While the media – accurately or inaccurately – focuses the
attention of the American people on the failure of the
government of Prime Minister al-Maliki, or the timing of
withdrawal of American troops, or the involvement of Syria
and Iran in support of the insurgents – an almost totally
ignored destruction of the Iraqi Christian community has
been taking place. Prior to the war, the Christians in
Iraq numbered about 3% of the 26 million population.

Christian leaders in Iraq estimate that as many as
half of the 800,000 Christians in Iraq under Saddam
Hussein have fled to Syria and Jordan. In the capitol city
of Baghdad at least half of the thousands of Christians
have fled or been killed, and they say that the government
has done nothing to protect them. In some areas such as
the district of Dora in the south, that figure is reported to
be as high as 70%. Under threats from al-Qaeda of
"convert or be killed," many have fled to Kurdish
controlled northern Iraq, where the village of Ankawa,
now terribly overcrowded, has become known as the
"city of Christ."

Father Bashar Warda of the St. Peter Seminary in Dora
who has been forced to move to Ankawa explained it this
way: "We are afraid the government of Iraq has a common
understanding with those making the threats that
Christians have no future in this country." Father Raymond
Mousselli,a spokesman for the refugees, said: "We cannot
hold on. The Muslims have issued warnings ‘convert or
you will be killed. People are being killed just for their faith."

A series of church bombings in August and September
sent an additional 30,000 - 40,000 Christians fleeing the
country according to estimates by government and church
officials who admit that hundreds of families leave each week.
Of 4,000 Iraqi families registered as refugees in Damascus,
more than half are Christians. Syrian authorities estimate
that as many as 300,000 Iraqis are living in that country.

This is not a condition limited to Iraq. While it is true
that the problem of religious freedom is extremely serious
in Iraq, it is also a matter of concern in other areas of the
world, including China, Iran, North Korea, Pakistan and
areas of India. The U.S. State Department last week issued
its Annual Report on International Religious Freedom, and
Secretary of State Condolezza Rice emphasized, "Freedom of
religion is integral to efforts to combat the ideology of
hatred and intolerance that fuels global terrorism."

By linking the oppression of religion to world-wide terrorism,
the significance of what is happening in Iraq – and elsewhere –
should begin to register with American Christians, who
should be demanding that our government do something to
protect Christians from the Islamic threats of "convert or be
killed." The problem here at home is that the liberals in the
media and in government keep insisting that Islam is a
religion of peace, despite the fact that Muslims are committing
acts of terrorism all over the world. The prevailing attitude is
more anti-Christian than anti-Muslim. Consider the ACLU
which claims to be defending our constitutional rights – but
is actually much more concerned with banning the singing of
Christmas carols in schools and instigating court action in
behalf of the Muslim woman who insisted her face should be
veiled in her driver license picture.

That government study reported on 198 countries, and found
that Iraq was one of those with the worst record. Concerning
Iraq the report said that all religions are "victims of harassment,
intimidation, kidnaping and killings," adding, "non-Muslims
are especially vulnerable to pressure and violence because of
their minority status."

We have recently observed another "9/11." What took
place on that day should have alerted every American to the
threat to our traditional moral values posed by Islam. Polls
disclose that only about half of our people realize that fact.
Perhaps the underlying problem is that our innate sense of
trust and decency stand in the way of our willingness to
confront and oppose an enemy like Islam, which attacks us
clothed in the guise of a religion "just as good" as ours. We
seem to be content to honor Muslim customs, rather than
defending our traditional Christian beliefs.

A wise word from Winston Churchill: "Never turn your
back on a threatened danger and try to run away from it. If
you do that, you will double the danger. But if you meet it
promptly and without flinching, you will reduce the danger
by half. Never run away from anything. Never!"

Afterthoughts . . .

"It is deja-vu all over again." Famous words from Yogi Berra,
the philosopher of the ball park. But sadly very true in our TV
world of today. After those months in 1995 when we were forced
by the TV programmers to watch the "trial of the century" – the
O.J. Simpson travesty of justice – we are about to be subjected to
more of the same with respect to his Las Vegas night on the town.
But those people who run TV programming feel it is only fair –
they haven’t had such an opportunity since the Scott Peterson
saga in 2004. So be prepared, America . . . O.J. is back! Oh, yes,
there’s another "deja vu" – Hillary has resurrected her failed
health care plan, and will try again to get it accepted.

Cindy Sheehan gets favorable recognition from Ramadan
Adassi, Chief or the Al Aqsa Martyr’s Brigade terror group. His
accolade to Sheehan: "You give us hope... This sincere woman
says what we have been saying all these last years ... Now
Iraq is being decimated and America is losing... Voices like
Sheehan show things can change." We always felt that her
efforts would be appreciated by someone like that.

Two different relationships with God. (1) The Chairman
of the Nebraska Democrat party, State Senator Ernie Chambers,
has filed in Douglas County Court a lawsuit against God, asking
for "a permanent injunction ordering Defendant to cease certain
harmful activities." Chambers believes this will put a stop to the
natural disasters occurring all over the world. The Clerk of the
Douglas County Court, John Friend, reported that a return filing
from God "miraculously appeared on the counter. It just all of
a sudden was here ... poof!" he said. It would seem to be a bit
dangerous to institute a lawsuit against God. But, of course, the
Plaintiff is after all a State Senator. (2) When entertainer Kathy
Griffin accepted her "EMMY" Award, she said, "A lot of people
come up here and thank Jesus for their award. I want you to
know that no one had less to do with this award than Jesus.
Suck it, Jesus. This is my god now," holding up her award. She
is probably right; Jesus very likely had nothing to do with her
winning the award. But that is an issue to be settled between
Kathy and the Lord when she stands before Him as Judge.

A new tourist attraction in Minneapolis; true – according
to reports, visitors from across America are flocking to the rest
room for men at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport
to see the stall where U.S. Senator Larry Craig was arrested for
his actions with an undercover police officer. Not exactly an
attraction like the Statue of Liberty or the Golden Gate Bridge
or the Grand Canyon, but not everyone has the same sphere
of interest.

Sort of like the fox guarding the chicken coop. As further
evidence that we can not really trust the UN to safeguard our
national interests, Syria has been voted in as co-chairman of the
IAEA – the International Atomic Energy Agency. That is the UN
watchdog agency supposed to prevent rogue nations from getting
nuclear technology. IAEA does the policing of the nuclear actions
of Iran in which Syria can well be described as a "partner in crime."

A word of reassurance for Israel. According to former
president Jimmy Carter, Iran is no threat to Israel. Speaking at
Emory University, Carter said that "Iran is quite distant from
Israel. I think it would be almost inconceivable that Iran would
commit suicide by launching one or two missiles of any kind
against the nation of Israel." However the Iran deputy air force
commander said that Israel is in range of Iran medium-range
missiles and bombers, and that Iran would strike back if Israel
"makes a silly mistake." Given his record of accomplishments
in international affairs, Israel would be well advised not to
take seriously this opinion by Mr. Carter.

October 12 may have dual emphasis this year. The
usual observance on that date is Columbus Day, to commemorate
his arrival in America in 1492. However, according to the Iran
government news agency, Qods Day is observed each year on
the last Friday of Ramadan, and this year it falls on October 12.
Referring to the observance of Qods Day this year, the news
agency spokesman warned: "Supporters of the Zionist regime
will definitely receive the final response for their support on that
day." A specific warning was issued to Washington for "its wrong
policies and arrogant approaches." The modification of "9/11"
into "10/12" may be the progression the Iranians have in mind.
We have a bit more than a week to wait to see how Qods Day will
be observed this year.

A lasting thoughtful comment from Newt Gingrich. In a
discussion of the careers of athletes Brett Favre, outstanding
quarterback of the Green Bay Packers; Tiger Woods, probably
the greatest golfer of all time, and Joe Paterno, legendary football
coach at Penn State University, Newt had this to say about them:
"What Favre, Woods and Paterno have in common is that classic
American ability to dream big, work hard, learn everyday,
enjoy life and be true to themselves... As long as the American
spirit remains this vibrant, we will continue to overcome the
gridlock and frustrations of politics and government through
the energy liberated by individuals, families and businesses
living out the American dream."
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Dennis Hastert, the immediate past Republican Speaker of the
House, was skilled in making brief but impressive statements.

He will probably be remembered as much for those quotes
as for his service as Speaker. One of his finest: "What makes
America great is that we can come together during times of
national tragedy."

Great statement, but the problem with it is that Mr. Hastert
was living – or thinking – in the past. It used to be true. It
was true in the Spring of 1836, when Mexican General
Santa Ana led a Mexican army attack on a small group of
Texas soldiers and a few other volunteers at the Alamo, an
old mission in San Antonio, killing every defender in the
battle; names like Travis, Crocket and Bowie among them,
men who entered the All American Heroes Hall of Fame.
Later that year, united in the slogan: "Remember the Alamo!"
Texans under General Sam Houston defeated Santa Ana at
the Battle of San Jacinto and Texas independence from
Mexico was won.

It was true in December of 1941, when Japanese planes
attacked American military installations in Pearl Harbor,
killing 2,300 and injuring another 1,100, and leaving our
Pacific fleet on fire, sunk and almost totally destroyed.
Within just over 3 years, always spurred on by the slogan
"Remember Pearl Harbor," a united America recovered
and thoroughly defeated Japan and secured our bases
throughout the Pacific.

But now we come to September of 2001. On the 11th
four commercial domestic planes were hijacked by a few
Islamic terrorists, airborne suicide bombers, who flew
the planes into the twin trade towers in New York, then
into the Pentagon in Washington. A fourth plane was
taken over by heroic passengers forcing it to crash before
it could reach its intended target. In all more than 3,000
were killed directly, really inestimable costs of property
damage were incurred, and the financial center of this
nation and the Western world was forced out of action.
It was an attack somewhat similar but more devastating
in effect than the one at Pearl Harbor.

But the results were worlds apart. For a few days, a few
months, actually, the nation was shocked and mourned
the losses. But grief was not replaced with anger. This
time there was no enemy nation to react against. This
time the attackers represented what was essentially a
Muslim religious cult called Al Qaeda, led by a wealthy
Arab named Osama bin Laden, operating from hidden
caves in Afghanistan with supporters throughout the
neighboring Muslim nations in the Middle East.

After the United Nations failed in effecting diplomatic
restraints on the leader of a terrorist regime in Iraq,
aided by a small group of supporting nations, America
went to war against Saddam Hussein.

But this time there was no rallying slogan
"Remember 9/11." This time there was no united
America determined to bring the existing and potential
world-wide reign of terrorism to an end. This time a
shattered and divided America had to wage war with
as many enemies here at home as in the Muslim world.

The attacks of 9/11 were clearly a declaration of war
and the forces which instigated it have not disappeared
and given up. The ultimate goal of the Muslim attackers
is the destruction and take-over of America and Western
civilization. They are united. America is not.

There is an effort to preserve the memory of the
atrocity which was 9/11. On October 25, 2001 the U.S.
Congress unanimously passed a Resolution requesting
the president to designate September 11 as "Patriot Day."

President Bush signed the Resolution into law, making
September 11 a discretionary day of remembrance. Then
on September 4, 2002 the president used that authority
to proclaim September 11 as "Patriot Day," and has done
so each year since, and has directed that on that day the
U.S. flag be flown at half-staff.

Thus there is at the national government level an
effort to remember with sorrow, but hopefully also with
anger, the tragedy of 9/11. Unfortunately, on a purely
partisan political level there is a strong anti-war, anti-
military, anti-America viewpoint, voiced not only by
left wing political organizations like Moveon.org, whose
ad insulting General Petraeus has caused such a back
lash on the Democrat Liberals, but also is most
unfortunately voiced by some members of our
government (see the first "Afterthought" below).

Very simply: "Remember 9/11" should take its place in
American history alongside "Remember the Alamo" and
"Remember Pearl Harbor." Those two older slogans did
not conceive of, or lead to, surrender and defeat. Let us
pray for a United America where that is true once again.

An 18th Century Quote for the Day: "How could a
readiness for war in time of peace be safely prohibited,
unless we could prohibit, in like manner also, the
preparations and establishments of every hostile nation."
-- James Madison, 1788.

Afterthoughts . . .

A real life "Dennis the Menace," or as one TV news
commentator expressed it, "During Viet Nam we had
Hanoi Jane . . . now we have Damascus Dennis." We
here in America know that the Democrat Congressman
Dennis Kucinich is a perennial presidential candidate
who never gets any electoral college votes, but every four
years enjoys the attention, the plane rides and the TV
appearances. But this time he has gone too far. He was
the only Member of Congress who on September 11 voted
"No" on the Congressional resolution to observe September
11 as a Day of Remembrance. The vote was 334 - 1. (98
Members were not present; most of them were attending
September 11 memorial services.) But then Mr. Kucinich
took time off to take a tour of the Middle East, and met
with Syrian President Assad. He said on Syrian TV that
the Iraq war was based on lies, and demanded that the
USA pay reparations to the Iraqi people. And he said it
was an honor to meet with Assad, describing him as a man
of peace. But how can this be true when his government is
officially designated by our State Department as one of 5
terrorist supporting nations. The tirades of Mr. Kucinich
against America and our soldiers are understood here in
America; we simply ignore him. But for the rest of the world,
most notably the Middle East where Syrian TV is seen, this
person is a candidate for the office of President of the United
States of America. One wonders why we should encourage
people like him to make ignorant pronouncements like he
does. He can hide beneath the First Amendment just so long,
but one day the charge of treason should catch up with him.

When reading polls, don’t ignore the favorable ones.
In a day when almost everything is decided, pro or con, by
the results of polls, it is all too common to accept only the
results of the unfavorable polls. Consider for example the
polls that reveal that only 35 - 40% of the American people
agree with the job performance of President Bush, and only
15-25% like the way Congress is doing its job. The impression
from reading those polls would be that this country is in a
sorry mess. But in just a few days (October 1) we will observe
the 50th anniversary of "In God We Trust" on our currency.

A few people, claiming to be atheists, object to the national
motto, but in 2003 a Gallup poll found that 90% of the
respondents favored it. Similarly, in 2004 another Gallup
poll found that just about the same percentage favored the
words"under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance. In 2005 and
2006 courts failed to rule that those references to God were
unconstitutional. Earlier this month a First Amendment
Center poll found that 55% of Americans believe that the
U.S. Constitution intended to establish a Christian nation.

So there are ample reasons to be encouraged about the
viewpoints of most of your fellow citizens.

An interesting Senior Citizen idea from Great
Britain . . .a story in the British newspaper, The Telegraph,
explains how one couple has found that rather than paying
$42,000 a year, per person, to stay in a residential senior
care facility, they are staying in a Travelodge motel for
$16,000 a year, which includes a comfortable room with
television, daily room cleaning, transportation when needed,
and a staff that treats them politely rather than patronizing
them – and friends can visit them whenever they want. This
may be a worthwhile idea to import from the mother country.

A confusing statement from Mexico. Just when the issue
of whether to allow Mexican trucks freedom to deliver whatever
merchandise they carry (illegal aliens, terrorists, armament and
explosives, for example) to all parts of America, the Mexican
President, Felipe Calderon, in his State of the Nation address
said, "Mexico does not end at its borders; where there is a
Mexican, there is Mexico." Taken at face value, that statement
would extend Mexico to wherever its trucks may operate, if we
assume that President Bush’s plan actually goes into full effect.

And if that were not confusing enough, presidential candidate
Rudy Giuliani said about illegal immigration: "It is not a crime.
I know that is very hard for people to understand, but it is not
a federal crime." True: that is hard to understand, since federal
laws make very clear what legal immigration involves. Statements
like those help us to understand why nothing seems to get done
to regulate immigration.

Another 18th Century thought: "Those gentlemen, who will
be elected senators, will fix themselves in the federal town, and
become citizens of that town more than of your state." – George
Mason, June, 1788.

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Are There Lessons To Be Learned?


After reviewing the most recent resignations in
Washington, are there lessons to be learned?

It is one of those quotes that you are sure exists – "Nothing
is constant but change" – but finding the source is difficult.
All too often the source is stated simply as "Old adage." Of
course there is always the old French saying: "Plus ça
change, plus c’est la meme chose" – meaning: the more
things change, the more they are the same. Then you
suddenly discover that 100 years before Plato, in the 6th
century BC, Heraclitus wrote, "The only thing that is
constant is change." A few centuries later, in the 19th
century, Benjamin Disraeli, Britain’s first and (to date)
only Jewish Prime Minister wrote, "In a progressive
country change is constant; change is inevitable."

So all the way from Heraclitus in the 6th century, to
President John F. Kennedy who wrote in the 20th
century, "Change is the law of life. And those who look
only to the past or present are certain to miss the future"
there is a positive recognition of the ever-present fact
of change. And not that it is for better or for worse –
just that it constantly exists.

We have just become aware of several changes,
arising from at least three resignations at the federal
government level. The unifying political aspect is that
all are Republicans, and given the waning years of the
term of office for President Bush they perhaps might
not be unexpected. But when there are so many, and
at the same time, and at such a high level, they merit
a review on our part.

The first to mention is Tony Snow, White House
Press Secretary, who will officially leave his position
on September 14. At only age 52, Snow had a long and
successful career in journalism, including 4 years with
former president George H.W. Bush. He came to this
White House position in April 2006, from Fox Cable
News. In recent months he has undergone extensive
surgery for cancer but apparently has recovered
satisfactorily. His stated reason for leaving the White
House position was that he had taken a large cut in pay
to serve the president, and was unable to support his
family (wife and 3 children) on his salary of $168,000.
If nothing else, this is a sad commentary on the cost of
living in the capitol city of our nation.

Tony Snow was well liked and respected by a press corps
not favorably inclined toward the president, and leaves
his job with no words of complaint or criticism of the
president. It does not seem likely that a "tell all" book
exposing life in the White House will be forth-coming.
This appears in every way to be a normal change based
on personal reasons.

The second of these resignations is by Alberto Gonzales,
the first Hispanic Attorney General. Like Tony Snow,
Alberto Gonzaleshad attained a high position in government
at only age 52. Serving first as General Counsel to Governor
George Bush, he became Secretary of State, and Justice on
the Texas Supreme Court. All of those appointments were
made by then Governor George Bush. Upon the election of
Bush as president, Gonzales came to Washington in 2001 as
White House Counsel, and in February 2005 was confirmed
by the Senate as Attorney General of the United States.
His loyalty to President Bush was in constant evidence,
and the charge of "cronyism" was frequently heard. In
connection with the use and interpretation of the USA
Patriot Act, he was often in conflict with opponents of
President Bush, and when appearing before the Senate
Judiciary Committee in hearings resulting from his
firing of several federal attorneys, his lack of recall of
his own actions became almost a trade mark. On one
day he used his failure to recall 71 times. Although the
president never hesitated to affirm his confidence in his
attorney general, on August 27 Gonzales announced
his retirement to take effect on September 17.

As is the case with Tony Snow, there has been no evidence
of disagreement with President Bush by Mr. Gonzales.
Nor can any "tell all" exposure book be expected. His
main offense seemed to result from the "cronyism"
which marked his relationship with the president. It is
strange that cronyism can be considered such a serious
offense, when there was no charge of nepotism made
when President Kennedy named his brother as Attorney
General. Nepotism would seem to be a far more serious
accusation than cronyism. In a sense, nepotism can be
defined as inbred cronyism.

The resignation of Alberto Gonzales appears to have
been the right action to take. Criticism of his conduct in
the Senate hearings had led to disorder and confusion
due to lack of leadership within the Justice Department,
which department is the key to maintain the balance
between the Legislative, Judicial and Executive branches
of our system of government.

The third in this series of resignations at the federal level
is that of Senator John Warner of Virginia, who has
announced that he will not seek re-election in 2008,
after serving 30 years in the U.S. Senate. Prior to his
30 years as a Senator were 5 years as Secretary of the
Navy, and service in the Navy in WW II and as a Marine
in the Korean conflict. In the last Republican controlled
Congress he was Chairman of the Senate Armed Services
Committee, and serves now as ranking member, as he
does on the Intelligence Committee, among other
important committee assignments which include the
Senate committee on Homeland Security, and ranking
member of the committee on Environment and Public

Why bring to a conclusion a political career as successful
as this? Senator Warner mentioned the fact that he is now
80 years of age, and the demands of the Senate are more
extreme for a person of that seniority. His association with
the U.S. Military began more than 60 years ago, when at
age 17 he enlisted in the Navy. Our nation’s defense has
always been of prime importance throughout his career...

A fourth, and potential member of this list of resigners is
Idaho Senator Larry Craig, who has completed 27
years in the U.S. Congress, 10 of them in the House and
17 in 3 successive terms as Senator. Prior to coming to
Washington he served for 6 years in the Senate in Idaho.

Senator Craig had always been outspoken on moral
issues, and on "Meet the Press" in 1999 he said of then
President Clinton, "The American people already know
that Bill Clinton a bad boy – a naughty boy. I am going to
speak out for the citizens of my state, who in the majority
think that Bill Clinton is probably even a nasty, bad,
naughty boy." Those words, and others in similar vein
about homosexuality, came back to haunt him after he
pleaded guilty to a charge involving lewd conduct in a
public rest room in the Minneapolis airport in June of this
year. Despite his assertions that he was not gay, the guilty
plea, and research by the leading newspaper in Idaho
caused his support even from Republican colleagues to
disappear, and he announced on national television on
September 1, his "intent" to resign effective September 30.

His actions throughout the "disclosure" process were in
stark contrast to the prevailing attitude of homosexuals,
who seem to be proud of their sexual orientation, as seen
in their "gay pride" parades. Senator Craig seemed to abhor
any such involvement, and kept insisting "I am not gay."

His wife and family have stood by him throughout this
ordeal, as has at least one Republican Senator, Arlen
Specter of Pennsylvania...

Subsequently he announced that he might attempt to
overturn his guilty plea and fight to retain his seat in the
Senate. Toward that end he has recruited a team of possible
attorneys, reportedly including the noted defense attorney,
Billy Martin, who most recently has been publicized as the
attorney defending the Atlanta professional football star,
Michael Vick, for his involvement in promoting dog fights.
Thus the inclusion of Senator Craig in the resigning group
is somewhat up in the air.

In reviewing these resignations, the one theme that is
common to all of them is that aspect we first touched upon:
the issue of change. It is not a question of who is right or who
is wrong, or of any reflection on one political party or another
(these all happen to be Republicans). Nor is it a reflection of
any sort on our national government. It is purely an issue of
change, but in the words of Disraeli, "change is constant;
change is inevitable."

This nation will survive and will recognize new leaders who
will maintain the founding principles of this nation.

An enduring quote from James Madison, Architect of
the U.S. Constitution: "We have staked the whole future of
American civilization, not upon the power of government,
far from it. We have staked the future of all of our political
institutions upon the capacity of each and all of us to govern
ourselves, to control ourselves, and to sustain ourselves
according to the Ten Commandments of God."

And God’s word: "I am the Lord; I change not." (Malachi 3:6)

Afterthoughts . . .

An old stalwart heard from: a familiar Conservative icon,
William F. Buckley, Jr. has been relatively silent of late, but
his observations, as always, have merit. Speaking recently he
said that Great Britain is under attack from its relatively large
Muslim population. Britain’s problem, he opined, "is not, this
time around, in the shape of a continental army threatening
invasion or Nazi bombers darkening the sky, but instead
Muslim immigration." Although there are but 2 million
Muslims in Britain, he noted the custom of granting instant
citizenship to members of the Empire. This results to a
greater degree than in America the coping with demands for
compliance with their religious practices and for unique
education provisions for their young people. And there is the
underlying threat of violence against infidels – in this case
the rest of the British nation. Buckley concluded: "It is time
for the mother of parliaments to look the unruly creeds in
the face and say, No More."

The Temple Mount revisited. In last week’s issue (Sept. 5)
reference was made to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, and
he Islamic demands that Israel relinquish control to a group
of Muslim nations. There is a new development of interest and
concern. Israel had contracted management of the Mount to the
Waqf, a Muslim entity, to supervise the Mount. Islamic workers
have been using bulldozers and heavy machinery to dig around
the mosques located there and have apparently been destroying
a portion of the outer wall of the Second Temple, one of the
holiest sites of Judaism. If this charge is found to be correct, it
will have serious, long term effects on the entire Temple Mount
controversy, and the archaeological aspects of the ruins.

The Mexican trucks are coming! The infamous 9th Circuit
Court of Appeals in California seems to have sided with the Bush
administration and denied issuing a stay on permission for
Mexican long-distance haulers to operate throughout this
country. Opponents of the plan fear accidents due to faultily
maintained trucks, and drivers who are not familiar with
American traffic regulations. Of concern also, is the possibility
for illegal aliens to be transported in the large trucks which
will have access to areas well beyond the few border states.
To say nothing of the danger of transporting terrorists and
terrorist weaponry. This can be an invasion with serious
overtones, but with no discernible benefit to America.

A new term from Australia. One of the Australian TV
networks is featuring a new comedy series described as "the
filthiest show on television." The title, "Californication,"
gives some idea of the sexual nature of the program. In
Australia churches are holding prayer meetings seeking
God’s help in taking the program off the air. Let us hope
that the title and the show do not migrate to America.

These nuns are not beating around the bush; but
they are beating on President Bush. They have called on
the Congress to impeach President Bush and Vice President
Cheney. The group wrote as follows: "The National Coalition
of American Nuns is impelled by conscience to call you to
act promptly to impeach President George W. Bush and Vice
President Dick Cheney for high crimes and misdemeanors."

The other parts of the letter are in like vein. [Reported in
Winston-Salem (NC) Journal] For some reason it appears
that certain nuns have developed a keen dislike for our
president and vice president. An impartial observer would
likely conclude that we have enough vicious enemies
elsewhere in the world, and that as American citizens we
should stand together and act as American citizens.

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The Iranian Pesident Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has never in
the slightest way retracted his remarks that Israel should be
wiped off the map, and has actually enlarged upon them by
saying that although Israel remains as a constant threat it
was on the verge of being eliminated. Although he is the
most outspoken, those views are very much reflective of the
attitudes of the Muslim nations toward Israel. A major
underlying problem with the Iranian position is the ongoing
threat of their program of developing nuclear weapons of
mass destruction.

A somewhat more subtle but devastating attack on Israel is
the report concerning recent negotiations between Israel’s
Prime Minister Ehud Ohmert and the Palestinian Authority
Chairman, Mahmoud Abbas. The report, now being both
strongly denied and affirmed, is that Israel is willing to cede
control of the Temple Mount to the joint control of Egypt,
Jordan and the Palestinian Authority.

This is not an insignificant proposal involving a minor
piece of property in Jerusalem. The Temple Mount contains
some of Judaism’s holiest sites. Abraham named the place
Jehovah Jireh, the Mount of the Lord, when he was told by
the Angel to build an altar to sacrifice a ram rather than Isaac.
It was here that Solomon built the first temple in the 10th
century BC, and which was destroyed by the Babylonians
in 586. Upon that site King Herod built the second temple
in 516, to be destroyed by the Romans in 70 AD, leaving
only the Western wall, now known as the Wailing Wall. And
it is to be the site of the third and final temple to be built
upon the coming of the Jewish Messiah.

The Temple Mount is also the location of one of Islam’s
holiest sites – the Dome of the Rock, built in the seventh
century to enclose the rock from which their prophet
Muhammad ascended to heaven to meet with Allah, and
then return to Mecca through Jerusalem.

The report involves the assertion of the Palestinians that
they will accept no final deal for peace with Israel that does
not include Israel’s giving up control of the Temple Mount.
Whether the contemporary opposition to Israel involves the
elimination threats of Ahmadinejad or the loss of control
demands of the Palestinians, there are promises and
covenants (pacts) with Israel, predating the present
attacks by thousands of years, which cannot be forgotten
or ignored.

They are made, of course, by the eternal, unchangeable God
of the universe and transcend any of the temporal, earthly
problems which Israel has faced through the years, or may
face in the days yet to come. They are so complex and involve
so much, that it is difficult to examine them even briefly.
"Now the Lord said unto Abraham ... I will make of thee
a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name
great, and thou shalt be a blessing." (Genesis 12:1-2)
"And Moses went up unto God, and the Lord called unto
him, saying, Thus shall thou say to the house of Jacob, and
tell the children of Israel, ye have seen how I bare you on
eagles’ wings, and brought you unto myself. Now therefore,
if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then
ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people; for
all the earth is mine. And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of
priests, and a holy nation. These are the words which thou
shalt speak unto the children of Israel." (Exodus 19: 3-6)
And concerning the land which He guaranteed unto Israel,
God was very specific: "In the same day the Lord made a
covenant with Abram, saying, Unto thy seed have I given
this land, from the river of Egypt, unto the great river, the
river Euphrates....And the Lord gave unto Israel all the land
which he sware to give unto their fathers, and they possessed
it and dwelt therein." (Genesis 15:18; Joshua 21:43)

As if to emphasize the nature of His covenant with the nation
Israel, God made this unequivocal statement in Genesis 12:3,
"I will bless them that bless thee and curse him that curseth
thee, and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed."

And how has the nation Israel developed in current
years? It will be remembered that God promised to give them
a land . . . to make them a great nation . . . and to provide for
them blessing and redemption.

Consider that as the 100th smallest country in the world,
with less than 1% of the world’s population, Israel’s $100 billion
economy is larger than all of its immediate neighboring nations
combined. Israel has the highest percentage of home computers
in the world on a per capita basis. Their ratio of university degrees
to population is the highest in the world. 24% of the work force
hold university degrees, ranking third in the industrialized world
after only the US and Holland. Israel leads the world in the actual
number of scientists and technicians in the work force at 145 per
10,000 as compared with 85 in the US, 70 in Japan and less than
60 in Germany. The Israeli average living standard is the highest
in the Middle East, with an average per capita income above
$17,500, by comparison exceeding that of Great Britain. Their
accomplishments in life saving and diagnostic medical devices is
unparalleled. Relative to its population Israel is today the largest
immigrant absorbing nation on earth. In the field of agriculture,
throughout the Middle East date palm trees produce an average
of 38 pounds per year. In Israel the production averages 400
pounds per tree annually. And beyond all of these achievements
is an absolute position of world leadership in the development
of computer and related internet technology.

Israel has achieved this level of accomplishments – of
which only a relative few have been mentioned here – while
engaged in ongoing conflicts with enemies whose often stated
intention is to remove Israel from the face of the earth. This
aspect of their life means that Israel has to pay more per capita
for their own protection than any other country in the world.

Without exception, God fulfilled His promises to Israel.
His covenant, His guarantee to give them a land, to make them a
great nation, to provide them with blessing and redemption, have
been fulfilled. President Ahmadinejad and the Muslim neighbors
Palestine, Egypt, Jordan and others, would be well advised to
note what God has done, and what He has yet promised to do, and
to remember God’s pledge: "I will bless them that bless thee, and
curse him that curseth thee." The vengeance of God is a sure
and awesome thing, spoken of in Deuteronomy 32:35, "To me
belongeth vengeance and recompense ..." and is repeated in
Romans 12:19, "Vengeance is mine, I will repay, saith the Lord."

An everlasting command and promise: "Pray for the peace
of Jerusalem; they shall prosper that love thee." (Psalm 122:6)

Afterthoughts . . .

We will probably see this as a copy-cat crime by some of
our American actors. In New Zealand, British actor Ian McKellan
confirmed in a TV interview last week that he has in fact been
ripping anti-gay pages out of Bibles in hotel rooms where he has
stayed. "Yes, it’s true," he said, it’s Leviticus 18 22 that I object to,
or is it 22:18." The actor said he considers God’s condemnation
of homosexuality as being obscene and pornographic, and says he
removes it because it shouldn’t be there. Ian may not agree, but it
is absolutely certain that his opinion and childish pranks will not
change God’s views.

The Vatican’s new tourism venture began a couple of weeks
ago by offering low-cost, charter flight service to transport Roman
Catholic pilgrims to various holy sites. The first flight from Rome
to France used a small charter airline operated by the Italian Post
Office. An estimated 150,000 pilgrims will use the flights in the
first year of operation. Catholic sites in France, Poland Spain and
the Middle East are planned, with Mexico also on the future schedule.

Plans for a better public image of Islam. Leaders of Muslim
business and political life assembled in Kuala Lumpur last week
to study ways to change the public perception of Islam from one
of violence, poverty and ignorance to one of peace, prosperity
and recognized achievements. Susilo Yudhoyono, President of
the largest Muslim nation, set the tone of the con -
ference, "We must change their attitudes toward us from
something negative or indifferent – if not hostile – to some -
thing positive or enthusiastic."

This effort at the highest level is indicative of the determination
of Muslims to improve their international image and thus enhance
their goal of taking over more of the world’s nations.

Determination of this nature should not be ignored. We do so at
our own peril.

Can Christian believers practice homosexuality? This
has been an ongoing question for a long time and the debate is
not going to end in the immediate future. But Dr. Michael
Brown, a pastor in North Carolina is planning to hold a public
discussion on the subject later this month. His motivating
factor: he learned that some of the participants in a "gay
pride" parade in Charlotte professed to be Christian.

Pastor Brown’s position is that either his viewpoint or
their viewpoint may be wrong. His aim is to find which
is true.

We have lost another strong Conservative voice. Just a few
months ago, in mid-May, the Rev. Jerry Falwell died, and thus
was silenced the primary spokesperson for the Conservative
Evangelical position. His creation of the Moral Majority was
a decisive factor in strengthening the moral values of America.
Now the official retirement of Dr. D. James Kennedy has been
announced. Actually Dr. Kennedy preached his last sermon at
Christmas time last year.

His TV voice, his writings, his conferences on moral issues have
been teamed with Dr. Falwell for years. There are others who
will step forward to fill the shoes of these long time leaders, but
Falwell and Kennedy will be missed.

An everlasting command and promise: "Pray for the peace
of Jerusalem; they shall prosper that love thee."
(Psalm 122:6)

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