The Omagh bombing
WE sympathise with the mourning families who lost loved ones in the bomb explosion in Omagh. While the full force of the law is being directed at the “Real IRA”, a breakaway group, the Government’s policy of appeasement towards the leaders of Sinn Fein/IRA goes on. The Prime Minister has described the bombing as “an appalling act of savagery” and has promised to spare no efforts to bring the perpetrators of the atrocity to justice, but at the same time he extends the hand of friendship and cooperation to those whose hands are already stained with the blood of numerous victims. The fact is that since the referendum on the future of Northern Ireland, convicted terrorist murderers have been released from prison, more releases are planned, and “punishment” beatings by the IRA have gone unpunished.
As we see the Sinn Fein/IRA leaders being accepted and deferred to by our Government we are forced to conclude that justice has been sidelined, that terrorism has paid off as far as the terrorists are concerned, and that the bomb and bullet are effective means of gaining political influence.
Let us remember, however, that while the wicked seem to prosper, there is a God in heaven. He is the omniscient God of judgement. He knows the doings of the perpetrators of such evil, and will deal with them awfully if they do not repent. He knows too the sorrows and cries of His people in Ulster, and will not fail them. In His own way and time He will deliver them.
Physician-assisted suicide and abortion
Last month, a note in this magazine warned against the possibility of physician-assisted suicide becoming accepted in the UK. It is already legal in the American state of Oregon, where at least two assisted suicides have been performed, but because officials are reluctant to release information on the subject, it is difficult to know the full extent of what is taking place
Considerable pressure is coming from advocates of physician-assisted suicide to have this form of murder legalised elsewhere. Dr Diane Meier, a professor of geriatrics and a specialist in the care of the dying, was for some years a prominent advocate of physician-assisted suicide. More recently, in a letter to the New York Times in April, she has come out strongly against its legalisation.
In her letter, she opposed the claims of supporters of physician-assisted suicide, who assume that patients are mentally alert, and competent to make a rational choice to end their lives. Dr Meier argued that such patients are rarely able to exercise such judgement; they are normally confused, anxious, depressed, or simply not capable of thinking clearly.
Although its supporters would normally restrict physician-assisted suicide to the last six months of life, Dr Meier points out that it is nearly impossible to predict when patients will die until they are within a few days of death. She also points to the enormous pressures imposed by massive medical bills in the USA. Dying patients know that by signing a document they would reduce financial pressures on their families. Financial pressures are different in countries with a national health service, but they may weigh almost as heavily on medical and administrative staff in these days of financial stringency.
Another observer has pointed out how those who in earlier years advocated the legalisation of abortion claimed that only a small number of women under specialised circumstances would take advantage of the change in the law. Abortion would be “safe, legal and rare”. Well, we now know otherwise. The outcome has been very different. The chilling statistic has more than once been quoted in this magazine of over four million unborn children put to death unnecessarily in the UK since 1967. Even more chilling is the estimate quoted recently in Time magazine of the number of abortions carried out every year worldwide 53 million, a figure almost equal to the entire population of the UK, and an average of more than 145,000 abortions each day.
Surely the danger of physician-assisted suicide escalating similarly should be enough to stop all but its most hardened advocates in their tracks, especially if they remember that up till now no one has taken physician-assisted suicide further than the Nazis. No one is likely to question the fearful depravity of what went on then. But what about the 53 million unborn children who are being murdered within the law each year at present? One is left asking, Where will human barbarism stop unless the Most High will have mercy on our supposedly civilised society?
The Sabbath endangered by subtle legislation
THE EU Working Time Directive, which contains regulations which could rob some workers of a number of their free weekends, has been approved by Parliament. Many protests have been made to the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) about this legislation. The Lord’s Day Observance Society, for example, voiced its concern to the DTI in May, objecting to the omission of any acknowledgement of the “central importance” of the Lord’s Day as the national day of rest, and calling for the amending of the legislation.
However, the DTI has decided, reports the English Churchman, that employers can choose an option which will allow them to ask employees to work 12 days in a row. The option of a “14-day reference period” is still part of the legislation, and the rest days for employees referred to in the Directive could still fall at either end of the 14-day period, making it certain that some would be asked to work for 12 successive days. There is no protection in the legislation for those workers who have conscientious objections to working on the Christian Sabbath.
“The Working Time Directive comes into law on October 1, but the rules allow 40 days from the resumption of Parliament for MPs to call for an annulment,” says the English Churchman. We ought to write to our local MP asking him or her to back whatever moves are taken in Parliament in the autumn to annul the anti-Sabbath part of the Directive.
Is an Anglican papacy on the way?
THE Archbishop of Canterbury, says one press report, “is likely to be given new powers allowing him to intervene – in special circumstances – in Anglican Churches abroad.” At present he is only primus inter pares – first among equals but the recent Lambeth Conference of bishops approved a resolution to pave the way for him to exercise an extraordinary ministry of pastoral supervision of the internal affairs of foreign dioceses. The bishops insist, we are told, that they do not wish to create an Anglican papacy, but we wonder otherwise.
The English Churchman calls it a sinister move, and says, “World Anglicanism does not have a head, only a figurehead. The Archbishop insists that he likes it that way. However, Cardinal Cassidy [President of the Roman organisation, the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity] has suggested that the Archbishop of Canterbury be given a measure of authority over the entire Anglican Communion. The idea has caught on. Commentators have not been slow to label the suggested new role for the Archbishop as an Anglican papacy.”
The report continues, “It is proposed that the Anglican Consultative Council becomes the Anglican Communion Council consisting of an Archbishop, an ordinary minister and a layman from each province of the Communion a sort of College of Cardinals. Then it has been mooted that the head of the church might not have to be the Archbishop of Canterbury, indeed the idea has been floated that it does not even have to be an Anglican. And if he really does not have to be an Anglican, how about the Bishop of, say, just for example, Rome?”
We cannot but agree with this conclusion. Two decisions a setback to sodomite activists THE activities of sodomite pressure groups in Britain have received a setback by two recent decisions, for which we ought to be thanking God. The House of Lords voted overwhelmingly against lowering the age of homosexual consent to sixteen, although the House of Commons had earlier voted for it by a huge majority. Although the House of Lords is an unelected chamber it has shown itself more in tune with the views of the people of the country, 70 percent of whom are opposed to such a change, according to polls. As we forecast, there were the strident protests by sodomite activists. They accused the peers of “rabid homophobia” and called for the curbing of the power of the House of Lords. It is to be noted however, that Mr Straw has promised to bring forward fresh legislation on the issue before the end of the year. The other decision was that of the Lambeth Conference of Anglican bishops, which voted, also overwhelmingly, against proposals to “ordain practising homosexuals and bless same-sex marriages”, mainly because of the influence of the conservative bishops, who are mostly from Africa and Asia. Again there were protests, this time from such liberals as the infidel Bishop Spong of New Jersey, and Bishop Holloway of Edinburgh who claimed to be appalled by the bishops’ decision. He has decided not to pursue his political ambitions but instead to remain in office in the Church to continue campaigning against the Church’s stance against homosexuality. It is his own position which he should be appalled at. He claims to be a Christian minister but promotes conduct which is diametrically opposed to that which Christ demands of mankind.