The Trumpet Herald
Giving the trumpet a certain sound
The Spreading AIDS Epidemic
The Washington Post on August 24, 2001 reported that a senior Chinese health official said "the nation is facing an AIDS epidemic that may be spreading twice as fast as previously reported." The Chinese official estimated that 600,000 Chinese carried the human immunodeficiency virus. The article reported that international health organizations put the number at 1.25 million. The Post reported, "The announcement was the latest sign that Beijing is waking up to a crisis that it paid scant attention to until late last year, when Chinese scientists warned that the costs of an AIDS epidemic could erase the economic gains made through reforms."
In a famous discourse, Jesus indicated the future rise of pestilences (of which disease is certainly one):
"For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes in diverse places" (Matt. 24:7).
Another Christian writer was more specific:
"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).
The "wickedness among men" is certainly contributing to the spread of the AIDS epidemic. Commonly acknowledged distribution factors include sexual promiscuity, homosexuality, drug use (unsanitary needles), and also now in China unsafe blood collection processes used by local agencies that sometimes profited local officials.
Bush Seeks Catholic Vote
As we mentioned in the May, 2001 issue, United States President George Bush and his political advisors have reportedly been focusing on cultivating relations with religious voters, especially those in the Roman Catholic Church. In what appears to be a further development, The Los Angeles Times on August 19, 2001 reported that:
"Last month the Bush administration delayed a decision on Georgia's request for federal funds to expand family planning services for poor women, many of whom are on Medicaid, and is stalling action on requests to renew similar programs in several other states. These requests were routinely granted in past years. With the delays, announced by Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy G. Thompson, the administration seems to be cutting off its fiscal nose to spite its ideological face" (editorial).
Given the Bush administration’s previous cultivation efforts directed toward Roman Catholic leaders and voters, it seems likely that the action reported above is another response to Catholic theology.
In another context inspiration long ago predicted:
"Roman Catholic principles will be taken under the care and protection of the state. This national apostasy will speedily be followed by national ruin" (Review and Herald, June 15, 1897).
In whatever context, there is little safety for liberty of conscience when the doctrines of one church, particularly one with a history of religious persecution, is receiving the particular favor of a government.
Violence in France
The Washington Post reported on August 21, 2001 (p. A12) on the increase of crime in France:
"In the first six months of the year, crime rose about 9.6 percent over last year, according to the Interior Ministry. And a widely circulated new report, drawing on statistics from the Interior Ministry and the FBI, shows the crime rate to be higher in France than in the United States.
"Last year France recorded 4,244 crimes per 100,000 inhabitants, compared with 4,135 in the United States, where crime has been steadily decreasing. The United States still leads France in the number of murders and rapes per 100,000 residents, but France leads in violent thefts and some property crimes, including car theft."
Of course there are other places in the world where war and institutionalized crime are taking a larger toll of lives and producing greater insecurity and fearfulness.
A certain Scripture comes to mind:
"This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good," (2 Timothy 3:1-3).
The violence of our days frequently boils down to human greed, pride, and selfishness. These are indeed perilous times.
A writer for the Edmonton (Canada) Journal writes for the National Post Online (August 22) (http://www.nationalpost.com/scripts/printer/printer.asp?f=/stories/20010822/659629.html) that in 1996 a University of Massachusetts scientist inserted some of his own DNA into a hollowed-out cow egg. The cell mass grew for a week before the experiment was stopped. The experiment was reported in August at a panel meeting of the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, D.C.
The article noted that, "Such experiments have become public only when the makers of hybrids, who fund their operations through investor capital, apply to patent their inventions."
In October 2000, the article reported, Greenpeace Germany found a patent claim for a U.S. company working with an Australian company involving a pig.
"‘If the embryo had lived, it would be 95% human,’ said Michael Khoo, a genetic engineering campaigner for Greenpeace’s Toronto branch. ‘The possibilities are not only frightening, but it’s unknown just how many other similar patent applications are out there.’"
We look for the principles of inspiration to speak to advancing technology, often being performed by those who reject the veracity of the Bible. In this case, the following intimation of how God might feel about the above report has been quoted before:
"But if there was one sin above another which called for the destruction of the race by the flood, it was the base crime of amalgamation of man and beast which defaced the image of God, and caused confusion everywhere. God purposed to destroy by a flood that powerful, long-lived race that had corrupted their ways before him" (Spirit of Prophecy, v.1, p. 69).