Beware of False Prophets and False Theologies Abounding in Lancaster County

Written by Dr. Mary Theresa (Terry) Webb,West Lampeter. This piece was first published on September 16, 2022 in LNP/LancasterOnline. Reprinted here with permission from the author.

Beware of falling for the false prophets and false theologies abounding in Lancaster County. Thankfully, the LNP editorial board (08/28/2022), journalists, and readers are warning us. Jesus and the Old Testament prophets also warned us – see Isaiah, Jeremiah, Hosea, Micah, as well as the gospel writers of Matthew, Mark and Luke. 

Beware of “Making America Free and Great Again” slogans mixed up with the name of Jesus. Jesus’ concept of the Kingdom of Heaven was not to overthrow Roman Rulers and he advocated paying the required taxes to Rome. 

Beware of believing that the Declaration of Independence and the Framers of the US Constitution wanted to make America a Christian nation. They didn’t. The First Amendment to the Constitution states “Congress shall make no laws respecting an establishment of a religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” Many of our founding fathers were Deists. 

Beware especially of the upcoming Patriots Arise Event planned for Quarryville, September 23-25th.  On their website an image of the US flag is prominently displayed along with a call for action, similar to the build-up to the Stop the Steal rally and the storming of the US Capitol. Those involved in the planning for their event are pastors from the Lord’s House of Prayer, Faith and Family Fellowship, the Pennsylvania Apostolic Prayer Network, and the Christian Coalition, along with members of FreePA. Many of the groups represented are local MAGA Trump followers and believe in the false theology of an American brand of Christian Nationalism.  

Thank You to GOP Leaders Speaking Out

Written by Joseph Manning, Warwick Township. This piece was first published here, the LancasterSpeaksUp.com blog, on July 30, 2022 with permission from the author. It has been submitted to LancasterOnline/LNP for consideration as a Letter to the Editor. 

To the GOP leaders who are publicly endorsing Attorney Josh Shapiro, for governor (LNP 7/7/22), thank you. I am encouraged to know that there are members of the GOP who see their party’s nominee as an extremist who supports the disproven claim that the 2020 election was stolen, said climate change is “ridiculous pop science”, and that a total ban on abortion is the most important issue of our lifetime. The views and policies of the GOP’s nominee for governor are extreme and dangerous. 

Josh Shapiro is a moderate who will reach across the aisle for all Pennsylvanians. He will work for investments in housing, infrastructure, workforce development. He will make a positive difference in our lives.

Josh Shapiro can and will win the gubernatorial election, but he will need like minded people from both parties and independents to look at what is really important and vote their conscience.

©️2022 Lancaster Speaks Up. All rights reserved.

This website is maintained by the founding members of Lancaster SPEAKS Up. All writing and art contained on this blog post represent the thoughts and opinions of its author only.

Kudos for Book Access

Written by Joseph Manning, Warwick Township. This piece was first published here, the LancasterSpeaksUp.com blog, on July 27, 2022 with permission from the author. It has been submitted to LancasterOnline/LNP for consideration as a Letter to the Editor. 

Kudos to the Warwick School District School Board member, Ed Browne, for disagreeing with parents who want to ban books.  He said that he did not feel threatened by books and cannot tolerate banning books. He pointed out that parents can make individual choices for their own children with a school board policy already in place.

Kudos also to the Elizabethtown Area School District review committee who denied a parent’s request to remove “Me and Earl and the Dying Girl” from the district’s high school  and middle school libraries. Again, there is a parental opt out policy. Why should all students be denied access when parents can opt out ?

In my opinion, the banning of books is not a good idea. Reading books is an excellent way to understand the views and ideas of others, and hold them up against one’s own. Let’s leave book banning back in the 1950’s. 

©️2022 Lancaster Speaks Up. All rights reserved.

This website is maintained by the founding members of Lancaster SPEAKS Up. All writing and art contained on this blog post represent the thoughts and opinions of its author only.

Some Perspective on Russia, Putin

Written by Dr. Mary Theresa (Terry) Webb, West Lampeter. This piece was first published on February 27, 2022 in LancasterOnline. Reprinted here with permission from the author.

Franklin & Marshall College professor Abby Schrader’s Feb. 20 Sunday LNP op-ed shed light on why Russian President Vladimir Putin has been obsessed with annexing Ukraine and attempting to restore the greatness of Russian dominance (“Explaining Putin’s push to take control of Ukraine”). This explains Putin’s invasion of that country.

I have the viewpoint of having spent 15 years in the former Soviet Union and Russia. When communism collapsed in 1991, I was visiting countries under Soviet control with a group called Creating a Sober World (I wrote about this in my book, “Memories and Miracles”).

In Moldova, the streets were empty of vehicles; its supply of gasoline had been cut off in an attempt to keep it under Soviet control.

In Georgia, I found out why the former Soviet Union was called “The Drunken Society.”

In Ukraine, I met resilient citizens, learning new ways of relating.

In Moscow’s Red Square, I observed Russian people protesting for a return to the glorified days of the czars.

In 1997, while traveling on an Aeroflot flight from Moscow to Novosibirsk, I began a conversation with two Texas oil men who were seated across the aisle from me. Their mission, they told me, was to “get the oil gushing” for the newly formed Russian Federation. About this time, President Boris Yeltsin discovered Vladimir Putin, picking him to be prime minister of that new federation. In the 20 years since, Putin has restored a familiar Russian autocracy, and many who challenge him are killed or poisoned. Oil and gas exports have made Putin and Russian oligarchs wealthy and powerful.

Kudos to Germany, which at the Biden administration’s urging, stopped the approval process for the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline from Russia to Germany. How do we now counter Putin’s ambitions and avert this humanitarian disaster?

©️2022 Lancaster Speaks Up. All rights reserved.

This website is maintained by the founding members of Lancaster SPEAKS Up. All writing and art contained on this blog post represent the thoughts and opinions of its author only.

In Support of the Jewish Community

Written by Joseph Manning, Warwick Township. This piece was first published on December 1, 2021 in Lancaster Online/LNP. In light of the recent hostage situation in Texas, we are reprinting it here with permission from the author.

I was disgusted to read that a beautiful menorah set up in Penn Square in Lancaster City was damaged by vandals. The lighting of the menorah begins the holiday of Hanukkah, a celebration of a biblical miracle that lasts for eight nights.  In times past, I would not normally attend public events such as a menorah lighting or the lighting of a Christmas tree, but when I read that Rabbi Jack Paskoff urged friends of  the Jewish community and local elected officials to stand with them on Sunday night for the lighting of the first candle, I had to go and be there in full support. My family rushed an early Sunday supper so I could attend.  I was surprised and overjoyed that my daughter and her fiancé asked to join me. What better gift for Hanukkah than seeing your own values, embraced by your child.

©️2022 Lancaster Speaks Up. All rights reserved.

This website is maintained by the founding members of Lancaster SPEAKS Up. All writing and art contained on this blog post represent the thoughts and opinions of its author only.

About Joseph Manning

Joseph Manning, along with his husband and daughter, moved from New Jersey to Warwick Township in late spring 2018. He spent a 31 year career in the public sector in various NJ municipalities before moving to the Commonwealth. He has a B.A. from Montclair State University and a Masters in Public Administration from Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey.

He joined Lancaster Stands Up shortly after moving here and volunteered in their office until the pandemic. He discovered Lancaster SPEAKS Up, joining the group because he wanted to find his writing voice and direct it to opposing the rise of the radical religious fundamentalists movement and its affiliation with the local and national Republican Party. He has been successful in publishing several Letters to the Editor with the LNP. He plans to continue this work with other like minded people. He firmly believes that now, more than ever, he must show up, stand up, and speak up against those parties who seek to discriminate against and repress people of color, women, non-Christians and the LGBT+ communities and their allies.

Putin – Sick or Evil?

Written by Dr Mary Theresa (Terry) Webb, West Lampeter . This piece was first published here, the LancasterSpeaksUp.com blog, on June 27, 2021 with permission from the author. It has been submitted to LancasterOnline/LNP for consideration as a Letter to the Editor. 

Is Putin sick or just evil?

 Rumors abound that Putin has blood cancer or Parkinson’s disease, that he is soon to have a cancer operation. As a trained mental health and addiction counselor, I’ve been wondering if Putin is hooked on something – steroids or oxycontin for pain to treat his condition- whatever it is- causing him to want to ravage Ukraine.   But he is a health nut who abstains from alcohol.

Perhaps power has corrupted Putin, already consumed by his quest for greatness. Underlying fear grips him about being poisoned, when in actuality he poisons anyone who threatens his power. Maybe Putin acts the way he does because of a deprived childhood, his playground a rat infested soviet constructed building in St. Petersburg. When one day a rat cornered him, Putin destroyed the rat. He destroys anyone who challenges him politically, threatens his power, or humiliates him. Like Hitler, Putin manipulates and calculates while basking in splendor and orchestrating the killing of Russians and Ukrainians. That’s evil.

Will brave Russians take care of Putin, like Bonhoeffer tried to do with Hitler?   Probably not. When I was a missionary in Russia during Communism’s collapse, the Russian people were shamed and humiliated.  They wanted either Communism back or the glamorous days of the Czar to return. Putin met all their expectations when elected in 1999 and he still gets reelected. He claims to follow in the footsteps of Peter the Great with Stalin’s ruthlessness. 

Putin must go. Pray for that to happen.

©️2022 Lancaster Speaks Up. All rights reserved.

This website is maintained by the founding members of Lancaster SPEAKS Up. All writing and art contained on this blog post represent the thoughts and opinions of its author only.

Alcohol Abuse by Russian Soldiers

Written by Dr. Mary Theresa (Terry) Webb, West Lampeter. This piece was first published on April 14, 2022 in LacasterOnline/LNP. Reprinted here with permission from the author.

In 1988, at a medical conference in Izhevsk, Russia, where I had been invited to speak about addiction and addiction recovery, I met Valerie Viner, a strategic Russian officer in charge of nuclear weapon launches.  He was caught drinking on the job, was dismissed and found recovery.  Forty-one percent of 66,000 military personnel during that time period were dismissed because of drinking while on duty.

 Apparently , years later, the Russian army no-drinking message hasn’t  reached  Lt. Col. Omurbakov, now known as the “Butcher of Bucha.” He commanded Russian soldiers to siege Kyiv and to kill anyone who resisted.  His soldiers looted liquor stores and were drunk when killing innocent civilians. Gruesome photographic evidence and surviving civilians tell stories of 450 bodies, some tied up and shot; some half burned; naked bodies of women showing signs of being raped before being shot.  When Russians retreated, they left empty liquor bottles scattered on the streets and in fields. Their commander allowed it to happen even after he had been blessed by a Russian Orthodox priest!

Drunken Russian soldiers killing and raping in Ukraine. Do their mothers or wives know? Over a 15-year period I met with Russian wives and mothers in living rooms and gazebos sharing with them a new pathway for their own recovery in support groups.  Even though there are now over 400 such family-member support groups in Russia and many more AA groups, more are needed as well as treatment centers to curb the rampant alcohol and drug addiction.”

©️2022 Lancaster Speaks Up. All rights reserved.

This website is maintained by the founding members of Lancaster SPEAKS Up. All writing and art contained on this blog post represent the thoughts and opinions of its author only.

The Department of Justice Must Investigate Trump

Written by Perry Hazeltine, Lancaster City. This piece was first published on February 16, 2022 in LancasterOnline. Reprinted here with permission from the author.

A strong case is emerging that former President Trump made a concerted effort to reverse the election results. His effort included promoting false electors, pursuing seizure of voting machines, and pressuring election officials to alter the vote count.  Trump’s effort seems to have also included the criminal action of impeding Congress from counting the electoral votes by inciting an insurrection. Despite this, it is unclear whether the Department of Justice is conducting a criminal investigation.  

It is imperative that a robust investigation be conducted, not only to hold Trump accountable but to show that our nation will enforce the rule of law that is a cornerstone of Democracy.  Trump’s Big Lie about voting fraud and the attempt to overturn the election is a threat to free and fair elections without which we will descend into fascism.  This is not liberal hyperbole. Even former Vice President Pence recognized the threat to Democracy. In a recent speech he stated that Trump’s claim that the Vice President had the power to overturn the election by throwing out votes in key states is wrong. He added, “If we lose faith in the Constitution, we won’t just lose elections — we’ll lose our country.”

The House of Representatives committee that is investigating the January 6th insurrection and its antecedents is doing an excellent job in garnering strong evidence.  However, their power is limited to recommending actions.  The Department of Justice, which has the power to prosecute, must pick up the ball and pick up the pace. 

©️2022 Lancaster Speaks Up. All rights reserved.

This website is maintained by the founding members of Lancaster SPEAKS Up. All writing and art contained on this blog post represent the thoughts and opinions of its author only.

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