The Younger Days of Bishop Todd Hunter

“This is normal Christianity.”
This video (audio really) is from the Toronto Blessing days of Todd Hunter, a decade or so before he became an Anglican Bishop:

What does he think about this insanity these days?

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Hirohito’s Religion

David Bergamini writes:

The dream of the ancestors to rule theocratically and keep Japan sacred for the sun goddess remained unfulfilled. Hirohito had reservations about the dream. It was too insular, too mystical and unscientific. Because of his training in geography and economics, Hirohito could not think of Japan in isolation but only as a part – the leading part – of Asia. Because of his scientific training he could not accept the legend of the sun goddess at face value. He was a devout Shinto priest and believed in the ghosts of his ancestors, but not in a simple superstitious way like most of his countrymen. He would eventually rationalize his creed by grafting onto it the semi-scientific spiritualism of such Western thinkers as the astrophysicist Sir James Jeans and the physiologist J.S. Haldane. Hirohito believed that the spirits were always present and even available for consultation, but only as psychic wave forms permeating the ether. He doubted that they could provide physical assistance to men in battle, as many Japanese believed.

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Atrocities in Rwanda, 2014

The Kagame regime began this year by assassinating Patrick Karegeya in South Africa. It moved on to “disappearing” citizens all over the nation, and then there were strange fires that burned down prisons. Now there are arrests of leading regime generals and other figures as the totalitarian regime eats its own, and there are also bodies turning up on a lake in Burundi. This story, translated from French, says:

In recent days corpses wrapped in plastic bags are found floating on the lake Rweru on the border between Burundi and Rwanda in the province Muyinga.

More than 40 bodies floating in the lake town Rweru Giteranyi were seen and counted from the month of July by the fishermen, as confirmed by the local administration and police. This week, these fishermen accompanied by a unit of the Navy, saw two bodies on the mouth of the Kagera. It was a woman without clothes and a man wrapped in a bag. One of the dead was identified by Rwandan fishermen, they immediately rushed to repatriate the dead body.

The report goes on to says that Burundi had not reported any disappeared, and that Burundians:

…indicate that such carcasses are thrown into the river Akagara the Rwandan side, that comes pouring into the lake Rweru: “In the neighborhood, we deplore any loss, unless they are brought from other regions and thrown in the lake, “they say.

The lake in question borders Rwanda and Burundi, as you can see from this map:

Lake Rugwero

Lake Rugwero with Rwanda on the North

An updated report says:

The case made headlines Burundian newspapers for two days: the fishermen said they saw dozens of bodies floating on the Rweru Lake in northeastern Burundi, on the border with Rwanda. They are bodies of men, women and youth, some tied up.

Fishermen Lake Rweru say they would have seen since early July between six and forty bodies floating in the waters of the lake, located in the northeastern Burundi. Several private radio stations in Bujumbura, the alarm was given it a week ago.

Contacted by RFI yesterday, Sunday, the representative of the fishermen of the town Giteranyi shoreline of the lake, said he went near the mouth of the Kagera River with soldiers from the Burundian Navy. They then discovered there two bodies, one still wrapped in a big burlap bag. ” We unfortunately could not bring them back to the mainland because the bodies were in an advanced state of decomposition , “said the representative of the fishermen. They then drifted the body along with the current like other fishermen did with the body they discovered earlier.

… Fishermen are, claim that these bodies would be carried by the Kagera River which originates in neighboring Rwanda. Prudente, the Burundian government would not confirm or deny.

There have been widespread disappearances, such as this:

Rwandan opposition politician Damascene Munyeshyaka, who went missing on June 27, is just one in a growing list of people who have not been heard of over the past few months and who rights activists believe have been forcibly disappeared.

Munyeshyaka, the organisational secretary of the Democratic Green Party, was at a meeting in the eastern district of Bugesera, when he received a phone call.

The caller said he had an urgent message to deliver, according to the party. Munyeshyaka didn’t know the caller but left to meet him. He has not been seen since.

And there are mass arrests of high ranking regime members, in moves reminiscent of purges after the French Revolution. See here, here, here, and here.

Finally, look at this appalling picture from inside a Rwandan prison:

Gitarama Prison

Prisoners tortured in Rwandan prisons.

This article, whose truth I cannot verify,1 says:

To understand how furious and systematic Hutus extermination is, Tutsis RPF regime has nowadays chosen a plan to blaze prisons and more than thirty thousand (30,000) Hutus perished in this process of prisons blaze where they were abducting prisoners to massacre in name of transfers to other prisons so that other fellow prisoners cannot question what happening and try to claim. The recent prisons set on fire are two prisons of Muhanga central prison in Gitarama and Nyakiriba prison in Rubavu (Gisenyi) respectively on 5 June 2014 and 7 July 2014, i e within one month. This happened following 1 or 2 months more than sixteen thousand (16,000) Hutus massacred in Northern West province in Nyabihu district and the RPF regime said they don’t know their whereabouts, and simply said that they disappeared.

The above picture is Muhanga prison in Gitarama set on fire on 5 June 2014 and this happen alongside the slow systematic massacres of these Hutus prisoners where they are daily beaten, killed abducted, starved and poisoned. More than 80% of Hutus who terminated their sentence when they come out for normal life, consequently they cannot pass 1 or 2 years alive, they die.2

Conditions in the open-air prison that is Rwanda are horrible,  and yet we continue to only see the sanitized, mission-trip version of reality in PEAR USA publications. Speaking of another appalling situation, that of Christians in Iraq, PEAR Bishop Breedlove says:

The silence of the US and Canadian media and government is unconscionable, and we need to call them to account and ask for a change of behavior. “Never Silent” is part of our story. We need to bring that legacy to this critical issue happening right now. We must never be silent while Christians are slaughtered for nothing more than being Christians.

He is right for once, and yet the hypocrisy is more than a little thick given the outrages in Rwanda that have been happening for two decades now, with the increasing complicity of Westerners, who choose to see no evil and hear no evil.

rwaje dictator

Archbishop Rwaje and Paul Kagame

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  1. See this story for confirmation. 

  2. The 30,000 number comes from stories like this:

    Kigali — Some 30.000 Rwandans sentenced to community service for their role in the 1994 genocide have disappeared, according to the Rwandan prison authorities. Community service was introduced under a Rwandan law as an alternative to prison for certain categories of genocide perpetrator who confessed. One of the goals was to reduce overcrowding in the country’s jails.

    The semi-traditional village courts or gacaca (pronounced gatchatcha) that tried most genocide suspects had, by the time they closed in June 2012, sentenced 84,896 people to community service, according to the authorities.

    A report by the Rwandan prison service says only 53,366 of these turned up in the camps where they were to serve their alternative sentence. The prison service says it does not know where they are. “This is a matter of great concern for us,” prison service director Paul Rwarakabije told Hirondelle.

    “It is extremely worrying for the survivors,” says Naphtal Ahishakiye, secretary general of the main survivors’organization Ibuka.

    According to the same report, out of the 53,366 who presented themselves for community service, 46,270 have served their sentence, 1,996 escaped during community service and 340 have died natural deaths.

    During community service, convicts help with public works such as building roads, bridges, public schools, orphanages and houses for the elderly. 

Purpose-Driven Fallacies: Rick Warren on Rwanda’s Critics

When I wrote the last post about Pastor Rick Warren and Rwanda, I naively hoped that he was unaware of the criticism of the Kagame regime. That was not the case, as he proved in an interview with Rwandan propaganda website The New Times. In this interview, Warren is asked about international criticism. To boil his argument down for you, you are not allowed to criticize Rwanda if you are:

  1. Hutu (he refers to ‘genocidaires’, but how does he distinguish between innocent Hutu and those who actually killed?)
  2. French
  3. From certain countries like France
  4. The United Nations
  5. Someone who at some point worked in the Kagame government

If you are not in one of these categories, feel free to criticize the Rwandan Government, and I am sure Rick Warren will pay heed to you.

His response is so shockingly ignorant that I almost wonder if he uttered it or if it was placed into his mouth by New Times Goebbels-type hacks? If he did say this, then he is totally in lockstep with an Ahab/Herod figure, and should have no credibility anymore. Warren is committing the most basic ad hominem fallacy in his ‘reasoning’. Everything he says may be ignored because it does not deal with even one fact related to the heinous rule of Paul Kagame. The entirety of his answer follows:

Often times Rwanda receives the flacks from various international bodies and individuals, what do you make of such critics?

The criticisms against Rwanda are coming from four sources. They are all biased sources. The first group of critics is the genocidaires who are still alive, the Interahawe. They are in various places around the world and will do anything they can to depose the government. It is expected that they will criticise and speak ill of the country.

The second group is of certain countries like France that supported and protected the wrong group during the Genocide. They allowed the genocidaires to escape through and into DR Congo.

There was a break down in relations with France as Rwanda chose a path of its own that some people in France were not very happy with and hence the criticism.

The third group is the United Nations; they have blood on their hands, they did nothing when they could have stopped the Genocide. The UN has a guilty conscience. There is conflict on why is the nation least dependent on the United Nations is among the most successful. So their reports may be biased.

The last group is people who served in this government in the past and got caught in corruption and other vices. They were friends of Rwanda, but when they lost their jobs, they became bitter and go around writing articles full of criticisms.

All these four groups are biased and are in no position to provide balanced opinion about the country.

"Nice work Rick!"

“Nice work Rick!”

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Rick Warren, Antoine Rutayisire and Paul Kagame

Pastor Rick Warren has continued his foolish association with Rwanda’s dictator, Paul Kagame this week.

Rick Warren and Paul Kagame

Rick Warren and Paul Kagame

Think of this New York Times story when you see Kagame:

David Himbara, another former Kagame confidant who also fled to Johannesburg in 2010, told me a story about Kagame’s rage. In 2009, Himbara said, Kagame ordered two subordinates — a finance director and an army captain — into his presidential office, slammed the door and started shouting at them about where they had purchased office curtains. Kagame then picked up the phone, and two guards came in with sticks, Himbara said. Kagame ordered the men to lie face down, and he thrashed them. After five minutes, Kagame seemed to tire, and the bodyguards took over beating the men, as if they had done this before. Himbara said he was sick to his stomach witnessing the scene.

Just about every former colleague of Kagame’s I spoke to shared some sort of beating story. Noble Marara, a former driver for Kagame, told me that Kagame whipped him twice, once for driving the wrong truck and another time after someone else backed into a pole. “He really needs help,” said Marara, now in exile in England. “If I was to diagnose him, I’d say he has a personality disorder.”

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Antoine Rutayisire at Kagame’s Table

Again, from the New York Times:

When I asked Kagame about the beatings, he leaned toward me in his seat. We were about three feet apart, then two. I could see the individual gray hairs in his goatee. He didn’t interrupt as I detailed my evidence, with names and dates. He didn’t deny physically abusing his staff, as I thought he might, though he gave me a watered-down version of the 2009 event that Himbara described, saying that he hadn’t swatted anyone with a stick but shoved one of the men so hard that he fell to the floor.

“It’s my nature,” Kagame said. “I can be very tough, I can make mistakes like that.” But when I pressed him on other violent outbursts, he responded irritably, “Do we really need to go into every name, every incident?” He said that hitting people is not “sustainable,” which struck me as a strange word to use, as if the only issue with beating your underlings was whether such behavior was effective over the long term.

Joining Warren and Kagame was Anglican Antoine Rutayisire, who left some testy comments on my blog a few months ago. Rutayisire is frequently in Kagame’s company:

quote 1

A Quote from Rutayisire

This association with Kagame did not stop my former parish, Church of the Resurrection in Washington D.C., from hosting Rutayisire this year, something they should be ashamed of.

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Sitting at the Table of the Tyrant

I guess Rick Warren doesn’t put much stock in reports like this from Rwanda:

quote 2

And really, why should he? There seem to be no consequences for embracing evil, at least in the short term.

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What will we think of this picture in 20 years?

Fortunately, the short term doesn’t last forever. The truth wins out, even if it takes a long time.

Lord, please open Rick Warren’s eyes. Amen.

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What the Heck is Going On?

Everywhere you look there are problems being exposed in the Church. God is not mocked. But still, when I read the following comment, I was sick:

So I get a phone call from an old friend today. She wants information about a couple books. We go back almost 30 years to a church together. We now live four states apart as both of us have moved over the years.
Her husband got his PhD in some area of christian counseling….or maybe it is a ThD, whatever. From a seminary, and the thing after your masters is a ThD I think. Really kind man, godly couple, true intercessors. They are in their 70′s and semi retired.
Haven’t talked in many months, and she tells me that her husband was asked by an evangelical association with members in several states to counsel pastors who have been addicted to pornography. So for months now he has been counseling these various pastors, all from born again bible believing churches, not liberals.
She said the recent cases are not just guys looking at gorgeous adult babes, but they watch the most vile stuff, like little girls being raped and worse. She said it is so dark and so horrible and her husband said from what he hears it is all over the place in churches.
Here is the kicker. Her husband is beside himself because this evangelical organization requires that these pastors have 16 counseling sessions with him, and then, back to the ministry. He thinks they should be removed from ministry for a very very long time if not for good, and he is speaking up, but he can’t change it. All he can hope to do is get the pastors to realize they need to resign. You just don’t go to sixteen sessions and they say all is well when you were hooked on filthy perversion.
Anyway, this is the state of modern evangelicalism in the bible belt from one perspective. While I think God wants us to gather with others and ideally be part of a church, you really do need to be cautious and prayerful. What kind of pastors get off watching little prepubescent girls be raped? How sick is that? And they are out there.

Is this what it has come to? I am amazed that churches still exist if this kind of sickness is rampant.

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Pastors and the Internet

Alastair has a very perceptive post up called “The Loss of Pastoral Credibility in the Age of the Internet.” The entire post is spot on and I recommend it to you. An excerpt:

All of this leaves people singularly unprepared for the world of the Internet, where they are exposed to opposing viewpoints and have to engage with them more directly. People who can appear to be brilliant in non-oppositional forms of discourse can crumple when subjected to critical cross-examination or manifest themselves to be emotionally incapable of interacting in a non-reactive manner with contrary perspectives. No doubt we can all think of many instances of this online. However, my concern in this post is to draw attention to how commonly I witness this failure in pastors and church leaders.

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A Timeline of John Rucyahana’s Activities in Support of Kagame

 

Bishop Rucyahana with the Dictator of Rwanda

Bishop Rucyahana with the Dictator of Rwanda

 

 

Date

Event

2008

Rucyahana issues a letter in the name of the Anglican Shyira Diocese accusing France and Germany of wanting to “ruin Rwanda” by the arrest of the Rwandan Director of State Protocol, Rose Kabuye.

Nov 28, 2008

Rucyahana writes an editorial in the New Times again blasting Europe for the arrest of Kabuye, and also says that the African Union should give the Eastern Congo “the option for a referendum to choose where they should belong.” The Rwandan backed CNDP was actively destabilizing the DRC at this time.

May 26, 2012

Along with Archbishop Kolini, Rucyahana conducts a meeting at Hotel Ishema in Ruhengeri, for CNDP politicians. “The aim of the meeting was to convey the message that the Rwandan Government supports M23 politically and militarily. All Rwandophone politicians and officers were instructed to join M23, or otherwise leave the Kivus. In particular, CNDP politicians have been asked to resign from the North Kivu Governorate and to withdraw from the Presidential Majority.”

June 2012

Rucyahana recruits for M23 at Sonrise school in Musanze (Ruhengeri).

July 24, 2012

Rucyahana writes a letter denying any involvement with support of M23.

Nov, 2012

The United Nations reports that Rucyahana oversees recruiting sympathizers, raising funds and distributing funds for M23 recruitment efforts in Rwanda and abroad.

Nov, 2012

The UN refutes Rucyahana’s denial letter, saying:

The [Government of Rwanda] argues that Bishop John Rucyahana convened meetings for the purpose of peace and unity. This claim clearly contradicts several accounts of individuals who were present in the meetings organized by Rucyahana and, on the contrary, attest to the Bishop’s efforts to mobilize recruits and resources for M23 from within Rwanda. Furthermore, the participants in Rucyhana’s meeting were mostly former CNDP politicians and M23 members who had fled from Goma (DRC) to Gisenyi (Rwanda), from where they have been openly working to support M23. The Group is not aware of any participant who has subsequently deserted M23 following meetings with Bishop Rucyahana.

March 18, 2013

M23 Warlord Bosco Ntaganda flees to the U.S. Embassy in Kigali, aided by a relative of his who was also John Rucyahana’s driver.

June, 2013

The United Nations reports that Rucyahana, a Ntaganda ally in Rwanda who recruited politicians and raised funds for M23, had to stop his collaboration.

Dec 7, 2013

Rucyahana accuses exiled politicians of being the single biggest obstacle to reconciliation in Rwanda.

Jan 1, 2014

Exiled Rwandan politician Patrick Karegeya is assassinated by Rwanda in South Africa.

Jan 12, 2014

At a prayer breakfast in the presence of Rucyahana, Rwandan dictator Paul Kagame says, “It is a matter of time for anybody trying to undermine Rwanda to face consequences of their actions anywhere.”

 

R and K

 

 

 

 

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Recruiting for M23 at Sonrise in Rwanda

sonrise

A Recent Graduation at Sonrise

Sonrise School in Rwanda is an almost obligatory stop on the itinerary of Westerners who take trips to Rwanda and process through the country. An article on the PEAR USA website recently called it “A Light on a Hill.” The school has undoubtedly done good over the years, but a disturbing case of alleged ethnic hatred and recruitment for M23 has recently been brought to my attention.

The school is presented to American Christians, particularly Anglicans, as being for impoverished orphans, whereas a Rwandan told me that it is among the most expensive in Rwanda. This fact is confirmed in this review of Stepehn Kinzer’s book, A Thousand Hills Rwanda’s Rebirth and the Man Who Dreamed It, which says, “Originally built for orphans, like ASYV, Sonrise now caters to children of many wealthy Rwandans.” A 2012 story in the propaganda organ The New Times said, “Sonrise High School is an Anglican church-founded school and at least 290 of the students out of its total population of over 500 are sponsored.” This means that in 2012, at least 210 students were paying tuition on their own, confiming the fact that Sonrise caters to wealthy Rwandans, but includes a mix of some sponsored children.1 This anonymous post, translated from Kinyarwanda, says that Sonrise “which was constructed to help the orphans, especially genocide survivors. It became a home and a school for sons and daughter of the government ministers and other senior government officials.”

A Rwandan tells me that Sonrise is used as a figurative nursery to young Tutsis—particularly the Bagogwe—to brainwash them with ideology. The source says, “Those youngsters are then used in the creation of militia groups like M23.”

In June 2012, when the M23 terrorist group was in full swing in the neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), I am told that a group of Sonrise students were invited to speak with retired Anglican Bishop and Kagame associate John Rucyahana. Rucyahana allegedly told the students that they should be ready to join the fight in the DRC. Rucyahana also asked them to join the social media propaganda campaign for M23.

ruc sonrise

Rucyahana at the Recent Graduation

The assumption was that all the students Rucyahana was talking to were Tutsi, however, one individual was Hutu. Consequently, it is alleged that the management of Sonrise demanded that the Tutsi students undertake a hate campaign against this Hutu individual. Students started to tear apart his clothes and throw his notebooks in the trash can. The Tutsi students even defecated in the bed of this individual. The Hutu student asked the management of Sonrise to take action to investigate the matter, but his claims were ignored.

I am told that one day, the individual caught a Tutsi student who was defecating on his bed and asked the management of Sonrise to take action since a culprit was caught. Instead, the management accused the individual of causing trouble at Sonrise and they expelled the individual from the school.

I was further told that one of the chief instigators of the ethnic animosities was Rukaka Rwagati, the brother of Fanette Rwagati, a female who was a major in M23 and who worked as an M23 propagandist on social media. This alone shows a vital tie between relatives at Sonrise and the M23 terrorists.

fanette-rwagati

Fanette Rwagati in her M23 days

This story ties in quite well with other existing facts about M23 and John Rucyahana. For example, in 2012, United Nations investigators report that Rucyahana was the President of the Bagogwe community. M23 warlord Bosco Ntaganda is a Bagogwe from Masisi, and Bosco was able to escape to the US embassy in Kigali with the help of a relative of his, a relative who I am told was John Rucyahan’s driver (see my story here).

Second, the United Nations reported on M23 child recruits coming from Musanze (Ruhengeri) where Sonrise is located, see this post.

Third, the U.S. State Department reported on young men from orphanages being pressured into joining M23:

Staff members at a few orphanages reported the RDF pressured some of their young men to join the military during mandatory “ingando” civic and military training camps held after secondary school graduation. (See this post.)

Unfortunately, Americans are clueless about these things taking place. And they will probably choose to believe that they could not or are not happening. But if you are an American supporter of Sonrise, ask yourself, if John Rucyahana and others were doing these things, would you have any way of knowing, or would you be totally ignorant? Do you speak the language enough to ask questions on your tourist visits to Rwanda? Even if you do, would any Rwandans be willing to break silence on something like this, when it could cost them their lives? For these reasons, I don’t expect to see any change in support for Sonrise from Americans.

Dead M23 terrorists, the unfortunate end of some Rucyahana recruits

Dead M23 terrorists, the unfortunate end of some Rucyahana recruits

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  1. See here for example. 

The Intercession of Icons

 

Icon of St. Glykeria

Icon of St. Glykeria

In her book The Formation of Christendom, Judith Herrin writes:

It was in their role as intercessors between man and God that the icons commanded particular devotion. Numerous legends of women, whose inability to conceive a child (or sometimes, more particularly, a son) was removed by prayers directed to icons, reflect an anxiety common to many medieval societies. St. Glykeria, the patron of Herakleia, promised a child to the parents of St. Elizabeth through the medium of her icon; Elizabeth was in due course dedicated to here in front of the same image. Similarly, a childless couple was blessed by the Virgin’s icon at Sozopolis, and the mother of St. Stephen had her longing for a son satisfied at the Blachernae shrine in Constantinople. For the cure of disease rather than infertility, the medical saints, Cosmas and Damian, Artemios, Gebronia, and others, were frequently invoked and their icons consulted. Incubation for one or more nights in their shrines—the pagan custom of sleeping close to the god—was rewarded by nocturnal visits of the saints (again, recognisable in features familiar from their images) and finally by cures. The oil burning in lamps suspended in front of icons also had curative power, as did the miraculous effluents that emerged from the Sozopolis icon or the relics of St. Euphemia in Chalcedon. Icons were also appreciated for their power to move: in the early seventh century, Patriarch Sophronios wrote down the ancient legend of St. Mary the Egyptian, who was allegedly converted by a picture of the Virgin preserved at Jerusalem in his time.

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