Signs of the Times

­­For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. (2Timothy 1:7)

Biblical Understanding Lacking in Believers & Unbelievers

According to a recent survey, the proportion of American adults who have a biblical worldview dropped to 7% in 2018, the lowest on record. The data confirmed what has long been known — a large majority of Americans are biblically illiterate and don’t understand Christian convictions. This is especially true regarding morally weighty topics such as abortion, religious liberty, and sexuality. Significantly, even professing Christians often struggle to defend a biblical ethic when it comes to these politically contentious issues, notes David Closson of the Family Research Council. “This widespread biblical illiteracy explains why Christian beliefs are increasingly dismissed as outdated or seen as hateful,” writes Closson.

  • The Bible teaches that we are all sinners saved by grace alone and that Jesus commands us to love everyone (Matthew 22:37-40)

40 Days for Life Campaign Saves 100 Babies in Just 2 Weeks

The latest 40 Days for Life campaign is well underway, and the pro-life organization is reporting remarkable progress so far. 40 Days for Life organizes round-the-clock prayer vigils outside of abortion facilities around the world, persistent displays to raise awareness that abortion is not only happening in a community, but that there are community members willing to oppose it. The organization says that since 2007, it has led to the prevention of over 16,000 abortions, the closing of over 100 abortion centers, and the quitting of almost 200 abortion workers. On Monday, 40 Days for Life tweeted word that the latest campaign, which had only been going on for two weeks, just saved its hundredth baby from abortion.

Baby Body Parts Testimony Brings Jury to Tears

There’s been a “game-changer” at the California civil trial in which Planned Parenthood is suing the investigators whose undercover videos exposed the abortion industry’s scheme to profit from the sale of baby body parts. For the first time, jurors were allowed to see portions of the videos that were released in 2015. “The jury was stunned. It was the first time during the three-week trial that they had seen any of the debated video. It was a game changer and a huge victory for the pro-life defendants,” said Operation Rescue President Troy Newman. In addition, Planned Parenthood’s star witness, turned into a star witness for the defense when her testimony conflicted with prior statements and dispositions.

California Mandates Free Abortions at All Colleges and Universities

California Governor Gavin Newsom has signed into law a radical bill that would force colleges to provide free abortions on campus. The pro-abortion bill, which passed the state legislature in September, mandates that all public colleges and universities provide abortion drugs for free to students up to 10 weeks of pregnancy starting Jan. 1, 2023. The bill promotes abortion instead of providing young women with pregnancy support and options. Now that the bill has become law, 34 public college campuses in the state will be forced to begin providing abortion drugs.

Christian Doctors Can’t Be Forced to Perform Transgender Surgeries

A federal judge handed Christian doctors and supporters of religious liberty a major victory Tuesday, ruling they cannot be forced to assist with gender-reassignment procedures, such as sex-change surgeries. The case stretches back to the Obama administration, when the Department of Health and Human Services issued a rule requiring virtually every doctor to assist with gender-transition procedures as part of ObamaCare, Becket Law reports. District Judge Reed O’Connor issued an injunction against the rule in 2016, and the Trump administration followed by issuing a proposed new rule protecting the conscience rights of Christian doctors and other medical professionals. On Tuesday, O’Connor finalized his 2016 decision, ruling the Obama-era rule “substantially burdens” religious exercise rights in violation of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, a federal law. O’Connor was nominated by President George W. Bush.

Attorney General Barr Blasts ‘Militant Secularists’

Attorney General William Barr blasted “militant secularists” and their attacks on Judeo-Christian values in a blistering speech at Notre Dame Friday, saying “religion has been under increasing attack” over the past five decades. Barr, a devout Catholic, told students and faculty at the university’s law school that “the problem is not that religion is being forced on others, the problem is that irreligion is being forced — secular values are being forced on people of faith.” Barr contends that many of society’s ills are caused because of the breakdown of religion in society. “This is not decay,” he said. “This is organized destruction. Secular forces and their allies have marshaled all the forces of mass communication, popular culture, the entertainment industry, and academia, in an unremitting assault on religion and traditional values.”

American Troops Pulled Out of Turkey/Syrian Chaos

President Trump’s decision to withdraw U.S. troops from northern Syria, where they had long kept an uneasy peace among competing forces, left the region in upheaval Sunday. Administration officials denied that the United States had “abandoned” its Syrian Kurdish allies to Turkish forces that invaded northern Syria Monday President Trump signaled Monday that “big sanctions” will hit Turkey in response to the NATO ally’s decision to bombard U.S.-allied Kurds in northern Syria. Tensions soared Wednesday with the House voting overwhelmingly with Republican support to rebuke President Trump. A subsequent confrontation at the White House led to Democratic leaders walking out on the president who they said had a “meltdown.” Turkey’s President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, agreed Thursday to halt the invasion for five days while Kurdish fighters leave a safe zone in northern Syria while the United States facilitates the withdrawal of YPG (a mostly Kurdish militia) from the affected areas in the safe zone,” said Vice President Mike Pence. Fighting continued Friday morning in a northeast Syrian border town at the center of the fight between Turkey and Kurdish forces, despite the U.S.-brokered ceasefire that went into effect overnight. U.S. Troops are “largely” out of the region, said Trump on Thursday.

  • The Islamic State is still active in the area, and there are reports that Russian and Syrian forces are moving in as well. Hundreds of Islamic State supporters escaped from a displaced-persons camp in northern Syria on Sunday amid heavy clashes between invading Turkish-led forces and Kurdish fighters.
  • Hours after reaching an agreement with Kurdish forces, the Syrian Army entered a key town near the Turkish border — a significant shift in the power dynamic. The return of government forces to northeastern Syria deals a blow to Kurdish-led forces who had been supported by the United States.
  • Russian mercenary forces have begun sweeping in to fill a security void left by withdrawing U.S. troops in northern Syria, with a video online showing the Moscow-backed mercenaries taking control Tuesday of what was previously an American military outpost.
  • Officials are reviewing plans to evacuate up to 50 U.S. nuclear bombs that have long been stored at Incirlik Air Base in Turkey. The weapons are now essentially “hostage” to Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan, a senior official told The New York Times on Monday. The Cold War-era B61 nuclear bombs are said to be 100-250 miles from the Syrian border.
  • Thousands of Christians, Kurds and Yazidis are fleeing parts of Syria. The group In Defense of Christians, said they are “deeply concerned for the Christian and Yazidi communities of Northeast Syria should the Republic of Turkey move into the region. “There are over 40,000 Christians in the Northeast,” the group said. Two Christians were reported killed and others wounded within hours of Turkey’s invasion.

Judge Blocks Plans to Build Border Wall

President Trump’s proclamation declaring a border wall emergency is illegal, a federal judge in Texas ruled Friday, throwing a new hurdle in front of the government’s plans to build hundreds of miles of new barriers. Judge David Briones, a Clinton appointee to the court, said Congress took clear steps to try to limit how much border wall Mr. Trump could build using money appropriated in fiscal year 2019, and the president’s attempt to funnel Pentagon funds toward wall construction is illegal. The administration argued a federal judge had no power to personally constrain the president, the head of a separate branch of government.

Immigration Numbers Way Down

Illegal immigration across the U.S.-Mexico border tumbled in September, officials said Tuesday, saying the administration has solved the migration crisis by stopping Central Americans before they ever reach the border. The 144,000 people nabbed at the border in May fell to 52,546 migrants in September. At one point CBP was detaining 5,000 people a day. That’s now 1,700. The U.S. still posted the worst overall year in more than a decade, with the Border Patrol apprehending about 850,000 illegal immigrants in fiscal 2019, which ended Sept. 30. Officers at the ports of entry encountered about 125,000 more unauthorized migrants, for a combined illegal immigrant population of nearly 1 million.

Immigration Prosecutions at Record Level

The Justice Department set a record over the last fiscal year, prosecuting more criminal cases against illegal immigrants and migrant smugglers than any other year on record, officials announced Friday. However, the numbers are still a tiny fraction of the overall illegal activity at the border. With nearly 1 million unauthorized crosses in fiscal year 2019, the government still only charged about 106,000 people with either illegal entry or illegal re-entry after a previous deportation. Another 4,297 people were charged with migrant smuggling, harboring or otherwise assisting in the illegal traffic.

Trial Underway of Illegal Immigrant Terrorist

Abdulahi Hasan Sharif of Somalia had himself smuggled from Somalia through Brazil and Central America. Then he entered the United States over the Mexico-California border and claimed asylum in 2011, reports Judicial Watch. Sharif went on to Canada, where he conducted a double vehicle-ramming and stabbing rampage in 2017 in Edmonton, Alberta, that severely injured a police officer and four other people. He was carrying an Islamic State flag in one of the ramming vehicles. The 32-year-old Sharif is now on public trial in Canada, facing 11 counts of attempted murder, aggravated assault, and dangerous driving.

Mexicans Protest Detention Center in Mexicali

Nearly 200 residents gathered in Mexicali Monday night to protest the Mexican federal government’s plan to convert a shuttered grocery store into a shelter for asylum seekers who have been sent by United States officials to Mexico to await the resolution of their immigration cases. Mexicali residents said they aren’t racist, xenophobic or anti-immigrant. Rather, they said, they oppose the shelter because it could draw crime to the neighborhood, threaten the safety of area school children and draw down home prices. In response to the opposition, Abraham Salcido, a spokesman for the Mexican federal government in Baja California, said the northern state has always been “a land of migrants.” He said opponents’ concerns that the asylum seekers are bringing disease and insecurity to the border city are “not true.”

1,000 ‘False Families’ Detected at Border in DNA Tests

Immigration and Customs Enforcement announced Thursday that over 1,000 “false families” that were apprehended crossing the southern border have been detected thanks to DNA testing. ICE acting director Matthew Albence criticize a federal judge for limiting the agency’s ability to ask local law enforcement to hold illegal immigrants until ICE can apprehend them. “This decision will threaten public safety as it will lead to the release of criminal aliens back onto the street,” Albence said, according to the Washington Times. The judge issued a permanent injunction that prevents ICE from using electronic databases when issuing detainers after determining that the agency’s databases weren’t reliable enough.

Police Suicides Rising

The suicide of a police officer in Montgomery County, Maryland, this week is part of a surge in law enforcement officers across the country taking their lives, prompting police departments to address concerns about the mental health of their members. Psychologists and police officials say a number of factors — such as increased scrutiny, mandatory overtime, perceived hostility and physical danger — contribute to the daily stress on officers. Officers can become disillusioned by the job and how their department treats them, which can begin a downward turn toward hopelessness.

Columbus Day Being Replaced by Native Americans Day

For many Americans, the second Monday in October is a celebration of Italian heritage and Christopher Columbus’s 1492 voyage to the Americas. But a growing number of cities, states and universities are abandoning ship and replacing Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples Day, also known as Native Americans Day. At least eight states, 10 universities and more than 130 cities across 34 states now observe Indigenous Peoples Day as an alternative to the federally recognized Columbus Day, which many say glorifies the mistreatment and colonization of Native Americans. Although Italian explorer Christopher Columbus is often credited as being the “discoverer” of the New World, millions of people already inhabited the Americas, and the Vikings had reached North America nearly five centuries earlier.

Closing of Arizona Coal Plant Hurts Navajos

The pending closure of a massive coal plant on the Navajo Nation isn’t measured only by better air quality or the cost savings for the power companies that own it, reports the Arizona Republic. The aftereffects include hundreds of jobs lost in an area where high-paying work is hard to find. The lives disrupted and families scattered. The looming shutdown of the Navajo Generating Station forced hundreds of utility employees to relocate to new jobs and put most of the region’s miners out of work when the Kayenta Mine that fueled it closed in August. Most are Native American. The Navajo Nation and Hopi Tribes are now trying to fill gaping holes in their budgets while already high poverty rates and substance addiction are expected to rise.

Economic News

The stock market rallied again on Friday after President Trump said the United States and China reached a preliminary trade agreement. Trump, who met with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He Friday afternoon, called the initial deal “substantial.” Details of the agreement are still emerging, but it includes a halt on U.S. tariff increases. Trump told reporters that intellectual property theft, currency matters and agricultural purchases are also included in the deal.

China’s growth dropped to its lowest level in nearly three decades as the world’s second largest economy continues to feel the pain from its trade conflict with the United States. The country’s gross domestic product grew at 6% between July and September. That’s the weakest quarterly growth rate since 1992, and down from 6.2% the previous quarter.

President Trump’s mission to revive America’s coal industry is failing. U.S. power plants are expected to consume less coal next year than at any point since President Jimmy Carter was in office, according to government forecasts. Although Trump has tried to boost coal by slashing environmental regulations and installing a former coal lobbyist to lead the EPA, coal keeps losing ground to cleaner and cheaper alternatives. Power companies are rapidly retiring coal-fired power plants and replacing them with much cheaper natural gas and increasingly affordable renewable energy.

The sharp rise in home prices since the housing market bottomed in 2012 has made homes less affordable for most Americans, but the run-up has especially affected African Americans whose typical incomes have climbed more modestly. The median-income black household could afford just 25% of U.S. homes on the market last year, down from 39% in 2012, according to data provided exclusively to the USA Today by real estate brokerage Redfin. By contrast, median-income white households could afford 57% of homes for sale last year, down from 69% 7 years ago. Data from the 46 largest markets show that prices have increased by 70% since 2012.

More than three years after Britain narrowly voted to leave the European Union, Prime Minister Boris Johnson claimed a breakthrough deal Thursday with EU negotiators that will enable Britain’s orderly withdrawal from the bloc. Johnson said a “great new deal” had been reached. EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said an outline deal was in place. The agreement still needs to be ratified by EU leaders and Britain’s Parliament.

The United States and China have a “fundamental agreement” in the first phase of addressing key elements of the ongoing trade war between the two countries, as “substantial progress” was made last week, says Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who also warned of new tariffs on Dec. 15 if the deal fails. He went on to say that he would describe phase one of the deals as “quite substantial. As the president has said, as soon as we get phase one complete we’ll move to phase two.” President Donald Trump has postponed tariffs, which were to begin on Tuesday, on a remaining $300 billion in Chinese goods, but Mnuchin said the tariffs will still go into play if China does not agree to the current deal.

Persecution Watch

Christians are in grave peril in Nigeria. The jihadist militia Boko Haram – which has pledged allegiance to genocidal ISIS – just killed two more Christian aid workers in Nigeria, reports ACLJ. Worse, they have reportedly vowed to kill every believer they capture in the future. The Fulani Herdsmen – another jihadist group that has been targeting Christians for slaughter – reportedly just kidnapped 6 teenage girls from a Christian school. They also brutally murdered a Christian pastor’s wife.

Middle East

The U.S. announced on Friday that it is delivering more missile-defense systems and troops to Saudi Arabia. This decision intensifies a face-off with Iran-which has warned that an attack on the country would trigger an “all-out war.” The Islamic Republic would be a vastly different opponent than it was when the U.S. last targeted the country directly in 1988, officials note. Iran now has thousands of missiles, many of them able to reach Israel, into the Mediterranean and evade Saudi defenses. Iran, through Yemen, successfully attacked a Saudi Arabian military base a few weeks ago.


Iran will further reduce its commitment to the nuclear deal signed with world powers by limiting international inspectors’ access to its nuclear sites, senior Iranian MPs have said. The move, which is expected to take place at the beginning of November, will be the fourth Iranian step away from the deal, and puts pressure on France, Germany and the UK to make some form of counter-move. The joint comprehensive plan of action (JCPOA) was signed in 2015 but Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew from the agreement in 2018, placing pressure on Europe to save the deal. The U.S. Justice Department on Tuesday sharply escalated economic pressure on Turkey by filing fraud and money-laundering charges against the country’s second-largest state-owned bank, accusing it of helping Iran evade sanctions.

Saudi Arabia

The Pentagon announced that it plans to deploy nearly 2,000 troops to Saudi Arabia to boost defenses against Iran. Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper said the move would place new fighter jets and air defense systems in Saudi Arabia to help a key ally confront what the Trump administration has described as a heightened threat from Iran. The deployment, which officials said would place roughly 1,800 additional troops in the Middle East, is the second troop increase related to recent attacks on Saudi oil facilities.


A special U.N. report has described the severe impact of election-related violence on Afghanistan’s civilians, mainly from the Taliban’s campaign targeting its presidential election last month. The report released Tuesday says attacks aiming to disrupt the electoral process killed 85 people and wounded 373 others across the country. The number includes 277 civilian casualties, 28 killed of whom were killed Sep. 28 on the polling day. More than one-third of civilian casualties were children.

At least 62 people were killed in an explosion during Friday prayers in a mosque in Nangarhar, Afghanistan, according to a regional spokesman. 36 other people were wounded in the explosion in the Haska Mina district, near the border with Pakistan. No-one initially claimed responsibility for the explosion. A Taliban spokesperson said the group was not responsible.

Hong Kong

As street battles between protesters and police continue to escalate in Hong Kong, China’s authoritarian President Xi Jinping warned Sunday any further attempt to divide the country will literally be crushed. “Anyone attempting to split China in any part of the country will end in crushed bodies and shattered bones,” he said. China has seen growing international pressure due to the escalating Hong Kong pro-democracy protests during the last four months. The demonstrations began in June over a contested extradition bill and have snowballed into a wide-ranging anti-government, anti-police and anti-China movement. On Monday, police in Hong Kong said a homemade, remote-controlled bomb intended to “kill or to harm” riot control officers was detonated as the police deployed against renewed street violence.


The same day that a 5.3 earthquake struck Japan off the coast of Tokyo, a tornado ripped through Ciba, a town north of Tokyo and typhoon Hagibus made landfall on Japan’s main island of Honshu Saturday, flooding streets and causing at least one death in its wake. Some 600,000 people were ordered to evacuate ahead of the typhoon and 8 million were warned that they may need to leave their homes. As of Monday, At least 55 people were killed, 16 were missing and about 100 were injured after Hagibus had blown through. Many places in southern and central Japan remained flooded or were covered with mud and debris left by torrential rains and overflowing rivers. The town of Hakone in Kanagawa Prefecture southwest of Tokyo, received 36.32 inches of rain. More than 3,400 homes across the country were flooded, and 38,000 people remained in shelters in 17 prefectures.


The failing socialist dictatorship of Nicolas Maduro has been elected to the United Nations Human Rights Council. At a U.N. General Assembly meeting in Geneva on Friday, the Latin American country was elected to one of 14 new seats on the 47-member body. Maduro’s government, BBC News reported, hailed it as an “important achievement.” But his administration is accused of jailing, torturing and arbitrarily arresting opposition figures. And more than 50 countries, including the United States, no longer recognize Maduro as the country’s legitimate leader.


State police expected the worst when they ventured into the wild township of Aguililla to serve a single warrant. Commanders sent 42 officers in five trucks. It wasn’t enough. More than 30 suspected drug cartel gunmen were waiting for them Monday, some in vehicles that were apparently armored, prosecutors in Mexico’s western state of Michoacan said. Officials said the gunmen opened up on the police convoy with .50 caliber sniper rifles and AR-15 and AK-47 assault rifles. Thirteen officers were killed, some of their bodies still inside the patrol trucks when the vehicles were set afire. Nine other officers were wounded. The attack – the worst on Mexican law enforcement in years – came in a state where violence blamed on drug gangs has jumped in recent months.


Carbon dioxide emissions from cars have risen in nearly every major United States city over the past three decades, despite increased sales of alternative fuel vehicles and a concerted effort by many communities to promote cleaner transportation. Orlando’s carbon dioxide emissions nearly doubled in that time. Atlanta’s went up by 87 percent. And Dallas-Fort Worth saw a 133 percent increase. The number of vehicle miles driven in passenger cars and light-duty trucks went up nearly 46 percent between 1990 and 2017, according to the EPA.

From the littered beaches of India to the vast waste dumps of the USA to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, the world is drowning in trash. The rate at which waste is  generated is increasing, according to the World Bank. Because of population growth and the expansion of urban areas, the amount of municipal solid waste that people generate will continue to rise.


A strong, shallow earthquake shook parts of the southern Philippines Wednesday, killing at least one person and injuring dozens. The U.S. Geological Survey rated the temblor at 6.4 magnitude. It was centered about 5 miles from Columbio town in Sultan Kudarat province, southwest of Davao City. A girl died after she was hit by a collapsed wall in a house in Maguindanao province. More than 20 people were injured by falling debris. Several relatively strong aftershocks were felt after the quake. Schools were to be closed on Thursday so officials could inspect buildings for damage.

A magnitude 4.5 earthquake was widely felt across the San Francisco Bay Area on Monday night. The Los Angeles Times reports moderate shaking was felt at 10:33pm with the epicenter in the Pleasant Hill and Walnut Creek areas. The US Geological Survey says weak shaking was felt in San Francisco, Oakland, and San Jose. Scientists say they don’t expect any major structural damages. The earthquake had a preliminary depth of about 9 miles underneath the surface, fairly deep for this area.

A major southern California fault capable of producing a magnitude 8 temblor started to move for the first time in 500 years following a series of earthquakes in the Mojave Desert over the summer, according to a new study published Thursday in the journal Science. The study found that the Garlock Fault – which runs east to west for 185 miles from the San Andreas Fault to Death Valley – has slipped .8 inches since July. This is the first movement documented on the fault in modern history. Satellite images show the fault creep began after Southern California experienced its largest earthquake sequence in two decades beginning on July 4. A magnitude 6.4 foreshock rocked the Mojave Desert about 120 miles north of Los Angeles before a magnitude 7.1 mainshock hit the next day in addition to more than 100,000 aftershocks.


The number of fires in the Amazon rainforest decreased by 35% in September. Even so, there were 19,925 fire outbreaks in September on the Brazilian part of the rainforest, which accounts for nearly 65% of the Amazon basin. Moreover, through the first nine months of the year, the number of fires soared by 41% compared to the same period in 2018. The primary cause is deforestation through the systematic chopping down of trees, which are either logged or burned, mostly to convert the land for raising cattle and growing crops. About 20% of the Brazilian portion of the rainforest has been cleared since 1970.

Of the estimated 738,000 homes and businesses that had electricity cut off by Pacific Gas & Electric last week, only a few dozen were without power by this week. Flames from the Saddleridge Fire, which started about 9 p.m. local time last Thursday in Sylmar, crossed over the 210 Freeway and later the 5 Freeway. The fire spread to about 8,391 acres this Thursday in the northern foothills of the San Fernando Valley and was 62% contained. Dozens of homes were destroyed and 100,000 people were forced to evacuate. At least two deaths were being blamed on the fire.

The Decker fire continues to burn in the Rio Grand National Forest in Colorado, consuming 8,570 acres as of Thursday. It is 30% contained. Active fire behavior continues with wind-driven runs, torching and spotting. Numerous structures are threatened, two have been destroyed. Evacuations and road closures remain in effect.


More than 500,000 people were without power Thursday morning as a bomb cyclone brought rain and heavy winds to the Northeast U.S. “Bomb cyclone,” is a term some meteorologists use to classify surface lows whose pressure drops by at least 24 millibars in 24 hours or less. Schools were closed or delayed in dozens of locations in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. There were also widespread closures and delays in Connecticut. Trees and powerlines were downed in at least seven eastern states, especially in southeast New England, where wind gusts up to 90 mph were clocked overnight.

A crippling snowstorm brought high winds and drifting snow to parts of the Northern Plains. Portions of at least two interstate highways in North Dakota were shut down last Friday as officials warned people to stay home and avoid all non-emergency travel. I-94 was closed westbound from Bismarck to Fargo, and eastbound from Bismarck to Valley City. I-29 was closed in both directions between Grand Forks and the Canadian border. A portion of U.S. Highway 2 was also closed. Between 50 and 100 cars were stuck for hours due to three trucks that had jackknifed. “I’m expecting massive crop losses – as devastating as we’ve even seen,” Jon Nelson, a state lawmaker. “The extraordinary intensity of this early winter storm threatens to test the limits of local response capabilities across a large portion of our state,” Gov. Doug Burgum said.

  • In Denver, Colorado, the temperature dropped 64 degrees from 3pm last Wednesday to 9am the next morning, one of the biggest temperature drops in history.

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