Current Events

Economy on Road to Recovery?

The Associated Press reported on January 29:

“The economy boomed at the end of 2009, growing at the fastest rate in more than six years. Now if only it could keep it up. The economy expanded at an annual rate of 5.7 percent in the fourth quarter, the second straight quarter of growth. But analysts warn it’s unsustainable.

“Consumer spending, chilled by double-digit unemployment and scant wage gains, remains weak. And the benefits of government aid and higher company output to feed stockpiles will dwindle. Many analysts predict gross domestic product will expand at a rate closer to 2.5 to 3 percent in the current quarter and 2.5 percent or less for the year. That won’t be enough to significantly reduce the unemployment rate, now 10 percent. In fact, most analysts expect the rate to keep rising for months and to remain close to 10 percent through year’s end. To drive down the jobless rate by just 1 percentage point this year, the economy would have to grow by 5 percent for the whole year. No one thinks that will happen…

“Roughly two-thirds of the quarter’s growth came from increased manufacturing as businesses drew down their stockpiles of goods at a slower rate. But companies will eventually let those inventories fall again unless consumers — who account for about 70 percent of the economy — spend more. Unlike past rebounds driven by the spending of ordinary shoppers, this one appears to hinge on spending by businesses, foreigners and — until it runs out — government stimulus.

“History suggests this isn’t the recipe for a strong recovery… Still, the overall news for 2009 wasn’t good. Friday’s report showed economic activity for the year fell by 2.4 percent — the sharpest drop since 1946. It was the first annual decline since 1991… If gains from inventories and exports are taken out, the economy last quarter grew at just a 1.7 percent pace.”

As we warned for a long time, belief in a substantial recovery of the U.S. economy is just wishful thinking. The sad reality is that we are reaping what we have been sowing… and what we are still planning to sow, as the next two articles show.

The U.S. Budget — “Spend-While-You-Can”

The Wall Street Journal wrote on February 2:

“One rule of budget reporting is to watch what the politicians are spending this year, not the frugality they promise down the road. By that measure, the budget that President Obama released yesterday for fiscal 2011 is one of the greatest spend-while-you-can documents in American history… The budget reveals that overall federal outlays will reach $3.72 trillion in fiscal 2010, and keep rising to $3.834 trillion in 2011.

“As a share of the economy, outlays will reach a post-World War II record of 25.4% this year. This is a new modern spending landmark, up from 21% of GDP as recently as fiscal 2008, and far above the 40-year average of 20.7%… All of this spending must be financed, and so deficits and taxes are both scheduled to rise to record levels… But this is a giant tax increase on American companies that operate overseas, and it includes no offsetting cut in the U.S. 35% corporate tax rate, which is among the highest in the world… Even these tax increases won’t be enough to pay for the spending…”

The U.S. Budget — “A Recipe for Financial Disaster”

USA Today wrote on February 2:

“Since taking office last year, President Obama has been preaching fiscal restraint while practicing something else. Nothing shows this more than the budget he released Monday. His administration is planning a deficit for this year of almost $1.6 trillion.

“… the budget plan forecasts an endless flow of red ink that will push the American economy relentlessly toward a perilous economic precipice. This is, of course, Obama’s failing. But it is also testament to years of dysfunction in Washington by both parties.

“To make the mind-boggling budget numbers easier to understand, it helps to subtract eight zeroes. Say you earned $21,000 this year, spent $37,000 and borrowed $16,000 to cover the difference. Maybe you could get away with this for a year or two to get through unusually hard times. Beyond that, though, it’s a recipe for financial disaster. Such is the fate facing the federal government. The recession turned an already yawning budget gap into a chasm…

“What causes the most concern is not that Obama’s budget forecasts three $1 trillion-plus deficits in a row, including the one he inherited from George W. Bush. It is the large deficits projected even when the stimulus will be done and presumably the economy will be in much better shape. The deficits for 2013 through 2015 all run above $700 billion a year…

“Most important, Obama has not laid the groundwork for going after the real problem behind the nation’s grim fiscal outlook… America is on a collision course with the kind of debt crisis associated with Third World countries.”

U.S. Budget Outlook “Bleak” reported on January 29:

“Global equities are “vulnerable to correction” after rallying from their March lows and as governments around the world withdraw stimulus measures, says investor Jim Rogers.

“‘We’re overdue for a correction,’ Rogers says… ‘We have huge amounts of money printed throughout the world. It’s going to cause currency instability. It’s going to cause more inflation. It’s going to cause higher interest rates.’

“The Congressional Budget Office has called the U.S. budget outlook ‘bleak,’ in a forecast that hurts the chances for extending Bush-era tax cuts and raises pressure for fiscal belt-tightening, The Wall Street Journal reports.

“In its annual report, the nonpartisan CBO… said the government will run an aggregate deficit of about $6 trillion during the next decade, a level that many economists worry could lead to currency shock, inflation, crippling interest rates or other economic maladies. By the end of 2020, ‘debt is projected to climb to $15 trillion, or 67 percent of gross domestic product,’ CBO director Doug Elmendorf said on his blog post. ‘With such a large increase in debt…interest payments on the debt are poised to skyrocket.'”

Unemployment on the Rise

The Associated Press wrote on February 4:

“The number of newly laid-off workers filing initial claims for jobless benefits rose unexpectedly last week, evidence that layoffs are continuing and jobs remain scarce. The rise is the fourth in the past five weeks. Most economists hoped that claims would resume a downward trend that was evident in the fall and early winter.”

Huge Bailout for Social Security?

CNNMoney wrote on February 4:

“… another huge bailout is starting, this time for the Social Security system. A report from the Congressional Budget Office shows that for the first time in 25 years, Social Security is taking in less in taxes than it is spending on benefits. Instead of helping to finance the rest of the government, as it has done for decades, our nation’s biggest social program needs help from the Treasury to keep benefit checks from bouncing — in other words, a taxpayer bailout… without the interest income, Social Security will be $28 billion in the hole this fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30…

“Social Security hasn’t been cash-negative since the early 1980s, when it came so close to running out of money that it was making plans to stop sending out benefit checks. That led to the famous Greenspan Commission report, which recommended trimming benefits and raising taxes, which Congress did. Those actions produced hefty cash surpluses, which until this year have helped finance the rest of the government. But even then, it was clear the surpluses would be temporary. Now, years earlier than projected, Social Security is adding to the government’s borrowing needs…

“Social Security currently provides more than half the income for a majority of retirees. Given the declines in stock prices and home values that have whacked millions of people, the program seems likely to become more important in the future as a source of retirement income, rather than less important.

“It would have been a lot simpler to fix the system years ago, when we could have used Social Security’s cash surpluses to buy non-Treasury securities, such as government-backed mortgage bonds or high-grade corporates that would have helped cover future cash shortfalls. Now it’s too late… Until this year, Social Security was a problem for the future. Now it’s a problem for the present.”

The Afghan Conference–Unrealistic and Doomed to Failure

Der Spiegel Online wrote on January 29:

“The Afghanistan conference on Thursday ended with a long list of plans and promises. But how realistic is NATO success in the war-torn country?… Still, will the conference really make much of a difference in Afghanistan? German papers on Friday aren’t so sure.

“The left leaning daily Die Tageszeitung writes:

“‘It is not a new idea to make demands of the Afghan government. However, they have never before been as unrealistic as they are now. Such demands will only succeed if there are consequences should they not be met. NATO is just as dependent on Karzai as he is on NATO: It is inconceivable that Karzai would be dropped just because he failed to meet his targets. After all, the alliance needs a reasonably intact government in order to pull off a face-saving withdrawal. The fact that even a big electoral fraudster is considered good enough for this role shows just how desperate NATO is.’

“Conservative daily Die Welt writes:

“‘… Yesterday, Taliban leaders rejected outright the reconciliation policy of the ‘occupiers.’ The London conference has dodged the question of what to do if the plan does not work out. Any answer to this is not under discussion at the moment. This agreement gives the impression that none of the parties would be responsible should the project fail. If the reconciliation of Taliban sympathizers and civilian society are derailed, the participants of the London conference… would be able to say, to themselves and their voters, that they have tried to improve this situation using all their powers, both military and otherwise’…

“The left-leaning paper Berliner Zeitung writes: ‘… It is an illusion to think that the Afghan police and army will develop into respected forces in the near future. There is not enough time and state wages will not rise enough to make the security forces resist corruption and the temptation to ally themselves with those making money from drugs.'”

The Western world will not win their war against Afghanistan. And especially the USA will have to learn the hard way that without God on their side, everything will turn against them.

The Difficult War in Afghanistan

AFP wrote on January 31:

“To force the Taliban leadership to the negotiating table… US military officials have said there needs to be greater success on the battlefield — and this is where the Marines come in. But the challenges on the ground are immense. Fields are littered with improvised explosive devices (IEDs) responsible for most of the deaths of foreign troops in Afghanistan, which hit a record 520 fatalities last year.

“The Taliban are also entrenched in their strongholds holding sway over the population and setting up shadow governments across the country, meaning they have the local intelligence that the Marines desperately need… Five Marines were killed in southern Afghanistan in two days of January alone in IED blasts and ambushes.

“… the Marines prepare a full-on assault on Marjah in the coming weeks or months. Marjah has a population of at least 60,000. Built in the 1950s with US government help, it was intended to be a model agricultural town with an irrigation system flowing from the Helmand river. But instead of legitimate crops, poor farmers plant opium poppy, the trafficking and sale of which bankrolls the Taliban movement.

“The Marines’ mission is to show US strength, assist in installing government control in Helmand province and let the local population know they have arrived. The challenge however is huge. Taliban militants harass the villagers at night, warning them of trouble if they help US troops. Under the cover of darkness, they also plant IEDs in fields the Marines have to cross.”

Everything Seems to Work Against the USA

The Times wrote on February 1:

“President Karzai announced a timetable for the first round of peace talks with the Taleban yesterday as US troops admitted that they may have bombed an Afghan army base by mistake… Speaking in Kabul for the first time since he returned from last week’s London conference, Mr Karzai called on militants in Pakistan to return home and make peace so that US-led forces could withdraw. The Taleban have called repeatedly for all foreign forces to leave Afghanistan as a precondition of talks.

“… details emerged of an [U.S.] attack south of the capital that left four Afghan soldiers dead and at least seven injured… Afghan troops in a remote outpost mistook the American patrol for insurgents and opened fire. Nato said that the Americans, on a joint patrol with Afghan commandos, returned fire before calling in an airstrike…

“Hours earlier, an interpreter opened fire at a base in the same province, killing two US soldiers before being shot… Afghan authorities confirmed the account, saying that the interpreter had argued with troops over pay.”

Brussels Disgruntled–Obama to Skip EU-US Summit

Deutsche Welle reported on February 2:

“Brussels is disgruntled by US President Barack Obama’s decision not to attend the EU-US summit in May. Washington, however, insists the move is not meant as a snub against Brussels… Obama is increasingly facing challenges implementing his domestic reform agenda and has indicated that in 2010 he will spend more time on home soil. His approval ratings in the US have dropped as the economic recovery has been slow to translate onto the job market…

“US Assistant Secretary of State Philip Gordon on Monday told reporters that it never had been on Obama’s agenda to attend the Spanish summit… Obama’s absence at the summit would likely be regarded as a blow for Brussels. The new president of the European Council, Herman van Rompuy, has yet to formally meet with Obama.”

On February 3, Der Spiegel Online reported on German media reactions to President Obama’s refusal to attend the summit:

“While it is certainly plausible that Obama’s prime motivation is to focus his attention on his difficult domestic agenda, there are some indications of growing frustration in Washington with the EU’s confusing structures. State department spokesman P.J. Crowley told reporters on Tuesday that the EU leadership was part of the problem, indicating that there was a lack of clarity on both sides as to where and how the annual summits would be held…

“‘The very fact that the summit is taking place in Spain, after the establishment of a more permanent presidency and a high representative, is indicative of the fact that the EU is still in institutional limbo,’ Charles A. Kupchan, a senior fellow for European studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, told the Associated Press…

“While Obama’s election was widely welcomed across the Atlantic in 2008 after the often fraught dealings with his predecessor, George W. Bush, relations have not been particularly smooth with the new White House…

“The center-left Süddeutsche Zeitung writes: ‘… It’s understandable that the Americans no longer have any desire to get involved in bizarre intra-European affairs.'”

“The conservative Die Welt writes: ‘… As for Europe, Obama’s refusal of the invitation is a pity…’

“The center-right Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung writes: ‘… The Europeans now have their dream president, and he obviously has better things to do than jet across the Atlantic to spend a few hours chatting with them… But, seriously, does Obama have nothing to discuss with the EU that is important to him and that might be worth the flight over? Or does he not even consider the EU as being all that relevant?… perhaps it will now dawn on the Europeans that they are not the center of this president’s attention.'”

As we have foretold for many years, the relationship between the USA and Europe will deteriorate. In addition, as was pointed out above, Europe is still not totally united–but the Bible says that it will soon become the most powerful bloc on earth. For more information, read our free booklet, “Europe in Prophecy.”

Tensions Between USA and Iran Heighten Dramatically

The Guardian wrote on January 31:

“Tension between the US and Iran heightened dramatically today with the disclosure that Barack Obama is deploying a missile shield to protect American allies in the Gulf from attack by Tehran. The US is dispatching Patriot defensive missiles to four countries – Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Kuwait – and keeping two ships in the Gulf capable of shooting down Iranian missiles. Washington is also helping Saudi Arabia develop a force to protect its oil installations.

“American officials said the move is aimed at deterring an attack by Iran and reassuring Gulf states fearful that Tehran might react to sanctions by striking at US allies in the region… Washington is also concerned at the threat of action by Israel, which is predicting that Iran will be able to build a nuclear missile within a year, a much faster timetable than assessed by the US, and is warning that it will not let Tehran come close to completion if diplomacy fails…

“Washington is also concerned that if Iran is able to build nuclear weapons, other states in the region will feel the need to follow. Israel is the only country in the Middle East to already have atomic bombs, although it does not officially acknowledge it…”

Washington’s and Iran’s Mixed Signals

The Financial Times wrote on February 2:

“On a day when Washington sought to make sense of favourable comments from Mahmoud Ahmadi-Nejad, president of Iran, about a compromise previously spurned by Tehran, Dennis Blair, US national intelligence director, said the final decision about nuclear arms was Iran’s to make.

“Other US officials were seeking clarification on Mr Ahmadi-Nejad’s remarks about a deal offered by the US and allies last year under which most of Tehran’s low-enriched uranium would be sent abroad to be processed into fuel for a medical research reactor. Mr Ahmadi-Nejad said on Tuesday that Iran would have ‘no problem’ giving the west its low-enriched uranium and taking it back when it was enriched for use in the reactor… Iran had previously balked at the idea of handing over uranium unless fuel was returned straight away…

“‘The real question is, “Are they serious?”‘ said a state department official.”

And the real answer is, of course not. Iran is trying to buy time, as the next article shows, while producing the bomb. And Washington’s attempts to walk away from any responsibility is not helpful.

Washington’s policy towards Iran is one of glaring inconsistencies and indecisiveness. It is truly amazing that such a small country like Iran can hold the USA hostage in such a dramatic way.

Iran Plays Cat and Mouse with the West

The Times wrote on February 4:

“President Ahmadinejad demonstrated yesterday that he has become a master of playing cat and mouse with the West — and this time the mouse was real. Once again, the Iranian leader offered a last-minute concession to head off the West’s drive for new sanctions against the Islamic republic [stating that Iran had “no problem shipping enriched uranium abroad”].

“At the same time, Iran thumbed its nose at UN restrictions on its ballistic missiles programme by sending a rocket into space carrying a mouse, two turtles and some worms…

“Mr Ahmadinejad hailed the launch as a breakthrough that would help to break ‘the global domineering system’ of Western powers. At a ceremony for a new satellite he said that Iran hoped to send astronauts into space soon. Western experts suggested that the space programme provided cover for the development of long-range missiles capable of carrying a nuclear pay-load… A senior Western diplomat acknowledged that Mr Ahmadinejad’s gambit could buy Iran more time.”

Former Mentor Highly Critical of Obama

The Times wrote on February 1:

“President Obama’s self-confidence borders on complacency. He is ill served by senior staff, especially his Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel. He does not appear to be learning on the job as he did when campaigning for the White House. His Administration is too deferential to Congress, too reliant on the President’s personal charm, and as a result is regarded by its enemies as weak and ineffectual.

“As Mr Obama prepared to release his $3.8 trillion (£2.4 trillion) budget today, this assessment of his first year in office came not from one of his established critics on the Right, but from one of his most respected mentors — his former professor at Harvard Law School, Chris Edley… Professor Edley, who worked in the Clinton and Carter Administrations, added: ‘I wouldn’t give [Obama] as high a grade as President as I gave him when he was my student. I know he can do better.’

“He reserved the harshest criticism for Mr Emanuel, the second-most powerful figure in the White House, who has been pilloried by liberals for appearing to undermine Mr Obama’s healthcare reforms since the loss of a crucial Senate seat to the Republicans…

“Mr Edley lamented the failure of the White House to force Congress into line, as President Lyndon Johnson would have done… The professor fears that Mr Obama’s best chance to deliver the change he promised may have been wasted… The Administration’s biggest mistake, he said, has been to pander to Congressional vanities by leaving the two chambers to argue about their own versions of healthcare reform with little concrete guidance from the White House…”

While President Obama is criticized by his former professor at Harvard Law School, Mr. Obama’s strongest challenger, “Republican” Senator Scott Brown, is giving equally confusing signals, as the next article shows.

Brown Backs Abortion Rights

The Associated Press reported on January 31:

“Republican Sen.-elect Scott Brown of Massachusetts says he opposes federal funding for abortions, but thinks women should have the right to choose whether to have one. Brown tells ABC’s ‘This Week’ that he disagrees with his party’s position that the Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion should be overturned.

“Brown says the abortion question is one that’s best handled by a woman, her family and her doctor. He also says more effort needs to go into reducing the number of abortions in the U.S. Brown has said the GOP shouldn’t take his vote for granted on every issue. He says he’s fiscally conservative but more moderate on social issues.

“Brown recently won the Senate seat long held by liberal Democrat Edward M. Kennedy, who died last summer.”

Merkel Isn’t Doing That Good

Der Spiegel Online wrote on February 1:

“Chancellor Angela Merkel’s new center-right coalition has been in office for 100 days this week, and media commentators aren’t impressed with its performance or with Merkel’s leadership.

“Chancellor Angela Merkel’s first 100 days in power at the head of a new center-right government following her re-election in September have been marred by infighting on economic and foreign policy and opposition accusations of cronyism and incompetence.

“Merkel has been accused by members of her Christian Democratic Union of failing to show leadership, and opinion poll ratings for her coalition of conservatives and pro-business Free Democrats (FDP) have been falling ahead of an important regional election in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany’s most populous state, in May…

“Business daily Financial Times Deutschland writes: ‘The center-right government has agreed [to] just one law in the 100 days since it took office. And now prominent members of the FDP want to reverse a key part of that legislation… That’s more than populism. That is tantamount to dismantling oneself… It shows that the FDP and to some extent the conservatives as well, are stumbling their way through government without a coherent strategy.’

“Center-left Süddeutsche Zeitung writes: ‘… The glow of victory has vanished and members from the parties’ own ranks are opposing the federal government because they’re increasingly panicking about a regional election campaign.’

“Left-wing Die Tageszeitung has a photomontage of a blind Merkel being led by a blind guide dog in the shape of FDP leader Westerwelle. ‘Neither of them has a vision of society, neither has any idea how to make an export-orientated nation like Germany fit for the future. It’s been one major mistake after another… There are no clear policies on financial market regulation, on social or education policy or on a future-oriented energy policy. It’s reckless to think that doing nothing is enough to avoid making mistakes…’

“Conservative Die Welt writes: ‘Angela Merkel faces a dilemma. The leadership style that enabled her to get to the pinnacle of politics is now increasingly becoming a burden and is endangering her power. Her internal critics expect Angela Merkel to exert more authority and decisiveness… But such so-called leadership skills are diametrically opposed to the consensus-seeking, moderating style with which the 55-year-old has so far run her party…'”

It appears that the world is presently lacking decisive leadership. And while we do not expect any strong leader to arise in the USA, the Bible shows that a very powerful political personage will arise in Europe in a very short time. Unfortunately, this will bring the world to the brink of annihilation.

Voodoo in Haiti

The Telegraph wrote on February 1:

“Every evening, Monique Henri offers thanks to the voodoo deity Ogu Feray at a shrine in her home for sparing her family from the earthquake. She used to be a regular worshipper at her local Catholic church. But these days she goes there less often. The disaster has moved voodoo centre-stage in Haiti. Yesterday, 1,000 members of the national convention of voodoo priests met in an emergency session to formulate their response to it. Failure to take decisive action, they warned, could bring down another disaster on the shattered country.

“The devastation in Haiti has led many in the traumatised population to seek solace in faith and mysticism and there has been a move by some to turn back towards the old religion, with a marked rise in the numbers taking part in voodoo ceremonies and rituals.

“… the foreigners have trouble competing with voodoo, the fusion of African religions and Christianity which found its first adherents among the original slave population, and which is now deeply ingrained in the culture of the country. It’s a faith that leaps barriers: as the Haitian saying goes, people here are ’60 per cent Catholic, 40 per cent Protestant and 100 per cent voodoo.'”

The Bible predicts that in the end time, the world will refuse to repent and submit to God and rather continue to worship demons (Revelation 9:20). Haiti is not an exception, as the next article about the U.S. Air Force shows.

U.S. Air Force’s Worship Areas for Pagan Worship

The Associated Press reported on February 1:

“The Air Force Academy has set aside an outdoor worship area for Pagans, Wiccans, Druids and other Earth-centered believers… A double circle of stones atop a hill on the campus near Colorado Springs has been designated for the group, which previously met indoors… Lt. Col. William Ziegler, one of the academy’s chaplains, said designating the space is part of the school’s effort to foster religious tolerance and to defend the constitutional guarantee of religious freedom…

“The school also has worship facilities for Protestant and Catholic Christians, Jews, Muslims and Buddhists… The academy has about 4,000 cadets. The school is one of five U.S. service academies, including West Point and Annapolis. Cadets graduate as second lieutenants.”

Pope Condemns U.K. “Equality Rights” Laws

AFP wrote on February 2:

“Gay-rights campaigners and secularists called on Tuesday for protests during a visit to Britain by Pope Benedict XVI this year after he condemned equality legislation seen as friendly to gays… [The pope said] that ‘the effect of some of the legislation designed to achieve this goal has been to impose unjust limitations on the freedom of religious communities to act in accordance with their beliefs. In some respects it actually violates the natural law upon which the equality of all human beings is grounded and by which it is guaranteed.’

“Observers said the pontiff was referring to legislation that took effect on January 1, 2009 preventing adoption agencies — including Catholic ones — from discriminating against gay couples.”

Mail-On-Line wrote on February 2:

“The Pope yesterday hit out at Britain’s equality legislation, claiming Harriet Harman’s attempts to bring in new laws enforced sinful behaviour.

“The National Secular Society (NSS) today said it would mount a protest campaign against the visit made up of gay groups, victims of clerical abuse, feminists, family planning organisations and pro-abortion groups among others.

“His remarks have been interpreted as an attack on the Sexual Orientation Regulations which forced Catholic adoption agencies to consider gay couples as potential adoptive parents. By the time the regulations came into force in January last year, five of the agencies in England and Wales had cut ties with their Roman Catholic dioceses in order to comply with the new laws…

“Despite praising Britain’s ‘firm commitment to equality of opportunity for all members of society’, the world’s most powerful religious leader turned his guns on Miss Harman’s equality agenda, which many in the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church say could force them to hire homosexuals or transsexuals.

“The powerful attack from Rome will deepen Miss Harman’s difficulties over her Bill. The criticism, unexpected by ministers since it comes from abroad, follows last week’s emphatic rejection by the House of Lords of clauses Catholic churches feared would force them to hire actively homosexual priests and staff, or force Catholics to allow women to become priests. Miss Harman’s Bill has already provoked deep opposition from the Church of England…

“When he visits the UK the Pope is expected to address MPs and peers on the issue of religious freedom from the spot in Westminster Hall where Sir Thomas More was condemned to death in 1535 for opposing the adultery of Henry VIII.”

While the Roman Catholic Church has been officially condemning homosexuality, Jesuit priests perpetrated despicable sex abuse crimes against boys in Germany and other countries, as the next article reports.

Sex Scandal at German Catholic School

The Local wrote on February 2:

“The scope of a child sex abuse scandal that was uncovered at an elite Berlin Catholic school last week has spread to other parts of Germany and beyond, the provincial superior for the country’s Jesuit order… has revealed.

“In addition to the 20 victims who have come forward at the Canisius College in Berlin, three from Hamburg and another two from the town of St. Blasien in the state of Baden-Württemberg have also said they were abused by the same two priests in the 1970s and 1980s]. There are also indications from Church files that one of the perpetrators… may have also sexually abused children in Chile and Spain up until 1990.

“In a statement addressed to his victims over the weekend, the 65-year-old former sports teacher Wolfgang S., who left the order in 1992, said it was ‘a sad fact that I abused children and young people for years under pseudo-educational pretexts’… Wolfgang S., who currently lives in South America, claimed that he had informed his Jesuit superiors of his dark past in 1991. Jesuit provincial leader Dartmann said over the weekend that the order did know of his crimes, and has hired a lawyer ‘to ascertain what the Jesuits specifically knew at the time, and what steps were taken.’

“According to Dartmann, Wolfgang S. taught between 1975 and 1979 at the Canisius College before moving on to the Saint Ansgar School in Hamburg between 1979 and 1982. Then in 1982 he went the St. Blasien in the Black Forest and stayed until 1984 before moving on to Chile in 1985. He was also reportedly under psychiatric care while he served in Hamburg and St. Blasien.

“The second suspect in the Canisius case, 69-year-old former religion teacher Peter R., taught religion at Canisius College between 1972 and 1981 in Berlin, before he moved on to Göttingen to work with youth between 1982 and 1989. He was suspended between 1989 and 1992, and then left the order in 1995. The church now has no contact with him, Dartmann said.”

No French Citizenship for Burqua-Wearing Muslims

On February 3, Deutsche Welle reported:

“France’s Prime Minister Francois Fillon said Wednesday on Europe 1 radio he would sign a decree sent to him by Immigration Minister Eric Besson refusing citizenship to a Moroccan man. The reason, he said, was that the man stated in his application he would never allow his wife to leave the home without a full veil and that a woman ‘is an inferior being.’ Fillon said the applicant does not respect French values of secularism and equality of the sexes… The applicant’s wife is a French citizen, Fillon said.

“France has made similar citizenship decisions in the past. A veiled Moroccan woman was denied citizenship by a French court two years ago because the court claimed her ‘radical’ practice of Islam was incompatible with French values…

“This most recent case comes as France engages in a heated national debate about what it means to be French and whether the burqa has a place in French society. President Nicolas Sarkozy has said the burqa was ‘not welcome’ in secular France, and last week a parliamentary commission recommended banning burqas in schools, hospitals, government offices and on public transportation. Sarkozy and his government have pushed for some sort of burqa ban.”

These decisions by the French government show the ongoing struggle of a Catholic country against non-Catholic beliefs–especially the Muslim faith. We can expect those controversies to intensify and to become (more) violent in the near future.

Guilty of Homicide for Failing to Seek Medical Help

The Oregonian on February 2:

“A Clackamas County jury found Jeffrey and Marci Beagley guilty today of criminally negligent homicide for failing to seek medical care for their 16-year-old son Neil Beagley [who] died June 17, 2008, of an undiagnosed and untreated urinary tract blockage. Instead of taking their son to a doctor when he became ill, the Beagleys treated him with faith healing – prayer, anointing with oil and laying on of hands.

“The Beagleys will be sentenced Feb. 18. They could face a maximum of 10 years in prison, although the normal sentencing range for people with no criminal history would be 16 to 18 months in prison. They could also be sentenced to probation… The Beagleys are the first parents from the Followers of Christ church in Oregon City to be convicted of homicide in the faith-healing death of a child.

“Legislators cracked down on faith healing in 1999, due in large part to a history of child deaths associated with the members of the church. A change in law eliminated the spiritual treatment defense for cases involving second-degree manslaughter and first- and second-degree criminal mistreatment.”

It is important that Christian parents know of the stance of their government regarding faith healing of children. Note this excerpt from page 36 of our booklet, “Sickness and Healing–What the Bible Tells Us”:

“If, as a parent, your individual conviction prohibits you from consulting doctors or taking medications, then you are not to violate your conviction (compare Romans 14:23). But it is always good to evaluate your conviction based on the Bible, to make sure that it is not the product of human reasoning or pre-conceived notions. In addition, the law in most countries prescribes that, as a parent, you are to seek medical help for your sick child. If you fail to do so, the government might take your child away from you, or, if the child should die, you may face charges of involuntary manslaughter, or worse.

“Additionally, faith is necessary in order to be healed. But what if your child does not have the required faith? God does not transfer your faith to that of the child. The Bible clearly states that God does not apply the righteousness of the parents to the children (Ezekiel 14:19–20). Romans 14:22 asks, ‘Do you have faith? Have it to yourself before God!’

“This is not to say that parents are not to teach their children the necessity of having faith in God when they are sick. They are, in fact, supposed to encourage them to ask God for healing by asking the elders of the church to anoint them with oil and to pray over them. We are only addressing here those parents who, because of conscientious reasons, would refuse to consult and work with doctors and get medical help. Even though parents are to teach their children to place their faith in GOD for healing, they should not withhold medical help from them, if it is due (compare Proverbs 3:27).”

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