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Giving the trumpet a certain sound

July 2007

Bush Meets with the Pope

U.S. President George Bush met with the Pope at the Vatican on June 10. One report noted:

Following on eight years of battle over life issues with the Clinton administration, Bush's pro-life principles and policies were a breath of fresh air at the Vatican. From the withdrawal of funding for overseas abortions to stem cell research limitations to pro-traditional marriage policies and the fight against same-sex marriage, the Vatican had a powerful ally in President Bush. While no measure or law was beyond all criticism from a Catholic perspective, particularly the stem cell research decision, the Vatican would often praise the president's pro-life and pro-family efforts, with Cardinal Lopez Trujillo of the Pontifical Council for the Family as his most vocal supporter. ...

Since the establishment of full diplomatic relations between the Holy See and the United States in 1984 under the pontificate of John Paul II and the administration of President Ronald Reagan as much a symbol of the final acceptance of Catholics in U.S. politics as it was a symbol of a Cold War alliance no U.S. president passes through Rome without a visit to the Vatican. President Bush, however, seems to have gone out of his way to pay his respects to the previous Holy Father, with three visits to John Paul II and a personal appearance -- along with his wife and several staff members at the papal funeral, where he first met then-Cardinal Ratzinger. ("Bush and Benedict: First Meeting," Inside the Vatican Magazine, June 10, 2006)

Given the history and teachings of the Roman Catholic Church and Bible prophesy, one might be appropriately apprehensive about signs of friendliness between that church and the U.S. government.

Inspired Commentary

Quoting from a historian, inspiration notes a basic tension between Roman Catholic teaching and the principles of religious freedom as espoused in the United States:

The papacy is just what prophecy declared that she would be, the apostasy of the latter times. 2 Thessalonians 2:3, 4. It is a part of her policy to assume the character which will best accomplish her purpose; but beneath the variable appearance of the chameleon she conceals the invariable venom of the serpent. "Faith ought not to be kept with heretics, nor persons suspected of heresy" (Lenfant, volume 1, page 516), she declares. Shall this power, whose record for a thousand years is written in the blood of the saints, be now acknowledged as a part of the church of Christ? (The Great Controversy, p. 571)

FBI Crime Report

The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation has provided an annual crime report:

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Big-city murders rose sharply in 2006 as violent crime increased nationally for the second straight year, the FBI reported Monday. Homicides committed in small towns and mid-size cities took a dramatic downswing - resulting in an overall 0.3 percent increase in the murder rate across the country, the new preliminary data show.

Year-end totals for murders rose in eight of the nation's 10 largest cities: Chicago, Houston, Las Vegas, New York, Philadelphia, Phoenix, San Antonio and San Diego. That contributed to a 6.7 percent murder rate increase in cities with populations over 1 million people. ("Murder, Robbery on Rise in Big Cities," Associated Press printed in The Daily Progress (Charlottesville, VA), June 4, 2007

Other numbers mentioned in the report were a 6% increase in robberies, and a 2.9% decrease in property crime except that burglary increased 3.3% in mid-sized cities.

Inspired Commentary

From the report, it would seem that times are a little more perilous in large cities.

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

British Embryo Research

In 1998 after the cloning of a sheep, an American scientist was quoted as saying:

God made man in his own image. God intended for man to become one with God. Cloning and the reprogramming of DNA is the first serious step in becoming one with God. (http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/science/jan-june98/cloning_1-8.html)

That statement was disavowed by other scientists, but cloning research has continued.

The [British] government has overturned its proposed ban on the creation of human-animal embryos and now wants to allow them to be used to develop new treatments for incurable diseases such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's.

The proposal, in a new draft fertility bill published today, would allow scientists to create three different types of hybrid embryos.

Scientists would be allowed to grow the embryos in a lab for no more than two weeks, and it would be illegal to implant them in a human.

The first kind of hybrid allowed under the bill, known as a chimeric embryo, is made by injecting cells from an animal into a human embryo. The second, known as a human transgenic embryo, involves injecting animal DNA into a human embryo.

The third, known as a cytoplasmic hybrid, is created by transferring the nuclei of human cells, such as skin cells, into animal eggs from which almost all the genetic material has been removed.

This is this type of human-animal embryo that is being developed in British universities. Scientists say that developing these embryos will provide a plentiful source of stem cells - immature cells that can develop into many different types of tissue - for use in medical research. ("Hybrid embryos get go-ahead," Guardian Unlimited (www.guardian.co.uk), May 17, 2007)

Inspired Commentary

Inspiration indicates that some efforts at manipulation of life forms went on before the flood:

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. God purposed to destroy by a flood that powerful, long-lived race that had corrupted their ways before him. (Spirit of Prophecy, v.1, p. 69).

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