Insight on the News
Argentina’s Silent Church
“Blood taints church in Argentina,” read the headline of the National Catholic Reporter of April 12, 1985. Incredibly, an estimated 10,000 to 30,000 citizens were abducted and killed without trial under Argentina’s previous military government. Yet observers say that thousands of innocent lives could have been spared if the Catholic Church had protested. Instead, states the report, “the Argentine church—with a few heroic exceptions—was volubly silent throughout the seven-year terror,” which ended when a civilian government took power in 1983. Worse, some members of the hierarchy collaborated with the military regime.
Why was the church silent? In part, because of fear of reprisals. But the newspaper cites another reason: “The episcopacy also embraced the military as a source of power.” It was granted many privileges. Concludes the report: “The Argentine experience so closely resembles the performance of the Catholic church in Nazi Germany, it again raises the question of whether power is more important to the church than the Gospel imperative to be a witness to the truth.”
This shows the folly of religion’s currying the favor of political powers. It can lead to a compromise of principles. Interestingly, the book of Revelation condemns the linkage of Church and State when it describes the world empire of false religion as a harlot “with whom the kings of the earth committed fornication.” (Revelation 17:2) No wonder Jesus told his followers that they were to be “no part of the world.”—John 15:19.
“Inability to Feed Itself”
“It is impossible to travel in Africa today without being overwhelmed by military images,” says the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. But the drain of money and manpower to sustain these armies contributes to famine, particularly when war breaks out. The Bulletin gives some examples: “In Ethiopia, Chad, Mozambique, Angola, the Sudan, and Uganda serious and often prolonged insurgencies, wars, or border conflicts have damaged infrastructure, destroyed crops, and deepened human suffering.” States the report: “On a continent with such severe problems, including a fundamental inability to feed itself, the diversion of vast sums and significant manpower for military purposes is tragic.”
Tragic indeed! Fittingly, the book of Revelation portrays these conditions symbolically. It describes a sword-wielding horseman on a fiery-colored horse, who “was granted to take peace away from the earth” by warfare. Then, immediately following, came a black horse with its rider announcing famine. (Revelation 6:3-6) The combination of war and famine in Africa is one example of this prophecy’s fulfillment in our day.—See also Matthew 24:6-8.
“A Life of Drudgery”
“The traditional image of millionaires cavorting on the beaches of St Tropez, basking on the slopes of Aspen, driving their Cadillac or Rolls-Royce to the races or simply chewing a good cigar, is far from reality.” So says The Guardian Weekly in a report of a recent study by Dr. Thomas Stanley of Georgia State University. “America’s average millionaire is more than likely to live a life of drudgery.” Why? Because he works longer hours than other people—typically 75 hours a week. “Most of the country’s rich are simply ordinary small businessmen leading humdrum, hard lives.” They save up money for retirement. But due to their exhausting work schedules, many die before they get to retire. Such men have little time for life’s pleasures.
In contrast, a wise man of ancient times recommended: “Every man should eat and indeed drink and see good for all his hard work. It is the gift of God.” (Ecclesiastes 3:12, 13) Instead of being drudgery, a man’s work should be satisfying, enabling him to enjoy the wholesome, simple things that God provides. Wisely, then, true Christians shun the empty quest for wealth. They know that real contentment comes by ‘storing up treasures in heaven, not on earth.’—Matthew 6:19, 20.