The Librarian

Is the UN preparing to attack Religion?

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15 hours ago, Gone Away said:

I find this a bit difficult to rationalise against a statement that uses an apparent pregnancy metaphor: "For nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be food shortages and earthquakes in one place after another. All these things are a beginning of pangs of distress."

I should add that it's very possible for the disciples in 33 CE to hear these words on their own without the context and understand them to say that wars, food shortages and earthquakes would be signs that the end would be nearly upon them. We can't be blamed for seeing them the way the Watchtower explains them, because the Watchtower has always relied on re-translations of the words in Matthew 24 which tend to remove the meaning in context. 

There is a good example of this mistranslation in the Matthew 24:8 above, where it supposedly says "All these things are a beginning of pangs of distress." The KJV is often followed as closely as possible by at least half of the modern English translations whenever the differences do not seem that important. So about half of the English translations are very similar to ours. But a little more than half, from a check of 40 translations, include a translation of the Greek particle "de" which the KJV and the NWT skips here. In other words we translate it as if it said:

  • πάντα ταῦτα ἀρχὴ ὠδίνων

when it really says:

  • πάντα δὲ ταῦτα ἀρχὴ ὠδίνων

Why is the word important? It changes the meaning from:

  • "All these things are a beginning of birth pains"

to:

  • "But all these things are but a beginning of birth pains."

In other words it emphasizes that something is missing or even wrong in the natural understanding of the previous statement about wars and earthquakes and famines. Here's why. All the Greek lexicons mention something like the following:

https://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=G1161&t=KJV

  • δέ dé, deh; a primary particle (adversative or continuative)
  • STRONGS NT 1161: δέ
  • δέ (related to δή, as μέν to μήν, cf. Klotz ad Devar. ii. 2, p. 355), a particle adversative, distinctive, disjunctive
  • 1. universally, by way of opposition and distinction; it is added to statements opposed to a preceding statement: ἐάν ὀφθαλμός κτλ. Matthew 6:23; ἐλεύσονται δέ ἡμέραι, Mark 2:20; it opposes persons to persons or things previously mentioned

It's true that it isn't ALWAYS translated, but when the context repeatedly refers to the possibility of a misunderstanding then it is an important part of the meaning and must be translated. (Matthew 24 repeatedly and explicitly mentions the possibility of misunderstanding or being misled.)

This is why, when we bring in the meaning of context with the original Greek meaning of the words (including: parousia, synteleia, de, etc) we would have a meaning that more likely fits the following scenario:

  • Disciples: Please, can you tell us when this destruction of Jerusalem's Temple will occur? Can you tell us the sign that we should look for when we know that the final end and your final manifestation is about to happen? 
  • Jesus responds: Look out that nobody misleads you. Many people will come around, even on the basis of my name, saying they represent me, yet they will mislead many. [You could easily be misled by the fact that] there will be wars, earthquakes and famines. Don't be tempted to raise the alarm based on such things, because these kinds of things will keep taking place [as they always have]. All these things are but a beginning of the birth pains, [not the end of all things that you are asking about].

The reason Jesus said this becomes clear in the rest of the chapter when he mentions the suddenness and unexpectedness of the end. It can't be predicted. It's as if two persons were going about their business grinding at a mill, and one was taken and one wasn't. It's the way it happens with most pregnancies, when the mother-to-be can be going about her business, and suddenly and unexpectedly a pain comes upon her. It's the way it happens with a bolt of bright lightning that suddenly happens. It's the way it happened in Noah's day when people didn't really believe or expect it to happen and suddenly the flood sweeps them away. It's the same way it happened in the days of Lot and Sodom when, without warning, fire came from heaven and destroyed them.

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20 hours ago, JW Insider said:

Jesus, and once by Paul, were for two different purposes even thought the subject matter was exactly the same.

Not so as explained in the post.

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20 hours ago, JW Insider said:

Special pleading

Nonsense. This is a ploy to avoid the issue I am afraid. Kingdom birth illustrations are not the same as matters related to the last days as the the birth of the kingdom precedes the last days....in my universe anyway. 😊

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20 hours ago, Melinda Mills said:

normal signs

What are these? It seems to be down to individual experience. 

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20 hours ago, JW Insider said:

(Luke 21:34; 1 Thess 5:3

same words, different circumstance. In one case self indulgence dulls awareness. |n the other case,  deceptive propaganda.

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9 hours ago, JW Insider said:

All these things are but a beginning of the birth pains, [not the end of all things that you are asking about].

The beginning and end of birth pangs are not remotely situated. Excuse me if I miss your point here? 

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1 hour ago, Gone Away said:
21 hours ago, JW Insider said:

Jesus, and once by Paul, were for two different purposes even thought the subject matter was exactly the same.

Not so as explained in the post.

Yes, I actually agree with your point here. Here is what you explained in the post:

22 hours ago, Gone Away said:

From what I can glean then, both are true to life descriptions of the occurence of labor contractions. Jesus uses the aspect of their heralding the start of a period or stage leading to an inevitable conclusion. Paul uses the suddeness of their occurence to relate to the manner in which a prophesied event takes place.

I agree with this. I was too anxious to jump off on a tangent to focus on a specific area of disagreement, so that I never even responded to what you were saying.

Jesus does indeed seem to imply a potentially longer period of time for the labor pains, and it does give the impression that there is even nothing wrong with saying that the "labor pains" he speaks of sound as if they can start even at the very beginning of a pregnancy. It's not what the word usually refers to of course.

In fact, you probably knew that the real source was the Watchtower magazine on jw.org, not just the Internet in general when I said above: 

  • The original-language word rendered “pangs of distress” refers to the intense pain experienced during childbirth. [Source: Internet]

Our current doctrine puts the beginning of the labor pains at WWI, at the very beginning of the generation. Jesus implies this is possible. After all, who is to say that one of those wars or earthquakes would not occur in the year 34 CE just a year after Jesus gave the prophecy, at the very beginning of that generation? Some persons, perhaps even some apostles, were bound to be misled into thinking that a war or earthquake or some other event was a "sign" that the expected Parousia was imminent. This must be why Paul said in 2 Thess 2:1,2:

  • However, brothers, concerning the presence [Parousia] of our Lord Jesus Christa and our being gathered together to him, we ask you  not to be quickly shaken from your reason nor to be alarmed either by an inspired statement or by a spoken message or by a letter appearing to be from us, to the effect that the day of Jehovah is here. 

[Can't help but notice that Paul apparently equates the "Parousia" here with the "day of Jehovah." And this is not the only place.]

It's a very similar discussion of the Parousia from the end of 1 Thess 4 to the beginning of 1 Thess 5 which includes of course:

  • we the living who survive to the presence [Parousia] of the Lord will in no way precede those who have fallen asleep in death; 16  because the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a commanding call, with an archangel’s voice and with God’s trumpet . . .  Now as for the times and the seasons, brothers, you need nothing to be written to you.  For you yourselves know very well that Jehovah’s day is coming exactly as a thief in the night. . . . just like birth pains on a pregnant woman, and they will by no means escape.

I come at this with the idea, of course, that both Paul and Jesus are dealing with the question of "When can we expect the Parousia?" and "Will there be any kind of sign, or advance warning?" Since I think that Jesus was referring more directly to the situation of the first generation of Jewish Christian disciples who would still be around Jerusalem, he knew that there would be wars and events and even teachers that might influence them to mistake the sign to get out of Jerusalem. There would be all kinds of ideas about how this or that teacher, or apostle, or another Messiah could mislead them by convincing arguments, or by saying to pay attention to this or that major earthquake, or major war. Paul was more addressing people around Greece, Macedonia and Thessalonika who would not be as much affected by the Romans trampling through Jerusalem. But the question was still the same, because it was still assumed that the same destruction of the Temple would be instantly followed by the end of all things, worldwide. 

To me of course, I think Jesus is saying that these things (wars, etc) are NOT related to the Parousia (the highly visible royal judgment event), but are things that people will easily mistake as signs of the impending judgment event. And another danger, of course, is that disciples might think it necessary to begin counting these as part of the Parousia and then wonder why the real Parousia is delayed, being thus disheartened and discouraged, as "expectation postponed is making the heart sick."

In the previous post I showed how Jesus theme was also the suddenness and unexpectedness of the end [Parousia/Synteleia]. It was primarily in this sense that I meant that Jesus and Paul were covering the same subject matter.

You say that Jesus uses the aspect of their heralding the start of a period or stage leading to an inevitable conclusion. This is true, but not necessarily so different from what Paul is talking about, although I agree that Paul focuses on the suddenness and unexpectedness (as a thief in the night). Jesus also mentions the unexpectedness and suddenness of course, but attaches the word pangs to events could occur earlier, long before the end.

[Hopefully, this covers enough of the separate questions you posted, too.]

I think there is still an important point to repeat for clarity, which is that while Jesus does indeed speak of the pangs even at the beginning instead of just at the end, Jesus does not attach these early pangs to the Parousia/Synteleia. He clearly divorces these early mistaken/misleading signs from any kind of useful sign that might answer their question about the end. I'm sure that's the specific point where we still disagree.

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1 hour ago, JW Insider said:

answer their question about the end

His answer to that question is simple. No one knows the day or hour, only the Father. (Matt.24:36). So no sign was given to indicate that element. All the focus must be elsewhere to understand what was said.

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55 minutes ago, Gone Away said:

His answer to that question is simple. No one knows the day or hour, only the Father. (Matt.24:36). So no sign was given to indicate that element. All the focus must be elsewhere to understand what was said.

Agreed. However the odd mobilization of Religious Leaders by means of movements, some of which to bolster more converts and the like is at least something to keep an eye on for these people are on the mental path of, You are either with us or against us, and clearly any church that is not for this movement, all branches that connect to a sole source, then you are deemed an enemy, for example, it is known by many the Jehovah's Witnesses are not into politics and or anything that affiliates to decisions made by such people for JWs are neutral, and clearly they do not take the stance of what the Religious Leaders who had joined together are doing, thus making them a target to some extent, the only clear example was when the talk about religious unity among all faiths was brought up, and those who are not for this joint effort are considered lost, blind or against, thus being branded as an enemy.

The Nations itself is already part of this Religious Movement, little by little since the early 2000s whereas around 2014-2017 religious leaders, most of them have joined forces, even more by means of Reformation whereas Baptist, Catholics and Methodist have joined in so the group is getting bigger, with the backing of politics as well as respective nations behind them, and the United Nations being the one planting the seeds to having their version of Religion, as well as their version of Education and Government, after all, the Spiritual Mother of the United Nations, long dead right now, had an obvious disinterest in Christians, as did those who had the same mindset as her and followed her, even those before her didn't like Christians, but clearly they didn't have the means like the Spiritual Mother of the UN, whereas her legacy continues by means of what the nations is doing in regards to Religion.

Meanwhile, The Bible itself, regardless of the translation at this point, has been called into question by those of today's society, in addition, in some areas in the US, the bible cannot be used and or read at all.

Lastly, if you live in the Texas area, said Religious Movement will pop up around October 2018 for their so called religious event, to reap more converts with the message they are spreading, as they did in Washington DC a while back, and obviously since the mainstream is so gullible, if said movement speaks of Jesus Christ, they follow it without hesitation, and these same folk will be the very people to do anything and everything in their power to treat you as an enemy, thus making them following consumed by the nation's so called one religion of unity, which is clearly a front for any moves people of Babylon will pull in the future.

All people have to be careful though, for they think they can avoid such things, but end up getting pulled into that madness, mainly when such madness consist of many, many false prophets.

I'd also like to add that the Russian Church who had involvement with the JW ban, is indeed part of this movement. The Ukrainians however were not cool with the RoC until later on, thus they too join said religious movement. The UN may not being attacking religion, per say, but they are molding a religion of their own (check out their 55th anniversary) by means of their so called messenger who had been rounding up and influencing religious leaders to unite, the UN will only react soon after when no other faith is willing to join their version of religion and or views, or as their supporter had said, "Instead of all these different Gods, maybe theirs one God who manifest himself  in different ways to different people" ~ Ted Turner (The New Aged Concept of a Globe Religious Organization).

But yes, we have to be careful, we may not know the last day or hour, but we have to be careful of not being easily mislead by false prophets who are increasing in numbers now.

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On 5/23/2018 at 9:36 PM, JW Insider said:

This hardly seems to fit a birth that starts in 1914 and then the labor pains only start AFTER the birth and last for 120 to 240 years. Labor pains usually start BEFORE a birth, not AFTER.

Good point 

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THE  HEADLINE.....

I  HOPE  THEY  SOON  WILL  DO  IT,  BUT  JEHOVAH'S  PLAN  IS  NOT  A  SIMPLE  PEOPLE  PLAN  -  ITS  MORE  COMPLICATED,  BUT  IT  WILL  FULL  REACH  THE  GOAL, JEHOVAH  IS  PLANING...  NO  PROBLEM  FOR  HIM,  HE  WILL  MAKE  IT !  THANK  YOU  SO  MUCH  OUR  LOVING  GOD  :x

SOON  THE  DAY  IS  THERE :)

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On 5/23/2018 at 9:36 PM, JW Insider said:

So the expression about the labor pains is really a huge hint that Jesus actually meant what he said about something coming as a surprise, as if without warning. Just like the days of Sodom would have seemed to suddenly come to an end without warning.

As a woman, who has given birth, I am not sure I would say that "birth pangs" or going into labour, is a surprise. In fact a pregnant woman in her last few weeks is expecting to go into labour soon. The only time she will be surprised and not expecting it is if she goes into labour prematurely, at an unaturaly early date in her pregnancy. However, the surprise element could be in that she could go into labour while out shopping and her waters break in the middle of the shop floor (or in the middle of a field in Jesus' day). So although she may be expecting to go into labour at any time, she could be caught at a rather inconvenient moment. So in view of that, what was Jesus saying?

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On 5/23/2018 at 9:37 PM, Gone Away said:

they started much earlier in the final month, though at different times for each child. (not to be confused of course with the Braxton Hicks variety).

There can be false alarms of course, where the mother to be ends up in hospital, only to be sent home again. I wonder how that scenario could fit into Jesus' illustration.

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Early contractions coming  before or during the eighth month are a danger sign, indicating that something is wrong with the woman or the baby - e.g. the womb not expanding or some other ailment. There is nothing normal about that. That is premature and a hospitalization event, sometimes meriting a Caesarean section. So I don't think Jesus would be talking about that - he would be considering what is the usual thing.

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5 hours ago, Anna said:

I am not sure I would say that "birth pangs" or going into labour, is a surprise.

LOL! I'm sure no one thinks it's ever a complete surprise. (Although that has supposedly happened, too, in rare cases.)

Jesus said that the "synteliea" [which can mean a "destructive final end"] would come upon Jerusalem within one generation, within the lifetime of some of those disciples who heard him speak. So it could not have come as a complete surprise. They knew the "season" just as anyone who sees a fig tree blossom knows that summer is near.

But apparently Jesus himself didn't know how long long this judgement event (proto-parousia) upon Jerusalem would have to wait. He only knew that the kingdom was not going to manifest itself instantly and that there would be a need for patience and endurance, that there would be a seeming delay, and that they should not be misled by great earthquakes, or international wars, or persecution, or famine. They would go through a period of time that would allow for preaching to be done all around their known world. Jesus knew that the Gentiles would be preached to during that same generation. The good news would be preached in all the known nations of their world before that end came. Paul did not declare that this had happened until the 50's or 60's when he told the Colossians:

  • (Colossians 1:23; New Living Translation) But you must continue to believe this truth and stand firmly in it. Don't drift away from the assurance you received when you heard the Good News. The Good News has been preached all over the world, and I, Paul, have been appointed as God's servant to proclaim it.

Only after the actual first sign, the parousia and synteleia upon Jerusalem (the "sign" they asked about) could the parousia and synteleia for the world now occur at any time "instantly." Matthew 24:30-36, New Living Translation:

  • And then at last, the sign that the Son of Man is coming will appear in the heavens, and there will be deep mourning among all the peoples of the earth. And they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.h 31And he will send out his angels with the mighty blast of a trumpet, and they will gather his chosen ones from all over the worldi—from the farthest ends of the earth and heaven.
  • 32“Now learn a lesson from the fig tree. When its branches bud and its leaves begin to sprout, you know that summer is near. 33In the same way, when you see all these things, you can know his return is very near, right at the door. 34I tell you the truth, this generationj will not pass from the scene until all these things take place. 35Heaven and earth will disappear, but my words will never disappear.
  • 36“However, no one knows the day or hour when these things will happen, not even the angels in heaven or the Son himself.k Only the Father knows.

 

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      Russia divides all faiths into “traditional” and “nontraditional.” This concept, while absent from the Russian Law on Religious Freedom (although mentioned in the law’s preamble), has been introduced under pressure from the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) and Patriarch Kirill personally.
      Orthodox Christianity, Islam, Judaism, and Buddhism are deemed “traditional,” while Old Believers, Catholics, various Protestant denominations, and many others are not.
      A member of the 'Union of Orthodox Banner-Bearers' takes part in a demonstration against the movie 'Matilda' in front of the Church of the Resurrection in Moscow on August 1, 2017. 'Matilda', a Russian movie about a love story between the last Russian Tsar Nikolay II and the ballerina Mathilda-Marie Feliksovna Kschessinskaya set for theater release in October, is believed by many Russians to insult the monarchy and offend religious sentiment.MLADEN ANTONOV/AFP/GETTY
      The concept of traditional religions not only pits worshippers against each other, it also ignores the religious diversity of Russia. Today there are some 15 million practicing Orthodox believers in Russia, 10 million Muslims, 3 million Protestants, 500,000 Buddhists, 200,000 Jews, 175,000 Jehovah’s Witnesses, 100,000 Hindus, and 100,000 followers of other religious faiths (e.g., there are an estimated 10,000 Mormons in Russia).
      The ROC has usurped the right to a close relationship with the government and accuses Catholics and Protestants of proselytizing in the territory that it considers its own. As for Muslims, the ROC accepts as “traditional” only those who are loyal to the government.
      The ROC’s concern is understandable. According to the Russian Ministry of Justice, ROC organizations are the most numerous in the country (around 16,000 communities), while Protestants and Muslims are second and third (5,000–6,000 communities each).
      However, polls show that Protestants and Muslims may be twice as numerous as official figures suggest. For example, evangelicals are now the second largest Christian denomination in Russia after Orthodox Christians in terms of numbers and presence throughout the country.
      In fact, in many regions of Siberia and the Far East, the number of Protestant communities and active parishioners is higher than the number of practicing Orthodox believers. In light of this, Patriarch Kirill has repeatedly urged the authorities in the Far East to “fight against sects” and support the Orthodox projects.
      Tightening the Screws
      The path toward tightening the screws on various non-traditional religions began in 2012, with the “foreign agent” law limiting the activity of foreign-funded noncommercial organizations. Furthermore, the law on meetings and demonstrations was also tightened. And in 2015 a new directive was introduced specifying that all religious groups must inform authorities of their existence.
      Then, in June 2016, the State Duma adopted a series of laws known collectively as the Yarovaya Law. Named after Duma Deputy Irina Yarovaya, who initiated it, the law amends Russian public safety and anti-extremism legislation.
      The part of the law that has already come into force and has received the broadest coverage consists of the statutes regulating liability for failure to report “extremist activity”—a very broadly defined set of activities under Russian law, ranging from calls for violence to the vague “incitement of racial, nationalist and religious hatred” and “propaganda of exceptionalism” based on religion or nationality.
      The part of the Yarovaya Law that has received much less attention is the provision imposing new restrictions on missionary work. The law now imposes a fine of 50,000 rubles on a private citizen for illegal preaching and up to 1 million rubles on a religious organization.
      Illegal preaching may mean preaching in a building that is not designated for such purposes and lacks proper signage. As a result, the police and the prosecutor’s office now consider the activity of religious groups lacking official registration as illegal—a change from the recent past.
      Targeting Jehovah’s Witnesses
      The recent court proceedings against Jehovah’s Witnesses are a case in point. The campaign against Jehovah’s Witnesses began in 2009, during the still relatively liberal Dmitry Medvedev’s premiership.
      In a number of cases the courts, relying on poorly and unprofessionally conducted evaluations, concluded that Jehovah’s Witnesses’ literature could be defined as “extremist,” referring as it did to the faith as the only true faith.
      The adoption of the Yarovaya Law, therefore, opened the door to liquidating Jehovah’s Witnesses communities on the basis of their possessing “extremist” literature.
      On April 20, 2017, on the basis of the totality of these cases, the Russian Supreme Court ruled to liquidate the Jehovah’s Witnesses Management Center and all of the regional organizations. On July 17, 2017, a Supreme Court panel declined the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ appeal, and the decision entered into force.
      The decision means prohibition of activity for over 400 Jehovah’s Witnesses organizations all over Russia and criminal prosecutions of more than 170,000 believers if they continue to gather and read faith publications and the Bible in their specific translation. (There are more than 2,000 groups engaged in this activity in Russia.)
      On top of that, because Jehovah’s Witnesses organizations are now judged “extremist,” the state is confiscating the profession’s assets: 118 buildings in fifty-seven regions whose total value is 1.9 billion rubles.
      For the West, it was specifically the prohibition against Jehovah’s Witnesses that came to symbolize pointless religious discrimination in Russia and a drastic reduction of religious freedoms in the country. The EU’s Office of Foreign Policy, the U.S. State Department, and the U.S. Helsinki Committee have all broadly criticized the move and called on Russia to rescind it.
      On top of that, Jehovah’s Witnesses has filed a complaint with the European Court of Human Rights. It is clear in advance that the judgment won’t be in Russia’s favor. Taking into account the losses sustained by the faithful, the fine that the Strasbourg court will impose on Russia for the benefit of Jehovah’s Witnesses may reach astronomical heights.
      The fact is, authorities’ fight against nontraditional religions and religious denominations, which they peg as weird and scary sects, takes ugly, almost caricature forms.
      Journalists, politicians, and Orthodox activists accuse those of other faiths of activities that constitute the core religious activities of all faiths, including the ROC itself: collecting donations, engaging in prayers with emotional overtones, and instructing followers, including children, in the tenets of the faith. In the context of the massive anti-West hysteria, xenophobia, and search for spies, all of these generally normal activities become a crime.
      Most politicians and public figures, both conservative and liberal, readily jump on the bandwagon, portraying unfamiliar “sects” as threatening to the secular state and even citizens’ psychological health. And the media ignore the persecution of those targeted under the Yarovaya Law.
      There are now more than 100 court cases challenging the imposition of fines against religious communities and individual faithful, yet they are proceeding unnoticed by the general public.
      Who Benefits?
      Many assume that the suppression of religious dissent automatically benefits the ROC. But that is not necessarily the case. Representatives of the Moscow Patriarchate are torn by irreconcilable contradictions.
      On the one hand, there are those who would like to prohibit all sects legislatively and in that way eliminate all competitors. (They are particularly troubled by the evangelicals in the Far East, who at this point exceed the number of the Orthodox.)
      On the other hand, many experts note that as soon as the word “sect” is introduced into the law, half the Orthodox communities could be prohibited. Rank-and-file priests and believers have stated that the anti-missionary statutes of the Yarovaya Law could also be used to prevent Orthodox sermons and missions among youth.
      In Russia, the gap is growing between the discriminated-against non-Orthodox Christians and the Orthodox, between the ROC bureaucracy and Orthodox activists of different persuasions, between the ROC’s leadership and the pro-democracy-minded part of society, between the desires of law enforcement organs and the aims of the missionaries of different churches, including the ROC.
      These conflicts are getting sharper because Russian society betrays more civility than the Russian state. Ordinary Russians are much more tolerant of those professing different beliefs than are the police and the prosecutor’s office.
      And the trend toward aligning the government’s policy with the interests of the ROC produces a boomerang effect: civil society criticizes priests and bishops from the Orthodox standpoint, not from an atheistic one.
      This is why the state has decided to safeguard itself against independent religious authority by heavily regulating it.
      Roman Lunkin is Senior Researcher at Institute of Philosophy, Russian Academy of Sciences, head of the Center for Religious Studies in the Institute of Europe (Russian Academy of Sciences), a member of Russian team of Keston Institute (Oxford, UK) project “Encyclopedia of religious life in Russia Today”, editor-in-chief of the web-portal “Religion and Law” (www.sclj.ru), a public policy scholar in the Woodrow Wilson Center and the Kennan Institute (2011) and The Galina Starovoitova Fellowship scholar of the Kennan Institute (2017).
    • By The Librarian
      The US leader's comments marked a change in tone after his sometimes anti-Islamic rhetoric during the presidential race.
       
      Trump urges Muslim leaders to 'drive out' terror
      Donald Trump has likened the fight against Islamic extremism to a battle between "good and evil" and not different faiths.
      Speaking to leaders from around 50 Muslim-majority countries in Saudi Arabia, the President attacked militants as "barbaric criminals who seek to obliterate human life".
      The US leader urge the nations to "confront Islamic terror of all kinds", deny sanctuary to extremists and stand together against the murder of innocent Muslims by groups like Islamic State.
      According to Mr Trump, "95% of the victims of terrorist attacks are themselves Muslims".
      He said America was seeking a "coalition of nations" in the Middle East with the aim of "stamping out extremism".
      Trump in Saudi: 'Tremendous progress tackling IS' He said the countries "cannot wait for American power to crush this enemy for them".
      Striking a conciliatory line, his comments marked a change in tone for Mr Trump after his remarks during the presidential campaign where he told the US: "Islam hates us."
      Addressing the Arab-Islamic American Summit in Riyadh, he said: "We now face a humanitarian and security disaster in this region that is spreading."
      Saudi King: 'Islam is the religion of peace'  Mr Trump told leaders at the meeting that he brought "a message of friendship and hope and love", and urged Muslim countries to ensure "terrorists find no sanctuary on their soil".
      He announced a deal with Gulf countries to crackdown on the funding of extremists.
      The President also hit out at Iran, accusing Tehran of "fuelling the fires of sectarian conflict".
      He said among Iran's destabilising interventions was in Syria, where President Bashar al Assad has "committed unspeakable crimes".
      "From Lebanon to Iraq to Yemen, Iran funds, arms and trains terrorists, militias and other extremist groups that spread destruction and chaos across the region," Mr Trump said.
      Sky's Foreign Affairs Editor Sam Kiley said the President's comments "will be very much welcomed by the predominantly Sunni attendees from some 50 nations.
      "And it will strike a degree of horror into (Shia-dominated) Iran.
      "Terrorism is sponsored through groups like Hizbollah, by Iran, but there are also Sunni Islamic terrorist groups that the Iranians are fighting, not least Islamic State in Syria."
      Mr Trump also called upon countries around the world to work together to end the humanitarian crisis in Syria.
      http://news.sky.com/story/trump-seeks-coalition-of-nations-to-stamp-out-extremism-10887338
    • By admin
      The UN should create a set of international rules to help stop the pandemic of fake news and Cold war-style disinformation, Russia’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova has said during a session of the UN Committee on Information in New York.
       
    • By TheWorldNewsOrg
      Bolivian Ambassador Remembers The U.S. Saying Iraq Had Chemical Weapons!


      World News
    • By Kurt
      GENEVA (4 April 2017) – Moves by the Russian Government to ban the activities of Jehovah’s Witnesses using a lawsuit brought under anti-extremism legislation have been condemned as “extremely worrying” by three United Nations human rights experts*. 
      “This lawsuit is a threat not only to Jehovah’s Witnesses, but to individual freedom in general in the Russian Federation,” the experts said. 
      “The use of counter-extremism legislation in this way to confine freedom of opinion, including religious belief, expression and association to that which is state-approved is unlawful and dangerous, and signals a dark future for all religious freedom in Russia,” they stressed. 
      The condemnation follows a lawsuit lodged at the country’s Supreme Court on 15 March to declare the Jehovah’s Witnesses Administrative Centre ‘extremist’, to liquidate it, and to ban its activity.  
      A suspension order came into effect on that date, preventing the Administrative Centre and all its local religious centres from using state and municipal news media, and from organizing and conducting assemblies, rallies and other public events. 
      A full court hearing is scheduled for 5 April and if the Supreme Court rules in favour of the authorities, it will be the first such ruling by a court declaring a registered centralized religious organization to be ‘extremist’. 
      Concerns about the counter-extremism legislation have previously been raised in a communication by the three experts to the Russian authorities on 28 July 2016.  
      The Suspension Order imposed on 15 March is the latest in a series of judicial cases and orders, including a warning sent to the organization last year referring to the ‘inadmissibility of extremist activity’. This has already led to the dissolution of several local Jehovah’s Witness organizations, raids against their premises and literature being confiscated.  
      “We urge the authorities to drop the lawsuit in compliance with their obligations under international human rights law, and to revise the counter-extremism legislation and its implementation to avoid fundamental human rights abuses,” the UN experts concluded. 
      (*) The experts: Mr. David Kaye (USA), Special Rapporteur on freedom of opinion and expression, Mr. Maina Kiai (Kenya), Special Rapporteur on freedoms of peaceful assembly and of association, and Mr. Ahmed Shaheed (the Maldives), Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief.  
      The Special Rapporteurs are part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the Council’s independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Special Procedures’ experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity.  
      UN Human Rights, country page: Russian Federation  
      - See more at
    • By Nicole
      The Clean Seas campaign was launched last week, aimed at eliminating major sources of marine plastic and changing shopping habits.
      The United Nations has declared war on plastic. In an unexpected announcement that emerged from the Economist World Ocean Summit in Bali last week, the UN officially launched its ‘Clean Seas’ campaign. The goal is to eliminate major sources of pollution, including microplastics in cosmetics and single-use disposable plastics, by pressuring governments and individuals to rethink the way goods are packaged and their own shopping habits.
      Erik Solheim, head of UN Environment, stated:
      “It is past time that we tackle the plastic problem that blights our oceans. Plastic pollution is surfing onto Indonesian beaches, settling onto the ocean floor at the North Pole, and rising through the food chain onto our dinner tables. We’ve stood by too long as the problem has gotten worse. It must stop.”
      It’s a problem that must be dealt with as aggressively as possible. Scientists say that the equivalent of a dump truck load of plastic is deposited in the world’s oceans every minute, and this quantity will only increase as consumption and population grow, too. By 2050, it’s said there will be more plastic than fish in the seas. The UN writes, “As many as 51 trillion microplastic particles – 500 times more than stars in our galaxy – litter our seas, seriously threatening marine wildlife.”
      On the campaign website, people can commit to certain actions to combat their personal plastic pollution, such as not using disposable grocery bags, bringing their own coffee cup, avoiding cosmetics with microbeads, and pressuring firms to reduce excess packaging. The campaign’s press release says it will make announcements throughout the year, highlighting advances made by countries and companies to reduce disposable plastics.

      Some countries have taken noteworthy steps, with ten already signing onto the #CleanSeas campaign. Indonesia, for example, has pledged to reduce marine litter by 70 percent by 2025, and Costa Rica says it will “take measures to dramatically reduce single-use plastic through better waste management and education.” Other nations are turning to taxes on plastic bags.
      The UN Clean Seas campaign is a good place to start, as it will spread the awareness of a little-known problem much further afield. Awareness, however, is just the first small step. It must translate into real lifestyle changes in order to make any sort of difference. It requires people to think ahead – request no straw with a drink, pack containers and bags when going to the store, trade in the diaper wipes for a washcloth, kick the bottled water habit – and it requires municipal governments to take a strong, often unpopular, stance.

      Just as microbeads are being eliminated in many places, plastic shopping bags should be, too; or at least the tax should be high enough to deter anyone, say $5 a bag, instead of 5 cents. Every town should have a bulk food store where the use of reusable containers is incentivized. Styrofoam and plastic takeout containers should be made illegal. Places to return packaging directly to manufacturers should be built alongside recycling facilities, based on the successful model of returning wine and beer bottles for refund in the province of Ontario. Schools need to start teaching children to care proactively for the Earth and to live with a reduced footprint, much like the strong anti-littering messages taught in Japan.
      Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard quotes Wang Yang Ming in his book, Let My People Go Surfing: “To know and not to do is not to know.” Hopefully the Clean Seas campaign will be that crucial first step toward informing greater swaths of the world’s population and inspiring them to further action.
      http://www.treehugger.com/environmental-policy/un-says-its-time-tackle-plastic-pollution-aggressively.html
    • By The Librarian
      United Nations Building, New York City
      Photo Credit: Flash 90
       
      For years, critics of the United Nations have been calling on the U.S. to defund and even quit the world body. Some have urged that a rival or successor organization be established. Now, the empty sheet of bitter discontent with the UN has been filled in with a new name and a new movement calling to “defund and replace” the troubled organization with the Covenant of Democratic Nations. This writer has been a participating witness to the birth of this movement.
      Just days after the passage of UN Resolution 2334, which declared, among other things, that Israel’s Jewish connection to the Western Wall was effectively illegal, concrete replacement action began. It has started with a conversation of ideas proposing an official international conference that would carefully propound a multilaterally-signed diplomatic convention to be ratified by countries as a binding treaty that would juridically forge the covenant into operational reality.
      The entire process would be limited to nations governed by democratic principles. Each member would or could defund the United Nations while it labored to construct a successor entity dedicated to world peace along democratic principles with equal respect for all people regardless of religion, gender, race, identity, or national origin, as well as formulating a mechanism to resolve disputes.
      A prime mission of the new world body would be to re-ratify, amend, or nullify all acts and resolutions of the United Nations and its agencies such as UNESCO. Thus, the Covenant would create a new body of long-overdue, reformed, clarified, and updated international law. Sensibly, most CDN nations would remain as vestigial members of the UN overseeing its collapse from economic and bureaucratic processes as was done when the League of Nations was dissolved after World War II and replaced with the present UN.
      Clearly, the history of world bodies, fluttering high-minded banners of peace on earth following wars that scorched the world and scarred all humankind, is not a good one. The League of Nations was born after World War I out of a quest for revenge by the victors, laced with a visionary desire to end colonialism and empower self-determination among nationally awakened peoples, so long as the whole business conquered the oil fields of the Mideast, lubricating the machinery of the post-Second Industrial Revolution West—and the multinational corporate palms that controlled it.
      Countries were invented that had never existed, carved and chipped off the toppled Turkish and German empires, with handpicked kings and sovereigns put into place who could legally sign lucrative petroleum contracts. Backstage, oil companies got the oil. But the flaccid League of Nations – which never included the United States –proved its utter uselessness during the Hitler regime.
      After World War II, the League was replaced by the United Nations. Although enshrined as a democratic enterprise, profoundly undemocratic and scheming governments penetrated the organization from its inception. Civil war-torn China and a tyrannical and hegemonic Soviet Union joined France, Great Britain, and the United States to create the Security Council. Expansion, inclusion, and extension eventually enrolled 193 nations, including such egalitarian democracies as North Korea, Cuba, Venezuela, Iran, Afghanistan, Somalia, and Saudi Arabia. The world body began as a sick organ and deteriorated from there.
      The Covenant conversation launched in earnest on January 23 when a panel of like-minded voices assembled in a crowded Gold Room of the Rayburn House Office Building. Representative Trent Franks (R-AZ,) who currently supports a bill to defund the UN, opened the Covenant Launch proceedings by declaring, “This is a critically important issue. The United Nations started out with a noble charter…but the United Nations has not only failed their charter, they have distinctly moved in the opposite direction and done actual harm…. They have become an anti-American, anti-Semitic, anti-democratic, anti-freedom mob…. We need some type of alternative – a Covenant of Democratic Nations…. We need to repeal and replace.”
      Sarah Stern, founder of the Endowment for Middle East Truth (EMET), pinpointed America’s 22 percent share of the overall UN budget. Stern said America was not getting what it pays for when “despotic, ruthless, tyrannical regimes” such as Syria “could pass judgment on the one democracy in the Middle East.” The UN has, she said, proven to be “abysmal” and added, “It is now time to begin having this conversation about dissolving the United Nations and replacing with a Covenant of Democratic Nations that share our common values…of tolerance, human rights, and the rule of law.”
      Famed constitutional attorney Nathan Lewin, who has worked on 28 Supreme Court cases, proclaimed to the room, “The United Nations deserves an obituary…because the United Nations committed suicide when it adopted Resolution 2334. It wrote its own death warrant…. Today I am happy to join a group that would spell the end of the United Nations, the end of its funding, it presence and significance in the world order.”
      The Covenant launch in Washington was only the beginning. Additional panels and town hall meetings will convene in several locales in the coming weeks. The conversation has begun.
      Edwin Black
      About the Author: Edwin Black is the author of several books including “ IBM and the Holocaust” and the initiator of the Covenant of the Democratic Nations effort. For his prior efforts, he has been awarded the Moral Courage Award, the Moral Compass Award, and the Justice for All Award.
      http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/replacing-the-un-with-the-covenant-of-democratic-nations/2017/02/02/
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    • Entre estos prisioneros se encuentra el cineasta Oleh Sentsov, condenado en 2015 a veinte años de cárcel por supuestas actividades terroristas en la península de Crimea y que lleva 34 días en huelga de hambre   Estados Unidos urgió este lunes al gobierno de Rusia a liberar "de inmediato" a más de 150 presos identificados por organizaciones internacionales como reos políticos y religiosos. "Pedimos a Rusia que libere de inmediato a todos los identificados como presos políticos o religiosos y cese su uso del sistema legal para reprimir a la disidencia y la práctica religiosa pacífica", señaló el Departamento de Estado en un comunicado. La portavoz de esta división, Heather Nauert, precisó en esa nota que la sociedad rusa "merece un trato igual ante la ley y la capacidad de ejercer sus derechos sin temor a represalias". En concreto, el gobierno de Donald Trump mostró una "especial preocupación" por el bienestar de cuatro reos ucranianos "injustamente encarcelados", según Nauert, que están actualmente en huelga de hambre. Entre estos presos se encuentra el caso del cineasta Oleh Sentsov, condenado en 2015 a 20 años de cárcel por supuestas actividades terroristas en la península de Crimea y que lleva 34 días sin ingerir alimentos en protesta por su confinamiento.     Oleh Sentsov (AP) EEUU destacó también los casos del activista Volodymyr Balukh, que lleva casi tres meses en huelga de hambre; del soldado Oleksandr Shumkov, que ha estado 23 días sin comer, y de Stanislav Klykh, que inició su huelga el pasado 9 de junio. Además, Nauert subrayó los casos del activista Oyub Titiyev, encarcelado "por acusaciones inventadas de drogas en Chechenia (Rusia)", y de un testigo de Jehová, Dennis Christensen, que permanece en una prisión rusa desde mayo de 2017 sin haber sido enjuiciado. Con información de EFE    
    • I just happen to have a spare "star in a stick". When you tap the star on something, glitter comes out. I will give it to him for free, as I control the glitter supply. BROUHAHAHAHAHAAA!
    • Hey ... they had "expenses" ! Yeah .... that's the ticket! "Expenses"
    • Things are thought of in Chicago quite differently ... it has a very long history of being a criminal hotbed, and unassailable corruption ... and the current Mayor, Rom Emmanuel ran for mayor (unofficially) on a platform of "let the murders continue .. it's good for business". (His being continually reelected). The thing you have to remember is that all crime is LOCAL, and all attempts at Justice are LOCAL.  This is almost ALWAYS true. A "good" Leader" ( that is to say, one that the people will follow ...) is a person that gives those over whom he has authority permission to do WHAT THEY  WERE GOING TO DO ANYWAY !! Trump has  nothing ... ABSOLUTELY nothing to do with the massive murders going on in Democratic Party controlled Cities such as Chicago, Baltimore, Philadelphia,, Detroit ... in fact, he has threatened to replace their police departments with National Guard Troops, the corruption and malfeasance is so bad. Chicago has a particular immunity to change as their political machine is, and has been since the early 1920's, been geared to to allow people long dead,  to vote ... and vote OFTEN!   They always vote Democrat. Philadelphia had several precincts where NOT ONE PERSON voted for Trump. A statistical impossibility. But of course, it's like Josef Stalin once said (paraphrased...) "He who votes counts for nothing ... it's only he who counts the votes!". What you are experiencing is not new, not even real news ... as it is the normal condition of human mis-rule. If you are not willing to fight to the death ... LITERALLY ... and are prepared to be the first casualty ... you have no natural right to freedom from tyranny. Freedom is PURCHASED through mountains of bodies and oceans of blood, and if your wallet cannot take the hit, a slave you will remain. For me, the simplest solution is sell everything you own, and move somewhere else. During World War II, many Jews in Poland did just that ... and many who did not ....stayed, were rounded up and sent on around the world cruises up crematorium chimneys. There are only three choices ..... fight ... flee .... or be enslaved.  
    • Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes and the company's ex-president were indicted on criminal charges.
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