Is the Crisis Really ISIS?

I listened to the President’s speech and the call for certain military actions directed at ISIS, the acronym for a group of people who ultimately desire a global Islamic state. No doubt, military action of some kind is needed, but I began to think, Is ISIS really our problem and is military action enough? I don’t think so.

While President Obama insisted that our military will “degrade” and “destroy” ISIS, I couldn’t help but wonder if the threat of foreign intruders from an unchecked ISIS is a judgment by God from outside our nation because of what we have allowed to be degraded and destroyed inside our nation.

As a nation, we have rejected everything that a simple reading of Genesis 1 and 2 would teach us about God. Many of our environmental policies and the rhetoric behind them show that we worship the creation more than the Creator. Abortion degrades and destroys the very image of God that as the fountain of Life He creates within every pregnant womb. And we are busily going about degrading and destroying the institution of marriage that God created as that most perfect reflection of His Triune nature by attempting to redefine it.

I believe our problem as a nation is spiritual, and ISIS is just one manifestation of that problem.

These days such thoughts will draw either howls of laughter or derision from a large segment of our population—and even rolling eyes among large numbers of Christians. But such would not have always been true of Americans.

At our founding, the type of sentiment expressed by Benjamin Franklin at the Constitutional Convention of 1787 was pervasive: “God governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without his aid?”

Then in 1863, as our nation was being torn asunder by civil war, President Lincoln called on our nation to prayer saying, “We know, by His divine law, nations like individuals are subjected to punishments and chastisements in this world . . . ”.

Interestingly, to my knowledge, no president since Lincoln has officially called Americans to repentance, prayer, and fasting, and not only do I not see this President doing anything so bold, I don’t even see any such presidential candidate on the horizon.

But we need not wait on leaders at the highest levels of the federal government to do what needs to be done. There are some positive signs that at least some in Tennessee see these external threats and internal degradations as a symptom of a larger, deeper spiritual problem.

Just recently, a Clarksville-area minister who serves on the County Commission called together people, including some other local elected officials, to publicly pray in response to a series of murders in their city.

And on Sunday evening, October 5th, beginning at 5 p.m. (Central), various Christian leaders in the greater Nashville area are holding a Sacred Assembly at the Legislative Plaza adjoining the state Capitol. No doubt it is timely because ten days later Tennesseans will begin going to the polls to vote on Amendment 1 that will address one of the “degradations” that plagues our state—an essentially unregulated abortion industry within our borders.

What happened in Clarksville and what will happen on October 5th is not a final solution to ISIS or any of the other problems America is facing, but it is a starting place on a journey that, if traveled by God’s people without fear or reservation, just may bring us back from the precipice of major war.

David Fowler served in the Tennessee state Senate for 12 years before joining FACT as President in 2006. Read David’s complete bio.

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Are Today’s Politicians up to the Task?

This week the Navy announced that it was designing a new kind of ship to replace the existing class of amphibious vessels that are nearing the end of their useful life. As I read the article, I couldn’t help but wonder if our “existing class” of political leaders” isn’t “nearing the end of their useful life” as well.

What prompted this thought was a military official’s statement that the amphibious vessels we use today won’t meet the coming need “due to the concept of operations we are under today.” In other words, what worked before isn’t going to continue to work now, because the nature of warfare and the landscape of the battlefield have changed.

And the same is true of our political landscape. It’s changed from what it was in 1776 and even as recently as the 1950s. Those who don’t understand that will wonder what happened when they get run over. But the change is not just a result of technology and political methodologies, which is what most political parties, politicians, and political organizations think. It’s more than that. The whole nature of the political “conflict” has changed.

In the past, American politics operated more or less on the basis of a shared set of fundamental beliefs. The political conflict or divide rested in how to apply those beliefs to a particular problem. Today conflict over application still exists, but the nature of the conflict or divide is different because the conflict manifests at the level of a core fundamental belief.

By “fundamental” I’m not referring to something as superficial as a belief in whether a strong economy is a “good” thing. And by what “divides” I’m not referring to a belief that more government or less government regulation or taxation is what will bring about a strong economy. I’m taking about something even more fundamental than that.

The dividing line today—the new “battleground,” if you will—is our view of the universe itself, namely, is there a God who intervenes in time and space to hold men and the governments accountable for righteousness and justice according to immutable standards of the same? That is the dividing line.

There are some politicians today who would give lip service to that belief, but many of them betray themselves by the way in which they govern. For example, many of those politicians, Democrat and Republican, believe that the “right” tax and regulatory policies by civil government will produce a strong economy, even if on the cultural front we flaunt God’s design for marriage rooted in His very nature, kill our children in the womb, and worship the creation rather than the Creator.

Too many of today’s politicians either embrace these cultural views or run away from talking about them like they were running away from a devil who has set their hair on fire.

For those who believe that this “kind” of politician is fundamentally wrong and not up to the task that lies ahead, we have to ask ourselves: are we going to do what we have to do to train up a new kind of politician, one who is prepared to challenge the prevailing God-is-dead-or-irrelevant view of the universe and who will talk about the issues the current crop won’t talk about?

If we’re not ready to do that, then like warships no longer fit for battle, our ship of state may be sunk.

David Fowler served in the Tennessee state Senate for 12 years before joining FACT as President in 2006. Read David’s complete bio.

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