Well, our brief national nightmare appears to be over, as the most recent U.S. government shutdown has come to a close. A compromise has been reached in Washington, yet the roots of disagreement appear to be unmoved.
This most recent crisis only underlines the greater reality that we are divided, not only in Washington, but as a country on whole. We are at a crossroads, just as Ancient Rome was in the first century before the birth of Christ.
According to the late, great historian, J. Rufus Fears, “In 60 B.C., a crisis of almost unprecedented proportion had been reached (in Rome) over the lack of a budget and the national debt.” The Roman Republic, which had fallen from its glory days of a virtuous and patriotic citizenry, was troubled by other similar problems, including elections that were decided only by campaign contributions, an immigration crisis and wars in the Middle East.
Meanwhile, the Roman people of the time seemed to care more about Gladiator games than civic virtue and were unwilling to carry the awesome responsibility of self-government. By the year 59 B.C. the Roman Republic, which was divided into two major political parties much like our own, turned to the eventual dictatorship of Julius Caesar.
A national crisis, however, does not necessarily need to destroy a republic and create a dictator. In fact, American history shows the contrary. Our own Founders, in 1786, faced a debt crisis of epic proportions and emerged from it all the stronger. What separated those leaders, ones like George Washington and Alexander Hamilton, from today comes down to one ingredient: Patriotism.
Let’s pray for wisdom for our current leaders and that God would rise up more patriots like George Washington.
The Food and Drug Administration has created a new policy that will almost certainly further the culture of death in America. To be specific, the FDA approved the so-called morning-after pill (“Plan B”), making it available over-the-counter without a prescription to women as young as 15 years old.
The FDA, with former President George W. Bush’s approval, first made it over-the-counter in 2006 (but not for minors). At the time, courageous leaders like U.S. Senator Tom Coburn, an Oklahoma medical doctor, warned that this was a tragic move.
Why, Dr. Coburn wondered, would the FDA make the super-dose of birth control, which can likely terminate a pregnancy, available over-the-counter, when the ordinary birth control pill requires a prescription? It does not make sense.
Further, we have done a disservice to pharmacists, who have now been degraded to mere vending machines for abortifascient pills through this policy. What’s more, there are serious side effects to these drugs for women, let alone their offspring who may be killed.
Regarding the abortion debate, much has changed since the 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling, and certainly many technological advancements have helped the pro-life cause, such as ultrasound.
These abortion-in-a-bottle pills, however, represented a significant shift in which the average abortion may not occur at a clinic, but result from a trip to the local pharmacy. In other words, while the culture is moving more and more against abortionists like Kermit Gosnell, it grows increasingly comfortable with abortion tactics like the FDA is offering here.
Some in the pro-choice camp are praising the FDA’s decision. Some, however, want to go even farther. According to the New York Times, “Nancy Northup, president of the Center for Reproductive Rights, which filed the lawsuit that Judge Korman ruled on, said the decision on Tuesday was unsatisfactory. ‘We will continue our battle in court to remove these arbitrary restrictions on emergency contraception for all women,’ she said.”
In her mind, limiting so-called emergency contraceptives at all is too restrictive. It is a sad day in America when a trip to the local pharmacy could mean the end of a life. With Jesus Christ, however, there is always hope. Let us pray for those in leadership (1 Timothy 2:1-4) and that Christ Himself, who came to give us “life and life abundantly” (John 10:10) would save us from our own devices.
“A true leader has the confidence to stand alone, the courage to make tough decisions, and the compassion to listen to the needs of others. He does not set out to be a leader, but becomes one by the equality of his actions and the integrity of his intent.” —Douglas MacArthur
Do you have a moment that just moves you back a bit in surprise? This happened to me in regards to President Obama appointing the very first woman to direct the Secret Service. Now, I am not political in any way, but this selection struck me for several reasons. First, it is my understanding that this agent, Julia Pierson, is a veteran of more than 30 years.
Recall this agency is coming off a scandal involving male Secret Service agents and prostitutes in Columbia last summer. While the former director was not involved in the scandal he ended up resigning in February of this year. I would be thinking, to walk into that kind of pressure situation as the new leader, “Wow, no thank you!”
While her reported qualifications for leading the Department seem to make her capable, I can only think of what struggles she will have to overcome. Pierson is not only in charge of thousands of employees, but is also tasked with protection; keeping Americans safe at major events, protecting leaders, including the President and his family, and, the one that really surprised me, a leading role in securing the financial system.
The burdens that Pierson will have to face and overcome provide an incredible opportunity to make a difference in the lives of the American people. Publilius Syrus, a former slave in 1st century BC, said “Anyone can hold the helm when the sea is calm.” The Secret Service has not exactly had a calm sea this past year!
This is a very applicable verse for Pierson and her new appointment “First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” 1 Timothy 2:1-4
I can only think that through this incredible opportunity to lead the third largest agency in the United States Satan will attack from all aspects leadership roles. I, for one, propose praying for Julia Pierson in these ways:
- For her leadership to be above reproach
- To lead with integrity and honor
- To protect her from people who will challenge in negative ways
- For the employees of the agency to respect Pierson’s leadership
- For her to balance the demands of the job with having a life outside of work