Saturday, October 10, 2009

RIFQA A Victim of Christian Evangelical Zealots Convinced She Is The New Esther

UPDATE: 6:39 PM, Oct. 10, 2009

Evangelical Christians not only believe that Christianity is the only true religion and the pathway to salvation but that their particular brand of Christianity is the only way to salvation. Sometimes they temper this message in order to join forces with other Christians when necessary and with secular conservatives in order to accomplish certain goals or to put pressure on politicians to get certain pieces of legislation passed which will further their overall agenda.

This is especially true for Religious Right leaders who have taken on the Reconstructionist doctrines and political agenda. However these True believers may believe that in acquiring more converts any and all tactics including deception of one form or another is permissible given their certitude that their doctrine is the only true one. It is therefore given their mind-set more important to save as many souls /people as possible than to have qualms about certain dubious tactics. They may present their doctrine in such a way that they appear more inclusive and tolerant than they actually are.

Believing in the worthiness and the urgency of their cause some of these zealots have at times little interest in laws which are man made and not God's Law. They are willing to break those laws and in situations which to others are complex or confusing they believe that they can see through all of this and see what is the actual truth and thereby with certitude and defiance act upon their belief which has its foundation in their belief and trust in their God. They do not believe that their God would lead them astray so they can act with certainty justified by their faith . And so those who helped Rifqa Bary who referred to herself as Esther they believe or want to believe that she is a new prophet in this moment of crisis. So when her family and the authorities try to steal her away from them- the more these secular man made authorities fight to keep Rifqa /Esther the more they come to believe that she is a prophet and she is trying to escape these earthly authorities and from Islam which they believe is anti-Christian anti-Jesus anti-God . For these evangelicals such as Lou Engle they are convinced that the drama of Rifqa Bary is a sign from God that God has chosen her and that the government and and other authorities are deluded because they are under a spell or the evil powers of Islam.
So in this current Spiritual war they believe that things are not as they seem to be but those who have been chosen see clearly and see how things really are no longer seeing through a glass darkly.

Lou Engle of The Call speaks in apocalyptic terms - He talks about the new Esthers about to rise up-Rifqa Bary refers to herself as Esther He ends by warning if the nation does not return to prayer and defeat Godless liberals and politicians then the Muslims will take over & crush Christianity
The Ramp - We are in a crisis! - Lou Engle-2008
The Call The Ramp We are in a crisis Lou Engle Talks About the Reason for the prayer Movement VERY TRUE MESSAGE

Voting as a prophetic action to vote only for moral absolutes
Lou Engle Announces His New Political Movement

Ron Luce's Battlecry Intensive weekends are a form of propaganda and uses tactics often associated with fringe cults-
The weekends are 27 hours of Rock Concerts and sermonizing which are meant to break down any normal rational resistance-the message is aimed at the non-rational part of individuals- the music pyrotechnics and constant references to the fact that all of these teens are lost, are without faith, have sinned against God and that they have given in to the secular culture which is part of Satan's way of alluring them away from God and they are told this moment this weekend is a crucial moment in their lives they must accept Jesus and do as he commands or die and burn for all eternity in Hell. While the experience is individual but also one of joining thousands of others and so some merely mimic others to fit in and to fulfill certain psychological needs giving them a sense of purpose, a sense of belonging , to see that the negative feelings and self loathing or anger and hatred of others are the result of having turned away from God.

This is a powerful experience for anyone but especially for confused , angry, lonely , anxious , depressed , impressionable teenagers who may also feel worthless or filled with self-loathing. Now they are told that once they turn to God they are important and that they and their generation has been chosen by God to be his warriors to fight this cosmic battle against the Satanic forces and principalities which are all around them. By resisting these forces they they are able to show their worth and that they are loved and appreciated by God but more importantly on a psychological basis they are loved and appreciated by whomever the Religious Leader or authorities are and by this crowd of tens of thousands like themselves who are now part of something greater than themselves .

While watching this disturbing video it is somewhat disconcerting in the same way I felt about watching the documentary "Jesus Camp" of children from the age of four to twelve being bombarded daily for several weeks with this sort of zealous extremists views about the world . Being treated as if they had already committed the worst sins possible and so should be ashamed of themselves and that they were already damned and everything they did wrong was an offense to God. So even though they were sinners and possibly not worth saving they were given a second change to be saved.You are either part of the saved or you are damned and the end is not that far away .
Some children as young as 11 years old
Exchaning materialistic commercial propaganda for Jesus Cult Propaganda
Gods Warriors Christians TEN
Rural Texas
Ron Luce's Battlecry Conservative Christian Warrior

Acquire the Fire Ron Luce

Acquire the Fire is a 27-hour, life-transforming event built around bringing volume and clarity to God's voice in the lives of teenagers. For more than two decades, ATF events have delivered...Decision-making opportunities for Christ, pattern-breaking challenges for living "real-life" with God, future-shaping perspectives that helps youth see themselves in God's big plan.

Do all Religious Right Leaders such as Ron Luce, Lou Engle of The Call or Pastor Hagee suffer from a Christ Complex believing they are messengers of God who are being persecuted every time someone in the press questions their motivations, their tactics to increase their number of followers or that they their reading & interpretation of the Bible itself is rather selective and so question their integrity and worthiness.

Ron Luce and other Religious Right leaders have a skewed view of American history and of the history of Western Civilization- sometimes they seem to suggest that period during the Crusades was some sort of Golden era or was it during the period of a few hundred years in which they hunted down witches heretics, apostate Christians heretics and non-believers. Was the Golden age when European Christians came to the continent of America and South America and wiped out millions of native Americans or was the Golden age when White Europeans had slaves and when women & children minorities or workers had few if any rights.

at Understanding Rifqa Bary
by Kyle at Right wing Watch / Southern Poverty Law Center, October 9, 2009

Michael Kruse has written an excellent article in the St. Petersburg Times entitled "The Life Rifqa Bary Ran Away From" that explains how Bary saw her conversion to Christianity as part of "an epic battle between God and the Devil, in which she was both a prize and a prophet."

The whole thing is excellent, but I want to highlight this one section because it gets at the heart of the Right's claims that Bary had to hide her Christian faith from her parents and flee from their house because they would literally kill her if they ever found out:

Rifqa was forced to live a secret life of sorts, she has said — to friends, in court files, to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement — praying and reading her Bible in the middle of the night in her room or the bathroom or the porch on the back of her family's apartment.

Her parents say they knew.

At school, meanwhile, she did nothing to hide her faith.

"She'd read her Bible in class," said Tony Hou, a junior at New Albany. "She brought her Bible with her just about everywhere."

It became, he said, one of the things she was known for — her blue Bible, her name written on the front, in shiny silver letters.

Last fall, she listened to an online sermon given by Jamal Jivanjee, an evangelical pastor in Columbus who also was a Muslim who became a Christian. She e-mailed him. They started meeting for coffee at Starbucks.

And at some point she started reading the Facebook writings of an Ohio State student and an aspiring pastor named Brian Michael Williams.

In Williams' writings, evolution is bunk, abortion is murder, Armageddon is near. He said he needed "an army of prayer warriors" for the end of days.

Rifqa grew to consider Williams a friend and a mentor. She started last spring proselytizing students at school. Her father scolded her for it, he said, because it was against school rules.

At home, when Rilvan had friends over, she started coming out of her room and telling them about the Bible, saying they were listening to "demonic" music.

"She was really aggressive about it," said David Sharpe, who last year graduated with Rilvan.

Last spring was when Rifqa also started exchanging Facebook messages with Beverly Lorenz. She and her husband, Blake Lorenz, are the pastors at Orlando's Global Revolution Church, an evangelical, end-times group that says it's "about changing our culture."

Brian Williams baptized Rifqa in June, in Big Walnut Creek at Hoover Dam park, not far from her parents' apartment. She cried and laughed and kept falling over so Williams had to hold her up.

"After she was submerged in the water," said Hou, her New Albany classmate, "she pretty much fainted, she pretty much passed out, literally, from joy."

Rifqa wrote in her journal.

"I am called to the nations," she said. "Send me to the deepest darkest places into the pagan land."

"Lord is preparing me."

"Enemy is after me."

see The life Rifqa Bary ran away from by michael Kruse St. Petersburg Times/ Oct. 11, 2009

and we get more revelations from Craig McCarthy the lawyer representing Rifqa's mother in this case. He debunks a number of falsehoods and lies spreading on the internet by conservative Evangelical Christians who may be acting in good faith but they appear to have their facts wrong because of what Rifqa has told them or because others in the Evangelical movement meaning to or not put certain ideas into her head which had little to do with Rifqa's home environment. Her parents are not strict Muslims nor do they adhere to Shariah law. Their child assimilated to American culture and they may have been disappointed when she told them that she had converted to Christianity but they were not angry with her. Her parents did scold her for pestering fellow students at her school trying to convert them. Her conversion was a well known public fact and she was known for her passion for her faith and wanting to share it with others .Her parents in fact knew of her conversion for several years .
It appears that her parents reported her missing immediately and they showed her parting note to the police. But those who believe Rifqa ignore some of the facts in the case such as that Rifqa was a cheerleader and her parents approved.

It may be that those who helped Rifqa leave her home did so in good faith and not knowing her or her family well enough may have drawn conclusions based upon their own stereotyping of Muslims. But they also had an obligation to inform police that Rifqa was safe so they could inform her family. Part of what is going on here is a misunderstanding of the situation based upon these negative stereotype of all Muslims. Rifqa like many teenagers is somewhat rebellious so if her parents had been Christian she may have converted to Islam or Buddhism if her parents had been Buddhist she might have chosen whatever religion she believed her parents had the most negative view of. All of these things must be taken into account before jumping to conclusions.

But we also have to accept that there are those who claim that they sympathize and want to help Rifqa have their own agenda and self-interest such as that they may be anti-Islam and believe the worse about all Muslims and so are open to believe just about anything Rifqa might tell them. For some it is also that they may be using Rifqa to serve their their own political or religious agenda. For these people if it turns out they were wrong all along for them this may be a disappointment and for others no matter what evidence is presented they are going to continue to be skeptical believing that all those taking the parents side are part of some conspiracy to protect this Muslim family.

So at sites such as Pamela Geller's Atlas Shrugs there is a sense of hysteria and urgency about the case of Rifqa without being objective enough to wait for all the evidence to be in. Is this because of a knee-jerk reaction because Rifqa comes from a Muslim-American family. As I have said before would those on the right have a similar reaction if the girl involved was a member of a Christian Evangelical family and the girl converted to the hare krisnas, or the Moonies or a Buddhist sect or The Children of God .

Christian attorney: Why I think Rifqa Bary's mother is in the right By Craig McCarthy, Special to the St. Petersburg Times September 20, 2009

It will astonish many fellow conservatives as well as many on the left to learn that I, an evangelical Christian, have vigorously defended Rifqa Bary's mother in court. And I believe that my former client's cause is just.

From the beginning of this case until earlier this month, I was the attorney for Aysha Risana Bary, Rifqa's mother. I hope it comes across as nothing but a simple fact when I say this to you: I know more about what is really going on in this case than you do — and those of us who are Christians and conservatives ought to be interested in the facts behind controversial stories.

By Aug. 12, I already had solid documentation that at least one thing circulating in the media and on blogs was flat wrong: that the parents had not reported the child missing for 10 days. Not long after, I was able to nail down another misreported "fact," that the child's note left to her parents had not been given to police. Neither of those things are true.

Why are those relatively mundane facts important? They are important because the person reporting them couldn't possibly know those things, yet so-called adults surrounding Rifqa eagerly passed those things on to media without analysis, one imagines, because they served to paint the child's parents in a bad light.

Knowing that the key facts first presented in Orlando were just plain wrong, and almost inexplicably wrong given that neither claim could possibly be known to anyone in Florida, I continued with my sense that something was "off" here, and kept digging.

I was annoyed as a Christian, as an officer of the court and as a litigator (in that order) that many with whom I agree on many issues were so willing to disregard the notion that a parent has the right in this country to raise and influence a child without governmental interference, unless there is evidence of abuse or neglect that is credible and not based on stereotypes or based on the beliefs or actions of what people who are not the parents might think, feel or do.

Consider this: A minor goes missing; an Amber Alert is issued; law enforcement officials develop information; that information brings police to a lead; that lead actually has knowledge of where the child is; despite the fact that the lead initially denies his knowledge of where the child is, police are able to put that together with a call to the National Center for Missing and Endangered Children, and then they find the missing child. … Yet the response of certain people involved with this case is to be outraged that the police did their jobs. Something is "off."

Then came the FDLE report executive summary. It's out there now. It confirms things I already knew. When Mohamed Bary personally showed me photographs of his daughter in a cheerleader outfit when we met for the second time on Aug. 21 (he had driven from Ohio to Florida twice to attend court hearings), I knew that claims that he had no idea that his child was a Westernized and normal high school student were nonsense.

Reading the FDLE report, I now have confirmation of several things I'd developed information about. I am no longer involved with this case as an attorney. It would be improper by my writing to interfere with the Barys' new attorneys and how they want to proceed. Suffice it to say that a growing list of otherwise uninterested people would have to be lying in order for what you think is true about this case to be true.

To my Christian readers I say that most of you likely had a heartfelt desire to protect a new convert to our faith. I can't fault you there. Quite frankly I am happy that the child knows Jesus, but that is a personal feeling and not relevant to my previous job of defending these parents from the power of the state to take their family apart.

Please recognize that the Lord is not so powerless as to need people to hide information, to embellish facts, or to give false witness in order to advance Christ's kingdom. You homeschoolers in particular ought to pause and weigh the power of the state to take your child into foster care against your feelings on this case and whether or not you would wish to be afforded a competent defense should religious biases be used against you some day.

To any readers who may be of the People for the American Way variety who blog about the hypocrisy of Christians, I simply present myself, an evangelical Christian who believes in facts and law and has extended himself far out on a limb before his peers on behalf of Rifqa's mother.

To any readers who may be Muslim, do not allow your reading of certain blogs to taint your feelings toward your Christian neighbors.

And to Rifqa, one year younger than my older child, I say that as a father and as a Christian, and as your mother's former attorney, I care about you and have since Aug. 10. God bless you, and I believe that all things will work together for good.

Craig McCarthy, a graduate of West Point and Florida State Law School, was the court-appointed attorney for Rifqa Bary's mother for the first several weeks of this case.

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