THE POLITICAL PAGE

APRIL 2004

 

 

  1. Focal points for prayer.

11th The media  and 12th  The arts

B.     Terrorism

 

 

 

A.

11th The media

 

       Problematic Behaviour:

       The power of opinions and shaping opinions.

The fourth power in government but not under control as the other three (parliament, government, justice system, which control each other).

Permanent educator of the nation, especially of children.

Passes on values – but which? Who is in control?

What is really “true”? Even “documentaries”, manipulated through cuts and commentary by editors, are thoroughly subjective presentations.

Entertainment – anything goes (violence, sex, superficiality).

Profile, profit and ratings.  Bad news is good news.

Internet: unlimited access to information.  Infinite loss of time, virtual communication but no longer real.  Virus and hacker crimes.  Porno flood.

 

God’s Character

I  am the truth.

God as a real, not virtual  vis-à-vis: “I am the I am”.

 

God’s Word

You shall not give false testimony.

“Gospel” = The good news (good news is good news).

 

God’s Will

Truth! e.g. can my report pass God’s test?

Laughing is allowed!  But, is my entertainment pleasing to God?

Freedom of speech but in answerable to God.

Information and evaluation according to God’s standards.

Respect for the dignity of humans placed above ratings and circulation.

 

Prayer Points

For all Christians working in the media.

Christians as prize winners and trendsetters.  Good productions. Sponsors for their products.

Influencing the public to good values.

       Reviving the theme, “faith in Jesus” in the media. Newest film: “The Passion”

       Permeating media centres with prayer from Christians, from within and without.

       Guiding consumers in responsible dealings with the media, for children and adults.

       Spiritual fire-walls against the secret temptation of porno in the internet.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

       12th The arts

 

       Problematic Behaviour:

       PROMETHEUS, that is, man himself as creator and rebel against God.

The need to be original compared to others and whatever has been.  The desire to shine.

Little humility.

Fear of  “intact world”.

Portrayal of  “wrecked world”: highly sensitive to the suffering, the violence and the injustice in the world.  Thus, open to the negative including the occult.

Inner world of the artist as source of inspiration: but what if that world is rotten?

“Be different” – arrogance.  Being different as a pattern for living.

Art as a substitute for religion.

 

God’s Character:

Creator of the cosmos, creator of all.

“Cosmos” means both order and beauty.

Humans as the image of God.  God as inspiration for the artist.

 

God’s Word:

What do you have   that you have not received?

The construction of the Temple as a pattern of God’s idea of art.

 

God’s Will:

Soli deo Gloria = to God alone  the glory.

Creativity as a gift: creating out of joy.

Art as thanksgiving to the Creator and not to glorify self.

Originality pure, without the tension of  trying to be original without God.

Prophetic – visionary and healing ministry of the arts in society.

 

Prayer Points:

Gratitude for the gift of creativity in mankind, in general; for beauty and order (harmony).

Thanks for the artistic calling of individuals.

Request for the artistic talented to recognize the Giver.

Filling of artists of all kinds with the Holy Spirit.

Protection and confirmation among colleagues.

Sufficient financial means.

 

 

 

B. Terrorism

 

Information

 

“War”

is the political will to attain a goal using weapons of violence.  If this definition is correct, then the current Islamic terrorism is a war.  The 11th September 2001 was the declaration of war, which President Bush understood and responded to as such.  The targets in this war on the Islamic side are the USA, its allies and even the entire “West”.  For Islam, it is an inexplicable theological question, why the Christian-influenced West, with all its godlessness (secularism) and moral decadence, is allowed so much dominance and power in this world.  That is why, the political goal of Islam is to destabilize the West, to bring it down and finally, to conquer it, in order to set up the world-rule of Allah.  Even if this is not clear to the Moslems living among us, the world-rule of Islam is the political goal of this religion.  So, one can call this a “clash of cultures”, which is called Jihad or “holy war”, in the Koran;  although the methods may be peaceful, the intention is clear.  Honest Islamic experts admit this.  Against this background, the war in Iraq with the USA and its allies is grist to the terrorists’  mill and young Moslems flock to them, ready to die for Allah.

       Methods of war

There are no open battlefields or winning of territories in this war.  This war is about the so-called “soft targets”, e.g. places where many people come together daily, such as markets, train stations, undergrounds, airports, etc., which are difficult to protect fully.  The unexpected, the shock, the dead and even more, the wounded are meant to undermine and demoralize Western democratic society: first fear, then, a call for safety, then protest against the government “that fails to protect its citizens”, fall of government, etc. Another method is to cause huge financial losses in countries that are completely dependent on tourism.  The “terrorist war” also has had geographical targets such as Afghanistan or Iraq;  but these are rather secondary as methods of war in the “terrorist war”.

 

Countermeasures

In principle, democracies have a hard time, going to war.  Because democracies are based on the liberty of their citizens, war against such an opponent is more difficult, since, obviously, vested rights must be rescinded.  The results are that the USA is about to lose its name as a model-democracy.  For example, a bookseller is required to ask the name of anyone who buys or is interested in an Islamic book.

In Germany, too, following 11th September 2001, laws to better control have been introduced, or existing laws changed.

·         The ceiling on financial and personal protection under the Constitution has been raised.  Under certain circumstances, it is now possible to gather information about suspects from banks, as well as airlines and financial and telecommunication companies – up until now, unthinkable!  However, this way, the flow of money and people’s movements can be traced.  The BKA and other protection agencies have also received this permission.

·         Since then, people working in security are also checked on their dependability.

·         There has also been a tightening in rights for foreigners (faster deportation).

·         Due to the international aspect of terrorist organisations, broader cooperation of all secret services through exchange of data and knowledge was agreed on 19.3 by the interior ministers.

·         In the future, personal identification shall also contain biometric, physically invariable data, such as fingerprints.

·         Headquarters at the EU-level shall be established.

 

All Western democracies are walking a tightrope between the liberty and the protection of its citizens;  also between increasing awareness and avoiding fear and hysterics.  Naturally, the security services have more information than is given in the news; but is it real?  Should warnings on travel be transmitted or are they rumours?  The tension is visible on the faces and in the manner of speaking of responsible ministers ( Schily, Beckstein, etc.).

 

Background

  1. Political

The obvious strategy of the terrorists to target especially those countries that are allied with America or Israel has caused those nations’ governments  to consider how they can best stay out of the line of  terrorist fire.  Without declaring this publicly,  there is a political message: Islam-friendly, e.g, Israel-hostile or, at least Israel-unfriendly.  The “free world” is no longer so “free”, due to fear of terror; it must be careful not to become a victim of blackmail.

  1. Inner-political

Under the pressure of the terrorist threat, it is possible that in the future, all civil rights could be gradually taken under the guise of “public safety”.  Terror coming from this side would be a greater threat to free democracy than any bombs.  The USA is a chilling example and the arbitrary acts of the government in, for example, its handling of the prisoners in Guantanamo can in no way be justified.  The border between democracy and autocracy is blurred here.

Germany is less endangered since no politician would suddenly give a German chancellor an “Enabling Act”  as a clean bill of health ever again.  Still,  vigilance is required.

 

 

 

 

Socially

Germany has become a land of immigration  with ca. 10% foreigners among whom 2 million are Moslems, mostly Turkish.  Islamic terror has made Germans aware of Islam as a problem, even a danger.  This has caused a heightening of the already existing estrangement – on both sides.  The “headscarf discussion” topped it off.  The tension between German and Turkish  students and their readiness for violence among themselves is increasing;  a “culture clash” on a small scale.

As correct as it is that every terrorist a faithful Moslem is,  so false is it that every Moslem is a secret terrorist.  In this situation, social bridges of friendship must be consciously built – naturally from both sides.

The Ministry of Interior has made an urgent appeal to the Moslem population in Germany, in as much as they appreciate the freedom here, to cooperate with our security forces and help uncover the Islamists; not to feel solidarity as a Moslem and perhaps not report a suspicious incident.  Any Moslems who cover terrorists because they are Moslem, are not worth their German citizenship, which signifies that a common effort by everyone must be made to maintain freedom without fear.  It is not only in internal sermons by the mullahs, but also, publicly  recognizable that Moslems and their leaders must clearly disassociate themselves from terrorists who are Moslems if they want to make it credible that Islam as a whole is not aggressive and dangerous.  After all, their religious founder propagated and practised violence, while the Christians promoted non-violence and suffered violence themselves.

 

Spiritually

In his book, “Islam – God’s call to Repentance” (Brunnen Pub., Basel 2003), Andreas Baumann describes how throughout the centuries Islam, from its beginnings in the 7th century, has been a mirror reflecting Christian deficits.  It is still so.

In face of the Christian faith which is riddled with doubt, the Moslem religion appears with deadly sacrifice and unshakeable surety.  Compared to a Christianity, which  has no mission; at best, it takes part in very tolerant dialogues, there comes an Islam that is certain of the truth and a claim to rule the world.  In face of a Christianity which, in spite of clear biblical statements of a hereafter in glory, is unable to speak of the joy on the other side (fear of “opium for the people” reproach) there is an Islam which unabashedly sends young men to their deaths for a paradise with 70 virgins, without scruple.

 

Prayer

There are not enough police in any country  – even if supported by the Army – to protect all soft targets.

But God can!  The hosts of “God’s Zebaoth” (=the hosts) are innumerable.  He can and wants to protect us from terrorists and from all the demonic powers of chaos behind them.  It is a fact – a everyone knows it although many still do not do it: “Only prayer can help!”

So, let us do so!

·         We proclaim the reign of God over Germany/Europe with rhema words (Ps. 46).

·         We pray for a revelation about preparations for new attacks and exposing “sleepers”.

·         We pray for us as citizens for watchful attendance to discover and immediately report suspicious objects.

·         We are burdened by the centuries-old sin of Christians that, up to this day, have been such a sad example of faith in the Saviour – Jesus Christ to Moslems.  Through this, they have been kept from the goal in time and eternity (“Paradise).

·         We pray for a new social coexistence of Germans and Moslems in our nation; for clear signs of breaching the gap on both sides and, from the Christian side, a noticeable love from God for Moslems (which is more than tolerance!), especially in schools and, generally, among the young people.

·         We pray for steadfastness for our government to act wisely and in moderation; and that the national and international news media would finally work together – for the good of all.

Ortwin Schweitzer

(translation: Evelyn Souan)