The Trumpet Herald

Giving the trumpet a certain sound

December 2009

Hate Crime Law Enacted

On October 28 U.S. President Obama signed into law the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010. A certain hate crimes bill had been attached in the conference committee that reconciled differing bills on the subject passed by the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives. This hate crimes bill, though not particularly germane to the main bill, was thus voted into law and signed by U.S. President Obama.

The hate crime bill raised concerns by some religious conservatives that it might be a step toward stifling the free speech of those who might wish to publicly share certain Bible passages and interpretations regarding the sinfulness of homosexual behavior. There was also concern about making homosexual persons into a specially protected class under the law.

The bill responded to some of those concerns with a “Rule of Construction:”


This division applies to violent acts motivated by actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability of a victim.


Nothing in this division, or an amendment made by this division, shall be construed or applied in a manner that infringes any rights under the first amendment to the Constitution of the United States. Nor shall anything in this division, or an amendment made by this division, be construed or applied in a manner that substantially burdens a person’s exercise of religion (regardless of whether compelled by, or central to, a system of religious belief), speech, expression, or association, unless the Government demonstrates that application of the burden to the person is in furtherance of a compelling governmental interest and is the least restrictive means of furthering that compelling governmental interest, if such exercise of religion, speech, expression, or association was not intended to—

(A) plan or prepare for an act of physical violence; or

(B) incite an imminent act of physical violence against another (

Could biblical preaching on the subject of homosexuality ever be defined as “incitement to violence?” Would a preacher sharing the Bible texts on homosexual behavior likely be able to control how every one of his listeners would respond to the message?

Inspired commentary

The messages of the Bible are contrary to the thinking of much of popular society. Indeed, even in apostolic times a messenger could be attacked because of his message:

Then they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord, And cast him out of the city, and stoned him: and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man’s feet, whose name was Saul (Acts 7:57, 58). 

The time of such persecution may come again with different issues of Bible truth.

Catholic Bishops and Health Insurance

A major item of legislation was voted by a small margin by the U.S. House of Representatives late in the evening on Saturday, Nov. 7. Although there were multiple issues of contention, it is instructive to notice the reported influence of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Leading up to Saturday’s debate, the fate of the trillion-dollar health plan hung on the outcome of negotiations with about two dozen anti-abortion Democrats, who sought to explicitly prohibit federal funds from paying for abortion through new, federally sponsored health-insurance plans. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, which backed the holdouts, circulated a letter late Friday arguing that the legislation could otherwise force individuals who oppose abortion to indirectly subsidize the procedure with their tax dollars.

House Democratic leaders agreed Friday night to settle the impasse by allowing the full House to vote on the proposed compromise, a risky decision that could jeopardize final passage if Democrats don't accept the outcome en masse. The plan satisfied the demands of Catholic bishops (“House moves toward vote on health-care legislation,”, Nov. 7, 2009).

In this case, the Bishop’s cause – preventing federal funding of abortions – was in harmony with the thinking of many conservative non-Catholic Christians.

Inspired commentary

Prophecy indicates that one day the popular Christian tide will turn against those who worship on a different day.

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. Their conscientious scruples will be pronounced obstinacy, stubbornness, and contempt of authority. They will be accused of disaffection toward the government. Ministers who deny the obligation of the divine law will present from the pulpit the duty of yielding obedience to the civil authorities as ordained of God. In legislative halls and courts of justice, commandment keepers will be misrepresented and condemned. A false coloring will be given to their words; the worst construction will be put upon their motives (The Great Controversy, p. 592).

TV Violence Against Women

LOS ANGELES (October 28, 2009) – In a new special report, the Parents Television Council® found that storylines depicting violence against females are increasing and being shown more graphically and in ways that have not been seen in the history of television. ...

“Our new research points to a disturbing trend: by depicting violence against women with increasing frequency, or as a trivial, even humorous matter, the broadcast networks may ultimately be contributing to a desensitized atmosphere in which people view aggression and violence directed at women as normative, even acceptable,” said PTC President Tim Winter (“Women in Peril: PTC Report Finds Increase in Violence Against Females on Television ,”, Oct. 28, 2009).

Inspired commentary

Can viewers always resist being changed by a diet of visual evil?

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things (Phil. 4:8).

Page created:11/16/09. Updated: 11/16/09
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