About the new year, this we know, that no incoming
president ever faced such a bewildering array of
problems as Barack Obama will face in just three
weeks on both national and international levels.

Our nation is engaged in two major wars, stretching
our military capability to the limit. Another war, or
wars, in the Middle-East may be just abut ready to
start. Our economy -- along with economies all over
the world -- is seeking new lows. At the same time
unemployment levels are reaching for new highs. The
housing market deteriorates daily/ Our manufacturing
industries appear doomed.The fabled breadlines of
of the 1930s seem ready to reappear.

And to face these problems we will have as our
president a young man whose only experience is
as a community organizer in Chicago and part of
a term as United States Senator. He was elected
on a promise of hope and change. And he may be
able to meet these challenges, but we know so little
about him -- where he was born, his education,
his health and physical condition, and his religious
convictions. As of this date he has done nothing to
merit our complaints or criticisms. While we wait
for his first actions, we can pray for God to give him
wisdom in utilizing his authority, and give us strength
and courage to withstand the threats to our way of
life which seem imminent.

But concerning the past year we can look back
and remember some of the events we have just gone
through. This is an interesting consideration for all
of us who are Christians.

The 10 Top Religious News Stories of 2008
First, from Charisma Magazine, with its strong
Evangelical viewpoint, although oriented toward
the Pentecostal position. Here are Charisma's
10 Top Religious News Stories of 2008:

1. The Martyrs of India
2. African-American pastors and the election
3. Sarah Palin -- love her or hate her
4. The Kendrick brothers and the film "Fireproof"
5. William P. Young -- and his novel "The Shack"
6. Bob Fu -- and his ministry in China
7. Jim Garlow -- and his efforts for Proposition 8
8. Irene Gleeson -- and her ministry in Uganda
9. Doug Stringle -- and "Somebody Cares" program
10. Joel Stockstill -- and his youth ministry

Second, from Christianity Today, more centrist
in its theological viewpoint, here are its Ten Top
Religious News Stories of 2008:

1. Democrats woo Evangelical voters
2. California voters turn back state Supreme Court
decision on same-sex marriages
3. Persecution of Christians in Orissa, India
4. Anglican Communion continues to implode
5. Christians flee Iraq and Gaza
6. Scrutiny of candidates' religious associations
7. Ministries finances affected by economic crisis
8. Muslim and Christian interfaith dialogues
9. Todd Bentley's Florida healing methods
10. Texas authorities raid FLDS ranch

And finally, from the theologically left of center Time
magazine, its Ten Top Religion News Stories of 2008:

1. The economy trumps religion; in the election
money woes pushed religion off the table
2. Never count out the Mormons on Proposition 8
3. The Pope wows the states
4. Canterbury - the Anglican Communion nonevent
5. America's unfaithful faithful; Pew Forum report
6. Buddhist monks rebel
7. The birth of the new Evangelicalism
8. The challenge of the recession for faith ministries
9. Unethical practices of a kosher packing factory
10. Extraterrestrials may already be saved

For a New Years Day exercise: why not use a
pad to list your Ten Top Religious News Stories
of 2008. What events from a religious or Christian
viewpoint seemed most significant to you?

This reflection on a major 2008 even is not from
one of the Founding Fathers, but from Peter Hitchens
who is an editorial writer for the Daily Mail in London.
''The night we waved goodbye to America... our
last best hope on Earth. Anyone would think we
had just elected a hip, skinny and youthful
replacement for God, with a plan to modernize
Heaven and Hell ...The swooning frenzy over the
choice of Barack Obama as President of the
United States must be one of the most absurd
waves of self-deception and swirling fantasy ever
to sweep through an advanced civilization. At
least Mandela-worship - its nearest equivalent -
is focused on a man who actually did something."

And what about 2009? What about traditional New
Years Resolutions? Or, reflecting on the writings of
Francis Schaeffer, "How should we then live?"
We have a New Testament filled with instructions
from the first century followers of Jesus, and from
Jesus Christ Himself. Nothing in the so-called
"progressive" or "politically correct" schools of
thought have ever superseded those rules of life.
And our God is still in control. The words of one of
Stuart Hamblen's songs come to mind, "I know not
what the future holds, but I know who holds the

This Founding Father had it right: "Religion and
good morals are the only solid foundation of public
liberty and happiness." Samuel Adams, 1788

Some Random Afterthoughts . . .

Don't forget our advance notice: In one of the
early issues of the new year in response to requests
from our readers we will offer an in-depth discussion
on the important subject of Evangelicalism . . . what
is an Evangelical . . . who are today's Evangelicals,
and who are not, despite their claims to be?

Looking ahead to 2009, we have Vice President-
elect Joe Biden's prediction on October 20: “Mark
my words. It will not be six months before the
world tests Barack Obama… Remember I said it
if you don’t remember anything else I said. Watch,
we’re gonna have an international crisis, a
generated crisis, to test the mettle of this guy. I
can give you at least four or five scenarios from
where it might originate.” It isn't clear whether the
six month period began on October 20 or if it will
begin on January 20. We'll just have to wait to see.

It may be good to know: In the past 100 years we
have seen a greater change in life expectancy than in
all previous centuries. In 1900 Americans lived on an
average 49.2 years. By 2000 that average age had
risen to 76.9 years. And according to the National
Center for Health Statistics, a baby born in 2006 has
a life expectancy slightly above 78 years. According
to the US Census Bureau, in 2004 there were 78,674
Americans 100 years of age. By 2050 it is expected
that there will be 1.1 million centenarians in America.

And the "Global Warming" theory may still be
with us. The award winning Princeton University
physicist, Dr. Will Happer, who was reportedly fired
by former Vice President Al Gore in 1993 for failing
to adhere to Gore’s scientific views, has now declared
the man-made global warming fears are in error. “I
am convinced that the current alarm over carbon
dioxide is mistaken,” Happer told the US Senate
Committee on Environment & Public Works last
week. One Internet news story was titled "2008,
the Year the Global Warming Sky Didn't Fall,"
and listed "Top Ten Dud Predictions" from the
"Church of Global Warming." Now if Mr. Gore
could just be convinced . . .

The Global Warming hoax had other implications.
The National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) had
always been neutral on the subject of Global Warming.
Then Richard Cizik, Vice President of Governmental
Affairs, formed the Evangelical Climate Initiative and
took the position that man causes catastrophic global
warming, even going so far as to say that those who
disagreed with his position on global warming were in
danger of the judgment of God. Then after he changed
his viewpoint on gay unions, Cizik resigned from his
position of leadership within the once influential NAE.

A quote from the ultimate Founding Father:
"The propitious smiles of Heaven can never be
expected on a nation that disregards the eternal
rules of order and right which Heaven itself has
ordained" -- George Washington, 1789




Every day we are presented with such a bewildering
mélange of newsworthy or non-newsworthy events
on local, national and international scenes that we
might tend to get so involved with them that we miss
the really important event of this date. So let's set
them aside, knowing that they will still be waiting for
us next week, and let's focus our thoughts on the
message of the Advent season -- God's great gift to
the world.

In familiar words, we recall Luke 2:11, "For
unto you is born this day in the city of David, a
Savior, which is Christ the Lord."

This event, the most significant in all the history of
the world, was not something that Luke happened
to think up on his own. Centuries earlier the prophet
Isaiah wrote, "The people that walked in darkness
have seen a great light ...for unto us a child is
born, unto us a son is given, and the government
shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be
called Wonderful Counselor, the Mighty God, the
Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace." (Isa. 9:2,6)

Through the years men and women -- authors, poets,
clergy, scholars, even skeptics and atheists -- have
offered their views of this event.

Those explanations range from the "Freedom from
Religion Foundation" comment: “At this season of
the Winter Solstice may reason prevail. There
are no gods, no devils, no angels, no heaven or
hell. There is only our natural world. Religion is
but myth and superstition that hardens hearts
and enslaves minds.”

And those explanations extend to the American
Heritage New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy with
its definition: "A festival commemorating the birth
of Jesus, traditionally celebrated on December
25 by most Western Christian churches...Today,
Christmas is largely secularized and dominated by
gifts, decorated trees, and a jolly Santa Claus."

And there is the great confession by a thoroughly
converted Ebenezer Scrooge in Dickens' beloved
"A Christmas Carol" -- "I will honour Christmas
in my heart, and try to keep it all the year."

But a much lesser known, and more meaningful view
than most is this quote from a 20th century evangelist,
John R. Rice, one of our personal friends: "You can
never really experience Christmas until you can
look up into the Father's face and tell Him you
have received His Christmas gift."

Almost too late for this year, on the Internet we
stumbled upon a new organization whose words
of introduction are: "The story of Christ's birth is
a story of promise, hope, and a revolutionary
love. So, what happened? What was once a time
to celebrate the birth of a savior has somehow
turned into a season of stress, traffic jams, and
shopping lists. Is this what we really want out of
Christmas? What if Christmas became a world-
changing event again?"

Welcome to Advent Conspiracy -- whose goal is
to restore the true meaning of Christmas to our
busy lives.You can find it by clicking on this link;
it's free: www.adventconspiracy.org

Finally, not from a Founding Father, but from
our longtime friend for more than 50 years, Joan
Winmill Brown, "Christmas! The very word brings
joy to our hearts. No matter how we may dread
the rush, the long Christmas lists for gifts and
cards to be bought and given, when Christmas
Day comes there is still the same warm feeling
we had as children, the same warmth that enfolds
our hearts and our homes."

So, in the words of Tiny Tim in "A Christmas Carol"
-- "God bless us, everyone." This oft-cited
masterpiece of literature moves beyond the status of
a merely secular story and establishes the clear and
definite position that without Jesus Christ, the living
source of Christmas, there is nothing to celebrate.
This fact is made clear by Scrooge's cheerful and
optimistic nephew, Fred, in saying that nothing about
Christmas can be separated from "the veneration
due to its sacred name and origin." Scrooge
himself bears testimony to the lasting effect of
Christmas in his pledge to keep Christmas in his
heart all through the year. It can be said that if
Christmas could offer hope for someone like mean
old Scrooge, there is available hope for all, as Tim
put it so well: "God bless us, everyone."

Some Random Afterthoughts . . .

An important advance notice: Early in the new
year we plan to present a discussion on the term
"Evangelical" -- what is "Evangelicalism" . . . what
is an "Evangelical" . . who are today's "Evangelicals"
. . . and other aspects of this important element of
of the Christian faith.

The Inaugural prayer furor has resulted in an
unusual state of agreement among Conservatives
and Liberals. From the Liberal side, the supporters
of the homosexual agenda are angry, because Rick
Warren spoke favorably of California's Proposition
8 . . .. from the Conservative side, Christians are
angry that one who professes to be an Evangelical
would agree to appear with one about whom we
know so little, particularly about his religious beliefs.
But some Evangelicals have voiced support for
Warren.. One such leader even suggested that he
may be the next Billy Graham, and accused Graham
of not having addressed the "issues." To make such
a comparison is like comparing apples and oranges.
Billy Graham was never anything but an evangelist,
an evangelist to the whole world. The one "issue" he
always addressed was the need of individuals for a
Savior.. He would never conceive of abandoning the
preaching of the Gospel (evangelizing) and instead
focus on feeding the poor, and combating AIDS in
Africa, worthy as those activities may be. Those
are the natural outworkings of the Christian life, and
are the responsibility of every Christian believer.

The religious makeup of Congress, in case you
might be interested. And you probably should be.
In the Senate: Protestants 53; Catholics 26; Jewish
13; Mormons 5; Orthodox 1; Other faiths 1. Among
the Protestants, the major denominations include
Presbyterian 12; Methodist 10; Baptist 8; Anglican/
Episcopal 6; Lutheran 4; Congregational 4.
In the House: Protestants 291; Catholic 161;
Jewish 45; Mormon 14; Orthodox 7; Other faiths 2;
Buddhists 2; Muslim 2; Don't know 5. Among the
Protestants, the major denominations include
Baptist 58; Methodist 47; Anglican/Episcopal 32;
Presbyterian 31; Lutheran 20; Congregational 2.
There is something there for just about everyone.

Then there is the congressional pay raise --
with increasing thousands of Americans out of work
all the members of Congress are about to receive a
$4,700 annual pay raise. Hard to justify such a
reward for the Congress with the worst approval
record in history. And they're the ones who berated
the heads of the auto industry for flying in corporate
planes instead of driving across country to appear
at the hearings in Washington.

And the Global Warming hoax goes on -- even
Las Vegas has just had an unprecedented heavy
snow storm, and in much of the nation Winter
(with heavy snow) has arrived early -- but the
Al Gore aficionados see all this cold weather as
proof of "Global Warming." In support of their
claims, they cite the Associated Press report that
the 10 warmest years on record have occurred
since Bill Clinton's second inaugural ceremony.
But after discovering that NASA's James Hansen
(Al Gore's chief scientific aide) had been tweaking
the numbers, the AP was forced to correct that
erroneous data. For the record, the 10 warmest
years, in descending order, are: 1934, 1998, 1921,
2006, 1931, 1999, 1953, 1990, 1938 and 1939.
Meantime, the real scientists continue to label the
Gore theory the greatest hoax of the century. But
President-elect Obama has picked a strong Global
Warming exponent, John Holdren, as his chief
scientific advisor. So we may have to accept
"Global Warming" by presidential decree.

A Founding Father's year-round thought:
"Suppose a nation in some distant Region should
take the Bible for their only law Book, and every
member should regulate his conduct by the
precepts there exhibited! Every member would
be obliged in conscience, to temperance, frugality,
and industry; to justice, kindness, and charity
towards his fellow men; and to piety, love, and
reverence toward Almighty God ... What a Utopia,
what a Paradise would this region be."
-- John Adams, 2nd American President, 1798




While most Ameren's were involved in shopping
for Christmas gifts for friends and family, elsewhere
politicians and others were busy handing out their
versions of gifts for the American people. "Crime,
scandal, turmoil" -- those appear to be appropriate
words to describe these "gifts."

We could add one other equally descriptive word:

Deception, deceit, compounded by ignorance,

are applicable terms to use in discussing the recent
Newsweek cover story, "The Religious Case for
Gay Marriage" its authorship even admitted to by
the Senior Religion Editor for the magazine, a Lisa
Miller. One might logically expect a Religion Editor
to at least read and study portions of the Bible, the
basic text book for the Christian faith. However,
that does not appear to be something to which Ms.
Miller has devoted much time or attention.

The tease copy for the article read: "Opponents
of gay marriage often cite Scripture. But what
the Bible teaches about love argues for the other

And this bias was expressed by the magazine's editor,
Jon Meacham who wrote: "No matter what one
thinks about gay rights ... this conservative resort
to biblical authority is the worst kind of
fundamentalism ... to argue that something is so
because it is in the Bible is more than intellectually
bankrupt -- it is unserious and not worthy of the
great Judeo-Christian tradition."

Without wasting our readers' time by many
quotes from the article, just note this one direct
quotation from Ms. Miller: "Scripture gives us no
good reason why gays and lesbians should not
be civilly and religiously married, and a number
of excellent reason why they should." Such
ridiculous statements have produced nothing but
humorous ridicule and intellectual dismissal from
Christian believers and scholars. Richard Land said:
"Newsweek has been so far in the tank on the
homosexual issue for so long they need scuba
gear and breathing apparatus." Tony Perkins
said, "I thought it was just full of holes." And
the Weekly Standard referred to the article as a
"dire mess."

And as for Ms. Miller's outlandish claim that "Jesus
never explicitly defined marriage as between one
man and one woman," one wonders how she
would interpret the words of Jesus in Mark 10: 6-8:
"God made them male and female. For this cause
shall a man leave his mother and father, and
cleave to his wife. And they twain shall be one
flesh." She probably never read those words. But
why waste time wondering about a "dire mess?"

It has been said of this newsletter (ANC) that it
may possibly be the best researched newsletter on
the Internet. Among the media we have long since
discontinued for research purposes are the New
York Times, and Newsweek magazine. This article
reinforced the wisdom of that decision.

We mentioned "Crime" as one of the "gifts."

Well, the arrogance and greed demonstrated by
Illinois Governor Blagojevich may not have yet
broken the line into "crime," he has at least been
arrested on the basis of recorded conversations in
which he expressed the desire essentially to sell Mr.
Obama's vacant Senate seat to the highest bidder.
Efforts to impeach him, to have him removed from
office as unfit to serve and other legislative proposals
are in the works -- or, of course, it may just blow
over as the way politics are carried on. But coming
during this Advent season of the year, this is a sorry
example of what this nation has become, as distinct
from what the founding fathers intended it to be.

US Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald said: "The conduct
would make Lincoln turn over in his grave." But
given the usual conduct of politics in Illinois, Lincoln
has probably been continually turning for many years.
Meantime we continue to wait for the president-elect
transition team to produce their version of what did
or did not happen, or how they were or were not
involved. Creative writing of this scope is not a task
for a few hours or days -- it takes time.

What other term than "Scandal" adequately
describes the "bail outs" for one industry after another,
as the government (whatever that may mean) uses
long hours of Congress' time to listen to confessions
of failure in management by executives of the financial
service industry and the automobile industry, followed
by their pleas for taxpayers -- (that's us, folks) to give
them more money to keep them afloat until their next
trip to Washington to feed at the government trough.
And short term or long term, who face no cuts in their
personal income? Right -- the union executives. But
at least the auto executives no longer come to come
on their corporate jets to beg in Washington -- they
are actually driving their own production line cars.
Such displays of humility and budgetary restraint
should be worth a few extra billions of dollars.

And that leaves "Turmoil," and there seems to
plenty of that sort of "gifts" at the moment. For one,
Jimmy Carter continues to try to stir up trouble in
the Middle East, and had announced plans for a
trip sponsored by his Carter Center to meet with
the terrorist organizations Hezbollah and Hamas.
The Carter Center reportedly receives huge funding
from those groups which refuse to recognize Israel's
right to exist. Carter has written a new book on his
view of peace in the area, to be released following
the Obama inauguration in January. The former
president considers Israel to be an apartheid state,
and favors Israel giving most of Palestine to those
terrorist groups which he describes as "freedom
fighters." However, on the very eve of the talks,
Hezbollah announced they would not meet with
Carter as he had proposed. Something should be
done to keep such a turmoil proponent at home.

More "Turmoil" on the international level --

under this headline: "Global Liars Gather in
The UN's two-week conference on
climate change in Poznan, Poland, ended last week
with major disagreements on an equitable balance
of emissions cuts between richer and poorer nations.
Negotiators from 190 countries debated proposals,
and US Senator John Kerry, representing President-
elect Obama affirmed that the US under Obama is
determined to lead in the fight against climate change,
pledging emission curbs.

As the conference ended
it faced a serious
challenge from over 650 dissenting scientists from
around the world who are criticizing the climate
claims made by the UN IPCC and former Vice
President Al Gore. Due to be released this week
is a newly updated U.S. Senate Minority Report
from those scientists who no longer want to be
associated with the greatest hoax of the century.
Those 650 dissenting scientists are 12 times the
number of UN scientists (52) who authored the
media's much cited hyped IPCC 2007 Summary
for Policymakers.

In view of these "gifts" -- crime, scandal, turmoil
and deceit -- how should the Christian believer live,
what should we be doing? Contrary to the article
in Newsweek, discussed above, we should look to
the words of Jesus. In Matthew, chapter 24, He
spoke of troubles and unrest, and of false prophets,
and warned that many might be deceived, even the
very elect. But he concluded with these words in
verse 42: "Watch therefore, for ye know not
what hour your Lord cometh ..." and again in
Mark 13: 33,35: "...watch and pray, for ye know
not when the time is ...watch ye therefore ..."
Our instruction from the Lord is to take our eyes
off of current events, and "Watch." And as we
look for the return of our Lord, we are to be the
believers He directed us to be by preaching the
Gospel to every creature in all the world. It is called
the Great Commission of Jesus Christ (Mark 16:15)

At least one Founding Father foresaw that there
would be future attempts to violate the Constitution,
for one reason or another: "No compact among
men can be pronounced everlasting and inviolable,
and if I may so express myself, that no Wall of
words, that no mound of parchment can be so
formed as to stand against the sweeping torrent
of boundless ambition on the one side, aided by
the sapping current of corrupted morals on the
other." -- President George Washington, 1789

Remarkable foresight -- more than 200 years ago:
"boundless ambition" ..."corrupted morals" ...
he could have been reading our present day news.

Some Random Afterthoughts . . .

Several touches of humor appeared on the Internet
in recent days. Amid the tensions of the present
recession, it's good to share a chuckle now and then.
(1) In re the failure of the Homosexuals' "Day without
a gay" effort, Jay Leno said that in Hollywood when
gays phoned in to say they weren't coming to work,
there was no one in the office to answer the phone.
(2) Concerning Obama's cabinet appointments, this
gem surfaced: "As before we will get two for the
price of one. Hillary will be in charge of foreign
policy, while Bill's in charge of foreign affairs." (3)
In response to Obama's complaint that FOX News
doesn't show enough Black and Hispanic people on
their network, FOX has announced that they will
now air "America's Most Wanted" twice a week.

A great argument in support of "marriage" --
the settlements presented to your spouse. For
example, this news item from London: "Madonna
has paid her ex-husband British director Guy
Ritchie up to 60 million pounds ($92 million) to
settle their divorce after eight years of marriage,
her spokeswoman said on Monday." Try to tell
Guy Ritchie that marriage isn't a good idea.

Oh, back to Al Gore's global warming hoax:
it snowed last week in Houston, TX and in New
Orleans, LA. Those snow flurries in Houston tied
a 64-year record for the earliest snowfall, and the
snow in New Orleans was also among the earliest
recorded. One environmental physical chemist from
Japan said of global warming alarmism, “When
people come to know what the truth is, they will
feel deceived by science and scientists.” (And
ex-vice presidents, no doubt.)

A lesson from a Founding Father applicable for
today's politicians: "It is of great importance to set
a resolution, not to be shaken, never to tell an
untruth. There is no vice so mean, so pitiful, so
contemptible; and he who permits himself to tell a
lie once, finds it much easier to do it a second and
a third time, till at length it becomes habitual; he
tells lies without attending to it, and truths without
the world's believing him." -- Thomas Jefferson, 1785




AMID MANY MESSAGES received the past week
was this one, in these exact words: "Thank you for
your maturity in addressing the concerns of many
people. I am reminded that we are to pray for those
in power, whether we like or support them or not."
We appreciate all the messages we receive. Please
continue to send them to our familiar address:
american_news_2008@yahoo.com. Thank you!

Because 2008 has been a momentous year in many
ways, before we look ahead to 2009 it seems fitting
to pause for a moment and reflect on just where we
are, and how we are.

At this point in mid-December, the very frequently
used comment between friends is "Where did the year
2008 go?" followed by, "I can't believe it is December
already." But in this hurried-up span of a year much
has happened; presidential candidate Obama did not
need to advocate seeking "change" -- we have had
more then enough "change" already.

We learn of 533,000 jobs lost in November; another
half million in October, with likely more than 3 million
unemployed by year end -- a rate of unemployment
not experienced in more than 30 years. The stock
market, which reflects the state of the nation's economy,
has lost 30% - 50% of its value in just a few weeks.
Many thousands of families have lost their homes
through foreclosure. To forgo perhaps even more
disastrous events. the Congress has decided to spend
the nation's money to prop up -- bail out -- failing
businesses from banks to automobile manufacturers.

Even President Bush, on the eve of escaping all these
problems, accepts the official evaluation that we have
been in a "recession" since last December, and the
other word "depression" is right on our doorstep.

We are engaged in two wars, draining financial and
military resources, including the loss through death or
injury of thousands of America's finest. We are a
nation morally divided -- in every state where the
people have voted on a pro-marriage amendment to
the state constitution, it has passed by substantial
majorities. Yet in California when "Proposition 8"
was approved by the voters, the small homosexual
minority has embarked upon a riotous rampage,
attacking and defacing churches, demanding that
the state Supreme Court revoke the vote of the
people. And the abortionist baby-killers are right
on the verge of substantial new legislation to
strengthen their position.

The Liberals have rejoiced that we elected a black
as president (hardly "black" -- his mother\ was white),
yet rather than disclose the place of his birth, he has
sealed all such records, as well as education and health
records, so we face the fast approaching inauguration
of a man as president of whom we know very little --
such as whether he even meets the constitutional
requirement for that office. But we will act on the
assumption that he does until proven otherwise.

Internationally the world is in turmoil on many fronts;
persecution of Christians rather than abating, is on the
increase with burning and destruction of churches and
killings and forced displacement of Christian leaders.
The attacks by terrorists have not ceased -- the world
was shocked at recent murders and destruction in India's
chief financial center, Mumbai, bringing nuclear nations
Pakistan and India to the brink of war

On this 10th of December, just two weeks before
Christmas, here are some of the moral value issues
which are in the news this week in America:

-- Still in revolt, and seeking to persuade the California
Supreme Court to overturn the vote of the people on
Proposition 8 which establishes traditional, God-
ordained marriage as the norm for California, the
homosexual movement has proposed a nation-wide
boycott -- "A Day without a Gay"-- to take place
today (or later if today doesn't work out) when all
over the country homosexuals would not report for
work. (Great move given the present unemployment
rate!)The incongruous thing is they they accuse the
rest of us of "intolerance" -- yet they are the ones who
refuse to accept vote after vote of the majority of the
people across the nation.

-- In the American Episcopal church, the Diocese
of Los Angeles has joined seven other dioceses in
asking the church to permit the ordination of lesbians
and homosexual men as bishops, and the diocese
has expressed support for homosexual "marriage"
by adopting a sacramental "blessing" for such unions.

-- In Olympia, Washington, atheists have placed a
sign next to a Nativity scene in the state capitol; the
sign reads: "There are no gods, no devils, no angels,
no heaven or hell. Religion is but myth and
superstition that hardens our hearts and enslaves
our minds." The display of the sign has had the
support of the governor on First Amendment grounds.
When the sign was stolen, then recovered, the atheists
affixed this memo: "Thou shalt not steal." Seems
logical. Their claim: The Christians have muscled in
on the ancient observance of the Winter Solstice.

-- The atheists already have such a sign in the capitol
of Wisconsin in Madison, and are now aiming at the
capitol of Illinois in Springfield. And how many
atheists are there in this country? In 2004 a poll
disclosed 80% of Americans claimed to be Christians,
with 11% holding other religious beliefs. That left 9%
for atheists and agnostics. In 2008 the Pew Forum on
Religion reported that 92% believe in God leaving 8%
for atheists and agnostics . . . but 20% of atheists admit
belief in some sort of universal power, as do 50% of
agnostics. At most, atheists represent perhaps 5% of
the American population. So how can so few of them
demonstrate such power?

-- Meantime, a new Hollywood stage show opened,
titled "Proposition 8: the Musical," lampooning the
concept of a ban on gay "marriage," and featuring a
cast of second-rate actors. Comedian Jack Black
plays the part of a rotund Jesus, interpreting the
Bible to prove that homosexuals and shrimp cocktails
are "abominations." Can anyone conceive of the
reactions of Muslims if such insults were leveled at
Mohammad and the Koran? But where are the
Christian objections? Hello . . .?

-- But, of course, California Governor Arnold
Schwarzenegger (who supports voiding Proposition
8) pointed out that homosexual marriage in California
would offer a financial boost to the state's troubled
economy. Money always seems to win in the end.

And this is the state of the world and our nation
as we approach the observance of the birth of the
Son of God, the Savior of the world, who came to
this earth with the promise to overcome evil and
bring peace to all mankind. . . a promise which in
His time will be fulfilled. This is not a time for
Christians to despair; this is a time for Christians to
"live soberly, righteously and godly, in this
present world, looking for that blessed hope,
and the glorious appearing of the great God
and our Savior, Jesus Christ." (Titus 2:12-13)
And His promise stands infallible: "In the world
ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer;
I have overcome the world." (John 16:33)

The Founding Fathers also faced the issue of
the national debt: "With respect to future debt;
would it not be wise and just for that nation to
declare in the constitution they are forming
that neither the legislature, nor the nation itself
can validly contract more debt, than they may
pay within their own age, or within the term of
19 years." --Thomas Jefferson, 1789
And a year later:"There is not a more important
and fundamental principle in legislation, than
that our appropriations should ever go hand in
hand with our promises. To say that the United
States should be answerable for twenty-five
millions of dollars without knowing whether those
who are to succeed us will think with us on the
subject, would be rash and unjustifiable...In my
opinion, it would be hazarding the public faith
in a manner contrary to every idea of prudence."
-- James Madison, 1790

How easily present day politicians ignore the intent
of the men who founded this nation!

Some Random Afterthoughts . . .

It can happen here -- we continue to stress the fact
that the reverse of Sinclair Lewis' novel, "It can't
happen here" is a distinct possibility, and by simply
observing what is taking place in Great Britain we
find evidence that it can happen in the civilized
western world. The Catholic bishops of England
and Wales want facilities in their schools for Islamic
pre-prayer washing rituals. The Islamic cleansing
ritual, ‘Wudhu’, is practiced by Muslims before they
pray, and involves washing the face, hands, arms and
feet three times each, gargling the mouth three times
and washing of other parts of the body. Catholic
schools will have to install bidets, foot spas and
hoses to facilitate such extensive cleansing rituals,
according to Muslim clerics.

In another action in Great Britain, the Catholic
Church of England and Wales warned Roman
Catholic priests not to use language in their parishes
that might offend gays and lesbians Priests have
been told by their bishops not to assume that every
parishioner is heterosexual. This advice to be more
tolerant of homosexuality would seem to be in
conflict with the opposition to homosexual "marriage"
as expressed by Pope Benedict XVI.

"More dead than in Iraq" is the way one observer
described the drug related murders taking place in
Mexican cities along the US-American border. After
our Thanksgiving holiday, the decapitated bodies of
9 men were discovered in Tijuana, less than half
an hour's drive from San Diego, a portion of 34
murders over that weekend.. Those deaths brought
the total of Tijuana deaths this year to around 800,
and for other border cities, including Juarez and
Nuevo Laredo to nearly 4,500 for the year to date.
These civil unrest fatalities are not happening across
the world in Iraq or Afghanistan -- they are taking
place along our border in Texas, New Mexico,
Arizona and California.

Conservative Episcopalians make a move --In
the first definite action in the developing split within
the American Episcopal church, Conservative
bishops, clergy and lay delegates met in Wheaton,
IL last week, and voted to form a new Anglican
Province in America. The group has long been in
opposition to the liberal trends within the Episcopal
church in America, climaxed with their consecration
of an openly homosexual priest as bishop in New
Hampshire. Their next move will be to establish
recognition of the new province within the world-wide
Anglican Communion. The initial membership\of the
new province is estimated at 100,000, and growing.

From an early American president: "It is no
slight testimonial, both to the merit and worth
of Christianity, that in all ages since its
promulgation the great mass of those who have
risen to eminence by their profound wisdom and
integrity have recognized and reverenced Jesus
of Nazareth as the Son of the living God."
-- John Quincy Adams, 6th president of the USA
- - - - - - - - - - -




ON SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 30, the Season of
Advent officially began, and so we have changed
the color of our title to the traditional purple which
signifies the royal nature of the King to be born. So
our commentary will focus as much on the spiritual
side of life as on the secular -- or in these days of
conflict, the political. As always we welcome your
email messages: american_news_2008@yahoo.com


In each issue of this commentary since election day,
we have urged Christians to pray for president-elect
Obama, even though the Electoral College has not
yet voted to make that title actually correct.
And each week we receive email messages from
our readers saying that they are finding it difficult to
pray sincerely for Mr. Obama. Various reasons
have been explained in those messages, including
his Muslim background, and expressing concern
over his middle name: Hussein; the fact that he has
kept so much of his life a secret, such as where he
was born - we don't even know if he is a native-
born American citizen -- and how he could have
remained associated for so many with that strange
minister who publicly cursed America and continue
to look to him as his pastor and advisor.

Those are just a few of the concerns which have
been expressed to us, and we certainly do not
criticize our readers for openly sharing their
concerns with us. We continue to urge Christians
to pray that God will direct Mr. Obama and give
him wisdom and strength to do right and stand up
against the anti-American, anti-Christian influences
which will confront him as he assumes the office of
President of the United States of America, a nation
whose motto is "In God We Trust."

Oh, and did you hear the news? The official
report from the financial powers-that-be is that we
have been in a recession as of December, 2007. If
you had thought that was the case, now you can be
reassured that your perception was correct. It isn't
an illusion . . . it's real.

This headline said it well: "Mumbai Siege Ends
as Last Terrorist Killed"

Last week's burning and murder spree in Mumbai
(Bombay) has been labeled as "India's 9/11." And
there is some reason to believe that both attacks
may have been planned by the same Islamic master
mind. India has taken the position that Pakistan was
responsible, bringing the two nuclear armed nations,
one Muslim, the other Hindu, to the brink of open
warfare, which could be the start of World War III.

It may take some time before the exact nature of
the attackers becomes definite. They appear to have
been Islamists located and trained somewhere in
Pakistan. The Pakistan government denies any direct
involvement. This we know -- the 10 terrorists who
carried out the attack deliberately targeted civilians,
torturing and killing nearly 200 (including at least 6
Americans), and injuring hundreds more. In the
process they did great damage to the city of
Mumbai, and seriously interrupted the ongoing
business of India's financial center. It was a further
demonstration of radical Muslims' self-declared
war on civilization, with America and Israel as their
principal targets. Those 10 young men captured the
total attention of world-wide press and TV coverage.
They created a goal and a challenge for future
Jihadists to meet and surpass.

As Gary Bauer pointed out in "End of Day," Dec.
1, "The jihadists who are attacking civilization are
educated in madrasses – Islamic religious schools.
They cite the Koran as their authority. They follow
the teachings of Muslim imams worldwide ... who
issue “fatwas,” ... justifying the murder of infidels
...They praise “Allah” as they kill and die."

The skill with which the Mumbai attacks were
conducted raises a valid fear of similar attacks on
major cities in America. The headline above was in
error; one of the terrorists was captured alive. His
revelations during interrogation do little to alleviate
that fear. One hopes the incoming administration
which will have to face the possibility of any such
attacks understands that diplomacy and negotiation
have little meaning to these terrorists.

Civilized nations throughout the world are united
in their condemnation of these terrorist tactics.. And
from the religious front there have come similar
reactions -- from the World Council of Churches
(WCC) General Secretary, Samuel Kobia, who
said he was "deeply shocked and saddened" --
adding, "We believe that there can be no
justification whatsoever for such despicable acts
of terrorism and indiscriminate violence." And
from the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams,
who expressed his "shock and outrage at the
appalling atrocities in Mumbai," and wrote to the
High Commissioner of India, "People everywhere
stand in solidarity with the innocent and in
condemnation of those who would destroy innocent
lives out of evil and misguided motives."

And yet these two religious leaders were among
those who welcomed the letter from the Islamic
scholars, and who urged their followers to join in
the Yale Divinity School concession to the Islamists'
position that we all worship the same God. Now
suddenly they are shocked at this further display of
torture and the killing of innocent people -- infidels--
by the Jihadists.

From President Thomas Jefferson: "Can the
liberties of a nation be thought secure when we
have removed their only firm basis, a conviction
in the minds of the people that these liberties are
the gift of God? ... The reason that Christianity
is the best friend of Government is because
Christianity is the only religion that changes the
heart." (During his presidency, 1801-1809)

Some Random Afterthoughts . . .

Oooops -- we erred! In last week's issue we
reported on Bob Jones University's apology for its
long established racial policies. But we interchanged
the dates when the policies were abandoned. Some
of our readers pointed out the error. and we are
happy to correct it: the ban on admission of blacks
ended in 1971, and the ban on inter-racial dating
ended in 2000.

The "Invisible Man" returns to sight. Portrayed
as "average Joe," the Democrat answer to Joe, the
plumber, Joe Biden had bragged about being a lunch-
bucket Democrat with working class roots, but then
dropped from sight after the election. But on the eve
of Thanksgiving Day he proved he knows how to
party like the Kennedys. With his family he ferried
from Cape Cod over to Nantucket Island where
he had rented a $4 million house for the weekend.
He told the local newspaper that this has been their
traditional Thanksgiving get-away for over 30 years.

He may be out of sight as vice president, but is the
center of attention among the elite habitués of
Nantucket Island.

Some campaign promises are not forgotten:
President-elect Obama has moved quickly to name
homosexual activists to positions within his proposed
administration. Politico.com reports that 10 national
homosexual organizations are working with the
Obama transition team, helping to get more openly
homosexuals appointed to positions in the Obama
administration. Obama's transition team has also
reportedly named at least seven openly homosexuals
to panels assigned to review federal departments
and agencies. Matt Barber, director of cultural affairs
with Liberty Counsel and Liberty Alliance Action,
says that Obama is keeping his promises to the
homosexual lobby; "It's not surprising that he has
now allowed some of these radical activists to
become part of his administration." Should we,
Christians, be concerned? Most certainly.

While many segments of the economy are
clearly ailing, at least the Obama memorabilia
business is actually booming. One example:
CafePress.com offers thousands of Obama-related
designs for sale. A search of eBay discloses more
than 21,000 Obama items to choose from. Many
are the usual T-shirts, coffee mugs, ball point pens,
caps, buttons and pins, etc. It has to be said that
the French are much more innovative: there voodoo
dolls representing President Sarkozy are available,
including a pin with which to stab the doll and cause
pain for the president. Let's leave that one for the
French to enjoy.

The Founding Fathers' view of human nature:
"Human nature itself is evermore an advocate
for liberty. There is also in human nature a
resentment of injury, and indignation against
wrong. A love of truth and a veneration of
virtue. These amiable passions, are the "latent
spark"... If the people are capable of under-
standing, seeing and feeling the differences
between true and false, right and wrong, virtue
and vice, to what better principle can the friends
of mankind apply than to the sense of this
difference?" - John Adams, 1775

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