The Trumpet Herald is a commentary on certain current events in the light of inspired prophecy.
The Pope Visits Cuba
Yet another of Earth's nations succumbed to the papal charm as Pope John Paul II received a tumultuous welcome from the people of Cuba, as well as from their aging dictator Fidel Castro. The January 26, 1998 cover of Time magazine pictured both the Pope and Castro, with the title "What Brought Them Together."
One perhaps can speculate about Castro's motives for permitting the papal visit, but the record of the past ten years leave little doubt as to the motives of Pope John Paul II. His decade-long victory spree over international Communism will doubtless claim Cuba as its next triumph. North Korea and China can't be far behind.
A new book on the current Pope, titled Man of the Century, by Jonathan Kwitny (New York: Henry Holt & Co., 1997), offers further evidence of John Paul's decisive role in the history of our time.
While the Pope passionately defended freedom for all faiths during his stay in Cuba, the present papacy's views on freedom of conscience remain questionable at best. Witness the confrontation between former New York Governor Mario Cuomo and New York's Cardinal John O'Connor, who insisted that Catholic politicians mustmdash;under threat of excommunication—enforce through civil law the Church's opposition to abortion (see Richard Ostling, "To Hell With Choice," Time, June 25, 1990, p. 52).
In short, the Church's record in Catholic-dominated lands has most often veered in the direction of intolerance and persecution of those refusing to submit to her authority, not only regarding the horror of abortion, but in areas where conscience is (or should be) informed by the plain teachings of Scripture.
Revelation declares, "Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication" (Rev. 14:8). "For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies" (Rev. 18:3).
Inspiration informs us that this prophecy has not yet reached its complete fulfillment:
"But the message of the second angel did not reach its complete fulfillment in 1844. The churches then experienced a moral fall, in consequence of their refusal of the light of the advent message; but that fall was not complete. As they have continued to reject the special truths for this time they have fallen lower and lower. Not yet, however, can it be said that "Babylon is fallen,... because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication." She has not yet made all nations do this" (The Great Controversy, p. 389 (emphasis original)).
Her goal of making all nations do this is now one step closer to fulfillment.
Regarding the Church's past and present course in dealing with dissenters, Ellen White declares:
"Let the restraints now imposed by secular governments be removed and Rome be reinstated in her former power, and there would speedily be a revival of her tyranny and persecution" (The Great Controversy, p. 564).
Religious Right Gears Up for Legislative Assault
The Religious Right is planning a major assault on both federal and state legislatures during 1998, according to the January 1998 issue of Church & State.
The issues in question range from school vouchers (which would allow government funds to be used for religious education) to the so-called "Religious Equality Amendment" sponsored by Rep. Ernest Istook of Oklahoma. This proposed amendment to the Constitution would permit religious services in public schools and encourage governmental acknowledgment of religion.
Says Barry Lynn, director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State: "1998 will be a difficult year for church-state separationists, but I am confident we can prevail f we educate Americans about the issues" (Church & State, January 1998, p. 13).
Our duty as God's remnant people is to educate the public against religious legislation is far more solemn than the challenge faced by Barry Lynn's organization. Interestingly enough, inspiration speaks of the proposal of a "religious amendment to the Constitution" which would result in Sunday legislation:
"If the people can be led to favor a Sunday law, then the clergy intend to exert their united influence to obtain a religious amendment to the Constitution, and compel the nation to keep Sunday" (Advent Review and Sabbath Herald, Dec. 24, 1889).
In this same article, the modern prophet explains our responsibility to educate the public concerning these matters:
"If they do nothing to disabuse the minds of the people, and through ignorance of the truth our legislatures should abjure the principles of Protestantism, and give countenance and support to the Roman fallacy, the spurious sabbath, God will hold his people who have had great light, responsible for their lack of diligence and faithfulness. But if the subject of religious legislation is judiciously and intelligently laid before the people, and they see that through Sunday enforcement the Roman apostasy would be re-enacted by the Christian world, and that the tyranny of past ages would be repeated, then whatever comes, we shall have done our duty" (Ibid.).
The Cattlemen's "Beef" About Oprah
Wide publicity has been accorded the recent lawsuit by Texas cattleman against Oprah Winfrey, who daytime talk show recently featured a program warning of Mad Cow Disease and other dangers in beef consumption. The obvious issue of free speech which this lawsuit raises should not be overlooked by members of God's Church.
Though it is doubtful that Oprah will lose this case, one is led to wonder whether Adventist health lecturers and evangelists might themselves be legally vulnerable for issuing similar warnings against popular food industries.
Legal commentators on the Cable News Network (CNN) observed that the main reason Oprah has been targeted in this manner is because of the popularity of her show, and the influence she is thus able to exert. What will happen to us when the message given to God's people receives similar exposure?
The following inspired statement helps us understand why God permits the truths of our faith to be made public in many different ways:
"God means that testing truth shall be brought to the front and become a subject of examination and discussion, even if it is through the contempt placed upon it. The minds of the people must be agitated. Every controversy, every reproach, every slander, will be God's means of provoking inquiry and awakening minds that otherwise would slumber" (Testimonies, Vol. 5, p. 453).
Cloning of Humans Re-visited
In last month's Trumpet Herald we mentioned the January 7, 1998 broadcast of the CBS Evening News, where it was reported that Dr. Richard Seed, a Chicago area scientist, has already announced plans to begin the cloning of at least 500 human beings a year. On National Public Radio's "Voices in the News" for January 11, 1998, Seed's slow measured voice is heard saying the following :
"We are going to become one with God. We are going to have almost as much knowledge and almost as much power as God. Cloning and the reprogramming of DNA is the first serious step in becoming one with God" (emphasis added).
Besides the arrogance and evil of humankind before the flood, we are reminded of the even earlier account of the lying words of the serpent to Eve in the Garden of Eden:
"For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil" (Gen 3:5).