Saturday, December 22, 2012

America: What Must Change? (First of Three Parts)

By Mila D. Aguilar

Another day, another U.S. massacre
(Part I of III Parts)

Another day, another U.S. massacre. Fil-Ams who are quick on the draw will waste no time reminding us that we too have our own Maguindanao Massacre, but I wonder who of us are smart enough to see the similarities between the two.

Our own massacres never fail to be political in nature, whether of the narrow electoral or broader class warfare type. This one before the world now, like the Columbine or the more recent movie theater killings, is the work of a lone crazy, executed without apparent rhyme or reason.

And yet there is a deep underlying rhyme and reason to these crimes committed with ever greater frequency especially in the last four years.

Obama himself has just released the magic balloon out of his mouth in his fourth massacre visit: “We have to change.”

By which he should mean, America has to change.

Change what?

The American majority will soon elect to pass stricter gun control laws. Not astoundingly, indeed characteristically, some Republican outliers are starting to call for greater protection of children through -- you guessed it -- more guns in the hands of “responsible” principals and school staff.

When the news first broke, some even dared to suggest more thorough preliminary surveillance of American society’s mentally and psychologically disturbed! To suppress their quirky little brothers, it seems, Americans never fail to call on their Big Brother’s gall.

But notice the common thread that runs through these suggested solutions: GREATER CONTROL. To check the clay that’s running off of the Iron Man’s otherwise steely feet, the iron men and women of America suggest more effective binders.

They want to believe in democracy, but they can’t take where their “democracy” is taking them.

Therefore they have to exercise greater and greater control over their own citizens.

If they had listened to Michael Moore a little more closely after the Columbine massacre, they would have struck upon the solution by now.

But ah, they dismissed him as a fringe Leftist, even as a communist.

Michael Moore tried to go deeper into the American malaise by raking up U.S. history from the time of the Pilgrims. American history, he concluded, has been a history of fear: they armed themselves from the start first because of their fear of Indians and bears, then because of their fear of black slaves, then because of their fear of Russia, then Islam, and now -- their own citizens.

He implies that all this fear is used by the military-industrial complex to feed its arms factories, and therefore its coffers.

I don’t entirely agree with him, but at least he has gone further than the rest of the little minds that mold American media.

The overarching American problem is not fear, but a morbid obsession with control. The American fear factor comes about only when they cannot TAKE CONTROL over their lives, their society, the world.

It is this maniacal obsession with control that is leading their citizens to morphing into crazed zombies, capable of killing their own kind.

That is what needs to change, more than anything else.

Yesterday, I read two of the most insensitive attacks on the public reaction to the Newtown massacre. Both said, in effect, that people did not have the right to grieve over the Newtown deaths when they could not even sympathize with the mothers and children killed by American drones in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Grossly insensitive, but tragically true.

The truth is that America is going nowhere, and will continue to kill its own kind (aside from other kinds), because of its overarching maniacal compulsion to put the whole world under its big white thumbs, as if the whiteness of those thumbs will somehow cleanse all of mankind.

I will go further. This maniacal compulsion is a compulsion to Godhood.

The America that set out to evangelize the world about the Creator God is no more. The America we now see has taken on the attributes of God. It wants to be God Himself.

And that is the beginning of its end.

But I have just started. Let me elaborate my thesis in the next installments.

America: What Must Change? (Second of Three Parts)

By Mila D. Aguilar

Bits of History, Bits of Violence
(Part II of III)

The most extreme irony of Obama’s speech assuaging Newtown’s parents and children, aired on football TV, was provided by the many tweets that objected to what they called a “nigger” cutting in on their Sunday entertainment.

The irony arises not so much from the racism of the comments, but the utter violence with which they were blurted out.

The Wrap, which later cut down on the long list of samples they got from Twitter and zeroed in on one, boiled down the issue to “the dumbest racists.” 

But that analysis in itself is part of the American culture of violence. Name-calling is emotional and intellectual violence, often meted on those who would not submit to control.

How can a society with such deeply-embedded magmas of violence in its land ever manage to cool down to streams of peace and calm?

I must honestly state from the outset that I am a born again Christian and analyze phenomena from a Biblical perspective.

At the same time, I must say frankly that I have a rather deep grounding in Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tsetung Thought, and therefore also make sure that my analyses do not fly off to heaven without warrant of material evidences and processes.

The Spirit is principal only in those who choose it over themselves. Without that declared choice, consciousness -- whether personal or social -- cannot become a material force.

Therefore, though I know, like the billion Christians all over the world know, that 2 Chronicles 7:14 trenchantly applies to the United States of America today, I will not simply quote it like my billion brethren would.

2 Chronicles 7:14 says, “if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”

Every Christian worth his/her salt knows that if s/he repents of his sins and calls on Jesus Christ, Son of God and God the Son, to heal him/her, He will forgive those sins and perform the miracle of transformation.

Repentance comes before forgiveness. The person, the nation, has to know his, its, sins and repent of them before s/he/it can be forgiven, and be transformed, healed.

In no instance in the Bible does Jesus heal without someone wanting His healing. The person, the nation, has to make the first step of wanting to be healed, which means s/he/it has some idea however vague of what has to be changed within him/her/it.

That is what America has to know, now, before it is too late. What are America’s sins? As long as these sins are not admitted and surrendered to Jesus Christ, they will remain deeply embedded in the nation’s soul, and that soul will never rise to be transformed.

It is not enough to say that the culture of violence is behind America’s present troubles. Where is this culture of violence rooted, and when did it start?

I came upon American history when I was teaching early American literature, and I must say I was shocked by what I discovered. Let me cite a few details that America has always denied of itself.

The Puritans

The group called the Puritans were the poor, deprived, and oppressed of England; their religious views also happened to be different from those of the mainstream of their time. They left England for Holland not only for religious but really, mainly, for class reasons; they were terribly treated in the land of their birth.

When they got to Holland, their first stop, they were again badly treated there. So they petitioned their king to grant them leave to get to America, which had been discovered almost a century before, but which England did not get interested in settling until their population problems became more obvious.

So after twelve years in Holland, these Puritan families set out for America. 

There were actually two expeditions that set out for America. The first, apparently unprepared for the prospect that America was already inhabited by other peoples, ended up in an island off the East Coast and were found decimated by the second.

The second learned from the first. They were sturdier, more numerous, and most important, more ready to kill.

Paolo Freire, the Latin American educator of the seventies, once said in his Pedagogy of the Oppressed that the oppressed are apt to carry over the habits, practices and tendencies of their oppressors unless they are made conscious of these and are able to overcome them.

The Puritans carried over the violence done upon them by their oppressors on the natives of the land they occupied. They killed them to get their piece of land, poisoned them, and spread disease upon them whenever and wherever they could.

Violence fed on violence because their protagonists were equally violent, having had to survive through the centuries in harsh wintry land full of such big wild animals as bears and bisons, and having had to subdue these for their food, clothing and shelter.

This violence did not spare their own kind.

Anne Hutchinson

In 1634, a woman by the name of Anne Hutchinson, whose brood eventually grew to 15 children, left England with her husband William to settle at the Massachusetts Bay Colony in Boston.

There, she began to gather in her home the women of the town, teaching them, contrary to what was being taught by the Puritans, that salvation came through grace and not by works, and that strict Puritan rules and regulations were nothing beside the guidance of the indwelling Holy Spirit.

As the years wore on, her house meetings grew larger and larger and began to be attended by men. Her teachings soon became a threat to both legalistic church and state, which felt she was not upholding their authority nor their rigid moral and legal codes.

The next governor, John Winthrop, put her on trial for heresy. Rumors were spread that she believed in free love. Eventually, she was excommunicated and banished from the Massachusetts Bay Colony, from which she had to leave with her husband and 13 children together with 60 followers.

Years later, when the Colony heard that Anne Hutchinson and her family were slaughtered by Indians in New Amsterdam (now New York), they rejoiced and celebrated.

Today, the Hutchinson River and the Hutchinson Road Parkway in New York are named after her, but Americans don’t remember that anymore, nor the violence done to her by their beloved Puritans.

The Deists

Another myth of America that must be dispelled is that its founders were believers in God. That is only half true. The whole truth is that many, if not most of its founders, were Deists. That is, they believed in a Creator God, but that Creator God at some point left Man alone to himself, to rule and to reign over the earth by himself, without intervention.

One of the prime Deists of his time was Benjamin Franklin. Yes, that Benjamin Franklin. You can read this thesis of his in “A Dissertation on Liberty and Necessity, Pleasure and Pain.”

Benjamin Franklin invented the lightning rod, the bifocals, the Franklin stove, meant to be a replacement for the fireplace, and the glass armonica. He did the kite experiment which uncovered the nature of lightning and electricity. He founded the University of Pennsylvania, the 111 Infantry Regiment, the Union Fire Company (a fire brigade), the Library Company of Pennsylvania, and the American Philosophical Society (with John Bartram). He named the Gulf Stream, enabling British ships to cut their travel time to the U.S. by two weeks.

Franklin’s life was a demonstration of the Deists’ belief in themselves.

If we see America today trying to rule and reign over the world as if it were God, we can trace that tendency to its Deist founders.


Americans, of course, recall more fiercely the slavery to which the South subjected Negros illegally hauled against their will from Africa. 

The North freed those Negros, but in reality mainly because, despite their rhetoric of freedom and democracy, the former needed the labor to man their huge new factories in the East Coast.

It was the freeing of the Negroes to become workers in the factories of the East Coast that enabled the development of American capitalism to imperialism.


American history could not be fully appreciated without a knowledge of the term “imperialism,” which was explained by Lenin. Hold your biased horses, now, while I explain the phenomenon in Lenin’s highly scientific, objective language.

Imperialism, Lenin explained, is the highest stage of capitalism. In capitalism, goods are produced by workers in factories; the value workers add to those goods become profit that accrue to the personal benefit of the owners of the factory.

But in highly mechanized production, goods are produced quickly, such that soon, the whole population of the nation that produces them has already bought them.

The Singer Sewing Machine, one of the first products of American capitalism, first went into commercial production in the 1850s. After a few decades, almost every household in America most likely had them. Where to sell, since production could not be stopped?

Abroad, of course. Europe was most likely the first foreign target, since it was a developed market, but soon that too was glutted.

Where to sell next?

In the 1890s, the United States decided to take Latin America from doddering Spain, and got the Philippines as part of the bargain.

The first feature of imperialism, Lenin explained, is the formation of monopolies through the concentration of production and capital, so much so that these monopolies begin to play a decisive role in the economy.

For a long time, Singer was a monopoly in the manufacture of sewing machines. So was Kodak in terms of film.

The second feature of imperialism is the merger of bank capital with industrial capital and the consequent formation of financial capital ruled by a financial oligarchy.

The formation of Central Banks all over the world (in the U.S., the Federal Bank) is a manifestation of this phenomenon.

The third feature of imperialism is the precedence of the export of capital over the mere export of commodities.

This export of capital is enabled by the vast accumulation of capital by factory owners through profits accrued on the goods manufactured in their factories. 

After decades of selling Singer Sewing Machines and accumulating capital by it, its owner could afford to establish factories outside of the United States, bringing down his cost of production and further jacking up his profits.

The fourth feature of imperialism is the formation of international monopoly capitalist combines, or cartels, which share the world among themselves.

We see this phenomenon at work in the oil cartel, which fixes the price of world oil for its benefit.

The fifth feature of imperialism is the territorial division of the world among the biggest capitalist powers.

World War I and World War II are manifestations of this phenomenon.

As we can see from history, the United States and the Soviet Union emerged as the biggest powers after World War II. But compared with the United States, the Soviet Union was given only the crumbs of Eastern Europe by the Allies.

The first U.S. adventure of expansion after World War II took place in Korea, leading to Korea’s division. 

It tried its hand in Vietnam, but that adventure began its balance of payments problem, which today is seeing its culmination in the so-called “fiscal cliff.”

With the demise of the Soviet Union, the U.S. became the only superpower in the world.

Not learning from its experience in Vietnam, in 2003 it attacked Iraq on the pretext of 9/11.

Today it is inextricably bound up in Afghanistan and is poised to undertake another adventure in Iran.

Having tired of sending men to war, it now sends drones, calling the violence it wreaks on the men and women of the world, collateral damage.

Throughout its history, America has manifested its need to control, its predilection for violence, its preference to rule and reign over all, whether with God or without Him.

There are many details lacking in this short recount, but if you want to delve further, you may want to read A People’s History of the United States by Howard Zinn. 

In that book are all the sins of which America must repent and ask forgiveness for, so that the Lord may hear and heal, and eventually transform it.

If it but behooves America to do so.

If American Christians would but deign to do so.

America: What Must Change? (Last of Three Parts)

By Mila D. Aguilar

An Earthly Kingdom, A Monstrous Beast
(Part III of III)

If American evangelicals had not been blindsided by the worship of their country, they should be leading the charge in America’s transformation today.

But they chose to deny those very parts of the Bible that could extricate them from their country’s woes.

Yet all is not lost, for whatever the sin, those who have surrendered to Jesus as their Lord and Master sooner or later see His Light.

If at the beginning American evangelicals spread a self-centered, individualistic gospel of purely personal salvation and prosperity, the good news they imparted to Africa, Asia and Latin America has taken on the possibility of national salvation through the intercession of the Christian community in each country.

2 Chronicles 7:14 took root all over the world in the first decade of the twenty-first century. Now, not only believers in Christ can be saved. Whole nations could rise up through the ardent prayers of believers in Christ.

Still, the devil has not stopped working.

The “New American Century”

In America itself, this outward urge took on a skewed dimension. Christianity was picked up by the Republicans, but only to be used for their narrow political ends. Karl Rove and his ilk tried hard to push for another American century of power and pelf using their mangled idea of Christianity. The enemy became every individual with petty personal sins against God in the areas of gender choice, abortion and women’s rights.

The choice of enemy was not accidental. The whole scheme redounded to obscuring the fact of exploitation and oppression of the 99% by the top 1% of society. Concentrating on petty personal sins, indeed, one could remove the kleig lights from increasing poverty in America and the world, poverty wrought by the greed mainly of the American elite.

And yet the Bible does not condemn sinners, it saves them.

John 3:17 assures us: “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”

One does not attack petty personal sins; one draws the person to Jesus Christ, letting Jesus’ personal relationship with the sinner work its way through his or her heart.

In making their grievous theological mistake of skewering petty personal sins instead of the major social sins against the poor, deprived and oppressed, evangelicals in cahoots with Republicans unwittingly paved the way for the second victory of Obama. Their Mormon candidate, supposedly pure and holy as far as gender choice, abortion and women’s rights were concerned, blundered his way into secretly attacking the 47% on social security -- and ended up with only 47% of the vote.

What these evangelicals continue to deny is that the whole of the Old Testament clearly calls for justice and righteousness for the weak and oppressed. “If you do not oppress the alien, the orphan, or the widow, and do not shed innocent blood in this place, nor walk after other gods to your own ruin, then I will let you dwell in this place, in the land that I gave to your fathers forever and ever,” Jeremiah 7:6,7 states unequivocally.

“Do not exploit the poor because they are poor and do not crush the needy in court, for the Lord will take up their case and will plunder those who plunder them.” enjoins Proverbs 22:22-23.

There is no lack of such verses in the New Testament, either. Jesus himself came from the poor, his earthly adoptive father having been a carpenter; many of his disciples were fishermen, only one of them being a tax collector -- the outcasts of that time; and the great majority of those he healed and saved were the blind, the lame and even the leprous of the streets and meadows of Israel. 

His advice to the rich young man who wanted to go to heaven was, “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” (Mark 10:21c,d)

If atheism is on the rise in America today, shouldn’t some blame be cast on the Republicans, their rabid political agenda, and the evangelicals they have hoodwinked into supporting it? Are Christopher Hitchens and his kind totally to be credited for atheism’s growth?

1 Samuel 8

Aside from the overemphasis on personal salvation and prosperity and the shelving if not total denial of God’s love for the poor and oppressed, American evangelicals harbor in their secret pockets another, perhaps greater, theological error: their ignorance of 1 Samuel 8.

1 Samuel 8 is a mere 22 verses in the Bible that tell an extremely significant story about human kings. Samuel, you see, was a judge, not a king. In the beginning, Israel had only judges, not kings.

What is the difference between a judge and a king? A judge arbitrates, through constant consultations with God, the problems of the people with one another; he owns nothing; he acknowledges the Creator God's ownership over the people. A king owns the people; he does not have to consult God.

All the tribes around Israel already had kings when Samuel was old and had to appoint his two sons as judges for Israel in Beersheba. 

It so happened that his sons were corrupt.

The reaction of the people of Israel to the corruption of Samuel’s sons was to demand a king over them. They did not ask for the corruption to be curbed, but for a king to be appointed. This was because the nations around them, all heathen and non-believers in God, already had kings.

Samuel knew the grave implications of their demand and so complained to the Lord about it.

This was the Lord God’s response:

It is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected me as their king. As they have done from the day I brought them up out of Egypt until this day, forsaking me and serving other gods, so they are doing to you. Now listen to them; but warn them solemnly and let them know what the king who will reign over them will do.” (1 Samuel 8:7c-9)

What does this response show? The Lord was the King of Israel; that is why He appointed only judges over Israel. He intended to stay as the King of Israel forever. When the Israelites demanded a human king, they were rejecting not Samuel nor his sons, but the Lord God of Israel Himself!

And yet the Lord, in His goodness, told Samuel to listen to them and let them know what the king who will reign over them will do to them. This explanation constitutes verses 11-18, the bulk of the chapter.

In essence, the Lord, through Samuel, told the people that the human king they wanted would own them, their spouses, their sons and daughters, their sheep and animals, their land, and everything within it -- and could therefore do to these whatever he wished.

The human king would own Israel, which in reality was owned by none other than their true King, the Lord their God. In wanting a human king, the Israelites were in essence rejecting the Lord’s ownership over them as their Creator, and therefore His right to rule them directly.

If they chose to have human kings with all their errant ways, they would undergo untold sufferings and hardships.

A human king would not by any means be like the Lord, Israel’s God, who is infinite in His mercy and fair in meting justice.

But the Israelites still insisted on getting a king, wanting to follow their heathen neighbors who had many gods.

And so they got Saul.


Evangelical ministers, fond of their new-found authority over their flock, revel over Romans 13:1: “Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.”

There is nothing wrong with Romans 13:1. 

Exegetically, it was propounded in the century when the Jews were under Roman rule and would have been decimated if they had rebelled. 

It was also necessary in the millennia of Jewish diaspora, when Semitic emigres came under successive suppressions in Europe, from the Inquisition to the Black Plague to Hitler.

Ever since, it has been helpful everywhere in forestalling anarchy in times of extreme social disorder.

But without the nuanced balance of 1 Samuel 8, Romans 13:1 becomes an excuse for tyranny and oftentimes, simply bad leadership.

1 Samuel 8 reminds us that the Lord our God is the only real authority, that He is the only owner of earth and the universe, that He is our one and only King.

We should therefore listen to Him, follow Him, and worship Him ABOVE all human kings.

Our relationship to Him should be direct and two-way, without interference of any human authority.

But most importantly, 1 Samuel 8 presages a time when human kingdoms will come to an end to give way to the only Kingdom that will last -- the Kingdom of God, also known as the Kingdom of Heaven.

The Four Kingdoms

1 Samuel 8 is very important to the understanding of the four kingdoms interpreted or seen by Daniel four times in different forms and under different foreign kings.

Christian leaders often insist that all these four kingdoms refer to ones long gone, the last preferably being the Roman Empire.

What they can never account for is that the fourth kingdom in The Book of Daniel is always replaced by the Kingdom of God.

And yet, in the same breath, these same Christian leaders acknowledge that today we are in the end times, even the last days, and we are soon to witness the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, the King of Kings, not just in our hearts, but physically, for all the earth to see.

If the fourth kingdom is the long-lost, declined and kaput Roman Empire, what will the Kingdom of God, of Jesus Christ God the Son, the King of Kings, replace?

The truth is that our Christian leaders are in gross denial of present-day realities.

If they let the Word of God, the Bible, talk to them a little more, they would see that the fourth kingdom is operating right in their midst.

Daniel, in 2:40-43, tells King Nebuchadnezzar:

“Finally, there will be a fourth kingdom, strong as iron – for iron breaks and smashes everything – and as iron breaks things to pieces, so it will crush and break all the others. Just as you saw that the feet and toes were partly of baked clay and partly of iron, so this will be a divided kingdom; yet it will have some of the strength of iron in it, even as you saw iron mixed with clay. As the toes were partly iron and partly clay, so this kingdom will be partly strong and partly brittle. And just as you saw the iron mixed with baked clay, so the people will be a mixture and will not remain united, any more than iron mixes with clay.”

This is immediately followed by verses 44-45:

In the time of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed, nor will it be left to another people. It will crush all those kingdoms and bring them to an end, but it will itself endure forever.”

In other words, the Kingdom of Heaven will be set up in the time of the fourth kingdom. But the Roman Empire has long passed. If this Kingdom of Heaven was set up by Jesus Christ during the Roman Empire, when did His millennial reign begin? 

Do not tell me we are now into His third millennium.

And yet, notice the description of the fourth kingdom: Does it not look very familiar to you, with its strength that can crush and break all others, but its feet made partly of iron and partly of clay, invading many countries at the same time like the superpower it is but racked by dissension and financial crises in its own boarders?

Do not tell me that is Russia.

In fact American evangelicals insist that the United States of America is not in the Bible.

Russia is, Europe is, the Islamic Caliphate is, even China is -- all as foes of God, in their estimation -- but the United States is not.

Even the islands of the Philippines are in the Bible. But the United States is not.

Tell that to the Marines, if you read your Bible carefully.

The Beast of Imperialism

Another very important portion of the Bible slurred over by American evangelicals is Revelation 17.

The chapter is of course subject to many interpretations, being highly symbolic in character.

But if you understand Lenin’s scientific definition of imperialism, you might see through the symbolisms of Revelation 17.

The beast, on which the adulterous woman sits, has seven heads and ten horns.

The seven heads are seven kings, but there is an eighth who belongs to the seventh but is headed for his destruction.

Have you heard of the Group of Seven, which became Eight with the inclusion of Russia?

The ten horns, on the other hand, are also ten kings, who are part of the Beast but will make war on the Lamb, Jesus Christ, obviously without the cooperation of the seven-become-eight kings who are also part of the Beast.

Aren’t the Group of Seven-now-Eight in the same oil business as the Islamic nations?

Aren’t the Islamic nations at war with the Lamb?

And who is the prostitute, the adulterous woman, who sits on the Beast, but whom the ten horns hate? She sits on waters which “are peoples, multitudes, nations and languages.” At the same time she sits on seven hills, which are also the seven kings.

New York City, the financial center of Imperialism?

Whatever your interpretation of the Beast, it is undeniable that when Jesus Christ comes down from heaven with His saints, it will be not only to bind Satan, but to throw the Beast AND his false prophets into fire and brimstone -- forever. That is the clear, indelible and unquestionable message of Revelation 19.

The Beast and his false prophets are destined for destruction.

If the Beast is Imperialism -- the fourth and last kingdom, as I see it -- then Jesus Christ will come down to destroy Imperialism, and it will never again reign on earth, nor oppress any nation.

Every nation that survives Jesus’ sword will be a peer among nations.

No one nation will rule over others. No nation will attack any other. Every nation will be an equal in the community of nations.

Only Jesus Christ will be King of Kings and Lord of Lords, with every nation having a leader, a “king,” who will receive his or her instructions straight from the Lord, but will not be able to impede any of his or her citizens from talking to the Lord.

The millennial reign of Jesus Christ will have no room for a superpower.

If only American evangelicals could live with that fact.

Then perhaps, they can lead America in its journey to complete transformation.