Is Pride Always Condemned in the Bible? (Part 1)

When reading the Bible in the Authorized Version or the New King James Bible, as well as in most other English translations, one will find that the words “pride” or “proud” are exclusively applied to wrong human conduct or emotions. This is especially true when analyzing Scriptures in the New Testament.

There, three different Greek terms are used to describe pride, but all have a slightly different underlying meaning.

In Mark 7:21-22, we read that “from within, out of the heart of men, proceed[s]… pride…”

In this case, the Greek word for pride also designates “haughtiness.”

In 1 Timothy 3:6, Paul addresses the qualifications of a minister, emphasizing that he should not be “a novice, lest being puffed up with pride, he fall into the same condemnation as the devil.” We know from the Old Testament that Lucifer, who became Satan, sinned when his heart was lifted up and became proud. The Greek term, which Paul uses in 1 Timothy 3:6, alludes to this historical fact. The word actually means, “inflated with self-deceit.”

Finally, in 1 John 2:15-16, we are told not to love this world or this present evil age, nor the things in the world. John continues to say that “all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world.”

Satan is the god and ruler of this world, and so he broadcasts his feelings and emotions, including those of pride, to unsuspecting people. The Greek word for pride here has the meaning of “self-confidence” and “boasting.”

From these three examples, we can see that human pride, which is actually Satan’s pride being instilled into man, is condemned. Emphasis is especially placed on haughtiness, inflation with self-conceit, and self-confidence.

“Proud” is a related word in the English translation of the New Testament, which describes similar concepts.

In 1 Timothy 6:4, Paul warns of false teachers who do not agree with Christ, calling them “proud, knowing nothing.” The meaning for “proud” here is “being inflated with self-conceit.”

The word “proud” is also used in five more passages, in which the meaning is, “appearing above others.” But Paul tells us to look at others higher or superior than ourselves, as Philippians 2:3 should be translated (compare the Amplified Bible).

We read in Luke 1:51 that God “has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.”

In Romans 1:30, Paul speaks about those who turned against God and His Law and describes them as “backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters…”

In 2 Timothy 3:1-5, the perilous end times are described. People love themselves and are haughty, proud and blasphemers, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power.

James 4:4 describes people who want to be friends with the world and therefore become enemies of God, adding in verse 6 that “God resists the proud But gives grace to the humble.”

Finally, 1 Peter 5:5 repeats the same statement (that “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble”), adding in verse 6: “Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time.”

All these passages, taken together, show us that human pride is condemned as an emotion or wrong character trait which is in opposition to God and which is unwilling to submit to Him, while feeling superior, more important and higher than others, which prevents the manifestation of love and outgoing concern for the welfare and benefit of others.

When turning to the Old Testament, a similar picture emerges.

The most common Hebrew word translated in the Authorized Version or the New King James Bible with “pride,” is “gaon.” As we will see in the second part of this series, this Hebrew word has several meanings, but we will concentrate in this first part on “pride.”

In Leviticus 26, God prophesied to the modern houses of Israel and Judah that they would be blessed for their obedience, but they would be cursed for disobedience. In verse 19, He tells them that in case of continued sinful conduct against Him, He would “break the pride of” their power; that is, their human pride in their power.

God has begun to do this, especially to the USA, the UK, and other English-speaking nations. He says in Hosea 5:5: “The pride of Israel testifies to his face; Therefore Israel and Ephraim stumble in their iniquity; Judah also stumbles with them.” In verse 4, God makes very clear what the problem is: “They do not direct their deeds Toward turning to their God.” Their human pride in their own “greatness” prevents them from repenting and from seeking God, as Hosea 7:10 reiterates and emphasizes: “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.”

God says in Amos 6:8: “I abhor the pride of Jacob.” Also, note Amos 8:7 in connection with Israel’s transgressions of the Sabbath: “The LORD has sworn by the pride of Jacob: ‘Surely, I will never forget any of their works.’”

Again, in Ezekiel 24:20-21: “Then I answered them, ‘The word of the LORD came to me, saying, “Speak to the house of Israel, ‘Thus says the Lord God: “Behold, I will profane My sanctuary, your arrogant boast [lit.: the pride of your strength], the desire of your eyes, the delight of your soul; and your sons and daughters whom you left behind shall fall by the sword.”’”’”

God will also punish the modern house of Judah for exactly the same kind of transgression and proud attitude. He says in Jeremiah 13:9-10:

“Thus says the LORD: ‘In this manner I will ruin the pride of Judah and the great pride of Jerusalem. This evil people, who refuse to hear My words, who follow the dictates of their hearts, and walk after other gods to serve them and worship them, shall be just like this sash which is profitable for nothing.’”

Again, God condemns here human pride with the accompanying unwillingness to submit to Him.

God made similar statements about other end-time nations which likewise sin against Him. In Ezekiel 30:6, God says about Egypt that the “pride of her power shall come down” and that He will punish “her arrogant strength” (verse 18) and destroy her many idols (verse 13).

God will also punish “the pride of Moab—He is very proud… his haughtiness and his pride and his wrath” (Isaiah 16:6). Jeremiah 48:29 reiterates this statement, but adds that Moab “exalted himself against the LORD” (verse 26).

In addition, God will “cut off the pride of the Philistines” (Zechariah 9:6). Likewise, “the pride of Assyria shall be brought down” (Zechariah 10:11), and “the pride of the Jordan” will be “in ruins’ (Zechariah 11:3).

God also has this to say about end-time Babylon, in Isaiah 13:19: “And Babylon, the glory of kingdoms, The beauty of the Chaldeans’ pride, Will be as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah.”

We all know that God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah because of their sins, and the sin of homosexuality comes immediately to mind. However, there is more to the story, as Ezekiel 16:49-50 explains:

“Look, this was the iniquity of your sister Sodom: She and her daughter had pride, fullness of food, and abundance of idleness; neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy. And they were haughty and committed abomination before Me; therefore I took them away as I saw fit.”

Pride would most certainly include here the “pride” to be gay (thinking of gay pride parades, etc.), but pride is also used here in a more general sense, referring to the pride about all the sins mentioned in this passage.

And so, God condemns human pride which is directed against Him and His Way of Life. In Job 35:9-13, we read:

“Because of the multitude of oppressions they cry out; They cry out for help because of the arm of the mighty. But no one says, ‘Where is God my Maker, Who gives songs in the night, Who teaches us more than the beasts of the earth, And makes us wiser than the birds of heaven?’ There they cry out, but He does not answer, Because of the pride of evil men. Surely God will not listen to empty talk, Nor will the Almighty regard it.”

David pleaded with God for His intervention on his behalf and for help from evil and godless people who were trying to destroy him. He said in Psalm 59:12-13:

“For the sin of their mouth and the words of their lips, Let them even be taken in their pride, And for the cursing and lying which they speak. Consume them in wrath, consume them, That they may not be; And let them know that God rules in Jacob To the ends of the earth. Selah.”

Finally, we read in Proverbs 16:18: “Pride goes before destruction, And a haughty spirit before a fall.”

Human pride, which is directed against God, His Word and His people, will not go unpunished. Somebody who is too proud and haughty to submit to God by showing love and outgoing concern for his fellow human being stands condemned by God. It is important to remember that in all the Old Testament passages, which were quoted above, the Hebrew word for pride is “gaon.”

A related Hebrew word to “gaon” is “gaavah,” which the New King James Bible translates likewise with “pride” in the following passages, reiterating what we already know to a large extent from passages quoted above (This Hebrew word has several meanings as well, but again, we will concentrate in this first installment on “pride.”).

In Isaiah 25:10-12, God speaks again of the punishment of Moab:

“For on this mountain the hand of the LORD will rest, And Moab shall be trampled down under Him, As straw is trampled down for the refuse heap. And He will spread out His hands in their midst As a swimmer reaches out to swim, And He will bring down their pride Together with the trickery of their hands. The fortress of the high fort of your walls He will bring down, lay low, And bring to the ground, down to the dust.”

Zephaniah 3:11-13 speaks of a future time when God will have destroyed the inappropriate human pride of Israel and Judah and when the people will be humble and trust in Him:

“In that day… I will take away from your midst Those who rejoice in your pride, And you shall no longer be haughty In My holy mountain. I will leave in your midst A meek and humble people, And they shall trust in the name of the LORD. The remnant of Israel shall do no unrighteousness And speak no lies, Nor shall a deceitful tongue be found in their mouth…”

Proverbs 29:23 emphasizes that “A man’s pride will bring him low, But the humble in spirit will retain honor.”

Finally, in the book of Psalms, we find several passages equating human pride with wicked and evil men who are unwilling to submit to God and who are persecuting God’s people. In Psalm 36:11, David pleads with God: “Let not the foot of pride come against me, And let not the hand of the wicked drive me away.”

That proud wicked person is described in verses 1-4 as follows:

“There is no fear of God before his eyes. For he flatters himself in his own eyes, When he finds out his iniquity and when he hates. The words of his mouth are wickedness and deceit; He has ceased to be wise and to do good. He devises wickedness on his bed; He sets himself in a way that is not good; He does not abhor evil.”

Let us also turn to an interesting passage in Psalm 10:2-4, 11-13, where David states:

“The wicked in his pride persecutes the poor; Let them be caught in the plots which they have devised. For the wicked boasts of his heart’s desire; He blesses the greedy and renounces the LORD. The wicked in his proud countenance does not seek God; God is in none of his thoughts… He has said in his heart, “God has forgotten; He hides His face; He will never see. Arise, O LORD! O God, lift up Your hand! Do not forget the humble. Why do the wicked renounce God? He has said in his heart, ‘You will not require an account.’”

The above-quoted passages, using the Hebrew word “gaavah,” which is translated as “pride,” relate the fact that wicked, evil and rebellious persons act with pride against God, while those who are humble submit to Him.

Another word translated with “pride” is the Hebrew word “geuth.” It, too, has different meanings, and “pride” is one of them.  It is used in Isaiah 28:1-3, 7-8 and describes the leaders of modern Ephraim (mainly the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand) who should rule righteously, but miserably failed, even though they swallow in pride:

“Close Woe to the crown of pride, to the drunkards of Ephraim, Whose glorious beauty is a fading flower Which is at the head of the verdant valleys, To those who are overcome with wine! Behold, the LORD has a mighty and strong one, Like a tempest of hail and a destroying storm, Like a flood of mighty waters overflowing, Who will bring them down to the earth with His hand. The crown of pride, the drunkards of Ephraim, Will be trampled underfoot… But they also have erred through wine, And through intoxicating drink are out of the way; The priest and the prophet have erred through intoxicating drink, They are swallowed up by wine, They are out of the way through intoxicating drink; They err in vision, they stumble in judgment. For all tables are full of vomit and filth; No place is clean.”

We have seen that God condemns human pride, which is opposed to God and which is unwilling to submit to Him. God despises those who wallow in haughtiness and who boast in their self-confidence and self-conceit. Such an attitude prevents a person from loving and obeying God with all of one’s heart and from loving his neighbor as oneself.

But could there be another form of “pride” which we could even call “godly pride” and which is acceptable or even desirable? Could the concept of “pride” be applied to God Himself? We will explore this question in the next installment.

(To Be Continued)

Lead Writer: Norbert Link

Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock

compiled by Dave Harris

“Europe, Britain and the USA… How Prophecy Moves On!” is the title of a new StandingWatch program, presented by Evangelist Norbert Link. Here is a summary:

During the last two weeks, we have observed some interesting and important personnel changes in Europe and Great Britain. How will the new European Commission President, Ursula von der Leyen, and the new British Prime Minster, Boris Johnson, contribute to the development of biblical prophecy in view of a European Army, Brexit and their interaction with President Donald Trump?

“Ein Unglück kommt selten allein!” is the title of this Sabbath’s new German sermon, presented by Norbert Link.  The title is a German proverb with a meaning which, in English, is something like, “When it Rains, it Pours.”

“Gelassenheit” is the title of this Sabbath’s new German sermonette, presented by Michael Link. Title in English: “Calmness.”

“Wholehearted Choice,” the sermonette presented last Sabbath by Robb Harris, is now posted. Here is a summary:

We must constantly be asking ourselves if we have a Philadelphian attitude. If we don’t care, then we are in jeopardy of allowing ourselves to fall into a Laodicean spirit. Drawing close to God on a daily basis is the surest way to thrive and persevere in an age filled with lackadaisical attitudes.

“Don’t Get Too Comfortable,” the sermon presented last Sabbath by Eric Rank, is now posted. Here is a summary:

The life of a Christian involves commitment to living in a way that is contrary to the ways of the world. Discomfort is an expected result because of this. Since our ultimate goal lies beyond the boundary of physical life, it is important that we don’t seek our satisfaction within that boundary. Our pursuit in life must not end until we are raised in glory at the return of Christ.

Public and Private Behaviour of Our Leaders Really Does Matter

In our weekly Update number 235, dated March 17, 2006, there was a Q&A entitled, “Does it matter what a political leader does in private as long as he does his ‘public’ job effectively?” 

We have had a leadership contest in the UK for the leadership of the Conservative party, following the resignation of the former incumbent, Theresa May. From an initial list of eleven, the final two candidates were chosen and have been in a run-off for the position leader of the party and Prime Minister of the UK.  The winning candidate has indeed had a well documented chequered personal lifestyle over many years until the present time and, although he is highly likeable and a charismatic figure, he would rate very poorly as a role model for those with high standards.

It struck me that briefly re-visiting that Q&A from over 13 years ago would be a reminder of what really matters in the choice of someone for the top political position in the country. Below are just a few of the comments made in that Q&A:

“The Dutch theologian and historian philosopher Hugo Grotius (1583-1645) said that ‘A man cannot govern a nation if he cannot govern a city; he cannot govern a city if he cannot govern a family; he cannot govern a family unless he can govern himself; and he cannot govern himself unless his passions are subject to reason.’

“Those in the public eye and in political leadership positions should have certain standards. We ought to be able to expect that politicians bring certain qualities to the jobs that they undertake, including honesty, integrity, uprightness and a moral code. In other words, we ought to be able to expect ‘character.’

“Character is the ability to discern right from wrong and to always choose the right, irrespective of circumstances or popular demand.

“Character is a vital ingredient and involves the whole person. In his book ‘The Death of Outrage,’ William J. Bennett made the following comments: ‘Are character and integrity abstract side issues, outweighed by current economic well-being?… The leader must be whole; he cannot have his public character be honest and his private character be deceitful.’…

“Integrity comes from studying and applying God’s Word, and it is still of paramount importance. To put it simply, integrity is the difference between what you say and what you do. It has also been described as what you do when no one is looking…

“The behaviour of politicians really does matter. Sadly, in this world which is ruled by Satan, most politicians do not follow God’s Way of Life. Many citizens copy the bad behaviour of their leaders and among many other reasons, that is why the Church of the Eternal God and its corporate affiliates do not vote in governmental elections, nor do we endorse any political candidates.”

We know that both the UK and the USA are due for a big fall before they rise again after Christ’s return, and the importance of voting in someone of high intelligence, leadership qualities and personal charisma is no substitute for good character and integrity. This is not to say that a leader must never slip nor make any mistakes, as no human being is without sin, but we are addressing here an habitual lifestyle and concepts, philosophies and ideas, which are opposed to the Word of God.

What has happened with both Brexit (or the lack of Brexit) and the change of national leadership should not surprise us, as the nation heads for disaster for many and varying reasons, not least being that of great national sins and leaders who are responsible for and involved in them.

The sad thing is that turning to God could have avoided so many problems, but that approach is not even considered today, and we are all the poorer for that.  The new Prime Minister of the UK will have his work cut out over Brexit and the economy at large. However, the sins of the nation are great and the recent winner of this “prize” will not be able to stop the demise of a once great nation. It is sad, it is inevitable and it is to be expected, and only a nation whole-heartedly turning to God can stop it and, based on all the evidence, that is not likely to happen.

Only the return of Christ will solve the problems of the UK, and the world at large, and that cannot be too far away now.

Current Events

by Norbert Link

We begin with ongoing troublesome conflicts with Iran, involving both the USA and the UK; and a brewing conflict between these two allies over America’s “Operation Sentinel” and Britain’s initiative of a European “maritime protection mission.” We report on the appointment of Britain’s new Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, and his uncertain future course of action regarding Europe and Brexit. Please view in this context our new StandingWatch program, “Europe, Britain and the USA… How Prophecy Moves On!”

We also speak on tensions between the USA and Turkey. We report on interesting comments by Vladimir Putin regarding Russia and Ukraine and address Donald Trump’s reelection in 2020; the Mueller hearing; and a controversial bipartisan deal on increasing federal spending. We also speak on the mistrust of the vast majority of Americans regarding their government and the news media.

We report on turmoil in America’s unincorporated territory, Puerto Rico, and in the former British colony, Hong Kong, as well as hardship in Zimbabwe, formerly known as Rhodesia when it was under British colonial rule until 1964.

We continue with the ongoing deteriorating relationship between Donald Trump and Germany, under Angela Merkel, and between President Trump and Europe, under EU’s new Commission President, German Ursula von der Leyen. Our new StandingWatch program, “Europe, Britain and the USA… How Prophecy Moves On!”, comments on this situation as well.  We address the prospects of a devastating trade war between Europe and the USA. We also speak on the 75th anniversary of the assassination attempt on Adolf Hitler and the concern that Austria might become a totalitarian state.

We conclude with Europe’s failed migrant rescue efforts with little hope that the devastating situation of migrants drowning in the Mediterranean Sea will be resolved any time soon; and heated controversies in Israel about comments pertaining to homosexuality.

Throughout this section, we have underlined pertinent statements in the quoted articles, for the convenience and quick overview of the reader.

This Week in the News

US Tensions with Iran… Seeks “Continued” Friendship with Saudi Arabia

AFP wrote on July 20:

“The United States is deploying troops in Saudi Arabia as tensions soar with its arch-rival Iran raising concerns over navigation in the Gulf’s strategic Strait of Hormuz. It will be the first deployment of its kind since 2003, when American forces withdrew from the kingdom after a 12-year presence and two US-led wars with Iraq that culminated with the toppling of dictator Saddam Hussein…

“Analysts say the deployment is aimed at bolstering ties between Washington and Riyadh — particularly military relations — strained in the past year…

“Trump’s administration has faced anger from lawmakers at home for not doing more to punish Saudi Arabia over last year’s killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul… There has been growing outrage in the US, and around the world, over American arms sales to Saudi Arabia… Despite the criticism, Trump has repeatedly hailed Saudi Arabia’s powerful crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, who is also the kingdom’s defence minister.”

The Sun wrote on July 22:

“DONALD TRUMP has slammed claims Iran smashed an American spy ring as ‘just more lies and propaganda’. It comes after an Iranian intelligence ministry official appeared in a state TV documentary which brags about capturing CIA spies and sentencing them to death… The programme describes a CIA spy operation which involved recruiting Iranian civilians to steal secrets on the promise they could emigrate to America… [None of the alleged captured spies are Americans.]

“Iran is second only to China in the number of people it executes every year — officially about 500 people are put to death annually on charges ranging from murder, drug dealing to opposing the regime or being gay. Firing squads or hanging is the preferred method.

“According to Amnesty International confessions are extracted under torture and some trials are held in secret…”

British Tensions with Iran

The Algemeiner and Reuters wrote on July 22:

“Britain was weighing its next moves in the Gulf tanker crisis on Sunday… as a recording emerged showing that the Iranian military defied a British warship when it boarded and seized a ship three days ago… in apparent retaliation for the British capture of an Iranian tanker two weeks earlier… there are few obvious steps London can take at a time when the United States has already imposed the maximum possible economic sanctions, banning all Iranian oil exports worldwide…

“The Iranian capture of the ship in the global oil trade’s most important waterway was the latest escalation in three months of spiraling confrontation with the West that began when new, tighter US sanctions took effect at the start of May.”

The Guardian wrote on July 22:

“About a fifth of the world’s oil passes through the Strait of Hormuz, the busiest shipping lane in the world for crude tankers, and it is less than 25 miles (40km) wide at its narrowest point… Friday’s tanker seizures caused [oil] prices to rise… The UK has already advised all British-flagged ships not to enter the Strait of Hormuz until the crisis is resolved. There are eight British-flagged ships in the region at present…

“There is an urgency about the security of British ships, since one option is for British-flagged ships to be reflagged to avoid them becoming a target of the Iranians, something that would deal a blow to the British shipping industry. There are about 4,500 ships registered with Britain or its overseas territories.”

The Sun wrote on July 25:

“Boris Johnson has ordered the Royal Navy to accompany all British-flagged vessels through the Strait of Hormuz… Fears have recently been raised that the Royal Navy lacks the strength to conduct missions to protect UK shipping. Since the Falklands War, the navy has dropped from 80 vessels to 50 but with ten of those currently out of action for maintenance.”

European Tensions with Trump over Iran

The Guardian wrote on July 22:

“The UK must be responsible for the safety of its own ships in the Gulf, the US secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, has said [adding: ‘The US has a responsibility to do its part.’] His remarks reflect unresolved tensions between Britain and the US over Donald Trump’s plans for a US-led military convoy to protect international shipping operating off the Iranian coast… [the United States Central Command said it is working on a ‘multinational maritime effort’ called Operation Sentinel ‘to increase surveillance of and security in key waterways in the Middle East to ensure freedom of navigation in light of recent events in the Arabian Gulf region.’]

“The UK foreign secretary, Jeremy Hunt, spoke to his German and French counterparts on Sunday to urge them to recognise the need to internationalise the maritime security operation in the Gulf. A multinational task force already exists, and it is not clear what the US believes its proposed Operation Sentinel will add…

“Britain has concerns that a US-led maritime security operation may have a different emphasis since Trump wants Europeans to join the US in pulling out of the nuclear deal signed in 2015.”

The Associated Press wrote on July 22:

“Britain announced plans Monday to develop and deploy a Europe-led ‘maritime protection mission’ to safeguard shipping in the vital Strait of Hormuz…

“He also sought to put distance between Britain and its closest international ally, the United States. Washington has broken with London on Iran policy… The foreign secretary said the planned European mission was not part of the U.S. policy of exerting ‘maximum pressure’ on Iran.

“It was unclear which countries will join the protection force or how quickly it can be put in place. Hunt said he had consulted with foreign ministers of Oman, the United States, France, Germany, Italy, Finland, Spain and Denmark…”

The Guardian added on July 22:

“The proposal has parallels with existing international maritime forces operating in the Gulf as well as EU anti-piracy force operating off the east coast of Africa. However, these missions are protecting shipping largely from non-state actors

“Hunt admitted the US had first requested the UK to contribute to a US-led maritime protection force… He said the US plan was helpful and it was important to coordinate, but said he wanted the contribution to the proposed naval protection force to be as broad as possible, implying a number of European countries would not be willing to contribute assets if the force was US-led.”

Boris Johnson new UK Prime Minister

Deutsche Welle wrote on July 23:

“Boris Johnson was elected leader of the British Conservative Party on Tuesday… [He] will take over the reins from outgoing Prime Minister Theresa May, having repeatedly pledged during the campaign to leave the European Union at the end of October ‘come what may.’ …

“His ascent to power was marked with regular controversies and gaffes, starting with his job as a trainee reporter at The Times newspaper, where he was dismissed for concocting a quote from his own godfather. In 2004, by then an MP, the Oxford graduate was sacked from his roles as shadow arts minister and Conservative Party vice-chairman for lying about an extramarital affair. His London mayorship was epitomized by a 53.5 million pounds (€59.5 million, $66.5 million) waste of taxpayer money on a failed vanity project, meant to be a garden-covered pedestrian bridge over the River Thames…”

“Boris Johnson Is How Britain Ends”

The New York Times wrote on July 22:

“Boris Johnson… faces the most complex and intractable political crisis to affect Britain since 1945… Mr. Johnson, whose laziness is proverbial and opportunism legendary, is a man well practiced in deceit, a pander willing to tickle the prejudices of his audience for easy gain… his premiership could bring about the end of Britain itself…

“He seems not to have principles… Tackling Britain’s deep divisions requires depth of character, conviction and principle, none of which its incoming prime minister has ever hinted at possessing…”

EU Congratulates Johnson, but…

The Guardian wrote on July 23:

“Boris Johnson’s election as Conservative leader has been greeted in Brussels with a rejection of the incoming British prime minister’s Brexit demands and an ominous warning by the newly appointed European commission president [Ursula von der Leyen] about the ‘challenging times ahead’… The EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, tweeted that he wanted to work ‘constructively’ with Johnson on the basis that both sides were committed to facilitating ‘the ratification of the withdrawal agreement’, the deal struck by Theresa May that the new Conservative leader has repeatedly described as dead…

“He has promised to rapidly renegotiate almost all of May’s departure deal, ditching the Irish backstop border guarantee policy, something that would seem a huge task over any timescale, let alone little more than 12 weeks, a fair proportion of which is taken up by a summer break. If this fails, he will be set on a no-deal departure for 31 October, and a likely huge clash with MPs.” BBC News wrote on July 23:

“…EU leaders’ welcoming tone does not signal a willingness to accept whatever Prime Minister Johnson might demand in terms of changes to the Brexit deal. He’s right when he says a no-deal Brexit is bad for Brussels but he overestimates EU wiggle room. Amendments will only be forthcoming if EU leaders deem them workable, if Dublin is on board and if Brussels is convinced the new prime minister commands a majority in parliament to get the Brexit deal through once and for all. Big ifs…”

Newsmax and The Associated Press wrote on July 23:

“The EU is adamant that the deal with May will stand, saying Britain has to take it or leave it… Economists warn that a no-deal Brexit would disrupt trade and plunge the U.K. into recession . Fears that Britain is inching closer to crashing out of the bloc weighed on the pound once again Tuesday. The currency was down another 0.3 percent at $1.2450, nearly a two-year low…”

How Boris Johnson will proceed and whether he will stick to his promises is anybody’s guess. In the past, he strongly advocated that Britain should not leave Europe, stating that Europe was the best thing which could have happened to Britain. He also attacked Donald Trump, saying that Trump was unfit to be President. Even though he is considered to be Trump’s ally, he does not shy away from publically criticizing him when it is politically advantageous for him; for instance, when calling his remarks about four Congresswomen “racist.” This is a rather odd statement, coming from Johnson, given his ”offensive and racist comments, such as calling Papua New Guineans cannibals” (The Associated Press, dated July 23. It also said in a related article: “Boris Johnson aspires to be a modern-day Winston Churchill. Critics fear he’s a British Donald Trump.”)

Johnson’s Night of the Blond Knives

 The Sun wrote on July 24:

“Just hours after he became Britain’s 55th Prime Minister this afternoon with a promise to deliver Brexit in 99 days, more than a dozen were booted in a shock reshuffle… His rival Jeremy Hunt was the most high profile to get the sack – after he was offered a job as Defence Secretary but turned it down. Almost all of those who were axed were backers of Hr Hunt, showing the new PM is keen to ditch those who gunned for his opponent or were part of May’s team who failed to deliver Brexit.

“… a Boris supporter told the BBC this afternoon: ‘This is a bloodbath. I hope he knows what he’s doing.’ Furious allies of Jeremy Hunt turned on Boris over the purge and warned it would backfire by creating powerful enemies who will move against the new PM at the first hint after Mrs. May formally stepped down. Chancellor Philip Hammond, David Gauke, the Justice Secretary, David Lidington, the PM’s deputy and Rory Stewart all quit earlier – before Boris even had the chance to sack them…”

Johnson’s actions could very well backfire.

UK to Become the Greatest Place on Earth?

Deutsche Welle wrote on July 25:

“The British prime minister has vowed to push through Brexit — even without a deal. Johnson has backed an October 31 deadline to leave the EU, describing it as the beginning of a ‘new golden age for the United Kingdom.’ [He] told Parliament that he was committed to the October 31 deadline to leave the EU ‘for the purpose of uniting and re-energizing our great United Kingdom and making this country the greatest place on earth.’…”

The Daily Mail wrote on July 25:

“Defiant Boris Johnson chanelled Donald Trump today as he promised to make Britain the ‘greatest country on Earth’ on his debut in the House of Commons… telling MPs he was determined to honour his ‘do or die’ promise to secure Brexit by the end of October.

“Going on the attack after his unprecedented bloodbath of 17 Cabinet ministersovernight, Mr Johnson warned that the Irish border backstop must be scrapped altogether, saying ‘a time limit is not enough’. He urged the EU to ‘rethink’ its refusal to make more concessions in the negotiations – threatening to withhold the £39billion divorce bill unless the UK gets a better deal. He said the UK was ‘better prepared’ than many thought for No Deal…

“In a limited olive branch to Brussels, Mr Johnson did say he would unilaterally guarantee the rights of EU citizens already in the UK to stay after the country leaves the bloc…”

Tensions with Turkey

On July 19, Newsmax published the following article by Patrick Buchanan:

“In 1951, Turkey ended a neutrality dating to the end of World War I and joined NATO. In the seven decades since, there has been no graver crisis in U.S.-Turkish relations than the one that erupted this week.

“Turkey has just received the first components of a Russian S-400 air and missile defense system, despite U.S. warnings this would require the cancellation of Turkey’s purchase of 100 F-35 Joint Strike Fighters… The sale has been canceled. The Turkish pilots and instructors training in the U.S. are being sent home. Contracts with Turkish companies producing parts for the F-35 are being terminated.

“Under U.S. law, the administration is also required to impose sanctions on Turkey for buying Russian weaponry. Wednesday, the Pentagon warned Turkey against military action in an area of Syria where U.S. troops are deployed. The Turks appear to be massing for an incursion against U.S.-backed Syrian Kurdish forces Ankara regards as terrorist allies of the Kurdish PKK inside Turkey.

“How America and Turkey avoid a collision that could wreck NATO, where the Turks field the second-largest army in the alliance, is not easy to see. U.S. hawks are already calling for the expulsion of Turkey from NATO. And expulsion of U.S. forces and nuclear weapons from the Incirlik air base in Turkey in retaliation is not out of the question…

“In this new century, leaders of both parties have plunged our country into at least five wars in the Middle and Near East… None of these wars has produced a victory or success for us. But taken together, they did produce a multitrillion-dollar strategic and human rights disaster… ‘Great nations do no fight endless wars,’ said Trump. Yes, they do. As the British, French, Germans, Japanese and Russians showed in the last century, that is how they cease to be great nations.”

“Russians and Ukrainians Are ‘One People'”

Newsmax wrote on July 20:

“…the Kremlin released comments by President Vladimir Putin, saying that the two countries will mend ties despite their five-year conflict. Putin went as far as to say that Russians and Ukrainians are one people…

“Ties between the former allies deteriorated after protesters in Kiev unseated the country’s Kremlin-backed leader in 2014 and Vladimir Putin annexed Crimea before fomenting a war in which he still denies involvement.”

Russia and Ukraine will unite and fight together in a prophesied nuclear war with continental Europe.

Trump for Another Four Years

Piers Morgan wrote on July 22 in the Daily Mail:

[Trump] knows most Americans would never vote for a diehard socialist to run the country. In fact, there’s never been a genuine socialist U.S. president in the country’s 243-year history… The Squad proudly bleed pure unadulterated socialism from every pore… Their policy proposals include free healthcare and tuition for all and a massive environmental ‘Green New Deal’ program. All of which sounds great until you try to calculate a budget for it all, and realize it would cost $43 trillion which would instantly bankrupt America

“They also persistently scream that Trump must be impeached… Yet any attempt at impeachment, which would certainly fail due to the Republicans’ control of the Senate, would be a gift to the incumbent President. It’s little wonder then that Trump wants the Squad to dominate Democrat discourse, since everything they do or say further enrages and mobilizes his base…

“The Squad is deeply unpopular even within their own party… And there lies the big problem for the Democrats: how do they shut up the Squad?… Trump knows the Squad is a very potent vote-winner for him. The more everyone’s talking about them, the less they’re talking about Biden, Harris, Warren, Buttigieg or any of the other Democrat presidential candidates.

“And that means the whole image of the Democratic Party is now being moulded into far-left socialism, to potentially disastrous electoral consequences… If Trump can… keep the Squad center-stage then the 2020 election could come down to a straight fight between capitalism and socialism, at a time when the U.S. economy is surging and job numbers are roaring, and with the specter of socialist-run Venezuela lying in ruins… So long as they remain the face of the Party, the Democrats are doomed.”

Mueller Hearings – No Favors for Democrats

Fox News wrote on July 24:

“Democrats hoping that hours of testimony by former Special Counsel Robert Mueller might fuel their case for President Trump’s impeachment were left with little new material at the conclusion of Wednesday’s back-to-back hearings, as Republicans gloated that the spectacle failed to make the case to oust the president…

“Mueller stood by his team’s findings at Wednesday’s hearings—reiterating that the special counsel’s office found no evidence of a criminal conspiracy between Trump associates and Russia, while also stating that the president was not exonerated on allegations of obstruction of justice despite his assertions to the contrary.

“But in doing so, he also repeatedly refused to drift beyond the bounds of his report… Mueller declined to go down the road of the impeachment topic, under questioning from both Republicans and Democrats…

“Even fierce Trump critics voiced concern that the hearings were doing Democrats no favors. Harvard Law Professor Laurence Tribe called the hearing a ‘disaster’ that ‘sucked the life’ out of the Mueller report…

Perhaps one of the most seemingly revealing moments in the hearings occurred when Mueller testified in front of the House Judiciary Committee that if it were not for the Office of Legal Counsel rule that says a sitting president cannot be indicted, Mueller would have criminally charged the president based on the findings of his investigation. ‘The reason that you did not indict the president is because of the OLC opinion that you cannot indict a sitting president, correct?’ Rep. Ted Lieu, D-Calif. asked Mueller. ‘Correct,’ Mueller replied.

“Mueller backpedaled on these remarks at the top of the second hearing of the day, saying ‘I want to add one correction to my testimony this morning. I want to go back to one thing that was said this morning by Mr. Lieu, who said and I quote, “You didn’t charge the President because of the OLC opinion.” That is not the correct way to say it. As we say in the report and as I said at the opening, we did not reach a determination as to whether the President committed a crime.’”

Mueller also said that a president could be charged with a crime after the expiration of his term in office, but he declined to address the problematic topic of the statute of limitations, which is apparently not tolled. If the Democrats thought they could use Mueller’s testimony to beef up their case for impeachment against Trump, they were disappointed. Trump is not going to be impeached.

Bi-Partisan Deal on Increasing Federal Spending

The Wall Street Journal wrote on July 22:

“Congressional and White House negotiators reached a deal to increase federal spending and raise the government’s borrowing limit, securing a bipartisan compromise to avoid a looming fiscal crisis and pushing the next budget debate past the 2020 election. The deal for more than $2.7 trillion in spending over two years, which must still pass both chambers of Congress and needs President Trump’s signature, would suspend the debt ceiling until the end of July 2021. It also raises spending by nearly $50 billion next fiscal year above current levels…

“For President Trump, the deal pushes the debt-limit question out beyond the 2020 election and provides a boost to military spending that he can tout on the campaign trail. For congressional leaders, it ensures an initial measure of stability and marks a win for the kind of pragmatic deal making that has been in short order in Washington in recent years. The accord also marked another example of Washington’s rising tolerance for deficits, among both Democrats, who prize domestic spending, and Republicans, who consistently seek more money for the military.”

The Telegraph added on July 22:

“Nobody can claim a big win — though they did — but both sides view it as better than a protracted battle this fall that probably wouldn’t end up much differently.

“However, it also comes as budget deficits are rising… requiring the government to borrow a quarter for every dollar the government spends — despite the thriving economy… It ignores warnings from deficit and debt scolds who say the nation’s fiscal future is unsustainable and will eventually drag down the economy.”

Such insanity cannot go on forever.

Americans Mistrust their Government and News Media

AFP wrote on July 22:

“Americans distrust the news media, but see government and political leaders as even more untrustworthy… 69 percent of Americans say the federal government intentionally withholds important information from the public, while 61 percent say the news media intentionally ignores important stories. Nearly two-thirds say it is hard to tell the difference between what is true and false when they hear elected officials, and almost half said the same about information they encounter on social media.

“The survey highlighting growing mistrust among Americans in institutions and in each other… 64 percent of US adults believe trust in each other has declined… and that it keeps neighbors apart… at least part of [the] reason for the lack of trust in government lies with President Donald Trump, who has repeated at least 10,000 falsehoods since taking office… and who has repeatedly attacked mainstream media reports about him as ‘fake news.’’

It will even get much worse. The Bible has prophesied this to happen. We read in Micah 7:2, 5: “The faithful man has perished from the earth, and there is no one upright among men. Do not trust in a friend; Do not put your confidence in a companion…”

Proposed US Refugee Plan Echoes Dark Time in American History

JTA wrote on July 24:

“In July 1939, eight months after Kristallnacht and seven weeks before Hitler would invade Poland, Congress killed a bill that would have allowed 20,000 Jewish refugee children into the United States. Opponents of the bill… said America should help its own poor people before foreigners, and worried that letting in children could later lead to admitting their parents…

“After the war, and the Holocaust, Congress passed two bills that let 80,000 Holocaust survivors move to the U.S. Since then, the United States has continued accepting tens of thousands of refugees per year. But next year, that number may again shrink — this time to zero… Stephen Miller, the architect of President Donald Trump’s immigration policies, may try to eliminate refugee admissions next year — no refugees would be allowed beyond the borders…

“Jewish historians and refugee advocates, however, say that if implemented, the eradication of the refugee program would echo a dark time in American history… Daniel Okrent, author of ‘The Guarded Gate,’ a new book about anti-immigrant sentiment targeting Jews, Italians and other immigrants in the early 20th century, [said:]

“‘Despite what Americans learned about the Nazi depredations, about the Nuremberg Laws, Kristallnacht and so on, the American public was not interested in setting aside the quotas to allow more Jews into this country.’… Americans as a whole have never been particularly pro-refugee…  In 2016, under President Barack Obama, the cap on refugee admissions was 110,000. Trump cut that to 45,000 and then to 30,000. But the United States has not even met those numbers…”

Trouble in Puerto Rico

Axios wrote on July 22:

“Hundreds of thousands of Puerto Ricans filled the streets of San Juan Monday demanding the resignation of Gov. Ricardo Rosselló…

“Leaked text messages revealed Rosselló and members of his inner circles making sexist and homophobic comments and mocking victims of Hurricane Maria, a disaster that killed thousands and caused the longest electrical blackout in U.S. history. The leak came just days after a separate incident, in which the FBI arrested two officials from Rosselló’s administration for mishandling government contracts worth millions of dollars.

“On Sunday, Rosselló announced that he would resign as leader of his party and would not run for re-election next year, but refused to step down as governor before the end of his term. His concessions have not been enough for the thousands who have taken to the streets over the past two weeks. A number of U.S. officials have joined calls for Rosselló to resign, both over the profane text messages and his administration’s handling of Hurricane Maria.

President Trump tweeted on Monday: ‘A lot of bad things are happening in Puerto Rico. The Governor is under siege, the Mayor of San Juan is a despicable and incompetent person who I wouldn’t trust under any circumstance, and the United States Congress foolishly gave 92 Billion Dollars for hurricane relief [actually, Congress has allocated $42.5 billion in disaster relief to Puerto Rico, according to Axios], much of which was squandered away or wasted, never to be seen again. This is more than twice the amount given to Texas & Florida combined. I know the people of Puerto Rico well, and they are great. But much of their leadership is corrupt, & robbing the U.S. Government blind!’”

NBC News wrote on July 24:

“Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló announced his resignation Wednesday [effective August 2] days after demonstrators at the island’s largest protest in recent history called for his ouster over a scandal involving leaked private chats, as well as corruption investigations and arrests.”

Hong Kong Crisis Escalates

ABS News reported on July 22:

China harshly criticized the weekend demonstration, saying ‘central authority cannot be challenged.’ The Chinese rebuke came after its Hong Kong office was targeted Sunday night by protesters who pelted it with eggs and spray-painted its walls. It made no mention of the violent attack hours later at a subway station by men wielding iron pipes and wooden poles as they beat up people clad in the pro-democracy movement’s black shirts…

“The attack on China’s Liaison Office was an escalation of the weekslong protests, during which demonstrators besieged Hong Kong’s legislature and police headquarters but did not direct their ire at China itself. It came after more than 100,000 people marched through the city to demand democracy and an investigation into the use of force by police to disperse crowds at protests…

“The ‘one country, two systems’ framework, under which the former British colony was returned to China in 1997, allows Hong Kong to maintain a fair degree of autonomy in local affairs… The growing crisis in Hong Kong has fueled fears that China’s People’s Liberation Army may intervene.

Returning Hong Kong to China was prophesied to happen, as Britain was and is to lose its power and influence.

Hardship in Zimbabwe

The Guardian wrote on July 21:

“Millions of people in Zimbabwe face hardship, hunger and chaos as the economy comes close to ‘meltdown’… More than 18 months after the military coup that removed Robert Mugabe from power, the new government is struggling to overcome the legacy of the dictator’s 30 years of repressive rule and the consequences of its own failure to undertake meaningful political reform.

“Official figures published on Monday showed annual inflation had almost doubled to 175% in June, adding to the pressure on a population already struggling with shortages of basic foodstuffs, fuel and medicine. The rising prices reminded many of the economic collapse caused by Mugabe’s policies a decade ago, when hyperinflation emptied shelves of basic foodstuffs and led the southern African country to abandon its currency…

“A severe drought has caused further hardship and rolling power cuts as water levels in dams have dropped… About 7 million people are threatened with hunger… Some have resorted to selling livestock and land, spending savings, withdrawing children from school and begging…”

Merkel on Collision Course with Trump

The Local wrote on July 19:

“German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Friday condemned President Donald Trump’s xenophobic tweets against four minority Democratic congresswomen, saying the US leader’s attacks ‘go against what makes America great’… International condemnation has rained down over the comments. British Prime Minister Theresa May called them ‘completely unacceptable’. New Zealand’s leader Jacinda Ardern said she ‘completely and utterly’ disagreed with Trump.

“While usually refraining from commenting on other countries’ domestic politics, Merkel on Friday had markedly sharp words about Trump’s latest attacks. Questions over racism are particularly sensitive in Germany given its Nazi past, and the government routinely speaks out forcefully in favour of tolerance and diversity.

“Trump and Merkel’s relationship had been strained from the start, with the US leader haranguing the German chancellor even before he took office. During his election campaign, the US property mogul called Merkel’s decision to take in a million asylum seekers a ‘catastrophic mistake’ and suggested that she was ‘ruining Germany’.

“Merkel [has drawn] the startling conclusion that the US may no longer be a reliable partner for Germany and the European Union. Europe must step up as a player in world affairs, Merkel said in 2017, signalling that the EU needs to take control of its destiny in the Trump era…

“Earlier this year during a commencement speech at Harvard University, dubbed by German media such as Spiegel Online as her first ‘Anti-Trump speech’, [the] German leader deplored attacks on free trade, ‘walls’ of any kind and ‘lies (described) as truth.’… Merkel also indirectly took a stab at Trump’s penchant for hiding the truth. ‘We shouldn’t call lies truths, and call truths lies,’ she added, receiving the largest round of applause…”

The relationship between the USA and Germany will continue to deteriorate, even after Merkel steps down. It is not to be expected that anyone in Germany will become the new German Chancellor who would be sympathetic towards Trump.

Ursula von der Leyen vs. Donald Trump

Politico wrote on July 17:

Ursula von der Leyen has called Donald Trump’s discussions of NATO ‘immature,’ questioned why he wants to be a ‘best buddy’ with Russia’s Vladimir Putin and even suggested the president is uncomfortable with strong female leaders. Now she’ll be his main counterpart in the European Union… The new role for von der Leyen… will put her at the forefront of negotiations with the U.S. over trade, technology and other major issues… even some of her fans worry that her ascent to the Commission presidency will further fray the tenuous U.S.-EU relationship under Trump…

“Von der Leyen, often referred to as VDL, is close to German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who has long had a tense relationship with Trump… Von der Leyen is a strong believer in multilateralism and the European project. That alone could turn off Trump, who is skeptical of international alliances and often stresses the overriding importance of national sovereignty…”

EU-US Trade War Coming?

Politico wrote on July 21:

“EU trade chief Cecilia Malmström has warned that the U.S. is likely [to] soon impose retaliatory tariffs on up to $25 billion of European products, as part of a dispute over airline subsidies… It could get even worse. Seven Commission officials and EU diplomats said they fear Trump will carry out a long-standing threat to impose painful auto tariffs as early as November. The EU has said it is ready to retaliate with its own tariffs targeting €20 billion of U.S. exports.

“‘Compared to one year ago, the number of trade irritants has increased, not decreased,’ said Luisa Santos, director for international relations at BusinessEurope… The outlook is grim, according to Gary Hufbauer, a senior fellow with the Washington-based Peterson Institute for International Economics: ‘Trump firmly believes — and has convinced many Americans — that the U.S. has been taken advantage of all these years, and that Europe should make unilateral concessions,’ he said.  Trump has repeatedly said he wants to slash the U.S.’s $169 billion trade-in-goods deficit with the EU. His 2020 reelection campaign risks escalating the conflict, Hufbauer said: ‘Trump really believes that confrontation with foreign countries gets him votes.’…

“There is no indication that trade talks will move forward… Jürgen Matthes from the German Economy Institute said… that Trump’s trade war with China demonstrated that ‘when in doubt, Trump goes the way of confrontation.’… BusinessEurope’s Santos said that Europe’s fate would partially hinge on the U.S.-China trade talks, as Trump’s advisers would seek to avoid a two-front trade war, particularly if tensions with Beijing escalated further…”

Merkel Remembers Operation Valkyre and Attacks Right-Wing Extremism

The Huffington Post wrote on July 20:

“German Chancellor Angela Merkel used the [75th] anniversary of a celebrated assassination attempt on Adolf Hitler to lash right-wing extremism on Saturday… The 1944 plot to kill Hitler… called Operation Valkyrie… was the most famous of the attempts on Hitler’s life. It was led by German Col. Claus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg, who plotted with several co-conspirators to assassinate the Nazi leader with a briefcase bomb.

“Stauffenberg, just 36 years old at the time, placed the briefcase next to Hitler before a meeting at Hitler’s secret Wolf’s Lair headquarters in an East Prussia forest. But Hitler survived the assassination attempt with minor injuries after someone moved the briefcase next to a heavy table leg, which deflected much of the explosion. Four people were killed when the briefcase detonated. Stauffenberg and some 200 co-conspirators were caught and executed within hours…

“Germany is battling a new eruption of right-wing extremism. There are an estimated 24,000 right-wing extremists in Germany, and close to 13,000 are believed to have a tendency to violence… In May the nation’s right-wing party Alternative for Germany, which has a nationalist and anti-immigrant agenda, became the nation’s largest opposition party in German Parliament.”

Germany to Increase Military Spending?

The EUObserver wrote on July 22:

“Germany’s new defence minister and CDU leader, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer (AKK), plans to increase military spending to the Nato target of two-percent of GDP by 2024, which is also a frequent demand of US president Donald Trump.

“Chancellor Angela Merkel’s coalition partners, the SPD said they would not allow Trump to dictate military spending.”

To be clear, AKK’s proposal to increase Germany’s military spending is not based on any desire to please Trump.

Austria to Become an Authoritarian State under Kurz?

 vaaju wrote on July 21, 2019:

“‘Courier’ editor Helmut Brandstätter warns in his new book about an ‘authoritarian state’ – driven by… ÖVP chief and former chancellor Sebastian Kurz… ‘Sebastian Kurz wanted the power at all costs.’ …  ‘With brutal pressure and penetrating intervention, the ÖVP chief and his spokesmen try to bring the media in line.’..

“Brandstätter sees the road to an authoritarian state interrupted, but not necessarily ended, by the coalition’s temporary end. He warns specifically against leaving again the Ministry of the Interior to the FPÖ [and by extension, the governmental reigns to the ÖVP under Kurz] this fall… ”

Courier or Kurier’ is a liberal Austrian newspaper, which was at one time the most successful paper in Austria. Its editor, Helmut Brandstätter, also wrote that Kurz’s search for power was “never limited by content-related substantial convictions,” and that it was therefore “absolute.”

NGO Migrant Ships Continue Despite Strong Opposition

Deutsche Welle wrote on July 21:

“Humanitarian group SOS Mediterranee says it has relaunched migrant rescues off Libya, seven months after it was forced to abandon its activities [following hostility from several European governments].

“The operation comes amid growing concerns for people attempting the perilous Mediterranean Sea crossing from the conflict-hit North African country. The Norwegian-flagged Ocean Viking… is expected to arrive in the central Mediterranean at the end of the month… [which] can hold up to 200 migrants.

“The charities reported there were almost no rescue vessels patrolling the Mediterranean, where at least 426 people have died so far this year… SOS Mediterranee said these migrants were attempting ‘to escape the escalating conflict in Libya and the deplorable conditions of Libyan detention centers.’…

“In recent weeks there have been repeated confrontations between Italy’s populist government and other charities seeking to bring rescued migrants ashore. Last month, the captain of German charity ship Sea-Watch 3, Carola Rackete, was arrested after she docked with 40 migrants at the port of Lampedusa without permission.  ‘Our presence at sea is to save lives. We hope that the countries will understand and join with us as there is no other solution in the central Mediterranean,’ head of operations at SOS Mediterranee, Frederic Penard, told the Agence France-Presse news agency…”

Deutsche Welle added on July 21:

“The Marella Discovery picked up 111 migrants, including 33 children, near Greece’s Peloponnese peninsula… The migrants’ boat was found in distress on Saturday evening, some 74 kilometers (40 nautical miles) off Greece’s Peloponnese peninsula… The passengers were taken to the Greek port of Kalamata…

“Several times a week, boatloads of people — many of them from Africa — attempt to cross the Mediterranean Sea for a better life in Europe. Greece, Italy and Spain have borne the brunt of the influx of newcomers over the past decade, many of whom are picked up by migrant rescue ships operated by European charities. A failure by European Union states to agree an effective disembarkation procedure has prompted Italy’s populist [far-right] government to ban several migrant ships from docking at the country’s ports.

Although the number of migrants attempting the perilous journey has fallen from 362,000 in 2016 to 116,000 in 2018, an average of six migrants die every day in the Mediterranean…”

The EUObserver added on July 19:

“Countries who rejected non-European migrants or raised concern on rule of law, such as Poland, could expect more sympathy from the European Commission, its new president, Ursula von der Leyen, has indicated.”

This would indicate that Europe’s horrible immigration policy will not change under von der Leyen, but it might even become more devastating for the survival of migrants.

Europe Needs to Rediscover Christian Heritage

Breitbart wrote on July 24:

“Europe must rediscover its Christian heritage and not be afraid of promoting openly Christian values, said Iraqi Cardinal Louis Raphael Sako in an interview this week… ‘I understand that there are no longer Christian religious classes in Belgian schools, only classes about Islam.’… ‘Europe should not be ashamed of Christian values that we in Iraq defended for centuries… Christians are afraid of Muslims in Europe but they are not helping Christians in Iraq

“‘Throughout the Middle East Christians are ready to die rather than deny their faith, while many Muslims in Europe are ready to die rather than continue living in a continent where “infidels” make the law.’… While the European Union (EU) could be a big help…, they have done virtually nothing, he said. Individual European nations, such as Hungary, have provided assistance, but the EU itself ‘is not helping Christians,’ he declared…”

Chief Rabbi of Jerusalem Condemns Homosexuality

JTA wrote on July 23:

“The Sephardi chief rabbi of Jerusalem said gay people cannot be religious Jews and called homosexuality ‘a wild lust that needs to be overcome.’ Rabbi Shlomo Amar made the remarks last week during a sermon… [He said:] ‘It would be better if they cast off their kippah and Shabbat [observance] and show their true faces.’

“… Three groups representing religious LGBTQ Jews… slammed his remarks in a joint statement Tuesday… ‘Rabbi Amar, with your harsh comments you called on our families to vomit us out of our homes and from our communities,’ the organizations said.

“Last week, Israel’s new education minister, Rafi Peretz, came under fire for saying he supports gay conversion therapy and that he has used the practice to help homosexual youth. He later walked back his remarks, condemning the practice.”

Acknowledgement and Disclaimer

These Current Events are compiled and commented on by Norbert Link. We gratefully acknowledge the many contributions of news articles from our readership. The publication of articles in this section is not to be viewed as an endorsement or approval as to contents or accuracy of the selected articles, but they are published for the purpose of pointing at worldwide developments in the light of biblical end-time prophecy and godly instruction. Our own comments are provided in italics.

Nothing New Under the Sun; This Life

On July 27, 2019, Frank Bruno will present the sermonette, titled, “Nothing New Under the Sun,” and Dave Harris will present the sermon, titled, “This Life.”

The live services are available, over video and audio, at (12:30 pm Pacific Time; 1:30 pm Mountain Time; 2:30 pm Central Time; 3:30 pm Eastern Time; 8:30 pm Greenwich Mean Time; 9:30 pm Central European Time). Just click on Connect to Live Stream.

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