Current Events

No More Legal Spanking in California?

In an attempt to totally defy Biblical teaching, a California Assemblywoman wants to introduce a bill outlawing spanking of children up to 3 years in any manner, shape or form.

On January 18, 2007, the Mercury News reported the following:

“The state Legislature is about to weigh in on a question that stirs impassioned debate among moms and dads: Should parents spank their children? Assemblywoman Sally Lieber, D-Mountain View, wants to outlaw spanking children up to 3 years old. If she succeeds, California would become the first state in the nation to explicitly ban parents from smacking their kids. Making a swat on the behind a misdemeanor might seem a bit much for some — and the chances of the idea becoming law appear slim, at best… The bill, which is still being drafted, will be written broadly, [Lieber] added, prohibiting ‘any striking of a child, any corporal punishment, smacking, hitting, punching, any of that.’ Lieber said it would be a misdemeanor, punishable by up to a year in jail or a fine up to $1,000, although a legal expert advising her on the proposal said first-time offenders would probably only have to attend parenting classes.

“The idea is encountering skepticism even before it’s been formally introduced. Beyond the debate among child psychologists — many of whom believe limited spanking can be effective — the bill is sure to face questions over how practical it is to enforce and opposition from some legislators who generally oppose what they consider ‘nanny government.’… Lieber conceived the idea while chatting with a family friend and legal expert in children’s issues worldwide. The friend, Thomas Nazario, said that while banning spanking might seem like a radical step for the United States, more than 10 European countries already do so. Sweden was the first, in 1979…

“Doctors, social workers and others who believe a child has been abused are required by law to report it to authorities… Experts in child psychology disagree over whether spanking is a legitimate or effective way for parents to discipline their children. Professor Robert Larzelere, who has studied child discipline for 30 years, said his research shows spanking is fine, as long as it’s used sparingly and doesn’t escalate to abuse. ‘If it’s used in a limited way,’ the Oklahoma State University professor said, ‘it can be more effective than almost any other type of punishment.’ He added that children 18 months old or younger shouldn’t be spanked at all, because they can’t understand why it’s happening. As for Lieber’s proposal, the professor said: ‘I think this proposal is not just a step too far, it’s a leap too far. At least from a scientific perspective there really isn’t any research to support the idea that this would make things better for children.”

WorldNetDaily added the following well-considered comments, on January 23:

“‘It’s really awfully arrogant to try to protect my child from me,’ Karen England, of the Capitol Resource Institute, told WND. ‘If they want to protect children, protect them from predators.’…  Randy Thomasson, president of the Campaign for Children and Families, called it the wackiest bill of the year. ‘This punish-you-if-you-spank-your-children bill is intrusive, unenforceable, and the most blatant violation of parental rights I’ve ever seen,’ he said. ‘What’s next, jail time for parents who raise their voices at their children? We already have enough legitimate laws prohibiting physical abuse of children, and this proposal is certainly not one of them. Government regulation of parents’ discipline wipes out the right of parents to raise their own children. This is wrong. God gave children to parents, not to the state,’ Thomasson said. England agreed. ‘There already are safeguards in place,’ she said.

“‘Appropriate spanking is not “beating” or “abusing” a child, which is a ridiculous and offensive comparison,’ said Thomasson. ‘When appropriate spanking is lovingly administered, it can help a disobedient youngster to become a well-adjusted adult who respects authority.’… appropriate spanking of rebellious children from 2-10 ‘is the shortest and most effective route to an attitude adjustment.’…

“Brad Dacus, of the Pacific Justice Institute, called it yet another effort to expand the reach of government. ‘Even without this proposed new law, California gives such wide latitude to Child Protective Services that decent parents often get falsely charged with child abuse,’ Dacus said. ‘How much more if the state tries to outlaw all corporal punishment on young children?’ He said the U.S. Supreme Court has affirmed the fundamental rights of parents to direct and control the upbringing of their children.”

For more information on the BIBLICAL teaching on child discipline, please read our free booklet, “The Keys to Happy Marriages and Families.”

New US Passport Rules

The Associated Press reported on January 23:

“Americans flying to Mexico, Canada and the Caribbean made sure to bring their passports Monday because of a new rule going into effect Tuesday that requires them to show one to get back into the country. Only about a quarter of U.S. citizens hold valid passports, and most Americans are accustomed to traveling to neighboring countries with just a driver’s license or birth certificate, which have long been sufficient to get through airport customs on the trip home. The new regulations requiring passports were adopted by Congress in 2004 to secure the borders against terrorists…

“Starting Tuesday, Canadian, Mexican and Bermudan air travelers, as well as U.S. citizens flying home from those countries or the Caribbean, must display their passports to enter the United States. The only valid substitutes for a passport will be a NEXUS Air card, used by some American and Canadian frequent fliers; identification as a U.S. Coast Guard merchant mariner; and the green card carried by legal permanent residents. Active members of the U.S. military are exempt.

“For now, the rules affect only air travelers. Land and sea travelers will not have to show passports until at least January 2008. Air travelers who cannot produce a passport will be interviewed by customs agents, who will decide whether to let them into the country… The State Department issued a record 12.1 million passports in 2006 and expects to issue 16 million more this year to meet the increased demand.”

The World Condemns American Foreign Policy

Britain’s The Daily Mail wrote the following on January 23:

“The vast majority of Britons see America’s influence on the world as negative and 81 per cent disapprove of its actions in Iraq, a poll has shown. The damning verdict of the British public on the Bush administration’s handling of some of the world’s most crucial issues is backed by the majority of people around the globe, the survey for the BBC reveals… Three out of four people questioned in 25 countries disapproved of the way the U.S. is dealing with Iraq, where more than 100 died yesterday in one of Iraq’s bloodiest days this year. The poll, coming hours before President Bush’s annual State of the Union address Tuesday night, found that half of those questioned in all 25 countries believe the U.S. is playing a mainly negative role in the world. Some 68 per cent of those questioned around the world believe the U.S. military presence in the Middle East provokes more conflict than it prevents and only 17 per cent feel America’s presence there is a stabilising force.

“In addition to the overwhelming disapproval of U.S. actions in Iraq, 76 per cent of Britons condemned the treatment of detainees in Guantanamo Bay and other prisons, 70 per cent were critical of the U.S. response to the Israel-Hezbollah war in the Lebanon, and 64 per cent disagreed with America’s response to Iran’s nuclear programme. Only 33 per cent of Britons saw U.S. influence in the world as mainly positive, 79 per cent disapproved of its approach to global warming and 55 per cent were against the way it handled North Korea’s nuclear weapons programme. More than seven out of ten Britons – 72 per cent – saw the U.S. military presence in the Middle East as ‘provoking more conflict than it prevents’… Two-thirds of Americans, 66 per cent, think the U.S. is on the wrong track.”

The State of the Union Address

AFP reported on January 24:

“US President George W. Bush has pleaded with a war-weary US public to give his unpopular Iraq strategy a chance, warning that a US defeat could ignite an ‘epic battle’ engulfing the entire Middle East. ‘For America, this is a nightmare scenario. For the enemy, this is the objective,’ Bush said in his annual State of the Union speech late Tuesday, striking a more defiant than downbeat tone despite his mounting political woes. Two weeks after unveiling a new strategy centered on sending 21,500 more soldiers into battle, the embattled president gave no ground to his critics and urged lawmakers and the US public: ‘Give it a chance to work.’

“Bush, fighting to save his presidency and derail pending congressional action against his Iraq plan, also laid out a handful of domestic policies to cut US gasoline use and pollution, expand health care, and reform immigration. But the chief goal of the 49-minute televised speech was to win a reprieve on Iraq from a skeptical US public and an increasingly hostile US Congress, led by opposition Democrats for the first time in a dozen years…

“The president also acknowledged a dramatic upsurge in sectarian violence, telling Americans leery of seeing US troops caught in the crossfire: ‘This is not the fight we entered in Iraq, but it is the fight we are in.’ That appeared to be a reversal from Bush’s promise, made at an October 25, 2006 press conference, that ‘Americans have no intention of taking sides in a sectarian struggle or standing in the crossfire between rival factions.’ In fact, while Bush tied events in Iraq to the war on terrorism — which he declared in response to the September 11, 2001 attacks — he focused on the threat of future sectarian strife…

“The official Democratic response to the speech, delivered by Senator Jim Webb — a Vietnam veteran whose son is a Marine in Iraq — was tough and blunt. ‘The president took us into this war recklessly,’ said Webb. ‘The majority of the nation no longer supports the way this war is being fought, nor does the majority of our military, nor does Congress. We need a new direction.’

“The New York Times editorial said that Bush ‘gave no hint’ of fresh policies, offering instead ‘a tepid menu of ideas that would change little.’ The main Washington Post story described Bush as ‘politically wounded but rhetorically unbowed,’ while the Los Angeles Times said his domestic plans were ‘too modest’ to ‘rescue the last quarter of his presidency from irrelevance and patch his tattered legacy.'”

Europe Ready for More Military Operations

The EUObserver reported on January 19:

“Europe says it is ready for more military action under the EU flag in 2007 after its ‘success’ in Congo last year, with the German EU presidency putting Kosovo, Bosnia, Lebanon and Afghanistan at the top of its defence agenda for the next six months… The EU now has two units that can be deployed for ‘crisis-management’ anywhere in the world 10 days after member states take a unanimous vote, in a decision that would ‘as a rule’ follow a UN security council resolution but that could also see the EU go it alone. Each group brings together 1,500 soldiers from two or three member states, which hold joint training exercises and wear both national and EU insignia – a blue disk with 12 gold stars – on the model of EU police missions in Bosnia and Macedonia.

“‘Europe can assume very important peacekeeping and peacemaking functions in this world,’ German defence minister Franz Josef Jung said… ‘Europe is a great peace project and we will continue to make our contribution [to global stability].’… No EU battle group has ever been tested in a real operation, but last year saw two major EU military projects: member states coordinated sending 9,000 European peacekeepers under a UN flag to Lebanon and dispatched 1,400 soldiers under an EU flag to Congo.”

China’s Desire to Use Military Might

Britain’s The Telegraph reported on January 19:

“The prospect of ‘Star Wars’ between China and the West loomed last night after Beijing used a ballistic missile to destroy a satellite in space… It suggests that the Chinese have developed a major new capability that underscores the communist regime’s desire to use its military might as well as burgeoning economic power to expand its influence… The test shows that the Chinese could soon have the capability to destroy the array of commercial satellites operated by the US, Europe, Israel, Russia and Japan.”

The article also pointed out:

“The ability to destroy satellites with such precision could undermine the US National Missile Defence programme, a network of rocket interceptors, computers and satellites intended to protect America and its key allies from nuclear attack. It became known as ‘Son of Star Wars’ after President Ronald Reagan’s so-called ‘Star Wars’ programme proposed in the 1980s.”

Russia Threatens or Being Threatened?

AFP reported on January 21:

“German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Russian President Vladimir Putin were at odds after talks on energy relations amid EU doubts over Moscow’s reliability as a supplier. Merkel stressed the importance of ‘relations of trust’ and called for improved communication on energy between the European Union and Russia ‘in order to avoid tensions, misunderstandings or disappointments.’ But Putin defended Russian moves to drastically increase energy prices for neighbouring former Soviet countries — a policy that has led to supply disruptions to Europe through Belarus and Ukraine in the past 12 months…

“The European Union depends on Russia for a quarter of its energy needs. Much of the supply, particularly of natural gas, travels through the neighbouring former Soviet republics… A Russian embargo on meat imports from Poland — another issue clouding relations between the European Union and Russia — remained unresolved, despite hopes of a possible breakthrough ahead of the Putin-Merkel meeting… Germany has been Russia’s main ally in the European Union and the two are key trade partners but relations appear cooler than under Merkel’s predecessor, Gerhard Schroeder, who was openly friendly with Putin.”

AFP reported on January 22:

“A top Russian general warned that a missile defense system that the United States wants to deploy in eastern Europe would pose a ‘clear threat’ to his country. The United States confirmed it would soon begin formal talks on deploying the system in the Czech Republic and Poland, aimed at warding off rocket attacks from North Korea or Iran… Czech and Polish leaders rejected Russia’s fears as groundless… The US State Department reiterated its view that the missile system was not directed against Russia… Moscow has warned of ‘negative consequences’ if Prague agrees to host the missile system… Russian Defence Minister Sergei Ivanov said in November that it was a ‘destabilizing’ move to which Russia would respond.”

These Russian threats might not be just mere political propaganda. Many still remember Russia’s ruthless and brutal suppression of Czechian thirst for freedom in the late 60’s, when Russian troops illegally invaded Czechoslovakia, while the free world stood idly by. Only 20 years later did the Czechs gain democratic freedoms with the fall of the Iron Curtain. It is no secret that Russian leaders would love to bring Czechoslovakia and other former Russian “satellite” states back into the “fold ” of Mother Russia.  Will Russia’s thirst for power lead to the repeat of such terrible atrocities, as occured in the late 60’s, and will the Western World again fail to intervene?

Daniel 11:44-45 prophesies that frightening rumors from countries such as Russia and China will alarm the future leader of Europe. However, his resulting actions will be devastating for both power blocs.

Sunday Worship?

On January 9, 2007, the Catholic News Agency, Zenit, published an English translation of Pope Benedict XVI’s letter to Cardinal Francis Arinze, dated November 27, 2006. In the letter, the pope made some startling admissions as to how the Catholic Church CHANGED the observance from Saturday-Sabbath to Sunday, using some “biblical” justifications for that change. However, the Bible nowhere justifies the abolition of the weekly Saturday-Sabbath and the substitution of Sunday.

The pope wrote the following, as quoted by Zenit:

“The Second Vatican Council teaches that ‘the Church celebrates the Paschal Mystery every seventh day, which day is appropriately called the ‘Lord’s Day’ or ‘Sunday’… On the ‘first day after Saturday’, the women and then the Disciples, meeting the Risen One, understood that this was ‘the day which the Lord has made’ (Ps 118[117]:24) , ‘his’ day, the ‘Dies Domini.’… From the very outset, this has been a stable element in the perception of the mystery of Sunday: ‘The Word’, Origen affirms, ‘has moved the feast of the Sabbath to the day on which the light was produced and has given us as an image of true repose, Sunday, the day of salvation, the first day of the light in which the Savior of the world, after completing all his work with men and after conquering death, crossed the threshold of Heaven, surpassing the creation of the six days and receiving the blessed Sabbath and rest in God’. Inspired by knowledge of this, St Ignatius of Antioch asserted: ‘We are no longer keeping the Sabbath, but the Lord’s Day’… How much more necessary it is today to reaffirm the sacredness of the Lord’s Day and the need to take part in Sunday Mass!… The cultural context in which we live… must not let us forget that the People of God, born from ‘Christ’s Passover, Sunday’, should return to it as to an inexhaustible source, in order to understand better and better the features of their own identity and the reasons for their existence.

“The Second Vatican Council, after pointing out the origin of Sunday, continued: ‘On this day Christ’s faithful are bound to come together into one place. They should listen to the Word of God and take part in the Eucharist, thus calling to mind the Passion, Resurrection and Glory of the Lord Jesus and giving thanks to God who ‘has begotten them again, through the Resurrection of Christ from the dead, unto a living hope’… Sunday was not chosen by the Christian community but by the Apostles, and indeed by Christ himself, who on that day, ‘the first day of the week’, rose and appeared to the disciples (cf. Mt 28:1; Mk 16: 9; Lk 24:1; Jn 20:1,19; Acts 20:7; I Cor 16: 2), and appeared to them again ‘eight days later’ (Jn 20:26). Sunday is the day on which the Risen Lord makes himself present among his followers, invites them to his banquet and shares himself with them so that they too, united and configured to him, may worship God properly. Therefore, as I encourage people to give ever greater importance to the ‘Lord’s Day,’ I am eager to highlight the central place of the Eucharist as a fundamental pillar of Sunday and of all ecclesial life.”

Our free booklet, “Europe in Prophecy” explains in detail WHY the abolition of Saturday-Sabbath worship is NOT authorized in Scripture. In addition, our free booklet, “Jesus Christ–A Great Mystery,” explains that Jesus Christ was NOT resurrected on Sunday, either. Our booklet, “The Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord,” shows that the Biblical “Lord’s Day” has absolutely nothing to do with Sunday. And finally, our new booklet, “The Meaning of God’s Spring Holy Days,” shows why the celebration of the weekly “Sunday Mass” or “Paschal Mystery” is not an acceptable substitute for the Biblically-mandated annual Passover service.

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