French Laborers: ‘We Want to Work Sundays!’

French Laborers: ‘We Want to Work Sundays!’

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Will the ancient force behind Europe’s restrictions on Sunday commerce give in to the pleas?

French citizens held demonstrations at locations around Paris over the weekend to protest a court ruling that forced two retailers to close 15 locations every Sunday. The ruling has reignited a longstanding debate about a century-old French law that enforces Sunday rest for many businesses.

On one side of the argument are entrepreneurs like Jean-Claude Bourrelier, ceo of home improvement chain Bricorama, who argue that France’s stagnant consumer spending makes the law increasingly ridiculous. “I am a retailer. If my clients want to come on Sundays I have a duty to open,” he said, adding that the law costs his company as much as 20 percent of annual profits.

Alongside the entrepreneurs are a growing number of France’s workers, as well as the unemployed. The workers, struggling with rising taxes and pinched pocketbooks, are increasingly eager to work on Sundays in order to make ends meet. The unemployed—now 10.9 percent, or 3 million people—argue that the laws prevent thousands of sorely needed jobs from being created.

Protests like the ones staged over the weekend are not uncommon in Paris and other parts of France, and a recent survey showed that an unprecedented 63 percent of French people are now in favor of allowing shops to operate Sundays.

But on the other side of the debate is an ancient force unlikely to be swayed by public opinion and protests: the Roman Catholic Church.

Sunday is the day of the Lord, but also a day for family time,” Archbishop of Paris, Cardinal Andre Vingt-Trois said in chastisement of then President Nicolas Sarkozy’s 2009 move to loosen the laws restricting Sunday commerce. “Is earning more money the main purpose of human existence?” the cardinal asked.

Despite a shift toward secularism and an influx of Muslim immigrants, the influence of the Catholic Church remains vigorous, not just in France, but all of Europe. And mandating Sunday rest throughout Europe is among the Church’s primary goals.

The broad scope of this goal is perhaps most evident in the Brussels-based European Sunday Alliance, a network of dozens of religious and nonreligious organizations from 27 European nations whose purpose, according to its website, is to “raise awareness of the unique value of synchronized free time for our European societies.” Of course, at the helm of these crusaders for Sunday rest is the Roman Catholic Church.

Coming up this January, the European Sunday Alliance will meet with politicians from all around the EU for the 2nd European Conference on the Protection of a Work-Free Sunday. According to the conference’s published agenda, its purpose is to “highlight that a work-free Sunday and a better synchronization of social rhythm with working hours, with less irregular and unsocial working hours, are of paramount importance for citizens throughout Europe.”

Why does this Sunday alliance exist and work so arduously to influence Europe’s labor laws? Why is the Catholic Church so adamant about instituting a continent-wide day of rest? And why must it be Sunday instead of another day of the week?

It is because it was the Catholic Church—in intentional violation of biblical teachings—that appointed Sunday as a day of worship. The Vatican is proud of the success it had in this colossal feat, and Sunday rest has become a mark of the Catholic Church’s authority.

This truth is best explained by the Vatican’s own:

  • “Sunday is a Catholic institution and its claim to observance can be defended only on Catholic principles. … From beginning to end of Scripture there is not a single passage that warrants the transfer of weekly public worship from the last day of the week to the first” (Catholic Press, August 1900).
  • “Of course the Catholic Church claims that the change was her act. … And the act is a mark of her ecclesiastical authority in religious things” (Letter from the office of Cardinal Gibbons, Nov. 11, 1895).
  • “The Church is above the Bible; and this transference of Sabbath observance from Saturday to Sunday is proof positive of that fact. Deny the authority of the Church and you have no adequate or reasonable explanation or justification for the substitution of Sunday for Saturday in the Third—Protestant Fourth—Commandment of God” (The Catholic Record, Sept. 1, 1923).
  • “Perhaps the boldest thing, the most revolutionary change the Church ever did, happened in the first century. The holy day, the Sabbath, was changed from Saturday to Sunday. ‘The Day of the Lord’ [dies domini (or “Sunday”)] was chosen, not from any direction noted in the Scriptures, but from the Church’s sense of its own power. … People who think that the Scriptures should be the sole authority, should logically … keep Saturday holy” (Saint Catherine Catholic Church Sentinel, May 21, 1995).
  • January’s conference could bring the Vatican-influenced EU closer to declaring Sunday as the official continent-wide day of rest. Any steps in that direction should alarm religious liberty watchers, those concerned about a failure to separate church and state, and anyone familiar with Europe’s violent history.

    Back in 2005, when Pope Benedict xvi stressed the importance of Sunday worship for Europe and beyond, Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry wrote:

    Pope Benedict perceives the secularist moral vacuum that has plagued Europe since the time of the Enlightenment. … But it seems Benedict wants to fill that vacuum—the old Roman way. That way was never sympathetic to the idea of the public voluntarily accepting its tenets. Rather, as even a cursory study of history will reveal, it was imposed by force. … Pope Benedict is committed to reinstating the active observance of the Roman Catholic Church’s chief icon: Sunday. He knows that to popularize religion in Europe, he has to reintroduce a means of promoting what marketers call brand loyalty. The most historic brand the pope can offer to bond the people together is the ancient day of worship, fashionable since Babylon, the old day of the sun—Sunday. Hence his promotion of that old Roman brand in his recent addresses. … If we understand how the church has enforced this day in its past history, we should be very alarmed.

    Benedict is no longer the Church’s frontrunner, but his successor and other Catholic officials remain committed to the same ambitions that drove him. To learn the details of how the Catholic Church has enforced Sunday at different epochs over the centuries, and what to expect regarding Sunday rest in Europe’s future, read Mr. Flurry’s article “The Pope Trumpets Sunday,” and our booklet Which Day Is the Christian Sabbath?

    ‘Holy’ War in Kenya

    ‘Holy’ War in Kenya

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    Al Shabaab terrorists’ discriminatory atrocity in Kenya tells the beginnings of a future ‘holy’ war.

    Last week’s devastating siege of Kenya’s Westgate Mall by the Somali, al Qaeda-linked, Iranian-backed al Shabaab militant group revealed the seeds of a conflict that will ultimately yield religious war.

    The terrorist attack resulted in 67 casualties, including five of an estimated 15 of the assailants. They chose the United Nations’ International Day of Peace—September 21—for their assault, to communicate their agenda. Via Twitter, al Shabaab also communicated its main motives for the siege: “hsm [Harakat al Shabaab al Mujahideen, meaning ‘Mujahideen Youth Movement’] has on numerous occasions warned the #Kenyan government that failure to remove its forces from Somalia would have severe consequences.”

    Al Shabaab is an offshoot of an Islamist group that controlled much of southern Somalia until the Ethiopia-Somalia conflict of 2006. The group has been fighting the Somali government since. As we reported in the Trumpet Weekly, al Shabaab almost assassinated Somalia’s President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud on September 3.

    Since the 2006 war, al Shabaab continued causing trouble in that region, particularly along the Kenyan border, until Kenya sent its troops to Somalia to extricate the militants in 2011. This accounts for much of al Shabaab’s grievance with Kenya.

    But the Kenyan government was not the only victim al Shabaab Islamists attacked. The terrorists’ press office tweeted: “Only Kuffar [non-Muslims] were singled out for this attack. All Muslims inside #Westgate were escorted out by the Mujahideen before beginning the attack.” While there may have been a number of Muslims who were killed as “collateral damage” in the attack, it is clear that this attack was discriminatory.

    In an e-mail to the Associated Press, al Shabaab claimed that it “carried out a meticulous vetting process” to separate Muslims from infidels. That process included random questions about the Islamic Prophet Mohammed’s mother’s name, certain koranic verses and the Islamic oath. Non-Muslims in the mall who couldn’t answer these questions were shot on the spot. Some of the bodies of the victims were amputated, castrated and/or were hung on hooks from the roof, with eyes gorged out and severed noses and ears.

    Prior to the Westgate Mall attack, al Shabaab had been indiscriminate in their violent acts, killing Muslims and non-Muslims alike. Now, following strong criticisms from al Qaeda and others, al Shabaab is making its attacks not only political in nature, but religious as well.

    “What this shows is al Qaeda’s acknowledgment that the huge masses of Muslims they have killed is an enormous PR problem within the audience they are trying to reach,” said Daveed Gartenstein-Ross, the director of the Center for the Study of Terrorist Radicalization. “This is a problem they had documented and noticed going back to at least Iraq. And now we see al Qaeda groups are really taking efforts to address it.”

    The Associated Press obtained blood-curdling documents from an Islamic conference that detailed al Shabaab’s mission and this discriminatory jihadist approach.

    Bible prophecy indicates that this religion-based bigotry will backfire.

    In our Libya and Ethiopia in Prophecy special report, we wrote how, in 2011, Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry “outlined how Daniel 11 also foretells that Libya and Ethiopia will realign to join an Iranian-led, radical Islamist camp. Watch for these far-reaching changes. Egypt and Libya are already in the midst of their transition, and Ethiopia is set to be next.”

    Al Shabaab may contribute significantly to that final outcome, even though its strongest influence right now is in Somalia and Kenya. It is apparent that al Shabaab and similar terrorist groups can easily destabilize the Horn of Africa and North Africa regions. Its egregious acts of violence will inspire terror that will congeal radical Islamist states, headed by Iran, as the prophesied “king of the south.” But they also will incite a similarly discriminatory European retaliation much like the bloody crusades of old. So says the Bible.

    Religious war is imminent, but it is prophesied to be the last this world will ever see. The reason is revealed in Mr. Flurry’s articles “Libya and Ethiopia Reveal Iran’s Military Strategy” and “The Last Crusade.”

    Did Germany Support Syria’s Chemical Weapons Program?

    Did Germany Support Syria’s Chemical Weapons Program?

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    Germany admits delivery of destructive materials.

    The German government admitted last month to delivering chemicals necessary for the production of chemical weapons, reported German-Foreign-Policy.com. “Most recent indications point to the implication of German companies having possibly participated in the establishment of Syrian facilities for the production of chemical weapons,” it wrote.

    Now, German government advisers are pushing for Bundeswehr participation in an eventual United Nations mission to disarm Syria of the very weapons Germany may have helped provide.

    Peer Steinbrück, who recently lost to Angela Merkel in elections for the German chancellorship, blasted the government last year for its leadership and dominance of global arms exports. “The former finance minister, nominated to lead the Social Democrats (spd) into September’s election against Merkel, said it was a scandal that Germany has become the world’s third-largest arms exporter on her watch,” Reuters reported. “Arms exports are a sensitive issue in Germany due to its Nazi past and the role arms makers such as Krupp played in stoking 19th- and 20th-century wars with exports to both sides.”

    Germany is the largest exporter of military armaments in Europe and third in the world behind the United States and Russia. The Arms Export Report 2011, released by the German government in November, reveals Berlin’s shocking geographic reach, international partnerships and foreign policy relating to its armaments industry.

    Arabian Gulf states appear prominently in the report, underscoring German influence in arming these authoritarian countries as an iron arc in opposition against Iran. Trusted purchase partners such as the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar and Bahrain all have ordered sizable amounts of hardware.

    The report revealed a total of €5.4 billion (us$7.3 billion) in export authorizations approved by Germany’s Federal Security Council, up from €4.8 billion in 2010. “German arms exports have nearly doubled since the end of the 1990s,” reported German-Foreign-Policy.com (Nov. 16, 2012).

    However, once unreported sales are included, the picture becomes even more frightening.

    As German-Foreign-Policy.com astutely noted, glaringly missing from the report were arms produced under German license in associated countries stretching from Europe to the Gulf states, as well as tank sales to Saudi Arabia and Qatar—estimated at €10 billion—and the delivery of tanks and infantry vehicles to Indonesia, projected at €6 billion. Adding these line items to the reported €5.4 billion, the 2011 report could more accurately total €21.4 billion (us$28.9 billion)!

    German-Foreign-Policy.com wrote (ibid):

    Last October, in her speech to some 250 civilian and military leaders at this year’s Bundeswehr conference in Strausberg (Brandenburg), the German chancellor explained the booming arms exports’ political function. “All available instruments” must be networked for Berlin’s global policy, Merkel said: “economic policy, development policy, diplomatic, police, and military measures must proceed hand in hand.” Potentials of allies must also be used—not only those of nato and the EU allies, but also those of “other actors,” who should be “encouraged” to enhance their engagement for “security and liberty.” And she promised support: “Whoever feels committed to maintaining peace”—like Germany—“but cannot play an active role throughout the world,” should now be “called upon to help trustworthy partners” so that they can “assume corresponding responsibilities.” This includes support in military training and the supply of the necessary military hardware.

    What was clear from the report is the impact of the scope of the actual and potential hostilities in the Middle East and Asia upon German arms exports, which was reflected in the 2011 report and is only set to be exceeded in future reports.

    It’s hard to conceive that Germany, shattered amid rubble after the Allied invasion during World War ii, exports more military hardware than any other European country today. This fact alone has foreboding historical overtones. Under the perceived dove-like administration of Angela Merkel’s coalition government, the results of this report, and the sales that have been omitted, reveal a “hawkish” military industrial powerhouse exporting hardware unchecked across Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia.

    The U.S., Britain, United Nations and nato have forgotten the words of Franklin Roosevelt and Winston Churchill at the end of World War ii in their joint declaration: “It is our inflexible purpose to destroy German militarism and Nazism and to ensure that Germany will never again be able to disturb the peace of the world.”

    They didn’t stop with that, but continued, “We are determined to disarm and disband all German armed forces, break up for all time the German General Staff that has repeatedly contrived the resurgence of German militarism; remove or destroy all German military equipment; eliminate or control all German industry that could be used for military production.”

    “It is not our purpose to destroy the people of Germany,” wrote the two world leaders, “but only when Nazism and militarism have been extirpated will there be hope for a decent life for Germans and a place for them in the community of nations.”

    What few point to in this whole scenario is the hard reality that Germany’s armaments industry could so easily turn its production to self-consumption of its wares, rather than exports. The last time that occurred, it spelled disaster for the world.

    This time Germany already has its allies consuming its military hardware, dependent on it for spare and replacement parts, for upgrades and for the training of their military personnel in the usage of its weaponry. By redirecting these resources, Germany could arm itself to the teeth, thus becoming not only the world’s third-largest producer of military hardware, but the third-largest user of the same, replete with imperial alliances with many of its existing foreign customers, who are in turn armed with German weaponry.

    Germany’s first military deployment since World War 2.

    One other fact seems to escape most observers of the German scene today. Hitler launched a world war having occupied only the periphery around his nation—the Rhineland, the Sudetenland, Austria and Czechoslovakia.

    Since Germany, in concert with the Vatican, stimulated the Balkan wars of the 1990s—resulting in the first aggressive post-World War ii military action by that nation—it has progressively mounted military missions in 13 separate foreign theaters.

    German military deployment today reveals the reality that today Germany is far more strategically placed to initiate sudden imperialist aggression than Hitler ever was back in 1939.

    All it lacks is the type of charismatic, imperialist leadership to initiate it.

    Germany may well continue for a short while to appear the dove in European foreign policy under Merkel’s motherly leadership amid deepening continental and world crisis. But not for long.

    The postwar view that Germans have long held of themselves is changing, as is the view of their European neighbors, and the mood is turning ugly. It’s under such conditions that populist leaders tend to rise in Germany.

    The Prophet Daniel wrote of a powerful end-time leader’s imminent arrival amid today’s crisis. He is described as fierce in physical appearance and devious in dark political lobbying. He appears one way to Germans and Europe’s citizens, only, in reality, to be the opposite: a wolf in sheep’s clothing, leaving devastation in his wake via a deceptively crafted policy of peacekeeping that hides the true nature of a Holy Roman imperial motive.

    Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry has long warned readers, “The Daniel 8 man is going to change the German landscape—economically, politically and militarily. Germany needs a man for emergencies. What we see developing now is just such an emergency, and Germany is about to bring that man to power. This is what’s just ahead of us!”

    Again we remind you, as Herbert W. Armstrong did beginning in 1934: A world dictator is about to appear! A strong man in Europe is about to arise. Then watch for the unleashing of the powerful military potential that the German armaments industry has steadily built to such a dominant level.

    America’s War to Retake Its Streets

    America’s War to Retake Its Streets

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    As violence escalates in America, local police forces bulk up to meet the challenges.

    As the U.S. military works to sell off its surplus equipment—namely its tactical vehicles—after more than a decade of war, its latest customer may be one you wouldn’t expect: local police forces. Overburdened with an excess of mine-resistant ambush-protected vehicles (mraps), the Defense Logistics Agency (dla) has practically been giving these $1 million vehicles out for free to any police force that can pay the shipping costs and justify the need.

    Since August, 75 of these vehicles have been given away to local police departments, according to the dla. Law enforcement offices across the country, including offices in Washington, Tennessee, Texas and New York, have already acquired these vehicles. Even Ohio State University has one for its own police force.

    While it seems sensible that the military give out these vehicles to be used rather than sit and collect dust, you have to wonder why military-grade vehicles are being deployed in America. Built to withstand mine blasts, ieds, and small arms fire, these 19-ton behemoths are now being made available to assist with “active-shooter incidents, swat, and drug interdiction,” according to dla spokeswoman Mimi Schirmacher.

    With the increase of drug-related and other violence throughout America, streets are becoming war zones, and police are having to act accordingly. Take Chicago, for example. The Chicago Sun-Times reported that one person was killed and 15 people were wounded from shootings that took place just over the weekend. On September 19, thirteen people—including a 3-year-old boy—were wounded in a mass shooting that prompted Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn to offer the assistance of the National Guard to help deal with the violence.

    But would deploying the National Guard really help solve the violence in Chicago? Will mraps make city streets safer? As violence escalates in America, few stop to consider why we find ourselves plagued with violence. Instead, many just simply accept it as part of America’s constantly changing social condition.

    Consider that the first official Special Weapons and Tactics (swat) team was not developed until 1966. Violence taking place in cities across America was becoming so brutal and sophisticated that normal police officers could not defend themselves. So Daryl Gates, who was at the time an inspector with the Los Angeles Police Department, began to envision an elite military-style strike team that could deal with this new kind of violence. As the Wall Street Journal wrote, “He was drawn in particular to Marine Special Forces and began to envision an elite group of police officers who could respond in a similar manner to dangerous domestic disturbances.” American streets had become so dangerous that a military force, essentially, was needed to keep the peace.

    Look at what has happened since. Police departments have had to outfit themselves with bigger, more advanced weapons as they continue to wage war against drug cartels, crazed gunmen and terrorists. Violence has mounted across the United States, and Americans have come to accept it as a part of daily life. A Pew study found that 75 percent of Americans accept that occasional terrorist attacks in America will be part of everyday life in the future.

    Is there a reason for the violence that plagues America? Can it be stopped? Should Americans simply accept it as a part of life? Or should it cause us to ask deeper questions? As editor in chief Gerald Flurry wrote in his booklet Ezekiel: The End-Time Prophet,

    America, Britain and Israel have a terrible problem on their hands: violence. Violence from domestic troubles like race riots—violence from terrorist attacks.Many people have been affected by this scourge in these countries. I believe they are much more likely to recognize the seriousness of this issue. If you have not been personally affected, it is easy to want to pass such problems off as isolated incidents. [But] this violence is a much more serious danger than most people would ever imagine!

    Do you know what is in store for America? You need to read Ezekiel: The End-Time Prophet to see what is coming in the very near future and what will touch the life of every single American. Violence is about to intensify exponentially. However, all of this violence precipitates the greatest event ever to occur: the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. At His return, all wars will cease, all violence will be stopped, and a Millennium of uninterrupted peace will ensue.

    Warship Woes

    Warship Woes

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    The U.S. Navy is taking a hit as Washington tries to solve its financial problems.

    While the aircraft carrier fleet is undoubtedly one of the most impressive and crucial branches of the U.S. Navy, it is not immune to the sweeping cuts brought on by the sequester. The awarding of a $4 billion contract to start construction on the second of a series of carriers has been delayed. The Navy is attempting to reel in massive expenditures that are coming from the upgrade, upkeep and expansion of its fleets.

    The contract was to be awarded to Huntington Ingalls Industries Inc. in September, but will be postponed by as much as a year, according to U.S. officials.

    The budget cuts have come at an inconvenient time. The Navy is in the midst of a shipbuilding plan for three Ford-class aircraft carriers. The estimated cost once they are completed and outfitted will be $43 billion. Then there is a $34 billion deal for 52 Littoral Combat Ships, and a plan to construct a 12-vessel nuclear submarine fleet with a price tag yet to be determined.

    Huntington Ingalls has a $4.9 billion deal to build the first of the three carriers, uss Gerald R. Ford, also known as cvn-78. The contract was awarded in 2008, and since then the costs have skyrocketed 22 percent higher than the estimate five years ago. It is already the most expensive warship ever built, and is expected to cost $12.8 billion when completed.

    This is not a good sign for the Navy, which must be looking at the second ship, the uss John F. Kennedy (cvn-79), and wondering how it will be financed.

    The sequester—an agreement as part of the negotiations of raising the debt ceiling in 2011—cut most Defense Department budgets by 10 percent. The cuts are deep for the Navy, with talk of an expected shortfall of $14 billion this upcoming fiscal year.

    Some are calling on the government to do more to dispense the budget cuts more evenly, to avoid such vast drawbacks for the military. Navy Secretary Ray Mabus called on Congress to act, saying that if it fails to do so, “there is the potential to seriously diminish and permanently harm America’s indispensable maritime forces.”

    If America wants to maintain a worldwide presence and have the ability to interject in affairs across the globe, the Navy is indispensable.

    Take for instance the Persian Gulf. Through this narrow body of water passes roughly 14 oil tankers per day. The Persian Gulf facilitates the transport of over 30 percent of the world’s oil. The U.S. keeps a close eye on that oil, and the surrounding countries. The U.S. Fifth Fleet is stationed out of Bahrain, a small nation in the Persian Gulf, where it can react quickly to any situation in the region. It also serves as a constant reminder that the U.S. is present, even when the nations are separated geographically.

    The Fifth Fleet consists of two carriers, 20 ships, 103 strike aircraft and roughly 20,000 sailors and marines. This immense firepower can hold dramatic influence over foreign and domestic policies of the enemies of the United States.

    Without such power, particularly in places such as the Persian Gulf, nations such as Syria and Iran wouldn’t fear immediate retaliation for their actions. The Navy gives the U.S. the ability to act quickly across the globe. That is real power.

    But this power is rendered useless if those who hold it lack the will to use it. The U.S. seems determined to prove that it cannot wield the power at its disposal. When Syrian President Bashar Assad crossed Obama’s “red line” in Syria by using chemical weapons, the U.S. had numerous warships ready to launch an attack against Syria. Yet, nothing was done. The situation was an embarrassment for Washington, the Navy and the entire nation.

    Combine America’s rapidly diminishing willpower with a crippling financial crisis that is forcing the downscaling of the nation’s navy, and you are left with a bleak picture of a failing superpower. This should come as no surprise to those who simply turn on the news and see the decline of the nation in both the foreign and domestic theaters. It should certainly come as no surprise to those who know the promises God outlines in the Bible.

    Prophesying what would become of the children of Israel, of which the people of the U.S. are descendants (for proof, read The United States and Britain in Prophecy), God declared long ago, “But if you do not obey Me … if you despise My statutes … I also will do this to you: I will even appoint terror over you …. I will set My face against you, and you shall be defeated by your enemies. … I will break the pride of your power …” (Leviticus 26:14-19; New King James Version).

    The downfall of the U.S. superpower is intricately tied to its economic decline. As the U.S. continues to disobey God and to fall further into moral degradation, it is burdened with curses such as the economic trials that are weakening the Navy. Watch as the influence of this once-great nation continues to wane under such curses.

    If you want to gain an in-depth and detailed understanding of the United States’ role in Bible prophecy, be sure to read the aforementioned book, The United States and Britain in Prophecy. This book not only sheds light on the downfall of America, but also explains the incredible future that the American people, and all people on Earth, will have under the reign of Jesus Christ. The truth is that while the fall of the U.S. may be imminent, it is a sign that we are extremely close to the establishment of the peaceful and joyous government of God over this Earth!

    FBI: Gang Membership Jumps 40 Percent in Five Years

    FBI: Gang Membership Jumps 40 Percent in Five Years

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    The recent gang-related murder in Oklahoma is just one of the violent results.

    As the defendants of the recent murder of Chris Lane, an Australian student and baseball player, are awaiting trial this week, there is one vital piece of information the mainstream media seems to be willfully ignoring. Though there is some evidence indicating that both racism and boredom played a role in the violent killing, they ignored piece of information is that Lane was likely the victim of a brutal gang initiation ritual.

    According to Duncan resident James Johnson, the three youths accused in this case had been trying to recruit his 17-year-old son into a gang. When his son refused to join, he received a death threat via a Facebook page, which prompted Johnson to call the police. Police arrived in time to arrest the youths and save Johnson’s son; they later found ammunition for a .22-caliber revolver like the one they allege was used to kill Lane.

    Though the youths admitted to shooting Lane out of boredom, Johnson has since gone on record saying that he had known the three alleged killers all his life and is convinced that they killed Lane as part of a gang initiation rite. “I don’t think it was an initiation—I know it was an initiation; my son told me it was an initiation,” he told Fairfax Media.

    If Johnson is correct, the revelation could go a long way in providing a motive for the killing, and in highlighting a serious national problem. Gang violence has become one of the most serious curses currently afflicting the nation, accounting for almost half of the violent crime in America—and up to 90 percent of violent crime in certain districts.

    The fbi’s 2011 National Gang Threat Assessment reports that there are 1.4 million gang members comprising more than 33,000 gangs in the United States. These figures represent a 40 percent increase in members and a 65 percent increase in groups since 2009. While the fbi admits that some of this apparent upsurge can be attributed to more accurate reporting methods, it is undeniable that there has been a shocking increase in gang activity since the recession of 2008.

    Even though these 1.4 million active gang members still represent less than half of a percent of the American people, that half percent is responsible for 48 percent of the nation’s violent crime.

    Most of these gang-related crimes are perpetrated in America’s inner cities; 80 percent of all Chicago homicides are attributed to gangs. Sadly, such heartrending statistics will only get worse as America slides further down the path of economic decline and family breakdown.

    Numerous studies have shown that family breakdown is the surest predictor of poverty and crime. As one counselor at a juvenile detention facility in California told the Patriot Post, “If you find a gang member who comes from a complete nuclear family, I’d like to meet him. … I don’t think that kid exists.”

    According to the Patriot Post article, 85 percent of youths in prison come from fatherless homes. The same is true of 80 percent of rapists, 71 percent of high-school drop-outs, and 63 percent of teen suicides.

    James Johnson described the three youths—James Edwards, Michael Jones and Chancey Luna—as good boys gone off the rails. “They don’t have proper fathers in their lives,” he said. “You can’t be a friend to your son, you got to be the father. I feel very sorry for them, they have ruined their whole lives, but they did the crime, they have to do the time.”

    In the first chapter of Isaiah and the fifth chapter of Ezekiel, God, the master sociologist, foretold of a wave of violent crime that would beset the nations of end-time Israel if they rebelled against His laws concerning family. He even went so far as to predict that it would be “strangers” within the land of the Israelites who would burn the cities with fire if the people rebelled against Him.

    This prophecy is being fulfilled in the end-time Israelite nation of America. (Request Herbert W. Armstrong’s book The United States and Britain in Prophecy for proof of this biblical identity.) fbi statistics show that almost half of all the gang members in America are of Hispanic ethnicity, and over a third are of black ethnicity.

    These statistics do not denigrate Hispanics or black persons as races. Rather, they highlight the devastating effects that family breakdown has had on these two races in particular. Since the 1960s, a variety of factors—prominently including government immigration and welfare policies—have created a condition where 35 percent of Hispanic children and 63 percent of black children are living in homes with their biological fathers absent.

    It is this plague of fatherlessness that is prompting the children of American minorities to join gangs and perpetrate violent crime. God will judge the nation for implementing the anti-family policies that have brought this plague to fruition. Just as the ancient Greek and Roman empires fell in rioting and military defeat when they abandoned family values, so America will fall.

    For more information on the consequences of family breakdown in America, please read “Why Dick and Jane Join Gangs” and editor in chief Gerald Flurry’s booklet Ezekiel: The End-Time Prophet.