The Trumpet Herald

Giving the trumpet a certain sound

August 2009

Michael Jackson Memorial


Michael Jackson's memorial service at a Los Angeles arena (seats 19,000-20,000) also drew a large following on the Internet:

Akamai Technologies, Inc., the Cambridge company whose technology aims to provide speedy and rich Web content delivery on the Internet, said that online traffic associated with the live coverage of the funeral services of Michael Jackson posted the second largest day ever in terms of total traffic on the Akamai network.

Only President Obama's inauguration outdrew the online traffic for Jackson's funeral services on the Akamai network, the company said.

In a press release, Akamai reported that it delivered more than 2,185,000 live and on-demand streams in Flash and Windows Media formats and that total traffic on the Akamai network surpassed a rate of more than 2 terabits per second during the memorial service ("Michael Jackson's funeral is huge online draw," The Boston Globe, July 8, 2009).

And what was the memorial service like?

Outside the arena, the celebrity-industrial complex that Jackson helped create ground on. More than 3,000 police officers massed downtown to keep the ticketless at bay. Helicopters followed the golden casket as it was driven over blocked-off freeways from Forest Lawn cemetery to Staples Center. A bazaar of T-shirts, buttons, photos and other memorabilia sprouted in the blocks around the memorial. Movie theaters played the service live and people paused around the world to watch.

Inside, however, the atmosphere was churchlike, assisted by the enormous video image of a stained glass window, with red-gold clouds blowing past, that was projected behind the stage. ...

The fans, clutching tickets that 1.6 million people had sought, were a visual representation of Jackson's life: white, black and everything in between; from Mexico, Japan, Italy or America; wearing fedoras, African headdresses, sequins or surgical masks. Actor Corey Feldman showed up fully costumed as Michael Jackson. ...

Jubilation erupted, with the longest standing ovation of the day. It seemed as if Sharpton broke through some sort of wall, freeing shouts from the crowd of "love you Michael!" After he left the stage, chants of "Mi-chael!" filled the arena ("Poignant service says goodbye to Jackson," www.msnbc.com, July 7, 2009).

Inspired commentary

The Bible has a lot to say about idolatry. While western societies largely don't bow down in worship to figurine gods, the events drawing media attention give hints about mankind's proclivity for worship of false gods.

Ye shall make you no idols nor graven image, neither rear you up a standing image, neither shall ye set up any image of stone in your land, to bow down unto it: for I am the LORD your God. Ye shall keep my sabbaths, and reverence my sanctuary: I am the LORD (Leviticus 26:1,2).

Papal Encyclical


President Obama and the Pope will be meeting Friday, July 10, 2009, against a backdrop of a new Papal Encyclical, Caritas in Veritate (Charity in Truth).

Pope Benedict XVI's upcoming meeting with President Obama may be focused squarely on the worldwide financial crisis and on the pope's vision for a "true world political authority" to manage the global economy with God-centered ethics.

Benedict's new social encyclical, a major teaching titled Caritas in Veritate (Charity in Truth), released Tuesday in Rome, calls for creation of a new worldwide economic authority, for redistribution of the world's wealth, protections of workers, respect for the environment, and a refusal to accept an "anti-birth" mentality that promotes birth control or abortion.

"Despite utterly important differences on issues like abortion," there are "areas of resonance" between Obama's policy agenda and Benedict's call for "regrounding our economic, cultural, and political lives on an integral Christian humanism that is 'open to the Absolute,'" says Stephen Schneck, director of the Life Cycle Institute at Catholic University in Washington, D.C.

Schneck says he expects the encyclical, "a breathtaking glimpse of the possibility of civilization with a human face," to set the agenda for the Benedict-Obama meeting ("Pope, Obama may find common ground in 'Charity in Truth,'" www.usatoday.com, July 8, 2009).

Inspired commentary

Bible prophecy does mention a world political authority and the influence of the "mother church" on it:

And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him? And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months. ...

And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon. And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed. And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men, And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live (Revelation 13:4-5, 11-14).

Massachusetts Sues the U.S.


The State of Massachusetts is taking a leading role to promote same-sex marriage:

(CNN) -- Massachusetts sued the U.S. government on Wednesday, challenging the constitutionality of a federal law that defines marriage as the union of a man and a woman.

"We're taking this action today because, first, we believe that [the Defense of Marriage Act] directly interferes with Massachusetts' long-standing sovereign authority to define and regulate the marital status of its residents," Attorney General Martha Coakley said Wednesday afternoon.

"Massachusetts has a single category of married persons, and we view all married persons equally and identically," she said.

"DOMA divides that category into two distinct and unequal classes of marriage."

The lawsuit argues that the act, which became law in 1996, denies same-sex couples essential rights and protections, including federal income tax credits, employment and retirement benefits, health insurance coverage and Social Security payments.

"In enacting DOMA, Congress overstepped its authority, undermined states' efforts to recognize marriages between same-sex couples, and codified an animus towards gay and lesbian people," the state wrote in the lawsuit, which was filed Wednesday in federal court. ("Massachusetts sues federal government over marriage law," www.cnn.com, July 8, 2009).

Inspired commentary

The government of Massachusetts apparently considers it has a sovereign right to sanction sin.

Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things. Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen (Romans 1:21-25).





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