As I write this, our world has been struck by what appears to be yet another radical Islamic terrorist attack. This time it happened in Nice, France, where some sadistic maniac drove a large cargo delivery truck into a crowd of innocent civilians at the Bastille Day fireworks show, killing at least 84 people and injuring another twenty. One witness said that the truck mowed down people “for two to three miles.” There’s been no immediate claim of responsibility — which could change by the time I finish typing this sentence — although U.S. counterterrorism sources report that ISIS social media accounts were “celebratory” and their followers were told to use the hashtag “Nice.” French President Francois Hollande addressed his country on national television and said that children were among the dead, also adding that his nation was “under the threat of Islamic terrorism. We have to demonstrate absolute vigilance and show determination that is unfailing.”
Of course, since this whole story is unfolding rapidly, there’s still a lot that we don’t know. But, there’s plenty that we do know. We know that the driver was a 31-year-old man named Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel. We know that he’s a Muslim from Tunisia. We know that he was “neutralized” — killed — by the police. We know that a 2010 article from Al Qaeda’s Inspire Magazine describes exactly how to use a truck as a “mowing machine, not to mow grass, but to mow down the enemies of Allah.” We know that France has been on its highest state of alert since the ISIS attacks in Paris last November that left over 130 people dead. We know that President Hollande is extending their national state of emergency for an extra three months.
We don’t know much else about the murderous scumbag who carried out this heinous act of evil, other than his name, age and country of origin, but we do know that he was once a delivery truck driver and that he accelerated his speed to kill as many people as possible. We know that he fired back at law enforcement officers. According to some reports, he also yelled ‘Allahu Akbar’ before he was shot by police. It’s all the ingredients of a horrific tragedy and a travesty.
Speaking of tragedies, I had originally planned on writing something about last week’s sniper attack in Dallas that took the lives of five officers and wounded several. Like most Americans, I watched from the comfort and safety of my couch as those brave men and women risked death to protect the very protestors who exhibit nothing but contempt and hatred for law enforcement. They literally took bullets for the same idiots who chant slogans like “Pigs in a blanket! Fry ‘em like bacon!” and “What do we want? More dead cops!” If you can’t appreciate that sort of courage and dedication, then you might need to reexamine your life.
Anyway, within minutes of the Dallas attack, liberal progressives — and even some bitter, misguided Christians — began heaping blame on God and mocking those who pray for peace and healing. Social media was ablaze with a mass consensus that this is all somehow God’s fault and prayer is pointless. Now, we’re seeing the same thing in response to the horror unfolding in France:
The prevailing mindset of our culture these days seems to be something along the lines of: Well, since this God person in the sky supposedly ordains all things, maybe it’s time to give Him the cold shoulder. This is even coming from some folks who claim to be Christians, mind you. It says a lot about our society when, rather than turn to God in the midst of tragedy and chaos, we instead make fun of Him and ridicule those who follow His teachings. With all of this in mind, I have a couple of thoughts I’d like to pass along.
Yes, We Should Still Pray.
I don’t expect to convince atheists, agnostics or progressive liberals to believe in the power of prayer. After all, this would first require that they believe in the existence of God and that’s not a discussion I’m going to try to cram into this post. But, for those of us who already believe in God and follow Him, prayer should be a basic, fundamental, repetitive, natural part of our every day lives. The Bible tells us to pray without ceasing and to devote ourselves fully to prayer. This means that prayer is meant to be a continual, ongoing, daily conversation with God. How many of us can say that we actually do that? How many of us actually engage in prayerful dialogue with God Almighty about the condition of our country and our world? How many of us pray for our political leaders? How many of us were begging for His love, mercy and grace during the Dallas shooting or the attack in France? How many of us rise early in the mornings and seek out a solitary, secluded place to pray like Jesus did?
I believe prayer works. I’ve seen it work. I don’t always pray as often or as fervently as I should, but I know that if our nation valued prayer, and engaged in prayer more often, we’d be a far different and far better society. The sad reality, though, is that our country treats prayer like some sort of bubonic plague. We go out of our way to purge our schools and businesses of prayer. We abolish it from every nook, cranny and corner of our society and then, suddenly, when there’s a terror attack or a police shooting, we break out the #PrayForNice and #PrayForDallas hashtags. We change all of our avatars to a picture of the French flag, the Eiffel Tower or the state of Texas. But, prayer isn’t a hashtag or a social media movement. It’s much more than that. It’s a direct line of communication with the God of the universe. I think it’s time we started to treat it as such.
This doesn’t mean that bad things will never happen. It doesn’t mean that every terrorist plot will be foiled and every attack thwarted. Evil is real and mankind has free will to do as he pleases. Hatred, racism and violence will always be present in our world because the human heart is naturally bent toward wickedness and sin. But, God hears the prayers of His people and He has not and will not forsake us.
While We Pray, Let’s Also Kill Some Terrorists.
This part is really for President Obama and all the other pathetic, self-centered, lily-livered world leaders who would rather be liked than actually deal with terrorism. But, it’s also for the folks who seem to think that prayer is silly or detrimental. These are mostly liberal progressives who say that, instead of wasting time asking for God’s help, we should “do something.” You hear this sort of thing from the left all the time. Rather than pray, we should be passing more gun control laws or launching federal investigations into every police force in the country and maybe once we’ve finally “done enough,” all the evil and badness in the world will disappear.
It’s a nice sentiment, but it’s also a ridiculous false dichotomy. This notion that people who pray are somehow lazy or apathetic is nothing short of absurd. One can certainly pray while simultaneously doing other "things." In fact, I don’t know many Christians who would say that we should only pray. And I don’t believe that’s what God would want either. I can ask God to keep my family safe from harm — and indeed I believe He hears and honors that prayer — but I can also arm myself with plenty of weapons and ammunition. God gave us brains for a reason, so let’s use them.
Islamic terrorists — and those inspired by them — are the essence of pure evil. What’s the best way to stop evil people? Killing them. Killing them now. Killing them by any means necessary. By any means available. Evil doesn’t care about political correctness, empty rhetoric, hashtags or meaningless platitudes. Evil doesn’t give a crap. Evil is just evil. If we want our nation to be safe, we have to be willing to defend it. And sometimes that means killing terrorists. There’s probably not a whole lot that you or I can do in that regard. Unless you’re a member of the military or some other branch of the armed forces, the most you can really do as an average citizen is buy a gun, be on the alert and pray. It might not be a perfect formula, but it’s really all we’ve got.
President Obama, though, has the power and ability to do much more than you or I can do where Islamic terrorism is concerned. I don’t have much faith that he’ll do the right thing, but the man certainly can’t lecture Americans on the need to “do something” about police violence (or anything else) when he refuses to do anything about the violence wrought by Islamic terrorists. But, I'm sure he'll lecture us anyway. He seems to enjoy doing that.
Regardless, there's certainly no doubt that the world would be a much better place with a lot more prayer and a lot more dead terrorists.
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