Prophecy News Watch - Week In Review/Aug 3- Aug 7
Keeping You Informed of World Events From A Biblical Perspective
Prophetic Trends & Headline News
1. Where is the United States in Bible Prophecy?
What Is Going To Happen In September 2015? Why Are So Many People Storing Food And Supplies?
Have you noticed that there is a tremendous amount of Internet buzz about the month of September 2015? Never before have I seen so much speculation about what would happen in one particular month.
Some people believe that we will see an economic collapse next month, others believe that there will be some sort of historic natural disaster, and others are convinced that the judgment of God is coming. So right now, large numbers of Americans are stocking up on emergency food and supplies like crazy.
Personally, I have never been more concerned about any period of time as I am about the last six months of 2015. Several weeks ago, I expressed my belief that chaos will begin once the summer ends. These are the last days of “normal life” in America, and just about everything that we currently take for granted is about to be shaken.
A lot of people that I know have been storing up food and supplies like never before, but I didn’t realize how widespread this phenomenon was until I came across the following Natural News report…
As reported by AllNewsPipeline.com (ANP), correspondents for the news site began visiting a number of survival food websites in July, with the goal of ordering some essential bulk food items that included potatoes, carrots, mangoes, peaches, powdered eggs and powdered milk, among other items. But the more they shopped, the more they found notices on the survival food sites stating that supplies were either low or temporarily out of stock.
Only, the warnings did not say that stocks would be immediately replenished; rather, the site reported, some food items would take weeks to restock.
Upon returning to those sites a few days later, the situation had become even more dire: Many sites weren’t even certain when stocks of some items would be replaced.
“While both Preparewise and Buy Emergency Foods EXPECT these items to be back in stock in 3 to 4 weeks, the fact that both of these websites are experiencing overwhelming demand and currently COMPLETELY out of some of the most basic food groups should tell everybody a few things,” ANP reported. “Americans are buying up these products in HUGE numbers as more and more Americans have come to expect a reason to need these items at some point in the future.”
The mainstream media likes to mock “preppers”, but nobody is going to be mocking them when things really start falling apart in this country.
When there is a severe lack of food, ordinary people can start acting like wild animals. Just consider what is happening in Venezuela right now.
Will we eventually see similar scenes in this country?
Many Americans are also feverishly stocking up on physical gold and silver. In fact, sales of gold eagles are up 50 percent compared to last year…
Gold Eagle sales for the first seven months of the year, increased a staggering 50% from 296,000 oz in 2014 to 443,000 oz in 2015. Most of the Gold Eagle buying took place in July with total sales for the month at 170,000 oz. Thus, Gold Eagle sales in July account for nearly 40% of total sales for the year.
So why is this happening?
Why are people so freaked out?
Well, more than anything else people are pointing to the month of September. The following comes from a recent piece authored by Lisa Haven…
It seems a lot of people lately are having a gut feeling that something “Big” is about to unfold, but no one knows exactly what it is. Maybe people are feeling that way because of the events that are taking place around them.
From signs in the heavens, to military stockpiling, to politically disturbing events. There seems to be a confluence of activity both in the political and spiritual realm culminating in 2015 causing peoples alarms to go off. Could it be that people are feeling this way because of the eerie events that are culminating in September??
Like many others, I also have a feeling that something “big” is about to happen.
In the article that I quoted from above, Lisa Haven put together her own list of key events. Some of these events have already happened, some are about to happen, and some will happen during the month of September itself…
1. NORAD reopens Cheyenne Mountain after years of closure due to worries about an EMP attack
2. US Supreme Court legalizes gay marriage in all 50 states
3. Star of Bethlehem appears on June 30th
4. Pope Francis declares his desire to build a World Government and a New World Order
5. The Temple Institute announces their plan to farm raise Red Heifer’s a precursor to the Building of the Temple.
6. New York Stock Exchange crashes, United Airlines halts, Wall Street journalist site and Chinese Market Shutdown
7. Shemitah Year
8. Jubilee year
9. Blood moon Tetrad Concludes September 28th
10. UN hosts their Agenda 21 Meeting Sustainable Development for the Entire Planet (September 25-27) Pope Will Travel to New York and address Congress & attend the meeting
11. The coming UN Proposal to make Palestine a state.
12. US Congress To Vote On Iran/Nuclear Sanctions Agreement
A pretty impressive list.
But without a doubt, there is a very impressive confluence of events that all come together in September. The following is an extended excerpt from one of my previous articles…
September 13th – This is Elul 29 on the Biblical calendar – the last day of the Shemitah year. Many are concerned about this date because we have seen giant stock market crashes on the last day of the previous two Shemitah cycles.
On September 17th, 2001 (which was Elul 29 on the Biblical calendar), we witnessed the greatest one day stock market crash in U.S. history up until that time. The Dow plummeted 684 points, and it was a record that held for exactly seven years until the end of the next Shemitah cycle.
On September 29th, 2008 (which was also Elul 29 on the Biblical calendar), the Dow fell by an astounding 777 points, which still today remains the greatest one day stock market crash of all time.
Now we are approaching the end of another Shemitah year. So will the stock market crash on September 13th, 2015? Well, no, because that day is a Sunday. So I guarantee that the stock market will not crash on that particular day.
But as Jonathan Cahn has pointed out in his book on the Shemitah, sometimes stock market crashes happen just before the end of the Shemitah year and sometimes they happen within just a few weeks after the end of the Shemitah. So we are not just looking at one particular date.
September 15th – The 70th session of the UN General Assembly begins on this date. It is being reported that France plans to introduce a resolution which would give formal UN Security Council recognition to a Palestinian state. Up until now, the United States has always been the one blocking such a resolution, but Barack Obama is indicating that things may be much different this time around.
September 25th to September 27th – The United Nations is going to launch a brand new sustainable development agenda for the entire planet. Some have called this “Agenda 21 on steroids”. But this new agenda is not just about the environment. It also includes provisions regarding economics, agriculture, education and gender equality. On September 25th, the Pope will travel to New York to give a major speech kicking off the UN conference where this new agenda will be unveiled.
September 28th – This is the date for the last of the four blood moons that fall on Biblical festival dates during 2014 and 2015. This blood moon falls on the very first day of the Feast of Tabernacles, it will be a “supermoon”, and it will actually be visible in the city of Jerusalem. There are many that dismiss the blood moon phenomenon, but we have seen similar patterns before. For example, a similar pattern of eclipses happened just before and just after the destruction of the Jewish temple by the Romans in 70 AD.
So what is going to happen this September?
Whatever it is, we don’t have very long until we find out.
Recently, there have been a few people that have come to my websites and have suggested that getting wrapped up in these things is wrong and that instead we should just “seize the day” and focus on enjoying our lives as much as we can.
Of course the truth is that it doesn’t do any good in the long-term to stick our heads in the sand. If we willingly ignore the ominous clouds on the horizon, we do so at our own peril.
I think that all of us should consider these words that were recently penned by Larry Tomczak…
Suppose you were born in the late 1930s. Reports are drifting your way about rumblings concerning Japan and its saber-rattling toward America. In Germany there is a firebrand on the horizon stirring the people to reclaim Germany’s glory.
Rumors are circulating about a possible invasion of Poland. Winston Churchill is upbraiding his Prime Minister for declaring “peace in our time” after an ill-advised “deal” with Adolf Hitler. Economic storm warnings are increasing and rumors persist about possible rationing if war was to break out. A fascist dictator is coming to prominence in Italy named Benito Mussolini. Catch the drift of where I’m headed?
I am persuaded that we live in a similar period of history. A perfect storm is developing and this is not some surreal conspiracy theory. It is no exaggeration to say America is at a crossroads … in a meltdown … at a tipping point … experiencing unprecedented changes … observing our president act like a one-man wrecking crew to bring about his “fundamental transformation of America.”
Like Tomczak, I believe that we have reached “a tipping point” and that we are entering a “perfect storm”.
I believe that the months ahead are going to dramatically change life in America and that we are entering difficult times unlike anything that any of us have ever experienced.
Learn more about the potential ramifications of events in September with the DVD "Out Of The Mouth Of Two Witnesses" - available from Prophecy News Watch here
Something Catastrophic Is Coming: Should We Tune Out?
"I fear the day when technology will surpass our human interaction. The world will have a generation of idiots." —Albert Einstein
In my study I have a giant poster of one of my heroes, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. One of his famous quotes is the following: "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter."
Today, I believe many people are being silenced having reached a breaking point. Because of distraction with electronic gadgets, a reluctance to stay engaged on unpopular issues, plus experiencing what seems like an avalanche of negative developments in our culture, many people are disconnecting or distancing themselves from news. They're feeling disillusioned, discouraged and depressed. I personally battle these very things.
At times what's happening in our nation seems overwhelming. Imagine if you're ready to enroll at college in California and cultural confusion has brought us to the point where a student now checks a box answering the question, "What are you? 1. Male 2. Female 3. Transmale 4. Transwoman 5. Gender queer 6. Different identity." Unbelievable!
The meteoric rise of Donald Trump as a presidential candidate is no coincidence. Scores of people are simply fed up with politicians and their promises that don't translate into policy and effective change. Being told to lower our expectations and accept the new normal in a declining America whose "best days are behind us" infuriates multitudes.
Bizarre developments in the news that do not meet with principled opposition at the top have created a void and "the Donald" has stepped up to the plate to say what multitudes think even though he does it in ways that make many uncomfortable.
If you only knew the nights when even my wife, who is my greatest supporter in ministry for almost 40 years, communicates that she has reached her limit with "breaking news" or asks me to please turn down the volume on a program because of annoying shouting and drama. I know it's time to plug in another episode of The Fugitive (we've got the 120 episode set!) or sit out on the deck and relax with some popcorn.
A few days ago I was in the Washington, D.C., area and had a lively conversation with a longtime friend. He related to me that his wife playfully accused him of being a "news junkie" and suggested he turn off the news! Sound familiar?
While the biblical principle of balance and moderation is always in order, are there not seasons where desperate times require desperate measures? Just as birth pangs increase in intensity and frequency until delivery, are there not unique times in history when more is required of us because the pace is quickening and it's imperative as "watchmen on the wall" to remain vigilant? Could we be in just such a time?
There are two things in life over which we have no choice. First, the parents we've been given. Second, the generation in which we are born. My appeal is to stay informed in this generation following the counsel: "If you'd do the best with your life, find out what God is doing in your generation and fling yourself into it!"
Suppose you were born in the late 1930s. Reports are drifting your way about rumblings concerning Japan and its saber-rattling toward America. In Germany there is a firebrand on the horizon stirring the people to reclaim Germany's glory.
Rumors are circulating about a possible invasion of Poland. Winston Churchill is upbraiding his Prime Minister for declaring "peace in our time" after an ill-advised "deal" with Adolf Hitler. Economic storm warnings are increasing and rumors persist about possible rationing if war was to break out. A fascist dictator is coming to prominence in Italy named Benito Mussolini. Catch the drift of where I'm headed?
I am persuaded that we live in a similar period of history. A perfect storm is developing and this is not some surreal conspiracy theory. It is no exaggeration to say America is at a crossroads ... in a meltdown ... at a tipping point ... experiencing unprecedented changes ... observing our president bring about his "fundamental transformation of America."
"Trust Iran—deny nuclear threat. Abandon Israel. New LGBTQ initiatives. Export unrighteous ideology even to nations opposing it. "God bless Planned Parenthood." "Penitentiary inmates—just young people who made mistakes" [Let 'em vote?]. Tweet affirmation to transgender Jenner. Islamic terrorist activity—"Isolated extremist" ... "workplace violence" ... "random violence." ISIS? "J.V. team." "Islam is a religion of peace."
No federal money unless abortion referrals. "Try it—I'll veto it!" More executive orders. Stoking fires of discontent and racial tensions. A debt of $19 trillion—keep spending. Top brass say keep soldiers in Iraq for stability—remove them! Romney and army generals said Russia is our greatest threat—"Nah, it's global warming." Same-sex marriage! Light up the White House!"
Considering the above, it is not a time to check out of the game but reconsecrate ourselves to prayer and be ready for whatever will unfold in the months ahead. I sense dramatic change coming, judgments and severe economic upheaval.
Did you observe the people in Greece in panic because they could not withdraw their money from the banks or ATMs? Returning from Washington, D.C., where I lived for 24 years, you can pick up the whiff of something immanent in the air.
Prophetic leader Gary Kah warn us: "Never before have so many signs of the times manifested simultaneously. Watching the evening news is like witnessing the prophecies of Scripture unfold before our eyes,
◦An emerging caliphate in the Middle East
◦An energized Russia—thought to be dead
◦The global economy teetering on the brink because of insurmountable debt ... ."
"The end of all things is near. Therefore be solemn and sober so you can pray. Above all things, have unfailing love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins" (1 Pet. 4:7-8).
Five Consequences Of America's Moral Collapse
Americans have become so “non-judgmental” that many people can no longer tell the difference between good and evil. We congratulate ourselves for being “nicer,” more sensitive and less prejudiced than past generations of Americans, but we don’t stop to consider how much more there is to morality than that. An America that isn’t full of good people won’t remain a good nation, nor will it remain strong and free over the long haul. Our country’s lack of morality has real consequences that are capable of eventually sinking us as a nation.
1) The Collapse Of Marriage: There used to be quite a bit of social stigma attached to getting a divorce or having a child out of wedlock. That’s no longer true and consequences for society have been horrific.
Although there is some dispute about the numbers, roughly 40% of marriages now end in divorce and “half of all children born to women under 30 in America now are illegitimate. Three in 10 white children are born out of wedlock, as are 53 percent of Hispanic babies and 73 percent of black babies.”
That’s important because children raised without a mother AND a father are statistically worse off in just about every area imaginable.
"Controlling for socioeconomic status, race, and place of residence, the strongest predictor of whether a person will end up in prison is that he was raised by a single parent. By 1996, 70 percent of inmates in state juvenile detention centers serving long-term sentences were raised by single mothers. Seventy-two percent of juvenile murderers and 60 percent of rapists come from single-mother homes. Seventy percent of teenage births, dropouts, suicides, runaways, juvenile delinquents, and child murderers involve children raised by single mothers. Girls raised without fathers are more sexually promiscuous and more likely to end up divorced. A 1990 study by the Progressive Policy Institute showed that after controlling for single motherhood, the difference between black and white crime rates disappeared.
Various studies have come up with slightly different numbers, but all the figures are grim. According to the Index of Leading Cultural Indicators, children from single-parent families account for 63 percent of all youth suicides, 70 percent of all teenage pregnancies, 71 percent of all adolescent chemical/substance abuse, 80 percent of all prison inmates, and 90 percent of all homeless and runaway children.
A study cited in the Village Voice produced similar numbers. It found that children brought up in single-mother homes ‘are five times more likely to commit suicide, nine times more likely to drop out of high school, 10 times more likely to abuse chemical substances, 14 times more likely to commit rape (for the boys), 20 times more likely to end up in prison, and 32 times more likely to run away from home.’ Single motherhood is like a farm team for future criminals and social outcasts."
Instead of trying to reverse the crippling damage being done to our country by the collapse of marriage, we’ve chosen to degrade it even further by allowing same sex unions, soon to be followed by polygamous unions that will degrade the institution ever further. If it’s true that marriage is the bedrock of society, then our nation’s house is built on sand.
2) Crime: Despite the fact that China and India have populations four times our size, it’s stunning that America has the largest prison population on Earth. Not coincidentally, America’s once sky-high crime rate dropped as massive numbers of criminals were locked away.
Bizarrely, many people talk about crime as if it’s divorced from morality. We hear about a supposed “rape culture,” school shootings, the “Knockout Game,” child abuse, etc., etc., etc. without making the obvious connection to morals. Good kids aren’t raping anybody, assaulting strangers to prove they’re tough or shooting up movie theaters unless they’re mentally ill.
Kids who are taught about good and evil, right and wrong, patriotism, chivalry and honor are going to make mistakes. A few of them will even turn out to be bad apples. However, full though our prisons may be, they are not full of God-fearing men. They’re full of people who are morally adrift.
3) Poor Government: America seems to be becoming progressively less governable and there are many reasons for that.Government has become too big to effectively manage, both parties have moved away from the center, gerrymandering has decreased the power of voters and increased the power of special interest groups – we could go on and on. Despite the fact that it’s seldom discussed, one of the biggest factors is the dishonesty of our own politicians.
How does that play a role? Well, it’s impossible to cut any kind of meaningful long-term deal on taxes, spending, immigration or any other big issue because neither party can be trusted to stick to a deal. Politicians lie to the voters, they lie to the other party and they even lie to their colleagues on the same side of the aisle.
Barack Obama’s signature piece of legislation, Obamacare, was entirely built on lies. Hillary Clinton has been caught lying more times than Pinocchio – and it’s not much different for the GOP leadership in Congress. Today, as I write this, Ted Cruz has stepped to the Senate floor to call out Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for lying to his own caucus.
On the one hand, it’s extraordinarily difficult to govern a nation without long term planning, but how do you plan for the future when no politician’s word means anything?
4) Dependence: Americans have traditionally been some of the most self-reliant people on the face of the earth. People used to be ashamed to be on the dole even if they felt like they had no other choice. Judging by the numbers we see today, that’s no longer true.
More than 1/3 of the population, 109 million Americans, are on welfare. That’s more people than there are in the four most populous states in America (California, Texas, New York and Florida) COMBINED. More than 45 million Americans are receiving food stamps. Nearly 11 million Americans, a number larger than the population of Greece, are on disability.
Does anyone care how many of these people are legitimately having hard times and need a little temporary assistance to get back on their feet versus how many are parasites who are looting the system? It certainly doesn’t seem like it. There doesn’t seem to be a lot of people who even feel bad about being on the dole either. In fact, it’s probably more of a social faux pas to suggest that people should feel bad about living off other people’s labor than it is to sponge off the taxpayers without regret. That’s why it’s not just an economic problem, it’s a moral problem and it’s one that is likely to get larger as a smaller and smaller share of workers are asked to shoulder the load for people who don’t work for a living.
5) Lack Of Civility And Manners: The great Samuel Adams once said, “A general dissolution of principles and manners will more surely overthrow the liberties of America than the whole force of the common enemy. While the people are virtuous they cannot be subdued; but when once they lose their virtue then will be ready to surrender their liberties to the first external or internal invader.”
Between the anonymity of the Internet, the crudity of much of modern music and TV along with our bad habit of rewarding every reality show star and jackass with 15 minutes of fame as long as they’re willing to go to any lengths to catch our attention, we’ve become a crass, rude and obnoxious culture.
We live in a country that often rewards sarcasm instead of wisdom, rudeness instead of insight and the squeaky wheel instead of the farsighted patriot. You’re more likely to get your way in America if you claim to be angry, offended or can just make enough noise on social media than if you’re plain old right. How well is that working out for our country?
2. Israel - God's Timepiece
Iran Publishes Book On How To Outwit US And Destroy Israel
While Secretary of State John Kerry and President Obama do their best to paper over the brutality of the Iranian regime and force through a nuclear agreement, Iran’s religious leader has another issue on his mind: The destruction of Israel.
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has published a new book called “Palestine,” a 416-page screed against the Jewish state. A blurb on the back cover credits Khamenei as “The flagbearer of Jihad to liberate Jerusalem.”
A friend sent me a copy from Iran, the only place the book is currently available, though an Arabic translation is promised soon.
Obama administration officials likely hope that no American even hears about it.
Khamenei makes his position clear from the start: Israel has no right to exist as a state.
He uses three words. One is “nabudi,” which means “annihilation.” The other is “imha,” which means “fading out,” and, finally, there is “zaval,” meaning “effacement.”
Khamenei claims that his strategy for the destruction of Israel is not based on anti-Semitism, which he describes as a European phenomenon. His position is instead based on “well-established Islamic principles.”
One such principle is that a land that falls under Muslim rule, even briefly, can never again be ceded to non-Muslims. What matters in Islam is ownership of a land’s government, even if the majority of inhabitants are non-Muslims.
Khomeinists are not alone in this belief.
Dozens of maps circulate in the Muslim world showing the extent of Muslim territories lost to the Infidel that must be recovered.
These include large parts of Russia and Europe, almost a third of China, the whole of India and parts of the Philippines and Thailand.
However, according to Khamenei, Israel, which he labels as “adou” and “doshman,” meaning “enemy” and “foe,” is a special case for three reasons.
The first is that it is a loyal “ally of the American Great Satan” and a key element in its “evil scheme” to dominate “the heartland of the Ummah.”
The second reason is that Israel has waged war on Muslims on a number of occasions, thus becoming “a hostile infidel,” or “kaffir al-harbi.”
Finally, Israel is a special case because it occupies Jerusalem, which Khamenei describes as “Islam’s third Holy City.”
He intimates that one of his “most cherished wishes” is to one day pray in Jerusalem.
Khamenei insists that he is not recommending “classical wars” to wipe Israel off the map. Nor does he want to “massacre the Jews.” What he recommends is a long period of low-intensity warfare designed to make life unpleasant if not impossible for a majority of Israeli Jews so that they leave the country.
His calculation is based on the assumption that large numbers of Israelis have double nationality and would prefer emigration to the United States and Europe to daily threats of death.
Khamenei makes no reference to Iran’s nuclear program. But the subtext is that a nuclear-armed Iran would make Israel think twice before trying to counter Khamenei’s strategy by taking military action against the Islamic Republic.
In Khamenei’s analysis, once the cost of staying in Israel has become too high for many Jews, Western powers, notably the US, which have supported the Jewish state for decades, might decide that the cost of doing so is higher than possible benefits.
Thanks to President Obama, the US has already distanced itself from Israel to a degree unimaginable a decade ago.
Khamenei counts on what he sees as “Israel fatigue.” The international community would start looking for what he calls “a practical and logical mechanism” to end the old conflict.
Khamenei’s “practical and logical mechanism” excludes the two-state formula in any form.
“The solution is a one-state formula,” he declares. That state, to be called Palestine, would be under Muslim rule but would allow non-Muslims, including some Israeli Jews who could prove “genuine roots” in the region, to stay as “protected minorities.”
Under Khamenei’s scheme, Israel, plus the West Bank and Gaza, would revert to a United Nations mandate for a brief period during which a referendum is held to create the new state of Palestine.
All Palestinians and their descendants, wherever they are, would be able to vote, while Jews “who have come from other places” would be excluded.
Khamenei does not mention any figures for possible voters in his dream referendum. But studies by the Islamic Foreign Ministry in Tehran suggest that at least 8 million Palestinians across the globe would be able to vote against 2.2 million Jews “acceptable” as future second-class citizens of new Palestine.
Thus, the “Supreme Guide” is certain of the results of his proposed referendum.
He does not make clear whether the Kingdom of Jordan, which is located in 80 percent of historic Palestine, would be included in his one-state scheme. However, a majority of Jordanians are of Palestinian extraction and would be able to vote in the referendum and, logically, become citizens of the new Palestine.
Khamenei boasts about the success of his plans to make life impossible for Israelis through terror attacks from Lebanon and Gaza. His latest scheme is to recruit “fighters” in the West Bank to set up Hezbollah-style units.
“We have intervened in anti-Israel matters, and it brought victory in the 33-day war by Hezbollah against Israel in 2006 and in the 22-day war between Hamas and Israel in the Gaza Strip,” he boasts.
Khamenei describes Israel as “a cancerous tumor” whose elimination would mean that “the West’s hegemony and threats will be discredited” in the Middle East. In its place, he boasts, “the hegemony of Iran will be promoted.”
Khamenei’s book also deals with the Holocaust, which he regards either as “a propaganda ploy” or a disputed claim. “If there was such a thing,” he writes, “we don’t know why it happened and how.”
This is what Iran’s leaders are preaching to their people and their allies in the Middle East. Do we really want to give assistance to such dangerous rhetoric?
Brave Palestinian Reflections On Differences Between Israel/Palestinian Response To Murder
I cannot count the number of times that I heard from Israeli Jews the phrases "I'm ashamed" and "I'm sorry" in response to the horrific crime that claimed the life of Palestinian toddler Ali Dawabsha in the West Bank village of Duma last week.
The strong response of the Israeli public and leaders to the arson attack is, truthfully, somewhat comforting. The wall-to-wall Israeli condemnation of this crime has left me and other Palestinians not only ashamed, but also embarrassed -- because this is not how we Palestinians have been reacting to terror attacks against Jews -- even the despicable murder of Jewish children.
Our response has, in fact, brought feelings of disgrace and dishonor. While the Israeli prime minister, president and other officials were quick strongly to condemn the murder of Dawabsha, our leaders rarely denounce terror attacks against Jews. And when a Palestinian leader such as Mahmoud Abbas does issue a condemnation, it is often vague and equivocal.
Take, for example, what happened after last year's kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teenagers by Palestinians in the West Bank. It not only took President Abbas four days to issue a statement condemning the terror attack, but even then, the condemnation was at best a tentative: "The Palestinian presidency... condemns the series of events that happened last week, beginning with the kidnapping of three Israeli youths." Abbas then went on to denounce Israel for arresting dozens of Hamas members after the abduction and murder of the three youths.
Later in 2014, when Abbas did condemn a Palestinian terror attack that killed five Israelis in a Jerusalem synagogue, Fatah official Najat Abu Baker, a few days later, explained that Abbas's condemnation was made "within a diplomatic context... [he] is forced to speak this way to the world."
Abbas's condemnation of the attack at the synagogue in Jerusalem's Har Nof neighborhood apparently came only under pressure from U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, who telephoned the Palestinian leader twice to demand that he speak out against the killings. Abbas's statement said that the Palestinian leadership condemns the "killing of worshippers in a synagogue and all acts of violence, regardless of their source." His statement then also called for an end to "incursions and provocations by settlers against the Aqsa Mosque."
Abbas's ambiguous, half-hearted condemnations of attacks by Palestinians against Israelis are only intended for public consumption and are primarily aimed at appeasing Western donors, so that they will continue channeling funds to the Palestinian Authority (PA). In addition, his condemnations almost always seek to blame Israel for the Palestinian terror attacks -- presumably an attempt to justify the killing of Jews at the hands of Palestinian terrorists.
In contrast, Israeli leaders who condemned the murder of the Palestinian toddler sound firm and unambiguous. Here is what Prime Minister Netanyahu said after visiting the murdered baby's parents and brother, who were wounded in the arson attack and are receiving medical treatment in Israeli hospitals: "When you stand next to the bed of this small child, and his infant brother has been so brutally murdered, we are shocked, we are outraged. We condemn this. There is zero tolerance for terrorism wherever it comes from, whatever side of the fence it comes from."
Netanyahu's strong and clear condemnation left me and other Palestinians wondering when was the last time we heard similar statements from our leaders. I cannot remember ever hearing Abbas or any other Palestinian leader express shock and outrage over the killing of a Jew in a Palestinian terror attack. Nor can I remember the last time we heard of a Palestinian official visiting the Israeli victims of a Palestinian terror attack.
The Israeli leaders' condemnation of the baby's murder is a sincere voice that reflects the views of the overwhelming majority of the Israeli public. In contrast, the Palestinian leaders' denunciations of terror attacks do not reflect the general feeling on the Palestinian street. Each time Abbas reluctantly condemns a Palestinian terror attack, he faces a wave of criticism from many Palestinians.
Unlike the Israeli public, many Palestinians often rush to justify, and even welcome, terror attacks against Jews. This was the situation just a few weeks ago, when an Israeli man was shot dead near Ramallah. Several Palestinian factions and military groups applauded the murder, calling it a "natural response to Israeli crimes."
This is the huge difference between the way Israelis and Palestinians react to terrorism. The murder of Dawabsha saw thousands of Israelis hold anti-violence rallies to condemn the horrible crime. But has anyone ever heard of a similar rally on the Palestinian side whenever terrorists kill innocent Jewish civilians? Is there one top Palestinian official or prominent figure who dares to speak out in public against the murder of Jews, at a rally in the center of Ramallah or Gaza City? Has there ever been a Palestinian activist who dared to hold a rally in a Palestinian city to condemn suicide bombings or the murder of an entire Jewish family?
While Israelis have been holding rallies to condemn terror attacks against our people, we have been celebrating the killing of Jews. How many times have we taken to the streets to hand out sweets and candies in jubilation over the killing of Jews? Such sickening scenes of men and women celebrating terror attacks against Jews on the streets of the West Bank and Gaza Strip have never been condemned by our leaders. These scenes have become commonplace each time Palestinian terrorists carry out an attack against Jews.
These scenes stand in sharp contrast to the public statements and rallies in Israel in response to terror attacks against Palestinians. Our leaders need to learn from Israel's President, Reuven Rivlin, who said he was "ashamed" and "in pain" for the murder of the Palestinian toddler. When was the last time a Palestinian leader used such rhetoric to condemn the murder of Jews? The laconic statements issued by Abbas's office in response to anti-Jewish terror attacks never talked about shame or pain.
We have failed to educate our people on the principles of tolerance and peace. Instead, we continue to condone and applaud terrorism, especially when it is directed against Jews. We want the whole world to condemn terrorism only when it claims the lives of Palestinians. We have reached a point where many of us are either afraid to speak out against terrorism or simply accept it when it claims the lives of Jews.
The Israeli president has good reason to be ashamed for the murder of the baby. But when will we Palestinians ever have a sense of shame over the way we are reacting to the murder of Jews? When will we stop glorifying terrorists, and naming streets and public squares after them, instead of strongly denouncing them and expelling them from our society? We still have a lot to learn from Israeli leaders and the Israeli public.
Pro-Palestinian Coalition Of Churches Calls on Obama To End Israeli “Occupation”
The Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP) group has sent a letter to US President Barack Obama urging him to condemn Israeli settlements in Judea and Samaria while supporting a French-initiated UN resolution to force a two-state solution on Israel.
CMEP is a coalition of 22 US church denominations and organizations promoting what it calls a “just, lasting and comprehensive resolution” to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The organization prides itself on being bipartisan, however it has been critiqued for its anti-Israel bias. CMEP includes such denominations as the Christian Reformed Church, The Episcopal Church, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and Presbyterian Church USA.
In its letter to Obama, dated June 29, CMEP asked the president to turn his attention to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Noting an anticipated French resolution to be presented to the UN Security Council later this year setting a timeframe for a negotiated settlement after which France would unilaterally recognize a Palestinian state, CMEP urged Obama “to consult with the parties involved with a view of voting affirmatively on a resolution with these parameters.”
The letter went on to implore his administration “to make clear that the US views Israeli settlements in occupied Palestine not merely as ‘illegitimate’ and ‘foolish,’ as it has already said, but also ‘illegal’.”
“The US should certainly not be acting to support settlements,” the letter continues. “ We urge your administration to clearly reject language in bills now passed or pending in the Congress that deliberately includes settlements in measures designed to support Israel.”
The ultimate goal of the organization, the letter explains, is “a secure Israel and a viable, contiguous Palestine.” It does not mention what concessions it expects the US to demand from the Palestinians towards this goal.
Established in 1984, CMEP has over 100 partner churches. Among them are several who support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, such as Friends of Sabeel North America. CMEP itself claims to have “no position on BDS”, according to an open letter the organization published in JTA in 2012.
In 2010, the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA) issued a report on the covert anti-Israel nature of CMEP.
“CMEP pays little attention to the ideological and religious components of hostility toward Israel in the Middle East and oftentimes remains silent about the misdeeds of Arabs and Muslim regimes in the region, particularly in reference to human rights,” the report states.
“CMEP exhibits a persistent bias against Israel but does not traffic in obvious anti-Jewish rhetoric …the organization couches its criticism of Israel in cautious and circumspect language,” it concludes.
While the organization has condemned terror directed against Israel, it is far more vocal in its defense of Palestinians against what it sees as Israeli aggression. In 2011, CMEP wrote to then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton asking for her “assistance in helping Christians, Muslims and Jews enjoy full religious freedom and complete access to their holy places.”
Yet the letter goes on to discuss only the security restrictions Israel places on Palestinians wishing to visit holy sites in Israel, not those placed on Jews wishing to pray on the Temple Mount.
The same year, in its condemnation of the murders of five members of the Fogel family in their Itamar home, the organization noted, “CMEP is also deeply troubled by the response of the Israeli government to this tragedy. The Israeli cabinet announced March 12 the building of several hundred new housing units in settlements in response to the murders and to pressure from far-right constituencies. Prime Minister Netanyahu was quoted as saying, ‘They murder, we build.’”
In 2012, an op-ed in The Algemeiner blasted the CMEP for its disproportionate focus on Palestinian suffering. “CMEP…does not promote the cause of peace and human rights in the most troubled region on the planet,” the op-ed read. “It promotes the cause of Palestinian statehood and that’s about it.”
Archaeologists Uncover Entrance Gate To Goliath's City
An archaeological expedition has discovered the fortifications and entrance gate of the biblical city of Gath of the Philistines, home of Goliath and the largest city in the land during the 10th-9th century BCE, about the time of the "United Kingdom" of Israel and King Ahab of Israel.
The excavations, conducted by a team from the Bar-Ilan University headed by Prof. Aren Maeir, are being conducted in the Tel Zafit National Park, located in the Judean Foothills, about halfway between Jerusalem and Ashkelon in central Israel.
Prof. Maeir, of the Martin (Szusz) Department of Land of Israel Studies and Archaeology, said that the city gate that was discovered is among the largest ever found in Israel and is evidence of the status and influence of the city of Gath during this period.
In addition to the monumental gate, an impressive fortification wall was discovered, as well as various building in its vicinity, such as a temple and an iron production facility. These features, and the city itself were destroyed by Hazael King of Aram Damascus, who besieged and destroyed the site at around 830 BCE, according to a statement from Bar-Ilan University.
The city gate of Philistine Gath is referred to in I Samuel 21 in the story of David's escape from King Saul to Achish, King of Gath.
The Ackerman Family Bar-Ilan University Expedition to Gath is a long-term investigation aimed at studying the archaeology and history of one of the most important sites in Israel.
Tell es-Safi/Gath is one of the largest tells (ancient ruin mounds) in Israel and was settled almost continuously from the 5th millennium BCE until modern times.
The archaeological dig is led by Prof. Maeir, along with groups from the University of Melbourne, University of Manitoba, Brigham Young University, Yeshiva University, University of Kansas, Grand Valley State University of Michigan, several Korean universities and additional institutions throughout the world.
So far, according to the statement from Bar-Ilan, the group has discovered Philistine Temples dating to the 11th through 9th century BCE, evidence of an earthquake in the 8th century BCE possibly connected to the earthquake mentioned in the Book of Amos I:1, the earliest decipherable Philistine inscription ever to be discovered, which contains two names similar to the name Goliath.
They have also uncovered a large assortment of objects of various types linked to Philistine culture; remains relating to the earliest siege system in the world, constructed by Hazael, King of Aram Damascus around 830 BCE, along with extensive evidence of the subsequent capture and destruction of the city by Hazael, as mentioned in Second Kings 12:18; evidence of the first Philistine settlement in Canaan (around 1200 BCE); different levels of the earlier Canaanite city of Gath; and remains of the Crusader castle "Blanche Garde" at which Richard the Lion-Hearted is known to have been.
Recent Dead Sea Earthquake Reminder Of End Times Earthquake Warnings For Region
Thursday morning, at 5:39 local time, a 4.4 magnitude earthquake occurred in the Dead Sea region of Israel, an area that is the deepest depression on the face of the planet. Though there were no reports of injury or damage in Israel or neighboring Jordan, it is certainly worth considering the meaning of the event, especially in light of other recent earthquakes that have hit Israel and the catastrophic earthquake that hit a struck Nepal a few months ago.
Biblical scholars explain that the name of God, “Elohim”, refers to the aspect revealed through nature and linked to judgment. For early man, and even today, every natural phenomenon can be an awe inspiring experience, an occasionally fearsome reminder of our mortality. An earthquake is, quite literally, a moving experience.
Scientists have noted that the Dead Sea Rift has affected human civilization through time as well as the flora and fauna of the region, causing migrations and creating water sources. However, it should be noted that the location of Thursday’s earthquake is the precise region of Jericho, known for its city walls that came tumbling down, and also the area of Sodom and Gomorra. A biblical perspective certainly seems in order when considering occurrences of geological proportions.
The recent quake was a result of tensions in the Dead Sea Fault which is part of the Syrian-African Rift, extending from Syria to Mozambique. Experts have predicted that a major earthquake could occur in the near future and local authorities have begun projects to bolster building against such an event. Tectonic tension is building and most geologists consider a major event to be inevitable.
An earthquake in 1837 in the area killed as many as 5,000 people. The last major earthquake to hit the center of Israel was a 6.2 magnitude quake in 1927, killing over 500 people and damaging sites, like the Church of the Holy Sepulcher and al-Aqsa Mosque. On March 22, 2012, a 3.7 earthquake hit the exact region as well.
Prophecies connected to earthquakes abound, seeming to emphasize their biblical significance, especially in regards to End of Days prophecy:
“Then the LORD will go out and fight against those nations, as he fights on a day of battle. On that day his feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, east of Jerusalem, and the Mount of Olives will be split in two from east to west, forming a great valley, with half of the mountain moving north and half moving south…You will flee as you fled from the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah. Then the LORD my God will come, and all the holy ones with him.” (Zechariah 14:3-5)
“This is what will happen in that day: When Gog attacks the land of Israel, my hot anger will be aroused, declares the Sovereign LORD. In my zeal and fiery wrath I declare that at that time there shall be a great earthquake in the land of Israel. The fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, the beasts of the field, every creature that moves along the ground, and all the people on the face of the earth will tremble at my presence. The mountains will be overturned, the cliffs will crumble and every wall will fall to the ground.” (Ezekiel 38:18-20)
“I looked at the earth, and it was formless and empty; and at the heavens, and their light was gone. I looked at the mountains, and they were quaking; all the hills were swaying. I looked, and there were no people; every bird in the sky had flown away…” (Jeremiah 4:23-28)
“They will flee to caverns in the rocks and to the overhanging crags from the fearful presence of the LORD and the splendor of his majesty, when he rises to shake the earth.” (Isaiah 2:21)
While Thursday’s earthquake caused no damage in Israel, the geological occurrence has served as a wakeup call for many. Dr. Shmuel Marco, who has spent many years studying the timeline of earthquakes in the region, told the Jerusalem Post that geological experts should take a hint from the Bible when predicting the next “big one.”
Marco noted that prophets became active a certain number of years after major earthquakes. Major earthquakes were recorded in the Jordan Valley in the years 31 BCE, 363 CE, 749 CE and 1033 CE. “So roughly,” says Marco, “we are talking about an interval of every 400 years. If we follow the patterns of nature, a major quake should be expected any time because almost a whole millennium has passed since the last strong earthquake.”
4. The Gog/Magog War
Putin's Aide: Russia Upgrading S-300 Missile System For Iran Delivery
The West has long pressured Russia not to deliver its advanced S-300 missile defense system to Iran, but a senior Russian official on Thursday said the system is being upgraded ahead of delivery to the Islamic republic.
Iran's state-run media PressTV quoted Vladimir Kozhin, Russian President Vladimir Putin's aide on military and technical cooperation, saying that the system is to be modernized before being delivered to Iran. He gave no date for the delivery.
The comment refers to the fact that the original 2007 sales contract for the system was to have it delivered in 2010, but Russia withdrew its intention to sell due to pressure from the European Union (EU), which noted that UN nuclear sanctions banned the delivery.
But now with the Iran nuclear deal it would appear Russia may go ahead on the transaction, after chief executive Yan Novikov of the Russian state arms producer Almaz-Antey hinted as much in comments last month cited by PressTV.
"All restrictions have been lifted by the political authorities. When there is a contract, we will supply the system, including to Iran," Novikov said.
Russia caused a diplomatic stir in April when Putin signed a decree lifting a ban on the delivery of S-300 to Iran; it later retracted and said no date has been set for the shipment.
Iran meanwhile announced that it is planning to unveil its own Bavar 373 alternative to the S-300 in early September.
The transaction is highly significant because experts have warned that the S-300, and likely the Bavar 373 as well, would be able to block an Israeli or American airstrike aiming to take out Iran's covert nuclear program that reportedly is aiming to build a nuclear arsenal.
The development is all the more troubling because the Iran nuclear deal stipulates that the West will train Iran to block sabotage attempts on its nuclear program, meaning a possible Israeli cyber attempt to foul up Iran's march to the atomic bomb would also be thwarted.
7. Increase in Knowledge/New Technologies
Here’s Why The Strange Practice Of Body Hacking Is Taking Off
Sticking a syringe in your hand and injecting a microchip into your flesh might sound slightly unnerving. But there’s a growing number of people doing just that.
Biohackers, people who modify their body with technology like chip implants, are going to tattoo parlors, conferences, and “implant parties” to get these kinds of devices implanted.
While meshing machine with human flesh sounds outlandish to some, biohackers consider themselves pioneers and argue the practice is actually the natural progression of how we will interact with technology.
“The human body is the next big platform. The connected body is already a phenomena. And this implant is just a part of it,” Hannes Sjöblad, founder of the Swedish biohacking group Bionyfiken, told Tech Insider in an interview.
About a year and a half ago, Sjöblad started organizing implant parties where groups of people attend and get near-field communication (NFC) chips embedded into their hands. The chips are about the size of a grain of rice and enable users to send and receive data wirelessly using radio frequencies.
Sjöblad has helped host these gatherings in Mexico, France, Greece, Germany, England, Denmark, and even in the United States.
A lot of times these parties are hosted as part of a larger conference related to tech or body modification. But Sjöblad said a growing number of companies are also beginning to request these parties so that their employees can get implanted.
Bionyfiken has already helped one Swedish company called Epicenter fit some of its employees with NFC tags.
The company hosted a party last November where employees could volunteer to get the implants, which enable them to do things like get access through security doors, pay for lunch, use copy machines, and share contact details.
The types of people getting these chips implants is definitely evolving, said Amal Graafstra, the chief executive officer and founder of the biohacking retailer Dangerous Things, in an interview with Tech Insider.
“It started out with a very narrow subset of people that already knew about RFID technology and all of that. But over time it’s evolved into people who are more generally technically aware,” Graafstra said.
Dangerous Things sells do-it-yourself kits for implantable devices and also helps connect customers with professional piercers and body modifiers so that they can the devices implanted safely.
Graafstra said it's not just consumers who have taken an interest in this kind of technology, though. Major companies are also beginning to explore the potential of implantables.
"The clientele are changing, we have had interest from various companies. Google, Samsung, Apple they have all bought products from us from their corporate purchasing department, so there are big companies looking at this kind of technology,” Graafstra said.
The procedure is similar to that of a piercing and the procedure is legal in many cases. But the law varies based on geography and in some US states it is illegal for a professional piercer to perform the procedure, but not for a person to perform the implant on his or herself.
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved RFID tags for human implants in 2004. While the devices are legal, there are some minor safety concerns according to the American Medical Association. Primarily, the small size of the device could lead to it moving under the skin making it difficult to remove. The tags could also cause electromagnetic interference with medical devices like defibrillators.
In the near term, NFC chips are primarily being used to seamlessly interact with all of the devices that are becoming a part of the Internet of Things (IoT), which refers to the wave of everyday devices like lightbulbs and thermostats becoming connected to the internet.
“Ten years ago, chip implants existed and they looked pretty much exactly the same. But what has changed is our world. Suddenly in our offices, in our homes, in our cars and in public places we are increasingly surrounded by smart devices that we need to interact with in various ways,” Graafstra said.
For example, you could unlock a door or your smartphone with a wave of your hand or potentially use the chip to make transactions.
However, implantable devices may increasingly be used for health purposes. For example, MIT is developing an implantable device that is aimed at helping monitor cancer and other diseases that cause inflammation. And the drugmaker MicroCHIP Biotech is even working on an implantable contraceptive for women.
Eventually, implantables may even replace consumer health trackers, Sjöblad said.
"We are updating our bodies with technology on a large scale already with wearables. But all of the wearables we wear today will be implantable in five to 10 years," Sjöblad said.
"Who wants to carry a clumsy smartphone or smartwatch when you can have it in your fingernail? I think that is the direction where it is heading."
Forget About The Apple Watch, Implantables Are Coming
That is right, the implantable. In the past decade of tech innovation, connectivity has been the name of the game. Call your friend in the middle of the night in Antarctica. Facetime with your sister on vacation in India. Talk about the movie you saw with friends in London.
Anything is possible with the push of a button and now with the Apple Watch, you can do it all with the twist of a dial. But this is just the beginning of what Silicon Valley has in store for us in the name of connectivity. We’re about to enter the next level of high tech innovation – connecting with yourself.
And the most efficient and accurate way to do that is with the next wave of sensor based smart devices – those you can implant into your body. It might sound like something you’d see in a science fiction movie, but my prediction is that in the next three to five years, implantable devices will become about as normal as wearing the latest watch.
The movement into an era of implantables is already in full swing with wearables and attachables like FitBit. These are just the first generation of gadgets that go beyond monitoring and measuring your body movements.
Startups like Thync are pushing the envelope with their neurosignaling patch that uses low voltage electrical currents to alter a person’s mood and energy. News of Google’s smart contact lens has the tech industry excited to see how they might monitor a person’s glucose levels or other vital signs with the technology. And these are just the daily applications.
Developments in the world of healthcare are reaching new heights. Some devices are not only preventative, they can also improve conditions and even save lives.
A startup out of Sylmar, California has developed a bionic eye, or retinal implant that allows the blind to see. Companies like Proteus Digital Health are working on implantable “smart pills.” These smart pills work with Bluetooth to inform doctors and family members if a patient has taken his or her medicine.
The problem of adherence – patients not taking their medicine as prescribed – costs the country nearly $300 billion annually, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Smart pills could help save lives, but they could also save money. That’s smart business. And it’s only the beginning.
The federal government has also jumped on the bandwagon in support of new scientific discoveries. The White House’s “BRAIN” Initiative pulled together over $300 million in funding from technology firms, academic institutions and scientists to better understand the human mind – and affect it. They aim to find treatments for Alzheimer’s, schizophrenia, autism, depression and more.
New brain implantables that use a wireless remote control to deliver drugs and light are already in the testing process. One such interface, the BATTELLE Neurolife, is designed to let the brain bypass the spinal cord. The smaller-than-a-pea sized chip was recently implanted into a quadriplegic’s brain. The device interprets his brain signals and works with an electrode stimulation sleeve that helps the patient move muscles.
Implantables can save lives, improve health, prevent diseases and even begin to make us superhuman. But with all great opportunities also comes increased risk and potential for harm. With implantables, the stakes are high. The data collected with implantable devices is so personal.
So, the risk of hacking puts everyone associated with your business – investors, buyers and other businesses – on edge. In order to assuage their fears and prevent harm, security at every level must be airtight. Further, implantables require tremendous quality and safety controls to prevent a whole range of potential harm.
8. Christian Worldview/Issues
MP: Use Anti-Terror Powers On Christian Teachers Who Say Gay Marriage Is ‘Wrong’
New banning orders intended to clamp down on hate preachers and terrorist propagandists should be used against Christian teachers who teach children that gay marriage is “wrong”, a Tory MP has argued.
Mark Spencer called for those who use their position in the classroom to teach traditionalist views on marriage to be subject to “Extremism Disruption Orders” (EDOs), tough new restrictions planned by David Cameron and Theresa May to curb radicalisation by jihadists.
In a letter to a constituent, Mr Spencer, the MP for Sherwood in Nottinghamshire, insisted that Christian teachers were still “perfectly entitled” to express their views on same-sex marriage – but only “in some situations”.
Christian campaigners said Mr Spencer’s remarks confirmed what they had previously warned: that those who believe marriage should only be between a man and a woman would now be “branded extremists”.
The National Secular Society, which supports same-sex marriage, said the proposed banning orders could be one of the biggest threats to freedom of expression ever seen in the UK.
David Cameron outlined the counter-extremism plans after the General Election
Ministers have signaled that the orders, expected to be a key plank of the Government planned new Counter-Extremism Bill, would be used not only curb the activities of radical Islamist clerics but those who promote other views deemed to go against “British values”.
Ministers have defined British values in the past as including broad notions like democracy, tolerance and the rule of law.
Mr Spencer was writing in response to an email from a constituent who was concerned about claims by the campaign group the Christian Institute that EDOs could be used against those with traditional beliefs.
He wrote: “I believe that everybody in society has a right to free speech and to express their views without fear of persecution.
“The EDOs will not serve to limit but rather to guarantee it: it is those who seek to stop other people expressing their beliefs who will be targeted. “Let me give you an example, one which lots of constituents have been writing about – talking about gay marriage in schools.”
He went on to insist that Christians with traditional views on marriage are “perfectly entitled to express their views” but suggests it could constitute “hate speech” in some contexts.
“The new legislation specifically targets hate speech, so teachers will still be free to express their understanding of the term ‘marriage’, and their moral opposition to its use in some situations without breaking the new laws.
“The EDOs, in this case, would apply to a situation where a teacher was specifically teaching that gay marriage is wrong.”
Simon Calvert, Deputy Director of the Christian Institute said: “I am genuinely shocked that we have an MP supporting the idea of teachers being branded extremists for teaching that marriage is between a man and a woman.
“This is exactly the kind of thing we’ve been warning about.
“The Government says we’ve got nothing to worry about from their new extremism laws, but here is one of its own MPs writing to a constituent saying EDOs would stop teachers teaching mainstream Christian beliefs.”
He added: “Ten years ago the Conservatives opposed Tony Blair’s unpopular law against ‘inciting religious hatred’, saying it jeopardised free speech – yet here they are seeking to bring in an even worse law.
“EDOs will be a gross infringement of free speech and undermine the very British values they claim to protect.”
Keith Porteous Wood, executive director of the National Secular Society said: “If EDOs really could be used to prevent teachers from talking about same-sex marriage, unless they are inciting violence, they are an even greater threat to freedom of expression than I had feared.
“To suggest that EDOs guarantee freedom of expression [as Mark Spencer suggests] is not just inaccurate, it is the opposite of the truth; they are the largest threat to freedom of expression I have ever seen in Britain.
“The spreading of hatred is far too vague a concept to be the basis of legal sanctions, and would be worryingly open to misuse, particularly by ideological opponents.”
Why So Many People Think Pope Francis Is The Antichrist
If you type "is Pope Francis antichrist" into Google, you'll get about 425,000 results in .37 seconds. By way of comparison, if you ask Google the same question about Pope Benedict you only get 137,000 and it takes a little longer—.47 seconds.
So why do so many people think—or at least ponder—that the Latin American pontiff is the Antichrist (or at least the end-time False Prophet mentioned in Revelation 19:20)? It could be for some of the same reasons his popularity is declining. His approval rating in the United States has dropped from 76 percent a year ago to 56 percent today, according to Gallup.
Indeed, even Roman Catholics are cooling off to Francis, the first-ever Jesuit pope who emerged as a darling among the evangelical community when he took over for the retiring Benedict. Some Pentecostal onlookers suggested he was Spirit-filled. And Kenneth Copeland and James Robison met privately with the pope in Rome and exchanged high-fives.
So what gives? Reuters' Scott Malone points out: "The decline comes as Francis has changed the focus of his public remarks from that of his immediate predecessors, concentrating less on the Church's opposition to abortion and gay marriage and spending more of his time discussing social inequity and poverty."
Francis has been vocal about the evils of capitalism while backing off conservative views about homosexuals, asking, "Who am I to judge?" He's even called for a New World Order more than once. Some predict he will usher in this New World Order on Sept. 25, just 10 days after the end of the Shemitah year, which has a swirl of speculation about economic collapse around it.
Meanwhile, Francis has warmed up to Islam like no other pope before him. In a historic first, Francis opened the door to Muslim prayers and Quran readings at the Vatican last year. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli President Shimon Peres joined the pontiff in the Vatican gardens for a prayer meeting.
At that time, Francis said: "It is my hope that this meeting will mark the beginning of a new journey where we seek the things that unite, so as to overcome the things that divide. Peacemaking calls for courage, much more so than warfare. It calls for the courage to say yes to encounter and no to conflict." Some saw this as a precursor to the one world religion.
Protestant feathers really got ruffled when the washingtonpost.com and others falsely reported that Francis said the Quran and Holy Bible are the same:
"Jesus Christ, Mohammed, Jehovah, Allah. These are all names employed to describe an entity that is distinctly the same across the world. For centuries, blood has been needlessly shed because of the desire to segregate our faiths. This, however, should be the very concept which unites us as people, as nations, and as a world bound by faith. Together, we can bring about an unprecedented age of peace, all we need to achieve such a state is respect each others beliefs, for we are all children of God regardless of the name we choose to address him by. We can accomplish miraculous things in the world by merging our faiths, and the time for such a movement is now. No longer shall we slaughter our neighbors over differences in reference to their God."
Although it seems unlikely that the pope actually said that (I could not independently confirm it from mainstream media sources, only Internet rags that tend to publish misleading information) the fact that so many Christians took it as truth without a second blink is telling. He's said and done enough other shocking things to make this statement believable in the ears of many believers.
Could Francis be the final pope before Christ's return? Could he be the Antichrist? Is he the False Prophet? The chatter continues.
Kentucky Ministers Banned From Calling Homosexuality A Sin
The US state of Kentucky has come under fire for forcing ministers who volunteer as counselors at youth prisons to sign a policy which asserts that homosexuality is not sinful.
One minister, David Wells, has been dismissed from his role as a counselor, leading to the policy being discovered.
Mr. Wells is receiving legal support from Liberty Counsel, an organization which advocates for religious freedom.
The policy, by the Kentucky Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ), states that DJJ staff and volunteers, "shall not imply or tell LGBTQI juveniles that they are abnormal, deviant, sinful or that they can or should change their sexual orientation or gender identity."
According to Liberty Counsel, David Wells was asked to sign a form "promising to refrain from telling any juvenile inmates that homosexuality was 'sinful.'" The Baptist minister had already worked at the prison facility for more than ten years when he was asked to do so.
However, after refusing to sign the form, he was dismissed by a brusque letter from the Superintendent of the prison, Gene Wade.
The letter read: "I must terminate your involvement as a religious volunteer serving the youth in this facility per DJJ Policy 112, Section IV, Paragraph H, (8)."
Liberty Counsel have sent a letter to the Kentucky DJJ's commissioner Bob Hayter, stating that the dismissal was "unconstitutional".
Mat Staver, chairman of Liberty Counsel, said: "Many juveniles are in DJJ custody because of sexual crimes".
"Pastor Wells must be able to discuss what the Bible says about matters of sexuality with the juveniles he is trying to help.
"To remove the Bible from a pastor's hands is like removing a scalpel from a surgeon's hands. Without it, they cannot provide healing."
More Parents Turn To Homeschooling: 62% Increase In The Last Decade
More parents than ever before are choosing to homeschool their children, driving a movement that’s grown by 62 percent in the last decade.
The National Catholic Register reports that recent data from the U.S. Department of Education shows explosive growth in homeschooling among American families, particularly in the last 10 years, when the number of students between the ages of 5 and 17 went from 1.09 million in 2003 to 1.77 million in 2012.
Homeschooled students now represent about 3.4 percent of the school-age population, a percentage that’s increased significantly for a variety of reasons.
“The first one would be to have them get an individualized education that meets the needs of each student; the second was that we were drawn to a classical curriculum; and the third would be flexibility in time with family,” Fredericksburg, Va. homeschool mother Christina Banks told the news site of her reasons for educating her children at home.
“It has become demystified, and it’s become more acceptable, socially and culturally, for people to home school,” Mike Donnelly, a homeschooling father and attorney with the Home School Legal Defense Foundation, told the Register.
The Education Department’s 2012 “National Household Education Survey” shows the reasons behind parents’ decision to homeschool their children has shifted in recent years from mostly religious reasons to concerns about the public school environment and lacking academics.
“Ninety-one percent of parents cited concerns about the environment of public schools, 77 percent cited moral instruction, and 74 percent expressed concerns about the academic instruction,” the Register reports. “A lower number, of 64 percent, listed wanting to give their children religious instruction as a reason, followed by 44 percent saying they wanted their child to have a nontraditional form of education.”
As for the most important reason: “the survey showed 25% of parents said they were concerned about the environment of other schools; 22% said “other reasons” (including family time, finances, travel and distance), and 19% said they were dissatisfied with the academic instruction at other schools,” according to the news site.
Donnelly highlighted the fact that in 2007, 36 percent of parents cited religious or moral instruction as their primary driver, and the combined percentage dropped to a mere 21 percent in the 2012 survey.
There’s been other changes in the homeschool movement, as well.
“The National Home Education Research Institute reports that this educational choice is becoming increasingly popular with minorities as 15 percent of home-schooling families are now non-white/non-Hispanic,” Watchdog.org reports.
Experts believe the growth and changing demographic of homeschoolers is likely due in part to changes in state laws.
In North Carolina, for instance, the total number of homeschool students has more than doubled over the last 12 years, including a 34 percent increase in the last four years. In the last year alone, homeschooling increased 9 percent in North Carolina, according to the Carolina Journal.
Homeschoolers in the Tar Heel State now outnumber private school students and, if figured together as a single school district, represent the third largest school system in the state, behind Charlotte-Mecklenberg and Wake counties.
The rapid growth in North Carolina is undoubtedly due in part to loosened regulations on homeschool families, according to the Journal.
“For years, North Carolina’s homeschool law allowed only parents and guardians to provide instruction. Two years ago, homeschool families led a successful effort to change North Carolina’s definition of homeschooling,” according to the site.
“The revised law ensured that homeschool families have the option of utilizing alternative forms of instruction for a portion of their child’s education, including participating in co-ops, hiring tutors and specialists, and taking online courses.”
Previously, parents intimidated by the prospect of teaching their children higher level math or science were forced to send their children to public or private schools, but now have other options.
“Arguably, this is one reason why homeschool enrollment increases among 16- and 17-year-olds outpaced every other age group since 2013 (with the exception of 6- and 7-year-olds),” the Journal reports.
Those changes in state laws, of course, are precipitated by an increasing influence of homeschool families on lawmakers. Ohioans for Educational Freedom is one example of a political action committee dedicated to homeschooling that has helped several candidates gain seats on the state board of education.
One of those candidates is Sarah Fowler, a former egg farmer who was homeschooled her entire life by her parents in northeast Ohio. Fowler first won a seat on the board in a three way race in 2012, when she beat out two establishment candidates by a wide margin.
Fowler won re-election to the board for a full four-year term in 2014 in a four way race, again by a significant margin.
Her success is likely due to her simple but effective message, one that a growing number of Americans seem to be embracing: “I believe parents have the God-given right and responsibility to direct the education of their children.”