Over the past several days, as is traditional this time of year, various political and religious leaders have urged the world to pray for peace. President Obama stated on Christmas that he would be “praying for God’s protection for persecuted Christians and those of other faiths, as well as for those brave men and women engaged in our military, diplomatic, and humanitarian efforts to alleviate their suffering and restore stability, security, and hope to their nations,” according to CNN. The pope, as always, got in on the action too, using his Christmas Day message to call for peace. The pope called for us to “welcome God’s mercy in our lives, and be merciful with our brothers to make peace grow,” according to Fox News. In churches great and small, sermons talked about finding hope in dark times, and coming together as one planet.
Then we all went home and forgot about it.
Meanwhile, terrorists continue to slaughter thousands. Christians are fleeing the Middle East en masse because if they stay, they die. Thousands of peaceful Muslims who just want a place to live are being killed. Members of every religion, every sex, every race are being slaughtered by a group of people that often make the Nazis look tame. So how do we fight back? We talk. We think. We ponder. We blame each other. We blame Trump, Clinton, Obama, Bush, and everyone we can possibly think of.
We don’t actually do anything. Instead of actually getting worried that there is quite literally an army of people in the Middle East who are training and perfecting ways to kill all of us, we prefer to yell at each other over the latest stupid thing that Donald Trump said. For heaven’s sake, the leader of the free world, who commands the most powerful and capable army in the world, is choosing to “pray for God’s protection” for those being killed rather than actually doing anything to stop the slaughter. Since when did it become American foreign policy to ponder and posture rather than fight and win?
Don’t get me wrong, we need prayer right now. We desperately need God in all our lives. However, what we don’t need to do is sit around and talk and pray about solving the crisis in the Middle East as though the ability to save thousands of lives was not already right in front of us. So do we fight and save the day once again? No. We hope that by some happy miracle all the terrorists will simply all fall down. That’s not going to happen folks. ISIS never saw Miracle on 34th Street.
Some of the people calling upon us to make peace with our neighbors and to be all nicey-nice are just doing their jobs. Popes always preach love and peace. It would be rather disturbing to hear a pope talk about bombing the living daylight out of people. Many leaders, however, possess the ability to take action, not just spew meaningless rhetoric. Did it ever once occur to anyone in our government putting their rhetorical trust in divine intervention that maybe the United States Army actually is the salvation they’ve all been looking for? We have the ability to save all of these people. Why don’t we actually use what we have and get the job done? Imagine how much different history would be if America had chosen to pray that the Japanese and Nazis would go away.
In the past few months, we have witnessed more terrorist attacks in Western countries than we have in the past several years. We have literally seen hundreds of people gunned down in cold blood on the streets of Paris. We have seen over 200 lives killed from a bombing of a Russian airliner in Egypt. We have seen bombings in more Middle Eastern countries than I can name. Yet we do nothing.
We’ve seen terrorism here in America as well. We have seen Americans killed at a Christmas party by people they thought were their coworkers and friends — people who had turned their home into a bomb-making factory and had plans to attack other locations. We’ve seen the reports of the FBI monitoring hundreds of people with ties to ISIS. We’ve also heard our own government admit that it can’t protect us from terrorist attacks. Yet we do nothing.
If we continue along this road, we will see more attacks. We will see body counts not in the tens or hundreds, but in the thousands. We will see country after country in the Middle East fall to the Islamic State and its legion of followers. We will see our own country become more and more divided as we cannot come to terms with what sort of enemy we are facing. While we dither in division, the enemy will strike.
In short, at the end of this highway to horrific death we face the destruction of our way of life. Call it extreme, call it paranoia, call it an overreaction, but this is the reality we all must face. Just look at the world around us. Do you really think that things won’t get any worse if we don’t act?
As the Christmas season draws to a close and we all go back to our regular lives, look around. For all its faults and all its flaws, the United States of America is still the best country on the face of the Earth. We Americans have been given a unique opportunity and privilege to live here. A piece of that blessing is the obligation to improve the world around us. Maybe instead of asking God to fix everything for us, we should acknowledge that our incompetence is the reason things are broken in the first place. This is our mess.
The old proverb says God helps those who help themselves. It is time we stopped demanding a miracle, and — using the tools we have to make this world safe and free — started making one.
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