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More On UK Christians

Ruth Hunt, a leader of UK gay activist groups Stonewall (NHS Employers/Flickr [1])

This in my inbox tonight:

Thank you for writing The Benedict Option [2]. It offers a sober wake up call to Christians in the West.

I’m writing in response to your recent article “Life in post-Christian Britain” [3] as a 33 year old reformed Christian in the UK. There are two points I would like to make.

We have an extremely powerful LGBT movement in the UK spearheaded by “Stonewall” who call themselves a human rights charity but are a LGBT pressure group. I recently went to a public lecture by their CEO (Ruth Hunt) who was open that they have sought to work in non-democratic means, seeking to get legislation passed which they knew would not have public approval at the time. They are extremely intelligent, focused and well resourced and know how to apply pressure to politicians. They have also secured a place in the church of England, writing anti-bullying guidance for CofE schools. Unbelievable.

At the presentation I attended, Ruth said that one major pocket of disapproval for LGBT lifestyles is the Pentecostal church. They know that they will not be able to take on the leadership of these communities directly so their strategy for this is to target teenage girls in these communities through outreach programs, to try and persuade them that LGBT lifestyles are an acceptable alternative. These girls can then be advocates for LGBT “rights” in their communities. They have run pilot programs and are now moving to roll out. These are smart, smart people who are prepared to play a long game.

My second point is that I am extremely rare in being concerned about Christian education. Most evangelicals I know think it is selfish, and possible sinful, to take children out of state education because of the evangelistic opportunities one can have at the school gate. It is also argued that children can’t be kept out of the world indefinitely. None of this makes sense. There is a deep, deep naiveté amongst most Christians and when you consider what we are up against, we are going to be eaten for breakfast. I just find a deep seated objection to thinking the way you do in the Benedict Option but with no clear rationale as to why.

That said, there are a few Christian schools which have been set up in the UK in the last few years which are excellent, however most evangelicals I speak to are suspicious about them.

One often hears US Evangelicals claiming the same thing about public schools. My guess is that it’s far, far more likely that the Evangelicals kids are going to get “evangelized” by the popular culture than the other way around. I also wonder if some parents who could afford these schools for their kids aren’t simply rationalizing the fact that they would rather get the free education than make a sacrifice to pay for them.

Anyway, yes, the reader is  correct: I’ve been doing this long enough to where I can see that many, maybe most, objections from conservative Christians to the Benedict Option  don’t make a lot of sense.

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35 Comments To "More On UK Christians"

#1 Comment By Robert Levine On February 12, 2018 @ 8:18 pm

We have an extremely powerful LGBT movement in the UK spearheaded by “Stonewall” who call themselves a human rights charity but are a LGBT pressure group. I recently went to a public lecture by their CEO (Ruth Hunt) who was open that they have sought to work in non-democratic means, seeking to get legislation passed which they knew would not have public approval at the time.

“We will not work to pass legislation that a majority of the people would not approve,” said no political party ever.

#2 Comment By Fray On February 12, 2018 @ 8:46 pm

“sought to work in non-democratic means, seeking to get legislation passed which they knew would not have public approval at the time.”

What?

So lobbying. Amazing detective work.

As far as this being unpopular, the truth is that most UK citizens approve of Same sex Marriage, even the Tories. This is from 2012, so the number has increased. “Three in five voters back gay marriage, new poll shows”

[4]

Dreher, you are printing untrue information from a biased and untrustworthy source and presenting it as fact. Stop doing it just because you think it sounds good. You don’t know what you are talking about.

[NFR: It’s almost like you and Robert Levine falsely assumed the reader is talking about gay marriage. — RD]

#3 Comment By David Palmer On February 12, 2018 @ 9:07 pm

I have made this comment before on Rod’s blog.

The situation in Australia is that for some decades now, in a move led by post WW2 immigrants from Holland, many, many Christian Schools have been established alongside the Catholic School system. 35% of all children are privately educated.

Christians have options of Christian Schools or home schooling.

My concern is that with the legalisation of ssm in Australia last year, these schools are going to come under extreme pressure by the likes of the Stonewall equivalents here. At the moment there are exemption clauses in anti discrimination legislation which allow such schools to discriminate in their employment policy for persons to affirm and demonstrate in their lifestyle the faith basis of the school as well as ability reject the more sexualised and otherwise objectionable educational units proposed by State education departments.

But for how long and will these schools, which receive Government funding to supplement school fees, stand firm on their faith principles?

Longer term, Christian parents will either have to resort to home schooling or some sort of church congregational based schooling, but I am getting ahead of myself.

#4 Comment By Corey F On February 12, 2018 @ 9:18 pm

This comment is not germane to the article (which I find disconcerting enough): AmCon really ought to review its ad policies because the ad that was generated to accompany this article on my end is, of all things, an Ashley Madison ad! I can imagine few things less BenOp than that…

[NFR: I’m pretty sure that the ads are generated by an algorithm that is beyond our control. — RD]

#5 Comment By Mark VA On February 12, 2018 @ 9:38 pm

I wouldn’t call these activists smart – they are merely clever. It seems they’ve have learned how to adapt a few old Communist tricks to serve their cause;

This Pentecostal “outreach” program is classic “rabbit breeding”. These naive young people will do their bidding not just within Pentecostal communities, but within their own families as well;

Plenty of antidotes for these old methods exist – read Norman Davies.

#6 Comment By AB On February 12, 2018 @ 10:08 pm

There is a deep, deep naiveté amongst most Christians and when you consider what we are up against, we are going to be eaten for breakfast.

Going to be? Who do you think has been on the menu, morning, noon, and night, since the 1960’s?

If people can’t see that the West is on a toboggan ride to the bottom, they haven’t been paying attention. And, yes, they plan to take your children along for the ride.

#7 Comment By BCZ On February 13, 2018 @ 2:16 am

I’ve been shocked by the ferocity and coordination of the UK LGBTQ movement recently, so this resonates. I recently read about how LGBTQ activists coordinated within the UK Quaker Yearly Meeting to condemn the Manchester meeting for renting their space tona Feminist organization holding meetings about the new proposed changes to the gender recognition law (to move to a legal gender ID on demand model with no diagnosis for gender dysphasia required) because this organization was a ‘hate group’.

This hate group’s demands? That MPs research and consult with women’s groups to ensure that benefits that are primarily meant to aid those who are biologically born female aren’t able to be opportunistically use. Yes. The hate group asked for a study and consultation.

Seriously RD, you should look up the UK gender recognition stuff going on in the UK.

Regarding evangelism, it continually amazes me how Christians remain so ignorant of how evangelization works in a world where religious messages of a ‘cold concersation’ Type ‘at the school house gate’ are viewed as an affront.

The evangelization they can do is to form strong enviable communities that evangelize and open doors.

#8 Comment By Andy On February 13, 2018 @ 6:05 am

“Plenty of antidotes for these old methods exist – read Norman Davies. – Mark VA”
Which of Davies writings specifically? Cannot we as Christians become better organized and equipped to combat these “methods”?

#9 Comment By James Bradshaw On February 13, 2018 @ 8:00 am

A general question for educators and teachers: is it not possible to provide an education to students in a “values neutral” setting?

It may not be possible … I don’t know.

If that is the case, what values should be taught? Or better yet, whose values?

#10 Comment By Hector_St_Clare On February 13, 2018 @ 8:15 am

This comment is not germane to the article (which I find disconcerting enough): AmCon really ought to review its ad policies because the ad that was generated to accompany this article on my end is, of all things, an Ashley Madison ad!

I get the ads for Eastern European dating services.

#11 Comment By Tim On February 13, 2018 @ 8:37 am

Mark VA writes: “Plenty of antidotes for these old methods exist – read Norman Davies.”

Mark, I’d be grateful if you mentioned which ND book(s) in particular you have in mind. Thanks.

#12 Comment By Fran Macadam On February 13, 2018 @ 8:52 am

There’s a long history of those who get control of government and media gaslighting the public into supporting wars they would not if the truth had been told instead of lies. So when it’s argued that three out of five voters think this or that, well the support for the failed wars in the Middle East were drummed into people’s heads with blatant but curiously imperceived lies too. If it can be done in regards to war support, it can be done with anything – until the truth finally emerges after a lot of unrepairable harm has been done by dissemblers.

As for educating your children in the vagaries of “the real world” it is ridiculous to think that children under the control of adult authority figures will somehow evangelize those acctivists hostile to parental faith. One mght as well argue that handing your daughters over to a Madam is the best way to teach them about prostitution.

#13 Comment By Reader John On February 13, 2018 @ 8:52 am

Most Christians in the United States apparently feel the same about Christian education.

Our professed concern for “the children” is self-narcotizing cant.

#14 Comment By Tim On February 13, 2018 @ 9:18 am

Christians need to adopt an outlook of our kids as Corinthians. Young, perhaps even eager in the faith, but easily led astray into false belief, sinful practices or to no faith at all by smooth talkers and peer pressure. I think a lot of parents have a false sense of security because they’ve gone to church every Sunday and their kids participate in youth group. Those parents don’t understand the immediate culture shift that happens once you move onto a college campus or the fundamental difference in worldview that occurs when you walk through public school doors. The LGBTQ lobby has adopted the advertisers greatest advice “get em while they’re young.” It’s completely logical that they would seek to impose their political beliefs and worldview through public schools because its axiomatic that schools serve as a socializing tool. The fact that courts force “neutrality” towards religion – specifically Christianity – means that local school boards, even in areas that wouldn’t generally accept such teachings, are practically forced to comply. As Jesus said in Luke 11:23 “Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.” As I see it, the idea of secular neutrality, even if a benevolent one as it ought to be, is not a biblical notion. The world is enmity with God. James 4:4.

There’s an old anecdote of the Jewish elder and his young son in the 19th century. As the son was boarding a boat to immigrate to America the elder told him “In the wilderness of America you will forget your God and lose your religion.” The wilderness of the urban city for that Jewish elder is the what public schools – especially colleges – are to Christian youth today. A wilderness where our youth wander and are surrounded by those who grumble against God.

#15 Comment By Keeponwalking On February 13, 2018 @ 9:30 am

UK (and Ireland) Vineyard churches, en garde! (as you have been). Time to get on your knees, give up meat, and increase your offerings.
Easter’s coming.

#16 Comment By Peregrinus On February 13, 2018 @ 9:34 am

I make 40,000 dollars a year.

The local Catholic high school costs 14,000 dollars a year.

In what world could I pay for kids to go there?

#17 Comment By hugh45 On February 13, 2018 @ 9:40 am

So a fringe radical group of religious bigots doesn’t like it when a minority has a say in how that minority lives? Could have fooled me in 2004 when you and your ilk tried to ban Same-sex marriage as a constitutional amendment.

Can you finally leave and go sit in a cave/monastery and let us live our lives?

#18 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On February 13, 2018 @ 9:48 am

Longer term, Christian parents will either have to resort to home schooling or some sort of church congregational based schooling, but I am getting ahead of myself.

You are also giving in to the sin of despair, before the bogeyman is even out of the anxiety closet. I’m not even a big fan of private schools or religious schools, but I’d be willing to defend the principle that the option should not be foreclosed by state action. I just hesitate to fight for people who are surrendering before the battle is joined.

It seems they’ve have learned how to adapt a few old Communist tricks to serve their cause;

As soon as a Communist Party worthy of the name re-emerges, these clever fools will be sued out of existence for misappropriation of other’s intellectual property.

Who do you think has been on the menu, morning, noon, and night, since the 1960’s?

Whoever Jerry Falwell and Karl Rove wanted on the menu…

I’ve been shocked by the ferocity and coordination of the UK LGBTQ movement recently…

Have you dared to stick out your foot, watch them trip and fall, and laugh at them?

Charles Cosimano should open an international consulting agency on how to discredit the more idiotic LGBTQWERTY outfits. And no, we don’t need to repeal civil statutes providing civil marriage licenses for same-sex couples. The concordat can be, we leave that alone, why not? and then the chatterboxes crawl back into their holes.

#19 Comment By kevin on the left On February 13, 2018 @ 9:53 am

““sought to work in non-democratic means, seeking to get legislation passed which they knew would not have public approval at the time.”

So, the gay activists are akin to such notorious totalitarian organizations as, I dunno, Iowa corn farmers?

#20 Comment By Will Harrington On February 13, 2018 @ 11:58 am

Robert Levine

You are obviously unfamiliar with both the concept and history of political parties. First, Stonewall is not a political party, it is a lobbying group (in US terms) Wikipedia identifies them as a charity. Now, as to the history portion, a basic familiarity twentieth and twenty-first century history will tell you how idiotic your trite comment was.
Rod, could you perhaps have a moratorium on posts that attempt to substitute memes and soundbites for an actual rational argument?

#21 Comment By Richard On February 13, 2018 @ 4:38 pm

Slightly off topic, but speaking of Christians in the UK…

Today, the BBC has taken the opportunity to post a brief Q&A explaining to Brits such foreign concepts as Shrove Tuesday, Ash Wednesday, and Lent.

[5]

#22 Comment By Furor On February 13, 2018 @ 4:59 pm

The truth is that in the end, despite your BenOp efforts which I find reasonable and appropriate, you can only count on Providence. Nobody expected Europe to become christian, even St. Benedict. It’s Providence who made that happen

#23 Comment By Anne On February 13, 2018 @ 5:43 pm

LGBT activists “sought to work in non-democratic means, seeking to get legislation passed which they knew would not have public approval at the time.”

Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan clearly have no problem with that in principle.

#24 Comment By Mark VA On February 13, 2018 @ 8:40 pm

Tim:

Regarding Norman Davies, I recommend all of his books. He has lived many years under Communism, and is fluent in several Eastern European languages (i.e. he does not rely on “translations”) – in other words, he knows what he is talking about. I would especially recommend:

(a) Chapter One of “Heart of Europe”. The discerning reader should be able to “re-contextualize” this material to present day circumstances – different actors, an increasingly familiar play. The antidote will become obvious as well – a new form of Solidarity, this time trans-national, with the philosophy and methods adapted to our challenges;

(b) Introduction to “Europe”, if only for the correct and scholarly definition of Propaganda (pp. 25-26, and 500-501 ). Once the four interlocking parts of propaganda (Reduction, Elimination, Anachronism, and “Enthusiasms of Language”) are understood, so much more will become clearer. For example, Anachronism will explain how a lie can be constructed with nothing but verifiable truths (so much for “fact checking”);

In my opinion, reading the “Heart of Europe” will also help place the “Benedict Option” in its historical context, as organic work of 21st century Positivists. And history suggests that whenever the Positivists and the Romantics work together (Solidarity), there is a winning coalition.

#25 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On February 13, 2018 @ 8:51 pm

I think Anne’s equation of Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan, on the one hand, to the LGBTQWERTY lobby, on the other hand, is quite accurate. A pox on both their houses.

#26 Comment By Old West On February 13, 2018 @ 11:22 pm

I am a grown man who is wealthy and in a professional situation where I am virtually untouchable. And these people scare ME.

And some evangelical jokers think their kids are going to evangelize at school?

What delusions… Talk about throwing your kids to the lions.

There are those who literally have no alternative to public education, and I feel for them — but for God’s sake (and theirs) you have to prepare them at least to survive it spiritually. Those who rationalize it by saying “but evangelization!” are probably not remotely preparing their kids for survival, let alone for the martydom of trying to evangelize.

#27 Comment By David Palmer On February 14, 2018 @ 3:00 am

This comment of Siarlys Jenkins, “You are also giving in to the sin of despair, before the bogeyman is even out of the anxiety closet. I’m not even a big fan of private schools or religious schools, but I’d be willing to defend the principle that the option should not be foreclosed by state action. I just hesitate to fight for people who are surrendering before the battle is joined”, on my earlier statement: “Longer term, Christian parents will either have to resort to home schooling or some sort of church congregational based schooling, but I am getting ahead of myself” is very wide of the mark.

I am not giving into despair! Calvinists such as myself, do not despair. God is sovereign, but let’s not forget what our Lord Jesus said, “if anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me”. Following our Lord is not about despair, it is about things like refusing to bow to the demands of the State when the State wishes to push Christians into ungodly ways of thinking, speaking and acting. My comments should be read in this light.

I belong to a denomination that chooses to make its voice known on ethical issues, and personally have appeared before Committees of Parliament, Law Reform Commissions on behalf of the denomination, to argue for Christian positions across a full range of ethical issues, laws related to embryonic stem cell research, cloning, abortion, extension of IVF treatments to single women including lesbians, surrogacy laws in which up to 5 persons can contribute to bringing a child into the world (I’m not referring to doctors and other staff). I could go on.

No capitulation I assure you.

But let’s be realistic, too, which is what I think Rod is on about.

#28 Comment By Violet On February 14, 2018 @ 8:36 am

“I make 40,000 dollars a year.

The local Catholic high school costs 14,000 dollars a year.

In what world could I pay for kids to go there?”

This is why generous charter school legislation is so important! It is not THE answer. It is not the only answer. But the culture at a classical charter school makes a difference.

#29 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On February 14, 2018 @ 1:11 pm

I belong to a denomination that chooses to make its voice known on ethical issues, and personally have appeared before Committees of Parliament, Law Reform Commissions on behalf of the denomination, to argue for Christian positions across a full range of ethical issues…

That’s good. Its also different than your previous remarks about how rapidly you expect to go down to defeat or retreat into a remote redoubt. I frankly think that in all parts of the globe where LGBTQWERTY lobbies are “powerful,” its because they’ve been allowed to set down a few self-serving axioms and get them accepted as the basis of any debate. So, we need to attack the axioms, which are more sociologically or emotive than constitutional or statutory.

Now, your choices of ethical issues…

laws related to embryonic stem cell research, cloning, abortion, extension of IVF treatments to single women including lesbians, surrogacy laws in which up to 5 persons can contribute to bringing a child into the world

I’m not going to sign on to these as a body, any more than I sign onto pro-gay OR anti-gay positions as a body. I have no problem with embryonic or other stem cell research. As a legislative issue, this could go either way without doing violence to constitutional fundamentals. Cloning: I think we need to ban cloning whole organisms, while encouraging using a patient’s own cells to clone replacement organs that will not be rejected by the patient’s immune system. Again, that’s a prudential and discretionary judgment, not a constitutional one. Abortion… I’m on the western side of the pond, but I support Roe v. Wade as a sound, conservative application of well established constitutional jurisprudence to restrain the police powers of the state… which is not to say that there is a “right to abortion” at all. I think it would be wise to move the boundary between first and second trimesters to about 20-22 weeks, based on advances in medical knowledge since 1973.

In short, I am not taking a position that “the Calvinists should win public debates.” Nor am I taking a position that “agnostic intersectionalists should win public debates.” What I am trying to do is reassert a careful constitutional set of parameters to what is up for debate. There is a lot that can be done along this line which will not really satisfy anyone who is passionate about their pet issue, but will leave most of us able to live our lives. Lesbians can have their civil marriage licenses, and probably manage to conceive by artificial insemination, churches, bakers, florists, and photographers can practice their art in conformity to their conscience.

Its likely the best deal you’re going to get. And its not half bad, unless you are one of those Calvinists who wants to control the state, as the Scottish Presbyterians wanted to impose a uniform jurisdiction over the Commonwealth.

#30 Comment By ROB On February 14, 2018 @ 2:32 pm

Stonewall. Consider the name. An old Christopher Street bar turned by Mafia associates into a gay clip joint designed to blackmail customers and launder stolen bonds. The Organized Crime Bureau (not the local Sixth Precinct – so there’s no issue of an attempted shakedown) close the joint down to the unanimous approval of the neighbors, many of whom are gay. The displaced drinkers decide to fight with the cops and (never mentioned) bystanders and rampage through a residential neighborhood several nights running. From this an appropriate icon for the intimidation we see now.

#31 Comment By Rick67 On February 15, 2018 @ 11:42 am

If this is the situation in the UK, if these are the forces working to make it more difficult for traditional Christians to live let alone speak or teach according to their convictions, if they are going so far as to plan outreach programs designed to turn teenage girls against the values of their own parents…

To what extent does this demonstrate what the “sides” in these debates represent and/or warn traditional Christians about the true nature of the “sexual autonomy” movement?

Increasingly it appears there is not much of a middle ground here. Either the ideology of sexual autonomy is basically correct, and traditional Christians need to stop being stubborn and recalcitrant on these issues. That this is like slavery or civil rights, the “world” was ahead of the church (engaging in some sloppy and inaccurate generalizations for a moment), we eventually caught up. (And I know “progressive” Christians who talk this way. They still use this interpretation of history to criticize more conservative, evangelical Christians.)

Or the sexual autonomy forces are basically incorrect, a symptom of the world’s state of rebellion against its creator who has revealed his person, purpose, and will in many ways, including Scripture, holy tradition, and of course the incarnation of the word in Christ Jesus. And – this is the important point – when well meaning Christians (and some who aren’t so well meaning) say this isn’t essential, we need to change on this issue, heck we can still be pretty conservative on sexual morality and marriage, we just loosen up a bit on the specific point of same-sex relations (and maybe transgender as well), it will be all right…

That good Christians with good intentions, without realizing such, are letting the world in its rebellion determine what we profess, and how we live as people who claim allegiance to the Triune God.

And what we see happening in the UK might peel away the veneer of Christian rhetoric and noble intentions so that we can see more clearly the nature of the parties involved, what lies behind these rather divisive issues, and what the stakes truly are.

Sorry about the rambling comment. I am struggling with this issue, would like to know with some confidence what the “truth” is, where we should stand, and why. The Christian church dare not be wrong about this. At the risk of sounding melodramatic, my call to vocational ministry is being shaken by this issue.

#32 Comment By Robert Levine On February 15, 2018 @ 6:28 pm

[NFR: It’s almost like you and Robert Levine falsely assumed the reader is talking about gay marriage. — RD]

I didn’t reference same-sex marriage and wasn’t referring to it. What I was referring to was the faux-outrage that an interest group succeeded in getting legislation passed that might not be very popular. That’s how representative democracy works in countries like the UK and the US.

To cite just three examples from the US, the NRA has succeeded in passing legislation that was extremely unpopular and stopping legislation that was. The pro-life movement is quite open about their desire to outlaw all forms of abortion in the US, even though that is not a view that a majority of Americans hold. And look at the tax cut passed in December – what minuscule percentage of Americans thought that was a good idea? It was pretty minuscule, whatever it was. And I’m sure there are equivalent examples from the Left as well.

Let’s just not pretend that it’s some kind of offense against morality for an interest group to work to enshrine its values into law, even if its values are not those of the majority.

#33 Comment By Robert Levine On February 15, 2018 @ 7:34 pm

Will Harrington says in response to Robert Levine:

You are obviously unfamiliar with both the concept and history of political parties. First, Stonewall is not a political party, it is a lobbying group (in US terms) Wikipedia identifies them as a charity. Now, as to the history portion, a basic familiarity twentieth and twenty-first century history will tell you how idiotic your trite comment was.
Rod, could you perhaps have a moratorium on posts that attempt to substitute memes and soundbites for an actual rational argument?

I’d call for a moratorium on name-calling, myself. But, as regards history, one only has to look at the passage of the ACA and the recent tax cut to see political parties ignoring the will of the majority in order to cater to their bases.

Apparently it needs stating that lobbying groups almost always work through political parties; usually by becoming a part of a party’s base that won’t let itself be ignored. It’s pretty much the only way to pass legislation in a system like ours.

In the case of the tax cut, Republican politicians were quite open that they were catering to their donors, and that their donors had threatened to stop contribution to their campaigns if they didn’t pass the tax cut. That was a pretty small minority of people. But it didn’t matter in the end.

#34 Comment By Robert Levine On February 15, 2018 @ 7:37 pm

Tim wrote:

There’s an old anecdote of the Jewish elder and his young son in the 19th century. As the son was boarding a boat to immigrate to America the elder told him “In the wilderness of America you will forget your God and lose your religion.” The wilderness of the urban city for that Jewish elder is the what public schools – especially colleges – are to Christian youth today. A wilderness where our youth wander and are surrounded by those who grumble against God.

What’s most interesting about that anecdote is that it was, in the main, wrong.

#35 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On February 20, 2018 @ 10:58 pm

In the case of the tax cut, Republican politicians were quite open that they were catering to their donors, and that their donors had threatened to stop contribution to their campaigns if they didn’t pass the tax cut. That was a pretty small minority of people. But it didn’t matter in the end.

It will matter if voters in large numbers learn to ignore the sound bytes paid for by those lavish campaign donations. Money only rules if the voters respond like sheep to the propaganda money buys.