Tag Archives: Protestant Reformation

BIG MEN IN LITTLE BOATS — LESSONS FROM DUNKIRK

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.

I LOVE PARIS IN THE SPRING TIME

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.

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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).

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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!

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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.

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INTERESTING QUOTE

( 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)

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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.

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FAVORITE SCRIPTURE

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.

BRITISH EMPIRE WAS A BLESSING

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:

“The Royal Navy established the West Africa Squadron (or Preventative Squadron) at substantial expense in 1808 after Parliament passed the Slave Trade Act of 1807.   The squadron’s task was to suppress the Atlantic slave trade by patrolling the coast of West Africa.   With a home base at Portsmouth, it began with two small ships, the 32-gun fifth-rate frigate HMS Solebay and the Cruizer-class brig-sloop HMS Derwent. At the height of its operations, the squadron employed a sixth of the Royal Navy fleet and marines.

“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.

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BREXIT 2 AND MARTIN LUTHER

king-george-bloody-colonists

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 POPE AND THE PRESIDENT

U.S. President Barack Obama shakes hands with Pope Francis (R) during their meeting at the Vatican March 27, 2014. Obama's first meeting on Thursday with Pope Francis was expected to focus on the fight against poverty and skirt moral controversies over abortion and gay rights.
U.S. President Barack Obama shakes hands with Pope Francis (R) during their meeting at the Vatican March 27, 2014. Obama’s first meeting on Thursday with Pope Francis was expected to focus on the fight against poverty and skirt moral controversies over abortion and gay rights.

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!

RICK WARREN’S CALL TO BACK THE POPE

Rick Warren and PopeRick Warren clearly does not know his history.

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.

CHALLENGES NOW AND AHEAD FOR GREAT BRITAIN

Jobs headline UK

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.