This is actually a post for Thursday, but....
When I was watching the news last night, there was a promotion for a 25-year anniversary special about the Waco, TX, stand-off between David Koresh/Branch Davidians and federal agents. It's hard for me to remember much about that event so I decided I needed to watch it. Media and anything having to do with the Bible is a problem. I want to see how they presented it.
David Koresh was a religious cult leader that took the goodness of GOD and the Bible and made it into violence, sexual relationships, and a means to control people. I guess he would be like other manipulators who use their positions for getting things they don't deserve, especially sex, but a religious cult leader uses the Bible (or another book that is considered spiritually important... like the Koran, or the Communist-based books, or... ) to "convince" people that they are the one that needs to be followed. David Koresh became a lot of things that are not about GOD or salvation or the Bible. This stand-off lasted 51 days and ended in a suicide fire that killed so many children and parents and others. It was a terrible situation.
The program pointed out some of the reasons many who were there thought the deaths were unnecessary, why some felt the government had a different agenda than what they said because they could have arrested David Koresh in a peaceful way when he was not at the compount, and why they should have let it go for another day. One major problem they cited happened at the beginning, before the government officers even reached the cult's compound... they happened to ask a mailman about the location (or something), and that mailman was a member of the cult, so he warned them the government was on their way.
It was very disturbing to see what happened to people who didn't want to keep following the group. This is one of the big problems with cults, no matter how big or small they are, the use of violence and intimidation, a kind of imprisonment, forced compliance, separation of spouses, families, children... these are not biblical perspectives, but the Bible is used to make it seem like they are.
When I was living in Hollywood, trying to attend college and not living with my children, I explored some of the cults I found there. Manipulation (forced compliance) is the first thing you discover about them. One is a huge organization today. The other one I wasn't able to find online again. This latter one would take homeless people and offer them food and shelter in exchange for long hours of distributing their informational brochures, which were invitations into their group. I don't know about the one that became financially huge... how they integrated their new converts into their system, but it was emotionally manipulative, feeding on the problems of those they appeard to want to help. The word "blackmail" seemed like it might fit this other group.
I really don't understand how people get swept into these kinds of relationships, but it happens all the time, with all kinds of situations. Domestic violence is another view of this problem. Teens and women are woo'd by someone who only wants to control them and hurt their lives. It is hard to get away from these people once the "relationship" has evolved. Men seem to like the idea of having more than one wife, for sexual relationships and for making children. This seems to be a part of other communities all over the world.
For myself, I think it is preying on vulnerable, struggling, needy people (like the homeless). I noticed with the Hollywood group that provided food and shelter that location was really important. They would drive people way out of town to their living places for the meal and presentations... meaning it would have been a very huge hardship to leave. They also worked people so many hours that they were always fatigued, and it's hard to do anything when you are that tired. One person I met had left her children at the main location of the group while she went on a "missionary" trip to the place we were at.
I guess this is really another level of "peer pressure." Whoever we choose to be with becomes our "peer." When the group operates one way, it's hard to say no to something you don't want to be a part of. Crime is like that. Business is like that. It seems to be a human problem... we are all like that.
I have problems with these kinds of presentations. Why was it suddenly necessary to "remember" this terrible event that mocked GOD and the Bible? There is never any kind of reference to this being abnormal for traditional religion... no disclaimer that other Christian, Bible-believing groups don't act this way. I also have a problem with media because it doesn't portray it's pet projects realistically. It would be the gay community these days. And, now, I suppose the "gay community" is becoming a lot of different separate groups... gay, lesbian, transgendered, bisexual, pedophile, etc. We don't see much about the problems within their communities, only the problems of the people and groups they hate, like Christians.
I don't like this kind of presentation right now because it is about gatherings of Christians. Working Together is focused on building communities of Christians, but not like a cult... only the public doesn't understand the difference. The media will portray any gathering of Christians as dangerous, suspect, abnormal. They are fighting the strength of unity, the opposition of spiritual groups that disagree with their views, and a loss of social power. They gain when they gather, but they don't want the opposition to gather and gain power. This is what people do... everyone wants to "win!" -- to have their view be the one that controls the world.
I guess our issue really is on fighting fair. How can we all maintain our individual rights, to do battle in a way that doesn't harm others, to win battles in ways that are fair... I don't think we will ever find that answer.
I am still pondering the details of Waco, cults, GOD, religion, the Bible, media, and other related topics. It is what matters to me... finding ways to deal with these issues, wanting to protect Christians, children, America.
Until next time,
May GOD help us to find answers. Amen.