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"COMMENTARY - Religious Legislation Legitimate
It seems almost unnecessary to call attention to the rapidly increasing
signs of the end. Anyone who has even a cursory knowledge of what the
Bible predicts senses that we are on the verge of great and solemn
Some of these signs are subtle, and some not so subtle. The current
hurricane season is setting records, with the earliest Category 4
hurricane on record. Already in July we have had two Category 4
hurricanes, Dennis and Emily. Last year, the four major hurricanes that
hit Florida didn't arrive until mid-August and on into September.
Typhoon Haitang pounded Taiwan with heavy winds and rain, forcing the
evancuation of hundreds of people and the closing of airports, schools,
government offices and financial markets.
Two earthquakes over magnitude 5 shook Hawaii over the past week. A
magnitude 3 earthquake rattled Mount Saint Helen last week, and Mount
Merapi on densely populated Java Island in Indonesia is showing increased
signs of activity, prompting government calls for residents to be more
The recent bombings in London reminded us of similar bombings in Spain a
little over a year ago. We reflect on our own vulnerability as we ride
the mass transit systems of Washington, DC, and we're sure those of you
living in Los Angeles, Chicago, and New York feel the same. Great changes
are soon to take place, events that will make 9/11 seem minor.
These events that we can see, along with those of the recent past, aretoo
numerous to mention. But there are other things taking place that have a
much more subtle, yet no less profound, impact on where we are headed.
There are plans being laid and alliances being formed that are not
What was the big deal about? Why was there such worry over such a small
plane? Well, if you haven't heard the warnings, they have been leaking
out subtly over the course of the last several months. The White House is
concerned about terrorists using small planes as delivery vehicles for
suitcase bombs, biological or nuclear. Vice President Cheney has warned
about the potential for nuclear bombs to be used on major American
cities. Back in 2002, a nuclear "fatwa" (Islamic religious directive) was
issued that allowed for the nuclear bombing of American cities.
Captured Al-Qaida leaders and documents have been the source of the new
information. One of these sources is Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the chief
planner of the September 11th attacks, who is now in U.S. custody.
Reportedly, Osama bin Laden is planning what he calls an "American
Hiroshima," the ultimate terrorist attack on U.S. cities, using nuclear
weapons that have already smuggled into the country across the Mexican
border, along with thousands of sleeper agents. The series of attacks is
designed to kill 4 million, destroy the economy and fundamentally alter
the course of history.
Should something as horrible as a "dirty bomb" or even a suitcase nuclear
or biological weapon, be detonated in several major American cities, it
would bring America to it's collective knees. The cry of America would be
"Why, God?" Churches would be full. Couple this with an increase in
natural disasters, and millions of Americans would be wondering why God
is punishing them, a question religious leaders would be called upon to
Speaking of religious leaders, the importance of Sunday is becoming a
recurring theme. Pope Benedict XVI delivered a message from the window of
the Vatican on June 12, 2005. The pope stated, "The Year of the Eucharist
continues, called by our beloved Pope John Paul II, to reawaken ever
more, in the consciences of believers, wonder toward this great
Sacrament. In this singular Eucharistic time, one of the recurring topics
is Sunday, the Day of the Lord, a topic that was also at the center of
the recent Italian Eucharistic Congress, held in Bari. During the
conclusive celebration, I also underlined how participation at Sunday
Mass must be seen by a Catholic not as an imposition or a weight, but as
a need and joy. To meet with brothers, to listen to the Word of God and
to be nourished of Christ, immolated for us, is an experience that gives
meaning to life, which infuses peace in the heart. Without Sunday, we
Catholics cannot live."
And with the continuing debate over the relationship between church and
state, some major religious denominations are agreeing on policy
decisions that, in a time of crisis, may determine how the state will
respond to the request for religious legislation.
"Legislation for the promotion of particular religious values is
legitimate..." This statement gives us an insight into the ecumenical
negotiations that the Catholic Church is conducting with other faith
groups. In the face of nuclear disaster or catastrophic natural disaster,
it is not hard to picture the implementation of religious legislation
being "in harmony with the principles of human rights," especially when
it is already being countenanced as such by major religious groups.
Truly we are living in momentous times. Though we know not the day or the
hour, we know that it is near, even at the doors. Examine yourselves,
whether ye be in the faith (2 Corinthians 13:5). "