John McCain Condemns CIA Torture
On December 14, 2014, Newsmax reported the following:
“Some of the practices used by CIA interrogators to gather information from captured prisoners went against ‘everything that America values and stands for,’ Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain said Sunday. McCain believes it was right to release a controversial Senate report on the matter last week… McCain, who was tortured while being held as a prisoner of war in Vietnam, said the CIA’s practices ‘were violations of the Geneva convention for the treatment of prisoners.’… ‘What we need to do is come clean, we move forward and we vow never to do it again,’ said McCain…
“McCain… [noted] that in meetings with Vice President Dick Cheney and then-CIA director Gen. Michael Hayden, he pointed out that ‘these things are torture, in violation of the Geneva Convention… You can’t claim that tying someone to the floor and have them freeze to death is not torture,’ said McCain. ‘You can’t say [it’s not torture when] 18 times someone is waterboarded,’ a technique that began with the Spanish Inquisition and was also done during World War II…
“And McCain agreed with experts that torture does not work as an interrogation technique, quoting Gen. David Petraeus. ‘There’s no man alive that is a military leader that I respect more than Gen. Petraeus,’ said McCain, quoting him as saying that while ‘we are warriors, we are also human beings…’”
Former Vice President Dick Cheney strongly condemned the report. He said that he endorsed the CIA activities, and that he would approve of them all over again. Former President George Bush was apparently of the same persuasion. These are alarming and extremely disturbing signs. Some do not seem to learn from mistakes at all. Mr. Cheney also denied that Japanese soldiers were prosecuted for waterboarding Americans. The Washington Post reported on December 15 that Mr. Cheney is clearly wrong, giving him “Three Pinocchios.”
However, in a shocking article of the Washington Post, dated December 16, it was revealed that “A majority of Americans believe that the harsh interrogation techniques used on terrorism suspects after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks were justified, even as about half the public says the treatment amounted to torture.” Why are we then surprised to hear that God is VERY ANGRY with the USA?
Jeb Bush for President? No, Says Donald Trump
Newsmax wrote on December 16:
“Count billionaire Donald Trump among the unimpressed with former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush’s announcement Tuesday that he will form an exploratory committee to consider a presidential run. ‘The last thing we need is another Bush,’ Trump said Tuesday on Fox News Channel’s ‘Your World with Neil Cavuto.’ ‘I’m not a fan of the job his brother did at all. I think his brother was a terrible president,’ Trump said. ‘Look, I’m a Republican, and I’m a very conservative guy.’ But, he said: ‘I’ve had it with the Bushes.’…
“Barack Obama has been a ‘terrible president’ Trump said, but he said George W. Bush wasn’t much better. ‘And Bush gave us Obama,’ he said. Trump also blamed George W. Bush for appointing John Roberts as chief justice, thus bringing about the 2012 ruling in favor of Obamacare. George W. Bush presided over the ‘total destabilization the world,’ Trump said…
“He wouldn’t say how he would vote if it came down to a general election between Jeb Bush and Hillary Clinton. He said Clinton has her own problems with the far-left wing of the Democrat Party pushing for a more liberal candidate.”
JTA wrote on December 16:
“Jeb Bush announced his intention to ‘actively’ explore the presidency in a Christmas and Hanukkah greeting message. ‘Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah!’ the former Florida governor said in a Facebook message posted Tuesday… Bush likely would attract substantial Jewish Republican support because of the closeness of Jewish Republicans to his brother, former President George W. Bush, and because he is perceived as a moderate relative to other candidates.”
Congress Approves Medical Marijuana
The Los Angeles Times reported on December 16:
“Tucked deep inside the 1,603-page federal spending measure is a provision that effectively ends the federal government’s prohibition on medical marijuana and signals a major shift in drug policy. The bill’s passage over the weekend marks the first time Congress has approved nationally significant legislation backed by legalization advocates. It brings almost to a close two decades of tension between the states and Washington over medical use of marijuana.
“Under the provision, states where medical pot is legal would no longer need to worry about federal drug agents raiding retail operations. Agents would be prohibited from doing so. The Obama administration has largely followed that rule since last year as a matter of policy. But the measure approved as part of the spending bill, which President Obama plans to sign this week, will codify it as a matter of law… Congress’ action marked the emergence of a new alliance in marijuana politics: Republicans are taking a prominent role in backing states’ right to allow use of a drug the federal government still officially classifies as more dangerous than cocaine.
“Some Republicans are pivoting off their traditional anti-drug platform at a time when most voters live in states where medical marijuana is legal, in many cases as a result of ballot measures. Polls show that while Republican voters are far less likely than the broader public to support outright legalization, they favor allowing marijuana for medical use by a commanding majority… Approval of the pot measure comes after the Obama administration directed federal prosecutors last year to stop enforcing drug laws that contradict state marijuana policies. Since then, federal raids of marijuana merchants and growers who are operating legally in their states have been limited to those accused of other violations, such as money laundering.”
Appointment of First Female Bishop for the Church of England
BBC News reported on December 18:
“Libby Lane has been announced as the first female bishop for the Church of England, just a month after a historic change to canon law… The appointment will end centuries of male leadership of the Church and comes 20 years after women became priests. Mrs Lane was ordained a deacon in 1993 and a priest in 1994… Prime Minister David Cameron congratulated Mrs Lane and said: ‘This is an historic appointment and an important step forward for the Church towards greater equality in its senior positions’… The first women priests were ordained in 1994, but to date women have not been able to take on the Church’s most senior roles. Archbishop Justin Welby is ‘absolutely delighted’ with the Church of England’s first female bishop…
“But Mrs Lane will not be able to enter the House of Lords, as the post she is taking up is a junior or suffragan appointment within the Diocese of Chester… The first women bishop eligible to take up a seat in the Lords is expected to be announced in the new year… The bishop and her husband, who is also a priest, were one of the first married couples in the Church of England to be ordained together.’
All of this is totally against biblical injunctions.
Asylum Seekers Pose a Problem for Germany’s Established Main Parties
The New York Times reported on December 15:
“With visible and vocal far-right protests against foreigners swelling in Germany in recent weeks, Chancellor Angela Merkel forcefully denounced the demonstrations on Monday, affirming that the country has both a special obligation and a desire to welcome anyone in need of sanctuary. More than 150,000 people sought asylum in Germany in the first 11 months of this year, many of them refugees fleeing the conflict in Syria… In addition, a looming labor shortage means Germany is increasingly attracting immigrants to work here.
“‘There is freedom of assembly in Germany but there is no place here for incitement and lies about people who come to us from other countries,’ Ms. Merkel told reporters on Monday, hours before a group opposing alleged ‘Islamization’ held its ninth weekly protest in Dresden, where attendance has swelled from a few hundred to 15,000 this week.
“‘Everyone needs to be careful that they are not taken advantage of by the people who organize such events,’ Ms. Merkel said. But her warning did not seem to deter the marchers. From 10,000 last week, they again strengthened their presence, despite a week of mounting establishment concern about right-wing opposition to Germany’s open door for immigrants. More refugees are seeking asylum in Germany than in any other country, straining Germans’ tolerance for foreigners and taxing the government’s ability to find housing for them…
“The protesters in Dresden [are] a mix of young men, local neo-Nazis and ordinary citizens… The three most prominent television hosts each devoted a whole show to the protests in Dresden, which are led by a group known as Pegida, a German acronym for Patriotic Europeans Against Islamization of the West…
“The protests have raised the question of whether Germany, despite relative prosperity and low unemployment, is vulnerable to the kind of populism on much stronger display in neighboring France, where polls show Marine Le Pen and her Front National party are favored by 25 percent to 30 percent of voters, or in Britain, where the anti-immigrant U.K. Independence Party has rattled the governing Conservative Party.
“A new party, Alternative for Germany, struck a populist tone and won local legislative seats this fall in three eastern German states, including Saxony, which in the past had elected neo-Nazis in the National Democratic Party to its state legislature. Every February, on the anniversary of the Allied bombing of 1945, Dresden is the venue for Germany’s biggest annual far-right protest…
“Over the weekend, Alternative party leaders clashed over whether to heed the Dresden demonstrators. One leader, Alexander Gauland, said in a telephone interview that he would go Monday and talk with Pegida marchers. ‘I would like to know who they are,’ he said, condemning other politicians for dismissing the Dresden crowd as out of hand. ‘Obviously, for the most part, these are normal people from right in the middle of society,’ Mr. Gauland said.”
These are interesting developments, and it will remain to be seen whether an individual will arise on the German political landscape who will strike a chord with most of the German people.
Islamist Gunman in Australia Heightens Fear of Islamic Terror Attacks
The Times of Israel wrote on December 16:
“Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sent an official letter of condolence to his Australian counterpart Tony Abbott Tuesday after two people were killed the day before during a hostage standoff at a Sydney coffee shop. Netanyahu called the deadly 16-hour standoff with an Islamist gunman a ‘brutal terrorist attack,’ and highlighted the common struggle against terrorism faced by both countries.
“‘Israel and Australia face the same scourge of ruthless Islamist terrorism which knows no geographic bounds and which targets innocent civilians indiscriminately. Now, more than ever, the international community must join hands and work together to defeat these forces of evil, which threaten the security of all civilized nations,’ Netanyahu wrote…
“The Iranian-born gunman… once was prosecuted for sending offensive letters to families of Australian troops killed in Afghanistan. Prime Minister Abbott said Monis had ‘a long history of violent crime, infatuation with extremism and mental instability.’ Authorities stressed that the actions were by a lone, disturbed individual and weren’t part of any larger terrorist plot.”
Even though he might have been a “lone wolf,” the worldwide fear of Islamist terror attacks grows. Note the next article.
Insane Terrorists Slaughter School Children and Teachers in Pakistan
The Washington Post wrote on December 16:
“The bloody siege of an elite army high school Tuesday by Taliban gunmen… killed at least 141 students and teachers… The mass targeting of children, in a military zone in the northwestern city of Peshawar, drew condemnation from around the world, as well as from across Pakistan’s political and religious spectrum — a rare display of unity in a country where Islamist violence is often quietly accepted and sometimes defended. The attack was also condemned by Taliban leaders in Afghanistan…
“The massacre was the most intimate assault ever against Pakistan’s military, the nation’s most respected and powerful institution…”
Deutsche Welle added on December 16:
“The leaders of Pakistan’s neighbors, Afghanistan and India… voiced their solidarity. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi took to Twitter to denounce the violence.”
Could horrible events like these bring India and Pakistan closer together?
EU Parliament Recognizes Palestinian Statehood
JTA wrote on December 17:
“The European Parliament passed a [nonbinding] resolution that supports in principle recognition of a Palestinian state as part of peace talks with Israel. The resolution, which was drawn up by five political groups, passed Wednesday in a 498-88 vote in Strasbourg… There were 111 abstentions.
“The measure affirms the parliament’s support for ‘in principle recognition of Palestinian statehood and the two-state solution,’ the statement said… Also in the resolution, the parliament reiterated ‘its strong support for the two-state solution on the basis of the 1967 borders, with Jerusalem as the capital of both states, with the secure State of Israel and an independent, democratic, contiguous and viable Palestinian State living side by side in peace and security on the basis of the right of self-determination and full respect of international law.’… [It] reiterated the EU’s position that Israeli settlements are illegal under international law.”
This “proposal” will never work.
“EU Court Rules Hamas Should Be Taken Off Terrorist List
” Bloomberg reported on December 17:
“The Palestinian militant group Hamas, which fought Israeli forces for nearly two months this year, won a court ruling that could lead to it being removed from a European Union list of terrorist organizations. The EU General Court in Luxembourg, in what was described as a procedural ruling, said that the bloc’s decision to place Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, on the list of terrorist groups wasn’t sufficiently thorough and was based “on factual imputations derived from the press and Internet.”
“Israel reacted with anger to the decision, seeing it as the latest in a series of European diplomatic moves the country views as favorable to the Palestinian cause. ‘We are not satisfied by the explanation offered by the Europeans that the removal of Hamas from the list of terrorist organizations is due to a procedural issue,’ Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in an e-mailed statement. ‘The burden of proof is on the European Union and we expect them to immediately return Hamas to the list that everyone knows it belongs on,’ he said.
“Hamas, which is also deemed a terrorist group by the U.S., is a militant Islamic movement that arose out of the Gaza Strip during the 1980s… ‘Removing Hamas from the terrorism blacklist is a victory for the Palestinian people,’ Musa Abu Marzouk, a Hamas spokesman in Gaza, said in an e-mail… The EU downplayed the court’s ruling, saying it was purely procedural and didn’t affect the bloc’s policy… The court, however, didn’t unfreeze Hamas funds in the region, delaying the ruling for three months to give the EU a chance to appeal.”
The Associated Press reported on December 18:
“Sternly warning the West it cannot defang the metaphorical Russian bear, a confident-looking President Vladimir Putin promised Thursday to shore up the plummeting ruble and revive the economy within two years… He said Western sanctions accounted for at least 25 percent of the ruble’s fall, but the main reason was Russia’s failure to ease its overwhelming dependence on oil and gas exports. In his speech, the man who has led Russia for 15 years sought to soothe market fears, saying the country has sufficient currency reserves…
“Following Putin’s performance, the Russian currency traded between 60 and 62 rubles to the dollar, roughly the same level as late Wednesday, when it rallied 12 percent after plummeting to a historic low of 80 rubles per dollar. The currency has lost about half its value since January. In Brussels, the EU beefed up its sanctions against Russia with a ban Thursday on investment in Crimea and other economic penalties, including measures aimed at keeping tourists away…
“Audi was the latest major company to suspend deliveries in Russia amid the ruble’s turmoil. Apple halted online sales earlier this week.”
Europe’s sanctions against Russia could back-fire.
President Obama’s Controversial Decision to Change Policy with Cuba
Mail On Line wrote on December 17:
“President Barack Obama declared the end of America’s ‘outdated approach’ to Cuba Wednesday, announcing the re-establishment of diplomatic relations as well as economic and travel ties with the communist island – a historic shift in U.S. policy that aims to bring an end to a half-century of Cold War enmity… As part of resuming diplomatic relations with Cuba, the U.S. will soon reopen an embassy in the capital of Havana and carry out high-level exchanges and visits between the governments. The U.S. is also easing travel bans to Cuba, including for family visits, official U.S. government business and educational activities. Tourist travel remains banned.”
Reuters added on December 17:
“Senator Marco Rubio said on Wednesday he would ‘make every effort’ to block moves by President Barack Obama toward normalizing relations with the Cuban government. ‘The president’s decision to reward the Castro regime and begin the path toward the normalization of relations with Cuba is inexplicable,’ Rubio said in a statement. The Florida Republican senator, who is Cuban-American, said he would use his role as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s Western Hemisphere subcommittee in the new Congress to try to block the plan.”
The Hill wrote on December 17:
“Sen. Robert Menendez (N.J.), the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, is slamming President Obama over the deal to release an American held in Cuba. ‘President Obama’s actions have vindicated the brutal behavior of the Cuban government,’ Menendez, known for his tough stance on Cuba, said in a statement. ‘There is no equivalence between an international aid worker and convicted spies who were found guilty of conspiracy to commit espionage against our nation.’
“American aid worker Alan Gross, who was held in Cuba for five years for trying to set up Internet for a small Jewish community, was released on Wednesday as the U.S. released three Cuban agents convicted of spying. Menendez said the move ‘sets an extremely dangerous precedent. It invites dictatorial and rogue regimes to use Americans serving overseas as bargaining chips. I fear that today’s actions will put at risk the thousands of Americans that work overseas to support civil society, advocate for access to information, provide humanitarian services, and promote democratic reforms.’
“Obama’s move to begin normalizing relations with Cuba is reverberating across the political world, with members of both parties blasting the decision…”
The Miami Herald wrote on December 17:
“The political ground shook in South Florida on Wednesday when President Barack Obama announced plans to restore full diplomatic relations with Communist Cuba. Miami, the heart of the Cuban exile community, reacted with a collective shock. Hardline opponents of the Castro regime lambasted the president for what they called a betrayal. But while critics were the loudest ones to decry the policy overhaul, more moderate proponents of greater engagement with the island welcomed the news as a step in the right direction…”
“The Obama Administration Cannot Be Relied On…”
The Weekly Standard wrote on December 17:
“Imagine for a moment that you are a Saudi, Emirati, Jordanian, or Israeli. Your main national security worry these days is Iran—Iran’s rise, its nuclear program, its troops fighting in Iraq and Syria, its growing influence from Yemen through Iraq and Syria to Lebanon. Your main ally against Iran for the past decades has been the United States. Naturally you worry about American policy. You remember President Obama’s outreach to Iran in 2009, and his failure to back the Iranian people’s protests in June of that year after the stolen election. You wonder if the United States can be relied on, or will one day announce a major policy shift.
“What shift? A rapprochement with Iran that ends the sanctions, throws an economic lifeline to the regime, re-establishes diplomatic relations with it—in exchange for nothing. That is, the Islamic Republic would make no concessions about its foreign or domestic policies. And the change in U.S. policy would show that in the long struggle between the United States and Iran since 1979, the Americans have finally blinked. And now, you turn on the TV and see the announcement about the change in American policy in Cuba. Re-establishment of diplomatic relations. Lots of changes in the embargo that will mean plenty more cash for the Castros. A change in the whole American official position vis-à-vis Cuba. In exchange, the Castro brothers have pledged to let 53 political prisoners out, free one American spy, and free the American hostage Alan Gross. As to real changes in the regime—changes in its foreign or domestic policies—none. Zero. Zip. So, you conclude that in the long struggle between the United States and the Castro regime since 1959, the Americans have finally blinked.
“Your conclusion about Iran is inevitable: that the Obama administration cannot be relied upon and is quite likely to abandon America’s Iran policy as well… The American collapse with respect to Cuba will have repercussions in the Middle East and elsewhere—in Asia, for the nations facing a rising China, and in Europe, for those near Putin’s newly aggressive Russia. What are American guarantees and promises worth if a fifty-year-old policy followed by Democrats like Johnson, Carter, and Clinton can be discarded overnight? In more than a few chanceries the question that will be asked as this year ends is ‘who is next to find that America is today more interested in propitiating its enemies than in protecting its allies?’”
Very important concerns indeed.
Breitbart reported on December 17:
“Pope Francis and the Vatican were involved in the negotiations with Cuba, according to a senior administration official who briefed reporters on background. ‘Pope Francis personally issued an appeal thorough a letter that he sent to President Obama and to President Raul Castro, calling on them to resolve the case of Alan Gross and the cases of the three Cubans who have been imprisoned here in the United States and also encouraging the United States and Cuba to pursue a closer relationship,’ the official noted.
“The Vatican also hosted the United States and Cuban delegations to discuss the political exchange of prisoners and ‘improving their relationship’ going forward. In March, President Obama spoke about Cuba with Pope Francis during his visit to the Vatican and has continued to work with the Vatican during the process… ‘The support of Pope Francis and the support of the Vatican was important to us,’ a Senior Administration official explained, pointing to the pontiff’s history with Latin America.
“The Obama administration also informed Pope Francis of the big diplomatic step between the two countries. ‘The Vatican welcomed that news,’ the official noted.”
Breitbart wrote on December 18:
“Pope Francis’ casual embrace of a communist regime contrasts sharply with the approach of Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict… Pope Francis’ perspective on the Cuban embargo is nothing new to the Vatican. His active involvement in negotiations, however, is. And given his rhetorical differences with his predecessors on the evils of communism, that activism should cause nervousness among more traditional Catholics in the mold of John Paul II and Benedict.”
We will see more and more that the Vatican will get actively involved in political matters.
All Dogs Go To Heaven?
USA Today wrote on December 12:
“Pope Francis continues to show he’s anything but traditional. During a recent public appearance, Francis comforted a boy whose dog had died, noting, ‘One day, we will see our animals again in the eternity of Christ. Paradise is open to all of God’s creatures.’… the remark is being seen by some as a reversal of conservative Catholic theology that states because they are soulless, animals can’t go to heaven… In 1990, Pope John Paul II said animals have souls, but his successor, Pope Benedict XVI, gave a 2008 sermon that seemed to say the opposite.
“Francis’ comment has now sparked a new debate on the subject, and the Humane Society says it has been flooded with e-mails. If Francis does, in fact, believe animals have souls, ‘then we ought to seriously consider how we treat them,’ a rep says. ‘We have to admit that these are sentient beings, and they mean something to God.’ PETA is also running with Francis’ remark, suggesting Catholics should move toward a vegan lifestyle.”
On December 12, The New York Times published the following “correction” of their previous article of December 11:
“An earlier version of this article misstated the circumstances of Pope Francis’ remarks. He made them in a general audience at the Vatican, not in consoling a distraught boy whose dog had died. The article also misstated what Francis is known to have said. According to Vatican Radio, Francis said: ‘The Holy Scripture teaches us that the fulfillment of this wonderful design also affects everything around us,’ which was interpreted to mean he believes animals go to heaven. Francis is not known to have said: ‘One day, we will see our animals again in the eternity of Christ. Paradise is open to all of God’s creatures.’ (Those remarks were once made by Pope Paul VI to a distraught child, and were cited in a Corriere della Sera article that concluded Francis believes animals go to heaven.)…”
Nevertheless, the “correction” aside, The New York Times had also stated this in their previous article of December 11:
“Pope Francis has given hope to gays, unmarried couples and advocates of the Big Bang theory. Now, he has endeared himself to dog lovers, animal rights activists and vegans… Italy’s Corriere della Sera newspaper, analyzing the pope’s remarks, concluded he believed animals have a place in the afterlife. It drew an analogy to comforting words that Pope Paul VI was said to have once told a distraught boy whose dog had died: ‘One day, we will see our animals again in the eternity of Christ. Paradise is open to all of God’s creatures.’…
“In his relatively short tenure as leader of the world’s one billion Roman Catholics since taking over from Benedict XVI, Francis, 77, has repeatedly caused a stir among conservatives in the church… So to some extent, it was not a surprise that Francis, an Argentine Jesuit who took his papal name from St. Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of animals, would suggest that they have a place in heaven.
“The question of whether animals go to heaven has been debated for much of the church’s history. Pope Pius IX, who led the church from 1846 to 1878, longer than any other pope, strongly supported the doctrine that dogs and other animals have no consciousness… Pope John Paul II appeared to reverse Pius in 1990 when he proclaimed that animals do have souls and are ‘as near to God as men are.’ But the Vatican did not widely publicize his assertion, perhaps because it so directly contradicted Pius, who was the first to declare the doctrine of papal infallibility in 1854.
“John Paul’s successor, Benedict, seemed to emphatically reject his view in a 2008 sermon in which he asserted that when an animal dies, it ‘just means the end of existence on earth.’”
It has been almost a recent routine for the Vatican to dispute or clarify something that Pope Francis has (allegedly) said. But the discussion aside, neither men nor animals have an immortal soul, and neither go to heaven at the time of death. Please read our free booklet, “Do We Have an Immortal Soul?”
On the other hand, the Bible reveals that man and animals have a spirit (but that spirit does not “live” independently from the body.) In a Q&A on our powers and abilities as members of the God Family we said this:
“1 Corinthians 15:45 tells us that Christ is ‘a life-giving spirit.’ That is, He is a Spirit being who can give and create LIFE. In fact, that is what He did before He became a human being. That is what He is doing today, and what He will continue to do after His return. We know, for instance, from the book of Revelation that all living things in the oceans and rivers will have died before His return (Revelation 16), but we also read in several passages that there will be fish in the Millennium (Ezekiel 47). This shows that God will create LIFE – in this case, physical fish. He created life when the surface of the earth was renewed; and He created (‘had prepared’ or ‘had made’) a great fish to swallow up Jonah (Jonah 1:17).
“This understanding has wide-ranging consequences. Some have wondered about the fate of our pets, when they die. Even though the Bible does not say anywhere that animals will be resurrected, as human beings will be, there is also nothing in the Bible that says that they will not be. We read that animals have a spirit, and while Solomon states that the spirit in man will go back to God who gave it, he wonders about the fate of the spirit of animals, without giving a decisive answer (Ecclesiastes 3:21). Consider that God can CREATE animals—including those resembling our pets. When scientists can clone animals today, how much more will God the Father and Jesus Christ be able to create or recreate animals that God had created in the first place?”
(Almost) Everyone Loves Pope Francis
USA Today wrote on December 12:
“… a recent Pew survey finds Francis has a 60% approval rating worldwide and 78% approval in the US… China may be growing fond of the pontiff, too, considering he allegedly refused a meeting with the Dalai Lama…”
The Washington Post wrote on December 11:
“Everyone, well almost everyone, seems to love Pope Francis. The Roman Catholic Church’s first Latin American pontiff has charmed global opinion since he ascended to his papal seat last year, championing causes of economic justice and the rights of migrants in a way that has endeared him to many outside of the church’s more than 1 billion faithful.
“A recent Pew survey of the pope’s popularity shows the depth of goodwill for him around the world… Unsurprisingly, the part of the world the pontiff’s rated worst was the Middle East… Even then, a similar number surveyed in the Middle East approve of Pope Francis as those who find him ‘unfavorable… The pope’s popularity is highest in the Vatican’s traditional backyard, Europe. Moreover… a considerable number of non-Catholics like the pope, even if he’s not the head of their own congregations. The ‘favorability’ gap between Catholics and non-Catholics is narrowest in Europe.”
A breakdown for European countries set forth the following:
84% of Europeans have a favorable view of the pope. In Germany, 94% of Catholics and 77% of Non-Catholics have a favorable view. The available figures are somewhat similar for Italy (97%/71%), Poland (95%/78%), France (93%/81%) and Spain (94%/69%).
Christmas Story All Wrong?
Although somewhat dated, we would like to bring again the following two articles to our readers’ attention, as they show that even the former leaders of the Roman Catholic Church and the Anglican Church know that there is something wrong with the entire Christmas story:
TIME wrote on November 22, 2012:
“Pope Benedict XVI has revealed … that Jesus may have been born earlier than previously thought… The suggestion that Jesus wasn’t actually born on Dec. 25 has been tirelessly debated by theologians, historians and spiritual leaders, but what makes this case different is that now the leader of the Catholic Church is the one asking the questions.
“The historical revisionism continues with the Pope raising the issue of the presence of animals at the birth of Christ. He reveals… that ‘there is no mention of animals in the Gospels.’ This may come as a shock to the thousands of schools currently preparing their Nativity plays. But Pope Benedict reassures his readers not to worry — that ‘no one will give up the oxen and the donkey in their Nativity scenes,’ notes the Telegraph. Even if animals did not feature at the birth, the Vatican seems happy to keep up the myth as it presents an elaborate life-size Nativity scene in St. Peter’s Square this Christmas.”
Even though the Vatican knows that this is not biblical, they continue to “keep up the myth.”
The Christian Post wrote on December 20, 2007
“The Archbishop of Canterbury, the spiritual head of the 77 million-strong Anglican Communion, recently dismissed one popular aspect of the Christmas story of the three wise men as ‘legend.’ Dr. Rowan Williams [who retired as Archbishop on December 31, 2012] indicated that Scripture does not describe the magi as commonly depicted in nativity stories and scenes. ‘Well Matthew’s gospel doesn’t tell us that there were three of them, doesn’t tell us they were kings, doesn’t tell us where they came from…’
“He noted there was no evidence of oxen or donkeys – popular characters in nativity scenes – in the stable and that the chances of snow falling around the stable in Bethlehem were ‘very unlikely.’ … [He] said the Gospels do not state if Jesus was born in December. ‘Christmas is the time it is because it fitted very well with the [pagan] winter festival,’ Williams said in the interview.
“Williams did a literary-critical analysis of traditional Christmas cards and found that most featured a virgin Mary holding baby Jesus with shepherds on one side, the three wise men on the other, and oxen and donkeys surrounding them. The scene is sometimes depicted with snow falling and a bright star rising in the east, according to The Times of London.
“The Anglican Archbishop contends that most of the happenings in the popular nativity scene could not take place as it is depicted. Williams’ observation of the popular Christmas story is not new. Similar views are taught in the most conservative theological colleges, according to The Times. The Archbishop says his views on the Christmas story and other issues… are based on what the Bible says.”
For a correct understanding of the “Christmas story” and its many myths and fabrications, please read our free booklet, “Don’t Keep Christmas.”
Man-Made Climate Change “Greatest Scientific Fraud in History”?
Newsmax reported on December 17:
“The climate change theory that man-made global warming is caused by an increase of greenhouse gases ‘is the greatest scientific fraud in history,’ says John Casey, president of the Space and Science Research Corporation. ‘If you go back and look at how all this got started and look at the 30 years and the $30 billion [spent] in an attempt to make what’s always been a weak scientific theory into something valid, we now know after all that effort, money and time, that the greenhouse gas theory as shown in the UN’s own climate models has been a miserable failure in predicting climate change,’ Casey told J.D. Hayworth and Francesca Page on ‘America’s Forum’ on Newsmax TV Wednesday…
“He contends that it’s hard to believe ‘why so many people believe in a theory that has been proven to be so unreliable versus models that are very reliable… There is an average line of 18 years long where there’s been no effective increase in global temperature,’ he explained. ‘In fact, based on our models, we’re showing a global cooling phase…’”
“The World Is Heading Towards Mass Extinction”
The Guardian wrote on December 13:
“A stark depiction of the threat hanging over the world’s mammals, reptiles, amphibians and other life forms has been published by the prestigious scientific journal, Nature… the journal indicates that a staggering 41% of all amphibians on the planet now face extinction while 26% of mammal species and 13% of birds are similarly threatened.
“Many species are already critically endangered and close to extinction, including the Sumatran elephant, Amur leopard and mountain gorilla. But also in danger of vanishing from the wild, it now appears, are animals that are currently rated as merely being endangered: bonobos, bluefin tuna and loggerhead turtles, for example.
“In each case, the finger of blame points directly at human activities. The continuing spread of agriculture is destroying millions of hectares of wild habitats every year, leaving animals without homes, while the introduction of invasive species, often helped by humans, is also devastating native populations. At the same time, pollution and overfishing are destroying marine ecosystems.
“… the data indicate that the world is heading inexorably towards a mass extinction… The Earth has gone through only five previous great extinctions, all caused by geological or astronomical events. (The Cretaceous-Jurassic extinction that wiped out the dinosaurs 65 million years ago was triggered by an asteroid striking Earth, for example.) The coming great extinction will be the work of Homo sapiens, however.
“… a quarter of all mammals, a fifth of all reptiles and a seventh of all birds are headed toward oblivion. And these losses are occurring all over the planet, from the South Pacific to the Arctic and from the deserts of Africa to mountaintops and valleys of the Himalayas.
“A blizzard of extinctions is now sweeping Earth and has become a fact of modern life… the French anatomist Georges Cuvier showed that the elephant-like remains of the mastodon were actually those of an ‘espèce perdue’ or lost species. ‘On the basis of a few scattered bones, Cuvier conceived of a whole new way of looking at life,’ notes Elizabeth Kolbert… ‘Species died out. This was not an isolated but a widespread phenomenon.’
“Since then the problem has worsened with every decade, as the Nature analysis makes clear. Humans began by wiping out mastodons and mammoths in prehistoric times. Then they moved on to the eradication of great auks, passenger pigeons – once the most abundant bird in North America – and the dodo in historical time. And finally, in recent times, we have been responsible for the disappearance of the golden toad, the thylacine – or Tasmanian tiger – and the Baiji river dolphin. Thousands more species are now under threat…”
This article confirms the biblical warning in Hosea 4:1-3. Because of man’s sins, “beasts of the field,” “birds of the air” and “the fish of the sea” will waste and be taken away.