At first I was thinking of using the title ‘is it past time to kill your dictator as I am not sure which title was the most appropriate, or, is neither appropriate? In today’s world it does seem that most dictators choose to keep power in a country by fraud sham elections so as to say they are legally elected Presidents. Examples of this could be Mozambique and Robert Mugabe, Cuba with the Castro’s or even Mubarak of Egypt. I used these three as my first examples because none of the three actually died in Office. Mugabe and Mubarak were both removed from Office by their Nations military at the insistence of the will of the people. I am not nor have I ever been a fan of either of the Castro’s but surprisingly they gave up power of their own accord mainly because of age and health reasons. The Castro brothers are different in the reality that most dictators refuse to give up power until they are dead or removed from power by their military.
Any time that a country has a ‘one party’ political system that is simply another way to say dictatorship. Good examples of this are with Syria’s President Assad and Russia’s Putin. Then there is the illegitimate Communist government on mainland China where only the Communist Party leadership decides who will be their ‘President’ every 10 years that is until their current President Xi Jinping came into the picture. Now the Mainland has themselves a ‘President for life’ with Mr. Xi Jinping and the people have no power to get rid of him outside of killing him. Another type of example of a Dictator resides in North Korea where their Leader Mr. Kim Jong Un considers himself to be a living God even though I find it odd that the two former ‘gods’ of North Korea are dead. One of the things that these people have in common, just as in Turkey with their ‘President’ Mr. Erdogan, they are all mass murderers. Then there are cases like in Iran where the actual Leader who calls himself the ‘Supreme Leader’ whom should be known as the Supreme Murderer of Iran who has final say in all things even over the Nations President.
I know that by the Biblical Scriptures we are told that we should pray for our Leaders. Scripture says nothing about whether these Leaders are Kings (Dictators), Priests or honestly elected Presidents or Prime Ministers as these are just titles. Folks, titles do not go to Heaven nor to Hell, people do. People also tells us that we are not allowed to murder anyone yet it is very plain that in cases of war we are allowed to defend ourselves and our families. We as people are also allowed to defend ourselves and families if our lives are in imminent danger such as someone who is armed breaks into our home and threatens you. This would also be so if let’s say you are in a store, a concert or a Church and a person or people come in and start shooting, we have every right to defend ourselves. Folks this does include the reality of ‘anyone’ whom is trying to kill you or your loved ones. Folks, this does mean anyone whom is trying to kill you, by this I mean if military people, police or even a Congressman or a President is actively trying to physically harm you, you have the absolute right to defend yourselves. By this I do mean (for example) what happened in Waco Texas in the early 1990’s where the government murdered over a hundred people, women and children included. This was a case where police came bursting through the doors and windows while shooting at the people inside whom had not yet shot one bullet at the Officers.
Now let’s get back to the issue of killing your Dictator, do you/we have the right to do so? Even though the human in me says that there should be no Dictators on the face of the Earth, this is not a reality. When it comes to G-d’s Judgement Day all Leaders will have to answer for all of their actions as Leaders both good and evil. On a smaller scale the same situation exists within a Church community as far as the Leaders who are responsible for the safety of the Flock who committed crimes against the Flock. I am not saying here that the members of the Church have the right to kill (lets say, a pedophile) though we do have the right to not allow them to be a part of the Congregation at all and we do have the right to charge them in front of our Nation’s Courts. What I am saying though is that all Church Leaders will have to answer for their actions as ‘Guardians’ of the Flock whether good or evil. So, do we have the right to kill our Dictator even if they are a murderer like Mr. Putin or Kim Jong Un? These Dictators, are they actively trying to kill you or your loved ones? When the answer is no, we have no such right to harm them, peacefully try to remove them from their position, yes, kill them, no.
Obviously this letter to you is just my thought, my beliefs. Like is almost all of my letters to you I am simply trying to get you to think about the issue that I am writing to you about. What are your thoughts on this matter, what do you believe? Leave me a note, let me know your thoughts?
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Has Donald Trump Murdered Christianity In The U.S.?
While I was thinking about this article and what to call it I at first thought to name it ‘Donald Trump HAS Murdered Christianity in the U.S.’ but I realized that this was not the truth, he has not done so. To me, I believe that Donald Trump is a very VERY immoral and a very evil human being but he did not murder Christianity in this country nor in any other country. The Christian faith has been under attack by the Media and by simply ignorant people for decades now here in the U.S.. Having someone like Mr. Trump as our Nation’s President has without a doubt (in my opinion) hurt the Christian faith though. Now, I am going to write about who I do blame for hurting the reputation of The Faith and I promise that this will not be a long drawn out article. This is not going to be an article about whom I blame the most, then second most and so on, it is just going to be about guilt over all.
1.) First Donald Trump for daring to say in his ignorance that he is a Christian when he knows nothing about Christianity. He is what The Lord refers to as “lukewarm water”, he says he is a Christian and for those who don’t know any better some will tend to think that he is one of us and will use him as an example of why Christians are such bad people.
2.) The Media (over all). Not all media outlets are ignorant nor are they all evil by nature and some, are just stupid. Many outlets have been blaming Christianity as a ‘bad thing’ for years here in the U.S. through ignorance and some through hate.
3.) The Republican Party (especially Senator Mitch McConnell, the leader of the U.S. Senate) whom has been trying to say they are the “Christian right” all the way back to the time of the Reagan Presidency in the 1980’s. For the past 20 years or so there has been a group within the Republican Party who calls themselves the “Tea Party” who considers themselves “Conservative Christians” whom over all, I believe are far from being Christians at all. One of the big reasons that I am saying this is because they are a huge portion of the steadfast base of Mr. Trump. What these folks have been proving to the rest of the Nation and to the whole World is that they (Trump base) are ignorant, uneducated racists white people. The Media in turn has been glad to say “see, these people are examples of Christians” so, do you see how horrible these Christian people are.
4.) This group is without a doubt (to me) the main villains in this story and that is the people themselves. The people who dare to call themselves Christians yet enthusiastically endorse Donald Trump. I know that a lot of people will say things like “well I have to endorse the Republicans because the Democrats endorse abortion and I just can’t go with them.” To a degree this can seem to make some sense but in effect all these people are doing is choosing one Demonic entity over another Demonic entity. Some people who call themselves Christians have chosen to not vote at all because of this issue even before Mr. Trump came onto the National political scene yet, is this the best way for the actual Christians in this Country to respond? My thought on this issue is no, Christians need to be voting in force in this and in all Countries but not for the Democrats nor for the Republicans.
I have heard for the past 40 years or so how we need more than two Political Parties in this Country and I do agree with this issue. We The People whom are Christians do need to come out of these two very evil Political Parties and to form at least one other Political Party. I believe that this would start the development of other Political Parties. There could end up being 5-10-15 other ‘Parties’ on the ballots but at least then groups of people could have real choices of whom and what they agreed with and did not agree with when or if they choose to vote. Christians MUST come out from ‘the world’ for we are not of this world, to not do so is to indorse Satan whom rules this world.
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When I was an 8-year old child in 1968, I took part in a voluntary school-bussing program to promote desegregation in Syracuse, New York. In the spring of 1968, soon after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, letters were sent to some families in the suburbs of Syracuse asking if they’d be interested in having their child attend a school in the inner city of Syracuse. At the time, I remember my father and mother debating why a young white boy like me should be allowed to go to a predominantly black school. Many relatives and family friends were concerned it may not be a good idea to send me far from my neighborhood. My father, who was an editor at a large newspaper in Syracuse, was supportive of me being bussed. In time, my mother became supportive of the idea too.
To my parent’s credit, they didn’t make the decision for me to attend the school and didn’t pressure me. Before a decision was made my parents asked me what I thought of the idea. At first I didn’t know what to think. However… I soon came to support the idea and agreed to change schools in the fall. The adventure had begun. To this day I still am glad I had the experience of going to Martin Luther King Elementary.
My memories of the school have many positive aspects. However, the transition to my new surroundings took a while. Although it was difficult to get used to sitting on a bus for over an hour a day, I eventually got used to the ride. In addition, many features of the school were radically different than what I was used to. For one, I felt alone as a young white boy in a sea of black faces. In addition, since we had very few blacks in my suburban school, I now knew what it was like to be a minority. Understandably, my appearance at the black school caused reactions in my black classmates. For more times than I can remember I was called “Honky” as I was jokingly asked by my classmates whether I was lost or why I was far from home.
Interestingly and contrary to the concerns of many, I was never beat-up or in any fights in my new school. Although there were a few times when I was nudged by assertive boys or glared at, I never had concerns for my well-being and made friends in my new school. In particular, I became close friends with two young black boys in my 4th grade who looked out for me. We made an interesting trio on the campus of school. In addition to my close friends looking out for me, what helped me cope was the fact I realized at a young age that who I was as an individual actually mattered more than the fact I was white. Soon after I got to my new surroundings I learned to defuse tensions caused by my whiteness. What I quickly learned was that if I was defensive or reacted angry to the joking caused by my appearance, that things could escalate.
When I look back on my experience with the integration of blacks and whites, I realize that the experience definitely helped me understand that it is who we are as human beings, regardless of race, that truly matters. As many of us remember, many appeals were made by leaders such as Martin Luther King to not only seek equality of opportunity for blacks, but to also have people focus on the content of the character of each person as opposed to just their skin color.
When we fast-forward to the issues of today, lets try to understand that the modern concept of white privilege can be used to judge a person solely on the color of their skin. To truly heal racial tensions in America it may be best if we try not to look at outward appearance and race as a predominant factor in our lives. Obviously, racial differences are there and cannot be ignored. And yes…there is such a thing as the fact that certain whites go through life in ways that may be easier than some blacks. However, if we focus on race predominantly in judging individuals we’re basically reinforcing a stereotypical approach.
In today’s America it is valid to seek equality of opportunity for minorities. However, to make race such an intense focus in our day to day lives creates high levels of tension throughout all of society. Ultimately, and in the final analysis, it is the content of our character as individuals that matters most in life. When all Americans of all races put the quality of an individual’s character above their outward appearance, we may finally get to the place that Martin Luther King dreamt about.
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As the religious landscape of America continues to change and those identifying with faith continues to decline, the fear of standing out as a Christian is growing.
And that is impacting evangelism efforts.
There’s a greater apprehension among those who do count themselves as Christians to not only share their faith but to even appear differently from the rest of society, according to Bo Rice, assistant professor of evangelism and preaching at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. They’re too afraid to stand for beliefs that might be seen as offensive to others in a diversifying culture.
“I believe in the politically correct, politically charged climate of our culture today, believers are afraid to take a stand and to look different for fear of being accused of being intolerant toward others. Unfortunately, we have reached a point in American history where Christians are afraid to speak biblical truth in love out of fear of retribution,” Rice told The Christian Post.
“Many Christians have just assimilated into the culture of the world so they won’t ‘offend’ anyone.”
New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary President Charles “Chuck” Kelley Jr., who earlier in October announced he will be retiring from his position, makes a similar point in his recently released book, Fuel the Fire.
Kelley laments that Christians are simply blending in with the secular world.
Overchurched to underchurched
While it can be argued that the older generations might have been “overchurched,” the reality today is that some people have “never stepped foot in a church,” said Noel Heikkinen, lead pastor at Riverview Church in the Lansing, Michigan.
Many people in the current generation don’t have the church experience that previous generations were exposed to.
As a result, “their view of Christianity is what they have seen in pop culture, and what we are seeing even more so is that it’s derived from social media,” Heikkinen explained to CP.
He said that for a lot of younger people, “their whole perception of Christianity is not about the Gospel, or Jesus, or any of that.”
Unlike previous generations, young people today “have very much an ‘a la carte’ approach to spirituality,” meaning that they want to “pick and choose what strands of their spirituality are important to them,” the Michigan pastor said.
“Even if they hear a preacher say Scripture has to be the ultimate authority in their lives, there is always going to be an asterisk” next to that, and they will turn to their “own truth” if they hear something they disagree with, he noted.
For many young people, “there is no real truth that lies outside of their own personal experiences, biases and assumptions.”
“The self becomes the arbitrator of personal truth; personal truth becomes greater than absolute truth,” Heikkinen said.
Rice also believes that the number of people in the U.S. who have never heard of Jesus Christ is growing.
“We are seeing and hearing of more stories right here in the U.S. of people coming to faith in Christ after hearing about Jesus for the first time. However, I do agree, in America, we often encounter those who are ‘disillusioned’ with ‘religion’ altogether,” Rice said.
Christianity in decline
Many polls have painted a complex picture of the religious landscape in America. One overarching trend that has emerged in most surveys and analyses is that the proportion of those identifying with Christianity, especially young people, is shrinking.
A study by Gallup in April found that while 71 percent of Americans identified with a Protestant denomination back in 1955, the percentage decreased to less than half (47 percent) of the population in 2017.
Roman Catholics retained a more stable rate of identification, making up 22 percent of the population in 2017, compared to 24 percent in 1955.
Young people were found to be one of the chief drivers of the rising “nonreligious” demographic, with 33 percent of those aged 21 to 29 stating that they follow no religion.
J. Warner Wallace, a cold case detective, author and senior fellow at the Colson Center for Christian Worldview, chronicled more than 50 similar surveys back in January and concluded: “Fewer people claim a Christian affiliation than ever before, and those who claim no religious affiliation are the fastest growing group in America.”
Researcher George Barna of the American Culture & Faith Institute noted, following a survey of 9,273 American adults in November 2017, which found that only 31 percent of adults identify as born-again Christians, that faith is undergoing a “substantial challenge.”
“The Church at-large is not likely to grow in the future unless some fundamental changes in practice are made,” Barna warned.
The survey found that people are most likely to accept Christ as Savior before they finish high school, with two out of every three individuals who say they are born again revealing they made the choice before the age of 18.
Currently, evangelism — defined as the act of proclaiming the message that Jesus Christ is Lord — in America is in what Rice calls a “confused” state.
One of Merriam Webster’s definitions of confusion is “a state or situation in which many things are happening in a way that is not controlled or orderly.”
“I believe that this is a good picture of evangelism today. We are not seeing the large-scale, structured evangelism campaigns emphasized as strongly in present-day churches like we have in the past,” Rice, who is also the dean of Graduate Studies at the Southern Baptist Convention-affiliated NOBTS, observed. “So we have lost the ‘controlled’ aspect of systematic approaches and more accurate reporting of numbers.”
Evangelism is still being done by individual churches and individuals but for Rice, the main question is whether their approach is effective in “reaching people for the Kingdom of God.”
Heikkinen is, meanwhile, involved in another approach to evangelism: church planting.
He serves as the U.S. Midwest network director for Acts 29 Network, which focuses on planting churches in areas that have “a lot less Gospel influence.”
There are certain pockets in America where there’s been a good response to church planting and evangelism.
“Some of the most successful efforts in the past 30 years” have been “primarily in suburban areas,” Heikkinen noted. “It’s been a much easier place to plant churches.”
He acknowledged that churches in America are “declining faster” than they are growing. And church planters are struggling to plant in an urban context as well as in rural small towns.
In the major cities, people, especially in economically disadvantaged zones, are “suspicious of those coming in from outside” and would ask “why are you here?”
Suspicion against the church has intensified with the rise of the #MeToo and #ChurchToo movements. People are seeing churches “as a place to cover up” sexual assault and to “protect those that are hurting vulnerable people,” Heikkinen added.
Church planters are encountering a lot of that sentiment, particularly from the younger generation.
Both the Protestant and Catholic world have been mired in sexual abuse cases. The sexual assault accusations against and downfall of high-profile megachurch pastor Bill Hybels, as well as Andy Savage in Tennessee, have prompted much discussion on accountability in evangelical circles. While the Catholic Church has faced scandals worldwide, decades of clergy sex abuse and institutional cover-ups were revealed in Pennsylvania and other states earlier this year.
Underlying those scandals have been the thousands of #ChurchToo stories shared in online circles by people, mostly women, who say they have suffered rape and other forms of sexual abuse by Christians in leadership and others within churches.
All of this has a direct consequence on how Christianity is perceived in America and creates difficult challenges for evangelism, both Rice and Heikkinen affirmed.
“Unfortunately, I do think when a believer falls, especially clergy and lay leaders, it’s a deterrent to the advancement of the Gospel,” Rice commented.
“Satan uses the ‘fall’ of leaders whether it be through the abuse of innocent children and the abuse of women, adultery, and addiction, to name a few, to attempt to destroy the credibility of believers and of the Gospel. Through this, the sin is magnified and these ‘Christians’ are made out to be ‘worse than the world’ so that all who see their fall and who do not know the story of Redemption through Christ have no desire to be associated with them.
“However, it is our job to make sure we preach the Redemptive portion of the story. … We need Jesus because of those very sin issues.”
Heikkinen reflected that there is mistrust in the U.S. toward authority in general, and that mistrust “bleeds into the church,” especially when it comes to cases of sex abuse.
Looking at just how many people have been accusing Christian leaders and churches of varying degrees of abuse and cover-ups, the Michigan pastor said that he can’t claim to be surprised.
“But I would say I am heartbroken,” Heikkinen said.
“I truly believe that sin is real,” he added, stressing that when looking at history, people know such abuse has “always been there.”
“I want our churches to be a light to this world,” Heikkinen emphasized, admitting that “it’s hard right now to be a voice in our culture” due to the scandals.
Christians need to regain trust and the universal Church has to take big steps in that regard.
He pointed to 2 Timothy in the Bible, where the Apostle Paul says in part:
“Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, the offspring of David, as preached in my Gospel, for which I am suffering, bound with chains as a criminal. But the word of God is not bound! Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.”
Rice turned to Acts 1:8, which reads:
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the Earth.”
Rice insisted that the future of evangelism in America is not bleak.
“If the believers of Christ will look to Him for His promised Spirit, direction, and power, then we will see Him accomplish great things through us,” he underscored. “In short, evangelism will be successful because Jesus is on His throne, and He still desires to use His people to bring about His purpose and will.”
How to evangelize
Traditional methods of evangelism include preaching on the streets, which was popular in the ’70s, but it might not be as effective as before.
For Heikkinen, the most effective way to spread the Gospel message and bring people to Jesus is through relationships.
”I think what we are discovering is that evangelism is about being friends with people,” speaking with them honestly, and not hiding one’s own sins, he explained.
Rather than starting with theological teachings right away when engaging with nonbelievers, he emphasized the importance of building friendships with them first.
When something happens in their lives and they need someone to talk to, the Christian friend can step up and share how their beliefs have helped them, he said.
“Some of the people I have personally been able to lead to faith in the last several years have all been my friends first,” he revealed.
Heikkinen noted that the opportunity presents itself when something happens in people’s lives, and then they think of him: “He is a pastor and a Christian, I should talk to him.”
That strategy is also discussed in Friend of Sinners: An Approach to Evangelism by author and pastor Harvey Turner, also of the Acts 29 Network. The book details how the approach mirrors the ministry of Jesus Himself, who had conversations with everyday people and chose to be a “friend of the sinners.”
Rice noted that while his personal approach to evangelizing hasn’t changed much, he also tries to practice what he called “Gospel conversations,” namely “taking the time to develop relationships with people (even if it’s in a short amount of time) and then transitioning to a Gospel presentation in regular conversation.”
And that presentation must be the “full truth,” Rice stressed.
“To many, the Gospel and biblical principles are controversial and offensive. But we are called to be witnesses of the full truth, not just the parts of the Bible that make us ‘feel good’ or ‘comfortable,’” he said.
“So yes, the culture is changing and the context of ministry might be more difficult in our postmodern world, but that doesn’t mean we should water down biblical truth just to make it ‘easier’ for us … because if we do that, what Gospel are we preaching? Our own? May we never make a mockery of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross in such a way.”
Christians must also not forget to extend a clear invitation to respond to the message of Jesus Christ.
Rice observed that in recent decades, fewer evangelicals ask for an “explicit response to the Gospel.”
“Some no longer extend an invitation because they are fearful it might come across as manipulative,” he cautioned.
“I believe we must never use any form of manipulation in calling people to respond to the Gospel, but we must call for a clear and decisive response of people to repent of their sins and trust in Christ as Savior and Lord. We must plead and urge people to respond to the truth.”
Heikkinen often wonders what the state of Christianity in the U.S. will look like in the future.
“The trend that I see happening, and I hope I am wrong, is that American churches will [continue] declining in influence,” he said.
But that doesn’t leave him pessimistic in seeing more people in America gain salvation through Jesus Christ because the work of evangelism will still go on, but not always from within.
There’s another trend that can’t be ignored — the Christian faith is growing overseas, such as in China and in parts of Africa and South America. And they will send a new “generation of missionaries to come to the United States and preach,” Heikkinen said.
Those overseas churches are earnestly praying for faith in America, he highlighted.
Federal authorities in Washington state are investigating the latest in a troubling series of arson cases at worship halls for Jehovah’s Witnesses.
The latest fire broke out Friday at a Kingdom Hall for Jehovah’s Witnesses in Lacey, Washington, completely destroying the building. The Seattle branch of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) ruled the fire an arson on Saturday. The fire broke out at about 3:30 a.m. and no one was in the building at the time, the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office said.
The fire was the fifth at a Kingdom Hall in Thurston County this year, according to the ATF. All of the cases remain unsolved.
“Why is this specific religion being targeted? Why are these churches being targeted? What are they doing that is so wrong and oppressive?” Thurston County Sheriff John Snaza told Seattle ABC affiliate KOMO.
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee responded to the latest arson on Friday, calling it an “abhorrent act.”
Governor Jay Inslee
The freedom to worship is a right that should be protected for every person in our country. Our thoughts are with the members of our community affected by this abhorrent act.
KING 5 News
The Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Lacey was destroyed Friday morning by a fire that detectives call suspicious. https://kng5.tv/2RHVciB
The most recent fire before Friday’s was on Aug. 8 when someone attempted to burn down a Kingdom Hall in Yelm, Washington, about 15 miles southeast of Lacey. There was minimal damage, but police also found a dummy device designed to look like an explosive. Someone opened fire on that same hall in May, spraying it with 35 rounds and causing $10,000 in damage, according to KOMO.
On March 19, fires were started at Kingdom Halls in Olympia and Tumwater. Tumwater and Olympia are only 3 miles apart. Police released surveillance video at the time showing a man at the Tumwater center dressed in jeans and a navy blue hoodie pouring gasoline from a gallon jug and then lighting it on fire.
After suffering minor damage in March, the Olympia Kingdom Hall was destroyed by a second fire in July.
No one has been injured in any of the incidents, all of which have occurred in the early morning hours when no one was inside the buildings.
The ATF announced in July it has connected the arson cases in Yelm, Olympia and Tumwater — as well as the shooting in Yelm. It’s not yet clear if Friday’s fire is also connected.
(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)
‘Hezbollah’ Exploits Disputes in The Mountain to Reshuffle Druze Alignments
Sunday, 9 December, 2018 – 10:15
A Druze woman (L) walks with a Christian woman in the village of Brih, Lebanon April 23, 2016. REUTERS/Aziz Taher
Beirut – Wajdi Al-Aridi
The events of the Mountain and developments in the town of Jahilia last week have reshuffled political alignments and divisions among Druze leaders, reminiscent of the post-2005 period.
In this regard, a minister of the Democratic Gathering bloc, headed by MP Taymor Jumblatt, noted that “Hezbollah” wanted to reunite the March 8 Coalition’s Druze officials, after they were divided during the parliamentary elections, which would lead to the fortification of its internal situation through the realignment of its allies.
This means the return of communication between the head of the Tawheed Party, Wiam Wahhab, and the Democratic Party President, MP Talal Arslan, Hezbollah’s rival allies.
The minister, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told Asharq Al-Awsat: “Quite frankly, the party [Hezbollah] entered the Sunni house through some figures, and today it is seeking to enter the Mountain through its allies to send a message to the leader of the Progressive Socialist Party Walid Jumblatt.”
The minister asserted that Hezbollah, through its current policies, was seeking to tighten the grip on Lebanon, with Iranian support, in the wake of the new sanctions imposed by the United States against Tehran and the party.
“Through Hezbollah, Iran is maneuvering a political and security exercise on the Lebanese territory, trying to make this country a platform for the exchange of messages through its allies,” he noted.
Meanwhile, Democratic Gathering bloc MP Henry Helou told Asharq Al-Awsat that the bloc’s recent meeting, which was held in Jumblatt’s presence, was aimed at taking a series of steps and measures that would fortify the mountain security at the social and living levels, after the recent developments.
As for Jumblatt’s fears that some figures would seek to restrict his role and enter his region, Helou underlined that no one was capable of curbing Jumblatt’s influence.
“He is a Druze and patriotic leader. Al-Mukhtara has its Arab and national role,” he stated.
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Footage from the event shows much of the church, including the former presidents seated with Trump, standing to recite the profession of faith.
Trump and first lady Melania Trump stood, but did not recite the creed, which was written in the program, nor did they sing the hymns.
Given Trump’s widespread support among evangelical Christians, that led to plenty of criticism on social media:
Hey @Franklin_Graham here’s your “evangelical president” NOT reciting the Apostles’ Creed at the funeral of your father’s friend. Maybe he thinks it’s the name of the next movie with Stallone and Michael B. Jordan.
Replying to @richardmarx
Nor did the current evangelical savior (or nude model gold digger) feel it was necessary to recite the Apostles Creed…how very Christian of them
It’s SO weird that Barack Obama (the “Muslim”) knew all the words to the Apostles’ Creed, and Donald Trump (the Evangelical hero) didn’t know any of them, and didn’t even bother to read them. #GeorgeHWBushFuneral
Trump spent much of the service scowling, with his arms crossed, not participating in the recitation of prayers or the singing of hymns.@robertjeffress and other evangelicals must have found that most refreshing. Trump’s so mature and manly, isn’t he? So respectful.
Donald J. Trump
Looking forward to being with the Bush family. This is not a funeral, this is a day of celebration for a great man who has led a long and distinguished life. He will be missed!
(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE CIA WORLD FACTBOOK)
Unique among African countries, the ancient Ethiopian monarchy maintained its freedom from colonial rule with the exception of the 1936-41 Italian occupation during World War II. In 1974, a military junta, the Derg, deposed Emperor Haile SELASSIE (who had ruled since 1930) and established a socialist state. Torn by bloody coups, uprisings, wide-scale drought, and massive refugee problems, the regime was finally toppled in 1991 by a coalition of rebel forces, the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF). A constitution was adopted in 1994, and Ethiopia’s first multiparty elections were held in 1995. A border war with Eritrea late in the 1990’s ended with a peace treaty in December 2000. The Eritrea-Ethiopia Border Commission in November 2007 remotely demarcated the border by geographical coordinates, but final demarcation of the boundary on the ground is currently on hold due to Ethiopian objections to an international commission’s finding requiring it to surrender territory considered sensitive to Ethiopia.
Human settlement in Ethiopia dates back to ancient times. Fossilized remains of the earliest ancestors to the human species, discovered in Ethiopia, have been assigned dates as long ago as 5.9 million years. Together with Eritrea and the southeastern part of the Red Sea coast of Sudan (Beja lands), it is considered the most likely location of the land known to the ancient Egyptians as Punt (or “Ta Netjeru,” meaning land of the Gods), whose first mention dates to the twenty-fifth century BC.
Dʿmt and Axum
Around the eighth century BC, a kingdom known as Dʿmt was established in northern Ethiopia and Eritrea, with its capital at Yeha in northern Ethiopia. Most modern historians consider this civilization to be a native African one, although Sabaean-influenced due to the latter’s hegemony of the Red Sea, while others view Dʿmt as the result of a mixture of “culturally superior” Sabaeans and indigenous peoples. However, Ge’ez, the ancient Semitic language of Ethiopia, is now thought not to have derived from Sabaean (also South Semitic). There is evidence of a Semitic-speaking presence in Ethiopia and Eritrea at least as early as 2000 BC. Sabaean influence is now thought to have been minor, limited to a few localities, and disappearing after a few decades or a century, perhaps representing a trading or military colony in some sort of symbiosis or military alliance with the Ethiopian civilization of Dʿmt or some other proto-Aksumite state.
After the fall of Dʿmt in the fifth century BC, the plateau came to be dominated by smaller successor kingdoms, until the rise of one of these kingdoms during the first century BC, the Aksumite Kingdom, ancestor of medieval and modern Ethiopia, which was able to reunite the area. They established bases on the northern highlands of the Ethiopian Plateau and from there expanded southward. The Persian religious figure Mani listed Aksum with Rome, Persia, and China as one of the four great powers of his time.
In 316 AD, a Christian philosopher from Tyre, Meropius, embarked on a voyage of exploration along the coast of Africa. He was accompanied by, among others, two Syro-Greeks, Frumentius and his brother Aedesius. The vessel was stranded on the coast, and the natives killed all the travelers except the two brothers, who were taken to the court and given positions of trust by the monarch. They both practiced the Christian faith in private, and soon converted the queen and several other members of the royal court. Upon the king’s death, Frumentius was appointed regent of the realm by the queen, and instructor of her young son, Prince Ezana. A few years later, upon Ezana’s coming of age, Aedesius and Frumentius left the kingdom, the former returning to Tyre where he was ordained, and the latter journeying to Alexandria. Here, he consulted Athanasius, who ordained him and appointed him Bishop of Aksum. He returned to the court and baptized the King Ezana, together with many of his subjects, and in short order Christianity was proclaimed the official state religion again. For this accomplishment, he received the title “Abba Selama” (“Father of peace”).
At various times, including a fifty-year period in the sixth century, Aksum controlled most of modern-day Yemen and some of southern Saudi Arabia just across the Red Sea, as well as controlling southern Egypt, northern Sudan, northern Ethiopia, Eritrea, Djibouti, and northern Somalia.
The line of rulers descended from the Aksumite kings was broken several times: first by the Jewish (unknown/or pagan) Queen Gudit around 950 (or possibly around 850, as in Ethiopian histories). It was then interrupted by the Zagwe dynasty; it was during this dynasty that the famous rock-hewn churches of Lalibela were carved under King Lalibela, allowed by a long period of peace and stability.
Around 1270, the Solomonic dynasty came to control Ethiopia, claiming descent from the kings of Aksum. They called themselves Neguse Negest (“King of Kings,” or Emperor), basing their claims on their direct descent from Solomon and the queen of Sheba.
Restored contact with Europe
In the early fifteenth century Ethiopia sought to make diplomatic contact with European kingdoms for the first time since Aksumite times. A letter from King Henry IV of England to the Emperor of Abyssinia survives. In 1428, the Emperor Yeshaq sent two emissaries to Alfons V of Aragon, who sent return emissaries that failed to complete the return trip. The first continuous relations with a European country began in 1508 with Portugal under Emperor Lebna Dengel, who had just inherited the throne from his father.
This proved to be an important development, for when the Empire was subjected to the attacks of the Adal General and Imam, Ahmad ibn Ibrihim al-Ghazi (called “Grañ”, or “the Left-handed”), Portugal responded to Lebna Dengel’s plea for help with an army of four hundred men, who helped his son Gelawdewos defeat Ahmad and re-establish his rule. However, when Emperor Susenyos converted to Roman Catholicism in 1624, years of revolt and civil unrest followed resulting in thousands of deaths. The Jesuit missionaries had offended the Orthodox faith of the local Ethiopians, and on June 25, 1632 Susenyos’ son, Emperor Fasilides, declared the state religion to again be Ethiopian Orthodox Christianity, and expelled the Jesuit missionaries and other Europeans.
All of this contributed to Ethiopia’s isolation from 1755 to 1855, called the Zemene Mesafint or “Age of Princes.” The Emperors became figureheads, controlled by warlords like Ras Mikael Sehul of Tigray, and later by the Oromo Yejju dynasty. Ethiopian isolationism ended following a British mission that concluded an alliance between the two nations; however, it was not until 1855 that Ethiopia was completely reunited and the power in the Emperor restored, beginning with the reign of Emperor Tewodros II. Upon his ascent, despite still large centrifugal forces, he began modernizing Ethiopia and recentralizing power in the Emperor, and Ethiopia began to take part in world affairs once again.
By the 1880s, Sahle Selassie, as king of Shewa, and later as Emperor Menilik II began expanding his kingdom to the South and East, expanding into areas that hadn’t been held since the invasion of Ahmed Gragn, and other areas that had never been under Ethiopian rule, resulting in the borders of Ethiopia still existing today.
European Scramble for Africa
The 1880s were marked by the Scramble for Africa and modernization in Ethiopia, when the Italians began to vie with the British for influence in bordering regions. Asseb, a port near the southern entrance of the Red Sea, was bought in March 1870 from the local Afar sultan, vassal to the Ethiopian Emperor, by an Italian company, which by 1890 led to the Italian colony of Eritrea. Conflicts between the two countries resulted in the Battle of Adwa in 1896, whereby the Ethiopians surprised the world by defeating Italy and remaining independent, under the rule of Menelik II. Italy and Ethiopia signed a provisional treaty of peace on October 26, 1896.
The early twentieth century was marked by the reign of Emperor Haile Selassie I,who came to power after Iyasu V was deposed. It was he who undertook the modernization of Ethiopia, from 1916, when he was made a Ras and Regent (Inderase) for Zewditu I and became the de facto ruler of the Ethiopian Empire. Following Zewditu’s death he was made Emperor on 2 November 1930.
The independence of Ethiopia was interrupted by the Second Italo-Abyssinian War and Italian occupation (1936–1941). Some of Ethiopia’s infrastructure (roads most importantly) was built by the fascist Italian occupation troops (not by corvee) between 1937 and 1940. Following the entry of Italy into World War II, the British Empire forces together with patriot Ethiopian fighters liberated Ethiopia in the course of the East African Campaign (World War II) in 1941, which was followed by sovereignty on January 31, 1941 and British recognition of full sovereignty (i.e. without any special British privileges) with the signing of the Anglo-Ethiopian Agreement in December 1944. During 1942 and 1943 there was an Italian guerrilla war in Ethiopia. On August 26, 1942 Haile Selassie I issued a proclamation outlawing slavery.
In 1952 Haile Selassie orchestrated the federation with Eritrea which he dissolved in 1962. This annexation sparked the Eritrean War of Independence. Although Haile Selassie was seen as a national and African hero, opinion within Ethiopia turned against him due to the worldwide oil crisis of 1973, food shortages, uncertainty regarding the succession, border wars, and discontent in the middle class created through modernization.
Haile Selassie’s reign came to an end in 1974, when a pro-Soviet Marxist-Leninist military junta, the “Derg” led by Mengistu Haile Mariam, deposed him, and established a one-party communist state.
The ensuing regime suffered several coups, uprisings, wide-scale drought, and a massive refugee problem. In 1977, there was the Ogaden War, but Ethiopia quickly defeated Somalia with a massive influx of Soviet military hardware and a Cuban military presence coupled with East Germany and South Yemen the following year.
Hundreds of thousands were killed due to the red terror, forced deportations, or from using hunger as a weapon. In 2006, after a long trial, Mengistu was found guilty of genocide.
In 1993 a referendum was held & supervised by the UN mission UNOVER, with universal suffrage and conducted both in and outside Eritrea (among Eritrean communities in the diaspora), on whether Eritreans wanted independence or unity with Ethiopia. Over 99% of the Eritrean people voted for independence which was declared on May 24, 1993. In 1994, a constitution was adopted that led to Ethiopia’s first multi-party elections in the following year. In May 1998, a border dispute with Eritrea led to the Eritrean-Ethiopian War that lasted until June 2000. This has hurt the nation’s economy, but strengthened the ruling coalition. On May 15, 2005, Ethiopia held another multiparty election, which was a highly disputed one with some opposition groups claiming fraud. Though the Carter center appreciated the preelection conditions, it has expressed its dissatisfaction with postelection matters. The 2005 EU election observers continued to accuse the ruling party of vote rigging. Many from the international community are divided about the issue with Irish officials accusing the 2005 EU election observers of corruption for the “inaccurate leaks from the 2005 EU election monitoring body which led the opposition to wrongly believe they had been cheated of victory.” In general, the opposition parties gained more than 200 parliament seats compared to the just 12 in the 2000 elections. Despite most opposition representatives joining the parliament, some leaders of the CUD party are in jail following the post-election violence. Amnesty International considers them “prisoners of conscience”.
September 12, 2007 on the Gregorian calendar marked the beginning of the year 2000 on the Ethiopian calendar.
Location: Eastern Africa, west of Somalia
Geographic coordinates: 8 00 N, 38 00 E
Map references: Africa
Area: total: 1,127,127 sq km
land: 1,119,683 sq km
water: 7,444 sq km
Area – comparative: slightly less than twice the size of Texas
Land boundaries: total: 5,328 km
border countries: Djibouti 349 km, Eritrea 912 km, Kenya 861 km, Somalia 1,600 km, Sudan 1,606 km
Coastline: 0 km (landlocked)
Maritime claims: none (landlocked)
Climate: tropical monsoon with wide topographic-induced variation
Terrain: high plateau with central mountain range divided by Great Rift Valley
Elevation extremes: lowest point: Denakil Depression -125 m
highest point: Ras Dejen 4,620 m
Natural resources: small reserves of gold, platinum, copper, potash, natural gas, hydropower
Land use: arable land: 10.01%
permanent crops: 0.65%
other: 89.34% (2005)
Irrigated land: 2,900 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources: 110 cu km (1987)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural): total: 5.56 cu km/yr (6%/0%/94%)
per capita: 72 cu m/yr (2002)
Natural hazards: geologically active Great Rift Valley susceptible to earthquakes, volcanic eruptions; frequent droughts
Environment – current issues: deforestation; overgrazing; soil erosion; desertification; water shortages in some areas from water-intensive farming and poor management
Environment – international agreements: party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Ozone Layer Protection
signed, but not ratified: Environmental Modification, Law of the Sea
Geography – note: landlocked – entire coastline along the Red Sea was lost with the de jure independence of Eritrea on 24 May 1993; the Blue Nile, the chief headstream of the Nile by water volume, rises in T’ana Hayk (Lake Tana) in northwest Ethiopia; three major crops are believed to have originated in Ethiopia: coffee, grain sorghum, and castor bean
Politics of Ethiopia takes place in a framework of a federal parliamentary republic, whereby the Prime Minister is the head of government. Executive power is exercised by the government. Federal legislative power is vested in both the government and the two chambers of parliament.
On the basis of Article 78 of the 1994 Ethiopian Constitution, the Judiciary is completely independent of the executive and the legislature. The current realities of this provision are questioned in a report prepared by Freedom House (see discussion page for link).
According to The Economist in its Democracy Index, Ethiopia is a “hybrid regime” situated between a “flawed democracy” and an “authoritarian regime”. It ranks 106 out of 167 countries (with the larger number being less democratic). Cambodia ranks as more democratic at 105, and Burundi as less democratic at 107, than Ethiopia.
The election of Ethiopia’s 547-member constituent assembly was held in June 1994. This assembly adopted the constitution of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia in December 1994. The elections for Ethiopia’s first popularly-chosen national parliament and regional legislatures were held in May and June 1995 . Most opposition parties chose to boycott these elections. There was a landslide victory for the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF). International and non-governmental observers concluded that opposition parties would have been able to participate had they chosen to do so.
The current government of Ethiopia was installed in August 1995. The first President was Negasso Gidada. The EPRDF-led government of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi promoted a policy of ethnic federalism, devolving significant powers to regional, ethnically-based authorities. Ethiopia today has nine semi-autonomous administrative regions that have the power to raise and spend their own revenues. Under the present government, some fundamental freedoms, including freedom of the press, are circumscribed. Citizens have little access to media other than the state-owned networks, and most private newspapers struggle to remain open and suffer periodic harassment from the government. At least 18 journalists who had written articles critical of the government were arrested following the 2005 elections on genocide and treason charges. The government uses press laws governing libel to intimidate journalists who are critical of its policies.
Zenawi’s government was elected in 2000 in Ethiopia’s first ever multiparty elections; however, the results were heavily criticized by international observers and denounced by the opposition as fraudulent. The EPRDF also won the 2005 election returning Zenawi to power. Although the opposition vote increased in the election, both the opposition and observers from the European Union and elsewhere stated that the vote did not meet international standards for fair and free elections. Ethiopian police are said to have massacred 193 protesters, mostly in the capital Addis Ababa, in the violence following the May 2005 elections in the Ethiopian police massacre. The government initiated a crackdown in the provinces as well; in Oromia state the authorities used concerns over insurgency and terrorism to use torture, imprisonment, and other repressive methods to silence critics following the election, particularly people sympathetic to the registered opposition party Oromo National Congress (ONC).
note: estimates for this country explicitly take into account the effects of excess mortality due to AIDS; this can result in lower life expectancy, higher infant mortality and death rates, lower population and growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected (July 2007 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 43.4% (male 16,657,155/female 16,553,812)
15-64 years: 53.8% (male 20,558,026/female 20,639,076)
65 years and over: 2.7% (male 953,832/female 1,149,986) (2007 est.)
Median age: total: 18 years
male: 17.8 years
female: 18.1 years (2007 est.)
Population growth rate: 2.272% (2007 est.)
Birth rate: 37.39 births/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Death rate: 14.67 deaths/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Net migration rate: 0 migrant(s)/1,000 population
note: repatriation of Ethiopian refugees residing in Sudan is expected to continue for several years; some Sudanese, Somali, and Eritrean refugees, who fled to Ethiopia from the fighting or famine in their own countries, continue to return to their homes (2007 est.)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.006 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.996 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.829 male(s)/female
total population: 0.995 male(s)/female (2007 est.)
Infant mortality rate: total: 91.92 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 101.57 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 81.99 deaths/1,000 live births (2007 est.)
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 49.23 years
male: 48.06 years
female: 50.44 years (2007 est.)
Total fertility rate: 5.1 children born/woman (2007 est.)
HIV/AIDS – adult prevalence rate: 4.4% (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS – people living with HIV/AIDS: 1.5 million (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS – deaths: 120,000 (2003 est.)
Major infectious diseases: degree of risk: high
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A and E, and typhoid fever
vectorborne diseases: malaria
respiratory disease: meningococcal meningitis
animal contact disease: rabies
water contact disease: schistosomiasis (2008)
Nationality: noun: Ethiopian(s)
Ethnic groups: Oromo 32.1%, Amara 30.1%, Tigraway 6.2%, Somalie 5.9%, Guragie 4.3%, Sidama 3.5%, Welaita 2.4%, other 15.4% (1994 census)
Religions: Christian 60.8% (Orthodox 50.6%, Protestant 10.2%), Muslim 32.8%, traditional 4.6%, other 1.8% (1994 census)
Languages: Amarigna 32.7%, Oromigna 31.6%, Tigrigna 6.1%, Somaligna 6%, Guaragigna 3.5%, Sidamigna 3.5%, Hadiyigna 1.7%, other 14.8%, English (major foreign language taught in schools) (1994 census)
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 42.7%
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To Stop WW3 Do The People Need To Kill This Batch Of The Worlds So Called Leaders?
Firstoff, because of my personal Christian beliefs I cannot condone killing anyone unless you, your family, your loved ones or your Country are being attacked with deadly force. So, for anyone to walk up to another person and kill them just because you don’t like them as a person, that would make you a murderer. We are told that we are all to pray for our Leaders, executing them is something that is not in the Scriptures. But one may well say, what about other Countries Leaders, is that allowed? Are those other Countries Leaders at war with you or with your Country? That, might be a more difficult question to answer than it seems. If we believe that another Countries Leaders are at war with your Country, does that mean that the people of that Country are at war with you also? What about the so-called Leaders of your own Country, are they at war with you and your Country’s Constitutional rights? If you believe that they are and you cannot vote them out of positions of power, is it okay to kill them? I know, so many questions, but are there any correct answers?
There are many very evil people who are in positions of power all over the world, and that does include here in the U.S., can we the people ever get rid of all of them? Personally I believe that the answer to that question is no we can’t. Here in the U.S. we have evil people scattered throughout both of our Nation’s major political parties, they are not all on one side. I personally believe that there are many Nations of Earth that would love to conquer and or destroy every inch of ground that we call home, yet the same can be said for every Nation on the planet. I personally believe that President Putin of Russia is a very evil human being, I believe that he is a liar, a thief and a mass murderer and that he would love to bring an end to the United States. But, I do not believe that the vast majority of the Russian people are our enemies, I believe that their own President is their biggest enemy. I believe that Kim Jong Un and Xi Jinping would love to blow the U.S. off of the World Map, but I do not believe that the vast majority of their people are our enemies either. Outside of the Nations where Demonic Religious Zealots rule, I do not consider the other people of the world to be each others enemies. Outside of these Zealots, most people of the Earth tend to want the same things, peace, safety, housing, food, good health, electricity and the trash picked up off the streets each week. I believe that it is these ‘Leaders’ that cause all of the people’s ill’s.
A simple solution it would seem would be to simply execute these horrible self-serving Leaders and get new ones, better ones installed, but would that really work? Could we simply lock up all of these evil Leaders? Yes, we could, but would that really do us or the World any good? Here in the U.S. if we locked up Donald the Donkey Trump and all of his household except for the First Lady and Barron his 12-year-old son, we would end up having Mike Pence as our President. I have family who lives in his home State of Indiana and I have many readers from Indiana who have told me that in their opinion Pence is even more dangerous than Trump, and that in itself is a rather scary thought. Pence, just like the Republican Party in general have very much proven to be for sale to the highest bidders but do not get me wrong on this issue, I believe just as lowly of the Democratic Party Leadership. Remember in November of 2016 we the people were given the choice of two habitual lying crooks to be our President. One was very smart (Hillary) the other a total idiot (Trump), yet both still very evil. If a Nation replaces their Leaders what are the people going to get in return, more crooks, more liars, more murderers? To me, by my beliefs, all any people of any Nation can do is to pray for worldwide peace and to never ever allow any politicians to ever take away your means of protecting your families. Yet never ever be the aggressor, the murderer, because if you become a murderer, even when it is from murdering an evil Leader, you and the one you murdered will end up in Hell together and that my friend is not winning the battle between good and evil, if you lose your Soul, you lost.
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