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Giving the trumpet a certain sound

February 2004

"Downer" Cows Banned from Food Supply

In the aftermath of the discovery that a slaughtered cow in the United States had mad cow disease, the U.S. government has apparently changed its position in regard to the food use of cows which because of sickness or injury are unable to walk into the slaughter house on their own.

The Agriculture Department's announcement yesterday of a ban on the sale of meat from ailing "downer" cattle marked a policy turnabout for the Bush administration, coming only a few weeks after the department and allies in the powerful meat lobby blocked an identical measure in Congress.

Faced with the first case of mad cow disease in this country, the White House and the USDA were scrambling to restore public confidence in the nation's meat supply, encourage foreign governments to resume beef imports and head off a possible political crisis for President Bush. ("Banning Sale of 'Downer' Meat Represents a Change in Policy," www.washingtonpost.com, Dec. 31, 2003)

Inspired Commentary

In a letter to a leader in a prominent health-reform hospital, inspiration counseled long ago:

We cannot now do as we have ventured to do in the past in regard to meat-eating. It has always been a curse to the human family, but now it is made particularly so in the curse which God has pronounced upon the herds of the field, because of man's transgression and sins. The disease upon animals is becoming more and more common, and our only safety now is in leaving meat entirely alone. The most aggravated diseases are now prevalent, and the very last thing that physicians who are enlightened should do, is to advise patients to eat meat. (The Kress Collection, p. 32 (1896))

In another paragraph was added this note:

The beasts also suffer under the curse. (Ibid.)

Life on Mars?

Space scientists were happy with the successful landing of a rover vehicle on the surface of Mars on Jan. 3. Although many motivations may come into play in such a costly and risky enterprise (several attempted missions to Mars have failed, including one in the closing days of 2003), there is at least one motivation that suggests man's continuing rejection of the biblical account of creation.

In a 1995 article, Michael Caplinger, of Malin Space Science Systems (designs, develops, and operates instruments that fly on robotic spacecraft.) pointed out what may be some of the motivation for exploration of Mars:

The question of whether life is common or rare in the universe has deep philosophical implications. It is uncertain exactly how life arose on Earth, so it is difficult to determine how common such mechanisms are. But if life also arose on Mars, this would show that those mechanisms operated not just once, but twice, arguing that life may well be common elsewhere.

However, the search for life on Mars thus far has been unsuccessful. Some portion of the scientific community feels that further searches are a waste of time, while another portion remains neutral or guardedly optimistic. In principle, it"s simple to prove that there is life on Mars - all one need do is find an example. Proving there isn't life on Mars is much harder. Even a prolonged negative search can be countered with the suggestion of yet another, more inaccessible place in which to look. ("Life on Mars," http://www.msss.com/http/ps/life/life.html, April, 1995)

Inspired Commentary

In a familiar passage ostensibly addressed to the king of ancient Tyre but evidently referring to a primeval spirit of rebellion the prophet also addresses the current spirit of rebellion that seeks its own way and understandings, specifically in conflict with the inspired account of the origin of life:

Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, . . . Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire. . . . Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness: I will cast thee to the ground, I will lay thee before kings, that they may behold thee. Ezekiel 28:13-17.

Earthquake in Iran

The deadliest earthquake of 2003 hit Bam, a city in southern Iran on December 26. The magnitude 6.6 (6.3 in some reports) quake destroyed the city and killed over 30,000 people. Poor construction materials and techniques reportedly contributed greatly to the amount of damage and loss of life.

At least 30,000 people died in the earthquake, although officials fear the true number may never be known because of the devastation caused.

Some 100,000 Bam residents have been left homeless. Running water and electricity have been restored to some areas, and trucks are delivering water to other points. ("Iran 'miracle woman' recovering," BBC News, UK edition, Jan. 4, 2004)

The United States Geological Survey reported on their web site (http://neic.usgs.gov/neis/eqlists/eqstats.html) that there were 1963 more earthquakes during 2003 than in 2002 worldwide. Many of these were of lower magnitudes, but the totals have been rising for each of the past four years.

Inspired Commentary

While some might see only random natural occurrence, the Bible gives several examples of events in nature ordered by the supernatural power of God.

And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world? And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. 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. 24:3-8)

God's message for the inhabitants of earth today is, "Be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh." Matthew 24:44. The conditions prevailing in society, and especially in the great cities of the nations, proclaim in thunder tones that the hour of God's judgment is come and that the end of all things earthly is at hand. We are standing on the threshold of the crisis of the ages. In quick succession the judgments of God will follow one another-fire, and flood, and earthquake, with war and bloodshed. (Prophets and Kings, p. 278)

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