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the analog cover for X Wars

The Australian government is reportedly giving a lot of money to schools run by the Exclusive Brethren, a religious sect, with a few thousand pupils in the whole country.

Although the Brethren have been accused of 'breaking up families', the group also received grants under the Schools Pride program. All up, the 2400 children in Brethren schools will each receive the equivalent of AU$26,127 in recurrent funding and AU$11,200 in stimulus funding.

Angelo Gavrielatos, the Australian Education Union federal president, said the sums were 'outrageous'. 'How can the Government justify handing tens of millions of dollars to an organisation it believes is a cult while public schools which educate the vast majority of our children are struggling for funds?' Mr Gavrielatos said.

According to The Australian, the Exclusive Brethren is a 'fundamentalist Christian sect that lives by the doctrine of separation from mainstream society. Brethren schools must teach the normal curriculum, although reports say some novels are banned and chapters on sex and reproduction are excised from science textbooks'. Members of the group do not vote, do not use technology including television, radios and movies and are not allowed to eat in public restaurants.

Aangirfan recently pointed out that Aleister Crowley's parents were both Exclusive Brethren.

As a child, the only book Crowley was allowed to read was the Bible. From the age of eight he was sent to strict Evangelical boarding schools. At his second school he was bullied and beaten by 'a sexually ambiguous sadomasochist' headmaster. When Aleister was 11, his father died. Aleister came to hate the Brethren.

So after his education at many schools, Crowley went on to became a famous satanist linked to pedophilia, human sacrifice, spies, drugs, etc. After rejecting the Brethren "cult," Crowley went on to make his own "cult."
According to Crowley, the God told him that a new Aeon for mankind had begun, and that Crowley would serve as its prophet. "Believing himself to be the messiah of a new epoch, Crowley swore that he would perform depraved acts and learn to love them." Christianity was dead, he declared. "His new religion had one all-powerful doctrine: 'Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law.'"
An author, Michael Bachelard, published a book in 2008: Behind the Exclusive Brethren.

Out of nowhere in 2004, an obscure religious sect burst onto the political stage in Australia. Almost unheard of until then, the Exclusive Brethren was suddenly spending up big in election advertising in support of conservative political parties. But its members were shy to the point of paranoia about who they were — preferring, as they said, to ‘fly under the radar’. Brethren members assiduously lobbied politicians, but did not vote. And they were very close to the-then prime minister John Howard.

What exactly was their interest in politics? Why did their activism suddenly blossom almost simultaneously across the world, from Canada and the United States to Sweden and Australia? And how did a small, fringe group, whose values are utterly detached from those of most Australians, infiltrate the highest office in the land?

Bachelard endured considerable pressure for looking into this cult:

Bachelard’s research showed the Exclusive Brethren make plentiful use of large funds available for silencing criticism through the law courts. He says that, while reporting on the Exclusive Brethren, he has had a number of legal letters threatening actions for trespass, apprehended violence orders, complaints to the Australian Press Council and defamation.
In August, the Brisbane Times reported that the Australian government created a giant loophole for the Exclusive Brethren to exploit:

The Government, under its Building the Education Revolution (BER) funding, this year granted the Exclusive Brethren's Brisbane campus, Agnew School, $1.6 million to build a library. The school, at Wakerley in Brisbane's east, with 118 students in years three to 12, qualified for the funding because it spread its student numbers over six campuses....

Dr Kaye said federal Education Minister Julia Gillard had allowed the school to legally exploit the loophole and gold plate one of its campuses. Receiving $1.6 million for a library based on students who are enrolled at campuses that are many hours drive away makes a mockery of the Building the Education Revolution process, he said. Many students for whom this money was allocated will never see the library that is supposed to serve them. He said Ms Gillard was washing her hands of the issue by hiding behind funding formulas....A spokeswoman for Ms Gillard said: For the purpose of funding under the BER, schools with multiple campuses are treated as a single school.

Today The Australian reports that the funding loopholes costs Australian taxpayers $3.5 billion(???) a year and must be urgently reviewed. (I don't know if that's a typo but it does say "billion." Other sources say million.)

The secretive but financially savvy sect has taken advantage of a "no-disadvantage" clause put in the funding system by the Howard government, of which the Brethren was a strong supporter. Federal education authorities warned the funding loophole was giving the Brethren a windfall, according to a 2006 report seen by The Australian, but nothing was done about it....The no-disadvantage clause means that despite the wealth of the Brethren schools' communities, their funding level is preserved at that awarded to the original campus at Meadowbank in Sydney. Australian Education Union federal president Angelo Gavrielatos said the funding guarantee was costing taxpayers $3.5 billion a year and must be urgently reviewed.

The response?
"Brethren schools do not receive a cent more than they are entitled to; there has never been a special funding arrangement for Brethren schools."
Aha, they did not receive a cent more than they were entitled to (wink wink wink!!!). You got a problem with that?

So what is this all about? Why is the Australian government catering to this group? I think it ties into X Wars and end time scenarios. (X Wars being ways of making things look like we are at the mercy of either God or Mother Nature and have no control over events.) If you want people to think that God is going to smite the world and bring about Armageddon, in a "clash of civilizations" for instance, you might want to empower whack-job fundamentalists to oppose your trusty islamofascist terrorists on the payroll, hmm? A little straight-forward Hegelian mind-fuckery, that's all.

From a 2007 analysis of nuclear war risks:
The psychological mindsets, well being and religious beliefs of the nine sets of nuclear war decision makers is a very relevant factor in whether or not nuclear weapons are used. One example is the Fundamentalist Christian "End Times" beliefs of President George Bush. In this belief system nuclear war is regarded as a fulfilment of a much-desired Biblical prediction of God. End Timers believe God wants a final battle between 'good and evil' and they are the chosen people who will decide who is "good" and who is "evil". The true believer is good and will be raptured to heaven and the unbelievers (those who do not believe in Fundamentalist Christian gospels) are evil and will be condemned by the Christian God to a perpetual hell. The 'End Timers' who have a strong influence on Bush, and are a very dedicated, wealthy and powerful minority in the US . They will support anything that leads toward a nuclear Armageddon and the fulfilment of Biblical prophesy as they interpret it. That's one reason why the 'Exclusive Brethren's sect has given large donations to conservative political parties in different countries around the world.