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Giving the trumpet a certain sound

July 2005

EU Constitution Setback

U.S. News & World Report noted a glum outlook for the European Union constitution after negative votes in France and Belgium:

They danced outside the Bastille in Paris and raised glasses in Amsterdam, but the mood at European Union headquarters in Brussels turned decidedly glum. Last week, voters in France and the Netherlands delivered a one-two punch to the proposed European constitution, a sweeping document that would strengthen the EU's hand in economic and foreign policy. Anger over immigration, unemployment, and ceding national authority scuttled, at least for now, a drive to deepen the integration of a 25-member union that has built a common market and helped keep a once war-prone continent mostly at peace. ("Non, Nee, No Way," usnews.com, June. 13, 2005)

A summit meeting of European leaders brought more dissension:

BRUSSELS, Belgium - European Union leaders had billed the summit as a chance to renew their vows of unity after French and Dutch voters soundly rejected a proposed constitution for Europe.

Instead, Thursday's summit risks degenerating into an unsightly squabble over the EU's $120 billion annual budget.

France refuses cuts in the generous handouts to its farmers; Italy says it will veto a deal that axes aid to its poor south; Germany wants to reduce its contribution to the EU's accounts; Britain is clinging to the $6 billion rebate former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher won a decade ago by telling the continentals: "We want our money back!"

The bickering has exasperated the EU, which is desperate to show the drive for a united Europe can bounce back from its mauling by the French and Dutch. ("EU Leaders Seek Unity in Constitution Negotiations," FOXNews.com, June 16, 2005)

Inspired Commentary

While the recent French and Belgian votes do not necessarily signal the end of the European Union, one can't help reflecting on the significance of the prophecy of Daniel 2:

And as the toes of the feet were part of iron, and part of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong, and partly broken. And whereas thou sawest iron mixed with miry clay, they shall mingle themselves with the seed of men: but they shall not cleave one to another, even as iron is not mixed with clay.

And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever. Dan. 2:42-44

New Pope Promotes Sunday

Sunday sacredness seems to have a prominent place in the thinking of Pope Benedict XVI. Zenit News Agency quoted him speaking to a crowd at the Vatican on June 12:

The Year of the Eucharist continues, called by our beloved Pope John Paul II, to reawaken ever more, in the consciences of believers, wonder toward this great Sacrament. In this singular Eucharistic time, one of the recurring topics is Sunday, the Day of the Lord, a topic that was also at the center of the recent Italian Eucharistic Congress, held in Bari. During the conclusive celebration, I also underlined how participation at Sunday Mass must be seen by a Catholic not as an imposition or a weight, but as a need and joy. To meet with brothers, to listen to the Word of God and to be nourished of Christ, immolated for us, is an experience that gives meaning to life, which infuses peace in the heart. Without Sunday, we Catholics cannot live. ("On Importance of Sunday Mass," Zenit.org, June 12, 2005)

Inspired Commentary

Inspiration indicates that Sunday will indeed become a larger issue:

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. In the soon-coming conflict we shall see exemplified the prophet's words: "The dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ." Revelation 12:17." (The Great Controversy, p. 592)

Rhode Island Sunday Car Sales

The legislature of the state of Rhode Island is considering lifting the current ban on selling automobiles on Sunday:

For Botvin and others who want to lift restrictions on how businesses operate on Sundays, customers' reactions are proof that Rhode Island's lingering blue laws are outdated. As a number of states roll back their restrictions on Sunday commerce, Rhode Island lawmakers are considering bills that would lift the ban on selling automobiles on Sunday and would extend the hours other retailers could be open. . . .

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Rhode Island is one of nine states banning Sunday car sales. Texas prohibits selling motor vehicles on a consecutive Saturday and Sunday, meaning dealers must take off one weekend day.

Jeanne Mejeur, research manager for NCSL, said bans on Sunday liquor and car sales seem to be the blue laws that last the longest, even as a number of states have rolled them back.

Competition from across state lines was what helped convince legislators to lift Rhode Island's ban on Sunday liquor sales. Nearly a year ago, the state began permitting liquor stores to open on Sundays, though many still decline to do so. That move came just months after Massachusetts made the same move. ("Blue laws on the way out in Rhode Island," Associated Press (at boston.com), June 18, 2005)

Inspired Commentary

The current trend in the United States appears to be away from Sunday closing laws. While such laws are not the subject of the final prophesied thrust of Sunday laws, proponents of religious liberty must notice the trends.

On the basis of such trends, some might discount the threat of the prophecy-fulfilling Sunday laws to come. As a possible parallel, one might note that to the ancient Israelite people fleeing Egypt, to all appearances at one point, they were cornered by the hostile Egyptian army with no place to go, the Red Sea being just in front of them.

Current appearances do not always predict future outcomes.

By the decree enforcing the institution of the papacy in violation of the law of God, our nation will disconnect herself fully from righteousness. When Protestantism shall stretch her hand across the gulf to grasp the hand of the Roman power, when she shall reach over the abyss to clasp hands with spiritualism, when, under the influence of this threefold union, our country shall repudiate every principle of its Constitution as a Protestant and republican government, and shall make provision for the propagation of papal falsehoods and delusions, then we may know that the time has come for the marvelous working of Satan and that the end is near." (Testimonies, v. 5, p. 451)

The prophecy will come to pass in God's time.

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