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Giving the trumpet a certain sound

September 2005

Justice Sunday II

On August 14, 2005, a rally promoting religious values was broadcast over Christian satellite TV to to a large number of evangelical churches. The event was held in megachurch Two Rivers Baptist Church in Nashville, Tennessee. Speakers included James Dobson of the Colorado-based Focus on the Family, Ted Haggard of the National Association of Evangelicals, and House Majority Leader Rep. Tom DeLay (R-Texas). Also speaking was William Donohue of the Manhattan-based Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights. In noting Donohue’s speaking at the rally, Newsday noted:

But given some of Donohue’s past confrontations with evangelicals, his involvement in Justice Sunday has raised eyebrows. This is the man, after all, who assailed George W. Bush for campaigning at Bob Jones University in 2000 because its leaders had described Catholicism as “Satanic,” and who accused Republican congressmen of anti-Catholic animus for supporting a Presbyterian, rather than a Catholic for House chaplain.

“Hopefully what I bring to it is a message that the culture wars are being joined,” said the man whose street fighter instincts and machine-gun delivery advertise his Manhattan birthright. “It’s traditional Catholics and evangelical Christians coming together -- which I know scares the hell out of some people.” (Event spotlights growing Catholic, evangelical alliance,” nynewsday.com, Aug. 14, 2005)

Inspired Commentary

While the current political positions promoted by the religious right under the general term “culture wars” are positions many Christians can agree with, there is also the potential to exercise power inappropriately, as inspiration notes:

As the Protestant churches reject the clear, Scriptural arguments in defense of God's law, they will long to silence those whose faith they cannot overthrow by the Bible. Though they blind their own eyes to the fact, they are now adopting a course which will lead to the persecution of those who conscientiously refuse to do what the rest of the Christian world are doing, and acknowledge the claims of the papal sabbath. (The Great Controversy, p. 592)

Religious Belief in England

A recent article in the Telegraph (of London) reported on a study of the transmission of religious belief from parents to children. While the findings were disputed by a spokesman for the Church of England, the study reported:

Organised religion is in near-terminal decline in Britain because parents have only a 50-50 chance of passing on belief to their offspring, a study claimed yesterday.

By contrast, parents without faith are successful in producing a new generation of non-believers, it said.

The report identified institutional religion as having a “half-life” of one generation, as children are only half as likely as their parents to say that it is important in their lives.

The generational decline is too advanced to reverse, the report suggested, as the proportion of people who believe in God is declining faster than church attendance. (“Religious belief ‘falling faster than church attendance’,” telegraph.co.uk, Aug. 17, 2005)

Inspired Commentary

The Bible describes the natural tendency of mankind to be sinful, so rejection of God by children of religious parents may not be surprising. Loss of faith is noted as one of the indicators that Jesus’ coming is drawing near:

And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them? I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth? (Luke 18:7, 8)

Creating Life from Scratch

Synthetic biologists are “mixing, matching and stacking DNA's chemical components like microscopic Lego blocks in an effort to make biologically based computers, medicines and alternative energy sources.” A recent Associated Press items notes that the field of study is attracting big names in the science field and big money for research support.

The research is also posing some difficult ethical questions:

For example, national security experts and even synthetic biologists themselves fret that rogue scientists or “biohackers” could create new biological weapons — like deadly viruses that lack natural foes. They also worry about innocent mistakes — organisms that could potentially create havoc if allowed to reproduce outside the lab. (“Researchers Creating Life From Scratch,” Associated Press on news.yahoo.com, Aug. 18, 2005)

Inspired Commentary

Human ingenuity and scientific inquiry have brought many blessings to the human family. It is quite apparent however, that evil men have frequently figured out ways to use the findings of science in their own self interest to the general detriment of the well being of the rest of the human family. Increasing evil is one of the signs of the last days before the coming of Jesus:

This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; (2 Tim. 3:1-4)

Bird Flu Spreads in Russia

Russia, which is scrambling to contain a bird flu outbreak in Siberia, warned the world on Monday that migrating birds may export the deadly virus to Europe and the Middle East in coming months.

The outbreak, previously confined to five remote areas of Siberia, appeared to be moving westward on Monday after the virus hit a major industrial region -- Chelyabinsk in the Ural mountains which sever Asia from Europe.

And officials said the virus, which can kill humans, was likely to spread further.( Russia says bird flu may spread to Europe,” Reuters, Aug. 15, 2005)

The report said that bird migration in 2005 could bring the disease to European Russia.

Inspired Commentary

This threat of the spread of disease comes amid other disease threats reported in recent months. The Bible comments on the suffering of the animal kingdom (including mankind) and the God’s final solution:

For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body. (Rom. 8:23, 23)

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