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Jerusalem Post
MSN, August 28th
by Sherwin Pomerantz:

I am certainly not one to dare assume to know what goes on in the mind of the God I believe in, and consider it a bit arrogant to go down that path. Nevertheless, at the risk of being labeled an old fool, it is a challenge for me to believe that the series of “plagues” that have befallen the United States of America of late are not part of some heavenly master plan.

From the end of World War II and for 70 years thereafter, America “worked.” The triumph of democracy and freedom over fascism and national land grabs energized the American body politic to take responsibility and rebuild the world after the devastating losses in the war. The world was put back in order, nations devastated by battle were rebuilt (much of that through US programs like the Marshall Plan), while people felt secure enough to plan for careers, family, education and retirement.

America’s role as the world’s police officer, resentful as that made some nations feel (everyone remembers the term “ugly American”), kept the world in check. For sure there were devastating skirmishes (Korea, Vietnam, the Pol Pot regime in Cambodia, and Rwanda, to name a few), but a nuclear crisis never actually materialized, and the world overall was a relatively safe place.

Domestically, politicians in opposing parties actually reached across the aisle and compromised on what was best for the country; elections were generally not contested; and the experiment in democracy set out by the founders of the US in the late 18th century proved to be sustainable. Or so we all thought.

Why has America and its role as the world’s police begun to fall apart?

However, 77 years after the end of the war, it all seems to be falling apart. Why? What happened? For sure, US foreign policy changed beginning in the Obama years, when it started to move away from the country’s self-defined role as the world’s police officer. Yes, countries do alter their foreign policies without their cultures going downhill. Yet over these past 13 years, with the advent of the smartphone and the exponential rise of social networking, hardly a day goes by that we don’t see some catastrophic event or trend that does not augur well for the continued success of the world’s greatest democracy.

Some examples may help prove the point.

A US civil war between Republicans and Democrats

Politically, whether people want to admit it or not, the country is in the midst of a civil war, though for the moment, not one where both sides have taken up arms, one against the other (although that, too, could eventuate).

Nevertheless, a look at opinion polls on the 2020 election is enough to prove the point. For the population in general, 30% of the people polled do not believe President Biden won the 2020 election, while among Republicans, that number jumps to 70%. There has never been a time in modern history where such numbers were this high 18 months after the election itself, with the former president continuing to parrot the line that the election was stolen even in the face of overwhelming proof to the contrary.

Functionally, the legislative branch of government finds itself in a position where any proposal put forth by one party is not something that the other party will support. Even something as basic as the recent gun legislation passed in the House of Representatives saw just 14 Republican legislators voting with the Democrats. In most cases, reaching across the aisle to get legislation passed has been thrown into the dustbin of history, along with so many other traditions that enabled the legislature to function.

The US mass shooting crisis and gun ownership

There have been over 300 mass shootings in the US this year as of early July, the largest number by far of any country in the world. A 2015 Politifact article cited data from 2000 to 2014 trying to prove that mass shootings do indeed happen in other advanced countries. However, the article conceded that the US experienced 133 shootings during that five-year period, while the next-highest total was Germany with six. This year, the US is on track to see over 600. Why is the situation so bad only in the US? No other Western country has this kind of problem.

Along with the issue of mass shootings is the issue of gun ownership. A Swiss-based worldwide small arms survey in 2018 showed that there are 120.5 small arms for every 100 people in the US, which is twice as large as the next country, Yemen, with 52.8. Even Israel, where people wrongly think that everyone has a gun, does not make it into the list of the top 20 worldwide. And the number of privately owned weapons has only grown since then. There is, of course, the related issue of what type of weapons people own. One can easily question why individual citizens need to own high-powered assault rifles in the first place, yet those proliferate legally as well.

The catastrophic weather in the US

Then there is the weather. On average, the US experiences fewer than 1,500 tornadoes a year. Through June, there have already been 940 reported tornadoes there, which means the country is on track to see 2,000 or more, a 33% increase year-on-year.

The nightly news out of the US for the past few months shows tens of millions of people under extreme weather risk every day, often in three different areas of the country simultaneously (upper Midwest, East coast and the Southeast region). In the west, a long period of drought has been drying up reservoirs and spawning massive forest fires. National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC) statistics show that as of July 5, 34,478 fires have already burned 4,582,301 acres. This is above the 10-year average of 27,346 fires, and twice the average of 2,026,917 acres burned. The odd thing is that very little of this occurs just north of the US in Canada, or just south in Mexico. It all seems to be centered in the US.

American homeless crisis

Add to this the homeless situation, where in California alone there are more than 161,000 homeless, according to the US Interagency Council on Homelessness. Right behind California is New York, with 91,000 homeless, a large percentage of whom are, in fact, sleeping on the street.

No other Western country has the number of street people at that level. In Los Angeles, seemingly every underpass is chock full of homeless tents, which can be seen on the coastal beaches as well during the warmer weather. And the US domestic airline system is so broken right now that the odds of getting anywhere on time and with one’s luggage are low. Moreover, I have not even mentioned corona, which is still with us as well.

Why? Why this bad and why (except for corona) only in the US?

If one accepts the religious concept that whatever happens in the world is part of God’s plan for the world (and not everyone accepts that, to be sure), it is possible to postulate that God had a plan for the United States of America. After all, it was Abraham Lincoln who opined in 1865 that America was the “almost chosen people,” placing the issue of faith and the existence of a heavenly plan for the US squarely in the culture of post-civil war America.

If one does accept the God construct, then for the 70 years after World War II America continued to carry out His plan, creating an order in the world that had never existed before – and life was good.

However, there has never been a time in post-civil war history as now where the US has been so broken, where so many things seem to be going wrong simultaneously, and where the political leadership seems powerless to deal with all of it.

It is almost as if God is now expressing displeasure with his servant, the US, in the course it has taken.

The hope, of course, is that at some point the political leadership will get its act together and find a way to address the myriad of problems that the country is presently facing. However, if one accepts that this is perhaps a manifestation of God’s disappointment with the USA, perhaps the nation should turn to God and pray for a return to normalcy.

When Americans turn to prayer in crisis

It would not be the first time in history that prayer was invoked on behalf of a country. We need only follow the lead of the last person any of us would have expected would turn to prayer, and look at the example of General George S. Patton, Jr., head of the US’s Third Army in Europe in World War II.

In December 1944, fog, clouds, rain and snow over Europe were hampering US war efforts. A frustrated Patton contacted Chaplain James O’Neill, a Catholic priest, and asked for a prayer for good weather that would improve the chances of victory. In the presence of Patton, there was only one response the chaplain could offer and that was “Yes, sir.”

The chaplain wrote this prayer, which was then distributed to the 275,000 Third Army troops along with a Christmas greeting that read:

Almighty and most merciful Father, we humbly beseech Thee, of Thy great goodness, to restrain these immoderate rains with which we have had to contend. Grant us fair weather for battle. Graciously hearken to us as soldiers who call upon Thee that, armed with Thy power, we may advance from victory to victory, and crush the oppression of wickedness of our enemies and establish Thy justice among men and nations.

The results? The weather cleared for the next six days, and Patton’s allied forces were victorious, vanquishing the German army. Perhaps, just perhaps, this is another moment in history when civilization needs an intervention from the “immoderate” forces that are besieging us.

“Watch what people are cynical about, and one can often discover what they lack.” George S. Patton

When hope eluded him, Patton, the battle-hardened cynic, asked his troops to turn to a higher force. What he later said about people in such a quandary is noteworthy: “Watch what people are cynical about, and one can often discover what they lack.”

Maybe the time has come for everyone to bury the cynicism and look up. There is certainly no downside in doing so, while there is every possibility that our prayers will be answered.


Prophetic Link:

“When God’s presence was finally withdrawn from the Jewish nation, priests and people knew it not. Though under the control of Satan, and swayed by the most horrible and malignant passions, they still regarded themselves as the chosen of God. The ministration in the temple continued; sacrifices were offered upon its polluted altars, and daily the divine blessing was invoked upon a people guilty of the blood of God’s dear Son and seeking to slay His ministers and apostles. So when the irrevocable decision of the sanctuary has been pronounced and the destiny of the world has been forever fixed, the inhabitants of the earth will know it not. The forms of religion will be continued by a people from whom the Spirit of God has been finally withdrawn; and the satanic zeal with which the prince of evil will inspire them for the accomplishment of his malignant designs, will bear the semblance of zeal for God.” Great Controversy, page 615.1.

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