Sunday, September 13, 2009

What Does Blogger Joe Ortiz Stand For?

     Once he started blogging he knew he would often have to let his audience know not only who he is (credentials, etc.), but how he would describe himself and what does he truly stand for. This is because most folks who have read Ortiz’ articles and blogs can’t figure out his philosophy. Is Joe Ortiz a Liberal, Moderate, Conservative, evangelical, anarchist, patriot, egotistical buffoon, elitist snob, racist, or a servant of and for the people?
     “Ortiz quotes a lot from the Bible, but he sounds much more like a Liberal, to me,” said one reader.
     “Naw, Ortiz is a right-wing Conservative popping off with his religious stuff, always talking about Jesus,” said another.
     “I’m not really sure but, one thing I know is you can’t pigeon-hole him nor put him in any traditional box,” claims another.
     Well, once upon a time, back in the forties, a young Mexican American kid grew up in the barrios of Coachella Valley, a dry, hot and arid desert community in Southern California, the second oldest in a family of four brothers and four sisters, raised primarily by a single mother (he was 10 years old when she divorced his father), who picked grapes and dates in the fields of that farming community, and also washed dishes and worked as a fry-cook throughout grammar school and part of high school to help the family pay its bills.
In those days, very few Mexican kids graduated from high school and very few could afford to go to college. Coming from a predominately Latino working-class environment, Joe Ortiz went to high school his entire freshman year, part of his sophomore year (he was hit by a car and was hospitalized for two months and rehabbed at home for another two), was kicked out of high school midway through his junior year, and attended only the first of two months of his senior class, opting to work as a cook for several months before enlisting in the Air Force in 1960, where he hoped to at least get a GED certificate.
     “I could not believe his story when I first met Joe,” said Sabra Besly, the principal of Coachella Valley High School back in 1987.
     “Joe came to visit me to see if he could do some make up work in order to get his high school diploma,” added Besly. “Here was a guy who in the last three decades had great success within the print, radio and television medium, and in the social services and educational fields like few people ever, and he was concerned about getting his high school diploma.”
     Ortiz did get his high school diploma a few weeks later, on June 12, 1987, at a graduating ceremony where he was invited by Besly to give the commencement address to the Coachella Valley High School Class of 1987. Right after his speech, Besly presented Ortiz with the first and only “Honorary High School Diploma” in the school’s history. He has been asked to be one of two alumni keynote address speakers at the high school's Centennial celebration in 2010, along with Admiral Benjamin Montoya, the first Mexican American to attend the Naval Academy at Annapolis.
     “My life’s purpose was shaped mostly during my not so remarkable school years, where most of my friends and teachers said that I was probably viewed as one of the least likely to succeed stories coming out of CV High,” said Ortiz.   “I was told by many that I would never amount to anything, and my reaction, which I kept to myself, was, ‘Oh yea, we’ll see about that!'
     From the time Ortiz got out of the Air Force (where he served as a military policeman until 1964), he dived right into work in various fields, including credit and collections specialist, a behavioral skills instructor at Riverside City College, job developer for the Mexican American Opportunity Foundation, job agent for the California State Department of Employment, one year as a Parole Agent for the State of California, an adult education teacher and counselor for the Los Angeles Unified School District, a public information specialist at the biggest anti-poverty agency on the west coast, a press deputy for a Los Angeles City Councilman, Vice President of Counseling and Placement for South Bay College, Director of Development and Special Events for MALDEF (Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund), and managing his own public relations company Joe Ortiz Associates since 1988.

(Joe chats with the First Lady of the Civil Rights Movement, Rosa Parks, during a reception for her that he coordinated)

     Throughout those various jobs, he attended night school at various southland colleges off and on for about twenty years and eventually earned state credentials to teach Public Relations, Public Affairs Broadcasting and Human Relations for Business classes at the adult school level. But his life-changing moment came when he was hired by KABC-AM in Los Angeles in 1971, becoming the first Mexican American to ever host a talk show on an English-language, commercial radio station.
     “That was a watershed moment in my life, which catapulted me to a level I never thought imaginable,” said Ortiz, an award-winning journalist who went on to work as a talk show host on various radio and television stations in Los Angeles, and as a news reporter and news columnist for over 25 years. The second (and probably the most important) moment of his life was when he experienced a spiritual awakening in 1975.

(Joe co-chairs conference for black and brown unity in Los Angeles with black leader Chuck Wilcotts in 1970) 

“Prior to that moment, most of my life’s activities included working in the civil rights movement and as an advocate for better opportunities for minorities,” said Ortiz. “But my religious training and Bible studies, from 1975 to the present, have given me much clearer insights to life than ever before.
Since his ‘born again’ experience in 1975, Ortiz worked as an evangelist for about seven years in the 80’s and has written two books on theology that mainly question and challenge the “Pre-Tribulation Rapture and Left Behind” doctrines promoted by many right-wing evangelicals, which have received positive reviews by Bible experts and renowned prophecy authors. He still writes for many periodicals both locally and on a national scale, in addition to several blog sites.
     “Yes, I am still a strong advocate for the poor and minorities, especially immigrants, which obviously confuses and baffles my conservative Christian friends,” states Ortiz; “because the Bible clearly states that God loves the aliens and we are to treat them with dignity. I also believe in living and writing about the moral standards held by most conservatives (such as Right to Life, traditional marriages between man and woman, and moral conduct in all areas of life as is clearly stated in the Bible.
     Ortiz is always questioned by many in his audience as to how can he support law-breakers like illegal immigrants and still make claim to adhere to the moral codes found in the Bible.
     “That’s the irony about the Bible, laughs Ortiz, “God clearly states that we should treat aliens as if they were natural born citizens of this country.” Therein lay the confusion most people have about Joe Ortiz and the articles he writes and blogs.
     “I am a staunch advocate of helping, feeding and supporting the infirm, homeless, down trodden and the aliens of the world,” says Ortiz.
     “Many people think this form of advocacy is a Liberal cause; however, Jesus Himself says in James 1:26-27 that this is what true religion is all about and, yet, I can still support and vigorously promote the need for stronger moral values in the political, economic and social arenas of our great country.

For more information about this blog and the author's two books, please click here Joe Ortiz

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Time Is Running Out

Time Is Running Out.....on...
 Animated clock - large white animated clock.

The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light. --Romans 13:12

The absence of spiritual devotion today is an omen and a portent. The modern church is all but contemptuous of the sober virtues-- meekness, modesty, humility, quietness, obedience, self effacement, patience. To be accepted now, religion must be in the popular mood. Consequently, much religious activity reeks with pride, display, self-assertion, self-promotion, love of gain and devotion to trivial pleasures.

It behooves us to take all this seriously. Time is running out for all of us. What is done must be done quickly. We have no right to lie idly by and let things take their course. A farmer who neglects his farm will soon lose it; a shepherd who fails to look after his flock will find the wolves looking after it for him. A misbegotten charity that allows the wolves to destroy the flock is not charity at all but indifference, rather, and should be known for what it is and dealt with accordingly.

It is time for Bible-believing Christians to begin to cultivate the sober graces and to live among men like sons of God and heirs of the ages. And this will take more than a bit of doing, for the whole world and a large part of the church is set to prevent it. But if God be for us, who can be against us? We Travel an Appointed Way, 50-51. by A.W. Tozer

American Cultural Identity Is The Root of Immigrant Debate

One of the phrases that have captured my attention more so than the “illegal” aspect of the immigration imbroglio is “National Identity.” The phrase is also presented as “American Identity” with supporting adjectives such as “cultural, traditional and creeds.” In this day and age, culture can mean many things to many people, but it’s basically the customary beliefs, social forms, and material traits of a racial, religious, or social group; a set of shared attitudes, values, goals, traditions and practices that characterizes specific entities. Mexicans have a culture, so do Asians, Jews, Italians, as all ethnic groups do, and America has benefited greatly by them.
     As the “immigration” debate continues to rear its ugly head, I have received many emails from white friends about their fear of “American Identity” erosion. Each time I asked what is meant by this phrase (American Identity) the responses I get is that immigrants should be good and law-abiding citizens, committed to speaking in English, patriotic and committed to the values, traditions, creeds and the American culture. I totally agree with them.
     However, I kept probing for a more succinct meaning to this phrase, and for them not to take for granted that I know (and accept unwittingly) what they mean. Most responded by stating that historically, American Identity has had two primary components: culture and creed. The first they say has been the values and institutions of the original settlers, who were Northern European, primarily British, and Christian, primarily Protestant. This culture included speaking the English language and upholding traditions concerning relations between church and state and the place of the individual in society. Over the course of three centuries, black people were slowly and only partially assimilated into this culture. Immigrants from western, southern, and Eastern Europe were more quickly and fully assimilated, and the original culture evolved and was modified but not fundamentally altered as a result. It was also pointed out to me that American Identity developed through three phases: Anglo-America (1789-1861), Euro-America (1875-1957), and Multicultural America (1972-to the present).
     The second component of American identity, many said, has been a set of universal ideas and principles such as liberty, equality, democracy, constitutionalism, limited government, private enterprise. These, many stated, constitute the American Creed, which in essence they believe is the fate of America as a nation is not to have ideologies but to be one.
     One person added that the founding (white) fathers did envision diversity as a future problem, hence the national motto, e pluribus Unum. He said that throughout American history political leaders, also fearful of the dangers of racial, sectional, ethnic, economic, and cultural diversity, responded to the need to bring us “Americans” together, and made the promotion of national unity their central responsibility. He quoted Theodore Roosevelt as stating "The one absolutely certain way of bringing this nation to ruin, of preventing all possibility of its continuing as a nation, would be to permit it to become a tangle of squabbling nationalities.”
     However, what truly lies beneath these notions is an attitude of elitist superiority manifested by a mix of paranoia and chicanery that belies honorable pursuit. What most Americans today fail to recognize is that those pilgrims and puritans were all white and did not foresee the immigration realities we see today. The US Constitution, for the most part, promotes and practices principles and treatment of its beneficiary community.  Yet, it was written by white folks who did not expect in later years the migration of Jews, Italians, Germans, Irish, Asians and Latins in pursuit of this wondrous concept.
     Yet what many also do not know is the existence of the Anglo-Saxon “good old boy” network of implementing this document has been in existent since the day the pilgrims and puritans landed on Plymouth Rock. According to Scott Atkins, who wrote The American Sense of Puritan, Of the earliest remembrances of the Pilgrims in the latter part of the 18th century was the establishment of the "Old Colony Club" to provide a clear example of how, from the beginnings of an official nation, nationalistic tendencies used the past as current self-justification. Atkins also stated that their true task “was to appropriate the past of religious separatism as an undeniable component of social and culture and, thereby, its American Identity.
     Sadly, American Identity proponents are being led by puritanical minded, ideologues and fanatical evangelicals who proudly wear this identity on their shirt sleeves, they who are the tails wagging elite sentry dogs full of bile and hatred toward immigrants, especially Mexicans. For the most part, religious zealots (not true Christ-following servants) have used their erroneous belief in what the Bible truly states in quest of an American mission that their so-called “build a wall” patriotism is in tune with its union of near-religious end, being influenced and guided along with political self righteous means. They are convinced (as Atkins stated) that (in regard to liberty), "every part of God's providential proceedings justifies the thought....God does the work, but not without his instruments, and they who are employed are denominated his servants.” In essence, it is their basis of worldly power beyond the more predetermined modes of perceived religious entitlement and aristocracy.
     The idea of our (America’s) Anglo-Saxon forefathers then expands beyond its more literal sense to anticipate that it takes its place in a larger lesson in national (genealogy) identity; what the forefathers started their children are bound to finish. Thus, a majority of white Americans have now become the soldiers and border patrol vigilantes not to just their blood-related ancestors, but to their American Identity itself.
     It is easier and perhaps in its way necessary to do what has often been done with the waves of immigrants that lay the foundation of the European presence in New England in the early 1600s, to form a stern but strong figure of religious freedom and peaceful coexistence. But yet, today’s American Identity xenophobic explosion towards Mexican immigrants is no less different than their witch-hunts, elitism, intolerance, and narrow-minded zealotry.
    To help explain just what America Identity truly means, it’s the Anglo Saxon culture whose influence has had the greater effect and which indeed swallowed the “philosophical” one that was once taught when I went to schools but has since never been practiced to its fullest. The phrase, anyone can grow to be the President of the United States comes laughably to mind. Yet, we still see in media and history books the grateful Pilgrims landing on Plymouth Rock, greeted by the true (native) Americans, the ones portrayed by a national holiday, Thanksgiving. Their inherent ideology has nevertheless served as something (for them as) not essential, and therefore, not a danger, to their meaning of American Identity. 
     But it is the Anglo Saxon Puritanism whose meaning has proved the more dynamic, the more vital to the discourse of public memory. It is American Identity which can be seen as they see fit, and has served as a tool of contention for differing ideological uses and perspectives. However, it’s a sad historical paper trail that they leave behind, along with their strong strain of superiority that is literally negated by Godly principles. Because of their lack of true Godly love (patience, forgiveness, long-suffering, charity, etc.) the lack of these traits, have had a shallow meaning for their national identity.

     Yet, this renewed focus on those who fear America’s National Identity is being eroded by Mexican immigrants, could go far in bringing about a more humane view and positive approach as to how Americans (and self avowed Christians) treat their fellow human beings. Within them one searches for the what seems must be a true Godly mind and heart, even as one realizes simply from the differing historical interpretations (scientific, revisionist, new-historical, and otherwise) that such a thing, if a true and genuine world brotherhood community could exist, it most certainly looms farther in the horizon than it should.
Joe Ortiz is the author of The End Times Passover, a book that refutes the Left Behind and many right-wing evangelical doctrines. He lives in Redlands and writes for several local and national periodicals.  The End Times Passover  

Friday, September 11, 2009



Redlands, CA - A former Los Angeles-based talk show host has written two books that challenge the Pre-Tribulation Rapture and evangelicals that attempt to influence the U.S.’s political decisions concerning the state of Israel. The author, Joe Ortiz, is a 20 year veteran news reporter, talk show host and newspaper columnist who claims evangelicals who support the dispensational, premillennial and Left Behind doctrines have been misinformed by proponents who have misinterpreted the Bible.

Ortiz claims in his two recently published books, The End Times Passover and Why Christians Will Suffer Great Tribulation (published by Author House) that careful scrutiny of the Bible proves that the Promised Land is not in the Middle East, the state of Israel is not God’s time piece to Armageddon, that there will be no Pre-Tribulation Rapture, and that God’s true disciples will experience a certain degree of tribulation.

“Right wing evangelicals who promote the Left Behind doctrine (like Tim LaHaye, John Hagee, Hal Lindsey, Tommy Ice and others), believe the State of Israel is key to Bible prophecy,” said Ortiz. “The proponents of this erroneous doctrine have unwittingly been pounding their theological hammers on U.S. foreign policy for over a century, only to drive a bigger wedge between Jews and Arabs who want peace in the Middle East.

Ortiz stated his books are not a politically-motivated treatise designed to influence people to choose sides between Palestinians or Jews. He said his is an academic polemic designed for people to recognize their role should be one of peacemakers rather than promoting military solutions to a feud that’s been going on for centuries. He said his research was based on analyzing the etymology of key words in the Bible that prove conclusively that the Left Behind notion promoted by many evangelicals begins to fall apart when examined carefully.

In his book Why Christians Will Suffer Great Tribulation (the sequel to The End Times Passover), Ortiz provides biblical insights to the subject of tribulation which may alarm many Christians whose hopes lay on a Pre-Tribulation escape to heaven.

“No Christian wants to imagine he or she will be persecuted, but it will happen to a certain degree” stated Ortiz, who spent over 20 years researching and writing his books.

“However, as my first book proves, God will provide protection through His end times Passover for believers during these latter times of tribulation, just as He provided the Israelites with protection when they were prisoners of Egypt during their first Passover experience,” adds Ortiz.

The author’s media experience includes more than 20 years of news reporting and hosting programs on TV and radio, as well as writing for a syndicated newspaper chain in Los Angeles, California.

Ortiz claims that when those preachers and teachers of Bible prophecy read his book, they will soon realize they have been promoting a militant and destructive doctrine instead of a genuine gospel of peace.


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