Insight on the News
Arms Race Entering New Realm
The U.S. Air Force has established a Space Command, indicating that military planners are looking upon outer space as a possible battlefield. Though satellites have long been used for surveillance, the new systems being devised are different. “They are actual weapons rather than adjuncts to terrestrial military operations,” reports Scientific American. “They raise the risk of extending the arms race to a new realm. . . . The Department of Defense has stated that the U.S.S.R. can now maneuver a killer satellite to within about a kilometer of a target satellite and there explode a shrapnel-filled warhead.”
As for the U.S. space-weapons program, the above source said: “Work is under way on antisatellite weapons and on hypothetical laser- and particle-beam weapons that would be placed in earth orbit. . . . The most effective countermeasure to laser satellites is also the most chilling form of space warfare, namely the detonation of a nuclear weapon in space.”
In his prophecy about the end of this system of things, Jesus Christ indicated that the very heavens would be involved. Indeed, men have invaded the skies and outer space and have upset the normal balance of things. As the arms race advances to its new realm in outer space, thinking persons appreciate all the more the solemn meaning of Jesus’ prophetic words: “The powers of the heavens will be shaken.”—Matthew 24:29; Luke 21:25, 26.
No. 1 Public Health Problem
U.S. Surgeon General C. Everett Koop recently warned that violence in all its forms is the country’s No. 1 public health problem. No one seems to know why violence keeps on growing, he declared. Murder rates in New York City reached a record 1,826 homicides in 1981, up 63 percent from 1970. A main reason for this rise, according to a New York police official, is the upsurge in impulse killings, many of which are committed by youths. “We have 12-year-olds, 13-, 14- and 15-year-olds committing the most brutal, stupefying cruelties,” he declared.
With violence now a worldwide problem, we are living at a time similar to the pre-Flood days of Noah when, as the Bible reports, “the earth became filled with violence.” (Genesis 6:11-13) In fact, Jesus Christ drew a parallel between those days of Noah and the end of this present wicked system of things, saying: “Just as the days of Noah were, so the presence of the Son of man will be.” (Matthew 24:37) In Mt 24 verse 12 of the same prophecy he also spoke about an “increasing of lawlessness.” Such shocking increase in lawlessness and violence furnishes powerful evidence that we are near the end of this system.
Money in Military Research
Pope John Paul II recently told scientists: “It is a scandal of our times that many researchers are dedicated to perfecting new arms for war.” But what is the role of Catholic schools in this regard? After a study of the matter, the National Catholic Reporter published a front-page article under the headline “Military research expands at most Catholic schools.” It said: “Little similar soul-searching is going on among Catholic academic leaders when the issue revolves around military contracts and weapons-related research. . . . NCR found only one Catholic institution, the University of Santa Clara, that is seriously examining its research policies in the light of current Catholic thinking on war and peace.” Said the president of the University of Santa Clara: “Any school that has an engineering department is going to have to make choices,” especially since “much more money is suddenly becoming available for military research.”
Evidently money talks louder than the voices of Church leaders. And though Catholic bishops have spoken out specifically against nuclear warfare, Church leaders over the years have had no such reservations in backing their respective nations in any war they pursue. Such ambiguity no doubt leaves Catholic schools doing military research with few problems of conscience.