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Sunday, April 5, 2015

This Simple Mistake Got A Veteran’s Guns Confiscated – And It Could Happen To You


Image source: HuffingtonPost
 
A judge has stripped a disabled veteran of his Second Amendment rights because of unsubstantiated allegations made by a neighbor.
Even though he has not been convicted of a crime, Rick Bailey, 56, had all 28 of his guns confiscated by police and has lost his right to buy firearms.

“I was totally devastated,” Bailey said of the day officers came to take his guns. “I couldn’t believe something like this could happen. I had a 3-hour anxiety-slash-panic attack while officers were there and after they left. They wanted to call an ambulance.”

Officers came to Bailey’s home March 17 in Glendale, Arizona — a Phoenix suburb – to enforce a court order called an “injunction against harassment.” On the order an unidentified city court judge wrote, “Def (defendant) shall not have/buy firearms, surrender any to Glendale PD,” The Blaze reported.

The order was issued after a neighbor told police that Bailey had threatened to shoot him. Bailey has not been charged with any crime and was not given a chance to appeal or contest the order before police came to his home.

Feud with Neighbor Led to Gun Confiscation

Bailey told The Blaze that he had been feuding with the unidentified neighbor for months. He was apparently upset because the neighbor parked dump trucks in his driveway.

Ultimate Tactical Self-Defense And Hunting Weapon That Doesn’t Require A Firearms License!
Bailey eventually filed a complaint with the city of Glendale that prompted authorities to remove the trucks and other equipment. He contends that the neighbor ignored the order and kept storing vehicles and equipment used in a landscaping business on Bailey’s property.
police confiscated guns
Image source: www.wbez.org

On March 16, the day before the injunction was issued, Bailey had called police because he thought he smelled toxic chemicals coming from the neighbor’s home.

“The smell got so bad, I had to come back to my patio and use my inhaler — so I called the police to see if anything could be done,” Bailey told The Blaze. The neighbor apparently told the police about the alleged death threats when officers approached him about the chemicals.

Bailey denies making any threats. The Blaze reported that court documents say that Bailey had threatened to stuff the neighbor in his dump truck. The neighbor also says Bailey threatened to shoot him – an allegation Bailey denies. Bailey says he is disabled and physically incapable of harming anyone.

The court order will be in force for one year, Glendale Police spokesman Sergeant David Vidaure told The Blaze. During that period, Bailey cannot own, use or buy firearms. When the order expires, Bailey’s guns could be returned.

Bailey said he is disabled because of an accident that occurred while he was serving in the Navy. He is a retired software engineer.
Bailey plans to hire an attorney and challenge the court order. A Go Fund Me account was set up to raise $5,000 for Bailey’s legal defense.

Restraining Orders Threaten Second Amendment 

Arizona is not the only state where judges can order gun confiscations and restrict Second Amendment rights with a court order. On Sept. 30, California Governor Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill 1014, as Off The Grid News previously reported.

That law gives judges the power to issue restraining orders that would prevent people from possessing guns for 21 days at the recommendation of a doctor or psychologist. The law also allows for the confiscation of weapons from individuals at the recommendation of a psychologist.

The lesson? Depending on where you live, be careful what you say to neighbors.

Do you believe judges should be able to order gun confiscations, minus a crime? Share your thoughts in the section below:
Most Shotguns In Homes Are NOT Suitable For Defense. Read More Here.

Interview: John Birch Society’s Art Thompson Speaks on the Dangers of Con Con

 By: Joshua Cook Apr 5, 2015


There is a growing movement among limited-government activists who believe that a Constitutional Convention could solve a lot of America’s balanced budget problems.

Many writers for BenSwann.com have been critical of a Constitutional Convention (Con Con) in the past (see here and here), but the movement has evolved from theory into a growing movement. Many bills for a Con Con are being debated in state houses throughout America.

BenSwann.com’s Joshua Cook spoke to  Art Thompson, CEO of John Birch Society, about the problems with the Con Con, pro-Constitutional Convention, movement.

Cook said that he had friends on both sides of the debate who all want the government to be fiscally responsible, so what’s wrong with those calling for a balanced budget amendment?

“The purpose of it is to rein in the government. So, I would ask the question, does the Constitution now rein in the government? And the answer, of course, is no. The problem is that it wouldn’t matter if you have some change in the Constitution for the better. Would they pay any attention to that anymore than they do to the Constitution today?” asked Thompson.

“The problem is not the Constitution and having to make additions to the Constitution. The problem is adhering to the Constitution we have,” he explained.

Thompson explained that he is all for a balanced budget, but he said standing between the government and a balanced budget are roadblocks.

“We say this unless you repeal two amendments to the Constitution, it will be next to impossible to have a balanced budget,” he said.

“Because what we used to have in this country  was a system of checks and balances between the House and the Senate and the Executive, but once we got the 16th Amendment, the income tax, and once we got the 17th Amendment, the direct election of senators, that threw the whole system to a tailspin. And we’ve never recovered from it,” he added.

“Most people do not understand the implications of those two amendments and how they have destroyed checks and balances between the states and the federal government,” he said. “All you need to do is repeal them, and you’d have a balanced budget if we went back to the old system.”

Thompson said that America’s problems need fixing, but a Constitutional Convention movement is not the answer.

One of his issues with organizations, like Call A Convention, is the bipartisan nature of the group and the questionable sources of its funding.

“There has been 10s of millions of dollars contributed to this campaign, and we don’t know where it’s coming from. In fact, when you take a look at the people involved and the organizations involved, there is more of a case that this is a leftist movement than a conservative movement,” he said.

Call A Convention’s backers, according to their website include conservative Mark Levin and Wolf PAC, an organization that has roots in the Occupy Wall Street movement.

Thompson said that there is no room for bipartisanship, because liberals’ and conservatives’ philosophies are different.

“Bipartisanship has gotten us into the problem. Bipartisanship is another word for compromise in my book. You either stand for the Constitution or you don’t,” he explained. “The problem has been is that the conservatives always compromise with the left. And that compromise with the left has gotten us where we are today.”

These bipartisan groups contain people with radically different viewpoints.

“Some of these people want to get rid of the 2nd Amendment, or if they can’t get rid of it, to add a couple extra words that make it impossible for a citizen in the United States to have the right to keep and bear arms unless they belong to a state militia,” he added.
Are those the type of people we want gathering to amend, or rewrite, our Constitution?

“Conservatives professing that all they want is a balanced budget, but they’re in bed with some leftists who have a completely different agenda. That doesn’t compute logically in my brain,” he said.

Another issue is that the balanced budget amendment would be written during the convention.

“Now I’ve seen a number of balance budget proposals, not one of them would balance the budget,” he explained.

One of the problems with the proposal is the Federal Reserve.
“You cannot balance the budget of the United States unless you take into account the Federal Reserve,” he said. The Federal Reserve allows the government to spend money it doesn’t actually have.

“And yet the Federal Reserve can keep the presses rolling and they might do it in a way of currency exchanges, which is how they’re bailing out Europe right now. They are sending palettes of $100 bills to Europe, and they’re sending us back palettes of Euros. Now we don’t spend the Euros. They’re put in a basement someplace. But Europe spends the dollars,” he explained.

“That to me, is not a balance. It’s a whole unethical means of bailing out Europe,” he said.

And we know the government has emergencies like this all of the time.

Another problem with the balanced budget proposals they don’t account for how much money the federal government gives the states, many of which don’t have their owned balanced budgets.
Thompson also suggests repealing departments and services that aren’t Constitutionally backed. Those include things like Obamacare and departments of education and energy.
“All of those things are off budget, and yet those things are bankrupting this whole country,” he said.
To pay for those unconstitutional agencies, taxes could be raised.
“If we don’t repeal the 16th and 17th Amendments, a balanced budget will tax our economy to its knees.”
To learn more about the John Birch Society, visit their website.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Remove US military bases from Latin America - UNASUR chief

Published time: April 01, 2015 07:26

US soldiers walk after landing at the Muniz Air National Guard Base in San Juan, Puerto Rico (Reuters / Alvin Baez-Hernandez)
US soldiers walk after landing at the Muniz Air National Guard Base in San Juan, Puerto Rico (Reuters / Alvin Baez-Hernandez)

Latin American countries should discuss removing all US military bases from their soil, a top official of integration organization UNASUR suggested. The issue may be discussed next month at the upcoming Summit of the Americas in Panama.
 
The Summit of the Americas on April 10 and 11 is to be attended by regional leaders, with 31 nations already confirming attendance. UNASUR Secretary-General Ernesto Samper suggested that the summit would be a good place to “reassess relations between the US and South America.”
 
“A good point on the new agenda of relations [in Latin America] would be the elimination of US military bases,” the former Columbian president told the news agency EFE. 

He added that the bases were “a leftover from the days of the Cold War and other clashes.”
 
READ MORE: 5mn Venezuelans sign petition against US aggression & interference
 
Samper also blasted Washington’s habit of taking unilateral steps to pursue its goals in Latin America. The latest example is the US declaration of Venezuela as a threat to its national security, he said.
 
“In a globalized world like the present one, you can't ask for global rules for the economy and maintain unilateral rules for politics. No country has the right to judge the conduct of another and even less to impose sanctions and penalties on their own,” he stressed.

Secretary General of the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) Ernesto Samper (Reuters / Carlos Garcia Rawlins)
Secretary General of the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) Ernesto Samper (Reuters / Carlos Garcia Rawlins)

The Panama meeting has already been declared historic as it will be the first one attended by Cuba since 1962, when it was expelled from the Organization of American States (OAS), the event’s organizing body. In 2014, the US and Canada blocked the proposal to readmit Cuba, which drew criticism from UNASUR and a boycott of last year’s summit of the Americas by Ecuador and Nicaragua. 

This year Cuban President Raul Castro will have an opportunity to meet his US counterpart Barack Obama, marking progress in the restoration of US-Cuban relations after decades of alienation.

Samper said that the Cuban-US rapprochement should not overshadow Washington’s conflict with Caracas, which is also sending a delegation to the Panama summit, the continued operation of the prison at Guantanamo Bay, US militarization of the continent and other issues.

The Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) is a regional integration organization that includes 12 members and two observer nations. It was formally founded in 2004 and became fully functional in 2011, when its Constitutive Treaty entered into force following ratification by member states. UNASUR is headed by a president chosen from heads of member states, but the secretary-general performs the bulk of the organizational work.  Source

Do Heroes Go to Heaven?


Over the past decade or so I have witnessed some disturbing trends at church. One would have thought that our Lord Jesus Christ had, himself, worn a government-issued uniform, given how much reverence, gratitude, and appreciation we are led to collectively express for these folks during Mass. At first, it was a weekly prayer “for the troops,” which is fine. There is no human being, alive or dead, who doesn’t need prayers.

However, we never prayed for the innocent civilians in the countries Americans had invaded, who were killed, maimed, and tortured in far greater numbers than Americans.

We never prayed for the loved ones they left behind, the widows, the orphans.

We never prayed for the refugees.

We never prayed for our enemies.

The secular state holidays have become occasion for military remembrance and honorary tribute. On Memorial Day and Veterans Day, the church bulletin includes a message of thanks to veterans for protecting Americans’ freedom, which sends the message to churchgoers that American “wars” abroad have something to do with the Bill of Rights here at home, and the wars are therefore necessary and just (a dubious notion at best). At some point, militarism began to invade Christmas with camouflaged Christmas ornaments and patriotic displays upstaging the Eucharist.

In the last year, the Catholic Church has expanded its prayers to allow more folks in uniforms to get in on the prayer action. In addition to (or in lieu of) praying for military servicemen and women, Catholic Churches are now offering weekly prayers on Sundays for all “first responders.” One wonders how this became a national “thing.” (I have heard it in several states). It seems to mesh nicely with the overall message in the mass media that we are all on the brink of ruin all the time, threatened by an inexhaustible number of enemies and looming crises, and should live in fear and trembling awaiting the next crash, attack, disaster, or pandemic; thus we owe an infinite debt of gratitude to those who offer us safety, order, and protection in such a precarious and nefarious world. (Hm. Who benefits when we have a nation of nervous Nellie’s?)

Things seem to have reached a new threshold with American Sniper. We now have American priests coming right out and saying things in the media like: “Chris Kyle was an American hero.”

The primary concern of the Church is the salvation of souls. 

Christians are concerned with holiness, not heroism. Whether Chris Kyle was an American hero is a secular idea and a moot point, and a strange pronouncement for a priest to make, unless that priest is willing to ask the questions that naturally follow: Does heroism lead to holiness? Do heroes go to heaven? Before you write me an email vilifying me as a “liberal” who “hates” soldiers for asking these questions, let me say: I do not know if “heroes” go to heaven. Nobody knows. Only God can judge the human heart. What I’m saying is: it is dangerous to pretend that they automatically do. It’s also dangerous to pretend that the question I am asking is, itself, a moot point.

When churches and religious leaders constantly adore, praise and worship those who wear uniforms, carry guns, and embody secular ideas of heroism, it leads to misunderstanding and moral confusion among the faithful. People begin to equate this image of heroism with holiness, especially children. If you don’t believe me, all you have to do is take a look at www.nogreaterloveart.com, where uniformed government agents are depicted with angels’ wings, angels of course being spiritual beings who are known for their ability to guard and protect. All you have to do is look at the “Soldier’s Stairway to Heaven,” very popular on Pinterest, or license plates and t-shirts that quote John 15:13 and hold up the service of the soldier as being second only to the “service” of Jesus

There is an idea that if you have fought in a war, you have “served your time in hell”; soldiers therefore go straight to heaven. But is such an idea spiritually and theologically acceptable? Does God offer bypasses?

Heroism and holiness have many things in common: They both require strength, courage, devotion, fortitude, self-sacrifice. But all of those qualities could be attributed to people fighting for ISIS just as well, even faith. According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church: “The way of perfection passes by way of the Cross. There is no holiness without renunciation and spiritual battle.”  There is no holiness without renunciation; that does not mean that every act of renunciation leads to holiness. The way of perfection requires hardship; not all hardship helps us on our way to perfection. In short, not all suffering is redemptive. Finish reading article

THE WAR PRAYER - Mark Twain *vid*



Uploaded on Apr 13, 2011 
Featured at Animation Film Screening at OSA Archivum in Budapest, Hungary to commemorate UN Human Rights Day, December 9, 2010. 
From OSA Program: The War Prayer (Markos Kounalakis, USA, 2006, 14 min) Based on Mark Twain's piece "The War Prayer," a short story written in the heat of the Philippine-American war of 1899-1902 offering a poignant reflection on the double-edged moral sword implicit to war. 

Followed by discussion with Markos Kounalakis, a Senior Fellow at the Center for Media and Communication Studies at the Central European University in Budapest, Hungary and President and Publisher Emeritus of the Washington Monthly. Moderator -- Oksana Sarkisova, Film Historian, OSA Archivum. 

From Wikipedia Notes: "The War Prayer," a short story or prose poem by Mark Twain, is a scathing indictment of war, and particularly of blind patriotic and religious fervor as motivations for war. The structure of the work is simple, but effective: an unnamed country goes to war, and patriotic citizens attend a church service for soldiers who have been called up. The people call upon their God to grant them victory and protect their troops. Suddenly, an "aged stranger" appears and announces that he is God's messenger. 

He explains to them that he is there to speak aloud the second part of their prayer for victory, the part which they have implicitly wished for but have not spoken aloud themselves: the prayer for the suffering and destruction of their enemies. What follows is a grisly depiction of hardships inflicted on war-torn nations by their conquerors. 

Friday, April 3, 2015

US Militarism Far Bigger Threat to American Liberty Than Russia


(Jacob G. Hornberger)  George Washington pointed out, “Overgrown military establishments, which under any form of government, are inauspicious to liberty, and which are to be regarded as particularly hostile to Republican Liberty.

Wise words by the father of our country, but ones, unfortunately, rejected by modern-day Americans, who love and idolize the enormously overgrown military establishment that now characterizes our federal governmental system.

Eastern Europeans are getting a gander at America’s overgrown military establishment. Yesterday, the New York Times reported that a huge contingent of U.S. military forces is winding its way through Eastern Europe as some sort of good-will tour and also to serve as a message to Russia that the United States is ready to go to war to protect Eastern Europe from Russia’s aggressive designs.

Never mind that it is America’s overgrown military establishment that gave rise to Russia’s so-called aggressive designs. Ever since the end of the Cold War, NATO has been absorbing Eastern European countries with the ultimate aim of absorbing Ukraine, which would enable the U.S. military to place bases and missiles on Russia’s borders.

There was never a possibility that Russia was going to let that happen, any more than the U.S. national-security establishment would permit North Korea to place military bases and missiles on Mexico’s side of the Rio Grande. In the eyes of those who believe that America’s overgrown military establishment can do no wrong, that makes Russia the aggressor in the crisis.

But let’s face it: These people are ingenious at producing crises and then playing the innocent. The fact is that NATO should have been dissolved at the end of the Cold War. It wasn’t dissolved for one big reason: in order to produce endless crises with Russia so that Americans would feel the need to keep their overgrown, Cold War-era, military establishment in existence.

Moreover, under what authority is America’s overgrown military establishment telling Eastern Europeans that the United States will come to their defense in a war against Russia? I thought that under the U.S. Constitution it is the responsibility of Congress to decide when America goes to war. The U.S. military march through Eastern Europe is just another sign of how the national-security branch of the federal government — the most powerful branch — calls its own shots when it comes to foreign policy.

Moreover, it’s a sign of the times when America’s overgrown military establishment is our country’s good-will ambassador. It used to be that the American private sector served that purpose. Not so anymore. Now, it’s U.S. generals and other military personnel who serve that purpose, as they parade through Eastern Europe showing off their tanks and other military equipment, just like the Soviets did in their May Day parades. Continue reading
 

Resistance to Tyranny is Obedience to God

Should We Obey Authority … No Matter What?

A number of Christian leaders say that Christians must obey the government … no matter what.   For example, Robert Deffinbaugh – pastor at Community Bible Chapel in Richardson, Texas – says:
Whether the government be totalitarian or democratic, the Christian’s obligation to submit to it is the same.
Many ministers tell us we should act like slaves, blindly submitting to the government:
Some even allege that the U.S. government is coordinating with Christian ministers nationwide so that – if the government imposes martial – the ministers will urge their flocks to obey the government. See this and this.

This is not an unrealistic or abstract concept. After all, most churches in Nazi-era Germany supported the Nazis.    The German clergy used the same rationale to support Hitler that many American churches are using today to demand obedience to authority … Romans 13:
The German Christians were strongly nationalistic, and adopted … respect for state authority. This passage in Romans 13 was often cited as proof of a correlation between the Church and State:
Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore he who resists the authorities resists the what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment.
German church leaders even criticized Christians for disobeying their “governing authorities” … by protecting Jewish refugees by hiding them in their homes.

 
  1.  
And Hitler shows how tyrannical rulers view those who obey a demand for obedience … he ridiculed German Christians behind their backs for being so submissive in obeying the Nazis:
The Protestants haven’t the faintest conception of a church. You can do anything you like with them– they will submit. These pastors are used to cares and worries… they learnt them from their squires…. They are insignificant little people, submissive as dogs, and they sweat with embarrassment when you talk to them.

The Bible Urges Us to CHALLENGE – Not Obey – Bad Government

In reality, Christian (and Jewish) leaders throughout history have explained that we must disobey tyrannical governments.

The Book of Maccabees – an ancient Jewish book purporting to document the events which Chanukah celebrates - apparently says:
Resistance to tyranny is obedience to God.
(Thomas Jefferson agreed.)

Gordan Runyan – pastor of Immanuel Baptist Church – points out numerous instances in the Bible of men and women who disobeyed their government rulers, and were rewarded by God and praised as holy.

Indeed, the Bible mentions “justice” more than almost any other topic. The Bible demands that we do justice and to stand up to ANYONE — including the rich or powerful — who do injustice or oppress the people.

Baptist minister Chuck Baldwin writes:
Did John the Baptist violate God’s principle of submission to authority when he publicly scolded King Herod for his infidelity? Did Simon Peter and the other Apostles violate God’s principle of submission to authority when they refused to stop preaching on the streets of Jerusalem? Did Paul violate God’s principle of submission to authority when he refused to obey those authorities who demanded that he abandon his missionary work? In fact, Paul spent almost as much time in jail as he did out of jail.

Remember that every apostle of Christ (except John) was killed by hostile civil authorities opposed to their endeavors. Christians throughout church history were imprisoned, tortured, or killed by civil authorities of all stripes for refusing to submit to their various laws and prohibitions. Did all of these Christian martyrs violate God’s principle of submission to authority?

So, even the great prophets, apostles, and writers of the Bible (including the writer of Romans Chapter 13) understood that human authority – even civil authority – is limited.

Plus, Paul makes it clear that our submission to civil authority must be predicated on more than fear of governmental retaliation. Notice, he said, “Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake.” Meaning, our obedience to civil authority is more than just “because they said so.” It is also a matter of conscience. This means we must think and reason for ourselves regarding the justness and rightness of our government’s laws. Obedience is not automatic or robotic. It is a result of both rational deliberation and moral approbation.
***
Therefore, there are times when civil authority may need to be resisted. Either governmental abuse of power or the violation of conscience (or both) could precipitate civil disobedience.”
(Baldwin also notes that Romans 13 teaches that any government that is a “terror to good works” is acting beyond its authority and must be resisted. Therefore, Romans 13 compels us to resist and remove from power all elements of government which are corrupt.)
Reverend Howard Bess writes:
As modern New Testament scholars have reconstructed the context in which Jesus lived and taught, they have realized that Jesus was not simply a religious figure. He was a severe critic of those who controlled the temple, those who controlled the empire, and those who controlled the economic systems that starved and robbed the poor and left the orphan and the widow to fend for themselves. To Jesus, these issues were all tied together.
***
He advocated overthrow of a corrupt system. He believed the days of the oppressors were numbered. But he believed the overthrow could be accomplished by love, mercy and kindness.
Family Guardian Ministry notes:
The entire basis of the Reformation was that of disobedience to the “governing authorities” of Rome– the Pope and the Emperor, who both demanded submission to the Roman Catholic church as the religious and political establishment of God’s Kingdom on earth. When it was demanded of Martin Luther at the Diet of Worms to recant of his opposition to papal authority, his only response was as follows:
Unless I am refuted and convicted by testimonies of the Scriptures or by clear arguments… I am conquered by the Holy Scriptures quoted by me, and my conscience is bound in the word of God: I can not and will not recant any thing, since it is unsafe and dangerous to do any thing against the conscience. Here I stand. God help me! Amen.  [See Philip Schaff, History of the Christian Church]
Luther’s courageous stand against tyranny literally set off the spark which would eventually ignite the Protestant Reformation. As stated by Church historian, Philip Schaff:
Luther’s testimony before the Diet is an event of world-historical importance and far-reaching effect. It opened an intellectual conflict which is still going on in the civilized world. He stood there as the fearless champion of the supremacy of the word of God over the traditions of men, and of the liberty of conscience over the tyranny of authority….
When tradition becomes a wall against freedom, when authority degenerates into tyranny, the very blessing is turned into a curse, and history is threatened with stagnation and death. At such rare junctures, Providence raises those pioneers of progress, who have the intellectual and moral courage to break through the restraints at the risk of their lives, and to open new paths for the onward march of history…. Conscience is the voice of God in man.
***
This principle of the primacy of the Scripture-bound conscience over human tradition, whether it be magisterial or ecclesiastical, resounds throughout the writings of the most prominent Protestant leaders whom God raised up to defend the faith after Luther. Not one of these great men interpreted Romans 13:1-7 in the way it is so often interpreted today, and that should be sufficient reason to at least reconsider what is so commonly taught from the modern pulpit on the subject of civil obedience and disobedience. Without succumbing to the error of traditionalism, we are nevertheless to look upon the views of godly men of times past with respect.

John Calvin, known even by many of his theological opponents as the “prince of exegetes,” advocated the same position with regards to civil disobedience previously set forth by Luther.
*** Finish reading

Jesus died in a police state

If Jesus had been killed twenty years ago, Catholic school children would be wearing little electric chairs around their necks instead of crosses.”―Lenny Bruce
If you buy into the version of Christianity Lite peddled by evangelical leaders such as Franklin Graham, who recently advised Americans to do as the Bible says and “submit to your leaders and those in authority,” then staying alive in the American police state depends largely on your ability to comply, submit, obey orders, respect authority and generally do whatever a cop tells you to do.

If, however, you’re one of those who prefers to model yourself after Jesus Christ himself—a radical nonconformist who challenged authority at every turn—rather than subscribe to the watered-down, corporatized, simplified, gentrified, sissified vision of a meek creature holding a lamb that most modern churches peddle, then you will understand better than most how relevant Jesus’ life and death are to those attempting to navigate the American police state.

Indeed, it is fitting, at a time when the nation is grappling with moral questions about how best to execute death row prisoners (by electric chair, lethal injection or shooting squad), whether police should be held responsible for shooting unarmed citizens (who posed no threat and complied with every order), and to what extent we allow the government to dictate, monitor and control every aspect of our lives (using Stingray devices, license plate readers, and all manner of surveillance technology), that we remember that Jesus Christ—the religious figure worshipped by Christians for his death on the cross and subsequent resurrection—died at the hands of a police state.

Those living through this present age of militarized police, SWAT team raids, police shootings of unarmed citizens, roadside strip searches, and invasive surveillance might feel as if these events are unprecedented. Yet while we in the United States may be experiencing a steady slide into a police state, we are neither the first nor the last nation to do so.

Although technology, politics and superpowers have changed over time, the characteristics of a police state and its reasons for being have remained the same: control, power and money. Indeed, as I point out in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, a police state extends far beyond the actions of law enforcement. In fact, a police state “is characterized by bureaucracy, secrecy, perpetual wars, a nation of suspects, militarization, surveillance, widespread police presence, and a citizenry with little recourse against police actions.”

Just as police states have arisen throughout history, there have also been individuals or groups of individuals who have risen up to challenge the injustices of their age. Nazi Germany had its Dietrich Bonhoeffer. The gulags of the Soviet Union were challenged by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. America had its color-coded system of racial segregation and warmongering called out for what it was, blatant discrimination and profiteering, by Martin Luther King Jr.

And then there was Jesus Christ, an itinerant preacher and revolutionary activist, who not only died challenging the police state of his day—namely, the Roman Empire—but provided a blueprint for civil disobedience that would be followed by those, religious and otherwise, who came after him. Yet for all the accolades poured out upon Jesus, little is said about the harsh realities of the police state in which he lived and its similarities to modern-day America, and yet they are striking.

Secrecy, surveillance and rule by the elite. As the chasm between the wealthy and poor grew wider in the Roman Empire, the ruling class and the wealthy class became synonymous, while the lower classes, increasingly deprived of their political freedoms, grew disinterested in the government and easily distracted by “bread and circuses.” Much like America today, with its lack of government transparency, overt domestic surveillance, and rule by the rich, the inner workings of the Roman Empire were shrouded in secrecy, while its leaders were constantly on the watch for any potential threats to its power. The resulting state-wide surveillance was primarily carried out by the military, which acted as investigators, enforcers, torturers, policemen, executioners and jailers. Today that role is fulfilled by increasingly militarized police forces across the country. Finish reading