Watching the World
Meat, Around the World
◆ Housewives in the U.S. who are complaining about paying $1.79 per pound for sirloin would be staggered by Tokyo prices. There sirloin is $12.86 a pound! In some other cities sirloin prices are: Bonn, $3.84 per pound; Brussels, $2.78; Copenhagen, $3.57; London, $2.59; Paris, $2.29; Rome, $2.88; Stockholm, $4.03. On the other hand, you can get sirloin for 74c a pound in Buenos Aires and 82c in Brasília.
◆ “We’ve got a world-wide food panic on our hands, and unless something is done we’re going to have shortages in this country.” This is the way a U.S. milling company president sees the situation. The government index of feed-stuff prices is almost four times higher than a year ago. This has directly affected the cost of producing meat, milk and eggs. Foreign countries are buying as much food as possible from the U.S. to supplement last year’s poor yields. The Toronto Star says that this year the four major wheat-producing countries shipped 41 percent more than last year due to the “world scramble for wheat.”
◆ With the startling increase of meat prices, some families are turning to other foods. “We are eating lots of salads and getting a hardy soup as a main course quite often,” observes a Florida housewife. One in Pennsylvania says, “My husband and I have become vegetarians.” They cope with the problem by eating soybeans and kidney beans instead. “We’ve never felt better,” she adds.
◆ Fewer fish are being caught by leading fishing fleets of the world. Iceland and Britain have recently disputed fishing rights in North Atlantic waters once used by both nations. In 1961 the two countries fished out a total of 110,000 tons of haddock; now they get about 40,000 tons yearly. Off the coast of New England there are fewer haddock, whiting, ocean perch, cod, herring and shrimp being brought out by several nations. In 1970 Peru caught 12.3 million metric tons of anchovy; in 1972 only 4.5 million tons. “The catch this year” in Peruvian waters, says Scientific American, “threatens to be even poorer.”
Two Standards of Honesty
◆ Over one million dollars’ worth of gasoline was stolen during the past several years from a British Columbia refinery. Plant workers and outside middlemen are charged with the theft. Of 170 plant workers, “No one . . . decided it was his civic duty to turn the rascals in,” says the Canadian Time magazine. However, in nearby Fort St. John, a meat wholesaler is “more than happy that there are still some honest people in the world,” reports Alaska Highway News. He lost nearly $3,000 when a misplaced cash-box blew off his truck. That same day one of Jehovah’s witnesses, who had found the box, called to return it to its owner, explaining: “My conscience would not allow me to keep what did not rightfully belong to me.”
Seminary Influence Wanes
◆ Seven leading American theological seminaries are campaigning to raise $42 million for a program to meet a “crisis in values.” They believe that seminary education must be made a more “influential force” in today’s world. Of this program, the magazine Christianity Today pertinently asks: “What were these schools doing when the crisis in values was developing? . . . They had the chance to provide proper spiritual leadership for the country with their numerous influential graduates, and they blew it.”
◆ After surveying U.S. clergy income, an insurance company executive suggested that American clergymen “fail to be aggressive enough in demanding adequate salaries.” That not all lack this quality, however, was reported by the Christian Century magazine: “Five Presbyterian pastors draw annual salaries of more than $35,000 (the highest is $42,000); eight receive from $30,000 to $35,000; and 33 earn between $25,000 and $29,999.”
‘Rude People on Church Boards’?
◆ Bruce McLeod, moderator of the United Church of Canada, says: “We need more rude, abrasive young people, who will elbow their way on to church boards. . . . and it’s imperative that young people become an important part of our church family.” But how can ‘rude, abrasive people’ represent a “meek and lowly” Christ? Interestingly, the same organization reports, not an increase, but a drop of some 1,300 “preaching places” in the last ten years.
◆ “Religiousness is becoming more and more vacuous [empty], because religion has come to serve a new role in this country—a nonreligious role,” says Will Herberg, professor of philosophy and culture, in a U.S. News and World Report interview. He said the U.S. has developed a “civil religion.” As an example he referred to the “Inaugural ceremony,” where “you saw—just as in the ancient Athenian processions—the warriors and the priests participating in powerful enactment of civil religion’s traditional role.”
◆ Catholic writer William J. Whalen, in an article for St. Anthony Messenger, says of church-state relations: “Too close an identification of one with the other . . . turns priests and ministers into spiritual cheerleaders. The Christian churches often convey the impression, that they will bless any war or adventure the leaders of the state decide to launch.” Intertribal slaughter that bloodied two African countries punctuates this truth. A recent New York Times report says: “Members of both groups officiate and worship in the many Catholic churches—about half the population of both countries is Christian.”
◆ “I use karate as a means to an end.” says Mike Crain, Baptist-trained preacher. “The devils use little devices to get people away from the church. I use karate to get them there. . . . In between my exhibitions I inject thoughts on religion and drug abuse. It’s very effective.” This claimed representative of the “Prince of Peace” says: “If you can’t preach Christ into them, you have to beat the devil out of them.” He is president of Judo and Karate for Christ Inc.
‘Weapons for Sale’
◆ When a nation pulls out of war, what happens to her weapons manufacturing? According to a Washington writer, the U.S. aviation and arms manufacturers are pressing for a more liberal foreign arms sales policy. Relaxed restrictions have made five Latin-American nations eligible to buy supersonic fighters. He asks: “Isn’t it particularly disturbing to see the rich, developed nations competing in the poor, underdeveloped countries to sell the ruling juntas on new weapons-systems that use up those countries’ limited resources?”
◆ Historic Brooklyn Bridge’s 90th year was commemorated in May by New York city residents with a parade and other events, including a nighttime fireworks display. Some watched the fireworks from the decks of a steamboat in the East River. “Other people stood on the decks and watched The Watchtower, the headquarters of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Brooklyn Heights,” says the New Yorker magazine. The illuminated sign on the building, it added, “flashed electrical messages. The best messages were: 55°; GOD DOES CARE; THE ONLY HOPE; ENJOY LIVING.”
◆ “The US uses more energy for air conditioning than the entire consumption of Red China,” said a speaker at the annual conference of the National Petroleum Refiners Association. The resulting squeeze has caused energy to be “quickly replacing gold as the standard of value in commerce,” comments Dow Chemical Company’s energy specialist. Summer heat in New York, for example, causes the power company regularly to reduce voltage to cope with the air-conditioning power drain.
Gasoline Shortage Victim
◆ The gasoline crisis claimed a life recently in Oakland, California. When a man who had just filled his tank with gasoline the day before requested more, the station attendant refused. The irate man shot and killed him.
◆ “If you stop all pollution of the Mediterranean now, it would still take about 100 years before the sea becomes clean,” asserts French biologist Alain Bombard. Bacterial pollution off the coast of Nice can be detected 20 miles out to sea. Sea life is hardest hit by pollution. “A quarter of a century ago, one tuna egg out of 100,000 to 150,000 reproduced a tuna. Today only one egg out of 5 million hatches a tuna.” Bombard claims.
Prostitution in France
◆ Prostitution is on the increase in France. There are now an estimated 100,000 prostitutes in that country. One Frenchman in three admits to having had relations with a prostitute. In Paris alone 45,000 men—including tourists—are said to deal with them every day. But why do so many women turn to a life of prostitution? A report in The Guardian says: “Experts are unanimous that it is the breakdown of the family.”
Divorce, “Home Style”
◆ More than one out of three marriages in the U.S. now end in divorce. Assisting the trend, a number of states are instituting “no fault” plans, in which couples can obtain divorces without either party having to be blamed. In some places “self divorce” kits are being distributed with all the forms necessary to “do it yourself.” A California county allows for divorce entirely by mail, at the discretion of the judge.
Sports Ticket “Scalpers”
◆ Tickets for popular U.S. sports events are often obtained by ticket “scalpers” who, in turn, sell them for inflated prices based on demand. A price of $100 or more for a ticket is not unusual for a “hot” sports event. One “scalper” interviewed by the New York Times says he has been earning more than $30,000 per year scalping tickets. He stated: “The high price of tickets . . . has made scalpers out of respectable people. Doctors, lawyers, accountants. People are greedy, and as long as there’s greed, I’ll survive.”
Can You Float?
◆ One 11-year-old boy is glad he can float, though he cannot swim. He was found still alive after 15 hours in a California lake. He had floated all night in rough water. “He looks like a prune, but he’s alive,” said an official.
◆ More than 1,000 Korean youths found that long hair brings police action. A recent government law forbids hair over ears and collars. In Sri Lanka [formerly Ceylon] the Ministry of Education set similar standards for its male teachers, and miniskirts are out for the female ones. The ministry said that grooming standards would “reflect the purity of mind and the unassailable moral standing of the teachers in the eyes of the students.”
‘Sight’ Without Eyes
◆ Tests have again confirmed that light can apparently be sensed with more than just the eyes. North Carolina Department of Mental Health experiments with young pigeons indicates they perceive light through their skin. Squabs respond to light before their eyes function. The physiological mechanism accounting for this ability is not known.