Can the New Coptic Pope Save Egypt’s Christians?

Can the New Coptic Pope Save Egypt’s Christians?

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As violence against Christians intensifies in Egypt, many Coptic Christians will start looking for a new type of Pope to protect them!

As the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood makes demands for Sharia law, the Coptic Christian community is growing fearful about its future. Already opponents of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi are being crucified on trees and Christians are being denied permits to build new churches. It is in this environment that thousands of Copts met last Sunday to name a Pope charged with protecting the largest Christian community in the Middle East.

At an elaborate ceremony in Cairo’s St Mark’s Cathedral, a blindfolded boy pulled a ballot out of a crystal chalice revealing that Bishop Tawadros, 60, will now lead the flock of approximately 10 million Egyptian Coptic Christians.

A former pharmacist, Tawadros has a reputation for being open, organized and in favor of integrating Egypt’s Christian minority into public life. The Muslim Brotherhood dominated government, however, has already proposed a new constitution that would subject not only the Muslim majority but also non-Muslim minorities to Islamic law.

As such, Bishop Tawadros is set to have a much harder time guaranteeing the rights of Coptic Christians than his predecessor. The previous Coptic Pope, Shenouda III, who died last March, managed a delicate balancing act by strongly supporting former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in exchange for government protection. Now that the Muslim Brotherhood has come to power, however, many Egyptian Islamists are eager to break with the traditions of Mubarak and exclude Christians from having a role in the government.

According to the Financial Times, 26 Christian demonstrators were killed by army bullets or crushed to death by military vehicles last year when they protested against the destruction of a local church by Muslims extremists.

As such violence intensifies, many Egyptian Christians are bound to start looking to another type of Pope for protection. Just after Pope Shenouda died last March, Pope Benedict XVI of Rome offered up prayers for him and spoke warmly of the closeness he felt with the Coptic Church. The Roman Pontiff has also recently condemned attacks on unarmed Christians in Egypt and called on the new Egyptian government to do more to guarantee the rights of minorities.

The Prophet Isaiah wrote of time when a great, false church would wield supreme power, boasting that she will not know “the loss of children,” or daughter churches. This prophecy prompted Herbert W. Armstrong to state, with absolute certaintyand more than 40 years ago—that the Protestant churches would gravitate toward unification with mother Rome. For a further description of this prophecy, please read our June 2005 Trumpet article, Returning to the Fold.

As Islamist governments take root across the Middle East, the regions Christians will soon turn in mass, not to God, but to Rome and the European countries dominated by the Vatican!

Merkel: EU Will Become a Superstate

Merkel: EU Will Become a Superstate

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The German chancellor outlines her plans for the European Commission to transform into an EU government.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel outlined her vision of Europe in a speech to the European Parliament November 7. But it was when she stepped away from her prepared notes to respond to a statement by parliamentary leaders that she revealed most about the future she sees for the European Union.

The EU will transform into single nation—a superstate—“otherwise it will not work in the long term,” she said. Here is Merkel’s full statement:

I’m sure the Commission will become a government one day. I’m sure that the Council will become a second chamber one day. And I’m sure the European Parliament will take European responsibilities otherwise it won’t work in the long term. But today we must save the euro and create the basis properly. And we must give people a little bit of time so that they can come with us.

This is probably the clearest any European leader has been in showing what they want the EU to become. Last September in his state of the union speech, José Manuel Barroso made similar calls for the EU to become a “a federation of nation-states.” He gave the caveat that he wasn’t calling for a “superstate.”

Chancellor Merkel gave no such caveat. An EU with its own government, complete with a two-chamber system—a congress and a senate—is exactly the kind of thing we envision when we say that it will become a superstate.

Merkel admitted that this superstate wasn’t yet the will of the electorate. She pointed out that European leaders tried to set the groundwork for this with the European constitution, which was rejected, but that she plans to push ahead anyway and hopes that after the financial crisis the voters will come along.

Guy Verhofstadt, head of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe, who is one of the most outspoken parliamentary leaders, disagreed with part of what Merkel said—the need for time. “Our point of view in the parliament is that you need it now” he said. “You don’t solve the problem around the euro crisis if you don’t put in place these things and these reforms.”

The Trumpet has long said that European insiders knew that creating the euro would bring about something like the current crisis—forcing Europe to become a superstate, against the will of most Europeans. This is exactly what we are seeing happen right now. Merkel’s statements show how Europe’s leaders see the EU. They want it to become a superstate, and the euro crisis gives them the chance to “create the basis properly.” And Mr. Verhofstadt is undoubtedly right. The euro crisis will force the EU to go through this metamorphosis more quickly than Merkel’s statements suggest.

The Promise of Real Hope and Change

Many people are discouraged about the U.S. presidential election. But they need to look at the bigger picture.

Nor’easter Disrupts East Coast Recovery

Nor’easter Disrupts East Coast Recovery

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Just one week after the devastation caused by superstorm Sandy, East Coast residents are forced to deal with another troublesome storm.

Just a week after getting blasted by superstorm Sandy—the so-called “storm of the century”—the East Coast is enduring another blast of bad weather: a nor’easter nicknamed Athena.

Early this week there were still over 1.3 million people without power across the eastern seaboard. Many of those are in New York and New Jersey, which took the brunt of Sandy. The superstorm created an estimated $30-50 billion in total economic damages. The widespread power outages have also choked the gasoline supply—no power, no pumps. Meanwhile, sanitation crews have been working 12-hour shifts in order to clean out all of the trash created by the storm.

But now a nor’easter is adding insult to injury and slowing down the recovery efforts.

Starting Wednesday night, bitter winds and freezing rain hit the coast from New Hampshire to Connecticut. New York and New Jersey were the first to feel the storm, which dumped a thick covering of wet snow, even setting records in certain parts of New York. The weight of the snow plus the 50-55-mph winds snapped trees that were weakened by Sandy and downed power lines, leaving hundreds of thousands of residents in the dark yet again. New Jersey reported around 160,000 new power outages Thursday morning. New York City and Westchester County reported an additional 55,000 new power outages, and Long Island had 60,000 new outages in addition to the 300,000 customers already without power after the Sandy.

Airlines at the major airports were finally starting to come back on track this week after about 20,000 cancellations in the last week or so, but were forced to cancel over 2,000 flights over Wednesday and Thursday.

Residents in the areas hit hardest by the recent superstorm, like New Jersey and Staten Island, are somewhat disheartened by the setback. One Staten Island resident complained on Twitter that his son just had power restored at his home, and then two days later it was back off again. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie have been working to get momentum behind the restoration of power to those still without electricity, even flying in utility crews from California to help out. But the new storm has hampered the progress.

Normally nor’easters don’t pose much of a problem, but the region is in a severely weakened state in Sandy’s aftermath. It seems to just be one thing after the other. “I’m waiting for the locusts and pestilence next,” joked Governor Christie.

Destructive weather patterns are one of the curses that the United States and the other modern descendents of ancient Israel are facing. Our free booklet Why ‘Natural’ Disasters? explains why these catastrophes are happening and why they are increasing.

Syrian Crisis Solution: Britain Suggests Safe Exit for Assad

Syrian Crisis Solution: Britain Suggests Safe Exit for Assad

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British Prime Minister David Cameron has floated the idea of a safe exit, with possible immunity from prosecution, for embattled Syrian President Bashar Assad.

In an interview on Tuesday with Al-Arabiya television in the United Arab Emirates, the British premier responded in a desperate tone to a question on what to do if Assad asked for a safe exit: “Done. Anything, anything to get that man out of the country and to have a safe transition in Syria.” Even though Cameron still would “favor [Assad] facing the full force of international law and justice for what he’s done,” the prime minister has indicated clear support for an arranged exit. “I am certainly not offering him an exit plan to Britain,” Cameron said, “but if he wants to leave, he could leave. That could be arranged.”

Prime Minister Cameron has been on a tour of the Middle East. He lamented, “I am very frustrated that we can’t do more. This is an appalling slaughter that is taking place in our world today—40,000 lives lost already, and you can see on your television screens, night after night, helicopters, airplanes belonging to the Assad regime pounding his own country and murdering his own people.”

The solution-defying Syrian crisis is now in its 20th month and has recorded over 32,000 deaths. More than two people are being killed every hour in Syria. Reuters noted that “for all their firepower, Assad’s forces seem no closer to crushing their lightly armed opponents, who in turn have so far proved unable to topple the Syrian leader.”

Pro-Assad Russia and China have vetoed three draft resolutions of the United Nations Security Council that were anti-Assad. Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has denounced the Syrian opposition’s precondition for talks on Assad stepping down as a desire for a “bloodbath.” On the other hand, anti-Assad rebels now claim control of most of Syria and have since moved their command center from Turkey to the areas they have liberated in Syria. Even though Assad’s enemies have failed to unite, making it complicated for the international community to support or arm them, these factions are meeting in Qatar to “forge a common front between civilians and rebels, Islamists and secularists, as well as groups outside and inside Syria” (Reuters, November 6).

In spite of the apparent strengths of pro-Assad forces, and the fractured nature of anti-Assad forces, the Syrian president’s days in power appear numbered.

Back in 1996, Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry said the Bible indicated that there would be a drastic change in Syria’s political orientation. He said a prophecy in Psalm 83 showed how the Middle East was to split into two opposing power blocs—and that Syria and Iran would be on opposite sides. As Gerald Flurry predicted, it’s only a matter of time until “Syria will no longer align with Iran.” For more information on this critical Bible prophecy, read “How the Syrian Crisis Will End.”

Keep watching Syria.

Germany ‘Prepared to Wave Goodbye to Britain’

Germany ‘Prepared to Wave Goodbye to Britain’

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Berlin will not tolerate Britain’s foot-dragging and trouble-making for much longer.

Watching the Guy Fawkes Day parades and firework displays across Britain this week has been pretty fun. Some have been quite impressive, especially considering the English are a pleasantly understated people not prone to senseless flash and bombast. This year, one of the most interesting (and popular) shows occurred in Lewes, a town south of London famous for its annual Guy Fawkes celebration.

It wasn’t the fireworks, or the floats and decorations, that made this parade notable. Rather, it was one of the giant effigies featured, and then joyfully torched during the show. Planted right in the middle of the Lewes parade was a hulking effigy of German Chancellor Angela Merkel. That’s not all. They had her doing a Nazi salute while standing amid the rubble of Greece’s Acropolis.

Such blatant hostility toward Germany and its chancellor isn’t uncommon in Europe these days. And compared to the troubling anti-German, anti-Merkel scenes routinely coming out of Greece and other Mediterranean countries, the Lewes effigy is rather tame. Nevertheless, it was another small but noteworthy glimpse of the surging hostility in Britain toward the EU and one of its most powerful advocates, Germany.

Two weeks ago I wrote about how Britain is preparing to divorce from the EU. Since then, the tension between Britain and Europe has only intensified. If it continues like this, the November 22 EU summit is going to be a barn burner. The primary topic of discussion at the summit will be the EU budget, and whether or not it should be increased, frozen or reduced. The consensus among European nations is that the budget ought to be marginally increased or remain the same.

Britain ardently disagrees. This was made plain last week, when Britain’s Parliament, including numerous members of Prime Minister David Cameron’s party, not only voted against any increase in the EU budget, but demanded that the current budget be reduced. The vote is non-binding, meaning Mr. Cameron is not bound by English law to veto the budget increase. But Cameron is a modern-day politician, which makes him bound by political expediency. The prime minister surely understands that the only way to survive the EU summit—and perhaps even benefit domestically from it—is if he stands firm against an EU budget increase.

Of course, EU leaders are anxious and upset. Yesterday, Chancellor Merkel jetted to London to dine with Cameron and no doubt try to dissuade him from upending the EU summit. Here in Britain and Europe, many are coming to realize that there’s a lot at stake and that we may actually be coming into a milestone moment. Merkel’s trip to London “may be interpreted as a wake-up call for the British,” wrote Olaf Boehnke, a member of the European Council on Foreign Relations.

It is no coincidence that on the same day Merkel visited Cameron, virtually all of Britain’s main newspapers ran stories highlighting Germany’s mounting frustration.

Listen, Britain. Germany’s Had Enough of You,” stated the headline in the Times. In the article, Alan Posener cites a recent editorial from the political editor of Bild, Germany’s most influential newspaper, making the case that Turkey is now more integrated and on better terms with Europe than Britain. “One way or another, Turkey is becoming more relevant to discussions on the future of Europe than Britain,’ concluded Posener.

The Telegraph was similarly dramatic, titling its article “Germany Is Losing Patience With Britain.” “When you spend time in both Britain and Germany,” wrote Mats Persson, “it is impossible not to notice how distant their stances on Europe have become.” Persson visits Germany often, has well-placed contacts and keeps abreast of the relationship. He writes that “recent reports suggest that Merkel’s frustrations have reached the point where she’s prepared to wave goodbye to Britain altogether.”

The Financial Times made similar points under the headline “UK and Germany: Exasperated Allies.”

Meanwhile, German politicians and the German media—many of whom have up till now preferred to see Britain remain in the EU—are also beginning to more openly vent their frustration and hopelessness. Last month, Spiegel Online reported how Chancellor Merkel once went out of her way to keep Britain in Europe—but not anymore. Merkel’s hopes for a Europe with Britain “have now been dashed,” it wrote. “The German government is convinced that the Euro Group will be the core of a new, more deeply integrated Europe.” The article compared Britain to Statler and Waldorf, the two muppets that sit in a box and hurl insults at the performers on The Muppet Show. (Several British papers reported that the comparison came directly from a frustrated Angela Merkel.)

George Parker and Quentin Peel, writing in the Financial Times recently, lamented the inevitable divorce. “In spite of the personal rapport, the two leaders [Merkel and Cameron] are heading in different directions,” they wrote. “From Berlin’s perspective, this impending drama is just another staging post in Britain’s protracted departure from the European mainstream and—potentially—its exit from the EU altogether.”

“The mood towards the UK in the German political establishment is a mix of exasperation and deep concern,” they wrote.

It’s easy to see where this is headed. Sometimes an unhappy relationship can be temporarily preserved, even as resentment and frustration continue to mount, as long as one party still desires the relationship, and is willing to compromise and work hard to keep it alive. That’s kind of the way the Britain-EU relationship has been ever since Britain joined the European Community in January 1973.

But what happens when both sides in a relationship become resentful, frustrated and angry?

We all know the answer: separation.