An Open Letter To Steve Bannon from an American Muslim and Follower of René Guénon

Oct. 26, 2017

Sophia Imaginalis: Journal of Visionary Art, Sacred Art, Traditionalism and Esoteric Studies

By Charles Upton

[This open letter has five themes: the present cultural and socio-political situation in the United State; the Covenants Initiative; the need to prevent metaphysics from devolving into ideology; the application of the doctrines of René Guénon to social analysis; and the plans of the globalist elites to weaken, control or virtually eliminate the world’s major religions.]

Dear Mr.Bannon:

Greetings. I believe that we may have certain things of serious import to discuss, so I have written you this open letter.I am a writer in a genre I call“metaphysics and social criticism”. I am associated with the Traditionalist or Perennialist School of comparative religion and traditional metaphysics, a school considered to have been founded by René Guénon, who I understand has also been a great influence on you.

My publisher, James Wetmore of Sophia Perennis is editor of the collective works of René Guénon and is almost single-handedly responsible for keeping them in print in English.Since 2013 I have been associated with an organization I conceived of called the Covenants Initiative, which has now become an international movement within Islam to counter radical Islamic extremism and defend persecuted Christians. Our movement is based on a truly ground-breaking book by Dr. John Andrew Morrow entitled The Covenants of the Prophet Muhammad with the Christians of the World[Angelico/Sophia Perennis, 2013].

The covenants of the Prophet with various Christian communities, which Dr. Morrow re‐discovered in obscure monasteries and collections and sometimes newly translated, also providing powerful arguments for their validity, uniformly command Muslims not to attack or kill peaceful Christians, rob them, damage their buildings, stop their churches from being repaired, tear down their churches to build mosques, or even prevent their Christian wives from going to church and taking spiritual direction from Christian priests and elders. On the contrary, the Prophet commands all Muslims to actively defend these communities “until the coming of the Hour”—the end of the world.Thus the Prophet Muhammad himself, whose commands are law to every Muslim on earth, declared that groups like the mad dogs of ISIS lay under the curse of Allah before they ever drew breath.

When ISIS burned St. Mary’s Cathedral in Mindanao, the Philippines, in May of this year, the Governor of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao immediately invoked the Covenants of the Prophet to prove that this action was “un-Islamic”. I can confidently state that this was due almost entirely to our efforts. Speaking for myself, I see the Covenants Initiative as—among other things—one of the possible exoteric expressions of the esoteric principle that René Guénon, and his followers in the Traditionalist or Perennialist School, call “the transcendent unity of religions.” And one of the great values of this principle, when applied to society, history, and politics, is that it prevents those who follow it from making an idol out of this or that political ideology, since it teaches them to base their thoughts and actions on eternal metaphysical principles, not ad hoc ideological strategies.

For this reason I have been able, though not without a few wrong steps in my earlier years, to largely steer clear of identifying myself as either a Liberal or a Conservative. Speaking as a Muslim who also accepts the validity of the Christian revelation, I can define American Liberalism as the secularization of Christian Mercy, and American Conservatism as the secularization of Christian Justice and Morality. And the problem with both Liberalism and Conservatism is, precisely, secularization, which is nothing less than an implicit or outright atheism thatacts to drive an unholy and unnatural wedge between Mercy and Justice.

In Christianity—that is, in God—Mercy and Justice are never and can never be separated. The Rulers of the Darkness of This World, however, have done their best to alienate Mercy and Justice from each other and set them at war. They have contrived false and counterfeit forms of them, perverting them both and thereby making both of them hateful to us. Extreme and authoritarian Liberalism, in an act of unparalleled viciousness, has transformed Mercy into what Dr. Morrow calls “compulsory immorality”, into the insidious vice of permissiveness—a cruel permissiveness that loves corruption and targets anyone who struggles to live a life of purity and decency, doing all it can to drive such conscientious people to despair—not simply by giving them no help in their struggles but by portraying their very love of virtue as a kind of self-loathing, and their desire to proclaim that love, and see it take root and grow and spread its loveliness throughout human society, as bigotry and hate.

It has imposed a loathsome regime of “political correctness”, a system which has resulted in an ideologically enslaved population who believe that anyone who does not agree with their own brand of Liberal extremism must be a Nazi or a Klansman or a Russian agent, as well as making them mortally afraid, not only of even the most moderate conservatives, but finally even of their own thoughts, thereby going a long way toward destroying freedom of speech in this country by defining certain opinions, in the terminology of George Orwell’s 1984, as thought crime.

Likewise its distrust of traditional moral values has expressed itself as an attack on Christianity, leading to a serious erosion of freedom of religion as well. It has exploited crucial and necessary efforts like environmental protection, the social advancement of women, and the struggles for survival of often-disadvantaged groups such as Blacks or Gays or Muslim and/or Latino immigrants, into unholy Liberal causes, causes which they then cynically employ to weaken the constitutional rule of law and attack and undermine their political opponents, as well as to impose extreme and destructive social experiments upon an initially unwilling, but often finally beaten and compliant, American public.

In so doing they have built up a backlog of racial and sexual hatred that the extreme Conservatives have no qualms about exploiting openly. And while pretending to still be in some sense “Leftists”, they have suppressed nearly all viable economic and class analysis, replacing it by “ethnic studies”, “gender studies” and a socially engineered racial conflict and hatred between the sexes that has poisoned this society from sea to shining sea. By this they have made Mercy itself hateful to many—and there is no greater crime than this.

Extreme and reactionary Conservatism, drawing partly on its own inherent tendencies and partly on a growing and widespread reaction against the excesses of Liberalism, has transformed the majestic virtue of Justice, Justice which is nothing less than militant Mercy, into a justification for tyranny and oppression, a code-word whose actual meaning and effect is to throw all support to the economic “1 percent” who have looted this country root and branch, destroyed the middle class, further impoverished the poor, made widespread unemployment and underemployment—cleverly concealed behind twisted and lying statistics—into the new normal, hypocritically praised family values while economically attacking and destroying actual families.

In the name of Justice and Morality they have turned the love of virtue into a license to hate and oppress anyone who does not live up to their own often ill-conceived and blindly imposed “moral” standards, recommending thrift and diligence to those who have spent years looking for a job and failed, recommending a stiff upper lip and decreased reliance on opiates to those who are in chronic pain and lack the resources to access more sophisticated treatments—standards they are zealous in imposing on others but often lax in applying to themselves, doing battle with the speck of dust in their neighbor’s eye while ignoring the two-by-four in their own.

They have made war on the poor, denying them health care, denying food stamps to the chronically mal-nourished, while doing all they can to give free rein the predatory economic forces that have brought us the savings-and-loan scandal, the Enron scandal, the sub-prime mortgage scandal, the Great Recession that has made this once rich and hopeful country into a nation of paupers, of old people who can never retire and young people who see no future but to drown themselves in the abyss of cyberspace while being a burden to their parents, who can never make marriages or families, who can never become adults! And their hatred of the poor is only equaled by their hatred of the environment, of the very Earth that sustains us all—even them. In so doing they have transformed the divine virtue of Justice which gives to everyone his or her rightful portion into an armed guard standing watch at the iron gate of the City of Robbery and Usury, making sure that the meek never will inherit the earth, that only the money-changers, those with the blood of the poor and defenseless still hot on their hands, will be granted admittance.

The terminal corruption of both Liberalism and Conservatism is clearly revealed by two sterling examples: Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump—Clinton, who openly despises the white working class and whose impending though finally derailed election, according to the Defcon website, brought the estimated danger of nuclear war with Russia to its highest level since the Cuban Missile Crisis—and Trump, who—though I applaud his powerful blows against ISIS, his apparently sincere desire to wipe them off the face of the earth—wants to cut Medicaid, deny food stamps to the poorest of the poor, axe environmental protection laws and privatize the national parks, and who—though his stated aim of rationalizing immigration policy to protect the U.S. from foreign terrorists makes a degree of sense, as long as it targets terrorists and not just Muslims—continues to offer inflammatory statements, without retracting them, that many have translated as “open season on immigrants and Muslims”, leading to a massive increase in hate crimes.

And behind both Liberalism and Conservatism lies the Deep State, the cadres of the Global Elites, who believe in nothing whatsoever, only in themselves and in the Satanic principle they worship, and who, from their position of inverted, Luciferian transcendence, can use either Liberal or Conservative ideology as they so choose, cynically, indifferently, with equal force, equal cruelty and equal and conspicuous success, according to which of these two hopeless alternatives the American people happen to have placed their feeble hopes in during a particular decade, a particular presidential administration, a particular year, in order to advance their transformation of this planet into a living hell .That’s why I thank the living God every day that He has led me to the noble science of metaphysics—and, in so doing, freed me from ideology.

Remember, Mr. Bannon—and I call on myself also to remember—that there is no Mercy without Justice and Morality; whoever believes in the contradiction of an unjust Mercy will be sorely punished by being transformed into a Liberal. Likewise there is no Justice without Mercy; whoever believes in the impossibility of a merciless Justice as will be severely chastised by being turned into a Conservative. What has Almighty God to do with flimsy human categories like Liberalism or Conservatism, the Left or the Right?

God is of neither the East nor the West: He is the Inner, the Outer, the End, the Beginning, the Highest of all, the Deepest of all, the Center of all, the Total Field—Light upon Light. To whom or what else should we turn to learn what Mercy is, and what Justice is, and how to enact them, and where to find the power to enact them? There is much good in liberality, in generosity, in compassion, in catholicity of taste, in breadth of sympathy—but Liberalism is a travesty.

Likewise there is much good in tradition, in holding to the right, in militantly protecting and defending the good, the true and the beautiful—but Conservatism is a curse. God is far above such weak and shameful human attempts to do His work for Him. And what is God? God—Mr. Bannon, and my dear friends—God is Love: Love Who is the sweetest of Mercies and the most relentless hand of Justice in a single, incandescent, thunderous, face of Truth.

By whatever Name He may be known, His is the standard I bear. So if you really want to do Justice to the profound truths that René Guénon has revealed to us, and find Mercy in them, and thereby grasp the essence of the great God-given religions, of Judaism and Hinduism, of Zoroastrianism and Buddhism, of Christianity and Islam, then take care that you never espouse a principle or give support to a policy that violates either the Justice, or the Mercy, of Love—because if you do, you will have joined the army of the Enemies of Love, and thereby made Love Himself your enemy, that being a fate more terrible than human words can express.

So what is my purpose in sending you this message? To begin with, I simply wanted to alert you to the fact that a movement like the Covenants Initiative, which has already had great influence in the Muslim world and has gained a degree of notice in the Christian world as well, could have come out of the work of two American Muslims, Dr. John Andrew Morrow and myself, over the past four years. I hope that this piece of information will provide you with a new point of reference and challenge you to entertain the possibility that American Muslims might have a greater and more active role to play in the struggle against radical Islamic extremism than simply protesting their innocence and issuing disclaimers—a role based on the commands of the Prophet Muhammad himself.

Secondly, I felt that it might be useful for you to realize that a person such as myself with an early Catholic background like yours, someone who considers himself a follower of René Guénon just as you do, could have unexpectedly risen from obscurity to play a real though modest part in world affairs in the 21st Century. What is going on here? Most of my colleagues in the Traditionalist School in the English-speaking world have long resigned themselves to social marginalization, willingly accepted their apparent duty to keep the lamp of traditional metaphysics burning, even though we might have to hide it under a bushel basket to prevent it from being snuffed out by the Darkness of This World.

That some version of Traditionalist doctrine, which we had considered to be essentially a-political, could suddenly rise to prominence in the United States, Russia and elsewhere in terms of various political ideologies, has come as a real shock to many of us. Our surprise can partly be explained by the de-emphasis of Julius Evola in our branch of Traditionalism, since Evola has been the main road for many toward a political application ofGuénon’s ideas. Yet when the covenants of the Prophet suddenly appeared in my life, due to the ground-breaking research of Dr. John Andrew Morrow, I immediately saw that they represented a legitimate and entirely Traditional way of applying the Traditionalist doctrine of the transcendent unity of religions to social action.

This development has all the marks of a prophetic sign—but a sign of what? Is Traditionalism finally “coming into its own”? Or has the Darkness of This World at last found a way to co-opt and neutralize it? These are matters that merit serious discussion. Third and last, if there ever was a time when the world’s religions need to stand together against their common enemies, it is now. The forces of militant secularism, false magical/psychic religion and fundamentalist extremism are attacking all the God-given religions.

The time is therefore ripe for a “united front ecumenism” that recognizes this threat and begins the serious work of developing strategies to counter it. Unexpectedly, Guénon’s categories from The Reign of Quantity have proved highly useful for analyzing the emerging globalist hegemony; this is partly due to the fact that, at least since the Iranian Revolution, religion has begun to have a greater influence on social change and social conflict than (perhaps) at any time since the Reformation. One face of this hegemony is the direct atheist/secularist attack on religious faith; this would correspond to Guénon’s “Anti-Tradition.” The false magical or psychic religion of the New Age, its predecessors and successors, fits Guénon’s definition of “Pseudo-Tradition”. And the Luciferianism of the global elites expresses the very essence of his categories of “Counter-Tradition” and “Counter-Initiation”.

The globalist master plan to wipe the traditional religions off the face of the earth is based on two main strategies. The first is to weaken the faiths by infiltrating them with Pseudo-Traditional doctrines and practices, many of which are based on the idea that all the religions are naturally “evolving” toward one universalist meta-religion which will incorporate the “best” of each in the process of supplanting all of them—a meta-religion of which the globalist elites themselves would constitute the priesthood.

The long-term Freemasonic attack against Roman Catholicism is perhaps the clearest and most successful example of this strategy. (Parenthetically, the greatest contradiction—and irony—in Guénon’s doctrines is his hope that Masonry could be used to re-introduce a true esoteric spirituality into the Western world; he never seems to have realized that the Freemasonic lodges almost perfectly satisfy his own definition of Counter-Initiatic organizations.)

And even if the goal of a One-World Religion, or a federation of all the world’s religions under a single secular authority, is never in fact attained, nonetheless the push for it will have so weakened the traditional religions that they will no longer be able to stand in any effective way against the globalist hegemony. One of the tools employed by the global elites in their attack on the traditional religions is the established Interfaith Movement, which is heavily subsidized and directed by national governments, including the U.S. State Department, as well as various globalist foundations and think-tanks. (This criticism certainly does not apply to all Interfaith organizations, nonetheless the globalist influence remains a dangerous factor which is not often recognized for what it is.)

The globalist-influenced Interfaith Movement influences the religions to soft-pedal various “divisive” doctrines in the name of “tolerance” and “unity”, thus weakening their basic structure and making them more vulnerable to Pseudo-Traditional incursions. The Traditionalist doctrine of the transcendent unity of religions is strictly opposed to this sort of promiscuous Liberal ecumenism since it takes the differences between the faiths as providential and sees their unity not as a desirable worldly possibility but as a transcendent reality; the paths of the various faith finally come together only in God.

Likewise the Covenants Initiative does not require any degree of doctrinal unanimity between Islam and Christianity outside the belief in One God, necessarily supplemented by the understanding that any traditional religion that affirms this belief will find itself a target of the globalist elites. The second strategy, conceived and directed by these same elites, is to subsidize the various radical fundamentalist movements within the traditional religions—movements which, ironically, have often grown up as blind, narrow-minded and ill-conceived reactions against globalism: a perfect example of the venerable technique of the “controlled opposition”.

The radical fundamentalists—who are actually another form of Anti-Tradition—are useful to the elites because they tend to oppose and attack both the religious tradition out of which they have developed, seeing it as degenerate and heretical, and all the other religions as well, seeing them as false, Satanic counterfeits of the True Faith. This allows the elites to turn various hired religious or pseudo-religious terrorist organizations—ISIS is a prime example—against both the religion they profess to follow and every other traditional faith they can get their hands on.

This is why I believe that the meta-strategy of the globalists in supporting Islamic terrorism is to neutralize ALL the religions. After all, why should an elite cadre of oligarchs backed by global finance who aspire to world domination sit back and do nothing when the beliefs and aspirations and moral standards of billions of people are determined by “out-moded” religious institutions that they do not control? And if anyone still doubts that both “religious tolerance” and mutually-destructive inter-religious war could be subsidized by the same people at the same time for the same purpose, I can report from personal experience that, during the Obama administration, the Christian/Muslim Dialogue in my home town Lexington, Kentucky was hosting speakers from Homeland Security, the Federal Attorney’s Office, the State Department and the FBI, at the very same time that this same administration, via the CIA and other entities, was subsidizing and directing the Arab Spring and the growth of ISIS.

I refer those who still remain incredulous when faced with this claim to an article by Seumas Milne that appeared in the Guardianin June of 2015, entitled “Now the truth emerges: how the US fuelled the rise of Isis in Syria and Iraq”. It maybe viewed at:

In conclusion, I only wish to point out that the emerging globalist hegemony, whether or not it finally takes the form of a One-World Religion or incorporates such a religion as one of its “ministries”, perfectly fits the prophesy of René Guénon, in The Reign of Quantity and the Signs of the Times, that the Counter-Tradition will ultimately express itself in terms of a visible organization that would be “the counterpart, but by the same token the counterfeit, of a traditional conception such as that of the ‘Holy Empire’”—a regime controlled by an “inverted hierarchy” which would be nothing less than the kingdom of Antichrist, the one that we Muslims call al-Dajjal, “the Deceiver”.

But still the question remains: what does it mean that the doctrines of an abstruse and reclusive French metaphysician who died in 1951 have been one of the factors that have brought both of us to our respective commitments to social action in this darkest of times in human history, the final days of the Kali-yuga? It’s a question worth discussing.

Explore the groundbreaking work and thought of Charles Upton here:

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Dr. John Andrew Morrow is a senior scholar specializing in Islamic, Indigenous, and Hispanic Studies.