The announcement that Oprah Winfrey would be joining
Barack Obama in his campaigning in Iowa, South Carolina
and New Hampshire to win the Democrat nomination for
president, came as no surprise to anyone. Prior to his
formal announcement to be a candidate in February, 2007,
Oprah opened the door for his candidacy on her national
TV program in October, 2006, and helped boost his just
released book, "The Audacity of Hope; Thoughts on
Reclaiming the American Dream" to the top of the best
seller lists. Then in September of this year she hosted a
fund raising event at her Montecito, CA, home, raising
$3 million for his campaign.

Oprah is no ordinary, run-of-the-mill, sort of supporter.
In a recent Gallup poll asking to name the most influential
women in recorded history, Oprah ranked fourth. Her TV
program is the highest rated talk show in television history,
seen every day by 15-20 million American viewers in 205
markets, and also in 132 countries overseas. It has been the
No. 1 talk show for 12 consecutive seasons. It has been well
said, "When Oprah speaks, people listen."

If she wants to go on the campaign trail to support Obama,
that is her right and her privilege as an American citizen.
At the moment she would appear to be the biggest cannon
in his arsenal.

But it has been announced that Oprah is about to take
on a new career, and become as some have expressed it, a
"Prophetess of a New Religion." Oprah is soon to launch
a new broadcast effort – a year long teaching program
called "A Course in Miracles" to be aired on all the stations
of her XM Satellite Radio network. Beginning on January 1,
2008, there will be offered one lesson each day, to complete
the 365 lessons in the program’s Workbook. The Workbook
defines the program in these words, "This is a course in mind
training," and says that it is dedicated to "thought reversal."

The teacher will be Marianne Williamson, one of Oprah’s
long time friends and an XM Satellite reporter – and one of
the leaders of the "New Age" religion. The "thought reversal"
presents Jesus as completely different from what the Bible
teaches about Him.

For example, here are some direct quotes from the course:
"There is no sin ..." "A slain Christ has no meaning
..." "Do not make the pathetic error of clinging to
the old rugged cross..." "There is no need for the
cross because there was never a transgression that
needed to be dealt with by God; only a mistake..."
And this classic: "The Atonement is the final lesson he
[man] need learn, for it teaches him that never
having sinned, he has no need of salvation."

Oprah introduced Ms. Williamson on her TV show in 1992,
and said that Williamson’s book "Reflections on the Principles
of A Course in Miracles" was one of her favorite books, and
that she had bought a thousand copies to give to everyone in
the studio audience. That program boosted Williamson’s book
to the top of the NY Times best seller list.

It can be said that reinventing, redefining and blaspheming
of Jesus is a sign of the times. The church – we Evangelicals –
do not seem to be aware of what is happening in the world
about us, and we are not following the Scriptural instruction
to "earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered
unto the saints." (Jude, verse 3)

Even as it is Oprah’s right to campaign for Barack Obama,
so it is also her right to sponsor the teaching about the New
Age version of Jesus Christ. And people have a right to listen
to that false teaching if they choose to. But the Evangelicals
in the church have not only the right but also the obligation
to teach about the Christ of the Scriptures as the necessary
and only means of salvation.

Afterthoughts . . .

Remember the ACLU attack on the Boy Scouts in
San Diego, and the attempt to ban them from using a city
owned park because of the word "God" in the Scout Oath?
Now the large scale attack has shifted to the East coast, and
the City of Philadelphia is threatening to evict the Scouts
from the Beaux-Arts building where they have had their
headquarters since 1928. The Scouts pay a token $1 a year.
The problem now is in the words "morally straight" in the
Oath, and the Scouts refusal to admit openly homosexuals.
There are two interesting points to consider, (1) In 2000
the US Supreme Court ruled that the Scouts have the right
to exclude homosexuals, and (2) The Scouts actually built
the building and gave it to the city in 1928 and entered into
the $1 a year lease, "in perpetuity." Now the City Solicitor,
a Romulo Diaz, plans to evict the Scouts as of June 1 unless
they surrender on the homosexual issue – and oh, yes . . .
they can stay if they accept a new lease at $200,000 a year.
And the name of the group? The "Cradle of Liberty Council."
Big changes in Philadelphia since 1776.

The UN never seems to get anything right. This past
week the UN AIDS annual report disclosed that its reports
on world-wide AIDS infections had been grossly inflated
because staff members had used flawed methods to measure
and predict the spread of the epidemic. Much of the corrected
figure is based on revised information from India and Africa.
AIDS is still a serious problem and while the new figure of 25
million world cases instead of 33 million is still high and may
still be over-inflated, the UN estimates are not as outrageous
as they previously were.

Another flash-back in memory: remember the atheist
Michael Newdow who led the attack on the two words "under
God" in the Pledge of Allegiance? Well, he is back ... after his
failure before the US Supreme Court, he has found a couple
in New Hampshire – an agnostic and an atheist – who have
filed a complaint with their local school board on behalf of
their 3 children, claiming the Pledge requires the children to
"participate in making the purely religious, monotheistic
claim that the United States is ‘one nation under God.’" In
their view, this violates their constitutional rights. One thing
can be said about Newdow: he may be an atheist, but he is
one stubborn, determined atheist.

An interesting commentary on our times. In a series
of interviews on ABC’s "Good Morning America" earlier
this month, here is the comment of one individual: "Because
of skyrocketing gas prices..grocery shopping is scaled back
to the basics...vacations will be short hops and even holiday
gift shopping won’t be the same...it is even taking a toll on
the family relationship with God...the effects could be
staggering...some people are foregoing visits to the doctor
or opting for cheaper foods, like pasta and peanut butter,
as opposed to protein, fruits and vegetables, in order that
they can save as much money as possible when they come
to fill up at the gas station." Let’s see – our national average
price per gallon of unleaded gasoline is $3.09. In Britain, the
average price (after adjustment to US gallons and currency
exchange rate) is $8.40. Cheer up, America! By comparison,
life must really be very difficult just across the Atlantic.

Stem cell studies end the debate on embryos. Two
groups of scientists, half a world apart, in Kyoto, Japan
and Madison, Wisconsin have succeeded in producing
advanced stem cells from human skin, proving, in the words
of Tony Perkins of Family Research Council (FRC) that
"it is never necessary to compromise ethics by destroying
life in order to achieve scientific aims." In Washington the
White House welcomed the news of the scientific success
which ethical critics believe will make unnecessary the much
debated controversial attempts to clone human embryos
for their cells. There are times when America’s moral values
come to the fore.

And from the Founding Fathers: "God who gave us life
gave us liberty. And can the liberties of a nation be thought
secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a
conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are
a gift from God? That they are not to be violated but with
His wrath? Indeed, I tremble for my country when I reflect
that God is just, and that His justice cannot sleep forever."
– Thomas Jefferson, 1791

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