Watching the World
Another Magazine Dies
◆ Look magazine became the latest in the growing number of American magazines that have gone out of business. It ceased publication in October. Reasons given were severe losses of advertising revenue and rising costs, including increased postal rates. The magazine reached a peak circulation of 7,750,000 in 1969.
◆ The Philadelphia Inquirer asked whether its readers thought motion pictures were better. About 80 percent who responded said they were worse. Some of those replying said: “Movies today are just outrageous.” “You’d have to be mentally sick to vote yes to this one.” “Absolutely disgusting.” “Most of them are even unfit for me to see and I’m 40 years old.” “They’re getting filthier all the time.” “I wouldn’t pay a thin dime to see such trash.”
Satan Worship Grows
◆ After a 20-year-old youth was drowned at his own request so that he could be ‘put in charge of 40 leagues of demons,’ associate editor Smith Hempstone of the Washington Star commented: “The demise of authority and the rejection of rationalism have left men adrift on an ideological sea where all the beacons have been extinguished. In their desperate search for a new revelation, they turn to the astrology columns carried by no fewer than 1,200 daily newspapers, to devil worship, tarot cards, sensitivity sessions, drugs, pentecostalism or any combination thereof.” Noting that the churches are in no position to counteract this trend since they are also in confusion, he concluded: “All of us are lost children, the night is long and there is not a great deal of help in us.” But those who put their confidence, not in the churches and their teachings of men, but in God and his Word the Bible do not feel that way, rejoicing in the knowledge that soon this Satan-controlled system will be destroyed to make way for God’s new order.
Toronto Crime ‘Explosion’
◆ The Toronto Daily Star says: “Crimes of violence are increasing ominously in Toronto.” In ten years the population of Toronto has risen by only one quarter, but assaults tripled, robbery nearly doubled and rapes increased sixfold. One Toronto resident said: “You’re afraid to walk the street anymore. What’s happening?” It is one more evidence of fulfilled Bible prophecy, showing we are nearing the end of this system of things.—Matt. 24:12.
Thieves Use Catacombs
◆ Rome police report the existence of a huge car-stealing racket operating from the catacombs. Officials say that 6,000 or more stripped automobiles may be in the catacombs. The thieves drive stolen cars into the tunnels through concealed entrances and strip them of everything valuable, leaving only the frames. The catacombs are so vast and entrances so many that officials estimate it would take a small army to stop the thieves.
Crime Wave “Disheartening”
◆ A commissioner of police in Nigeria’s East-Central State, Mike Ibekwe, has described as “disheartening” the current wave of crimes all over the world. He declared: “The more legislations are enacted, the greater are the crimes; and the more severe the punishments, the more prevalent crimes become.” Addressing an Anglican Church meeting, he observed that the church was fast losing its grip on people, adding that the trouble today “is that many people who profess Christianity hardly practice it.”
Supporting Organized Crime
◆ A state police official in Bloomington, Indiana, observed that organizations permitting gambling machines on their premises support organized crime. Lt. Forrest Cooper said: “The machines are owned by the syndicate and controlled by the syndicate. And money put into them supports the syndicate—organized crime.” When one organization claimed that proceeds from the gambling machines were used to support local charities, Cooper replied: “Benevolence is when you dig into your hip pocket and bring out your billfold and lay down some hard-earned money for a charitable organization without expecting a return on your investment. When you allow a gaming device on your premises, and when someone puts a quarter into one, that is not benevolence. That is greed. It is one man’s weakness preying on another man’s weakness. It is gambling.”
Church Party Raided
◆ Bureau of Criminal Investigation agents in Iowa raided an annual Sunday picnic of the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church of North Buena Vista. They confiscated two roulette wheels, a dice table layout, a bingo setup and several decks of playing cards. The parish priest, Carl Ruhland, had previously welcomed the crowd over a loudspeaker, saying: “Don’t forget we have beer on sale, which was donated to us, and that we have wheels of fortune to play.” But that is illegal under Iowa law.
◆ The problem of what action clergymen should take on social issues is dividing the churches. The Milwaukee Sentinel reports that this has “split both the laity and the clergy of Roman Catholicism. The climax, to the Catholic conscience, came with the involvement of priests in raids on selective service offices and the burning of draft records.” The Sentinel concluded: “The Roman Catholic Church, therefore, is no more unified than most Protestant churches on what constitutes social action.” Jesus warned: “If a house becomes divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand.”—Mark 3:25.
Methodist Marries Homosexuals
◆ Two homosexuals were ‘married’ in a ceremony conducted by a United Methodist Church minister in Minneapolis, according to the Minneapolis Tribune. This is no longer unusual, as ministers of various churches have approved or performed such ‘marriages’ contrary to the clearly stated law of God on this matter.
Lutheran Losses Heavy
◆ On a worldwide scale, Lutherans are experiencing extremely hard times. The Washington, D.C., Evening Star reports that membership has dropped from a peak of about 90 million to about 73 million.” Last year alone the church suffered a net loss of 1,816,736 members.
Headed for Extinction
◆ Writing in the Detroit Sunday News, Catholic monsignor Hubert Maino said: “Is the Roman Catholic priesthood headed for extinction? A number of signs seem to point that way . . . Forecasts based on computer data indicate that, as a result of attrition by death, retirement and defection, and the low rate of replacement, the number of priests in the United States will fall to zero by the end of the century.”
◆ A growing number of Protestant clergymen are quitting the ministry. While not citing celibacy as a reason for leaving as do many Catholic priests, their complaints have other parallels, such as ‘rebelling against 12th century theology,’ ‘having to please the congregation too much,’ ‘poor salary’ and ‘no privacy.’ One who was disappointed with his former parishioners said: “There is a small concerned group left in the congregation—perhaps three. If I had any counsel for them it would be to get out.”
◆ At a meeting of priests and bishops from all of Spain’s dioceses, a historically significant moment came when a majority voted to apologize for the role the Catholic Church played during the Spanish Civil War. One priest said: “What the Spanish church has now done is to recognize that it has sinned.”
Living Costs Rise
◆ According to the International Monetary Fund, the cost of living in Britain at the end of the first half of 1971 rose 10.3 percent compared to a year earlier. The rise in Japan was 7.9 percent, the Netherlands 7.6 percent, Denmark 7.1 percent. In South Vietnam prices rose 18 percent and in South Korea 14.4 percent.
‘Rock’ Affects Hearing
◆ When 43 ‘rock’ musicians were tested at a speech center in San Francisco, it was found that 20 percent of them had the hearing of 70-year-old men. Tests at ‘rock’ concerts have measured sound up to 130 decibels, which is about the same as that produced by some jet engines. Such high levels are capable of causing irreversible hearing damage.
Stress Hurts Work
◆ The London Medical News-Tribune showed that too much stress at one’s work can lead to mental illness, accounting for more lost working days than influenza and the common cold put together. Stress is now one of the fastest-growing causes of days lost from work. One in six workers is affected. Last year over 36 million workdays were lost in Britain because of it. Much of the fault was laid at the door of management for their lack of consultation and communication. Said the medical journal: “There is a correlation between the level of morale of employees and the quality of concern of senior management for the people they employ.”
Suicides from Pressure
◆ Ivor Mills, Professor of Investigative Medicine at Cambridge, England, says that increasingly competitive jobs are causing more people to attempt suicide. The trend toward ever greater productivity forces workers into acute stress conditions as they are unable to cope with increased demands on their efficiency in exchange for more pay. If the trend continues, Mills warns, more and more workers will attempt self-destruction. In the past seven years, attempted suicides in England and Wales shot up from 50,000 a year to 90,000, he said.
Lice Making Comeback
◆ Lice infestations are increasing at all social levels. A British scientist estimated that “the best part of a million” people in his country were infested by head lice. The youth culture that results in poor hygienic conditions, in long hair improperly cared for and sharing of clothing and beds, contributes to head and body lice. The crab louse, a cousin to head and body lice, usually inhabits the pubic region and is passed on by sexual contact. The sexual promiscuity of today, as evidenced by epidemic venereal disease rates, finds a parallel in increasing cases of crab lice.
Children Contract VD
◆ Officials in Iowa treated a 7-year-old boy for venereal disease acquired through direct sexual contact. Another boy, age 11, and a girl, age 12, also were treated for gonorrhea. The two boys named the girl as their contact.
Silicone Injections Can Kill
◆ Many women attempt to enlarge their breasts by means of liquid silicone injections. So widespread has this practice, and its complications, become that medical authorities now have issued a full-scale warning to the public. Deaths, massive abscesses requiring removal of the breast, and other serious side effects have followed silicone injections.