"Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbour…" Ephesians 4:25
While claiming to be neutral, newspaper journalists and TV presenters often report the news from an anti-Christian point of view. At one time, especially in the 19th century, most leading newspapers were Christian. However, there has been a major shift in the news media on what is covered and how it is covered.
Is There an Agenda?
Instead of the wide-angle lens of context, all too often the zoom lens of selective focus has predominated. Is there an agenda? Or are we dealing merely with bias and prejudice?
Misinformation on Mozambique
My first mission field was Marxist Mozambique. Many asked why the mass media accounts of what was happening in Mozambique differed so radically from Frontline Fellowship reports.
My answer was that there simply was no freedom of speech, freedom of movement or freedom of the press in Mozambique at that time. Most press accounts in Mozambique came from Frelimo's Agency Information Mozambique (AIM). These press releases were distributed by telex and the wire services of SAPA-Reuter and others. Most articles in the print media and items on radio and TV originated with AIM, a Marxist, state-owned propaganda agency - hardly renowned for honesty and lack of bias.
During the 1980s very few journalists actually visited Mozambique, and those who did were normally restricted to the five-star Polana Hotel in Maputo. Their main sources of information were briefings by Frelimo officials, or guided tours and stage-managed interviews - all hosted by Marxist officials and translators.
In a country with a history of concentration camps, torture, public floggings and mass executions, it was easy to find co-operative villagers and pastors who would espouse the desired party line. Those gullible and naïve journalists who then readily parroted the standard stock phrases, parrot cries and clichés no doubt received Frelimo's approval, and further invitations to return for another propaganda exercise some other day.
By way of contrast, our missionaries had continual contact with the people on the ground, in the rural areas. We got the feel of the country by personal experience, over long periods of time, and as the villagers unburdened their hearts to us and related what they had suffered. "An ounce of experience is worth a ton of theory."
Disinformation in Rwanda
The ease with which the orchestrators of the genocide in Rwanda confused international journalists and abused their national media to mobilize the unprecedented concentration of carnage, raised uncomfortable questions.
In its 1200 page report on the genocide in Rwanda, African Rights concluded that: "The response to the aftermath of the genocide was almost as shocking as the response to the genocide itself… Progress towards justice has been negligible. On the contrary, there is a concentrated attempt to distort or deny what has happened. The survivors of the genocide are not the beneficiaries of national and international compassion and support, rather they are almost wholly forgotten, while displaced people and refugees receive massive and indiscriminate assistance… The refusal to face the reality of what is one of the very worst crimes against humanity since the foundation of the United Nations…"
The AR report found that the killings were meticulously organised in advance. The French-trained Presidential Guard, the Army, the Gendarmes and Civil Administrators were willing instruments in the genocide. The killings in Rwanda were no spontaneous outburst, but followed instructions from the highest level.
African Rights condemned the gullibility of the international media for accepting the MRND party line that the killings were merely "tribal anarchy" and "uncontrollable tribal killing." By portraying the genocide as "tribalism" and as a result of "the war" they provided a smokescreen of confusion, which allowed the killers to proceed with their diabolical plans.
Central to the Hutu MRND government strategy was to sow confusion so that no one knew what was happening. They isolated their victims by imposing a news blackout, cutting telephone links, establishing a dense network of roadblocks, and imposing a nationwide curfew. These measures kept people in their homes and prevented most people from fleeing. By cutting communications and restricting travel they isolated their victims and sought to stifle the flow of news.
When the genocide was launched on 6 April 1994, most African correspondents were in South Africa for the elections. There were, actually, only two international journalists in Rwanda at that time - and they were in Kigali, cut off from what was going on in the rural areas.
Following the assassination of the president the MRND government launched a campaign of disinformation. They portrayed the killings as a spontaneous outbreak of "tribal violence". They sought to confuse the mass killings of defenceless peoples with "the war" and insisted that a ceasefire was the pre-condition for involvement. Thirdly they played "the humanitarian card" by pleading for emergency aid. All this deflected attention from the central issue of the genocide.
The tenancy of most journalists to label every conflict in Africa as "tribalism" has become absurd. Many foreign aid workers fuelled this tendency with ill-informed comments such as: "Everyone is killing everyone!"; "its uncontrollable violence"; "the Hutus and Tutsis are killing one another again!"
Having killed opposition politicians, Rwandese journalists, human rights activists and others who might present an accurate report on the bloodshed, the MRND government then pursued their second strategy of disinformation to confuse the issue with self-serving false reports. They portrayed the violence as "spontaneous rage" in response to the assassination of the president, even though it was the MRND government and military who were responsible for the assassination of the President themselves.
In the first days, international attention generally focused on the plight of foreigners. Camera crews were, understandably, only prepared to travel with international troops - whose mission was to evacuate foreigners. This naturally led to a slanted and incomplete picture being portrayed to the world.
The strategy of disinformation and terror so callously and effectively orchestrated by the MRND Hutu government in Rwanda was spectacularly successful. With most international attention focused on South Africa's volatile elections, there were no journalists in the rural areas of Rwanda reporting on the massacres there. The rural genocide was effectively hidden from the outside world for almost three weeks.
Aaron Makuba, whose whole family was wiped out complained: "The world persists in characterizing the bloodshed as ethnic clashes. We who have lost our families, relatives, colleagues and neighbours regard this as unfair, unjust and a source of immense pain."
"People should stop describing Rwanda to us as tribes who are in the process of killing one another," Dr Jean Herve Bradol of MSF - France concluded, "I think it is really the final insult to the victims, to present the matters in this way. And I believe that this way of presenting things is not altogether incidental, perhaps in order to justify the passivity of various parties…"
Focusing on Darfur and Ignoring the Nuba
It is quite remarkable that such a vast amount of media attention has recently been focused on the suffering of Muslims in Darfur, while completely ignoring the vastly greater and much longer tragedy of Islamic Jihad against the Christians of Southern Sudan and the Nuba Mountains.
Approximately 2 million people, most of these Christians, died in the 50 years Jihad against the Christians in Southern Sudan. Yet, the news media showed little interest and the UN and Western governments did comparatively little for the Christian victims of Jihad in Southern Sudan.
However, for some reason, the five years of low intensity conflict in Western Sudan in Darfur has received enormous worldwide media and government attention. As a result it is has also received disproportionately more Church attention and aid.
Darfur is a 99% Muslim area in Western Sudan. What had been going on in Darfur is Muslim-on- Muslim violence. It is typical Arab banditry that has been going on for centuries. In this case Muslim Arabs are fighting against Muslim Blacks. The Christians that we serve in Southern Sudan, Northern Nigeria and other parts of Africa, are somewhat cynical about this, pointing out that it seems the West is only concerned for Muslims and never Christians.
The West was tremendously concerned for Muslims in Bosnia, Muslims in Kuwait, Muslims in Somalia, Muslims in Afghanistan and Iraq and Muslims in Darfur. However, the West stood by while hundreds of thousands of Christians were slaughtered in Rwanda and in Southern Sudan and the Nuba Mountains. The point made is that it would seem that the world media, and the UN, would only mobilize international campaigns to support Muslim victims, never Christians.
Another point worth noting is that the Black Muslims of Darfur have traditionally been some of the worst slave raiders, guilty of many of the worst atrocities committed against Christians in Bar-el-Ghazal, and the Nuba Mountains. When General Charles Gordon travelled to Sudan in the 19th century, he saw that the worst slave raids came from the Darfur Muslims. At that time he noted that 7 out of every 8 Black people in Sudan were slaves.
Villifying the Victims and Justifying the Villains
Over the last 26 years that I have been serving as missionary to the persecuted in Africa, I could not help but notice how frequently the mass media chose to target those targeted by international communism. Is it just coincidental that during the Rhodesian War, the Border war in South West Africa/Namibia, the riots in South Africa, the Killing fields of Mozambique, the civil war in Angola, the massacre of Matebele tribesmen in Zimbabwe, the Red Terror in Ethiopia, the holocaust in Rwanda, the Jihad in Sudan, the wave of church burning in Northern Nigeria, or any other of the many calamities and conflicts in Africa, most of the mass media have chosen to confuse the issues, avoid the heart of the matter, vilify the victims and whitewash the villains?
After one interview with a journalist from The Argus concerning our work in Sudan, I asked: "Why is it that The Argus continually publishes Pro-Abortion articles, and ignores Pro-Life events such as the Life Chains and the National Day of Repentance?"
The answer was astounding: "Well, we're pro-choice".
"Yes, I understand that, but surely it is your intention to report events and present the facts, without fear or favour, from both sides?"
She smiled and shrugged her shoulders: "Well, I'm pro-choice. Every journalist that I know is pro-choice. And, well, I guess we're just biased!" she grinned broadly.
That was a remarkable honest statement, but there is no doubt that most of the print media in South Africa is pro-abortion and pro-homosexuality.
Although most journalists and editors will claim that they are objective, even the most objective journalist has to admit that they collect far more facts than they publish. There is the judgment on what to cover, how to cover it, and what facts, opinions or viewpoints that they have come across to include in the story and which to discard.
Secondly the reporter or editor decides which of the facts should be included in the first paragraph of the story and thereby emphasized above the others.
Thirdly the editor will decide whether the story is placed on page one, or page sixteen. On page one it will attract far more attention than it would on any other page.
Spiking the Spiritual
Although at one time, particularly in the early part of the 19th century, journalism emphasized God's sovereignty and man's responsibility, most modern journalists choose to spike the Spiritual. At one time newspaper articles pointed out that kings who disobeyed God were exposed and deposed. Those who engaged in duels were without true honour because they sought esteem amongst men more than following God's commands. Lightning storms were seen to demonstrate Spiritual lessons. Lack of repentance was shown to have murderous consequences.
Publishing God's Obituary
However, as non-Christian journalists came to dominate newspapers, they redefined reality by excluding the Spiritual realm. Many editors actually tried to publish God's obituary declaring: "God is dead!"
Typically newspaper stories present random events in a chance universe. Journalists who believe in evolution tend to evidence the Humanistic worldview that we came from nothing, we're going nowhere and life is meaningless. Instead of seeing patterns in events, journalists with a materialistic worldview simply see random effects of time plus chance. Governments rise and fall, corruption stories are published, people are murdered, cars crash, natural disasters occur, some people abuse children. However, there's no explanation. No patterns exposed. No lessons to learn.
Behind the News Headlines
The fact that most murderers are under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time will not be emphasised. The fact that most vehicle accidents are alcohol related is apparently irrelevant. The Islamic doctrine of Jihad and its role in over 90% of the wars and terrorist campaigns in the world today will not even be referred to. The Marxist ideology of dictators and mass murderers such as Joseph Stalin, Mao Tse Tung, Pol Pot, Mengistu, Fidel Castro and Robert Mugabe will scarcely receive a mention.
The Unmentionable Facts
Apparently personal beliefs are unimportant in the mind of many modern journalists. The fact that AIDS was originally called GRIDS (Gay Related Immunisation Deficiency Syndrome) and that a vastly disproportionate percentage of homosexuals contract AIDS is ignored.
Most humanist reporters who believe in a materialistic worldview refuse to consider the possibility that AIDS could be a judgment of God and a warning to promiscuous and adulterous individuals who violate God's commands.
If such a possibility is even referred to, it would be in the context of ridiculing the idea that the terror of AIDS provides us with an opportunity for repentance.
Deceiving the Nations
Satan is deceiving the nations. Education teaches you how to think. Indoctrination teaches you what to think. The ability to think critically is becoming less and less common. We are being subjected to the greatest flood of misinformation and disinformation in the history of mankind.
Misinformation is error, either as a result of sincere mistakes or typographical errors. Frequently trusting in unreliable sources results in misunderstanding the facts of a matter.
Disinformation is the intentional distortion of events or issues. Communist governments establish departments of disinformation to manufacture deceit and confuse the issues. While misinformation is unintentional, disinformation is intentional.
The Scripture warns us of "The lawless one… according to the working of satan, with all power, signs and lying wonders." 2 Thessalonians 2:9
"…the Prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience." Ephesians 2:2
"Whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the Gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them." 2 Corinthians 4:4
We are called "to open their eyes, in order to turn them from darkness to light, from the power of satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by Faith in Me." Acts 26:18
The Duty to Stand for the Truth
Under the Duties Required in the Ninth Commandment, the Westminster Larger Catechism lists: The Duty of preserving and promoting truth. The duty to stand for the truth and to do so from the heart. The duty to speak the truth and only the truth in matters of judgment and justice. The duty to speak the truth at all times. The duty to study and practice everything true, noble, lovely and of good report.
"Put on the whole armour of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places." Ephesians 6:11-12
Enemies of Truth
Under the Sins Forbidden in the Ninth Commandment, the Westminster Standards includes: The sin of giving false evidence. The sin of lying. The sin of concealing the truth. The sin of misconstruing intentions. The sin of exaggerating minor faults. The sin of perverting the truth to a wrong meaning.
The Scripture teaches us that satan is deceiving the nations. If we find ourselves in full agreement with the United Nations, we need to stop and carefully consider where we have been deceived. Global warming! Sexism! Racism! Black Economic Empowerment. Affirmative Action. Alternative Lifestyles. Gay Marriage, Evolution. Atheism. Socialism. If you agree with the world on any of these issues then satan has deceived you.
Propaganda, the calculated manipulation of public opinion to serve political and ideological interests is pervasive. Propaganda aims to do other peoples thinking for them. Propaganda today has moved into Prop-Agenda, not only controlling what we think, but how we think, and what we think about.
Privileges for Perverts
If you don’t support gay rights (privileges for perverts), then you are a homophobic, narrow-minded, hateful bigot!
Repeat this Mantra
Islam is a peaceful and tolerant religion! If you dare to suggest that Islam is violent and intolerant then you are a mean, intolerant, Islamaphobe! (and you may receive death threats or worse.)
If you don’t accept the politically correct fairy tale for grownups: Evolution, then you are unscientific. A whole lot of time and a whole lot of nothing made everything. From goo, to the Zoo, to you. From mud, to monkeys, to man. If you demand evidence of these unproven assertions, or advocate Intelligent Design, then you are an ignorant, unscientific fool and you are too dangerous to allow as a teacher or lecturer in government schools and colleges.
If you oppose abortion, then you are against women’s rights! If you insist on calling it the killing of a baby, we will try to have you prosecuted for hate speech. It is a Product of Conception (POC) and we need to refer to Termination of Pregnancy (TOP) not aborting the baby! If you insist on equal rights for unborn babies, then you are anti-choice and should expect to never be promoted or appointed to any senior position in a government hospital.
In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.
Politically Correct Euphemisms
Secular humanist indoctrination requires that you use the politically correct euphemisms: Racial discrimination is now called Black Economic Empowerment and Affirmative Action. Sexual perversion is to be called Alternative Lifestyles. Looting of farms and murder of farmers is to be called Land Reform. Killing of babies is to be called Removal of the Product of Conception or Termination of Pregnancy. Killing old or sick people is to be called Euthanasia. Censorship is to be called the Information Bill.
George Orwell in his book 1984, described it as: Newspeak and Thought Control.
The Manufacture of Consent
As American journalist Walter Lippmann, wrote: The art of democracy required the manufacture of consent.
Karl Marx declared: The first battlefield is the rewriting of history.
Propaganda and Agitation
Vladimir Lenin, in his book: What Is To Be Done, required the Communist Party to use propaganda to indoctrinate the educated and intelligent masses, and agitation – the use of slogans, stories and selected half-truths to exploit the grievances of the uneducated and ignorant masses.
Every unit in the Communist Party is to have an Agit-Prop section. As Vladimir Lenin taught: Deceit in propaganda is justified, because the end justifies the means. As Vladimir Lenin famously noted: Treaties are like pie crusts, made to be broken. To tell the truth is a petty bourgeois habit, but to lie and to lie convincingly is a sign of superior intelligence.
Regimenting the Public Mind
As Walter Lippmann wrote in Public Opinion: The simple minded and sheep-like people need to be led by a specialised class of enlightened elites. The goal is: the making of one general will out of multitude of general wishes. As Edward Bernays of the Committee of Public Information (CPI) declared: The public must be regimented.
A Bodyguard of Lies
Sir Winston Churchill, the British Prime Minister during World War II declared: In war time, truth is so precious, that she should always be attended by a bodyguard of lies.
Manipulation of Minds
George Creel, who coordinated the Committee on Public Information in the United States, defined their goals as: To manipulate attitudes, beliefs and actions.
On almost any given day you will be confronted with deception. Certainly through the news media and the entertainment industry. Deceit is their stock and trade. As has been observed, you can always tell when a politician is lying, his lips move. An even when he dies, he lies still.
There are numerous tell tail signs that you can look for to identify deception in propaganda. Propaganda can be subtle, but it is aimed at your emotions. Over simplification, emotionalisation and sentimentality are all dead giveaways of deceit. Propagandists tend to reuse short, catchy slogans to communicate their agenda. Its repetivity begins to sound something like a mantra.
Alternative Opinions Forbidden
When you come across forcefulness and authoritarian implied condemnation of any alternative viewpoint then you are ensured that you are dealing with indoctrination, not education. Truth does not fear investigation. Truth does not fear debate.
Ignoring the Wider Context
Propaganda commonly ignores the historical context, uses selective stories and a narrow source of experts, those who tow the party line. Propaganda demonises the enemy and uses such a narrow focus that you could describe it as using the zoom lens rather than the wide-angle lens of context.
One Sided Generalisations
The always, or never type of extremism also frequently rears its head in propaganda. There is only one side of the story when it comes to classic propaganda.
Stampeding the Herd
Propaganda often intimidates readers, listeners or viewers into joining the herd by using prejudicial and harsh labels for anyone who disagrees with the party line. This stampede into rubber stamping the prescribed agenda is a hallmark of all propaganda: All right thinking people agree! No one in their right mind would deny! Scientists have confirmed! Those who care for the poor agree… All freedom loving people want to see…No proof or investigation is needed. You may not question the official version.
Lies, omissions and distortions are a hallmark of propaganda. There are frequently logical fallacies and inconsistencies if one looks for them. When laws need to be passed criminalizing those who disagree with any given piece of indoctrination, then you know that it must be a lie. The truth does not need to bully people into chanting a mantra of agreement.
George Orwell’s books: 1984 and Animal Farm, are most insightful in exposing the inconsistencies and falsehood inherent in propaganda. In Animal Farm, the chant of the faithful sheep: Four legs good! Two legs bad! The rewriting of the laws of their revolution on the barn wall:
1.All animals are equal, later becomes: All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others.
2.To: No animal shall kill another animal, is later added without cause.
3.The: No animals shall sleep in a bed, is later changed to No Animal shall sleep in a bed with sheets.
The pigs who represent the Communist Party officials, violate and change every rule of their own Revolution. George Orwell didn’t dream all this up, he merely was using a parable to communicate exactly what had happened in the Soviet Union.
Those who claim to stand for freedom became the most oppressive regime in history. Those who claimed to want to uplift the poor, actually oppressed the poor worse than any other state in history. Those who claimed to champion world peace, caused more war, more bloodshed and more massacres of civilians than any other movement in history. Though they talk of freedom, they themselves are slaves of corruption (2 Peter 2:19).
In 1984, George Orwell wrote of Thought Crimes. Today one is getting to the stage where if you disagree with, for example, perversion, you can be accused of a hate crime!
Jargon is also used to obscure the truth. Civilian casualties are referred to as: collateral damage. Murder is frequently: liquidation. Terror bombing of cities is called: Saturation Bombing or Strategic Bombing Campaign. Starvation of civilian populations is called: an economic blockade, or sanctions.
Scientology speak about those people who have gone through their programmes as: clear. Those who have not are labelled: toxic!
Frequently we are encouraged: If it feels good, do it!, or to follow your heart!
Yet the Book of Proverbs warns us that those who trust in their own heart are fools!
Jesus Christ said: “You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.” John 8:32
It is absolutely essential that we know the truth of history to recognise the lies of propaganda and indoctrination. We need to study God’s Word in the Bible so that we can be freed from the deceptions of the world, the flesh and the devil.
The Church of Ephesus is commended by God: "You have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars." Revelation 2:2
The Church in Smyrna is told: "I know the blasphemy of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of satan." Revelation 2:9
To the Church of Philadelphia, the Lord writes: "Indeed I will make those of the synagogue of satan, who say they are Jews and are not, but lie… he who overcomes I will make him a pillar in the Temple of My God…" Revelation 3:9-12
"You shall not steal, nor deal falsely, nor lie to one another." Leviticus 19:11
"Deliver my soul, O Lord, from lying lips and from a deceitful tongue. Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord. But those who deal truthfully are His delight." Proverbs 12:22
"A false witness will not go unpunished, and he who speaks lies shall perish." Proverbs 19:9
"Everyone will deceive his neighbour, and will not speak the truth. They have taught their tongue to speak lies, they weary themselves to commit iniquity." Jeremiah 9:5
"The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?" Jeremiah 17:9
"Their throat is an open tomb; with their tongues they have practised deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips." Romans 3:13
"You shall destroy those who speak falsehood: the Lord abhors the bloodthirsty and deceitful man." Psalm 5:6
"Let the lying lips be put to silence, which speak insolent things proudly and contentiously against the righteous." Psalm 31:18
"He who works deceit shall not dwell within my house. He who tells lies shall not continue in my presence." Psalm 101:7
Do You Like Being Lied To?
We are being subjected to the most pervasive tsunami of disinformation in history. This includes: Hollywood's distortion of history, myths and legends propagated in school textbooks, half-truths, distractions, glaring omissions, selective focus, fictional incidents, imaginary anecdotes, prejudicial language, stereotypical characterisations, inverting reality, manipulating emotions, politically correct parrot cries, stock phrases and mantras to demonize the victims and to justify aggression, trivialising the main issues, ignoring key issues, focussing on side issues and reinforcing deceit with manufactured versions of the past.
Facts are Stubborn Things
We need to understand the context of our history and rediscover the real facts, the real people and the real history - so that we might counter satan's deceptions of the nations. The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing. Our highest priority on earth is the fulfilment of the Great Commission. It is impossible to fulfil the Great Commission without understanding the times and knowing what God's people must do. For us to teach the nations to obey all things that the Lord has commanded, we need to understand how satan is deceiving the nations. Truth does not fear investigation.
"Remove from me the way of lying…" Psalm 119:29
"The truthful lip shall be established forever, but a lying tongue is but for a moment." Proverbs 12:19
"Remove falsehood and lies far from me…" Proverbs 30:8
"These are the things you shall do: speak each man the truth to his neighbour; give judgement in your gates for truth, justice and peace." Zechariah 8:16
"Therefore, putting away lying, let each one of you speak truth with his neighbour…" Ephesians 4:25
"Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us, but to your Name give glory, because of your mercy, because of your Truth." Psalm 115:1
"Buy the truth and do not sell it. Also wisdom and instruction and understanding." Proverbs 23:23
"Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of Truth." 2 Timothy 2:15
God is Truth. God’s Word is Truth. Jesus Christ is the Way, the Truth and the Life.
Dr. Peter Hammond
P.O. Box 74 Newlands 7725
Cape Town South Africa
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Much as been said about the economics and social analysis of Marxism, but as a Christian, I want to look at the heart of Communism. Beneath all the philosophical verbage and political rhetoric, what is the driving force of Marxist-Leninism?
“Atheism is the natural and inseparable part of Communism.” Vladimir Lenin.
“We must hate. Hatred is the basis of Communism.” Lenin
“Hatred is an element of the struggle, a relentless hatred of the enemy…transforming him into an effective, violent and selective, cold blooded killing machine. A people without hatred cannot vanquish a brutal enemy.” Che Guevare.
As a Missionary, who for 38 years has concentrated on serving persecuted Christians in Restricted Access Areas, I have travelled in 42 countries and worked in 38 countries across 4 continents. This included throughout Eastern Europe, behind the Iron Curtain, during the Cold War.
When I first visited Yugoslavia and heard people in Croatia speaking about their need for independence, I was highly skeptical that it could succeed. Yugoslavia consisted of six republics, five nations, four languages, three major religions, two alphabets, but only one political party – the Communist Party.
In 1990, the first multiparty elections were held in Croatia. On 25 June 1991, Croatia declared independence, which came into effect 8 October 1991. By 15 January 1992, Croatia was recognised as an independent country by the European Economic Community. The aggression by Yugoslavia was effectively ended August 1995, with a decisive victory by Croatia. Since then, 5 August has been observed as a Victory and Homeland Thanksgiving Day.
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“When I look at a child, I see a living, breathing person, made in God's image, for whom God has a plan. As parent educators, we need to embrace a new notion of learning...we need to engage the heart in order to effectively educate the child. Our vision of a well-educated child is a child who has a heart for learning, a child who has the tools he needs to continue to learn for a lifetime and a child who has the love to want to do it.” - Elizabeth Foss
15 000 hours, 900 000 minutes, 54 000 000 seconds. What could we do with this time? Fly around the world 333 times, read more than a 1000 books, hike to the summit of Mount Everest 10 times… or go to school once. This is the average amount of time, a child will spend in school. Who are we giving this time to? Who are we allowing to shape the minds of our children? And whose interests do they have at heart? The Bible clearly states that a child’s education is the responsibility of the parents. Why are we giving this responsibility away? Because the state can do a better job? Because we feel we aren’t competent? Because the responsibility is too much pressure? Because we’re too lazy? Because it’s the status quo? None of these are good enough reasons to let someone else influence the development of your child’s precious mind. Proverbs 22:6 clearly states that how a child’s mind is shaped in his youth, determines his behavior and ideologies in his future:
“Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.”
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Kofi Annan, the first black African to lead the United Nations, died in Switzerland, on Saturday, 18 August, at age 80. Kofi Annan’s personal role as head of the United Nations peacekeeping operations from 1993 to 1997 was controversial: this period saw the killing of 18 American service personnel in Somalia in October 1993, the massacre of more than 800,000 Rwandans in the genocide of 1994 and the massacre of 8,000 Bosnians at Srebrenica in 1995.
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“And you shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.” John 8:32
Responsibilities and Rights
The only Biblical restrictions on our freedom of speech in the Ten Commandments are: “You shall not take the Name of the Lord your God in vain” and “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbour.” Outside of those prohibitions of blasphemy and slander, we have freedom of speech. “Do not commit Adultery” prohibits immorality and pornography in all its forms by upholding the sanctity of marriage. “You shall not commit Murder” prohibits incitement to hatred and violence. So outside of these few Biblical restrictions, we have freedom of speech.
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“Woe to you when all men speak well of you, for that is how their fathers treated the false prophets”.
It is interesting how, in spite of all the warnings in Scripture against gossip, slander and tale bearing, just how much stock we tend to place in people's opinions. It is said that where there is smoke there is fire. However, the smoke may be no more than dust and hot air.
Lies Travel Fast
As Mark Twain observed: "A lie can travel halfway across the world while truth is still getting its boots on!"
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How Do You Interpret Scripture?
Thursday (23/08/2018), I had the opportunity to be part of a panel discussion on the Eusebius McKaiser show on Cape Talk, Radio 702. The title of the show was: Is the Bible an Ally of Gay People? The discussion began with host Eusebius asking me how I deal with passages of Scripture when there are differences of opinion on interpretation. My reply was that Scripture interprets Scripture. The clearer passages of Scripture are used to interpret the less clear. The whole of Scripture must be used to interpret any portion of Scripture. If any interpretation of Scripture is inconsistent with the whole Bible, then it must be rejected. In addition, we can receive conformation from Church Councils, Creeds and Confessions. The point is that objective truth must be our foundation, not subjective opinion. If I am hiking in the mountains and find a cairn (a pile of rocks with a sign) which disagrees with my perception of where I am, it is my perception that is wrong. The objective rock solid marker is objective reality. So is Scripture. The Bible is the Word of God, inspired, infallible and inerrant.
The task is great and the workers are few ‑ nobody can do everything, but we can all do something and what we can do we must do and what we must do we will do by the grace of God who gave us our life, talents, gifts and opportunities. Here are some suggestions:
STUDY THE BIBLE both personally and in a group of like‑minded believers. The objective truth of God's Word must be the inspiration and solid foundation for all our actions. Until we know God's Word we can be easily mislead and deceived. Read through and study every Book of the Bible.