The Prophet of Bayside

During my last trip to San Francisco, I reported on my discovery of a woman who receives messages from God in his actual handwriting. I'm amused to report that I've just found out about another holy prophet I thought I'd share with you all, and this one is a local!


Her name is Veronica Lueken, and she lived in Bayside, Queens, not far from where I live now. Although most of her prophetic activity took place in the late 70s and early 80s, and she died in the 90s, she still has a cadre of devoted followers, despite the fact that some of her predictions now seem just a touch out of date.

Lueken's messages were specific to the Roman Catholic church, not the Greek Orthodox church as Vassula Ryden's were. You'd think that all the various people channeling the true words of the Lord would be able to get together and agree on which religion is the true one, but apparently not. But one thing these prophets do have in common is that they can go on and on and on. In Lueken's case, her cumulative output takes the form of over 400 "Directives from Heaven", each one explaining what God thinks about various subjects. The titles run from the banal ("Wisdom", "The Poor") to the more esoteric ("Blood Will Flow Through the Streets").

Although she doesn't have samples of God's handwriting, Lueken has something even more hilarious: quotes attributed directly to Jesus, the Virgin Mary, and various saints, complete with the exact dates they were spoken. And judging by some of the revelations, Jesus woke up on the wrong side of the bed the day he dictated them:

"Already We hear you clamor for the ordination of woman. No woman shall stand in My House to represent Me! How dare you bring in this heresy to My House! I shall go among you and I shall sling you out from My temples!" Jesus, December 27, 1975

Interestingly, despite her Catholic background, Lueken held to a typical evangelical end-times scenario, complete with Rapture, Antichrist and the like. Her one great prophetic innovation was the prediction of a comet (which she dubbed the "Ball of Redemption", no doubt sensing the marketing power of good framing) which was heralded to strike New York City sometime during or after World War III. Sadly, there's no indication of timing, other than a message from Jesus dated June 18, 1986, saying that these catastrophes would "no longer be delayed".

Given the obvious correctness of this information, I'm sure you're eager to hear some of the other divine wisdom conveyed through Veronica Lueken, and I'm happy to oblige. First of all, test-tube babies have no souls:

"We will not have test-tube babies, for they are not born with a soul. They can only, then, be called a 'thing,' a 'creature' unknown. Is this what you want, My children?" Jesus, June 6, 1987

Also, when women work outside the home, God punishes them by turning their husbands gay:

"Since women have exchanged their roles as women, preferring to be as men, and have abandoned their true, true value of life--have abandoned their role as a mother to carry the creation of their God within their wombs. They, therefore, will also find that their husbands and sons will find rejection of women, and men will seek lustfully pleasures with men, known, My child, as homosexuality." Our Lady, September 28, 1974

In the historical trivia department, you'll be bemused to discover that Pope Paul VI was drugged and secretly replaced with a body double:

"The appearance in public is not Paul VI; it is the impostor pope. Medication of evil has dulled the brain of the true pope, Pope Paul VI. They send into his veins poison to dull his reasoning and paralyze his legs. What evil creature have you opened the doors to the Eternal City and admitted?" Our Lady, September 27, 1975

Last but not least, some vital information on the little-known baby-sacrificing witch covens of Long Island:

"The island of Long Island, within a sixty mile radius, has thirteen covens now. Yes, My child, they are the worst of the worst, for they sacrifice the innocent babies, and they also are using animals again. Many dead carcasses shall be found on the beaches and in the woods." Our Lady, November 1, 1985

And because I know you're just dying to find out what Jesus and the Virgin Mary think of us, here's a bonus excerpt from the "Atheists and Unbelievers" directive:

"You must understand, the heart of the atheist is closed to mercy and goodness. A darkened soul has shut out the light. And they seek nothing but the destruction of any man, woman, or child who stands in their way, to assume and gain through hatred and deception among families, and also the ruination of the lives of the children of all families." Our Lady, October 5, 1985

Curses, found out! And we would have gotten away with it, too, if it wasn't for that meddling Virgin Mary!

Sadly, like other prophets without honor in their own countries, Lueken never found official church acceptance of her visions. This was probably less because of the apocalypticism than because of the whole impostor-pope-Vatican-conspiracy thing, which seems to have displeased the local bishop. In spite of that, Lueken's shrine has the usual crop of miracle claims to boast from among the faithful. For an atheist, of course, this isn't a problem: it's just one more example of the conflicting miracles that always proliferate among differing religions. But shouldn't a Christian have to worry that these are genuine revelations that are being overlooked?

Image credit: shutterstock.com

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Political division is nothing new. Throughout American history there have been numerous flare ups in which the political arena was more than just tense but incideniary. In a letter addressed to William Hamilton in 1800, Thomas Jefferson once lamented about how an emotional fervor had swept over the populace in regards to a certain political issue at the time. It disturbed him greatly to see how these political issues seemed to seep into every area of life and even affect people's interpersonal relationships. At one point in the letter he states:

"I never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosophy, as cause for withdrawing from a friend."

Today, we Americans find ourselves in a similar situation, with our political environment even more splintered due to a number of factors. The advent of mass digital media, siloed identity-driven political groups, and a societal lack of understanding of basic discursive fundamentals all contribute to the problem.

Civil discourse has fallen to an all time low.

The question that the American populace needs to ask itself now is: how do we fix it?


Discursive fundamentals need to be taught to preserve free expression

In a 2017 Free Speech and Tolerance Survey by Cato, it was found that 71% of Americans believe that political correctness had silenced important discussions necessary to our society. Many have pointed to draconian university policies regarding political correctness as a contributing factor to this phenomenon.

It's a great irony that, colleges, once true bastions of free-speech, counterculture and progressiveness, have now devolved into reactionary tribal politics.

Many years ago, one could count on the fact that universities would be the first places where you could espouse and debate any controversial idea without consequence. The decline of staple subjects that deal with the wisdom of the ancients, historical reference points, and civic discourse could be to blame for this exaggerated partisanship boiling on campuses.

Young people seeking an education are given a disservice when fed biased ideology, even if such ideology is presented with the best of intentions. Politics are but one small sliver for society and the human condition at large. Universities would do well to instead teach the principles of healthy discourse and engagement across the ideological spectrum.

The fundamentals of logic, debate and the rich artistic heritage of western civilization need to be the central focus of an education. They help to create a well-rounded citizen that can deal with controversial political issues.

It has been found that in the abstract, college students generally support and endorse the first amendment, but there's a catch when it comes to actually practicing it. This was explored in a Gallup survey titled: Free Expression on Campus: What college students think about First amendment issues.

In their findings the authors state:

"The vast majority say free speech is important to democracy and favor an open learning environment that promotes the airing of a wide variety of ideas. However, the actions of some students in recent years — from milder actions such as claiming to be threatened by messages written in chalk promoting Trump's candidacy to the most extreme acts of engaging in violence
to stop attempted speeches — raise issues of just how committed college students are to
upholding First Amendment ideals.


Most college students do not condone more aggressive actions to squelch speech, like
violence and shouting down speakers, although there are some who do. However, students
do support many policies or actions that place limits on speech, including free speech zones,
speech codes and campus prohibitions on hate speech, suggesting that their commitment
to free speech has limits. As one example, barely a majority think handing out literature on
controversial issues is "always acceptable."

With this in mind, the problems seen on college campuses are also being seen on a whole through other pockets of society and regular everyday civic discourse. Look no further than the dreaded and cliche prospect of political discussion at Thanksgiving dinner.

Talking politics at Thanksgiving dinner

As a result of this increased tribalization of views, it's becoming increasingly more difficult to engage in polite conversation with people possessing opposing viewpoints. The authors of a recent Hidden Tribes study broke down the political "tribes" in which many find themselves in:

  • Progressive Activists: younger, highly engaged, secular, cosmopolitan, angry.
  • Traditional Liberals: older, retired, open to compromise, rational, cautious.
  • Passive Liberals: unhappy, insecure, distrustful, disillusioned.
  • Politically Disengaged: young, low income, distrustful, detached, patriotic, conspiratorial
  • Moderates: engaged, civic-minded, middle-of-the-road, pessimistic, Protestant.
  • Traditional Conservatives: religious, middle class, patriotic, moralistic.
  • Devoted Conservatives: white, retired, highly engaged, uncompromising,
    Patriotic.

Understanding these different viewpoints and the hidden tribes we may belong to will be essential in having conversations with those we disagree with. This might just come to a head when it's Thanksgiving and you have a mix of many different personalities, ages, and viewpoints.

It's interesting to note the authors found that:

"Tribe membership shows strong reliability in predicting views across different political topics."

You'll find that depending on what group you identify with, that nearly 100 percent of the time you'll believe in the same way the rest of your group constituents do.

Here are some statistics on differing viewpoints according to political party:

  • 51% of staunch liberals say it's "morally acceptable" to punch Nazis.
  • 53% of Republicans favor stripping U.S. citizenship from people who burn the American flag.
  • 51% of Democrats support a law that requires Americans use transgender people's preferred gender pronouns.
  • 65% of Republicans say NFL players should be fired if they refuse to stand for the anthem.
  • 58% of Democrats say employers should punish employees for offensive Facebook posts.
  • 47% of Republicans favor bans on building new mosques.

Understanding the fact that tribal membership indicates what you believe, can help you return to the fundamentals for proper political engagement

Here are some guidelines for civic discourse that might come in handy:

  • Avoid logical fallacies. Essentially at the core, a logical fallacy is anything that detracts from the debate and seeks to attack the person rather than the idea and stray from the topic at hand.
  • Practice inclusion and listen to who you're speaking to.
  • Have the idea that there is nothing out of bounds for inquiry or conversation once you get down to an even stronger or new perspective of whatever you were discussing.
  • Keep in mind the maxim of : Do not listen with the intent to reply. But with the intent to understand.
  • We're not trying to proselytize nor shout others down with our rhetoric, but come to understand one another again.
  • If we're tied too closely to some in-group we no longer become an individual but a clone of someone else's ideology.

Civic discourse in the divisive age

Debate and civic discourse is inherently messy. Add into the mix an ignorance of history, rabid politicization and debased political discourse, you can see that it will be very difficult in mending this discursive staple of a functional civilization.

There is still hope that this great divide can be mended, because it has to be. The Hidden Tribes authors at one point state:

"In the era of social media and partisan news outlets, America's differences have become
dangerously tribal, fueled by a culture of outrage and taking offense. For the combatants,
the other side can no longer be tolerated, and no price is too high to defeat them.
These tensions are poisoning personal relationships, consuming our politics and
putting our democracy in peril.


Once a country has become tribalized, debates about contested issues from
immigration and trade to economic management, climate change and national security,
become shaped by larger tribal identities. Policy debate gives way to tribal conflicts.
Polarization and tribalism are self-reinforcing and will likely continue to accelerate.
The work of rebuilding our fragmented society needs to start now. It extends from
re-connecting people across the lines of division in local communities all the way to
building a renewed sense of national identity: a bigger story of us."

We need to start teaching people how to approach subjects from less of an emotional or baseless educational bias or identity, especially in the event that the subject matter could be construed to be controversial or uncomfortable.

This will be the beginning of a new era of understanding, inclusion and the defeat of regressive philosophies that threaten the core of our nation and civilization.