The officials chose to discredit the messenger rather than heed the warning.
“Amelia, here’s an article you might be able to use in your Social Studies class. Didn’t you say it had to be related to nuclear energy?”
Amelia looked up from the computer and nodded. “Yes, what did you find, Dad?”
“Well, the headline reads, ‘Rayburn Claims Warning Given of Potential Nuclear Disaster.’ I didn’t read the whole article, but apparently the physicist Rayburn says that some weeks before the nuclear explosion at that plant in Maryland last week, he had warned the officials in charge, of the potential danger.”
Amelia looked interested. “That seems hard to believe. If they had been warned, surely they could have done something so the explosion wouldn’t have happened.”
Her dad nodded in agreement. “You would certainly think so. Anyway, here’s the article. Why don’t you skim through it and see if it would do.”
Amelia took the laptop from her dad and scrolled further down the article. She read:
“Noted physicist, Dr. Daniel Rayburn, revealed at a press conference Wednesday in Washington, D.C., that he had discussed with top-level officials the potential danger of an explosion at the Maryland Nuclear Power Center. The discussion reportedly took place some weeks prior to the violent blast last week at the center which left eighteen dead and fifty-four injured.
“‘The possible danger was first brought to my attention by a group of engineers who had been consulted regarding a considered expansion of the plant,’ Dr. Rayburn announced to a group of reporters gathered in his hotel lobby. ‘They informed me that two representatives of their group had spoken with top officials regarding what they saw as a hazard. Both of these representatives were severely reprimanded and their findings ignored.
“‘The engineers appealed to me to go before the officials at the project, and once again attempt to present their findings. Upon examining their report, I concluded there was indeed grave danger and agreed to do what I could.
“‘However, my efforts proved less than fruitful. Not only was the presentation rejected, but the officials made an attempt to discredit me. They contacted Dr. Geoffrey Gorton, presiding officer of the President’s Council on Nuclear Energy, and demanded that I be removed from my position on the council. An investigation is still being held regarding their accusations.’”
Amelia looked up from the laptop. “Dad, this is absolutely incredible! I can’t believe that intelligent men would actually ignore the warnings of an expert. Why, because of his position on the Council on Nuclear Energy, Dr. Rayburn had a right to go in there and inform them of the danger. He actually had a responsibility to do so!”
Her dad nodded soberly. “I agree with you, Amelia. Possibly they rejected his warning because they felt the engineering error he pointed out was in some way their fault.”
Amelia printed the article. “Well, for sure I’m going to take this article to class tomorrow. I’d like to hear what Mr. Williams has to say about it. We always spend a little time discussing the articles brought to class, and this one is just unbelievable.”
Amelia’s dad regarded his daughter thoughtfully. “You know, I was thinking while you read that article how much this incident is like a parable that I read in the Bible just last night. Do you remember the story about the wicked husbandmen? They rejected the servants of the master who came to receive the fruit of the vineyard. When the man who owned the vineyard sent his own son, they actually killed him!”
“Yes, I remember that story,” Amelia said.
“That Bible parable illustrates the fact that God sent His own Son, Jesus Christ, to this world. Jesus brought a way for the people to find peace and forgiveness for their sins. But was He accepted?”
“No,” Amelia answered quietly. “He was rejected too. And they even killed Him.” She paused, then continued, “I guess it never made the headlines when Jesus was rejected. This nuclear disaster is awful—eighteen people dead and fifty-four injured—but the effects of the rejection of Christ were a lot more lasting.”
In the quietness of the living room, Amelia’s dad nodded his agreement. “You’re right, Amelia. You’re right.”