Watching the World
Real African Christians
◆ Jehovah’s witnesses have been persecuted in some African countries because of their political neutrality. Where do other African “Christian” churches stand as respects neutrality? Burgess Carr, general secretary of the All Africa Conference of Churches, says, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, that “the conference supports ‘every struggle short of sadistic cruelty’ in armed struggles against the white governments of South Africa and Rhodesia. . . . ‘Everyone wants to throw the violence bit at us. Don’t they know the Presbyterian Church in America supported violent revolution here? Was Valley Forge a tea party?’” Yet, inconsistently, he alludes not to his own churchmen, but to Jehovah’s witnesses as being subversive. He adds: “The All Africa Conference of Churches is not going to say that any national government is wrong that deals decisively with a group that threatens . . . national symbols.” After quoting Carr’s bigoted statement, the Pittsburgh newspaper adds, correctly: “Jehovah’s witnesses refuse to salute the flag of any government because, they say, their true allegiance is to ‘Christ’s Kingdom.’ They do, however, strictly observe civil laws.”
Making More, Buying Less
◆ Though American paychecks are larger, they are buying less. In October 1972 the average U.S. worker made $139.13. After taxes, that amount could buy $97.49 worth of goods and services. By August of this year average weekly pay was up to $145.43, but, due primarily to inflation, buying power was down to $94.34. Thus, in an eleven-month period the average paycheck went up $6.30 per week. But buying power dropped $3.15! And the future? The Wall Street Journal sums up one new book’s view of the economy: “Today’s inflation-fueled economy could still prove a good deal more difficult to land softly than a moon rocket.”
◆ Some religious organizations are going to new ends to acquire money. The Coronation of the Blessed Virgin Mary Catholic Church in Buffalo, New York, now accepts credit cards, not just cash donations. One finance committee member says: “A church can’t survive on 50-cent [cash] donations.” Credit-card donations are up to $30. Admission is now being charged visitors to London’s thirteenth-century Salisbury Cathedral. A London Observer article calls this “a last-ditch attempt to find a way of meeting the desperate need for funds.”
Jesuit Okays Homosexuals
◆ More and more clergymen are endorsing homosexuality. Now a Catholic Jesuit priest, John McNeill of New York’s Woodstock College, has added his approval. An Associated Press release printed in the Burlington County (New Jersey) Times says that he told a recent Protestant Episcopal conference: “I see no reason why two gay people who love each other and want to dedicate their lives to each other in the presence of God should not be able to do so in the church. There ought to be a ceremony of friendship or unity or whatever you wish to call it.” But the Bible says such persons should be put out of the church!—1 Cor. 5:13; 6:9, 10.
◆ Vatican information shows that membership in the Jesuit order is declining. The 433-year-old religious order now has less than 32,000 members world wide; the figure stood at 35,000 about five years ago.
◆ Advice on morals, while sometimes welcome, must also be evaluated. Dr. Robert J. Weiss of Harvard Medical School’s laboratory of community psychiatry claims that couples are better off living together before marriage. Then, he says, after three or four years “there will be talk about marriage. But only among themselves—they wouldn’t think of breathing a word about it to their friends.”
◆ Bothered about the high cost of food? Farmers producing food in the U.S. have problems of their own. Farm Journal says of farmers: “The winners next year will be those who figure out how to get all the supplies they need.” Machinery must be ordered months in advance, even though some manufacturers are increasing production by 60 percent. Gasoline and diesel fuel are limited. Fertilizer stocks are 40 percent below last year’s level.
◆ Choking on food is the sixth leading cause of accidental death in the U.S. Each year some 2,500 persons die in this way while dining out. Ninety percent of the deaths occur while the victim is eating steak. Doctors recommend leaning the victim over a chair, pounding his back and dislodging the obstruction with fingers or tweezers. A choking individual may appear to be suffering a heart attack.
◆ Last year almost ten and a half billion dollars’ worth of food was shoplifted from major U.S. food chains. That amounts to enough food to feed everyone in Boston and San Francisco for a year. The president of one large California-based food chain believes that 58 percent of all employees and 48 percent of the customers steal. He says the average shoplift totals $3.92. Supermarket News claims that 78 percent of all employees are dishonest. These losses, of course, are added to the already high cost of food and are paid for by the consumer.
◆ The risks involved in accepting someone else’s blood for use as a transfusion become ever more apparent. A medical college professor at Kozhikode, India, claims that one third of the professional blood donors there are known to have syphilis. Why is the blood accepted? The Times of India reports: “He told newsmen here that the doctors were forced to use their inferior blood because of lack of voluntary donors. Very often patients receiving the blood had to be treated for syphilis or virus hepatitis.” Another Indian doctor says blood donation has become “a racket.”
Doctors and Their Drugs
◆ A survey by a member of the Department of Pharmacology at the University of Montreal indicates that many physicians do not really know the medications they prescribe. Two thirds of 60 doctors tested were unaware of the ingredients in “222,” a pain-killing tablet. None knew the makeup of seven other often-prescribed drugs. Says the study: “The inescapable conclusion would be: In the majority of instances, when a physician signs his name below a drug combination prescription he does not know exactly what he is signing for.”
Amsterdam Crime Record
◆ Crime is increasing even in the seemingly “safe cities” of Europe. In the Netherlands, Amsterdam’s daily De Telegraaf recently Interviewed city Police Chief P. A. Jong. Of crime, he says: “The general tendency of increase is alarming.” In 1966 there were 23,000 crimes reported to Amsterdam police; the number is expected to be more than twice that in 1973. Many crimes, he notes, go unreported. Crime, according to Jong, can no longer be blamed on poverty. Instead, he adds, “we are now experiencing a sort of crime due to prosperity.”
‘Man’s Days Numbered’
◆ If God did not intervene in man’s affairs, what would eventually happen? Sir Kingsley Dunham, president of the British Association for the Advancement of Science, says that “some scientists believe man’s days are numbered.” Why? He points to dwindling natural resources, pollution and food shortages. What, in his opinion, is the root cause leading to man’s “end”? Dunham’s answer: “The cause of the end of the human race could be summed up as the result of greed, thoughtlessness and carelessness.”
◆ Lebanon has one interesting regulation designed to help combat the gasoline shortage. The government has decreed that cars with even-numbered license plates may drive only on even-numbered days of the month; odd plates on odd days. There have thus been fuel savings without special stamps or registration books. Drivers accept the arrangement and traffic is lighter.
Alcohol In Britain
◆ A report from Liverpool says that residents of Britain spend the equivalent of seven and a half billion dollars yearly for alcoholic beverages.
◆ Recently a film was shown on television across the U.S. depicting two youths setting fire to an alcoholic. Less than 48 hours later a woman in Boston was murdered in similar fashion. A coincidence? About the same time two small Wisconsin boys watched a TV movie supposedly depicting Satan walking unharmed through the flames of a burning building. Three days later they started a fire and one boy was hospitalized with third-degree burns. Was the TV program responsible? If not, why did the injured boy repeatedly say to his mother on the way to the hospital: “Be sure to tell my friends . . . you can’t walk through fire. It really does hurt you”?
◆ It is the taxpayer that covers the mounting costs of jails and prisons. Just the vandalism caused by inmates is expensive. Dallas, Texas, commissioners estimate that such destructive acts cost that county $200,000 during the last year.
◆ A survey involving 460 physicians and published in a recent American Journal of Psychiatry reveals that up to 13 percent admitted engaging in sexual behavior with their patients. Some 7 percent said they had actually had intercourse. Study also shows that 25 percent of the freshman medical students surveyed believed that such intercourse could be proper. The authors of the survey, from the University of California (Los Angeles), say their work reveals that there is “a core of both physicians-in-training and physicians-in-practice, separated by years of age and years of medical experience, who are seriously asking, ‘Why not?’”
Paper Shortage Benefits
◆ The current paper shortage has some unexpected benefits. Newspapers report that they are doing better writing and editing. They have learned what items can and cannot be deleted without protest from readers. Attempts to drop crossword puzzles, horoscopes and bridge columns bring strong complaints. Of 295 papers surveyed recently, 140 said they cut international news first; 35, national news; 67, features and women’s news; 14, sports; 11, local news. Some syndicated feature material has also been cut by 221 newspapers.
◆ Foresters across the U.S. say that the number of lumberjacks is dropping. In the state of Maine, where lumbering is a major business, their number has dwindled from about 6,500 in 1955 to 1,800 in 1972. According to a New York State paper firm, only one new applicant of every 100 lasts more than one month on the job. Why? The New York Times observes: “Perhaps, as some skeptics in the industry suggest, the dearth of lumberjacks—men of strength, stamina and special skill willing to endure every weather extreme imaginable—reflects a general softening of the stuff that pioneered this country.”
◆ Before 1973 is over, Americans will have spent about two billion dollars on new boating equipment. An equal amount will have been expended for upkeep and operation. There are now about ten million boats in the U.S. The Coast Guard’s recently published “Boating Statistics” says that 1,437 persons died in boating accidents during 1972.