Current Events

“The New Pharaoh” –Egypt’s Renewed Move to Tyranny

Newsmax wrote on November 22:

“Egypt’s president on Thursday issued constitutional amendments that placed him above judicial oversight and ordered the retrial of Hosni Mubarak for the killing of protesters in last year’s uprising. Mohammed Morsi also decreed immunity for the Islamist-dominated panel drafting a new constitution from any possible court decisions to dissolve it, a threat that had been hanging over the controversial assembly.

“Liberal and Christian members withdrew from the assembly during the past week to protest what they say is the hijacking of the process by Morsi’s allies, who they saw are trying to push through a document that will have an Islamist slant marginalizing women and minority Christians and infringing on personal liberties. Several courts have been looking into cases demanding the dissolution of the panel.

“The Egyptian leader also decreed that all decisions he has made since taking office in June and until a new constitution is adopted and a new parliament is elected — which is not expected before next spring — are not subject to appeal in court or by any other authority. He also barred any court from dissolving the Islamist-led upper house of parliament…

“The moves effectively remove any oversight on Morsi, the longtime Muslim Brotherhood figure who became Egypt’s first freely elected president last summer after the Feb. 11, 2011 fall of autocrat Hosni Mubarak… Morsi not only holds executive power, he also has legislative authority… With two branches of power in his hands, Morsi has had repeated frictions with the third, the judiciary, over recent months. ‘Morsi today usurped all state powers [and] appointed himself Egypt’s new pharaoh,’ pro-reform leader Mohamed ElBaradei wrote on his Twitter account. ‘A major blow to the revolution that could have dire consequences.’…”

On November 23, BBC News wrote the following:

“US state department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said on Friday that the decree had ‘raised concerns’ in the international community… The rapid turn of events may have caught Washington by surprise… Only on Wednesday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton met Mr Mursi in Cairo and praised him for his efforts in brokering the ceasefire in Gaza.”

BBC News added on November 24:

“In a statement, the Supreme Judicial Council called [Morsi’s] move ‘an unprecedented attack on the independence of the judiciary and its rulings’ and called on him to reverse it. Judges and prosecutors in Egypt’s second city Alexandria have gone on strike in protest, saying they will not return to work until the decree is reversed.”

“Muslim Brotherhood Stands for Radical Islam”

Der Spiegel Online wrote on November 26:

“Abd al-Galil al-Sharnubi says he can only laugh at the thought that there are people in the West who still see the Muslim Brotherhood as ‘moderate Islamists.’ Sharnubi is a journalist and a Muslim — and he was a member of the Brotherhood for 23 years. He’s been familiar with the movement since he was 14, and he says that the Brotherhood could be the kiss of death for democracy in Egypt.

“Last year, Sharnubi, 38, left the Islamist organization. Since then, he says that his life has become a nightmare…  he warned his fellow Egyptians that the movement was undemocratic and authoritarian, and that leading Muslim Brothers were no less corrupt than politicians from the old regime. Many accused Sharnubi of spreading panic, saying that the Islamists should be given a chance. But the former member of the Brotherhood says that last week’s events show that he’s been right all along. The president’s ‘coup,’ says Sharnubi, provides just an inkling of the Brotherhood’s obsession with power.”

In an accompanying article, Der Spiegel wrote on November 26:

“Opposition leaders, including prominent Nobel Peace Prize winner Mohamed ElBaradei, have refused to cooperate with Morsi until the edicts have been scrapped. ‘He grabbed full power for himself,’ he [said.] ‘Not even the pharaohs had so much authority, to say nothing of his predecessor Hosni Mubarak. This is a catastrophe — it [is] a mockery of the revolution that brought him to power and an act that leads one to fear the worst’…

“The center-left Süddeutsche Zeitung writes:  ‘…The reason for Morsi’s clumsily handled grab for complete power is obvious. The new Islamization of Egypt, the pet project of the Muslim Brotherhood, has arrived…’

“Conservative Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung writes: ‘That Morsi has chosen exactly the moment in which he is being praised internationally for his role as mediator in the Gaza conflict to grant himself new powers shows just what a cold power-monger he is…’”

Egypt’s “democracy” will be short-lived. America and Europe have been extremely naïve in the matter of the Arab Spring, and Egypt will not be a friend of either one of the two Western power blocs—nor will it be a friend of Israel.

Egypt’s Uproar Continues

The Associated Press reported on November 29:

“An Islamist-dominated panel began a fast-track vote on a final draft of a new Egyptian constitution Thursday, pushing through the document despite liberals’ boycott in a move likely to stoke a deepening political crisis between the Islamist president and the opposition. The assembly, overwhelmingly made up of allies of President Mohammed Morsi, abruptly moved up the vote – which hadn’t been expected to take place for another two months – in order to pass the draft before Egypt’s Supreme Constitution Court rules on Sunday on whether to dissolve the panel.

“The vote escalates a confrontation that has already thrown Egypt into turmoil, between Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood supporters on one side and a largely secular and liberal opposition and the nation’s judiciary on the other. It was sparked when Morsi last week granted himself near absolute powers to neutralize the judiciary, the last branch of the state not in his hands…”

The Jerusalem Post added on November 29:

“Prominent assembly members including former Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa have withdrawn from the assembly, as have representatives of Egypt’s Coptic Church.”

Egypt’s Ongoing Persecution of Christians

The Associated Press reported on November 28:

“An Egyptian court convicted in absentia Wednesday seven Egyptian Coptic Christians and a Florida-based American pastor, sentencing them to death on charges linked to an anti-Islam film that had sparked riots in parts of the Muslim world. The case was seen as largely symbolic because the defendants, most of whom live in the United States, are all outside Egypt and are thus unlikely to ever face the sentence. The charges were brought in September during a wave of public outrage in Egypt over the amateur film, which was produced by an Egyptian-American Copt.

“The low-budget ‘Innocence of Muslims,’ parts of which were made available online, portrays the Prophet Muhammad as a fraud, womanizer and buffoon. Egypt’s official news agency said the court found the defendants guilty of harming national unity, insulting and publicly attacking Islam and spreading false information — charges that carry the death sentence.

“The man behind the film, Mark Basseley Youssef, was among those convicted… Florida-based Terry Jones, another of those sentenced, is the pastor of Dove World Outreach, a church of less than 50 members in Gainesville, Fla., not far from the University of Florida. He has said he was contacted by the filmmaker to promote the film, as well as Morris Sadek, a conservative Coptic Christian in the U.S. who posted the video clips on his website. In a telephone interview Wednesday, Jones said the ruling ‘shows the true face of Islam’ — one that he views as intolerant of dissent and opposed to basic freedoms of speech and religion…

“Sadek, who fled Egypt 10 years ago and is now a Coptic activist living in Chantilly, Virginia… said the verdict ‘shows the world that the Muslim Brotherhood regime wants to shut up all the Coptic activists, so no one can demand Copts’ rights in Egypt.’

“The connection to the film of the other five sentenced by the court was not immediately clear. They include two who work with Sadek at a radical Coptic group in the U.S. that has called for an independent Coptic state, a priest who hosts TV programs from the U.S. and a lawyer living in Canada who has previously sued the Egyptian state over riots in 2000 that left 21 Christians dead.

“In a phone interview, one of the men sentenced who works with Sadek, Fikry Zaklama, said he had nothing to do with the film and hadn’t even seen it… Nader Fawzy, a 53-year old jewelry store manager and president of an international Coptic rights organization from Toronto, Canada, said he planned to file a lawsuit against the Egyptian government in Canada for what he said was a wrongful prosecution. He said he’s terrified of being kidnapped and spirited to Egypt. Fawzy, who came to Canada in 2002 from Sweden and lost his Egyptian citizenship in 1992, denied any involvement in the film… The other person is a woman who converted to Christianity and is a staunch critic of Islam.

“Some Christians and human rights groups worry that prosecutions for insulting religion, which existed to a degree under the secular-leaning regime of deposed President Hosni Mubarak, will increase with the ascent of Islamists to power in Egypt.”

Of course it will… and Europe will not stand idly by for long…

Ceasefire—How CAN It Hold?

The Times of Israel wrote on November 25:

“The ceasefire agreement between Israel and Hamas which ended Operation Pillar of Defense does not include Egyptian guarantees to prevent the smuggling of weapons to Gaza, said a senior Hamas official on Saturday… This week, the military wing of the Islamic Jihad terror organization, which is closely allied with Iran, said that the group would continue to rearm in Gaza, reported Israel Radio. The published terms of the brief agreement do not appear to include a crackdown on weapons smuggling. However, a more comprehensive set of terms is expected to be hammered out in the coming days…

“Israel’s Channel 2 said Egypt had already intercepted one shipment of missiles en route to Gaza. It also said that in the talks, Israel has indicated a willingness to let Gaza fishermen sail out further from the Gaza coast, though it is insisting on maintaining its naval blockade to prevent weapons reaching Hamas by sea…

“Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed the flow of weapons into the Strip on Wednesday night, following the announcement of the ceasefire. According to the prime minister, ‘Israel obviously cannot sit idly while our enemy reinforces itself with weapons of terror.’ He added that in a phone conversation that night with the US president, ‘we decided, President Obama and myself, that the United States and Israel would work together to fight the smuggling of weapons to the terror organizations — weapons, virtually all of which come from Iran.’

“After the eight-day conflict, during which the IDF conducted some 1,500 strikes on terrorist cells and infrastructure in Gaza and Hamas pounded Israel with roughly the same number of rockets and missiles, both sides are claiming victory.”

… and while they say, “Peace, Peace,” there is no peace. Note the next articles as well:

Iran Supplies Sudan and Hamas with Weapons

The Associated Press reported on November 24:

“Gaza’s ruling Hamas will not stop arming itself, the No. 2 in the Palestinian group told The Associated Press on Saturday, signaling tough challenges ahead for indirect negotiations between Israel and the Islamist militants on a new border deal for Gaza…  Hamas officials in Gaza have said they have developed a local arms industry… the group has received weapons from Iran since Israel’s last Gaza offensive four years ago. Hamas smuggles such weapons into Gaza through tunnels under the border with Egypt.”

The Jerusalem Post wrote on November 25:

“Israeli intelligence satellites have spied the loading of rockets and other material in Iran believed to be destined for the Gaza Strip… Iran began preparing the weapons shipment around the same time Israel and Hamas negotiated a cease-fire late last week. Last month, following an air attack on a weapons plant near Khartoum, the Defense Ministry’s director of policy and political-military affairs accused Sudan of acting as a transit point for weapons shipments to Gaza. Amos Gilad accused Khartoum of aiding and abetting terrorism, and said the Sudanese regime was ‘supported by Iran’ and was used as a route to transfer weapons to Hamas terrorists in the Gaza Strip via Egypt.

“Sudan accused Israel of attacking the military plant. The Sunday Times report also cited Israeli officials speculating that Iran could be moving longer-range ballistic missiles into Sudan, which could be aimed at Israel from the African country. The official added that Tehran would act to re-arm Hamas and other Gaza groups quickly, as it sees them as a necessary part of its response to a possible Israeli attack against Iran.”

Europe Supports or Abstains from Palestinian Authority Statehood Bid

The Times of Israel wrote on November 29:

“With the UN General Assembly expected on Thursday afternoon (New York time) to approve the Palestinian Authority bid to upgrade its United Nations status to that of a nonmember state, Germany announced that it would be joining the swelling list of European countries friendly to Israel that will not oppose the vote, but would abstain. ‘We didn’t take this decision [to abstain] lightly. We share the goal of a Palestinian state,’ German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said Thursday in Berlin. ‘But significant steps toward statehood can only be reached as a result of negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians. From our point of view it is doubtful whether the step the Palestinians are planning today will advance the peace process. Rather, we fear that it could lead to a hardening of the situation.’

“Meanwhile, just hours ahead of the vote, Italy announced that it would be supporting the Palestinian petition, joining France, Spain, Cyprus, Portugal, Switzerland, Belgium and other European countries. Beyond the US and Canada, very few UN members are expected to oppose the motion to grant Palestine nonmember status. Italian Premier Mario Monti telephoned Abbas to inform him of the decision. He also phoned Netanyahu to assure him that the decision does not mean any weakening of Italy’s traditional friendship with Israel.

“EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said that the change in the Palestinians’ status at the UN would not affect the European Union’s determination to resolve, through peace negotiations, outstanding final-status disagreements between Israel and the Palestinians, and would recognize a Palestinian state when the time was right… ‘The EU has repeatedly expressed its support and wish for Palestine to become a full member of the United Nations as part of a solution to the conflict… the EU reiterates its readiness to recognize a Palestinian State when appropriate.’…

“The US and Israel have led opposition to the statehood bid, though the move has broad support in the United Nations General Assembly with some 130 nations expected to vote yes on the matter. On Tuesday France said it would support the move, joining Spain, Norway, Denmark and Switzerland and a host of other countries. On Wednesday, Palestine Liberation Organization senior official Hanan Ashrawi urged the US to at least abstain, saying that voting no ‘would be seen as being really pathetic by the rest of the world’ and would hurt American interests in the Middle East. But US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Wednesday told reporters the US believes the Palestinians were going in the wrong direction to reach their goals. Clinton stressed that the ‘path to a two-state solution that fulfills the aspirations of the Palestinian people is through Jerusalem and Ramallah, not New York.’”

Der Spiegel Online added on November 29:

“The United Nations General Assembly is widely expected to recognize a Palestinian state on Thursday, but torn between political loyalties, Germany won’t be among the 193 member countries casting their votes on the controversial issue… Having strong European support strengthens the Palestinian bid for recognition in the face of US resistance, and they have likely found it in Austria, Denmark, Norway, Finland, France, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Luxembourg, Malta, Portugal, Spain and Switzerland. Meanwhile the Czech Republic and the Netherlands appear to be leaning toward a ‘no’ vote, while Britain could abstain along with Germany…

“Germany, a key political ally of both Israel and the US, is in a difficult spot trying to maintain balance on this issue… Germany plays an important mediating role in the peace process, and the abstention may be an attempt to maintain that neutrality… But it is also a reflection of the country’s varied political interests on the issue, which include support of Israel as a key part of Germany’s post-World War II rehabilitation, using this relationship as a means of strengthening ties with Israel’s main ally, the US, and economic interests in the Middle East… Polls show that Germans are becoming increasingly frustrated with their country’s staunch support of Israel…”

As was to be expected, the UN subsequently voted “overwhelmingly Thursday to grant Palestinians limited recognition of statehood, prompting exuberant celebrations across the West Bank and Gaza Strip and immediate condemnations from the United States and Israel. The 193-member U.N. body voted 138 to 9, with 41 abstentions, to recognize Palestine as a ‘non-member observer state,’ a status that falls well short of independence but provides Palestinians with limited privileges as a state, including the right to join the International Criminal Court and other international treaty bodies… France, Italy and Spain [were] supporting the Palestinians, and Germany and Britain [were] casting abstentions” (The Washington Times, November 29, 2012).

Europe’s move away from Israel and towards the Palestinians should be duly noted.

Iraq Ignores American “Wishes”

Newsmax wrote on November 26:

“The government of Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki has ignored entreaties from the Obama administration and freed a top Hezbollah operative accused of murdering American soldiers. Vice President Joe Biden phoned Maliki on Nov. 13 and urged him to hold Ali Musa Daqduq accountable for his purported crimes; the U.S. ambassador to Iraq, Robert Beecroft, made a similar appeal that day. But the Iraqis released Daqduq two days later, saying Iraq had run out of legal options to hold him, and he is now in Lebanon…

“White House press secretary Jay Carney said the Iraqis had assured the United States that Daqduq would be tried for his crimes… After his release, Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte said: ‘Many of us warned that the transfer of Daqduq to the Iraqis would result in his release. The administration ignored these warnings, and now a terrorist with American blood on his hands is walking free in Lebanon. There is little doubt that Daqduq is again collaborating with fellow members of Hezbollah in anticipation of their next terrorist attack.’ And Republican Sens. John McCain and Lindsay Graham said in a statement: ‘The United States now has so little influence that it could not prevail upon the Iraqi government to extradite Daqduq to the U.S. to stand trial for his crimes.’”

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak Resigns

The Associated Press reported on November 26:

“Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak on Monday abruptly announced he was quitting politics, injecting new turmoil into the Israeli political system weeks ahead of general elections. Mr. Barak, Israel’s most-decorated soldier and onetime prime minister, said he would stay on in his current post until a new government is formed following the Jan. 22 balloting.

“His resignation could mean the departure of the most moderating influence on hawkish Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who holds a wide lead in polls and is expected to easily win re-election… [Barak’s] impending departure comes at a key time for Israel, as the nation… faces a looming decision on whether to attack Iran’s nuclear program…”

German-Israeli Relationship

Deutsche Welle reported on November 23:

“Despite German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s strong, traditional backing for Israel, some Germans are becoming more critical of the country and calling into question Germany’s unequivocal support.

“… more Germans [are] finding common cause with Palestinians… Many say that the Holocaust is no reason to ignore what they see as unjust Israeli policy. And as German leaders pledged their support for Israel this week, they balked at supporting airstrikes over Gaza…

“This change is a reflection of a wider shift in German views of Palestinians… public opinion has deteriorated recently over two landmark events: One was the 2006 Lebanon War, when Israel retaliated for a Hezbollah raid with a punishing assault that left 1,300 Lebanese and 165 Israeli people dead. The second was the 2008-9 Israeli invasion of Gaza, which resulted in 1,400 Palestinian mostly civilian casualties, sparking an international outcry… [Some are not supporting the] Jewish people by sending weapons to the Israeli government. And [they say that] we don’t do a favor to our Israeli friends by supporting the occupation, which is shameful. … the critical voices are growing…

“Gaza aside, another flashpoint for critique of Israel came last year from Nobel Laureate Gunther Grass. He published a poem in one of the country’s largest newspapers, saying that Israel is a threat to world peace. Israel banned him from entering the country in response. ‘Basically he expressed what a majority of German people think,’ said Professor Michael Wolffsohn, an historian at the University of the German Federal Armed Forces in Munich… he says German opinion of Israel is steadily and gradually getting worse. Israel consistently ranks among the least-liked countries among Germans…”

What this article is expressing is sad reality. Without any doubt, the majority—if not the VAST majority—of the German people are extremely critical of the Jewish state and of Jews in general. The public support of the recent outrageous court decision, declaring circumcision of boys to be a crime, is ample testimony for such regrettable development. However, the reaction to Gunther Grass’s poem was overblown and inappropriate. Please note the next article, and view our new StandingWatch program, “Growing Antisemitism in Germany.”

“Merkel Soothes Jewish Ire over Circumcision Row” –German Readers State Frightening Viewpoint

The Local wrote on November 26:

“Angela Merkel has tried to ease the concerns of Germany’s Jews over a disputed court ruling against circumcision, becoming the first chancellor to address the Jewish community’s annual council meeting… of the Central Council of Jews in Germany in the western city of Frankfurt on Sunday…

“In a ruling published in June, a court in the western city of Cologne judged the rite to be tantamount to grievous bodily harm, prompting international outrage and calls for more legal clarity. The ruling united Jewish and Muslim groups in opposition and German diplomats admitted privately that it had proved ‘disastrous’ for Germany’s international image, particularly in light of its Nazi past.

“Merkel was reported to have cautioned that Germany risked becoming a ‘laughing stock’ if circumcision were banned in the country. Last month, her cabinet passed a draft law to permit circumcision and clarify the legal situation. [The] Bundestag [or] German lower house of parliament [still has to approve the bill.]…

“Merkel also used the visit to reiterate Berlin’s support of Israel following eight days of violence in and around Gaza, which left 166 Palestinians and six Israelis dead. ‘Every country has the right to defend itself. This is not only the right but also the duty of every government,’ said Merkel.”

The official position of Angela Merkel and the German government is by no means shared by the majority of Germans. A representative selection of published comments to the above-quoted article speaks for itself:

“Angie messing with a court ruling. Hmmmm. Let me see. When did that happen before in Germany?”

“The article describes ‘international outrage’ over the ruling banning circumcision, as this played out over the months, there was also enormous outrage expressed by the other side, outrage that this is still permitted to be practiced in the 21st century. Why report on one side’s outrage, while ignoring the others?”

“I for one was outraged at the barbaric practice. ‘German diplomats admitted privately that it had proved “disastrous” for Germany’s international image, particularly in light of its Nazi past.’ Only in their minds, never saw it on the headline of any international paper.”

“International outrage over Germany’s civil laws can go to… Why should Germany be concerned what other nations think about our laws? Germany has among [sic] the most civilized and equitable civil laws in the world, secondary to none… Religious practices that contravene our civil laws should not be permitted to take precedence just because some religious fanatics want to practice and impose their antiquated religious beliefs into the German society. Germany has strict laws against child abuse, but yet we will allow the practice of circumcision of infants and minors (a clear example of child abuse) to continue, lest we offend someone’s religious beliefs. Where the… is the logic here? By the same token why not allow the Muslims living in Germany to have four wives? After all, it’s permitted in the Koran and [has] been their religious practice for the past 1432 years. Aren’t we afraid of offending their religious belief?”

“Genital mutilation is a barbaric practice that, if it was carried out by any other organisation, would be banned immediately but under the guise of religious freedom, they get away with it and even have the chancellor (another religious zealot) championing their cause. Religion is without doubt the main source of hatred in the world – the quicker we put away these childish myths, the sooner we can make some real progress.”

“When one practices religious acts in their former homelands that are acceptable and then find those same acts unacceptable in their new land, it is time to either obey the law or return to their former land.”

“Frau Merkel seems to have forgotten that she was voted into power to represent the Germans, not to support governments which blatantly commit war crimes, or religious radicals who live here and mishandle small children in unnecessary brutal rituals. The written German constitution not only guarantees the freedom of religion, but also the protection of children in accordance with international agreements. A government which is completely biased and continuously breaches its own basic laws cannot be trusted!”

These comments are by no means the exception to what many Germans think and believe. And they show indeed a degree of religious intolerance and hatred for the Word of God which is truly frightening.

The next article addresses a problem in Germany and other European countries, which must be corrected. But sadly, it’s all being approached from a short-sighted and faulty angle.

The Curse of Bestiality

Der Spiegel Online wrote on November 26:

“Germany plans to slap a fine of up to 25,000 euros on people having sexual relations with pets, but zoophiles plan to fight the move. They say there’s nothing wrong with consensual sex and that the true violations of animal rights are taking place in the farming industry.

“The German government plans to ban zoophilia — sex with animals — as part of an amendment to the country’s animal protection law, but faces a backlash from the country’s zoophile community, estimated to number over 100,000. Zoophilia was legalized in Germany in 1969 and animal protection groups have been lobbying for a ban… Now the center-right government wants to outlaw using animals ‘for personal sexual activities or making them available to third parties for sexual activities and thereby forcing them to behave in ways that are inappropriate to their species,’ said Hans-Michael Goldmann, chairman of the parliament’s Agricultural Committee…

“Sex with animals has been banned in a number of European countries including France, Switzerland and even the liberal Netherlands. Sweden is preparing a ban too… But it’s still legal in Denmark… In most cases, the sexual partners are likely to be dogs because they are such common pets now. In the days of old, it used to be cows, horses, sheep, goats and pigs…”

It’s all about the “protection” of “raped” animals, while the absolutely despicable conduct of depraved humans engaging in these kinds of horrendous sins are not even addressed. God was very clear about the abominable nature of such terrible actions. But it IS also true that such conduct, initiated by humans, can change the nature of animals.

God stated very specifically, in Leviticus 20:15-16: “If a man mates with a beast, he shall surely be put to death, and you shall kill the beast. If a woman approaches any beast and mates with it, you shall kill the woman and the beast . They shall surely be put to death. Their blood is upon them.” God placed a specific curse on anyone who would engage in bestiality, compare Deuteronomy 27:21: “‘Cursed is the one who lies with any kind of animal.’ And all the people shall say, ‘Amen.’”

The entire nation was to understand that such conduct was abominable in God’s eyes. How many do understand it today—being caught and deceived by the liberal thinking of tolerance and rejection of any standards? The next article shows that our Christian nations are not afraid to lie to their children, if it is being done under the disguise of religion.

More Christmas Nonsense and Lies and Deceit

The Local wrote on November 27:

“Christmas may still be a way off, but German children are already getting in the spirit, sending letter to Jesus and regional versions of Father Christmas- and his helpers are busy replying – often in English. More than 3,000 have already arrived in [the] Christmas sorting office in Himmelstadt, Bavaria. These ones are addressed the Christkind, the infant Jesus who traditionally brings gifts to children in southern Germany on 24 December. That is just the beginning, said Rosemarie Schotte, who has run the Himmelstadt office for almost 20 years. ‘By the end of the season we’re sure to have more than 80,000 again,’ she said.

“Each one gets a reply in an envelope bearing a special stamp and of course the postmark showing where it was sent from – and, Schotte told The Local, if the letters are in English, they’ll receive a reply in English. Elsewhere in Germany, requests are made to instead to Father Christmas – the Weihnachtsmann or to St Nicholas, who delivers his gifts on 6 December. Seven special Christmas post offices receive the letters – whose numbers just keep growing… Most children send their Christmas wish lists… Many of the elves are volunteers; the postage and organisational costs are met by Deutsche Post… for the sake of frazzled parents up and down the land, let’s just hope that Santa doesn’t dish out too many rash promises amidst all the festive good-will.”

This does not really deserve or require any further comments, to describe a deceived unchristian civilization which claims to be Christian.

The Rise, Fall and Rebirth of Berlin

On November 22, Der Spiegel gave a few interesting facts about the history of Germany’s current capital, the city of Berlin:

“Berlin is currently celebrating its 775th anniversary…

“Although they deposed the Kaiser, once they’d lost the war [World War I], Berlin and Germany were internationally isolated, and the city’s growth slowed to a crawl in the years of the Weimar Republic. Berlin still managed to become a mecca of cultural modernity — at least until Adolf Hitler and his Nazi movement took over. But the city paid a high price for the violence that emanated from it during the Nazi years, bringing death to 60 million people in the war and during the Holocaust. In the spring of 1945, Berlin was in ruins. And before it had a chance to rise up from the ashes, it was split into two…

“The ancient Romans were responsible for Berlin’s status as a latecomer. At the time when the eternal city of the Tiber was the center of the world, Teutons lived in the swampy forests in the large Havelland area west of Berlin, where they offered up human sacrifices in a sacred grove. The Romans wanted nothing to do with these barbarians…

“It was only in 1871 that Berlin became what Paris and London had already been for centuries: the capital of a nation-state. It took so long for Berlin to attain this status because it took that long for Germans to come together into a single country. While the French, the English and the Spaniards were already establishing cohesive nation-states by the 13th century, German rulers were devoted to the idea of the Holy Roman Empire until 1806, after which they split into a collection of small states.

“When it came time to choose the city that would be the capital of the German Reich, Berlin wasn’t a foregone conclusion. Aachen and Frankfurt am Main in the west, and Erfurt in the east, were also in the running. In the end Berlin, as the capital of Prussia, by far the largest state in the new empire, was chosen…”

Berlin may or may not continue to be the country’s capital. Before the unification, the capital of West Germany was Bonn, but it is unlikely that Bonn will ever again reach such a status. The Bible tells us that the future leader of Germany will transfer his headquarters to Jerusalem, but he will still maintain a “seat” in Germany, where his “throne” will remain. However, the capital of a newly-formed core European power bloc may become Rome.

Greek Bankruptcy Averted

Der Spiegel Online wrote on November 27:

“The 17 euro-zone finance ministers broke their deadlock with the International Monetary Fund on Monday night and agreed to release the next tranche of aid for Greece, which will receive a total of €44 billion starting next month in four installments to be paid by the end of March 2013. The December installment will comprise €23.8 billion for banks and €10.6 billion in budget assistance…

“Greece’s debt is rising faster than expected because the country remains mired in recession and has been slow to implement reforms… There was relief all round after the talks. Two previous marathon meetings had failed to produce an agreement. But the ministers had no choice but to come up with a deal this time… This catalogue of measures will likely suffice to avert a Greek bankruptcy for quite some time, assuming its recession doesn’t get even worse. But it doesn’t solve the Greek dilemma…”

In an accompanying article, Der Spiegel pointed out that Germany forgives Greece an amount of 730 million euros—a step which has critics in arms, even though the opposition party pledged their support for the deal, according to the Local. Germans are becoming increasingly dissatisfied with their main political parties.

Britons Want to Leave the EU

The Los Angeles Times wrote on November 25:

“Polls increasingly show more Britons in favor of leaving the EU than staying in. Anti-EU sentiment pervades British politics, with some Cabinet ministers openly calling for Britain to pull out, or at least for the question to be put to voters in a referendum. All this has thrown the government of Prime Minister David Cameron into a tricky position… Some political analysts warn that outside the EU, Britain’s global influence would sharply diminish, especially its role as a transatlantic bridge for the U.S. ‘The Americans have always told the Brits that “you guys are important for us because you have a big influence in Europe,”’ said Philip Whyte, a research fellow at the London-based Center for European Reform. ‘If Britain left the EU, you [in the U.S.] won’t be necessarily picking up the phone to London. Britain won’t be the first country you’d be calling; the first country you’d be calling would be Germany.’…

“Further distancing itself from the rest of Europe, Cameron’s government has declared its intention to opt out of some of the EU’s unpopular legal and judicial agreements, which critics say handcuff Britain’s own law-enforcement system… That kind of cherry-picking irritates Britain’s continental partners, many of which are drawing closer economically and politically to save the euro just as Britain, which has clung to the pound as its currency, pulls in the opposite direction. Some EU countries are beginning to wonder why they don’t simply show the door to such an uncooperative club member that seems determined to go its own way anyway.”

Britain Only Joined the EU to Slow Things Down

Bloomberg wrote on November 27:

“Britain has always had mixed feelings about the European project. From the start of the drive to ‘ever closer union,’ the U.K. feared being left out, yet never quite wanted to get with the program. In some ways, it signed up mainly to slow the whole thing down. Lately its doubts have grown. According to a new opinion poll, a clear majority of the British want to quit the European Union altogether.

“Increasingly the feeling is mutual. A partnership can tolerate only so much reluctance. In a television interview this week, Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti (more tolerant of British ambivalence than many other European leaders) said he found that ‘the English manage to be quite exasperating when they ask, as a condition for remaining aboard this great European ship, particular exceptions, particular dispensations, that could amount to making holes in the ship and making it sail less well, if not sink altogether.’

“Those dispensations never end. At the creation of the euro, the U.K. recused itself… It wants nothing to do with parts of the EU’s planned response to the economic crisis, including proposals for a banking union and closer fiscal integration. London is unwilling, as always, to make EU budgetary contributions according to the same formula as other member states: Protecting Britain’s so-called rebate is ever the main goal of its policy on Europe…

“At some point, enough is enough. Maybe a separation on friendly terms would be better for all involved. Well, it might come to that, and it’s wrong to dismiss a British decision to leave as ‘unthinkable.’ Equally, though, since moving the country to a better location would be difficult, Britain ought to think hard about what divorcing Europe would mean… Leaving the EU doesn’t mean winning independence from it…

“In or out of the EU… Britain’s global weight will diminish, a function of the country’s continuing and inevitable relative economic decline…”

And so, Britain’s exit from the EU is just a matter of time…

Britain Plagued by Horrible Weather

Mail On Line wrote on November 27:

“People were forced to flee their homes last night as flood water and torrential rain caused ‘serious threats to life’ in villages in Cornwall… Intense downpours and gusts strong enough to bring down trees will continue to batter large areas of Britain today, weather forecasters warned last night.

“Two Atlantic storms will dump two inches of rain on already sodden ground across the South-West and Wales, bringing further flooding. Southern and eastern coastal areas will see wind speeds reach 70mph, while rain is expected to sweep across from the South-West into the Midlands and North in the afternoon…

“The forecast is grim news for the thousands who spent last week battling the harsh weather. At least 400 homes were flooded and the Environment Agency sent warnings to 9,000 householders at risk. Even before this weekend’s downpours the agency had 48 flood warnings and 173 lesser ‘alerts’ in place. Areas likely to be affected by fresh floods include Devon, Somerset, Warwickshire and Worcestershire.”

These horrible weather conditions are mainly in the west of the country – and concentrated more in the south west, which always seems to suffer the worst with floods and many people losing their homes, which is just terrible.

Like the USA, the UK has been moving away from God, but it seems that they can’t see the unrecognized connection between obedience and blessings, and disobedience and curses.

The Terminator Is Becoming Reality

International Business Times wrote on November 22:

“Judgement Day was meant to happen on August 29, 1997. At 2.14am Eastern Time, the machines were meant to become self-aware and launch a nuclear strike against Russia, thus triggering a global nuclear war and the beginning of the end of the human race. This [of] course never happened, because the Terminator and Skynet were only horrifying visions of the future as dreamed up by James Cameron in his 1984 film.

“However a real judgement day may not be that far off as governments around the world pour billions of pounds into the development of autonomous weapons systems which are slowly but surely taking control from the hands of humans. Playing the role of Sarah Connor and attempting to warn the world of impending doom is Human Rights Watch (HRW), which has just released a report called Losing Humanity – The Case against Killer Robots. The report calls for all states to ‘prohibit the development, production, and use of fully autonomous weapons through an international legally binding instrument.’…

“However, with the US government currently spending $6bn a year on autonomous weapons and their development, it is unlikely that they would be willing to throw that money away, particularly when they are espousing the benefits of these automated systems… The US military has openly stated that it is seeking to reduce human influence on its weapons systems, adding that it is looking to make its ground vehicles ‘fully autonomous’…

“… the UK… is heavily invested in another step on the road to fully automated weapons – unmanned aircraft. These aircraft are moving beyond the capabilities of the predator drones currently being employed in Afghanistan by the US military…

“For example, distinguishing between a fearful civilian and a threatening enemy combatant requires a soldier to understand the intentions behind a human’s actions, something a robot could not do… If a fully autonomous weapon carried out an unlawful killing, who is responsible? Options include the military commander, the programmer, the manufacturer, and even the robot itself, but none of these options is satisfactory. The report says: ‘Since there is no fair and effective way to assign legal responsibility for unlawful acts committed by fully autonomous weapons, granting them complete control over targeting decisions would undermine yet another tool for promoting civilian protection.’”

Smoking Dangerous for Body and Brain

BBC News wrote on November 26:

“Smoking ‘rots’ the brain by damaging memory, learning and reasoning, according to researchers at King’s College London… Dr Simon Ridley, from Alzheimer’s Research UK, said: ‘Research has repeatedly linked smoking and high blood pressure to a greater risk of cognitive decline and dementia, and this study adds further weight to that evidence…

“The Alzheimer’s Society said: ‘We all know smoking, a high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels and a high BMI [Body Mass Index] is bad for our heart. This research adds to the huge amount of evidence that also suggests they can be bad for our head too. One in three people over 65 will develop dementia but there are things people can do to reduce their risk. Eating a balanced diet, maintaining a healthy weight, exercising regularly, getting your blood pressure and cholesterol checked and not smoking can all make a difference.’”

California’s Fight Against Second-Hand Smoke

Newsmax wrote on November 26:

“18 cities and counties in California have banned residents from smoking — in their own apartments and condominiums. The communities have banned smoking in all existing and new multi-unit housing, according to the American Lung Association’s Center for Tobacco Policy and Organizing, which calls the effort ‘the next frontier in California’s ongoing efforts to protect its citizens from secondhand smoke.’

“A report from the organization states: ‘Although California has made great progress in getting secondhand smoke out of workplaces, for the many Californians who live in multi-unit housing breathing secondhand smoke which drifts from neighboring units, balconies and outdoor areas has become a real health problem.’… Many of the cities and counties’ bans include declaring secondhand smoke a ‘public nuisance.’”

Second-hand smoke is not only a nuisance, but it shows total disregard of selfish smokers for their own health and the health of others.

Thanksgiving, Turkey and Giving Thanks

The Times of Israel wrote on November 24:

“The Pilgrims found inspiration in the ancient Israelites… “William Bradford [was] a passenger on the Mayflower and later the governor of Plymouth colony… In ‘Of Plymouth Plantation,’ his journal of the Pilgrims, Bradford made comparative references between the Pilgrims’ voyage and the Israelites’ Exodus. Later in life, according to Stephen O’Neill, the curator of Pilgrim Hall Museum in Plymouth Mass., Bradford ‘taught himself Hebrew,’ even writing a book of Hebrew exercises.

“According to Bradford’s journal, the Mayflower Pilgrims gave thanks upon their landing: ‘Being thus arrived in a good harbor and brought safe to land, they fell upon their knees & blessed ye God of heaven, who had brought them over ye vast & furious ocean,’ reads the text. ‘Let them therfore praise ye Lord, because he is good,’ wrote Bradford, quoting from Psalm 107, which in Hebrew begins with the word ‘hodu,’ ‘give thanks.’… ‘hodu’ also happens to mean ‘turkey’…”

Truly amazing….

President Obama’s Economic Policies a Disaster

The Investor’s Business Daily wrote on November 21:

“Anyone who thinks that President Obama’s economic policies will spur strong growth should consider U-Haul rates between California and Texas. Renting a 20-foot truck one-way from San Francisco to San Antonio, for example, will cost $1,693. But the U-Haul tab to go in the opposite direction is just $983… Put simply, far more people want to leave California for Texas than vice versa. Why? Because California’s economy is moribund while Texas’ is thriving…

“The problem is that Obama’s economic policies are pushing the country to be more like the California people are leaving and less like the Texas they’re flocking to. ‘Every dream program that the administration embraces — cap and trade, massive taxes on the rich, high-speed rail — is either in place or on the drawing boards’ in California, notes Joel Kotkin, executive editor of NewGeography. Like President Obama, California’s Gov. Jerry Brown pushed for a substantial new tax on the ‘rich’ that raises the top rate to 13.3%… Even before these taxes kick in, California was the fourth most heavily taxed state… Also like Obama, the state is regulation happy. The Mercatus Center at George Mason University ranks California as one of the four worst states in terms of regulations. The state also imposes one of the heaviest tax burdens on businesses. As a result, California consistently ranks at or near the bottom for business friendliness. And like Obama — who has pushed federal spending up to historic highs for the past four years — per-capita spending in California has climbed 42% from 2000 to 2010, even after adjusting for inflation. The state is now one of the biggest spenders in the country. The contrast in economic policies between California and Texas — which otherwise share many things in common, since both are big-population border states with lots of immigrants — could not be more striking.”

When state and federal governments are busy regulating and restricting the conduct of their “subjects” and taxing them heavily, such consequences are inevitable. God had warned ancient Israel, when they rejected Him and chose a king instead, that this was exactly what would happen (compare 1 Samuel  8:11-18).

Blasphemy During Soul Train Awards Show

NewsBusters wrote on November 26:

“Oscar-winning actor Jamie Foxx recently called Barack Obama ‘our lord and savior.’ This occurred at the previously recorded Soul Train Awards broadcast on BET Sunday.”

The published video of the broadcast showed the audience applauding when these blasphemous words were uttered. These are frightening developments for everyone involved in these actions. You might want to read a similar account, and its godly retribution, in Acts 12:20-23.

Unique Example of Uganda’s President

WND wrote on November 24:

“Should a president lead citizens in a national prayer of repentance? Uganda’s Christian president believes so. The Ugandan newssite New Vision reports President Yoweri Museveni celebrated Uganda’s 50th anniversary of independence from Britain at the National Jubilee Prayers event by publicly repenting of his personal sin and the sins of the nation… ‘We confess sins of idolatry and witchcraft which are rampant in our land. We confess sins of shedding innocent blood, sins of political hypocrisy, dishonesty, intrigue and betrayal,’ Museveni said. ‘Forgive us of sins of pride, tribalism and sectarianism; sins of laziness, indifference and irresponsibility; sins of corruption and bribery that have eroded our national resources; sins of sexual immorality, drunkenness and debauchery; sins of unforgiveness, bitterness, hatred and revenge; sins of injustice, oppression and exploitation; sins of rebellion, insubordination, strife and conflict,’ Museveni prayed.

“Next, the president dedicated Uganda to God. ‘We want to dedicate this nation to you so that you will be our God and guide. We want Uganda to be known as a nation that fears God and as a nation whose foundations are firmly rooted in righteousness and justice to fulfill what the Bible says in Psalm 33:12: Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord. A people you have chosen as your own,’ Museveni prayed…

“Massachusetts pastor and activist… Scott Lively believes Museveni is a model for other national leaders… ‘Britain was at its height as a world power when it honored God as the Ugandan president has just done. America’s greatness has similarly diminished as we have shifted from a Christian to a secular-humanist country…’

“Homosexual activist groups have criticized the government of Uganda and Museveni for passing laws criminalizing homosexual behavior. A current bill before the Ugandan Parliament increases the jail sentences for homosexual acts and includes criminal penalties for those who encourage or promote homosexuality…

“Dave Daubenmire, PT Salt Ministries’ president and founder and social commentator, said the problem for Western nations goes deeper than the political leaders. The problem in the United States, he said, is the pastors. ‘Sadly, I think our lack of repentance is the fault of the pulpit. Individual Christians are so awash in sin that they think politicians are merely better at sin than they are,’ Daubenmire said. ‘There is no fear of the Lord…’

“He added that Christians too often play with sin. ‘Since we do not hate sin anymore, we don’t demand repentance,’ Daubenmire said. He quoted British 17th century statesman Edmund Burke, who said, ‘The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.’ Daubenmire said that in America, ‘good men have yielded power to evil men. Evil rules when evil men make the rules,’ he said.’”

Much of what is said in the article is true. Church pastors are teaching a way of life opposite to the Bible and are much to be blamed for the horrible sin-laden situation in the US and the UK. Note the next article as a further example.

Churches Conduct Concealed Weapons Training

The Daily wrote on November 26:

“In an effort to increase membership, a number of U.S. churches — including the Church of Christ congregation in this rural village 30 miles north of Columbus — are offering an unconventional public service: Concealed weapons training… Hundreds of students have enrolled in the 10-hour course, which meets the state requirements for earning a concealed weapons permit. The training includes two hours on a church member’s private shooting range…

“Preacher Jeff, as Marengo Christian’s Copley is called by his flock, likewise emphasizes the spiritual importance of being able to defend oneself. ‘Jesus advises his disciples to sell their cloak and buy a sword,’ he told The Daily. ‘He instructed his people to be prepared to defend themselves. It’s really hard to find someone in our congregation that doesn’t shoot somehow.’…”

The horrible misapplication of Scripture is ample evidence for the spiritual ignorance of quite a few American preachers. For a correct understanding of the meaning of Jesus’ words to His disciples to buy swords can be found in our Q&As on the matter. and

Pope Appoints Six New Cardinals to Choose Successor

Fox News, USA Today and The Associated Press reported on November 24:

“Six new cardinals on Saturday joined the elite club of red-robed churchmen who will elect the next pope, bringing a more geographically diverse mix into the European-dominated College of Cardinals… [They] hail from Colombia, India, Lebanon, Nigeria, the Philippines and the United States… Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Tagle, seen by many to be a rising star in the church, visibly choked up as he knelt before Benedict to receive his three-pointed red hat, or biretta, and gold ring, and wiped tears from his eyes as he returned to his place… Benedict has said that… he was essentially completing his last cardinal-making ceremony held in February, when he elevated 22 cardinals, the vast majority of them European archbishops and Vatican bureaucrats…

“The College of Cardinals remains heavily European even with the new additions: Of the 120 cardinals under age 80 and thus eligible to vote in a conclave to elect a new pope, more than half — 62 — are European… The issue of numbers is significant since these are the men who will elect the next pope from among their ranks: Will the next pontiff come from the southern hemisphere, where two-thirds of the world’s Catholics live? Or will the papacy return to Italy, which has 28 voting-age cardinals, after a Polish and German pope?

“The new cardinals do make the papal voting bloc a bit more multinational: Latin America, which boasts half of the world’s Catholics, now has 21 voting-age cardinals; North America, 14; Africa, 11; Asia, 11; and Oceana, one. Among the six new cardinals is Archbishop James Harvey, the American prefect of the papal household. As prefect, Harvey was the direct superior of the pope’s former butler, Paolo Gabriele, who is serving an 18 month prison sentence in a Vatican jail for stealing the pope’s private papers and leaking them to a reporter in the greatest Vatican security breach in modern times. The Vatican spokesman has denied Harvey, 63 from Milwaukee, is leaving because of the scandal. But on the day the pope announced Harvey would be made cardinal, he also said he would leave the Vatican to take up duties as the archpriest of one of the Vatican’s four Roman basilicas. Such a face-saving promotion-removal is not an uncommon Vatican personnel move…

“Cardinals serve as the pope’s closest advisers, but their main task is to elect a new pope. And with Benedict, 85, slowing down, that task is ever more present… 67 of [the current cardinals] were named by Benedict, all but ensuring that his successor will be chosen from a group of like-minded prelates. Saturday’s consistory marks the first time in decades that not a single European or Italian has been made a cardinal — a statistic that has not gone unnoticed in Italy. Italy still has the lions’ share of cardinals, though, with 28 voting-age ‘princes’ of the church.”

This structure, allowing for the designation of a pope by [ultimately, after 30 unsuccessful attempts] the simple majority vote of [currently] 120 cardinals, is not in accordance with the Bible, even though it comes closer than the adopted Presbyterian structure or the fully democratic structures of some churches. The sad part is that even some major Church of God organizations practice similar procedures (i.e., vote by majority of ministers or even members) to appoint the leader of their group, but the Bible does not endorse such practices.

Apart from the potential for political maneuvering and corruption, these procedures are opening up the floodgates for further unbiblical conduct—so, for instance, the concept that if this kind of voting is permitted for and endorsed by church ministers, what prevents members from voting, including  for candidates in governmental elections? Sadly, more and more members of certain Church of God organizations have been voting in the most recent US election—an unbiblical practice, which is strongly condemned by the Church of the Eternal God in the USA and our corporate affiliates in Canada and the UK. Please listen to Norbert Link’s recent video-recorded sermon, titled, “What Would Be Jesus’ Vote?” and our StandingWatch programs on the issue of voting, titled “Why I Don’t Vote”, and “Americans Voted For Nothing”.  Also, please review our two Q&As on the matter, which are both titled, “Why do you teach that a Christian should not vote in governmental elections?” and  

Water Turning to Blood wrote on November 27:

“It must have looked like a scene from Jaws: surfers and sun-worshippers fled Australia’s famed Bondi Beach as the water turned blood red. The alarming hue, however, was not the result of a tragic aquatic accident, but rather came from a crimson algal bloom… Algal blooms are most common in the spring and fall seasons, as water temperatures are higher and there are ‘greater movements in ocean currents.’ Australia, which is located in the southern hemisphere, is currently transitioning from spring to summer.”

The German mass tabloid, Bild, reported, that Australia has now a “Red Sea.” One is reminded of the prophecy of oceans turning into blood, which will happen in the future.

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