Current Events & Trends: March/April 2019

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March/April 2019

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Current Events & Trends: March/April 2019

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Abortion divides America, plagues world

Jan. 22, 2019, marked the 46th anniversary of the controversial U.S. Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion, Roe v. Wade. Abortion, the killing of unborn children, is a grievous sin that continues to gain acceptance in the United States and abroad. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), just over 638,000 abortions were performed in the United States alone in 2015, but the number of abortions worldwide is a staggering 50-60 million each year.

Abortion is an intensely divisive social issue in American politics. Just four days before the recent anniversary of Roe v. Wade , the annual March for Life in Washington, D.C., a pro-life, anti-abortion rally, this year drew crowds estimated between 200,000 and 300,000. Similar rallies around the country drew hundreds of thousands more in opposition to the continued, heinous sanctioning of the murder of so many unborn children in our country.

Meanwhile, on the date of the anniversary itself, the New York state legislature passed a measure, signed into law by Governor Andrew Cuomo, which allows abortions at any point in the pregnancy—“within 24 weeks from the commencement of pregnancy, or there is an absence of fetal viability, or at any time when necessary to protect a patient’s life or health” (New York State Senate, Senate Bill S2796, 2017-2018 Legislative Session).

The broad language of this bill is alarming for two reasons. First, it permits abortions “at any time”—meaning right up until birth. Second, the vaguely inclusive language of “to protect a patient’s life or health” could be construed to allow abortions in any circumstances because a woman’s “health” is always at some risk in giving birth. Some have argued this bill could even be used to sanction killing a child as it is being born.

Despite attempts to justify this practice, even by some who claim to follow the Bible, abortion is murder, in flagrant violation of the ultimate Supreme Court of Almighty God in heaven. It is sometimes resorted to in dealing with pregnancy resulting from sexual relations outside of marriage in disobedience to other laws of God. Yet often it is sought as a matter of personal convenience even if the child is conceived within marriage. Abortion stands in utter defiance of the ultimate Father of all of us and these precious children—God having made human beings to be part of His family.

The death of innocents brings a curse on the land that demands justice (Numbers 35:33-34 Numbers 35:33-34 33 So you shall not pollute the land wherein you are: for blood it defiles the land: and the land cannot be cleansed of the blood that is shed therein, but by the blood of him that shed it. 34 Defile not therefore the land which you shall inhabit, wherein I dwell: for I the LORD dwell among the children of Israel.
American King James Version×
). New York, all America and the world at large need to take heed. Thankfully, God stands ready to forgive when a person or a people sincerely repents (2 Chronicles 7:14 2 Chronicles 7:14If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.
American King James Version×
). 

The good news is that God will bring an end to the horrifying practice of abortion when Jesus Christ returns. In His great power and mercy, as insurmountable as it may seem, God will ultimately bring healing and restoration. (Sources: CDC.gov, NYSenate.gov.)

 


 

Puzzling mass disappearance of insects

A disturbing new development in the natural world has recently been uncovered. Insect populations are plummeting. In a New York Times Magazine article titled “The Insect Apocalypse Is Here,” contributing writer Brooke Jarvis points out:

“In the United States, scientists recently found the population of monarch butterflies fell by 90 percent in the last 20 years, a loss of 900 million individuals; the rusty-patched bumblebee, which once lived in 28 states, dropped by 87 percent over the same period. With other, less-studied insect species, one butterfly researcher told me, ‘all we can do is wave our arms and say, “It’s not here anymore!”’

“Still, the most disquieting thing wasn’t the disappearance of certain species of insects; it was the deeper worry … that a whole insect world might be quietly going missing, a loss of abundance that could alter the planet in unknowable ways. ‘We notice the losses,’ says David Wagner, an entomologist at the University of Connecticut. ‘It’s the diminishment that we don’t see’” (Dec. 1, 2018).

While it is difficult for scientists to discern the cause of these dwindling insect populations, the lengthy piece quoted experts explaining some of the theories behind the problem, including the much-talked-about colony collapse disorder affecting bees:

“Like other species, insects are responding to what Chris Thomas, an insect ecologist at the University of York, has called ‘the transformation of the world’: not just a changing climate but also the widespread conversion, via urbanization, agricultural intensification and so on, of natural spaces into human ones, with fewer and fewer resources ‘left over’ for nonhuman creatures to live on. What resources remain are often contaminated [by environmental pollutants and other harmful factors].

“Hans de Kroon [an ecologist at Radboud University in the Netherlands] characterizes the life of many modern insects as trying to survive from one dwindling oasis to the next but with ‘a desert in between, and at worst it’s a poisonous desert.’ Of particular concern are neonicotinoids, neurotoxins that were thought to affect only treated crops but turned out to accumulate in the landscape and to be consumed by all kinds of nontargeted bugs.

“People talk about the ‘loss’ of bees to colony collapse disorder, and that appears to be the right word: Affected hives aren’t full of dead bees, but simply mysteriously empty. A leading theory is that exposure to neurotoxins leaves bees unable to find their way home. Even hives exposed to low levels of neonicotinoids have been shown to collect less pollen and produce fewer eggs and far fewer queens. Some recent studies found bees doing better in cities than in the supposed countryside” (ibid.).

A surprising verse in the little-understood book of Revelation shows that the Creator of all things, including insects and the vital role they play, will eventually intervene in mankind’s affairs to put an end to its destructive paths. Revelation 11:18 Revelation 11:18And the nations were angry, and your wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that you should give reward to your servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear your name, small and great; and should destroy them which destroy the earth.
American King James Version×
warns that God will “destroy those who destroy the earth.” And other passages of Scripture reveal that under the coming reign of Christ a clean and healthful environment will be restored. While current trends can be discouraging, those who take God at His Word can be comforted that He will ultimately bring healing to His entire creation. (Source: The New York Times Magazine. )

 


 

U.S. House of Representatives lurches left

As Beyond Today has often noted, Bible prophecy tells us a day is coming when America will no longer be a powerful player on the world scene. And we sometimes discuss governmental policies and actions that may hasten the crippling of the nation and its collapse. In some of the proposals of the new majority party in the House of Representatives we could be seeing seeds of the country’s eventual downfall.

Through November elections control of the U.S. House of Representatives passed from the Republican to the Democratic Party—thus moving from a more conservative position to a more liberal-progressive one. It is the first time Democrats have had control of the House in nearly a decade, and they are seeking change.

First and foremost, they plan to launch further investigations into President Donald Trump. It was reported in January that House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel was “planning to dissolve the panel’s terrorism subcommittee and instead create a panel to focus on investigating matters related to President Trump” (“New York Dem Shutting Down Terrorism Committee to Create Trump Investigation Panel,” Fox News, Jan. 11, 2019).

Removing a committee focused on terrorism to go after the president is politically self-serving and short-sighted. Government infighting will result in a lack of focus on the safety and well-being of the nation.

In another story, “new House majority leader Nancy Pelosi reportedly spent the holidays at the Fairmont Orchid on Kona [in Hawaii], contemplating future climate-change legislation and still adamant in opposing the supposed vanity border wall” (Victor Davis Hanson, “The Immorality of Illegal Immigration,” National Review, Dec. 31, 2018).

Other liberal lawmakers have proposed a “Green New Deal” that would transform American society, in the process essentially banning air travel and fossil fuels. Aggressive climate change policies like this will be enormously expensive for businesses and for individuals—especially if carbon taxes are implemented, which would serve to redistribute wealth within the nation and from America to other countries. At any rate, a new initiative like this will have huge negative repercussions and would weaken the U.S. economy.

Another concerning agenda item is that of seeking to take away the voice of more conservative middle America. “Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Tenn., introduced legislation to create a constitutional amendment that would eliminate the electoral college system and replace it with a model based entirely on the outcome of the national popular vote … The electoral college enhances the power of voters in smaller states. Without the electoral college, voters in a handful of highly populated states would have significantly more power to determine the outcome of every presidential election, which is exactly what Democrats want” (Justin Haskins, “Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Other Dems Want You to Embrace a Socialist Agenda,” Fox News, Jan. 12).

Other proposed legislation would increase corporate taxes (ultimately passed along to consumers), raise taxes on wealthier Americans and restore voting rights to convicted felons. This is just the start of some of the policies on deck. Consider what kind of impact such legislation will have on citizens, as well as how it will position the United States on the world scene. (Sources: Fox News, National Review .)

 


 

ISIS still deadly in the Philippines

The Islamic State terror group (ISIS) claimed responsibility for a bombing in late January at a Roman Catholic cathedral in the city of Jolo in Sulu province in the southern Philippines.

As reported in The Wall Street Journal, twin explosions there “killed at least 20 people in a bloody demonstration of remaining extremist threats in a Muslim-majority region where voters [had just] … overwhelmingly backed self-rule and ratified a peace deal between the government and mainstream separatists” (Jake Watts, “Islamic State Claims Responsibility for Philippine Attack That Killed at Least 20,”  Jan. 27, 2019).

While the nation of the Philippines is predominantly Catholic, this region that voted for autonomy is majority Muslim, though Sulu province itself voted against it. The area has for a while been a hotbed of Islamist extremists, particularly the terror group Abu Sayyaf. Its fighters were among hundreds who swore allegiance to ISIS in 2017 and held out against the Philippine military for five months.

Regarding the latest incident, “‘the manner and timing of the bombing suggests that it was meant to sow terror in order to affect the course of peace efforts,’ said Rep. Ruffy Biazon, senior vice chairman of a House of Representatives committee on national security. The attack ‘is a direct challenge to the efforts that the government is pushing for to achieve peace in the southern Philippines’” (ibid.).

What does this mean for negotiations concerning the region?

“Analysts said the bombing is unlikely to derail the path to autonomy, which will result in a regional parliament that will be elected in 2022, but could upset fragile relations, especially with Christians who are already uneasy about being included in a self-governing Muslim-majority region.”

ISIS is of course not looking for peace treaties and talks to work. It still seeks power on the world scene and remains intent on instilling fear in any way possible. The cowardly action of planting bombs in a place of worship deliberately sends the message that no one is safe. God speed His coming Kingdom in which Jesus Christ will rule in righteousness, showing the world the way to peace. (Source: The Wall Street Journal. )