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Wednesday, September 2, 2015

A SERIOUS LOOK AT RICHARD FOSTER'S "SCHOOL" OF CONTEMPLATIVE PRAYER~CALVIN COLLEGE CORRUPT WITH CATHOLIC/NEW AGE MYSTICAL PRACTICES

A SERIOUS LOOK AT RICHARD FOSTER'S "SCHOOL" OF CONTEMPLATIVE PRAYER
FROM LIGHTHOUSE TRAILS RESEARCH: 
http://lighthousetrailsresearch.com/republished below in full unedited for informational, educational, and research purposes:

LTRP Note: For thirteen years, Lighthouse Trails has been warning about the contemplative prayer movement. In this new booklet tract, Ray Yungen has provided new information that makes the contemplative argument (against it) irrefutable. We intend to send a copy of this booklet to all of the major Christian leaders whom we have challenged including Beth Moore, Rick Warren, Charles Stanley, Chuck Swindoll,  Focus on the Family, Dr. George Wood (AOG), and Erwin Lutzer. If these leaders will read this evidence, we do not see how they can continue to promote contemplative spirituality or Richard Foster’s “school” of contemplative prayer.
A Serious Look at Richard Foster’s “School” of Contemplative Prayer by Ray Yungen is our newest Lighthouse Trails Booklet Tract. The Booklet Tract is 14 pages long and sells for $1.95 for single copies. Quantity discounts are as much as 50% off retail. Our Booklet Tracts are designed to give away to others or for your own personal use.  Below is the content of the booklet. To order copies of A Serious Look at Richard Foster’s “School” of Contemplative Prayer,  click here.

By Ray Yungen
[W]e should all without shame enroll as apprentices in the school of contemplative prayer.1—Richard Foster, Celebration of Discipline: the Path to Spiritual Growth
Christianity is not complete without the contemplative dimension.2—Richard Foster
In Portland, Oregon there is a large bookstore devoted entirely to New Age spirituality. Every Eastern mystical and metaphysical topic under the sun is found there. Interestingly, there is a sizable section on contemplative prayer with Catholic monk Thomas Merton having a whole shelf devoted just to his writings. Why would a New Age bookstore give valuable space to a topic that purports to be Christian?That is a legitimate question. May I suggest the reason is that the “Christian” mystical tradition (i.e., contemplative prayer) shares a sense of profound kinship with the Eastern mystical tradition. There is ample evidence to support this claim.
In this booklet, we are going to examine a few of the major players in the contemplative prayer movement to show that Richard Foster’s “school” of contemplative prayer does not belong in Christianity. In fact, as you will see, the message behind it is the very opposite of biblical Christianity and the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
What is the “School” of Contemplative Prayer?
In Celebration of Discipline, Richard Foster says “we should all without shame enroll as apprentices in the school of contemplative prayer.” What does he mean when he says “school” of contemplative prayer? When Foster uses the word school, he does not mean, of course, a building or an institution somewhere. For example, Webster’s New World College Dictionary has nine different definitions for the word school. The one that fits what we are trying to get across is:

. . . a group of people held together by the same teachings, beliefs, opinions, methods, etc.3
When one examines the spiritual context of this definition, one can see what kind of spiritual “fruit” it produces. The only way you can ascertain the real essence of a movement is to look at the leaders or prominent individuals in that “school” to see just where their practices have led them, what conclusions they have come to, and what propels their vision of truth.
Let’s first establish what is meant by the word contemplation. Carl McColman in his Big Book of Christian Mysticism explains the context of it in the following way:
[Contemplation] comes from the Latin word contemplare, which means “to observe” or “to notice.” The word is also rooted in the word “temple,” however, relating it to sacred space. . . . Once Christianized, contemplation lost its association with divination [soothsaying] and came to signify the prayerful practice of attending to the presence of God.4
So if Foster is correct, the leaders of this movement are those who have turned to the presence of God in a unique and profound way, and their methods should be followed to achieve the same results.
Now let’s look at the spiritual perspectives of these leaders in the “school of contemplative prayer.”
Thomas Merton
Thomas Merton, a Catholic monk, is the most widely recognized of the modern-day contemplative writers. His influence is enormous in the contemplative field. Richard Foster quotes Merton over a dozen times in Celebration of Discipline and in other books as well, and many other evangelicals also quote Merton. The following entry from Merton’s published work, The Asian Journal of Thomas Merton (written during his last trip to Asia*) speaks volumes as to Merton’s spiritual sympathies:
We went looking first for Chatral Rimpoche [a Tibetan holy man] at his hermitage above Ghoom. . . . We were told he was at an ani gompa, a nunnery, down the road. . . . So off we went toward Bagdogra and with some difficulty found the tiny nunnery . . . and there was Chatral, the greatest rimpoche [a Buddhist teacher] I have met so far and a very impressive person.
. . . We started talking about dzogchen and Nyingmapa meditation and “direct realization” and soon saw that we agreed very well. . . . The unspoken or half-spoken message of the talk was our complete understanding of each other as people who were somehow on the edge of great realization . . . and that it was a grace for us to meet one another. I wish I could see more of Chatral. He burst out and called me a rangjung Sangay (which apparently means a “natural Buddha”) . . . He told me, seriously, that perhaps he and I would attain to complete Buddhahood in our next lives, perhaps even in this life, and the parting note was a kind of compact that we would both do our best to make it in this life. I was profoundly moved, because he is so obviously a great man, the true practitioner of dzogchen, the best of the Nyingmapa lamas, marked by complete simplicity and freedom. He was surprised at getting on so well with a Christian and at one point laughed and said, “There must be something wrong here!” If I were going to settle down with a Tibetan guru, I think Chatral would be the one I’d choose.5 (emphasis added)
An equally revealing aspect of Merton’s Asian trip is what he experienced at a Buddhist shrine in Ceylon:
. . . an inner clearness, clarity, as if exploding from the rocks themselves, became evident and obvious. . . . All problems are resolved and everything is clear, simply because what matters is clear. The rock, all matter, all life, is charged with dharmakaya [the unity of all things and all people]. . . I don’t know when in my life I have ever had such a sense of beauty and spiritual validity running together in one aesthetic illumination. Surely . . . my Asian pilgrimage has come clear and purified itself. I . . . have seen what I was obscurely looking for. I don’t know what else remains.6 (emphasis added)
Why would someone who was so heavily involved in “Christian” mysticism be so entwined in and enthusiastically embracing of Buddhist mysticism? I considered titling this booklet Something’s Wrong Here because even though Chatral meant it in a positive way, when he said those words to Merton, he himself was shocked that Merton, a professing Christian, was basically on the same page as him and that they were able to fellowship.
One of Merton’s biographers, William Shannon, made this very clear when he explained:
If one wants to understand Merton’s going to the East it is important to understand that it was his rootedness in his own faith tradition [Catholicism] that gave him the spiritual equipment [contemplative prayer] he needed to grasp the way of wisdom that is proper to the East.7
What Merton meant by “dharmakaya” is actually what the New Age and eastern religions call cosmic consciousness (i.e., God is in everything and everybody.) But Foster, in his book Celebration of Discipline, guarantees the reader that what he’s promoting will not lead to cosmic consciousness. He states, “It involves no hidden mysteries, no secret mantras, no mental gymnastics, no esoteric flights into the cosmic consciousness.”8
Foster’s attempt to assuage any suspicion of practicing contemplative prayer is countered by William Shannon’s assertion that it was precisely contemplative prayer that brought Merton into his embracing of this Buddhist worldview.
A skeptic might say, well, Merton was just an anomaly who got off track, but in general the contemplative leads to the God of the Bible. I beg to differ. To show this is not the case, we need to look at other teachers in the “school of contemplative prayer.”
Henri Nouwen
Dutch Catholic priest, Henri Nouwen, would probably rank second to Merton in influence and admiration. Popular evangelical author Tony Campolo calls Nouwen “one of the great Christians of our time,” stating:

[Nouwen’s] writings have guided and inspired Christians of all persuasions . . . whose life was a brilliant example of twentieth-century saintliness.9
Campolo’s admiration is widely mirrored in the evangelical world; just as Merton is quoted in many evangelical books these days, so also is Nouwen. Kay Warren, Rick Warren’s wife, is one of the popular evangelicals who sees great value in Nouwen’s work:
My wife, Kay, recommends this book: “It’s a short book, but it hits at the heart of the minister. It mentions the struggles common to those of us in ministry: the temptation to be relevant, spectacular and powerful. I highlighted almost every word!”10 (emphasis added)
The book Kay Warren recommends is In the Name of Jesus by Nouwen, who devotes an entire chapter of that book to contemplative prayer, saying:
Through the discipline of contemplative prayer, Christian leaders have to learn to listen to the voice of love . . . For Christian leadership to be truly fruitful in the future, a movement from the moral to the mystical is required.11 (emphasis added)
But just as Merton had absorbed eastern spirituality so too had Nouwen, which is no surprise because he was a disciple of Merton. Nouwen wrote the foreword to a book that mixes Christianity with Hindu spirituality, in which he says:
[T]he author shows a wonderful openness to the gifts of Buddhism, Hinduism and Moslem religion. He discovers their great wisdom for the spiritual life of the Christian . . . Ryan [the author] went to India to learn from spiritual traditions other than his own. He brought home many treasures and offers them to us in the book.12
Nouwen apparently took these approaches seriously himself. In his book, The Way of the Heart, he advised his readers:
The quiet repetition of a single word can help us to descend with the mind into the heart . . . This way of simple prayer . . . opens us to God’s active presence.13
But what “God’s active presence” taught him, unfortunately, stood more in line with Hinduism than evangelical Christianity. He wrote:
Prayer is “soul work” because our souls are those sacred centers where all is one, . . . It is in the heart of God that we can come to the full realization of the unity of all that is.14 (emphasis mine)
Again, a Christian admirer of Nouwen may think the previous quotes could fit into a legitimate Christian experience of God’s love and grace and that I am just taking these out of context. But this is certainly not the case. Nouwen himself revealed his spiritual influences in his diary, Sabbatical Journey, which he wrote shortly before his death:
On our way to the health club I had bought a Walkman to listen to an audiotape with a talk by Matthew Fox called “Creation, Spirituality, and the Seven Chakras.” So, while working up a sweat on the trotter, I tried to make my time useful listening to Matthew Fox.15
 This piece of information reveals that Nouwen was connected to the idea that the chakras, (which the previous quotes are based on) are integral to spiritual development. The crown chakra, in particular, is the one that is tied to the idea that all is one and the unity of everything that is.16
In the book, The Essential Henri Nouwen, which is published by Shambhala Publications (a Buddhist publishing house), Nouwen said contemplative prayer “opens our eyes to the presence of the divine Spirit in all that surrounds us.”17 That is exactly the same as what Merton meant bydharmakaya, that God is in everything that exists (panentheism, which mirrors occultism).
Thomas Keating
Thomas Keating, a trappist monk like Merton, is head of an organization called Contemplative Outreach. He is closely identified with the contemplative prayer (which he calls centering prayer) movement. Keating has written numerous books on the subject of contemplative prayer; in fact, one of evangelical Christianity’s most popular teachers, Ruth Haley Barton, considers Keating to be a strong spiritual influence in her life.18

Keating actually makes this point when he informs his readers that “‘meditation’ means to people exposed to Eastern methods what we Christians mean by contemplation as a way of disregarding the usual flow of thoughts for certain periods of time.”19
As with the others, Keating went in a Hindu or New Age direction, and he wrote the foreword to a book devoted to what practitioners of Yoga call the Kundalini or serpent power:
Since this energy [kundalini] is also at work today in numerous persons who are devoting themselves to contemplative prayer, this book is an important contribution to the renewal of the Christian contemplative tradition. It will be a great consolation to those who have experienced physical symptoms arising from the awakening of kundalini in the course of their spiritual journey . . . Most spiritual disciplines world-wide insist on some kind of serious discipline before techniques of awakening kundalini are communicated. In Christian tradition . . . the regular practice of the stages of Christian prayer . . . contemplation are the essential disciplines.20
To show how far someone can stray using contemplative prayer as a way to reach God, Keating is a perfect example. Keating enthusiastically endorses a book titled Meditations on the Tarot: A Journey in Christian Hermeticism. Fortune-telling Tarot cards are one of the major tools for divination in occultism; and Hermeticism is a set of ancient esoteric beliefs based on the writings of Hermes Trismegistus, the one who coined the occult term “as above so below.” Keating said the book is one of the “great spiritual classics of this century.”21 He drifted so afield from even Catholicism that it is difficult to comprehend.
Richard Rohr
Without a doubt, Catholic priest Richard Rohr is one of the most prominent living proponents of contemplative prayer today. His organization, The Center for Contemplation and Action, is a bastion for contemplative spirituality. And like our other contemplative prayer “school” masters, he has been embraced by numerous popular evangelical authors. Richard Foster, for example, had Rohr on an advisory board for a 2010 book Foster edited titled 25 Books Every Christian Should Read: A Guide to the Essential Devotional Classics.22

Rohr has essentially become the new Thomas Merton to an entirely new generation of evangelical Christians. In an interview, Rohr said:
[O]ne of my publishers . . . told me that right now my single biggest demographic is young evangelicals—young evangelicals. Some of my books are rather heavy. I’m just amazed.23
 Rohr’s statement is correct about young evangelicals. A case in point is an organization called IF: Gathering. The leaders of IF are dynamic energetic women who hold large conferences geared primarily toward young evangelical women. While these women may be sincere in what they are trying to do, they promote figures such as emergent leaders Brian McLaren and Rob Bell, as well as Richard Rohr. Lighthouse Trails has published a booklet on IF that I encourage you to read to understand the full scope of this growing women’s movement.24
To further understand the significance of this, Rohr is a prominent champion for the idea of a global religion that would unify the world. He says that “religion needs a new language.”25 And that language to bring about this one-world religion is mysticism (i.e., contemplative prayer)! Rohr stated:
Right now there is an emergence . . . it’s coming from so many different traditions and sources and parts of the world. Maybe it’s an example of the globalization of spirituality.26
This view ties in perfectly with the emerging church’s perspective that is so popular among younger evangelicals today. It’s no wonder that Richard Rohr and emerging church leaders (such as Brian McLaren) are so supportive of each other and endorse each other’s books.
In echoing Merton and Nouwen, Rohr also advocates the concept of dharmakaya. This is the recurring theme of the “school” of contemplative prayer. Rohr states:
God’s hope for humanity is that one day we will all recognize that the divine dwelling place is all of creation. Christ comes again whenever we see that matter and spirit co-exist. This truly deserves to be called good news.27
To dispel any confusion about what Rohr is saying, he makes it clear in the same paragraph what he means by God dwelling in all creation. He uses a term that one finds throughout contemplative literature, which signifies that Christ is more of an energy than a personal being. Rohr explains the term “cosmic Christ,” telling readers that everything and everyone belongs to God’s kingdom.28 That’s even the name of one of his books,Everything Belongs: The Gift of Contemplative Prayer.
In his 2011 book, Falling Upward, Rohr implies that we (humanity) are all an “immaculate conception.”29 If these things are true, then there was no need for Jesus Christ to die on the Cross for the sins of mankind. We would not need a Savior because we would already be divine ourselves. In truth, contemplative spirituality is the antithesis of the Gospel. That is why there are countless mystics who claim to know God (or Jesus) but will have nothing to do with the Cross.
The New Age Connection
Lighthouse Trails Publishing’s main endeavor since its inception has been to show the strong connection between the contemplative prayer movement and the broader spectrum of New Age spirituality as pointed out at the beginning of this booklet. One can prove the overwhelmingly strong parallels. The authors I have just profiled are not unique in what they say. I could list several pages of other contemplative authors that say the identical things.

I want to showcase one other author who represents the typical contemplative viewpoint. Tom Harpur, a well-known author, broadcaster, and Anglican priest in Canada sums up what you would find in virtually every contemplative book from the Roman Catholic and Anglican tradition. In talking about his upbringing in the traditional Anglican church, he explains the radical difference between his former Christianity and his contemplative Christianity:
There was much more emphasis on our basic sinfulness and depravity than there ever was on the possibility of God already being present in our souls or “hearts.” I was told to again accept Christ and “let him come in” instead of being helped to acknowledge the fact that all I had to do was to open my inner eye and realize God was already there waiting to be known and followed. We were taught little, if anything, about the great mystics and about the long tradition of meditation in our own Christian faith.30 (emphasis added)
Harpur makes Lighthouse Trails’ point very succinctly that the mystical tradition that is coming to the forefront now does not correspond to the biblical Gospel that has been at the heart of Christianity.
Let me say this: If the contemplative prayer movement was not connected to historically respected denominations, that if it was an independent organization such as the ones found in books on cults, then the contemplative prayer movement would be labeled a cult by most evangelical organizations because of the extreme aberrations one finds concerning the Gospel. Merton’s dharmakaya cannot be reconciled with justification through faith by the blood of Christ.
The Age of Enlightenment
Another good example to show that contemplative prayer shares the same view as known occultists can be found in a book called Tomorrow’s Godby New Age author Neale Donald Walsch, in which he presents the coming world religion that will unify mankind in what is called the Age of Aquarius or Age of Enlightenment (i.e., the New Age). He says the first step is to “[b]egin a schedule of daily practice in meditation, deep prayer, silent listening.”31 After giving the mechanics of the new spirituality, Walsch gives the theology which is: “In the days of the New spirituality the unity of all things will be experiential.”32

This is what the contemplatives experience in their mystical sessions. Walsch again says, “The Big Idea is that there is only One God, and this one God does not care whether you are Catholic or Protestant, Jewish or Muslim, Hindu or Mormon, or have no religion at all.”33 This is basically what Richard Rohr is saying in Everything Belongs. And this is the reason why Richard Foster’s “school” of contemplative prayer is not, and never will be, compatible with traditional biblical Christianity or the Gospel message proclaimed by Jesus Christ and his disciples.
Final Thoughts
If I were to ever meet someone who asked me, “why are you out to destroy Richard Foster?,” I would tell them: I actually care about Richard Foster. The things I write about him are not out of malice or ill-will but out of a deep sense of commitment to his and his readers’ spiritual well-being.Celebration of Discipline is at the heart (both directly or indirectly) of the majority of Spiritual Formation programs in Bible schools, seminaries, Christian colleges, and universities. What the Tibetan holy man said in response to Thomas Merton’s belief—“There must be something wrong here!”—is the same sentiment that propels the writing of this booklet. There is something wrong here!

Contrary to what the contemplatives teach, there is duality, and the Bible teaches it—there are the sheep and the goats, the wheat and the tares, the saved and the unsaved, and the righteous and the unrighteous. New Age thinkers would reject this because they believe all is God. In the contemplative camp when Richard Rohr says everything belongs, this is what makes it New Age. The golden calf and Yahweh are not the same God. It was the cause for God’s anger. Simply put, everything does not belong!
My prayer is that people can see the logic in this. And what makes it even more imperative is that this contemplative view comes from supernatural sources. We are not dealing with just human perspectives and ideas.
Richard Foster’s “school” of contemplative prayer employs the same methods as those of Richard Rohr and Thomas Merton that lead to a certain perception. The following quote by Foster further illustrates this:
We shut out every other source of stimulation—sensual, intellectual and reflective—in order to focus on God alone. At this level, we even move beyond our thoughts of God in order to dwell in his presence without thought or distraction.34
 This is exactly the contemplative prayer that Thomas Merton embraced, which led Episcopal priest Brian C. Taylor to say:
The God he [Merton] knew in prayer was the same experience that Buddhists describe in their enlightenment.35
What we conclude is that Thomas Merton’s spirituality has come into the evangelical church through Richard Foster’s “school” of contemplative prayer. And this is one school where no Christian should enroll.
To order copies of A Serious Look at Richard Foster’s “School” of Contemplative Prayer,  click here.
Endnotes:
1. Richard Foster, Celebration of Discipline (San Francisco, CA: Harper & Row, 1978 edition), p. 13.
2. Interview with Richard Foster, Lou Davies Radio Program (KPAM radio, Portland, Oregon, Nov. 24, 1998).
3. Webster’s New World College Dictionary, p. 1283.
4. Carl McColman, Big Book of Christian Mysticism (Charlottesville, VA: Hampton Road Publishing, 2010), p. 222.
5. Thomas Merton, The Asian Journal of Thomas Merton (New Directions Books, 1975), pp. 234-236.
6. Ibid.
7. William Shannon, Silence on Fire (New York, NY: The Crossroad Publishing Company, 1991), p. 99.
8. Richard Foster, Celebration of Discipline (HarperCollins, 2009, Kindle Edition), p. 17.
9. Tony Campolo, Speaking My Mind (Nashville, TN: W. Publishing Group, 2004), p. 72.
10. Rick Warren quoting Kay Warren on the Ministry Toolbox (Issue #54, 6/5/2002, http://web.archive.org/web/20050306004007/http://www.pastors.com/RWMT/?ID=54).
11. Henri Nouwen, In the Name of Jesus (New York, NY: Crossroad Publishing, 2000), pp. 6, 31-32.
12. Thomas Ryan, Disciplines for Christian Living (Mawah, NJ: Paulist Press, 1993), pp. 2-3 (the foreword by Henri Nouwen).
13. Henri Nouwen, The Way of the Heart (San Francisco, CA: Harper, 1991), p. 81.
14. Henri Nouwen, Bread for the Journey (San Francisco, CA: Harper, 1997), Jan. 15 and Nov. 16 daily readings.
15. Henri Nouwen, Sabbatical Journey (New York, NY: The Crossroad Publishing Company, Kindle Edition), Kindle Locations 496-497.
16. These two thoughts are found in the writings of Matthew Fox and many other New Age advocates.
17. Robert A. Jonas (Editor), The Essential Henri Nouwen (Boston, MA: Shambhala Publications, 2009), p. 38.
18. Lighthouse Trails Editors, “More Evidence and a Final Plea as Assemblies of God Conference with Ruth Haley Barton Begins August 5th” (Lighthouse Trails blog: http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/blog/?p=12401).
19. Thomas Keating, Intimacy with God (New York, NY: The Crossroad Publishing Company, 1994), p. 117.
20. Philip St. Romain, Kundalini Energy and Christian Spirituality (Crossroad, 1995). This excerpt is in the foreword by Thomas Keating.
21. Thomas Keating, review: http://www.allthingshealing.com/Tarot/Book-Review-Meditations-on-the-Tarot/9699#.VeGxISLbKos.
22. Lighthouse Trails Editors, “Richard Foster’s Renovare Turns to Panentheist Mystic Richard Rohr and Emerging Darling Phyllis Tickle For New Book Project” (September 14, 2010, http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/blog/?p=4986).
23. Kristen Hobby, “What Happens When Religion Isn’t Doing Its Job: an interview with Richard Rohr, OFM” (Presence: An International Journal of Spiritual Direction, Volume 20, No. 1, March 2014), pp. 6-11.
24. You can read the entire booklet at: http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/blog/?p=17334 or purchase it as a booklet atwww.lighthousetrails.com.
25. Kristen Hobby interview with Richard Rohr, op. cit. , p. 6
26. Ibid.
27. Rich Heffern, “The Eternal Christ in the Cosmic Story” (National Catholic Reporter, December 11, 2009, http://ncronline.org/news/spirituality/eternal-christ-cosmic-story).
28. Ibid.
29. Richard Rohr, Falling Upward (San Francisco, CA: Jossey Bass, 2011), p. ix.
30. Tom Harpur, Prayer: The Hidden Fire (Wood Lake Publishing, Kindle Edition, 2012), Kindle Locations 1099-1102.

31. Neale Donald Walsch, Tomorrow’s God (New York, NY: Atria Books, 2004), p. 223.
32. Ibid., p. 263.
33. Ibid., p. 241.
34. Richard Foster, Gayle Beede, Longing for God (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 2009), p. 252.
35. Brian C. Taylor, Setting the Gospel Free (New York, NY: Continuum Publishing, 1996), p. 76.

To order copies of A Serious Look at Richard Foster’s “School” of Contemplative Prayer,  click here.
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CALVIN COLLEGE CORRUPT WITH CATHOLIC/NEW AGE MYSTICAL PRACTICES
from Lighthouse Trails Research as above; republished below in full unedited for informational, educational, and research purposes:

Dear Lighthouse Trails:
You list Calvin College, Grand Rapids, MI, as being contemplative, formation.  Please give me evidence, examples of this, also any emergent info, too on them.  ASAP, please.
Our Response:
Finding evidence and examples to show Calvin College’s contemplative/emergent persuasions is NOT like finding a needle in a haystack. This college is saturated with evidence and examples. Here are a few:
2015 article talking about how Calvin College is incorporating Taize Worship: http://www.calvin.edu/chimes/2015/04/30/world-language-chapels-provide-wider-worship-opportunities (Taize is a form of contemplative worship and meditative practices developed at the interspiritual Taize community in France: http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/taize.htm).
Another example of CC using Taize (this one in one of their Chapel services): http://www.calvin.edu/offices-services/campus-ministries/worship/archives/?pageNumber=103&numberToShow=10.
Also in the  example above, it shows contemplative/emerging figure Michael Gungor as a chapel leader this year. Gungor is a strong contemplative/emerging advocate: http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/blog/?p=9848. In this article on Gungor, we show his views rejecting the biblical account of creation: http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/blog/?p=15886.
Here you can see a Calvin College “Sabbath” exercise, which was inspired by emergent Shane Claiborne: http://www.calvin.edu/dotAsset/381ecf55-8803-4f21-b6f3-5ac6c10aef97.pdf.
In 2014, the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship (part of Calvin College) presented an event by Dr. Michael Higgins exalting contemplative Catholics Thomas Merton and Henri Nouwen. http://worship.calvin.edu/news-events/events/roots-of-influence-thomas-merton-and-henri-nouwen-a-presentation-by-dr-michael-w-higgins/ Higgins calls Merton and Nouwen, “two of the 20th century’s most important and articulate Christian voices.” This event was held at the Catholic Information Center and was sponsored in part by Calvin Institute of Christian Worship.
A prayer Labyrinth in March 2015 in the chapel multi-purpose room:
https://www.calvin.edu/calendar/event.html?id=dde727e6-8f7d-4497-8bc2-d34020e977bf
Calvin College
 You can read more about labyrinths here: http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/labyrinth.htm.
In a 2013 chapel service, students were taught how to do lectio divina, a contemplative practice: http://www.calvin.edu/chimes/2013/10/19/chapel-schedule-oct-21-25/. Here you can read a good article describing what lectio divina is: http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/blog/?p=10887.
2013 – Developing a Christian Mind course | Description: IDIS 150 10 DCM: The New Monasticism. “Ever wonder what life is like in a Christian monastery? Ever ask why Shane Claiborne urges serious followers of Jesus today to return to the past—to pay careful attention to early Christian monastic life and practices, and to adopt for themselves a “new monasticism?”    This course will focus on what Christian monks, disciples strangely out-of-step with prevailing culture, can teach about staying in step with Jesus. Students will read (ancient and contemporary) books on Christian monastic life and practice and explore ways to implement them today . The course will conclude with a week-long stay at a tranquil Christian monastery, the Abbey of Gethsemane, spiritual home of Thomas Merton. Off campus dates January 14-18. Fee: $400. D. Cooper. 8:30 a.m. to noon.” http://www.calvin.edu/academic/services/registration/interim/2013/dcm.html
To show the “fruit” of the contemplative spirituality that Calvin College is embracing, see this 2016 interfaith conference: http://www.calvin.edu/calendar/event.html?id=e0f5d8c9-dcb7-4a1e-ae70-796233a6925b.
At Calvin’s Henry Institute, an interesting list of speakers including anti-Israel Jim Wallis and Stephen Sizer: http://henry.calvin.edu/news-events/past-events.html. See our articles on both these men at our site. Also watch this video: http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/blog/?p=16058.
In Calvin College’s mission statement page, they reference the very Socialist leaning emerging magazine SoJourners (Jim Wallis’ magazine)http://www.calvin.edu/sao/about-us.html
The Christian Classics Ethereal Library is located on the Calvin campus, and to show its connection to the college, many of the Board members are Calvin College faculty and staff: http://www.ccel.org/info/structure. The CCEL is on the Lighthouse Trails top organizations bringing contemplative into the church. They even promote Emanuel Swedenborg, an occult influenced figure: http://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/blog/?p=5618.
In this 2011 course, From Worldview to Worship, one of the textbooks is a socialist promoting book titled Desiring the Kingdom.http://www.calvin.edu/~jks4/fromworldviewtoworshipsyllabus.pdf. You can read excerpts of that book on Amazon.
The list above covers everything from contemplative meditation, emergent theologies, interfaith connections, Islam, Israel, the occult and socialism. And finally, the homosexual issue. Just type in LGBT in the Calvin College search engine, and you will have a day’s worth of reading:http://search.calvin.edu/search/.
You can also check out their textbooks here: http://www.bkstr.com/calvinstore/shop/books/textbooks-and-course-materials.
I hope this helps. This is just the tip of the iceberg for Calvin College.



KENTUCKY CLERK WHO REFUSES TO ISSUE "GAY MARRIAGE" LICENSES DEFIES UNCONSTITUTIONAL COURTS & GAYS' DEMANDS

A COURAGEOUS RIGHTEOUS CHRISTIAN DEFIES GAYS & COURTS

"UNDER GOD'S AUTHORITY"

SEE OUR PREVIOUS POST: 

Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis listens to a customer following her office's refusal to issue marriage licenses at the Rowan County Courthouse in Morehead, Ky., Tuesday, Sept. 1, 2015. Although her appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court was denied, Davis still refuses to issue marriage licenses. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley)

Clerk Defies Unconstitutional Court: Won’t Issue “Marriage” Licenses to Homosexuals

BY SELWYN DUKE
for informational, educational, and research purposes:

Few people take moral stands today that could land them in prison, but Kim Davis (shown) is an exception. The Rowan, Kentucky, county clerk has made national news by refusing to issue marriage licenses to anyone — homosexual or straight — since the Supreme Court’s unconstitutional June Obergefell faux-marriage ruling. And now Davis has doubled down, defying courts that have ordered her to resume issuing licenses, even though the Supreme Court has just decided not to support her position. In explaining why she is unbowed, Davis says that she’s acting “under the authority of God.” The New York Times provides some background:
After the state’s governor told county clerks to issue marriage licenses to all eligible couples [in Obergefell’s wake], Ms. Davis filed suit in federal court, arguing that she should be excused from the obligation, given her religious beliefs. A District Court judge ruled against her, as did the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, and she appealed to the Supreme Court.
On Monday, a stay granted by the District Court expired, and the Supreme Court rejected without comment Ms. Davis’s emergency application for a new stay, pending the outcome of her appeal. That left her no legal grounds to refuse to grant licenses to same-sex couples.
But moral grounds are enough for the intrepid Davis. This is despite the scene Tuesday at her Rowan County Courthouse, which included activist-minded same-sex couples seeking marriage licenses, clamorous protesters on both sides of the issue, and camera-wielding media. It is also despite the great legal risk Davis is taking. As Daniel Canon, a lawyer for some of the same-sex couples seeking licenses, said, reports the Times, “‘She’s certainly in contempt of court by any definition of the term, so the District Court has an array of sanctions it can resort to, to deal with that.”
Perhaps. But what of judges who are in contempt of the Constitution?
One person who might ask this question is Kentucky Republican gubernatorial candidate Matt Bevin, a defender of Davis’. As the Courier-Journal tells us, “Bevin ... scolded Democratic opponent, Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway, for failing to stand by the religious liberties of county clerks who oppose the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling legalizing same-sex marriage. ‘Jack Conway has failed to do his job as attorney general by refusing to defend Kentucky’s marriage amendment, and he is failing to defend the religious freedom of our Kentucky clerks,’ Bevin said in a statement.”
Having said this, the question of freedom and legality here may be complex. The Supreme Court's Obergefell ruling is clearly unconstitutional. It’s also apparent that most governors are acting in ignorance of the Constitution at best, with contempt for it at worst, as they have an obligation to oppose unconstitutional rulings. As for Davis, while her stand is admirable and morally correct (and morality does trump legality), it may be that it is also illegal; this is because her governor, Democrat Steve Beshear, has ordered state clerks to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, and states have wide-ranging powers under the Constitution.
And this brings us to one of the real issues here: The stand Davis is taking should have been taken by her governor. Instead, he and other chief executives abide by the personal rules of lawyers while talking about the “rule of law,” as not one state governor in 50 has the wisdom and courage to understand that an unlawful(unconstitutional) court ruling is no law at all. So, really, Americans like Davis are, in a moral sense, doing the jobs governors won’t do.
When pondering defiance of the courts, note that the appeals court in Davis’ case ruled that an officeholder may not decline “to act in conformity with the United States Constitution.” No doubt. But does this not include the officeholder known as a judge? So, again, at what point do legislators and chief executives just say no to the Supreme Court?
“Never!” is the answer many give. “The Supreme Court is just that — supreme — and it has the final say on law’s meaning.” The problem with this is that it’s supremely na├»ve to suppose that officeholders will “act in conformity with the United States Constitution” if there’s absolutely no consequence for doing otherwise. To vow obeisance to Supreme Court rulings, no matter how far afield from the Constitution’s (the supreme law’s) letter, is to turn the Court into a de-facto oligarchy. It is to empower it to become a super-legislature of last resort with the final say, to embolden it to the point of brazenness. But we have three branches of government for a reason. And if we wouldn’t give 435 elected congressmen, 40 percent of whom are lawyers, such power, why would we give it to nine unelected lawyers on the Supreme Court? We ought to remember that while God’s law and not man’s is supreme, the Supreme Court isn’t even supreme from a legal standpoint — the Supreme Law of the land is.
Note now that this is precisely the position Founding Father Thomas Jefferson took. He pointed out almost 200 years ago that if the notion that judges were the ultimate arbiters of the law’s meaning ever became accepted, our Constitution will have become a “felo de se” (“suicide pact”) and our Supreme Court an “oligarchy.” He also instructed that right-minded nullification — which is simply when states declare that since a given federal action is unconstitutional, they will not abide by it — is the "rightful remedy" for any and all unconstitutional federal dictates.
Whatever the legality of a matter may be, however, it’s of no consequence to an individual convinced that the highest law deems man’s law lawless. And thus have principled people, from the Apostles to Sir Thomas More to Kim Davis, martyred themselves in faith’s name. Of course, saying one is acting “under the authority of God” generally brings eye-rolling in these secular times. But this is because a simple reality is now universally overlooked: We may be able to have a separation of church and state, but there can never be a separation of church and just law. As I explained in 2012:
Any law is the imposition of a "value," but a just law is more specific: it imposes morality. After all, a law states that there is something we must or mustn't do. But why must or mustn't we? Sure, it could be because monarchs or masses feel like it and have the power, but that's simply might making right. For a law to be just, what is prescribed or proscribed must be, respectively, a moral imperative or morally wrong — or a corollary thereof. To dispute this is to say that you would prohibit something even though it's not wrong or mandate something even though it's not a good. What would be the point? Only tyrants do that.
So a just law must reflect morality, but what is morality? Who determines it? There are only two possibilities: man or something outside of man does. Let's consider the implications of each one.
Imagine that 95 percent of humanity liked chocolate and disliked vanilla. Would this make vanilla "wrong" or "immoral"? Of course not. We know such things are mere matters of taste. Okay, but then how can we rightly claim that murder, rape, or slavery is "immoral" if the only reason we're doing so is that the vast majority of us don't happen to like it? If the only argument we can hang our hat on is consensus preference, then it falls into the same category as flavors: taste.
Some will now point out that the aforementioned acts hurt others, but who is to say that's wrong? Exasperated, you may now say "Everybody! That's who!" But "everybody" is people, so we're again down to consensus preference. It's a merry-go-round always bringing us back to the same pointless point. And there's only one way off it.
This is to accept the point: the one way we can rightly say an act is "wrong" or "immoral" is if something outside of man and supreme (i.e., God) has deemed that it's so — is if it's dictated by the objective reality called Truth.
…So here are the dots and destination: a just law must reflect morality. Morality implies God. Things of God are discussed and discovered in the realm we call religion. Therefore, religion must and always does shape law — if that law is to be just. There is no way around it.
This is perhaps part of the reason John Adams said in 1798, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other." And you become an “inadequate ... other” when you substitute the Supreme Court for the Supreme Being.
_______________________________________________________________
GAYS ATTACK CLERK DEMANDING 
A MARRIAGE LICENSE; 
REFUSE TO LEAVE OFFICE
SEPTEMBER 1, 2015
Published on Sep 1, 2015
Rowan County, Kentucky clerk Kim Davis squares off with David Moore and his partner David Ermold over her refusal to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples despite a federal court order to do so.


What's next for Kentucky clerk who defied Supreme Court ruling; From a Liberal News Source
Published on Sep 2, 2015
Kim Davis, the Rowan County courthouse clerk defying the Supreme Court's same-sex marriage ruling, has been ordered to appear in federal court Thursday. She again refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples on Tuesday. Chief legal correspondent Jan Crawford explains the next steps.


Kentucky Clerk "Stands Firm" on Gay Marriage
Defies Supreme Court


ACLU Files for Kentucky County Clerk to Be Held in Contempt & Wants Her Fined
Published on Sep 1, 2015
The ACLU of Kentucky has filed a motion in federal court Tuesday seeking to have Kim Davis held in contempt of court,
The county clerk has denied issuing marriage licenses since the Monday following the Supreme Court's ruling on marriage equality in late June.
In the court papers ACLU attorneys noted that on Tuesday morning the plantiffs in their case were again denied a marriage license in Rowan County Kentucky.
On Monday, the Supreme Court denied a request by Davis citing religious reservations as her reasoning for not complying with the law.
The ACLU suggested financial repercussions for her defiance, not a stay of jail.

http://rss.cnn.com/c/35494/f/676999/s...
http://www.wochit.com

Published on Sep 2, 2015
When a gay couple went to the Rowan County courthouse on Tuesday to obtain a marriage license, clerk Kim Davis turned them away – despite the fact she herself has tied the knot four times. The Guardian reports that Davis has been divorced three times before she “surrendered” her life to religion, which she said happened four years ago. In 1984, Davis married store clerk Dwain Wallace, records show. More than a decade later, divorced, she married Joe Davis, her current husband. The couple’s relationship apparently fizzled out sometime around 2007, when Davis married Thomas McIntyre Jr, a construction worker. When she rejoined Joe Davis on Aug. 24, 2009, it was her fourth marriage. Davis, who was elected clerk last fall, denied licenses to several couples on Tuesday, even though a US supreme court order issued on Monday mandated that she comply with a lower court decision to issue marriage licenses.

http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/20...
http://www.wochit.com

______________________________________________________
ROBBIE BLANKENSHIP & PARTNER
JESSE CRUZ
TOGETHER FOR 20 YEARS;
WANT TO ADOPT

SECOND GAY COUPLE MAKES 
AGGRESSIVE RUDE DEMAND 
FOR MARRIAGE LICENSE


CROWD SHOUTS AT CLERK;
SHE STANDS FIRM 


                             
BEST AUDIO WITH TRANSCRIPT
CHRISTIANS COME TO SUPPORT CLERK

GAYS DENIED FOR A THIRD TIME;
SHERIFF ANSWERS GAYS
                             




CDC SHAMING SCHOOLS WHICH DON'T GET HIGH VACCINATION RATES

Despite High Child Vaccination Rates, 

CDC Calls for Shaming Schools

Anne Schuchat, MD (RADM, USPHS). Not satisfied with one of the highest child vaccination rates in the world, CDC officials are using tax dollars to find new ways to isolate, publicly identify and bully every family—and the schools and communities they live in—if they do not conform to one-size-fits-all government vaccine policies.
BY BARBARA LOE FISHER
SEE: http://www.thevaccinereaction.org/2015/09/despite-high-child-vaccination-rates-cdc-calls-for-shaming-schools/republished below in full unedited for informational, educational, and research purposes:

With military precision, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) announced at an Aug. 27, 2015 press conference that national vaccination rates among young children in the U.S. continue to be very high but that more must be done to tag and track down children without every government recommended vaccine and publicly shame schools that fail to maintain a 95% plus vaccine coverage rate. Assistant Surgeon General Anne Schuchat, MD (RADM, USPHS) made the siren call to all states to require public and private schools to publicly post vaccine coverage and exemption rates.1
At the same time, Dr. Schuchat, who is a Rear Admiral in the U.S. Public Health Service (USPHS) and Director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, confirmed that CDC data indicates that less than one percent of children aged 19 to 36 months are unvaccinated, while fewer than 1.7% of children attending kindergarten during 2014-2015 had medical, religious or conscientious belief vaccine exemptions.2 3

94% Plus Multiple Vaccine Coverage Rate for Young Children

As the CDC has reported for the past 30 years,4 there is a 94% national vaccine coverage rate for children entering kindergarten with five doses of pertussis containing vaccines (DTaP/DPT) and two doses of measles containing MMR vaccine. In addition to high uptake of measles, mumps, rubella, diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis vaccines, about 94% of kindergarten children have gotten two doses of varicella zoster (chickenpox) vaccine.
For children 19 to 36 months old, the estimate is nearly 95% for three doses of pertussis containing (DTaP/DPT) vaccines and over 91% for one dose of MMR vaccine, as well as at least 93% for three doses of polio and Hib (haemophilus influenza b) vaccines and about 92% for three doses of hepatitis B and pneumococcal vaccines.
Among the 16 states that have conscientious or philosophical belief vaccine exemptions for kindergarten children, six report vaccine coverage rates of 94-98% (Arizona, Louisiana, Michigan, Oregon, Texas and Utah). Of the 47 states that have a religious vaccine exemption, 20 report kindergarten vaccine coverage rates of 94-99%.

The Decimal Dust Numbers of “Unvaccinated” Children

At the press conference, Dr. Schuchat admitted that when a parent files a vaccine exemption for a child entering school, it “doesn’t necessarily mean that a child didn’t get vaccinated or was completely unvaccinated.” She said, “an exemption might be requested for all vaccines, even if a child only missed a single vaccine or a single vaccine dose. In some states, a parent or guardian might actually claim an exemption if they don’t have the child’s vaccination record available.”
So the miniscule numbers of completely unvaccinated young children in the U.S. might be even tinier than CDC estimates. And, yet, those numbers are not tiny enough for Admiral Schuchat and the USPHS.5 6
Not satisfied with one of the highest child vaccination rates in the world, CDC officials are using tax dollars to find new ways to isolate, publicly identify and bully every family—and the schools and communities they live in—if they do not conform to one-size-fits-all government vaccine policies. One way is to incentivize states to use electronic medical record and vaccine tracking systems to publicly shame schools and their students with lower vaccination rates and higher personal belief vaccine exemption rates. In fact, the CDC has created a new national website just for that purpose.7
Some families have chronically ill and disabled children for whom the risks of vaccination turned out to be 100%, but parents cannot find a pediatrician to write their children a medical exemption. Most doctors are taught to believe that vaccines never cause permanent harm even though that is not true,8 and 99.99% of children do not qualify for a medical vaccine exemption under strict federal guidelines.9 10 11

California School Vaccination Rates Online

The California Department of Public Health, which joined forces with the liability-free pharmaceutical and medical trade industries to lobby state legislators in 2015 to eliminate the personal belief vaccine exemption for school children,12 has followed the CDC’s directive and created a new state website featuring an interactive map using zip codes to post the following information about public and private kindergartens and middle schools (7th grade):13
  • Name and address of the kindergarten or middle school;
  • Numbers of children enrolled;
  • PBE (personal belief exemption) rate;
  • UTD (up to date) vaccination rate;
  • Coverage rates for DPT, polio, MMR, hepatitis B, and varicella vaccines.
  • Whether or not the school reported vaccine coverage and exemption information to the state health department (for schools that did not report, there is little or no information posted)
But state health officials go one step further: they also “rate” the schools from “safest” to “most vulnerable” with the follow color coded rating system:
Green Star: Safest (95-100% of students fully vaccinated)
Yellow Star: Moderately vulnerable (90-94% of students fully vaccinated)
Orange Star: More Vulnerable (80-89% of students fully vaccinated)
Red Star: Most Vulnerable (less than 79.9% of students fully vaccinated)
Blue Star: Did Not Report in 2014-2015
Now, the public blaming and shunning of those schools with red stars and the children in them can begin.

How About School Sick Day Data?

If government health officials are going to violate the medical privacy of children and post detailed vaccination and exemption rates for schools, then parents should also have access to information about the total number of sick days reported in each school during the 2015-2016 school year due to illness.
With long standing vaccine safety research gaps and no credible studies comparing health outcome differences between highly vaccinated children and those receiving fewer or no vaccines,14 15 16 at least parents would have a way to identify which schools and student populations are actually healthier, not simply highly vaccinated.

The Assault on Values and Beliefs

In the question and answer period during the Aug. 27 CDC press conference, Admiral Schuchat made it clear to reporters that U.S. public health officials are going to do whatever it takes to make it “more difficult” for parents to exercise religious and conscientious belief vaccine exemptions. She said, “We know that the more difficult it is to obtain an exemption, the more—the fewer people will exempt their children from vaccines and we certainly think it should be easier to get a vaccine than to get an exemption from a required vaccination. So these policy decisions are made at the state level and we think that’s helpful because it will reflect the community or local values.”17
Apparently, government health officials are determined to impose their values and beliefs on anyone who does not share them, even if it means using fear and coercion to pit parents and schools and communities against each other in order to accomplish that goal. But the culture war on values and beliefs is being fought on an uneven battlefield, as the expanding financial partnership between government and the liability-free pharmaceutical industry carries with it the political clout and money to roll out national advertising and media campaigns targeting the unbelievers for demonization and discrimination.18
Annually, DHHS officials are given nearly one TRILLION taxpayer dollars by Congress, which is nearly twice the amount of money appropriated to the Department of Defense,19but Congress provides little oversight on how public health officials spend that money or if they use it to violate the human and civil rights of citizens.

Militarization of Public Health Programs

Government health officials partnering with industry have declared war on citizens exercising freedom of thought, speech and conscience, who question the safety and effectiveness of government vaccine policies and defend the human right to informed consent to medical risk taking.
Military strategies employed to win wars view casualties as necessary losses. Unfortunately, it appears that those waging the “take no prisoners” culture war view both the vaccine injured and human and civil rights as necessary losses.
It should not be illegal in America to have values and beliefs that differ from government health officials. Uniformed officials of the U.S. Public Health Service serve a vital role in protecting the public health and safety of our nation during real emergencies, but they have no business treating citizens who disagree with them like the enemy and persons of interest to be hunted down, isolated, publicly identified, discriminated against and punished.
This is a war that the American people cannot afford to lose. Even if you and your children use every government licensed and recommended vaccine today, you may change your mind tomorrow. You will not be free to do that if flexible medical, religious and conscientious belief vaccine exemptions are not secured in state and federal laws guaranteeing your legal right to make voluntary vaccine decisions.
Go to NVIC.org and NVICAdvocacy.org to learn how you can become a vaccine choice advocate in your state.
_____________________________________________________________

Shock Video! Gov. Caught Lying About Vaccine Dangers


The Hypocrisy of Universal Vaccination Shaming

BY PAULA ONNIT
SEE: http://blogs.naturalnews.com/hypocrisy-universal-vaccination-shaming/republished below in full unedited for informational, educational, and research purposes:

Dear Universal Vaccination Shamers,
It’s time to point out your hypocrisy. You try to shame parents into injecting their children with all CDC-recommended vaccinations, yet it is not federal law that everyone be vaccinated. Merely existing as a human being does not require vaccination. Certain vaccines are recommended for children to attend public school, but not home school or private school. All but two states have a philosophical or religious exemption for children to attend public school without certain vaccines, and all states allow medical exemptions. Some organizations require health-care workers to get certain vaccines, but that is not part of any state or federal law. (1)
The following will be a very uncomfortable conversation for you.
You Are a Public Health Pawn
Vaccination is a recommendation and not a law because it’s cheaper for our government to use you in the public health campaign to ratchet vaccination uptake toward 100%. Yes, you are a pawn of social engineering. You are key to the program to publicly shame those who don’t vaccinate, and it’s worked.
For thirty years, we’ve had 95% vaccination rates for the most communicable diseases. Despite these herd immunity levels, you still don’t believe in vaccine choice. In your world everyone should be vaccinated because – contrary to the herd immunity theory you espouse – the 5% who are unvaccinated are putting everyone else at risk for vaccine-preventable diseases. When you look at the facts, an outbreak of a “vaccine-preventable disease” is not a social engineering issue solved with shaming tactics, it’s a vaccine science issue. Fixing the scientific issues with vaccine effectiveness does not involve forcing vaccines on the minority of people who do not want them for philosophical, religious, or medical reasons. Below you’ll read how you have overlooked your own role in reaching the herd immunity goal, and it has to do with science, not your public health campaign.
As Mike Adams wrote the other day, pro-vaccine choice people are not necessarily against the theory of vaccination; most of us feel vaccines need further study to make them safer and work better. We want more science. You call us anti-science, but you’ll see that we are into the science, not you.
Your Shaming Strategies
As a Shamer, your strategies are transparent and tiresome. After you call pro-vaccine choice people “anti-science,” you normally cite the smallpox and polio vaccines as some sort of proof that all vaccines work and are not harmful. On a recent vaccine article, I even read a vitriolic comment stream (aren’t they all) where a Shamer actually thought we’d eradicated leprosy with vaccines. Leprosy is cured with antibiotics like Dapsone. I call that a swing and a miss.
Since the science does not exist to prove vaccines are safe and effective, you spend most of your time arguing public health. Then you get personally accusatory. You say the unvaccinated are putting the vaccinated at risk. If you believe vaccines work so well and that you and your fully-vaccinated children are immune to every disease for which you’ve been vaccinated, why, pray tell, would unvaccinated people be a danger to you? If you are in this camp, I don’t understand your argument.
I was talking to an otherwise intelligent Shamer about this point, and he actually thought people carry diseases until the vaccine somehow sanitizes them. Just for the record, the unvaccinated do not carry all the vaccine-preventable diseases and are not standing in corners eager to sneeze on the vaccinated.
You call vaccine choice people “dumb” and say that we just do a Google search and do what Jenny McCarthy says. You think it’s a paradox that the people you put down for supporting vaccine choice are more educated and wealthier than the general population. We are not a paradox. I assure you that the background art on PubMed is not composed of interlocking teddy bears holding hands. We know how to search the U.S. National Library of Medicine and can get access to the full text of any studies we want. We read the science. We critique the science. We know the difference between correlation and causation, and know that the fourteen studies cited as the proof that vaccines don’t cause autism are epidemiological – i.e. correlation studies, which have also been manipulated. (2)
Here’s another contradiction in your position to ponder. You allow that the immunocompromised such as people receiving chemotherapy, can skip vaccines for medical reasons, but you don’t feel children at risk of allergic, diabetic, and neurological disorders should skip any vaccines.
Are You Immunologically the Same as an Unvaccinated Person?
You’ve probably heard the phrase “vaccination is not immunization.” It means that you and your fully vaccinated children might not actually be immune to the diseases for which you were vaccinated.
This is the big point. As a Shamer, you are a hypocrite if you know vaccines don’t cause your immune system to mount immunity 100% of the time. If you are one of the people who never mounted a good immune response to a vaccine or if your immunity has waned over time, you (and your children) may be vectors of vaccine-preventable diseases, just like the unvaccinated. How do you know you are not immunologically the same as someone who didn’t vaccinate? Lack of immunity after vaccination is more common than you might think.
Studies that test people before and after bone marrow transplants actually look at what percent of people are immune to various vaccine-preventable diseases before their transplant. A study published in the Canadian Journal of Infectious Diseases found that pre-transplant only 82% of people were immune to polio, 77% to tetanus, 64% to diphtheria, and 27-59% to HIB. (3) These levels were true for the healthy marrow donors as well. For diphtheria, an 85% herd immunity threshold is the public health goal, yet if this small study indicates diphtheria only has 64% population immunity, how can the disease be all but totally eradicated? (4)
The solution to vaccine failure is not to vaccinate people against their will just to protect you. That’s selfish and mutually exclusive of the greater good that you always talk about. You have the tools to take self-responsibility for your immunity, but your public health campaign has probably distracted you from this basic science. The main way to test if a vaccine has made us immune is to look at antibodies in the blood. Disease-specific antibodies indicate your immune system now recognizes an illness. If you mount a high enough level of antibodies, you are considered theoretically immune to the disease for which you were vaccinated.
Your Hypocrisy Test
Now that it’s clear you might not be immune to many “vaccine-preventable diseases,” let’s review what you can do about it. It will serve two purposes. You can personally achieve 100% immunity to all vaccine-preventable diseases, allowing you freedom from fearing the unvaccinated. Plus, the higher rate of immunity in those who do want vaccines will help us reach goals for herd immunity.
Here’s how to do it. You should get annual blood draws for antibody titers for you and your children to prove that you remain immune to vaccine-preventable diseases. Since you are worried about being a disease vector, consider quarantining yourself and your children until your tests are back. If titers show you and your darlings are not immune, continue that quarantine until you’ve been re-vaccinated enough times that your titers show immunity. Your doctor euphemistically terms these shots “boosters.” If you aren’t doing regular titers and re-vaccination until immunity is proven, it is your fault if you or your fully vaccinated child gets a vaccine-preventable disease. That’s science, not public health.
Quarantine and titering are highly inconvenient and expensive, which is why it’s not part of our public health recommendations, and never will be. But, since you are running your public health campaign for the greater good, you can now personally help make up for vaccine failure and waning immunity by ensuring you are 100% immune to every vaccine-preventable disease. It’s great you’ve told us so many times that you aren’t worried about vaccine side effects. You will have some, but you’ll be immune to a few diseases, which you say is more important anyway.
The herd immunity threshold is thought to occur when 75% to 94% of people are immune to each communicable disease, with rates varying by disease. Since you are among the 95% of people who want vaccines, and you will now have 100% immunity due to your revaccinations, the minority of people who cannot have or do not want vaccines can exercise their choice, without affecting herd immunity. (4)
People for Vaccine Choice are Healthier & Do Their Research
Since you say you look at the science, maybe you should get to know pro-vaccine choice people a little better. We take more responsibility to maximize our own immunity than those who hold the quaint notion that a vaccine or pill will prevent or cure everything that ails them. People for vaccine choice do consider vaccines and might get some. However, unlike Universal Vaccinators, we painstakingly research the risks and benefits of each vaccine before each decision. In addition to reading the published literature, we read the package inserts, especially Sections 6 (Adverse Reactions) and 14 (Clinical Studies), and check VAERS for the current count of adverse reactions to each vaccine. That way we can roughly calculate a risk-benefit for each vaccine, since we know neither the government nor vaccine manufacturers has provided that critical information. We also know that doctors and vaccine manufacturers are immune from liability, so they have no incentive to ensure we are safe. We are on our own, so we weigh the evidence. Can you still call us anti-science?
Each vaccine decision is based on our circumstances and individual risks. For example, a pre-existing mitochondrial disorder or methylation defect makes the likelihood of vaccine injury much higher. We are aware that all studies of the vaccinated versus the unvaccinated show much higher rates of chronic conditions among the vaccinated, such as allergies, diabetes, and neurological disorders. (5, 6) We know the CDC and NIH have funded none of those studies, but we recognize directional science, if you want to call it that. The question people for vaccine choice ask is this: Is herd immunity worth it, if the risk of lifetime illnesses is so high? Are we just robbing Peter to pay Paul?
You’ve called us parasites, but we don’t feel that way. We take health into our own hands and feel we are healthier for our vaccine decisions. We take Vitamin D and eat nutrient-dense diets to bolster our immune systems. It works. Our children are sick much less often than fully vaccinated children. If we do get sick, we are more likely to stay away from public places as a courtesy to others. I’ve noticed children who are sick all the time get sent to school anyway.
If we get sick, we know how to take care of the problem with natural medicine. You know, the stuff you incorrectly blanket with the term “homeopathy,” usually uttered with a sneer. Some of us do use homeopathic remedies, but mostly we look to foods and herbs, which by the way, can also be researched through PubMed. Despite what you might believe, we will take pharmaceutical drugs if our natural approach fails, and if the safety profile is good.
Speaking of herbs, drugs and research, did you know Tamiflu doesn’t work because it was derived from star anise? Star anise is a weak herbal antiviral. Pharma should have researched their herbs better before trying to chemicalize one that doesn’t work well in its herbal form. It would have been more scientific to select a strongly antiviral herb.
How Committed Are You?
Now that you know how committed vaccine choice people are to their own health, let’s talk about your commitment to your position. To keep your position without hypocrisy, you need to vaccinate, quarantine and titer until you are immune. Let’s take flu shots as an example. When the flu shot first becomes available each year, guess what? Yup, for the greater good, you should get vaccinated the first day that shot is available, or per your logic, you are putting others in danger since you are an unvaccinated vector. Then since the flu shot achieves peak immunity in only 60% of adults (at best), please quarantine yourself for two to four weeks to allow your antibodies to peak. (7) Whether you are in the 60% who do mount enough antibodies, or in the 40% who don’t, some of you will shed and spread your genetically modified vaccine strain flu virus to others, and that is impolite. In my book it is shameful. Repeat your seasonal flu quarantine and titer until you are immune. It might take months each year.
Since you won’t quarantine yourself, I will continue to walk the other way when I see you smugly sporting that little flu shot Band-Aid.
I hope this was uncomfortable for you. Please consider if your Shaming campaign is misdirected at those who exercise vaccine choice. Do we really need people to be vaccinated against their will, or do we need more effective vaccines with immunity that won’t wane over time? Since vaccines do not work perfectly, the onus is on you – the majority of you who favor vaccination without reservation – to take personal responsibility for your own immunity with more vaccines for yourself and your children. It also helps with herd immunity. Then, you have no reason to fear the unvaccinated or have those uncomfortable shaming conversations.
To Your Health,
Paula Onnit
Paula Onnit is not related to Paul Offit.
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