Insight on the News
A Christian Method?
● The “National Catholic Reporter” of October 22 1976 in a story from East Hanover, New Jersey U.S.A., stated: “Parish school children will be barred from attending St. Rose of Lima school unless their parents volunteer to help with bingo. Parents who do not assist at an assigned game will be fined $10.” This publication also printed a letter to the parishioners in which the pastor, Alphonse Tuozzo, said: “Without these games we would be in dire financial straits.” His letter also stated: “If the fine is not paid within a week, the child or children will not be permitted to return to school.”
Financial necessity or a desire for more money may, for some, seem to justify such compulsion in the name of religion. But this is certainly not a Christian method. The apostle Paul stated: “Let each one do just as he has resolved in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” (2 Cor. 9:7) The greed promoted by gambling is not a Christian trait either, for Paul said that “greedy persons” will not inherit God’s kingdom.—1 Cor. 6:9, 10.
Human “Wolves”—No Myth
● “Family Health” of October 1976 states: “Two recent cases from Appalachia [a region of the United States], reported by doctors from the University of Kentucky, show that lycanthropy—the delusion that one is becoming a wolf—is not a long-vanished myth but a still-present psychiatric disorder.” One of the afflicted persons was a middle-aged man who “often slept in cemeteries and howled, wolf-like, at the moon.” The other, a younger man, “felt an unconquerable need to chase live rabbits and eat them.”
While some readers may view such reports as mere items of interest, others may see that cases of this kind give added support to the Bible’s account of King Nebuchadnezzar’s madness. In fulfillment of a prophetic dream explained by the prophet Daniel, that Babylonian monarch was stricken with insanity for seven years, “and vegetation he began to eat just like bulls.” Regarding his mental derangement, it has been said: “The form of madness from which he suffered when pride overthrew his reason was that called lycanthropy, in which the patient fancies himself one of the inferior animals and acts as such.” (“The Westminster Dictionary of the Bible,” p. 422) After seven years, God restored Nebuchadnezzar’s sanity.
“A Debt of Gratitude”
● Writing in the Toronto “Star” of October 4, 1976, Stuart Shaw mentions the book “Jehovah’s Witnesses in Canada: Champions of Freedom of Speech and Worship,” by James Penton, associate professor of history at the University of Lethbridge. Shaw explains that it discusses the intense persecution of the Witnesses in that country from 1939 to 1956, “first at the instance of the federal government and then at that of the government of Quebec.” When Jehovah’s Witnesses were banned in Canada on July 4, 1940, he says: “Prime Minister Mackenzie King’s official explanation was a typical piece of gobbledygook, from which emerged only a suggestion that the sect was somehow impeding the war effort.”
Referring to the recent book, however, and shedding some light on the underlying cause, Shaw comments: “Penton argues convincingly, citing official correspondence and documents of the period, that the real reason was entirely different. The King government was under heavy clerical pressure—from the Roman Catholic Church in particular, but also from some Protestant clergymen—to suppress these ‘heretics.’”
The nationwide ban on the Witnesses ended in a few years, though persecution of them continued. Nonetheless, their ultimate success in ‘defending and legally establishing the good news’ benefited many. (Phil. 1:7) Interestingly, Shaw commented: “The law of sedition has been clarified so that it can no longer be used to harry people for their religious beliefs alone. The power of provincial and municipal governments to harass religious groups has been largely nullified.
“Freedom of religion and freedom of expression generally are a good deal safer than they were 25 years ago. And for that all Canadians—whatever they think about their theology—owe the Witnesses a debt of gratitude.”