Thursday, October 15, 2015

The Wonderful World Tomnmorrow: What It Won't Be Like!

"I am convinced that most members of WCG offshoot groups are utterly clueless about what Armstrong actually taught about race relations. His record in this area has been totally white-washed since his death by those who still promote his legacy. The story needs to be told."  Pam Dewey

Pam Dewey has had an excellent web site, the Field Guide to the Wild World of Religion, for many years now and has also published a book on the wacky world of religion.

She recently sent me the following:

I am the webauthor of the Field Guide to the Wild World of Religion. The website has extensive research and commentary on religious groups and leaders which use abusive and/or deceptive methods to attract and keep followers. I have had over a million visitors since it was put up on the web in 2001.

As a former member of the Worldwide Church of God (1968-1978) and the Church of God, International ( husband was a pastor of a CGI group for seven years) I have a particular interest in providing documentation and commentary on the Armstrong movement. The Field Guide has an extensive section on the Radio/Worldwide Church of God and its offshoots.

I also have a blog called "Meet MythAmerica" which contains research, documentation, and commentary on aspects of American history which have been commonly glossed over.

I share all the above to lead up to calling attention to the latest series of blog entries on the Meet MythAmerica blog, titled "The Wonderful World Tomorrow--What It WON'T Be Like." Those familiar with the WCG will recognize the title as a take-off on one of Herbert Armstrong's most requested booklets back in his heyday. The 11-part series documents in particular the sordid story of Armstrong's astoundingly racist approach during the era of the American Civil Rights Movement.

I am convinced that most members of WCG offshoot groups are utterly clueless about what Armstrong actually taught about race relations. His record in this area has been totally white-washed since his death by those who still promote his legacy. The story needs to be told. I hope this documentation will be shared far and wide.

The series begins at the following link:  The Wonderful World Tomorrow What It Won't Be Like


Anonymous said...

Good info! Thanks for posting.

Byker Bob said...

The WCG was definitely behind the national curve when it came to race relations. HWA didn't teach that he, or the church, or even our government should send Black people to Africa. He taught that God would do it at the start of the Millennium. God a racist? Unbelievable!

Being braver than most, I discussed this quasi-doctrine with some of my African American co-workers at AC Press. Apparently, there were some challenges for the Black members in the church in dealing with all of this, because some of the Black church members were concerned enough to counsel with well known Black WCG ministers about what seemed to be their diminished role when compared to that of their Caucasian counterparts. Some of the black ministers actually read widely in their history books and in some of the literature produced by the emerging empowerment movement of the day, in an effort to be able to answer questions and help.

But, one gentleman, whom I had grown to greatly respect, asked me, "Bob, how can they send me back to a place that I've never been to? My culture is rooted here in the USA. I have no understanding of Africa, its culture, or traditions. How will they even make decisions as to who goes, and who stays? My father is white! (I later met his Dad, and anyone who saw him would know that he was white.). The world teaches that if you have 1 drop of Negro blood, you are Black, but I personally believe that God looks at the whole picture."

One of the ladies that I worked with told me of some of the great world cultures in ancient history that some of the same ministers had familiarized her with, which Black people had founded, and in which they were dominant.

The thing about it is, many of us Anglo Saxon gentiles were caught in the middle of a very sinister racist belief system and really didn't know how to act with regard to these, our fellow human beings. On the one hand, back when we thought that WCG was actually a Christian church, we saw them as our brothers and sisters in Christ in the church. On the other hand, we were taught that in the future, they would be separate but unequal for all eternity. And they were treated differently (actually "less than"). When I remember now, some of the attitudes we were taught and held, I just feel so badly and ashamed that I drank from that defective batch of Kool Aid. The good news is that I repudiated those attitudes with the rest of the toxicity I left behind, back in 1975, when "the truth" was found to be lies.

It sickens me to see comments from time to time on the various blogs from people who not only failed to change their racist attitudes, but have actually found a new batch of questionable materials to deepen their racism. Some present them as comments fully expecting them to be seriously considered. The racism especially comes out when church members and their demagogue ministers are discussing our president. It is as if he has become their all-purpose strawman. And, this, from a church that always in the past insisted upon respect for our elected officials and civil authority. Because of British Israelism, a little skin pigmentation has caused them to sacrifice a greater principle. Sadly, incest doesn't even register when considering the founder of their faith.


Glenn said...

British Israelism was and is inherently racist. Plus, HWA and Herman Hoeh believed that blacks are genetically inferior and cursed by God. According to them, the blacks that achieved much were able to do so because they had a lot of "white blood."

Ralph said...

on October 15, 2015 at 6:52 PM
Glenn said..

"British Israelism was and is inherently racist."

Is, or was, there such a philosophy as "American Israelism" or "French Israelism" or "Danish Israelism"?
Just asking.


Glenn said...

Ralph, I think you know they were all subsumed into BI, at least in the WCG.


Retired Prof said...

Ralph, Gavin Rumney over at Otagosh has a post up now titled "Duthch Israelites?" about one "Johannes Goropius Becanus, born in 1519. This polymath believed the Garden of Eden was located in Antwerp, and that the language of Eden was Dutch (specifically the Antwerp dialect)."

It's not uncommon for people to claim descent from some group they admire. A lot more Euro-Americans claim Cherokee heritage than actually have it--although to be sure, the Cherokees did encourage intermarriage with the invaders as a strategy for cementing alliances with them. After the English learned about the siege of Troy from Latin sources in the late Middle Ages, a number of British authors claimed that the Trojans were the ancestors of the English.

Anonymous said...

Pam Dewey's blogs tell the story well. For the historically minded here are two items that might be of interest:

1) The decision of AC Pasa. and Big Sandy--but not Bricket Wood--to integrate (stop rejecting unmarried black church member applicants solely on grounds of their skin color) starting 1971 was not explained to church members, and even Trechak's later Ambassador Report seems to have missed the true backstory on why that happened. It was not (as I myself long supposed) some church leaders at Pasadena must have noticed changing conditions in America, maybe felt a little embarrassed, and decided to admit blacks equally with whites because it was the right thing to do, or the politically correct thing to do. It was far more specific and legal and compelled. The issue was the same as with Bob Jones University. The federal govt/IRS had threatened to remove tax deductible charitable organization status to organizations who were racially discriminating. Such a denial of tax exemption would have been disastrous for the WCG, so it caved (began admitting blacks, at US campuses only, not its Bricket Wood campus which continued to refuse to admit unmarried blacks). Bob Jones U., like AC, had a no-blacks policy in order to uphold what was believed to be God's divine will of segregation, for similar or identical reasons as WCG. Unlike WCG/AC, Bob Jones U. refused to cave in to godless federal power which would intrude on their God-given right to be race bigots in the name of Christ, as a matter of principle, and fought the federal govt in court. This was different from WCG/AC's response, which complied (in the US; not overseas beyond the reach of US law) with what was legally necessary to avoid financial destruction. This is what was behind the change in policy to admit unmarried blacks to AC Pasadena and Big Sandy starting in 1971. This legal reason for the change was not publicized. Bob Jones U., incidentally, took heavy financial losses in the form of tax bills and lost at the Supreme Court level, and eventually changed their doctrine and denied that there ever had been much of a racist doctrine, sort of like it had been a big misunderstanding. There is a transcript available online of Bob Jones's son on the Larry King program explaining the backpedaling that is worth looking up.

2) The story gets even stranger, for as articles by Randall Balmer have brought out (available online), the evangelical right's activist involvement in American politics in an organized way began with American evangelical churches organizing to support Bob Jones U. over the right to be race bigots without federal interference. That was how the American evangelical right as a force in American politics began. After conservative churches across America rallied to the defense of Bob Jones U.'s right to have a no-blacks policy and be race bigots as an institution free of federal intervention failed, the existing organized infrastructure formed to defend Bob Jones U., instead of disbanding, decided to stay in business and pick a new issue, and the new issue decided upon was abortion.

Pam Dewey's website and thoughtful, informed discussions of WCG's and American social history on race issues indeed deserves to be spread far and wide. Some have learned and grown since those days. Others seem incapable of learning or growing.


Ralph said...

In addition to my last comment I must admit that I'm not sure what is meant by "British Israelism was and is inherently racist."

'Glenn' also said " Plus, HWA and Herman Hoeh believed that blacks are genetically inferior...."

So I ask, was it HWA and HH that gave 'British Israelism' over to racism and that the original concept was not racist at all?

Once again, just asking.


Ed said...

If we all have common ancesters what does it matter if the races mix? Are we not all decended from either Adam and Eve or cave men in Africa? The argument can be made that the reason why the United States is the greatest nation on earth is because we are the melting pot of many races. It is not because of our racial purity that we are great but it is because of our racial diversity that we are great.

Lottie Streicher said...

Paul stated that God made all mankind of 'one blood'. This ends the race debate.
However, this woman's writings are bitter and sour grapes for the most part.
She needs a hobby.

Connie Schmidt said...

I always enjoy Pam Dewey's missives and have for many years on various internet vehicles.

GD Annonymous above hit on something very poignant. The WCG oftentimes conformed itself and its policies due to governmental pressures as he stated above about losing 501c3 status concerning the colleges if they remained segregated.

Similar evolution has quietly emerged about being allowed to seek medical treatment, as the growth of Child Protection Services has grown, and the COGs fear wrongful death lawsuits.

The COGs not allowing enfranchisement of voting in elections has a bad, knee jerk response and convoluted past as well. Around circa 1958, the IRS was threatening the tax free 501C3 status of the then Radio Church of God because of its obvious political opinions that were put forth in the Plain Truth Magazine and on the World Tommorow radio broadcasts.

Stan Rader was viewed as a young "superstar" for going to Washington DC and resolving the issue. A "Faustian" deal was struck by Rader with the IRS. The church could continue with its political rhetoric publicly, however the church would have as policy a non political involvement by its membership by not serving in office , nor exercising the right to vote in elections. It was further agreed that church members and the public would have an approximate once a year notification in its publications and in the Plain Truth magazine that they had a full responsibility to pay and obey the IRS and its tax system.

The nonvoting position of the RCG/WCG also served the church internally as well. It allowed for a full unaccountable hierarchy, without member input, recourse or opinion. The idea of voting for ANYTHING in any situation, even within the church, was demonized as "Satans System" of government.

The non voting and political service taboo of the COGs has a bad foundation, no Biblical support, and bad protectionism of internal status quo behind it. Many members, and ministry vote in elections anyway, quietly and discretely, perhaps as many as 50%. The COGs should wake up and end the duplicity and just plainly legalize it within their churches.

Anonymous said...

Lottie's comment that the bible says all mankind is of one blood was never acknowledged in Armstrongism. Blacks were Gentiles. Latinos were Gentiles, Asians, Indians and all other races were inferior to the white Anglo Saxon race that supposedly carries the birthright heritage passed on to the 12 tribes. Just look at the extent Armstrongism goes to keep attempting to "prove" that the US and Britian are Manassah and Ephriam. That pure bullshit alone supports the racist ideology of the US&BC malarkey that the various splinter groups claim as "inspired secret knowledge." Stick you head in the sand all you want Lottie, but he Church of God was racist in so many different ways and still is.

Pam said...

Thanks, "gd," for the information on the Bob Jones connection et al! That explains a lot.

And thanks to all...well, almost all :) ... for the kind words about my efforts. I appreciate knowing that they are appreciated. My Wordpress stats page shows there has been a BIG uptick in visits to my Wonderful World blog series as a result of the exposure on here, and it looks like a significant number are taking the time to read through the whole series.

That is particularly gratifying, since I realize my blog entries are longer than most. Back before the Internet, folks were used to reading long magazine articles. But now so many are really impatient and hate to read much more than a paragraphs or two--a single screen-full of material at most. I think it's the result of what I call the "USA Today" trend. The introduction of that publication in the early 1980s introduced "sound bite" news and commentary, with lots of infographics, and that type of approach has spilled over to much of the Internet world.

But I have never wanted my blog entries, and website material, to just be a quick look at my own unsubstantiated opinions or prejudices and rambling thoughts about some hot-button issue. Not that there is ANYTHING wrong with people sharing their opinions and prejudices and rambling thoughts! It's just that what I want to share is solid information and commentary on serious topics, all supported thoroughly by adequate historical documentation from a wide variety of sources, so that readers can come to their own conclusions on the topic at hand. And that just plain takes time and effort, both to write it and for people to read it.

It's nice to know that there indeed still are readers out there!

Pam Dewey

Anonymous said...

This website doesn't know what racism even is. So the people on this website the usual distorted content contributors like the rebel biki bob and his gang think they are the only people on this planet who aren't who do you think you're kidding sweet inocent angel or should I say Hell's Angel.

Any "normal" individual understands that different races should have their own borders. Now there's nothing wrong with that and that's why we have diffferent people...duh. Families connect better with their families just as people of the same race do.

You're just looking for any excuse to completely distort what that booklet was really about. Pam Dewey's website is completely full of unfactual content yet here you are quick to promote her simply because she agrees with your false stance on the cog's. Why don't you do your research before you promote something.

The truth of the matter is no one is more distorted when it comes to providing honest factual content than this poor quality blog. Why don't you take a good long look at yourselves and understand that their is no one but yourself to blame and stop crying like a bunch of big babies.

Anonymous said...

If you want to know the truth about situations in LCG's headquarters, where do you think you'd get it, Rod Meredith or here?

Anonymous said...

"Any 'normal' individual understands that different races should have their own borders [IOW, should be segregated]."

So, according to this commenter, all "normal" people are segregationists? Which is equivalent to saying that all "normal" people are racists. That's a weird definition of "normal." And then he has the temerity to wax eloquent about "honest factual content"? Some people are more delusional than others!

Byker Bob said...

Yup. That commenter pretty much embodies what I stated in the last paragraph of my 6:31 post. He's really choking on his own ignorance and bigotry, but at least he lives in a country where he has the freedom to do so.

Why should people be forced to remain in undesirable areas, where there is poverty, predatory government, persecution for belief, disease, lack of education, and virtually no opportunity, just because of the color of their skin? If you grew up in Haiti, eating dirt cookies, or were conscripted by warlords in Somalia, watched your friends and family get pulled into the sex trade in Thailand, or were persecuted for your Christian beliefs and feared for your life while living in a Muslim country, you should be able to get the hell out of those places, and to seek a better life for your family.

Basically, some use the fear of criminals or terrorists gaining entry to a more desirable place to justify segregationist or isolationist policy. However, the criminals can be very effectively treated on a case by case basis, just as we do with the criminals that pop up in our existing population. All of the fear of Fidel spiking the Marielito Boat Lift by emptying out his jails came to nought, because the criminals were taken care of in this same normal method. The good people who were rescued and now enjoy better quality of life were worth any inconveniences. That's what happens when you rescue people, though. They generally are needy, and it does require effort and sacrifice to give them an hand up. This pisses off the selfish scrooges amongst us.