Current Events

Chelsea Clinton’s Interfaith Wedding

USA Today wrote on August 2:

“Chelsea Clinton, a Methodist, and Marc Mezvinsky, a Conservative Jew, had their very private wedding on Saturday… Like it or not, the famous bride and groom will continue to be the focus of scrutiny for their religiously mixed marriage — a category that’s growing rapidly among U.S. couples.

“Two decades ago, 25% of U.S. couples didn’t share the same faith. That was up to 31% by 2006-08, according to the General Social Survey by the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago. The number was even higher, 37%, in the 2008 U.S. Religious Landscape Survey by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life. Both surveys included people who crossed major traditions, such as Jewish-Protestant, believers married to the unaffiliated, and Protestants of different denominations, such as former president Bill Clinton, a Baptist, and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, a Methodist.

“For those of nominal faith, this is no big deal… But for those who hold deep but different faiths, life-cycle decisions will loom, from baptism… to burial… Every rite of passage, sacred ritual and major holy day will require negotiation: First Communion? Bar or bat mitzvah? Passover Seder, Easter vigil or Eid Al-Fitr feast to break Islam’s Ramadan fast?…

“Gerald Harris, a retired Southern Baptist pastor… objects most strongly when teachings or traditions are blended like a margarita or simply forsaken. Harris, editor of a century-old magazine, The Christian Index, defines ‘interfaith’ unions very sharply: Believers who have accepted Jesus as their personal savior and anyone — Christian or any other religion — who has not. As a pastor he declined to wed Christians to unbelievers…

“The intermarriage trend is probably here to stay… 20% of Protestants have married outside their tradition… the intermarriage rate was 39% for Muslims, 27% for Jews, 23% for Catholics and 12% for Mormons. A growing number of Catholics are skipping church weddings no matter whom they marry… The [Catholic] church requires that a Catholic promise to rear any children as Catholics, ‘to the best of his or her ability’…”

The Bible is very clear that a Christian is not to marry someone who is not a Christian. 1 Corinthians 7:39 states that a Christian woman is “at liberty to be married to whom she wishes, only in the Lord.” The Living Bible gives the following rendering, thereby setting forth correctly the intended meaning: “she may marry… only… a Christian.” At the same time, if an interfaith marriage exists, then the Christian must not divorce himself or herself from his or her spouse, as long as the spouse is willing to live with the Christian (compare 1 Corinthians 7:12-15).

Germany’s “Gay Games”

Deutsche Welle reported on July 31:

“The 8th quadrennial Gay Games kicks off in Cologne on Saturday with an opening ceremony attended by openly-gay German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle. The games are a week-long celebration with 35 different sporting events, ranging from track and field or swimming to chess and bridge. The event is expected to draw some 10,000 participants this year, from more than 70 different countries…

“A common question people associated with the Gay Games often have to answer is why gay and lesbian athletes need their own, separate event when they are not specifically excluded from the Olympics, or other sporting events. Matthew Mitcham, an openly gay Olympic-gold medalist in diving from Australia, said many young gays and lesbians might feel like there is no place for them in the sporting world… John Amaechi, a retired professional basketball player for the American NBA and official ambassador for this year’s games, added that the assumption that gays and lesbians are not excluded from sports is entirely false…

“While the Gay Games are primarily an event for the athletes, Kelly Stevens [officer of communications for the parent group Federation of Gay Games] said some of the people who are most changed by participating in the events are actually the officials. ‘For many of them, it will be the first time they officiate an all-gay, lesbian sport event,’ he said. ‘And they gain respect for all of the athletes and participants…'”

Gay Parade March in Jerusalem

Haaretz reported on July 29:

“Thousands of Israelis marched in Jerusalem’s longest gay pride parade despite opposition from anti-gay demonstrators. The subdued march from Jerusalem city center to the parliament building Thursday contrasted with flamboyant pride parades elsewhere in the world. Organizers said they were adjusting to the city’s religious character and using it to push their political agenda.

“Carrying rainbow banners, several thousand demonstrators walked along the 1.5 mile (2.5 kilometer) route. A few dozen protesters at the beginning and end of the route held signs denouncing homosexuals. Many ultra-Orthodox Jews consider homosexuality to be an abomination.”

The Bible does not teach that a homosexual lifestyle is pleasing in God’s eyes. We read in 1 Corinthians 6:9 that, among others, “homosexuals and sodomites” will not inherit the kingdom of God. The margin of the New King James Bible explains that the Greek word for “homosexuals,” means, “those submitting to homosexuals,” while the Greek word for “sodomites” describes “male homosexuals.” It is interesting that the Bible refers to end-time Jerusalem as “Sodom” (compare Revelation 11:8), and it also speaks of the modern houses of Israel and Judah as “Sodom and Gomorrah” (Isaiah 1:10). For more information on the identify of those nations, please read our free booklet, “The Fall and Rise of Britain and America.”

Federal Judge Overturns California Ban on Gay Marriage

The Associated Press reported on August 4:

“A federal judge overturned California’s same-sex marriage ban Wednesday in a landmark case that could eventually land before the U.S. Supreme Court to decide if gays have a constitutional right to marry in America. Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker made his ruling in a lawsuit two gay couples filed, arguing that… the the voter-approved ban violated their civil rights. Supporters of the ban countered that it was necessary to safeguard the traditional understanding of marriage and to encourage responsible childbearing…

“The verdict was the second in a federal gay marriage case to come down in recent weeks. A federal judge in Massachusetts decided last month the state’s legally married gay couples had been wrongly denied the federal financial benefits of marriage because of a law preventing the U.S. government from recognizing same-sex unions…

“Former U.S. Justice Department lawyer Charles Cooper, who represented the religious and conservative groups that sponsored the ban, said cultures around the world, previous courts and Congress all accepted the ‘common sense belief that children do best when they are raised by their own mother and father.’

“In an unusual move, the original defendants, California Attorney General Jerry Brown and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, refused to support Proposition 8 in court. That left the work of defending the law to Protect Marriage, the group that successfully sponsored the ballot measure that passed with 52 percent of the vote after the most expensive political campaign on a social issue in U.S. history.

“At this time, same-sex couples can wed legally only in Massachusetts, Iowa, Connecticut, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Washington, D.C.”

On August 4, The Los Angeles Times added the following revealing facts:

“The ruling was the first in the country to strike down a marriage ban on federal constitutional grounds. Previous cases have cited state constitutions… Walker said the ban violated the federal constitutional guarantees of equal protection and of due process… The jurist, a Republican appointee WHO IS GAY, cited extensive evidence from the trial to support his finding that there was not a rational basis for excluding gays and lesbians from marriage.”

“Obama Out of Touch with Reality”

The Financial Times wrote on July 28:

“Mr Obama’s administration, facing dismal marks even from friendly pollsters, is making a new push to talk to Middle America, trying to recapture some of his old campaign magic before November’s midterm Congressional elections… Certainly, the president needs all the positive exposure he can get.

“Polls regularly put his approval rating below 50 per cent, and a new Quinnipiac University survey found that US voters thought – by a margin of 48 to 40 per cent – that he did not deserve to be re-elected in 2012. This makes alarming reading in Mr Obama’s Washington, where Democrats could lose control of the House and even the Senate. If the president thinks it’s tough to get legislation passed now, just imagine how difficult life will be in a Republican-dominated Congress.

“… his recent attempts to connect with the public have simply served to underscore the extent to which the shine has come off Mr Obama’s halo. His first Oval Office address, made during the height of the BP oil spill, fell flat, offering no new plans to deal with the disaster. He urged Americans to holiday in Florida, then promptly took his family to leafy Maine…

“The public image of the president is now of someone who strikes long after the iron has cooled and who is out of touch with the grim reality on the ground. The president’s advisers are mistaken if they think that flattering media appearances designed to remind the public why they first fell for Mr Obama will lead to a bounce in the polls, with a knock-on effect in November. Ordinary Americans care most about the lethargic economy and the millions of people still out of work…”

USA Today added on August 3:

“Public support for President Obama’s Afghanistan war policy has plummeted amid a rising U.S. death toll and the unauthorized release of classified military documents, a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll shows. Support for Obama’s management of the war fell to 36%, down from 48% in a February poll. Now, a record 43% also say it was a mistake to go to war there after the terrorist attacks in 2001.

“The decline in support contributed to the lowest approval ratings of Obama’s presidency. Amid a lengthy recession, more Americans support his handling of the economy (39%) than the war. Even Obama’s handling of the war in Iraq received record-low approval… Only 41% of those surveyed Tuesday through Sunday approved of the way Obama is handling his job, his lowest rating in the USA TODAY/Gallup Poll since he took office in January 2009. In Gallup’s separate daily tracking poll, his approval was at 45% Monday.”

New Health Care Law Under Scrutiny–Missouri Voters Reject Mandatory Health Care

The Associated Press wrote on August 4:

“Missouri voters on Tuesday overwhelmingly rejected a key provision of President Barack Obama’s health care law, sending a clear message of discontent to Washington and Democrats less than 100 days before the midterm elections. About 71 percent of Missouri voters backed a ballot measure, Proposition C, that would prohibit the government from requiring people to have health insurance or from penalizing them for not having it. The Missouri law conflicts with a federal requirement that most people have health insurance or face penalties starting in 2014.
“Tuesday’s vote was seen as largely symbolic because federal law generally trumps state law. But it was also seen as a sign of growing voter disillusionment with federal policies and a show of strength by conservatives and the tea party movement.”

Bloomberg reported on August 1:

“One of the more illuminating remarks during the health-care debate in Congress came when House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told an audience that Democrats would ‘pass the bill so you can find out what’s in it, away from the fog of controversy.’ That remark captured the truth that, while many Americans have a vague sense that something bad is happening to their health care, few if any understand exactly what the law does.

“To fill this vacuum, Representative Kevin Brady of Texas, the top House Republican on the Joint Economic Committee, asked his staff to prepare a study of the law, including a flow chart that illustrates how the major provisions will work. The result, made public July 28, provides citizens with a preview of the impact the health-care overhaul will have on their lives. It’s a terrifying road map that shows Democrats have launched America on the most reckless policy experiment in its history, the economic equivalent of the Bay of Pigs invasion…

“Based on the administration’s own numbers, as many as 117 million people might have to change their health plans by 2013 as their employer-provided coverage loses its grandfathered status and becomes subject to the new Obamacare mandates. Those mandates also might make your health care more expensive. The Congressional Budget Office predicts that premiums for a small number of families who buy their insurance privately will rise by as much as $2,100…

“For all this supposed reform, you, the American taxpayer, can expect a bill to the tune of $569 billion.”

Rise in U.S. Food Stamp Recipients

Bloomberg reported on August 5:

“The number of Americans who are receiving food stamps rose to a record 40.8 million in May as the jobless rate hovered near a 27-year high, the government reported yesterday… [This is] more than an eighth of the population… The figure is projected to rise to 43.3 million in 2011.”

Oil Spill Damage Not So Bad?

The Daily Mail wrote on August 5:

“After months of finger-wagging at BP, the White House has admitted the Gulf of Mexico oil spill isn’t causing the environmental devastation it first feared. In a humiliating climbdown, the Obama administration conceded the ‘vast majority’ of the oil that gushed into the ocean from the ruptured well has already gone. The rest, it says, is probably so diluted, it doesn’t appear to pose much of a threat…

“The extraordinary change of tune came after government scientists concluded, much to President Obama’s embarrassment, that three-quarters of the leaked oil has evaporated, dispersed, been burned off or been contained…

“The findings raise serious questions over the American government’s torrid attacks on BP in the aftermath of the April 20 rig explosion that killed 11 workers and spilled millions of gallons of crude into the ocean. Mr Obama has already been accused of targeting the British oil giant to avert fears the spill was becoming a political liability for his Democrat Party in the run-up to the November mid-term elections.”

However, the Obama administration’s report is highly disputed. USA Today reported on August 5:

“Scientists are questioning an Obama administration report that some three-quarters of the oil from the BP spill is gone from the Gulf of Mexico. ‘Independent scientists scoffed at the report’s findings,’ reported the St. Petersburg Times in Florida. One of its experts said pungently,’these are just what we call WAGs — wild-a-guesses.’

“The administration report says most of the oil has been captured, skimmed, or dispersed naturally or by chemicals, and that only about 26 percent of the oil spill is unaccounted for. Ian MacDonald, a professor of biological oceanography at Florida State University, told the Washington Post that there are a lot of ‘smoke and mirrors in this report … It seems very reassuring, but the data aren’t there to actually bear out the assurances that were made.’

“And so the mystery of the missing oil goes on. The St. Petersburg Times also reported: ‘Several (experts) pointed out that the report estimates that a quarter of the oil is still floating in the gulf or contaminating beaches and marshes, while another quarter was dispersed, either with chemicals or naturally. In other words, half of it, or about 2.5 million barrels, is still unrecovered. ‘I don’t think that’s real good news,’ said James ‘Rip’ Kirby, a University of South Florida coastal geologist who has been studying the spill’s effects on Panhandle beaches…”

USA Has a Plan To Attack Iran

The Associated Press reported on August 1:

“The chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff says the U.S. military has a plan to attack Iran, although he thinks a strike is probably a bad idea.

“Adm. Mike Mullen, the nation’s highest-ranking military officer, has often warned that a military strike on Iran would have serious and unpredictable ripple effects around the Middle East. At the same time, he says the risk of Iran developing a nuclear weapon is unacceptable.”

USA vs. German Companies

Deutsche Welle reported on August 4:

“The United States has announced it will sanction 13 European firms it suspects of being controlled by the Iranian government. The US Treasury Department froze all assets the companies have under US jurisdiction and forbid American companies or individuals from doing business with them. Nine of the firms are registered in Germany, two in Belarus, and one each in Luxembourg and Italy.

“The companies include insurance, investment, mining and engineering firms. Seven of the German firms, including IFIC Holding and Ascotec Holding, are based in the western city of Dusseldorf. The others are located in Hamburg and Nettetal.”

The Unwinnable War in Afghanistan

The Associated Press reported on July 30:

“Three more U.S. troops have been killed in Afghanistan, bringing the U.S. death toll for July to at least 66 and making it the deadliest month for American forces in the nearly 9-year-war… [Before July,] June had been the deadliest month for the U.S. with 60 deaths.”

On August 4, USA Today published an editorial by Ronald Goldfarb, a Washington, D.C., attorney and author who served in the Kennedy Justice Department. He supported Barack Obama in 2008 and wrote the following:

“That the U.S. should have pursued 9/11 terrorists into Afghanistan in 2001 is not a reason to be there 10 years later…

“Newly elected presidents, especially Democrats, fear being portrayed as weak, and thus get rolled by the military into fighting unnecessary wars. John Kennedy learned the lesson fast, after our fiasco in Cuba. Lyndon Johnson lost his presidency over his capitulation to military advisers. LBJ knew we couldn’t ‘win’ in Vietnam, but he was afraid to end the war and be seen as a president who gave up. In worrying about losing his second term, he lost it.

“Obama has allowed himself to be talked into making the protracted Afghan war his… In doing so, he has repeated LBJ’s critical mistake… Last year, the perceptive critic Garry Wills urged Obama to be a one-term president rather than prolonging an unwinnable war…

“Woodrow Wilson once said: ‘If my re-election as president depends upon my getting into war, I don’t want to be president.’ He soon was dragged into World War I, despite his fearing a useless slaughter to control the actions of others, according to his recent biographer, John Milton Cooper Jr…

“Ironically, in turning over the war in Afghanistan to Gen. David Petraeus, President Obama may have anointed the one man who could beat him in the 2012 election. From George Washington to Ulysses Grant to Dwight Eisenhower, this country respects powerful generals and turns to them politically in times of national stress. If the Afghanistan war proves successful (by what standard, one might ask), Gen. Petraeus comes home a hero; if it fails, he can complain that the commander in chief didn’t let him do what he needed to do to win…

“Our financial bankruptcy after years of this Afghan indulgence will set the scene for an impatient and fractious country to look for new leadership… One term or two, the president needs to get us out of unnecessary wars…”

Cameron Causes Furor in Pakistan

Der Spiegel Online wrote on July 29:

“British Prime Minister David Cameron has caused a furor in Pakistan by claiming it supports terrorists. Islamabad vehemently rejects the charge and accuses the West of blindly believing the WikiLeaks war logs.

“British Prime Minister David Cameron has not been afraid to say what he thinks during a string of recent foreign trips, including calling Gaza a ‘prison camp’ during a visit to Turkey. Now, his latest bit of plain speaking has sparked something of a diplomatic spat with Pakistan. He offended Islamabad with comments made on Wednesday in, of all places, Pakistan’s archenemy India. Speaking to an audience in the city of Bangalore, Cameron said: ‘We cannot tolerate in any sense the idea that this country is … able, in any way, to promote the export of terror whether to India, whether to Afghanistan or to anywhere else in the world’…

“His words have not gone down well in Pakistan, a country that is officially Britain’s ally in the war on terror. Cameron was speaking just days after the publication of leaked US military documents relating to the war in Afghanistan on the Internet platform WikiLeaks and in three media outlets, including SPIEGEL. According to the so-called war logs, the US suspects that Pakistan is providing terrorists with a haven and that the Pakistani intelligence agency ISI is training insurgents and supplying them with weapons. According to one memo, the ISI was even involved in a plot to assassinate the Afghan president, Hamid Karzai…

“Western diplomats, including ones from Britain, have often broached their concerns that Pakistan is playing a double game: on the one side backing the West, and on the other supporting the terrorists. But for a British prime minister to openly state such a concern is highly unusual. And his words will have delighted India, which has long accused Pakistan of exporting terror, including the attacks on Mumbai in November 2008…

“Pakistan’s ambassador to London, Wajid Shamsul Hasan, has accused Cameron of damaging the prospects of regional peace with his remarks… Afghanistan, meanwhile, has reached its own conclusions from the WikiLeaks documents. On Thursday, President Karzai asked at a press conference why the allies had done so little against the terrorists in Pakistan. This was, after all, the source of the financing and training of the Taliban, he said, adding that the Western troops should once and for all attack the extremists’ positions in Pakistan.”

Worst Flood in Pakistani History

The Los Angeles Times wrote on August 2:

“As floodwaters recede in northwestern Pakistan and officials begin assessing the extent of destruction caused by last week’s record-breaking monsoon rains, which killed hundreds of people, frustration among the region’s survivors is growing over what they say is a plodding, disorganized relief effort.

“The International Committee of the Red Cross estimates that at least 2.5 million Pakistanis have been affected by the floods, the worst in the country’s history. Estimates of people killed in drownings, landslides and building collapses have varied from the government’s official tally of 773 to the Red Cross’ figure of 1,100… [According to other estimates, the death toll could exceed 3,000.]

“With the destruction caused by last week’s floods, dozens of bridges, roads and hospitals, as well as the region’s communication networks, will have to be rebuilt… The province’s chief minister, Amir Haider Khan Hoti, said the floods ‘pushed the province almost 50 years back’…

“The U.S. has pledged $10 million in aid and supplied rescue helicopters, inflatable boats, water filtration units and 12 prefabricated steel bridges as temporary replacements for destroyed highway spans. Pakistan’s army has assigned at least 30,000 troops to help rescue stranded villagers and assist in relief efforts.

“Since Thursday, when most of the destruction caused by the floods occurred, Pakistani military helicopters and rescue boats have evacuated more than 20,000 people, many of whom were stranded on rooftops for days. The government has also begun setting up relief camps where flood victims can get shelter, food and clean drinking water.

“Frustration over the government’s handling of the crisis, however, is growing. Political opponents of President Asif Ali Zardari criticized the Pakistani leader for going ahead with a planned visit to Europe this week while many families struggle to find food.”

Russia in the News

The Los Angeles Times wrote on August 3:

“From the smoke of the wildfires engulfing the Moscow region and the embarrassment of this summer’s spy scandal, Vladimir Putin is reemerging as Russia’s most powerful man and, experts say, a candidate to reclaim the presidency a little more than a year and a half from now.

“For more than two years since term limits forced him to give up office and take the prime minister’s job instead, Putin and his protege, President Dmitry Medvedev, have seemed to be in lockstep… many analysts long have predicted that one of the two eventually would elbow the other aside. And in the last month, the situation has changed.

“While Medvedev appears mostly confined to his Kremlin office, Putin is rushing around the country with the news media in tow. He comforts fire victims, upbraids local officials — and publicly dictates to the president what should be done about the fires that have killed 40 people and ravaged more than 1.2 million acres.”

Developments in Russia are of great importance, as a military confrontation between Russia and its allies and Europe is prophesied to occur in a very few years from now.

Deutsche Welle reported on August 5:

“[Russian President Dmitry] Medvedev signed the bill to expand the FSB’s powers last week after it passed unhindered through the lower and upper houses of Russia’s parliament, the Duma, with 354 votes in favor, mostly from the president’s ruling United Russia party. The new law will provide the FSB, the successor to the Soviet Union’s KGB security service, with the power to detain citizens it suspects of wrongdoing even if it has no evidence against them.”

Worldwide Wheat Shortages

The Wall Street Journal wrote on August 3:

“Wheat prices have staged the most drastic rise in more than 50 years, as a drought in Russia fuels growing worries that it could lead to a global shortage of the grain. Harsh heat and a lack of rain in Russia have killed half of the crop in some hard-hit areas. The slump in production in one of the world’s most fertile breadbaskets has pushed prices up 62% since early June, and last month saw the biggest and fastest increase since 1959. Wheat prices, which briefly rose above $7 a bushel on Monday, are at their highest level since September.”

The Wall Street Journal added on August 4:

“The scorching temperatures and dry skies threatening Russia’s wheat harvests have also been beating down on Western Europe, which is forecasting lower output of crops from French wheat to Italian tomatoes.”

CNBC wrote on August 3:

“The July rise in wheat prices, the fastest in 51 years, indicates that shortages in agriculture are coming… Wheat prices in Europe hit their highest level in two years, rising almost 50 percent since late June as Russia’s wheat crop was affected by drought.

“‘That’s the straw that broke the camel’s back,’ [Jim] Rogers, chairman of Rogers Holdings, who has been warning about shortages coming in the agriculture sector for a while, said in a telephone interview… Shortages in agriculture are likely to add to problems created by governments who printed money to spend their way out of the financial crisis, according to Rogers. ‘It’s all happening at a time when governments are printing more money… it’s a very dangerous situation,’ he said.”

The Euro on the Rise

The Wall Street Journal wrote on July 30:

“The euro rose above $1.31 to the highest point in 11 weeks as improving euro-zone economic data helped the common currency extend a rally during which it has strengthened more than 10% since early June.

“The euro has been perhaps the most visible beneficiary of easing concerns about the European sovereign debt crisis. After hitting a four-year low of $1.1876 on June 7, the currency has steadily advanced amid confidence that policy makers have forestalled a European sovereign-debt default.”

The Netherlands Move to the Right

The EUObserver wrote on August 2:

“One of the most conservative Dutch governments ever was in the offing Sunday, with the conservative-liberal election winners of the VVD party agreeing on a minority coalition with the centre-right Christian Democrats and backed on a case-by-case basis by the far-right anti-Islam Freedom Party of Geert Wilders… In return for the support of the Geert Wilders on the key demand of the VVD, the other two parties agreed to support additional immigration controls and a law-and-order agenda.

“Crucially, the agreement will let Mr Wilders speak his mind as far as Islam and immigration are concerned. Mr Wilders, who is the only member of his political party, wants to see a ban on the construction of mosques, a tax imposed on people who wear the veil and the expulsion of millions of muslims from Europe.”

Deutsche Welle added on August 2:

“Seven weeks after the Dutch parliamentary elections, Geert Wilders, the leader of the anti-Islam, anti-immigrant Freedom Party (PPV), is poised to become a key voice in what could be the most conservative Dutch government in history… Mark Rutte, the leader of the VVD party and likely to be the next prime minister, said he sees enough similarities for cooperation…

“Wilders has compared the Koran to ‘Mein Kampf’ and blamed Islamic texts for inciting the September 11 terrorist attacks. He calls Islam a ‘political ideology’…”

“Why the World Needs the Bundeswehr”

On July 27, Der Spiegel Online published an editorial by Volker Rühe, former German defense minister from 1992 to 1998, and retired Vice Admiral Ulrich Weisser, who was head of the policy and planning staff within the Defense Ministry from 1992 to 1998. We are bringing you the following excerpts:

“After Germany’s overwhelming military had terrified our neighbors in the last century, we then switched to being a freeloader within the framework of European security. A fundamental restructuring of the Bundeswehr is not something that Germany can pursue alone. We must remain capable of fulfilling our obligations as part of the NATO alliance and the European Union.

“Germany, the most populous and prosperous country in Europe, must play an appropriate role in guaranteeing European security within NATO and the EU. It cannot assume that the French, British, Poles and Italians will make up for what Germany no longer wants to do. Why should European countries with less economic power than Germany do more for Europe’s security in the long run than we do?…

“The Middle East remains a threat to world peace and, therefore, to us. It cannot be ruled out that NATO will be called upon to intervene there in a peacekeeping capacity on behalf of the United Nations. Besides, we must ensure that weapons of mass destruction do not fall into the wrong hands. Fundamentalist terrorism and ethnic and religious wars, as well as global crime and piracy that threatens our maritime trade routes, shape our security policy to a much greater extent than in the past…

“Germany, like its European allies, must have troops at its disposal that can be deployed quickly across great distances, prevail in battle against any enemy and at any level of intensity, and be superior within an alliance with others. The small, professionally equipped and trained intervention force being considered, which could be deployed in all parts of the world, is in keeping with neither the intent of the constitution nor the will of German citizens. Being capable of projecting power when the alliance as a whole faces challenges is a different matter altogether…

“In essence, German defense policy today faces, for the third time, a historic change of course and must therefore address several tasks… The restrictions placed on the German armed forces’ deployments in Afghanistan and in the Horn of Africa have had a devastating effect on our reputation within the alliance and in Europe… The Bundeswehr must rid itself of its fixation on Afghanistan… Germany’s Basic Law stipulates that the federal government ‘shall establish armed forces for purposes of defense.’ We cannot allow this constitutional imperative to be forgotten because of Afghanistan.”

On July 29, Der Spiegel Online added the following comments:

“CDU/CSU floor leader Volker Kauder has a book by the Berlin political scientist Herfried Münkler on his bookshelf. Its title is ‘Die Deutschen und ihre Mythen’ (‘The Germans and their Myths’). For Kauder, compulsory military service is one of those myths that shape German identity and also forms part of the CDU/CSU’s core identity. It is something he is unwilling to give up.

“Kauder still remembers clearly how Merkel praised conscription, exactly a year ago in July 2009, when she attended a public swearing-in ceremony for recruits in Berlin. ‘I support compulsory military service,’ she said at the time. ‘Conscription has become a trademark of our armed forces, for which we are envied internationally.’

“Kauder is determined to fight for compulsory military service. He will have his chance at the CDU convention in the southwestern city of Karlsruhe in mid-November, when the party intends to reach a definitive position on the issue. However, a preliminary decision will be made earlier. Because the subject is so contentious, Merkel and Seehofer plan to hold a joint meeting of the leaders of the CDU and CSU in the fall…

“Unlike Guttenberg, Kauder is no solo performer. In fact, an entire choir of conservative politicians on both the federal and state level has been singing the praises of conscription. ‘Compulsory military service should remain in place, also for reasons of social policy,’ said Wolfgang Bosbach, a member of parliament for the CDU. ‘As a result of conscription, many millions of young men have gotten to know and respect the Bundeswehr. It is the fundamental idea of the citizen in uniform.’

“‘Our Bundeswehr is an army of sons and daughters. The fact that it is firmly anchored within the population is a great blessing,’ commented Christine Lieberknecht, the governor of the eastern state of Thuringia. ‘That’s why I support retaining compulsory military service.’ ‘Conscription is part of the identity of the CDU/CSU,’ Governor Peter Müller of the western state of Saarland said. ‘Anyone who wants to call it into question needs a very good reason.’

“And Peter Hauk, the head of the CDU parliamentary group in the Baden-Württemberg state parliament, said: ‘We are fundamentally in favor of retaining compulsory military service…’ The Bavarian interior minister, Joachim Herrmann, added his voice to the debate when he said: ‘Despite the difficult budget situation and the need to restructure the Bundeswehr, we should keep compulsory military service.'”

Germany is destined to fulfill a most important leading role in economic, political, military and even religious affairs, which we will observe in the months and years ahead of us. For more information, please read our free booklet, “Europe in Prophecy.”

Plant Plankton in Decline

The Associated Press reported on July 28:

“Despite their tiny size, plant plankton found in the world’s oceans are crucial to much of life on Earth. They are the foundation of the bountiful marine food web, produce half the world’s oxygen and suck up harmful carbon dioxide. And they are declining sharply.

“Worldwide phytoplankton levels are down 40% since the 1950s… When plant plankton plummet… sea birds and marine mammals starve and die in huge numbers…”

A passage in Hosea 4:1-3 may be of interest in this context.

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