Watching the World
‘Mentalizing the Christians’
The new Frelimo government of Mozambique is trying to force all religions in the country to bow to its will completely. Some church leaders apparently are doing this. Christianity Today reports that Presbyterian “administrator” Valente Matsinhe, also a Frelimo general secretary in his locality, recently called for financial assistance from the All Africa Conference of Churches so that “we shall be able to mentalize the Christians toward their role in a socialist nation.”
In the same vein, the Presbyterian Church in Mozambique wrote to the recent World Council of Churches assembly in Nairobi, Kenya, saying that “the major preoccupation of our church is the problem of adaptation to the new social structures of independent Mozambique.” The Presbyterians said that they hoped for the prayers “chiefly of those whose political system is similar to that chosen by the government of our country.”
These Do Not Compromise
“Frelimo, the freedom fighters of yesterday, are well on the way to becoming a totalitarian regime” in Mozambique, reports The Guardian of London, England. “People’s courts, complete with public exposure and criticism of barefoot blacks and whites accused of deviating from the correct party line, are a new feature of Mozambique’s judicial system. . . . The Jehovah Witnesses, who refuse to follow the party line, or join the party’s rituals and salutes . . . have many of their followers in prison or rehabilitation camps.” Additionally, the London Sunday Times says that “life for the African Christians has become much worse than it ever was under the Portuguese, according to reports brought out by fleeing Witnesses—reports which are accepted by diplomatic observers.”
Premature Babies Need Love
For premature babies, the warmth of mother’s womb is usually replaced by the mechanical atmosphere of an incubator. How do they fare? Texas psychologist Ruth Rice estimates that about half of them develop physical or mental problems during their lives. But a study that she recently completed revealed dramatic improvements among incubator babies who were removed four times a day and “cuddled, loved and stimulated through touch.” At the end of the study, these babies not only were said to be “physically and mentally ahead of other premature infants, but also were advanced in relation to average full-term 4-month-olds,” reports the National Observer.
The Canadian federal taxation branch has issued a bulletin warning criminals that they must file income-tax returns to cover their extortion from victims, including bribes. A spokesman said that, theoretically, rules of confidentiality would require that such income, properly taxed, would not be reported to the police. “I suppose you could report it (the income) as a commission or whatever,” he said. “You don’t have to tell us it was extortion.”—Toronto Star.
Clergy as Spies?
After the use of foreign clergy and missionaries as CIA informants was exposed in the National Catholic Reporter some months ago, it was widely denied. But when legislation to outlaw such activity was introduced in the U.S. Congress, noting that it “prostitutes the church,” government reaction apparently backed up the truth of the charges. Wrote President Ford’s chief counsel: “Clergymen throughout the world are often valuable sources of intelligence, and many clergymen, motivated solely by patriotism, voluntarily and willingly aid the government in providing information of intelligence value.” CIA director William Colby agreed that the clergy “play a significant role” and that any prohibition would “impose a handicap on this agency which would reduce its future effectiveness.”
Safer Heart Surgery
Canadian heart surgeon Ray Heimbecker told the recent American Heart Association at their annual meeting that open-heart surgery is safer when no bank blood is used. He said that for 145 patients who had “bloodless” open-heart operations at the London, Ontario, University Hospital, deaths dropped from a normal 11 percent to 3.8 percent. He said that improved heart-lung machines made such surgery without additional blood routine.
In Name Only
The recent Gallup poll of Americans found that they were “impressively religious” but that religion had little to do with their way of life. “Roughly three out of four among the public, for example, do not consciously connect religion with their judgments of right and wrong,” the Gallup poll reports. Thus today’s “religiousness” precisely fits the Bible’s forecast that in the “last days” many would be “having a form of godly devotion but proving false to its power.”—2 Tim. 3:5.
“I was only obeying orders” was, in effect, the defense of the Nazis who committed mass atrocities during World War II. Has mankind learned from this experience? Columnist Daniel Lynch writes in the Rocky Mountain Journal of an “unnerving experience” to the contrary. U.S. Senator Gary Hart invited him to join in interviewing applicants for military academies. His conclusion afterward: “The depressing truth is that the overwhelming majority of these clean-cut, earnest and otherwise impressive Americans proclaim themselves willing to shoot anybody or [telephone] tap anybody upon receipt of orders.”
Record of What?
The prestigious U.S. Congressional Record is not a true record of congressional proceedings, say congressmen who now want to reform it. Speeches never made in the Senate or House of Representatives, alterations of actual statements and irrelevant material are in the Record now, they say. “On a typical day, the Record often includes such items as: a tribute to a local beauty queen, a eulogy for a constituent . . . as well as material on legislative questions,” says U.S. News & World Report. Last year’s Record ran almost 43,000 pages, costing $278 a page.
When a Brooklyn liquor store owner noticed in his apartment that the store’s silent alarm had been triggered, he hurried over to check. There he collared a man leaving with a box of liquor. But how had the thief reached into the broken display window, when an iron grille covered it? The police solved the riddle. “There was this tail sticking out from under his coat,” said an officer. “When we ordered him to open it, a little monkey with a long wire tied around its neck popped out.” The furry seven-inch spider monkey, Lilly, had slipped through the grating and passed out the bottles. “Only 14 months old and already she has a police record,” observed the New York Daily News.
San Francisco’s Glide Memorial Methodist Church pulsated with its usual “jazz, light shows, dance exhibitions, and soul singing and pop preaching,” reports Christianity Today, on the tenth anniversary of A. Cecil Williams as pastor. Among the 20 speakers who paid him tribute was the founder of a union for working prostitutes that had convened at his church. A retired rabbi on the Glide staff observes: “Cecil has never spoken Christian doctrine in the church in the three years I’ve been here. If this were a Christian church I wouldn’t be here. I don’t understand why the United Methodist Church tolerates Cecil here.” However, San Francisco’s Methodist bishop R. Marvin Stuart wrote commending Williams: “Your ministry is, of course, central to Glide’s witness.”
The huge amount of money pouring into Alaska to build the 800-mile oil pipeline has attracted theft and fraud at a rate that “staggers the imagination,” according to a U.S. Justice Department memorandum. Losses are estimated at up to $1 billion, with the pipeline only half completed. Many union workers making $1,000 to $1,500 a week are reportedly engaged in widespread feather-bedding and pilferage of materials. “[The pipeline company] is like the government, see,” the wife of a pipeliner told a reporter. “They’re getting rich off of us at the gas pumps, so it’s okay to steal from them.”
The poverty-stricken Eskimo fishing village of Unalakleet, Alaska, recently received a welcome boost—a herd of musk-oxen. The 49 animals (47 pregnant) were flown into the little fishing village of 580 as part of the University of Alaska’s musk-ox domestication program. In windy, sub-zero weather, “the crates with oxen were lugged off the planes by an army of children,” said the program’s director. The bright and affectionate animals will provide work for herdsmen and for women who knit items of the oxen’s silky underwool, which is in great demand.
“TV or Daddy?”
“Which do you like better, TV or Daddy?” Virginia psychologist Jung Bay Ra has put that question to 4- to 6-year-old children in his community over the past two years. Well over 40 percent chose TV, and 20 percent chose TV over their mothers. “TV is a formidable rival to a father in earning his child’s affection,” said Dr. Ra.
Is It Humility?
Pope Paul VI suddenly knelt and kissed the foot of Orthodox Metropolitan Meliton after a Mass commemorating the tenth anniversary of the lifting of ancient Catholic-Orthodox mutual excommunications. The Seattle Post-Intelligencer marveled at the “Pope’s astounding show of humility.” And United Press International noted that “no Pontiff in the Roman Catholic Church’s 2,000-year history had so honored another man.” In striking contrast to what these prelates did, when someone prostrated himself before Peter, that apostle of Jesus Christ said, “Stand up, . . . I am only a man after all!”—Acts 10:26, Catholic Jerusalem Bible.
Hong Kong Penology
“Without any doubt, 99 percent of the local people genuinely believe that capital punishment is the most effective deterrent to the Chinese against committing violent crime,” says Hong Kong Legislative Counselor Dr. Chung Tse-yuen. However, of the 95 persons sentenced to death since the last hanging there in 1966. none have been executed, primarily due to British influence. Dr. Chung notes that imprisonment in Hong Kong is questionable as punishment, because the living standards in prisons often are superior to what inmates experience at home.
Birds Learn to Sing
Do birds know how to sing instinctively? Some do and some do not, says Dr. Masakazu Konishi of the California Institute of Technology. He found that birds such as the chicken and the dove were able to make sounds peculiar to their species without ever hearing them. Others, such as the meadowlark and the white-crowned sparrow, developed strange sounds when isolated. Yet if they were played a taped variation on their species’ song, they learned that variation and sang it. Still other birds apparently needed to hear themselves sing so as to know whether they are following the pattern of the instinctive song model already in their own brains. If deafened at birth, such birds developed abnormal sounds.
Out of a Job
The U.N.’s International Labor Organization reports that, by late September 1975, world unemployment reached the highest level in 40 years. In 23 major Western countries, joblessness reached 17.1 million, compared to about 25 million during the Great Depression of the 1930’s.