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Is Putin Winning? The Ukraine Crisis Remains Unresolved.

11/09/2014 1 comment

Some people interpret the cease fire in Ukraine as a victory for Russia and Vladimir Putin. The reasoning is that the cease fire leaves Ukraine with disputed borders, which rules out Ukraine’s membership in NATO. But will the cease fire hold? No, I don’t think so. I think we learned enough from the previous cease fire. And there are already reports of violations of the cease fire. Guns might be silent in eastern Ukraine right now, but President Vladimir Putin as an anachronistic leader still fighting the Cold War and seeking to expand Russia’s territory.

The big questions is, what is going to happen next? Well, we all hope for that day to come sooner, when all the separatists are gone from Ukraine and Ukraine can start recovering from this crisis that is tearing apart the whole country. Instead, Russia has started working on other things on the side. Kidnapped Estonian agent and ‘green men’ in Moldova… Is President Putin moving on to his next targets? President Barack Obama visited Estonia last week and reaffirmed the United States’ and NATO’s commitment to the security of Estonia. Just two days later, Russian agents crossed the border and using smoke grenades and radio jamming devices, kidnapped an officer of the country’s Internal Security Service. Eston Kohver, kidnapped Estonian officer, appeared later that day in Moscow, here he was charged with spying and carrying an illegal handgun. Russia claims that Kohver was arrested on Russian soil, but Estonian officials claim that not only is this untrue, but that Kohver appears to have walked into a trap set by Russia’s security service, the FSB.

President Toomas Hendrik Ilves said: “The masks have fallen. We see how Russia continues to isolate itself from democratic nations.” Addressing the taking of the security officer, he said, “Russian security service FSB kidnapped an Estonian citizen from Estonian soil and took him to a prison in Moscow and even bans the Estonian consul from meeting the Estonian citizen.”

Meanwhile, E.U. and the U.S. are trying to come up with the further sanction to counter Putin’s intimidation. They believe that Russia will eventually surrender under the economic pain, which should be obvious, yet Putin is not showing any marks of weaknesses on his side. The problem is that the West is not willing to put major sanctions on Russia out of concern for the adverse consequences on their own economies. While I completely understand that we can’t collapse our own economies, we need to sacrifice a little to stop Russia’s aggression. And we all know, if we let Putin win this one, he will NOT stop. Never.

Few weeks ago, the United Nations human rights office in Geneva implicated the pro-Russian separatists in repugnant crimes of war:

Pro-Russian rebels in Ukraine are guilty of a wide array of human rights abuses, including murder, abductions and torture, and are receiving a “steady supply” of sophisticated weapons and ammunition, according to a U.N. report obtained by Reuters.

“Armed groups continue to commit killings, abductions, physical and psychological torture, ill treatment, executions, murder and other serious human rights abuses,” the report said, adding that violations were “disproportionately targeting civilians.”

Putin has free hands to act with impunity inside the Ukraine. It is a war in Europe. The 23-year-old post-Cold War order has crumbled, and we need to put an end on it.

What is the role of the church in modern society?

The church exists in every single nation in the world. You can travel to any country in the world and find a church there. Every society, which honours basic human rights, has a role for the Church. One of the most debated issues facing the United States today is the role that faith and religion should play in society. In my opinion, the church influences our society in many different ways. There are a lot of issues associated with the church in modern society, such as abortion, homosexuality, marriage and many other issues which I will discuss more deeply in one of my paragraphs. But how does religious beliefs and oppositions contribute in shaping American society and politics, and what is the role of the church in modern society?

churchFirst of all, what is the church? Is the church a building? Is it the place where believers gather to worship? The purpose of the church is two-fold. The church comes together (or assembles) for the purpose of bringing each member to spiritual maturity (Ephesians 4:13). The church reaches out (scatters) to spread the love of Christ and the gospel message to unbelievers in the world (Matthew 28:18-20). This is the Great Commission. So, the purpose of the church is to minister to believers and unbelievers (christianity.about.com). According to Augustine of Hippo and others, the church was to be likened to a hospital – a place in which broken, wounded and frail people came for help, in order to find healing and renewal (McGrath 148). Since I do not have much experience with the church, it is very difficult for me to define the meaning of it, however the church has still a lot of meaning to me and I strongly agree with Augustine of Hippo and other early Christian writers. For me, the church is a place where people can pray and be with God. The church is also a place about friendships being forged and social get-togethers, a place of great spiritual refreshment, renewal and support. A German monk, theology professor and a former Catholic priest Martin Luther said once: ”Prayer is a strong wall and fortress of the church; it is a goodly Christian weapon,” (What Christians Want to Know).

According to the Pew Charitable Trusts, The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life has four areas of research: religion and politics; religion and the law; religion and the domestic policy; religion and world affairs. First of all, religion and religious organisations influence political behaviour, including voting and campaigns. For example, many people who vote on political issues maybe influenced by their religious beliefs, and the church is obviously a big part of that too. One of the most talked about issues is definitely the relationship between the church and same-sex marriage. According to Catholic church, the couple must be capable of being married – that is, they must be a woman and a man who are free of any impediment that would prevent marriage. To the most churches, same-sex marriage is disgusting and unnatural. In my opinion, this is not right. Everyone should be equal and have the same rights. While the Bible does address homosexuality, it does not explicitly mention gay marriage/same-sex marriage. It is clear, however, that the Bible condemns homosexuality as an immoral and unnatural sin. Whenever Bible mentions marriage, it is always between a man and a female. It really depends on how people see homosexuals. I believe that mostly they are born this way, and this is exactly why I do not agree with the church.

Abortion is another talked about issue, which the Catholic church has always condemned abortion as a grave evil. The Lord himself said it, “You shall not murder,” (Exodus 20:13). I am totally against the abortion unless the baby is conceived a result of rape, which is extremely rare. To me, abortion is a murder and I just can’t accept that. It is a tragedy not only for the unborn who will never experience life but for the mother also. The Roman Catholic Church has consistently condemned abortion — the direct and purposeful taking of the life of the unborn child. In principle, Catholic Christians believe that all life is sacred from conception until natural death, and the taking of innocent human life, whether born or unborn, is morally wrong (Catholic News Agency).

The church, as well as religion and faith plays a very big role in modern society. People need a place to feel accepted. Another goal of the church is to have a positive spiritual impact on society around us. This happens by praying for the city and country you live in. I am going to end my essay with the quote by a famous French theologian John Calvin: “Wherever we see the Word of God purely preached and heard, there a church of God exists, even if it swarms with many faults.”