Donald Tusk is the President of the European Council. He was voted in for a second term by the 27 countries of the EU, not by a popular vote of the people.
He serves until the end of 2019.
Earlier in the week, Mr. Tusk caused offense by saying that “there’s a special place in hell for those who support Brexit.” Later, Guy Verhofstadt, special EU negotiator on Brexit, further elaborated with: “Lucifer himself would not welcome Brexiteers, as they would divide hell.”
So, Brexit has brought religion to Europe, a continent that sorely needs it!
These insulting and, at the same time, amusing comments overlook a significant truth about Europe. Religion is involved. Let me elaborate.
COMING OUT OF A CULT
Leaving the EU increasingly resembles coming out of a cult. Independent thinking is discouraged and blind obedience is expected. Members are deceived about its history. The finances are strictly controlled by the people at the top, who divert a significant amount of donations to take care of themselves. After leaving, there will be a period of meaninglessness; and withdrawal symptoms will take some years to work through.
The EU Treaty allows people to leave, in exactly the way Britain has left. So why are the British being treated this way? Because if they are a success, others may want to leave as well and the cult would lose members as well as financial support.
It’s not just Juncker and Tusk who have benefitted from largesse. Others have, too, including some prominent British officials. Veteran British socialists, Neil and Glynis Kinnock received millions of pounds when they were EU officials. Others have gotten fat on the EU “gravy train,” as it’s often called.
After the Protestant Reformation in the early part of the sixteenth century, the Church of Rome was in a panic. Rather than reform the corrupt practices of the church, it clamped down. The “counter-reformation” led to an incredible persecution of non-Catholics. Of great concern was the preservation of the influence and material wealth of the church.
“(The counter-reformation) was the period of Catholic resurgence that was initiated in response to the Protestant Reformation. It began with the Council of Trent (1545–1563) and ended with the 1781 Patent of Toleration. Initiated to preserve the power, influence and material wealth enjoyed by the Catholic Church and to present a theological and material challenge to Reformation, the Counter-Reformation was a comprehensive effort . . . ” (Wikipedia: counter-reformation).
History is repeating itself. As authoritarianism is very much a part of Europe’s DNA, so the EU is reacting to Brexit with its authoritarian instincts.
At stake are the inflated salaries of top EU officials. Jean Claude Juncker, the President of the EU Commission, is paid over $31,000 a month. In addition, he receives generous allowances to cover travel and other expenses. So it’s very similar to the counter-reformation, with the desire “to protect the influence and wealth enjoyed by the church.” We may see the Inquisition and the expulsion of Brits yet ahead. (Hundreds of thousands of Protestants were expelled in the counter-reformation!)
This is the reason Britain turned its back on Europe in the first place, rejecting the authority of the Church of Rome. In 1534 King Henry VIII declared himself Supreme Head of the Church of England, thereby rejecting papal authority.
England was effectively cut off from Europe. One of the first decisions Henry made was to legalize the Bible, which had been suppressed for over a thousand years by Rome.
That same Bible tells us a little about Europe’s future. After the upheaval that is taking place right now, there is to be a union of ten nations. We know it’s still ahead as it remains there until the return of Jesus Christ.
Revelation 17:12-14 says: “And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast. These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the beast. These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful.”
Europe and religion are inseparable, then, now and in the future.
EU – US Trade War
“As nearly 100m Americans watched Tom Brady, the veteran quarterback of the New England Patriots, lift another Super Bowl trophy last Sunday, many will have noticed that Mercedes-Benz was the sponsor of the gleaming new stadium in Atlanta where the game was played.
“The German carmaker, owned by Daimler, recently moved its US headquarters to the state of Georgia from New Jersey, cementing its commitment to the south-eastern United States, where it already owns a big manufacturing plant in Alabama.
“But even as the Mercedes-Benz logo flew high over the biggest American football match of the year, it and many other foreign carmakers operating in the US worry that their love for doing business stateside might be unrequited.
“The US commerce department is due to issue a report by February 17 declaring whether it believes automotive imports constitute a threat to US national security. Such a finding would inflame an already tense trade relationship between the US and Europe. After the conclusions are published, Donald Trump will have 90 days to decide whether to follow up by imposing tariffs on imports of cars and car parts. That prospect has filled European policymakers in Brussels and beyond with dread.
“The EU has been adamant that it would react strongly to such a move, stopping budding trade negotiations with Washington and retaliating with its own tariffs on a list of US goods. ” (James Politi, Financial Times, 2/8)
Fourteen years ago I gave a sermon in England on Bible prophecy as it relates to the United Kingdom. I speculated that eventually the United Kingdom would be whittled down to England, just England.
My reasoning was simple. As the “multitude of nations” (Genesis 48:19) was a blessing, and the strength of Ephraim was to be that multitude of nations, so, in accordance with Deuteronomy 28, as the people turned away from God, they would lose the multitude of nations, until they were down to what England was during the time of Elizabeth I, just England.
It all tied In with the Protestant Reformation. The zeal for independence from Rome and the need for trade sent England around the world in search of markets. These trading posts were the origin of the British Empire, the empire “upon which the sun never set.”
It was not just mercantile considerations. After the legalization of the Bible in 1537 (it had been banned under the Church of Rome), there was an enthusiasm for God’s Word that encouraged believers to take it around the world. King Henry VIII was on the throne at the time the Bible became available. In 1546 he admonished the people on their enthusiasm, thinking it improper for people to read it in the pubs.
Almost five centuries later, the reading of it anywhere would be beneficial. The fact is that the more people sin, the more the nation will suffer. This applies to all nations, but especially to the descendants of ancient Israel. And few people in England today know what sin is.
CONTRASTING TWO FUNERALS
In “The Abolition of Britain,” Peter Hitchens writes about this. He shows how much England changed between the funerals of Sir Winston Churchill on 30th January 1965; and the funeral of Princess Diana on 6th September, 1997.
“The final days of imperial Britain are bracketed – appropriately enough – by the funerals of an old man and of a beautiful young woman. The first, of Sir Winston Churchill, reached into a past of grandeur and certainty, while the second, of Diana, Princess of Wales, foreshadowed a future of doubt and decline. The two events were different in every possible way, except that both were unmistakably British. The dead warrior was almost ninety, full of years and ready to die. He represented the virtues of courage, fortitude and endurance, was picturesque rather than glamorous, and his death was expected. The lost princess was snatched from life in the midst of youth, beauty and glamour. Her disputed virtues were founded on suffering (real or imagined) and appealed more to the outcasts and the wounded than to the dutiful plain heart of England.” (“The Abolition of Britain,” by Peter Hitchens, 1999, pages 1 & 2).
Churchill’s funeral was the last hurrah of Imperial Britain. The hundreds of thousands who lined the streets were deferential, tipping their hats when the cortege went by. They were a generation of God-fearing people who believed that the British Empire had been the greatest empire in history, that the Queen was chosen by God, that their system of government was the best in the world. They respected the royal family. They even respected their politicians, even though they did not agree with them. In a world of turmoil, there was civil order, something to be proud of. They were a confident people, self-assured and independent.
Over the next 32 years, it all changed.
Now, they lead the world in the number of websites devoted to atheism. They are a nation of emotional basket cases rather like Diana herself. They are sexually immoral, a people with no moral compass and no backbone, either. Today, in parliament, there’s hardly a real man amongst them. They cower before the European Union, afraid to make any decision. Afraid to leave, afraid to stay – leaderless. They have forgotten their friends, family, really, the Old Dominions, turning their backs on them in pursuit of a European chimera.
Worst of all, they do not realize any of this.
In that 32-year period the country changed. Quite literally, in fact, as many of the people who live there now are not even of British descent.
“Ephraim has mixed himself among the peoples; Ephraim is a cake unturned. Aliens have devoured his strength, but he does not know it, yes gray hairs are here and there on him, yet he does not know it, And the pride of Israel testifies to his face, but they do not return to the Lord their God, nor seek Him for all this.” (Hosea 7:8-10)
This describes Britain today.
UK TO BREAK UP?
The challenges continue to mount. The official name of the country is the “United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.” But divided Ireland presents a real problem for the UK in its negotiations with the EU. Nobody wants a “hard” border with customs and passport controls. But this cannot be avoided when the UK leaves the EU. The EU is not cooperating with Britain over this, giving the UK a real headache. A hard border could mean a return to all the fighting of previous decades. A soft border is only possible if Ireland unites, which means Northern Ireland leaving the United Kingdom. The majority in Northern Ireland voted to remain in the EU. It would also mean the fall of the Conservative government as they rely on the votes of the DUP (Democratic Unionist Party).
Northern Ireland dropping out of the UK means the United Kingdom would have to change its name to Great Britain, the name given to the country when Scotland and England merged.
In Scotland, as well, the majority voted to remain in the United Kingdom. If Northern Ireland leaves the UK, the Scots are more likely to follow. So then it will just be England.
It’s logical. Seventy years ago, the British still had the biggest empire in history. Gradually, they gave it all away. Would anybody now be shocked if the United Kingdom ceased to exist? If Ireland and Scotland were given away?
Footnote: Somebody has written and asked if I think the election of Donald Trump will delay the prophesied end time events? Quite the contrary. The election of Donald Trump has turned the world upside down, with alliances broken and trading systems overturned. The growing separation between Europe and America alone speeds up prophetic events.
We’re back from Indianapolis after delivering one of our cats to our daughter and family. We stayed three nights, to see the family and for the cat to get adjusted to her new situation.
I offered to go get some cat food, but our daughter and granddaughters would not allow me near the pet food aisle after my last blog!
I don’t know what it is but whenever I visit them I go into “vacation mode” – I don’t feel like doing anything. I just want to relax. This is not fair to them. We help take care of three (sometimes, five) grandchildren in Lansing; then have four when we visit Indy.
Our family Sunday ended up being a day in front of the television with our granddaughters who introduced us to the British series “Father Brown,” available on Netflix. It was actually quite good, though some things did irritate me. For example, whenever the priest prayed in Latin, the closed-caption subtitles simply said: “Prays in a foreign language.” Don’t most people know that Latin has been the lingua franca of the Catholic church for almost 2,000 years?
Family members are all trying to be healthier, which meant no junk in the house. If I had remembered that, I would have taken some goodies to nibble between meals. I was so hungry, at one point I called our daughter in Lansing and said: “Can you come down immediately and bring some food?” I was just being humorous – it’s a 4+ hour drive; and I could have gone to a local grocery store if I thought I might expire.
Mike, our son-in-law, is a very good cook and the food was excellent. I decided to join the healthy eating and then continue it at home, which is what I’m now doing. I feel better already. I’ve had no indigestion for a week and feel more energetic. The dog food last week probably helped.
It was really nice to have a break from everything, including world news.
BACK TO MORE REALITY
The terror attack in New York on Tuesday is a reminder of the constant threat to our lives that emanates from radical Islam. It’s also a constant reminder of how hopeless our governments are – they keep letting in Muslims en masse, trying to claim that “Islam is a peaceful religion that has been hijacked by extremists.”
Trump called immediately for Congress to abolish the Diversity Visa Waiver program. This is a lottery that enables 50,000 people a year from usually poor and backward countries to enter the United States. They may then sponsor their relatives and friends to enter the US. Tuesday’s murderer brought in 23 over 15 years. Most of these people go straight to the bottom of our economic ladder, competing for jobs with low income Americans.
(Do the math. If one man brought in 23, multiply 50,000 x 23 = 1, 150,000 people per year. That’s in addition to the one million plus who get a visa the normal way.)
President Trump immediately called on Congress to change the law. That’s commendable. The law needs to be changed. But, then, why didn’t he react the same after the Las Vegas mass shooting? Changes to the law are desperately needed.
It’s been over twenty years since the Port Arthur massacre in Tasmania, Australia. 35 people were killed in a little over half an hour. The conservative prime minister, John Howard, immediately called on parliament to pass tough controls on assault weapons.
“Twelve days after the Port Arthur massacre, the Australian prime minister, John Howard, announced a sweeping package of gun reforms in a country where firearms had long been considered an essential prop in the national mythology of life in the bush.
“At that stage the gun lobby was the ruling lobby in Australia,” says Philip Alpers, associate professor at the University of Sydney. “What happened at Port Arthur is that they were outpaced, outflanked and outwitted by a man who had the power to move in 12 remarkable days.”
“Tim Fischer was leader of the National party and Howard’s deputy prime minister in the Coalition government, charged with persuading skeptical country voters to support, or at least accept, reforms. “Port Arthur was our Sandy Hook,” he says. “Port Arthur we acted on. The USA is not prepared to act on their tragedies.” (The Guardian 14th March 2016).
The Sandy Hook massacre of kindergarten children took place on December 14th, 2012. Congress did not pass any laws following the deaths of 26 people, including 19 children. If the country could not make any changes after the deaths of so many young children, it’s doubtful they will ever come.
President Trump and others reacted to the Las Vegas shootings by saying, “Now is not the time to discuss gun control.”
Then, when will it be the time? Immigration policies make the situation worse – the killer at Virginia Tech ten years ago was from South Korea. The Boston Marathon killings were also the work of new arrivals.
Changes can be made without encroaching on the Second Amendment, which says:
“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”
Today, the US definitely has a “well regulated militia,” so America’s needs have changed. At the same time, people do have a right to defend themselves. There’s a balance. It’s time for a national debate.
On the highly successful Australian TV show, “Janet King,” Janet, a senior employee of the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS; sometimes referred to as “Crownies”), is appointed by the country’s Governor-General to head a royal commission into gun violence. It’s time the United States had a presidential commission to look into mass casualty gun violence, with the remit that it report back to the president and the public within twelve months, making recommendations to effectively reduce gun violence.
NEW ZEALAND MAKES THE NEWS
Before we leave the Antipodes, New Zealand has a new, radical prime minister.
Jacinda Ardern is only 37 and the third female leader of the country. She wants to restrict immigration into New Zealand – one of her first acts was to ban the sale of homes to people living outside of the country. She is a left-wing republican, meaning she would like to end NZ’s relationship with the Crown thereby giving greater power to the politicians, of which she is the chief! Interestingly, she is also a former Mormon who has strong views on churches that encourage families to shun former believers like herself; she left the church over its anti-homosexual stance.
QUOTE: “President Xi (of China) believes that America is in steep decline and China rising in a power game that will define our century” (Carrie Gracie, China Editor, BBC News, 11/2). President Trump is about to visit China.
Today, November 2nd, is the centenary of the Balfour Declaration. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is in London to commemorate the celebration, boycotted by the anti-semitic socialist Labour Party of Jeremy Corbyn.
The famous Balfour Declaration was announced in the middle of World War I by British Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour, at a time when Great Britain was the dominant power in the world. It committed His Majesty’s Government to establish in Palestine a home for the Jewish people. It was one of the most important documents of the twentieth century and a major fulfillment of Bible prophecy. It led directly to the establishment of a Jewish nation in the Middle East, the country now called Israel.
An independent Jewish nation had not been in existence since Roman times. The Roman Jewish province of Judea rebelled against Rome in 66 AD. The Romans crushed the Jewish Revolt in 70 AD, destroying much of Jerusalem in the process. The Jews rebelled again from 132 AD-135 AD. Once again, the Romans crushed the revolt. This time, the Jews dispersed to other parts of the Roman Empire and beyond. For almost two millennia, they did not have their own country. But scriptures made it clear that the Jews would be back in their homeland, called Judah in the Bible (the Jews were only one of the twelve tribes of Israel).
Zechariah was a prophet 2,500 years ago. His Old Testament book is a Millennial prophecy about the Second Coming of the Messiah. Judah figures quite prominently in events at the time immediately prior to Christ’s Return.
Note Zechariah 12:2-3 – “Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of drunkenness to all the surrounding peoples, when they lay siege against Judah and Jerusalem. And it shall happen in that day that I will make Jerusalem a very heavy stone for all peoples; all who would heave it away will surely be cut in pieces, though all nations of the earth are gathered against it.”
And Zechariah 14:2-4 – “For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city.
“Then shall the Lord go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle.
“And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south.”
The last verse is clearly still in the future. Jerusalem, Judah, revived after almost 2,000 years is once again a central point of geographical contention, with neighboring nations and tribes wanting to destroy the country. As if perpetually drunk, they desperately try to destroy her, so far not succeeding.
Five days after the Balfour Declaration, Russia had a second revolution. Earlier in the year, the Czarist regime had fallen and was replaced by a parliamentary system. Elections were scheduled for later in the year. Two weeks before the election, the Bolsheviks (communists) staged a coup on November 7th that overthrew the interim government of Alexander Kerensky. They proclaimed the world’s first communist state. It brought seven decades of misery to the country, with despotic leaders that made the czars look like Sunday school teachers. Communism has gone, but the country remains a dictatorship, though claiming to be a democracy.
The Bolshevik Revolution was the second revolution of 1917; there was an earlier revolution in 1905, which led to the establishment of the Duma (parliament) but still left the czar with ultimate power and authority. Russia’s parliament today is also called the Duma and is the people’s assembly. However, some would say that Vladimir Putin is a new Czar, with all the power and authority.
500th ANNIVERSARY OF PROTESTANT REFORMATION
Tuesday was the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther nailing his 95 theses to the door of the Wittenburg church in Germany. We should all be thankful to Martin Luther. He had the courage to stand up to the Church of Rome, ending the monopoly the Church had in western Europe. All churches today owe their freedom to Luther.
I watched a two-hour documentary on PBS recently about Martin Luther and the Reformation. He is considered the greatest theologian of all time, due to the fact that he wrote more books and articles on the Bible than anybody else. He also translated the scriptures into German.
Later in life, asked to sum up his writings, he replied: “God forgives.” That was of paramount importance to Luther, who struggled all his life with sin, as we all do. Hearing that, I thought about all the churches that have come out of Luther, directly or indirectly. Many have one thing in common – they can’t forgive. How ironic.
VISIT TO NOAH’S ARK
Earlier in the month, we were in Cincinnati, Ohio. A group of us, including four of our grandchildren, took the opportunity to visit Noah’s Ark, which is just over the state line in Kentucky. It’s well worth a visit, if only to get a better idea of the size of the original ark. This replica is built according to biblical specifications.
I’m very thankful that the enterprising Australian behind this project was inspired to build the Ark (and the Creation Museum nearby). More and more people are biblically illiterate, so it’s good that somebody has kept the story alive. I found the wall plaques explaining everything interesting, but I do not agree with his theory that the earth is only 6,000 years old.
We had been told to allow three hours for our visit. With two 5-year-old twin boys, we went through quite quickly, in exactly two hours. We left early — because it was raining!!!
The following evening we had a group of Barbadians over for dinner. Wonderful people. They had actually come from Barbados to visit the Ark. They are also Young Earthers, believing in the 6,000 years. We agreed to disagree and still remain friends. That’s the way it should be.
I’ve been asked why I quote so often from the Daily Express and Daily Mail newspapers, two Conservative British tabloids.
The answer is quite simple: they have the best web sites. Check them out sometime.
The Guardian and Independent, more intellectual papers, are constantly asking for money whenever I check their sites; whereas the Times, the Telegraph and the Financial Times make very little available.
The biggest problem with the two papers I use is that they often sensationalize news items.
I will try to find alternative sources, but, realistically I will have to use them occasionally as I don’t have the funds to pay for subscriptions to the more highbrow papers; and they have to request money as they have smaller circulations.
(This blog is a fully independent blog that has no connection to any church or secular organization. It was started to keep people informed on international affairs in light of the scriptures. Financial support comes from myself and readers who graciously donate to help cover costs.)
On Tuesday I was able to see the widely acclaimed movie “Dunkirk”. It tells the story of a major turning point in World War II, before the United States entered the war.
After the declaration of war in September 1939 Britain sent the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) to France to help the French fight Germany. The German advance through France was so rapid that the British Army was cornered in the small coastal town of Dunkirk. 338,000 men were about to be captured by the Nazis. Such a catastrophe would have left Great Britain unable to defend itself against the Nazi onslaught on Britain widely expected to follow the fall of France. In turn, if Britain had fallen, Canada, a dominion of the British Empire, would have been under great pressure; the United States would then be next, at the time unprepared to fight a major conflict.
It’s hard for people now to realize how victory over Germany was not a foregone conclusion. Even after the US entered the war, the advantage still lay with Germany and its far-eastern ally, Japan. The Germans were a formidable military force. Adolf Hitler only came to power in 1933, but in a little over six years had taken the country from the depths of depression and despair to the height of economic and military power. No country was able to stop Germany’s rapid takeover of Europe.
In May of 1940, faced with this incredible threat, the British changed leadership. Winston Churchill came to power. One of his first tasks was to rescue the BEF from Dunkirk. Only 30,000 beleaguered soldiers could be saved by the navy from the beach at Dunkirk. The call went out for ordinary British people to take their boats and their yachts across the Channel to help rescue the others. Over 700 vessels accomplished this heroic task – big men in small boats. They not only had to contend with the advancing German Wehrmacht. They were also risking aerial bombardment by the German Luftwaffe.
The evacuation began on 26th May.
On the same day, King George VI called for a National Day of Prayer. Photos taken at the time show tens of thousands of people lining up at churches across the country, anxious to pray for their loved ones on the beaches of northern France. The King called on the British people to repent and turn back to God.
Biblical verses like this one were his inspiration: “if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” (II Chron 7:14). The King was a British-Israelite – he believed that the British people were literally God’s people:
“In The Independent, 6 April, 1996, there appeared a facsimile of a letter written by George VI in 1922, when he was Albert, the Duke of York. In the letter, George VI wrote:
”I am sure the British Israelite business is true. I have read a lot about it lately and everything no matter how large or small points to our being ’the chosen race’.”
MIRACLE OF DUNKIRK
What happened then was truly amazing and was referred to as “the miracle of Dunkirk.” The weather around Dunkirk changed dramatically, making it impossible for the Luftwaffe to continue their deadly attacks on the stranded British soldiers. Following this, the English Channel calmed, enabling the armada of small boats to cross and rescue the men from France.
It took a few days to get everybody home. It was to be four years before they were able to go back, attacking Germany on the beaches of Normandy. Then, another year before the final victory, ending the European theater of war on May 8th, 1945.
LESSONS FOR TODAY FROM DUNKIRK
First of all, the movie is a reminder of how quickly the situation in Europe can change and threaten the United Kingdom.
Secondly, the movie reminds us of the long history of what Winston Churchill called “the island race,” the Anglo-Saxon-Celtic peoples who have inhabited the British Isles for well over a thousand years.
The only criticisms I’ve seen of the movie were in Time Magazine and USA Today. Both lamented the lack of minorities and women in the film. Neither reviewer seemed to realize that non-white immigration into the UK did not begin until after World War 2; and women were not in combat roles until fairly recently.
Rather, the men who stood on that beach, waiting to be rescued, were the direct descendants of the people Churchill was talking about. Their ancestors stood up and fought the Spanish to ensure the Protestant Reformation, which gave them and others religious freedom; Churchill’s own ancestor the First Duke of Marlborough led an army against King Louis XIV’s forces; a century later the British defeated Napoleon who also tried to unite Europe forcibly; in the last century, the enemy was the Kaiser before Hitler. Each time it was the British people, fairly secure on their island, who preserved the freedoms of smaller European nations.
They are not the same people today. After World War II, immigration from the West Indies, Africa and the Asian sub-continent, transformed the country. More recently, arrivals from other parts of the European Union have entered the UK. Today, well over 50% of the people of London are not of British ethnic descent.
Most of these people are highly unlikely to fight for Britain if a similar situation arose to that faced in 1939-45.
There is also a third, and deeper, lesson here for the United Kingdom.
Christopher Nolan, the producer and director of the movie, deserves acclaim for an outstanding film. But the movie does not even mention the King’s call for a National Day of Prayer on the day the evacuation began. In an irreligious age, this is to be expected. However, it’s an appropriate time to remind the island race of the role religion played in the four centuries of their greatness.
After the Protestant Reformation, the country had to act quickly to secure its freedom and independence from Rome. They began building what became the greatest navy in the world. Colonies were established in different parts of the world as they pursued trade. Wherever they went, they established parliamentary government, the rule of law and basic freedoms. All of this came about as a direct consequence of the break from Rome.
The British people lost sight of this after World War II. They reversed course in a pursuit of an alternative dream, that of European unification. Instead of pursuing a different course to Rome, they signed the Treaty of Rome and lost themselves in an alien enterprise. Continental Europe has always been more centralized – gradually the British people came under increasing control by unelected bureaucrats in Brussels, together with foreign politicians in Strasbourg and Berlin. At the same time, they lost support from the Commonwealth of Nations that they had built up since the first settlement in Virginia over 400 years ago.
An increasingly irreligious people lost sight of their unique place in the world. It was still there at the queen’s coronation in 1953, when she committed herself to enforce the laws of God in her numerous territories. Things did not go according to plan.
Faced with catastrophe at Dunkirk, the King rightly called for a National Day of prayer. Apparently, it was not well received amongst the soldiers, who interpreted the call as saying that they were doomed unless God intervened.
It’s the same today. The UK has been reduced to a position of weakness in a hostile world. Without a return to the foundations that made Britain great, the country, racked with divisions over Brexit and the future of the United Kingdom itself, and disunited by diversity, is in danger of falling apart or becoming a vassal state of a coming European superpower.
The second round of the French presidential election takes place on Sunday. Polls (!) show that the centrist candidate, Emmanuel Macron, is leading with 62% of the vote. Madame Marine LePen, of the National Front, is not doing so well. Reports say that she is already looking to what is often called “the third round of the presidential election,” voting for the Legislative Assembly, in June. She has the potential to lead the opposition to Macron, who has no party support. A future crisis (financial or terrorism), could lead to a major upheaval that would be to her benefit.
Mrs. LePen’s support comes mainly from rural areas and France’s rust-belt; Mr. Macron has all but 5% of the vote in Paris and the more affluent regions of the country.
The French political system, with three elections in just a few weeks, is rather complicated and, certainly this time, quite suspenseful. For the first time since the birth of the Fifth Republic in 1958, the major parties are not involved in this second round – their candidates did not garner the necessary support.
It’s not just the political system that is different in France. Mr. Macron, married to his former school-teacher, 25 years older than himself, laughed off an accusation that he has had a gay relationship with a prominent radio personality; but now is issuing frequent denials about an overseas bank account!
In a heated televised debate on Wednesday evening, Madame LePen made the best prediction of the evening. She said that seven days from now, France will have a female leader – either her or Angela Merkel, Germany’s Chancellor. Mr. Macron is a committed European, whereas she would like the French people to have a Brexit style referendum on the country’s future membership. Under pressure, M. Macron is talking about the need for Europe wide reforms, but he would keep France in both the EU and the single currency, the euro.
A victory for Emmanuel Macron would mean the 27 remaining members of the EU will stand together against the United Kingdom in the Brexit negotiations. A win for Mrs. LePen would actually help London, though no politician in the UK is going to say anything to that effect!
So Sunday’s second round is not just about France, but Europe. We should know the outcome sometime Sunday evening, Eastern time.
MORE MIGRANTS COMING
Turkey appears determined to flood Europe with migrants either way: with Europe’s permission by means of visa-free travel, or without Europe’s permission, as retribution for failing to provide visa-free travel.
The migrants arriving in Italy are overwhelmingly economic migrants seeking a better life in Europe. Only a very small number appear to be legitimate asylum seekers or refugees fleeing war zones.
The director of the UN office in Geneva, Michael Møller, has warned that Europe must prepare for the arrival of millions more migrants from Africa, Asia and the Middle East. (Gatestone Institute, 5/5/17).
DIVORCE EUROPEAN STYLE
Yanis Varoufakis, the former Greek finance minister who negotiated with the EU during the financial crisis a few years ago, is warning the United Kingdom NOT to negotiate with the bureaucratic nightmare known as the European Union. In effect, Mr. Varoufakis was saying that nobody wins against the undemocratic EU.
Wolfgang Munchau, a German contributor to the London-based Financial Times, is also warning the Brits that they cannot win against Brussels.
The alternative for the UK is simply to leave and face the consequences, what is called a “hard Brexit.” There are plenty of other countries wanting trade agreements with the UK, so there’s definitely a case for this. But the British government is hoping for a trade deal with the EU post-Brexit. They have also re-committed themselves to closer military ties, reaffirming their commitment to Europe.
A hard Brexit could be a better choice. It would certainly be quicker as Brexit talks will last two years – and that time frame only covers the actual exit, not talks on a new trade pact.
It’s like a divorce – after over 40 years together, the UK and the EU are now talking to divorce lawyers about a divorce settlement. As with a divorce, the only people who will benefit are the lawyers. And, as any divorced people know, divorce never ends – the animosity (and the financial costs) just go on and on.
Footnote: Mr. Varoufakis, who cannot vote in France, has called on people to support M. Macron, in spite of the way he and his country were treated by the EU!
PRINCE PHILIP TO RETIRE AT 96
Britain’s Prince Philip is retiring after seventy years of public service. His wife, Queen Elizabeth II, will continue with royal duties, but will no longer be accompanied by her husband.
Shortly after the announcement, the prince was at a function when an older man came up to him and expressed his sorrow that the prince was “standing down” from his responsibilities; the prince consort quipped back that his problem was not standing down, but rather standing up!
In his seventy years of public service, Prince Philip has attended over 25,000 public engagements and made over 600 overseas trips representing the United Kingdom.
He will end his official duties in August, by which time he will be 96 but will still take on a few as he feels up to it.. The Queen turned 91 two weeks ago. It is expected that Princes Charles, William and Harry will take on some of Philip’s commitments.
( I cannot independently verify the following, but thought that some readers would find it interesting. It’s from a magazine called “Truth in History,” which comes out of Oklahoma.)
“…Bob travels to London quite often on business and from time to time has dinner with a very close friend of his, which is Queen Elizabeth’s personal secretary. Bob told me that he asked his friend when the Queen was going to turn the throne over to Charles. He replied, “she does not intend to ever give the scepter to Charles – possibly to William, but her desire is to present her crown, throne and scepter to the Lord Jesus Christ when He returns, whose rightful throne it is. This is her desire.”
Anyone who has read “The Servant Queen and the King She Serves,” published a little over a year ago, will know that the queen is a very religious woman.
“This tribute focuses on the Queen’s own words to draw out the central role of her trust in Jesus Christ in shaping her life and work, offering us an inspiring multi-faceted insight into a life well lived for others.” (Backcover, Google Books)
DEATH OF OBAMACARE
I have mixed thoughts about the vote yesterday to abolish Obamacare. The ACA went into effect on April 1st, 2014. Before you marvel at my memory, I should add that I ended up in the hospital on April 2nd and spent over four months fighting for my life. I had one of those deadly infections that’s killing people all over the world. I needed two major back surgeries and then fought nausea and vomiting while working my way through all the medications. They gave up on me twice.
During this time period I was in two different hospitals. The bill from the second one was a million dollars; from the first, it was roughly half that.
Obamacare covered almost all my bills.
If it had not been in place, I would have died. If I had gotten sick a month earlier, before it came into effect, I would have, likewise, died.
Having said that, I’ve also seen the negative side of Obamacare, of people having to spend a significant part of their income to get coverage, of a bureaucracy that has often failed beneficiaries, of a system that is too expensive to be maintained.
I do believe that the Republicans have made a mistake – they should have come up with another system first, before abolishing what the country already had.
I’ve been in the United States for 27 years, since 1990. Health care (and how to pay for it) has been at the center of American politics during that time. Whereas other, less affluent countries, have been able to put a workable system in place in months, the richest country in the world still cannot find a solution to the problem of healthcare.
Apparently, President Trump, who is in New York to meet with Australia’s Prime Minister Turnbull, made a favorable comment to the visiting prime minister about their country’s healthcare system. It’s a single payer system, so the president’s comment is of particular interest.
A possible solution lies in each state working out it’s own system,
But it’s embarrassing that, after decades of talking about it, Washington still has not come up with a sustainable medical system. Perhaps America could start by looking at the medical systems in Australia, the UK and Canada, our next-door neighbor. France, too, which the WHO claims has the best system in the world. You would think that one of our TV news programs would take a look at one or two of these other countries.
I might add that if a Conservative government in the UK, the closest equivalent to a Republican administration, abolished the medical system, they would not make it back into power for decades. The same goes for the French, Canadian and Australian conservatives.
John Wycliffe (1320-84) was a major figure in what became the Protestant Reformation.
“John Wycliffe was an English scholastic philosopher, theologian, Biblical translator, reformer, and seminary professor at Oxford. He was an influential dissident within the Roman Catholic priesthood during the 14th century.” (Wikipedia)
His favorite scripture was Philippians 2:12 – “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” This was heresy to the Roman Church, which dominated the country at the time. Later, the Church had Wycliffe condemned as a “heretic.” It didn’t bother him – he was already dead and buried. But his bones were exhumed and burnt.
He did not just influence religion. He also had a profound political effect. Not long after the birth of the modern parliament in 1265, Wycliffe encouraged people to think for themselves, thereby encouraging democracy, an idea the church did not like at all.
The freedom to think for ourselves is seriously threatened today by universities that won’t allow conservative speakers to address students, citing security concerns. This is unlikely to be a temporary phenomenon.
Sadly, few remember Wycliffe today. When I visited Lincoln Cathedral in England some years ago, I asked after the man who served there for some years in the 14th century. A senior member of the cathedral’s clergy had never heard of him! I did find a very thin book on him in the bookstore, which I bought.
John Wycliffe (pronounced WICKCliff) is one of the greatest men in our common history, who made a big difference both religiously and politically.
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.
Next year marks the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther nailing his 95 theses to the door of a church in Wittenberg, Germany, an act that is considered the start of the Protestant Reformation. Luther was particularly upset about the sale of indulgences, whereby wealthy members of the Roman Catholic Church could buy a certificate, which would reduce the time they would spend in purgatory, itself an invention of the church.
The revolution that Luther started soon spread to other countries.
Europe has seen a number of revolutions that have spread from nation to nation, leading to significant change. 1989 was one such year when communist governments in Eastern Europe were brought down by the people they claimed to represent. 1918 was another such year, as World War One ended and ancient monarchies were overthrown. Going back further, in 1848, revolutions took place across Europe as the people demanded more democracy.
This year started another revolution that could spread. The vote for Brexit in the United Kingdom was a vote against globalization and mutliculturalism and the elites who have forced these upon the people. A second Brexit may follow in a few days when the US holds its presidential election. A victory for Donald Trump will be a vote against globalization and multiculturalism; a vote for Mrs. Clinton will be a vote for continuity, for more of the same, led by the same elites that have dominated for five decades.
Like the Church 500 years ago, the Clintons have been selling indulgences. For a gift of a few million dollars to their own private Foundation, foreign leaders were granted access to Mrs. Clinton, then Secretary of State. “Government for sale” does not sit well with the American people – she may very well lose the election because of the ensuing scandal.
Donald Trump has his problems, too, particularly with women. He is not winning the female vote due to his reputation as what was once called a “male chauvinist pig.” He has also made outlandish remarks in the past that have led many to conclude he is not suited to the presidency.
The following letter from our local newspaper sums up the dilemma that many voters face:
“Being a voter this year is kind of like being a condemned man the warden likes so he lets you choose the method of your death. Donald Trump is a sexist pig, (Bill Clinton is, too) and he has the maturity of a 10 year old. Hillary C is a pathological liar who is probably already selling ambassador jobs for a “contribution” to the Clinton Foundation. If characters were gun powder, these two combined would not have enough to kill a fly. Someone will smile and be declared the winner Nov 8. We’re all losers with these two wretched candidates.” (Lansing State Journal)
In four days it should all be over.
Mr. Trump has claimed the voting is rigged. While there may or may not be problems in the voting booth (both before and after), voting is rigged in at least two ways.
Firstly, media bias, which manifests itself in many ways. The mass media in the United States is overwhelmingly supportive of the Democrats. Fox News is the only television network that is different and it’s only available on cable. One example of bias was just this morning. Fox showed footage of illegal immigrants crossing into the US across the southern border, in a last-minute attempt to get in before Trump builds his wall; such footage would sway many Americans to vote for Trump so, naturally, nothing was said or shown on the main TV networks. If the electorate knew that 1,000 people a day are now crossing illegally into their country, they would be alarmed.
Another example of bias is from the New York Times, which did not even mention Hillary Clinton’s problems with her emails until it had to. I’ve been reading the Sunday editions of the Times for a few weeks and it is clearly one-sided.
Secondly, there is another way in which the election is rigged. Immigration.
It was the Democrats who brought in the 1965 Immigration Act which has flooded the country with people from developing countries, most of whom support big government programs and vote for the Democrats at every election. Every four years when a presidential election is held, the percentage of whites is down a further 1% — it is the white population that has dominated America in the past. They generally support traditional free enterprise and small government.
There are an estimated 11 million illegal aliens in the country. Mrs. Clinton favors a fast-track to citizenship, enabling them all to vote for her party; Mr. Trump wants them to return home and then apply for legal entry.
Elections are always difficult to predict, but I will say one thing for the benefit of those who live outside of the United States – there are more Trump signs on front lawns than there are Clinton signs. There may be a lot of silent Trump supporters, people even who have never voted and are therefore not receiving calls from pollsters.
One final thought: whoever loses only has himself or herself to blame. A biblical principle that keeps coming to mind is found in Numbers 32:23: “be sure your sins will find you out.” Whoever loses will be losing partly because of personal indiscretions.
This brings us back to the Roman Church and Martin Luther. At the time, the corruption in the Church was pervasive – from the top down, popes, cardinals, archbishops and priests all had their fingers in the pie. The result was rebellion on the part of the people. The descendants of those same people today have the same attitude toward the elites that have grown fat at their expense.
This is what Brexit was all about. It’s also the biggest issue in the US election.
But Brexit was not the end of the matter. In the United Kingdom, the elites are putting up a fight to reverse Brexit. A decision of the High Court on Wednesday ruled that parliament must vote on the issue before the country can apply to leave the EU. As two-thirds of the members of parliament are against Brexit, this is a definite blow to a people who want freedom from globalization and multiculturalism. Theresa May, the UK’s prime minister, will appeal the decision to the country’s Supreme Court. Mrs. May herself was against Brexit when the vote was taken in June, but now stresses that the will of the people must be upheld.
The globalist elites will resist change just as the kings did decades ago. A Trump victory will be challenged in every way – if elected, he will not find it easy to “drain the swamp”!
At stake is America’s leadership of the western world. Sixty years ago this week Britain and France invaded Egypt in an attempt to get back control of the Suez Canal, which they had built and owned. US intervention ended the conflict. It was, effectively, the end of the British and French Empires. It’s a sobering reminder to Americans that just one error of judgment, particularly in the Middle East, can bring down the American Empire. Don’t think it cannot happen to the United States.
The Founding Fathers of the United States could not have imagined such a scene ever taking place in this country.
The scene was played out this morning on the White House lawn. The head of the Roman Catholic Church, Pope Francis, together with a US president of African heritage with a Muslim father and other definite Muslim connections.
Whereas the US was 98% Protestant at its founding, today there are arguably only two faiths that matter – Catholicism and Islam.
Certainly, these are the only two that dominate news headlines.
Just a few days ago, the leading Republican presidential candidate, Donald Trump was asked a question by a man who believed that President Obama is a Muslim. Because he did not correct the man, it is assumed he believes the same way and he has been greatly criticized for it. Of course, if there’s nothing wrong with Islam, why should anybody get upset if described as being Muslim!
A day or two later, Ben Carson, another Republican candidate, a quiet, reserved and respectful man who is a double minority, both black and a Seventh Day Adventist Christian, was asked what he thought of having a Muslim president. He was not in favor of it and has since been accused of racism!
Fifty years ago, when Senator Edward Kennedy sponsored the bill, which became the new immigration law, he said Americans would not see any noticeable change in the fabric of the country. Here we are five decades later in a very different religious landscape thanks to that immigration act.
It doesn’t take a Donald Trump or a Ben Carson for Islam to make the news every day. Migrants moving into Europe from the Middle East and Africa underline the dysfunctionality of Islamic countries, racked with ethnic, ideological and religious strife. Under international law, when people flee one country they should register for refugee status in the first country they come to; but international laws are being broken every day as people push their way through borders and barriers toward their number one goal, Germany or Sweden. None seems to want to go to any oil rich Arab country, which speaks the same language. One migrant made it clear when he said: “Europeans have more compassion!”
That compassion stems from Christianity, both Catholic and Protestant. For centuries, monks and nuns provided the only hospital care available for travelers and locals alike. They also provided food and drink to the poor.
Yes, Christianity and Islam are very different. Only the Hungarian leader, Viktor Orban, seems to be pointing that out, saying his country does not want the migrants. Hungary suffered for almost two centuries under Islamic rule, so it’s not surprising that they don’t want Muslims back. Mr. Orban has said that the massive movement of migrants into the country threatens the nation’s Christian heritage. For this realistic comment, he is being condemned by the emotional majority more influenced by television images of people pushing further into Europe.
It is doubtful the enthusiasm for Muslim immigrants will last long. Then what?
Catholicism and Islam have clashed repeatedly throughout history – and could do so again. People in the West have largely forgotten this past history or don’t care. But that’s not the case in the Islamic world where the term “crusaders” is often used to describe westerners, a reference to the Crusades between Catholic Europe and the forces of Islam that began in 1095 and lasted for two centuries.
There were other less famous clashes between the two. In the eighth century Muslims invaded Spain and France, until they were defeated in 732 by Charles Martel. His grandson Charlemagne was still fighting the North African invaders decades later. After the Crusades ended, there were other clashes as the Ottoman Turks advanced westward, conquering islands in the Mediterranean and moving fairly rapidly into the heart of Europe.
The historic rivalry between Rome and the Islamic world will likely be a part of the prophesied clash between the King of the North and King of the South in the last verses of the Book of Daniel, chapter 11. Earlier this year the leaders of ISIS threatened to invade Rome and kill the pope.
Islam has certainly succeeded in dividing the West in the early years of this century, as both Americans and Europeans hold different opinions on how best to deal with the migrant crisis. Some are fearful about security while others just want to help, not realizing there are a number of rich Arab countries, which could take the Syrians in. Not all the migrants are Syrians – a British newspaper revealed last Saturday that only 1 in 5 migrants is a Syrian refugee. The others are economic migrants and could be sent home under international law.
Is this the end of western civilization, as Mr. Orban fears? That’s not likely. What is more likely is that westerners will change their thinking when they experience the reality of greater numbers of Muslims. Anti-immigrant parties are likely to come to power, promising to do something to restore their countries to what they were.
Islam means “submission,” In spite of denials by national news presenters, this makes the religion incompatible with the US Constitution, which is based on freedom. And just as Islam is incompatible with freedom, so is Roman Catholicism, a religion that dominated Western Europe for over a thousand years, until the Protestant Reformation introduced an element of religious freedom. It was English Protestants who founded James Town and Protestants of mostly British descent who founded the United States. Today’s Protestants seem to have very little influence in the country, a fact that increasingly threatens religious freedom.
What we saw today on the White House lawn was, in a sense, a profile of three religions – Catholicism, represented by the Pope; Islam, represented by the American son of a Muslim Kenyan father; and Protestantism, represented by the White House itself, the US Constitution, and the soldiers in early American uniforms.
The first two are on the rise – the Church of Rome and Islam!
The Protestant evangelist and best-selling author of The Purpose Driven Church, recently called on protestants to unite with Pope Francis, whom he has referred to as “the Holy Father.” This news came in the same week as the Ecumenical Patriarch of the Orthodox Church in Istanbul expressed his commitment to church unity during a papal visit to the former capital of the Eastern Roman Empire.
“Christiannews.net” began its report on Warren with the following words:
“In a new video, megachurch leader and author Rick Warren is calling for Christians to unite with Roman Catholics and “Pope Francis,” who Warren recently referred to as the “Holy Father” – a move that is raising concerns among Christians nationwide and is resulting in calls for Warren to repent.” (December 2nd)
In the article, Warren defends the Catholic practices of worshipping Mary and a myriad of saints, saying that Protestants just do not understand what the church is really teaching.
America’s founders would be appalled.
At the time the United States was formed, 98% of Americans were Protestants. Only 1% were Catholic and 1% were of other faiths, including Judaism. Colonial America was “Protestant and virulently anti-Catholic.” (The King’s Three Faces, by Brendan McConville, 2004, page 7) The fourteenth colony, Quebec, chose not to join the American rebellion against the crown because they perceived America would be a “protestant republic.”
This anti-Catholicism did not end with the formation of the United States. Anti-Catholic riots continued well into the twentieth century. In 1960, anti-Catholic feeling was a factor in the presidential election, which resulted in the first Catholic president, John F. Kennedy. Concerns were expressed that his loyalty would be to Rome rather than the American people.
Does all this matter any more?
Yes. It matters for this reason:
For more than a thousand years, the Church of Rome ruled despotically over the nations of western Europe. The beliefs of the church were and remain unbiblical and even anti-biblical. The Bible was a forbidden book, denied to all but the priests and most priests could not read. The struggle for religious freedom and for the Bible itself took centuries. Brave men like William Tyndale, were put to death by the Church for trying to give the people access to the scriptures. Even repeating the Lord’s Prayer in English was punishable by being burned at the stake.
There was a gradual proliferation in the number of church denominations after the Protestant Reformation. The greater number of denominations eventually led to religious toleration, especially in Britain and its colonies.
In addition, the Church was corrupt at every level, partly because it had no competition and there was no free press to keep it in line. The pope, the cardinals, the bishops and the clergy were all corrupt at times, a direct result of the claim that the pope was appointed by God and that the Church organization was the only way to salvation. Even today, the official position of the church is that other churches are “deficient.”
Our ancestors on both sides of the Atlantic fought for centuries to be free of Catholic despotism. The first British settlers chose to settle in what they named James Town as it was hidden from the sea, from Catholic navies that would kill them all if they could find them. Eventually, it was the British Royal Navy that secured the Protestant ascendancy and guaranteed religious freedom.
We should all be thankful for competition in the religious marketplace. If there were only one supermarket chain, the price of everything would go up. If there was only one church organization, human nature being what it is, we would pay an awful price in loss of freedom and the despotism that would follow.
The Church of Rome may appear to be an angel of light but in the right circumstances it could revert to its old ways. II Corinthians 11:14 warns: “And no wonder, for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.” Our ancestors understood this.
I hope Rick Warren (and the Pope) will do a rethink on church unity.
In my last post, we looked at the possibility of a depression in the eurozone. Today, we will look across the English Channel at England, which is also going through some difficult economic challenges. (Who isn’t nowadays?)
A recent issue of The Economist (August 16th) highlighted “the trials of life in Tilbury” (“Bagehot, page 47). Tilbury is only 40 minutes from the City of London but is totally different. It’s one of the poorest places in the UK. The poor are England’s white working class. Their sense of alienation is growing and could pose some serious problems in the near future. At the same time, “a recent parliamentary study confirmed that poor white British children do worse in school than those of any other group save Romany gypsies.’
The present is bad but the future looks worse.
Since World War II, Britain has attracted millions of people from Africa, Asia, the Caribbean and other parts of Europe. London itself is almost half non-white.
Another article in the same issue quotes the mayor of Calais in France, who believes that “Britain’s generous welfare system is the magnet” (article: “A surge from the sea,” page 41). The Economist doesn’t think so and adds: “it is more likely to be its lack of identity cards and stringent labor inspections.”
Either way, the fact is that paperless immigrants to Europe are supposed to seek asylum in the first country they go to; instead, tens of thousands head for Calais, hoping for a ride across the Channel to England. The same magazine had an article a few months ago on Britain’s growing Somali community, including the fact that only 10% of working age males had a job. That would suggest it IS the welfare benefits that are keeping people in the country.
So it’s no wonder that there is growing resentment against immigrants in the country. Add to this the revelation over the last few days that British-born Muslims are fighting with ISIS in Iraq and Syria and that one of them reportedly beheaded an American journalist. People remember that it wasn’t that long ago that Islamists beheaded an innocent soldier walking down the street in London.
One complication from the growing numbers of immigrants is that demand for housing has pushed up prices, especially in the London area, making it virtually impossible for young couples to buy a home. Often, newly arrived immigrants are given rental properties by local governments, again making it more difficult for native Englishmen to find a place to live.
It’s all building up to an explosion, firstly at the polls next year when disillusionment with the three main parties is likely to help new parties gain a greater degree of power. UKIP (the United Kingdom Independence Party) wants to pull out of the EU, which is heavily subsidized, mostly by Britain and Germany. They would also be tougher on immigration.
The Labor party has lost a great deal of its credibility. Under Tony Blair they boosted immigration, contributing to the present problems. They can hardly now claim to be representing the white working class, their original constituents. Their decisions have contributed to the growing problem of unemployment amongst the white working class.
Add to all this uncertainty over the United Kingdom itself. Will it survive the Scottish referendum next month on independence? Nobody on either side seems to have thought through the consequences of the country dividing into two. It looks as if neither will benefit if Scotland votes to leave the UK.
Britain’s entry into the EU over forty years ago dramatically altered the country’s trading patterns, leading to the decline of Tilbury Docks and others around the country.
This was just one of many decisions made in the 60’s and early 70’s that are having a negative impact now. The generation dominating the country fifty years ago changed the course of the nation, without much thought to some of the consequences.
They should have looked at the Bible, which was a very influential book earlier in the country’s history. Shortly after James VI of Scotland became James I of England, he authorized a new translation of the Bible, which was published in 1611. The Authorized Version, sometimes called the King James Version, includes these words. “Where there is no vision, the people perish” (Proverbs 29:18). The verse ends with the words: “but he that keeps the law, happy is he.” These words are also appropriate as Britain’s rejection of its traditional Christian beliefs has also contributed to the country losing its way.
For centuries after the Protestant Reformation, both England and Scotland were busy protecting their new-found religious freedoms from hostile continental powers. At the same time, they took their enthusiasm for the Bible to other countries around the world, some of which became colonies of Great Britain. They had a vision of spreading the Bible, the rule of law and parliamentary democracy to other nations. In the 1960’s the country changed course seeking closer ties with mainly Catholic Europe, a continent they had tried to distance themselves from for 400 years. Europe has been a poor substitute for the previous Empire and Commonwealth.
Politicians only think as far as the next election. What the British people need Is a clear vision of the future for decades to come, giving them hope at a very difficult time in their history.
"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