Watching the World
1970 Assemblies Begin
◆ On June 25-28 Jehovah’s witnesses commenced their 1970 series of four-day “Men of Goodwill” District Assemblies in Eugene, Oregon. On the final day 16,370 heard the public talk “Saving the Human Race—in the Kingdom Way.” This was the first of thirty-six such assemblies being held in the United States this summer, with many others going on in other parts of the world.
Largest Railroad Bankrupt
◆ America’s largest railroad, the Penn Central, declared bankruptcy in late June. One of the nation’s wealthiest companies, its assets totaled about $7,000,000,000. But burdened by debt, spiraling costs, a drop in freight shipments and a huge deficit from passenger service, the company could no longer provide enough cash for operations. Previously a government official had said: “If the Penn Central goes, the public will think 1929 is here. We can’t let it happen.” But it did happen, and financial circles worried, for many other large U.S. corporations were in much the same condition.
Poll Takers Wrong
◆ Not since Harry Truman defeated Thomas Dewey for the United States presidency have poll takers been so wrong in an election. They had predicted certain victory for Labor Party candidate Harold Wilson over Conservative Party candidate Edward Heath for prime minister in Britain’s elections. While the pollsters tried to explain away Heath’s victory, the New York Times observed: “The truth is that they flopped.”
◆ After Dr. Charles W. Pearce, a cardiologist, successfully performed open-heart surgery on one of Jehovah’s witnesses in New Orleans without using blood, observers were amazed at the patient’s speedy recovery. The Sentry News of Slidell, Louisiana, stated: “The surgeon said he believes the method used has proven a boon not only to Jehovah’s witnesses but to most patients undergoing open heart surgery. ‘We recently used this technique in 100 consecutive open heart operations for congenital heart defects,’ he explained, ‘and there was only one mortality.’” The surgeon said that not using blood virtually eliminated the possibility of infectious hepatitis and the risk of allergic reaction. He noted that when blood is used, the functions of the heart, lungs and kidneys sometimes become impaired during the early period following surgery. “But with the [bloodless] technique,” he stated, “the function of these organs is nearly always satisfactory.”
Return from Space
◆ Two Russian astronauts who set a new space record in Soyuz 9 by staying in orbit around the earth for nearly 18 days had difficulty getting used to being back on earth. Prolonged weightlessness has been found to force an unusual amount of blood into the large veins of the abdomen and chest, causing several undesirable chain reactions. An expert stated that “the increased pressure was long-lived and that the normal state does not return quickly.”
Graham Praises Patriotism
◆ Baptist preacher Billy Graham praised patriotic symbols such as the flag and cosponsored “Honor America Day,” which was endorsed by many political leaders. But if Mr. Graham preached in another country, what would he have told them? Would he encourage believers in each nation to give their paramount loyalty to nationalism at the expense of their fellow believers in other lands? This kind of preaching is directly responsible for members of the same religion killing one another during wartime, contrary to what Jesus Christ taught. Mr. Graham stated: “I wish that I knew the Bible a great deal more.”
World Leaders Psychotic?
◆ Behavioral science sociologist Ernest Becker of Burnaby told a session of the British Columbia Family Physicians Association that most of the world’s political leaders are “flagrantly psychotic” and that only “divine intervention” can help mankind.
Sex Relations in Public?
◆ Atlas magazine of July reported: “Sweden, which already enjoys some of the most liberal ‘sex laws’ in the world, is now about to legalize public sexual relations—unless the bill’s opponents gain support. From Tel Aviv’s Yediot Aharanot: The new law—proposed by the government itself—would allow couples to engage in sexual relations on the beach, in public parks and even in the streets ‘unless it offends the sensibilities of the onlookers.’”
Apollo 13 Verdict
◆ After intensive investigation a board of scientists said that the explosion that ripped apart a segment of the Apollo 13 spacecraft was due to errors by industry contractors and gross negligence on the part of ground crews. Their report stated that the makers of the spacecraft’s oxygen tank placed the wrong safety switches in it, that the assemblers of the spaceship damaged the tank, and that ground crews of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration failed to notice that something was wrong with the equipment.
‘Corrupt Class System’
◆ Columnist Stewart Alsop, writing in Newsweek, stated: “The United States, according to the radical young, operates under a corrupt system. They are entirely correct. The system is indeed corrupt, in two absolutely fundamental ways.” One way he noted was in regard to military conscription, which, Alsop said, favored the wealthy classes above the poor. A second way is that “a rich man who uses money to make money, can avoid paying anything like his fair share of taxes.”
Female Suicides Rise
◆ Between 1961 and 1968 the number of women committing suicide in Ontario, Canada, doubled. Dr. W. T. Anderson said that birth-control pills may be responsible for the increase, since one of two hormones in the pill, progesterone, causes depression.
Religious TV Failure
◆ Religious television programs have utterly failed to teach man his relationship to God, reports TV Guide. It says: “This somewhat dizzying charge that God, above all, is missing from religious programming is coming from some of the most important church leaders in America—and particularly from those who have the ultimate responsibility, either as producers, consultants or approvers, for the religious shows we see on the networks.” Priest Donald Connolly said: “We’ve tended to get very involved in the secular aspects of the world. . . . the relationship of man and God, is just not there.”
Religion “in Deepening Trouble”
◆ Interviews at 55 American universities and colleges showed that the majority of students do not consider organized religion relevant to their lives. The Glens Falls, N.Y., Times commented editorially: “Unless the rising generation can be persuaded that in utterance and action the churches have a generative role to play, organized religion will find itself in deepening trouble.” But the younger generation is not being persuaded. And the “deepening trouble” for the churches is already here.
A.M.A. Approves Abortions
◆ For the first time in its 123-year history, the American Medical Association voted to perform abortions for social and economic reasons. There are about 1,000,000 abortions annually in the United States alone. Is it consistent for members of the A.M.A. to condone the mass slaughter of unborn babies, and yet for its members to take court action to force an unwanted blood transfusion on a baby in the name of saving its life?
French Priests Resign
◆ A group of forty-four French priests resigned en masse because they could “no longer in conscience accept a great many of the present structures of the Church.” The resignations were not unexpected in view of a recent bishops’ council declaration that no priest could carry out his ministry “if he challenges the exercise of authority in the church.”
High Cost of Smoking
◆ Britain’s Chief Medical Officer at the Department of Health and Social Security, Sir George Godber, gave the following figures on the high cost of smoking in Britain this year: 150,000 working years of manpower lost, 75,000 deaths, and 45,000 men incapacitated through bronchitis caused mainly by cigarette smoking. Godber stated: “We haven’t yet reaped the full harvest of the cigarette smoking which increased so much in the latter half of this century.”
◆ The Calgary Herald reports: “The Bible is something John Gillham, a lay preacher, can do without in church services. . . . He prefers strutting around in front of his congregation, hurling questions at them, replying to questions or reading from Playboy magazine or even Karl Marx, ‘if I felt it was pertinent.’” Gillham, a United Church lay preacher, states that “Gospel goodies” are on their way out in the churches. However, increasing numbers of persons feel that since many preachers today leave God’s Word out, and even God out, there is no need for these preachers either. Hence, a growing flood of persons are abandoning the churches.
◆ Tax experts of the National Chamber of Commerce have calculated that all the money earned by the average American taxpayer during the first four months and eight days of 1970 went to pay taxes—federal, state and local. Thus, over one third of the average worker’s income is taken from him in taxes.
◆ Millions of dollars in valuables are being stolen from the mails by employees of the post-office department. Increasingly, credit cards, cash, gifts, checks for charities, even federal money shipments, as well as merchandise, have been vanishing from the mails. Arrests of postal workers for theft have jumped by 50 percent in less than two years.
Bless Homosexuals, Vicar Asks
◆ Anglican clergyman Morris Russell told a Homosexual Law Reform Society meeting in Auckland, New Zealand, that churches should bless homosexual relationships. Yet, God’s law clearly states that neither “men kept for unnatural purposes, nor men who lie with men . . . will inherit God’s kingdom.”—1 Cor. 6:9, 10.
Catholics Protest Mass Reform
◆ More than 1,000 Roman Catholics from various European countries came to Rome in late June to protest what they called the “Montini mass.” Conservative members of the church, they opposed reforms permitting the mass to be said in the vernacular instead of in Latin. The group prayed publicly in protest, entered St. Peter’s chanting the “Credo,” and at midnight said the Rosary in Latin in St. Peter’s Square. The pope ignored them.
◆ In municipal elections held throughout the Netherlands, candidates of one political party campaigned in the nude. They won five seats out of forty-five on the Amsterdam City Council, and two out of forty-five in The Hague.
◆ The Lutheran Church in America experienced a decline in membership last year. Church secretary George F. Harkins said that at the beginning of 1970 there were 3,259,558 members, a decrease of 21,212 from the year before.