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Propaganda 2019

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I know propaganda. As a mother grizzly knows her cubs, I know propaganda. And what I have in recent days witnessed is propaganda of the type that raises the hair at the back of my neck!
There are among us those who are attempting to destroy the very fabric of our nation. The propaganda they create is sleight of hand worthy of praise from the 20th century master of the trade, Joseph Goebbels.

I shall not follow their lead. Nor is it for me to judge. God alone owns that task. You and I, however, can and should reveal that which may lead us and others on a path to self-destruction. Allow me, then, to expose what others have concealed in a current video series. This series is The Family, a recent Netflix offering.

The Family is billed as a documentary. If it is a documentary, it is both incomplete and ill-informed. By choice? You decide.

Let’s begin with the Netflix description of The Family. “An enigmatic conservative Christian group known as the Family wields enormous influence in Washington, D.C., in pursuit of its global ambitions. Investigative journalists expose The Fellowship, a Christian fundamentalist organization quietly operating in the corridors of power in Washington, D.C.”

Here is my characterization of The Family. This documentary is a thinly veiled attempt to undermine both the Biblical foundation of this Nation and our current President.

With that, let’s move to specifics. More than once a narrator makes a convoluted reference to Jesus and power. One such example: “Jesus says you must go to those who are in positions of power.”

Truth: Jesus said no such thing! Go ahead. Challenge me on that! What is the sole source for what Jesus did say? In fact, Jesus consistently modeled weakness, not power, as God’s preference for human behavior. “My power is made perfect in weakness.”

Another example: “If you are chosen (by God), it doesn’t matter what you do.”

Truth: This demonstrates complete ignorance of what the Bible records. Check Psalm 51 and ask yourself why David found those words necessary!

One more: “Who God cares about most is not the everyday people.”

Truth: This statement is absurd. It reflects nothing found within the Bible. A single reading of the Beatitudes refutes this moronic and demonic utterance.

Not yet convinced that Netflix is playing fast and loose with the Bible? Notice this from Episode 4:

“And it’s all scripturally based, Uh, Acts 9:15, you know, “Take my name, Jesus, to the Kings.”

Really? Let’s compare that quote to what the Bible actually says in Acts 9:15:

15 But the Lord said to Ananias, “Go! This man is my chosen instrument to proclaim my name to the Gentiles and their kings and to the people of Israel. 16 I will show him how much he must suffer for my name.”

Those who read the Bible will know that “this man” spoken of here is Saul shortly before he became the Apostle Paul. So Netflix scores a zero on Bible accuracy!

Before we continue, let’s review hallmarks of propaganda. Propaganda uses half-truth, omission of truth, and suppression of contrary views and actions to achieve its ends. To be most effective, propaganda uses just enough truth to mislead.

The Family features all of this, and more. We see both omission and suppression in this next example. In one episode – in an effort to reveal hypocrisy – the film reports details of two “fallen” political leaders. Two Republicans, South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford and Nevada U. S. Senator John Ensign, had both been revealed in sensational extramarital scandals.

These two cases receive abundant attention in The Family. To be fair, yes, the Bible itself reveals not a few such examples of “fallen” leaders. Moses killed. David was an adulterer and arranged the killing of Uriah. The first human parents were given a single rule. This they promptly violated. One of their sons murdered the other. The list goes on. Diligent Bible readers do not shirk the negative.

Omitted from the Netflix film, however, are the cases of North Carolina U.S. Senator John Edwards and U.S. President Bill Clinton, both Democrats. Edwards’ case was particularly egregious given his infidelity to his wife, Elizabeth, who was a terminally ill cancer patient. Clinton’s case besmirched not only his wife but the White House itself.

Yet, neither of these two Democrat “leaders” were mentioned in The Family ostensibly owing to their lack of participation in the Fellowship. This despite the fact that both had attended The National Prayer Breakfast, a centerpiece of this documentary on the Fellowship.

Netflix continues it erroneous reporting on the content of the Bible. Consider this example:

“I remember hearing them asking, what if Christ came not for the sheep but for the wolves? This becomes more articulated in this parable of the wolf king. The idea is that the leader of the pack is the most powerful figure. And you can go to the most powerful figure and you can pry open that door and say, let’s come alongside you. The movement sought out wolf kings around the world.”

Truth: The Bible has no “parable of the wolf king.” But that fact does not deter the Netflix narrative which states, “Doug Coe preaches a parable of the Wolf King.” Then they move right on to connect this non-existent parable to President Donald Trump:

“Now at last Trump, the wolf king, has arrived at home. And it doesn’t matter that he’s a believer. The wolf king likes strength and you’re going to put your strength alongside his.”

Truth: The Bible does record Paul speaking of wolves. Alert readers will recall this from Acts 20:

28 Be shepherds of the church of God, which He purchased with His own blood. 29 I know that after my departure, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. 30 Even from your own number, men will rise up and distort the truth to draw away disciples after them.

Are Paul’s words here prophetic? You decide.

In another instance, Netflix got the Bible quote almost correct yet still strikes a target other than truth. In this case by omission.

A quote attributed to Jeff Sessions: “I would cite Romans 13: “Obey the laws of the government because God has ordained the government.”

I checked 29 translations of the Bible and came up with this from NIV:

Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.

The Netflix production shows itself more than a few times to be specifically disturbed by the words “established” or “ordained” by God. Is this because some of today’s Christians choose to see President Trump as so ordained?

In this case, both Netflix and some Christians arrive at erroneous conclusions. Why? Because both fail to read Scripture with a Paul Harvey “rest of the story” approach.

Were they to do so, they might discover this. In the absence of evil there is no reason for free will! Evil regimes present the need for humans to make choices. Shall we trust God’s sovereignty, or do we consider ourselves as His equal? Hence, God permits, even encourages, evil leaders, as He did with Pharaoh of the time of Moses.

If we read the entirety of Romans 13 (to which Sessions refers) and all of Romans 9, we would discover that God clearly demands that we recognize His sovereignty!

Notice this from Romans 9:

16 It does not, therefore, depend on human desire or effort, but on God’s mercy. 17 For Scripture says to Pharaoh: “I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display my power in you and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” 18 Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden.

The Netflix production does not take into account this factor of God’s sovereignty. Yes, God – clearly shown within the Bible – ordains leaders. His choice, His will, His sovereignty! And, yes, some of those so chosen will be or become evil.

So, back to the concept of free will. We humans have that gift, all of us. Why? We have it so that we can freely choose whether and how to respond to God and acknowledge both His love and
His sovereignty.

And this is precisely where the Netflix “Family” production reveals itself as propaganda. It selects from the Bible only what advances its cause.

In like fashion, a Netflix-granted interview with Religion News Service uses juxtaposition (one person in physical proximity to another) to suggest evil intent.

Example:
(Photo caption) Russians Mariia Butina and Alexander Torshin at the 2017 National Prayer Breakfast. President Trump later spoke from the podium in the background.

‘Spoke from the podium’? Surely, we see the problem here, right? President Trump did something potentially evil because he used the same podium two Russians used?

Now consider the portrayal of Doug Coe. One Religion News Service writer tells us, “Coe was the longtime head of the International Foundation, a secretive Christian organization known as The Fellowship and The Family, that was responsible for bringing together politicians, diplomats and presidents since Dwight Eisenhower to Washington each year on the first Thursday in February.”

That straightforward description – aside from the word ‘secretive’ – is counterbalanced by this description of Coe, “We see a man who is kind and we are willing to look away from a well-documented record of a person who, given the choice between power and a witness to the faith, chose power every single time.”

Here, the interviewer avoids mention that Coe’s “witness to the faith” is equally likely to be not a quest for power but a result of his adherence to this from Matthew 28:

“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit….”

Truth? Again, you decide!

If Doug Coe’s goal was the accumulation of power, and given that he was successful –witness the National Prayer Breakfast – how is it that the record of his life shows no application of that power? The Netflix “Family” series does not address this omission!

Before concluding, allow me to offer a bit of icing to the cake. In researching this production, I came across an interview by Religion News Service Editor-in-Chief Bob Smietana. Being curious by nature, and having never heard of RNS, I decided to explore. I examined writers, articles, and, yes, a page identifying the organization’s Board of Managers.

Truth?

Of the six identified members of the board of Religion News Service, only one includes the word “Christianity” in the biographic statements. One board member states he “also serves as Communications Director for the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community USA.”

My curiosity radar activated itself. What, pray tell, is the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community for which this Religion News Service board member is communications director?

So I visited that web site. The result? The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community (AMC) are Muslims who believe in the Messiah, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (1835-1908).

Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, I learned, claimed to be the metaphorical second coming of Jesus Christ as foretold by the Prophet Muhammad. This “Muslim Messiah” explains how the original teachings of Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and other world religions eventually converge into true Islam. Christianity converge into Islam?

So, what has all this to do with the Netflix “Family” series?

In fairness, I suppose the Religion News Service interview of the Netflix director of the series has as much to do with the “Family” as did President Trump speaking from a podium earlier used by two Russians at the National Prayer Breakfast. Am I, like Netflix, using “guilt” by proximity? You decide!

Finally, let’s return now to Episode 1 where our narrator tells us that the “Family” was a “group with tentacles around the world.” The words “vine” or “branch” would have served as well. But “tentacles” has a more sinister ring to it. That choice is another of the tools of propaganda. The tool? Connotation. Right out of Joseph Goebbels’ toolbox! Connotation changes a neutral word into a potentially negative one.

Now you may see why early in this article, I said: This documentary is a thinly veiled attempt to undermine both the Biblical foundation of this Nation and our current President. Both the Bible and the President are seriously abused by this Netflix production.

Need more convincing? Netflix frequently speaks of secrecy as if everything secret is worthy of suspicion. Go ahead! Count the words “secret” and “secretive” within the series.
By my definition “The Family” is propaganda.

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EDITORIAL: Try looking at it this way

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We all see things according to what we think is best for our Survival. That’s kind of it. We might be right or we might be wrong. We might have formed our opinions through experience or some other source: reading news, education, church, friends, etc. – the list of our information sources are endless. Also weighing in on our judgment about what is right for our survival is our current environment, urban or rural, our circle of friends, and our ethnic, racial and class status. New experiences can also alter our perception of what is best for our survival. Our view is always subject to change. What we may see as good for us today may not seem so good a year from now.

What we think is good for our survival, which may also include what we consider thriving economically, certainly reflects in our politics, and our choice of information. So much so, that we may only seek out sources that reflect our preconceived beliefs.

All of this is normal human behavior. The only thing that has changed over the years is the amount of information (24 hours a day) and the variety of sources, some accurate some not.

The reason we make these observations are only this: understand that others that feel differently as to what is best for their survival are not stupid, the enemy or any of a thousand other words we use to demonize and dehumanize others. They are simply saying or voting as they see best for their survival from their perspective. Also, consider this: if we do not seek compromise in a nation as diverse as ours, none of us have a good chance of survival, at least not in a thriving way.

Remember that the three 24-hour news networks all cater to their established viewer and advertising bases to some degree. Seek other sources of respected news that may present an alternative perspective to the one you are used to; and stay away from the blogs that have no editorial oversight, and by all means, seek to understand why others see their survival in a different light than you view your own.

Our differences in some issues have always existed and we have always, except once in our national history, been able to find common ground, or at least mutual livability. While in the short term there is money to be made on fear-mongering, the long-term payoff for us as a nation will come from recognizing the common humanity that people of goodwill all share, regardless of our superficial differences.

We must quickly adapt to, and recognize the latest use of technology that seeks to maximize profits by dividing us, and remember that we are all humans seeking to survive.

Beware of those who will burn the house down – including yours – to get their way.

Being able to see behind words to the objective truth of any situation that impacts us all must be our goal – our collective survival may depend on it.

Royal Examiner Editorial Staff

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We hurt ourselves

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The new EDA Executive Director and the new EDA Board with its expertise and all the other residents of Front Royal were victimized by what one major player did with EDA funds. Why would the town take an adversarial stance toward the new EDA which is not at fault and refuse to make payments for our new police station when we are all ‘in the same boat’? These are people who came in to help resolve the issues and advance our economic development.

If we hurt the EDA instead through non-payment for the Front Royal police station, we hurt ourselves. Common sense dictates that we do not want the EDA to collapse. We would still have to pay the bills yet lack a way to increase revenue in the town with the help of the EDA.

Worse — the proposed town budget fired the professionals who had planned events that are now being canceled one after the other, leaving us without any avenues for economic development. Yet $200,000 has been transferred to the Town Attorney account to pay lawyers to argue in favor of making it harder on the EDA to survive, that is, the town will not compromise on the interest rate to be applied to the loan for the police station.

Sitting in the wrong account, Community Development, page 47 of the proposed budget, sits a $515,000 labeled police facility. It does not mean that we pay the EDA for the station. It is sitting there awaiting transfer as needed to the Town Attorney account for payment of high legal fees. (Information gained from a credible source.) The few in governance are allowing the expense up to $700,00 in order to have a court tell us what to do when we could decide in a cooperative manner for no cost beyond staff time. We all are going to pay in one way or another. It is cheaper to cooperate and split the difference in the interest on the loan rather than do what Council least likes to do, raise taxes.

It is disheartening that the town fights against its moral obligation. It is even harder to wonder and perhaps watch tax money ‘burn’ away because of one employee with a ‘group think’, alias Town Council.

Linda Allen
Front Royal, VA

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Thank you, Doug Stanley!

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I want to share my personal sentiments about our County Administrator, Mr. Doug Stanley.

Mr. Stanley is a personal friend. We have actively participated in countless projects for our community of Front Royal and Warren County over many years, together and with other devoted citizens. We have all been devoted to the betterment of everyone, in every instance.

Mr. Stanley has represented the Motto of Rotary International, “SERVICE ABOVE SELF”. He has instilled this ethic in every effort he has taken on. His example for young and old alike is to build character, leadership and be the person for others to follow.

He is the fall guy for the mistakes of many, yet he has moved forward and stayed the course for his position and target for success in Warren County.

As County Administrator, his accomplishments are beyond compare among his peers throughout our state of Virginia. This is only possible with a working environment of continuous commitment on his part. He and his staff are all talented individuals, devoted to their positions.

In recent times he has become the recipient of criticism. This local action has harmed our community very deeply. Many of the words of criticism have come from persons who intentionally tried to destroy his stellar reputation and care little about others here. Many people have been the instigators and gone so far as to threaten and publicly attack him. Many of these are also self-centered and have not served our community beyond their own self-fulfillment needs and wants. What an eye-opener this has become in learning about people. Loss of respect is a term well due upon such behavior in today’s civil society.

No one is a perfect person for all things. I certainly am not! Most of us try to simply survive. However, for those who reach out and above their own needs and share their successes, the field is open for service to others and all mankind. It is a pleasure to offer more than required.

Warren County has been blessed with Mr. Stanley and his devotion here.

My hope is that the Board of Supervisors may use their intelligence and the same devotion to our community that Mr. Stanley has and renew his contract.

Remember the open door created for anyone who makes charges against others. Their own track records may come to light for all to see and maybe very humiliating. Be prepared to accept such burdens if they exist.

Consider the sources of criticism for Mr. Stanley, the same people who can “simply move away if they don’t get rid of him”. Our community deserves better than this. Our elected officials need to perform their jobs and do what is prudent, proper for the best interest of ALL.

Thank you, Doug Stanley!

Respectfully Yours,
George McIntyre
Linden, VA

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Opinion

Historical Impeachments

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historically speaking

Watching the Senate hearings over the past weeks I am happy to see historical arguments being made by both sides. As I have said, the Constitution is purposely vague, and it is no different when it comes to impeachment. There are three sections in the Constitution that discuss impeachment, but even with those sections there are still many questions. As with most Constitutional issues, the rest has been filled in with laws, the courts, and especially precedent. Several times both sides have referenced both the Andrew Johnson and William Clinton impeachment trials. In this vein, I think it is worth examining the lesser known of the two, the Johnson case, to see what we can learn from history and if there are similarities between the two.

There is a great deal of detail to explain Johnson’s election as V.P. Suffice to say, the Republicans in 1864 were concerned about Lincoln’s chances in the upcoming election. That may sound crazy, but he was not yet the super popular president that he would become. Johnson was a pro-war Democrat and Lincoln hoped that by bringing him on the ticket he could attract other pro-war Democrats. What made Johnson an even more interesting choice was that he was a pro-slave, state’s rights Democrat from Tennessee. Johnson was brought in for votes only. Once in office, Lincoln did not use him and he by no means was meant to ever be president.

The issue with Johnson’s impeachment revolves around Reconstruction. Even before the end of the War, Lincoln was already discussing his plans for how to treat the South. He basically wanted to make it easy for the southern states to return, including keeping their existing governments. His biggest opposition to Reconstruction was the radical wing of his own party. The so-called Radical Republicans wanted to punish the South and make it difficult for their return. They wanted to remove all past leaders and guarantee certain rights for the new freedman population

The Radicals were originally excited about Johnson as president. He said and did all the right things. However, when Congress left for recess, he put in his own plans for Reconstruction that were just as lenient as Lincoln’s, maybe even more so. When Congress returned, they attempted to retake the power. They tried to pass laws to help the ex-slaves but were blocked by Johnson’s vetoes. The Radicals did have enough support to overturn Johnson’s veto on the Fourteenth Amendment, which gave freedmen citizenship, but they faced an uphill battle. It was at this point they began looking for reasons to impeach the president. They tried twice unsuccessfully before they found a reason that stuck.

In 1867 Congress passed the Tenure of Office Act, which basically said that the president could not fire any member of his own cabinet without congressional approval. This was done for two reasons. First, Congress was afraid that Johnson would start replacing Lincoln’s Republican Cabinet with a Democratic one. Secondly, they hoped this would trip up Johnson and give them a reason to impeach. The plan worked. Johnson, who had been fighting with his Secretary of War Edwin Stanton over keeping troops in the South, finally grew frustrated and fired him. Johnson did not think the Tenure of Office Act would hold up in court. He was right. But before the courts examined the case, the House acted first and charged Johnson with eleven counts of impeachment.

The eleven articles are incredibly repetitive. They all boil down to Johnson having broken his oath of office by firing Stanton and by hiring Lorenzo Thomas without consent of Congress. They basically said it in different ways, like he violated Stanton’s rights in one and conspired with Thomas against Stanton in another. In Article 10 Congress went as far as including that he criticized congress “with a loud voice, certain intemperate, inflammatory, and scandalous harangues.”

The trial lasted for three months. The defense argued that Johnson had done nothing wrong. They claimed he was challenging an unconstitutional law and basically his act did not meet the demands of a High Crime. What seemed like a slam dunk win at first fell apart by the end. From the beginning of the trial, Johnson worked with moderate Republicans to save his position by promising not to interfere any more with Reconstruction. Also, the managers had a week case. It became apparent the entire reason for the law was to remove the President. His only real crime was disagreeing with Congress.

In the end, seven Republicans voted to acquit. For some congressmen they were more concerned with the man who would replace Johnson, whom they saw as even more difficult. For others, when it really came down to it, they did not want to remove the President based on a power struggle. It would create a dangerous precedent that they did not want and could hurt the balance of power. When they received their assurances from Johnson, the Republicans were more than happy to leave him in office until the next year when they could replace him through voting. One senator said after, “I cannot agree to destroy the harmonious working of the Constitution for the sake of getting rid of an Unacceptable President.”

What is interesting about today’s impeachment is many will see similarities with Johnson’s trial and many will not. Supporters of Trump will see two presidents who disagreed with a hostile Congress which simply wanted the president removed for political reasons. Others will disagree with any similarities. More like the Nixon scandal, they see a president who clearly overstepped his authority and then tried to cover it up. The problem is this split happens to be along party lines, which is very much like the Johnson impeachment. With Johnson, Republicans had to cross the party line to clear him, whereas with Trump they had to cross party lines to convict. But either way the vast majority of the Senate in all three presidential impeachments trials voted along party lines instead of voting their consciences. So, what we can learn from studying Johnson is that in the end what we see is that impeachments are political above everything else.

For my Texas readers, if any of you are interested I will be speaking at the Weatherford College Interdisciplinary Academic Conference on Feb 27 at 5 PM. The conference is free and open to the public. For more information, you can call 817-598-6326. If you attend, make sure you come by and say hello.


Dr. James Finck is an Associate Professor of History at the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma and Chair of the Oklahoma Civil War Symposium. Follow Historically Speaking at www.Historicallyspeaking.blog or Facebook at @jamesWfinck.

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Opinion

Jesus in Valentine’s Day

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Dear Editor,

Valentine’s Day is now upon us, and of course, the central theme is Love. It is the showing of one’s love for someone and being desirous of and asking for another to return such love in a way to say “I love you too”. A proposal, if you will. In this regard, (which involves a suitor) the dictionary defines such as; a man who courts a woman; a wooer. It further defines a wooer as: to seek the love or affection of, especially to marry; to court.

In this respect, allow me to present to you my Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. For the greatest act and show of love the world has ever known, let me direct your attention to the figure there on Calvary’s brow: I can only humbly say, behold Him there! For I am not worthy so much as to even approach Him. As you gaze upon him you will see that he is hanging from a cross by nails driven into his hands and feet. He is covered and “bathed” in his own blood, for as the Scriptures say, “…his visage was so marred more than any man”. The result of a savage, brutal, and one might venture to say, demonic beating.

He wasn’t there merely by chance, but because mankind was under the curse of God’s law which says; ” the soul that sinneth shall die.” His agony was so great, that he cried out; “My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me?” And thus, being made to be sin for us, He took our sin upon Himself! And now hear the prophecies as detailed in Psalms 22, “…I am a worm and no man …despised of the people …I am poured out like water …and all my bones are out of joint …my heart is like wax …my tongue cleaves to my jaw …am brought down to the dust of death.”

His being there was the fulfillment of his intent and determination to die in our place! This was the price that God himself set for our redemption: God himself had to die; God himself had to shed his very own blood! By saying, “If I be lifted up I will draw all men to me,” He is doing exactly that on the cross. He is drawing us, asking us, “to come unto me.” Yes, and by asking the Father to, “forgive them for they know not what they do”, He is throwing the door wide open for us while tugging at our hearts. And, one could almost hear him say “Be Mine”.

Be mine and your sin will be forgiven and no longer under the curse; I am reminded of the prophet who said, “though your sins be as scarlet ye shall be white as snow. Be mine for I am going to prepare a dwelling place for you. Be mine and you will never die, for my special gift to you is eternal life; and you will never thirst or hunger, for I will give you both the bread of life and the water of life.”

But what could be the proper response to such a suitor and his appeal or proposal? To learn of the best, and indeed, the only accepted response (a simple I will) we need only to look again at Calvary’s brow and hear the thief on a cross next to our Saviour when he says; “Master, remember me when you cometh into your kingdom.”

In saying “Be Mine”, “come unto me”, and “Whosoever believeth in me shall never die”, isn’t he asking us to consider and look expectantly upon the eternal, heavenly scene. We have the ‘picture’ of a people for whom a pure, white, shining garment has been prepared. And as we stand so arrayed before the very throne of God our hearts are suddenly filled with an overwhelming measure of love, and our eyes are filled with great tears of joy; for we are now aware that He is present! The Lamb of God Himself has stepped forth from the midst of the throne. And, performing the acts and duty as our Groom, places a wedding ring on our fingers; and then presents us to all the holy, righteous hosts of Heaven as his greatly beloved, glorious, precious Bride! The Church! And all the host of Heaven bow down; reverently, lovingly, and adoringly as kings cast their crowns down before Him!

And so, indeed, as the Lord said on the cross, “It Is Finished!” Thus, the message of God written indelibly throughout space and time by his own blood is there for all to see: I love you! Love has conquered!

Rev. Jess Shifflett
Front Royal, VA

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OPINION: A new low in Front Royal politics

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Wow – hard to explain the new low in Front Royal politics. One only need review the video of Monday night’s Town Council Working Session to witness true unprofessionalism at its best (or worse depending on how you look at it). The Town of Front Royal deserves so much more, and the Town Council should hang their collective heads in shame.

I should be disappointed in myself for not believing this group of elected thugs, and a hand-picked failure of a Town Manager, could take us even deeper into governmental despair. Shame on me for having faith.

Let’s look at this. It included an extremely large, standing room only crowd of concerned citizens of Front Royal, a surprisingly still ill-prepared Interim Town Manager who demonstrated without any doubt that he knows little about leadership or how to manage staff, and a truly unprofessional Town Council.

One could see on Mr. Tederick’s face from the onset of the meeting that he was extremely nervous and likely had not slept for a couple nights. Tough to sleep soundly when you know the gallows await and you know your story can not stand up to any real questioning.

As I said in my most recent article, the Town Council had found their stooge in Mr. Tederick; but while letting him do their dirty work and now rush through its rationale, the impulse not to lose center stage in front of so large an audience was too great to resist.

Mr. Meza should be nominated for an Oscar for his portrayal of a man interested in what was best for the citizens of Front Royal and his self-imposed look of regal importance of learning at the feet of his mentor Mr. Tederick.

Jacob Meza, left, at Monday’s heavily attended Front Royal Town Council Work Session discussion of an apparently council-endorsed budget plan eliminating some crucial Town staff and departmental functions to reduce town government operational costs. Letasha Thompson listens at right. Royal Examiner Photos by Roger Bianchini

Give a supporting Oscar to Mr. Holloway for his portrayal of an insane middle-aged man. Remember the movie “The Shining” starring Jack Nicholson and the famous phrase – “Here’s Johnny” – or in this case “Here’s Crazy Chris”? Rather than act like a mature adult, Mr. Holloway decided to reduce council’s debate with its mayor to the level of a developing school-yard brawl. – “That’s a downright lie” may not be the proper response to the mayor’s assertion he had only heard of the budget/staff termination plan the previous week. Of course, little Jacob Meza had set the table for Crazy Chris with his accusation that Mayor Tewalt was “playing to the large crowd” by expressing opposition to their and Mr. Tederick’s preferred course of outsourcing now-cut staff functions, apparently that outsourcing largely taking place around July 1 when the new fiscal year begins.

How do these men find new ways to show how unimpressive they really are? Well, that could apply to most of the Council. Are you listening Ms. Thompson, Ms. Cockrell, Mr. Sealock and Mr. Gillespie?

First let’s cover the citizens of Front Royal. It was evident from the start these individuals wanted to voice their concerns while at the same time listen to the “potential” words of wisdom from the Interim Town Manager and Town Council who had created this situation. I will have to admit, within reason, they were well behaved.

Only during the above-referenced school-yard brawl with their mayor and the section when Mr. Tederick started to show his apparent lack of understanding of tourism and his explanation of why he let people go prior to his recommendations being approved and implemented – allegedly due to compassion – did the audience let out a few catcalls, etc. Overall, they appeared to, perhaps surprisingly, hold themselves in check.

As a crowd reaching about 50 gathers, council and staff chat prior to meeting/work session’s convening.

They were without a doubt more adult than several members of the Town Council who should apologize to the citizens for their bad behavior. Only once did the Mayor have to remind the onlookers that they need to respect those at the table. Too bad, he did not remind the Council members that they also need to show respect to all those at the table.

Mr. Tederick’s words on “Compassion” for those he had removed, followed by noting that if Council disagreed with his recommendations those same individuals could reapply for their jobs, rang so hollow. What 5th grade class on leadership did Mr. Tederick learn this skill from? Never in my career have I heard such bad judgement on hiring or firing. If this was supported by any decent attorney, I would have to say they never managed a staff as well.

I had to think, not long, on why someone in the position of Mr. Tederick could think this made any sense. It then dawned on me. It is apparent, he has never really managed a large, multi-departmental staff, and the rest of his career has been on managing financial portfolios and not leading people. Rather simple, he does not think as a leader or a manager. He only thinks of money. The same can be said for Chris “You’re the liar” Holloway and Jacob “The Lessor” Meza.

Reapply for their jobs? The only reapplying for jobs will be with these same Council members asking town citizens to re-elect them in coming elections, the first less nine months away.
I also started to think about what real revenue comes into this County and Front Royal. A fact that Mr. Tederick did not really cover. We could assume, tourism is a major factor. So, I decided to do my research. It did not take long to find the following website: Vatc.org and click on top right research tab.

Unlike every other chart Matt displayed, this is the only one that shows growth every year. Amazing that the only thing that shows steady growth is the one he condemns and suggests it be giving to a privately held company that perhaps magically showed up in his office the day after he announced the removal of the Tourism Director. Something like the Attorney Bro’s we now have working in Town Hall and their relationship with his 1839 Capitol adventure.

Also, his statement of doing a one-year contract makes absolutely no sense. One with any management background would realize that this position requires stability in dealing with the various organizations that comprise the tourism landscape. But Mr. Tederick, this DOES NOT grant you permission to now issue a five-year contract to any friends who have appeared like a gift from heaven at your doorstep.

Chris Holloway, left, and Matt Tederick take break with colleagues prior to closed session being convened at end of Monday’s quickly adjourned special meeting and budget work session.

One last comment before I put away my keyboard for the night. I am not certain what was said behind closed doors by the Mayor regarding tourism and what actions should be taken. However, one with any decorum – for Mr. Holloway that means: behavior in keeping with good taste and propriety – if so compelled, would have called Mr. Tewalt a liar behind closed doors and not in front of the citizens they represent.

Never lower yourself to prove a point.

Poor play of the week goes to Mr. Holloway, with an assist to Mr. Meza. I would not be surprise if he has won that award before on several occasions. I would expect, but we will not get, a public apology from him for his unprofessionalism. Apparently building housing units does not require such skills.

I can only hope this council, at least the other four members, hear the citizens of this town.

Simon Mays
Front Royal

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1:00 pm Free Women’s Self Defense Class @ Linden Volunteer Fire Department
Free Women’s Self Defense Class @ Linden Volunteer Fire Department
Feb 23 @ 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Free Women's Self Defense Class @ Linden Volunteer Fire Department
Instructed by Sgt Winner of the Front Royal Police Department, in collaboration with the Warren Co Victim Witness Program, hosted by Linden Volunteer Fire Department. Space limited to 20 participants. Reserve your spot by visiting[...]
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Novel Ideas @ Samuels Public Library
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10:15 am Toddler and Preschool Story Time @ Samuels Public Library
Toddler and Preschool Story Time @ Samuels Public Library
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Toddler and Preschool Story Time @ Samuels Public Library
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10:00 am Day of Giving @ Samuels Public Library
Day of Giving @ Samuels Public Library
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Day of Giving @ Samuels Public Library
In conjunction with “Love Your Library Month,” Samuels Public Library will hold its first “Day of Giving” on Thursday, February 27, 2020. Thanks to an anonymous donor, all donations made in-person at the Library or[...]
10:15 am Toddler and Preschool Story Time @ Samuels Public Library
Toddler and Preschool Story Time @ Samuels Public Library
Feb 27 @ 10:15 am – 12:00 pm
Toddler and Preschool Story Time @ Samuels Public Library
10:15 Toddler story time | 11:00 Preschool story time Wednesday, February 19 and Thursday, February 20: Come in for some great stories, songs, and a craft about our feathered friends, Birds!  Siblings welcome. Wednesday, February[...]
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7:00 pm Love Revival – FREE Monthly Comm... @ Love Revival Ministry Center
Love Revival – FREE Monthly Comm... @ Love Revival Ministry Center
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10:00 am Loom Knit a Kitten @ Strokes of Creativity
Loom Knit a Kitten @ Strokes of Creativity
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Loom Knit a Kitten @ Strokes of Creativity
Loom Knit an adorable kitten. In this beginner’s class for teens and adults, you will work on a 24 peg loom to knit a small stuffed toy. *Instruction will be right handed. No prior knitting[...]
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Kooky Chefs Cook It Up: Soups @ Samuels Public Library
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Kooky Chefs Cook It Up: Soups @ Samuels Public Library
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Trauma & Resiliency Training for... @ Samuels Public Library
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Trauma & Resiliency Training for Early Childhood Providers @ Samuels Public Library
Statistics show us that one in four children will experience trauma by the age of four. This trauma could be abuse, hunger, homelessness, witnessing violence, medical trauma, or grief. We know that a child’s greatest[...]