The Trumpet Herald

Giving the trumpet a certain sound

April 2009

Sunday Law in Europe?


A recent news item detailed Roman Catholic efforts toward a Sunday law in Europe:

The Roman Catholic Church has been fighting to make Sunday observance mandatory in Europe for the past 15 years. Its efforts have not yet succeeded in having a Sunday rest enshrined in European Union law though at times it has come close.

Over the past few months, the church has been on the attack using the EU's Working Time Directive.

A hideously socialist piece of legislation, the Working Time Directive makes it illegal for a person to work for more than 48 hours a week. When originally passed back in 1993, the directive required all employees to have a weekly rest period, which "shall in principle include Sunday" though it did concede that "it is ultimately for each member state to decide whether Sunday should be included in the weekly rest period, and if so to what extent." But before EU nations enforced the directive, the European Court of Justice annulled the provision that would require employees to rest on Sunday.

Catholics have been trying to get the provision back in the directive ever since. They may be close to doing so. The principle of Sunday rest is already codified in EU law for all employees under 18, within the 1994 Protection of Young People at Work Directive. It would be just one more step for the EU to impose it on the whole workforce.

Many members of the European Parliament (meps) have supported the introduction of a Sunday rest clause over the past few months. More than 40 meps signed two amendments to the Working Time Directive that would enforce Sunday observance "in principle." The amendments did not go to vote for procedural reasons ("The Battle for Sunday," www.thetrumpet.com, February 2009 print edition).

Inspired commentary

Although the number of Sunday-closing laws in Western nations has decreased in recent times, there are some who continue to advocate such laws. Prophecy indicates that circumstances will one day turn in their favor and against religious liberty.

He was granted power to give breath to the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak and cause as many as would not worship the image of the beast to be killed. He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name (Rev. 13:15-17).

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).

Bad Economic News


The U.S. economy saw a day of negative indicators on March 3 as the problems related to sub-prime mortgages continued.

Stocks plummeted to their lowest levels in nearly 12 years as the troubles of two international financial giants reignited fears of a burgeoning worldwide banking crisis.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged through 7,000 at the open of trade and landed 300 points lower at 6,763, more than 52 percent below its all-time high. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index dropped nearly 5 percent to little over 700, a critical psychological level for investors and the lowest since November 1996. The fall reflected another rout in banking and financial stocks, which lost between 10 percent and 20 percent of their value. All of the major indexes have lost nearly a quarter of their value so far this year.

American International Group (AIG) shook the markets after reporting a $62 billion fourth-quarter loss, the largest quarterly loss in corporate history, despite an expensive takeover of the insurance giant by the Treasury and expanded assistance announced Monday. Europe's huge HSBC bank also fell into dire straits and announced that it is closing its U.S. consumer-lending division Household Finance, adding to a downdraft in European and American stocks. ...

"The core of the crisis comes down to housing," he said. "A home is most families' biggest asset. Falling home prices undermine consumers' confidence to spend and drag down the economy. The financial crisis was the result of financial institutions' high degree of leverage to mortgages of questionable quality" [Jeffrey Kleintop, chief strategist at LPL Financial] ("Stocks plunge to 1996 levels," www.washingtontimes.com, Mar. 3, 2009).

Inspired commentary

The global recession is causing a lot of pain and exhibitions of selfishness. God takes note. Judgment will come.

If thou seest the oppression of the poor, and violent perverting of judgment and justice in a province, marvel not at the matter: for he that is higher than the highest regardeth; and there be higher than they.

Moreover the profit of the earth is for all: the king himself is served by the field. (Eccl. 5:8, 9)

Economics Stress European Union


The economic recession is fostering pressures toward nationalism.

The leaders of the European Union gathered Sunday in Brussels for an emergency summit meeting designed to tamp down the centrifugal forces unleashed by the global economic crisis that threaten to spin the bloc - and its single currency - apart.

In a statement afterward, the leaders tried to reassure their publics, promising to hold to the single market, promote growth and reject protectionism.

A call from Hungary for a large bailout for newer, eastern members of the union was rejected by Germany, the richest EU nation, and received little support from other countries.

Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsany of Hungary warned of "a new Iron Curtain" dividing Europe, even if the metal today was gold. He called for a special EU fund of up to 190 billion, or $241 billion, to protect the bloc's weakest members.

Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany, however, facing European elections this summer and national elections in September, said that countries must be dealt with on a case-by-case basis, but without explaining how. The Czech prime minister, Mirek Topolanek, meanwhile, insisted that no member would be left "in the lurch."

Europe may now be "whole and free" after the collapse of communism. But the European Union is not a country, and the deep global contraction is stimulating nationalism, not consensus ("Economic crisis threatens the idea of one Europe," International Herald Tribune (www.iht.com) (the international voice of the New York Times), Mar. 1, 2009).

Inspired commentary

Because of the Bible prophecy of Daniel, chapter 2, Bible students are interested observers of efforts at European unity.

Whereas you saw the feet and toes, partly of potter's clay and partly of iron, the kingdom shall be divided; yet the strength of the iron shall be in it, just as you saw the iron mixed with ceramic clay. And as the toes of the feet were partly of iron and partly of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong and partly fragile. As you saw iron mixed with ceramic clay, they will mingle with the seed of men; but they will not adhere to one another, just as iron does not mix with clay. And in the days of these kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people; it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever (Daniel 2:41-44).





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