Current Events

Oklahoma’s Killer Tornado

The Associated Press reported on May 21:

“Everything had to come together just perfectly to create the killer tornado in Moore, Okla.: wind speed, moisture in the air, temperature and timing. And when they did, the awesome energy released over that city dwarfed the power of the atomic bomb that leveled Hiroshima… Wind speeds were estimated at between 200 and 210 mph. The death count is 24 so far, including at least nine children. The United States averages about one EF5 a year, but this was the first in nearly two years…

“Several meteorologists contacted by The Associated Press used real time measurements, some made by Schumacher, to calculate the energy released during the storm’s 40-minute life span. Their estimates ranged from 8 times to more than 600 times the power of the Hiroshima bomb, with more experts at the high end. Their calculations were based on energy measured in the air and then multiplied over the size and duration of the storm…

“The United States’ Great Plains is the ‘best place on Earth’ for the formation of violent tornadoes because of geography… Scientists know the key ingredients that go into a devastating tornado. But they are struggling to figure out why they develop in some big storms and not others…”

Pope Francis an Exorcist?

The Associated Press reported on May 21:

“Is Pope Francis an exorcist? The question has been swirling ever since Francis laid his hands Sunday on the head of a young man after celebrating Mass in St. Peter’s Square. The young man heaved deeply a half-dozen times, shook, and he then slumped in his wheelchair as Francis prayed over him. The television station of the Italian bishops’ conference said it had surveyed exorcists, who agreed there was ‘no doubt’ that Francis either performed an exorcism or a prayer to free the man from the devil.

“The Vatican was more cautious Tuesday. In a statement, it said Francis ‘didn’t intend to perform any exorcism. But as he often does for the sick or suffering, he simply intended to pray for someone who was suffering who was presented to him.’ Fueling the speculation is Francis’ obsession with Satan, a frequent subject of his homilies, and an apparent surge in demand for exorcisms among the faithful despite the irreverent treatment the rite often receives from Hollywood…

“Italian newspapers noted that the late Pope John Paul II performed an exorcism in 1982 — near the same spot where Francis prayed over the young disabled man on Sunday.”

You might want to read our Q&A on the issue of exorcism.

“Pope Francis Elected after Supernatural ‘Signs’”?

The Telegraph wrote on May 14:

“Pope Francis elected after supernatural ‘signs’ in the Conclave, says Cardinal. The surprise election of Pope Francis came about because of a series of supernatural ‘signs’, one of the leading Cardinals in the Roman Catholic Church has claimed…

“Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, the Archbishop of Vienna, who was himself widely tipped as a possible successor to Pope Benedict, said he had personally had two ‘strong signs’ that Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio was ‘the chosen one’ in the run up to vote. He said only divine intervention could explain the speed with which the Argentine Cardinal – who did not feature on any of the main lists of likely candidates compiled by Vatican experts – was elected.

“Speaking to an Anglican conference in London, he also said the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev Justin Welby, had a ‘strange similarity’ to the new Pope. He said that the two elections were a ‘little miracle’ and a ‘sign from the Lord’ that the two churches should work towards closer unity…”

And they will hear of signs and wonders… and many will be deceived…

The Pope and Merkel

The Associated Press reported on May 18:

“German Chancellor Angela Merkel, mindful of the importance of Christian voters in September elections, met with Pope Francis on Saturday during a quick trip to Rome… Merkel spoke privately for 45 minutes with the pope…

“Her Christian Democrat party depends heavily on support from Protestant and Catholic voters… For its part, the Vatican is eager for allies in its campaign to win over more Catholics… The chancellor said the pope had stressed the world needs a strong and just Europe…”

The mass tabloid, Bild, added on May 18 that the “two key figures for the future of Europe seem to have found a good connection, and that not only in just a few similarities… The Swiss Cardinal said on Friday that Europe needs a ‘unified spiritual currency.’ [Angela Merkel, the daughter of a Protestant minister, said that] the Catholic Church has a ‘central role’ in light of the Christian roots of Europe.”

In Revelation 17, we read about a woman (a religious power) riding a beast (a political power). This picture is also drawn from European mythology, according to which the maiden Europa was carried away by the Greek god Zeus, who had changed into a bull. Now we see again the political power under German leadership collaborating with the religious power. In due time, things will become more focused. To what extent, exactly, we don’t know, but we might consider an article in the Austrian press (news-at), dated May 8, 2013, to the effect that more than 60% of Austrians would again like to see a king ruling over them. However, in case of a monarchy, Austria would not have a king, but an emperor and an empress—Karl von Habsburg-Lothringen (son of Otto von Habsburg, who died in 2011), as well as Karl’s wife, Francesca von Habsburg-Lothringen.

Coronation of the Monarch–Church of England to Be “Hospitable” to Other Faiths

The Telegraph wrote on May 19:

“The coronation of the next monarch will include a role for people of other faiths besides Christianity, in a break with a thousand years of history, The Sunday Telegraph has learnt… Church of England leaders have accepted the need to be ‘hospitable’ to other faiths within any future service at Westminster Abbey, in order to reflect the spiritual diversity of modern Britain… Senior church figures told this newspaper that it was now accepted that other faiths should be recognised within the coronation service for the first time. It will not, however, be a ‘multi-faith’ service in the sense of a ceremony that treats all faiths as equal.
“Representatives of other religions are likely to be asked to participate in a neutral symbolic act such as the lighting of candles, or to read from a text expressing shared values, rather than praying out loud or reading their own sacred texts.

“The Church considers the coronation to be a royal ordination, setting apart the monarch for a sacred purpose under God, and will resist any compromise of that. The ceremony contains elements dating back to 963, and is always written by the Archbishop of Canterbury, currently the Most Rev Justin Welby. The service is held at Westminster Abbey under the leadership of the Earl Marshal, currently the Duke of Norfolk, with the assistance of the Dean of Westminster, the Very Rev Dr John Hall.

“The Coronation Oath Act of 1689 requires the monarch to swear to uphold the Protestant faith, and the ceremony includes Christian sacraments such as Holy Communion and the anointing of the monarch by the Archbishop. Those will remain intact.

“Any changes will, none the less, be a dramatic break with the past. Dr Robert Morris of the constitution unit at University College London said: ‘Essentially, the last coronation… was an Anglican Christian service. No Popery allowed, etc. The Archbishop of Canterbury refused to give space to any of the other Churches, let alone faiths.’… There was some consternation in the Church seven years ago when it was reported that the Prince of Wales would like a multi-faith service to follow the Christian one, with readings and prayers by people of the Muslim, Sikh and Jewish faiths.

“Dr Hall went further in 2006, saying: ‘The coronation service needs to find the right way of including people of other faiths. It must be different in some ways because of the nature of society and how things have changed.’ The archbishop at the time, Dr Rowan Williams, was opposed, saying: ‘I am not a believer in multi-faith services..’”

Rabbanites vs. Karaites

In our last Update, we pointed out that the Karaites were celebrating Pentecost this year on the correct day (Sunday, May 19), while the Rabbanites (orthodox Judaism) observed it on wrong dates (Tuesday, May 14 and/or Wednesday, May 15). The article below shows a major controversy between the Rabbanites and the Karaites. It must be said that in quite a few cases, both parties are wrong, but the Karaites are correct on the issue as to when to observe Pentecost. They say it must be celebrated, in counting fifty days from that Sunday which falls within the Days of Unleavened Bread, following the weekly Sabbath. This is clearly correct, as Leviticus 23:15-16 commands to count “fifty days to the day after the seventh Sabbath.” This means, obviously, fifty days after the Sunday following the seventh weekly Sabbath. Pentecost therefore must be kept on a Sunday. The Rabbanites kept it this year on a Tuesday (May 14) or a Wednesday (May 15). By no stretch of the imagination can it be said that Tuesday or Wednesday is a day after the seventh SABBATH.

The Economist wrote on May 18:

“When is a Jew not a Jew? When he’s a Karaite. Or so says Israel’s chief rabbinate, which, after 65 years of relative harmony with an ancient Jewish sect, is reopening an old and bitter schism. In recent months, rabbis working for Israel’s ministry of religion have deemed Karaite marriages invalid, fined their butchers for claiming to be kosher, and demanded that Karaites marrying Orthodox Jewish women should convert, sometimes having to undergo tavila, or baptism…

“For over 1,300 years Karaites have battled with Rabbanites (adherents to mainstream Judaism) over their rejection of the Talmud, the corpus of an oral tradition that Rabbanites claim God gave Moses with the written Torah on Mount Sinai. Clinging to the biblical word alone, Karaites regard skullcaps, phylacteries (little leather boxes containing Torah scrolls), matrilineal descent and non-biblical festivals, such as the Festival of Lights, as pagan accretions. Like Muslims or—as they prefer to say—like Temple-era Jews, they prostrate barefoot on carpets…

“Once almost as numerous as Rabbanites, today’s Karaites make up less than 1% of Israel’s 6m Jews. Persecution has whittled their number down. The greatest classical Jewish theologian, Moses Maimonides, denounced them as minim, or heretics, and banned them from public prayer; others termed their children bastards, since their parents married in weddings which diverged from the Orthodox rite. The rabbinate recently slapped a fine of 1,000 shekels ($280) on a Karaite butcher for calling his meat kosher. The chief rabbinate, Israel’s state religious authority, reluctantly began legitimising their marriages again after a recent order by Israel’s Supreme Court, but it continues to argue that since Karaite rites are not Jewish, Karaites have lesser Jewish rights, too. ‘Israel is a Jewish state and Jews have superior rights,’ says the chief rabbinate’s spokesman. ‘But the Karaites are not Jewish.’

“Karaites… have… stopped lighting candles on Friday nights, in line with a biblical injunction against burning flames on the Sabbath…”

Of course, the Bible nowhere prohibits to light a candle on the Sabbath. Since both parties are wrong in so many instances, the confusion as to what the Old Testament really teaches is enormous, and they are no lights shining in the darkness.

Darwin Doubted His Own Theory of Evolution

The Examiner wrote on May 16:

“Charles Darwin’s ‘tree of life,’ which shows how species are purportedly related through evolutionary history, is wrong and needs to be replaced… Modern scientists and geneticists are now saying that representing evolutionary history as a tree is misleading… ‘The tree of life is being politely buried,’ said Michael Rose, an evolutionary biologist at the University of California, Irvine. ‘What’s less accepted is that our whole fundamental view of biology needs to change.’

“It is interesting to note, too, that Darwin, evolution’s best-known advocate, when advancing his theory of evolution, had his own doubts about mankind’s origin and indicated an awareness of his theory’s limitations.

“In his conclusion to The Origin of Species, he wrote of the grandeur of the ‘view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed by the Creator into a few forms or into one,’ thus making it evident that the subject of origins was open to further examination. And Darwin conceded in Chapter 9 of his book that ‘the distinctness of specific [living] forms and their not being blended together by innumerable transitional links, is a very obvious difficulty.’”

But even those scientists who doubt Darwin’s explanation of evolution do not doubt the concept of evolution. They are still as atheistic or antagonistic towards God, if not more, as Darwin was.

Russia’s True Goals in Syria

The Wall Street wrote on May 16:

“Russia has sent a dozen or more warships to patrol waters near its naval base in Syria, a buildup that U.S. and European officials see as a newly aggressive stance meant partly to warn the West and Israel not to intervene in Syria’s bloody civil war… Russia supports Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, while the U.S. has called for his removal…

“Hezbollah and its chief sponsor, Iran, also have rallied around Mr. Assad, sharing Russia’s interest in keeping the regime in place. Recent Israeli airstrikes inside Syria have targeted missiles believed to be bound from Tehran to Hezbollah… Russia has strongly protested previous Israeli strikes in Syria.

“Amid the strategic turmoil, U.S. and European defense officials say Russia appears to be trying to project power to deter outside intervention in Syria, which it sees as its foothold in the Middle East. U.S. and European officials believe Mr. Putin wants to prevent the West from contemplating a Libya-style military operation inside Syria…”

The Times of Israel added on May 18:

“On Thursday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Moscow would proceed with its planned delivery of the highly sophisticated S-300 air-defense system to Syria, despite pleas from Israel not to do so and a reported warning by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that the delivery could lead to war. According to a report published in the New York Times Thursday, Russia has also sent advanced antiship cruise missiles to bolster Assad’s forces… An Israeli source told Channel 2 on Friday night that Israel had ‘made clear’ that it would not allow advanced weaponry to be transferred from Syria to Hezbollah.”

France Wants to Intervene Militarily Around the Globe

Defense News wrote on May 17:

“In a wide-ranging speech during a visit here, French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian,… emphasize[d] three priorities: defending the French ‘homeland,’ maintaining a nuclear deterrent and ensuring France can intervene militarily around the globe… 

“He also plugged the strategy’s call for greater emphasis on cyber capabilities and special operations forces, as well as urging ample investments in intelligence and power-projection forces. The latter, he said, is needed so France can repeat its recent mission in Mali, where it sent combat forces to fight al-Qaida-affiliated elements in the northern part of that country…

“Le Drian said France will maintain a force in Africa in case it has to return to Mali, but also to intervene ‘in neighboring countries … to intervene in any terrorist activity.’”

“Europe Can Survive Without Britain”

The Telegraph wrote on May 16:

“François Hollande launched a three-pronged attack on Britain saying that Europe would survive without the UK, while claiming David Cameron risked splintering the EU and that his austerity policies were failing… Mr Hollande told 400 journalists gathered at the Elysée Palace: ‘Europe existed before Britain joined it.’

“France, Germany and four other nations were long part of the European Economic Community before Britain joined fully in 1973… There were overtones of Charles de Gaulle in his warning that Britain would not slow down European construction. De Gaulle twice vetoed Britain’s entry to the EEC, claiming its ‘deep-seated hostility’ towards European construction would result in the break-up of the community…

“Mr Hollande promised to lead the bloc towards ‘political union’ within two years – implying treaty change.  ‘Germany has several times said it is ready for political union, for a new phase in integration. Well France is ready to give body to this political union and gives itself two years to do so … It is a question of European urgency. If Europe does not advance it will fall or even be wiped out from the world map … My duty is to bring Europe out of its lethargy.’”

The EUObserver wrote on May 16:

“Hollande has called for the creation of a eurozone government as a solution to the wide-spread recession that threatens ‘the very identity’ of Europe.’”

“Economists Warn Against German Euro Exit”

The Local wrote on May 18:

“While a third of Germans would rather pay with the old Deutsche mark than the euro, economists warn that a German exit from the currency union would result in a disaster. ‘A German exit would be an economic and political catastrophe of the first degree,’ warned Holger Schmieding, the chief economist of the Berenberg Bank. ‘Even a believable rumour that Germany would exit the euro would result in a massive capital flight from the countries of southern Europe to Germany.’…

“A Prognos study showed that the German economy would grow by 0.5 percent less annually if it used its own currency. That would cost the country 200,000 jobs. On the other hand if you add up the expected growth advantages of euro membership between 2013 and 2025 there would be a profit of nearly €1.2 trillion – or about half Germany’s gross domestic product in a year.

“Thomas Straubhaar of the Hamburg HWWI economic institute thinks a return to the D-mark would be ‘a worst possible scenario.’… Actually during the D-mark years money in Germany was not better off than it is today. The 1990s saw average inflation increases of 2.2 percent. In the 1980s the rate was 2.8 percent. Germany’s inflation rate has dropped to a yearly average of 2.0 percent ever since the European Central Bank took over following monetary union in 2002.”

While Britain, in all likelihood, will exit Europe, Germany will not—and neither will it abandon the euro.

US Government and Appeals Court Deny Christian Homeschoolers Asylum

The Local wrote on May 16:

“An American appeals court has denied a fundamentalist Christian family from Germany the right to asylum in the US. The family claimed they were being persecuted for not being allowed to homeschool their children.

“In its Tuesday ruling, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati, Ohio, said there was a difference between the persecution of a group and prosecution of violators of a law that is applied across the board – in this case, Germany’s rule on mandatory schooling…

“An immigration judge in the state of Tennessee initially ruled in 2010 that parents Uwe and Hannelore Romeike, and their five children, were free to remain in the United States, where they had been living for the past five years. But the US government successfully appealed the decision two years later, and on Tuesday the Cincinnati court upheld that ruling.

“The Romeikes, originally from Baden-Württemberg, said they decided to homeschool their children because public schools were teaching children to adopt an ‘anti-Christian worldview,’ AP said. The German school curriculum was ‘more about vampires and witches than it is about God,’ Uwe Romeike was quoted as saying. Those who do not comply with Germany’s compulsory school rules face fines and jail time. By the time the Romeikes left for the United States in 2008, they owed the German government €7,000.

“The Home School Legal Defense Association, which represented the Romeikes in court, said Germany’s policy on homeschooling is tantamount to persecution, and called Tuesday’s ruling ‘inexplicable’. ‘We believe the Sixth Circuit is wrong and we will appeal their decision. America has room for this family and we will do everything we can to help them,’ HSLDA founder Michael Farris said in a statement on the organisation’s website.”

The decision of the Sixth Circuit Appeals Court sounds rather odd and unintelligible, and reminds us painfully, in principle, of the persecution of the Jews in Nazi Germany and America’s refusal to grant them asylum.

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