An earthquake rattles Washington, D.C., and a fierce
storm ravages the East Coast. Is God speaking to us?
a doomsday prophet, and I don’t believe every hurricane, earthquake or drought
is God’s judgment. But I did pause to ponder the significance of the freakish 5.8-magnitude quake that jolted the East Coast last week.
The White House was evacuated, the Washington Monument was
closed indefinitely because of cracks, and the National
Cathedral’s central tower was seriously damaged.
anybody else find that slightly spooky?
“I hope President Obama and the leaders
of both political parties in Washington are heeding the ominous signs of the
times. And I pray they don’t forget the words of another one of our founders,
Patrick Henry, who said: ‘It is when people forget God that tyrants forge their
and secularists will say it was just a big seismic coincidence. They probably
also ignored the fact that a few days after the quake, a massive storm weirdly
drifted toward Washington, D.C., and New York City. Hurricane Irene has now been blamed for at least 42 deaths in 12
states, and more than 2.5 million people from North Carolina to Maine were
still without electricity Tuesday.
Judgment from God?
That’s not how I view disasters. But I do think last week’s double whammy was about as obvious a sign from heaven as when God scribbled
a warning on the wall while King Belshazzar was
partying in his palace.
Is anybody reading the handwriting on America’s wall?
case of Belshazzar (see Daniel 5:1-31), that clueless king couldn’t decipher
God’s cryptic graffiti—so he called a true prophet to decode it. I’m not sure
if many American leaders would ask a modern Daniel for counsel. Many of them
have divorced themselves and our government from faith in God and His moral
York’s ultra-secularist mayor, Michael Bloomberg, was
certainly in a Belshazzar mood when he announced last week that he was excluding
any and all members of the clergy from the city’s commemoration of the 10th
anniversary of 9/11. Pastors as well as politicians have blasted Bloomberg for
his insensitivity, but he insists that the ceremony will be better without a
he thinks America doesn’t need God to help us through our worst national crisis
in a generation. We can just read some humanistic poems and grieve by
to the joke posted on thousands of Facebook pages last week, the Virginia earthquake
was triggered when America’s founding fathers rolled over in their graves. A
funny thought, yes, but I don’t think George Washington or Benjamin Franklin
would find anything amusing about the state of our country today. And I don’t
think they’d be laughing at Mayor Bloomberg’s blatantly tyrannical stance
of a 9/11 commemoration without prayer is downright sad, especially when you
recall that our nation’s founders—as imperfect as they were—built this country
on Christian precepts. In today’s secularist climate, people who speak about
our founders’ faith are labeled right-wing whackos. Pardon my political
incorrectness, but questioning whether many of the founders were
Bible-believing Christians is as insulting as denying the Holocaust.
The founders did not
hide their faith or apologize for it—and they certainly never legislated
against it. Consider these facts (which, thankfully, have not been removed from
- The first
prayer in the U.S. Congress was offered in Philadelphia in 1774. George
Washington was among those kneeling as other leaders gathered to pray after
hearing that British forces had attacked Boston. One observer wrote that the
scene “was enough to melt a heart of stone” as he watched tears gush from the
eyes of the old patriots.
- During the Continental Congress of 1787, Benjamin Franklin asked that
clergy be called in every morning to lead prayers “imploring
the assistance of Heaven, and its blessing on our deliberations.”
- George Washington asked
citizens in 1789 to “unite in most humbly offering our
prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations, and beseech
him to pardon our national and other transgressions.”
- In 1799
President John Adams urged Americans to fast, pray and “call to mind our
numerous offences against the most high God, confess them before Him with
sincerest penitence” and “implore His pardoning mercy … for our past
forward to the America of 2011, where faith is criticized, believers are mocked
and leaders don’t see any need for prayer. It’s a pitiful way to end our
probably take more than a few cracked monuments or damaged cathedral towers to
grab the attention of leaders like Mayor Bloomberg. Meanwhile, I hope President
Obama and the leaders of both political parties in Washington are heeding the
signs of the times. And I pray they don’t forget the words of another one of
our founders, Patrick Henry, who said: “It
is when people forget God that tyrants forge their chains.”
J. Lee Grady is contributing editor of Charisma. You can follow him on Twitter at leegrady. He will be ministering next
week in Lima and Tarapoto, Peru.