Category Archives: current events

“In Such a Time as This…”

Let’s Begin With a Comment

A reader named Stephen decided to throw in his two cents in response to a recent post called “He Will Be My President.” Before we go any further, I’d like to share it with you.

Talk is cheap and you got a website dedicated to it.
I get the feeling it won’t take long for the hypocrite in you to come out, but you’ll justify yourself in your hypocrisy. It’s what religious people do.
Reeds in the wind, flailing about trying hard to show the world just how saved you are.
Keep working at it, your salvation is near.

If you would like to read my follow-up to Mr. Stephen’s comment, you can go to the comment section of that post. For now, I want to direct you to the video below.

A 3-Pointer

It’s not that often I preach a classic three-point sermon, but this is one I would ask you watch. The subject of the sermon this past Sunday morning was how to move forward in “such a time as this.”

I would love to hear your thoughts and comments, even if they are like the one above.

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Filed under America, Bethlehem Baptist Church, Christian Living, Christian Unity, Christianity, current events, voting

He Will Be “My President”

Let’s take a trip down memory lane – it’s four years long.

Source: Politico
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Source: Capital Gazette

However, REGARDLESS who is finally confirmed as President when this whole debacle of over, He will be . . . MY PRESIDENT!

And because he will be my President, I will do what I’ve been commanded to do by an even higher Authority:

I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, [and] giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and [for] all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this [is] good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. – 1 Timothy 2:1-4 KJV

This is what I teach and preach, and this is what I will practice. I will NOT be a hypocrite; I will do exactly what I implore the rest of the country to do, nothing less.

It doesn’t mean I have to agree with him, like him, support his policies, or remain silent. However, when he walks in the room he will be my President. When he addresses my country, he will be my President. When he makes foreign policy or takes the stage on foreign soil, he will be MY President, for there will be no other at that time.

If he’s gonna be my President, then I’m going to pray that he performs his duties with honor and integrity; that he will be surrounded by wise, godly counsel; and that he will not be influenced by the interest of those who would destroy our republic and steal our freedom.

At the same time, however, I will not refrain from preaching truth: that sin is sin, that God is God, and that though we pray for him, our final Authority was never elected and will never cede His throne.

Now, more than ever, the Church must be the Church.

Bonus: Please click on the link below and listen to the brand new release from As Isaac. I’ve never heard a song that was more timely than this one.

https://bandcamp.com/EmbeddedPlayer/track=2320338003/size=large/bgcol=ffffff/linkcol=0687f5/tracklist=false/transparent=true/

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Filed under America, current events, politics, Prayer

For Such a Time As This

As I woke this morning, names started coming to mind.

I would like to share them with you.

Of the following names, try to think what is common among them all.

Deitrich Bonhoffer
Jim Elliot
Joseph (the one with the coat of many colors)
Brother Andrew
Cory Ten Boom
Harriet Tubman
Frederick Douglass
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Casey Jones (the railroad engineer)
Todd Beamer (flight 93)
Abraham Lincoln
William Wilberforce (member of Parliament)
Sir Winston Churchill
Horatio G. Spafford (It Is Well With My Soul)
Rosa Parks
William Wallace
Davy Crockett, Jim Bowie, Col. William Travis
Oskar Schindler
Moses
Esther

If you haven’t figured it out, there may be other similarities, but all of these names have at least one thing in common: You would have never known them had it not been for their moments of adversity, the challenges forced on them, or the stands they took in the face of injustice.

Consider the words of Mordecai to a fearful and hesitant Esther:

Mordecai sent this reply to Esther: “Don’t think for a moment that because you’re in the palace you will escape when all other Jews are killed. If you keep quiet at a time like this, deliverance and relief for the Jews will arise from some other place, but you and your relatives will die. Who knows if perhaps you were made queen for just such a time as this?” – Esther 4:13-14 NLT

Dear friends, whatever the future of this country, God has us here “for just such a time as this.”

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What Were You Expecting, Shakespeare and Milton?

The … ummm … Debate?

I watched it, the first shouting and arguing match between to grown males. It wasn’t a “presidential” debate because there was little if nothing presidential about it.

But I sat through the whole thing. I sat through every interruption by Donald Trump and every name-calling response from Joe Robinette (that’s his middle name, if you didn’t know). And because I sat through the whole thing, like eating too many greasy hamburgers the night before, I woke up nauseated.

Winners & Losers

Simply put, there were no clear winners last night, except maybe the demonic forces whose leathery, flapping wings fanned the flames. POTUS was consistent  with his message and policies, never wavering on his mission; VP Biden was present and accounted for, maybe even on a little meth (just kidding).

Frankly, I can’t blame Trump for coming out of his corner like a bat out of hades (that’s a figure of speech because, as far as I’ve read, there are no bats in Hell). For the last four years he has had to put up with attack after attack after attack from the likes of Biden, and so the one made famous for saying “You’re fired!” fired salvo after salvo at the USS Sleepy.

But as for “Come’on, man!” Biden, the bar had been set so low for him that just being able to complete a sentence after an hour was a shock to Republicans and Democrats alike. No one I spoke with thought Biden would be able to survive 3 minutes in the ring with Trump. Yet, even after multiple haymakers to the jaw, Biden was still standing at the end and it was Trump who was flustered.

However, the real losers were the two parties, the American people, and every parent who’s tried to instill in their children a sense of decorum and grace under pressure.

The Lesson

Sure, I suppose there are many lessons we could learn from last nights fiasco. Once could be: Never ask Chris Wallace to babysit your pit bulls. Another might be: What did you expect? Shakespeare? Milton? This was Reality Trump and Plagiarizing Biden.

But the big lesson is one that every voter should remember, especially since last night exposed the raw humanity of these two men can be found in the following verse from Psalm 20:

“Some trust in chariots, and some in horses: but we will remember the name of the LORD our God.” – Psalm 20:7

Whether chariots or horses, elephants or jackasses (sorry, donkeys), only God can get us out of the mess we are in right now. 

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Controversial Tuesday: A White Man Speaks

It’s Controversial

Just think about where we are right now… It’s controversial for a white man, a Caucasian, a human with less melanin in his skin to speak out about almost anything, especially issues revolving around the very color that makes him controversial.

It’s controversial to say that “all lives matter.” It’s controversial to ask why there’s no “white national anthem” to be played at professional ball games. It’s controversial to even suggest that law and order should be maintained instead of rioting being the common response to anything … well, … controversial.

But even the word “controversial” is controversial, now that I think about it. It carries with it the idea of public disagreement and disputation. Yet, what is the common reaction to anything disagreeable or worthy of dispute? Conversation? Deliberation? Compromise? Debate?

No. If you dislike something or someone, the new normal is to riot, burn and break things, and kill cops in cold blood.

But I guess just suggesting that is controversial is controversial. Welcome to “Controversial Tuesday”!

Controversial Fear

So, now that we’ve open the floodgates of controversialness, let me dive into the rushing tide and try to stay alive amidst the foaming white (no offense) waves (because there aren’t black waves, even if I wanted to be politically correct).

As you are aware, the wisest people in the world act and play games for a living. One such game player, LeBron James, recently made a statement that was shared on ESPN’s Twitter feed.

If you can’t see the words in the link I shared above, Mr. James said: “We are scared as Black people in America. … Black men, Black women, Black kids. We are terrified.

OK, so let’s discuss it (like sane people are supposed to do). 

Why are people of color, specifically “Black” people, scared? From what I understand, the men, women, and kids are afraid of the police, right? Because all police are racists and can’t get enough of black men’s blood, right? That is the narrative the media is telling us, correct?

But here’s a bit of a news flash to which the African-American community should pay attention: A lot of white people are afraid of black people! Oh, and here’s something else…. because of the regular reinforcement of “black power” stereotypes, they have every logical reason to be! Add to that the senseless violence that has been perpetrated on white people and police in the name of “Black Lives Matter,” and what are white people supposed to think?

As a matter of fact, let’s look at where we are when considering the potential for incurring personal, bodily harm.

  • A black man or woman might be afraid that a policeman stopping them could lead to a misunderstanding, racial profiling, excessive force, unlawful search and seizure, false charges leading prison sentences, or maybe even death by asphyxiation or gunshot.
  • A white police officer now has to assume that any approaching black man could shoot him in the face for no apparent reason other than hate.
  • A black man or woman can wear garments featuring any and every anti-American, pro-revolutionary, Marxist, racially-provocative, or even blatantly racist image or statement without fear of being questioned due to the overwhelming intimidation factor BLM support has garnered in the media.
  • A white man, woman, boy, girl, or even toddler risks having eggs thrown at her head, drinks poured over them, being mercilessly beaten in the street, or simply shot for nothing more than wearing an American flag or MAGA hat.

So, who’s afraid, LeBron?

Fearing the Answer

What’s the answer to all this? How do we step back from all the violence on the streets? How do we restore a sense of peace that doesn’t assume danger anytime someone of a different skin color approaches us?

Well, random violence and killing police officers in cold blood is not the way to win an argument. Face it, people … black lives matter, but that’s because ALL lives have inherent value being that we are made in the image of God. Killing non-black lives in order to raise awareness that black lives matter is a failed strategy doomed to reap the opposite result.

But the real answer to the violence will probably require more than many are willing to sacrifice. It will require vulnerability, humility, and love. That’s terrifying.

Here’s the real answer: Forgive. 

If you truly want peace, no profiling, no baseless assumptions, and our children growing up colorblind (like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. wanted), then we are going to have to forget vengeance and seeking reparations; we are going to have to start with a new baseline: FORGIVENESS.

Right now we are headed in the direction of chaos, lawlessness, and a never-ending cycle of revenge and death. Ultimately, it will end, but how that will happen should be what truly scares us.

On the one hand, the very thing that the political Left accuses President Trump of wanting will actually come to fruition: tyranny. You see, at some point those in power will have to do what Rome did in order to stamp down insurrections… kill on sight. There will be no more trial by jury, just peace at the edge of the sword.

Think Tiananmen Square, or Russian “peacekeepers.” For example, when the Spetsnaz rolled into Moldova to restore peace after protests had broken out (I was 90 miles away when this happened), they didn’t use rubber bullets.

On the other hand, there is the example of the Waorani tribe in Ecuador (the “Auca” Indians whom Elizabeth Elliot reached with the gospel after they murdered her husband). At one point it was determined that every single man in the tribe who had died had died by the spear. Usually, it was as the result of revenge.

You see, the Waorani culture had been locked in a centuries-old cycle of revenge killing that, according to some, resulted in every death being a homicide, not natural causes or old age. Yet, when they were introduced to the love of Christ, exhibited by the forgiveness Elizabeth Elliot, the cycle was broken!

(See: “Through Gates of Splendor” and “Beyond the Gates of Splendor”)

My advice to LeBron is to clear the court and start a new game: Forgive. 

I’ve spoken. I just hope somebody listens.

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Courage Encourages Those In Need of Courage – and BOY do we need it!

The High School Skit

Asahi Pentax K1000 Camera Service Repair Manual | eBayIt was 1984: Michael Jackson and Madonna ruled the charts, cars were pitiful, and I was the photographer for my school’s yearbook. I still remember the camera I used … a Pentax K1000 … or was it a Yaschica? Same difference.

Anyway, because I was on the yearbook staff, I was selected to play the part of the Cowardly Lion in a skit meant to encourage sales. I still remember my lines (I was a lion saying lines – ha!) … “Courage!”

Here’s the thing, and this is the honest truth (unlike what the mainstream news will tell you), playing the part of the Cowardly Lion, when I was given a medal to honor my bravery, actually gave me courage. Yes, even though I was only acting, the costume and the script released the inhibitions deep inside me and led me to do something completely off script.

There on stage, in front of the whole school assembled, I asked one of my stage mates, “Does this mean I have the courage to do anything?”  After receiving a “Yes,” I turned to face the auditorium and yelled out to the most beautiful and glamorous girl in the school:

“Lori Gilley! Will you go out with me?!!” 

Long story short, she didn’t. …However, I got a standing ovation! Arguably the better of the two.

Take a Knee (Or Else)

It’s now 2020, the craziest year in the history of years, and courage is all but gone out of style. Oh, sure, you can find it if you look in the right places, like on patrol with a police officer, with a nurse treating a Corona patient, or with parents trying to make ends meet after being out of work for 4 months.

But let me tell you where you will find the LEAST amount of courage – professional sports.

I’ll be honest with you – as I always am – even though I think a certain large-afro’d professional football player of questionable skill is wrong about almost everything, it was courageous to be the first to take a knee during the national anthem. Yes, I said it – he did show an amount of courage in doing so.

But fast-forward to today and everyone is taking a knee, even if the reason for doing so is continuing a false narrative. Yet, is it courageous to do so? No, it’s not. In today’s social climate, taking a knee and wearing a t-shirt that says “Black Lives Matter” is nothing more than an act of self-preservation, not conviction.

OH! Excuse me! Did I say “everyone” in professional sports is taking a knee? I’m sorry … please forgive me! Because a FEW courageous souls have decided to take a stand (literally) while the rest either cower, show allegiance or sympathy to a manufactured social movement, or simply kneel to keep the endorsements rolling in.

Enter J. W. May

J.W. plays professional soccer (football) for the Savannah Clovers, a team in the National Independent Soccer Association (NISA). Even more importantly, he is the son of Tommy and Tammy May (Tommy’s a deacon in our church). One day soon I’m going to drive to Savannah and have coffee with J.W. at Black Rifle Coffee Co. 

Savannah Clovers and Georgia Revolution in Finley Stadium (Chattanooga) during the playing of the National Anthem.

Not long ago, J.W. and his team played the Georgia Revolution FC in Chattanooga at Finley Stadium (shout out to UTC). When the Star Spangled Banner was played, guess who was the only one to remain standing … from either team?

You guessed it, my future coffee buddy, J.W. May.

When you read this, J.W., I just want you to know I am dang proud of you! I’ll buy the coffee!

“Encourage”

How does one define courage? Why don’t we pull an old dictionary off the shelf, one that’s not been affected by modern revisionist culture, and read what it says?

COURAGE: Bravery; intrepidity; that quality of mind which enables men to encounter danger and difficulties with firmness, or without fear or depression of spirits; valor; boldness; resolution. It is a constituent par of fortitude; but fortitude implies patience to bear continued suffering. (American Dictionary of the English Language, by Noah Webster, 1828)

Now, let’s look at how this 1828 dictionary defines encourage.

ENCOURAGE: To give courage to; to give or increase confidence of success; to inspire with courage, spirit, or strength of mind; to embolden; to animate; to incite; to inspirit.

Lastly, I would like for you to note how Webster uses the word encouragement in a sentence.

“The praise of good men serves as an encouragement to virtue and heroism.”

For whatever it’s worth, Colin Kaepernick encouraged other African-Americans (primarily youth) to make a social statement against police violence (based on an unfortunate false narrative). Whether or not their cause was justified, one can’t help but admit those kneeling when everyone else was standing and deriding them was, in all fairness, courageous.

Flip the script… Now, with nearly every professional and non-professional athlete, regardless of color, taking a knee — instead of standing in honor of the flag of the very nation that affirms their right to be disrespectful to it — true courage is seen in those few who stand out from the crowd … literally.

In the book of Daniel we read of three Hebrew men who wouldn’t bow before a 90ft. golden statue. Even though God worked a miracle and rescued them, they were thrown into a furnace because of their uncompromising… ummm… stand.

These days the furnace isn’t quite as hot, but it’s still deadly to one’s career and social standing, at least.

Thank you, J.W., for the courage to encourage others… we sure do need it.

J. W. May tending the goal for the Savannah Clovers. Photo Credit: J. W. May

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The Emptiness that Leads to Protests Confirms a Greater Need to Share Jesus

Good Wednesday morning, everyone!

I hope this post finds you well, whether it be a Wednesday where you are, or not 😉

This morning I went walking around my neighborhood in order to burn off some ill-gotten calories. While I was walking, a thought came to mind regarding the current social climate of unrest and ever-present protesting. As briefly as possible, I want to share my thought with you and beg your feedback.

Thanks.

By the way, this is a view of my office “work place” this morning.

Why do people protest like they do?

More specifically, why to white people run the streets tearing up stuff in support of Black Lives Matter? Please don’t be triggered – this is not a racial argument that I’m attempting to make. I ask this because the whites are not being treated like the blacks, so why protest and even risk (in a few places) being arrested?

Aside from those who join protests for no other reason than to find an accepted avenue through which to express their hoodlum-istic desires to vandalize something, I believe people join protests because they believe in the cause (whatever that may be).

Now, granted, the “causes” for many protests I’ve seen are weak and unsubstantiated, contrived, or overblown. But for the most part, the people marching, protesting, occupying, vandalizing, and even those who are acting like idiots while standing in front of moving trucks are doing it because they “believe” in something worth acting a fool.

Now, to the point…

I believe that what we are seeing in our nation, even the world, is the outward expression of a deep, inward void … an emptiness of moral value and sense of purpose, which leads a hopeless society to latch on to any cause that may sooth our souls’ desire for the spiritual.

In other words, what we are witnessing is a society, one that has purged itself of transcendent, objective meaning, all of a sudden finding within itself an insatiable hunger for what it refuses to accept, so it feeds on the artificial.

What I see are people who need to feel righteously indignant in order to gloss over the reality of their own unrighteousness.

Are there legitimate reasons for protests? Of course there are – at least in some cases. However, aside from any agenda that might be afoot and seeking to overturn our nation and system of government, what I see are not adults who’ve given a lot of well-informed thought to why they are doing what they are doing, but younger people who need a reason to wake up in the morning.

Black lives matter, so that means they, too, can find meaning – and matter.  Even more, they can be a part of a group, a community of like-minded activists complete with vibrant, charismatic speakers, which will literally walk along side them and encourage them to stay strong.

Therefore, it appears to me that the world STILL needs Christ, whether they want to admit it, or not. As a matter of fact, this modern culture of protest and activism only confirms there’s a greater need than ever to share Jesus.

Your thoughts?

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When Your Heroes Die

This morning I posted a heartfelt and serious impromptu video directed at my youngest daughter.

However, it’s for everybody.

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Filed under Apologetics, current events, Depression, Life/Death

Gen. Robert E. Lee: A Man Worth Remembering, Not Erasing

I don’t know where it went during the move, but I am not ashamed to admit that I used to have a 5×7 portrait of Gen. Robert E. Lee hanging in my office (and I’d like another). Robert E. Lee was more than just a Confederate General; he was a man of supreme moral character and a leader like few this world has ever seen.

Yet, today, his statue in Virginia – his home state for which he fought – has been torn down by people who have no appreciation for history or bigger men than them. Petty and pitiful men are convinced that the removal of Lee’s statue will move us “forward,” but without a beginning, a foundation, a starting place, a past, there is no moving forward; it’s nothing more than flailing in mid air.

Therefore, I want to share several quotes from the man so many hate, yet know nothing about. The man that was President Lincoln’s first pick to lead the Union Army. The man that was partly responsible for making the South the “Bible belt” through the revivals he encouraged to sweep through the ranks of the troops. The man who hated war and hated slavery! 

“I can anticipate no greater calamity for the country than a dissolution of the Union. It would be an accumulation of all the evils we complain of, and I am willing to sacrifice everything but honour for its preservation. I hope, therefore, that all constitutional means will be exhausted before there is a resort to force. Secession is nothing but revolution. The framers of our Constitution never exhausted so much labour, wisdom, and forbearance in its formation, and surrounded it with so many guards and securities, if it was intended to be broken by every member of the Confederacy at will.”

In a letter to his sister, he wrote… “With all my devotion to the Union and the feeling of loyalty and duty of an American citizen, I have not been able to make up my mind to raise my hand against my relatives, my children, my home. I have, therefore, resigned my commission in the Army, and, save in defense of my native state, with the sincere hope that my poor services may never be needed, I hope I may never be called on to draw my sword.”

“What a cruel thing is war; to separate and destroy families and friends, and mar the purest joys and happiness God has granted us in this world; to fill our hearts with hatred instead of love for our neighbours, and to devastate the fair face of this beautiful world!”

“My heart bleeds at the death of every one of our gallant men.”

“So far from engaging in a war to perpetuate slavery, I am rejoiced that slavery is abolished. I believe it will be greatly for the interests of the South. So fully am I satisfied of this, as regards Virginia especially, that I would cheerfully have lost all I have lost by the war, and have suffered all I have suffered, to have this object attained.”

“The march of Providence is so slow, and our desires so impatient; the work of progress is so immense and our means of aiding it so feeble; the life of humanity is so long, that of the individual so brief, that we often see only the ebb of the advancing wave and are thus discouraged. It is history that teaches us to hope.

From the Encyclopedia Britannica:

Although history knows him mostly as “the Rebel General,” Lee was a disbeliever in slavery and secession and was devoutly attached to the republic that his father and kinsmen had helped bring into being. He was, moreover, very advanced in his rejection of war as a resolution of political conflicts—a fact that has been almost entirely ignored by posterity. As a U.S. Army colonel in Texas during the secession crises of late 1860, he wrote, “[If] strife and civil war are to take the place of brotherly love and kindness, I shall mourn for my country and for the welfare and progress of mankind.”

“It is history that teaches us to hope.” Why would we want to erase it?

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Filed under America, Culture Wars, current events, General Observations, History

Five Years Later: Are We STILL Strong? (Remembering terror in Chattanooga)

Five years ago, today, a man drove around in his convertible Mustang and shot up my hometown. His goal was to kill as many servicemen as possible, so first he drove by the recruiting office on Lee Highway and unleashed a hail of bullets into the glass-fronted building. The “No Weapons” sticker applied to both serviceman and citizen alike, so no one was able to stop him before he drove off.

Photo credit: The Telegraph, UK

I stood here and wept as I took this picture. Note the green marks where spent shell casings lay.

The next place he went to was the Marine Corp/Navy Reserve training facility on Amnicola Highway, right between the community college so many of us have attended (where my youngest daughter will attend this year) and the riverfront bike trails and pavilions so many of us have enjoyed.

There the Muslim terrorist – for that is what he was, and that is what he intended on being – once again began firing on unarmed Marines and sailors with his high-powered semi-automatic rifle. At least one Marine had unofficially brought his personal sidearm with him that day and tried to stop the terrorist, but to no avail. Before long four Marines lay dead.

(Left to Right) Sgt. Carson Holmquist, Staff Sgt. David Wyatt, Gunnery Sgt. Thomas Sullivan, and Lance Cpl. Squire K. Wells

A Navy sailor would later succumb to his wounds.

Petty Officer 2nd Class Randall Smith

The local police in Chattanooga sped to the location where the terrorist was committing murder and engaged him with their own weapons.

Bullets from the conflict left holes in buildings as far away as the Coca-Cola offices across the highway and not even in view of the firefight. But before long, the self-proclaimed jihadist lay dead, too.

But Chattanooga survived.

Within the hour my city was the focus of world-wide attention. Terrorism had come to the South, and it was worth noting.

But what was also worth noting was the righteous indignation of our citizens, and the flickering flames that dared the enemy of freedom to fan us into a raging fire! We were shocked by what happened, but we were far from terrorized; we Tennesseans aren’t the type to retreat from a fight!

It wasn’t long before the first American flags started appearing at the two places where gunfire was exchanged.

In no time there were hundreds, and then there were thousands. Flags and mementos too numerable to count turned into defiant monuments to those who died protecting our freedom.

Tents were erected to shelter the thousands upon thousands of flags, letters, and memorabilia from the weather.

It wasn’t long before black, white, and every other color and faith united arm-in-arm as family, as Chattanoogans… as Americans.

In short, terror didn’t have it’s desired effect; it had the opposite!

……………………..

Skip forward 5 years. What happened to the unity?

Unfortunately, we are now divided more than ever. What the terrorist couldn’t do with his guns, politicians and the media, with weapons of jealousy, anger, lies, and hate, are succeeding.

Racism and accusations of racism, the erasing of our history by those with no understanding of history, and constant fear and suspicion over the spread of a virus are shattering our Union. Unconquerable from without, we are being destroyed from within.

Chattanooga, are you still strong?

Then let us come together once again as Americans, or else the “fallen five” will have fallen in vain.

#Noogastrong, #Chattanoogastrong

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