Current Events

Reinstitution of the U.S. Draft?

As the Seattle-Post reported on November 8, “talk of a [military] draft has heated up in recent days,” and the “option of a possible military draft is gaining traction.”

The article continued: “The Defense Department fueled the debate this week when it placed a notice on its Web site asking for ‘men and women in the community who might be willing to serve as members of a local draft board.’ The notice, which appeared on an official Web page for the Selective Service System titled ‘Defend America,’ explained: ‘If a military draft becomes necessary, approximately 2,000 Local and Appeal Boards throughout America would decide which young men, who submit a claim, receive deferments, postponements or exemptions from military service, based on Federal guidelines. Positions are available in many communities across the Nation.’ The Pentagon wouldn’t comment on the notice, and by yesterday it had been pulled from the Web site without explanation.”

Whether or not a draft is instituted, each member of the Church of the Eternal God and its corporate affiliates should know the Biblical reasons compelling him or her to refuse participating in Military Service and War. In the Q&A of this Update, we have set forth these Scriptural reasons in detail. We encourage all eligible Church members to study the material and use it as a basis for a personal declaration, signed and dated in the presence of witnesses, setting forth his or her personal convictions in this matter.

Germany vs. USA

All seemed to have been forgotten, after a recent visit between President Bush and Chancellor Schroeder, with a handshake and a joint appearance before running cameras. But the “truce” did not last long. As Der Spiegel Online reported on November 3, German Defense Minister Peter Struck gave another speech critical of the Bush Administration, labeling the American military policy as “problematic” for NATO. He said: “The question can be asked whether it was legal according to International Law, what the United States did in Iraq.” He also stated that “a coalition of the willing” is harmful to NATO, and that “NATO is not the complying agent of Washington’s decisions.”

A New European World Order?

German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer stated on November 1, 2003, according to “Die Tageszeitung,” that “we must create a New World Order, which is not defined by those who have the power.”

Homosexuality in England

An unbelievable development is occurring in England. As Christianity Today reported earlier this week, the local police was investigating Peter Forster, the Church of England’s Bishop of Chester, for his statement that “some people who are primarily homosexual can reorientate themselves.” This comment was investigated “as a breach of public order,” and possibly as a “hate crime.” The police chief was quoted as saying that such a comment “is totally unacceptable.” Later in the week, Christianity Today reported that the investigation was dropped, as “there are no laws prohibiting ‘incited hatred’ against the gay community.”

One must still ask the question: If Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ, would be alive and say today what he wrote in 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, would he also have faced an initial investigation and would he also have been initially charged with having committed a hate crime? Would he, too, be viewed as having “‘incited hatred’ against the gay community”? After all, that is what he wrote, under the inspiration of God Almighty: “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. And such WERE some of you. But you WERE WASHED, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.”

Russia – Stalin Remains Popular

As AP reported on November 7, a monument to Josef Stalin has been restored in a small Siberian city. The article continued: “Opinion polls show that Stalin remains popular among many Russians, who ignore the purges that killed an estimated 10 million Russians and a government-induced famine that killed some 10 million more. They credit him with leading the Soviet Union to victory in World War II and turning a backward agrarian nation into a nuclear superpower.”

Ongoing Paranoia in Germany?

As we reported in our last Update (Update #116, World News Headlines, “Unbalanced Fear of Anti-Semitism?”), Christian Democrat (CDU) Martin Hohmann has been accused of anti-Semitic remarks, following a speech of October 3, 2003. A high-ranking army general, Reinhard Guenzel, was dismissed from the army for congratulating Hohmann on his speech. Many German politicians and the majority of the German press condemned Hohmann and Guenzel for uttering or supporting “anti-Semitic” remarks.

However, the affair is far from over.

In an interview with Frontal 21, Hohmann reconfirmed on November 1 that he did NOT describe the Jews as a “people of perpetrators.” He explained: “I have said, verbatim, Neither the Jews, nor the Germans, are a people of perpetrators. This means, neither the Jews nor the Germans are a people of perpetrators. It is inconceivable to me how one can construe this comment as anti-Semitic.” According to the Financial Times, dated November 11, Guenzel is considering a complaint against German Defense Minister Peter Struck (Social Democrat, SPD) for libel and slander. Struck had described Guenzel as a “confused general” for supporting anti-Semitic ideas. Guenzel said that he always promoted cooperation with the Israelis, “because they are fantastic human beings and soldiers. To suggest that I am anti-Semitic or a right-wing radical is ridiculous – it’s the joke of the century.” He also mentioned that he is a good friend of Gadi Schamni, a general of the Israeli army.

Much of the German press has attempted to downplay any possible connection with or sympathy for Hohmann’s speech. The tabloid “Bild” even published selected excerpts from a highly controversial editorial in the “New York Post,” stating that that editorial proved how much Hohmann damaged the German reputation in foreign countries. However, when actually reading the entire editorial in the New York Post, dated November 6, 2003, one can readily see that Hohmann’s speech was just a minor contributing factor to the author’s opinion. The author of the editorial stated (which was not published by Bild, to our knowledge): “Of course, there are good Germans. Plenty of them. But they live in Philadelphia, not Frankfurt. They or their ancestors all left Germany by 1938… The German resistance? Almost as big a lie as the denial of the Holocaust. Count von Stauffenberg and his fellow aristocrats, whose inept attempt to kill Hitler with a bomb in 1944 is forever cited as an example of German courage, never lifted a finger against the Nazi regime until the Red Army closed in on their hereditary lands in East Prussia. They weren’t fighting for high ideals. They were defending their real estate.”

To get a more balanced viewpoint on the life and the motives of Count von Stauffenberg, we might suggest reading some historical accounts, such as, “Stauffenberg – Symbol of German Unity,” by Wolfgang Venohr (edited 1986).

The reaction to this editorial by some readers of the New York Post was quite remarkable (Bild, however, did not publish any of those comments, either, to our knowledge). One comment read, “I am a Holocaust survivor. Let me remind you that Germany has supported Israel morally and financially. This new generation has performed enough of a mea culpa. Spain had the inquisition and Russia the pogroms. When will all this hatred end?… Enough already.”

Another reader commented: “… one can certainly agree that anti-Semitism is a major problem in Germany and in other European countries. However, one can’t agree with his premise that all Germans living in Germany are evil anti-Semites.”

A third reader said, “Regardless of what I think about Germans, this kind of hate-mongering is what tears people apart… [Such] prejudice and nasty generalizations… have no place anywhere in America… In the interest of all of us who do not wish to be judged based on being Jewish, African-American or anything else, do not spread such prejudice and hatred.”

The German political scene and much of the German press have been very anxious in trying to eliminate whatever they perceive to be a sign of anti-Semitism. Hohmann’s speech came to light at the same time when most European citizens (almost 60%) stated in a poll that they consider Israel as the greatest enemy to world peace. In Germany, 65 percent felt that Israel was a danger for peace. This result was quite a shock to European politicians, so they began to belittle their own poll, by stating that the questions were too difficult or too misleading, so that the people questioned did not really understand them (Spiegel Online, November 3, 2003).

At the same time, published articles in the German press and official statements of German politicians do not necessarily reflect the opinion of the German people. The “Community of Conservative Christians” released a statement, pointing out that Hohmann had related facts that had been recently presented by Russian Nobel Peace Prize Recipient, Alexander Solzhenitsyn. They were also claiming that some of those criticizing Hohmann were trying to prevent reconciliation between Germans and Jews, as Hohmann was trying to show both sides that they had made mistakes, and that they must forgive each other. They also stated, “Today is Reformation Day. With it, we celebrate the courage of Martin Luther to stop an unchristian, overbearing papacy. The arch-Catholic Martin Hohmann… has expressed, in a historical setting, his love toward God, all people of good will, and his father land.”

The debate surrounding Hohmann within the German public continues. Hohmann had come under attack before, when he spoke out against legalization of homosexual relationships. In a n-tv poll, readers were asked whether Hohmann should separate from his party, the CDU. 69% voted that he should not (, November 11, 2003).

According to a poll by Der Stern, published on November 12, 2003, 41 % of CDU members supported Hohmann’s expulsion from the party, while 41 % felt that he should remain a party member. 18% were undecided.

As Der Spiegel Online reported on November 11, the “big majority” of participants of the CDU’s Internet-forum has been siding with Hohmann. Some participants characterized the situation as a “witch hunt,” while charging Paul Spiegel, the leader of the German Jews, with uttering “anti-German” statements.

To be clear, anti-Semitism in all its different forms, shapes and colors is wrong. A true Christian could never be an anti-Semite. After all, Jesus was a Jew (see our Update #115, Q&A, “Genealogy of Christ”), and Christ said that “salvation is of the Jews” (John 4:22). Paul added that the “oracles of God” were committed to the Jews (Romans 3:2). He also said that “the covenants, the giving of the law, the service of God, and the promises” were given to “the Israelites” (Romans 9:4), that is, to those who later became the “house of Israel” and the “house of Judah,” the Jews. True Christians uphold God’s law, including the keeping of the weekly Sabbath, the annual Holy Days, or the dietary laws.

At the same time, a true Christian will not participate in suppressing part of the truth, or in the dissemination of information that is mislabeled, falsely characterized, misleading or untrue. This is why we must be careful to listen to whatever we hear. We must analyze and evaluate information with “godly understanding,” based on the Bible and its prophecies.

The current situation in Germany will not go away easily. To be sure, how it is being handled by the press and politicians will not help, in the long run, to extinguish anti-Semitism in Germany and Europe.

Religious Persecution in Germany?

The concept of home schooling may be a well-established institution in the United States. This is not the case in Germany. As Der Spiegel Online reported on November 5, 2003, Christian parents were fined for not sending their children to school, due to their religious convictions. Although the German Constitution guarantees its citizens the free exercise of their religion and parenting, it also regulates the duty for children to go to school. A court of appeals decided that the children’s duty to go to school is more important than the two constitutional rights of the parents. The Christian parents objected to the teaching of their children in public school, as they would be taught an unacceptable form of “sexual education,” the wrong concept of the evolution theory, and witchcraft and meditation therapies, derived from Buddhism. The parents also complained that schools teach the children to become disobedient to their parents.

The court did not agree that there was any impermissible indoctrination of school children. It stated that one could not object to the teaching of the evolution theory or sex education, “as it only reflects what children experience on a daily basis, although [in regard to sexual education] it sometimes comes close to what may be unacceptable.”

Does it really surprise anyone when we hear of young German teens (as young as 12 years old!) engaging in premarital sex, or of young people growing up without a solid foundation of a belief in God, when such court-approved “values” are communicated to them in schools on a daily basis?

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