Insight on the News
Squeezing the Flock
“Houses of worship around the U.S. are stepping up efforts to get more money from parishioners,” says Money magazine.
What methods are being used? “The Roman Catholic Church is seeking financial salvation by schooling priests in the art of raising money,” says the article. “For bigger donations, priests lean on wealthy communicants—sometimes . . . targeting the black sheep in their flocks” to use ill-gotten gains for “good.” They also at times are said to “cleverly embarrass well-to-do members into giving more.”
“Jews face much the same cash problems,” says Money. “To raise additional funds, the synagogues may rent pews to members for $200 to $2,000 a year and charge from $50 to $500 for tickets to High Holy Day services in the fall,” as well as “ask for additional pledges on the Day of Atonement, when synagogues hold memorial services for the dead.” These emotional occasions are the best times to raise money, according to one official, “because people are completely guilt-ridden.” An example was given where one synagogue even “went to court to collect three unpaid pledges to a building fund.”
The Divine One, to whom such “giving” is supposedly directed, offers a sharply contrasting view of “fund raising” in his written Word: “Let each one do just as he has resolved in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”—2 Corinthians 9:7.
World Government Sought
“The nations must unite into a single government that can control armaments and prevent war,” says writer Ben Bova in Omni magazine. “But,” he asks, “how do you get there from here?”
For an answer he refers to the solution offered by the American Movement for World Government, whose motto is “One world or none” and whose goal is “working to achieve that ‘one world’ and avoid nuclear catastrophe.” This organization, he writes, foresees a “tidal wave” of public opinion that will result in a world federation “under which each nation maintains its own form of society and control within its own borders. . . . As a condition of membership, all national military power would be transferred to the world government for the common defense.” Eventually, it believes, all nations will join and “the world will be relieved of the threat of nuclear war—and of all war.”
He concludes: “Most people regard such a world government as pie in the sky, a science-fiction dream that can never come true. A dream it is, but compared to the nightmare . . . of nuclear war, it is a dream well worth believing in, and working toward.”
However, students of God’s Word know that world government is not a dream but a reality. And rather than human efforts bringing about a federation of existing nations, it is God who will establish world rule under his promised kingdom. The Bible assures us that soon this kingdom will act to “crush and put an end to all these kingdoms [of men], and it itself will stand to times indefinite.”—Daniel 2:44.
Truman on Prophecy
According to a New York Times report, former US president Harry S. Truman expressed concern “that the world might soon end in a nuclear holocaust.” Truman, who approved the use of the atomic bomb in World War II, wrote in a recently uncovered 1958 memorandum: “Now we are faced with total destruction. The old Hebrew prophets presented the idea of the destruction of the world by fire after their presentation of a destruction by water. Well, that destruction is at hand unless the great leaders of the world prevent it.”
But the destruction mentioned in the Bible at 2 Peter 3:5-13 and Revelation 16:14, 16 is God’s war, the “day of Jehovah” for cleansing the earth of wickedness. Rather than allowing man to wreak ‘total destruction in a nuclear holocaust,’ He will first “bring to ruin those ruining the earth,” while preserving alive those who support His kingdom. There is no power that can prevent this from taking place.—Revelation 11:18; 21:5.