The Trouble With Immigration

The Trouble With Immigration

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Foreigners can bring more than just their luggage.
From the December 2005 Trumpet Print Edition

Over 1.2 million legal and illegal immigrants settle on American soil each year. Since 1990, the number of aliens living in the United States has mushroomed 43 percent; the Latino population alone doubled between 1980 and 2000, constituting 40 percent of all U.S. growth. Today, 1 in 10 people in America is a foreigner.

The immigration explosion is not exclusive to the U.S. Fully 40 percent of today’s Canadians were either born abroad or are the children of Canadians born elsewhere. By 2011, immigrants are projected to account for all net population growth in Canada.

Over the next 25 years, 84 percent of the United Kingdom’s population growth is expected to come from immigration.

As for illegal immigration, national borders are more porous than ever. In Canada, “gaps in Canada’s border security are so severe that an airport accepts international passengers without on-site immigration checks, a marine border unit has no boat, a computer glitch systematically hides information about terrorists, and officers at 62 border crossings are unable to link to a computer to screen incoming travelers” (National Post, April 11).

In the crowded UK, where the population is roughly 60 million, an estimated 500,000 workers are thought to be illegal. If spouses, dependents and those not working are added, the “illegal” population is close to 1 million and climbing.

Governments are polarized over the issue. In America, some yearn to liberalize immigration laws. Others assert that uncontrolled immigration has burgeoned into a huge disaster that is rapidly getting worse.

The debate in England over immigration and multiculturalism has taken on extra meaning since London’s terrorist bombings in July. In a few states in the U.S., illegal immigration has become so prevalent and its negative effects so dire that the state government has declared certain counties to be in a “state of emergency”—a protocol generally used in the wake of hurricanes, floods, mass riots or other catastrophes.

In this globalized world, immigration has become a global quandary.

This issue is a two-edged sword. What was once seen as a blessing to many nations has become a terrible curse with seemingly unsolvable repercussions. Too few understand the crux of this complex problem.

Two areas affected by immigration cause particular concern: the economy and crime.

Economic Impact

The hard work and perseverance of America’s early immigrants did much to help the U.S. become the richest and most powerful nation in the world. By 1869, in no small part thanks to the industrious nature of its immigrant population, America had attained the highest per-capita income in the world. That phenomenal wealth, together with a burgeoning population, created the world’s first consumer-driven economy.

But economic tragedy struck. The stock market crash of 1929 gutted the American economy and thrust the nation into unprecedented hardship. It was in the midst of this economic depression that American politicians laid the foundation for a welfare state. From this time forward, the American government became the crutch on which needy citizens could lean.

Concurrent with the rising popularity of the federal welfare programs was the burgeoning of immigration. Immigrants began streaming into America, where many of the poorest and least educated were no longer required to subscribe to the traditional American work ethic and instead could rely on the federal government to take care of them. Similar problems occurred in Britain, Canada, New Zealand and Australia.

This trend continues today, and the economic impact of immigrants on the federal government is phenomenal. Immigration analyst Norman Matloff stated, “The reason for this increased reliance on welfare is that for many immigrant groups, welfare in recent years has lost its stigma and has instead become a magnet, drawing them to the United States. As one Chinese senior in Oakland puts it, a common point of view is mh hou sit dai, Cantonese for ‘Don’t miss this great opportunity’” (Sacramento Bee, Dec. 14, 1994). Matloff cited census data showing that, for example, 55 percent of the Chinese seniors who immigrated to California from 1980 to 1987 were on welfare by 1990.

In the era of Big Government, burdening the middle class and the rich with heavy taxes and giving handouts to an increasing number of poor dependents is heightening the ethnic strife and racial stereotypes. In this respect, even legal immigrants are placing an increasing burden on the U.S. economy. When we factor in the economic cost of illegal immigrants, the picture grows increasingly dire. Illegal and legal immigration is costing America billions.

The Center for Immigration Studies (cis) estimated the total impact of illegal immigration on the federal budget: “[W]hen all taxes paid (direct and indirect) and all costs are considered, illegal households created a net fiscal deficit at the federal level of more than $10 billion in 2002. We also estimate that, if there was an amnesty for illegal aliens, the net fiscal deficit would grow to nearly $29 billion” (“The High Cost of Cheap Labor,” August 2004).

No state has been more impacted financially by both illegal and legal immigration than California. “Analysis of the latest census data indicates that California’s illegal immigrant population is costing the state’s taxpayers more than $10.5 billion per year for education, medical care and incarceration. Even if the estimated tax contributions of illegal immigrant workers are subtracted, net outlays still amount to nearly $9 billion per year. The annual fiscal burden from those three areas of state expenditures amounts to about $1,183 per household headed by a native-born resident” (Federation for American Immigration Reform, “The Costs of Illegal Immigration to Californians,” November 2004).

The economic costs associated with immigration are hitting the UK as well. The influx of immigrants has profoundly cost the government. The budget of the Immigration and Nationality Department of the Home Office in the fiscal year of 1998-1999 was 300 million pounds; by 2003-2004 that amount had risen to 1.9 billion pounds—a jaw-dropping increase of 633 percent.

Many of these immigrants are asylum seekers. More people apply for asylum in Britain than in any other EU country. Why? Because it’s easier to enter, remain and claim asylum status there compared to other EU countries like Germany or France. Anyone can claim asylum upon arriving in the UK and cannot be expelled until his claim is rejected and he has exhausted any right of appeal. “Meanwhile, the claimant is entitled to free accommodation, emergency health care, children’s education, a cash allowance and free legal aid” (www.migrationwatch.org, February 2005).

Families that are denied asylum “continue to receive benefits worth an average of 15,000 pounds a year tax-free” (ibid., January 2004). Britain’s shadow immigration minister admitted to the presence of over 250,000 failed asylum seekers in the UK (Express, May 18).

An added economic consequence of immigration is the bleeding of cash from host countries. Upon locating work in their host nation, many immigrants (legal or illegal) send a portion of their paychecks back home to their families. In the U.S., for example, Mexicans will send home $20 billion this year alone, according to projections by Mexico’s Central Bank. This flood of cash will probably be the largest source of foreign exchange in Mexico. The cash from Mexicans working in the U.S. is a driving force behind Mexico’s economy: It amounts to the equivalent of 2 percent of its gross domestic product. No wonder the Mexican government has done little to curb the flow of illegal immigrants into the U.S. and, in many documented cases, has actually condoned their illegal entry.

In 2004, India received $17.5 billion in the same manner. China, Pakistan and the Philippines also receive substantial wads in remittance. For these nations, illegal immigration is paying off quite nicely.

Crime

Heather Mac Donald, in an article titled “The Illegal Alien Crime Wave,” wrote, “Some of the most violent criminals at large today are illegal aliens. Yet in cities where the crime committed by aliens is highest, the police cannot use the most obvious tool to apprehend them: their immigration status” (City Journal, Winter 2004; emphasis ours throughout). Mac Donald highlighted Los Angeles as an example: The city is home to numerous gangs, many of which are comprised of illegal immigrants from around the world—particularly Asia, Latin America and South America. Alone and often without money or a place to live, illegal immigrants in big cities are prone to joining gangs in order to acquire food and shelter. Feeling secure among people of his own race or status (illegal), the new immigrant oftentimes embraces the gang as a surrogate family, and crime becomes his new occupation.

Mac Donald highlighted the following examples:

  • In Los Angeles, 95 percent of all outstanding warrants for homicide (which total 1,200 to 1,500) target illegal aliens. Up to two thirds of all fugitive felony warrants (17,000) are for illegal aliens.
  • A California Department of Justice study reported in 1995 that 60 percent of the 20,000-strong 18th Street Gang in Southern California was illegal; police officers said the proportion was actually much greater. The bloody gang collaborated with the Mexican Mafia—the dominant force in California prisons—on complex drug-distribution schemes, extortion and drive-by assassinations, and committed an assault or robbery every day in L.A. County. The gang had grown dramatically over the previous two decades by recruiting recently arrived youngsters, most of them illegal, from Central America and Mexico.
  • The leadership of the Columbia Lil’ Cycos gang, which uses murder and racketeering to control the drug market around L.A.’s MacArthur Park, was about 60 percent illegal in 2002. A Mexican Mafia member and an illegal alien controlled the gang from prison while serving time for felonious reentry following deportation.
  • Referring to another L.A. gang, Mac Donald stated, “[D]ozens of members of a ruthless Salvadoran prison gang have [sneaked] back into town after having been deported for such crimes as murder, assault with a deadly weapon and drug trafficking. Police officers know who they are and know that their mere presence in the country is a felony. Yet should a cop arrest an illegal for felonious reentry, it is he who will be treated as a criminal for violating the lapd’s [Los Angeles Police Department’s] rule against enforcing immigration law.

    “The lapd’s ban on immigration enforcement mirrors bans in immigrant-saturated cities around the country, from New York and Chicago to San Diego, Austin and Houston. These ‘sanctuary policies’ generally prohibit city employees, including the cops, from reporting immigration violations to federal authorities.”

    Making matters worse than the fact that illegal immigration contributes to high crime rates in many of America’s larger cities is the reality that many of the illegal immigrants committing the crimes are protected by misguided policies set up by city and state governments.

    “[Sanctuary] laws testify to the sheer political power of immigrant lobbies, a power so irresistible that police officials shrink from even mentioning the illegal alien crime wave. ‘We can’t even talk about it,’ says a frustrated lapd captain. ‘People are afraid of a backlash from Hispanics.’ Another lapd commander in a predominantly Hispanic, gang-infested district sighs: ‘I would get a firestorm of criticism if I talked about [enforcing the immigration law against illegals].’ Neither captain would speak for attribution” (ibid.).

    James R. Edwards, an author who specializes in immigration, stated, “The impact [of illegal immigration] is seen particularly in crime: Record-high auto thefts in Arizona, drug trafficking in Salt Lake City, human smuggling rings in Los Angeles, D.C. sniper Lee Malvo, money laundering, prostitution, gang murders, and even slavery” (The Claremont Institute, Nov. 22, 2004). The evidence proves that illegal immigrants are a driving force behind high crime rates in many American cities, particularly those close to the southern border.

    Reflecting the impact illegal immigrants are having on America’s crime statistics is the impact they are having on the U.S. prison system. America’s prisons are chock-full of illegal immigrants. The facts and figures are stunning.

    “In 2002, nearly 29 percent, or 39,000 inmates, in the federal prison system were non-citizens. Based on prior research, we estimated that 59 percent of this total are illegal aliens. This translates into 17 percent of the federal prison population, and thus 17 percent of the $4.1 billion prison budget can be attributed to illegal alien households” (cis, op. cit.). The fact that 17 percent of America’s prisoners are illegal immigrants demonstrates the vast extent of their involvement in crime and criminal activities.

    In Britain, illegal immigrants similarly contribute to crime. The large numbers of illegal immigrants seeking to work in the UK give rise to organized criminals who recruit and supply cheap labor for agricultural, catering, construction, food processing and manufacturing job markets. The majority of illegal immigrants entering the UK would not be able to do so without forged or stolen travel documents, transportation access, fraudulent sponsorship and other benefits provided by these crooks.

    “Serious and organized criminals involved in both smuggling and trafficking make extensive use of bribery and corruption to support their activities. They exploit border guards, police and customs officers, and a range of political and official contacts in order to operate unhindered. They also collude with professionals who can assist them, including those in the legal profession” (National Criminal Intelligence Service report, 2003). Some illegal immigrants work for months or years to pay off the fee that these criminals charge.

    Evidence also shows that illegal immigrants are used by organized criminals in drug trafficking, vehicle theft and even aggressive begging and pick-pocketing (especially in bigger cities like London) in order to obtain credit cards that can be used for further criminal activity.

    Some believe immigration restrictions would not help solve crime problems and that the focus rather needs to be on dealing with the crime itself. They argue that crime is an inherent part of any society. While this argument has some validity because it recognizes that crime will exist as long as human nature remains unchanged, it is flawed.

    Consider the gang situation in California. If every illegal immigrant was deported out of California and if illegals were prevented from coming in and joining gangs, would gang-related criminal activity stop? No. But would it drop? Yes—and probably quite dramatically.

    While prevention of illegal immigration wouldn’t cure our crime problems, it would definitely reduce the number of crimes occurring in many of our larger cities, particularly those closer to our borders.

    Because our enforcement agencies are handcuffed by lack of resources, as well as bureaucracy and political correctness, criminal activity conducted by illegal immigrants will only grow worse. Our cities will increasingly be robbed of peace and safety.

    Terrorists in Our Midst

    The economic and criminal impact of poorly managed immigration is hijacking the economies and largely peaceful societies of the U.S., Australia, Britain and Canada. Uncontrolled immigration, however, presents an even more sobering threat.

    “After decades of attempting to dam the flow of Mexican immigrants crossing into the United States illegally, federal agents say a new crisis is emerging along the southern border, and they are helpless to stop it. Non-Mexicans are spilling over the border in record numbers—some from countries with terrorist ties—and most are set free soon after being captured” (Christian Science Monitor, July 26). America’s porous borders have become an attractive option for terrorists seeking entry into the nation.

    “Already this year the number of non-Mexican apprehensions has far outpaced last year’s total in just eight months” (ibid.). Illegal immigrants from nations other than Mexico are flooding into America at an unprecedented rate.

    “Other than Mexicans” (otms) must be returned to their country of origin. Officials cannot just send them back across the southern border, as they do most Mexicans. U.S. law dictates that they be detained in the U.S. pending a deportation hearing. “The problem is, immigration detention centers are packed, so most otms are given a court summons and told to return in three months. A full 85 percent don’t” (ibid.).

    According to the U.S. Border Patrol, 465,000 otms have exploited this “catch and release” program and settled illegally in the United States. The Christian Science Monitor quoted T.J. Bonner, president of the National Border Patrol Council: “It’s an insane policy which encourages otms to come into the country illegally, and we shouldn’t be shocked that they are coming in record numbers.” While most otms come from Central and South America, more than 600 of them entered the U.S. in 2004 from “countries of concern”—countries that support terrorists.

    There is no mistaking the fact that weak immigration policies and practices are contributing to the economic and societal destruction of America, Britain and Canada. Combine these facts with the probability that terrorists are penetrating our porous borders and setting up camp, and we should easily recognize the severity of the immigration issue. This is a serious problem. National security is on the line.

    The solution lies beyond politics. The curses immigration has thrust upon the Western world were prophesied in the Bible. The reasons behind the failure of our immigration practices are spiritual.

    In our book The United States and Britain in Prophecy (free to Trumpet readers upon request), we explain that the nations of America, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the UK comprise the peoples of biblical Israel. This is important to understand, because the Bible has specific prophecies concerning these nations. One of those prophecies discusses the problem that these nations would have with immigration.

    God gave a dire warning to the Israelite peoples concerning immigrants from other cultures (the Bible uses the word strangers). He said that if the children of Israel were to rebel against His laws—to turn away from His commandments and embrace the practices of the heathen—they would suffer terribly (Deuteronomy 28:15-19). The curses included this prophecy: “The stranger that is within thee shall get up above thee very high; and thou shalt come down very low. He shall lend to thee, and thou shalt not lend to him: he shall be the head, and thou shalt be the tail. Moreover all these curses shall come upon thee, and shall pursue thee, and overtake thee, till thou be destroyed; because thou hearkenedst not unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to keep his commandments and his statutes which he commanded thee: And they shall be upon thee for a sign and for a wonder, and upon thy seed for ever” (verses 43-46).

    The imminent fulfillment of the stranger rising up in great numbers and overwhelming the Israelitish people is a sign of God’s curses being poured out on these nations. Lax immigration policies and weak borders are playing an instrumental role in the fulfillment of Bible prophecy. God is cursing the nations of biblical Israel for their failure to hold fast to His laws. God is humbling us—imploring us to turn to Him.

    Unless the people of Israel repent, “strangers” will continue to pour through their ports of entry and get above them until they lose the inheritance afforded them by Almighty God. It is prophetic fulfillment. It is happening even as you read this magazine.

    Urban Anarchy

    New Orleans’ speedy descent from chaos into barbarism is a gut-check warning for all of us.
    From the November 2005 Trumpet Print Edition

    Two days. That is all it took to loosen a city’s apparently tenuous grip on civility. Two days to create a nightmare of lawlessness.

    When Hurricane Katrina veered slightly east just before making landfall, New Orleans natives sighed with relief, believing they had avoided the worst. But then the levees broke and the floods came. Residents who hadn’t evacuated were stranded without electricity, without transportation, without communication, and enclosed by rising toxic waters.

    Law enforcement officials turned their attention to search and rescue.

    Criminals seized the moment.

    First came looting. People smashed their way into evacuated shops and took what they would—not just water and food, but jewelry, small appliances, tvs, computers. They brazenly roamed the streets hauling boxes, trash bags and shopping carts packed with stolen goods. They ransacked casinos, cracking slot machines for change. Most alarmingly, they emptied weapons dealers and pawn shops—even Wal-Marts—of all knives and guns.

    Within two days, the city was besieged by thugs and gangs. Arsonists arbitrarily set buildings ablaze.

    Many who came to rescue the sick, deliver supplies or restore order found themselves becoming targets: Snipers fired at military helicopters; one shot a policeman in the head; crooks assaulted trucks trying to reach survivors with provisions. The chaos was so violent that beleaguered national guardsmen were given shoot-to-kill orders—against ungovernable American citizens.

    Thousands who had sought refuge in the Louisiana Superdome were subjected to trials worse than impersonal gale-force winds. With a handful of police officers and national guardsmen deployed to supervise a horde of 30,000 trapped in increasingly unbearable conditions, anarchy broke loose. Fights erupted with flying fists, blades and firearms. Some sick few saw the mess as an opportunity to beat their fellowman, even to rape and murder.

    Each passing hour aggravated the problems. Talk intensified about the sluggishness of government intervention. Emotions flared over the fact that the people most affected were poor blacks; some people began accusing authorities of racism (in the worst-hit neighborhoods, some residents were convinced the government had dynamited the levees to divert floodwaters from “rich” areas to “poor” areas). A hostile mob beat back a crew of 88 policemen that tried to calm them. Some police decided the hassle wasn’t worth it—officers joined in the looting; two committed suicide; some turned in their badges (a week after the storm, close to one third of the 1,600-member nopd force remained unaccounted for).A tourist who asked one policeman for help was told, “Go to h—-, it’s every man for himself.” Such incidents only exacerbated the explosive climate of bitterness, mistrust and anger against all authority.

    With the rest of the country and the world watching the unfolding tragedy via the news media, it was clear that Katrina damaged more than just the levees of Pontchartrain and the city canals—it also smashed through the levees of decency and morality.

    The worst calamity was not caused by the cruelty of a tempest—but by the harshness of human hearts.

    Catastrophes like Katrina always produce stirring acts of heroism. But they also lure the worst elements of human nature from the shadows and expose the ugly underbelly of our culture.

    Look squarely at what was uncovered when the floodwaters swept away the top layer of social order within a major American city. The appalling lack of character, the moral depravity on parade there—if only by a criminal fringe—is not an isolated case. It is a symptom.

    A Glimpse

    It challenges our thinking to conceive that such a state of affairs could occur within our electronic, high-tech world. So it comes as a much greater shock when it actually does occur.

    Herein lies the problem.

    Few of our political leaders, let alone their constituents, consider the prospect of such catastrophes occurring—not just as one-off events, but as regular phenomena. Yet records show undeniably that natural disasters have accelerated dramatically over the past 15 years.

    We must add to this trend the fact that terrorism is common to life in the 21st century. Even if our leaders and the public wake up to, recognize and begin preparing for an intensifying storm of weather disasters, the scenarios that any escalation in terrorist attacks on Western societies conjure up are too much for most to even begin thinking seriously about.

    Yet think seriously we must. Now is the time to do so: while the heart-rending images and thoughts remain fresh in our minds of a celebrated American city brought to its knees.

    Reflect on what happened there—and on what it tells us about ourselves.

    New Orleans gave the world a hint of what wickedness Americans can descend to when plunged into great tribulation.

    These are dangerous times. Realistically, city-destroying problems are only going to multiply.

    Those evils will soon play out in other cities. Bible prophecy foretells it. We must brace ourselves.

    Ripe for Disaster

    America is the most affluent nation in world history. Though its consumers comprise 4.5 percent of the world’s populace, they account for 20 percent of global gross domestic product.

    Today, the average American home is over 2,300 square feet (compared to 983 square feet in 1950). The U.S. has twice as many shopping centers as it has high schools. It has more registered cars than licensed drivers, and despite high gas prices, the cars are huge: an average of two tons—25 percent bigger than a generation ago. America’s energy needs—per person—are almost double those of Great Britain.

    Of course, much of that material prosperity is borrowed. In addition to mortgages and other loans, the average American family owes $8,400 in credit card debt. So glutted on opulence is the American public that, even as quickly as our wealth has increased, it simply has not kept pace with our rising general standard of living!

    Americans seem increasingly unable to distinguish luxuries from necessities. We are virtually all, to one degree or another, accustomed to affluence, softened by push-button technology, reliant on the infrastructure of commerce, dependent on openhanded government.

    Though not prosperous by American standards, the poor that filled the bowels of New Orleans—as in all our major cities—still embody a culture of dependency and welfare. (Many considered themselves absolutely incapable of vacating the city without the government plucking them up and moving them.) Leaving aside the fact that America’s poor—including its 2-million-strong prison population—are generally wealthier than much of the world’s middle class, the reality is that they are largely habituated to the dole, like children still on the breast.

    This is not a race issue. It is, in many ways, a general American cultural issue.

    What if the affluence ended?

    What if the government checks stopped coming? Or if they became worthless?

    What if the convenient food ran out—if Americans by the millions faced boarded-up fast food joints and grocery stores with empty shelves?

    What would happen if gasoline first became too expensive to afford—and then too scarce to find?

    How much patience would Americans exhibit? For how long would they peacefully suffer such conditions? How well would they work together under the rule of law?

    Likely, the vast majority would bear up relatively well. But what about the rest? And how long before the criminals emerged?

    Fire in the City

    A peculiar prophecy in the book of Ezekiel is worthy of study. God instructed the Prophet Ezekiel to shave off his hair and divide it into equal thirds. The first third he was to burn with fire; the second, he was to strike with a sword; the third, he was to scatter in the wind. This curious ceremony was intended to illustrate the future downfall of America and the modern nations of Israel (for proof of America’s identity as part of biblical Israel, read our free book The United States and Britain in Prophecy).

    America’s destruction will happen in three parts. The first third of the population will be burned “with fire in the midst of the city, when the days of the siege are fulfilled” (Ezekiel 5:1-2). The siege is referring to an economic battering by foreign nations (see Deuteronomy 28:52). As America’s economy suffers, unemployment will become epidemic, bringing with it a host of other social ills.

    In this climate of increasing want and desperation—as in New Orleans—the layers of social order will begin to erode, particularly “in the midst of the city.” Inner-city criminality will begin to spread—not merely within a single city, but from city to city.

    Ezekiel provides more detail about this future drama: “A third part of thee shall die with the pestilence, and with famine shall they be consumed in the midst of thee” (Ezekiel 5:12). Notice that pestilence is mentioned first—it is actually the principal cause of the famine. Pestilence simply means destruction or death; one definition of the root word is “to lay snares, to plot against, to destroy.” It doesn’t necessarily mean a physical disease; it could refer to a plague of violence and burning—terrorist attacks, race riots, any kind of violent bloodshed in the cities.

    The fulfillment of this terrifying prophecy began on Sept. 11, 2001, when 3,000 people were murdered by terrorists on U.S. soil. We witnessed its second massive blow in a flooded Louisianan city.

    It will end when a mind-numbing 100 million American souls have been snuffed out by violence in the cities.

    Plus 20 million Britons. Plus 11 million Canadians. Plus 7 million Australians.

    Why will God allow this? Because of the people’s disobedience to Him (verses 5-7; “Jerusalem” is a type of all the nations of Israel, including America). The curses of weak character and poor government, exacerbated by terrorism and other violence, will precipitate America’s downfall because, God says, “Behold, I, even I, am against thee, and will execute judgments in the midst of thee in the sight of the nations” (verse 8).

    “Behold I, even I, am against thee.” This statement should strike terror in our hearts. God puts special emphasis on the statement: “Behold I, even I, am against thee.” Concentrate deeply on that: Godis against the nations of Israel. They are not up against mere foreign armies; Israel has made the omnipotent God into an enemy! There is no defeating Him! Israel will lose in a spectacular way, because God is bringing it down.

    The New Orleans violence is just a type of what will happen to major cities across the nation. It is a stark prophecy of our future!

    The spark igniting the violence could be so-called natural disasters or human terror. We have witnessed the results of each over the past five years. The terror of 9/11 was concentrated on two cities, New York and Washington. Katrina’s wrath was reserved largely for one city, New Orleans. Can we even begin to imagine such occurrences happening either at the same time, or in rapid succession, to a multiplicity of heavily populated American cities?

    Terrorist attacks, rioting and burning are the main thrust of the pestilence mentioned in Ezekiel 5. And this violence will spread to other Israelite nations—unless people repent!

    God will get our attention one way or another.

    One Scenario

    Try to envision it.

    Multiply the compounding effects of one disaster in one major metropolis by two, four, six or ten.

    At a moment in the near future, the U.S. economy is in a slump. The dollar is shedding its value. Factories are shutting down. The number of homeless and hopeless grows in the cities. Shipping grinds to a halt as companies close and energy prices climb.

    The inner-city poor are hit hardest. Charity efforts are unable to meet demands. Lines form at grocery stores for dwindling supplies of food at rising prices. Some, desperate for sustenance, resort to crime.

    Racial tensions and resentment against the government escalate. Police officers are trapped between restoring order and being indicted for discrimination. As more people are victimized, both by economic depression and rising crime, emotions boil over.

    The evils of human nature begin to emerge in force. Riots and looting break out in a handful of cities.

    And then, within this edgy atmosphere, a crude nuclear bomb is set off in New York or Chicago.

    Unlike Hurricane Katrina, this attack provides no opportunity for a mandatory evacuation. Eighteen thousand people are instantly vaporized. Power is out; the sanitation system has been disabled; there is no water; electronic communication from the area dies; information is blacked out; interstates clog with city-dwellers desperate to escape and suffering the first symptoms of radiation sickness.

    Emergency units from neighboring states rush in to tend to the untold tens, perhaps hundreds, of thousands who are slowly dying from radiation exposure, straining state and federal crisis management resources to their limits within days. Vast mobs of refugees migrate to neighboring cities.

    The ripple effects of the strike further paralyze the country’s already-crippled economy and overtaxed police force. Effects are felt nationwide. Reports emerge of people starving to death in what until recently was the most prosperous nation on Earth.

    As disorder mushrooms, government intervention buckles. Urban predators go on the offensive. Gangs take over. Pillaging and rioting increase. Buildings burn in the night. The worse the violence and burning become, the worse the famine gets. The worse the famine becomes, the more intensive the violence gets.

    In the midst of the chaos, reports emerge of a spreading sickness. Unsanitary conditions in the city have facilitated an aggressive outbreak of cholera and a particularly deadly influenza virus. People begin dying in dozens, then hundreds. Then, the diseases begin popping up in neighboring cities—spread there by the refugees. A massive quarantine effort is needed, but with local law enforcement at its breaking point and the military already maxed out, only so much can be done. The plague spreads, and with it the crime.

    This is only one of a thousand possible scenarios we may soon witness. Independent analysts and federal officials are imagining such eventualities based on observable evidence in order to plan their responses and to mitigate the devastation. But their imaginations simply cannot conceive what actually awaits.

    What these individuals don’t realize is that—barring national repentance—these disasters are prophesied to claim the lives of one third of the people within our borders. God’s prophecy will stand. “The sword is without, and the pestilence and the famine within: he that is in the field shall die with the sword; and he that is in the city, famine and pestilence shall devour him” (Ezekiel 7:15). The pestilence—the plague of rioting, terrorist violence and burning—will ravage our cities. People in the country, or field, will die from other causes (verse 24).

    The seeds of this future calamity have already been sown.

    There is only one solution to this nightmare: Our people must repent and turn to God. If we fail to do that, the suffering is just beginning.

    Be Soft

    The human mind reels at such prospects.

    Naturally we want only to put it out of our minds. We want things to stay as they are. We want to forget about the toxic human nature that rose with the fetid floodwaters in New Orleans.

    This forgetfulness causes many people, in spite of a massive death toll mounting before our eyes, to carry on as if everything will work out. It is because of this forgetfulness—which is actually a manifestation of hard-headedness—that Jesus Christ warned specifically, “And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day”—that is, the period of destruction just ahead of us—“come upon you unawares. For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth” (Luke 21:34-35).

    It is also because of our hard-headedness that this “snare” must be so achingly severe.

    “Southern Decadence,” an annual homosexual bash in New Orleans, was scheduled to have kicked off just as the Big Easy’s levees gave way. Rather than cancelling this celebration of sin, however, organizers moved the event to nearby Lafayette. People are already talking about how important it is that next year’s Mardi Gras, the 150th anniversary of the bacchanalia, proceed unhindered. That is not courage. That is audacity.

    Apparently, it will take more than one city’s destruction to soften some hearts.

    In the shadow of such climatic fury and in the aftermath of such despicable human conduct, the proper response is not defiance. It is quiet contemplation. Self-examination. Introspection. Meekness. Repentance. Spiritual rejuvenation. A fearful looking at the great Creator who permitted, perhaps even unleashed, the tempest—and who witnessed every ugly act that followed.

    Take heed to yourselves.

    That day should not come upon you unawares; it need not ensnare you. The same great God who is measuring this destruction of America and the nations of Israel also seeks your repentance. And to those who truly turn to Him with supple hearts, He offers individual protection—escape—from the worst of the coming storms (verse 36).

    There is purpose in prophecy. In the midst of terrifying and tumultuous events, prophetic warning is nothing less than our Creator reaching out to His creation.

    A terrible period of darkness is prophesied to occur. But also prophesied is that within this darkness—shining in a sin-sick and war-weary, increasingly terrorized world—would be a burning light: a bold message calling for repentance and proclaiming, beyond the darkness, the glow of eternal hope.

    Luke 21:27-28 declare that hope to the disciples of Jesus Christ: “And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.”

    Iranian Arms Smuggled Into Iraq

    From the November 2005 Trumpet Print Edition

    A truck filled with high-tech explosives was stopped early August at a checkpoint on Iraq’s border with Iran. The fact that shipments of weapons are being smuggled into Iraq from Iran sparked concern at the Pentagon. U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld reacted to the news soberly: “It’s a problem for the Iraqi government,” he said. “It’s a problem for the coalition forces. It’s a problem for the international community. And ultimately it’s a problem for Iran” (bbc News, August 9).

    Though the Iranian government quickly denied being involved, U.S. officials believe the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps is responsible for the smuggling. Of course, the leading mullahs fully support the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, which was created by decree from the Ayatollah Khomeini in 1979.

    While acknowledging that it is unclear who exactly acquired and transported the weapons cache into Iraq, Rumsfeld said, “What you do know … is the Iranians did not stop it from coming in” (cnn, August 10). He specifically referred to Iran’s failure to stop weapons smuggling as being “unhelpful.”

    There are several points of interest in this revelation.

    First, Iran has been stoking the Iraqi insurgency. Now, this may appear contrary to conventional wisdom—since the insurgency is primarily fueled by Sunni Muslims, and Iran is Shiite. But consider what is happening on the ground in Iraq.

    Insurgents are making life very difficult for the American-led coalition forces. Their objective is not to win on the battlefield—in that realm they are clearly outmatched. All they have to do is outlast their opponents; they seek merely to make the costs of America’s presence in Iraq outweigh the benefits, and thus expedite America’s inevitable retreat (clearly the U.S. won’t remain in Iraq forever; the insurgents just want to speed up the timetable). In this objective, it appears they are beginning to succeed: Grappling with a rising death count and no let-up in violence in the streets, the U.S. is now talking about pulling out a significant number of its troops sometime next year.

    Does Iran benefit from this development? Absolutely.

    Tehran wants nothing more than an expanded influence within Iraq. This is perhaps the most important immediate stepping-stone to the mullahs’ goal of regional supremacy. America’s presence in Iraq is an obvious hindrance to achieving that objective. Certainly a U.S. pullout would open Iraq to greater influence by Iran.

    Thus, there is a perverse logic in supplying arms to the Sunni insurgency, even though it is making life harder on the fledgling Shiite government. The important function of the insurgency, as far as Iran is concerned, is that it turns the screws on the U.S., forcing Washington to think seriously of shrinking its presence in Iraq. So is it possible, even probable, that the news is true? We at the Trumpet believe it is.

    But perhaps even more interesting than the fact that Iran could very well be arming Iraq-based terrorists is the sheer mildness of Washington’s response.

    Iran holds enormous influence in Iraq and therefore plays a critical role in the U.S.’s plan to stabilize the nation. Without secure borders, coalition forces will never be able to stem the insurgency and bring security to Iraq.

    Evidence of Iran directly supplying terrorists with arms—even armor-piercing shaped charges specifically designed and constructed to target American soldiers—is just the latest in a mountain of proof that Iran is the greatest state sponsor of terrorism in the world.

    “Unhelpful” is feeble language employed by a “superpower” with no credible intention of forcefully dealing with the brazen threat emerging from Iran.

    An Epidemic of Teen Pregancies

    From the November 2005 Trumpet Print Edition

    The Canton Repository recently reported that 65 out of the 490 female students attending an Ohio public high school are pregnant—a jaw-dropping 13 percent. Officials expect the number of pregnant students in the district to rise to 99 in grades 7 through 12 once school is in session.

    Local health statistics are equally abysmal. According to the Canton Health Department, 104 out of 586 babies born in July to residents belong to mothers between the ages of 11 and 19.

    The Timkin High School statistics run counter to the general trend in America’s teen birth rate, which has gone down over the past two decades—largely because of the widespread availability and knowledge of contraceptives and the increase in non-pregnancy-causing sexual activity. But they are consistent with the fact that more teenagers are having sex than ever before—a trend evidenced by the explosive spread of stds among youths.

    Timkin High is implementing a program to address pregnancy, prevention and parenting. Yet these types of programs don’t deal with the problem’s root causes.

    Some news agencies blame movies, tv and the like. Though such factors definitely contribute to the increase in teenage sexual activity, the real problem comes down to a lack of right education—particularly at home. And that goes beyond education about birth control.

    Teenagers in this permissive society who don’t know God’s purpose for sex will most likely indulge in harmful sexual activity—destroying any chance of a happy family life in the future. What is needed is this right knowledge—and parents who are willing to teach it.

    For more on this subject and the solutions, read “The New Teen Sex Epidemic” in our June 2002 issue.

    Good Divorce Does Not Exist

    A new study shows how children of divorce are torn between two worlds.

    Is there such a thing as a “good divorce”? Many divorcing parents console themselves with the idea that emotional and other damage to their children caused by divorce may be minimized if the couple maintains a good relationship after separation and continues to support the children. A recently released study, however, reveals that even a “good divorce” causes psychological trauma to children, with effects that last into adulthood.

    In the book Between Two Worlds: The Inner Lives of Children of Divorce, Elizabeth Marquardt, who spent three years surveying 1,500 young adults from both divorced and intact families and interviewing 71 of them at length, estimated that a quarter of adults aged 18 to 35 have grown up in divorced families. Her research suggests that even children of somewhat unhappy, low-conflict marriages fare better than children of divorce.

    According to the study, even after a “good” divorce, 52 percent of respondents stated that family life was stressful, compared to 35 percent from unhappy, but low-conflict marriages—and only 6 percent from happy marriages (Wall Street Journal, October 21). Forty-four percent of children of divorce said, “I was alone a lot as a child” compared to only 14 percent of those living in intact families. The study found that children of divorce feel less protected, less emotionally secure and are less likely to go to their parents for comfort.

    Children must face many obstacles as they try to juggle their lives with two parents who live by two different standards, rules, morals and ethics. According to the study, children of divorce are twice as likely to feel like a different person with each of their parents while growing up. Instead of having only one home, they must juggle between two different homes and are often left to themselves to come up with their own standards and morals. This causes much stress and emotional anxiety in the children, the study revealed.

    These results may sound startling to some, but that is only because so many “experts” claim that the opposite of Marquardt’s study is true. These same sociologists, who claim parents and children are better off after divorce, were the ones who coined the term “good divorce” in the first place. But there is no such thing as a “good divorce.” Marquardt’s study accurately shows that children suffer the consequences of a divorce no matter how it is managed.

    Children need the strength and support of a father and mother united in a tight-knit family. The Bible clearly shows that God did not intend for married couples to divorce. He knows how stressful divorce is on children. God pays special attention to the needy and is called a father to the fatherless. For more information on the importance of family, please request our booklet Why Marriage! Soon Obsolete?

    Stoiber Strengthens Power Base in German Government

    Though Angela Merkel is slated to become Germany’s next chancellor, Stoiber seems to be doing all he can to seize control behind the scenes.

    Despite Angela Merkel’s imminent installment as Germany’s first female chancellor, theTrumpet.com is still closely watching Edmund Stoiber—a man we have pointed to as the kind of leader Germany and Europe will call on to take the Continent to unprecedented dominance.

    Turns out, we’re not the only ones watching Stoiber, who is slated to receive the post as the country’s new economy minister and liaison on European affairs. Analysts have noted the power plays Stoiber has been making since Germany’s new coalition government was formed in early October.

    One particularly astute report came from the October 23Telegraph, which observed, “Merkel is already being elbowed aside by a pushier male rival from within her own party.” Mr. Stoiber, the article said, “is on course to emerge as the dominant figure inside the new German cabinet.”

    Merkel’s authority “has been further undermined by the disclosure that most of the jobs reserved for conservatives will be given to her political rivals and erstwhile enemies, with the ebullient Mr. Stoiber apparently calling the shots” (emphasis ours throughout).

    Further down, the article said, “Mr. Stoiber has fought behind the scenes to widen his power base within the conservative camp, aiming to become the power behind the throne in the new coalition government.”

    One politician involved in coalition negotiations said, “Mr. Stoiber is the one who has been doing all the talking. … Merkel hardly says anything. She has played a very limited role in the coalition talks.”

    In fact, the Telegraph attributes the coalition’s success to Stoiber’s relationship with Franz Müntefering—head of the Social Democrats, the other party in the grand coalition. Their alliance “holds the coalition together,” the paper quoted one source as saying.

    Despite Ms. Merkel’s holding the chancellorship, theTrumpet.com still watches Stoiber as a man who can fulfill key prophecies for Germany and Europe as outlined in the Bible. For more on this, please see “Continue to Watch Stoiber.”