All Around Us

Cancer Cures Smoking

So announces the Reformed Perspective, March, 1982, published by Canadian Reformed Church members. In an article “About Smoking,” Dr. Walter Meester, a well-known doctor to many of our people in Grand Rapids, and member of the American Reformed Church, presents a sobering article about smoking and cancer. Dr. W. Meester is in a position to know firsthand. We quote the first part of the article:

Do you smoke cigarettes? If yes, read on; you may need a “light”. If no, continue reading as well; you may be able to “enlighten” someone else. Is smoking really as bad for your health as they say? And if my body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, should I continue to defile it with smoking? Am I serving the Lord with my body if I knowingly harm it? Is suicide really a sin, especially if you do it slowly? Come on now, you may say; if smoking is that bad, why do so many church members smoke; even some ministers, some elders, some deacons, some Christian school teachers, etc. Aren’t they all serving the Lord in their respective offices and duties? Of course they are. The question is not whether we can still serve the Lord when we smoke or whether we can still serve the Lord when we sin—we all sin—but rather, what can we do to fight our sins in order that we can serve the Lord better. It makes a big difference if we don’t know whether we are committing a sin, or if we don’t care when we know and live in sin. I’m afraid that most smokers stick their head in the sand like ostriches and don’t want to know about the effects of smoking. And once they have developed an illness directly related to their smoking, such as lung cancer, heart disease, chronic lung disease, etc., who will tell them that they are to blame themselves for their illness?

Within the article, the doctor lists some of the health effects of smoking:

Did you know. . . 

—that some 500,000 persons die annually in the United States and Canada because of smoking? 

—that one’s life may be shortened 14 minutes for every cigarette smoked? 

—hat cigarette smoking is the major cause of lung cancer? 

—that lung cancer is now the most common cancer among men? 

—that lung cancer in women is rapidly increasing?

—that smoking is also a major cause of cancer of the larynx, the oral cavity, and the esophagus? 

—that smoking contributes to the development of cancer of the bladder, pancreas, and kidney? 

—that cigarette smokers have a much higher incidence and death rate from heart attacks than nonsmokers? 

—that the incidence of coronary heart disease increases as the daily number of cigarettes smoked increases and that the incidence of heart disease decreases among those who quit smoking? 

—that cigarette smokers have a higher death rate from cerebral vascular disorders (e.g., stroke) than do abstainers? 

—that smoking causes constriction and narrowing of the blood vessels resulting in peripheral vascular disease? 

—that smoking is the most common cause of chronic obstructive lung disease (emphysema)? 

—that smoking is associated with an increased incidence of ulcers and death therefrom? 

—that cigarette smoking during pregnancy has been shown to have adverse effects on the mother, the fetus, the newborn infant, and the child in later years? 

—that smoking by pregnant women increases the risk of vaginal bleeding, miscarriage, premature delivery, fetal death, and reduces the birth weight of born infants? 

—that children of smoking mothers are more susceptible to some adverse health effects such as bronchitis, pneumonia, and respiratory disease during early childhood? 

—that parental smoking is associated with the sudden infant death syndrome?

The doctor concludes with a proper word of admonition—which we can well heed:

If there is still an “unbelieving Thomas” among us, will he continue to smoke until he can see the devastating effects of smoking in his own body before he will believe that smoking causes illness? What about the question which I raised before: Is smoking a sin? I trust that after reading this article and examining the facts you will agree with me that “cigarette smoking is dangerous to your health.” Not only your physical health, but even your spiritual health. For if I knowingly harm my body, doesn’t this constitute sin? And if I commit this sin many times day after day, year after year, shouldn’t I try my utmost to break with it? How do you do that? How do you quit smoking? It is pretty hard to quit. Maybe you’ve tried once or twice before. But did you ever pray to God to help you fight and overcome this sin? Did you ever pray for someone else who smokes and is trying to quit? I believe that the best way to quit smoking is to realize that it is a sin and that, if I love the Lord, in thankfulness for what He has done for me, I will quit committing this sin, for His sake.

Woman to Woman

Most people find letters to the editor to be interesting. Many are instructive as well. A very good one appeared in the Banner of August 16, 1982.:

After 40 years in the United Presbyterian Church in the USA, I had to leave. 

The UPCUSA has had women elders for years—many fine women. Although I was honored by being asked to serve, I had to refuse because there is no Scriptural authority granting a woman that right. 

I know of many sad cases where the men lost their sense of responsibility after a few years of women on the session. When asking a man to serve, a nominating committee often heard, “Oh, the women love to run things. Let them do it” or “You women are doing a good job—you don’t need us.” Fewer men will accept the honor and responsibility. It leads to a lack of respect for the office of elder. 

Please, dear Christian women, do not desire or seek this office! God has much for us to do. Let us pray for and support the men as they serve as elders and pastors, but let us not try to usurp their position.

It’s a moving letter—and one which can well be taken to heart. The voice of experience shows the wisdom of Scripture in its regulation in this matter. Not only, I suspect, do men begin to refuse to serve because the “women are doing all right by themselves,” but also increasingly the men find no reason even to come to church anymore. When due order is not followed, the consequences surely follow.

Government Support—and Control?

In the “Don Bell Reports”, April 23, 1982, some troubling comments are made about President Reagan’s proposed support of private schools through a tax credit. This report believes it would be a catastrophe if that legislation is passed—and I’m inclined to agree. Much as one would want to be assisted in paying the cost of education of our children, he must be very wary of any kind of government support. It’s virtually axiomatic: with support comes also control. The above report states:

In introducing his Educational and Opportunity Equity Act, President Reagan proposed a bill that would 1) provide a maximum tax credit of $100 per child in 1983, $300 in $1984, and $500 in 1985; 2) allow parents to deduct the amount of the credit from total taxes owed; 3) allow full credit to families with incomes of up to $50,000 while families earning up to $75,000 would get partial credits and families with incomes of over $75,000 a year would get no tax break; and 4) families who send their children to schools that discriminate because of race would get no tax breaks at all. This is the schedule that professing conservatives who ought to know better are promoting. Perhaps these dupes—we use the word advisedly—would know how they are being deceived if they knew how federal agencies control American ‘education. From experts in this field who are far more knowledgeable than your reporter, we have learned that the entire process of educational control comes under the umbrella of a set of regulations called Interagency Day Care Standards. Adopted June 18, 1971, they were not printed for public sale and are difficult to obtain, the master control system hinges upon the federal government’s definition of “day care”. Here is the definition: 

“Day care is defined as the care of a child on a regular basis by someone other than the child’s parents, for any part of the 24 hour day.. . .” Day care services and programs are further defined as:

“Comprehensive and coordinated sets of activities providing for care, protection and development of infants, preschool and school age children on a regular basis during any portion of a 24 hour day.. . Comprehensive services include, but are not limited to, educational, social, health, and nutritional services and parent participation activities. A day care program constitutes a particular set of day care services.” And here are the clincher statements: 

“As a condition of federal funding, agencies administering day care programs must assure that the requirements are met in all programs or facilities which the agencies establish, operate, or utilize with federal support. . . (An Operating Agency is) any agency, public or private, which receives federal funds directly (as an administering agency), or indirectly through a grant or contract with an agency acting as administrator of federal funds in the area, by way of reimbursement through a vendor payment made by the administering agency or by way of a voucher given to the child’s parent(s) by the administering agency for day care services provided for the child and his family.” 

All of the above are excerpts or definitions found in the “Federal Interagency Day Care Requirements” with underlining added. Interested parents are advised to ask their Representative or a Senator to obtain for them a copy of the “Interagency Day Care Standards,” dated 18 June 1971, from the Department of Education. The Freedom of Information Act supposedly guarantees access to such records.

The above ought to give each a serious reminder of “big brother” government and what happens when such government grants “help” to parents of private school children. The “help” can well prove to be worse than the financial burden of Christian School education.