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All we need to know about our society is that TV has morphed from Leave It To Beaver and Ozzie and Harriett to the (Ozzie) Osbournes and "real housewives" and music has morphed -- descended  -- from Kate Smith and Perry Como to Miley Cyrus and "Gaga."

Meanwhile, the Sign of the Cross has been replaced by that hand signal you see all over, at rock concerts, at sports events, at entertainment rewards, by politicians of all stripes, here and abroad: two fingers, the index and pinkie, raised as a salute.

We're tired of seeing this. Like tattoos, it raises a red flag. Even a pastor, trying to be "cool," is pictured giving this signs. Our apologies (please excuse; we don't usually have photos like it), but this [right] is the pastor (and his wife). The problem is that it is also known as the "devil's horns." We're discussed this before. Motorcycle gangs use it. Homosexual protesters use it. Mobsters use it. It isn't always clear what it means. To some, it may mean "rock on." To others, it is a sign of camaraderie, or rebellion. It can mean "victory" (although we prefer Churchill's two juxtaposed fingers). At University of Texas Longhorn football games, it is meant to say "hook them!" (President George Bush and family, fans of the team, have used it frequently.) It is clear, however, that in a general context, the origins are dark. "The sign of the horns, also corna (Italian for horns, mano cornuta, horned hand fare le corna, to make the horns, or simply the devil horns), is a hand gesture with a vulgar meaning in Mediterranean countries and a variety of meanings and uses in other cultures," says Wikipedia. "It can be traced to Ancient Greece, and in Ancient Rome it was known as Vorena the Elder's gesture, and symbolized a curse. It is realized by extending the index and little fingers while holding the middle and ring fingers down with the thumb." It is also identical to the "Karana mudra" of Eastern religions -- which is also a bit intriguing, from a spiritual standpoint. It was used in the 1969 cartoon figure of John Lennon as seen on the original vinyl album cover of the Beatles' "Yellow Submarine." (Others say the figure was giving the American Sign Language sign for "love," which animators drew incorrectly). Unfortunately, it is also employed by hard-core satanists. One can trace back use of the swastika as a sun symbol and occult emblem through various centuries and cultures. The devil sign, devil horns, goat horns, metal horns, horns up, slinging metal, metal sign, sticks up, throwing the goat, rocking the goat, sign of the goat, throwing the horns, evil fingers, the horns, forks, metal fist, rock fist, fist of rock... Often we innocently use symbols with anything but innocent connotations. Might a subtle dark underside be sneaking this in? Is it represented by those fingers? Sometimes, you wonder if it's a sign of a spirit of anti-christ.

Whatever, those doing it should be rebuked when in our vicinity (especially if they are our children).

We'll take the Lord's hand signal (dispelling Satan).

Prayer need. Prayer is needed for the many ministers who, thinking they can meld Christianity and worldliness, which is to compromise with the flesh and even darkness. We err when we try to make our religion chic. In our own Church, we still not have flushed out the New Age from convents, including the enneagram and labyrinths. According to one researcher, labyrinths (those maze-like circles for meditation) predate Christianity, the most famous a Cretan one, the supposed lair of the mythological Minotaur. They are also linked with local feminine deities and fertility rites. They are in some ancient cathedrals. Now, they are all too frequent at religious retreat centers. The patterns are familiar to South Asian Buddhism and Japanese Zen. One article is headlined, "The Labyrinth: The Occult Has Gone Mainstream." It points out that the original purpose of such devices was communication with spiritual entities. Here we also traverse into the domain of dowsing and yoga. (We once saw a priest using a dowsing rod.)

But in whatever clever form and no matter who uses it, the occult is the occult.

There can be no compromise.

It is like those who pooh-pooh Harry Potter -- embarrassed by Christians who oppose occultism in whatever guise (including a cute-looking actor who is only an innocent wizard).

They can have that. They also can have Bewitched.

We'll take Wally Cleaver.

[resources: spiritual protection books and Michael Brown retreat in Charlotte, North Carolina: afterlife, spiritual warfare, family healing]

[see also: deliverance prayer]

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