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9-11 -- another view raises questions

The items posted here are from 2006.
For current posts, in 2010, click here.

Theologian puts questions about the 9/11 event in a deeper perspective – and gives reasons for deeper concern

a book review by Arch Taylor    [8-30-06]

Christian Faith and the Truth Behind 9/11: A Call to Reflection and Action
by David Ray Griffin.

[Westminster John Knox Press, 2006; 192 pages plus 49 pages of notes, $17.95]

David Ray Griffin states that for eighteen months after 9/11 he accepted that Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda had caused the attacks. After noting discrepancies in the time line of the events before and after 9/11, he investigated more carefully. He states: "I, like many other people, did not reject the official story until I was—against my initial reaction—convinced by an abundance of evidence." In 2004 Griffin published The New Pearl Harbor: Disturbing Questions about the Bush Administration and 9/11, presenting evidence that pointed toward Bush-Cheney administration complicity. He listed 40 unanswered questions, possible "smoking guns" that "could provide some starting points for a real investigation—if and when one is ever authorized."

Responding to pressure from survivors of 9/11 victims, the administration belatedly appointed an investigative Commission, which released The Final Report for the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States. That report failed to answer Griffin’s questions, so he rebutted it with his second major work, The 9/11 Commission Report: Omissions and Distortions. His new book on the subject highlights some prominent examples:

Construction and fire damage experts stated that except for the alleged case of the Twin Towers, no high-rise steel-frame building had ever been totally destroyed as a result of such an event. Demolition experts stated that except for this alleged case the only high-rise steel frame buildings that collapsed straight down were designedly destroyed with explosive charges strategically placed and purposely detonated. The Commission Report ignored this information, clinging to the implausible theory that the impact and fire caused the damaged columns to allow floors above to crash down on lower ones, bringing the towers down in "pancake" fashion.

The Commission Report claimed the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) failed to notify NORAD (North American Aerospace Defense Command) soon enough to have fighter planes intercept the hijacked airliners. In a memo read into the Commission record Laura Brown stated that FAA had informed NORAD by 8.20 before the North Tower was struck at 8.48. Secretary of Transportation Norman Mineta told the Commission he was in a meeting chaired by Vice President Cheney. About 9.26 a young man reported that a plane 50 miles out was approaching, and Cheney told him "the orders still stand." The Pentagon was struck at 9.38. The Commission Report omits the Brown and Mineta testimonies and lays all the blame on the FAA. No one at FAA was fired for incompetence, while all available evidence points to orders that NORAD stand down or delay.

The executive director of the 9/11 Commission and architect of the Final Report was Philip Zelikow, who served with Condoleezza Rice in the George H. W. Bush administration and assisted transition to the National Security Council of the next Bush administration. Zelikow co-authored documents for Bush-Cheney describing strategic policies for post 9/11 actions. It was, Griffin says,"the White House investigating itself."

Adding other examples of omissions and distortions, Griffin points out the administration failed to rebut the prima facie case that it orchestrated 9/11 and used it as rationale to implement the aim of American global supremacy previously devised by persons who occupy posts in the administration. Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Perle, Libby, Bolton, and Woolsey among others formed the Project for the New American Century (PNAC). They conceded that the plan was so ambitious it would require an event such as Pearl Harbor to mobilize the American public. CBS reported that President Bush, before going to bed on 9/11, noted in his journal "the Pearl Harbor of the 21st century took place today."

Griffin describes how Christian faith originated in first century Palestine under Roman domination aided by compliant Jewish political and religious aristocracy. Jesus challenged the kingdom of Caesar, hailed as divine benefactor and bringer of peace. Rome’s real beneficiaries were the Roman power structure and client rulers of their colonies. The masses both in Rome and especially in the colonies suffered horribly.

Jesus proclaimed the in-breaking of God’s rule on earth, deliverance of the poor from captivity to demonic powers of illness, poverty, and hopelessness. In the early decades the Jesus movement was a nonviolent protest against empire, forming a mutual help community among the downtrodden as a living body indwelt by the spirit of Jesus offering a new way of life.

Once Christianity adapted to surrounding culture and became the religion of the Empire it lost its authentic character and became complicit in the imperial project. Faith in Jesus became the means to get individual forgiveness and assurance of heaven. Griffin describes this process at length and ends with an appeal to Christians to rediscover the anti-imperialist aspect of authentic faith and bring it to bear on America today. Political, financial, and industrial leaders are content; commercial media have no interest in challenging the status quo. Christians must act now to dissociate from the American imperial project, as did the Confessing Church that protested Hitler and the councils of churches that condemned South African apartheid. The place to begin is demanding an objective investigation into 9/11 to determine whether the attacks were, as Griffin suggests, "orchestrated on behalf of U.S. imperial interests."

August 29, 2006
Arch B. Taylor, Jr.
Author of Pearl Harbor, Hiroshima, & Beyond: Subversion of Values
2200 Greentree North Apt 1120
Clarksville IN 47129

If you have comments on this review, or the book itself, or the criticisms of the book posted below, please send us a note, and we'll add it to the discussion!

More on 9/11 and suspicions of a conspiracy    [10-19-06]

We reported a few weeks ago on the book Christian Faith and the Truth Behind 9/11: A Call to Reflection and Action, in which theologian David Ray Griffin puts questions about the 9/11 event in a deeper perspective – and gives reasons for deeper concern.

Now Presbyterian Outlook has provided two helpful responses to Griffin’s book.

Chris Iosso, who is the coordinator for social witness policy of the Presbyterian Church (USA), considers Griffin’s case for the existence of some kind of conspiracy to set up attacks on US targets, for the purpose of consolidating power in the hands of the Administration in Washington.   Iosso's comments >>

Scott Leslie, pastor of First Church of Allen, Texas, focuses on the second half of the book, which deals with "the existence of evil, the rise of demonic power, and the comparison of current American policy to the actions of Imperial Rome."

He finds this line of thought interesting, but finally regrets that "what is lacking in Griffin’s presentation is any sense of hope."   Leslie's comments >>

A peaceful response to Dr.Tilford    [9-19-06]

Cynthia Adams, whose recent comments drew a strongly critical response from Dr. Earl Tilford, responds to him by reaffirming (as a "pacifist grandmother") her own commitment to peace, and her appreciation of Dr.Griffin’s Christian Faith and the Truth Behind 9/11 as she continues studying it.

Near the end of her note she says: "The answer to all of this is faith in God. All the armaments, all the wars, will never bring true freedom or justice. They have tried this before, many times. Someone always loses the war, so suffers injustice, so there you are right back where you started with people plotting revenge, which is how we got here today. The answer is to break the violence/more violence cycle. Supposedly the Church should lead the way of peace here, but they are the ones leading the war."

To Mr. Tilford

I am so sorry you thought I was referring to you when I spoke of the 'dominion-oriented bunch'. [See her first note.]

I was actually referring to the churches that believe our country should begin a new Pax Americana, based on some scriptures in the Book of Genesis. There are many proponents of their theories, but D. James Kennedy is one. Some Christians advocate war and world domination as a means of bringing in Christ's kingdom. I believe that is just plain wrong, and certainly not a reflection of the message of the Gospels.

Thank you for giving me another version of the recent history we have all been witnessing, in case I might have forgotten it.

Although I have read at least 30 books about recent political events, from both sides of the political spectrum, I understand you have to let off your steam somewhere, I guess. Why not let it off on a pacifist grandmother who won't retaliate?:) Feeling better now?

I do acknowledge all the pain you feel in seeing our country attacked. I believe we all feel horror at senseless loss of life. The difference is, I believe we have already descended into global barbarism by attacking nations that were not responsible for 9/11. We are the barbarians now. We are killing them now, over and over and over. How much will be enough to assuage your need for revenge? When will you know we have won? How many must die? How many countries?

I just believe that Jesus calls us to a non-violent response, both as individuals and as a nation. In fact, the Church taught just such a response for the first 300 years. As a historian, you certainly know this.

Of course, if religious viewpoints don't matter to you, then the book obviously won't speak to you. I found his religious sections actually much more interesting. Although I thought he was a postmodernist, he doesn't really argue like one, seeking a universal human rights morality that all can agree to as a universal minimum standard. Definitely not a relativist, after all.

I have read most of it, now. I found it profoundly well-researched and well-documented, with a wide variety of sources for its conclusions. I feel the evidence pointing to the government's official involvement is inconclusive right now. There is plenty of 'smoke', but no visible flames. I would never call him a charlatan, though. His work is very well-written, and well-argued. Rebut him if you must, but back up your statements with documents, proof, evidence. Don't call him names. It's so cheap.

The current administration could have avoided these questions and theories by providing a truly independent investigation, instead of ignoring much of the testimony of federal agents and witnesses at the scene. The fact that Zelikow headed it was definitely a conflict of interest for me.

That is why people try to find other explanations. It's only natural to rush in to fill a vacuum.

The evidence of neocon goals of global hegemony documented in the book is certainly undisputed even in the mainstream press. Everyone knows about most of these public government documents and white papers he uses as sources. PNAC does not deny it. They are proud of their goals to bring in Pax Americana.

The answer to all of this is faith in God. All the armaments, all the wars, will never bring true freedom or justice. They have tried this before, many times. Someone always loses the war, so suffers injustice, so there you are right back where you started with people plotting revenge, which is how we got here today. The answer is to break the violence/more violence cycle. Supposedly the Church should lead the way of peace here, but they are the ones leading the war.

That is why I am now speaking out. War is just wrong. It is always wrong. People hate to hear it, because the Spirit convicts them in their hearts and they are so afraid that they can't trust God, so they trust their guns. War is the coward's way out. Call me naive, but I'm in good company.

Cynthia Adams
just a Christian
Round Lake Height, Il

One response to Dr. Earl Tilford's criticism of Griffin’s Christian Faith and the Truth Behind 9/11 – "Why is he so angry?"
bulletDr.Tilford explains that he really is angry -- and why.

We received this note from Cynthia Adams:

I have not read the book, yet. But I will say that I find it shocking that all these experts are so quick to ridicule his work. It is good to know that Mr. Tilford can contribute his knowledge about how aircraft are scrambled. That is good to hear. But why is he so angry? Why can't he just contribute his knowledge in the spirit of cooperation? Why the personal attacks? People usually use personal attacks when they can't figure out how else to gain the upper hand.

There is one fact that Tilford, the Nation, and the Presbyterians are ignoring. The 9/11 Commission papered over some stuff. They interviewed Bush and Cheney together, like school children, and did not even put them under oath. Why not? I read the 9/11 Commission Report--yes, the whole thing. I was frankly shocked at how poorly it was presented. In trying to make it 'interesting' they sacrificed factual data. I expected to see copies of the documents, transcripts of the interviews, etc. They provided nothing but speculation, a nice fantasy. It may be true--but they give us no proof that it is. We deserved better.

I used to read the Nation. They are humanists. Of course, they don't want to hear about demonic influences. They think religious people are all crazy, so their criticism means nothing. Personal attacks do not make conspiracy theorists go away. Answers do.

Oh, so you can attack ME personally, I will tell you: I have a B.S. in Mathematics, 15 years in IT management, and I am a grandmother, a Christian, and a pacifist.

I am thankful for any Christian who will simply tell the imperial, dominion-oriented bunch that Jesus' message was not to take over the world. His kingdom is not of this world. His followers should not be seeking world domination. I find it amazing that many of these people featured on are actually quite rational and fact-based. Proof is important to a mathematician. We don't just accept stuff because a person with letters after their name said so.

You all should cool your jets. If Griffin's points are fact-based, why argue? If not, who cares? He's just one guy. Why so much angst? It reminds me of the way the Jewish leaders treated Christ. For that reason alone, I will read his book. He must have something right in there to generate so much anger. One need not accept all his ideas to recognize some facts.

The author, in further correspondence, told more about herself:

As I said in my post, I have a B.S. in Math and 15 years as a Programmer/Project Manager in Information Technology. I am retired, married to a former policeman and U.S. Marine. I have five children, do needlepoint, embroidery, quilting, canning, housekeeping, sewing, and painting. Oh, and a lot of reading about politics. I also am pretty good at Sudoku. Does any of that qualify me to assess the maze of the 9/11 fact and fictions? Hardly. This is one very complex set of problems. No one person will get it all right. Probably. But the more we check things out, the more we question, the more we demand the answers, we will find the truth eventually. I disagree with the politicians who criticize the 'crazy conspiracy theorists'. Mathematically speaking, it wouldn't have to be thousands of people to pull it off. We saw how people trust the government when they are scared to death. A few at the top, a couple of memos to the right people. I don't know who did it, or how, but I know they haven't told us everything, and there are way too many 'coincidences'.

Cynthia Adams

Griffin’s Christian Faith and the Truth Behind 9/11 – the debate continues

Prof. Earl Tilford says to Cynthia Adams, "I am angry and here is why."     [9-14-06]

Cynthia Adams asks, "Why is he (that would be me) so angry?" Then wishes someone would tell "the imperial, dominion-oriented bunch" that Jesus did not tell us to take over the world. Wow! I have just the demonstrably sloppy scholarship of one process theologian in my intellectual cross-hairs and she accuses an entire "imperial, dominion-oriented bunch" of wanting to take over the world! And I'm the one guilty of "personal attacks"? Well, yes, I am attacking the scholarship, motivations and conclusions of David Ray Griffin.

Cynthia has one thing right. I am angry and here is why. On September 11, 2001 nineteen Islamists Jihadists hijacked four airliners and killed nearly 2,800 innocent people; the vast majority of them American citizens. These terrorists were members of al Qaeda, a group whose leader Osama bin Laden issued a "Fatwa against Crusaders and Jews" in February 1998 which urged Muslims to kill Americans wherever they might be found. Al Qaeda had already attacked US interests in the United States in 1993 when their operatives detonated a truck bomb in the basement of the World Trade Center, injuring hundreds and killing seven. They also attacked US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, killing hundreds and wounding thousands of innocent people, most of them Africans who happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time…namely in their countries minding their own business. Al Qaeda also attacked the USS Cole, killing seventeen sailors while their vessel rode at anchor in a Persian Gulf port. Osama bin Laden has stated that al Qaeda has the moral justification to kill 4,000,000 Americans, half of them women and children, to make up for some mythical number of Muslims he thinks Americans bear responsibility for killing. And, more recently, one of the Imams in his camp issued a fatwa declaring that killing 10,000,000 Americans in weapons of mass destruction strikes would be within proportionality. You bet I'm angry and I want these terrorists to either give up or I want them dead. And since they give every indication of wanting to die rather than live in peace with us, the second alternative is what we're left with.

I'm angry as a scholar when someone like Griffin supports his thesis that the Bush administration and the US Government were behind the 9/11 attacks with discussions of metallurgy in the World Trade Center towers coupled with murky details and distortions of quotations regarding the events of 9/11. Griffin's audience will be among the same people who, a decade ago, greeted Oliver Stone's contentions that the CIA and the American military were behind the assassination of John F. Kennedy because they wanted nothing so much as to get the United States involved in a land war in Southeast Asia. Any cursory reading of the Pentagon Papers will dispute that just as any modicum of understanding about national security matters refutes Griffin's assertions. That is why the primary academic constituency in support of Griffin's thesis comes from academics in the fields were post-modernists' concepts of truth as relative hold sway; namely religious and feminist studies and subjects like African languages (Kevin Barrett of Wisconsin).

Yes Cynthia, terrorists and academic charlatans anger me…and it's not because they might distract me from trying to figure out better ways to dominate the world…which I'm not doing in any event. It is because they undermine our national will and could cripple the nation's efforts in a war which, if lost, will mean the world plunges into a dark night of global barbarism. That prospect, too, makes me very, very angry.

Earl H. Tilford, Jr., Ph.D.
Professor of History
Grove City College

Christian Faith and the Truth Behind 9/11: A Response

John Shuck says that the real "truth behind 9/11," and behind the new American empire-building, is our need for oil and the impending decline in the world’s supply of that precious stuff.   [9-11-06]

For three days the book sat on my coffee table before I dared to pick it up. I probably would not have purchased it had it not been published by Westminster John Knox Press and had not my conservative colleagues criticized the publisher for publishing it. Nevertheless, it sat on my coffee table because I knew the central thesis of the book (that 9/11 was an inside job) if true, would shatter all of my myths of American Exceptionalism. The implications would be staggering. That is an understatement.

I finally read the book cover to cover. Griffin makes a case (as a prosecutor would) against the Bush administration. He details what he believes are distortions and omissions in the 9/11 Commission Report. He also makes a case against the credibility of the 9/11 Commission Report’s reasons for the collapse of the towers and the seemingly inept response by the FAA to the hijacked aircraft. Again (as a prosecutor would) he provides what he thinks are plausible motivations for the administration to participate in this activity. The ultimate motivation in Griffin’s view is that 9/11 was an example of a "false flag" operation. According to Griffin, 9/11 was the "Pearl Harbor" necessary to get the support of the American people to engage in a preventive/preemptive war against Afghanistan and Iraq under the guise of combating terrorism.

In the second half of his book he makes a comparison between the Roman Empire and the American Empire. He provides a theological description of "the demonic" and he calls on Christians to resist Empire.

While I find myself sympathetic to his theological description of the demonic, I think that his language inflames and distorts. There are pragmatic reasons why a nation (or an empire) does what it does.

I am not saying I agree with his conclusions regarding 9/11. I am not saying I disagree. I do believe his book can introduce important discussion. How will the people of Earth respond to the emerging reality facing us? I think Griffin’s case would have been stronger had he devoted a chapter to Peak Oil. The remainder of this essay will address this issue.

Peak Oil refers to the point at which half of the world’s oil supply has been used. In 1956, M. King Hubbert predicted that the U.S. oil supply would peak in 1970. He predicted that the world’s oil supply would peak in 1995. He was correct regarding U.S. oil (it peaked in 1970) but he was a little off in terms of the world’s oil supply. But he might not have been off by much. According to many geologists, we have possibly reached the point in which the world’s oil supply has peaked or will soon peak. Our government is not unaware of this.

"What people need to hear loud and clear is that we're running out of energy in America."
George W. Bush
"We may be at a point of peak oil production ... I can only tell you that I have studied this data seriously. I consider it an existential threat to your future."
Bill Clinton

"By some estimates, there will be an average of two-percent annual growth in global oil demand over the years ahead, along with, conservatively, a three-percent natural decline in production from existing reserves."
Dick Cheney
U.S. Vice President

"We almost certainly are at or near what they call peak oil"
Al Gore
Former U.S. Vice President

"The best Saudi oil is gone... Middle East production will go down by one third by 2012."
Matthew R. Simmons
Energy industry investment banker, energy advisor for the Bush administration
Chairman, Simmons & Company International

"...we're depleting our reserves four times faster than the rest of the world. America needs a national energy policy and a program on a scale of the Manhattan Project that developed the atomic bomb during World War II to prevent or mitigate the consequences of global peak oil. Doing nothing or doing too little too late will lead to a global economic and geopolitical tsunamiwith potentially devastating ramifications."
Roscoe G. Bartlett
U.S. Senator (Maryland)

"Global oil [production] is 84 million barrels (a day). I don't believe you can get it any more than 84 million barrels. I don't care what [Saudi Crown Prince] Abdullah, [Russian Premier Vladimir] Putin or anybody else says about oil reserves or production."
T. Boone Pickens
Legendary oil baron and Chairman, BP Capital Management

"My father rode a camel. I drive a car. My son flies a jet airplane. His son will ride a camel."
Popular saying in Saudi Arabia

Peak Oil is at hand.

Rather than take the time and space in this essay to discuss Peak Oil and its ramifications, I refer readers to other sources. During Lent I preached a series of sermons regarding this issue.Tempted By Empire and The American Way of Life or Life for All? may be of interest. I also recommend these two books:

Richard Heinberg wrote Oil, War, and the Fate of Industrial Societies. \fs24fs24 Before buying the book I suggest reading this interview with Richard Heinberg.

Also, Jared Diamond Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed provides a history of how societies have either failed or succeeded in dealing with their environment and their energy realities.

There are many other books, websites, and articles regarding Peak Oil. If individuals and faith communities will take the time to research this, it will, as it did to me, change their entire outlook regarding our future.

I am convinced that Empire building is a response to Peak Oil.

In June, 1992, the Earth Summit was held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. At this conference, 153 countries (including the United States) signed treaties to curb the damage to the environment from human economic activities. This conference was attended by George H. W. Bush, then President of the United States of America, who proved resistant to efforts to make deep and lasting changes that could ensure protection of the world on which all nations depend. His reasoning? 'The American way of life is not negotiable'. The rest of this article >>

The American way of life (read: The American standard of living) is not negotiable. If that is the case, if Americans deserve and are entitled to our standard of living, a standard of living that if the rest of Earth’s inhabitants enjoyed would require four planets of resources, then the only pragmatic option is to secure the remaining resources of Earth to secure this "way of life."

The United States represents four percent of Earth’s population. We consume 25% of the world’s oil. If the oil supply has peaked and will begin to diminish, then we will need more than 25% of the world’s oil to maintain our standard of living. Soon we will need 30%, then 40%, 50%, 75% and finally 100% just to maintain.

If America’s mandate is: "The American way of life is non-negotiable" then what will we do, what can we do, except to do everything in our power to maintain that way of life? Our government is acting on our behalf so that we can maintain our way of life. Currently the United States has over 700 bases in 130 countries. They are there to maintain our standard of living. After all, are we not entitled to steaks, cheeseburgers, automobiles, dvd players, and everything else that makes America what it is?

It is not likely that the rest of the world will passively permit America to maintain its way of life by confiscating the world’s oil. Other countries might like some of that oil as well. I believe that the war that we have entered (Iraq, Afghanistan) is not a war on terrorism but the beginning of a world war for the remaining oil reserves. This cannot end well either for Americans or for Earth. Eventually, even if we get all of the oil, it will run out. Before that happens we could end life on Earth by nuclear war.

There are alternatives. The American people could say, "Yes, the American way of life is negotiable. In fact it is imperative that we power down immediately so that all may have life." We could demand of our government that it enter into a cooperative discussion with the rest of the world to face the issue of Peak Oil and work toward a plan of reducing our dependence on oil. We do have half of the world’s oil supply left. We do have electricity. We do have resources. Let us use this window of opportunity to reduce consumption, find alternatives to fossil fuels, and work toward a sustainable future.

What can we do now? I suggest that faith communities offer a screening of The End of Suburbia in order to create awareness about the issues it raises. Congregations could start post-carbon groups in their communities to help people come to terms with this reality. Peak Oil is not something people read about and walk away from unchanged. There are people to talk about regarding this. Running On Empty 3 is an on-line discussion group for people processing the impact of Peak Oil on their lives. Also, Peak Oil Blues can help folks come to terms with this issue psychologically. I will be discussing how we can come to terms with this issue spiritually and theologically on my blog.

I am undecided regarding Griffin’s conclusions concerning 9/11. I am grateful for his book, however. I hope it can lead to awareness and change regarding Earth’s future.

John Shuck
Elizabethton, Tennessee

Another critique from the left:

The Nation magazine has published a short article by Alexander Cockburn, dismissing Griffin and other proponents of this view as "conspiracy nuts."   The essay >>   [Sorry, if you're not a subscriber to The Nation, you can only read the first two paragraphs.]   [9-11-06]

Griffin book arouses opposition from the Presbyterian Right


Rita Nakashima Brock, in her regular FaithVoices email, writes about reactions to the book:

Christian conservatives are calling for a boycott of Westminster John Knox Press for publishing Christian Faith and the Truth behind 9/11: A Call to Reflection and Action by theologian David Ray Griffin. He has published two previous books on the subject, but Westminster is the first large, mainstream press to publish his findings.

Griffin has said that for the first year and a half after Sept. 11, he believed the attacks were carried out by Arab terrorists angry about American foreign policy. But skeptics of the widely accepted accounts convinced him that the attacks were "an inside job" used to justify the Bush administration's expansion of military powers and the adoption of the doctrine of pre-emptive war, the basis of the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

Obviously, the truth behind this event is vitally important. We think that as a matter of good citizenship we should all educate ourselves and weigh-in, pro or con.

Supporters are saying:

bullet"WARNING: If, like most Americans calling themselves Christian, you prefer the comfort of acquiescing to the official version of 9/11 and the imperial wars it facilitated, DROP THIS BOOK NOW. But if you are open to the grace of honest inquiry... this rigorously argued book is a MUST READ."
– Ray McGovern, CIA veteran analyst
bullet"In a profound exploration of the nature and history of the demonic, Griffin suggests that American empire is a culmination of human demonic alienation from God."
– Rosemary Radford Ruether, feminist theologian
bullet"In this gripping summary of evidence for the truth behind 9/11, . . . Griffin makes a compelling case that the imperial practices of the American government have become a destructive force in the world. And he clarifies the biblical and theological basis for Christians to challenge the resurgent American imperialism that often claims divine blessing on its destructive actions."
– Richard A. Horsley, Professor of Religion, University of Massachusetts

Critics say:

bullet"[Griffin] obviously knows very little about conspiracy theories."
– Earl Tilford, former director of research at the U.S. Army's Strategic Studies Institute and professor of history at Grove City College
bullet"[Westminster's decision to publish Griffin's book] is both laughable and pathetic" and, "Their choice to print this seems to be pretty idiosyncratic and kooky," "What a waste of pages and ink that could have been promoting the Christian gospel and contributing to the health and vitality of the Presbyterian church."
– James Berkley, the director of Presbyterian Action for Faith and Freedom

About the Author:  Griffin is Professor Emeritus of Philosophy and Theology at Claremont School of Theology, Professor of Religion Emeritus at Claremont Graduate University, and Co-director of the Center for Process Studies. He is the author of numerous books, including the popular bestsellers The New Pearl Harbor: Disturbing Questions about the Bush Administration and 9/11, and The 9/11 Commission Report: Omissions and Distortions.


Religion News Service has also reported on the complaints about the book from conservative Presbyterians

One minister says the argument of Griffin’s Christian Faith and the Truth Behind 9/11 is "nuts."    [9-8-06]

Dear Friends, Why would the administration want to rebut such an argument as is made here. It's nuts. Check out the excellent PBS special (Nova, Frontline?) which is out on DVD from PBS on "Why the Towers Fell". They fell because of the unique construction of the Towers being struck by two fully loaded and occupied jets. Let's get real.

Rev. Richard Craig

Webweaver's note:  The PBS special was on Nova.  I took the trouble to check.

For another view, see one article summarizing the analysis by BYU physics professor Steven Jones. Who argues that the collapse the the WTC building could only have been caused by ‘pre-positioned explosives.’

Earl Tilford, now Coordinator of Terrorism and Middle Eastern Study Group at Grove City College, sets out his arguments against Griffin’s Christian Faith and the Truth Behind 9/11       [9-4-06]

David Ray Griffin puts things in "deeper perspective"? I guess that depends on exactly what David Ray Griffin is deep into.

Griffin knows very little about conspiracies, though he indulges in a hyper-form of conspiracy theory propagation. His first book on this topic, "The New Pearl Harbor" also demonstrates his ignorance of the fundamentals of national security, like asking why Air Force planes were not flying at their absolute full speed to intercept the hijacked airliners. Answer: Because the speeds he specifies are for test airframes, not operational fighters. Air Force fighters can no more operate at those speeds than my Monte Carlo can go 240 miles per hour just because modified NASCAR versions can. Those are absolute capabilities for airframes and engines, not operational parameters. The fact is, the Air Force was unprepared for anything like what happened on 9/11. In the post-Cold War environment, beginning in the early 1990s, the numbers of fighter planes dedicated to defending American air space were dramatically reduced. Since on September 11, 2001 no nation on earth had bombers on alert posing a threat to the United States, and hadn't for a decade, it made no sense to have a significant number of interceptors on alert. The total number of Air Force fighters dedicated to air defense on 9/11 was fourteen. Of the fourteen, eight were in maintenance or otherwise "down" for operational reasons, two were on a training exercise and unarmed, and four were on alert. Those four were scrambled. That does not prove "conspiracy" rather it shows ( even if we hate to admit it ) how al Qaeda masterfully exploited a vulnerability. Additionally, there were no protocols in the FAA or Air Force rules of engagement for shooting down hijacked airliners. Our air defense capabilities focused on shooting down bombers, sea launched cruise missiles, and---possibly---drug running aircraft. The protocols for dealing with hijacked aircraft called for intercepting and diverting them to an airfield where law enforcement officers and negotiators could take charge; in other words those protocols focused on getting everyone safely on the ground. There were no provisions for dealing with hijackers intent on using airliners as weapons of mass destruction. Again, this was a vulnerability that al Qaeda exploited asymmetrically , not a matter of conspiracy.

Griffin also is ignorant of what it takes to affect a viable conspiracy: namely a small number of conspirators. Wiring the WTC with explosives, conspiring within the Air Force to not intercept the planes and then shooting down Flight 93 AFTER the brave passengers led by Todd Beamer regained control (Griffin proposes the Air Force shot down Flight 93 to prevent the FBI--which evidently didn't get "read in on the conspiracy"--from interrogating live, captured hijackers), these accusations simply are fanciful and betray the author's vast ignorance of everything from conspiracies to military procedures and capabilities (and accountabilities) to the fundamentals of architecture, demolitions and explosives.

It is noteworthy that the scholars supporting Griffin's theories are people like Rosemary Radford Reuther, a professor of feminist theology; Kevin Barrett, an English professor at the University of Wisconsin, and leftist revisionists from the heyday of the Vietnam anti-war era like Richard Falk and Howard Zinn. Is post-modernism, associated with de-construction, a suitable departure point for constructing anything other than a proposition based on supposition and innuendo grounded in the notion that this all must be true because---as everybody knows---America is an imperialist nation bent on world domination?

Finally, Griffin is a process theologian who denies the omnipotence of God, adhering instead to a pos-modernist notion of divine power as persuasive rather than coercive. He ought to stick to this fringe area of theology where at least he has some professional standing.

Earl Tilford

Professor of History
Coordinator, Terrorism and Middle Eastern Study Group
Center for Vision and Values
Grove City College

If you have comments on this comment, or on the book itself, please send us a note, and we'll add it to the discussion!


Some blogs worth visiting

PVJ's Facebook page

Mitch Trigger, PVJ's Secretary/Communicator, has created a Facebook page where Witherspoon members and others can gather to exchange news and views. Mitch and a few others have posted bits of news, both personal and organizational. But there’s room for more!

You can post your own news and views, or initiate a conversation about a topic of interest to you.


John Shuck’s new "Religion for Life" website

Long-time and stimulating blogger John Shuck, a Presbyterian minister currently serving as pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Elizabethton, Tenn., writes about spirituality, culture, religion (both organized and disorganized), life, evolution, literature, Jesus, and lightening up.

Click here for his blog posts.

Click here for podcasts of his radio program, which "explores the intersection of religion, social justice and public life."


John Harris’ Summit to Shore blogspot

Theological and philosophical reflections on everything between summit to shore, including kayaking, climbing, religion, spirituality, philosophy, theology, The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), New York City and the Queens neighborhood of Ridgewood -- by a progressive New York City Presbyterian Pastor. John is a former member of the Witherspoon board, and is designated pastor of North Presbyterian Church in Flushing, NY.


Voices of Sophia blog

Heather Reichgott, who has created this new blog for Voices of Sophia, introduces it:

After fifteen years of scholarship and activism, Voices of Sophia presents a blog. Here, we present the voices of feminist theologians of all stripes: scholars, clergy, students, exiles, missionaries, workers, thinkers, artists, lovers and devotees, from many parts of the world, all children of the God in whose image women are made. .... This blog seeks to glorify God through prayer, work, art, and intellectual reflection. Through articles and ensuing discussion we hope to become an active and thoughtful community.


Got more blogs to recommend?

Please send a note, and we'll see what we can do!


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