“Behold, Damascus will cease from being a city, And it will be a ruinous heap. (Isaiah 17:1)
By an amazing coincidence, I have been reading a book on “Munich” while the current crisis in Syria has been building up.
At Munich in 1938, Hitler and Chamberlain met to discuss Hitler’s claims on German Sudetenland in Czechoslovakia. Chamberlain famously gave in to his demands. The former British PM described Nazi Germany’s annexation of the area of German-speaking Czechoslovakia in 1938 as “a quarrel in a faraway country between people of which we know nothing.”
Similar words could be spoken today about Syria.
At the time of writing this article, President Trump is deciding on how to react to Syria’s use of chemical weapons on its own people. If the US does nothing, nobody else will. In 1938 Neville Chamberlain, as British Prime Minister, was the leader of the western world; today it’s President Trump. Less than a year after Chamberlain’s famous appeasement toward Hitler, Britain and Germany were at war. It had become all too clear, even to Chamberlain, that Hitler was intent on global conquest.
There’s been plenty of evidence that Russia has similar territorial designs. The Russians took control of part of Georgia a few years ago; this was followed by the conquest of Crimea and of eastern Ukraine. Domination of Syria makes them the most powerful voice in the Middle East. This role is growing – last month, Putin met with the leaders of Iran and Turkey in Ankara. These three are now in a de facto alliance while Turkey remains officially in NATO.
Geoffrey Wawro, a professor at the University of North Texas, wrote a book called “Quicksand” (2010), on “America’s pursuit of power in the Middle East.” Reviewer Rick Atkinson sums the book up well, writing that Wawro reveals “how an extraordinary tale of idealism, politics, force and miscalculation began and unfolded over the last century.”
The more the US got involved, the more the US was sucked in; hence the title “Quicksand.” Why should we expect any other outcome following action in Syria? Could US intervention lead to war with Russia?
“There was no reason for war in 1914, beyond the murder of an archduke in Bosnia. As AJP Taylor said of 1914: “Nowhere was there a conscious determination to provoke a war. Statesmen miscalculated [and] became prisoners of their own weapons. The great armies, accumulated to provide security and preserve the peace, carried the nations to war by their own weight.” I wonder what Taylor would have said of Trump’s “Get ready, Russia” tweet.” (“Look at Syria and you can see all the elements that have led to world wars,” Simon Jenkins, The Guardian, April 12th.)
A miscalculation now could be fatal for the US, Russia and Syria.
Syria is a perfect illustration of the complexity of modern warfare and the geopolitics that complicate everything.
Syria was established after World War One and the fall of the Ottoman Empire. After “the war to end all wars,” the Treaty of Paris carved out a number of new countries from the ruins of the Turkish ruled empire. The treaty was aptly described as “the peace to end all peace” by a British general who saw a future of never-ending conflict in the region. A century later nothing has improved.
Before World War One, Mesopotamia was a sleepy backwater of no interest to anyone. The same could be said of Syria. Bible students know that this had to change to fulfill apocalyptic prophecies about Israel (the Jews) and its neighbors. The prophesied Jewish national homeland was established exactly seventy years ago, in May 1948.
Syria was a Mandated territory of the League of Nations. France was given the mandate; Britain was given Iraq and Jordan to administer, again under a Mandate from the League. Palestine was also a League of Nations mandated territory, given to the British.
After World War Two, the French left Syria. It soon fell under the Soviet sphere of influence. From 1970 Syria has been the home of a Russian naval base, the only one Russia has on the Mediterranean. The Russians are not going to give it up. And they will support President Assad as long as it is in their interest to do so.
The US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 helped Russia to gain further influence in the region. By removing Saddam Hussein from power and arranging an election in Iraq, the majority Shi’ites came to power, altering the balance of religious and political power in the Middle East. Iran is the leading nation of Shia Islam. An arc of Shia Islam now exists, from Iran through Iraq to Syria and Lebanon, roughly the same territory of the ancient biblical King of the North. Russia is heavily involved with the Iranians and Syria. Turkey is now also with them, wanting to stop its Kurdish minority from breaking away. The Turks are not Arabs, so this does not present a conflict for them.
Syria is not majority Shia. Assad’s support comes mostly from his Alawite clan, a branch of Shia Islam, which amounts to only 11% of the population. The Sunnis do not want to be ruled by Assad. Neither do the Sunnis in Iraq want a Shia government over them. This is why ISIS formed, to “protect” Sunnis from Shi’ites.
It’s all very complicated.
No wonder the president is taking his time.
If he does nothing, he will be seen as weak against Syria and the Russians. If he does something, innocent lives will be lost, but Assad will remain in power and Russia will continue as its benefactor.
A further complication came today when the Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, announced that Moscow has “evidence” the video of the gas attack was performed by actors. How does the West prove the film was real?
It seems like a no-win situation for the United States.
European Immigration: Nuns Out, Terrorists In by Douglas Murray, April 13, 2018 (Gatestone Institute)
When the same Home Office that forbade Sister Ban even to enter the country discovered that the young male Iraqi was in Britain, he explained clearly that he had been trained by ISIS. He told the Home Office officials that the group had trained him to kill. The Home Office promptly found him a place to live and study, and treated him as the minor he said he was but most likely was not. He subsequently told a teacher that he had “a duty to hate Britain.”
Last year the Institute of St. Anselm (a Catholic training institute for priests and nuns, based in Kent) closed its doors because of problems it had getting the Home Office to grant visa applications for foreign students. One nun last year was apparently denied entry to the UK because she did not have a personal bank account.
So, those who flee ISIS are turned away, while those who are trained by ISIS are welcome.
The world is starting to resemble the 1930’s, which ended in WWII.
1) ITALY may not seem important. But In 1922 the fascists came to power and Mussolini proclaimed a revival of the Roman Empire. That was the beginning of World War II in Europe. Fascism was a major force in a number of European countries in the thirties.
The country had an election last Sunday. The result stunned Europe — two populist parties got most of the votes. The two parties are widely seen as the equivalent of the fascist party that ruled Italy up to and during WWII.
This follows an election a few months ago that had a similar outcome in Germany. The AfD there is now the main opposition party. These parties in Germany, Italy and elsewhere in Europe are often labeled “far-right.” They are all “populist” parties that have gained support at the expense of mainstream political parties. They are anti-EU and anti-immigrant, as well as very nationalistic.
2) There is increasing talk of a TRADE WAR on both sides of the Atlantic. What started out as retaliation against unfair Chinese trade policies is spreading into a full-scale trade war between the US and the EU. The Smoot-Hawley Act of 1930 followed the stock market crash and put high tariffs on US imports. It is considered a major development on the road to the GREAT DEPRESSION, which led in turn to WW2. It is difficult to see how the western alliance can hold together with increasing conflict over trade.
Historically, trade wars increase unemployment; while unemployment leads voters to turn to the right, becoming more nationalistic. A trade war will strengthen populist parties everywhere.
3) GERMANY REARMING — President Trump has been pushing for this to force Germany to contribute more to western defense. Germany now has a military presence in the Sahel, Afghanistan, the Persian Gulf and Baghdad. Germany is also at the forefront of calling for a united European military force.
4) UK & GERMANY AT LOGGERHEADS — In 1938 the British government was seeking to appease Germany; it still is, though this time there’s no talk of war. Just TALK, TALK, TALK over trade following Brexit. It does not look good for Britain as I write.
5) GROWING ANTI-SEMITISM. There have been a number of attacks on Jews in France, so many, in fact, that French Jews are leaving in record numbers for Israel; the Polish parliament has passed a law that forbids people from claiming Polish involvement in the Holocaust, even though it’s known that 200,000 Poles helped the Nazis round up Jews during World War II and assisted in the extermination camps; thirdly, Iceland has just banned male circumcision, while other countries are considering it. This action will affect Muslims as well as Jews.
6) RUSSIA IS MAKING THREATENING NOISES UNDER PUTIN, just as it did under Stalin. Could Russia and Germany repeat the 1939 Molotov-Ribbentrop pact? Both China and Russia now have dictators for life. A prominent spokesman for the Russian Orthodox Church is calling for the restoration of the monarchy in Russia. He seems to have Putin in mind as Czar. Whatever happens domestically in each country, the US will likely be in confrontation with both in the future. In the 1930’s Stalin’s threats were ideological; now the threats are just plain old-fashioned nationalism.
7) AMERICA FIRST – in the 1930’s it was AMERICAN ISOLATIONISM, now it’s called AMERICA FIRST. And it’s not just Trump – America is focused on itself. There is little foreign news on TV and most people just aren’t interested in what’s happening overseas. It took Pearl Harbor to wake Americans up. What will it take this time?
History repeats itself. But it does not repeat itself exactly. It remains to be seen how future events play out. But the similarities with the 1930’s are definitely there.
There are, however, two big differences.
During the 1930’s the world’s only superpower was the British Empire. This no longer exists. There is also no Winston Churchill warning of the dangers ahead. Without a warning message it is doubtful nations will make the changes needed to change course and avoid the mistakes of eight decades ago.
The above is a speech I’ve prepared for Men’s Speech Club tomorrow. I decided to post it to my blog.
Whereas Germany is having difficulty putting together a coalition government, Austria’s youthful Chancellor, the youngest head of government in the world, has been successful. Sebastian Kurz, 31, leads the Austrian People’s Party. His party is now in coalition with the “extreme right” Freedom Party, led by Heinz-Christian Strache. The latter party is often compared to the Nazis, whose leader, Adolf Hitler, was from Austria. This is an exaggeration, to say the least.
Both leaders and their supporters, are concerned about the invasion of their country by Muslims and encroaching Islamization. They announced the formation of their government on Kahlenberg Mountain outside of Vienna, the same hill where Islamic Turks were defeated on 9-11 (& 12), 1683, ending the Muslim threat to western Europe. The new government joins Hungary, the Czech Republic, Poland and Slovakia in turning against the tide of immigrants welcomed by Germany’s Chancellor, Angela Merkel. Interestingly, all five of these countries were parts of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, which collapsed after World War One.
One thing is certain – Austria has become the first western nation with a genuine conservative government.
“The new coalition was agreed on Friday (15th December) by the conservative People’s Party (ÖVP) and the Freedom Party (FPÖ), pledging to stop illegal immigration, cut taxes and resist EU centralization.
It will be led by Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, who took over the ÖVP in May and yanked it to the right, securing his party first place in October elections. At 31, Kurz will be the world’s youngest leader.
At his side for the investiture by Austria’s (figurehead) president in the Hapsburg dynasty’s imperial palace in Vienna was FPÖ chief Heinz-Christian Strache, 48, now vice-chancellor, and FPÖ general secretary Herbert Kickl, the new interior minister.
“Strache has said Islam “has no place in Europe” and last year called German Chancellor Angela Merkel “the most dangerous woman in Europe” for her open-door refugee policy.
On Sunday, Strache trumpeted to his 750,000 followers on Facebook that the new government would slash social benefits for asylum-seekers.
“It will no longer happen that migrants who have never worked here a single day or paid anything into the social system will get thousands of euros in welfare!” he said in a post that has gained 9,000 “likes.”
(“European far-right jubilant as Austria’s new government is sworn in.” The Local, December 18th)
Coincidentally, at the same time the Austrian government was agreeing a coalition, my wife and I were watching the “Sisi” trilogy on Turner Classic Movies. These three films, made over 50 years ago in Austria (with English sub-titles), portrayed the Austrian Empress Elizabeth, wife of the Emperor Franz Josef, who reigned from 1848-1916. Elizabeth came from Bavaria. She was sympathetic to the aspirations of Hungarian nationalists and was influential in the historic agreement that united Austria and Hungary in the Austro-Hungarian Empire (in 1867). Her life was rather tragic – her only son, the Crown Prince Rudolf, committed suicide and she herself was assassinated a few years later, while visiting Geneva.
It was an interesting time in the Austro-Hungarian Empire. A great deal of liberalization took place under Franz Josef as Austrians tried to keep their multiethnic empire together. Often overlooked is the fact that this major empire gave a home to eleven different nationalities, all united under the Hapsburgs. Today, each ethnic group has its own sovereign state, each one weaker than the old empire.
“The great Czech historian Frantisek Palacky once said that if the Hapsburg Empire had not existed, it would have been necessary to invent it” (The Emperors, by Gareth Russell, 2014, pages 40-41). The European Union is no replacement as it is German dominated.
Some of the former Austrian nationalities are again marching together. Austria, Hungary, Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia are all opposed to further Muslim immigration, wanting to protect and preserve Catholic Europe. These five countries are set to form the Eastern leg of the biblically prophesied revived Roman Empire.
Following the fall of the Roman Empire in the West in the fifth century, there have been a number of attempts to revive it – most recently, in 1922 Mussolini announced a revival of the Roman Empire; in 1957 European leaders signed the Treaty of Rome, forming what is now the European Union, another attempt at uniting Europe. Perhaps out of the rubble of the EU will come the final European Union, led by Germany.
“Whereas you saw the feet and toes, partly of potter’s clay and partly of iron, the kingdom shall be divided; yet the strength of the iron shall be in it, just as you saw the iron mixed with ceramic clay. And as the toes of the feet were partly of iron and partly of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong and partly fragile. As you saw iron mixed with ceramic clay, they will mingle with the seed of men; but they will not adhere to one another, just as iron does not mix with clay. And in the days of these kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people; it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever.” (Daniel 2:41-44)
ANNUAL MESSAGES FROM HEADS OF STATE
Every year, the British monarch speaks to the Commonwealth on Christmas Day. This is a tradition that began with her grandfather, King George V, in 1932. At the time Britain was a global superpower, ruling over a quarter of the world’s people. With the introduction of radio in the previous decade, the king could now address all his subjects around the world.
In 1957 the annual radio broadcast began to be televised. By this time, the empire was fundamentally changing. Indeed, in 1957’s broadcast, the Queen welcomed Ghana and Malaysia into the Commonwealth, as both nations had become independent that year. The 52-nation Commonwealth continues to this day, with the Queen as its Head.
For some years now, the queen’s message has embraced multiculturalism. The Commonwealth is multicultural in itself, composed of nations that have different religions and a great deal of ethnic diversity. This year, she took a different approach to her speech. Instead of emphasizing multiculturalism, she praised the citizens of London and Manchester who suffered terrorist attacks last year; and the heroism of Emergency Responders who helped save lives.
Sadly, it is, of course, multiculturalism which has led directly to terrorism, not just in the United Kingdom but in other countries in Europe.
The queen is a deeply religious woman, never more so than at Christmas. In her speech this year she talked of how Jesus Christ “suffered rejection, hardship and persecution.” Having experienced all three in recent years, I was encouraged by her words, which prompted a Bible Study from this angle.
Queen Elizabeth is not the only Head of State who gives an annual Christmas speech. President Steinmeier of Germany addressed the German people on the same day. The German president, like the British monarch, is a figurehead, playing an important role in unifying the nation at a difficult time. The German president devoted his speech to reassuring the German people, who still do not have a government over three months after the election. This is the longest period in the Federal Republic’s history and, for some, brings back memories of the rather unstable Weimar Republic. Today’s German republic is more resilient and Germany should soon have a new coalition government, made up of two or more parties.
The Pope also gave a Christmas speech. Whereas the British monarch and the German president were careful not to advocate more immigrants, the pope called upon nations to open their doors wider to receive more refugees. Ironically, on the same day, ISIS in Somalia called for the assassination of the pope and for attacks on more western cities, like Manchester and London.
And so it goes on. The West has lost its way and does not know how to respond to radical Islam’s assault upon it. It won’t, until its religious roots are revived. Most people in the West still give lip-service to Christianity, but few think deeply about their traditional religions, both Catholic and Protestant.
Acts 4:12 says of Jesus Christ: “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” Muslims deny Jesus Christ is the Son of God. Therefore, to equate Islam with Christianity, makes no sense and endangers Christians, who are ill-prepared for the assault that is taking place upon them today.
The British monarch is the titular Head of the Anglican Community. The Pope is the Head of the Catholic Church.
They need to wake up to what is happening and to see clearly the threat to traditional Christianity.
The Pope, in his annual speech, focused on Jerusalem, calling for an independent Palestinian state, the “two state solution” that has been official policy of most countries in recent years. What the pope is calling for pits him (and the Church) against the US Administration, which is recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
“Pope Francis has used his traditional Christmas Day message to call for “peace for Jerusalem” and dialogue between Israelis and Palestinians. Acknowledging “growing tensions” between them, he urged a “negotiated solution . . . . that would allow the peaceful co-existence of two states.” US President Donald Trump recently announced that America recognised Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. The hugely controversial move drew condemnation across the Muslim world. The Roman Catholic leader gave his Urbi et Orbi speech, which in Latin means “To the city and world,” in Saint Peter’s Square.” http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-42477274
REVISIONIST HISTORY – CHECK THE FACTS!
I’ve taken to looking up just about everything depicted in historical movies and television programs. As we watch a series, I keep my laptop on my lap and google the “facts” depicted by Hollywood and others who make movies. The “facts” are rarely factual. Note the following:
1) The new “History” channel series “Knightfall” depicts the Knights Templar around the year 1300. In the first episode of the series, the Catholic soldiers saved the Jews who were expelled from Paris by King Philip the Fair in 1306. According to the series, the Jews were saved by the Knights Templar.
This is a total fabrication. Note the following from the BBC’s Religion section:
“During the first half of the 13th century the attitude of the Church towards Jews hardened from disapproval to loathing. On 22 July, 1306 King Philip IV of France expelled all Jews from his kingdom.”
2) The second season of “The Crown” (Netflix) implies that Prince Philip cheated on his wife in the 1950’s and early 60’s. There is no evidence for this. It may be true – it may not be true. But people watching the otherwise excellent series will no doubt believe everything they see.
3) “A United Kingdom” was an otherwise good movie, telling the story of Seretse Khama and his wife Ruth Williams. Sir Seretse led Botswana to independence in 1966. He met his wife while studying in London. They were a bi-racial couple in southern Africa, not very common in those days and forbidden in neighboring South Africa, the regional powerhouse. In 1947 the movie referred to the presidents of four neighboring countries, not one of which had a president at the time, as they were all a part of the British Commonwealth.
4) This is the worst one! ‘The Viceroy’s House” is a recent movie set in India at the time of independence and partition, in 1947.
Everything in the movie was good until somebody opened a drawer and pulled out a two-year-old highly secretive British government paper advocating partition of the country into India and (Muslim) Pakistan. So what, you may ask?
Well, this file changed history. Instead of Earl Mountbatten being responsible for partition, the file “revealed” it was war-time leader Winston Churchill. As the anti-colonial Guardian reviewer put it – it was the equivalent of somebody in Germany opening a drawer and finding that the Holocaust was first proposed, not by Hitler, but by Mussolini.
Why can’t the entertainment industry ever get it right? As far more people will watch the movie than read any book on the subject, Churchill will now be blamed for one of the greatest disasters of the twentieth century.
One very good series we’ve seen was on the National Geographic Channel. It was a biography of Albert Einstein. One of the most brilliant minds in history, he was absolutely hopeless at personal relationships.
I thought you might appreciate the following quote from the great physicist himself: “The universe is so extraordinary that only God could have created it. My job is to figure out how He did it.” (Einstein)
The two greatest scientists of all time were Sir Isaac Newton and Albert Einstein. Many people today see science and religion as opposites — these men did not. They both believed in God. Be sure to share that fact with others.
Forty years ago, my wife and I lived in what was then Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe.
Rhodesia (Southern Rhodesia, to be exact) had been a model colony. It never asked London for help; it always had sound finances; it was stable and prosperous. It was often called the Breadbasket of Africa. During World War II, Winston Churchill had labeled the country “the most loyal colony,” as it had contributed proportionately more to the allied cause than any other.
But, twenty years after the war, the same Rhodesians who had fought for the Empire and helped Britain win the war against Hitler, were being called “fascists,” for the simple reason that they wanted to preserve their way of life, which included a qualified franchise, to ensure responsible government. This meant that most native Africans did not have the vote. Britain, the US and the nations of Africa were hostile to this and insisted on NIBMAR (No Independence Before Majority Rule). In order not to have majority rule forced on them, the white Rhodesian government declared itself independent of London on 11th November, 1965.
The “rebellion” led to a civil war, which lasted seven years. It wasn’t a simple black and white struggle. 82% of the Rhodesian army was made up of black African soldiers. Many saw what had happened to nations north of them, where independence led to corruption, nepotism, financial collapse, political uncertainty and eventually military coups – they didn’t want that and fought to save Rhodesia.
But the whole world was against Rhodesia. Even its southern neighbor, South Africa under apartheid, did not like the country and was ready to throw it to the wolves. This they did, with the US and the UK, forcing the country to hand over to a “majority government.” to introduce “one man, one vote.”
The last white Prime Minister, Ian Smith, remarked that “one man, one vote” would mean exactly that, that the first African leader would be the one man with the one vote.
Black African friends of ours said Zimbabwe, the new name for the new country, would be different. It would not go the same way as the rest of Africa.
But it has.
It’s been over 37 years since Robert Mugabe became the country’s leader. As Ian Smith predicted, he became the “one man” with the “one vote” – nobody else’s opinion mattered. And, as has happened so many times in Africa, the only way to remove a civilian president who won’t allow anybody else to come to power, is for the army to overthrow him. The army goes on to make things worse, with even more corruption and general incompetence all round; eventually the army allows another election, bringing another civilian government to power, which is also corrupt and so it goes on and on in a vicious cycle.
Zimbabweans woke up Wednesday morning to find the army has taken over. Right now, it’s unclear what has happened to 93-year-old Robert Mugabe. It seems as if the army is saying that they only want to remove the criminals around the president, not the president himself. They certainly want to remove the wife of the president, who has lived a lavish lifestyle at the expense of the poor. But Mr. Mugabe has become one of the richest men on earth during his time in office. They may turn against him yet. Right now, he is said to be under “house arrest”, while his wife, Grace Mugabe (“Gucci Grace”), has fled to Namibia.
What may help Mr. Mugabe is that he is highly respected across the continent.
Ask a taxi driver in any African country who is the best African leader and they will all say Robert Mugabe. Why? “Because he got rid of the whites!” Point out that the country collapsed economically after the expulsion of the white farmers and they will say, “it doesn’t matter!”
Less than a week before the coup, the capital’s airport was renamed “Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport.”
The “coup” seems more of a final act in a dynastic power struggle. The president was grooming his wife as his successor; this was intolerable for those who have been close to him for decades. She was booed early last week at a rally. The Vice-President, Emmerson Mnangagwa, fled to South Africa a week ago, increasing fears that Mrs. Mugabe may succeed her husband. It’s even possible Mr. Mnangagwa may have solicited support from South Africa to effect the coup.
It all brings to mind the words of Jesus Christ in the Book of Matthew, where He warned His disciples not to be like the gentile leaders who ruled over them, with their never ending power struggles and abuses of authority.
But Jesus called them to Himself and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them. Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave — just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:25-28).
SSM, COA, SSA AND CCC
For those who are not familiar with the abbreviations above, let me explain.
SSM = Same Sex Marriage.
COA = Commonwealth of Australia, the latest country to approve this historic change.
SSA = Same Sex Attraction, a term that is often used to describe people who are attracted to the same sex. Many of these people do not want to be gay, which denotes promiscuity and a particular lifestyle.
CCC = Conservative Christian Churches, who are ill-equipped to handle the cultural tsumani that is heading their way.
Australia is the latest country to embrace same-sex marriage, approved by the people in a plebiscite. Parliament in Canberra is set to approve the change before the end of the year.
There were celebrations across Australia today. One banner was particularly disturbing: “Burn Churches, not Queers.” The attitude behind this banner is not limited to Australia. The issue of same-sex marriage has pitted conservative churches against the gay movement. While liberal churches have embraced gays, Biblically based churches cannot.
But this does not mean that biblically based churches have got it right, either.
Recent research showed that 12% of 18 year olds in the United States have a sexual identity issue. Either they are attracted to the same sex or they feel they are in the wrong body and want to change sex. None of this is of their own choosing. They are like people struggling with eating disorders. A 75-pound woman will look in the mirror and see herself as fat, when everybody who knows her sees clearly that she is anorexic.
In the same way, someone can look in the mirror and feel they are in the wrong body. They want to change sex. Or they feel strong attraction to a member of the same sex.
Whatever the problem, these people have to make a choice: either go into the gay lifestyle, or try to obey God. It’s the same choice everybody makes one way or the other, whether or not to commit to a godly lifestyle. Those who choose to commit to God take the more difficult road and need help from other Christians.
Those struggling with these issues need compassion and love. They need Jesus Christ more than the average person. “When the Pharisees saw this, they asked His disciples, “Why does your Teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” On hearing this, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”… (Matthew 9:11-13). This is what is lacking amongst conservative Christians and too many churches.
It’s been known for over a century that people do not choose their sexual orientation. Recognizing this might have avoided the polarization that has taken place.
ACCUSATIONS OF SEXUAL HARASSMENT
It seems that, in today’s English speaking world, you are guilty until proven innocent. This is a significant reversal of a practice that goes back 800 years to the Magna Carta. It separated England, and later the English speaking countries, from the European legal system, which denied people justice until they were tried before a 12-man jury of their peers.
Perhaps all the accusations are true and that all of those accused are guilty, but they are still entitled to a fair trial.
The Bible says: “In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established.” ( II Corinthians 13:1 KJV)
What is clear with all the accusations, whether against politicians or actors, is that there were no witnesses. What are parents doing allowing their teenagers to spend time alone with people they don’t know?
Maybe we should bring back chaperones! That would put an end to all of this.
But the man who led the Brexit campaign sees clearly the growing threat from the German dominated EU, just as Churchill warned of the growing threat from Hitler’s Germany. Most British people remain clueless. In fact, almost 50% of the electorate would gladly be subservient to Berlin, including former prime ministers, Tony Blair and John Major.
Earlier this week the President of the European Commission, Jean Claude Juncker, gave his State of the Union speech to the European parliament. Amongst other things, he called for a strong European president with extensive powers, a strong finance minister with dictatorial powers over all 27-member nations, a stronger united military and a more aggressive foreign policy; all of this to begin immediately after Brexit is completed in March, 2019.
This, remember, is a man who is at the head of the world’s most powerful economic system. It has a population roughly one and a half times that of the United States and a currency that is used by more people around the world than the US dollar. While the dollar keeps falling in value, the euro is rising, now at $1.20. This reflects growing confidence in the euro and declining confidence in the greenback.
Note the following from the London Daily Express:
“After listening to more than an hour of Jean-Claude Juncker’s self-agrandising State of the Union speech Farage’s laser-guided attack took just seconds to dismantle almost every plan, proposal and pontification made by the former Luxembourg politician turned European Commission President.
He called Jean-Claude Juncker’s plans to hugely expand the powers of the EU without a vote “extremely worrying” and shouted: “Thank *** we’re leaving! You’ve learned nothing from Brexit!”
“The former UKIP boss, and champion of Brexit, added that Juncker and his colleagues were appointing powerful unelected people in positions of huge power including “a finance minister who intervenes when he feels it necessary” and plans for “a European army with a more aggressive foreign policy.”
“And all this to be done without the consent of the people.”
“Mr. Farage was clearly appalled by Junker’s earlier claim that the EU could appoint pan-European ministers with unprecedented powers WITHOUT any form of electoral process.” (“Nigel Farage TERRIFIED at Juncker’s plan for UNDEMOCRATIC EU”, Daily Express, 9/13/17).
Mr. Juncker’s speech does not mean that all is well in the Union, or that there is perfect harmony between member countries. Some of the former communist countries of Eastern Europe are at odds with Brussels over a number of issues, including migration.
Note the following from Bloomberg Politics:
“European leaders are declaring the continent’s financial crisis to be over, but now a political one is fermenting.
“A battle between European Union regulators and the Polish government over its plans to weaken the judiciary’s independence is splitting eastern and western Europe……
“The government in Warsaw is at the sharp end of a campaign to rein in errant states. Populist leaders in Poland and Hungary have been emboldened by Donald Trump’s U.S. presidency and Britain’s decision to quit the EU. Yet the continent’s center has held together. German Chancellor Angela Merkel is now joined by French President Emmanuel Macron in an active defense of Europe against those centrifugal forces. Opponents in the east face the prospect of being marginalized politically and even economically. (“Europe’s Eastern Rebels expose next fault line for EU leaders”, Jonathan Stearns, Bloomberg, July 29th, 2017)”
Europe has come a long way since the European Coal and Steel Community was formed 66 years ago, in 1951. Six years later, six countries signed the Treaty of Rome, which laid the foundation for the European Union. Those six countries eventually became 28. Following Brexit they are now at 27. A few more could leave over various issues. Perhaps they will get down to the biblical number ten, forming the final union of ten European nations that will be a future superpower. You can read about this revival of the Roman Empire in Revelation chapter 17. 66 years ago, only serious Bible students would have foreseen the EU becoming as powerful as it is.
500 YEARS AFTER MARTIN LUTHER
Turkey controls 900 mosques in Germany and feels free to say that a “liberal mosque” in Germany is “incompatible” with Islam.
Can you imagine Germany offering Iraq, Syria and Egypt to build “200 new churches” to reconstruct the derelict and dispossessed Christian communities there? No, because in the Middle East, Christians have been eradicated in a forced de-Christianization.
Christians in Germany will become a minority in the next 20 years, according to Die Welt.
We risk losing not only our churches, but more importantly, our cultural strength and even confidence in the values of our own civilization.
(Germany: the rise of Islam, Giulio Meotti , Gatestone Institute, September 12th, 2017.)
“Why do millions of Muslims risk everything to reach a civilization they blame for all the world’s evils?” (Burak Bekdil, a Muslim, “What’s on the Mind of a Muslim refugee?” Middle East Forum, September 10th.)
LONDON TERROR ATTACK
There was another terror attack on the London Underground (subway) this morning, during the rush hour. It injured 22 people. There would have been many more casualties, including deaths, if the IED had exploded properly as intended. The train had dozens of school children on board, likely the intended target. (The Manchester Arena target in May was also children.)
Theresa May called an emergency Cabinet meeting following this morning’s attack.
It’s rather pointless. No western leader will do anything about the immigration policies that have led to the current situation. Even President Trump is backing away from the promises he made before the election.
Was the British Empire a good or bad thing for the world? To put it another way, is freedom a good or bad thing for the world? Historian and author H.W. Crocker III explains why we may want to rethink the British Empire’s bad rap.
Americans are starting to pile up more credit card debt than ever before.
According to a new study released Monday, U.S. consumers added $33 billion in credit card debt during the second quarter of 2017, making it the second-highest point of debt since the end of 2008.
Personal Finance website WalletHub.com — who conducted the study—projects that by the end of 2017, Americans will pile more than $60 billion in new credit card debt, which means overall the U.S. is headed towards well over $1 trillion in credit card debt. (Fox Business News, 9/11)
It has been suggested that citizens of the sixteen Commonwealth Realms be given their own “fast lane” at UK Points of Entry. This will be good news for citizens of Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the smaller realms. If the idea is approved, it will be a first step toward restoring closer Commonwealth ties that ended when Britain joined the EU.
While Britain has been a member of the European Union, EU citizens were able to go through the fast lane, while the rest of us waited for up to two hours, slowly inching forward in the “Aliens” line.
Post-Brexit, it will certainly be in Britain’s best interests to enter into closer trade and defense ties with the countries that share Britain’s parliamentary system and all have the same Head of State, Queen Elizabeth II. Other Commonwealth countries have opted for a republican form of government, recognizing the Queen as Head of the Commonwealth but not retaining her services as their own sovereign.
It will also mean that, for the first time, the United Kingdom is reversing five decades of history and turning its attention again to its former Empire.
The word “Empire” has been a pejorative for two generations. Before World War One, there was a great deal of enthusiasm for the British Empire around the world in territories that constituted the “empire upon which the sun never set.” Over a quarter of the world’s people lived under the British flag. Imperialism was in vogue and inspired millions of people to help develop other nations.
Today, people forget what a blessing the Empire was. Let’s take a look at a few of those blessings.
1. The Bible and religious freedom.
The fourteenth century philosopher and theologian, John Wycliffe, was the first man to translate all the scriptures into English. His favorite verse was Philippians 2:12: “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” He struck the first blow for religious freedom and democracy by encouraging people to study for themselves and make up their own minds.
Two centuries later, the English Queen Elizabeth I, secured the Protestant Reformation by bravely sending her smaller fleet against the Spanish Armada. England defeated the Spaniards, thereby thwarting an attempt by the pope to force the country back into the Catholic Church.
In the nineteenth century, the British and Foreign Bible Society, took the Bible into dozens of different countries. The Wycliffe Bible Translation Society still exists, sending volunteers into poor and backward countries to develop a written language and then translate the Bible so that all may read it.
The most famous British missionary, David Livingstone, took the Bible with him into central Africa, to “bring light into darkness.” He was also motivated by a desire to see the end of slavery, perpetrated by Arab slave traders, who were seizing black Africans as slaves.
2. Britain was the first major country to abolish slavery.
Slavery was universal and had not been questioned until the eighteenth century. It wasn’t just Africans who were taken as slaves. One million white people were being held by Muslim slave traders at this time. (“White Gold”, Giles Milton, 2004.)
In 1772, the Somerset decision by an English court, ruled that British people could not hold slaves, that all people in Britain were free. It took another 35 years before the slave trade was abolished and a further 27 years before slavery itself was ended throughout the British Empire. (Denmark banned the slave trade in its territories a few years before Britain.)
One year after the abolition of the slave trade, the British government authorized the Royal Navy to stop ships on the high seas and free all the slaves. Wikipedia has this to say about the West Africa Squadron:
“Between 1808 and 1860 the West Africa Squadron captured 1,600 slave ships and freed 150,000 Africans.[“1]
Because of its role in fighting slavery, Britain was seen as a Liberator around the world. Many tribes in Africa asked to be annexed into the British Empire, seeking protection from slave traders. At one point, so many African tribes were asking to join the Empire that the British were overwhelmed. “The Dualla chiefs of the Cameroon repeatedly asked to be annexed, but the British either declined or took no notice at all.” (Pax Britannica, James Morris, 1968, page 43)
In the last three decades of the nineteenth century, Victorians were caught up in an enthusiastic desire to see slavery ended in Africa, and the Bible, Protestant Christianity, democracy and the rule of law introduced (“Africa and the Victorians,” Robinson and Gallagher, 1961)
Sadly, in the sixty years since the end of the British Empire, slavery is back in every single African country, according to UNESCO. The former Ghanaian President, John Kufour, condemned slavery in Ghana a few years ago on the 200th anniversary of the abolition of the slave trade throughout the British Empire; he also apologized for the role Ghana’s own chiefs had played in promoting slavery by selling their own people and members of other tribes.
3. British capital developed many nations.
The definitive books on British investment around the world are the two volume “British Imperialism” by Cain and Hopkins. The books highlight “London’s role as the chief provider of economic services during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries” (back cover, volume one). London remains the world’s number one financial center (New York has the world’s biggest stock exchange). Not only did British capital develop every country in the Empire, it was also responsible for developing the United States, Argentina, Brazil,Chile, the Ottoman Empire and China.
Interestingly, one reason that members of the European Union are upset over Brexit, is that Britain has been a net contributor to the EU, helping to finance development in other member nations. When the UK leaves, where is the money going to come from?
4. Another blessing of British rule was its governmental system and the administration of its various colonies.
Britain’s democratic parliamentary system and its constitutional monarchy is the most stable political system in the world. It was successfully exported to all its colonies and dominions. Sixteen of those countries have retained the same system since independence, including Canada, Australia, New Zealand and a number of majority black countries in the Caribbean. Queen Elizabeth remains as Head of State in all of these countries.
38 other countries, former colonies of Great Britain, did not retain the Queen as Head of State but still look to her as the Head of the Commonwealth. Many of these nations have suffered through coups and counter-coups and periods of military rule. In many, corruption is rife and the people are worse off than they were when colonies.
Interestingly, it was recently suggested that the United States join the Commonwealth, as an Associate member. The Royal Commonwealth Society is opening a branch in New York City.
5. The free world’s first line of defense.
For two centuries Great Britain was the “policeman of the world.” The country brought down Napoleon, after which she was the undisputed leader of the world. A century later, with her dominions and colonies, she brought down the Kaiser. In World War Two, the British Empire was the only power that was in the war from beginning to end. With later help from the Soviet Union and the United States, the Empire defeated Hitler and his monstrous Third Reich that was the most racist regime in modern history. The Empire’s forces also kept the peace on the North-West frontier of India, in what are now Pakistan and Afghanistan and in other trouble spots around the world.
America’s pre-eminent historian, James Truslow Adams, wrote his history of “The British Empire 1784-1939” in the year that World War Two started, 1939. This is the final paragraph in his book: “In this world crisis, we in America have a great stake. We know that stability is impossible without respect for law and order, for the honesty of the written and spoken word. Without liberty of thought, speech and press, progress is impossible. What these things mean to the world of today and tomorrow has been amply demonstrated by the negation of them in certain great nations during the past few years. Different peoples may have different ideals of government but for those who have been accustomed to freedom of person and of spirit, the possible overthrow of the British Empire would be a catastrophe scarcely thinkable. Not only would it leave a vacuum over a quarter of the globe into which all the wild winds of anarchy, despotism and spiritual oppression could rush, but the strongest bulwark outside ourselves for our own safety and freedom would have been destroyed.” (page 358)
The Empire has indeed been replaced by “the wild winds of anarchy, despotism and spiritual oppression.”
It’s no wonder that, at the height of the Empire, during Queen Victoria’s reign and the first few years of the twentieth century, many people in Britain and its overseas territories, believed the Empire was a fulfillment of biblical promises made to Joseph, one of the twelve sons of Israel. In Genesis, chapter 48, we read of howJoseph’s descendants were to become a great “multitude of nations” and a “great (single) nation,” the British Empire and Commonwealth and the United States. They were to be a physical blessing to the world (Genesis 12:3). In the late Victorian period, believers published a weekly newspaper called “The Banner of Israel” — they enthusiastically tracked the daily growth of the British Empire and the United States at the time.
This belief was widely held in the trenches of World War One. It’s ironic that those same trenches shattered the religious convictions of many, who witnessed the carnage first-hand.
No empire was perfect. Britain made mistakes. Often listed by anti-imperialists is the Amritsar massacre of 1919. This was not deliberate government policy, but rather the misjudgment of the commanding officer. The 1943 Bengal famine is also often mentioned; overlooked is the fact that this was in the middle of World War II when other nations also experienced famine. Historical mistakes were made in Ireland, which caused problems to this day.
Imperialism had been in vogue before 1914; after two world wars, there was great disillusionment. Additionally, the colonial powers had serious financial problems. Decolonization followed. It was the end of the European empires.
For centuries the Ottoman Empire posed a serious threat to Europe. The powerful caliphate ruled from Istanbul was only halted at the gates of Vienna by Catholic forces that did not want to be conquered by Islam.
In the nineteenth century, the Europeans were able to push the Ottomans back, freeing countries in south-east Europe that had been ruled for centuries by the Ottoman Sultan. At the end of World War I, the Ottoman Empire, after more than six centuries, collapsed and was replaced by the Turkish Republic.
Now Europe is granting visa-free travel to the 80 million citizens of Turkey, meaning that the descendants of the Ottoman conquerors will be allowed into Europe whenever and wherever they want.
Another interesting development at the other end of Europe is the election of the first Muslim mayor of a major European capital. In London, Sadiq Khan, the son of Pakistani immigrants, is taking over from conservative Boris Johnson, presiding over one of the world’s greatest financial centers.
By the looks of things, Europe is not going to put up a fight against the latest Muslim invasion.
At the same time, the London Stock Exchange is coming under German control. Even if the UK votes to leave the EU, that won’t change – the country will still lose a great deal of its independence.
David Cameron, the British prime minister, in calling for Britain to remain in the EU, expressed the opinion today that whenever Britain withdraws from Europe, it leads to war. This is a perverse interpretation of British history. As one commentator put it on the BBC World Service this morning, “He’s got it the wrong way round.”
Britain maintained its distance from Europe after the country broke away from the Roman Catholic Church in the sixteenth century. The country chose the open sea over the neighboring continental land-mass and only got involved in European affairs when a dictator arose trying to conquer the continent. Wars were fought against Louis XIV, Napoleon, the Kaiser and Hitler.
It wasn’t until 1973 that this policy changed, when the country entered what became the EU and turned its back on the Commonwealth it had built up over centuries.
Meanwhile, on the mainland, changes are taking place.
The Austrian Chancellor (prime minister) resigned today, as he no longer enjoyed the support of his party, the Social Democrats.
His resignation follows on the partial victory of the right-wing Freedom Party’s candidate for the role of president, largely a ceremonial role. There is to be a second round of voting which is expected to assure his assuming office.
Austria, like a number of European countries, is in a state of turmoil following the arrival of well over a million “refugees” from Syria and other countries. There is a growing fear of Islamization. Extremist parties are gaining momentum, promising to do something to stop the invasion and to ensure the preservation of their national way of life.
It’s definitely a year of change for Europe.
A Brexit (British exit from the EU) could trigger off changes across the continent. The EU itself may fall apart; the unity of the United Kingdom could be threatened; David Cameron would likely have to resign; other countries might want to vote on withdrawing from the European Union.
A final amusing note comes from Australia. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has asked the Governor-General (Queen Elizabeth’s representative in the country) to disband parliament before an election in two months. Two months of campaigning will be a record for Australia – and people are complaining.
They should take note that their American allies have been going through an election for almost a year now and still have six months to go.
"Once in a while you will stumble upon the truth but most of us manage to pick ourselves up and hurry along as if nothing had happened." — Sir Winston Churchill