The Pastor’s Pen: January 12, 2020

One of the most influential writers of the 20th century, Aldous Huxley, famously said, “Experience is not what happens to you; it’s what you do with what happens to you.” Those of us who recall the presidency of John Fitzgerald Kennedy remember one of the most terrifying episodes of 1961. It was the Cuban Missile crisis. At that time, the United States and the Soviet Union were in a contest for global domination. The United States ended World War II by dropping two nuclear bombs over the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It was not long after that when Joseph Stalin’s Soviet regime perfected the technology to build nuclear weapons as well. The Cuban Missile Crisis was a direct and dangerous confrontation between the United States and Russia. The Russians wanted permission from the U. S. to establish a missile base in Cuba. President Kennedy put forth an ultimatum. He announced that the U. S. would not permit offensive weapons to be delivered to Cuba and demanded that the weapons already in Cuba be dismantled and returned to the Soviet Union or the U. S. would declare war on the Soviets. 

Those of us in school during that time had been practicing how to shelter in place if we were attacked. Most schools had some form of underground space where we would go to find safety in the event of an air raid alarm. For a nail-biting period of time, the world anxiously wondered if this indeed was the beginning of the end. Fortunately, Premier Nikita Khrushchev of the Soviet Union acquiesced. He ordered the ships to turn around, which ended (or circumvented?) the threat of another nuclear holocaust. During this anxious and tense period in our history, the Commander in Chief was known for sober and clear thinking. Using presidential protocol, he consulted his cabinet—composed of some of the finest minds in America—to advise him on the best strategy per the prevailing military intelligence. Contrast this with what we heard last week: President Trump foolishly and single-handedly ordered to kill, by ambush, one of Iran’s top generals. The order was impulsive, unconscionable, poorly thought out, and completely devoid of any strategy to deal with the aftermath of such a deranged and brash decision. Some may feel that those of us who are critics of the president may be too harsh. However, what we witnessed last week clearly affirms why we are so strident about the president. With nuclear weapons readily available to multiple nations, all it will take is the erratic, impulsive decision of one leader to start a nuclear holocaust that could not be reversed. “Tough talk” may appeal to the president’s base, but what the world faces now is not some parlor game. It is the future of the human race. Rather than being enamored with tough talk and blowhard “bullism,” we need to apply the words of President Theodore Roosevelt, “Walk softly and carry a big stick.” Foreign nations around the world know that the United States is not to be trifled with. They are aware of our extraordinary military power, our ability to make war is respected, and since the close of World War II, we have not had to utilize our military might. 

With this in mind, the time has come for people of faith around the world to call on God with the fullest sincerity and ask God to restore our president, not only to sanity, but to a knowledge of God, the God of justice, mercy, and peace.