"Ain't Gonna Study War No More"

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Right-To-Life Party, Christian, Anti-War, Pro-Life, Bible Fundamentalist, Egalitarian, Libertarian Left

Saturday, September 18, 2004

The Prospect Terrified Me

Apolo Kivebulaya, a convert from Islam, bravely preached to witch doctors, hostile chieftains, and Pygmy tribes.

The Ugandan mother had given birth to twins—and for her people, this signaled impending sorrow. Someone else in her family would soon die. She must hide the children from sight so the village would not share her misfortune. Then, baptized Christian though she was, she must visit the witch doctor to propitiate the spirits.

But then an evangelist arrived at her hut. He picked up the twins and presented them openly to the village. The people stood frozen. Surely the spirits would punish such outrageous behavior with death. But nothing happened. The children—and the rest of the village—lived.

The evangelist knew exactly what he was up against. Born in 1864, Waswa Munubi had survived the death in infancy of his own twin brother. He wrote, "If a twin dies, the parents do not weep. They announce the death by saying the child has gone back, and everyone knows what that means."

Waswa grew up the son of peasants in the country now known as Uganda. His parents apprenticed him to a witch doctor, but when he discovered the man tricking people out of their possessions, he left him to learn about Islam, recently brought to the chief's court by Arab traders.

"Our father first began to learn to read in the days of Mukabya from the Moslems," Waswa wrote. "Kabaka Mutesa commanded all his chiefs and people to read from the Moslems and to keep their fasts."

"Chief Mutesa, I presume?"

But when Waswa turned 13, H. M. Stanley, who had discovered David Livingstone in 1872, paid a visit to Mutesa's court and persuaded the chief to begin "reading" in the Christian religion. The chief was probably more impressed with Stanley's guns than with his Bible, for Mutesa had already parted ways with the Arabs and now needed protection. But the chief's welcome opened the door for his people to embrace Christianity.

Stanley's expedition opened the way for other missionaries too, notably Alexander Mackay, who arrived in 1878. Waswa credits Mackay with planting seeds of belief in his life. "When I looked at the European," he wrote, "his eyes sparkled with kindness." Mackay organized a church, and members of the chief's court began attending his classes.

But then the chief rejected Christianity and put Mackay under house arrest. When Mutesa died in 1884, his son Mwanga unleashed a violent persecution on the infant church. No one knows how many perished, but in a single vicious rampage in 1886, Mwanga ordered the execution of 32 Christians—the famed "Uganda Martyrs" whose memory is still preserved in an Anglican and Roman Catholic feast day.

Mwanga lost his people's support, however, and together Muslims and Christians seized power from the chief. Predictably, the alliance dissolved, and as Waswa was still considered a Muslim, he was forced to join their army—now raiding the countryside. But his heart was not in it; when his companions began setting villages on fire and burning their victims, he abandoned them and took up residence among the Christians.

Waswa briefly flirted with hemp smoking, but when he began attending Christian classes, he quit the practice. Shortly after this, he converted to Christianity.

Waswa requested baptism in 1894 and took a new name—Apolo Kivebulaya. "Apolo" honored the evangelist of Acts 18:24-25; and "Kivebulaya"—meaning "the thing from England"—was given to him because he wore a suit under his long white garment.

Shortly after this, Apolo's fiancée died. He later viewed this as providential, as it freed him for missionary work.

Meanwhile, the Christians with British military aid expelled the Muslim armies, and the call went out for missionaries to enter the recently stabilized region of Toro, or western Uganda. Apolo answered the call and began planting a church there. But in a series of unfortunate incidents, Apolo was accused of storing the chief's belongings and arrested and imprisoned by the British in Kampala.

Facing the Mountain

Eventually Apolo was released without trial, and soon he set out for a new mission field, accepting the challenge of the Church Missionary Society (CMS) to evangelize a tribe in the Belgian Congo. Blocking his way were the snow-capped Ruwenzori mountains. Intimidating though these were, Apolo trekked across them into the winter. Finally he crested the ridge and glimpsed his continent's heartland for the first time.

"I stood and looked far away to the Congo. The prospect terrified me." But the pull of the Great Commission and his compassion for lost brothers and sisters urged him on. In December 1896 he began ministering in the town of Mboga.

At first the work went well. But as Apolo's influence among the people grew, the chief (or Tabaro) resented the intruder and began slandering the Christians.

"There is no God," said the Tabaro. "Let them bring back the charms and incantations." When the Tabaro's sister accidentally fell on a spear intended as building material for Apolo's church, the chief accused Apolo of murder and had him escorted back to the English authorities in Uganda.

In this darkest hour of Apolo's life, Jesus appeared to him in a dream. Apolo heard him say, "Be of good cheer; I am with you." He answered, "Who is speaking to me?" And he heard, "I am Jesus Christ. Preach to my people. Do not be afraid." From that day, Apolo's spirits revived. Soon CMS members intervened for the imprisoned missionary and secured his release.

The Belgians, meanwhile, contested the Congolese border with Uganda, and Mboga changed hands. This temporarily closed the door for further ministry in the Congo, and Apolo returned to Uganda for 20 years of productive ministry. In 1903, the CMS ordained him a priest on Namirembe Hill in Kampala, and he began planting numerous churches across Toro, traveling hundreds of miles annually by foot and bicycle. The people soon said that Apolo's big flat feet with spread-out toes enabled him to walk anywhere—he never wore any shoes.

Word of his ministry spread, and CMS missionaries came to visit him. They praised him: "[Apolo] never had the opportunity of theological training in the ordinary sense of the term, but his devotion, his saintliness of life, his understanding of men, and his missionary passion have made him one of the strongest forces in the diocese."

Apolo gave rigorous attention to the spiritual disciplines, waking early for prayer and Bible study. He cared deeply for his congregations, taking in children from the village to live at his home and building a house for widows and deserted women. He lived simply, owning only two coats and giving nearly all his pay to his teachers.

People also told stories of Apolo's near miraculous powers. When a famine broke out in 1913, one witness reported that Apolo "went to Kitagweta to give Holy Communion and told them to be patient in Jesus and He will even give you rain. … [He] prayed and it rained straight away." Once, Apolo sailed onto Lake Edward to visit an island when a storm blew up. Apolo sang, and to his companions' surprise, the storm quieted.

Those who met Apolo spoke of his contagious joy. One missionary wrote, "His face is an inspiration, and he is greatly beloved by us all for his simple wholeheartedness and desire to win souls." Apolo sang hymns as he traveled and led exuberant crowds to welcome bishops or missionaries who approached his home in Kabarole.

Back to the Congo

With Christianity firmly established in Toro, Apolo's thoughts returned to the church in Mboga. The Belgians had loosened their restrictions on travel, and in 1915, Apolo traded a well-earned year's leave in Kampala for a renewed term of service in Mboga. He arrived to find the missionary outpost in shambles. "When I reached Mboga, I found some of the Christians possessed by an evil spirit. Some were practicing witchcraft. Some had three wives, some two, and there was too much drinking of beer."

Apolo set about rebuilding the church and reviving his classes. The new chief clashed with him, falsely accusing him of stealing from the village. Apolo had to face down Chief Sulemani's challenge. In church one Sunday, the missionary publicly rebuked the chief: "Sulemani has turned his back on God," he said (the chief had flirted with Catholicism and then reverted to tribal religion), "and God will turn his back on him!" Sulemani contracted leprosy and died later that year.

Sulemani's son, Enoke, was no better. He accused Apolo of not paying his taxes to the Belgians, though the attack fell flat, as Apolo was on good terms with the Belgian government. Delivering yet another prophetic barrage, Apolo predicted Enoke would lose his kingdom and "dig potatoes" in exile. When Belgian authorities later found Enoke stealing ivory, they removed him from his chieftainship. Enoke ran away to Toro where on his food plot he did indeed dig potatoes.

Singing with the Pygmies

Soon Apolo received another vision, this time directing him to the forest of the Pygmies in the Congo. The Pygmies stood no taller than 4 feet, 8 inches, and were known for their skill as forest trackers and for their accuracy with bow and poisoned arrow. Some tribes accused the Pygmies of cannibalism, though the evidence is inconclusive.

Apolo hired the freed Pygmy slaves to interpret for him, and he put together a team of teachers. In 1921, they entered the forest. Three years later, Apolo baptized his first converts. In the early 1930s, near the end of his life, he was visiting 14 different forest tribes every year.

One witness told how Apolo, when first meeting a Pygmy tribe, would sit among the people and sing to them. This greatly amused them, as they respected Apolo's old age and loved to sing themselves. Apolo also brought with him salt—a prized commodity for the Pygmies—and told his teachers to "lend" their possessions to the people, though they knew the Pygmies had no concept of returning things. Thus, the missionaries befriended the tribes.

Final years

In 1927, Apolo was called to Kampala and elected vice president of the CMS. It was the culmination of a life's work: in 1890, one church with 200 members stood on Namirembe Hill; in 1927, Uganda could boast 2,000 churches with nearly 185,000 members. According to a missionary at the ceremony, "Apolo said he knew now he was a member of the great CMS council, and felt very honored; his dear old face was shining with the light of God. … I felt like kneeling down and asking him for his blessing."

The day Apolo died, he wrote this final prayer:

"O God our Father/ And the Son Jesus Christ/ And the Holy Spirit/ May you give me a blessing while in this world/ While you lead me through the forests/ Through the lakes and the mountains/ So that I may do your work among your people./ Grant that I may be loved by you/ And by your people./ Amen."
Steven Gertz is editorial coordinator of Christian History.

Rosh Hashanah Prayer

God is the incomparable King of The Universe. The destiny of humanity is to come to this realization. Whereas human kings rule in accordance with the principle of :"might makes right," God is the Holy King, Who is, at the same time, beyond comparison in His power, "Vas er vil, Tut er" - "Whatever He wills, He can do," yet He is also the Father of the orphan and the Judge of the widow, Who is always on the side of the powerless.

He is the Incorruptible and Righteous Judge of the World, Who favors no one, and cannot be bribed.

He is the true God and His word, the Torah, is true and eternal.

source: From The Malchiyot (Kingliness) prayer in the High Holidays liturgy

Ms. License To Kill

Battered Women's Law OKd

Schwarzenegger signs bill giving more inmates the ability to challenge their sentences using proof that they were coerced by their abusers.

SACRAMENTO — Battered women who can prove their abusers coerced them into committing violent crimes will have a chance to win release under legislation signed Friday by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

The law, which advocates said is unique in the country, is the latest expansion of California's 1992 law allowing battered women's syndrome to be introduced as a defense in trials. That law did not apply retroactively, and activists for domestic violence victims spent the next decade fighting for the option of new trials for women incarcerated before battered women's syndrome was a legal defense.

In 2002, the Legislature gave that opportunity to women convicted of killing their abusers. But it did not apply to women who tried to kill their abusers but failed. The new law, which takes effect Jan. 1, will allow similar opportunities to women convicted before Aug. 29, 1996, for attempted murder or for engaging in a felony crime as a partner of their abuser — so long as they can show the domestic violence victim was coerced into committing a crime.

"This issue of battered women serving time is a nationwide phenomenon, but each state has different ways of dealing" with it, said Olivia Wang, an attorney with Legal Services for Prisoners With Children, a nonprofit group based in San Francisco. "In some states you have a chance theoretically of getting clemency from the governor, but nothing as wide in scope as SB 1385, because the issue elsewhere is defined narrowly as just women who killed their abusive husbands."

It is not known how many prisoners the law will affect. Kimberly Wong, the legislative and criminal justice policy advisor for the Los Angeles County public defender's office, said advocates planned to canvass the prisons to determine which inmates might merit having their cases reviewed. At a minimum, those affected by the law have already served eight years in prison.

Cheryl Sellers of Pasadena, who killed her abusive husband in 1983 and was released from prison last year, said she met dozens of women during her time behind bars who might be able to seek release through SB 1385, which was sponsored by Senate President Pro Tem John Burton (D-San Francisco).

"This opens the door wider," Sellers said. "It's not just for women who killed their husband. It's for 'you shot your boyfriend' or you were involved in a crime because of the abuse. Some were just there when their significant other committed a crime. This helps them."

Under the new law, the inmates still must show with "reasonable probability" how their legal defense would have been bolstered by evidence of battering. That will allow them to get a new trial where an expert on domestic violence could testify, although defense lawyers said it would be likely that prosecutors would cut a deal to lower the sentence to time served. In addition, the judge would have wide discretion and could simply dismiss the new charges.

The law also applies to men, although experts believe that most prisoners affected are women. It also allows those who killed their spouses between 1992, when California passed its battered defense law, and Aug. 29, 1996, when the state Supreme Court ratified it, to seek new trials.

And the bill replaces language in the state's penal code about "battered women's syndrome" with "intimate partner battering and its effects." The notion of a syndrome has fallen into disfavor among abuse victims activists, who say it wrongly suggests a common set of responses that all women develop when they are battered.

During the legislative session, the idea of expanding those who could seek new trials initially had been opposed by the state's district attorneys association, but sponsors of the measure say they worked together to fashion an acceptable compromise.

Releases are unlikely to occur immediately. As of last month, only seven people have been let out of jail as a result of the 2002 law change, according to the California Habeas Project, a coalition of pro bono attorneys, domestic violence experts and other advocates created that year to try to free battered women. The group has represented 40 inmates so far.

Also Friday, Schwarzenegger signed legislation prohibiting boaters from running their crafts when anyone was swimming or playing in the back, near operating engines. The law, the first of its kind in the country, is intended to prevent swimmers from being poisoned by the carbon monoxide those engines emit.

The office of Assemblyman Paul Koretz (D-West Hollywood), the sponsor of AB 2222, said 111 people around the country have been killed by carbon monoxide poisoning near boats in recent years.

The bill is one of a number of measures prompted by incidents that came to the attention of lawmakers.

Koretz named the law the Anthony Farr and Stacy Beckett Safe Boating Act of 2004, in memory of 11-year-old Anthony Farr of El Dorado Hills and 15-year-old Stacy Beckett of Chino, both of whom died "teak surfing," a relatively new sport in which swimmers hold on to the wooden platforms at the back of boats and then body surf the wake.

The bill requires state officials to distribute warning information to boaters when they renew their licenses. All new or used boats sold must include warning stickers. Those who allow swimmers near the motors would be guilty of an infraction.

Jordan Rau, Times Staff Writer

The Death and Disorientation of the Children of Gaza

In their homes, in the street, in UN-run schools, Palestinian youth are not safe from Israeli bullets

Raghda Alassar's classmates did not hear the Israeli bullet that tore into the nine-year-old's brain as she wrote an English test. But as a pool of blood spread across her desk and spilled on to the floor, a wall of screams rose from the classroom of the UN elementary school for girls in Khan Yunis.
At that point Raghda was still crying for help. By the time she was hauled into the trauma room of a neighbouring hospital she was silent.

For five crucial days the army blocked Raghda's transfer to an Israeli hospital with the facilities to offer a glimmer of hope. An infection set in.

On Tuesday doctors told her father, Adnad, that she was brain dead.

"The bullet entered under her eye and went out the back of her head," Mr Alassar said.

"It took them a long time to stop the bleeding, and her heart stopped and they gave her shocks. From that moment she was like a dead body, although she wasn't dead."

"I find it so difficult to believe what happened to my daughter. She was at school, just carrying her notebook, not a gun. What is my daughter - nine years old - guilty of that she has to be shot? It's state terror against the whole population."

In recent weeks the Israelis have again been preoccupied with terrorism, from the murder of 16 people in the Beersheba bus bombings to the slaughter of Russian schoolchildren in Beslan, which received blanket coverage.

During the six months of relative peace for Israelis, until the Beersheba bombings, the army killed more than 400 Palestinians. Most were fighters, but they also included about 40 children under 15. Palestinians say this also is a form of terror.

"We're always listening for the helicopters, listening for the tanks, listening for the bombs," said Khitam abu Shawarib, the only social worker in Rafah refugee camp, on the southern tip of the Gaza Strip.
"I am very sorry when I hear of a Jewish woman or children killed. I think it is wrong and many people here think it is wrong. But what the Jews suffer is nothing to the terror we live with from them.

"It takes such a toll on our health, on society, most of all on the children."

Israelis live in fear of random attacks, principally the suicide bombing of buses and cafes, and shootings in the occupied territories. But they are generally safe in their homes and are more likely to be killed in a road accident than by a bomb.

In southern Gaza and parts of the West Bank there is often no sanctuary from the seemingly relentless, indiscriminate Israeli shooting.

Israel classifies Gaza Strip towns such as Rafah and Khan Yunis, and Nablus and Jenin in the West Bank, as war zones.

That, the army says, justifies the firing of powerful sophisticated weapons into residential areas or the bulldozing of scores of homes each month, ostensibly in search of rarely discovered tunnels for smuggling in weapons.

Barely a night passes in Rafah or Khan Yunis without the machine-gun fire that has shredded hundreds of homes, forcing families to sleep in a single inner room behind bricked up windows or a second wall.

Others live in the rubble of their bulldozed houses, perpetually in the firing line from the rarely seen soldiers high in the gun towers.

A fortnight ago 15-year-old Mazen al-Ara was trying to lead his siblings away from tanks and heavy shooting around their house on the edge of the "Philadelphi Road", the highly militarised border at Rafah.

The army had partially destroyed the family home months before, but the Aras went on living there because they had no money to move.

Usually they sheltered in an inner room when the shooting began, but that night it was so intense that Mazen said they would all be killed if they stayed.

As he led the terrified group into the street, Mazen was caught by a burst of fire. The boy died; doctors took 18 bullets from his body.

A few days earlier 10-year-old Munir al-Daqas left his home in Jabalya refugee camp to visit his grandparents' house five minutes' walk away. Israeli tanks were on the far side of the camp, but no one saw any danger in the heart of Jabalya, around its bustling market, in daylight.

"It must have been a sniper," his mother, Kifah, said. "People told me as I was shopping in the market. I couldn't believe it. Munir was just there with me and now they were saying he was dead."

Mrs Daqas unfolded a picture of the semi-naked body of her son in his grave. There is a bullet wound in the chest and another in the groin.

In four years of intifada, the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights says, the army has killed 136 children in Rafah and Khan Yunis, a quarter of all the Palestinian children who have died during the uprising, because of its "indiscriminate shooting, excessive force, a shoot-to-kill policy and the deliberate targeting of children".

The dead in Khan Yunis and Rafah in recent weeks also include two 12-year-old boys, a 15-year-old girl and a 75-year-old man in a wheelchair, Ibrahim Halfalla, who was crushed under the rubble of his own home by an army bulldozer as his wife begged the soldiers not to advance.

The army has not offered an explanation for the killing of Raghda Alassar, but it frequently says that child victims are caught in crossfire during Palestinian attacks on the army or Jewish settlers.

There were no such battles when Raghda Alassar and Munir Daqas were hit. Or when a bullet pierced the blind of Sara Zorob's living room and struck the 10-year-old in the chest, killing her instantly.

Commanders in Gaza have admitted in the past that when their soldiers are attacked they are allowed to fire back randomly, risking civilian lives.

There are other young victims, as well.

"The children who are physically injured are not the only ones harmed," said Usama Freona, a psychologist at the UN clinic in Rafah.

"The levels of violence children are exposed to is horrific.

"We work in a lot of schools to treat the children. In the one next to Kfar Darom [a Jewish settlement in Gaza], all the children are suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. Most of them were crying and shaking when they were speaking about their experiences. There is a lot of bedwetting."

Mohammed abu Yusuf is the counsellor at Raghda Alassar's school.

"After Raghda was shot," he said, "the children were crying and screaming. Five girls in her class still won't come back to school. We took Raghda's desk away and brought another but none of the students will sit at it."

Raghda Alassar is not the first child shot at the cluster of UN schools in Khan Yunis. Last year an Israeli bullet blinded Huda Darwish, 12, as she sat at her desk.

Mrs Daqas said her other children could not comprehend Munir's death.

"Munir's younger brother doesn't understand he is dead. He thought he would come back after the funeral and kept asking why Munir has come when we've had 'the party' for him. His four-year-old sister asks every day if we can search the market because Munir must be lost," she said.

Mr Freona said the constant violence begets violence.

"Look at the games children play. Most of the boys play Arabs and Jews. Many want to play the role of the Jews. They see that the Israeli soldiers are the ones with the guns and they are strong and they see that is the most important thing," he said.

"They see guns as the source of power, the solution to dealing with any problem, the way to get what they want."

With that has come a collapse in respect for authority.

The image of Mohammed al-Dura, the 12-year-old Gaza boy shot as his father vainly tried to protect him from Israeli gunfire in the first days of the latest intifada, is seared on the Palestinian consciousness.

It has come to symbolise what they see as the callous indifference of Israeli forces to the lives of their children. But Mrs Abu Shawarib said it had a further impact on many children, who saw that a father was unable to protect his son.

"The respect for authority is shattered because children see their fathers beaten in front of them," she said. "The authority of the father, who used to just have to utter one word for the child to obey, is shattered. The father looks helpless to protect the child and the child thinks they are alone."

Another result of the perpetual killing was that many children came to expect an early death and to welcome the prospect of becoming a "martyr".

"The martyr is in paradise, he has glory here and in the afterlife where it is so much better than life in Rafah," she said. "The children see many people killed, so they come to expect to be killed. This is horrible, that children should accept the possibility of death."

Chris McGreal in Khan Yunis
Friday September 17, 2004
The Guardian

Is Guilt Obsolete?

Now that the various Abu Ghraib commissions have finished their unseemly tap dance around the assignation of blame, it's time to explore some of the subtler, far-reaching implications of the “scandal.”

Before Abu Ghraib, before Fallujah, in fact just weeks before the whole shock and awe campaign was to launch, came news of a preemptive strike -- on memory. The stealth attack was initiated by clever scientists who thought not of a cure for infectious greed, or a vaccine against the plague of moral relativism, but instead prepared to market a pill that will help us forget what we cannot bear to remember.

To the unimpeded brain, painful memories provoke responses as varied as solemn reflection, incapacitating fear, or self-imposed exile to the bleak landscape of guilt and regret -- depending on our role in the precipitating event.

But with a very off-label use of the beta-blocker propranolol, doctors can stop the emotions associated with a traumatic event from embedding in the brain where they otherwise act like land mines; every time they're triggered, an explosion of memories forces us to relive the grief we suffered … or inflicted.

Scientists seeking to spare the rape victim her trauma forgot that what's good for the victim is good for the perp, forgot there might be a downside to sealing off access to a conscience -- the very capacity that defines us as human and endows us with compassion and empathy. Imagine: our internal moral compass, painstakingly honed by evolutionary forces over millennia, circumvented by one little pill.

And wouldn't this pharmacological end-run come in handy during the preemptive wars of the future? Handy for any soldier not sufficiently amputated from his emotions by military hardening and pre-battle infusions of sado-porn and methamphetamine; useful for those medics who cannot block the acrid stench of charbroiled flesh; and essential for the Special Forces operative who's not far enough away from collateral or intentional damage to pretend that this strike was surgical and he a mere technician.

So if he's close enough, and sober enough, his senses not dulled enough to keep him from taking in the enormity of his deed, he can instead take the warring-after pill and feel no pain, suffer no remorse, believe he was just doing his duty. He'll go home PTSD-free, kiss his wife, and get on with his life. He may still father deformed children and die of cancer the VA insists is unrelated to depleted uranium, but by God he'll die with no regrets at all.

But that was before shock and awe, before Fallujah, and before Abu Ghraib where American soldiers and their digital cameras proved that there was no big bonanza for the pharmaceutical companies because among the perpetrators there was no guilt that needed to be medicated, nor memories to be short-circuited.

To the contrary, the offending troops were so unconcerned with the legality and morality of their behavior that they chose to immortalize it, gleefully sharing those memories with friends and family. Pfc. Lynndie England apparently spoke for many when she testified to her belief that she had done nothing wrong. (It's not like we were beheading anyone.) Likewise, for Rush Limbaugh and a startling number of Americans, the whole episode was on par with a fraternity prank, little more than light amusement for the troops. Others among us pray that those same troops will someday discover that you can't dehumanize your enemy without diminishing your soul.

And those further up the chain of command? Apparently, if all you did was order the torture, or look the other way, or sign a Presidential Directive authorizing it in the name of national security, well you've got no trauma to get over, do you?

And, perhaps, no soul to wound.

In the end, we are all being poisoned by a culture that breeds generals who boast our god is better than theirs; a nation where lawyers are paid good money to decide who is eligible for civil rights and who for torture; and a press corps that laughs along with a president who jokes about not finding the weapons of mass destruction he dreamed up to justify a war he can't win.

In such a culture that little pill for guilt is obsolete.

Because we're Americans.

We have no regrets.

We're in a war on terror and our humanity is just so much collateral damage.

The use of memory-blunting pharmaceuticals has not been much reported, though it deserves to be. Even the President's Council on Bioethics has concerns. Check them out at http://www.bioethics.gov/reports/beyondtherapy/chapter5.html

Lisa Martinovic is an artist, essayist and performance poet whose work has appeared in print and online, from the San Francisco Chronicle to commondreams.org. She has written and voiced commentaries for several NPR affiliates, including KQED in San Francisco, and her poetry is featured in numerous anthologies including The Outlaw Bible of American Poetry, Will Work for Peace, and Poetry Slam. Currently on hiatus from performing, Lisa is busy marketing her recently completed screenplay, a scorching political satire that aspires to inspire multitudes.

Iraqis Want Elections - and Foreign Troops to Leave Now

Yes, the invasion was illegal.

But war crimes are still being committed

Kofi Annan's declaration that the US and British attack on Iraq was illegal will renew the pressure on Tony Blair over the war. The prime minister's claim that he went to war partly to defend the United Nations' authority in the face of Saddam Hussein's non-compliance with security council resolutions now lies in tatters - along with his other justifications.
When the UN secretary-general himself says that it was Washington and London who were not complying with international law, Bush and Blair should now clearly acknowledge they did wrong.

But it is not just the launch of the war which was illegal. Illegality continues today. Take the US helicopter attack on a crowd in Haifa Street, Baghdad, last Sunday, which killed 13 people and injured dozens (including a Guardian reporter). It was almost certainly a war crime.

The pilots' unarmed victims came into the street after insurgents had destroyed an American Bradley fighting vehicle, a cross between a tank and an armoured personnel carrier. The soldiers inside it were quickly rescued by comrades and withdrew. By the time the jubilant crowd gathered to gawp at the Bradley's smouldering remains, military activity had ceased.

Why then did the pilots shoot? The official version is that ground fire was being aimed at them. Even if true, questions remain. Why didn't the helicopters fly off to safety? Fire need not be answered, if there is a more sensible way of avoiding being hit, especially when the ground troops the helicopters were supposedly protecting had already left the scene. Secondly, did the pilots properly assess the risk to civilians from a disproportionate response? From the casualties caused, the evidence strongly suggests they did not.

The assumption has to be that the pilots' motive was revenge. If so, the incident would not be unique. In case after case, the behaviour of US forces in Iraq appears to be degenerating into vindictive killing, decided not only at the tactical but also at command level.

Lieutenant-general James Conway, who commanded US marines at Falluja in April, recently revealed he was unhappy with a higher-ranking decision to assault the town after four American contractors were killed and their bodies mutilated. He was against "attacking out of revenge", he now says.

His description of the offensive's primary purpose is surely right, although - as with the Haifa Street massacre - no war crimes trial is likely. Belatedly, and usually only after media exposure, abuses in US- and UK-run military prisons in Iraq have led to court proceedings. The bigger issue of crimes against civilians perpetrated in the air above Iraqi cities and from tanks and other vehicles is still taboo.

Armies which resort to revenge are usually ones that are losing. Within the Sunni region, Ramadi, Falluja and Samarra have become no-go areas. The same is true of the Shia holy cities of Kerbala and Najaf. It is not that US forces are impotent. With their overwhelming fire-power they are unbeatable. What is changing is the growth of resistance, both military and political, and the ebbing-away of US legitimacy. Increasing numbers of influential Iraqis tell US commanders to keep out of populated areas and withdraw to barracks, as Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani did most notably in Najaf.

The US army's excessive use of force is a key factor. But there is also a growing sense among Iraqis that the occupation is causing more problems than it is solving. Polls have shown for several months that the number of Iraqis who say they would feel safer if foreign troops left immediately exceeds the number who would feel less safe. They want Iraqi security forces to take over.

After comprehensive analysis of the main polls, plus its own interviews with individuals and focus groups, the centre-right Washington thinktank the Centre for Strategic and International Studies recently concluded: "Iraqis have little confidence in US and other international forces _ Iraqis generally dislike the continued presence of US-led forces in their country; many consider the occupation to be on-going despite the June 28 handover of sovereignty."

The CSIS also found it is too late for the US to turn things round with quick improvements to the botched reconstruction process or by funding a massive job-creation programme. "The occupation will not be judged by the sum of its consequences, but rather as occupation. Put simply, Iraqi pride in national sovereignty is more deeply rooted than the US anticipated," its study says.

Popular feelings are percolating upwards and influencing the forthcoming Iraqi election campaign. The CSIS reports that "it is highly likely that the single unifying theme espoused by Iraq's politicians will be to invite the US to leave Iraq once there is an elected Iraqi government in place".

This being so, those in the US who see Iraq as a strategic asset and covet long-term bases will probably try to postpone the January elections. Noises are already being made that insecurity will prevent them being free. Ayad Allawi, the US-appointed prime minister, and other former exiles who returned to Iraq with no political base, have an incentive to delay the poll so as to perpetuate their power.

Some analysts are making gloomy predictions that Iraq will split apart if US troops pull out. Supporters of the fragmentation scenario include long-time backers of Kurdish independence, and their views are coloured by that. Others claim to see a risk of violent clashes between Sunnis and Shias and even civil war.

These forecasts are probably too pessimistic, but in the short term the greater danger is that the US will use the pretext of protecting the elections to try to "recapture" cities it has lost. This would be a disastrous mistake.

The UN election plan treats Iraq as a single constituency and makes it unnecessary for candidates or parties to campaign everywhere. Even if there were no violence, Shia parties - such as Da'wa, Sciri, and Moqtada al-Sadr's people (if they decide to run) - would not campaign in Sunni cities. In reverse, the same goes for the largely Sunni Iraqi Islamic party.

So the fact that Falluja, Ramadi and other Sunni towns are virtually out of bounds to outsiders is not an argument for cancelling the elections there. Cancellation would send a terrible signal, implying that Allawi and his US backers were trying to disenfranchise the Sunni and favour Shias. This would be more likely to provoke sectarian conflict than any other measure.

Iraqis of almost all persuasions want elections, and the claim that the resistance is trying to block them has no evidence to back it. Most Iraqis, including the militias, see the elections as the best key to ending the occupation and getting the US to leave. Their views should be respected.

Jonathan Steele
Friday September 17, 2004
The Guardian

Was The Iraq War Legal, Or Illegal, Under International Law?

During a BBC radio interview on Wednesday, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan created a controversy by reiterating his long-held position that the Iraq War was illegal because it breached the United Nations Charter. [1] On Thursday, the imperial leaders of the "Coalition of the Willing" retaliated by vehemently arguing that their Iraq War was, to the contrary, legal. [2]

Obviously, this dispute raises a legal question: "Whose opinion is correct, and whose is incorrect?" Additionally, we should be asking ourselves: "Who decides? (i.e., 'Whose jurisprudential opinion shall be dispositive for purposes of resolving this dispute?')"

It seems eminently reasonable -- even for the disputants -- to conclude that the optimal source of guidance on this question of international law would have to be the world's foremost experts in the field of international law. Hence, the UN's chief and the coalition's leaders need to know how the world's top international law experts would resolve their jurisprudential dispute. And we, the people, need to know who's right and who's wrong here.

Realistically, one cannot seriously expect the disputants -- much less their national electorates -- to wade through numerous legal documents, most of which contain rigorous and not-occasionally tedious reasoning, to find the correct answer. Thus, it seems prudent to proceed directly to the world's most authoritative answer to our pressing question du jour: "Was the Iraq War legal, or illegal, under international law?"

And The World's Most Authoritative Answer Is ... Among the world's foremost experts in the field of international law, the overwhelming jurisprudential consensus is that the Anglo-American invasion, conquest, and occupation of Iraq constitute three phases of one illegal war of aggression. [3]

Moreover, these experts in the international law of war deem both preventive wars and preemptive strikes to be euphemistic subcategories of outlawed wars of aggression.

And the experts' answer would hold true regardless of whether their governing legal authority was: (A) the UN Security Council Resolutions that were passed to implement the conflict-resolution provisions of the UN Charter; or (B) prior treaties and juridical holdings which have long since become general international law. [4]

Readers who need to "trust but verify" (i.e., to corroborate) for themselves that the experts' overwhelming opinion is exactly as stated above should read a document entitled "15 January 2003." (Find it by scrolling down approximately one-fourth of the way, after you've clicked onto this ES website: http://www.eurolegal.org/useur/bbiraqwar.htm "The Legality Of The Iraq War" .) Why?

That document was drafted and signed by the world's foremost international law experts -- the prestigious International Commission of International Law Jurists -- to provide ultimate proof of their authoritative opinion concerning the legal status of war against Iraq. Furthermore, this large body of eminent international law experts explicitly stated that they'd drafted their legal document in order to advise Messrs. Bush and Blair prior to the invasion: (1) that it would be blatantly illegal under international law for the Anglo-American belligerents to invade Iraq; and (2) that their joint decision as Commanders-in-Chief to commence hostilities would constitute prosecutable war crimes.

Skeptical readers who don't regard this highly-authoritative conclusion as an adequate answer are invited to undertake the legal reasoning for themselves at the ES website. Note that every applicable Article in the UN Charter, and every relevant UN Security Council Resolution, is cited and analyzed therein. And readers who continue to scroll down the ES website will find a succession of articles which summarize the opinions of noteworthy individual experts on international law. These, too, strongly confirm that the invasion of Iraq constituted an illegal war of aggression under international law. [5]

Finally, ambitious readers will learn what non-credible source was most responsible for propagating the fictitious pre-war claim that Saddam Hussein's Iraq was involved in the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the WTC and the Pentagon (hint: yet another uncredentialed neocon think-tanker from the thoroughly-discredited American Enterprise Institute).

Three Conclusions It is the overwhelming consensus of the world's foremost international law experts that: (1) UN Secretary General Annan's opinion is correct (i.e., true) because the Iraq War was, indeed, illegal; and

(2) the opinion of the "Coalition of the Willing's" leaders is incorrect (i.e., false) because their Iraq War was NOT legal.

(3) Therefore, Americans must break free of the neocons' self-delusional groupthink mentality by learning to differentiate between fact and truth, which are all-too-easily confused. For instance, it's an undeniable fact that Messrs. Bush and Cheney have been arguing along the campaign trail that "The Iraq War was legal!" Nevertheless, the mere fact that they've been vehemently arguing that point certainly does NOT make it true! Their argument is flawed by a logical fallacy called an ipse dixit (i.e., "something asserted but not proved"). As we've already seen, their argument is just plain WRONG AS A MATTER OF LAW! Therefore, Messrs. Bush and Cheney are making a false argument (i.e., deceptively asserting something that is untrue).

The Bottom Line Americans should reject the temptation to vote for Messrs. Bush and Cheney, because: (1) both men were advised beforehand that their decision to commence the invasion of Iraq would be blatantly illegal under international law; (2) they invaded nonetheless, and now they're cynically attempting to mislead the public again by falsely arguing that "The Iraq War was legal!"; (3) however, their argument is legally-meritless nonsense -- the current equivalent of their earlier false argument that torture is a legal method for the US military's interrogation of prisoners; (4) they've repeatedly demonstrated their disdain for universal human rights and democratic governance under the rule of law; and

(5) the 21st-century world isn't Tombstone's OK Corral and they certainly aren't Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday -- however much they might wish us to believe that they are! [6]


[1] Read this 9-16-04 PI article by clicking on these blue words: http://www.politinfo.com/articles/article_2004_09_16_4815.html "UN Says Nothing New In Annan's 'Illegal War' Comment". Also see this 9-17-04 GU article, which contends that UN Secretary General Annan's statement wasn't his long-held opinion, but is new and belated: http://politics.guardian.co.uk/iraq/story/0,12956,1306642,00.html "The War Was Illegal"

[2] Read this 9-17-04 JO article by clicking on these blue words: http://snipurl.com/94y0 "Bush Joins Coalition Leaders In Defending War Against Iraq"

[3] Read the 9-15-04 ES's indispensable analysis by clicking on these blue words: http://www.eurolegal.org/useur/bbiraqwar.htm#TOP Legality of the Iraq War. If the click-on doesn't link, paste this URL into your webserver: http://www.eurolegal.org/useur/bbiraqwar.htm [Skeptical readers should not read to confirm their biases, but instead should set their biases aside until they've finished reading all of the legal arguments on this website, which will take awhile.]

[4] There seems to be one relevant omission from the ES website. General international law could have been be cited as an alternative basis for proving the Iraq War's illegality by analyzing these authoritative precedents: (A) the Kellogg-Briand Pact of Paris (1928); and (B) the Charters, Principles, Indictments, and Holdings from the International Military Tribunals at Nüremberg and Tokyo (1945-48).

[5] Generally speaking, legal opinions offered by government attorneys are NOT considered to be authoritative because: (a) they're drafted in the adversarial mode of an advocate, often under self-interested political pressure from the executive branch; (b) even at its best, their reasoning tends toward casuistry, reflecting Cicero's injudicious maxim,"salus populi suprema lex esto" (De Legibus, III, 3.8: "Let the welfare of the people be the supreme law!" Or the Bushites' tortuous translation thereof: "We feel that we can legally torture our prisoners now if it might save our people later!"); and (c) for an apt example, see the history of the Third Reich's attorneys Hans Frank and Wilhelm Frick, whose pre-war legal advice to Reichsführer Hitler was that Germany could use the pretext of an imminent threat to "preemptively" invade Poland, for which war crime they were both tried, sentenced, and hanged to death by the International Military Tribunal at Nüremberg. Note bene, Attorney General Ashcroft and Bush administration "torture memo" attorneys Bybee, Chertoff, Gonzales, Haynes and Woo!

[6] Read Douglas Jehl's 9-16-4 CD/SPI article by clicking on these blue words: http://www.commondreams.org/headlines04/0916-02.htm "CIA Analysis Holds Bleak Vision For Iraq's Future". Also see the 9-16-04 Dreyfuss Report column: http://tompaine.com/archives/the_dreyfuss_report.php "Annan For President"

Author: Evan Augustine Peterson III, J.D., is the Executive Director of the American Center for International Law ("ACIL").


Secrecy in the Bush Administration

Rep. Henry A. Waxman has released a comprehensive examination of secrecy in the Bush Administration. The report analyzes how the Administration has implemented each of our nation’s major open government laws. It finds that there has been a consistent pattern in the Administration’s actions: laws that are designed to promote public access to information have been undermined, while laws that authorize the government to withhold information or to operate in secret have repeatedly been expanded. The cumulative result is an unprecedented assault on the principle of open government. « Table of Contents

The Administration has supported amendments to open government laws to create new categories of protected information that can be withheld from the public. President Bush has issued an executive order sharply restricting the public release of the papers of past presidents. The Administration has expanded the authority to classify documents and dramatically increased the number of documents classified. It has used the USA Patriot Act and novel legal theories to justify secret investigations, detentions, and trials. And the Administration has engaged in litigation to contest Congress’ right to information.

The records at issue have covered a vast array of topics, ranging from simple census data and routine agency correspondence to presidential and vice presidential records. Among the documents that the Administration has refused to release to the public and members of Congress are (1) the contacts between energy companies and the Vice President’s energy task force, (2) the communications between the Defense Department and the Vice President’s office regarding contracts awarded to Halliburton, (3) documents describing the prison abuses at Abu Ghraib, (4) memoranda revealing what the White House knew about Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction, and (5) the cost estimates of the Medicare prescription drug legislation withheld from Congress.

There are three main categories of federal open government laws: (1) laws that provide public access to federal records; (2) laws that allow the government to restrict public access to federal information; and (3) laws that provide for congressional access to federal records. In each area, the Bush Administration has acted to restrict the amount of government information that is available.

Laws That Provide Public Access to Federal Records

Beginning in the 1960s, Congress enacted a series of landmark laws that promote “government in the sunshine.” These include the Freedom of Information Act, the Presidential Records Act, and the Federal Advisory Committee Act. Each of these laws enables the public to view the internal workings of the executive branch. And each has been narrowed in scope and application under the Bush Administration.

Freedom of Information Act

The Freedom of Information Act is the primary law providing access to information held by the executive branch. Adopted in 1966, FOIA established the principle that the public should have broad access to government records. Under the Bush Administration, however, the statute’s reach has been narrowed and agencies have resisted FOIA requests through procedural tactics and delay. The Administration has:

Issued guidance reversing the presumption in favor of disclosure and instructing agencies to withhold a broad and undefined category of “sensitive” information;

Supported statutory and regulatory changes that preclude disclosure of a wide range of information, including information relating to the economic, health, and security infrastructure of the nation; and

Placed administrative obstacles in the way of organizations seeking to use FOIA to obtain federal records, such as denials of fee waivers and delays in agency responses.
Independent academic experts consulted for this report decried these trends. They stated that the Administration has “radically reduced the public right to know,” that its policies “are not only sucking the spirit out of the FOIA, but shriveling its very heart,” and that no Administration in modern times has “done more to conceal the workings of government from the people.”

The Presidential Records Act

The Presidential Records Act, which was enacted in 1978 in the wake of Watergate, establishes the important principle that the records of a president relating to his official duties belong to the American people. Early in his term, President Bush issued an executive order that undermined the Presidential Records Act by giving former presidents and vice presidents new authority to block the release of their records. As one prominent historian wrote, the order “severely crippled our ability to study the inner workings of a presidency.”

The Federal Advisory Committee Act

The Federal Advisory Committee Act prevents secret advisory groups from exercising hidden influence on government policy, requiring openness and a balance of viewpoints for all government advisory bodies. The Bush Administration, however, has supported legislation that creates new statutory exemptions from FACA. It has also sought to avoid the application of FACA through various mechanisms, such as manipulating appointments to advisory bodies, conducting key advisory functions through “subcommittees,” and invoking unusual statutory exemptions. As a result, such key bodies as the Vice President’s energy task force and the presidential commission investigating the failure of intelligence in Iraq have operated without complying with FACA.

Laws that Restrict Public Access to Federal Records

In the 1990s, the Clinton Administration increased public access to government information by restricting the ability of officials to classify information and establishing an improved system for the declassification of information. These steps have been reversed under the Bush Administration, which has expanded the capacity of the government to classify documents and to operate in secret.

The Classification and Declassification of Records

The classification and declassification of national security information is largely governed by executive order. President Bush has used this authority to:

Reverse the presumption against classification, allowing classification even in cases of significant doubt;

Expand authority to classify information for longer periods of time;

Delay the automatic declassification of records;

Expand the authority of the executive branch to reclassify information that has been declassified; and

Increase the number of federal agencies that can classify information to include the Secretary of Health and Human Services, the Secretary of Agriculture, and the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency.
Statistics on classification and declassification of records under the Bush Administration demonstrate the impact of these new policies. Original decisions to classify information — those in which an authorized classifier first determines that disclosure could harm national security — have soared during the Bush Administration. In fiscal years 2001 to 2003, the average number of original decisions to classify information increased 50% over the average for the previous five fiscal years. Derivative classification decisions, which involve classifying documents that incorporate, restate, or paraphrase information that has previously been classified, have increased even more dramatically. Between FY 1996 and FY 2000, the number of derivative classifications averaged 9.96 million per year. Between FY 2001 and FY 2003, the average increased to 19.37 million per year, a 95% increase. In the last year alone, the total number of classification decisions increased 25%.

Sensitive Security Information

The Bush Administration has sought and obtained a significant expansion of authority to make designations of Sensitive Security Information (SSI), a category of sensitive but unclassified information originally established to protect the security of civil aviation. Under legislation signed by President Bush, the Department of Homeland Security now has authority to apply this designation to information related to any type of transportation.

The Patriot Act

The passage of the Patriot Act after the September 11, 2001, attacks gave the Bush Administration new authority to conduct government investigations in secret. One provision of the Act expanded the authority of the Justice Department to conduct secret electronic wiretaps. Another provision authorized the Justice Department to obtain secret orders requiring the production of “books, records, papers, documents, and other items,” and it prohibited the recipient of these orders (such as a telephone company or library) from disclosing their existence. And a third provision expanded the use of “sneak and peak” search warrants, which allow the Justice Department to search homes and other premises secretly without giving notice to the occupants.

Secret Detentions, Trials, and Deportations

In addition to expanding secrecy in government by executive order and statute, the Bush Administration has used novel legal interpretations to expand its authority to detain, try, and deport individuals in secret. The Administration asserted the authority to:

Hold persons designated as “enemy combatants” in secret without a hearing, access to a lawyer, or judicial review;

Conduct secret military trials of persons held as enemy combatants when deemed necessary by the government; and

Conduct secret deportation proceedings of aliens deemed “special interest cases” without any notice to the public, the press, or even family members.

Congressional Access to Federal Records

Our system of checks and balances depends on Congress being able to obtain information about the activities of the executive branch. When government operates behind closed doors without adequate congressional oversight, mismanagement and corruption can flourish. Yet despite Congress’ constitutional oversight role, the Bush Administration has sharply limited congressional access to federal records.

GAO Access to Federal Records

A federal statute passed in 1921 gives the congressional Government Accountability Office the authority to review federal records in the course of audits and investigations of federal programs. Notwithstanding this statutory language and a long history of accommodation between GAO and the executive branch, the Bush Administration challenged the authority of GAO on constitutional grounds, arguing that the Comptroller General, who is the head of GAO, had no “standing” to enforce GAO’s right to federal records. The Bush Administration prevailed at the district court level and GAO decided not to appeal, significantly weakening the authority of GAO.

The Seven Member Rule

The Bush Administration also challenged the authority of members of the House Government Reform Committee to obtain records under the “Seven Member Rule,” a federal statute that requires an executive agency to provide information on matters within the jurisdiction of the Committee upon the request of any seven of its members. Although a district court ruled in favor of the members in a case involving access to adjusted census records, the Bush Administration has continued to resist requests for information under the Seven Member Rule, forcing the members to initiate new litigation.

Withholding Information Requested by Congress

On numerous occasions, the Bush Administration has withheld information requested by members of Congress. During consideration of the Medicare legislation in 2003, the Administration withheld estimates showing that the bill would cost over $100 billion more than the Administration claimed. In this instance, Administration officials threatened to fire the HHS Actuary, Richard Foster, if he provided the information to Congress. In another case, the Administration’s refusal to provide information relating to air pollution led Senator Jeffords, the ranking member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, to place holds on the nominations of several federal officials.

On over 100 separate occasions, the Administration has refused to answer the inquiries of, or provide the information requested by, Rep. Waxman, the ranking member of the House Committee on Government Reform. The information that the Administration has refused to provide includes:

Documents requested by the ranking members of eight House Committees relating to the prison abuses at Abu Ghraib and elsewhere;

Information on contacts between Vice President Cheney’s office and the Department of Defense regarding the award to Halliburton of a sole-source contract worth up to $7 billion for work in Iraq; and

Information about presidential advisor Karl Rove’s meetings and phone conversations with executives of companies in which he owned stock.

The 9-11 Commission

On November 27, 2002, Congress passed legislation creating the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States (commonly known as the 9-11 Commission) as a congressional commission to investigate the September 11 attacks. Throughout its investigation, however, the Bush Administration resisted or delayed providing the Commission with important information. For example, the Administration’s refusal to turn over documents forced the Commission to issue subpoenas to the Defense Department and the Federal Aviation Administration. The Administration also refused for months to allow Commissioners to review key presidential intelligence briefing documents.

The Collective Impact

Taken together, the actions of the Bush Administration have resulted in an extraordinary expansion of government secrecy. External watchdogs, including Congress, the media, and nongovernmental organizations, have consistently been hindered in their ability to monitor government activities. These actions have serious implications for the nature of our government. When government operates in secret, the ability of the public to hold the government accountable is imperiled.


PHILADELPHIA - On Tuesday, September 21, 2004, the chapel pulpit at Valley Forge Christian College (VFCC), an Assemblies of God Bible college in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania, will be once again commanded by heretical teacher Tony Campolo.

Despite the pleas from numerous Christians in October of last year, Don Meyer, president of VFCC, turned over the chapel pulpit to Mr. Campolo. Following the service, both Mr. Meyer and Mr. Campolo met with Michael Marcavage, director of the Philadelphia-based Repent America, and associate Jason Storms, in a closed discussion to address Mr. Campolo’s unbiblical teachings.

“It is certainly grieving to know that Mr. Campolo is being welcomed back after it was made clear to the college president that his teachings are not consistent with the Word of God,” stated Michael Marcavage. However, the Scripture declares, “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.” 2 Timothy 4:3-4

Through the years, Mr. Campolo has promoted many unbiblical doctrines, especially displayed through his strong ties to ecumenicalism. In his book, A Reasonable Faith, Campolo developed the false concept that “Christ lives in all human beings, regardless of whether they are Christians.” He asserted that the resurrected Jesus of history “actually is present” in each
person, and also stated that “Jesus is the only Savior, but not everybody who is being saved by Him is aware that He is the one who is doing the saving.” In further affirmation to this false teaching, Campolo recently wrote, “I know we cannot complete the job ourselves, of course. That is why we Christians, along with our Jewish and Muslim brothers and sisters, wait earnestly for the Messiah to come and join us. We look forward to that great day when the good work that God has begun in and through us will be brought to completion."

In regards to homosexuality, Campolo supports homosexual marriage and has forcefully spoken out against Christian ministries that help homosexuals overcome their sin through Jesus Christ, while declaring a “biological basis for homosexuality” and saying, “We cannot expect such a person to change his orientation.” Furthermore, in a sermon delivered at North Park College Chapel, Campolo stated, “There are so many good things that the religious right says. And yet what they say beyond those good things can be evil and harmful. I worry about their agenda for my gay and lesbian brothers and sisters.” It should also be noted that Mr. Campolo's wife, Peggy, is a prominent homosexual activist who attends and speaks in homosexual-affirming churches, and regularly marches in homosexual pride parades.

As a former student of Valley Forge Christian College, Dennis Green is concerned with the direction the college is taking. “VFCC has clearly lost its way. To invite a false teacher like Mr. Campolo back after being shown the clear and dangerous error of his doctrine is baffling to me. The documented facts were laid upon the table and the college chose to disregard them, giving its podium to a wolf. The pulpit is for sale. Where are the true Shepherds of God's flock?” Green concluded.

Last year, over a dozen Christians from Repent America gathered outside of Valley Forge Christian College with the truth concerning Campolo’s false teachings, while calling school officials to repent. “We will do the same this year, and perhaps faculty members and students will now recognize the danger of allowing their pulpit to be used by someone who disregards the authority of Scripture,” Marcavage concluded.

“And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.” Ephesians 5:11


Don Meyer, President
Valley Forge Christian College
1401 Charlestown Road
Phoenixville, PA 19460
Phone: 610-935-0450
Fax: 610-935-9353
Toll Free: 1-800-432-8322

All e-mail addresses to contact VFCC can be found at:

For further information concerning this press release, you may contact:

Dennis Green, Director
Life and Liberty Ministries
804-492-9216 (or) lifeandliberty@juno.com