|HE DEPARTMENT OF Homeland Security has opened an office referred to as the Center for Faith-Based and Community Initiatives which will be part of the Preparedness Directorate responsible for channeling relief funds. Secularists such as those at Americans United for the Separation of Church and State are critical of the program for fear that churches and religious ministries will withhold federal aide from disaster victims until they've had a chance to catechize a captive audience. However, the groups themselves likely to seemingly benefit from such apparent largesse should also be leery of the tempting apple set before them.|
It has been said that he who pays the piper calls the tune. Thus, anytime funds are distributed, those handing them out are going to say how they are going to be dished out even if what they are now handing out wasn't originally theirs to begin with.
Before churches rush out and sign up to be the government's stooge, they would do well to reflect upon the plight of Sheriff Bill McGee of Forrest County, Mississippi. McGee is facing charges such as interfering with, intimidating, and impeding a federal officer for commandeering an idling FEMA relief truck transporting ice.
The proponents of Marxist-style class warfare enamored with the unbridled pillaging that transpired after Katrina hit New Orleans ask, "What makes the Sheriff any different than any of the other looters?" Well, for starters, he did not help himself to gold chains and plasma screen TV's. Furthermore, such a comparison fails to take into account ultimate ownership of the items under consideration.
The items "liberated" by the marauders (especially consumer goods of no nutritional value) taken from merchants and homeowners did not belong to those procuring them without the benefit of legitimate economic exchange. The ice commandeered by the sheriff, on the other hand, already belonged to the American people and was intended for those the sheriff delivered it to.
One might say that the only criminals in this incident were the FEMA administrators. For it was not like government ice was diverted from others that needed it.
According to an Ohio National Guardsmen detached to a food and water distribution checkpoint during Katrina relief operations quoted in a 4/6/06 HattiesburgAmerican.com story , in all likelihood the ice would have gone to waste as bureaucrats sat around with their thumbs up their backsides not knowing what to do. The distribution of supplies to those on the verge of death had to be held up for the more important issues of sensitivity training as relief volunteers are required to undergo two weeks worth of training in essential disaster relief skills and knowledge such as the collected speeches of Marcus Garvey, the Bhaghavad Gita, and lesbian and gay awareness according to a NationalReview.com story entitled "FEMA To The Rescue: The Essential Prep Work by John Derbyshire.
If anything, Sheriff McGee is a real life Jack Bauer in that he did not allow bureaucratic pettiness to endanger additional lives but rather took decisive action for the well being of his countrymen. And like the superpatriot of the hit drama "24", this valiant American will likely not be rewarded like a hero as he should be but instead be forced to suffer as the scapegoat for the incompetence and stupidity of others at a higher paygrade.
Though himself a local government official, Sheriff McGee's plight should serve as an example of almost Biblical proportions of what can happen when religious charities get entangled with the government.
The thing that makes religious organizations and charities so successful in responding to disasters is the rapidity with which they are free to do so. Unencumbered by multiple levels of bureaucracy to the same extent as characterizing government agencies, religious organizations are more capable of quickly directing resources to those that need them as they are not distracted by weightier matters such as getting out the word that Heather has two mommies.
However, should religious groups be seduced by the dark side of government money, it won't be long before their noted efficiency in crisis situations will disappear faster than fried chicken at a revival picnic since they will be shackled with the same regulations and oversight that plague government agencies. Yet, once these churches and charities make their pact with the devil, it won't be long until government officials dictate doctrinal content and hand down homiletical directives as well.
Since government aide cannot be distributed in a manner appearing to be partial to the beliefs of those distributing it, FEMA officials will insist that at no time whatsoever may a religious institution receiving government aide espouse a doctrine perceived to be "exclusivistic" in nature (in other words, no religion will be permitted under threat of penalty of law to enunciate a position that its system of belief is superior to any other way to God).
It has been reported, most fully in a May 24, 2006 PrisonPlanet.com article titled "Secret FEMA Plan To Use Pastor As Pacifier In Preparation For Martial Law, that FEMA officials held meetings with pastors informing the clergy of the role they were to play in implementing various martial law decrees. The pastors were told they were to fulfill this directive by emphasizing the need to submit to the government as outlined in Romans 13.
It was elaborated upon in the FEMA directive that failure to comply with quarantine efforts (now euphemistically referred to as "social distancing"), forced relocation into prison camps (now called "community centers"), and the confiscation of property and firearms (something no law enforcement official has a right to do to those in their own homes having committed no crime) will constitute a "cowboy mentality" that will not be tolerated.
Though they would hardly consider themselves FEMA minions, even among Evangelicals and Fundamentalists more conservative in nature, I have noticed as of late a disturbing disparagement of America's frontier values. For example, one ministry Anabaptist and close to conservative Mennonite in its theological orientation from the Pennsylvania Dutch Country posted an article on its website how true Christians would not adorn themselves in what it classified as "Western apparel" because of the reputation of cowboys to carouse, to resort to violence to solve their problems, and most importantly to rely upon themselves rather than subordinate themselves to the collective will of the group.
For starters, not all cowboys (either realistic or literary) had a reputation for carousing. In fact, a number such as the Lone Ranger and the Cartwrights of Bonanza usually lived by a code of morality that, quite frankly, more Americans should emulate as these frontiersmen were usually quick to standup to evildoers yet possessed of a humility that did not laud their noble deeds over the heads of others. And though the formulaic Western is derided as "racist" or "imperialistic", a number of these protagonists were quite magnanimous towards nonhostile members of other ethnic groups. Rather I suppose their shortcoming was dealing with individuals first and foremost rather than approaching the group as the foremost arbiter of ethical value and for failing to get onboard the bandwagon castigating the White race as the bane and boogeyman of all of history.
Even Christian broadcaster Chuck Crismier murmured against the American cowboy on the July 26, 2006 edition of his program Viewpoint in an episode titled "There Is No 'I' In Church" (itself a lingo-supremacist comment for those believers making cultural sensitivity a foremost concern of the church these days since church in other languages does indeed have an "I" in it such as "kirk", "iglesia", and "ecclesia") when he disparaged the image of John Wayne riding off into the sunset. Rather I suppose Wayne is not suppose to be riding off anywhere by himself without the permission of the pastor or better yet surrender the horse for the use of the church and instead "rely on Jesus" to take him wherever the Lord's will might be (usually "Evangelese" that someone has no idea whatsover what to do next).
I wonder what these Christian leaders calling for docility and group conformity have to say about the Black Regiment of the American Revolution consisting of pastors with Bibles in one hand and muskets in the other. Mark my words, it won't be long before so-called Evangelicals begin denouncing independence all together and begin urging reunification with Britain and ultimately subjugation to the European Union since, as the radical ecumenicalists have harped the past few decades, unity is the highest priority above all others.
It has been said there is no such thing as a free lunch. Churches and other religious institutions should stop and think of the price they might be forced to pay before they start clamoring for the privilege of distributing meals as the government's serving wench.
Frederick Meekins is an Internet columnist. He holds a BS from the University of Maryland in Political Science/History and a MA in Apologetics & Christian Philosophy from Trinity Theological Seminary. He is currently pursuing a Doctor of Practical Theology through the Master's Graduate School Of Divinity in Evansville, Indiana. Frederick's research interests include Worldview Application, Christian Apologetics, The Implications of Aberrant Theologies & Ideologies, Futurology, Eschatology, Science Fiction, Terrorism Studies, Environmentalism, Education Policy and America's Judeo-Christian Foundations. Frederick is also an ordained Non-Denominational Minister and listed in "Who's Who In America" and in "Who's Who Of Emerging Leaders". Media inquiries can be directed to: firstname.lastname@example.org. His books "Yuletide Terror & Other Holiday Horrors" and "Provide For The Common Defense: Thoughts Concerning The Nation's Enemies" are available at http://stores.lulu.com/fmeekins. His blog, The Epistolizer, can be found at http://epistolizer.blogspot.com
More columns by Frederick Meekins