Has America Become the Hotel California?
By Todd Strandberg
In 1979, the Eagles rock band released their most successful album, "Hotel California." When the title song became a huge success, evangelical Christians began wondering if the "Hotel California" referred to a San Francisco hotel purchased by Anton LaVey and converted into the Church of Satan. LaVey's hotel was located on California Street.
Over the years, the members of Eagles strongly denied any connection to satanism. However, many of their explanations conflicted with each other. The Eagles' manager, Larry Salter, spilled the beans in a February 28, 1982, Waco Tribune-Herald interview in which he admitted that the Eagles were involved with the church of Satan.
There are several clues in the lyrics of Hotel California that point to the dark side: "I was thinking to myself/this could be heaven or this could be hell," and "We are all just prisoners here, of our own device" are two that stand out. But the most chilling verses are the ones that end the song:
Relax, said the night man,
We are programmed to receive.
You can check out any time you like,
But you can never leave!
A series of recent events has started me wondering if America has become the Hotel California. When I was a kid, Ronald Reagan called the U.S. the "last stand for liberty." Today, I see a government that has an endless desire to manage my life, and it has me questioning how long the label "land of the free" can remain valid.
What made America free is the understanding that anyone can come and go as he or she pleases. We're now seeing signs that the door of free movement is starting to close.
The State Department has just made it harder for anyone seeking to become a full citizen of another nation. Under new consular fees, the cost of renouncing U.S. citizenship skyrocketed from $0 to $450.
It’s getting more expensive to have the right to visit other nations. The application fee for a passport is jumping by 27 percent, from $55 to $70, with a 100-percent increase, from $20 to $40, in the passport security surcharge. The State Department has also tacked new fees to have additional pages added to a U.S. passport. Before, this service was free.
For decades, there was a friendly border-crossing agreement between Canada and the United States. U.S. citizens were not required to present a passport to enter Canada. In 2004, the friendly border began closing. As of 2009, everyone going in or coming from Canada is required to have documentation.
You might be surprised to learn that the U.S. is the only nation on earth that taxes your entire worldwide income, regardless of where you live. The original intent of these laws was to get rich people with Swiss bank accounts. The IRS has now begun using these old laws to go after anyone who falls within their grasp. Anyone born with U.S. citizens for parents is a citizen and has to pay taxes, regardless of the fact that he or she has never lived here.
What is troubling about all these fees and requirements for documentation is that they can be used to restrict our movement. If the government raised the cost of renouncing your citizenship to $4,000 or demanded a six-month wait to get a passport, most people would be trapped by these hurdles.
The growing difficulty of leaving the U.S. is reminiscent of the methods used by the Nazis to block the movement of Jews in the days before WWII. At first, Jews were free to leave Germany, but it quickly became very expensive to emigrate. After 1934, Jews were only allowed to take ten marks with them. In the end, the government took away their passport, and required special exit permits for foreign travel. After August 1941, Jews were forbidden to leave Germany.
Most Christians find it very hard to imagine the day coming when they would wish to leave America. I've been involved in enough correspondence to know the general view that as the spirit of Antichrist will enslave nation after nation, America will be one of the last nations to fall to tyranny.
What puts America at greatest risk of losing our freedom is the fact that we have something the devil desperately wants--Jews. Before the mass exodus of Jews from Russia, there were more Jewish people living in the U.S. than in Israel. Our abundance of God's chosen people may doom us to replay the fate that befell Germany.
I would much rather be raptured from my home here in the U.S. than from a Christian enclave in some South American country. But I would hop on the next banana boat tomorrow if the government were to demand today that I choose between it and my God.
Freedom cannot be taken for granted. If we fail to maintain our liberty, we are doomed to lose it.