Land of the Free, Home of the 33,000 Violent Street Gangs

Land of the Free, Home of the 33,000 Violent Street Gangs

Robert Nickelsberg/Getty Images

America’s gang problem is growing. Where is it leading?
From the January 2017 Trumpet Print Edition

When 8-year-old Gabrielle Hill-Carter was shot and killed while she played by the street in front of her home in Camden, New Jersey, on August 24, there was some local mourning and outrage. But for the most part, America yawned.

After all, she wasn’t killed by a police officer or by an Islamic terrorist. Her death was “just” the result of gang violence: A member of a drug gang was trying to retaliate against a member of a rival gang, and, as Gabby rode her bicycle along the sidewalk, she happened to get caught in the crossfire. A stray bullet ended her life. It was nothing personal. Happens all the time.

The fbi says that altogether, the United States is now home to about 33,000 violent street gangs, with a presence in all 50 states. There are an estimated 1,350 gangs in Los Angeles alone. And there are at least two gangs in Springfield, Tennessee, where the total population is less than 17,000.

There are a total of 1.4 million criminally active gang members across the country. That means for every two sworn law enforcement officers in America, there are three gang members.

The number of violent gang members today is 40 percent higher than in 2009, and 25 times higher than in 1975. And the figure keeps growing each year.

“We don’t see a drop in the key gang magnitude indicators,” said James Howell of the National Gang Center last March. “In the past five years, we’ve seen an 8 percent increase in number of gangs, an 11 percent increase in members and a 23 percent increase in gang-related homicides.”

Of the 15,500 murders that happen in America each year, an average of 2,000 are gang-related. Though gang members make up less than half a percent of the population, they commit 16 percent of the total homicides and a quarter of homicides in cities of 100,000 or more people. Most victims are themselves gang members, but many, like Gabrielle, are bystanders caught in the crossfire.

Murders, however, are only part of the story. These groups use violence and coercion of all kinds to rule over neighborhoods and to carry out illegal economic operations, such as drug and weapons trafficking, alien smuggling, prostitution, identity theft, robbery, fraud and human trafficking. In many communities, gangs are responsible for a staggering 80 percent of total crime.

Multiplying and Morphing

In a report to Congress, the fbi said “gangs are morphing, multiplying, migrating and entrenching themselves in our inner cities, suburbs and rural communities. They are selling drugs to our kids, shooting up our neighborhoods, invading our homes, robbing our banks and stores, stealing our identities, our money, and instilling fear and violence everywhere they go.”

Part of the reason for the “multiplying” and “morphing” is that in recent years, traditional large gangs have splintered into several smaller ones.

For example, Chicago for decades was controlled by just a handful of large, powerful gangs. But in 1997, the leadership of the largest and most powerful, the Gangster Disciples, was arrested. Almost immediately, infighting and territorial battles erupted among the remaining members. These disputes have gotten more intense with each passing year. Now Chicago has more than 600 gangs, spawning the violence that gives the city the nickname Chiraq.

“They once were massive organizations with powerful leaders and hundreds of members who controlled large chunks of territory,” the Chicago Tribune wrote on July 1. “Now small cliques battle for control over a few blocks.”

This trend means rival gangs often operate just a few streets away from each other. This has multiplied the number of disputed borders, making the city a patchwork of battling territories. This has made life in parts of Chicago and elsewhere significantly more chaotic.

The trend has also led to an increase in gang activities outside of cities. “Gangs are not just an inner city or urban problem,” wrote the Stop Houston Gangs website. “Gang movement to suburban areas can be attributed to several factors including … an abundance of wholesale illicit drug suppliers and the expectation of high profits from new suburban drug operations.”

Expanding drug distribution territories due to America’s growing addictions are also contributing to the diffusion of gangs. The result is that many suburban and rural areas are suffering higher and higher rates of gang-related violence and crime.

Robert Vilchez, the coordinator for the Regional Gang Task Force in Arlington County, Texas, says, “Nobody is immune from this gang problem.”

What’s the Appeal of ‘Thug Life’?

A person’s decision to join a gang generally springs from social and economic factors. Gangs offer a sense of family and support that is often absent in the lives of young people, especially as the number of stable families in America continues to drop. The risk of imprisonment, violence or death that comes with gang life is the price that members are willing to pay for the sense of belonging and community. Staving off boredom is also often a factor.

The appeal of gangs is further multiplied by society’s glamorization of them.

The U.S.’s second most popular music genre is hip-hop. Its subgenres include narco-rap, mafioso rap, horrorcore, and gangsta rap. In many inner city communities, it would be unusual for a young person to listen to any music other than hip-hop. And in these songs, they hear endless boasts about drug use and dealing; clever rhymes about misogyny, promiscuity and even rape; and torrents of lyrics promoting violence toward rival gangs, police officers and others.

This music makes thug life seem sexy. It glamorizes gangsta culture.

And it’s not just a few songs from a few obscure hip-hop artists. A study led by Dr. Brian Primack from the University of Pittsburgh’s Department of Medicine found that of the 62 hip-hop songs that made it onto Billboard’s most popular hits for 2005, a staggering 77 percent discussed substance abuse, often in the context of wealth and sex. A 2001 analysis in the Journal of Criminal Justice and Popular Culture found that 22 percent of all hip-hop songs contain misogynistic themes, including depictions of assault, rape and murder. If you expand this to include all forms of violence, the figure jumps to 60 percent. In some subgenres, it is as high as 71 percent.

Over the last two decades, the most successful hip-hop stars have made hundreds of millions of dollars graphically extolling sexual assault and rape, drug culture, gun violence and subversion. “Ya’ll nervous knowin’ them guns on full service, ready to fire; One body, two body, three body, four; Young sittin’ on paper, I’m above the law,” Jay Z said on The Blueprint2, an album that sold more than 2 million copies.

In her book The Hip Hop Wars, Brown University professor of Africana Studies Tricia Rose says it is plain to see that such music perpetuates violence. “It is silly to claim that what we consume, witness and participate in has no impact on us as individuals,” she writes. “The depths of the commercial success associated with violent, gang and street culture as ‘authentic’ hip-hop has given violent black masculinity a seal of approval, thus encouraging these behaviors among the kids who are most at risk, and who ‘need’ to embrace this model if manhood is to survive. … We can’t constantly make violence sexy for young people … and expect them not to valorize violent action.”

Rose names those she believes are some of the most dangerous voices in the genre: “Far too many of the most financially successful lyricists in hip-hop—Jay Z, 50 Cent, T.I., and Lil’ Wayne among others—overemphasize and glorify violent tales and gang personas because these are profitable. … [T]here is too much getting rich from the exploitation of black suffering. … Where is all the media-supported outrage about this?”

That’s an important question. Why is gang culture and the music that promotes it off limits for criticism? Why do prominent politicians—most notably President Barack Obama—endorse the music of Jay Z and others who glorify thug life? Gang culture brings suffering and death to hundreds of times more people than police misconduct does. Why don’t people rally against that with the same kind of persistence and force?

‘Your Cities Are Burned’

On July 1, the Chicago Tribune said part of the reason for the rising rates of gang violence in the Windy City is that accusations of police unjustly killing black people has police officers “under the harshest light.” Many officers feel that “no one has their backs,” the president of the city’s police union said. This “has led many officers to feel unsure about stopping anyone,” the Tribune wrote.

Editor in chief Gerald Flurry looked at this trend in the August 2015 Trumpet. “Police are pulling back from doing their jobs for fear of attack, or losing their jobs or going to prison for doing anything that could be perceived as racist,” he wrote. “What happens when fearful police pull back? Criminals run amok!”

It becomes a self-perpetuating cycle in which criminals are emboldened by police timidity, and emboldened criminals causes police timidity.

The National Alliance of Gang Investigators’ Associations says that not only do America’s multiplying gangs “adversely impact the quality of life within our communities with violence, drugs and associated criminal activities,” but they also pose “a clear and present danger to our internal national security.”

At present, that last bit may seem hyperbolic. But as the health of U.S. families keeps deteriorating, more young people will seek the support of a gang. And as America’s demand for illegal drugs, prostitution and other outlawed trade keeps growing, the gangs supplying these illicit goods and services will become still more powerful. And if an economic siege is brought against America—which the Trumpet’s July 2016 issue explained is prophesied in your Bible to happen soon—it could result in a massive surge in gang membership and power.

A time is coming when the kind of violence that is now mostly localized in gangs will fill the streets of America’s cities and beyond. And its savagery will surpass anything currently on the scene.

In his book Ezekiel: The End-Time Prophet, Mr. Flurry points to several specific Bible prophecies to prove that, in the near future, the United States will suffer societal breakdown on an unprecedented and utterly devastating scale.

He points to a prophecy in the book of Isaiah of a terrible period just before Jesus Christ’s return in the “last days” (Isaiah 2:2). Referring mainly to the U.S., Isaiah 1:4-5 state: “Ah sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, a seed of evildoers, children that are corrupters: they have forsaken the Lord, they have provoked the Holy One of Israel unto anger, they are gone away backward. Why should ye be stricken any more? ye will revolt more and more: the whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint.”

The “whole head is sick” refers to the corrupt and intellectually diseased leadership of the U.S. The “whole heart faint” means the general population is in the same condition. “Neither the leaders nor their followers have the will or the strength to get to the roots of race riots or terrorist attacks and solve them once and for all,” Mr. Flurry writes. “Their ‘heart’ is so weak and unhealthy that the governmental system is about to ‘faint,’ or collapse!”

Verse 7 describes this future breakdown: “Your country is desolate, your cities are burned with fire: your land, strangers devour it in your presence, and it is desolate, as overthrown by strangers.”

This is a sobering description of what is building in America and what the future holds. Since the people of America are laden with sin, and since the leaders are “sick,” Mr. Flurry says, “we will experience desolation and burning.”

On the streets of America today, the lawlessness of gang culture is expanding, darkening and ruining more and more lives. As this lawlessness becomes ever more prevalent, it will contribute to wide-scale societal breakdown. As Mr. Flurry has said, this points to some terrifyingly dark times ahead.

But that darkness will not last long.

‘Boys and Girls Playing in the Streets’

The same Holy Bible that warns about these rapidly approaching dark times also says that just on the other side of those years will come the return of Jesus Christ. The Bible makes clear that, at His return, His radiant light will confound and obliterate the darkness of this world.

Jesus Christ will force everyone alive to relinquish tribalism and violence. He will usher in an age filled with the peace and safety that has always eluded mankind. He will bring about an era of stable, happy families. It will be a time of purpose, abundance and joy for all people. In that beautiful future, no child—like little Gabrielle Hill-Carter—will be found next to a bicycle on the sidewalk in a pool of blood.

God inspired the Prophet Zechariah to write a moving description of some aspects of that future world: “There shall yet old men and old women dwell in the streets of Jerusalem, and every man with his staff in his hand for very age. And the streets of the city shall be full of boys and girls playing in the streets thereof. Thus saith the Lord of hosts; If it be marvellous in the eyes of the remnant of this people in these days, should it also be marvellous in mine eyes? saith the Lord of hosts” (Zechariah 8:4-6).

What a beautiful picture! Cities will be “full of boys and girls” like Gabrielle “playing in the streets thereof.” They will play and be safe. They will learn and grow. And when they enter their teenage years, they won’t have to fear being sucked into the vortex of toxic gang culture. That evil will not exist.

God says this reality will “be marvelous” in His eyes. This vision can be real to us, and stirringly marvelous in our eyes, too.

Donald Trump, Nuclear Weapons and an Unstable World

Donald Trump, Nuclear Weapons and an Unstable World

iStock.com/Marilyn Haddrill

With Donald Trump as the president-elect, ‘nuclear weapons’ have become a hot topic.

As the dust settles on the United States presidential election, many are asking what the future holds for America and the world. So much of what Donald Trump said on the campaign trail was unorthodox and controversial, especially coming from a presidential candidate; it’s little wonder so many are concerned. Whether it’s defense, trade, climate or any other issue, Mr. Trump’s positions appear to be very different from the established norms.

One topic that has caused great concern is Mr. Trump’s view of nuclear weapons and their use. While campaigning, he made a number of comments that showed his willingness to use nuclear weapons, and to see other nations obtain them as well.

While his opponents in the presidential running and news media tried to use these comments to derail his campaign, he still emerged victorious, causing many to wonder if he really will do what he said he would

Using Nuclear Weapons

During his campaign, Mr. Trump surprised many by openly expressing his willingness to use nuclear weapons. This is a topic that the majority of past presidential candidates have avoided. The Los Angeles Times reported, “Not since Ronald Reagan’s reelection at the tail end of the Cold War have nuclear weapons played so big in a presidential race. Historians have to reach back even further, to decades before Reagan, to find a nominee who has talked about nuclear war as loosely as Trump does.”

This was one topic Mr. Trump did not shy away from. On multiple occasions, he stated his willingness to use these weapons if needed. In one instance, Mr. Trump told msnbc that the nuclear option would always be on the table. When asked if he would ever use nuclear weapons in the Middle East or Europe, he refused to say that he would never do that. He stated repeatedly that he liked to be “unpredictable” when it came to his policy on using nuclear weapons.

Comments like these caused many in the media to vilify Mr. Trump and label him as a warmonger. In repeated stump speeches, both Hillary Clinton and President Barack Obama asked whether Americans could trust a man of his temperament to command America’s nuclear arsenal. In spite of these attacks, Mr. Trump did clinch the presidency, and now many wonder if he will follow through on those statements.

Overall, Mr. Trump believes he needs to talk about using nuclear weapons to send a message to America’s enemies that he means business. In his eyes, America has lost most of its credibility on the world stage and has become a hollow power. In an interview with Bloomberg, Mr. Trump said, “The first thing you have to do, is get them to respect the West and respect us. And if they’re not going to respect us, it’s never going to work. … I’m never going to rule anything out—I wouldn’t want to say. Even if I wasn’t, I wouldn’t want to tell you that because at a minimum, I want them to think maybe we would use them.”

It is this kind of strong language that helped Mr. Trump captivate large portions of the American public who also believe that the U.S. has lost all respect and credibility in the world. After eight years of an administration that backed away from red lines and withdrew from the world scene, many Americans view Mr. Trump as the man who can make America great again.

While Mr. Trump’s willingness to use America’s nukes has troubled many, his comments regarding nuclear proliferation are what should be most troubling to the world. He may desire to make America great again, but will his policies really do that?

Spreading Nuclear Weapons

While on the campaign trail, Mr. Trump repeatedly expressed his belief that America could no longer afford to police the world. Despite commitments to defend smaller nations, Trump now feels that unless those nations start paying more for American security, America will have to renege on those commitments.

Here is where it gets troubling.

Mr. Trump has called on multiple nations that depend on American security to prepare to pay more. These include nations like Japan, South Korea, Germany and Saudi Arabia. These nations are all on high alert because American security has guaranteed relative stability in these regions. In spite of an ever aggressive and expansionist China, Southeast Asia has been relatively peaceful because of America’s presence. Europe has not seen a major conflict since World War ii because of nato and the restraining force it is to Russia. And while the Middle East has always been volatile, American power in the region has helped prevent greater conflicts.

Now all this could change.

If the United States were to disengage from any of these regions, it would upset the balance of power in all these regions. China could gobble up Southeast Asia; Russia could roll through Europe; and the Middle East could explode into worse violence.

While all of this is troubling news, Mr. Trump’s solution is far more concerning. Knowing that America’s allies would be unable to defend themselves, his solution is simplistic: Give them nukes.

During his campaign, Mr. Trump said he was unopposed to—and even supported—nations such as Japan and South Korea obtaining nuclear weapons. In a town hall meeting in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, earlier this year, Mr. Trump said, “You have so many countries already—China, Pakistan, … Russia— … right now that have [nuclear weapons]. Now, wouldn’t you rather, in a certain sense, have Japan have nuclear weapons when North Korea has nuclear weapons?”

In his mind, it’s inevitable that these nations will get nukes, so why not let them have access to the weapons now? He told cnn, “It’s going to happen, anyway. It’s only a question of time.” At this time, U.S. policy prevents Japan and South Korea from obtaining nuclear weapons, but Mr. Trump indicated that it might be time to change that. He stated that he would “rather see Japan having some form of defense, and maybe even offense against North Korea, because [America’s] not pulling the trigger.” Mr. Trump feels that not only should Japan have nuclear weapons as a deterrent, but even as an offensive weapon!

If he does implement this policy, it would kick off a nuclear arms race in some of the most volatile regions of the world. Already China and North Korea possess nuclear weapons. Arming Japan and South Korea would only add to the tensions that exist in the region. Some members of the South Korean parliament have already indicated that they will have little choice but to consider nuclear armament if U.S forces are removed.

The Middle East is already on the verge of a nuclear arms race. Following the Iran nuclear deal signed in January, Saudi Arabia began voicing its desire to start its own nuclear program. If Donald Trump gives it the green light, it would turn the world’s most volatile region into a nuclear powder keg. This would give Iran and Saudi Arabia, two nations bitterly hostile toward one another, nuclear weapons.

Already Europe is scrambling to unify as it faces diminished American support for nato. The nuclear umbrella, supplied largely by America, has been a strong deterrent to Russian expansion since nato’s founding. Now European lawmakers out of Germany are saying that Europe needs its own nuclear deterrence plan. Roderich Kiesewetter, foreign-policy spokesman for the conservative bloc in Germany’s parliament, said, “The U.S. nuclear shield and nuclear security guarantees are imperative for Europe. If the United States no longer wants to provide this guarantee, Europe still needs nuclear protection for deterrent purposes.” He believes that Germany could play an important role in convincing the nuclear powers in Europe (France and Britain) to provide security guarantees for all of Europe.

Kiesewetter does not believe that Germany should become a nuclear power itself to prevent nuclear proliferation throughout Europe. But will Germany be able to swing France and Britain to guarantee support? France may guarantee support; Britain, however, is on its way out of the European Union and has been strongly opposed to any kind of military unification with Europe. Whether Britain can pledge support remains to be seen. Germany may have no choice but to secure its own nuclear weapons.

This desire for a new European nuclear protection plan comes just weeks after Russia unveiled its largest nuclear bomb yet. Dubbed the “Satan 2” by Western security officials, the missile is powerful enough to destroy an area the size of Texas or France. The warhead, reportedly tested in April, is designed to be impossible to intercept.

Where This Is Leading

The number one problem facing the world is that of human survival. Nuclear weapons have proliferated throughout the world, and the spread will intensify. Since the world witnessed the horrific destructive power of nuclear weapons at the end of World War ii, the U.S. has taken up the mantle as nuclear watchdog for the world. American leaders recognize that these devastating weapons need to be controlled as much as possible—possessing these weapons greatly tips the balance of power. Mr. Trump seems indifferent to that critical fact.

But what is more troubling is whom Mr. Trump feels has a right to nuclear weapons. It was only 70 years ago that Germany and Japan were mortal enemies of the United States. Now he feels that they are trusted allies who would never turn on America. How can he be so certain?

America’s relationship with Saudi Arabia is already strained, yet Mr. Trump feels confident in allowing it to develop its own nuclear weapons. It was only in September that the United States Congress passed a law allowing family members of the victims of September 11 to sue Saudi Arabia for its involvement in the terrorist attacks. The Saudi government had warned America against doing this. Added to that, Saudi Arabia was strongly opposed to the U.S. nuclear deal with Iran, a deal President Obama pushed through regardless. Relations with Saudi Arabia are frosty at best, but Mr. Trump seems willing to let it have nuclear weapons. Can Saudi Arabia be trusted as a nuclear power?

Mr. Trump’s view of nuclear weapons reveals a dangerous naïveté to their destructive nature and the willingness of others to use them. This relegation of nuclear oversight carries mind-numbing consequences. In “The Unthinkable Will Happen!” from the February 2014 issue of the Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry wrote:

It has been over 68 years since an atomic bomb was detonated on a civilian population. Over 90 percent of people on Earth have lived their entire lives in a world where nuclear weapons are nothing more than an abstract threat. We don’t understand how real the risks of nuclear warfare are!Nuclear war is unthinkable to most people. But now even our leaders, who are supposed to be vigilant to such risks, are showing the same childish thinking. …When America dropped two atomic bombs on Japan in World War ii, over 100,000 people died from the blasts. Many thousands more suffered injuries and even death from the ghastly aftereffects.Some of today’s nuclear weapons are hundreds of times more destructive! The initial blasts will be far deadlier, and the aftermath will be much worse. Experts tell us that nuclear war will produce a nuclear winter. That means that nuclear explosions will blast dust into the atmosphere, producing toxic clouds that block sunlight for a prolonged period of time and even chill our very climate. Beneath, human beings, animals and plants will suffer from deadly radiation.

Mr. Trump’s comments portend some very disturbing events. Will his nuclear policies help make America great again? The Bible warns repeatedly that devastating events are about to come to America and Britain.

But, as Mr. Flurry and the Trumpet continue to point out, there is great hope in all this calamitous news. It is a very clear sign that Jesus Christ is about to return to this Earth and stop mankind from destroying itself. Only then will we see a world free of nuclear weapons—a world filled with happiness, joy and abundance for every human being.

What Is Human Nature? (2016)

Our world is on the edge of collapse—and the cause is human nature. Learn where human nature came from, how to conquer it, and the reward for doing so.

Week in Review: EU Moves on Military, Pax Germanica, China’s First Aircraft Carrier, and Much More

Week in Review: EU Moves on Military, Pax Germanica, China’s First Aircraft Carrier, and Much More

STR/AFP/GettyImages, Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images, JOHN THYS/AFP/Getty Images, Ty Wright/Getty Images

All you need to know about everything in the news this week

Get all the important news from November 12-18 by downloading the Trumpet Weekly.Click here to receive it by e-mail every week.

Highlights:

Concrete steps toward European military

  • European Union High Representative for Foreign and Security Policy Federica Mogherini said the EU was making steps toward turning Europe into a “superpower that believes in multilateralism and cooperation.”
  • She also said that the EU can only succeed if it works together “with the full potential of a superpower in the field of security and defense.”
  • In 1978, Herbert W. Armstrong wrote, “The Europeans are far more disturbed about their safety in relying on United States military power to protect them than Americans realize! … European confidence in U.S. protection against their next-door Communist neighbor has been lessening and lessening. Europeans want their own united military power! They know that a political union of Europe would produce a thirdmajorworldpower, as strong as either the U.S. or the ussr—possibly stronger!”
  • Our free booklet He Was Right explains more about Mr. Armstrong’s forecasts regarding a rising European superpower.
  • Germany: The new world leader

  • In the wake of Donald Trump’s election, Germany is being asked to step up to replace America as the leader of the world.
  • “The phrase ‘leader of the free world’ is usually applied to the president of the United States, and rarely without irony,” wrote British historian Timothy Garton Ash on November 12. “I’m tempted to say that the leader of the free world is now Angela Merkel.”
  • Ash is one of many observers increasingly discussing “the dawn of Pax Germanica.”
  • China’s pursuit for overseas military bases

  • “China is likely to continue to seek opportunities to secure military facilities abroad, such as the one it has begun constructing in Djibouti, to facilitate a range of operations,” reported the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review.
  • The report said Beijing’s expansionist behavior is expected to increase in the years ahead.
  • Other related reports have said that the Chinese military’s first aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, is now prepared for combat, marking advancement from its previously stated status as a vessel for training and testing.
  • Israel’s fleeting friendships

  • The Jewish state of Israel is enjoying improved relations with Egypt, Turkey and other nations. “But most of its new friendships are based on assessments of common interest—and such assessments can change overnight,” warned Robert Satloff, the executive director of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.
  • “[G]iven the speed of seismic strategic shifts in both the Middle East and broader global politics in recent years, it is foolhardy for any government—especially Israel’s—to bank on the idea that “the way things are” are the way things are going to be. In its immediate neighborhood, Israel’s good fortune rests on a strengthened partnership with an increasingly authoritarian Egypt; a convergence of interests with the Sunni states of the Gulf; and an energy-based condominium with Turkey.”
  • Other news:

  • The Saudi-led coalition is waging a war against Houthi rebels and against Houthi implements of war. Since November 12, it has destroyed two boats carrying weapons for Houthi rebels, intercepted a ballistic missile headed for Saudi Arabia, and intercepted two more boats loaded with weapons and communications equipment from Iran.
  • Many evangelical Christian denominations are embracing same-sex unions, in spite of what the Bible has to say on the topic. The Republican President-elect Donald Trump affirmed that he was fine with same-sex “marriages” during a 60 Minutes interview.
  • Get more details on these stories and more by subscribing to the Trumpet Weekly!

    Superpower Europe? Where Have We Heard This Before?

    Superpower Europe? Where Have We Heard This Before?

    JOHN THYS/AFP/Getty Images

    Listen to the Trumpet Daily radio program that aired on November 18, 2016.

    Spurred by the Brexit vote and the election of Donald Trump as United States president, European leaders are racing to create a united European army. German-Foreign-Policy.com delivered an e-mail alert this week titled “Superpower Europe.” Herbert W. Armstrong sent that warning out eight decades ago! How could he have known? For more, listen to today’s Trumpet Daily Radio Show.

    Listen to or download Trumpet Daily Radio Show on:

    http://app.stitcher.com/browse/feed/68064/details

    https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/trumpet-daily-radio-show/id1003885427

    http://kpcg.fm/shows/trumpet-daily-radio-show

    ‘The Shaping of the World Is Part of the Christian Mission’

    ‘The Shaping of the World Is Part of the Christian Mission’

    VINCENZO PINTO/AFP/Getty Images

    German bishops remind politicians of their Christian obligation.

    Bavarian Finance Minister Markus Söder from the Christian Social Union (csu) is upset about the political power that the churches in Germany are usurping. Last week, he told German newspaper Die Zeit, “Mercy pertains to the dna of Christianity. But the state needs to ensure comprehensible justice. … The state should take care of its affairs and the church of theirs” (Trumpet translation throughout.)

    Although Söder is a rather small voice in the political arena, his remarks show how much influence the churches in Germany are gaining.

    Though most politicians in Germany are religious, they generally do not seek advice from religion. Nevertheless, the bishops give their input—asked or not. Chairman of the German Bishops Conference Reinhard Marx has attempted to explain to Söder why the state needs the church.

    In late September, Marx reminded Söder and other Christian Democratic Union and csu politicians of the meaning of the “C” in their names—the “C” stands for Christian. But what it means cannot be determined by politics or bishops, Marx said, but rather by their obligation to the gospel and Jesus Christ. Consequently, politics need the guidance of religion to fulfill that obligation. Otherwise, in Marx’s view, political parties don’t deserve to carry that name.

    Unsurprisingly, Marx vehemently disagreed with Söder’s statements about the separation between church and state affairs. Mercy and justice must go hand in glove, he said. Marx admits that bishops are not politicians, but insists that “the shaping of the world is part of the Christian mission.” Christianity can’t fulfill this mission without help from the state, and the state can’t do it without the church. As long as the people identify with their religion, and politicians with their people, church and state can’t be separated.

    It is not the first time that a Bavarian cleric has attempted to return Germany to its Christian roots. During the reign of Bavarian Pope Victor ii (1055–1057), the church, for the first time, stood up against the emperors who had departed from their Catholic roots. This gave the Vatican a renewed, stronger political influence in the empire.

    Marx is a bold cardinal who has the backing of both Pope Francis and Pope Emeritus Benedict xvi. He is seen as one of the most influential bishops in the Catholic Church and seeks to establish Christianity as the foundation of the whole world. In a speech given this June, Marx admitted that there have been historical time periods “when the Christian faith wasn’t on the right side,” but “in the future we want to be there in the development of a society which is based on values and responsible freedoms” that are based on the church’s teaching.

    To understand what is ahead for Europe and the Catholic Church, read Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry’s article “The Spirit of Charlemagne Is Alive in Europe.