Why Turkey Matters

Why Turkey Matters

STR/AFP/Getty Images

Turkey’s increasing significance is arresting the world’s attention. Here’s why it should arrest yours.
From the November 2007 Trumpet Print Edition

Suddenly, Turkey is all over the headlines.

Most Americans would tend to underestimate its significance. But why, in the midst of October, did an outburst of public discussion center on whether to call the World War i-era Turkish killing of Armenians a “genocide”? Why did Congress raise the issue, and why did the White House scramble to squelch it?

The crux of debate rested on the potential for losing Turkey’s help in the war in Iraq. Its role as vital supply route for U.S. troops took center stage. In fact, some analysts suggested that the Democrat-led Congress pushed the “genocide” issue to alienate Turkey in an underhanded effort to spite the president and torpedo the Iraq war.

Is it really possible that this nation—about which few Americans concern themselves—could make the difference between victory and defeat in Iraq?

Who knew Turkey was so important?

At the Crossroads

The instant clamor surrounding that single issue is a meaningful symbol of just how much this historically pivotal nation is rising again to prominence in modern geopolitics.

Turkey sits right at the crossroads of a developing clash of civilizations. Its population is almost wholly Muslim, but its constitution is staunchly secular. It is a democracy and a constitutional republic, yet since 1960 its military leaders have overthrown four duly elected governments for being too religious. It is anchored to the Middle East as a member of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, yet welded to the West within the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. On top of that, a pillar in its foreign policy for a generation has been its bid for membership in the European Union.

The U.S. is not alone in trying to come to grips with this complex geopolitical puzzle. Nations across the globe are coming to see that, for all its contradictions, and after decades of quiet since the Ottoman Empire collapsed at the end of World War i, Turkey is shaping up to be an extremely significant global player. As the world increasingly fractures into regional blocs—the United States, the Middle East, Europe, Asia—Turkey remains a distinct entity whose value to all of these powers is rapidly rising.

This exceptional position, which we can witness developing right before us, appears to be setting Turkey up perfectly for the unique role it plays in end-time biblical prophecy.

Why the World Is Taking Note

Turkey is attracting interest for a number of reasons.

First, its economy is on fire—it is one of the fastest-growing on Earth. Since 2002, under the leadership of the Justice and Development Party (akp), the economy has transformed. It is now the largest Muslim economy, and the largest in the region. Turkey is a member of the G-20, a gathering of the world’s 20 largest economies. It is playing its cards wisely, reducing restrictions on trade with Muslim states while simultaneously cultivating relationships with European and other nations.

As Dr. George Friedman put it, “The ability of Greece, Armenia, Syria, Iraq and Iran to remain hostile to Turkey decreases as the Turkish economy grows. Ideology and history are very real things, but so is the economic power of a dynamic economy” (Stratfor, July 31).

Of course, a large Turkish economy means a large Turkish military. Already it is nato’s second-largest armed force after the U.S., with over 1 million uniformed personnel. This reality has several ramifications regarding the balance of power in the Middle East and elsewhere.

Second, Turkey is comfortably stepping into a ready-made role as a vital energy hub linking Europe, the Middle East and Central Asia.

This is one of the most geographically strategic countries in the world—a literal bridge between continents. On its west, Turkey borders Greece and Bulgaria—EU nations; on its south, Syria, Iraq and Iran—Middle Eastern Muslim states; and on its east, Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan—former Soviet republics. It connects to the Mediterranean, Black and Aegean seas, and encompasses the vital Bosporus and Dardanelles sea gates, linking Central Asia to the Mediterranean. In a world increasingly driven by energy politics, its unique location translates into valuable energy transit routes for more and more nations.

With Russia aggressively taking over global oil and natural gas markets, uncomfortable customers, particularly those in Europe, are actively seeking energy from other sources. Turkey is in the right place at the right time, with major oil pipelines being built across its soil, circumventing Russian territory altogether. It is proving itself a worthy middleman for energy from not only former Soviet republics Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan, but also Iraq and Iran. In addition, Turkey, in conjunction with foreign investors and companies, is building new oil refineries that will increase its worth even more. Analysts say the nation’s refining capacity should double within only a few years.

This reality seems tailor-made to suit Ankara’s foreign-policy interests, because the entity hungriest for non-Russian energy happens to be the very one Turkey has been working so hard to pretty itself up for: Europe.

Naturally, the whole situation also deeply concerns Russia, whose monopolistic energy tendencies are undercut by Turkey’s activities. On top of that, Russia is robustly fighting a strong Islamist incursion on its southwestern border, particularly against Muslim separatists in Chechnya—and it possesses proof that Turkey has financially supported and trained Chechen terrorists in their struggle for independence.

A third reason for Turkey’s growing relevance—as became abundantly evident in October—is its role in the unfolding drama surrounding the future of Iraq.

A Strained Alliance

The Iraq war has created bad blood between the U.S. and Turkey. The Turks have long struggled with a restive Kurdish population in their southeast region, driven by the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (pkk). This terrorist group seeks to carve an independent Kurdish state out of territory in southeast Turkey, as well as parts of Syria, Iraq and Iran. Whatever differences these four nations have, they are united in their determination to stop Kurdistan from materializing.

The fact that the U.S. empowered the Iraqi Kurds by eliminating Saddam Hussein rocked the American-Turkish alliance. In 2003, Ankara simply refused to let the U.S. invade Iraq from Turkish territory—a major snub from a nato ally. Add to that a turning of the historic tables: With a growing economy and military, Turkey simply isn’t as dependent on the U.S. as it once was. In fact, since the U.S. has gotten entrenched in Iraq, it has come to depend deeply on Turkey: 70 percent of its Iraq-bound air cargo and 33 percent of its fuel passes through Turkey, and it heavily uses the Incirlik Air Base for refueling operations and cargo flights to both Iraq and Afghanistan.

The upshot is, Turkey feels very comfortable with ignoring Washington’s wishes and doing what it feels it must to protect its own interests.

Recent events highlight just how monumental this change is.

In an October attack, pkk rebels killed 13 Turkish soldiers; the people of Turkey angrily demanded retaliation. The government bombed and shelled northern Iraq, and then the parliament approved plans to launch a ground invasion.

All this fuss puts the U.S. in an awkward spot. The Kurdish north has been the most stable part of Iraq since Saddam Hussein’s ouster in 2003, and Washington would rather nothing upset that. Supporting Turkey could well alienate the Kurdish allies the U.S. has built there, and the whole situation may further destabilize Iraq—something U.S. and Iraqi leaders are desperate to avoid.

But the amazing thing is, the Turks just don’t care. “We don’t need anyone’s advice on northern Iraq and the operation to be carried out there,” Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan said. Reuters reported that the crowd in Istanbul cheered this pronouncement, and cheered again when he said that the U.S. “came tens of thousands of kilometers and attacked Iraq without asking anyone’s permission.”

Amid these developments, the timing couldn’t have been worse for the U.S. congressional committee’s “genocide” resolution. Turkey bristled at the news, recalling its ambassador in the U.S. and threatening to close its doors to American troops. Anti-American demonstrations spilled into the streets, according to the Jerusalem Post. “All prospects look bad … and relations with the U.S. have already gone down the drain,” Turkish foreign policy expert Semih Idiz said.

The White House responded by going into full damage control mode: It issued public statements condemning the measure, it essentially apologized to Turkey’s leaders, and it finally convinced Congress to kill the resolution. The fervor of the response revealed just how desperately the U.S. needs Turkey’s cooperation in order to resolve the crisis in Iraq in a manner suited to its own national interests. But the U.S. isn’t the only country in that situation. So is the other primary external player in this theater: Iran.

An Islamic Shift

In practical terms, as Washington contemplates reducing its presence in Iraq, its primary concern is to try to prevent Iran from simply taking over—not just Iraq but virtually the entire Middle East. In Turkey, it sees the closest thing it has to a regional counterbalance to Iran.

Unfortunately, it so happens that all this friction between Ankara and Washington has strengthened Turkey’s historically wary relationship with Iran.

Something else that could strengthen this relationship—and markedly change the balance within several of the precarious situations in which Turkey plays a role—occurred on August 28, when Turkish parliamentarians elected a former Islamist as president.

The new president, Abdullah Gül, is a bit of a puzzle. He was a cabinet member in one of the Islamic governments the military ousted in the 1990s—yet he has been a leading supporter of his nation’s EU membership bid. His devotion to Europe certainly placates the nation’s generals and military commanders, but his religion still chafes against their fierce loyalty to the secularist ideals institutionalized in 1923 by the nation’s founder, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. His political party, the akp, has an Islamist pedigree and maintains pan-Islamic ties throughout the region. Turkey’s secularist military suspects that it retains a masked Islamist agenda.

Stratfor noted that, because the president chooses judges and hence dominates the judiciary, having Gül as president means that “for the first time since the founding of the Turkish republic more than 80 years ago, a political force rooted in Islamism essentially controls all of the key civilian institutions of the state” (August 29, emphasis mine). Stratfor expects the akp to seek to use its new power as a beachhead to move the nation away from secularism and toward the freer expression of religion in public life; it anticipates drama ahead as the akp is forced “to balance pan-Islamic issues with Turkish nationalist objectives” (ibid.). Though this analysis probably overstates how much Turkey will change under President Gül, we would not be surprised to see the nation proceed with a more sympathetic economic and foreign policy toward the leading Arab and Muslim energy producers in the region.

Any shift within Turkey away from secularism and toward Islam could help alter the balance of power in the Middle East—most notably, in favor of Iran.

A Nightmare for Israel?

In 1996, Turkey inked a mutual defense deal with Israel that, for years, analysts credited with contributing to the relative stability of the region. The Islamic Affairs Analyst went so far as to say that Israel’s enemies respected Turkey enough that the Jewish state’s national survival was all but assured as long as the deal stood.

Events in the past couple of years, however, have shown that whatever deterrent effect Turkey once had has already weakened to some degree: Iran and Syria have unleashed forces in Lebanon and within Israel against the Jewish state with few qualms. But, given Turkey’s new Islamic leadership, this trend could get worse.

Any further weakening of Turkey’s restraining influence on Iranian power is a nightmare for Israel, which Iran has committed itself to eliminating.

Tensions between Washington and Ankara over Iraq have already opened a door for the Islamic Republic. Suspicion between Turkey and Iran has thawed in recent years, and ties have improved. The fact that Turkey is now ruled by a Muslim—albeit Sunni—rather than a secularist certainly doesn’t hurt.

The more cooperative these two nations are, the more latitude the Turks are likely to give Iran without feeling directly threatened as Tehran pursues its regional ambitions.

Watch for that cooperation to increase—and for Iran to become even more brazen.

Unrequited Love

What does Turkey get out of the deal? If nothing else, it gets Iranian energy—energy it can pass on to Europe.

The two countries have just completed an oil pipeline that will pump 500,000 barrels of Iranian oil a day into Turkey. And the Turkish Petroleum Corp. has announced plans to invest $3.5 billion in Iran’s South Pars natural gas field. This project would include building the means to transport Iranian gas through Turkey to Europe. The U.S., though flatly opposed to the deal, can do little to stop it.

Ultimately, even under an Islamic president, it appears Europe is who Turkey most wants to please. Ankara simply sees Iran as a workable partner in increasingly procuring the energy that Europe desperately wants. Radio Free Europe reports that for decades to come, Iranian gas may be Europe’s most viable source of non-Russian gas. Nothing Turkey could do would strengthen its value to the EU more than its growth as an energy hub.

Even the slippage in Turkey’s relationship with the United States is driving it more toward Europe, according to Semih Idiz. Speaking of the Iraq crisis, Idiz said, “Having its relations with the U.S. ‘electrified,’ Ankara will be more and more eager to grab hold of the EU anchor” (Turkish Weekly, September 1).

President Gül has strongly emphasized his intent to forge ahead with plans to join the European Union, plans that will require further economic reforms and constitutional amendments. His ally, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, also from the Justice and Development Party, has outlined a five-year program to increase individual freedoms, further boost the economy, and, above all, strengthen the nation’s case for EU membership.

Biblical prophecy indicates, however, that although Turkey will remain committed to its romance with Europe, all these efforts are doomed to fail—just as they always have.

Turkey’s Image Problem

From the time Atatürk himself famously admonished his countrymen to “turn toward Europe,” Turkey has labored, to varying degrees, to cast itself in the image of the West. For the past decade, it has worked overtime.

Still, for every obstacle Turkey hurdles, the EU throws up another. Since 1987, when Turkey applied for full membership, 15 other states have cut to the front of the line and been accepted: Austria, Finland, Sweden, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Bulgaria and Romania. The Turks have watched the Union swell from 12 states to 27, while they remain peering through the window from the outside.

Now, the prospect of becoming an energy bridge to the Continent has inflamed Turkey’s hopes of finally convincing the EU to return the love.

Those hopes are wasted. Try as it may to overcome it, Turkey clearly has an image problem among Europe’s decision makers—and even its voters. Just this year, France elected a president—Nicolas Sarkozy—who campaigned on opposition to Turkish EU membership.

Why? Why is Europe so opposed to considering Turks European citizens? Only one major issue separates Turkey from all the other nations being granted their pass into the Union: religion.

The fundamentally Roman Catholic continent simply has no intention of incorporating 70 million Muslims in one swoop. And Turkey—with its Ottoman history, which at one time threatened Catholicism’s very existence—has particularly negative associations in European minds. As Bernard Lewis expresses it, “[T]here is still a reserve of mistrust, and even at times of hostility [toward Turks], with roots deep in the European Christian past” (From Babel to Dragomans).

The election of an openly Islamic president has only solidified Europe’s unspoken yet inflexible resistance to embracing Turkey. Still, given this nation’s growing strategic value to Europe, watch for the EU to continue to dangle carrots and incentives to keep the Turks onside. And as Europe grows in power in the time ahead, Ankara’s devotion to the European cause will only grow along with it.

Thus, Turkey is destined to remain suspended between worlds—always searching, ever more desperate to please.

A Shocking Betrayal

These trends become far more significant in light of the Bible’s description of Turkey’s place in end-time events. It is only with the revelation of God’s Word that we can understand why Turkey truly matters.

The biblical prophecies regarding events in the Middle East are clear: A Muslim-Jewish war is about to erupt—initiated by Islamic forces clearly unrestrained by Turkey or anything else. That conflagration will trigger a series of events leading to the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.

When the Muslims move to sack Jerusalem, it will provoke a united European bloc of nations to intervene. This bloc will set up armies around Jerusalem—appearing like a “peacekeeping force”—but quickly transforming into a deadly war machine (Luke 21:20). It won’t be just Arabs or Muslims that suffer at their hands; this European power will turn its full force on the nations of Israel—including America and Britain. This horrifying double-cross is discussed in Ezekiel 23. Many in the Jerusalem area will be trapped!

The Prophet Obadiah recorded an extraordinary prophecy about “Edom,” whose modern descendants are the Turks. (Request a free copy of the Trumpet’s December 1997 article “Turkey: An Act of Revenge!” for a detailed explanation of this prophecy.) It shows how Turkey, possessing the escape route via land—the Cilician Gates mountain pass—will actually betray those Israelis, Americans and British who are trying to escape, delivering them into the hands of their conquerors. This is one last act, true to present form, of Turkey attempting to curry favor with Europe!

The description of these events reveals several things that illuminate the meaning of present-day headlines.

One, the fact that those escapees look to Turkey strongly indicates that Turkey’s alliances with the U.S. and with Israel will remain, at least in name.

Two, the betrayal may mean we can expect still more friction to develop within these alliances, like that which has arisen over the “genocide” question and the Kurd condition in Iraq. Though the U.S. still enjoys the support of Turkey’s secularist military, anti-Americanism is rampant and growing within Turkish media and among the Turkish people—a fact that the U.S., as desperate as it is to retain Turkey’s help, is willing to overlook.

Three, for Turkey, relations with Europe will continue to trump all other foreign-policy considerations.

Thus, based on biblical prophecy, in the end the Trumpet expects recent events that have thrust Turkey into the headlines only to cement the unique position this nation already occupies in modern geopolitics. They may tax Turkey’s agreements with the U.S. and Israel, but will not destroy them. They may increase Turkey’s cooperation with Muslim states, shifting the balance of power in favor of Iran, but that cooperation will fall short of a full-scale alliance. And most importantly, they will strengthen Europe’s resolve to keep Turkey at arm’s length, but do nothing to diminish Turkey’s undying resolve to get into Europe’s bed.

And as Obadiah’s prophecy reveals, that nation’s willingness to do anything to serve this ambition—including betrayal—will lead to its ruin.

Plot Uncovers Al Qaeda in U.S.

From the October 2007 Trumpet Print Edition

Evidence found in the failed London and Glasgow bombings at the end of June indicates that al Qaeda terrorists, and perhaps operational cells, are functioning inside the United States. The news surfaced in early August, at the same time that an American-born al Qaeda spokesman threatened to attack U.S. targets in the homeland and abroad.

Following the bombing attempts in London and Glasgow, investigators established that the perpetrators’ e-mail chains used to communicate with al Qaeda operatives in Europe also included e-mail addresses belonging to Americans, according to the New York Sun (August 6).

At one point, two of the British plotters attempted to travel to the U.S. for an unknown purpose.

“Because of the London and Glasgow plot, we now know communications have been made from al Qaeda to operatives in the United States,” a counterterrorism official told the newspaper.

The source added that no specific names, targets or timelines were uncovered regarding an imminent attack on the American homeland.

“I believe there are cells in the United States, or at least people who aspire to create cells in the United States,” Northern Command Air Force General Victor Renuart said. “To assume that there are not those cells is naive, and so we have to take that threat seriously” (ibid.).

Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff has said he has a “gut feeling” about an increased risk of attack.

Also in early August, al Qaeda released an Internet video threatening to strike American embassies and interests overseas. Adam Gadahn, a California native and now an al Qaeda member, appears in the video, stating, “We shall continue to target you, at home and abroad, just as you target us, at home and abroad ….”

Terrorism continues to spread throughout the West in spite of the war on terror. Many believe it is only a matter of time before the next cataclysmic attack. To learn more about this subject, visit theTrumpet.com to read “Why We Cannot Win the War Against Terrorism,” by Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry in our November 2003 issue.

Stewardship, Part Two

Stewardship, Part Two

Trumpet

In his book Raising the Ruins, now available in bookstores, Trumpet executive editor Stephen Flurry exposes the reality of what happened to the Worldwide Church of God. Here is part two of the 12th chapter.
From the November 2007 Trumpet Print Edition

When Mr. Tkach decided to pursue accreditation for the college in 1988, he wrote, “[W]e must recognize that Ambassador College now serves a greater and broader purpose for God’s work than it did in its earlier days.” So they began pouring money into the college.

In Mr. Armstrong’s day, the annual spending on the college had been about 10 percent of the overall budget. In 1989, that figure increased to 14 percent: Of the $210 million the church spent, $30 million went toward the college.

In 1990, the church spent almost $222 million ($10.6 million more than it received)—17 percent of which went toward the college. So in the same year they slashed just about every program due to the budget crisis, they upped their college budget from $30 million to $37 million—a 23 percent increase. “During 1990,” according to the Worldwide News, “the church funded approximately $15,663,000 of construction costs for needed dormitories, classrooms and offices to accommodate the consolidation [of both campuses in Big Sandy].” That same year, the Plain Truth circulation had to be cut from 6 million to less than 3 million, they had to “trim” at least 122 television stations from the budget and the Good News and the toll-free number had to be cut entirely.

Here is a simple comparison between budgets for 1987 and 1990. In 1987, Tkachism spent $180 million. The budget breakdown looked like this:

Publishing—24 percent

Local congregations, field ministry—23 percent

Broadcasting and proclaiming the gospel—18 percent

Management and general—18 percent

Ambassador College—10 percent

Member assistance—4 percent

Ambassador Foundation—3 percent

In 1990, after spending $222 million, the breakdown looked like this:

Local congregations, field ministry—26 percent

Publishing—19 percent

Ambassador College—17 percent

Management and general—17 percent

Broadcasting and proclaiming the gospel—14 percent

Member assistance—4 percent

Ambassador Foundation—3 percent

Spending on Ambassador College in 1987 amounted to $18 million. Three years later, after huge cutbacks in preaching the gospel, the college budget had more than doubled.

Ambassador College had become Tkachism’s baby.

Counting the Cost

In his book, Mr. Tkach Jr. piously compares himself and his fellows to the Apostle Paul, who “suffered the loss of all things” in order to “win Christ.” He wrote, “Our membership losses have resulted in a corresponding drop in income. … With dramatically fewer members and greatly reduced income, expenses had to be cut as well. … We were forced to lay off most of our headquarters staff, cut circulation of [and later charge for] the Plain Truth magazine, sharply reduce subsidies to [and later close] Ambassador University, end our acclaimed performing arts series at Ambassador Auditorium, and sell off many of our assets [including the auditorium]. …

“So you do the math. What do these figures tell you? If the changes in the Worldwide Church of God are some kind of con job—some cynical, conspiratorial plot hatched in secret back rooms—then we’re not very adept at pulling it off.”

Let us then, as he suggests, do the math. First, consider the golden years of Herbert W. Armstrong’s work in the Worldwide Church of God—after he set out to get the church back on track in the late 1970s and through to the mid-1980s, when the church experienced such abundant growth. During the last five years of Mr. Armstrong’s ministry, between 1981 and 1985, this is the annual revenue he had to work with:

1981: $108 million

1982: $121 million

1983: $132 million

1984: $148 million

1985: $164 million

It amounted to $673 million. Compare that with the first five years of Tkachism:

1986: $182 million

1987: $192 million

1988: $201 million

1989: $212 million

1990: $211 million

Tkachism’s five-year total amounted to $998 million. Can you believe that? They had about a billion dollars to work with their first five years!

Talk about golden years. This was when Tkach’s entourage was living large! It’s when they decided to close the Pasadena campus and pump all that money into Big Sandy. It’s when they changed the commission and slashed spending on numerous programs established to preach the gospel to the world. It’s when they reduced the Plain Truth circulation from 8.4 to 2.7 million and The World Tomorrow from 382 stations to about 100. It’s when the Good News and Mr. Armstrong’s books were retired permanently—Mystery of the Ages found to be “riddled with error.”

And it’s when they tricked members into thinking nothing had changed, except perhaps some minor things that Mr. Armstrong himself supposedly wanted to change.

Tkach Jr. wrote, “The Worldwide Church of God reached its peak attendance in 1988—two years after Mr. Armstrong’s death—with 126,800 members and 150,000 in attendance. Those figures stayed relatively stable until 1992, when a slight dip was noted.” Isn’t that amazing? It didn’t even dip until 1992. They got the power they needed to do away with Mr. Armstrong’s teachings in 1986 and the additional benefit of a membership and income on the rise, thanks to the popularity of Mr. Armstrong’s teachings.

And you wonder why they didn’t tell 150,000 church members in 1988 that Mystery of the Ages was riddled with error? I can give you about one billion reasons why.

Let’s do more math. Consider the income for Tkachism’s second five-year period, between 1991 and 1995:

1991: $197 million

1992: $191 million

1993: $176 million

1994: $165 million

1995: $103 million

It wasn’t until 1995 that the church’s income finally fell below the revenue Mr. Armstrong generated in his last year. Of course, Mr. Armstrong’s $164 million would have had more purchasing power in 1994—amounting to about $226 million. But still, Tkachism’s revenue for 1994, the year Tkach Sr. gave “The Sermon,” as his son called it, was $165 million.

Total revenue during their second five years amounted to $832 million. Where in the world did all that money go? They shut down the Pasadena campus and the toll-free number in 1990. The World Tomorrow went off the air in 1994. The concert series ended in 1995. Plain Truth circulation had plummeted. About the only thing going for the church was the college in Big Sandy—and they decided to close that in 1997. Yet Tkachism had $832 million to work with during this second five-year period.

Tkachism is obviously not the story of a few courageous leaders who counted the cost and were willing to give up everything for the sake of God’s truth. Between Mr. Armstrong’s death and the year Transformed by Truth was released in 1997, Tkachism received nearly $2 billion of income. And that’s just the revenue. The book value of all the property and equipment they inherited from Mr. Armstrong was $83 million, according to their 1987 audit. And nearly all of that was paid for.

Adjusting figures for inflation, imagine if you inherited an estate today worth $150 million and you could count on it generating another 21/2 to 3 billion dollars over the next 10 to 12 years. That’s the position the Tkaches landed in when Mr. Armstrong died. Yet look at what they have to show for it.

You do the math. How could these men do so little with so much? These men didn’t sacrifice anything—except the lives and investments tens of thousands of others made in support of Mr. Armstrong’s work.

Had it happened in the corporate world, the ceos and executives responsible for hijacking a corporation and then treacherously robbing its investors of their future would have been fired, if not prosecuted in a court of law.

But in the world of Tkachism, a giant, conspiratorial con job, hatched in the secrecy of back rooms and then carried out by cynical, self-righteous imposters, is hailed as a courageous success story of service and sacrifice for the good of mankind.

Funding the Pensions

In recent years, Tkachism has harshly criticized Mr. Armstrong for never starting an employee retirement plan. “In the past,” Tkach Jr. wrote in 2003, “the Worldwide Church of God in the United States and elsewhere made no provision for the retirement of its employees. This was a decision made by others before the current administration and was inherited by us.” Of course, Mr. Armstrong always had a generous assistance program designed to help those in need. But it was funded by tithe-payers, and tithing is now bad, the Tkaches say. So Mr. Armstrong just couldn’t do anything right!

“The results of these unfortunate policies in our past are now being remedied,” Tkach continued. “We are making plans to enroll U.S. church employees in a retirement plan funded by proceeds from the sale of the Pasadena property.”

And they’re to be commended for this new financial model? They stopped doing any kind of work in the early 1990s and wound up with perhaps $100 million worth of property and facilities just sitting there collecting dust. So they sold it all and placed the “bulk of the sale proceeds,” according to Ron Kelly, in a formal pension plan for current employees. They sold everything Mr. Armstrong and his faithful supporters built for doing God’s work and then set aside the proceeds for those who stayed through the transformation and remained loyal to Tkach. There’s nothing brilliant about that. It’s more like a payoff.

Tkach Jr. called the church’s lack of retirement funding an “unfortunate” policy that his administration inherited. To use that excuse in 1986, when his father took over, or even in 1995, when he replaced his father, is one thing. But to blame Mr. Armstrong for the lack of pension planning in 2003?

What, exactly, did the Tkaches ever do for their retirees between 1986 and 2003? Quite a few of the long-time ministers who stayed with the wcg began retiring during the mid-1990s, long before the property ever sold. Couldn’t the Tkaches have taken steps in that direction years earlier, if it was such an egregious error made by Mr. Armstrong? As we have seen, the wcg was still collecting hundreds of millions of dollars each year in the early 1990s. They had more than $2 billion in revenue to work with between Mr. Armstrong’s death and when they finally sold the property in 2004. Couldn’t they have carved out some kind of pension plan from $2 billion?

Herman Hoeh, Norman Smith, Dean Blackwell and Richard Rice—all long-time evangelists in the wcg—retired in 1996. But it’s supposedly Mr. Armstrong’s fault that the Tkaches never got around to developing a retirement program until 2004—18 years after Mr. Armstrong died?

Dr. Hoeh was one of the first four to graduate from Ambassador College. Norman Smith was ordained as an evangelist in 1957—Dean Blackwell in 1964. All these evangelists, by the way, were in their 60s at the date of their retirements—Hoeh was 67, Smith was 66, Blackwell was 64 and Rice was 60.

Before the Tkach pension plan could move forward in 2004—contingent on the sale of the property, of course—the wcg had a “discretionary assistance program” in place for its former, retirement-age employees. According to Tkach Jr., 240 retired employees qualified for assistance as of March 2003, which cost the church $350,000 per month. On average, that amounts to $1,458 per month for each retiree, or $17,500 a year—not exactly a lucrative retirement package.

Perhaps that’s why Dean Blackwell—an evangelist of 32 years—got a part-time job at a Dillard’s department store after he retired.

Mr. Armstrong’s Retirement Policy

Retirement was a rarity for wcg ministers before Mr. Armstrong died. I mean, unless you are physically incapable of working, how do you retire from serving God? Moses never retired. Neither did Peter, John or Paul. “The United States is the only nation on Earth that retires people at age 60 or 65,” Mr. Armstrong wrote in 1979. “In the United States most have come to suppose that people naturally begin to lose their mental faculties even as early as 55.” Mr. Armstrong didn’t subscribe to that line of thinking. He proved by his own work that the most productive years of life can be long after the “normal” retirement age. In fact, the work of the Worldwide Church of God really didn’t go worldwide until after Mr. Armstrong turned 60.

And had Mr. Armstrong not been brought back to life in 1977, Garner Ted’s liberals would have destroyed the church long before the Tkaches ever did. It was in August 1977, when Mr. Armstrong was 85, that his heart and breathing both stopped. He had no pulse—no blood pressure. A nurse frantically administered mouth-to-mouth resuscitation and massaged Mr. Armstrong’s heart. After about a minute-and-a-half, he was breathing again on his own.

Seven months after his resuscitation, Mr. Armstrong said this to a group of wcg ministers in Pasadena: “Shortly after they’d told me what had happened [heart failure], I felt that if my work in God’s hands were finished and God didn’t have any further use for me in His work, that I would rather have remained dead.”

Like the Apostle Paul, he had a “desire to depart” if God was finished working through him. But God wasn’t, as Mr. Armstrong would later explain: “It is now clearly evident that God brought me back for a vital purpose, by cpr, from death by heart failure. Had I remained dead the church of the living God would have been virtually destroyed by the liberal element that had crept in, especially in headquarters administration during my absence from Pasadena.”

And so, at 85 years of age, and in poor health, he took charge and single-handedly put the Worldwide Church of God back on track! Retirement was never an option—even if liberal ministers might have wanted him to retire. If God kept him alive, it was to work. “I never expect to ‘retire,’ though I passed the so-called ‘retirement age’ long ago,” he wrote in 1971. “I expect to stay in harness as long as I live.”

And because he did that, even after congestive heart failure, he not only removed the liberal element—he led the Worldwide Church of God into its golden age! Herbert W. Armstrong’s greatest contribution to the Worldwide Church of God was made after God brought him back to life in 1977.

At the time Mr. Armstrong’s heart had failed him, liberals had come close to destroying the church. The Plain Truth circulation had fallen to just over 1 million, the World Tomorrow program—with Garner Ted at the helm—could be seen on only 50 stations, and Ambassador College had turned into a secular institution.

While recovering in 1978, Mr. Armstrong stepped up efforts to write more for the church’s publications. He completed work on his best book to that point, The Incredible Human Potential. To get the college back on track, he had closed Big Sandy and decided to start over in Pasadena with one freshman class, making sure that it began as God’s college. On the tv program, he took over broadcasting responsibilities for the first time at age 85! In his early years, Mr. Armstrong pioneered the radio broadcast. But when it transitioned to tv in 1967, Garner Ted became the presenter. That changed abruptly when Mr. Armstrong fired his son in 1978 for trying to take over the work.

So his first year after heart failure was not easy to say the least. And the pressure only intensified in 1979 after Ted and other dissidents convinced California’s attorney general to launch an assault against Mr. Armstrong and the church. Ted couldn’t overpower his father from the inside, so he attempted to do so from the outside. But his attack again fell flat on its face in 1980.

And then the church really took off. The same year the state of California attacked, Mr. Armstrong reestablished the Good News magazine, which had turned into a cheap tabloid. He restarted it in 1979 with a circulation of 120,000.

As the church entered a new decade, Mr. Armstrong concentrated his energies on family. “The very foundation of any stable civilization is a solid family structure,” he wrote in 1979. He knew the church’s stability depended in large part upon the strength of its individual families. His two-fold plan—Youth Opportunities United (you) for teenagers and Youth Educational Service (yes) for pre-teens—was designed to bring families closer together and to support parents in educating their children in the ways of God. In 1981, at the age of 88, Mr. Armstrong started a new magazine for young people—Youth 81. Later that year, he reopened the college campus in Big Sandy. He regularly visited the church’s youth camps during the 1980s. In fact, it was while Mr. Armstrong was visiting the youth camp in Orr, Minnesota, in 1985 that he became too ill to continue with his travels, which prompted his early return to Pasadena and eventual death. His last field visit in 1985 was to a youthcamp. Then, back in Pasadena, one of his last public appearances was before the students at Ambassador College, when he handed out Mystery of the Ages.

These many youth activities established and emphasized at the end of Mr. Armstrong’s life had a tremendous impact on me personally. Besides drawing me closer to my parents, they strengthened my relationships with other like-minded peers who wanted to succeed in life and avoid the common pitfalls of youth in this evil age. I traveled all over the Northwest with my youth group for sports tournaments, dances, talent shows and other activities. After my father was transferred in 1985, I had the same experiences in Oklahoma, Texas and Kansas. I attended wcg youth camps in Minnesota and Texas and was accepted as an Ambassador student in Pasadena and Big Sandy. This was all during the 1980s.

It was the work Mr. Armstrong did at the very end of his life, as an elderly man, that impacted my life the most.

And like the youth programs, every other church activity enjoyed prosperous growth after God raised Mr. Armstrong back to life in 1977. By the time he finally died in 1986—at 93 years of age—the church’s annual income had about tripled. And after taking over responsibilities as full-time presenter on The World Tomorrow at age 85, the program became one of the highest-rated religious programs on television. The Plain Truth, Good News and Youth circulations all skyrocketed.

In 1985, while nearly blind, Mr. Armstrong began yet another monumental project. “With the writing of the new book Mystery of the Ages,” he wrote, “God has helped me this year to do the best work of my 93 years of life!” He did his best work during his 90s! In fact, before he died, Mr. Armstrong said he had understood more in the last 10 years of his life than he had all the previous decades put together.

That’s a tremendous level of achievement for a man who would have rather died at the age of 85. “It would be so nice if I could retire,” Mr. Armstrong told a group of ministers in 1981, “because it’s a pretty heavy load I have to carry. But I’m not thinking of myself, I’m thinking of what I’ve been called to do. And it must be done.”

Mr. Armstrong kept right on serving God even as an elderly, blind man. And in doing so, he got the Worldwide Church of God back on track, defeated the state of California in a nationally known lawsuit, became one of the most popular religious personalities on television, nearly quadrupled the church’s growth in every major category, raised up and promoted numerous youth programs, traveled the world to meet with presidents and prime ministers and wrote a 363-page book.

“For Many People”

Herbert W. Armstrong prepared his last will and testament on Jan. 12, 1986—four days before he died. Knowing he was near death, his first directive was that Herman Hoeh officiate the funeral “without pomp and undue ceremony.”

In his second directive, he bequeathed all his property of “every kind and nature” to the Worldwide Church of God. Think about that. He had been pastor general of that church for more than 50 years. And though it started pitifully small, at the time of his death, the church’s annual income was $164 million. As founder and pastor general of the Worldwide Church of God, Herbert W. Armstrong could have amassed a personal fortune by the time he died. As it was, the house he died in belonged to the church. The plane he traveled in belonged to the church. The cars he commuted in belonged to the church. And what he actually did own at the time of his death—even though he had three living children—he left to the church.

Had he been in it for the extravagant opulence that Tkach Jr. accused him of, can you imagine what kind of retirement package he could have set up for himself after 30 or 40 years as pastor general? Yet, he served God and tirelessly worked right up until the day he died. And at his death, every material possession he owned went right back to the church.

In his will, he explained that he chose not to leave his descendants anything—not because of any ill will toward them—but because he believed they had “adequate means of their own” and because leaving what he had to the church would ensure that it “be put to more permanent and beneficial use for many people.”

That about sums up Herbert W. Armstrong’s legacy.

Even on his deathbed, his final wish was for everything he owned to go toward the work so that “many people” might benefit.

Mr. Armstrong put God’s Family and God’s work first. And as difficult as that might be to grasp, looking at it humanly, isn’t that what we should expect from a man of God? Jesus Christ, after all, said, “He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me.” That’s what Jesus taught—and lived.

Wouldn’t you expect Jesus Christ to put God’s Family and God’s work first? “I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work,” Christ said. It wasn’t an option for Him—He had to work. He never considered retirement. He kept right on working until the day mankind murdered Him for putting God first.

Putting God and His work first is the basic theme of the Bible.

Herbert W. Armstrong put this principle—this law—into action. He gave and gave and gave and gave. Then he died—exhausted from the heavy load God had laid on his shoulders. But God brought him back to life—and though he would have rather died or at least retired, he kept right on giving for another 81/2years! His lifelong work of service and sacrifice for the good of others proved, as our Savior promised it would, that it truly is more blessed to give than to receive.

God blessed everything Herbert W. Armstrong did.

Yet it didn’t take long for Tkachism to ruin it all.

History Repeated Itself

“I want you, brethren, to think about and understand what happened to God’s Church in the 1970s lest history repeat itself! I want you to see the ‘fruits’ of rebelling against God’s way and God’s government.” Mr. Armstrong issued that warning to the wcg less than seven months before he died.

He told us exactly what would happen if we didn’t learn the lesson of the 1970s. He wrote, “The ‘fruits’ of the rebel leaders and ‘liberals’ of the 1970s should now be clear to all. After some 35 years of steady growth in all facets of the work of God’s Church, the rate of growth began to slow, then ceased entirely in some areas, and, finally, even decreases began to be experienced in the number of radio and television stations, Plain Truth circulation, number of prospective members, number of co-workers, amount of income for the work, etc.—all under the ‘leadership’ of the liberal element. These are well-documented facts that cannot be denied.”

Facts are stubborn, but so is Tkachism. Even though the lessons had been thoroughly documented, they refused to heed them and decided to go their own way after Mr. Armstrong died.

And history ended up repeating itself.

The Best Man I Ever Knew

The Best Man I Ever Knew

Trumpet

The data and the real-life proof is in: Fathers make a huge difference.
From the November 2007 Trumpet Print Edition

On New York’s East Twentieth Street, a man walks up and down a candlelit room. The shadows cast by his large, powerful physique move softly, almost gingerly. He moves this way because in his powerful arms he holds “a very small person.”

An almost appalling contrast to the broad, brawny father, the limp and weak form of the child gasps desperately to choke down a breath. Another violent respiratory attack wracks his weak body so violently that his worried parents fear he will die before the morning.

Although the child survives the night, his long list of ailments apparently will doom him to a life of disability: chronic colds and coughs, nausea, fevers, diarrhea, sleeplessness, lack of appetite, malnutrition, and, of course, relentless asthma.

“I feel badly,” the toddler tells his mother. “I have toothache in my stomach.”

When the man is at work, his son’s condition is exacerbated. His mother is afraid he will never turn 4. But the mere sight of his father’s robust frame striding back home again through the doorway is virtually a miracle cure for the little boy, who all but worships his father.

This father’s gifts of fruit, treats, trinkets and, most of all, attention and love, filled his children’s hearts with an adoration that was ardent and complete.

But Theodore Roosevelt Sr. would do much more for his sickly child than feed him peaches as he lay spread-eagled on the porch or hold him close when the inevitable asthma attacks returned. Besides demanding strict discipline and charitable morality from his children, Theodore Roosevelt challenged his all-but-invalid son: “You must make your body. It is hard drudgery to make one’s body, but I know you will do it.”

With the help of his father, “Teedie” Roosevelt Jr. would do it. The “very small person” would build for himself a powerful frame and a personality to match, graduate from Harvard, travel the world, lead men in combat, enforce the law, ranch, develop his mind, and become the most dynamic, bombastic, and youngest man to literally bound up the steps of the White House as the president of the United States of America.

Thirty-seven years later, Theodore Roosevelt would remember his father as “the best man I ever knew.”

“Handsome dandy that he was, the thought of him now and always has been a sense of comfort. I could breathe, I could sleep, when he had me in his arms. My father—he got me breath, he got me lungs, strength—life.”

That Was Then …

Fifteen miles and over a century away, children in Newark, New Jersey, might consider such an environment and such a father as Theodore Roosevelt Sr. a fantastic fairy tale.

The city is suffering from an intensifying horror story of violent crime, explosively punctuated by the execution-style murders of three young people in a schoolyard in early August. The college students were forced to kneel against a wall and then shot in the head at close range in a gruesome slaying that brought Newark’s bloody crime problem back into the spotlight.

New Jersey’s largest city watched its homicide rate jump from 68 killings in 2002 to 106 in 2006. Its violent crime rate is twice the national average.

“Newark doesn’t really have crime hot-spots,” one prominent crime expert said. “It has a couple of cool spots.”

Four of the six suspects arrested were teenagers: an 18-year-old, a 16-year-old and two 15-year-olds. It’s hard to imagine—perhaps impossible—that any of these children had a father or knew a father or had ever heard of a father like Theodore Roosevelt Sr.

More of the Same

The usual hue and cry followed the slayings. Officials vowed to uncover the root causes and the real solutions to Newark’s endemic violence. Some say more stringent measures against repeat offenders will prevent such horrific headlines. Others feel more effective prosecution is the answer; in the county containing Newark, fewer than half of the murders result in convictions. Still others think more security cameras will do the trick and are increasing Newark’s surveillance cameras from 24 to 74.

“I think it will be a good idea, surveillance cameras, because Newark is scary,” one resident said (cbs, August 14).

The Economist reported that the “real problem” is an ineffective policing strategy, and that the real solution is developing a new crime-fighting theory to fit mid-sized cities (August 17). And from all quarters, leaders are calling for additional funding, hoping that a congressman signing another check will end the misery.

But reading these clichéd “solutions” to the “real problems” behind our sick society is almost as unbearable as the endless accounts of the crimes themselves.

“A renewed campaign,” “additional funding,” “more policies,” “supplementary programs,” “enhanced strategies” and, again, “additional funding”: Is this our best hope for a city—and a world—gone horribly wrong?

Fifty more cameras?

When it comes to violent crime and the rest of our societal ills, we are only managing the chaos. We are not solving the real problem.

The Real Problem

The real problem in 21st-century Newark and in cities across the United States and around the world is this: They lack enough strong fathers.

Newark neighborhoods are especially afflicted. Only 32 percent of boys and girls in the city grow up living with two parents of any kind—whether they are Rooseveltesquely involved in their lives or not. A shocking 60 percent grow up with no fathers at all.

Steven Malanga cut through the noise of “new initiatives,” “promises of reform,” and “additional funding” in his article “City Without Fathers” (City Journal, August 9). “Behind Newark’s epidemic violence are its thousands of fatherless children,” Malanga wrote.

“[M]uch of the reaction, though well intentioned, misses the point. Behind Newark’s persistent violence and deep social dysfunction is a profound cultural shift that has left many of the city’s children growing up outside the two-parent family—and, in particular, growing up without fathers.”

“It isn’t that traditional families are breaking up,” he continued, “they aren’t even getting started. The city has one of the highest out-of-wedlock birthrates in the country, with about 65 percent of its children born to unmarried women.”

Malanga goes on to report that 70 percent of fatherless children in Newark are born into poverty, and 83 percent of poor families there are led by single parents.

Children without fathers are five times likelier to be poor, and are 54 percent likelier to be poorer than their absent fathers, according to Fatherhood.org.

Children born out of wedlock are three times likelier to drop out of school than the average student, and much more likely to become a welfare-dependent adult. Around 70 percent of prisoners convicted of violent crimes grew up fatherless.

By these statistics, just having a father in the house, even if he is less than ideal, makes a difference in many cases.

The Conspiracy

As destructive as the effects of fatherlessness are, the problem is only getting worse. Nationwide, a third of children are born to mothers who are unmarried. Four out of 10 children—more than 25 million—live without their biological fathers.

The truth is, there is an active and successful conspiracy in Western culture aimed at reducing and ultimately destroying fatherhood. Fatherlessness continues to destroy young people because leaders and experts tell you—despite all evidence to the contrary—that it isn’t even a problem.

Anti-father thinking found eloquent expression in “Deconstructing the Essential Father,” a June 1999 American Psychologist article in which researchers Louise B. Silverstein and Carl F. Auerbach asserted that fathers are obsolete. They claimed that “a wide variety of family structures can support positive child outcomes.” If you wonder what that means, Silverstein and Auerbach made it clear: “Neither the sex of the adult(s), nor the biological relationship to the child has emerged as a significant variable in predicting positive development. One, none, or both of those adults could be a father (or mother).” This is a simple case of allowing politics to trump truth. Such thinking ignores an enormous amount of research.

Elsewhere, the authors explicitly stated: “We acknowledge that our reading of the scientific literature supports our political agenda” (emphasis mine). What agenda is that? “We are … interested in encouraging public policy that supports the legitimacy of diverse family structures, rather than policy that privileges the two-parent, heterosexual, married family.”

Such thinking has found its way firmly into public education, into mainstream entertainment, into the political views of “centrist” candidates. But as much as these authors would disagree, public policy that supports same-sex parenting and other non-family cohabitation situations is intended to destroy the traditional family, which is built around fatherhood.

Western society has divorced itself from fatherhood. Reasoning from more than two generations of evolutionary hypothesizing, educators and the leaders they produce have declared the traditional father not only non-essential, but also an archaic, oftentimes negative influence. Politicians are increasingly taking up the cause on behalf of scholars like Silverstein and Auerbach. For instance, Democratic presidential candidates have committed to overturning the Defense of Marriage Act, which, for federal purposes, defines marriage as a heterosexual union. In October, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed four bills, written by California’s first openly lesbian senator, that promote homosexual, bisexual, transsexual and other deviant lifestyles. Two of them affect the classroom, as early as the kindergarten level; one suggests that these lifestyles must be portrayed in textbooks and instruction, and in a positive light. “Dad” and “Mom” or “husband” and “wife,” for instance, will likely have to be eliminated from textbooks, instruction and activities, or portrayed alongside homosexual, bisexual and transsexual ideas. Another of the bills prohibits state funding for programs that do not support deviant sexual practices, which affects churches, day cares, preschools, senior services and other organizations.

Saying that “a wide variety of family structures” that delete the father can be successful constitutes blatant disregard for the definitive literature on the subject, the Holy Bible. Herein lies another major problem: Even religious leaders act shy about what God actually says in His Word about family and the father role, which represents Him.

Newark households give us a reality check, if we’re willing to accept it.

The Rise of the Father

Today, fatherhood is failing.

Millions of children worldwide grow up with fathers who do not know and do not fulfill their God-ordained roles. Some simply disappear as soon as they hear “I’m pregnant.” Some are too absorbed in their careers to pay any attention to their children when they arrive home. Some are worse for their families when they are home than when they are absent.

The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt, by Edmund Morris, describes a giving, attentive, masculine—though imperfect—father. Millions of children desperately crave the attention, constructive discipline and even the restrictions with which Theodore Roosevelt Sr. governed his family.

Yet even the father of the dynamic, active, iconic 26th president of the United States did not fully understand the deep truth and awesome meaning behind fatherhood. Although he employed some of the same principles that can be found in the Bible, he did not know about the incredible human potential revealed in the divine institution of family. However, you can know the inspiring purpose and vision behind family by reading The Missing Dimension in Sex, available free of charge upon request.

Don’t be discouraged. The epidemic of fatherlessness and the ugly world it is producing is simply the last labored gasp of a world that must soon admit it hasn’t figured out how to live. Although fatherhood seems doomed in our so-called advanced Western society, those who are attempting to deconstruct it altogether are actually on the losing end.

Soon, the ultimate Father will intervene in human affairs, leaving the voluble “experts” speechless. Through His Son, God the Father will re-establish family and fatherhood—which have been under attack since the very first family in Eden—as the core of humanity. He will enforce His laws of love governing family.

As a result, the full, incredible human potential of each child will be unlocked. Children everywhere will have a loving, giving, masculine, authoritative father to guide them, not into the way he thinks is best, but into the right way of living clearly commanded in God’s Word, the Holy Bible.

The change between the children of today and the children of tomorrow will be even more brilliant, more inspiring than the rise of Theodore Roosevelt Jr. from sickly invalid to adventurer and world leader. And the fathers of tomorrow will amaze even Theodore Roosevelt Sr.

Global Stock Markets Plunge

From the October 2007 Trumpet Print Edition

The end of July and beginning of August saw huge drops in financial markets worldwide, with the United States leading the fall.

In New York, the last full week of July was the worst week in nearly five years. The s&p 500 Index plummeted almost 5 percent. The Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged more than 440 points in one day, close to its biggest drop since 9/11.

The same week, in London, the ftse 100 Index suffered through its worst week since 2003, finishing down 5.6 percent. The July 26 trading session registered as the most volatile in UK history.

Heavy losses also occurred in Asia; markets in Europe were lower as well.

In Israel, Tel Aviv stocks (TA 25 Index) dropped 7 percent over two days of trading at the end of July.

Then on August 1, Australia’s stock market suffered its largest one-day fall since September 2001—shedding more than 3 percent of its value in a matter of hours.

This plunge sent shock waves throughout Asia. Hong Kong lost 3.15 percent, South Korea tumbled 3.97 percent, Tokyo fell 2.19 percent, and Singapore lost 3.27 percent.

“The stock market correction is turning out to be more serious than expected. We may take longer to recover from this … blow,” said Phillip Securities managing director Loh Hoon Sun (Straits Times, August 2).

The bottom line: Major markets are moving in unison more than ever before.

The recent cascade in stock markets is the result of new worries concerning a looming global credit crunch, according to bbc News. “In past years, financial markets, companies and consumers have all benefited from low interest rates and easy access to money, helping fuel a boom in spending, house price inflation and corporate takeovers” (July 27).

Trouble may continue as many central banks raise interest rates to alleviate inflation worries. Higher rates mean the cost of borrowing also rises, affecting access to credit as well as prices investors are willing to pay for assets.

However, a bigger threat to credit markets, especially in the U.S. and Britain, is the housing bubble. In America especially, huge investor losses in the subprime mortgage market have caused a re-pricing of risk across the industry. Investors are now less keen to buy any kind of risky loan from banks, and banks are stuck holding the loans on their books—reducing the amount of money available to lend.

With tightening credit markets, the worry is that the takeover boom may be ending, since there will be less fuel for investors and corporations to continue to drive up share prices through corporate mergers and acquisitions.

“We’ve had this massive change in investor expectations in terms of new deal flow,” Fred Dickson of D.A. Davidson & Co. said. “The lifeguards have shouted, and investors are now starting to heed their warnings and head back to shore” (ibid.).

Does recent stock market action foreshadow a coming global crash? As worldwide stock index figures show, investor confidence in the global economy as a whole is falling.

Signs of a global economic crisis continue to appear on the horizon. A stock market crash is ahead, and global economic leadership is about to pass from the U.S. to Europe. To see how this is already happening in terms of global confidence and reserve currency status, read “New Global Trend: Dump a Dollar, Buy a Euro” in our March issue.

Fool’s Paradise

Fool’s Paradise

James Steidl/iStock

History shows how easy it is to ignore danger.
From the November 2007 Trumpet Print Edition

A recent visit to Australia left me noting one glaring similarity between Aussies and Americans. The leftists have brainwashed both societies into living in a fool’s paradise.

They have accomplished this in each of these countries since World War ii by a combination of deft use of the education system, a takeover of the mass media, and promulgation of liberal-socialist legislation by the left.

It is no mere coincidence that the last great crop of leaders of real character, of true statesmen and heroes in battle, emerged from the pre-World War ii, pre-liberalized education system.

By contrast, the free democracies of the world (largely comprised of the English-speaking peoples) are today being led by prime ministers and presidents who developed as individuals within post-World War ii society. These have been the years of the feminizing of society, the blurring of gender roles, the emasculation of language, and the neutering of anything that might smack of the old values upon which our respective nations were built.

We now live out the legacy of the Marxist-Leninist theoreticians’ takeover of education in the ’60s, its flower-power results of the ’70s, the corporate greed backlash of the ’80s, and the self-fulfillment rush of the ’90s. Today we see the high penalty we must pay for satiating our senses at any price: the accelerating meltdown of the whole post-war system!

Read the signs: The consumer society is simply doomed!

Whether it be our national debt, the state of our increasingly incompatible multicultural societies, the transfer of major industries offshore, the conversion of our once-great agricultural export economies into net importers, the volatility of our stock markets, the increasing gender confusion within society, or the rising hatred for people of Anglo-Saxon and Judaic stock—threats to the freedoms hard won in World War ii currently abound.

What is it about us essentially peace-loving, generally good-natured Anglo-Saxons that causes us to ignore any powerfully aggressive threat to our freedoms until our enemies try to smash us?

Should it not have been obvious, given their history, that the Teutonic peoples of Europe would use the Treaty of Versailles as a cloak under which to heap retribution on those nations that humiliated them in World War i? Ought it not to have been self-evident that a signature on a piece of paper of a rabble-rousing, Jew-hating tyrant gave absolutely no protection whatsoever against his imperialistic drives in 1939? Should it not have been clear to all that a corpulent, gun-toting, scraggy-bearded Palestinian addressing the United Nations was simply enhancing his platform calling for the annihilation of the tiny nation of Israel? And should it not have been apparent to any level-headed political leader, looking into the eyes of a former Russian kgb agent who suddenly rises to the presidency of his own country, that he is certainly not “a man I can trust”?

Reflecting on better times, British politician Lord Hailsham, in an address to the Churchill Society in Canada, raised the question, “Has anyone paused to wonder whether the ideas and the ideals which this great man [Churchill] fostered and defended in his long public life have worthy defenders left upon this Earth today?” Lord Hailsham added, “History is now, and no one knew better than Winston that history is, always, ours to make” (The Heroic Memory).

Any realist would have to agree that the history that Western—in particular Anglo-Saxon—civilization is writing today is a history we are bound to regret.

Western society’s decline may have been accelerated by the events of 9/11. The signs are, its fall is but a matter of time. But, inevitably, history shows, we will have to learn this the hard way.

As we either ignore or remain willingly ignorant of the hard facts of the impending doom of our hedonistic way of life, will it yet again take an enemy intent on smashing us over the head to wake us up to the reality of our great moral decline into Romanesque decadence?

While Western mass media remain stupidly hypnotized by a petty Persian windbag and lesser extremist Islamists loud on rhetoric and great on blowing themselves and others to bits, we ignore one great fact of history. The major threats to the freedoms of the Anglo-Saxon peoples have always been initiated from the continent of Europe.

Though Imperial Japan did raise a dire threat to our existence in World War ii, it did not initiate that war on the West. The two greatest wars in man’s history were launched against the free West from Europe.

That such a catastrophe could again be perpetrated against our shores from Europe is incomprehensible to our educationalists, our politicians, press and mass media. But inerrant Bible prophecy clearly indicates that it will happen yet once again!

You need to study our booklet revealing the prophecy of Nahum for real insight into the history and the future of a great nation even now on the verge of grasping the power to instigate such an act.

Our prayer is that you will break out of the fool’s paradise that currently enraptures Western society, and really WAKE UP to the reality of what is truly happening on the world scene … before it is too late!