time of universal Marxist deceit and censorship, telling the truth is a Christian revolutionary act!”
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Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Proved: Russian Trolls Did in the U.S. Presidential Election… What the U.S. Does in the Elections of Other Nations


Proved: Russian Trolls Did in the U.S. Presidential Election… What the U.S. Does in the Elections of Other Nations

By Julio Severo
According to the indictment by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, Russia meddled in the 2016 U.S. presidential election: through internet trolls!
There is much deliberate confusion regarding this meddling. But one thing is definitely clear: The American and global Left was solidly behind their candidate Hillary Clinton. For them, anyone or any nation hindering Clinton’s victory committed an “unpardonable” sin. And what did American investigation show? That Russian trolls acted definitely against Clinton, who lost the election.
Patrick J. Buchanan, a former adviser to President Ronald Reagan and former Republican presidential candidate, said, “One imaginative Russian troll urged Trumpsters to dress up a female volunteer in an orange prison jump suit, put her in a cage on a flatbed truck, then append the slogan, ‘Lock Her Up!’”
Russians committed the “unpardonable” sin, and now Democrats and Republicans, U.S. left-wingers and right-wingers want to make Russia pay for allegedly helping Donald Trump win, as if the heavy sanctions Obama imposed — and not discontinued by Trump — on Russia were not enough.
Often, I think that U.S. left-wingers and right-wingers use to attack Russia as a scarecrow to distract the American public and the world. While both sides keep us distracted, they can advance any agenda they share. And there is a shared agenda: the neocon ideology.
While Mueller’s indictments confirm that Russian trolls meddled in the U.S. election, what explains the left-wing and right-wing hysteria against Russia?
In this point, I agree with Rev. Chuck Baldwin, who said “The War Party Marches On.” This party is comprised by both the Democratic Party and the Republican Party. The Neocon Party, which is above all parties in the U.S., needs a scarecrow.
Socialists accuse Russia, because their candidate lost. But conservatives, especially neoconservatives (neocons), are also accusing Russia.
If the alleged Russian meddling through trolls is an act supreme hostility, why during his 2016 campaign, did candidate Trump say, “Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing”? He was referring to emails on Clinton’s private server that she said she deleted, according to an Associated Pres report.
Trump made such daring public request because it was clear, for him, that Russia was against Clinton.
Now he is showing dissatisfaction with the alleged Russian meddling in the U.S. elections, but he seems to ignore the U.S. meddling in the elections of other nations. John Perkins, in his book “Confessions of an Economic Hit Man,” has said that U.S. intelligence agencies have rigged elections in other nations for decades.
According to Joseph Farah, WND (WorldNetDaily) chief, even Israel did not escape from U.S. meddling in Israeli elections. Farah said, “Barack Obama used U.S. taxpayer money openly to influence the election of its best ally in the Middle East, Israel.” He added, “The late Sen. Ted Kennedy actually asked for the Soviet Union’s help in defeating Ronald Reagan’s re-election effort in 1988. Where were the scowls of outrage back then?”
If Democrats could ask Soviet Union to help defeat a Republican candidate, why cannot a Republican candidate ask a conservative Russia to help defeat a Democrat candidate? It was what Trump did in 2016.
In his WND article titled “Is that Russia troll farm an act of war?” Patrick J. Buchanan said:
As for Russian trolling in our election, do we really have clean hands when it comes to meddling in elections and the internal politics of regimes we dislike?
Sen. John McCain and Victoria Nuland of State egged on the Maidan Square crowds in Kiev that overthrew the elected government of Ukraine. When the democratically elected regime of Mohamed Morsi was overthrown, the U.S. readily accepted the coup as a victory for our side and continued aid to Egypt as tens of thousands of Muslim Brotherhood members were imprisoned.
Are the CIA and National Endowment for Democracy under orders not to try to influence the outcome of elections in nations in whose ruling regimes we believe we have a stake?
“Have we ever tried to meddle in other countries’ elections?” Laura Ingraham asked former CIA Director James Woolsey this weekend.
With a grin, Woolsey replied, “Oh, probably.”
“We don’t do that anymore, though?” Ingraham interrupted. “We don’t mess around in other people’s elections, Jim?”
“Well,” Woolsey said with a smile. “Only for a very good cause.”
Indeed, what is the National Endowment for Democracy all about, if not aiding the pro-American side in foreign nations and their elections?
Did America have no active role in the “color-coded revolutions” that have changed regimes from Serbia to Ukraine to Georgia?
When Republicans discuss Iran on Capitol Hill, the phrase “regime change” is frequently heard… in 2009, Republicans denounced President Obama for not intervening more energetically to alter the outcome [in Iran].
When China, Russia and Egypt expel NGOs, are their suspicions that some have been seeded with U.S. agents merely marks of paranoia?
The U.S. role in the overthrow of Premier Mossadegh in Iran in 1953, and of Jacobo Arbenz in Guatemala in 1954, and of President Ngo Dinh Diem in Saigon in 1963 are established facts.
So when the U.S. does exactly what it condemns in other nations, it is correct and democratic. But no nation is entitled to copy U.S. actions. Journalist Glenn Greenwald said about “the most vivid distillations of American Exceptionalism” in his Twitter account: “the US has the full, unfettered right to do exactly what we demand other nations don’t do because — unlike them — we’re Good, so it’s done for Good ends, not Bad ones.”
In my Twitter account, I answered him: “Sad, but true. Only evangelical Christians, who made a difference in the birth of America, can also make a difference today against neocons’ interference and discrepancy in the US foreign policy.”
The U.S. government, under left-wing and right-wing presidents, makes a big fuss over minimal meddling in the U.S. election (even internet trolls are a supreme crime against the U.S., according to neocons), but both sides heavily meddle, with covert CIA operations through NGOs and other ways, in the elections of other nations.
As Jesus said,
“And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.” (Luke 6:31 ESV)
Instead making fuss over Russian trolls and using Russia as a scarecrow for the sake of neocon policies, America under Trump should prosecute Obama for creating ISIS, which committed genocide of Christians in Syria and Iraq. Trump himself said in 2016 that Obama created ISIS. So Obama and Hillary Clinton were accomplices of genocide of Christians. By the U.S. law, which condemns accomplices of mass murders, would not both deserve capital punishment for aiding and abetting the genocide of Christian through ISIS?
America under Trump should prosecute Obama and Clinton for provoking Russia since Putin passed in 2013 a law banning homosexual propaganda to children and teens.
America under Trump should prosecute Obama and Clinton for overthrowing the Ukrainian government in 2014 and imposing sanctions on Russia in the aftermath of U.S. interference in Ukraine.
America under Trump should prosecute Obama and Clinton for using the U.S. government to promote Islam, abortion and the homosexual agenda around the world.
The U.S. should stop using Russia as a scarecrow and deal with Obama’s and Clinton’s crimes.
Trump should discontinue Obama’s left-wing legacy of sanctions and other unconservative actions against a more conservative Russia.
Russia could retaliate Obama’s and Hillary Clinton’s mischiefs through nuclear attack. Who can blame them for using internet trolls to vent their complaints against Clinton?
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