Heart Cry for America, Part One

Feb 22, 2024 | America, Flashpoints

The Lord has called me to be a watchman. Some watchmen stand atop a watchtower: my own watching is done from a basement with a viewless window! Nevertheless, I roam far and wide in my watchings, and the scale and intensity of developments in the world in these last few turbulent months have kept me at my post, watching and praying, and inviting others to join me in interceding for the nations.

I am especially concerned for America at this time, with all the strange loops and lurches it is undergoing. My prayer is simple: to ask the Lord to have His way in America, to make Himself known so that He might be honoured and loved as He is, without things that most emphatically do not come from Him triumphing.

Shaping that longing into words, however, has proved anything but simple. There are so many competing and contradictory factors bound up in the mix that this article has been drafted and redrafted many times in search of words that will empower us to address these issues with prayers that are stirred by the heart of God.

Different intercessors will have widely varying persepctive and very different assignments. Your beliefs and calling may even be at complete variance with mine; that is more than fine. The particular thrust I have felt concerns the fact that I believe we are witnessing a great idolatry being carved ever deeper into the national psyche as the result of present developments within the new-look Republican party. Mega-MAGA assumptions and prejudices, have combined with great resentments towards non-Americans who are seeking a new life in the nation and are creating a truly volatile situation.

Take for instance, as an example of that the fact that the Republican Governor of Texas Greg Abbott has seized a city park on the US-Mexico border and has reportedly directed the Texas National Guard to impede federal agents from patrolling the area to fulfil their duties as the Federal Border patrol(!)

Two of the main factors that are snaking their way through all these matters is first of all a growing intolerance to anyone and anything that does not follow their own line of reasoning – and secondly an apparently ever-growing gullibility caused in so small part by the reluctance to consult any news media except their own partisan channels, all of which is inclining multitudes to believe the most outlandish and totally unproven conspiracy theories.

Don’t expect, for example, to find most of the conservative media outlets reporting the fact that the Dominion voting machines, that Donald Trump claimed lost him the election, were actually deemed entirely safe – or that a colossal fine of nearly $800,000,000 was levied against Fox News for falsely claiming otherwise. This level of deception (it is too generous to term it mere naivety) urgently needs identifying and challenging, because it is the refusal to look facts in the face that lies at the heart of so much of the intolerance that is increasingly characterising (and perhaps almost defining?) the face of modern America.

An important rider would be timely at this point. We are not seeking to take ‘sides’ here; this is not about Democrats or Republicans but about the spirit that desires to rule a nation. Sensitive voters will find much to trouble them on both sides of the political spectrum.

Lord, we see, just a fraction of a fraction of all the strife that party spirit has long engendered in America; but You see it all and can take no break from the sights and sounds of it. Father, the anger and hatred are systemic and ever increasing, and will not melt or drain away unless You do such things as cause people to face the reality of them in a new way. We call on You to make the moves that lead not to the triumph of any party spirit, but to an awakening of Your Spirit and for Your glory.

Various thoughts on the American political scene

As we look across the American political scene at the moment, it is not hard to find scenarios at work that are seriously abrasive, with few that feel good let alone courteous. As the former senior Republican representative Liz Cheney declared to Jake Tapper in CNN’s “State of the Union”  “We have to take seriously the extent to which you’ve now got a Putin wing of the Republican Party. I believe the issue this election cycle is making sure that the Putin wing of the Republican Party does not take over the West Wing of the White House.”

Liz Cheney is considering running for President herself in an attempt to split the Donald Trump vote, but it is important for those of us who desire to intercede effectively recognise that something far deeper is at work here than candidates simply eyeing up the possibility of their sitting behind the desk in the Oval Office. It is the spirit in which things are being said and done, as well as the matters that go unreported that are so profoundly disturbing.

Father, you have blessed the world more than words can say or express by allowing democracy – however imperfectly practised – to lie at the core of American values in practice. We give You thanks for the many years in which for which this has been true.

We pray now that, in Your mercy, You will keep this nation from losing its inheritance, so that it become the nation You planned for it to be.

Joe Biden

In what currently looks like being a re-run of the 2020 election, Donald Trump and Joe Biden are once again opponents for the White House. The Democratic party apparently had no stomach and no convincing candidate to field as a younger candidate, despite people’s clear concerns about Biden entering upon a second term in office. Although Biden has a great deal of political experience in understanding the Soviet-Russian mindset, and personal relationships with many world leaders, the American electorate as a whole are tired of his geographical gaffes and verbal blunders. (I sympathise with those – I wouldn’t last two minutes in the face of the world’s press!) But people fear electing a president who may be on the brink of succumbing to dementia.

As it happens, a specialist in these matters, takes an entirely different line: that it actually Donald Trump’s cognitive decline that is much more apparent than Biden’s. People who have known Biden for decades claim that he has always been prone to get names wrong, but that his actually thinking processes are still intact. If that is so, then all to the good. But wherever the truth of that matter lies, Biden is widely perceived as suffering the experience of many an older driver: failing to recognize that they really are no longer safe to be on the roads.

It is certainly true that people in high places, whether in politics, business or the Church, are often exceedingly reluctant to walk away from the power and positions that they have worked hard and long to obtain. Franklin Roosevelt, for instance, would have done well to step down before his election for a record fourth term: he died shortly after taking office. Ronald Reagan was likewise no longer in full command of his faculties by the time he left the White House.

Protected and cocooned by his trusted inner staff, Joe Biden is safe from any rival candidate challenge now that the list has been formally closed. No mechanism exists to replace a sitting President who doesn’t want to vacate his seat. Could he be induced to step aside if the polls were running heavily against him by the time of the Democratic Conference in August? That would leave very little time indeed to offer another candidate – and voters appear to be equally as wary of the Vice President, Kamala Harris.

Donald Trump

If America does not choose to re-elect Joe Biden as President, then there remains Donald Trump. Nicky Haley would have been a viable candidate as the Republican presidential nominee, and would have commanded a much more substantial lead over Joe Biden then Donald Trump could ever muster, but she represents an old-style Republicanism that in no way matches the mood of Trump’s rocket-fuel MAGA-inspired support base.

As we shared in this article on trends and currents as far back as January 2017, Trump is widely perceived by those who know him to be a man with two primary motivations, by far and away the greater of which is by far and away the pursuit of wealth. The potential loss of his New York empire in the aftermath of recent court judgements represents a serious blow to both his prestige and finances, and is not in any way calculated to lessen his wrath or to moderate his volatility.

Riding hard on the heels of this fundamental and misplaced idolatry, comes the love of power. Despite having left office four years ago, Trump’s influence remains huge in Congress, adding to the partisan dysfunctionality of that legislative body. It is especially painful to see how this is playing out when it comes to blocking the provision of supplies that are so absolutely crucial to Ukraine right now.

The central organs of democracy just about survived Trump’s first highly unpredictable and belligerent presidential term – but they might well not be able to weather the still stronger storms that a second term would bring, given that his heart is set on taking revenge against those who have, as he sees it, ‘balked’ or opposed him in any way. Especially because he does not have to worry about re-election this time round.

I am also very deeply concerned by the very strong backing the evangelical church offers Trump, a matter we are just beginning to look at in this article. Here is the foundation stone on which so much of the pro Trump phenomenon relies. It has assumed astonishing proportions, to the point where people are more concerned with the benefits than with looking too closely, if at all, at the character of the man making the promises. Just about the biggest mistake one can make in ministry is to kowtow to a person’s gifting if their character has been shown to be suspect. There is a very great deal to ponder here: and time is running short for doing so.

Father we give You these two men, neither of whom, as the polls remind us constantly, would the majority of Americans have wished to see competing for re-election or to run the nation in the years immediately ahead. Be Lord between them we pray.

Congress

When New York’s Republican Congressman George Santos was required to leave office as a result of numerous corrupt practices, it triggered what we in the UK would call a by-election. During the campaign to replace him, Mike Johnson and his team sought votes on the basis of ‘trialling’ some of the key Republican arguments they intend to push in the November election, chief of which are immigration and abortion. (That particular election was happening of course in a city where at least 23.1% of all pregnancies ended in an abortion in 2021. (New York has no time limits whatsoever for abortions to take place; they can happen legally right up until birth.  in other words, Pro-life Republican pressure was never going to convince many here.)

Despite Republican efforts to discredit the Democrats for being weak on matters relating to immigration, the election itself resulted in a substantial Democrat ‘flip’ (retake). I would suggest that this was in no small part due to the electorate beginning to wake up to the fact that the Democrats actually were prepared to make hefty concessions on this matter to accommodate the Republican line, but that it was the Republicans who refused to let it pass in Congress, in their expressed wish to insist on an ever-stronger linkages between aid for Israel and Ukraine being tied to tighter immigration controls.

Extrapolating backwards, we could take this to mean that the electorate is becoming frustrated by the actions of Republican extremists in Congress who avoid governing or passing bills that matter. There are so many challenging and distressing issues here, particularly when it comes to immigration. It simply isn’t good enough to think only in terms of ‘issues’ instead of seeing the real people and precious lives behind the statistics.

If recent elections are anything to go by, there is some cause to hope that some who still deny the outcome of the 2020 election will lose their seats, but there is less than no room for complacency. Sadly, more and more moderate Republicans are unwilling to seek re-election because the atmosphere in the Republican-led Congress is proving so toxic. By current poll predictions, however, it is not inconceivable that Trump could emerge as President, but without a working majority in either Congress or Senate. It would then be a question of how much leverage he is able to exert in seeking to bypass the institutions of state.

Father, we see a country that is increasingly tearing itself apart, and that is reaping the divisions it has sown. Forgive us, Lord, for being slow to call out evil words and practices when they are at work. In Your mercy, grant that people may find sufficient cause for unity, and for common sense to prevail over extremist views. May that which is good and godly not be swept away. In Jesus name.

2 Comments

  1. Heather Bradshaw

    I am watching a gripping Netflix series at the moment called ‘Designated Survivor’, where the worst happens and the American Capital is attacked by a terrorist group, destroying the President and many of the current administration. This then means that the ‘Designated Survivor’, who is shut away in a secure vault in case a disaster happens and the Government is destroyed or rendered powerless while the state of the Nation address takes place, actually does become the President. But he is an independent, which has never happened since Abraham Lincoln, so has no partisan loyalties and is refreshingly free from the grip of partisan politics. He is a man of integrity and complete transparency, and makes decisions on what he genuinely believes is the right way forward, not because he is pandering to public opinion or the bias of the main parties.
    Obviously this is fiction, but it has been really exciting and encouraging to see Tom Kirkman, the Designated Survivor who was not even in the cabinet or a Democrat/Republican, develop and move forward in a way that shows his total dedication to serve and improve the lives of all Americans. Of course he is not perfect and makes mistakes, but he steadfastly refuses to become what the image makers would have him become. If you have not seen it, it is a wonderful demonstration of the humble example Christ left for leaders, and although Jesus is not mentioned at any stage, or that he is a Christian, he is the closest example of a genuine Christian in leadership you could wish for… Oh that more world leaders could be like that! But it is a heavy burden to bear and takes a huge toll on whoever holds that role….

    • RWeston

      The fictitious Tom Kirkman was the first independent to hold the office of President since George Washington.

      There has been some of Liz Cheney running for office as an independent to try to split the Trump vote – or even Nikki Haley herself, but Hayley ruled that option out just a few days ago.

      American politics is certainly in need of something new and more invigorating though!

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