Porn Law Falls!
“The Supreme Court [of the United States] ruled Tuesday that a law meant to punish pornographers who peddle dirty pictures to Web-surfing kids is probably an unconstitutional muzzle on free speech” (www.comcast.net, 6/29/04).
The First Amendmendment rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution served as a basis for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) winning this descision. Quoting an ACLU spokesperson from the above article, ” ‘The Status quo is still with us and the court made it safe for artist, sex educators and Web publishers to communicate with adults without risking jail time.’ “
A spokesman for the Justice Department denounced the ruling citing the continuing opposition of the High Court in the serious matter of protecting children from obscenity. Summarizing, the above article noted that “Material that is indecent but not obscene is protected by the First amendment. Adults may see or purchase it, but children may not.”
Moral decadence has been an ongoing issue in most Western societies–especially is the skyrocketing influence of vulgar entertainment propigated by the mass media such as movies, television and music videos. Now, with the advent of computers and the ubiquitious internet, filthy and depraved images are arriving as unwanted spam–an issue beyond those who specifically seek to personally experience such vile imagery!
It is simply BECAUSE OF THESE KINDS OF PRACTICES which are in such blatant defiance of God’s way that our nations along with all the nations will be brought into account by God! Speaking through Isaiah, God gives us this warning: ” ‘…Those who lead you cause you to err, And destroy the way of your paths’ ” (Isaiah 3:12).
Isaiah also records this powerfull rebuke from God: “Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter” (Isaiah 5:20).
Is it any wonder that there is such great resistance to the idea of “Democracy” among the Moslem world? Freedom of speech–in fact any kind of so-called freedom–is destined to engulf its practioners in vain leaderless futility unless it is derived from the true way revealed in the unbreakable word of God!
Caught up in the midst of unspeakable cruelty, the nation of Sudan has this week received some world attention through the visit of Secretary of State Colin Powell. As reported in FT.com (6/30/2004): “Diplomatic pressure on Sudan to stop violence and facilitate relief work in its western Darfur region intensified yesterday as both Colin Powell, US secretary of state, and Kofi Annan, United Nations secretary-general, visited the country.”
The article continues: “About 1m [million] people have been displaced and at least 10,000 are thought to have died in a wave of repression following the emergence of local insurgent movements early last year.” This tragedy comes on the heels of several decades of dismal violence: “The ongoing conflict has left 2 million people dead and forced an estimated 4 million to flee their homes, leaving Sudan with the highest internally displaced population in the world” (www.careusa.org 6/30/2004).
The immediate future is absolutely bleak for Sudan. From www.worldnetdaily.com (6/22/2004): “Amnesty International has predicted 350,000 are ‘most likely to die’ during the upcoming rainy season. The French group Doctors Without Borders has declared ‘the whole population [of Darfur] is teetering on the verge of mass starvation.'” Continuing from this report: “‘We estimate right now if we get relief in, we’ll lose a third of a million people, and if we don’t the death rates could be dramatically higher, approaching a million people,’ said USAID chief Andrew Natsios after a high-level U.N. meeting in Geneva this month.”
Sudan, while posing a ghastly case of genocidal suffering and destruction, is certainly not the only troubled area of Africa. AIDS is devastating whole nations with the inevitable time-bomb of agonizing death. A radio report from the BBC mentions that there are 300,000 young gang members in a part of South Africa all growing in ways patterned after United States gangs. Tribal and religious rivalries are so rampant that they spill across borders and destabilize fragile governments already tested by poverty.
While the world focuses on the Middle East and the U.S. and British led war on terror, the words of Jesus Christ found in Matthew 24 continue to find their fulfillment. Noting verse 7, we find this overview of a world in profoundly desperate straights: “‘For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places.’ “
However, the good news is that there is real hope for the future. God has promised to send His Son back to this earth to bring His Kingdom and true peace! A further promise of God is found in Isaiah 2, verse 4. In times of bleakness and discouragement, these words are recorded for our encouragement: “Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, Neither shall they learn war anymore.”
New EU Leader
Following up swiftly on its constitutional agreement, the European Union leaders have chosen Jose Manuel Durao Barroso, prime minister of Portugal, as the next European Commission chief. This appointment is for five years and comes at a pivotal moment in Europe’s emerging alignments.
From www.reuters.co.uk 6/30/2004, Barroso “vowed to make the EU ‘stronger, even more cohesive and just, and MORE INTERVENING ON THE INTERNATIONAL SCENE’ ” (emphasis added). It appears that the test for these strategic appointments is whether or not one will lead as a “European”–with individual national interests less important than the overall goals of the new Europe!
The Seattle Post-intelligencer (6/29/04) reported that, “As prime minister of Portugal, Jose Durao Barroso has gained a reputation as resolute and unbending.” A few weeks after Mr. Barroso takes office, the issue of whether to pursue talks with Turkey as an additional member of the EU will be formally discussed.
Although Mr. Barroso has been openly supportive of the U.S. and even to some extent the war on terror, his views are not held by the most powerful members of the EU. He will inherit a growing divisive relationship with the United States and Europe. Following a two-day NATO summit in Istanbul, Turkey, “U.S. President George W. Bush has repeated a call for the European Union to admit Turkey, despite criticism of France’s President Jacques Chirac that he was meddling in EU affairs” (CNN.com 6/29/2004).
This same CNN report had this ominous quote from the U.S. president: “Bush said Tuesday that Turkey belongs in the EU and that Europe is ‘NOT THE EXCLUSIVE CLUB OF A SINGLE RELIGION…” (emphasis added). However, as the future will show, this is exactly what the United States of Europe will become — and voices are already being heard, in addition to that of Mr.Chirac, telling Mr. Bush, who is extremely unpopular in Europe and especially in France and Germany, to keep “his nose out of European affairs.”