The Trumpet Herald
Giving the trumpet a certain sound
Poverty, Disease Worsening
The Associated Press on January 10, 2002 reported on Worldwatch Institute (a non profit public policy research organization based in Washington, D.C.) "state of the world" news release:
"During the 1990s, deaths from AIDS increased from half a million to more than three million, global emissions of carbon dioxide climbed more than 9 percent and damage to the world's coral reefs grew, a private research group said Thursday.
"In its annual report, the Worldwatch Institute said problems such as poverty, disease and harm to the environment should be confronted with the same determination as the war on terrorism" (The Wire [Associated Press online]).
Specific indications noted included the following:
"Third World indebtedness is getting worse. Despite pledges at Rio to reduce indebtedness, the total debt burden in developing countries has climbed 34 percent since then, reaching $2.5 trillion in 2000.
"Worldwatch said almost all of the AIDS deaths occurred in the developing world, and nearly four out of five were in sub-Sahara Africa, where drug treatments are largely unaffordable.
"The report said the degradation of coral reefs ``shocked the scientific community with the breadth and pace of its advance over the decade. Some 27 percent of the world's coral reefs are effectively lost, up 10 percent from 1992.''
"Coral reefs are second only to forests in biological wealth, and such losses take a great toll on many species, the Institute said"
The report itself, available at on the Internet at "http://www.worldwatch.org/alerts/ 020110.html" notes some progress in the areas of "declining deaths from pneumonia, diarrhea, and tuberculosis," but also notes that "Despite the prosperity of the 1990s, the divide between rich and poor is widening in many countries, undermining social and economic stability."
At its conclusion, the report quotes a hopeful statement from the State of the World 2002 Project Director Hilary French:
"But history shows that cooperation can overcome even seemingly intractable obstacles. Johannesburg will help to determine whether the nations of the world can jointly address pressing problems, or whether we will remain on a destructive path that leads to poverty, environmental decline, terrorism, and war."
The Scriptures point to increasing difficulties in the days before Jesus returns:
"And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. All these are the beginning of sorrows" (Matt. 24:6-8).
A later prophet wrote:
"There are not many, even among educators and statesmen, who comprehend the causes that underlie the present state of society. Those who hold the reins of government are not able to solve the problem of moral corruption, poverty, pauperism, and increasing crime. They are struggling in vain to place business operations on a more secure basis. If men would give more heed to the teaching of Godís word, they would find a solution of the problems that perplex them" (Testimonies, vol. 9, p. 13).
(Another case is point is the Enron bankruptcy situation which is unfolding as this is being written.)
Depression Treatment Soars
Reporting on an article in the Journal of the American Medical Association, the Associated Press reported:
"The number of Americans treated for depression soared from 1.7 million to 6.3 million between 1987 and 1997, and the proportion of those receiving antidepressants doubled, researchers say.
"The researchers attributed the sharp increases to the emergence of aggressively marketed new drugs like Prozac, the rise in managed care and an easing of the stigma attached to the disease" (The Wire, Jan. 10, 2002).
The report was based on a study of over 30,000 people. The report also said that it is thought that about 5 percent (14 million) Americans have treatable depression with only about half receiving medical care. One has to wonder about both the basis of depression and the aggressive marketing that might convince someone that they were depressed.
Speaking of the signs of His coming, Jesus said:
"Menís hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken" (Luke 21:26).
Looking at the world situation and many personal situations that suffer as a result, there seems to be plenty of reasons for depression. The following verses in Luke, however, give cause for hope:
"And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh" (Luke 21:27, 28).
Pope Meets With Religious Leaders
The Catholic News Service reported on Dec. 12 that "Pope John Paul II and some 100 representatives of other churches and religions will make a pilgrimage to Assisi by train Jan. 24 as part of their daylong meeting and prayer for peace. The chartered train will leave the Vatican train station early in the morning and return with the pope's invited guests early in the evening,"
"The Roman Church now presents a fair front to the world, covering with apologies her record of horrible cruelties. She has clothed herself in Christlike garments; but she is unchanged. Ö The papacy that Protestants are now so ready to honor is the same that ruled the world in the days of the Reformation, when men of God stood up, at the peril of their lives, to expose her iniquity" (The Great Controversy, p. 571).