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The Trumpet Herald

Giving the trumpet a certain sound

December 2006

Human Misery

Bad news gets the headlines. From Burma:

According to estimates by relief groups, Burmese forces have burned down more than 200 civilian villages here in Karen state, destroyed crops and placed land mines along key jungle passages to prevent refugees from returning to their home villages. Dozens of people have died, and at least 20,000 civilians have been displaced over the past eight to 10 months.

“What is now going on in Burma are crimes against humanity,” said Sunai Phasuk, head Burma consultant for New York-based Human Rights Watch. “The military government has significantly stepped up their systemic policy of violence against the ethnic Karen with this offensive. We’re talking about a mounting disaster.” (“Misery Spirals in Burma As Junta Targets Minorities,” washingtonpost.com, Nov. 17, 2006)

From Darfur, Sudan:

In recent days, pro-government militia forces known as janjaweed have stepped up attacks on villages in Darfur, killing dozens of people, international observers said Wednesday. In one raid, janjaweed militiamen - backed by government troops - forced children into a thatched hut, then set it ablaze, killing parents who tried to rescue the children, rebels said.

After years of low-level clashes over water and land in the vast, arid Darfur region, rebels from ethnic African tribes took up arms against Sudan's Arab-dominated central government in 2003. Khartoum is accused of unleashing the janjaweed. The militiamen are accused of many of the atrocities in a conflict that has killed some 200,000 people and chased 2.5 million from their homes. ...

“This is my fourth visit to Darfur, and I have never before seen such a bad security situation,” Jan Egeland [UN humanitarian chief] said from El Geneina, capital of West Darfur, according to a statement. “There are too many armed elements in and around the camps threatening the inhabitants and preventing us from going in.” (“Agreement Reached on Darfur Peacekeepers ,” Associated Press, Nov. 16, 2006)

And from Iraq regarding a recent abduction:

“Thursday, they just opened the doors and dragged us into trucks. Then they dumped us on Canal Street,” Abu Kadhim said. That street runs along the Army Canal just west of Sadr City.

“I was lucky,” he said. “They only beat me with a wooden club. Others were handcuffed and hanged from the ceiling by their wrists. They were beaten with iron bars. Others, building guards, had cotton shoved in their mouths and tape wound around their heads. They suffocated. One was shot in the back. The managers in the building and people with higher degrees, masters and doctorates, were in a different room. I could hear them screaming like women. Then it was quiet. I think they died.”

Abu Kadhim's story could not be independently confirmed. He was interviewed by telephone. ("Convoy of Civilians Hijacked in Iraq," Associated Press, Nov. 16, 2006.)

Inspired Commentary

At times it may seem that the evil in the world is overwhelming. We were warned:

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; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. 2 Tim. 3:1-5

Human-Cow Embryos

Once sometimes described by the word “amalgamation,” certain directions in stem cell research are continuing:

UK scientists have applied for permission to create embryos by fusing human DNA with cow eggs.

Researchers from Newcastle University and Kings College, London, have asked the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority for a three-year licence.

The hybrid human-bovine embryos would be used for stem cell research and would not be allowed to develop for more than a few days.

But critics say it is unethical and potentially dangerous.

Liberal Democrat MP Dr Evan Harris - a member of the Commons Science and Technology Select Committee - said: “If human benefit can be derived by perfecting therapeutic cloning techniques or from research into subsequently-derived stem cells, then it would actually be immoral to prevent it just because of a ‘yuck’ factor.” ...

The resulting embryo would be 99.9% human; the only bovine element would be DNA outside the nucleus of the cell. (“Plan to create human-cow embryos,” http://news.bbc.co.uk, Nov. 6, 2006)

One ethicist noted:

Calum MacKellar, from the Scottish Council on Human Bioethics, said the research undermined the distinction between animals and humans.

He said: “In the history of humankind, animals and human species have been separated.

“In this kind of procedure, you are mixing at a very intimate level animal eggs and human chromosomes, and you may begin to undermine the whole distinction between humans and animals.

“If that happens, it might also undermine human dignity and human rights.” (ibid.)

Inspired Commentary

According to the Bible, life on earth was once destroyed by water. The Bible predicts that the next time it will be by fire.

But if there was one sin above another which called for the destruction of the race by the flood, it was the base crime of amalgamation of man and beast which defaced the image of God, and caused confusion everywhere. (Spirit of Prophecy, v.1, p. 69).

Sunday “Blue Laws”

A recent study by a professor from Notre Dame and one from Massachusetts Institute of Technology noted that the general demise of Sunday “blue laws” has led to negative social consequences such as reduced church attendance and contributions, and increased consumption of alcohol and other drugs by young people. However, regarding possible solutions, one of the study authors commented:

“Who am I to say that people shouldn't go shopping on Sunday?” Hungerman says. (“Maybe ‘blue laws’ weren’t so bad,” The Christian Science Monitor, Sept. 11, 2006)

Inspired Commentary

A time to come is predicted when Sunday will become a major issue:

Those who honor the Bible Sabbath will be denounced as enemies of law and order, as breaking down the moral restraints of society, causing anarchy and corruption, and calling down the judgments of God upon the earth. (The Great Controversy, p. 592)

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