The WRONG War on Christmas
AFP reported on December 10, 2005, about an alleged war on Christmas which angers the conservative right in the USA. The article stated: “Conservative Christians and commentators are seeing red as ‘Merry Christmas’ has been replaced by ‘happy holiday’ in many places in an effort to include the many beliefs of the country’s diverse population… The right wing has launched a counter-attack against secularists by calling for boycotts of stores refusing to wish shoppers ‘Merry Christmas.’… A Republican lawmaker from Virginia has introduced a resolution asking that Congress declare that it ‘strongly disapproves of attempts to ban reference to Christmas.’ Conservatives are not alone in their concerns, as some in the left cringe at what they see as excessive political correctness. ‘Christmas is a Christian holiday, and trying to eliminate the religious aspect is insulting,’ wrote Los Angeles Times columnist Joel Stein.”
It is a tragedy that the problem with Christmas celebrations is raised by the wrong people and for the wrong motives. IF Christmas WAS Christian, it should be kept, as Christmas, in a Christian country, regardless of the cultural diversities. BUT, Christmas is NOT Christian and NEVER HAS BEEN. It is the TRUE Christians who ought not participate in Christmas celebrations. For more information, please read our free booklet, “Don’t Keep Christmas.”
Der Spiegel Online described former Chancellor Gerhard Schröder’s controversial future management role in a big German-Russian consortium, building a gas pipeline under the Baltic Sea. The magazine stated:
“On Friday, Schröder confirmed he would head an advisory committee of a massive undersea Russian-German gas project, sparking a storm of protest about a potential conflict of interest. Schröder, along with his old chum Russian President Vladimir Putin, signed off on the Euro 4-billion gas pipeline less than a fortnight before he lost Germany’s general election in September. Now only weeks after leaving office he has agreed to take a plum job in a project headed by partially state-owned Russian energy giant Gazprom.”
The reaction from the German press and the German and international political spectrum was basically one of condemnation. However, what might be overlooked in the discussion is the tremendous economic and strategic advantage which Germany will gain from Schröder’s new role.
Surprisingly, a lone voice of support came from one of Schröder’s former political opponents, Germany’s minister of economics, Michael Glos (CDU). He welcomed Schröder’s appointment to the new post, as the pipeline will satisfy one-third of Germany’s energy needs from 2010 (Bild Online, December 9, 2005).
The Washington Post added the following interesting comments in its article, dated December 13, 2005:
“But the announcement should also raise questions in German voters’ minds about the real reasons Mr. Schroeder was so keen to see this pipeline project launched. The pipeline has cost Germany diplomatically by infuriating its Central European and Baltic neighbors. They point out that the Russian government chose to use the sea route rather than run a new pipeline alongside one that already exists on land, despite the far greater expense. The only possible reason for doing so was political: The Baltic Sea pipeline could allow Russia, a country that has made political use of its energy resources, to cut off gas to Central Europe and the Baltic states while still delivering gas to Germany.”
Tsunamis Threaten California
The Associated Press reported on December 12, 2005, about a frightening scenario, threatening the very survival of coastal areas in California. The article pointed out:
“Tsunami waves generated by a large offshore earthquake would threaten at least 1 million coastal residents in California and inundate the nation’s largest port complex… In the past century, more than 80 tsunamis–mostly minor–have been recorded or observed along the California coastline.The most deadly was in 1964 when a magnitude-9.2 earthquake in Alaska generated massive waves that killed 12 people. Scientists have also kept a close eye on a 680-mile fault 50 miles off the West Coast that behaves much like those that produced the 1964 Alaska quake and the Southeast Asia tsunami that killed more than 176,000 last year…
“If a tsunami shut down the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach for two months, the economic loss could reach $60 billion. The ports make up the third busiest port in the world, but its docks and terminals are only about nine feet above the water. A massive wave higher than that could cause extensive damage.”
Gigantic Explosion Near London
The Pravda reported on December 12 about the terrible explosion at an oil depot near London. The paper stated:
“A fire at an oil depot north of London blazed for a second day after explosions rocked the complex in probably the biggest such incident in peacetime Europe… Authorities said the blasts Sunday morning appeared to be accidental, though they came just four days after an Al Qaeda video appeared on the Internet calling for attacks on facilities carrying oil ‘stolen’ from Muslims in the Middle East… The blasts could be heard up to 100 miles away–some reports suggested that they were felt as far away as northern France and the Netherlands.”
In a related article, The Associated Press added on December 12 that “A smoke cloud also drifted over northwestern France and was expected to reach Spain” within a few days.
The Associated Press also reported on December 14 that “Investigators searched Wednesday for the cause of [the] explosion… Since suicide bombers targeted London’s Underground and bus system in July, killing 56 people including the bombers, questions have arisen over Britain’s preparedness to deal with terrorist attacks and terror-related disasters…”
CIA Flights Under Investigation
The EUobserver reported on December 13, 2005, that “A Council of Europe report has reinforced suspicions that… the CIA has detained suspected Islamic terrorists without proper judicial procedure, and violated sovereignty laws in Europe… Meanwhile, the European Parliament is planning to set up its own temporary committee to deal with the allegations of secret jails and CIA flights in Europe… Despite secretary of state Condoleezza Rice’s assurances in Brussels last week that the US does not condone inhumane acts or torture, an increasing number of EU member states are trying to find out whether the CIA has been violating sovereignty and anti-torture laws in Europe.”
USA and EU Clash Again
The EUobserver published the following headline on December 14, 2005: “EU-US clash on food aid at WTO summit.” The article pointed out that “The first day of a key World Trade Organisation (WTO) summit saw an open clash between the EU and the US, with EU trade commissioner Peter Mandelson accusing the United Nations of supporting US food dumping in the developing world… Brussels accuses Washington of offering large amounts of its superfluous agricultural products to developing countries in the form of food aid for hunger relief.”
Syria Guilty of Political Assassinations?
The AFP reported about the assassinations of two prominent Lebanese political and public figures critical of Syria. Investigations suggest that Syria supported or even carried out both murders, according to the news agency. The following was stated: “A UN enquiry report delivered to the Security Council cited new evidence further implicating senior Syrian officers in the murder of Lebanese ex-premier Rafiq Hariri and raised doubts about Syrian cooperation in the probe… The 25-page document was released amid rising tensions in Lebanon sparked by the killing of anti-Syrian lawmaker Gibran Tueni… The attacks have created a climate of fear in Lebanon… Many Lebanese blame Damascus for Hariri’s death and the other attacks, charges Syria denies.”
Iran Isolates Itself
The Jerusalem Post reported on December 10 about German reactions to the Iranian President’s recent controversial statements about Israel and the Holocaust. The paper pointed out:
“German church leaders on Saturday joined international protests against Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s demand that Israel be moved to Europe and his statement doubting whether the Holocaust happened. Roman Catholic Cardinal Karl Lehmann said he was ‘outraged’… Lutheran Church leader Wolfgang Huber said the international community needed to take action against Iran, but he did not elaborate. ‘Whoever denies the historical fact of the murder of millions of Jews during the Third Reich in Germany and denies Israel’s right to exist has committed incitement,’ Huber was quoted… as saying. Incitement to racial hatred is a crime in Germany… The United States, Israel, Europe, [the] United Nations and even Iranian ally Russia have condemned Ahmadinejad for his remarks.”
Subsequently, Iran’s President added comments on Wednesday to the effect that “the Holocaust is a ‘myth’ that Europeans have used to create a Jewish state in the heart of the Islamic world,” according to an article of The Associated Press of December 14, 2005.
The press also reported that Israel threatened an attack on Iran, which was subsequently denied by Israel. The Pravda stated:
“Prime Minister Ariel Sharon ordered the Israeli military command to prepare a military operation against Iran. An air strike on nuclear objects of the Islamic republic was set for March 28, Israeli military structures said. The date of the supposed attack coincides with the general election in Israel. Israel intends to strike Iran for the country’s persistent arms race and anti-Jewish statements released from [the] Iranian President… News messages about Israel’s intention to fire missiles on Iran first appeared on the pages of Britain’s Sunday Times.”
The paper continued: “The news about the IMMINENT WAR IN THE MIDDLE EAST appeared several days after Iran’s [President] released another portion of anti-Israeli statements. It goes without saying that Iran will not sit on its hands and watch Israeli missiles hitting targets. The Islamic country will attack Israel in return too.”
The Russian paper also admitted: “Russia plays a significant role in Iran’s growing defensive capacity. Russia assisted Iran in launching its first satellite, the Sinah-1, which can perform the functions of a spy satellite too. Moscow also agreed to deliver Tor-M1 air defense complexes to Iran last week. To crown it all, Iran’s entire nuclear program is being conducted with the participation of Russian specialists.”
Modern Pharisees in Israel
On December 8, 2005, news.telegraph published the following article:
“Machines will perform euthanasia on terminally ill patients in Israel under legislation devised not to offend Jewish law, which forbids people taking human life. A special timer will be fitted to a patient’s respirator which will sound an alarm 12 hours before turning it off. Normally, carriers would override the alarm and keep the respirator turned on but, if various stringent conditions are met, including the giving of consent by the patient or legal guardian, the alarm would not be overridden. Similar timing devices, known as Sabbath clocks, are used in the homes of orthodox Jews so that light switches and electrical devices can be turned on during the Sabbath without offending religious strictures.
“Parliamentarians reached a solution after discussions with a 58-member panel of medical, religious and philosophical experts. ‘The point was that it is wrong, under Jewish law, for a person’s life to be taken by a person but, for a machine, it is acceptable,’ a parliamentary spokesman said. ‘A man would not be able to shorten human life but a machine can.’ The bill… will become law next year.”
This article pinpoints the wrong Jewish teaching on both the stringent man-made prohibitions of activities on the Sabbath and the concept of “taking” human life. The article reflects the Pharisaical approach which was condemned by Jesus Christ. As it is absolutely not wrong to turn on light switches and electrical devises on the Sabbath, so it is also not necessarily wrong, and does not constitute the “taking” of human life, to end the ARTIFICIAL AND UNNATURAL prolongation of human life–for instance in case of a brain-dead person, who has been in a coma for several months, and who has been kept “alive” by machines.
Persecution of Christians in Pakistan
On December 13, WorldNetDaily reported about persecutions of Christians in Pakistan with the at least passive approval of the government. The article stated:
“Militant Islamists in Pakistan have called for the elimination of Christians and the public hanging of a Christian accused of blasphemy… [During a gathering on December 2,] Islamic leaders using loudspeakers urged Muslims to rise up and eliminate Christians. They also passed a resolution demanding that Yousaf Masih, a Christian accused of desecrating the Quran, be publicly hanged. A resolution [adopted by Pakistani minority religious and civil society leaders] accused the Pakistani authorities of having ‘done nothing to defuse the tension,’ and of ‘failing to repair the situation.’ It claimed the government was ‘not admitting the facts and is rather protecting the instigators of mob violence.’ Procedural delays have meant vital evidence has been lost, which has made the judicial process ‘ineffective,’ the resolution claimed.”