Tag Archives: religion

A SPECIAL PLACE IN HELL

Donald Tusk (AFP)

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.

HISTORICAL COMPARISON

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.

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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)

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RELIGIOUS DISPUTES DOMINATE THE NEWS

 

ben-carson-donald-trump-large-169

Religion is very much in the news these days.

Donald Trump, the leading contender for the Republican nomination in the US, made a somewhat disparaging remark about Dr. Ben Carson’s religious affiliation.   Carson is the closest rival to Trump. Whereas Trump is a mainstream Presbyterian, Carson is a Seventh Day Adventist.   Mr. Trump said he knew nothing about the SDA’s, but said it in such a way that it made the church and its members decidedly odd.

For the record the Seventh Day Adventists share many beliefs in common with the Presbyterians and other mainstream Christian denominations.   The difference between them is that the SDA’s worship on the seventh day (Saturday) as Jesus did.

Coincidentally, the new President of Fiji is a Seventh Day Adventist. His role is largely a ceremonial role, similar to that played by Queen Elizabeth, who was Fiji’s Head of State until 1987.

Four years ago, in the United States, Mitt Romney’s Mormon faith, was a factor in the election.   It was not to his favor.

It’s a pity leaders do not heed the words of the Apostle Paul in Philippians 2:12 to “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.”   Each individual needs to work on his own relationship with God. Christians should be careful not to judge others who may hold to a different Christian tradition.

It’s not just Christian beliefs that have come up in this election. Earlier in the current election campaign the issue of a Muslim president came up.   Neither of the two leading contenders was in favor, but the issue gave the media an opportunity to once again portray both men in a negative light.

Meanwhile, across the pond, the Hungarian Prime Minister has again expressed the fear that the flood of immigrants arriving in Europe will destroy the continent’s Christian (i.e. Catholic) roots.

Europe certainly does have Christian roots, but there is little evidence of those roots these days, as most people have embraced secular humanism.   Only Russia’s leader seems to hold any serious Christian beliefs.   Fortunately, he seems set on saving Christians in the Middle East from Islamic extremism.

In today’s USA Today, an article carries the headline, “Under ISIL’s brutal rule, Iraqis are in constant fear,” written by Kiran Nazish.     A schoolteacher who escaped last month is quoted as observing:   “In more than one year, the Islamic State has created a society where it’s normal for children to watch their elders being murdered by them.”

If you didn’t get it the first time, be sure to read that sentence again.   What it’s saying is that children are watching other children murder adults.  Other articles in recent months have claimed that children not only shoot adults, they are even being trained to behead them. This is the kind of world we now live in.

Fearful of Islam and those refugees from Islamic lands crossing their borders, Poles voted yesterday for a more conservative government.  This is likely to be a trend across Europe as people put security at the top of their concerns.

By far the worst and most serious religious conflict has flared up again in Jerusalem, where Palestinians have been waging a renewed intifada against Israel.   The first intifada was in 1987.   They are trying to drive the Jews out of the West Bank.   If they succeed, it would be a prelude to driving them into the sea.

Palestinians have been angry over the Israelis not allowing young men on to the Temple Mount, which they call Haram al-Sharif (the Noble Sanctuary).   It’s also a part of the general frustration they feel after seventy years of the nation of Israel.

Meanwhile, an old issue has resurfaced – the role of the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem during World War II.

“Philadelphia, PA – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has drawn criticism for comments about the role of al-Hajj Amin al-Husaini, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, in conceiving and perpetrating the Holocaust.   Indeed, leading Nazi aides testified that al-Husaini was one of the instigators of the genocide.  In his 1999 autobiography, a senior Nazi official admitted how he advised Hitler and other leading Nazis, and that he acquired full knowledge of the ongoing mass murder.

Middle East Forum scholar, historian, and author Wolfgang G. Schwanitz added, “It is a historical fact that the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem al-Hajj Amin al-Husaini was an accomplice whose collaboration with Adolf Hitler played an important role in the Holocaust.   He was the foremost extra-European adviser in the process to destroy the Jews of Europe.”  (“Mufti Advised Hitler on Holocaust”, Middle East Forum, October 21st.)

The Mufti’s successor, Sheikh Muhammed Ahmad Hussein, is now saying that the Temple Mount never housed a Jewish Temple and that the al-Aqsa mosque has been there “since the creation of the world” (Times of Israel, Monday).

If these words were intended to be the last word on the most disputed piece of real estate in the world, he may be surprised at the reaction.

The latest uprising by Palestinian youth has led to the murder of Jews on the streets of Jerusalem.   The Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is now allowing Palestinian youths on to the Temple Mount, even though it poses a security risk.

There are increasing calls from religious and regional leaders for international supervision of the Temple Mount.

To think that fifty years ago, when I was a teenager, it was widely thought that religion and religious conflict were things of the past!