THIS WEEK'S EDITORIAL COMMENT: First on today's agenda is a
statement well expressed in a Latin phrase: mea culpa. We all know it
means "It is my fault." In last week's issue we referred to the date of
Christmas as "Sunday, Dec. 25" -- but of course it should be "Saturday,
Dec. 25." Both our Senior Editor and our Senior Editorial Advisor missed
the error in our proof-reading. (The first notification came from one of our
readers, Evangelist Charles Couey of the Tennessee Baptist Convention.)
With that error corrected, and with Christmas Day agreed upon as being on
Saturday, we can now focus our thoughts on the Advent Season. Sunday of
this week was the Second Sunday in Advent. The traditional hymn of this
season is the 12th century Latin chant, Veni Emmanuel ("Come God With
Us"), translated into English in the 19th century by the English hymn -
ologist, John Mason Neale, as "O Come, O Come, Emmanuel." Emmanuel
was the name given to the Savior in Isaiah, and spoken of in Matthew
1:22-23, "That it might be fulfilled what was spoken of the Lord by the
prophet, saying, Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth
a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is
God with us." And as in those early days while they waited for the birth
of Jesus, so today we wait for the day that marks His birth so that we can
celebrate His coming -- to be forever, "God with us."
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -


At the time of Jesus' first advent, His birth was announced by a multitude
of angels praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest, and on
earth, peace, good will toward men." (Luke 2:14) This year, as we
approach that day, peace and good will appear far from reality. Wars are
raging on at least two fronts ... international animosity is being displayed
through purloined secret diplomatic communications ... and in our own
country millions are facing intense hardship as unemployment figures
keep on growing. We are experiencing here in America and throughout
the world, the continuing failure of government leaders who appear to
be totally incapable of coping with those problems.

At times our faith is tested, yet we know that in the words of the Advent
hymn, God is with us, and through all the ages of history, He has always
spoken and acted to overcome situations and events which were beyond
all human power to solve. Jesus, "God with us," is always with us in
times of need, in times of sorrow and in times of joy. In every sense He
is with us today, and always, as He promised, "I am with you always,
even unto the end of the world." (Matt. 28:20) and as Paul reminded us,
"He hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee." (Heb. 13:5)

It is possible that present events are as disheartening and dismaying and
troubling as at any time in history, but Jesus told us that difficult times
would come: "Ye shall hear of wars and rumors of wars ... nation shall
rise against nation ... there shall be famines and pestilences and
earthquakes ... and many false prophets shall arise ...if it were possible
they shall deceive the very elect ... and then shall appear the sign of
the Son of man in heaven ... and they shall see the Son of man coming
in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory ... heaven and earth
shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away." (Matt. 24) And
years later, John added to those promises,"Many false prophets are
gone out into the world ... and every spirit that confesseth not that
Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God; and this is that spirit
of anti-christ ... and even now already is it in the world ... greater is
he that is in you, than he that is in the world." (I John 4:1-4)

That confidence is ours in these troubling times as we move forward in
another Advent season, celebrating the first coming of Jesus, and also
"Looking for that blessed hope and the glorious appearing of the great
God, and our Savior, Jesus Christ" (Titus 2:13) -- His second coming.

As for the headlined news stories, we should not attempt to deal with
them in great detail; for better or worse the secular news services do that
for us. But briefly: First, concerning unemployment: despite the repeated
assurances from Mr. Obama that our economic recovery is moving right
along, this past week the Labor Department disclosed that as of the end
of November, the "official" unemployment rate had moved up to 9.8% --
a substantial increase from the 7.6% in January, 2009, when Mr. Obama
became president. More than 15 million people are unemployed, and
face the termination of unemployment benefits. And it was the Obama
administration which at the start of its "stimulus" spending program
assured us that the unemployment rate would not exceed 8%. Coupled
with those hard facts, and almost ignoring them, the Democrat controlled
"lame duck" Congress has been wasting its time debating raising income
taxes (a no-brainer), and the proposal to subject our military to the open
enrollment of homosexuals through repealing the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell"
law which was enacted by President Bill Clinton.

Another major news story, reflecting unfavorably on American and
international diplomatic functions, is the much-discussed "WikiLeaks"
whereby Australian journalist and entrepreneur, Julian Assange obtained
access to thousands of diplomatic messages between America and other
nations, and has been releasing them to the media -- some 250,000 such
documents in the latest release. Although evidence of damage to trust
and confidence between America and leaders of other nations is
increasing daily, the Obama administration, including Attorney General
Holder, has failed to take any legal action against Mr. Assange. When
asked for an official view, White House press spokesman Robert Gibbs
very glibly said, "Look, our foreign policy and our country is stronger
than one guy with one website . . . and we should never be afraid of one
guy who plopped down $35 and bought a Web address," and three times
he said, "We're not scared of one guy with one keyboard and a laptop."

Interpol, the international police agency, has now been able to arrest
Assange in Britain, not on the disclosure charges, but on charges of
sexual offenses in Sweden. When previously confronted with the issue,
Mr. Holder said he had to go to Zurich to lobby in behalf of the American
bid to host the World Soccer Cup match in 2022. (Holder was just as
successful as President Obama had been in trying for America to be
chosen for the 2016 Olympics, and lost the World Cup selection to Qatar,
a tiny Islamic nation with just over a million population, located on the
Arab peninsula, with Summer temperature readings in triple digits.) Now
perhaps with this failed venture out of the way, our government will
take some legal action with respect to the WikiLeaks operation which has
made our Department of State look so ridiculous, and has furthered the
deterioration of America's standing among other nations, and threatens to
compromise our national security.

There is a religious or spiritual aspect involved in one of the stories.
One of candidate Obama's campaign promises to the homosexuals was
that he would repeal the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" law with respect to the
U.S. military. As the debate was gaining attention, the Pew Research
Center conducted a poll as to adult opinion of the Obama proposal, and
reported that overall, 58% favor repealing the law, thus permitting
homosexuals to serve openly in the armed forces. In a breakdown of the
responses, Pew reported that among "White Evangelicals" 34% favored
the repeal, while 48% opposed it. Among "White Mainline" Christians,
64% favored the repeal, with 23% opposing it. (Note: we do not
understand why only "White Evangelicals" were indicated -- being an
Evangelical is a matter of belief, not of skin color.) In another review of
the results, among weekly church attendees, the favor/oppose ratio was
40%-40%. Among monthly or yearly attendees, the ratio was 66% favor
and 20% oppose; among seldom or never attendees, the ratio was 71%
favor and 19% oppose. Commenting on this obvious trend, Alan Wisdom
of the Institute on Religion and Democracy noted that White Evangelicals
were a minority in their belief, and said, "It reinforces what we have seen
elsewhere, which is that evangelicals are a minority in American society
and they are going against the current of culture in a number of cases."
Mr. Wisdom was citing, obviously without understanding, what Paul said
in Titus 2:14 -- that Jesus gave Himself for us, to "purify unto himself a
peculiar people." If we apply the dictionary definition of "peculiar" as
"distinctive in nature or character from others," we can affirm that as
Christians, as Evangelicals, we are indeed different and distinctive.

As usual -- here are a few examples of "What others Are Saying."

Sandy Rios (President, Culture Campaign):: "Despite the Wikileaks
debacle, it's 'full speed ahead' for the White House in its quest to
repeal the ban on 'don't ask, don't tell.' No surprise there...after all,
Barack Obama has a campaign promise to keep".

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA): “You would think that after the November
elections, Democrats would have realized how out-of-touch and
misdirected their policies have been.”

Oliver North (Lt. Col., USMC, Ret.): "Adolf Hitler, Benito Mussolini
and Hideki Tojo tried and failed. Mao Zedong, Nikita Khrushchev and
Ho Chi Minh couldn't do it. But commander-in-chief Barack Obama
may well succeed where others could not. If he has his way, he will
demolish the finest force for good in the history of mankind -- the
U.S. armed forces."

(Sometimes it is interesting to read the ridiculous along with the good.)
Helen Thomas (former long time White House news reporter): "We
are owned by propagandists against the Arabs. There's no question
about that. Congress, the White House, Hollywood and Wall Street,
are owned by the Zionists. No question in my opinion. They put their
money where their mouth is. … We're being pushed into a wrong
direction in every way."

Every week we hear from readers who enjoy the "One Liners."

"The essential mission of the Catholic Church is evangelization,"
-- Rev. Geno Sylva, Exec. Dir., St. Paul Inside the Walls Catholic Center

"The ongoing WikiLeaks operation against the US is an act of war. It
is not merely a criminal offense... It is an act of sabotage."
-- Caroline Glick, Center for Security Policy

"This failed Congress needs to close up shop and go home ...That
which it did, it shouldn’t have done. That which it didn’t do, it can
no longer do well." -- Hugh Hewitt, Radio talk show host

And this from Sen. John McCain (R, AZ): in describing the Obama
effort to repeal "Dont Ask, Don't Tell," he called it "a political promise
made by an inexperienced president."

A continuing reminder of an ongoing responsibility: In addition to the
17 days in Advent, until Christmas Day, we have exactly 699 days until
Nov. 6, 2012, our next national Election Day . . . 699 days to pray for
our nation and for wisdom for its leaders, before we go to the polls to
vote to reclaim America to its Judeo-Christian founding principles as a
God-fearing, God-honoring nation. And in our prayers, we should join
with others in praying for our allies in Israel as they face the difficult
task of recovering from the devastating fires which have swept the nation.

And there are these few random "Afterthoughts" . . .

A much needed word from a Conservative leader: In a speech before
the Detroit Economic Club last week, Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN) spoke of
the proposal labeled "START" -- not the new Obama treaty with Russia,
but the plan to jumpstart America's economic growth: Sound monetary
policy, Tax relief and reform, Access to American energy, Regulatory
reform, and Trade. In his speech he called for major economic reform
and defended the free market principles that made America's economy
great -- but he also spoke of the need to return to moral values in
government, sounding very much like most of our Founding Fathers: "To
renew American exceptionalism, we must recognize that our present
crisis is not merely economic but moral in nature... I know we will not
restore this nation with public policy alone. It will require public
virtue. … As we seek to build national wealth, we must renew our
commitment to the institutions that nurture the character of our people
-- traditional family and religion." That is the sort of message we
should be hearing from the man in the White House.

Something very strange is happening ... doesn't anyone notice? We
have previously mentioned one aspect -- how a never-heard-of minister
of a small church in Florida merely threatened to burn a copy of the
Quran, and adverse reactions erupted all over the world. Even the U.S.
president, the attorney general and other officials got involved; in
Muslim countries mobs rioted, burning American flags and shouting
"Death to America." The man didn't burn the Quran; he just talked
about doing it. But meantime, all over the world hundreds, and thousands
of Bibles are being burned and destroyed ... Muslims attack Christians,
beating, raping, beheading and stoning them to death, while they are
burning and destroying Christian churches. The reason for no strong
protest against these offenses has been that Christianity is a religion of
love and respect, while Islam is a religion of violence and hatred.

And remember also that in 2005, a Danish cartoonist published a
depiction of Mohammed that led to multiple death threats and alleged
assassination attempts by Islamists. Then a cartoonist in Seattle who
last spring promoted an “Everybody Draw Mohammed Day” is now
in hiding after her life was threatened by Islamists. Yet just recently a
video exhibit at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Portrait Gallery
showed Jesus on a cross being eaten by ants. There was, until the past
few days, virtually no adverse reaction, and the liberal Washington Post
referred to the exhibit as "fascinating" and "powerful art." Again, the
same explanation is being used that this lack of Christian response
shows the faith’s great contrast with Islam. But shouldn't we express
some objection to such attacks, and speak up in defense of our faith?

The offensive depiction of Jesus has now been removed, and in the
absence of any effort from the Obama administration, we should note
that House Speaker-to-be John Boehner told the Smithsonian Institution
to remove the exhibit's portrayal of Jesus, or expect facing hard questions
when the new Republican majority takes control of the House in January.
House Majority Leader-to-be Eric Cantor issued a similar warning.

Words from our Founding Fathers are always worth reading . . .

"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.' " -- John Adams, 1775

"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

Comments: Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Subscribe to Posts [Atom]