MOSCOW BANS HALLOWEEN
As MSNBC reported on October 31, “city authorities told children Friday not to celebrate Halloween because it was psychologically damaging and not in line with educational aims.” The article continued:
“Moscow’s Education Department sent a letter asking schools to ban the PAGAN festival, which is said to be based on a ‘cult of death.’…’The religious elements of Halloween’ are destructive for the psychological, moral and spiritual well-being of the pupils,'” a spokesman for the education department said. MSNBC also mentioned that “Russia’s Orthodox Church swiftly agreed there was NO LIGHT-HEARTED WAY OF LOOKING AT A CELEBRATION WHERE CHILDREN IN DIFFERENT PARTS OF THE WORLD DRESS UP AS WITCHES AND VAMPIRES AND KNOCK ON FRONT DOORS TO ASK FOR SWEETS. ‘The church knows from its spiritual experience that you cannot associate with evil forces in jest,'” a church spokesman was quoted.
Der Stern Online published an article, dated October 31, pointing out that today, “witches are cult – as heroes in children’s books, or as prophets for interested customers.” It was stated that “in the 70’s, due to the women’s liberation movement, a positive change toward witches developed… Today, witches are being revered as women with secret knowledge.”
This attitude toward witches and the celebration of Halloween goes hand in hand, and cannot be separated from each other. For more information, please read our Q&A in Update #115 on the origin of Halloween.
EARLY CHRISTIANS WERE PACIFISTS
Christianity Today published on 10/28/2003 an interesting article, proving from ancient historical records that early Christians were opposed to military service and war. The article stated:
“The ancient church understood that war has been around as long as human beings and [war and] SIN have coexisted. It is a consistent tenet throughout the Christian tradition that WAR IS THE RESULT OF SIN. The responses to war, however, have followed two basic trains of thought: pacifism, and the idea that certain wars can be just.”
The article proceeded to show that the very early Christian Church was preaching and practicing PACIFISM. Later, though, due to pagan influences and Christian involvement in the affairs of the state, the concept of a so-called “just war” developed. To continue with the article:
“Pacifism is characteristic of the EARLY CENTURIES OF CHRISTIANITY like the North African apologist Tertullian (160-220 A.D.), who regularly warned Christians to DISTANCE THEMSELVES FROM PAGAN CULTURE. He wrote: ‘How will he serve in the army even during peacetime without the sword that Jesus Christ has taken away? … We are not allowed to wear any uniform that symbolizes a sinful act’ (On Idolatry 19.3).
“The third-century Roman Presbyter Hippolytus wrote the Apostolic Tradition, Canon 16 (ca. 215 A.D.) which opposed serving in the military as a matter of church discipline: ‘A soldier in lower ranks shall kill no one. If ordered to do so, he shall not obey, and he shall not take an oath. If he does not want to comply with this directive, let him be dismissed [from the church].'”
The article continued that “the Constantinian era brought about a change. Previously marginalized Christians were now involved in THE AFFAIRS OF STATE. Though there were many Christian soldiers before the time of Constantine, IT WASN’T UNTIL previously marginalized Christians BECAME INVOLVED IN THE AFFAIRS OF STATE that the church fathers BEGAN NUANCING THEIR OPPOSITION TO MILITARY ACTION. The issue then became how one could remain a Christian when the demands of the state required use of force to combat evil or prevent injury.” As the article pointed out, this then led to the Catholic teaching of a “just war.”
To find out what the BIBLE has to say about a Christian’s role in war, please listen to our three-part audio series on the topic, by going to the audio section of our Website (www.eternalgod.org), and clicking on the three sermons, posted November 4, November 25, and December 9, 2000, titled “Military Service and War.”
UNBALANCED FEAR OF ANTI-SEMITISM?
A frightening development has been observed for some time now in Germany – a phenomenon associated with anti-Semitism. However, the phenomenon that we want to address in this article does not really involve the practice of anti-Semitism, but the FEAR of anti-Semitism. For instance, former Vice-Chancellor of Germany, Juergen Moellemann, was sharply criticized and labeled as anti-Semite, when he recently questioned Mr. Ariel Sharon’s actions. Virtually the entire press in Germany, as well as politicians from all parties, jumped on the bandwagon. An unspeakable and unparalleled hate-campaign against Moellemann developed – and in the end, Moellemann died in a tragic parachute accident. Many feel that Moellemann committed suicide, because he could not tolerate the criticism; others even suggest that murder might have been involved.
In the most recent news, Martin Hohmann, a conservative German lawmaker, was labelled as anti-Semitic, following a controversial speech on October 3. The German and international press reported that Hohmann had spoken of “guilt of the Jews” – or of “Jewish perpetrators” – during the Russian revolution. The reaction was fierce. The German Jewish leader, Paul Spiegel, announced that he would press criminal charges against Hohmann. German Defense Minster Peter Struck immediately dismissed a high ranking influential and crucial German army general, Reinhard Guenzel, for praising Hohman’s speech. Guenzel had praised Hohmann’s “courage” in a personal letter, stating the following:
“… An excellent address – if I may say so – as one seldom hears or reads such courage for truth and clarity in our country. You can be sure that your thoughts are shared by the majority of our people, even though our published opinion places all those agreeing with you in the right-wing environment. I hope that you will not be shaken by the accusations from mainly the left, and that you will courageously continue on your course.”
When analyzing the reports in the press and comparing them with Hohman’s address, one must conclude that, in many cases, the sensational press “releases” are neither fair nor balanced. The irony is, Hohmann did NOT say that the Jews are a “people of perpetrators,” or that there is “Jewish guilt.” Rather, he was drawing a parallel with the “guilt” of the German people. On October 31, 2003, Der Spiegel Online published excerpts from Hohmann’s speech. From those excerpts, it is clear what he said – and what he did not say:
“The German people have addressed, in a unique and relentless way, the crime of the Hitler era, asking for forgiveness and – as much as they could – paying billions of deutsch marks for reparation, especially to the Jews… Based on this background, I am asking the provocative question: Is there a dark side in the recent history amongst the Jewish people, while we always look at them solely as victims?… We have seen how strong and effective Jews impressed on the revolutionary movement in Russia and middle-European states. That is why American President Woodrow Wilson said in 1919 that the Bolschevic movement was ‘led by Jews.’ With a certain justification, one could ask, looking at the millions of dead people during this first phase of the revolution, whether there was any ‘guilt’ of Jews [or, in a different translation, whether Jews were ‘perpetrators’]… This may sound terrible. It follows the same logic, however, as the one talking about Germans as ‘a people of perpetrators’… We must analyze this more closely. The Jews, who supported Bolschevism and the revolution, had first separated themselves from their religious ties. They were Jews from origin and education, but they had become fierce haters of any religion. Something similar happened to Nazi-Socialists. Most of them had Christian parents. They had abolished their religion, however, and had become enemies of the Christian and Jewish faiths. A combining element between Bolschevism and National Socialism was a hatred of religion and godlessness. Therefore, neither ‘the Germans’ nor ‘the Jews’ are a people of perpetrators. One is justified to say: The godless people with their godless ideologies were the perpetrators of the last, bloody century… “
In the furor ensuing from this speech, many of its key elements were overlooked or ignored. Der Stern Online revealed on November 11, 2003, that Hohmann’s statements about the role of Jews during the Russian Revolution were apparently taken, to an extent verbatim, from a recent book, published by Alexander Solzhenitsyn, well-known Russian author and recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize.
All of this shows that the fear of anti-Semitism is alive and so big that it can become unrealistic. Politicians and the press must be careful that their “reporting” does not lead to the kind of anti-Semitism that every decent citizen fears and abhors. If unbalanced viewpoints continue to be highly propagated, however, it could become again a self-fulfilling prophecy.