The final outcome of the 2000 presidential election ultimately fell to the U.S. Supreme Court, which decided by a 5 to 4 majority not to permit the counting of Florida's so-called "undervotes" and thus certify George W. Bush as the next President of the United States.
What is most significant for religious liberty watchers is that those justices on the Court most hostile in recent years to civil and religious freedom were those who insured Bush's victory. Justice Antonine Scalia, perhaps the strongest opponent of religious liberty on the Supreme Court, wrote the majority opinion which sealed Bush's triumph. One recalls that on more than one occasion during the campaign, Bush indicated that Justices Scalia and Clarence Thomas would be his two "model" justices should it be necessary for him to fill such vacancies.
It is hard to imagine that Scalia and those of similar beliefs will not demand a price for their loyalty from the new president, which could be most hurtful to the liberties of the nation.
As we've repeatedly stated in this newsletter, political biases of any kind are not our intention. But as we view the record of the Rehnquist Court and its hostility to civil and religious liberty, the decisions of the past month cannot but cause unease for those who cherish freedoms even more sacred than the right to vote.
The modern prophet informs us of the role courts, judges, and political corruption will play in the closing events of human history:
"Courts of justice are corrupt. . . . Jurists are perverted, bribed, deluded. Drunkenness and revelry, passion, envy, dishonesty of every sort, are represented among those who administer the laws. 'Justice standeth afar off: for truth is fallen in the street, and equity cannot enter.' Isaiah 59:14" (The Great Controversy, p. 586).
"Political corruption is destroying love of justice and regard for truth; and even in free America, rulers and legislators, in order to secure public favor, will yield to the popular demand for a law enforcing Sunday observance." (Ibid., p. 592).
Mad Cow DiseaseAgain
The November 27, 2000 issue of U.S. News & World Report ran an article on the recent outbreak of "mad cow" disease in France. The article notes that "hamburger sales have plummeted as France reels from an outbreak of the brain ailment known as bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or BSE" (p. 53).
The article further reports:
"Beef sales have plunged an estimated 40 percent nationwide after beef apparently contaminated with BSE was discovered on supermarket shelves. Government officials are being blamed for slow reaction, and BSE may have spread to other European countries" (Ibid.).
Again we recall the inspired observation that:
"Disease in animals is increasing in proportion to the increase of wickedness among men. The time is near when, because of the iniquity of the fallen race, the whole animal creation will groan under the diseases that curse our earth" (Counsels on Diet and Foods, p. 366).
Elsewhere she writes:
"Disease in cattle is making meat eating a dangerous matter. The Lord's curse is upon the earth, upon man, upon beasts, upon the fish in the sea; and as transgression becomes almost universal, the curse will be permitted to become as broad and as deep as the transgression. Disease is contracted by the use of meat. The diseased flesh of these carcasses is sold in the market places, and disease among men is the sure result" (Ibid., p. 411).
The final weeks of 2000 saw more savage weather strike the American continent, from high winds and flooding in the East to unseasonable cold in the Midwestand most strangely, killer tornadoes in Alabama (usually a spring and summer occurrence), destroying hundreds of buildings in Tuscaloosa and killing 12 people. Officials in Alabama described the storm as the worst in 50 years; the Governor ranked it as one of the worst disasters in his state's history.
Again we see the fulfillment of the following statements, written by God's prophet so many years ago:
"The restraining Spirit of God is even now being withdrawn from the world. Hurricanes, storms, tempests, fire and flood, disasters by sea and land, follow each other in quick succession. Science seeks to explain all these. The signs thickening about us, telling of the near approach of the Son of God, are attributed to any other than the true cause" (Testimonies, vol. 6, p. 408).
"How frequently we hear of earthquakes and tornadoes, of destruction by fire and flood, with great loss of life and property! Apparently these calamities are capricious outbreaks of disorganized, unregulated forces of nature, wholly beyond the control of man; but in them all, God's purpose may be read. They are among the agencies by which He seeks to arouse men and women to a sense of their danger" (Prophets and Kings, p. 277).