Australia vs. USA
As www.smh.com.au reported on March 29, 2005, “Australians are just as concerned about United States foreign policy as Islamic extremism and regard the US as more dangerous than a rising China, according to a new poll.” According to the poll, “57 per cent of Australians were ‘very worried’ or ‘fairly worried’ about the external threat posed by both US foreign policy and Islamic extremism… More than two-thirds–68 per cent–said Australia took too much notice of the US in its foreign policy deliberations.”
Germany — Still Divided?
As Reuters reported on March 27, 2005, “Nearly a quarter of western Germans and 12 percent of easterners want the Berlin Wall back–more than 15 years after the fall of the barrier that split Germany during the Cold War, according to a new survey. The results of the poll, published Saturday, reflected die-hard animosities over high reunification costs lowering western standards of living and economic turmoil in the east… The Berlin Wall was breached on November 9, 1989, paving the way for the unification of Communist East Germany with the West on October 3, 1990. But billions of euros (dollars) spent rebuilding the east have failed to prop up the depressed region, which is plagued by high unemployment and a shrinking population. The poll also found that 47 percent of the easterners agree with the statement that the West ‘acquired the east like a colony,’ while 58 percent of the westerners back the statement that ‘easterners tend to wallow in self-pity.'”
Make War, Not Peace?
An appalling editorial was published in WorldNetDaily on March 22, 2005, in connection with the Church shooting by a parishioner in Wisconsin. Although this may be hard to believe, the editor actually recommended the following violent strategy to prevent further shootings in schools or churches:
“If just one other member of that congregation were carrying a gun, lives would have been saved. And that’s the real answer to this kind of murder and mayhem… I’m advocating that law-abiding people carry firearms wherever they go – especially in places where guns are thought to be unnecessary, especially in schools and other ‘gun-free zones,’ especially in the high-crime cities where guns have already been banned. It’s a matter of life and death… That way, when the next inevitable attack comes – whether it is at a movie theater, a school, a church, a shopping mall, and no matter who the perpetrator is – there will be return fire. That’s called deterrent. That’s called civil defense. That’s called common sense.”
Sadly, in our violent societies which place guns and weapons over trust in God’s protection, even this incredible recommendation might be welcome by some deceived supporters. What we would see then is that violence will lead to more violence, and if that kind of recommendation would be followed by everyone, we would pretty soon have an armed camp — with freedom and peace gone forever. We only pray that true Christians don’t fall for such God-defying and God-denying concepts. As Paul wrote in 2 Timothy 3:1-5: “But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come. For men will be… brutal, despisers of good, … headstrong… having a form of godliness BUT DENYING ITS POWER. AND FROM SUCH PEOPLE TURN AWAY!”
The Death of the Dollar?
www.silverstockreport.com wrote on March 18, 2005:
“Caesar was supposed to be a god. Julius Caesar was killed on the Ides of March. (March 15th). Today, we don’t make men gods. Instead society has made our financial system into a false god. On March 15th, 2005, (the Ides of March) we may have just witnessed the beginning of the death of our financial system as General Motors stock took a nosedive from $34/share down to $30…GM’s stock price decline is like a dagger right into the heart of the U.S. financial system, and the dollar itself!… Apparently, someone in power did the equivalent of shouting ‘the emperor has no clothes’ and people woke up, and are beginning to see more clearly! The media decided it was time to expose the truth that GM is nearly insolvent, and will expect to lose $1.50/share in the first quarter alone!
“But the story is worse than that! GM has $300 billion in debt… The implication is clear–that GM is headed towards bankruptcy, and will default on the bondholders, who will then own a company worth less than $16 billion dollars!… So, therefore, GM will soon be a $300 billion dollar blow-up! How big is that? It’s bigger than Enron, Global Crossing, LTCM, K-Mart, and the IRAQ war all put together! … $300 billion going belly up is a big enough event to topple the U.S. government! How so? It will shake the confidence in the entire financial system… Either way, the dollar is dead. Long live gold and silver!”
Never-Ending Problems in Iraq
As The Associated Press reported on March 29, 2005, “Iraq’s fledgling parliament failed Tuesday to agree on who would be its speaker, with the interim prime minister and president storming out of the chaotic session that exposed deep divides among the National Assembly’s Shiite, Sunni and Kurdish members. The short session – mostly held behind closed doors after leaders kicked out reporters and cut off a live television feed – adjourned until this weekend… The Shiite-led United Iraqi Alliance and the Kurdish coalition, which finished first and second in the landmark elections, have reached out to the Sunnis and to members of Allawi’s coalition, hoping to form an inclusive national unity government. But haggling over the level of participation of the Sunnis, as well as jockeying for Cabinet posts and efforts to resolve differences between the various groups, have left Iraq without a government almost two months after the 275-member National Assembly was elected. Lawmakers have until mid-August to draft a permanent constitution.”
Another Powerful Earthquake in Indonesia
As The Associated Press reported on March 29, 2005, “Indonesians searched through smoldering rubble for survivors on Nias island Tuesday and relatives wept over the bodies of the dead after an 8.7-magnitude earthquake hammered the region, triggering a tsunami scare and killing at least 330 people. Some officials said the death toll could rise as high as 2,000… The earthquake – which occurred along the same tectonic fault line as the massive 9.0-magnitude temblor that caused the Dec. 26 disaster – triggered panic in several Asian countries.”
The German press reported that scientists fear for additional powerful earthquakes in the region. It was pointed out that the December earthquake was three times stronger than the quake on Monday, but that Monday’s quake was not an aftershock of the December quake, but an entirely new one.
Jurors Without the Bible
As The Associated Press reported on March 29, 2005, “Ruling that juries cannot turn to the Bible for advice during deliberations, a divided Colorado Supreme Court threw out the death penalty for a convicted murderer because jurors discussed verses from Scripture.” This latest decision follows a long line of cases, ruling in effect that jurors have to ignore or violate their own conscience, when they become jurors, as they have to unconditionally and without reservation obey the judge’s instructions. This alone should be reason enough for any true Christian to be conscientiously opposed to participating in jury duty.
U.S. Sovereignty Tested?
As The Associated Press reported on March 29, 2005, “The Supreme Court, confronting a case that tests the effect of international law in domestic death penalty cases… [heard arguments regarding the] violation of a U.S. treaty that requires consular access for Americans detained abroad and foreigners arrested in the United States… Several justices seemed wary of deciding who has final say on interpretation of that treaty – state or federal courts, the U.S. president or an international tribunal – after President Bush last month ordered new state court hearings for  Mexicans on death row… The case, which has attracted worldwide attention, is seen as a test of how much weight the Supreme Court will give in domestic death penalty cases to the International Court of Justice, or ICJ, in The Hague, which ruled last year that the 51 convictions violated the Vienna Convention… The administration also announced it was withdrawing from a section of the Vienna Convention that gave the ICJ authority to hear U.S. disputes, to avoid future questions about the role of international tribunals in domestic death penalty cases.”
Terri Schiavo Died
As The Associated Press reported on March 31, 2005, “Terri Schiavo, the severely brain-damaged woman who spent 15 years connected to a feeding tube in an epic legal and medical battle that went all the way to the White House and Congress, died Thursday, 13 days after the tube was removed. She was 41… Schiavo suffered severe brain damage in 1990 after her heart stopped because of a chemical imbalance that was believed to have been brought on by an eating disorder. Court-appointed doctors ruled she was in a persistent vegetative state, with no real consciousness or chance of recovery. She left no written instructions…”
The article continued:
“Florida lawmakers, Congress and President Bush tried to intervene…, but state and federal courts at all levels repeatedly ruled in favor of her husband [to remove the tube]. The case focused national attention on living wills and stirred a furious debate over the proper role of government in end-of-life decisions. It also led to allegations that Republicans in Congress were pandering to the religious right and violating their own political principles of limited government and states’ rights. In Washington, the president said he was saddened by the death. ‘The essence of civilization is that the strong have a duty to protect the weak,’ Bush said. ‘In cases where there are serious doubts and questions, the presumption should be in favor of life.’ In Rome, Cardinal Jose Saraiva Martins, head of the Vatican’s office for sainthood, called the removal of the feeding tube ‘an attack against God.'”
The article concluded, as follows: “Schiavo’s feeding tube was briefly removed in 2001. It was reinserted after two days when a court intervened. In October 2003, the tube was removed again, but [Florida’s] Gov. Jeb Bush rushed ‘Terri’s Law’ through the Legislature, allowing the state to have the feeding tube reinserted after six days. The Florida Supreme Court later ruled that law was an unconstitutional interference in the judicial system. Nearly two weeks ago, the tube was removed for a third and final time.”