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Giving the trumpet a certain sound

May 2007

Massacre in Virginia

The international national services have extensively reported the murder of 32 students and teachers at a Virginia University on Monday morning, April 16:

BLACKSBURG, Va. - As experts pored over Cho Seung Hui's twisted writings and his videotaped rant, parents and officials urged people to instead focus on the victims of the deadliest rampage by a lone gunman in modern U.S. history.

Gov. Timothy M. Kaine declared Friday a day of mourning and called for a moment of silence at noon to honor the 32 victims in Monday's massacre at Virginia Tech. Churches around the country, from California to National Cathedral in Washington D.C., have scheduled vigils and special prayer services. ("Day of mourning for Va. victims," Associated Press as reported on msnbc.msn.com, Apr. 20, 2007)

According to the news reports, Cho experienced a difficult childhood that included a move to the United States from Korea when he was 8 years old, problems with autism, being bullied and ridiculed at high school, problems with speaking, depression and psychotic mental illness. One report noted that he watched a particular video of a violent South Korean movie several times and may have imitated its scenes.

Inspired Commentary

Much sad reflection has gone on in the week that has largely elapsed since this tragic episode. The Bible mentions the time of Noah in connection with the last days:

And as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man: They ate, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. Luke 17:26-27.

And regarding the days of Noah:

The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence. Gen. 6:11

In the days of Noah the overwhelming majority was opposed to the truth, and enamored with a tissue of falsehoods. The land was filled with violence. War, crime, murder, was the order of the day. Just so will it be before Christ's second coming (MS 24, 1891). (Bible Commentary, v. 1, p. 1090)

The Pope on Sunday Observance

In a recent (Feb. 22, 2007) pronouncement, Pope Benedict XVI interestingly designated Sunday as the "primordial holy day."

Here some observations made by my venerable predecessor John Paul II in his Apostolic Letter Dies Domini continue to have great value. Speaking of the various dimensions of the Christian celebration of Sunday, he said that it is Dies Domini with regard to the work of creation, Dies Christi as the day of the new creation and the Risen Lord's gift of the Holy Spirit, Dies Ecclesiae as the day on which the Christian community gathers for the celebration, and Dies hominis as the day of joy, rest and fraternal charity.

Sunday thus appears as the primordial holy day, when all believers, wherever they are found, can become heralds and guardians of the true meaning of time. (Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Sacramentum Caritatis, www.vatican.va, art. 73)

The pronouncement says that Christians notice the Sabbath injunction to rest and apply it Sunday, which he calls the "Lord's day." (Ibid. art. 74)

Inspired Commentary

The Pope's pronouncement about which is the primordial day of rest is at variance the with the Bible (which given the claimed "teaching authority" of the Roman Catholic Church is not a problem for the Pope):

Thus the heavens and the earth, and all the host of them, were finished. And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made. Genesis 2:1-3

Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it. Exodus 20:8-11

Invasive Internet surveillance

From time to time US government surveillance techniques come to light. One of these was mentioned recently:

The FBI appears to have adopted an invasive Internet surveillance technique that collects far more data on innocent Americans than previously has been disclosed.

Instead of recording only what a particular suspect is doing, agents conducting investigations appear to be assembling the activities of thousands of Internet users at a time into massive databases, according to current and former officials. That database can subsequently be queried for names, e-mail addresses or keywords.

Such a technique is broader and potentially more intrusive than the FBI's Carnivore surveillance system, later renamed DCS1000. It raises concerns ... and may stretch the bounds of what's legally permissible.

Call it the vacuum-cleaner approach. It's employed when police have obtained a court order and an Internet service provider can't "isolate the particular person or IP address" because of technical constraints, says Paul Ohm, a former trial attorney at the Justice Department's Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section. (An Internet Protocol address is a series of digits that can identify an individual computer.) ("FBI turns to broad new wiretap method," news.zdnet.com, Jan. 30, 2007)

In a response to the article, an FBI spokesman wrote:

On rare occasions involving technical obstacles, we perform real-time filtering on large data connections carrying the traffic of multiple unrelated facilities, but only using automated filters that isolate and retain only the communications associated with the facility identified in the order. All data not relating to the targeted facility is instantly and irreversibly deleted. This data is therefore never read or comprehended by anyone in law enforcement. ("Justice Department takes issue with Net-wiretapping report," http://news.com.com/8301-10784_3-6154934-7.html)

Inspired Commentary

Reminders occasionally surface of government's power. Inspiration suggests how some of the power will be used at some future time.

When the state shall use its power to enforce the decrees and sustain the institutions of the church -- then will Protestant America have formed an image to the papacy, and there will be a national apostasy which will end only in national ruin (Last Day Events, p. 134)

Page created:05/15/07. Updated: 05/15/07
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