Insight on the News
Reaping What They Sow
A report in the New York Times Magazine says that “sexually active homosexuals are prone to a host of diseases: syphilis, gonorrhea, genital herpes, hepatitis, amebiasis (one of the most common diseases in what doctors call the ‘gay bowel syndrome’) and infections caused by fungi and protozoa usually seen only in the tropics.” Just why these “bizarre infections are so common in the homosexual community” has long puzzled doctors. Now, recently added to the list, is AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome)—leaving the body helpless to fight cancer or other infections. “AIDS is deadly,” states the Times. “Homosexual men still represent 75 percent of the disease’s victims, and the specter of AIDS haunts every member of the homosexual community.” “Behavioral changes [i.e., sexual restraint] are currently the only prudent advice physicians can offer.”
“I strongly recommend that my patients be very circumspect and cautious in their future sexual contacts,” says Dr. Dan William, whose patients are primarily homosexual men. “I tell my patients what the epidemiologists know—which isn’t much. We are more or less convinced that we are dealing with a sexually transmissible agent.”
This drastic increase in sexually transmitted diseases well illustrates the Bible principle that “whatever a man is sowing, this he will also reap.” Tragic as it may be, violating God’s standards for sexual morality results in their “receiving in themselves the full recompense, which was due for their error.”—Galatians 6:7, 8; Romans 1:26, 27.
“It seems that true Christian principles are swiftly being swept under the carpet as exorbitant taxes are charged by modern ministers for customary rituals which in the past were performed free of charge,” states Echo, a supplement to The Natal Witness newspaper in South Africa. Priests in Lesotho “‘sell’ holy communion” as well as charge a high rate for “a few drops of water used for baptism,” reports the paper, mentioning that the Anglican bishop is concerned about the “holy racketeering” but unable to stop the practice.
Cited also was the example of “a well-known leader of a huge independent church” who would charge R10 (over $9, U.S.) for just a handshake, and his son who now collects “anything from R5 upwards just to smear a cross sign on the face of a follower with Blue Seal Vaseline.”
Why do followers support such money-making schemes? “The general motive behind the ‘pray and pay’ syndrome is that if a person contributes generously to the Church he or she will get a decent funeral service,” says Echo. Yet Christ, who left those who represent him ‘a model to follow his steps closely,’ did not charge anything for the services and miracles he performed. (1 Peter 2:21) And, when instructing his disciples in their ministry as his representatives, he commanded: “You received free, give free.”—Matthew 10:8.
“If Christ returned,” asks columnist Sydney J. Harris, “would there not soon be a second crucifixion?” He continued: “And this time, not by the Romans or the Jews, but by those who proudly call themselves Christians?”
Then he noted that Jesus would no doubt be ‘assailed, attacked, castigated, dismissed, denounced, rejected, despised, scorned and laughed at’ by the present various factions of mankind. He also said: “I wonder how we today would regard and treat this man with his strange and frightening and ‘impractical’ doctrines of human behavior and social relationships. Would we believe and follow, any more than the masses of people in his day believed and followed?”
Questions such as these help one to understand why the “revelation of the Lord Jesus from heaven with his powerful angels” must come ‘to bring vengeance upon those who do not know God and those who do not obey the good news about Jesus.’—2 Thessalonians 1:7-9.