Insight on the News
Hate Among “Brothers” Splits Nation
● According to “GEO” magazine, “many of [Belgium’s] leaders are asking whether [its] 151st year might not be its last.” Why? It seems that among the nation’s 4 million French-speaking Walloons and 5.5 million Dutch-speaking Flemings “mutual disdain [due to ethnic pride] has split the country deeply, so that today, the national life of Belgium is at a near standstill.” Actual physical violence between the two feuding factions reportedly has occurred on a number of occasions.
Yet almost 98 percent of these people are Roman Catholic “brothers.” Rather than religion’s acting as a uniting factor, religious institutions and ceremonies are just as divided as the people. “The Catholic University of Leuven (Louvain), the alma mater of Erasmus, has been split . . . into linguistic halves,” reports “GEO.” “Nearly all the movable assets of the old institution were methodically divvied up, and today there is only the most minimal communication between the divorced partners.”
Such deep divisions based on ethnic or linguistic pride cause thinking persons to ask why the members of a church that professes to be Christ’s true one are not exemplary in the quality that Jesus said would characterize his true followers: “By this love you have for one another, everyone will know that you are my disciples.”—John 13:35, Catholic “Jerusalem Bible.”
● Representatives of almost all religions in United States recently met in an unusual conference on “Government Intervention in Religious Affairs.” Called by one official “possibly the most inclusive such gathering in American history,” the group hopes to combat a rising tide of government intervention in church affairs. “Such incursions by government have increased notably during the past 10 years,” said the chief executive of the United Presbyterian Church, and “recently the pace has quickened.” He observed that “no one of these developments, taken by itself, is sufficiently alarming to necessitate a convocation like this . . . But the pattern that they form when viewed together is an alarming one, and that is why we are here.”
Meanwhile, 2,000 delegates at a joint meeting of National Religious Broadcasters and the National Association of Evangelicals were told that “secular humanists have declared war on Christianity in this country and they are progressing very rapidly.”
Such a situation in the United States would have been unthinkable even a decade ago, but times have changed for religion. The Bible foresaw this development, and, calling false religion a “great harlot” because of her political meddling, declares that her former political lovers would begin to “hate the harlot and will make her devastated and naked.” (Rev. 17:1, 16) Evidently such political resentment is beginning to rise.
● “Our ancient continent is now on the brink of disaster, hurtling towards the abyss of confrontation, caught in the grip of violence,” says Edem Kodjo, secretary-general of the Organization of African Unity (OAU). “Gone are the smiles, the joy of life from its sombre face. Can there be nothing, nothing left but a hardening of attitudes, a heightening of antagonisms, the violent upsurge of fratricidal conflict?” At an OAU-sponsored economic meeting in Lagos, Nigeria, Kodjo also described Africa as a “dying continent.”
Africa’s “To the Point” magazine observes: “Words such as these reveal the folly of Africa’s revered early nationalists . . . who told their fellow Africans to seek the political kingdom and everything else would follow.” In Africa, as well as other continents and islands, attempts to rectify injustices merely by changing the political or racial structure of the government have only proved that humans, however well intentioned, cannot solve the problem of government.
Rather than seeking first the political kingdom, is it not wiser to acknowledge that “man has dominated man to his injury” and ‘seek first the kingdom’ of God? Only it can give eternal life to mankind on all continents.—Eccl. 8:9; Matt. 6:33.