Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Prophets and Unions and Socialists, Oh My!

Glenn Beck is not alone in distrusting unions....
© 2011 by Tom King

A best-selling writer (not a radio talk show host or conservative blogger) wrote the following excerpts:

“Those who claim to be the children of God are in no case to bind up with the labor unions that are formed or that shall be formed. This the Lord forbids. Cannot those who study the prophecies see and understand what is before us?"

"A few men will combine to grasp all the means to be obtained in certain lines of business. Trades unions will be formed, and those who refuse to join these unions will be marked men."

“These unions are one of the signs of the last days. Men are binding up in bundles ready to be burned.”

"Unionism has revealed what it is by the spirit that it has manifested. It is controlled by the cruel power of Satan. Those who refuse to join the unions formed are made to feel this power. The principles governing the forming of these unions seem innocent, but men have to pledge themselves to serve the interests of these unions, or else they may have to pay the penalty of refusal with their lives."

Her name was Ellen White and members of her church consider her one who had the gift of prophecy, though she did not, herself, claim to be a prophet. In fact, the church considers refusal to join unions a tenet of faith because of a whole series of these warnings to the church that unions would eventually be complicit in the actions that will confirm the power of the Anti-Christ, the so-called “Beast” of Revelation. She wrote these warnings in the late 1800s and early 20th century until her death in 1915. Whether you believe she had the prophetic gift or not, her warning against unions (and corporate monopolies) seems prescient given that at the time, unions were actually accomplishing some good on behalf of workers in areas like child labor, workplace safety and fair pay.

Today, a hundred years later, we see Union-sponsored unrest worldwide and spreading quickly. Mrs. White was not the last person to issue warnings about unions either. In the 1950s, newspaperman Victor Riesel had acid thrown in his face for warning about union corruption. The Kennedy brothers, Jack and Robert, both made efforts to address union corruption issues and faced threats on their lives for their trouble. Notably, Robert Kennedy once claimed that Americans didn't know of tenth of how corrupt the union bosses were.

Recently, radio talk show host, Glenn Beck, has drawn widespread public ridicule from mainstream media pundits for his allegations that unions are part of an unholy alliance with progressive socialists and Islamist fanatics.

Yet, many Christians find themselves increasingly uncomfortable with the behavior of unions in a world in which sweeping cultural and political changes appear to be marginalizing, if not actually threatening, the faith. Union leaders, increasingly anti-capitalist and pro-socialist with a dash of atheism thrown in for good measures, appear to be on the side of the progressive/socialist forces within our government. Many Christians fear a loss of fundamental rights like the right to freedom of religion, speech, assembly and the right to bear arms if political forces jockeying for power today have their way. With unions marching lock step with progressives, evironmentalists and even their own churches many suspect the corruption may be as deep as Robert Kennedy suggested.

A Christian church member (not my church) just yesterday, reported finding his church's bulletin board plastered with pro-progressive messages urging parishioners to “support” causes like global-warming, environmental issues, universal health care and even so-called “women's reproductive rights” causes because "that's what Jesus would do". She complained that the pastor's homily sounded more like a Democrat stump speech than a sermon.

I'm not surprised. God criticized the last historical church described in Revelation as "lukewarm" and wishy-washy (not His words - mine).  I suspect God knew we'd need further guidance and didn't stop sending messages to the human race just because the last of his disciples died off. There have been other messengers to the church time and again throughout the history of the Christian church who have steered us in the direction we should go.

Whatever does happen in the coming months, one thing is clear: Christians are becoming more aware that there are signs in the Earth that as Shakespeare put it, “Something wicked this way comes.”

Jesus said, “When you see all these things, recognize that the end is near, even at the door.” When I was a young man no one talked much about the Second Coming of Christ. Now, I find myself talking about the coming of Jesus and the end of the world with strangers in the street, the checker at the grocery store and Facebook friends.

I've always thought God would let his people know when it was time. It seems He's doing just that, albeit using some rather unusual prophetic tools. It really doesn't surprise me, though. After all, God does have a habit of working “in mysterious ways”.


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