Our Spiritual Leadership Stumbles and Falls: A Lesson in Betrayal and Trust

Janet C. Phelan
Activist Post

The world is standing at a crossroads.  Many believe that the world has, in fact, already chosen its path and has now tunneled deep into the darkness.  Like many who are working to bring to light the truth of our collective predicament, I prefer to believe there is still time for corrective action, and that the headlong rush towards self destruction can be reversed. In order for this to take place, the disturbing and deplorable facts about what we are going up against need to be revealed. The very first step on the way to substantive change is that the truth must come out.

Ideally, religious leaders carry a moral imperative to bring us to the truth.  But while it is true that certain congregations are headed up by leaders who may rail against war, or may advise against taking part in certain government programs—homeschooling and vaccines come to mind—there are other, critically important issues concerning which our religious leaders remain silent.

Many of us have come to realize that there is a dark impetus that has emerged, an ever more powerful section of the body politic which advocates for eugenics.  In plain words, this means that certain sectors of the population are facing elimination.  But even in the most “progressive” of congregations, you won’t hear the pastor pounding the Sunday pulpit and asserting that geneticists within the government have developed chemical compounds which are right now being leaked into most processed foods, bonding with melanin and resulting in the epidemic of hypertension and diabetes among the African American population (who have the most melanin in their systems). You won’t hear the rabbi explaining to his congregation during Friday night Shabbat services that the double line water system has the capability of wiping off the face of the earth every Jew, or every political activist, or every Jehovah’s witness, or every red-haired, freckle-faced single mother of three on welfare, for that matter. Pick your demographic and the water weapon can hone in on any segment of the population that is selected.

One can argue endlessly which groups are targeted for the clean sweep. To my way of thinking, it doesn’t matter who Mother Government has decided to cull. We are all American citizens; we all allegedly have rights under the U.S. Constitution, which guarantees us “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”  Please note that the primary word here is “life.” The fact remains that the eugenics movement within the U.S. government—a movement which boasts a long history of advocating the desirability of killing people (proponents include the Bush family and their well-documented support of Adolph Hitler)—has privately and covertly made decisions and plans which defy every constitutional and moral principle upon which our country is founded.  Add to this the fact that those “scientifically” promoting mass covert eugenics programs have risen to ascendancy in our country and we have a recipe for a crisis which religious leadership has a moral obligation to address.

But they don’t. Some churches may organize anti-war demonstrations and others may serve soup to homeless folks.  But the dark train is moving forward and our religious leaders are keeping their own counsel.

I would like to think they are merely frightened.  It would be easiest to excuse the roaring silence, the enormous gap between what is at play and what is said about it as cowardice.  I would like to think that the rash of unsolved murders of scientists working on biowarfare/eugenics programs has not escaped the attention of our esteemed religious leadership and that they are collectively quaking in their silk-lined, tasseled robes at the thought of what might happen to them, personally, should they speak out about where this train is going. I would like to think it is merely spinelessness which keeps our spiritual leaders bound to silence.  This is the most generous conclusion I can reach.  But I suspect that the truth may be much, much worse.


It is an uncomfortable and seldom discussed historical fact that much of the rabbinate escaped Hitler’s extermination agenda and were able to emigrate out of Eastern Europe, to safety elsewhere.  It is also a matter of historical record that the Jewish leadership in the U.S., through the American Jewish Congress, lobbied against lifting immigration restrictions on European Jews, thus ensuring that they would be trapped in Eastern Europe and perish.  One third of the Jews on the planet were eliminated due to Hitler’s efforts, as were many other targeted groups.  These efforts were enabled by the likes of such Jewish luminaries as Stephen Wise, who helped establish the American Jewish Congress back in 1918.

In Los Angeles, a synagogue is adorned with the name of Stephen Wise.  The Wise Temple is one of the largest in Los Angeles, with a congregation of over 3200 member families.  The betrayal of his fellow Jews by Stephen Wise, who through his lobbying against lifting immigration restrictions contributed to the mass murder of untold numbers of Jews, is not fodder for sermons at the temple which bears his name.  Nor, in my experience, is this ghastly fact discussed elsewhere in Los Angeles synagogues.

I first began attending Temple Beth Shir Shalom in Santa Monica in 2004.  I had already begun researching the double line water system in Los Angeles, spending long afternoons  scouting out city work crews, ingratiating myself with the laborers and finding ways to get a peek at (and snapshot of)  the water system blueprints.  I had already received input, albeit somewhat reluctantly so, from several rabbis  indicating that they knew something was afoot with the water.

I decided to meet with the rabbi at Beth Shir Shalom, Rabbi Neil Comess-Daniels, and ask him some direct questions.

Beth Shir Shalom is an attractive, modern building on a quiet street in Santa Monica.  It is home to a Reform congregation, which has been headed up by Comess-Daniels for many years. Much of the service is conducted in English, a boon for me as I do not speak Hebrew and at Beth Shir Shalom much of it is conducted in song, as Comess-Daniels plays guitar and sings. He is also a well known anti-war activist and social justice advocate.

I met with the rabbi in his study at the temple. We chatted for a bit then I got down to business. I began pulling out of my knapsack photographs of water crews, hard at work on busy Los Angeles Streets. I pointed out to him the double lines that appeared in the blueprints and asked him if he understood what I was working on. He turned pale and gulped.

“I know what is going to happen,” I stated. “I want to know when deployment is planned. I want to know how much longer I have to get the word out.”

Daniels looked away. “I don’t know,” he mumbled. Realizing that I wasn’t getting anywhere, I thanked him for his time and said I looked forward to returning on Friday for Shabbat services. We chatted a few more minutes and I left.

I got to Temple a few minutes before services started that Friday and slipped into a pew near the back.  Within two minutes, a large dark-suited man sidled up to me.  Leaning down, he whispered that he would like to have a word with me. Would I mind coming with him for a moment?

We went outside and he told me to leave. Leave, and don’t come back. Bewildered, I asked why. “You threatened the rabbi,” he said. “I did not!” I protested.

The rabbi felt threatened, I was told. I was to leave or the police would be called.

I made a number of attempts, over the next several weeks, to speak with the President of the Temple, a large noisy red-haired woman. She declined to return any of my calls.

I then spoke with some friends who also attended Beth Shir Shalom. One of them spoke to the President on my behalf and she assured him there was a mistake. I was free to return anytime, she told him.

About two months passed by and I showed up again. I had told my friends that I was returning and to look for me. I also called the President and left a message thanking her for clarifying my status and letting her know I would be returning on Friday night.

I walked into the hall of worship, searching for my friends. Not seeing them initially, I seated myself near the rear.  It only took thirty seconds for several security guards to swoop down on me. And this time, they weren’t issuing warnings.

I was escorted outside. My ID was demanded of me.  I began to search my pockets for it, then changed my mind and declined.  Three more people showed up, two of them women whom I recognized  as temple management. One of them mumbled something…sounded like “keep her here while I call” and went back in side.  Oh great, I thought. They are calling the police.

I did nothing wrong. I said. I started to walk off. My suspicions were confirmed. Wait, said one of the women, coyly. We just want to talk to you. I could hear her voice trailing off…”come back…” as I walked away.


I have chosen to relay this story about what happened at Beth Shir Shalom. I could just have easily imparted an equally troubling story about the Catholic diocese in St. Louis or a squirrelly Methodist minister in Sandpoint, Idaho.  While I find it hard to believe that every man of God has gone to the devil, it has become clear to me that the spiritual leadership in our country has fallen into grave disrepair.  We have too many chefs trying to keep the lid on a pot that is clearly set to blow.

It is unsettling enough to know that our government cannot be trusted.  Let down, we begin to look elsewhere. The first stop is usually the media. It doesn’t take too long to realize that the Fourth Estate has become an arm of government, there to protect rather than watchdog those in power. Betrayed again, we turn off the tube and boot up the computer, and begin to search the Web for what we cannot find from traditionally trusted sources. And many of us look for spiritual guidance.

If I have learned anything through this passage, it is how critical it is to develop discernment. Wolves abound dressed like Grandma, offering all kinds of diversions and temptations.  It is incumbent upon each and every one of us to develop our own internal warning systems and to learn to listen to that small still voice of God which is in each and every one of us, and to learn to trust that voice. Our very future, together and separately, depends upon this.

Janet Phelan is an investigative journalist whose articles have appeared in the Los Angeles Times, The San Bernardino County Sentinel, The Santa Monica Daily Press, The Long Beach Press Telegram, Oui Magazine and other regional and national publications. Janet specializes in issues pertaining to legal corruption and addresses the heated subject of adult conservatorship, revealing shocking information about the relationships between courts and shady financial consultants. She also covers issues relating to international bioweapons treaties. Her poetry has been published in Gambit, Libera, Applezaba Review, Nausea One and other magazines. Her first book, The Hitler Poems, was published in 2005. She currently resides abroad.  You may browse through her articles (and poetry) at janetphelan.com

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