A Bigger Pastime Than Sports

A Bigger Pastime Than Sports

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It’s a booming business, and it is bringing our nation down—one click at a time.
From the March 2013 Trumpet Print Edition

Did you know that 12 to 15 percent of all websites are pornographic? Every second, over 28,000 Internet users are looking at pornography. It is becoming so prevalent you almost can’t avoid it.

Thirty years ago, the porn industry in the United States brought in $75 million in revenue. That in itself is shameful. But it has since grown 17,000 percent! Today, it brings in $13.3 billion! $13.3 BILLION! As much as we love our sports, we don’t love them as much as we love pornography! Major League Baseball only makes $7 billion, a little more than half of that. The National Football League generates $9 billion in income. The National Basketball Association generates $5 billion. Pornography is almost triple the nba, and without any of the prime-time advertising, big-time merchandising or the massive arenas.

1 Corinthians 6:18 says we are to flee fornication. But we do just the opposite! This is the most massive sin you can imagine if you understand the Bible.

This isn’t just affecting adults. It is savaging our young people. The average age that children first see porn is 11. Seventy to 80 percent of 15-to-17-year-olds accidently see porn on the Internet. One survey I read about recently said over half of young people deceive their parents about pornography. They are able to get it so easily. Then it preys on their curiosity and pulls them in to a terrible quagmire.

Sex addiction is a lot like heroin addiction. I recently spoke to a minister who was counseling a drug and sex addict. This man was able to kick his addiction to seven drugs—but he couldn’t kick the sex addiction!

That is how addictive this is to adults—just imagine what it is doing to teenagers and to children!

This sin is destroying families, which are the backbone of every nation. We sin against our children and against our people by allowing it to happen.

What is this doing to our nation? It is not difficult to see. Pornography destroys families, which are the strength of any nation, and so it destroys nations.

America spews this filth out into the world. The United States is part of the descendants of Israel. Who are some of the other descendants? Britain, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the Jewish nation—all leaders in sins like pornography! Our nations are the only ones that have a history with God. They are supposed to set an example of God’s way of life. Instead, they’re doing the opposite.

Nobody eclipses the U.S. in producing pornography. God says in one prophecy that we are even worse than the nations around us.

Those who want to stop this from going on are helpless. What can they do? They’re not going to solve it by doing nothing, nor are they going to solve it without God empowering them.

Our people, who say they are Christian, hardly even talk about pornography anymore because they lost that war years ago, and they know it. It has taken over! It’s in our entertainment—even our mainstream television, movies, music videos, magazines and just about everything else.

And we let it go on—we must have “freedom of speech.” What an appalling deceit that is! It has nothing to do with freedom! It’s all about slavery! Sex addiction is slavery! You can see in the worst cases what it’s doing to us! Yet we still refuse to obey God.

This is a gigantic sin we are committing, yet we have the gall to say we’re a Christian nation, and to talk about how religious and good we are.

God calls America a “hypocritical nation” (Isaiah 10:6). He is full of wrath because of it.

There is a spiritual dimension to this situation. God is going to punish us for our sins. We have rejected His way of love and obedience to His law, the way of honor and morality and chastity and obedience. As a result, He is allowing a spirit of evil to grow in power and influence in our world.

Read my article on page 26 of this magazine. It explains this invisible evil force at work in our world today. This evil spirit is very active, and he is glutting us with these horrible influences, entrapping us in sins that wreck our families and fill them with hatred and lies and cheating—the opposite of the character of God.

Do you realize what is really inspiring all this family-destroying smut? The Bible tells us: It is Satan the devil. We have turned to the devil’s way, and we are about to see where that leads us. The Bible prophesies that Satan’s violent anger will culminate in the horrific Great Tribulation.

Do you look at this issue the way God does? He wants to free this world from its enslavement to such depravity. He wants to freeyou! When you see the suffering caused by breaking His law, like the suffering caused by pornography, it helps you to realize what a blessing His law is, which teaches us to stay away from that kind of lust (Matthew 5:27-28). If you want more instruction about that, request a free copy of our reprint article “Porn Free.”

Soon Jesus Christ will return in power and put a stop to these sins forever. He will rule, and He will show us how to have the happiness and joy we should be enjoying today—by keeping His law of love. You can do that individually today, if you are willing.

Will China Call America’s Military Bluff?

Will China Call America’s Military Bluff?

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In Beijing’s escalating territorial dispute with Japan, it sees an opportunity to expose the United States as an unreliable ally.

As a territorial dispute between China and Japan intensifies, Beijing is behaving toward the United States in a way that may initially appear counterintuitive. Although China has not openly sought U.S. mediation in the row, its Foreign Ministry has issued statements designed to provoke increased U.S. involvement.

Why would China want to draw the U.S.—the world’s foremost military power—into the conflict?

There is a clear explanation.

‘This Land Is My Land!’

China claims that the Diaoyu islands—called Senkaku in Japan—have been a part of its territory since 1534 or earlier. Japan rejects those claims and says Tokyo has full sovereignty over them. The dispute has simmered for decades, but it greatly intensified in September 2012 when the Japanese government bought the islands from their private Japanese owner.

The purchase infuriated the Chinese, prompting them to make many incursions into the waters and skies around the islands. These moves are designed to challenge Japanese control.

Washington’s Role

As Japan’s longtime ally, the United States is obliged to defend Tokyo in the row. Although Washington doesn’t take an official stance on the sovereignty of the islands, it recognizes Japanese administrative control of them, and acknowledges that they fall under the U.S.’s security and defense agreements with Japan. Since Tokyo has also admitted shortcomings in its defense abilities that leave it unable to effectively counter Chinese activity around the islands, it’s clear that, in the event of a conflict, Japan would depend significantly on U.S. backing.

The U.S. hopes that its pledge to militarily back Tokyo will frighten China, and prevent Beijing from taking more aggressive action in the dispute.

But does America’s pledge actually intimidate China?

‘Peace in Our Time’

In his second inaugural address on January 21, President Obama mentioned “peace in our time,” a phrase made infamous by former British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain as he promised that the world would have peace with Adolf Hitler before World War ii. Perhaps the president didn’t intend to quote Chamberlain, but the phrase encapsulates the naive nature of his foreign affairs.

“A decade of war is now ending,” Mr. Obama also said. And his actions suggest that he believes his words. He pulled the U.S. out of Iraq in his first term, and has mapped out a plan to follow suit in Afghanistan during his second. His decision to nominate Chuck Hagel as defense secretary screams “anti-interventionist” as loudly as anything could.

Writing for the Financial Times on January 21, Gideon Rachman said: “In foreign affairs, it looks as though Mr. Obama’s biggest goal is to be the president who brought the boys back home. … It is already clear that in the second Obama term, the Pentagon budget will fall—and America will seek to cut back rather than expand its foreign engagements.”

The idea of being drawn into a conflict with China is nearly too unbearable for the current administration to contemplate. And clear understanding of this truth has fueled China’s increasingly provocative rhetoric toward Washington.

Counterintuitive Behavior From Beijing?

On the same day as Mr. Obama’s speech, China’s Foreign Ministry accused Washington of bearing “undeniable historical responsibility on the Diaoyu issue.” Why? This angry charge was made in response to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton saying Washington opposed any action that would undermine Japan’s administration of the islands. Clinton’s comments “ignore facts and confuse truth with untruth. China is strongly displeased and firmly opposed to it,” the Chinese statement continued. It was the second time in a matter of days that Beijing had placed some of the blame on Washington for the Sino-Japanese territorial frictions.

Many analysts wonder why China would spout off provocative rhetoric toward the U.S., since logic suggests that China would want to keep the world’s most powerful military far from the conflict. Taiwan’s Beijing-friendly China Post said the Chinese statements about the U.S. “appear to be an attempt to prompt Washington to use its influence to soften the stance of Japan, which has steadfastly refused to hold talks over the islands” (January 22).

Softening Japan’s stance may be one outcome China desires, but Beijing could be banking on another significantly more far-reaching result: to expose the U.S. military as a force that can be countered.

Beijing views the outcome of any potential confrontation a question of will more than of military might. On this front, the U.S. is at an overwhelming disadvantage. Because of this, the threat of U.S. military involvement may not only fail to deter China from increasing its provocations, it may serve as a prime opportunity for Beijing to expose the U.S. as a timid and unreliable ally to Japan.

Stratfor points out that Beijing may view U.S. involvement in the dispute as an “opportunity to reshape regional perceptions of Washington’s military commitment to Asia” (January 21). Since the U.S. is a war-weary power still struggling to extricate itself from over a decade of war in Afghanistan, “Beijing is calculating that Washington will continue to seek to avoid new conflict in Asia” (ibid).

There is a stark dichotomy between the peace-in-our-time U.S. and increasingly confrontational China. When war becomes a question of will, the outcome between these two is already determined.

‘I Will Break the Pride of Your Power’

If the situation plays out as Beijing hopes, China will be able to vividly prove to America’s allies that Beijing can effectively neutralize U.S. military power in Asia. If the U.S.’s Asian allies see that alliances with America are not reliable, their survival instinct will compel them to instead rally behind China.

Such an outcome would have repercussions far beyond Asia. It would confirm what the U.S.’s Middle Eastern enemies have long suspected, and greatly embolden radical Islam. It would also show Europe that the world needs a new superpower—one with a spine—and hasten the EU’s unification to fill this power vacuum.

The U.S., as a military power, is in rapid decline. This sobering deterioration of America’s military resolve was forecast decades ago by Herbert W. Armstrong. Just after the Bay of Pigs fiasco of 1961, Mr. Armstrong pinned the blame for America’s loss not on the nation’s military, or even on President Kennedy, but on the American people: “Unless or until the United States as a whole repents and returns to what has become a hollow slogan on its dollars: ‘In God we trust,’ the United States of America has won its last war! … [T]he God America has deserted gave it its most humiliating defeat! What does the Cuban debacle mean? It means, Mr. and Mrs. United States, that the handwriting is on your wall!” (Plain Truth, October 1961).

Mr. Armstrong based this sobering forecast on a biblical prophecy about what God would do with America’s will to use its tremendous power if it rejected God’s law: “I will break the pride of your power” (Leviticus 26:19). In the decades since Mr. Armstrong wrote those words, the American people have increasingly rejected God’s law, and the U.S. has thrown varying degrees of its weight behind dozens of military conflicts. Each of the halfhearted efforts has sapped a little more of the nation’s pride in its power.

Then, on Sept. 11, 2012, terrorists attacked the U.S.’s diplomatic mission at Benghazi, Libya, killing four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens—all on the anniversary of the 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center. It was an act of war, and the ultimate insult to the U.S., yet Washington’s bewildering response was to apologize for the production of a video that was not actually related to the attack.

Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry said the U.S.’s flaccid response to that act of war meant the Leviticus 26:19 prophecy had then been fully fulfilled: “It’s no longer God saying, ‘i will break the pride of your power.” It’s now God has broken it! I’ve never seen America in such a low as this!”(Satellite Transmission, October 1, 2012).

The Chinese seem to recognize the U.S.’s shattered will to use its power. And they may well be preparing to put those tatters on display for the whole world. To understand what this broken pride will mean for the U.S. in the years ahead, read The United States and Britain in Prophecy.

China Pushes Back at America

China Pushes Back at America

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As the U.S. steps up its involvement in the Pacific, so does China.

North Korea is testing rockets designed to hit American soil. The announcement, which was delivered on January 24, confirms that North Korea is not just developing rocket technology to launch satellites. This is hardly an astounding revelation. But why the sudden aggressiveness right now?

China and Japan are locked in a territorial dispute over some small, yet crucial islands in the East China Sea. This is not a new problem, but this time there is more on the line than just a few islands. President Obama’s “Pacific pivot” demands that America make its presence felt more in the Asia-Pacific region. American treaties with Japan state that the United States must come to Japan’s aid if there is a conflict. America is expected to support the Japanese should the dispute escalate. Obama’s Pacific strategy also entails rallying other Asian nations against the growing power of China.

China is well aware of the subtle push by the United States to gain more influence and simultaneously slow the rate at which the Chinese economy and military are domineering the East.

One of the tools China uses to push back at America is North Korea.

North Korea relies heavily on its big neighbor. China supplies more than two thirds of North Korea’s food and more than half of its energy. Without the aid of China, North Korea would be crushed under international sanctions. North Korea has no choice but to dance to China’s tune.

The recent actions of North Korea point directly to Chinese influence.

China has no need to directly confront the U.S. It can afford to wait and watch as the U.S. tries to show a strong face against the aggression from North Korea—a country that America has little actual leverage over. And as America is shown to be impotent, it will lose its ability to unite the various Pacific powers against China. Japan doesn’t get along with Taiwan, Taiwan doesn’t get along with South Korea, South Korea doesn’t like Japan—and if America is perceived to be weak, there is nothing holding them together. One by one, each nation will be pulled under China’s influence. And America will be the big loser.

Years of failure on the North Korea issue risk undermining America’s operations in the Asia-Pacific region.

Yet ironically, as America’s Pacific strategy of uniting the various Asian powers against China is failing, the Bible predicts that many of these nations will put aside their differences and rally together for strength. “Despite its many national, religious and political differences, Asia will ultimately be welded together into a common power bloc,” the Plain Truth wrote back in April 1968. In biblical terms, the resulting conglomeration is known as the kings of the east. Read Russia and China in Prophecy for more on this rising power bloc. Continue to watch as China expands its influence to control the entire Asia-Pacific region.

Guttenberg—Playing It Cool

Guttenberg—Playing It Cool

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Germany’s once most popular politician, Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg, shuns the limelight while maintaining a keen eye on European politics.

It’s hard for Baron Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg to stay clear of the headlines.

Although for the past two years he has sought a low profile, seeking very little media attention of his own volition, it seems that any public move he makes has the press all over him like a rash.

The challenge here is that with so many self interests seeking to play the Guttenberg card, it’s difficult to deduce the reality behind the sensationalism to which the mainstream media are so prone when chasing down a high-profile personality for their own petty ends.

Guttenberg’s leftist enemies, though in the minority of those who maintain continuing interest in his prospects for a return to political leadership in Germany, are the loudest voices decrying that prospect. All that their baying for his blood does is signify that to them he remains a continuing threat to their own moribund politics. If they weren’t worried about any prospect of Guttenberg’s political comeback, they wouldn’t be still trying to can him two years down the track following his voluntary resignation from political office.

On the other hand, that the Guttenberg fan base remains intact was clearly seen at the reaction in Germany to the cancellation of his recent invitation to speak at Dartmouth University.

An earlier organized walkout by a minority of students at Yale, which occurred during an address being given by Guttenberg at that institution, now added to by the Dartmouth cancellation, may steer the ex- German defense minister away from accepting similar invitations from academia in the future.

On the other hand, when Guttenberg attends and addresses groups of more balanced intellect, he appears to have a willing audience. This is especially so in the foreign-policy arena, his arena of choice.

Mid-winter is the time for the highest-profile conferences of global movers and shakers. Preceding the Davos economic conference, the Munich Security Conference and the closed-door meeting of the Bilderbergers, all held during winter in Europe, the Alpine Symposium, held annually in Switzerland, receives a lesser billing with the press, yet is by no means less popular with high-profile participants.

Held in Interlaken on January 15-16 this year, the conference featured Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg in a lecture on his favorite subject—the geopolitics of Europe.

Speaking to a sellout crowd, Guttenberg chose his words carefully, yet still managed to show his disdain for the manner in which European politics are being conducted.

Jungfrau Zeitung reported that, “At the Alpine Summit in Interlaken, the former German defense minister explained why he now was attracted, after his plagiary scandal is almost forgotten, again on the important podiums of economy and politics. He does not speculate on holding a political office, however; of concern to him is to pass on his experience. The last two years—which he mainly spent ‘in calm and left in peace’—gave him time to occupy himself with global topics, for which so often time is lacking in the hectic everyday political life” (January 26; translation ours throughout).

Having identified the main challenges to global stability in his Interlaken speech, Guttenberg turned to Europe and his consistent theme of condemnation of European politics: “The European procedure, he explained cynically, insists on determined hesitation, of complicated processes, and people at the top ‘that are as famous as Cypriote beach volleyball players.’ This is no way to face risks and to break the head of the unpredictability of global processes” (ibid).

In a further biting criticism of EU leadership, Guttenberg declared that “This reminded him of a ‘surgical table where 27 doctors manipulate and sabotage each other’” (merkur-online.de, January 24).

As to solutions to today’s global challenges, Guttenberg somewhat understatedly suggested, “Time and substance are necessary, in order to take well-founded decisions …. He demanded courageous action and measures in the sphere of global processes instead of hasty reactions on the consequences of these developments. … And he pleaded for leaders not to face a dilemma without a demonstration of power or force, but to also bring antagonists of a conflict together and search for solutions” (op. cit.).

While not hitting his full stride in Interlaken, the former German defense minister said enough to indicate his frustration at the lack of effective political leadership in Europe, while at the same time revealing his current thinking on balancing dialogue with a show of power or force in foreign policy.

As the year matures toward the September federal elections in Germany, it will be interesting to note whether Guttenberg’s voice becomes more strident at carefully chosen forums in the foreign-policy sphere. To certain German elites, he still presents an attractive solution to not only Germany’s but to Europe’s ongoing leadership vacuum.

Why Men and Women?

From the March 2013 Trumpet Print Edition

In dismantling the traditional ways of relating to one another as men and women, society lost more than just human traditions: We arrogantly, foolishly trashed God’s design in creating men and women.

The Bible clearly states that God created humankind male and female (Genesis 1:26-27). This was not an arbitrary decision. It was done with definite purpose.

How many understand that purpose—even those who claim to get their religion from the Bible? Can they explain Genesis 1:27? Why did God even create the sexes?

The fact is, God is the source of everything that makes men men and women women. He designed the differences in physique, in emotions, in intellectual and psychological composition. But why?

Piece together all of the observable and scriptural evidence, and you can see unmistakably that God created these differences—physical, mental, emotional—to establish order, structure and strength, especially within the family. “But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God” (1 Corinthians 11:3). Non-Bible believers scoff at that scripture. “Christians” who don’t like it find ways to make it mean something else. But godly men and women see simple logic and beauty in it.

For the sake of order and harmony, God created men to fulfill one role within the family and within society, and He created women to fill a different and beautifully complementary role.

This is the reality that God created and revealed to humankind. It is a vital key to individual, family and societal success! Understanding and wholeheartedly embracing the God-ordained roles for men and women brings satisfaction in your job and fulfillment in all your most important relationships—friends, dating, marriage, family. It brings peace to your home, and success to your dealings with members of the opposite sex.

Everybody wants that kind of lifebut because of the intense assault against a reality created by God, few are willing to hear the truth about what causes these effects.

Where Have Britain’s Good Men Gone?

From the March 2013 Trumpet Print Edition

Britain was once known around the world not just for bad cooking, but also for reliability and decency, symbolized by one of Britain’s most recognizable icons: the bobby. With his hard blue hat and neat uniform, the British policeman had a reputation for being helpful and incorruptible.

That reputation is swiftly crumbling. A few months ago, the police were caught falsifying evidence on a huge scale. Back in 1989, nearly 100 football fans died as spectators tried to squeeze into a stadium. Now it has emerged that the police altered over a hundred witness statements to deflect blame from themselves. This wasn’t the result of one corrupt officer: It was systemic deceit by a whole regional police force.

In December, they were caught at it again. The police brought down a government minister—the chief whip—with false evidence, a lying policeman and an apparently falsified police log book. One journalist noted, “If they can frame a chief whip, they can frame anyone.”

Sadly, these wrongdoings are typical of scandals that, over the last year or so, have rocked the reputation of a number of British institutions once regarded as respectable and upright. Politicians, journalists, bankers and TV stars have been arrested recently over one sin or another. Reliability and decency are no longer core British traits.

The BBC used to be known the world over as the impartial voice of the news. Now, aside from its long-running problems with left-wing bias, it is in trouble for covering up child sex abuse.

Britain’s press has never had a particularly solid reputation. But that reputation has perhaps never sunk so low as now, after revelations about journalists hacking the phones of bereaved parents.

A trustworthy reputation used to be the most valuable asset of any British bank. Banks designed their branches like Greek temples, with wide columns and solid stone walls projecting an image of sturdy reliability. Now, however, in the wake of the banking collapse and LIBOR scandal, bankers are seen as barely better than bank robbers.

And Parliament? No one trusts politicians anymore. In 2009, the Houses of Parliament were shaken by revelations that ministers had fiddled their expenses, breaking the spirit of the rules if not the letter, to essentially steal thousands of pounds from taxpayers. So far, six have gone to jail; more could follow. Many claim that others got off more lightly than their actions deserved. New rules were put in place to stop fraud from happening again. Several politicians have already been accused of questionable practices trying to get around these laws.

Even the National Health Service, which Britain proudly put on display during the Olympics, has withered under the exposure of its inhumane standards of care in some cases.

Has corruption ever spread so far and so deep?

Isaiah 3:1-3 prophesy that God will remove strong male leadership from Israel and Judah. Today, capable leaders even on smaller scales have disappeared—upright traders, politicians, newspaper editors, police chiefs. Soncino Bible Commentary says “honorable man” refers to men who command respect. These are certainly gone today. Is there one institution left that Britain can point to with pride? The honorable man is missing from all walks of life.

This lack of honorable men is the nation’s biggest crisis. Britain could survive almost any catastrophe as long as men are decent, honest and upright. Look how stoically cities like London made it through the Blitz in World War II. But without honorable men, a crisis will cause society to fracture and collapse.

The most headline-grabbing stories today practically all trace back to Britain’s lack of honorable men. How bad would the banking crisis have been if bankers were all looking out for the best interests of their customers? The LIBOR scandal certainly would have been avoided. How much better would the nation’s finances be if everyone claiming welfare benefits put all their effort into finding a job? What if politicians set an example in being above reproach in how they spent the nation’s money?

Britain needs a revolution in character—from top to bottom. The restoration of the nation must prominently feature the restoration of the honorable man.