Sunday, June 26, 2005

The Inter-relationship of Prison and Medical Records

Okay, first here are the 'facts' as reported by the media earlier this week, based on a new report in the New England Journal of Medicine:

  • Medical records for prisoners at the U.S. detention camp at Guantanamo Bay are being tapped to design more effective interrogation techniques
  • Doctors, nurses and medics caring for prisoners there are required to provide health information to military and CIA interrogators
  • Since 2003, psychiatrists and psychologists (at Guantanamo) have been part of a strategy that employs extreme stress, combined with behaviour-shaping rewards, to extract intelligence from resistant captives; that contradicts Pentagon statements that there is a separation between intelligence-gathering and patient care -- William Winkenwerder, U.S. assistant secretary of defence for health affairs, said in a memo made public in May that Guantanamo prisoners' medical records are considered private — as are American citizens'
  • Such tactics are considered torture by authorities
  • U.S. military medical personnel have been told to volunteer to interrogators information they believe may be valuable
  • The report's authors are Dr. Gregg Bloche, a physician and a law professor at Georgetown University in Washington, and Jonathan Marks, a London lawyer who is currently a fellow in bioethics at Georgetown's law centre
  • Guantanamo veterans are ordered not to discuss what goes on there, making it difficult to know how military intelligence personnel have used medical information for interrogation
  • A previously unreported U.S. Southern Command policy statement dated Aug. 6, 2002, instructs health-care providers that communications from "enemy persons under U.S. control" at Guantanamo "are not confidential and are not subject to the assertion of privileges" by detainees. It also tells medical personnel they should "convey any information concerning ... the accomplishment of a military or national security mission ... obtained from detainees in the course of treatment to non-medical military or other U.S. personnel who have an apparent need to know the information."
  • The only limit on the policy is that caregivers cannot themselves act as interrogators
Secondly, here's some reaction:

  • Peter Singer, director of the University of Toronto's Joint Centre for Bioethics says this crosses an ethical line; "Physicians are there for the benefit of patients and if they are seen to be there for some other purpose, it really blurs what they're doing."
  • Amnesty International Canada said the report gives serious pause to anyone who is following what happens at Guantanamo, reinforcing the call for a full, independent commission of inquiry into the detentions" including a determination of any rules being violated.
  • On Tuesday, the Bush administration rejected a proposal to create an independent commission to investigate abuses of detainees at Guantanamo Bay since already 10 major investigations into allegations of abuse found the system was working well.
  • Canadian Centre for Victims of Torture in Toronto, wasn't surprised by the journal report, saying that "A superpower that is considered a leader in many ways is losing its moral authority now, completely."
  • The New England Journal of Medicine is the second respected journal to criticize U.S. interrogation techniques, after the British medical journal.

Finally some Observations and Implications:

  • I believe there are times when prison officials should know the critical medical conditions of their charges, not to better interrogate or torture them with, but to make sure that any form of discipline or penalty will not further worsen their acute or critical medical condition. One can only take this perspective of course if one chooses to be humane with respect to prisoners and life in general.
  • The Bush administration repeatedly rejects calls for an independent commission of inquiry to investigate the matter. One could argue he has done his bit and does not want more money and resources spent on this. Others could argue he is afraid of what the commission would find.
  • There seems to be a disconnect between what the Pentagon says and what the report believes is the case. There seems to also be a disconnect between what the U.S. Southern Command and the Pentagon have said on this topic historically.
  • In today's world such inconsistencies should not exist and each difference of perspective should be fully explainable. When this is not the case, either we have a situation where one of the perspectives is wrong or a situation where one of the proponents of a particular view is being dishonest. The telling of lies is normally a practice employed to cover up wrong-doing.
  • It wasn't too many decades ago that the ordinary citizen could trust perhaps his minister or priest, his doctor, his lawyer to act in his best interests, his teacher, and his representative in government. It seems now each and every one of those, and in some cases, even his family, have fallen by the wayside and cannot be trusted. We are, as common men and women, almost alone.
  • Distrust is alive and well.

As we see this growth of distrust about us in our communities, our towns, cities, nations, we have two choices. We can either do what we have often seen others do in this regard -- "if you can't beat them (or change them), join them" -- or we can make a firm decision to be different. We can decide to be totally honest. We can decide to be men and women of our word. We can decide that we don't need a dozen lawyers to protect us in every agreement that we make. We can decide to let a handshake be all the covenant required between the parties that we need.

Yes, sometimes we will get burned and there will be consequences. But, for the most part, we will gain benefits beyond our expectations. Just read, Jon M. Huntsman's Winners Never Cheat, Wharton School Publishing. Better still, read the manual from the one that created man in the first place. In the Bible (Matthew 5:37), He clearly recommends that we let our yes mean yes and our no mean no. That's not too hard, is it? And it just may be the modelling our next generation needs.

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Tuesday, June 21, 2005

World's First Legal Humanist Wedding

CNN reported yesterday that an Edinburgh, Scotland couple has been granted permission to hold the first legal humanist wedding at the local zoo. A most fitting place, I would contend.

The Registrar General for Scotland agreed existing rules, which only allow local registrars or authorized religious representatives to carry out legal weddings, were discriminatory. The couple said neither were religious and they didn't want to be hypocritical by getting married in a church. Okay, so don't get married in a church. But no, the couple wanted "something more meaningful" than just a "legal, civil ceremony".

What's the thinking behind all this? Humanists believe that people can lead good, moral lives without the need for religion or superstition. Well, perhaps so -- if all you're counting is being "moral towards each other". But one synonym of the word 'moral' according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary is one who is 'righteous' and that in turn is defined as being guiltless or blameless before God, as well as the world.

When it comes to marriage, no matter what major religion one adheres to, marriage is an act that involves God. A Humanist marriage without God is not a fully 'moral' act. So go ahead, Karen Watts and Martin Reijins, get married as you like, and best wishes. I sure wish I could have prayed for God's blessings on your married life, but then again you don't expect that, preferring to go it alone!

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Saturday, June 18, 2005

Genesis 1:28

Genesis 1:28: And God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.

Humans are the second creation that God blessed and talked to (fish and fowl being the first as recorded in vs. 22). In fact, God gave us parallel, but more extensive, instructions to those He gave the fish and the fowl. He told us to reproduce, to fill the earth in so doing, to subdue it as the New American Standard puts it, and to rule over all the animals on it, as well as the fish in the waters and the fowl in the sky.

This is God’s first instruction to humankind -- be fruitful, subdue the earth, and rule the creatures I have created prior to you. What a life God intended for us originally! Who would not want that? For whom would that not be enough? If you are like me, you are probably saying right now, “I’d take that.” Maybe, in hindsight, seeing what a mess we have made of things through the generations, we would take it.

Be fruitful. God knew that for us to be fruitful would require physical sexual activity between man and woman. He also knew that based on His design, such activity would need not always result in reproduction. Finally, He designed our bodies in such a way that sexual activity was to be pleasurable for the man and the woman engaged in it. The pleasure component that He built into the process was not only physical, but also mental, and spiritual. It was an activity intended to please the “whole” person. And it does, when performed in the monogamous relationship of husband and wife as God intended.
So when God said, “be fruitful,” He was giving us both pleasure and purpose. His plan was that this earth (not the waters, not the sky, not other planets) but this earth be filled with the offspring of His prized creation, all created in His own image.

Subdue the earth. A look at two meanings of the word ‘subdue’ in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary[1] provides us with key insights into this part of the instruction. First, to subdue something means to bring it under control especially by exertion of the will. God did not create us as robots, but as entities with a will. He intended that we use that will, that we make an effort, and that we apply our full faculties, to “subduing the earth”. Our actions with respect to subduing the earth would result in something that would satisfy our will. But that will was originally intended to be in sync with the Creator. Another meaning of the word ‘subdue’ further supports this idea. To subdue something means to bring it under cultivation. We were to work on and with the earth to help it achieve its original purpose of meeting our needs.

Rule. He gave us responsibility, an assignment to occupy us. Something that would challenge us and at the same time something that we would find rewarding. The task had meaning. We could see the need, the value, and the result.

While we may learn from later scripture that humankind was created primarily to glorify God, the Creator did not instruct us so at the time of Creation. He did not need to. Our very intricate design and our very specific tasks, if done in accordance with the instructions of the Almighty, these in themselves would be glorifying to God. When His creation carries out the purpose for which it was created, God is glorified. What does it take to carry out the purpose for which one is created? Only one thing – obedience. If we want to glorify God, we only need to obey. Simply carry out the instructions that God gave us. As capable as we are to handle the most complex thoughts and issues in life, it only requires the simple act of obedience to fulfill the reason for which we were made.

At a meeting of leaders, Kirbyjon Caldwell[2], once said that there are “two great moments in one’s life. The first is when you were born. The second is when you know why you were born.” God made us collectively to glorify Him and we do that first by just obeying. In our act of obedience to His general instructions to all mankind – be fruitful, subdue the earth, and rule on My behalf -- God reveals His specific and unique calling to each of us and in that moment, we know exactly why we were created. At that point, the second greatest moment in our life will have occurred.
[1] Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary, 2002, Merriam-Webster.
[2] Kirbyjon Caldwell, pastor of Windsor Village United Methodist Church, near Houston, Texas at the 2002 Willow Creek Association Leadership Conference.

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Friday, June 17, 2005

Are Children Used As Human Sacrifices

I could not believe one of my paper's headlines today. I also warn against the possibility that this story may be as the article noted -- only allegations -- since the authors of the survey involved indicated they could not test whether they were true. The real issue is that we are even dealing with this kind of stuff in 2005, in the West!

The Toronto Star reported that Police in London have heard testimony suggesting African children are being smuggled into Britain for use as human sacrifices, according to the BBC yesterday, citing a leaked copy of a police study. What century are we in? What hemispere is England in?

According to the report, rituals and witchcraft were being practised in London churches popular with some members of African origin. Reportedly, the study found that children were being trafficked into Britain for human sacrifice, or for men with HIV who believed they would be cured by having sex with a youngster. Who's minding the blooming store?

Is this world dark or what? Where have we gone wrong in a nation like England, perhaps even in countries in North America, where this kind of thing could be alleged or true? What happened to our Judaic-Christian values, or even for those that aren't into Judaism or Christiantiy, just plain descent principles that respect human life, especially that of children? How could this happen under our very nose?

I think some of us have dropped the ball big-time. I think Christians, Jews, and others who adhere to such principles have, with respect to sharing their values, cloistered themselves sufficiently from their neighbors, have watered down their principles, and have forgotten their roots for the sake of making a living, minding their own business, pursuing careers and other forms of temporary success or pleasure. Many of us have an attitude that seems to be saying, "I'm okay Jack, who cares what others are doing?" Until, of course, what others are doing hits someone close to us, or even our home.

How often have we heard neighbors say, after a mass murderer or child molester has been caught say, "He stuck pretty much to himself; he was quiet; and we never talked much." Well, maybe if we had talked more, maybe, just maybe, he would not have had the need to do what he was doing, or maybe, just maybe, we would have gotten some hints as to what he was doing, and could have reported our concerns to the autorities.

It's time to get to know our neighbors. For their sakes and for ours. Whatever happened to the belief that John Donne had when he wrote "No man is an island, No man stands alone; Each man's joy is joy to me, Each man's grief is my own. We need one another, So I will defend Each man as my brother, Each man as my friend."

Were the children that this report is concerned about not worthy of our defense? I think they were.

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Wednesday, June 15, 2005

The Failure of Law

This week the world was treated to the outcome of the celebrity trial of Michael Jackson, accused of performing lewd acts on a minor and nine other charges, plus several lower charges. After months of hearings, and seven days of deliberation, the jury found the accused 'not guilty' on every single count. Many of us had predicted this very outcome. Here are some of the things that astounded me about this whole thing.

America was enthralled with this trial, with the most vocal being those in support of the accused. Other countries weren't far behind. The media covered it extensively, perhaps too much so. Witness after witness changed their mind about their testimony. Clearly hush money was involved. Clearly the accuser's family played a role that involved initial gain. The case was as unusual as Jackson himself. But here's the bottom line for me:

A middle-age man admits readily to inviting and having young boys sleep with him in his bed overnight and in some cases, does the same with one or more boys for a long period of time, repeatedly. One psychiatrist said no matter how you slice the cake -- that is a relationship, and furthermore, in the eyes and mind of an average individual, it is a sexual relationship. Since the boy is a minor, it is an illegal relationship.

If we accept that, what more needed to be proved? Jackson admitted to it in his own testimony. What are we protecting here? Set aside the fact that he is a rich celebrity for a moment. Are we really saying that older men can invite young men to their beds, sleep with them, and not have it count as wrong or illegal? I think we are.

I think we're also saying it is okay for parents to gain advantages by agreeing to let older men have their children sleep with them. But as importantly, we're also saying that the legal system has been rendered incapable of putting a stop to such activity.

And this latter point applies to other issues as well -- issues of ethics in business and government; the right of individuals to worship freely and publicly the "God" that America is supposed to believe in; and so on.

America and the world is in a fine mess. It's government would do well to turn its attention to its legal system and start relying more heavily on what is right and what is wrong from a common folks perspective, from a moral and spiritual perspective, and from a perspective that will make the country strong again. Mr. Bush, clean up America's legal system as fast as you can.

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Friday, June 10, 2005

Genesis 1:27

Genesis 1:27: And God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.

While verse 26 says “Our image”, verse 27 has God creating man in “His” own image and creating us both “male and female”. Why the switch from “Our” to “His”? One possibility is that the “image” of both God and that of Jesus Christ is for all intent and purpose the same. Another possibility is that “Our” and “His” are meant to be interchangeable since God the Father and at least God the Son are one and the same. At this point in scripture, both possibilities exist and we should leave ourselves open to both. In addition, one is not exclusive of the other.

This is the first verse in the Bible in which the idea of gender is introduced. Interestingly enough, while there is implication of reproduction for plant life (vs. 12) and fish and fowl (vs. 22), no mention of male and female is made. Modern science has determined, however, that for the majority of plant life, as well as the birds and the creatures of the sea, an equivalent to gender exists. In this present verse, the scripture specifically states that He made us male and female. To me that implies at least two things.

First, it suggests that for humankind, gender is a much more significant matter than it is for plants, birds, or fish. As we were created, our gender, was intended to have associated with it a much more specific or unique set of characteristics and/or responsibilities. This concept did not preclude equality between the genders as generations up to more recent modern times assumed.

Second, it suggests that the “image” of God really has nothing to do with gender since both male and female were made in His image. Nor does it imply that God is ‘bi-gender’ or ‘genderless’ since for all intent and purpose we are not bi-gender, but rather male or female. For to suggest that it does imply His bi-gender ness or His genderless ness, we would have to suggest that as either males or females, we were not created in His “image” – something that clearly scripture says we are. We can draw no inferences from this verse as to the gender of God.

Why then do we tend to use the masculine gender to depict God? Besides the obvious that the original Hebrew text was written utilizing the masculine articles for God, I am satisfied with one other fundamental argument – Jesus Christ Himself referred to God in the New Testament as “my Father”!

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Tuesday, June 07, 2005

U.S. Survey of Mental Illness Alarming

According to today's news, a quarter of all Americans met the criteria for having a mental illness within the past year, and fully 25 per cent of those had a "serious" disorder that significantly disrupted their ability to function every day, says the largest and most detailed survey of America's mental health.

While the trend indicates the percentages involved seem to have flattened, what is more alarming is the fact that less than 50% get the needed treatment. Futhermore, when they do seek and get treatment, it is often a decade too late, during which other related problems have developed, rendering the treatment usually ineffective.

Worse still is that half of those diagnosed with mental illness had symptoms by age 14, and three-quarters of them by age 24.

The study says inattention to early signs, inadequate health insurance and the lingering stigma around mental illness all contribute to the failings. Those may be the causes of poor results in curing the illness, but I believe we do a great injustice in not addressing the root causes for the illness in the first place.

Yes, I'll grant you some mental illness is due to one's 'physical chemistry'. But much of it is also due to one's sense of not being loved, not having a purpose in life, not feeling adequate or beautiful. Some of it is due to underdeveloped spirituality in one's life. Some has to do with the pressure of life, especially when alone. Some has to do with guilt. Some has to do with the breakdown of the family. Still some is due to the use of drugs for non-medical purposes, and sometimes even for medical purposes.

We cannot stop all mental illness, but we can do a lot better than we are doing if we are serious enough to get back to the basics in terms of what the Creator's priorities for us were -- our relationship with Him, our relationship with our family, those in our place of worship, and our calling in service to mankind. You can be sure that individuals and families that have committed themselves to these priorities somehow will not have lower mental illness statistics then the general population. But then again, we'll never know because it isn't politically correct or advantageous for governments to study this from this perspective.

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Monday, June 06, 2005

Slavery Is Alive; The Military Scream

I woke up this morning to two items of interest. The first was a CBC report on the fact that slavery is alive and well and living in many third world countries around the world, not the least of which is Niger. In that country, organizations trying to fight slavery, report at least 40,000 men, women, and children are still bought and sold to ‘masters’ like cattle.

There were reports of misuse, threatening of castration, and even young girls being sold to rich men who come looking for ‘brides’. The favored ones would attract the price the ‘master’ put on them. In addition, sources reported that many in slavery are simply taught to just feel this is the way the world is supposed to be and that even in heaven, they will need to obey their ‘master’. How warped can you get?

If ever there was a cause that rings a bell, this is it. We either need a modern-day Abraham Lincoln, or an epidemic “change in heart”.

The second item came in a report from the Toronto Star that tells us that military science has got still another new weapon to disperse protesters. After tear gas and the rubber bullets, the Israeli army has launched the “Scream” – sound pulses that create nausea and dizziness. It is completely clean with no lethal effects. In fact, no lasting effects unless someone is exposed to it for hours and hours.

The Scream was launched last Friday afternoon near the West Bank village of Bil’in at protesters continuing their daily opposition to Israel’s controversial security barrier. [Coincidentally, this was on the eve of the major anniversary of the Tiananmen Square event.] Witnesses report a minute-long blast of sound emanating from an Israeli military vehicle. Within seconds, protestors, loose their balance and fall to their knees. Later people reported their brains ached and their stomachs turned.

I don’t know about you, but as I thought about both these items further – I became sick and disgusted at the world we live in. The root cause of both slavery and protests is ‘sin’ – whether it’s man inhumanity to man as in the case of slavery, or a government governing outside of God’s priorities and principles for life. [I didn’t say without God’s blessing – as I’m sure many would jump back arguing, “But these folks feel they have God on their side!” God would have to attest to that himself – all I know is that many who think God is on their side, when they have not heeded his instructions in Scriptures, are in for a big surprise!]

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Saturday, June 04, 2005

Genesis 1:26

Genesis 1:26: Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”

This is a verse packed with incredible information. Every phrase adds so much to the body of knowledge for Bible students.

First, we note that God said “Let Us”. In the initial acts of creation (verses 1-25) God often uttered the word “Let” as He indicated what He was about to do – create light (vs. 3), water (vs. 6), land (vs. 9), plant life (vs. 11), the sun, stars, and moon (vs. 14), fish and birds (vs. 20), and animals (vs. 24). Only when it came to the creation of man did God say “Let Us”. God does not strike me as one who would use the “royal plural” when speaking. When He says “Let Us” I believe He was ‘conversing’ with one or more other spiritual entities, one of which later Scripture clarifies as being Jesus Christ.

However, here in verse 24 of the first chapter of Genesis, we are struck by the idea the creation of man was worthy of discussion between at least God the Father and God the Son. Man was indeed to be something unique, something special, something above all other creatures created to date. Here was a project that although He could have accomplished by the simple utterance of His will; He chose to incorporate a more personal involvement of Himself and those with Him. There was good reason for that.

Up to now, everything that God made reflected His “goodness” and “perfection” – incredible assets in themselves. However, in His creation of man, the very essence of Who God Is was built into the creation called ‘man’. He and those with Him created us in Their Image. I can only assume from what I know of the English language, believing this account to be the inspired Word of God, and the words it contains that, in fact, the end product of God’s creation of ‘man’ are viewed by God and His Son as having similar “likeness” to Them. Because Scripture uses the words “image” and “likeness”, accompanied by the modern usage of those words, there is a strong tendency for us to want to introduce the word “appearance” here. Since we hold the principle of ‘scripture answers scripture’ we must refrain from so doing unless we limit our concept of appearance to that of ‘spiritual appearance’ for clearly we are told that “God is Spirit; and those who worship Him must worship in Spirit and truth.”[1]

If we accept the fact that God created us in His Image, then we can safely assume that we retained certain aspects of that Image. These include, but are not limited to, creativity; self-determination; self-awareness; acceptance of ‘natural’ theology; and reasoning. Even to this very early point in the text, God had already exercised or demonstrated these characteristics of His Image. That is how He made us – creative, with free will, knowing ourselves, believing in something beyond us, and with the ability to think. All the ingredients for carrying out His purpose for mankind.

God also had a special intent for humankind. He purposed that we have authority over almost all of His creation to that point. Included were the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, the cattle, all the earth, and all creeping things on the earth. Absent from the list were light, water, sun, stars, and moon. Since we accept God’s perfection, we must accept that this list of what we could have dominion over is precise and that God was perfectly aware of what He omitted. When man attempts to gain ‘rule’ over the heavens and space, the sun, stars, and moon, and even the oceans themselves, there is no guarantee that God would sit back and say “go ahead, increase your realm of authority over that which I have given you.” While we may have access to these aspects of His creation, we cannot expect to conquer them for ourselves. To this point in Scripture we must accept the fact that they are His and His alone.

Secondly, this ‘ruling’ that He entrusted us with, we must view as a delegation of authority from Him to us. It is not rightfully ours. The creations He entrusts us with are His.[2] This implies that we are responsible for ruling over them with care as He Himself rules over us. While they are all there for our good, we are not to use any of them unwisely and without regard for their on-going existence as a particular species. At the same time, when it comes to choices of survival (food, safety, shelter, etc.) between them and human beings, this authority over animals, fish, and fowl, points to the need for decisions in favor of the latter. Furthermore, I believe it is logical to take the position that the Christian who sometimes ignores worship, relationships, and serving others because of his/her responsibilities or affection for an animal over which he/she has dominion, may in fact be missing the intention of this delegated responsibility.

[1] John 4:24
[2] Psalms 8:6-8: Thou dost make him to rule over the works of Thy hands; Thou hast put all things under his feet, All sheep and oxen, And also the beasts of the field, The birds of the heavens, and the fish of the sea, Whatever passes through the paths of the seas.

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Friday, June 03, 2005

Remember the Cold War? It's starting again in Space!

Russia yesterday threatened to retaliate if any country puts weapons in space. Their defense minister also said Moscow won't negotiate controls over tactical nuclear arms with countries that deploy them abroad (as the U.S. has done in Europe). Russia claims it has always been against the "militarization of space". The U.S. is reviewing their plans for space and while they claim militarization is not in the cards, they stated that U.S. satellites must be protected against emerging threats. In 2002, China and Russia proposed a new ban on weapons, but the U.S. did not see the need for it, saying the 1967 Outer Space Treaty was still in place.

So, the sabres are rattling once again. It seems that leaders can't be leaders without being or appearing to be 'aggressive'. The two big players are still the same -- U.S. and Russia. China has now entered the picture as a third big player and North Korea is trying to squeeze into the act. Politics and war (cold or otherwise) make for strange bedfellows and as one looks at the big picture, one can easily become fearful of where the 'balance of power' really lies and how far the blanket of peace can really spread before it is torn into pieces.

Those of us living outside the boundaries of the big players watch helplessly as our own countries, by their own politics and actions, take sides. And the big players are watching. When the odds are fully in their favor, you can bet the risk of real war will escalate if not materialize. If you consider yourself a westerner, you may have noticed we're not winning this campaign these days. From a human perspective, peace can only be maintained as long as the balance of power is maintained. Shift it too far one way or another and the minute-hand of the doomsday clock gets a hairline's distance from its final resting place.

On the otherhand, maybe it's all about inner peace with one's Creator. And that, we have a great chance in achieving. I've found it not in religion, but in a relationship, a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Check Him out!

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Thursday, June 02, 2005

First the French, Now the Dutch -- is the EU doomed?

In the last few days both France and the Netherlands have rejected the proposed constitution of the European Union. To get a stronger clout in world affairs and economics, many nations of Europe have attempted to come together as a single voice. But they needed a constitution under which to operate and that constitution in turn had to be accepted by the various nation states. Some had agreed to let their people vote on its acceptability. The response by the French and the Dutch was a strong "non". The stage now shifts to Brussels, where heads of states will meet for a crisis summit June 16 to decide whether to officially bury a constitution that was 10 years in the making. My, my -- back to the drawing boards. Perhaps world leaders should consult another source when trying to organize on a world-wide level....

"He makes the nations great, then destroys them; He enlarges the nations, then leads them away." (Job 12:23)

"The nations have sunk down in the pit which they have made; In the net which they hid, their own foot has been caught." (Psalms 9:15)

"Put them in fear, O Lord; Let the nations know that they are but men." (Psalms 9:20)

"For the kingdom is the Lord's, And He rules over the nations." (Psalms 22:28)

"The Lord nullifies thee counsel of the nations; He frustrates the plans of the peoples." (Psalms 33:10)

"All the nations are as nothing before Him, They are regarded by Him as less than nothing and meaningless." (Isaiah 40:17)

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Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Deep Throat Identified after 33 Years

Who says Washington can't keep secrets? After 33 years, W. Mark Felt, the number two official at the FBI in the early 1970s, identified himself as the secret source who famously led two Washington Post reporters on a trail that brought down U.S. president Richard Nixon in the Watergate scandal, a sordid chapter in American political history.

If you were like me, you lived all these years wondering as to who Deep Throat was. In light of all the political scandals around the world these days, you probably wished that he was some senior political opponent or even an insider from Nixon's own party. But now that we know it was only an FBI agent as senior as he might have been -- well, heck, wasn't he just doing his job!

People are wild about wanting in on a secret until something becomes public and then usually it is not a big deal. As I write this piece, I wonder about other secrets: things the government never tells us; things the doctor holds back; things our children keep from us; the dark secrets of relatives, friends, and neighbors; and our very own personal secrets. We live in, believe it or not, a 'secret' society. Yet some secrets are necessary and we accept them as such; others are carried with hurt to our graves. How we deal with the different kinds of secrets in our lives is really an art that we each develop -- some better than others.

I'd rather live in a world where there were no secrets at all. But then again, that's so unrealistic in this world. There is, however, at least one person I know now with whom I have no secrets at all, and one time I await with wild anticipation when there will be no secrets.

In my relationship with Jesus Christ, I have no secrets. He and God his father know everything there is to know about me. They created me and have the master codebook on me. They know exactly how I operate, think, feel, etc. at all times. In addition, in their message to the world through Scriptures, I know there is coming a day when we too will know what they had in mind for mankind. At that time, their believers will finally live in a truly 'secret-free' world. And in it, there will be no need for us to have secrets from each other.

Some secrets last a few minutes as I'm finding out with my very young grandchildren; others last 33 years or more as in the case of Deep Throat. The secrets of the Ages are in the hands of the Almighty but a time will come when they too will be revealed.

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Check our firm out at Accord Consulting.