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Giving the trumpet a certain sound

July 2004

Bush-Vatican Cooperation on Gay Marriage

Interesting news came from the meeting between U.S. President Bush and the Pope on June 4 at the Vatican:

During his June 4 visit, Bush asked the Vatican to push the American Catholic bishops to be more aggressive politically on family and life issues, especially a constitutional amendment that would define marriage as a union between a man and a woman.

A Vatican official told NCR June 9 that in his meeting with Cardinal Angelo Sodano and other Vatican officials, Bush said, "Not all the American bishops are with me" on the cultural issues. The implication was that he hoped the Vatican would nudge them toward more explicit activism.

Other sources in the meeting said that while they could not recall the president's exact words, he did pledge aggressive efforts on the cultural front, especially the battle against gay marriage, and asked for the Vatican's help in encouraging the U.S. bishops to be more outspoken. ("The Word from Rome," National Catholic Reporter, June 11, 2004)

It is hard to say what the outcome will be of President Bush's appeal to the Vatican, however, the following is item is noteworthy:

Two law professors are urging Catholic bishops, meeting next week in Denver, to launch a parish-by-parish campaign in support of the federal marriage amendment.

The professors, from Princeton and Notre Dame universities, want the bishops to put the issue on the increasingly crowded agenda of their "spiritual retreat" that begins Monday at the Inverness Hotel and Conference Center in Englewood. . . .

The memo was sent to all the active bishops of the country, including Archbishop Charles Chaput and Bishop Jose Gomez of Denver, said archdiocesan spokesman Sergio Gutierrez. The bishops were at a retreat in Estes Park and available for comment.(" Bishops urged to defend marriage," rockymountainnews.com, June 11, 2004)

Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry said Bush's request of the Pope was improper:

HEBRON, Kentucky (CNN) -- President Bush was out of line to ask the Vatican to get U.S. bishops more involved in promoting his conservative social agenda, Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry said Tuesday.

"I think it was entirely and extraordinarily inappropriate, and I think it speaks for itself," the Massachusetts senator, who is Catholic, told reporters in a question-and-answer session outside Cincinnati, Ohio. ("Kerry: Bush's Vatican appeal 'inappropriate'," CNN.com, June 15, 2004)

Inspired Commentary

Defenders of religious liberty are put in a difficult position when defense of the principle involves an issue on which they may not agree. Should Christians defend political cooperation of church and state when those entities work for an apparent good or is such cooperation always bad? Inspiration does foretell a negative cooperation between church and state:

The dignitaries of church and state will unite to bribe, persuade, or compel all classes to honor the Sunday. The lack of divine authority will be supplied by oppressive enactments. 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. Liberty of conscience, which has cost so great a sacrifice, will no longer be respected. (The Great Controversy, p. 592)

Hate Crime Bill Passes US Senate

The Traditional Values Coalition newsletter has reported that the US Senate has voted an amendment regarding sexual orientation and hate crime. The amendment is attached to the Defense Authorization Bill.

A vote for this hate crimes bill is a vote for anti-religious bigotry and adds "sexual orientation" as a protected class under federal law. . . . The Defense Authorization Bill must now be reconciled with a House version. Congressional Quarterly reported on June 16, 2004, that the effort to reconcile the two versions may not take place until after the July 4th recess.

The House, which is far more conservative than the Senate, must remove the Kennedy/Smith hate crimes amendment from the Defense Authorization Bill. ("Pro-Homosexual Hate Crime Bill Passed by Senate," Traditional Values Coalition e-mail, June 16, 2004 - see press release at www.traditionalvalues.org)

Inspired Commentary

Efforts are being made to categorize some of the pronouncements and warnings of the Bible as "hate speech." When civil authorities stand for evil, an opportunity is presented for faithful witnesses to be a light on a hill:

Ministers who deny the obligation of the divine law will present from the pulpit the duty of yielding obedience to the civil authorities as ordained of God. In legislative halls and courts of justice, commandment keepers will be misrepresented and condemned. A false coloring will be given to their words; the worst construction will be put upon their motives. (The Great Controversy, p. 592.)

Cassini Looks for Signs of Life

Popular Science reported recently on the Cassini interplanetary probe to Titan, one of the planet Saturn's moons:

"The thing that makes Titan so exciting to scientists is that they think it probably looks a lot today like Earth did 3 or 4 billion years ago," says Bob Mitchell, NASA's program manager for Cassini. "Therefore, it's a good laboratory for understanding how life began." Scientists don't expect to actually find life in this frigid world. Rather, they're looking for insight into the seeds of life on ours. ("Saturn Unveiled," Popular Science, June 2004, p. 72)

Inspired Commentary

It seems that the Bible account of how life began on planet Earth is not acceptable to some of the space scientists (no surprise).

God designed that man's intellectual powers should be held as a gift from his Maker and should be employed in the service of truth and righteousness; but when pride and ambition are cherished, and men exalt their own theories above the word of God, then intelligence can accomplish greater harm than ignorance. Thus the false science of the present day, which undermines faith in the Bible, will prove as successful in preparing the way for the acceptance of the papacy, with its pleasing forms, as did the withholding of knowledge in opening the way for its aggrandizement in the Dark Ages." (The Great Controversy, p. 573)

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