Billy Graham, Cold Warrior for God

The German press nicknamed him “God’s machine gun” for his aggressive, staccato preaching, but the name also fit for deeper reasons. Mr. Graham described these trips as “crusades” and saw West Germany as ground zero in what he called “Battleground Europe,” a Cold War fight to redeem the “land of Luther” from its Nazi past and secure its future as a stronghold for American-style democracy, capitalism and evangelicalism.

.. Billy Graham’s culture wars are inseparable from his role as an international Cold Warrior. He wasn’t just America’s pastor; he was God’s Cold War machine gun.

..  “Berlin is prayed for in the world more than any other city,” he declared, calling the city “a battleground, a continent for conquest” — not for earthly power, as the world wars had been, but a new battle “for the hearts and minds of the people.”

..  he affirmed that West Germans were his “brothers in arms” literally as well as spiritually. To strengthen a Christian democratic West against a godless Soviet East, he cast his weight behind German rearmament.

.. Mr. Graham portended a similar Americanization of German religion with its emphasis on conversion and its use of modern communication technologies for evangelism.

.. Some Germans deemed Mr. Graham a Hollywood huckster who, as the German news media put it, “advertised the Bible like toothpaste and chewing gum.” Others sensed an unnerving parallel between his mass gatherings and Germany’s fascist past.

.. “Religion for Mass-Consumption,”

.. argued that Mr. Graham’s real goal was to steer souls away from Communism more than toward God

.. German Lutheran pastor Martin Niemöller and the American theologian Reinhold Niebuhr ..  protested Mr. Graham’s equation of Christianity with America, anti-Communism and free-market capitalism

.. After the Watergate scandal, Mr. Graham withdrew from political debates and returned to his early focus on simply “preaching the gospel.”

How the Knights Templar became the world’s first financial-services company

Originally founded as the Knights of the Temple of Solomon to protect pilgrims traveling to Jerusalem, the Templars became the most powerful military order of the Crusades. But in addition they were economic trailblazers and banking pioneers during the 12th and 13th centuries. “I don’t think it’s facetious to say the Templars were an incredibly sophisticated organization with rudimentary business practices and financial methods that you would want any business to emulate,”

.. The Templars are known for the drama of their downfall or their role as medieval special forces. But they had a vast business and commercial empire, with lands generating agricultural produce and revenue all the way from Ireland to Cyprus and the Crusader states. They owned property in big cities which was rented out and chartered shipping in worldwide ports.

Then there was the banking side of things. It’s sometimes said the Templars were the world’s first bankers. There was a system of banking of deposits — King John of England deposited the crown jewels with the Templars in London when he was in trouble before the Magna Carta. But that doesn’t do them justice. They weren’t the first world’s bankers. They were providing the world’s first financial-services company.

 .. They were paying royal officials there on behalf of the crown and running the books for the French King, his brothers and mother. They were collecting, on behalf of the Pope, the crusading taxes levied by the church in England, France, Hungary and parts of Spain and Italy.Their spread of properties all across Europe and presence in just about every kingdom made them unique. They crossed boundaries and weren’t subject to the authority or polices of any particular king. They were tax exempt in many jurisdictions across Europe. If you think about the deal between Google and the Irish government, the Templars had that times 20.

.. Alfonso I, the King of Aragon, left them a third of his kingdom in his will and Queens and Kings gave them huge landed estates. They were also the recipients of popular donations, what today we would call crowdfunding. People left them in their wills a donkey or a little plot of land, tiny donations that when you added them up were massive and funded military operations.

.. If you were a young guy who wanted to go to war and fight for God, you could join the Templars. If you were an old guy who wanted to atone for a sinful life but was no good for fighting, you could join and run the books in a regional Templar house. If you didn’t wish to join but wanted to accrue the spiritual benefits of involvement, you could donate. They had what today in business terms would be called amazing international branding. The white mantle, the red cross. It’s the Nike swoosh, the McDonald’s arches, the Apple logo of the day.

.. They embraced diversity. Although they were a militant Christian organization, they were flexible and pragmatic like in the East where they hired as soldiers Turcapole Syrian cavalry, who happened to be Muslim, as they were much better at fighting in the conditions.

Religion, Violence and Roger Scruton

.. But let’s cut to the chase. What all “religion” might do and what all “violence” might be are fatal distractions, all too happily exploited by the Hitchdawk team. It is futile to get drawn into polemical debates with professional atheists about the meaning of abstract sociological notions looked at in the unlimited perspective of the past 5000 years, and that is the mistake Scruton makes. The real question today, as every man in the street knows, is not the anthropological seminar-room “What is religion?” question; it’s about the fate of Christian civilisation with its liberal, pacifistic and accommodating tendencies, versus militant Islam. How do we defend the former against the latter?

.. In the story Paul Stenhouse tells—which should be read by all—the 463 years between the death of Muhammed in 632 AD, and the First Crusade in 1095, were extremely dangerous for Christian Europe. Instead of peace there were unrelenting Islamic wars and incursions; Muslim invasions of Spain, Italy, Sicily and Sardinia; raids, seizures, looting of treasure, military occupations that lasted until Saracen forces were forcibly dislodged, sackings of Christian cities including Rome, and desecrations of Christian shrines. And be it noted: all this “violence” went on for fully 463 years before any Christian Crusade in response to these murderous provocations took place.

.. whereas Islam spread by the sword, Christianity mainly spread by precept and example and the peaceful proselytising of missionaries—many of whom contributed through their notes, journals and correspondence to what has become known in our time as “the anthropology of religion”.

Francis: Attempted Dialogue During the Crusades

Francis is what some call a “prime attractor”—one who moves history and humanity forward just by being who he is.

More than any other follower of Jesus, Francis of Assisi has been called a “second Christ.” He is taken seriously by all world religions. When Pope John Paul II wanted to gather the leaders of all the world religions to have a respectful interfaith dialogue in the 1980s, the only city that they could agree to meet in was Assisi, because the memory of St. Francis does not carry any negative baggage, even to other religions.

.. He is the only Christian man ever known to attempt two or three trips to dialogue with the “enemy” during the tragic Crusades against Muslims in the Holy Land, telling the Christians they were wrong for crusading and persecuting these children of God!

The Knights Templar International

The Order desires to welcome into membership people who are natural leaders and who share an understanding of the threats we face today globally from radical Islam, liberalism, political corruption, cultural Marxism and anti-Christian bigotry. We welcome those who are prepared to make a stand to defend all they hold dear regardless of the cost. We also look for people who can provide mutual support to each other as members of the Order.

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  • As a Templar you will be expected to participate in the Templar work of defence, charity, meetings and social events. However, we fully appreciate that not everyone can go off to War zones across the world. Indeed, only a very few can, but as a Knight or Dame you have a duty to support the overall work of the order and the brothers who volunteer overseas. As Templars we are all brothers and sisters and you enter into a lifelong commitment supporting the work of the Order as far as your personal circumstances allow.
  • Christian chivalric group of men and women who take their inspiration from the highest ideals of the medieval Order of the Knights Templar, founded circa 1118. The Order of Knights Templar International are deeply involved in projects all over the world and our reputation for swift ethical action rather than just talking has gained us international trust and respect.
  • Not to us, O Lord, not to us; but to Your Name give the glory.
  • all those who secretly despise their own will and desire with a pure heart to serve the Sovereign King as a knight and with studious care desire to wear, and wear permanently, the very noble armour of obedience.
  • Be mindful that you are on the crusade of the King of Kings. “Unless you take up your cross and follow me, you have no part with me”, said our Master. (St Matthew’s Gospel: chapter 16; verse 24) Do not be afraid to confess the King who is like no other King.
  • May the white cloak remind you that we fight a holy war in all truthfulness; and may the red cross remind you that sacrifices must be made; for “we do not fight against flesh and blood, but against potentates and powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, and against spiritual wickedness in the cosmos.” (St Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians: chapter 6; verse 12)
  • .. As a knight, stand up for the weak, above all for women and children, widows and orphans who need your help.
  • .. Each brother of the Temple should know that he is not committed to anything so much as to serve God, and each one should apply all his study and understanding to this.
  • .. “I do not know if it would be more appropriate to refer to them as monks or soldiers, unless it would be better to recognise them as being both. Indeed they lack neither monastic meekness nor military might. What can we say of this, except that “this has been done by the Lord and it is marvellous in our eyes.”
  • .. The principles of Chivalry and traditional values been largely forgotten in decadent and subverted modern society. They need to be restored.
  • .. The essence of Chivalry involved bravery, skilled training, and dedication in service to others.

The Ten Pillars of Modern Templar Chivalry:

  1. Believe in the teachings of our Lord Jesus Christ, and apply them in daily life
  2. Defend traditional Christianity, cleaving to your own confession but respecting that of others
  3. Respect and defend the weak against abuses by the strong
  4. Love the people and sovereignty of your country, for they are ordained by God
  5. Do not be a coward, face the enemy, and use direct force
  6. Fight the enemies of good relentlessly and without mercy
  7. Perform all secular duties under the higher Laws of God
  8. Never lie nor breach your word, be reliable for friend or foe
  9. Give generously and wholeheartedly, striving to make a difference for the better
  10. Always uphold right and good, against all evil and injustice

.. With the ‘modern’ West infected with various virulent strains of atomised and selfish individualism, cynical and ugly anti-idealism, and subverted by the worship of False Gods – from Allah to Money and on to Satan – there was never a time when a revival of the true Christian values of the original fighting Templars has been more urgently needed than today!

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Taken this way, the phenomenon of chivalry represents a universal category, which is applicable in all circumstances, at all times and in all situations. Chivalry as a way of perceiving and affecting, both on the individual and social level, is more than necessary in the time we live in. In this sad time when all the civilization’s achievements are crumbling, in the time of great atomization of society and in the time of loss of meaning of any social or individual action.

.. The circumstance that had largely dealt the final blow to chivalry is the creation and development of the new socio-economic conditions, that have gradually replaced the feudal social structure, which was one of the main pillars of the chivalry caste. In economic terms, it was the development of capitalist economic relations and the strengthening of the bearers of these relations – the class of merchants. The principle of quality, as a social paradigm, was replaced by the principle of quantity. The concept of truth was replaced by the concept of wealth. All the aspects of society have become just a decor for the flow of capital.

.. The most significant and basic element of chivalry is the willingness to self-sacrifice. It is this element that is the fundamental demarcation line between the bourgeois, mercantilist view of the world and the chivalrous view of the world. The merchant always has, in the first place, on his mind an interest, a profit or a comfort. The knight always has, in the first place, on his mind the willingness to sacrifice. For the faith, for the crown, for an idea, for the state, for the master, for the weak… Never for any vulgar, profane or earthly goal. But instead, for an ideal, that to those with a mercantilist view seems very abstract and incomprehensible.

.. The willingness to sacrifice, places a knight in the realm of pure spirituality, as someone who has transcended the secular sphere of materialistic, cause and effect relationships. In addition, the willingness to sacrifice shows a knight’s willingness to overcome pride, which represents the greatest obstacle on the spiritual path. Also, what is especially important in our world, where materialism and hedonism are prevailing, is to overcome the temptation of material goods, which tend to hinder him. A knight always looks upon interest and benefit, the two sad achievements of the modern society, with contempt and indifference.

.. He could have accepted the vassal status of Serbia and avoided the war and defeat. Together with his nobles, Prince Lazar did not do this, but instead he chose self-sacrifice.

.. Lazar had not only the political or ethical dilemma, but rather a spiritual and metaphysical one, embodied in the choice between approaching God or Devil (synonyms: freedom or slavery, honor or dishonor, one’s own perception of truth or accepting the imposed). He had a choice between preserving integrity of the earthly existence, that is his own life, or preserving the spiritual integrity. He faced a temptation. His choice was the Lord.

.. Lazar’s sacrifice, in a sense, was similar to the sacrifice of the Christ himself.

.. “Death in the feat is better than the life with shame. It is better to die by the sword in the battle, than to kneel to the enemy. We lived enough for the people, so let us bear the feat of sacrifice, so that we may live forever in the heavens.

.. Spirituality is one ennobling factor that rises the knight above the ordinary soldier.

.. The organic model of civilization indicates something that was being created for some considerable period of time and is based on certain precise archetypes, that are constantly repeated throughout the ages. This may be a nation, a group of nations under the umbrella of a particular empire, or a group of nations under the umbrella of a common spiritual and cultural identity.

.. Traditionalism, as an ideological form, is contrary to the myth of progress that is typical of the society formed after the first bourgeois revolution in 1789. The myth of progress implies that things are constantly changing and improving from a less perfect state to a more perfect one.

.. From the Vedas to the Holy Scriptures, there is always a similar epilogue at the end of time – a gradual regression from a perfect to a less perfect form, until the final “endkampf” and the end of time.

.. The cult of ancestors, or respecting those who were here before us, is an element of traditionalism. The cult of ancestor veneration is an expression of our confrontation with our own egoism and pride, which are suggesting that everything before or after us does not matter.

.. Collectivism is a category opposite to the prevailing individualism of today. Individualism, as the legacy of bourgeois society, is nothing more than a hypertrophied egotism, which stems from pride.

.. Individualistic emphasis on ego and self-sufficiency has led to the fact that the individual in the contemporary social context is alienated – from others and from himself. Individualism, in addition to one’s alienation from the modern society, has led to a complete atomization of the society, in which it has lost all its meaning. All the paradigms of traditional society are reduced to the level of simulacrum, that is, to the level of a pale image of its original meaning.

.. An individual within the collective ceases to be proud, self-sufficient and exclusively occupied with his own gain and pleasure, but approaches the collective, with a desire to give something and not just take. He no longer takes himself first and foremost, but wants to sacrifice his own interests for the collective to which he belongs. He wants to obey the authority within the hierarchy as a natural state.

.. The starting point is that every individual is imperfect at the beginning, in the spiritual, intellectual and physical sense. The process of working on oneself, or self-discipline to which one willingly subjects oneself, leads to a better state of being.

.. Historically, it may be in the concept of chivalry, as an integral system of life and action, in which for the first time in European civilization, that we meet the synergy of simultaneous development of one’s own spirit, body and intellect.

.. Especially for those who need assistance or are under a threat.

A knight does not treat them with contempt, so typical for the relationship with the weak in the modern mercantilist society, but with love. The main expression of that love is compassion. The practical articulation of compassion is to protect and to serve. A knight always protects the one who is in danger, in distress or weak, and in this way, he serves them.