The Nazarene Fund: Frequently Asked Questions

WHAT IS THE NAZARENE FUND?

The Nazarene Fund is an initiative of Mercury One dedicated to the evacuation of particularly vulnerable Christians from countries like Iraq and Syria into new countries where they might rebuild their lives.

Between now and December 2015 our goal is to raise $10 million to save more than 400 families from regions taken over by ISIS. ISIS has used the Nazarene sign to symbolize death – we will use it to symbolize life.

More details here.

WHAT WILL THE MONEY BE USED FOR?

Donations to The Nazarene Fund will be used to resettle Christian families who have been displaced by conflict in the Middle East, primarily at the hands of ISIS. Should it become impossible or impractical to resettle families, the contributions will be used to provide additional humanitarian support where they are forced to stay.

WHY DO YOU SAY “PRIMARILY AT THE HANDS OF ISIS?”

While ISIS is the most influential – and perhaps most dangerous – group terrorizing Christians in the Middle East, it is not the only one. Other terrorist groups like Al-Qaeda, Al-Nusra, and less organized terrorist sympathizers have also caused enormous persecution against the ancient Christian communities in the Middle East. In fact the pro-longed genocide against Christians in Iraq dates back at least till 2004, and began at the hands of the ISIS’ predecessor, Al-Qaeda in Iraq.

YOU CALLED THIS “GENOCIDE” – DOES THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY RECOGNIZE IT AS SUCH?

While the United States and the United Nations have refused to formally designate the ISIS threat against Christians as a “genocide,” a growing number of human rights activists and organizations are finding ISIS to be guilty of crimes against humanity, war crimes and genocide.

The legal definition of “genocide” according to Article II of the United Nations’ 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide legally defines the term as any of the following acts committed with the intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethical, racial or religious group, as such: (1) killing members of the group (2) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group (3) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part (4) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group (5) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.

THIS OBVIOUSLY SEEMS LIKE A GENOCIDE; SO WHY HAS THE U.S. AND UNITED NATIONS NOT RECOGNIZED IT AS SUCH?

If genocide were formally declared, then it would trigger certain international mechanisms that are meant to protect the group under threat. Some human rights activists believe the United States fails to declare the ISIS threat against Christians as “genocide” because it would force the United States government to be more involved in providing direct assistance to them. Presently, the United States government’s response has been dismal, and especially so with regard to the ancient Christian communities of the Middle East.

Here, you can read additional information on what would automatically happen if the United Nations were to declare this a genocide, as well as specific evidence of genocidal acts by ISIS against Christians.

BUT, HOW IS IT FAIR THAT YOU ARE PRIMARILY FOCUSED ON CHRISTIANS?

It’s not a matter of fairness – we wish we could help everyone – but it is a matter of practicality, resources and urgency. The United States is a Christian majority country that can more quickly and more easily rally support for displaced Christians.

We also have a grave concern for all of those being effected by ISIS in the region, not excluding the majority Muslim population, which has been the victim of more terrorist related causalities than any other religion or culture. However, the Christian community faces a particular threat of extermination.

Lord George Weidenfeld is a British peer who has personally rescued 25 families from ISIS, resettling them in Poland, and he did so because he was himself rescued by Christians in 1938 as a young Jewish boy. Now he says, “he is repaying the favor.”

When Weidenfeld was asked by a reporter why he was only helping Christians, he responded, “I cannot save the world, but there is a very specific possibility on the Christian side.”

He went on to say,

I want to focus on something I can — with great difficulty and effort — achieve. I have tremendous sympathy for Muslim victims, but . . . there is an enormous amount of Muslim money in the Muslim world [for them to help their own], and the other thing is the logistical problem: Muslims could be shifted a few hundred kilometers away from the conflict but the Christians will have to find safe havens on the other end of the earth.

Columnist Charles Krauthammer, who is distant cousin of Weidenfeld, defended him in The Washington Post by saying, “this comes under the heading of no good deed goes unpunished. It’s a rather odd view that because he cannot do everything, he should be admonished for trying to do something.”

We agree.

If we had limitless resources, we would help everyone, but we don’t. So, we’ll start with those we can most easily help, the Christians.

WILL YOU BE “VETTING” THOSE WE HELP EVACUATE? HOW DOES THAT WORK? AREN’T YOU CONCERNED ABOUT BRINGING IN PEOPLE WITH ILL INTENTIONS?

Yes, those we help evacuated will undergo a thorough “vetting” process to ensure they aren’t actually closeted terrorists.

Generally speaking, the Christian community in the Middle East has represented the economic and social backbone of these societies. Highly educated and successful, they have been university professors, engineers, bankers and administrators. Many are multi-lingual and well traveled. They are non-violent, non-sectarian and have been trusted for many years, employed in some of the most important positions in secular and Islamic regimes. Whatever country takes them in will be blessed by their contributions to society.

Yet, the emphasis of our approach is “verification.” We have an internationally respected and experienced security contractor handling this process on our behalf with the mandate to do their work according to standards that are even more stringent than those employed by others in the international community, including the United Nations.

The vetting program begins with the families being recommended by the local Christian leaders. In most cases, these are people whom the Christian leaders have known for their entire lives. So, we are evacuating people from within an enclosed cultural system. We then meet with each of the recommended IDPs/Refugees personally to begin the process of ensuring they are who they say they are. During this time we record their stories, collect documentation of their identity and then we diligently and carefully verify and cross-check both their stories and their documents. Along the way, we confirm their desire to be relocated and also make sure they fully understand this will be a challenging process to assimilate into a new country and culture. We employ of a number of other “best practices” used by the intelligence community to analyze the behavior of the interviewees throughout the entire process. While we can’t fully disclose all that’s involved in vetting these people, we can tell you that international standards are employed.

During the vetting process, we also work with government officials from the “receiving” countries to ensure all appropriate immigration paperwork is completed and verified.

ONCE THE FAMILIES ARE VETTED, WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?

Families are legally transported from their home or host country to their new country where they are received by individual sponsors or a sponsoring organization (depending upon the country). They are helped to assimilate from finding accommodations to education for their children to finding employment to language acquisition, etc.

Through sponsoring organizations, the families are also provided with some financial assistance with the intent of easing their transition into life and work in their new home and country.

WHERE ARE THE RESCUED REFUGEES GOING TO END UP?

We hope to be able to bring many of them to the United States. However, the United States remains closed to Christian refugees. Meanwhile, a number of European and South American countries have agreed to provide a limited number of VISAS to those we help evacuate.

HOW DO WE PRESSURE THE U.S. TO BECOME A RECEIVING COUNTRY?

Presently, the United States is not a receiving country. If you would like to help us put pressure on the U.S. Government to take in Middle Eastern Christians, then please fill how the form entitled “Are you ready to house a family from the Middle East?” here.

What are some other ways? Write your Congressperson; Raise your voice as an advocate through social media; Get your pastor, rabbi or priest on board; Provide financial support.

AND THIS ALL COSTS APPROXIMATELY $25,000 PER FAMILY?

Yes, we have budgeted approximately $25,000 to evacuate a family of five. This also includes providing some financial assistance to that family for a year.

Normally, families have to be evacuated in a group via charter aircraft after they are already securely transferred from wherever it is they are presently finding accommodation. The families are vetted by international security professionals, and sometimes are required to stay in a temporary location for a number of days. Additionally, there are expenses involved in laying down the infrastructure in the receiving countries, and in general logistical and administrative support in the evacuating countries. The evacuation process is – by its nature – variable, and some evacuations cost more than others. Every situation is unique.

Our goal is to make each evacuation as inexpensive as possible so we can provide as much of the $25,000 as possible to the family as a gift to help them get on their feet.

Those gifts are provided in installments through the first year of their resettlement.

ISN'T THE WORLD ALREADY DEALING WITH THE REFUGEE PROBLEM?

The situation in Iraq and Syria has created the worst refugee crisis since World War II, and the entire world is struggling to deal with it. It’s an “all hands on deck” moment. It is anything but resolved, and unless we work to provide safe and legal ways for the most vulnerable to escape, we will continue to witness the death of those who have been trying to flee without any assistance or those who’ve been forced to stay.

HOW ARE WE EVEN MAKING A DENT IN THE REFUGEE CRISIS?

We cannot save the world, but we can save many lives. Every time you save a single life – to them – you are saving their entire world. We know we can’t solve the whole problem, but we sure can make the difference in the lives of many. Rather than being focused on the enormity of the problem we are focused on the individual lives we can save.

IS THIS RESCUE OPERATION LEGAL?

Absolutely, everything is being done with legal counsel and in cooperation with governments according to established international standards and regulations.

ARE WE BUYING OR BRIBING BAD GUYS? DOES ANY OF THE MONEY GO TO TERRORISTS?

No and no.

HOW CAN I GIVE?

Just visit now.mercuryone.org, and donate to The Nazarene Fund.

Would Glenn make a better bounty hunter or a Jedi? You'll have to find out in a new episode of the Beltway Banthas Podcast, where Glenn goes deep on Star Wars with host Stephen Kent. In this 45 minute discussion, Stephen and Glenn explore the political themes of the Star Wars franchise, Darth Vader's redemption from Return of the Jedi, Glenn's earliest memories of seeing the films and even debate elements of the latest Star Wars films.

If you enjoy the pop culture and nerdy discussions that Glenn, Pat and Stu get into on the radio show, you'll love this! After you're through, you can also check out Stu Burguiere's appearance on Beltway Banthas to talk Star Wars. You can find that here.


It's never too early to start your Christmas, Hanukah, or Kwanzaa shopping. Or even birthday gift shopping. Especially if that special someone in your life is a Democrat. Because at last count, pretty much all the Democrats are now running for president. And that means there has never been a wider selection of official candidate merchandise to choose from. Whether you're into environmentalism, feminism, classism, socialism, or just plain love, there is a smorgasbord of classy items that you and yours will treasure forever... or at least until the next presidential election.

We have browsed each of the candidates' online stores, so you don't have to (it only took us three months). We have curated only the finest items from each of the Democrats running for president of the United States of America. Without further ado, here is your handy progressive gift guide – or maybe your what-not-to-gift guide.

First, the bargain basement options. Hurry! Time is running out to grab your Beto bandana, or your Delaney pack of golf balls, because at this point Stu has as much of a chance as these guys of getting the nomination.

Tom Steyer, for example – is he still in the race?


https://shop.tomsteyer.com/collections/frontpage/products/tom-2020-pattern-tee


There's way too much Tom here. That shirt's got more Toms than a Caucasian dentists' convention.

For the slightly more moderate Democrat in your life, perhaps they'd like to join the "Yang Gang"…

https://shop.yang2020.com/collections/bumper-stickers/products/yanggang-decal


Andrew Yang is a lock for Math Club president…


https://shop.yang2020.com/collections/apparel/products/math-hat


But for actual president? Well, I wouldn't make plans for how you're going to spend your $1,000-per-month Yang allowance just yet.

If you happen to be shopping for your dog, may I suggest this lovely "Dogs for Delaney" dog collar…


https://store.johndelaney.com/products/dogs-for-delaney-collar


John Delaney's definitely going to secure the canine vote with this kind of outreach. As for any human votes, that's another question entirely.

How 'bout this tastefully understated "Natural Canvas" Michael Bennet tote to remind you he's also still here?...


https://store.michaelbennet.com/michael-bennet-for-america-natural-canvas-tote/


Then again, it's a tote. So, it'll end up on the floor of your closet and you won't have it with you until that one random moment when you're out somewhere and you really need a tote bag. Just like Democrats will really wish they had a moderate when we're in the middle of the socialist nightmare of their creation.

Captain Planet himself, Jay Inslee recently dropped out of the race, but don't let that stop you from picking up what may be the greatest single item sold by anyone in this race…


https://store.jayinslee.com/elvis-the-elves-the-mystery-of-the-melting-snow-by-jay-inslee/


A children's book called Elvis & the Elves: the Mystery of the Melting Snow. Written and illustrated by Governor Jay Inslee. Talk about a whodunnit – how could that snow possibly be melting? Spoiler alert: it's because of evil, white, patriarchal capitalism. And Donald Trump.

Then there's the candidate who thinks you're a moron that can't pronounce his last name: Steve Bullock...


https://shop.stevebullock.com/collections/apparel/products/emoji-t-shirt


Get it? Bull. Lock. Oh, so that's how you say the name that sounds exactly how it's spelled.

There's another candidate who also thinks you need help pronouncing his last name…


https://store.peteforamerica.com/collections/apparel/products/boot-edge-edge-t-shirt


And he is definitely right about that. So, thank you, Pete "Boot Edge Edge." That helps.

Just outside the bargain bin section, but just barely, are candidates like Julian Castro and his "El Presidente" t-shirt…


https://store.julianforthefuture.com/julian-castro-loteria-card-white-tee/


When your last name's Castro, do you really want to go with a weird drawing of yourself as if you're a classic Latin American dictator on a postage stamp?

If you prefer a little "dark psychic forces" battling in your candidates, you'll love Marianne Williamson's "Turn Love Into a Political Force" rally sign…


https://store.marianne2020.com/collections/signs/products/love-rally-sign


"Turn Love Into a Political Force" would be an even better title for a Marianne Williamson album of 80s cover songs. And if you think I'm joking, then you haven't heard Bernie Sanders' classic 1987 folk album, We Shall Overcome. That's not a joke. Well, it is a joke, but it's also a very real thing.

Now, just a quick pause to consider the peculiar baby-wear that way too many candidates are selling…

…including Elizabeth Warren's trans-pride flag onesie. Let me get this straight – we can't force any gender on a child, because that's just cruel. But we can force a political advertisement on a baby? How do we know that baby is actually a Biden or Warren fan? The child may not even be a Democrat or a Socialist at all. That baby might self-identify as a Libertarian, or Republican, or even worse – a moderate Democrat.

Now to the premium items from the premium candidates. Elizabeth Warren – the candidate with the most honesty in her advertising…


https://shop.elizabethwarren.com/collections/apparel/products/impolite-arrogant-women-make-history-unisex-t-shirt

-AND-

https://shop.elizabethwarren.com/collections/drinkware/products/strong-american-unions-mug


Warren's merchandise reflects the woman herself – cold and humorless (watch her "This isn't funny" clip from the last debate here at the 4:27 mark). I'm sure she's really fun once you get to know her. Then again, maybe not.

Speaking of serious women, Kamala Harris wants to be president very badly for you, the people, as you can tell from her "For the People" poster…


https://store.kamalaharris.org/poster-for-the-people/


At $29.99 though, she's sure not charging "people's" prices. Of course, she might be having to pay royalties to a certain someone for riffing on their poster. Just saying.

For the race's number one socialist, there's a whole lot of capitalism going on in Bernie Sanders' campaign. He sells so many delightful items that it's hard to choose. But we did anyway. The most random item is this hundred-dollar, black, "Art of a Political Revolution – Artists for Bernie Sanders Coaches Jacket"…


https://store.berniesanders.com/collections/apparel/products/artists-for-bernie-coaches-jacket


Coaches across the land will be clamoring for this one. You know, since coaches are such a strong Bernie-socialist demographic.

If that's a little over your budget you might consider a "Feel the Bern" fanny pack, to help store all those government freebies you'll get from Bernie…


https://store.berniesanders.com/collections/apparel/products/feel-the-bern-fanny-pack


This is the only context in which you'll ever want to hear "feel the burn" and "fanny" in the same sentence.

And finally, from front-runner Joe Biden, we have this fine "Women's Fitted Biden Polo." Which is just about the best polo description ever…


https://store.joebiden.com/collections/apparel/products/biden-polo-womens-fit


It promises the kind of snug approach that Biden loves to provide women. Even when they don't ask.

This was one of the first homesteads in the area in the 1880's and was just begging to be brought back to its original glory — with a touch of modern. When we first purchased the property, it was full of old stuff without any running water, central heat or AC, so needless to say, we had a huge project ahead of us. It took some vision and a whole lot of trust, but the mess we started with seven years ago is now a place we hope the original owners would be proud of.

To restore something like this is really does take a village. It doesn't take much money to make it cozy inside, if like me you are willing to take time and gather things here and there from thrift shops and little antique shops in the middle of nowhere.

But finding the right craftsman is a different story.

Matt Jensen and his assistant Rob did this entire job from sketches I made. Because he built this in his off hours it took just over a year, but so worth the wait. It wasn't easy as it was 18"out of square. He had to build around that as the entire thing we felt would collapse. Matt just reinforced the structure and we love its imperfections.

Here are a few pictures of the process and the transformation from where we started to where we are now:

​How it was

It doesn't look like much yet, but just you wait and see!

By request a photo tour of the restored cabin. I start doing the interior design in earnest tomorrow after the show, but all of the construction guys are now done. So I mopped the floors, washed the sheets, some friends helped by washing the windows. And now the unofficial / official tour.

The Property

The views are absolutely stunning and completely peaceful.