The US Air Force has come under fire due to a tweet that showed a soldier saluting an LGBTQ+ flag to honor and celebrate Pride Month. Conservatives believe it undermines American principles of patriotism and unity, and an intensifying debate has ensued over the military’s support for the Pride movement. They argue that the soldier’s salute should be reserved solely for the American flag. In contrast, others feel that it’s crucial to acknowledge the contributions of LGBTQ+ service members. The Air Force’s gesture of inclusivity has further widened the divide between conservatives and progressives, with many criticizing the military for engaging in divisive social activism.
Megachurch Pastor Rick Warren Goes Scorched Earth in Effort to Push Southern Baptists Down the Slippery Woke Slope
Rick Warren Loses Appeal At Southern Baptist Convention
BY PAULA BOLYARD
Republished below in full unedited for informational, educational, & research purposes.
Southern Baptists are meeting in New Orleans for their annual convention this week. Megachurch Pastor Rick Warren, author of the bestselling book The Purpose-Driven Life, is waging war with the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC), hoping to push the denomination to the left on the issue of female pastors.
Warren, now “retired” but still listed as the Founding Pastor on Saddleback Church’s website, is pressuring the SBC to allow female pastors, contrary to clear biblical teaching that pastoral roles are reserved for men.
Warren has been all over Twitter, TikTok, and YouTube this past week, viciously attacking his opponents (while calling for love and reconciliation). He’s become increasingly combative, calling his opponents “angry fundamentalists,” “angry fighters,” and “legalist showmen.” (I’ll leave it up to readers to determine who’s playing the role of “showman” in this debate.)
Warren also issued a veiled threat to leaders who oppose him. During a recent podcast with Christianity Today Editor-in-Chief Russell Moore, he warned, “We [Saddleback churches] don’t need the Southern Baptist Convention. They need the 6,000 purpose-driven churches that are in the Southern Baptist Convention in our fellowship, but we don’t need the Convention. It would be for the benefit of others, not for us.” In other words, if he doesn’t get his way on liberalizing the doctrine of the SBC, he’ll take his churches and go home.
As background, in June of last year, the SBC Credentials Committee determined that Saddleback Church was “not in friendly cooperation with the Convention,” essentially disfellowshipping the church for having a female “teaching pastor.” Southern Baptist churches are officially self-governing, but blatant violations of the Baptist Faith and Practice (BF&P — the SBC’s statement of faith) can be cause for removing a church from membership.
The committee ruled that the megachurch “has a faith and practice that does not closely identify with the Convention’s adopted statement of faith, as demonstrated by the church having a female teaching pastor functioning in the office of pastor.”
Saddleback is expected to appeal the ruling at the convention this week, and Warren is expected to issue an emotional plea for the group to liberalize on the issue. While he claims that his goal is not to force other churches to allow female pastors, allowing Saddleback back into the SBC would open the floodgates to other churches following his lead.
As an aside, Warren’s views on egalitarianism are less troubling than some of the other statements he’s made:
A study released on Sunday by American Reformer found that there are currently 1,844 female pastors in Southern Baptist churches — many more than previously estimated.
That’s a problem because it conflicts with the BF&P.
Mike Law, pastor of Arlington Baptist Church in Arlington, Va., offered up an amendment to the SBC constitution that would clarify the issue, stipulating that “a church [is] in friendly cooperation with the Convention… which… Does not affirm, appoint, or employ a woman as a pastor of any kind,” and “Affirms, appoints, or employs only men as any kind of pastor or elder as qualified by Scripture.”
He explains the need for the amendment and reviews the biblical case for the office of pastor to be limited to men here:
It’s worth your time to watch the entire eight-minute video. Megan Basham also wrote a terrific article at American Reformer about the challenges that Law and others who wish to maintain biblical fidelity within the SBC have faced as pressure grows to bow to the culture on female pastors and other contentious issues.
The Executive Committee voted today to allow a vote on the amendment but doesn’t seem happy about it.
The American Reformer report also found that allowing female pastors tends to trigger a slippery slope:
- The American Baptist Churches USA allowed female pastors in 1985 and failed to uphold discipline for churches with homosexual members in 1999.
- The ELCA ordained women in 1970 and practicing homosexual pastors in 2009.
- The Episcopal Church USA allowed female pastors in 1976 and homosexual bishops in 2003.
- The PCUSA allowed female pastors in 1956 and then openly homosexual pastors in 2011.
- The United Methodist Church allowed female pastors in 1956, allowed for homosexual unions by failure to discipline in 2014, and there is currently a conservative exodus from the denomination that is expected to change its policy to allow homosexual ordination in 2024.
Indeed, Saddleback, now led by Pastor Andy Wood, is already partnering with a pro-LGBT organization. Sadly, it’s likely only a matter of time before Saddleback follows the culture down the road of LGBT pastors.
At the 2022 SBC convention, Warren was allowed to address the Messengers (representatives from SBC churches). True to form, he bragged that he’d trained 1.1 million pastors, more than all the seminaries put together — a fabulist claim that Gabriel Hughes, associate pastor of Discipleship and Education for First Baptist Church in Lindale, Texas, called “egotistical nonsense.” He tweeted that Warren would have to train more than 70 pastors daily, or 25,000 pastors a year, to reach his 1.1 million number. (Strangely, Hughes’s account has been suspended from Twitter.)
Recommended: Can Our Culture Even Be Saved at This Point?
Earlier this year, Warren boasted that he’s been more successful at baptizing than anyone in history — including the early church:
“I’m the only pastor our people have ever known. Seventy-something percent of the church, I baptized in the 43 years that I was pastor,” he said. “I baptized 57,000 believers in the 43 years I’ve pastored. I don’t know any church that’s ever done that. In Acts it says, the Lord added daily to the church. That would mean 365 a year, at minimum. One a day. Well, in the 43 years I’ve pastored, we baptized five people every day for 43 years. That’s unheard of.”
(That’s six uses of the words “I” or “I’ve” if you’re keeping score.)
You may have noticed that Warren is all about the numbers — he’s a pragmatist through and through, often taking his cues from the culture rather than scripture. He famously polled non-Christians before launching Saddleback to see what they wanted from a church. Unsurprisingly, he’s trying to convince the SBC to alter its doctrine based on numbers rather than solid scriptural exposition.
He’s blaming the declining numbers in Southern Baptist Churches on the Convention’s refusal to allow female pastors, ridiculously claiming that 50% of the church “is forced to “sit on the bench,” completely ignoring the fact that women can and do serve in ministries all over the world — just not as pastors. Never a gifted (or honest) exegete, Warren claims that the Great Commission — Jesus’s command to go into all the world and preach the gospel and make disciples — is imperiled unless women are allowed to stand in SBC pulpits.
How does reserving the office of pastor to men prevent women from sharing the gospel and making disciples? Obviously, it doesn’t. Warren is smart enough to know that the former doesn’t preclude the latter, but he’s gaslighting, muddying the waters, hoping enough Messengers fall for his ruse. His arguments have largely invoked straw men, and he’s been called out continually on social media for misrepresenting people and doctrinal stances. Here’s but one example of Warren being fact-checked for attributing something to former SBC President Adrian Rogers that he never said.
He also received pushback for claiming that the SBC’s biblical fidelity resulted in a huge drop in membership when, in fact, the drop can most likely be attributed to an effort to purge inactive members from the membership rolls of local churches.
Warren now claims that, after 53 years in ministry, he only recently discovered that the Bible allows women to be pastors. For the entire history of Christianity (until a few decades ago), theologians and scholars almost universally agreed that the office of pastor was reserved for men, but Warren now knows — with certainty! — that they’re wrong and he’s right. Not surprisingly, he apologized to women and begged their forgiveness.
(We’re keeping an eye out for tweets from the Apostle Paul apologizing for his complementarianism. We’ll report back if we see any.)
One Twitter user pointed out the obvious — that Warren is the one who changed, not the SBC.
It seems the best thing would be for Warren and his 87 trillion (or whatever) members to leave the SBC and start his own watered-down, woke, unbeliever-sensitive denomination and leave the SBC alone. His view is a minority in the SBC, but he somehow feels the need to make it to conform to his new-and-improved doctrinal clarity on an issue no one was confused about until about 15 minutes ago.
BOMBSHELL: COVID-19 Developed by Chinese Military at Wuhan Lab, Says Report~U.S. Experts Unknowingly Helped the Chinese Military Create COVID-19
BY MATT MARGOLIS
Republished below in full unedited for informational, educational, & research purposes.
It’s been clear to many of us for some time now that COVID-19 was not created by nature, and likely leaked from the Wuhan Institute of Virology. Despite what was becoming increasingly clear to the public, U.S. health officials (including Anthony Fauci) insisted for three years that COVID-19 came from nature, essentially acting as willing accomplices in trying to cover up the truth to protect China.
But according to a bombshell report from the Sunday Times (UK), COVID-19 was indeed the result of genetic engineering carried out by the Chinese military.
Why would U.S. health officials want to cover this up? Because the funding for this effort originated in the United States, coming from the National Institute of Health via the EcoHealth Alliance. The Chinese military got involved with the coronavirus research around 2017 once significant progress was being made in gain-of-function research.
From the Sunday Times:
Scientists in Wuhan working alongside the Chinese military were combining the world’s most deadly coronaviruses to create a new mutant virus just as the pandemic began.
Investigators who scrutinised top-secret intercepted communications and scientific research believe Chinese scientists were running a covert project of dangerous experiments, which caused a leak from the Wuhan Institute of Virology and started the Covid-19 outbreak.
The US investigators say one of the reasons there is no published information on the work is because it was done in collaboration with researchers from the Chinese military, which was funding it and which, they say, was pursuing bioweapons.
The Sunday Times conducted an extensive review of hundreds of documents, including confidential reports, internal memos, scientific papers, and email correspondences obtained from various sources spanning three years since the start of the pandemic. Interviews were also conducted with U.S. State Department investigators who specialized in China, emerging pandemic threats, and biowarfare.
It’s been alleged for some time that the EcoHealth Alliance has been circumventing the U.S. ban on gain-of-function research that was imposed during the Obama administration, and congressional investigations have made it quite clear that China has been covering up the truth. But the Sunday Times describes its investigation as “paint[ing] the clearest picture yet of what happened in the Wuhan laboratory.”
The facility, which had started hunting the origins of the Sars virus in 2003, attracted US government funding through a New York-based charity whose president was a British-born and educated zoologist. America’s leading coronavirus scientist shared cutting-edge virus manipulation techniques.
The institute was engaged in increasingly risky experiments on coronaviruses it gathered from bat caves in southern China. Initially, it made its findings public and argued the associated risks were justified because the work might help science develop vaccines.
This changed in 2016 after researchers discovered a new type of coronavirus in a mineshaft in Mojiang in Yunnan province where people had died from symptoms similar to Sars.
Rather than warning the world, the Chinese authorities did not report the fatalities. The viruses found there are now recognised as the only members of Covid-19’s immediate family known to have been in existence pre-pandemic.
They were transported to the Wuhan institute and the work of its scientists became classified. “The trail of papers starts to go dark,” a US investigator said. “That’s exactly when the classified programme kicked off. My view is that the reason Mojiang was covered up was due to military secrecy related to [the army’s] pursuit of dual use capabilities in virological biological weapons and vaccines.”
According to the US investigators, the classified programme was to make the mineshaft viruses more infectious to humans.
China’s relentless efforts focused on the manipulation of harmless SARS-like viruses, transforming them into variants capable of infecting humans. Furthermore, they ventured into the realm of dark experimentation by manipulating a MERS virus sourced from camels and fashioning it into a dangerous variant with the ability to infect people.
As the Sunday Times investigation makes clear, there is a substantial body of evidence supporting the claim that COVID-19 was engineered in a Wuhan laboratory, funded by both the United States and the Chinese military. Our government knew this and has lied to us to protect China, and, frankly, themselves, since the NIH used the EcoHealth Alliance to bypass a U.S. ban on gain-of-function research.
Millions have died from COVID, and our government was behind the efforts that created the virus. China has so far managed to avoid accountability for what it did. Had it been revealed in 2020 that China had engineered the virus, the uproar would have resulted in severe consequences for that country. But instead, our health officials lied, claiming COVID was born in nature, and several elected leaders dubbed anyone who wanted to blame China a racist. This didn’t just protect China; it protected our nation’s own corrupt health bureaucracy, which funded COVID’s creation.
The Sordid Details of How U.S. Experts Unknowingly Helped the Chinese Military Create COVID-19
BY STACEY LENNOX
Republished below in full unedited for informational, educational, & research purposes.
Once Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) got his hands on a published study from the Wuhan Institute of Virology, gain-of-function research became part of the conversation about the origins of COVID-19. Former NIAID Director Dr. Anthony Fauci has repeatedly denied the NIH-funded experiments for that study qualified as a gain of function under repeated questioning from Paul and that they had anything to do with COVID-19.
The in-depth investigation reviewed hundreds of documents obtained by freedom of information requests, court cases, and internal investigations. Journalists Jonathan Calvert and George Arbuthnott also interviewed three U.S. State Department investigators who were part of the team given access to metadata, phone information, and internet information collected by U.S. intelligence services.
The investigation provides a detailed timeline for creating SARS-Cov-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, in a collaboration between the Wuhan Institute and the People’s Liberation Army (PLA). It concludes that the research that led to COVID-19 started in 2012 and ran concurrently with a program run by Dr. Peter Daszak.
In the PREDICT program, which the NIH and USAID partially funded, Dr. Shi Zhengli and researchers from the Wuhan Institute collected bat-dropping samples from at least two sites in China. The first was a cave called Shitou. The viruses discovered there were studied, combined, and tested by Daszak, Shi, and Dr. Ralph Baric from the University of North Carolina. They published their findings in the 2015 paper cited by Paul.
The U.S.-China team’s work resulted in a chimeric virus that killed 75% of the humanized mice the team inoculated. It was three times as lethal as the unaltered sample virus given to the control group. The investigative journalists summed up the project by saying, “The scientists had created a highly infectious super-coronavirus with a terrifying kill rate that in all probability would never have emerged in nature.” And while the creation and the potential existence of this Frankenstein virus are terrifying enough, it is only half the story, according to the investigation.
In 2012, Wuhan researchers also took samples from bats in an abandoned copper mine in south China called Mojiang. Six researchers were struck with a mystery illness and tested positive for antibodies to an unknown coronavirus. Three of them died. The Sunday Times pieced together what happened from a master’s thesis by a medic at the hospital that treated the men and a Ph.D. paper by a student of the director of the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention.
Following the deaths, Shi’s team spent four years collecting 1,300 samples from bats in the mine while withholding the information about the sampling and the dead researchers from EcoHealth and the U.S. government. If the six researchers fell ill after contracting a virus found in bats, it would have been the first recorded incident of direct infection from bats to humans. It was precisely the situation the PREDICT program was set up to identify. Yet the team in China remained mum.
Instead, the samples were transported to the Wuhan Institute, and work on them became classified according to State Department investigators. In the mine, Shi and her team discovered nine viruses in a lineage of coronaviruses from a previously undiscovered family. She identified one of them as RaBtCoV/4991. It is the closest known relative of SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19. The nine viruses discovered were the only members of the SARS-CoV-2 line known to exist before the pandemic.
The intelligence reviewed by State Department investigators suggests that the same kind of experiments with chimeric viruses outlined in the 2015 paper by Shi and Baric were conducted on the SARS-CoV2-like viruses from the copper mine. This work was kept from Daszak.
“They were working with the nine different Covid variants,” one of the investigators said. They believe one virus at the Wuhan institute was an even closer match to Covid-19 than RaTG13 [previously called RaBtCoV/4991].“We are confident they were working on a closer unpublished variant — possibly collected in Mojiang [the copper mine],” the source added (emphasis added).
The investigators also learned that experiments inserting a furin cleavage site were conducted on at least one of the mine viruses. SARS-Cov2 is the only coronavirus that displays a furin cleavage site. Daszak proposed that insertion in a $14 million grant application to the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). The proposal outlines a project Shi and Baric on the team to find large numbers of SARS-like viruses and mix them with the deadly strains developed in the 2015 study. The proposal was denied.
According to all three investigators, the work on the mine viruses was funded by the Chinese military. According to their report:
Despite presenting itself as a civilian institution, the United States has determined that the Wuhan Institute of Virology has collaborated on publications and secret projects with China’s military. The Wuhan Institute of Virology has engaged in classified research, including laboratory animal experiments, on behalf of the Chinese military since at least 2017.
The intelligence sources link the Wuhan Institute and the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) research arm. It also shows military personnel holding positions of responsibility at the Wuhan lab. A 2015 book by military researchers collaborating with Wuhan scientists discussed how SARS viruses could be manipulated through serial passaging into an emerging disease, weaponized, and unleashed
The intelligence sources link the Wuhan Institute and the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) research arm. It also shows military personnel holding positions of responsibility at the Wuhan lab. A 2015 book by military researchers collaborating with Wuhan scientists discussed how SARS viruses could be manipulated through serial passaging into an emerging disease, weaponized, and unleashed.
The investigators also believe that the Chinese military is attempting to create vaccines for their chimeric viruses so they can innoculate their population and use the viruses as bioweapons. One PLA vaccine specialist, Zhou Yousen, produced a patent for a COVID-19 vaccine in February 2020. That led U.S. experts to believe Zhou worked on the vaccine before the pandemic began.
Intelligence intercepts indicating that three Wuhan researchers fell ill with coronavirus symptoms in November 2019 reinforce this theory. One investigator said, “We were rock-solid confident that this was likely COVID-19 because they were working on advanced coronavirus research in the laboratory of Dr. Shi. They’re trained biologists in their thirties and forties. Thirty-five-year-old scientists don’t get very sick with influenza.”
A complete crackdown on the Mojiang mine, strange equipment requests from the Wuhan lab, a visit from the safety director of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and Zhou’s death all occurred when COVID-19 emerged globally. A study showed that the initial cases of COVID-19 in Wuhan occurred several miles away from the much-maligned Hunan seafood market. The biggest hotspot was right next to the Wuhan Institute.
The collaboration between Baric and Shi using funds from U.S. agencies is one reason experts like Dr. Anthony Fauci and Daszak insisted on a natural emergence story for SARS-CoV-2. The brutal truth is that Baric provided Shi with two skills critical to the work done on the mine viruses. When Shi found SHC014, one of the viruses used to make the chimeric in the 2015 study, she could not grow sufficient copies to study it. Baric helped her recreate the spike protein on the virus from the genetic sequence.
Baric also developed a technique for modifying viruses called “seamless ligation,” supported by $220.5 million from the NIH. The method supposedly hid all evidence that a virus was manipulated in a laboratory. Unfortunately for Baric, researchers have found a way to identify these modifications. And they found that signature in the genome of SARS-CoV-2.
So, while Baric and Daszak may have remained in the dark about the parallel research on the viruses from the mine, they were acutely aware of the technological skill set provided to the Wuhan Institute. It appears to be how the Chinese researchers added the furin cleavage site and made enough of the viruses to study.
Perhaps that is why the world had to remain in the dark about the origins of COVID-19. Because while the Chinese Communist Party may have pulled the trigger on the deadly gain-of-function research that created the virus, U.S. collaborators gave them the metaphorical bullets. And there is no way to know how many more Frankenstein viruses may have been made from the viruses in the SARS-CoV2 lineage or when they might emerge from their home in the Wuhan Institute of Virology.