The Trumpet Herald

Giving the trumpet a certain sound

April 2003

A Religious President

In recent cover stories, Newsweek magazine reported of the religiosity of U.S. President George W. Bush:

Still, faith helps Bush pick a course and not look back. He talks regularly to pastors, and loves to hear that people are praying for him. As he describes it, his faith is not complex. In recent weeks he has added a new note to his theme of the personal uses of faith, drawn from CBS [Community Bible Study]. Now there is a sense of destiny that approaches the Calvinistic. "There is a fatalistic element," said David Frum, the author and former Bush speechwriter. "You do your best and accept that everything is in God's hands" (Newsweek, March 10, 2003, p. 29).

The article noted that what some appreciate as solidity, others worry about as "stubbornness and arrogance" that doesn't allow for differing opinions. If one believes he is following God's leading, how could that way ever be wrong?

The article noted that Bush has support for a potential war against Iraq among some Southern Baptist leaders and Michael Novak, a conservative Catholic theologian who recently went to Rome to make the president's case there. Other religious leaders opposing a potential war with Iraq include the National Council of Churches, the Council of [Catholic] Bishops, the pope, many Jewish groups and most Muslim leaders.

Inspired Commentary

One of the prophetic issues that should give concern is mentioned here:

When the early church became corrupted by departing from the simplicity of the gospel and accepting heathen rites and customs, she lost the Spirit and power of God; and in order to control the consciences of the people, she sought the support of the secular power. The result was the papacy, a church that controlled the power of the state and employed it to further her own ends, especially for the punishment of "heresy." In order for the United States to form an image of the beast, the religious power must so control the civil government that the authority of the state will also be employed by the church to accomplish her own ends.

Whenever the church has obtained secular power, she has employed it to punish dissent from her doctrines. Protestant churches that have followed in the steps of Rome by forming alliance with worldly powers have manifested a similar desire to restrict liberty of conscience. An example of this is given in the long-continued persecution of dissenters by the Church of England. During the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, thousands of nonconformist ministers were forced to flee from their churches, and many, both of pastors and people, were subjected to fine, imprisonment, torture, and martyrdom (The Great Controversy, p. 443).

The reference above to the words of Revelation 13 indicates that the time is coming when the religious leaders (and the people under their influence) will be able and will indeed use civil power to enforce religious doctrines. Some believe that President Bush and the US government will become a vehicle for such persecution over issues of belief.

Proposed increase in DNA testing

The Washington Post recently reported that:

Attorney General John D. Ashcroft yesterday proposed spending more than $1 billion on DNA analysis in criminal cases over the next five years, vowing to eliminate a massive backlog that has left hundreds of thousands of genetic samples untested nationwide. . . .

The FBI plans to ask Congress to let the bureau collect all DNA samples from the states, including those from Virginia, Louisiana and Texas that are taken from people who have been arrested but not convicted of crimes.

The Justice Department also published proposed rules yesterday that would expand the list of federal crimes that would merit inclusion in the FBI's DNA database, including most crimes related to terrorism ("$1 Billion Proposed for DNA Testing ,", Mar. 12, 2003).

While the current collection of DNA information relates to criminal activity, that and other biometric identification information certainly has the potential of being used for other purposes in which government may become interested.

Inspired Commentary

Note this inspired counsel:

And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name (Rev. 13:16, 17).

Would biometric data ever be used against those whose crime is unpopular religion? There will evidently be something that will constitute a "mark," perhaps both spiritually and physically.

The Pope as peace broker

The (New Zealand) Sunday Herald reported recently:

Pope John Paul II has dispatched his emissaries to meet all the key parties during the past two weeks. His special envoy and permanent observer at the UN, Archbishop Renato Rafaele Martino, has been discussing the proposal with all the Security Council members.

Meanwhile, Cardinal Pio Laghi, a former Papal Nuncio, met with President George W. Bush, while Cardinal Angelo Sodano has met with Tony Blair. Cardinal Roger Etchegaray met with Saddam in Baghdad and discussed the subject of exile, which he said Saddam did not rule out. ("UN plan to give Saddam 72 hours to leave Baghdad," The Sunday Herald, Mar. 9, 2003).

At the time of this writing, the seemingly imminent war between the U.S. and Iraq has not begun and diplomacy is continuing.

Inspired Commentary

And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast. And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him? (Rev. 13:3, 4).

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