One of the nasty little side stories of the national 9/11/01 panic was the anthrax scare. Anthrax is a terrible disease, spread by the bacterium bacillus anthracis. Just as we were reeling from multiple mysterious air assaults, anthrax spores were turning up in the postal system. Five people were killed and 17 others infected. Was this another form of enemy attack? Could there be deadly spores on the letters you would open in your mail today?
After almost seven years of investigation, the FBI is pretty sure that the person who planted those spores was one of the individuals that the people of America were trusting to protect them from chemical and germ assault. Dr. Bruce Ivins was working at a high-security biodefense lab at Fort Detrick, the Army base in Frederick, Md. As the FBI investigation closed in on him in July, he realized that his game was over and he took a lethal overdose of Tylenol with codeine. Some of the facts will never be known. But it seems clear from DNA evidence that the anthrax used in the 2001 killings was synthesized by Dr. Ivins.
One of the themes of the Bible’s Book of Jeremiah is that the very people God had commissioned to strengthen and protect the Israelite people spiritually—the prophets, priests, and kings—had failed in their mission. Not only did they fail to protect Israel, they actively hastened her spiritual disintegration and brought God’s judgment on the nation.
Religious speech by religious “professionals” is not regulated by any agency. Religious leaders continue to betray their trust and infect their followers with distrust and doubt about the very doctrines they are supposed to be teaching. It is a thrill to read the Bible and hear there the straight, pure voice of God. Those of us who serve and lead the people of God have a high trust—to let people hear that straight, pure voice through our teaching.