How Stupid are Americans?

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Typical Democrat and typical Republican

How stupid are Americans? Before you answer, you might want to check out this video:

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Yes, these people are legally allowed to vote. In just two weeks, millions of Americans who are on the wrong side of the Bell Curve will have an opportunity to vote for the next President of the United States. This is exactly the reason why Plato thought democracy was a bad idea.

You see, Plato thought that democracy put too much power in the hands of the stupid, people who could easily be swayed by “Noble Lies,” i.e., propaganda. And no one does propaganda better than the United States. Our corporate controlled media, be it television, radio, magazines, internet “news” sites, all of these push the message that the corporate masters want people to believe. And so many of the people, lacking critical thinking skills and the ability to discern the “Noble Lies,” eat it up.

Nowhere has there been a clearer example of the failure of democracy than the upcoming presidential election between two of the most unsavory characters ever to run for president. Whichever one wins the election, We the People will lose. In fact, there will be only one winner in the upcoming election: Corporate America.

That our “Ruling Class” is now in control of the election is no surprise to many (CLICK HERE). Before the first primary of this election, it was clear who Corporate America’s favorite was: Hillary Clinton. From her “pay-to-play” schemes to her corporate donors such as JP Morgan Chase & Co. and Goldman Sachs to corporate media such as Time Warner, it is clear that Hillary is firmly in the pockets of Corporate America. She has maneuvered into being the favorite, first by manipulation of the primaries to her cheating during the debates [CLICK HERE], then by the corporate-owned media fawning over her.

But now it seems that Corporate America is having second thoughts. Hillary might be more of a liability than an asset to the super-rich, which means they are reluctantly turning to Trump. It is becoming clear that a paradigm shift in the public’s consensus is going on, and come January, we might have the spectacle of Trump in Washington taking the oath of office to the strains of Hail to the Pussy.

Lost in all the blogs and talk about emails and pussy-grabbing is how exactly either of them is going to fix the economic swamp that we have mired ourselves in. Yes, they both make lots of empty promises about a lot of things, but we have heard all this before. Many times.

In a couple of articles written after the last presidential election (CLICK HERE) and (CLICK HERE), the authors astutely point out that what we are living in is a neofeudalistic society. Let’s go over a few figures.

According to Allianz’s Global Wealth Report from 2015, the personal wealth of the entire world is $153.2 trillion. That’s a number that is hard to get a handle on, but think of it this way: $153.2 trillion dollar bills would make a stack 10,397,071.2 miles high. That’s over 43 times the distance from the earth to the moon, or nearly half-way to the closest orbit of Venus.

The nation with the largest percentage of personal wealth is, of course, the United States, topping out with 41.6% of total global wealth. The next closest nation is China with 10.5%, or roughly one-fourth the personal wealth of the USA even though they have over four times the population.

The report also points out that, not only does the United States have the greatest amount of wealth, but it has the greatest amount of wealth inequality. To understand this wealth inequality, here is a chart of the breakdown:

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What this last chart represents is that the top 20% own over 85% of the wealth in America. The top 1% own a whopping 35.6%. In other words, the top 1% of Americans have more wealth than than China, the second most wealthy nation on earth.

Why is there such a great wealth disparity? Let’s review.

Donald Trump, the multi-billionaire, has paid no taxes for nearly two decades (click HERE for link). His smirking statement in one of the debates that he is smart because he didn’t have to pay taxes belies the true nature of the problem: our legal system is set up to allow—nay, force—the little people (the bottom 99%) to pay the lion share of the taxes while the super-rich pay little or anything.

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For the past 36 years, our legal system has been tweaked so that the super-rich can benefit from laws that enable their wealth to grow at an astounding pace while the rest of the serfs work longer hours for a rapidly devaluing currency. The economy is stuck in a seemingly permanent recession, and the Corporate Elites know that the best way to get the economy moving is to be involved in the profitible business of war.

Our country is running on a WAR economy. This is nothing new; it has been going on for decades. The warning that President Eisenhower gave in his last presidential address nearly 56 years ago has been unheeded [CLICK HERE]. How long are we going to treat the symptoms and ignore curing the disease? With the upcoming election on Tuesday, we can be assured that our government of the stupid people, by the stupid people, for the stupid people, shall not perish from the earth.

 

“The evils that beset the inner life of society due to social class differences and the unequal distribution of property, with the resultant sharp contrasts between opulence and misery, independence and dependence, etc., and the precarious situations that afflict nations in the course of their political relationships with other nations…Israel is to progress in this freedom and independence, within and without, which God bestows upon it again and again…until it reaches that ideal state in which it will become a bright and shining national entity in the midst of the nations. Then all the other nations will be drawn to it in order to learn from it the Divinely-established institutions which alone will guarantee freedom, justice and everlasting peace on earth.”—Rav S. R. Hirsch

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Gog and My Goggles

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beer gog·gles
noun (informal)
  1. used to refer to the supposed influence of alcohol on one’s visual perception, whereby one is attracted to people who would not otherwise be appealing.

We the People are plastered. Potted. Inebriated.

There is no other explanation. We have become inebriated with the follies and scandals of our two presidential candidates as we head into the election which is less than four weeks away. Our attention has tunnel-visioned on a political race that has focused on the character and moral turpitude of Trumpet and Billary instead of the real issues that will impact not only our way of life but our existence as well. We have lost sight of how ugly things have become.

Let’s start with economics. The stock, bond and real-estate markets are happy giant bubbles ready to pop. The wealth disparity between the top 1% and the bottom 99% is the greatest it has ever been. The Debt Clock is slated to hit the magic $20 Trillion mark before Obama leaves office.

If he leaves office.

Which brings us to the next problem. Our gigantic, bloated government isn’t working. Well, let me rephrase that: it isn’t working for the bottom 99% of society. For the super-rich, it’s working just fine. But every day seems to bring a new tale of police brutality, corruption in government, and the steady erosion of civil rights. We might only be a couple of scandals away from Obama suspending the election next month. Perhaps he’ll had the reigns over to Biden. Perhaps. We’re just a disaster away from an executive order that could curtail the democratic process, be it economic, terroristic, biological or something else unforeseen.

And then there is the little problem with political turmoil in the rest of the world. The near-coup in Turkey, the fighting in Syria and Yemen, the coming collapse of the EU to name a few problems. Tensions with Russia are at their highest point since the Cold War, and there are more than a few who are worried about the continuing crisis in the Middle East that would spark a war between America and Russia.

However, Americans are too wrapped up in the salacious media coverage of Pussygate or the missing e-mails and Benghazi to care about these trivial matters. Americans are too tanked on the corporate media’s propaganda to either notice or care about the events that will have a direct impact on the lives of every American. We are so focused on the November eighth election that we fail to see the big picture, and so many Americans will be saying, “Hold my beer and watch this!” as they head into the voting booths thinking that it will make any difference at all.

“The builders of states, as well as the citizenry, helplessly scan the horizon for the arrival of the latest political messiah, who will come forward with new utopian solutions for the problems besetting the state. This messiah, they comfort themselves, will come, must come, or else everything is ruined. They wait for the political redeemer who will devise the formula for deliverance and the equation for what is most irrational: to secure through external institutions the well-being, peace, health, and prosperity of nations and men.” — Rav S. R. Hirsch

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Clarion Call

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There are many in our society who oppose the Noahide Code. All one has to do is to Google “Noahide Laws” and you will see the proliferation of anti-Noahide websites that have infested the internet. For those familiar with the Noahide Law, the distortions of these haters is easy to spot. For those unfamiliar with the Torah, not so much.

The majority of these anti-Noahide websites are Christian websites, although there are more than a few that are atheist. The fear of the Christians is that the Noahide Law has the power to destroy their religion; the atheists fear that the Noahide Law will take away their hedonism, or force them to accept that there is a God and an ultimate morality.

The anti-Noahides have it right in that we are out to destroy organized religion, particularly Christianity, the main organized religion in America. It would be difficult to find a more divisive ideology than organized religion. Since organized religion is prohibited under the Noahide Code, their fears are certainly justified. It is the task of the Noahide to remove this divisive ideology from the face of the earth.

It is the fear-mongering about decapitation that is the anti-Noahide’s weapon of choice. They use this threat to incite others against the Noahide Code, spreading fear that, if Noahide Law becomes the “law of the land,” then Noahides will decapitate not only Christians but anyone who violates the law. To think that we would promote a legal system that would mete out death for someone who steals a loaf of bread is ludicrous. This inflexible interpretation of dinim makes Javert look like Mother Teresa.

Where do these anti-Noahides get such crazy ideas? Unfortunately, it is from the Jews themselves, particularly the supporters of Rambam. Many of the Jews out there who are involved in the Noahide movement teach that decapitation is the only punishment for violating any of the Noahide Laws. This sad fact is not lost on the enemies of the Torah, and it is these Jews who have become unwitting allies of the anti-Noahides and furnish the haters with the ammunition they need to install fear among the ignorant.

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In Bava Metzia 90a–90b, there is a discussion about Noahides. The topic is about Jews who get Noahides to castrate bulls (which is halakhically forbidden to Jews). Rav Pappa says that Jews who do this transgress the prohibition “do not put a stumbling block in front of the blind.” This is a mitzvah from Leviticus 19:14, “which prohibits causing another person to stumble in sin. It includes causing a non-Jew to violate one of the laws commanded to him.” (Schottenstein Talmud).

To my knowledge, this part of the Talmud has never been taught or even mentioned by any rabbi who is involved in the Noahide movement. The reason for this is clear: any Jew who interferes with the Noahide’s observance of the Seven Laws is in violation of halakha. It is bad enough for the rabbis to fill the Noahide’s head with obligations which have nothing to do with the Noahide Law, but to tell Noahides that they must not attack the idolatrous religions which permeate our society, to tell them that our obligation to dinim is only to set up courts of justice, to tell Noahides not to campaign for social change but to let God handle everything, to tell the Noahide that every violation of a Noahide law in a sovereign Noahide state must result in decapitation—these things are what cause Noahides to stumble by preventing them from fulfilling the observance of dinim. It is a violation of halakha.

Some years ago, when I started to wonder about why the rabbis were teaching the Noahides Judaism instead of Noahide Law, I told my concerns to a friend of mine, a rabbi who was sympathetic to the cause. He discreetly talked to some of the rabbis involved in the Noahide movement, and my fears were confirmed. The rabbis involved in the Noahide movement are deliberately teaching the Noahides that the Seven Laws are only a vehicle for personal salvation, steering them away from the social dimension of dinim. The rabbis do not want the Noahide movement to grow, at least not in the direction it is supposed to. The last thing they want is for Noahides to campaign against the current social order, to instigate society-changing reforms. They feel that Noahides would rile up the public and cause problems for the Jews. This is, of course, a valid concern, but what are we to do? It’s our tuchas on the line, not theirs. We are ultimately responsible for keeping the Seven Laws, and the Seven Laws cannot be observed in their entirely unless we make them the basis for our society’s legal system. However, by interfering with the Noahide’s observance of dinim, the rabbis themselves violate the halakha outlined in Bava Metzia 90b by placing a stumbling block in front of the Noahides.

It is obvious that the rabbis are leading the Noahides down the wrong path. It is also obvious that they want to be in control, and will not follow our lead in directing the course of implementing Noahide Law in our own society. The only recourse is for them to get out of our way.

 

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The Time of Awakening

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I have detailed in previous posts about the problems with the Noahide movement. In this post, I will offer a solution.

In order to regain control of the Noahide movement, to wrest authority from the rabbis who have turned it into a Jewish sect (or, in the case of the gerrings, a cult), we need to first establish a paradigm for the Noahide Code.

First of all, we need to understand that every man, woman and child who is not Jewish (according to halakha) is a Noahide. That means that every non-Jew is under the Noahide Law whether they accept it or not. This means the issue is not conversion but teshuvah. You don’t have to walk down the aisle and shake the rabbi’s hand to become a Noahide. You already are a Noahide.

The Noahide Law is a moral and legal code. Since the Noahide prohibition of idolatry is based on the mitzvah to believe in no divinity but God [Shemos 20:3], the Noahide Law is neither a religion nor the basis for religion. There are no positive commandments for prayer, sacrifice, keeping kosher, Yom Tov or any other religious observances associated with Israel’s service to Hashem. Most importantly, there is no positive commandment for a non-Jew (Noahide) to “believe in God.” This means that the key to becoming a frum Noahide is not belief but observance.

The Noahide Law is meant to be all-inclusive. This means that the Noahide Code must be adaptable and accessible to every society and every culture, while on the individual level it should appeal to everyone from the most spiritual God-fearer to the most hard-boiled atheist. Up to now, the Noahide Law has been confined to a narrow demographic. The target audience has been those coming out of organized religion, primarily evangelistic ex-Christians. This approach is wrong, and it has crippled the growth of acceptance and availability of the Noahide Law.

According to the Talmud [Chullim 33a] as well as certain rabbinic authorities such as Ramban— “[The Noahide Law should be] comparable to the civil laws about which Israel was commanded,” (Ramban’s commentary to Bereishis 34:13)—the Noahide law is not to be as strict or exact as Jewish law.

The details of the Noahide Law are to be worked out by the Noahides themselves, not the rabbis. “Non-Jews have to learn Torah and they cannot rely on asking Jews questions about each and every detail what to do, especially since there is no assumption that a Jew will know all the details of the seven Bnei Noah commandments for there are a number of differences and modifications concerning their own obligations.”—Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, Kol Baye Olam. [taken from Elisheva Barre’s Torah for Gentiles.] Also, “דּרכים are the main roads and ארחות are its branches…the nations will say, ‘Although we have only been taught the דּרכים — the fundamentals of the religion—nevertheless we will strive to learn its details on our own—בּארחתיו ונלכה)'”—Malbim, Isaiah 2:3). Stavsky, Trei Asar, Vol. II, 29. What this means is that detailed books about Noahide “prayers” and Noahide “Shulchan Aruchs” are misguided attempts to develop the Noahide Law into a religious sect of Judaism.

Since the Noahide Law is not a religion, and since it is not to be as strict or as exact as Jewish Law, and since Noahides are supposed to work out the details themselves, the only logical recourse is to develop the Noahide Code as a philosophy.

Reformatting the Noahide Code as a philosophy has many advantages. For starters, as an all-inclusive philosophy, it would be the antithesis of Judaism; it would preclude interference from the rabbis and revert control to the Noahides where it belongs. As a philosophy instead of a strict halakhic system, the Noahide Code would be more flexible to the many different cultures and individuals. As a “secular” (i.e., non-religious) Torah-based philosophy, it would provide a viable alternative to the divisive philosophies of religion and scientism which have been the source of so much umbrage and angst in Western culture.

The one caveat is that it would be a Torah-based philosophy, unlike any existing Western or Eastern philosophies. The scope of this philosophy will cover all seven areas of Noahide Law. It would be a guide to not only individual behavior, but encompassing fields such as government, law, economics, marriage and the environment.

Although it is a Torah-based philosophy grounded on the Seven Laws, it is going to break with current Noahide tradition. It will not be about “belief,” or any religious doctrine as Noahide Law has been presented in the past. Even the name of this philosophy will not reference the term “Noahide.”

This philosophy is not simply an abstract concept, but a labor of love and duty which I have been developing for the past few years. It is a new awakening of the truths of the Torah molded into a philosophy which will be accessable to all.

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The People’s Front of Judea

 

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Scene from Monty Python’s “Life of Brian” [click on pic for video link.]

The largest Native American uprising since the Battle of Sugar Point in 1898 is going on in North Dakota, pitting Native Americans from scores of tribes against Big Oil [Click HERE]. One of the world’s largest shipping companies, Hanjin Shipping, has just filed for bankruptcy, stranding ships and crew and throwing global shipping into a turmoil right in the middle of the peak season when stores are stocking up for the make-or-break holiday season [Click HERE]. As if this wasn’t bad enough, trade with Europe is on the skids [click HERE], the economy is on its last legs [click HERE], and our “justice” system too often metes out punishment according to race and class [click HERE]. Our society is coming apart at the seams.

With this in mind, what is going through the minds of Joe & Jane Americana? Judging from social media, the really important issues are the beginning of the college football season, the upcoming popularity contest between Trumpet and Billary [not that either one will make any difference with the problems we are facing], and that some professional jockstrap won’t stand up for the national anthem, something that affects absolutely no one.

Then there are the Noahides. Keepers and teachers of the Divine Plan for mankind to be able to live together in peace, to put together a world economy not based on greed and power, to be able to use the environment without destroying it. The ones who have been studying the logical and rational code that balances both the needs of society and the individual. How are the Noahides responding to the building crisis around us?

The Noahides are discussing how to keep Shabbat. They are talking about which prayers to do on the upcoming Jewish Holy Days. They are talking about the benefits of eating kosher.

Most of all, the Noahides are arguing about why this or that Noahide group is wrong and why their own group is right. They are quarreling over which name to call their little group, and why their name is better than the other names. They are  bickering over why their rabbi is better than your rabbi. They are squabbling about why one group loves God and Israel more than the other groups.

Ultimately, they are fighting over why the People’s Front of Judea is a better Noahide group than the Judean People’s Front, and certainly better than the Judean Popular People’s Front.

After two decades of rabbinic “leadership,” the Noahides have managed to completely lose track of what they are supposed to be doing. The Noahides have left the path of halakha and have turned onto the path of pointless debates of things that don’t really matter, things that have little if anything to do with the Noahide Code. Under the supervision of the rabbis, the Noahides have managed to become irrelevant.

It is clear to me that, under the direction of the current rabbinic and Noahide “leadership,” the Noahide movement is not going to amount to anything. What is needed is a new direction, a fresh start. Stay tuned for further details, and remember: always look on the bright side of life.

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Cognitive Dissonance and Noahide Law

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Leon Festinger (1957) proposed cognitive dissonance theory, which states that a powerful motive to maintain cognitive consistency can give rise to irrational and sometimes maladaptive behavior. [From simplypsychology.org]

Twenty–eight years ago, when I was studying in the Atlanta Kollel, I had a conversation with one of the rabbis. I discussed with him about the halakha concerning sacrifices, and how a Noahide was permitted to build an alter anywhere and offer a korban olah. The rabbi was flabbergasted. He explained that, even though he understood the halakha about the Noahide law, he told me that he simply could not wrap his mind around the concept of building an alter and offering sacrifices since it has been forbidden by Jewish halakha since the destruction of the Temple. This was the beginning to my understanding that there was a difference between Noahide law and Jewish lawsometimes a vast differenceand many of the differences in halakha between the two were beyond the rabbi’s understanding.

This was also an example of cognitive dissonance. All Noahides have been through a bout of cognitive dissonance. The first bout for most was when the Noahide first heard of the Seven Laws, a concept which clashed with whatever belief system the Noahide held. Not only for Noahides, but many Jews experience it when first learning of the Seven Laws.

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To give another example, here is a Stone Crab. Stone crab claws are a favorite dish in Florida. However, you cannot harvest the crabs; the law in Florida says when you catch one, you can break off the claw but you must return the crab to the water so it can live and grow another claw. For the Noahide, this seems like a blatant violation of the law of the Limb of the Living, not to mention that crabs are non-kosher. But the crab is a sheretz, a crawling creature, as well as a sea-creature (which is considered dead the moment it is removed from the water.) Animals classified as sheretz do not fall under the prohibition of the Limb of the Living. It is also permissible for Noahides to eat crabs, since the kosher laws are not part of the Seven. This means that, halakhically speaking, it is not a violation of the Seven Laws to eat Stone Crab claws when they are harvested in the manner described above.

Where the rabbis are concerned, the incapability to deal with this cognitive dissonance has posed an even greater problem; it has influenced the development of Noahide halakha. The commandment of idolatry, which I have stated many times before, is no doubt the best example. Simply put, the non-Jew does not have the positive commandment to believe in God. The Noahide is only prohibited from worshiping any other god except Hashem. This means that an atheist can be considered an observant Noahide, halakhically speaking.

Although there are some rabbis who understand the halakha about the Noahide not having a positive commandment to believe in God, their cognitive dissonance has prevented them from teaching Noahide law correctly. The inability for the rabbis to grasp the inclusive nature of Noahide law is why their teachings are only directed to a small part of the Noahide demographic, namely ex-Christians.

Since ex-Christian Noahides are the vast majority of Noahides in the USA, this presents a problem. Noahides view rabbis (correctly) as the repositories of Torah wisdom and law. What they do not understand is that the rabbis are essentially clueless about what the Noahide law is all about. This is apparent from their continuing focus on the (Jewish) religious elements of the Torah in lieu of Noahide halakha.

So the question is: how much cognitive dissonance is too much to overcome? Many of these ex-Christians feel like they’ve done their job rejecting the tenets of Christian theology. Whether or not they are able to unshackle themselves from the tenets of Judaism remains to be seen.

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Noah’s Arc

“R’ Chanina said: In terms of a parable illustrating the opinion of R’ Yochanan, to what is the matter analogous? It is analogous to a barrel of wine that was lying in a cellar full of vinegar. While the wine is in its place, among the vinegar, its aroma wafts and is particularly noticeable, in comparison to the odor of the vinegar. However, when the wine is not in its place among the vinegar, its aroma does not waft, i.e. it is not so noticeable. Similarly, Noah’s righteousness was noteworthy in his evil generation, but would not have attracted attention in a righteous generation.” Sanhedrin 108a.

The news this past weekend was interesting, if you want to call it that. F or starters, a giant crack has grown in the Larsen C ice sheet in Antarctica [click HERE]. This past month was the warmest on record [click HERE]. The bond market is falling apart, and the Fed is contemplating another QE of $2 to $4 trillion dollars [click HERE], and the debt clock is about to hit $20 trillion—yes, that’s trillion with a T [click HERE]. Things are rapidly starting to fall apart [click HERE] and our corporate media is content to pander to the status quo [click HERE].

Meanwhile, in Texas

The Vendyl Jones Memorial Conference was held in some godforsaken place in Texas over this past weekend. One of the things they were celebrating was the first Noahide conference in Texas 26 years ago. Of course, back in 1990 you had the real Vendyl Jones, not just some bearded Jew-wannabe in a Ger cap, and you had Rabbi Meir Kahane, not Rabbi Katz trying to pitch his Ger book and Ger religion.

I didn’t go to the conference. I didn’t go to the one in 1990, either; I was busy studying in a kollel a thousand miles to the East. I do remember, talking to those who were involved back in the early years of the Noahide movement, of the hope and promise they felt. Today, the Noahide movement is more malaise and apathy; no better marker of how the Noahide movement has grown than looking at the size of the conference this past weekend. After 26 years, the numbers attending were about the same as the one in 1990.

What the hell happened to the Noahide movement?

There are many reasons and causes, which I have covered in previous blog posts. But one thing about this conference struck me. It was about Ger this and Ger that. It was about keeping Shabbat and studying mystical interpretations. It was about the glorification of this new Ger religion.

What it was not about was how the Noahides should interact with society and try to change the world for the better. It was not about Noahides taking an active role in dealing with the many problems facing our society. It was about pretending to be a Jew, and turning the Noahides into a Gerish Jewish sect. It’s about their personal “relationship” with Hashem instead of the observant Noahide’s relationship with society.

And it struck me. These Noahides aren’t interested in saving the rest of the world; they’re only interested in saving themselves. Like Noah, who was criticized by the Sages for turning his back on humanity and being content to save himself and his family, these Gerrings are doing the same exact thing. The Noahide movement has come full circle.

 

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