Interview with Steve Hassan on Dominionism

Several weeks ago, I did a Skype interview with Steve Hassan on dominionism for an upcoming book he is working on. Today, he brought it out as a blog post on his Freedom of Mind website.

Steve is an internationally known expert on mind control groups. He was formerly in the Unification Church. I use his BITE Model when teaching persuasion in social psychology. It was a pleasure being interviewed and spending some time with Steve.

Ralph Drollinger Says He’s Not a Christian Nationalist But Exhorts Legislators to Please God with Immigration Policy

Provider of Bible studies and counsel to members of Donald Trump’s Cabinet Ralph Drollinger doesn’t like to be called a dominionist or a Christian nationalist. Loosely, these terms refer to people who believe the laws of the United States should reflect and be based on the teachings of Christianity. Any other influence is false and will lead to bad government.

In a recent newsletter Drollinger uses (misuses) Hebrew words for foreigners to inform legislators about what he believes U.S. immigration policy should be. In essence, he concludes “May God grant you, our lawmakers, wisdom in crafting this last point into a policy that is pleasing to God. I pray for you in this regard.”

The heart of Drollinger’s message is a rigid classification of non-natives based on different Hebrew words. He apparently hasn’t done the study himself; he based his classification on the work of James Hoffmeier. Hoffmeier’s work on these words has been criticized as overly rigid attempts to apply modern legal concepts of citizenship to the ancient Hebrews (see this article).

I am not going to repeat Bojidar Marinov’s article but what stood out to me was Marinov’s research into the use of the words for foreigner in the Old Testament and the lack of legal structure matching our own. The words aren’t always clearly differentiated. Furthermore, the words don’t correspond to categories which make sense in modern America. Marinov wrote:

In this specific case, to know if Hoffmeier’s interpretation of the terms is correct, we need to look not to our modern legal concepts but to the Bible. Does the Bible contain any practical example of the legal difference between ger and nekhar? Does it have an example of an illegal alien arrested and deported back to his land? Does it have any legal stipulation in the Law of God declaring “illegal immigration” to be a crime? Does it contain the specific penalties for such a crime? Does it mention an institution charged with issuing visas or permits? Does it mention a legal procedure that grants a ger status to foreigners? Simply sticking our modern concepts on top of those terms is poor scholarship; we need to be consistent with the Bible, not with our modern times, to know if a hermeneutic is correct.

The Bible has nothing like this. There is no such crime mentioned, no penalties, no institution charged with enforcement, no permits, no visas, no deportations. The very concept of immigration control is missing; it’s nowhere to be seen. If Hoffmeier is correct in his interpretation of the terms, where would the Hebrews take all these definitions he is proposing? Suck them out of thin air? Go to Edom or Egypt? But even Edom and Egypt didn’t have specific laws nor legal definitions of these concepts; all they had is the whim of a ruler. How would a Hebrew know all the specific details Hoffmeier claims were present in the terms? And how would the Hebrew society know how to enforce them?

Drollinger wants his politician followers to enact his anti-immigrant interpretation of biblical words into law without regard for the fact that Christian interpreters differ about the meaning and significance of the words. He claims he has the correct Bible teaching and that it is wrong to craft policy on any other basis. How can this not be evangelical Christian nationalism?

Even if we use these words as guides, there isn’t evidence that those people referred to by Drollinger as “illegal” were not allowed into Israel. Word studies demonstrate that so-called “illegals” were allowed to cross the borders into Israel lawfully and in fact were drawn to the nation in a positive manner.  For instance, I Kings 8:41-43 says:

As for the foreigner who does not belong to your people Israel but has come from a distant land because of your name— 42 for they will hear of your great name and your mighty hand and your outstretched arm—when they come and pray toward this temple, 43 then hear from heaven, your dwelling place. Do whatever the foreigner asks of you, so that all the peoples of the earth may know your name and fear you, as do your own people Israel, and may know that this house I have built bears your Name.

Where is the Hebrew version of ICE? Foreigners were treated differently and had different requirements, especially respecting religious ceremonies but they were allowed to be in the country. This is a far cry from what Drollinger is advising Trump’s cabinet.

While America is not Israel and we are not a covenant nation, we are attractive to those who long for freedom. Ronald Reagan put this in religious terms with his “shining city on a hill” motif. Today’s evangelical Republicans have twisted their Christianity to make it exclusionary to match the political mood, not the biblical text.

 

Capitol Ministries: Christian Nationalism by Another Name is Still Christian Nationalism

Head of Capitol Ministries Ralph Drollinger recently told James Dobson that 11 of President Trump’s cabinet members attend his meetings. In describing his rationale for the studies, Drollinger’s reasons sounded similar to those who espouse Christian nationalism. Christian nationalists believe that leaders in a society need to be Christian so that the laws and policies will reflect Christianity.

In his interview with Dobson, Drollinger asserted:

Right actions begin with right thinking and right thinking begins with thinking right about God. So, how can you expect right actions in terms of the course of a nation unless your nation’s leaders think right? And how can you expect them to think right if they don’t know the Word of God?

I was surprised to learn that Drollinger doesn’t think of himself as a Christian nationalist. He wrote an article distancing himself from the terms most closely associated with Christian nationalism. However, after a review of his recommendations for public policy, I don’t agree with him. He sounds like a Christian nationalist to me. For him, the only good legislator is a legislator who subscribes to his view of Christianity.  

About two years ago, he took issue with a NYT editorial by Kathrine Stewart in which she called him out as a Christian nationalist. Drollinger wrote a response calling that defamation and asked that the Times print a retraction. To my knowledge, nothing came of that demand.

In response to the publicity surrounding the dust up, Drollinger outlined his views of dominionism and Christian nationalism. He dismissed theonomy, Christian reconstructionism, and dominionism as faulty concepts based on misunderstandings of Scripture. He distinguished three types of law in the Old Testament and said that only one expression should be promoted in civil government by Christians. In a Capitol Ministries newsletter on the subject, Drollinger asserted:

The Judicial/Civil OT Law along with the Ceremonial OT Law are not applicable for Public Servant lawmakers today in the Church Age because they are specific to theocratic Israel of the OT and they have been done away with by Christ Himself. On the other hand, the Moral Law of the OT is applicable for today as a reliable informant for civil government leaders in their lawmaking. In fact, the Moral Law is and should remain the basis of civil government lawmaking today because it matches perfectly the conscience “chip” that God has installed in everyone He has created: The Moral Law of God, revealed in the OT and NT is written on our hearts! (Cf. Romans 1:18-20.)

Drollinger claimed Christian nationalists (whoever they are, he doesn’t name them) want to implement OT civil and ceremonial laws into American government. He doesn’t want to do that so he isn’t a Christian nationalist. However, he does teach legislators that God’s moral law as expressed in the Bible is the proper basis for civil government. This heading comes from the same lesson:

BELIEVERS WHO SERVE IN CIVIL GOVERNMENT SHOULD ONLY SEEK TO IMPORT ONE OF THE THREE DISTINCTLY DIFFERENT ASPECTS OF THE OT LAW. THEY SHOULD SEEK TO IMPORT FOR TODAY THE MORAL LAW OF GOD AS REVEALED IN THE OT TORAH!

Drollinger says he believes in separation of church and state because he doesn’t want a state church. However, he does want the church to influence the state. As we will see, the influence comes via converting legislators to his view of God’s moral law.

In the New Testament, the Bible teaches that God created the institution of the state as an entity separate from the institution of the Church. But that does not imply that God does not expect the institution of the state to be influenced by the institution of the Church: He does expect the Church to influence the State — while remaining institutionally separate.

I do not believe or embrace “Christian nationalism” nor does Capitol Ministries harbor any theocratic motives.

In a more in depth study on separation of church state, Drollinger explained the idea of influence of the church on the state.

As we will see from this study, the institution of the State is quite dependent on the existence of a strong and healthy institution of the Church (which it does not control) to build men and women in righteousness for service in government.

The same principles which build individuals  in righteousness (as expounded by the Word of God) are the same principles, wherein multiplied by and through individuals, that build a nation. It is when a nation is impregnated with highly principled individuals that it gains well-being.

Given this cut-to-the-chase analysis of our greatest need, the question then quickly becomes one of how righteousness is formed in the lives of individuals. Having said that, therein exists, in terms of serving the institution of the State, the absolutely critical preeminent duty of the Church in an institutionally separated society: to convert the soul and disciple — Christianize — the leaders of the State and its citizenry.

Conversion is even preeminent to education; without a moral foundation, knowledge makes arrogant (I Corinthians 8:1) and is of little value in terms of nation building. Therefore in our composite country, the State is highly dependent on an institution it does not control: The Church in regard to its own health and sustainability. Conversely, for the Church to spend her energy in the capital community attempting to affect policy with little manifest concern for the souls of the State’s leaders is to practice, biblically speaking, a misinformed and misguided sort of involvement: it is to attempt to do what others — strong-in-Christ Public Servants — can do much better! It is to be less than efficient. It is to misunderstand the primacy of her God-ordained role in a composite society.

The Church can best influence the State by building and sending righteous Public Servants to serve in government. Keep in mind the State is not in the business of manufacturing righteous individuals. Rather, God has designed it to punish unrighteous individuals (cf. Romans 13:4; 1 Peter 2:13-14).Proverbs 29:2 serves to summarize this:

I can imagine that a non-Christian reading this would be worried that this sounds like a formula for a de facto establishment of Drollinger’s view of Christianity. People from Christian traditions other than evangelical might wonder the same thing since Drollinger’s view of God’s moral law is a conservative evangelical one.

Drollinger tells us that “conversion is even preeminent to education” for the leaders of the state. In other words, Christian lawmakers who know nothing of the issues they will address in office are better than non-Christian experts. If President Trump’s handlers are truly listening to this advice, this could help account for some of the truly unqualified appointments to high administration positions and the judiciary.

Drollinger makes his views clear by saying that God can only bless the nation through the prayers of Christians.

God only hears the prayers of leaders and citizens who are upright, who live righteous through faith in Jesus Christ.

Scripture is clear; those who are at enmity with Him — who passively or actively reject the Son of God — their prayers are worthless and go unheard. And the State suffers for want of His blessing. The righteous leader is a man of potent prayer.

While Drollinger criticizes Christians who want Mosaic law as a basis, he sees no problem with his version of Christianity being the basis for civil government. If the nation can only prosper through the Christian church, then what else can you call this but Christian nationalism? According to his plain teaching, if you aren’t a Christian as a leader or a citizen, you are part of the problem. His answer is to convert you to his tradition of Christianity. The principle goal of Capitol Ministries is to evangelize legislators and as he wrote in the lesson cited above – Christianize – leaders and citizens. When the goal is political change, what else can this be philosophy be called?

What’s The Problem?

Drollinger claims that no one is required to attend his Bible studies. I suspect that is true at least in the formal sense. If no tax funds are being expended, I don’t see a problem with government officials attending his meetings although I wish they wouldn’t.

Where there could be a problem is what he does with his influence. Evangelizing is one thing, using the evangelized converts to institute your religious view of law is another. It seems obvious to me that he has policy views he thinks God wants more than others and he believes converted lawmakers will pursue those. He uses religious conversion to achieve political ends.

One effect of this could be to increase the polarization of our politics. In Drollinger’s Christianity, ideological opponents aren’t just people we disagree with, they are enemies of God. They aren’t just different in outlook; their prayers are “worthless” and the State “suffers” because they have “rejected the Son of God.” If you compromise legislatively with such people, you may view yourself as compromising on God’s principles.

This view of the unconverted may not reflect the Christian nationalism that Drollinger rejects, but it is a kind of Christian privilege that isn’t reflected by the Constitution. The framers had an opportunity to privilege Christianity but firmly decided to reject religious tests for public service. The framers saw the rejection of a religious test as a sign of enlightenment. In contrast to Drollinger, the framers understood that public service required more than conversion to Christianity.

I believe Drollinger is wrong: Public service most certainly requires education and and openness to information. Currently, we have so many legislators who really have no idea how to evaluate information and scientific data. They rely on dubious “experts” within their faith traditions to tell them how to vote.

Furthermore, electing Christians is no guarantee of righteous actions or policies. For instance, the Trump administration has been among the most scandal ridden in history.  The supposed “baby Christian” President Trump can’t seem to find the truth. And far away from Washington, D.C., converted legislators are no insurance against greed and corruption (e.g., Arkansas bribery scandal). Any political observer knows I could go on and on.

The law of the land is the Constitution which does not place any barrier to the religious or non-religious. Teaching elected officials that their non-Christian peers can’t “think right” about public policy because they “don’t know the Word of God” isn’t consistent with American values and our Constitutional system. He can believe it with all his might but when he makes it his work to infect the political system with those teachings then it becomes everybody’s business to call it out and oppose it.

Dominionism and the Actual Deep State

At one time, I wrote a lot about dominionism and the teaching that Christians were called to take over seven mountains of culture: government, education, entertainment, business, religion, family, and media (category:Dominionism). Christians who believe that often also believe America was founded as a Christian nation. Empirically the belief that America is a Christian nation has been associated with likelihood to vote for and support Donald Trump.

It is important to understand that Christians who believe America’s laws should reflect a conservative reading of the Bible don’t need everybody in power to personally be a Christian. They need a critical mass of people in a “mountain” of culture to be Christian in order to influence policy. For instance in government, as long as Trump has Christians around him influencing him to make policy they like, they don’t care that much what he does or says. According to a seven mountain resource, “The definition of reality is controlled by those that control cultural output.”

With this background in mind, please read this article by Jack Jenkins at Religion News Service. Jenkins watched the live feed of an event featuring Jon Hamill of Lamplighters Ministry.  His opening description is ominous:

But last Friday afternoon (Dec. 7), one of the hotel’s many glimmering ballrooms was transformed into a sanctuary, where dozens of worshippers held their hands aloft and spoke in tongues as Jon Hamill, co-founder of Washington, D.C.-based Lamplighter Ministries, led the group in prayer.

Hamill — whom supporters describe as a prophet — closed his eyes tightly and shouted above the chattering: “In Jesus’ name, we declare the Deep State will not prevail!”

Jenkins then described how participants see their church and the government as being intertwined.

Yet conference speakers repeatedly cast Trump administration officials as agents of God. And they urged the gathering of “intercessors” — believers who offer invocations on behalf of others — to aid the White House through prayer. Doing so, they argued, would help bring about a cosmic, spiritual “turnaround” for the nation.

According to the event organizers, there are Christians in the government who want to bring about their vision.

“We have governmental leaders throughout the Trump administration who love Jesus with all of their heart, and they are giving their all for this nation and for God’s dream for this nation,” Hamill said.

While loving Jesus is fine, attempting to enact anyone’s religious dream as a part of government service is a problem.

What is the Actual Deep State?

Hamill and dominionists describe their intentions to control the mountain of government.  For dominionists, it is a problem when others want to do the same thing, but it isn’t a problem when they do it.

Hamill worries about a shadowy deep state working to resist Trump. I am more concerned about dominionists who put their seven mountains teaching over the Constitution. The only real deep state conspiracy that I have seen evidence for is dominionism.

 

Dear Robert Jeffress: The President's Authority to Wage War Does Not Come from God

JeffressYesterday, CBN’s The Brody File posted a statement from court evangelical, Baptist pastor and Trump religious advisor Robert Jeffress regarding Trump’s authority to take out North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un.  In it, Jeffress makes an extraordinary claim:

When it comes to how we should deal with evil doers, the Bible, in the book of Romans, is very clear: God has endowed rulers full power to use whatever means necessary — including war — to stop evil. In the case of North Korea, God has given Trump authority to take out Kim Jong-Un.

It is likely that Jeffress is referring to the first seven verses of Romans chapter 13, where Paul wrote:

Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience.

This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.

Historically, Baptists Believed in Church-State Separation

Biblically and politically, Jeffress is just wrong to insert himself as a spokesperson for God into the situation. He should turn in his Baptist card.
During the revolutionary and post-revolutionary period, Baptists were among the staunchest supporters of separation of church and state. Now the Baptist-in-name-only Jeffress advises Trump that God has given the green light for lethal action in North Korea.

Romans 13 Doesn’t Apply

First, in our non-theocratic republic, the authority for Trump’s actions comes from the Constitution, not God. America is not a new Israel where the prophets advised the King when to attack an enemy. Jeffress is not God’s mouthpiece to the president with orders from on high.
Second, the Romans passage doesn’t apply in this situation. Although rulers come and go in accord with God’s providence, the rulers do so within God’s timing and the political structure of their state. Paul does not establish a mechanism for a ruler to discern God’s plan.
Regarding citizens of a nation, they are to respect the authority of that nation’s rulers. The words are addressed to citizens of a nation, not to our president about strategy for deposing rulers of other nations. This isn’t a mandate for America to become take out evil dictators around the world. While in some cases it may further America’s interests to do so, the authority and mandate don’t come from these verses.

What Should Happen with North Korea?

The correct policy might or might not include a preemptive strike. That is a decision for those who are more knowledgeable than me. However, I can say with certainty that Trump and his advisors should not be waiting around for a prophet to speak for God.

This is What a Court Evangelical Sounds Like

Messiah College’s chair of the history department John Fea coined the phrase “court evangelical” to describe evangelical leaders who defend Donald Trump no matter what he does. Even Republican Senators have expressed confusion and negative reactions to the firing of James Comey, but not the court evangelicals. Watch:


Robert Jeffress is most certainly a court evangelical. Actually, the Comey controversy is real and for more reasons than Trump fired the head of the agency investigating him. Trump sent his surrogates out with a cover story and then changed it the next day. Somewhere in there is a lie and it doesn’t seem very evangelical to lie; except that for the court evangelicals, lying is just one of those political things that strongmen do.
According to Fea (I agree with him), court evangelicals “have put their faith in a political strongman who promises to alleviate their fears and protect them from the forces of secularization.” Fea’s list includes:

Jerry Falwell Jr.
Paula White
James Dobson
Mark Burns
Ralph Reed
Robert Jeffress
Eric Metaxas
Franklin Graham

Where in the World is Phoenix University of Theology?

Last month, I pointed out that dominionist minister Lance Wallnau claimed a doctorate from Phoenix University of Theology. The school grants credits for “life experience” and appears to award entire degrees without any classes or tests. This characteristic alone makes it appear to be a diploma mill (see the federal definition of a diploma mill).
Holding classes would require classrooms and it may be that PUT doesn’t have those either. Recently, reader Dee Holmes went by the address listed on the PUT website to see their facility. It turns out that PUT wasn’t listed among the many businesses which also claim 3420 E. Shea Blvd., Suite 200, Phoenix, AZ as an address. See the photo below (click the image to enlarge it):
3420ESheaBlvdPhoenixAZ
An examination of the list of businesses on the directory reveals no address for Phoenix University of Theology. The school did not reply to my question about the location of the school. On PUT’s incorporation papers, 2401 W. Paradise Ln., Phoenix, AZ is listed as the address. This address is a private residence.
Like diploma mill Life Christian University, PUT has a distinguished graduate list. Among them are:

William Boykin – Family Research Council
T.D. Jakes – The Potter’s House
Ben Kinchlow – 700 Club
Lance Wallnau – Seven Mountains Underground
H. Norman Wright – Family counselor, formerly on the faculty at Biola University

The last name surprised me since Wright has taught as reputable schools (e.g., Biola). He apparently is not on Biola’s faculty at present.
I asked Wright twice via his website about how he earned his D.Min. He did not respond.
Although with a slightly different method, PUT appears to be another Christian diploma mill which provides famous Christian people with a means to persuade the trusting masses that they are experts.

Dominionist Donald Trump Prophet Lance Wallnau Apologizes for Not Asking for Donations

7m LogoLance Wallnau has been a supporter of Donald Trump for a long time. He promoted his rise as a modern day King Cyrus and said God directed him to support Trump. Wallnau is also a key and early promoter of Seven Mountains Dominionism, the view that Christians need to take dominion over education, religion, politics, the arts, business, media, and family policy as a part of expanding God’s Kingdom. Wallnau sees Trump’s rise as a means of bringing the mandate to take dominion to fruition.
With a straight face, Wallnau posted a video to his 7MUnderground Facebook page apologizing for not asking his followers for money.

The 7M Underground appears to be Wallnau’s latest effort to cash in on dominionist support for Trump. Political and religious observers should not underestimate the boost Trump’s victory has given the 7M dominionists. From their point of view, God hand picked Trump to help them enact the dominion of 7M Christians over America. They no doubt feel vindicated and may be even more inclined to see their political opponents as opposing God’s will.
Wallnau has a doctorate from diploma mill Phoenix University of Theology, a school where you pay by the degree and don’t take classes.

Gateway Church Pastor Robert Morris is One of Donald Trump's Spiritual Advisors

Back in June, Donald Trump announced the formation of an evangelical advisory board. At least one member — James MacDonald — expressed doubt that the candidate Trump took much advice from the board. However, another member on the inner circle has spoken out favorably about his role in advising Trump. Robert Morris, pastor of Gateway Church, told his congregation two Sundays ago that he was in on a conference call each Monday morning over the past three months and will continue to advise President-elect Trump. Watch:

Transcript:

It’s good to see you. It’s good to be back in the pulpit. As you know, Debbie and I went to Israel and London. Did anyone here have a late night Tuesday night? Anyone? Well, we were still jet lagged and so we actually we went to bed at 9 o’clock. Debbie and I did and about 11:30 my phone started blowing up with spiritual leaders, and so I got up and turned the TV for a little while and again about 4:30 or so I think when I woke up.
So I just wanna say this, I wanna say thank you, if you registered to vote and voted. We registered a lot of new people to vote. I, you may not hear this from the media, but Evangelicals turned out and voted this year. And I’m glad that they voted. I, I also I did not share this with you before the election but I have been serving on a Spiritual Advisory Council to now President-elect Trump, for about three months. And we, for the past three months, every Monday morning we have a conference call. And my understanding is I don’t know about the weekly conference call but the, he, he does want to continue with the Spiritual Advisory Council throughout his Presidency so I am grateful for that. And, and I will say please don’t think that this is partisan, because I don’t mean it that way. I’ll give advice to any elected leader or any government leader that I listen if you want to know what the Bible says, I’ll tell you what the Bible says whether you’re a Republican or a Democrat. I’ll tell you what it says.
I have a good relationship with Governor Abbott, Lt Governor Patrick, our Gov- our former Governor Rick Perry called me this last Thursday to ask my counsel on something. So, please pray for me, and some others on the Council, Dr Ben Carson is on this Advisory Council, Michele Bachmann, uh, James Robison, uh, Sammy Rodriguez, uh Dr Jack Graham, so it’s a, it’s a good Spiritual Council. And so, please continue to pray but thank you for voting. Thank you for praying. And just let’s just continue to pray for this country. And pray alright, alright. I’m excited. Lemme I’m excited about going forward and what God has.

At one time, evangelicals scoffed at the political influence of dominionists. Now, dominionists advise the President.
As I was preparing this post, I came across this LA Times article about Richard Spencer’s efforts to influence Trump.  Amazing. At the same time, dominionists and white supremacists are preparing to claim influence in a Trump administration. What will the dominionists do when push comes to shove?

Pay to Pray? Seven Mountains Dominionism on Marketplace Intercession

I just came across this 2010 blog post on Os Hillman’s Marketplace Leaders website. Hillman defends the idea that people should be paid to pray for businesses in the same way consultants are paid.

Imagine if all corporations had a director of corporate intercession as a paid position. I am pleased to tell you that in at least one case, this is already happening. Darlene Maisano is a full-time intercessor for the marketplace and a paid intercessor for several businesses. She is paid as a consultant would be paid. She sits in business meetings, quietly praying and “listening.”

Hillman wrote we need to get over the idea of prayer being free.

The idea of compensating intercessors by paying them for their time is something that is still in its developmental stage and may represent a new and unusual concept to us. However, we need to move past the roadblock of thinking that it’s inappropriate to pay people to pray and realize that those who are spending time praying for a business need to be compensated in the same manner as any other person who is working on its behalf.

If taking dominion over the mountain of business required paid prayers, I suspect that dominion over the mountain of government would require appointed prayers — a Prayer Czar — who of course would be paid at taxpayer expense.