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Daily News and Prayer is inspired by The Christian Science Monitor, one of the most important (and most underappreciated) newspapers in the world. Posts are usually (but not always) responses to articles in the Monitor about events and trends that call for prayer.

The blog's aim is to help strengthen humanity's collective confidence that we can triumph over even the most deeply entrenched evils, in ourselves and in the world.

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Violence and government

The world has always been full of thugs and murderers, but it still shocks us when they act with the tacit or explicit blessing of governments or international institutions, or governmental aspirants.

Two weeks ago the office of the chief medical examiner of Washington, DC announced that a former associate of Russian President Vladimir Putin was beaten to death when he was in the city in November. This is not the first time a perceived Putin opponent has been killed (although the circumstances and culprit in this case are not yet clear). And the day before, a protester at a rally in North Carolina for US presidential candidate Donald Trump was punched in the face by a member of the crowd. Trump, although saying he does not condone violence at his rallies, essentially excused it by attributing the assault to the passion of his followers.

Putin himself didn’t do the killing; Trump himself didn’t punch the protester. But both leaders have created climates of such intense emotion or personal loyalty that violence is apparently seen by some as acceptable in the pursuit of the goals the leaders represent.

Those goals – essentially, making Russia and America great again – are not bad in and of themselves. After communism stalled and disappeared in 1989, millions of Russians lost confidence that life would get better. Many have found hope and stability in Putin. Millions of Americans have felt their own hope and stability threatened by political, economic and social changes, and they have turned in desperation to aspirants for the office of President – Trump as well as others – who promise hope, in part, through aggressive and sometimes violent actions toward perceived enemies.

There is an element of fear in all this but also, admittedly, of pride. Actor Clint Eastwood captured both in his ad for Chrysler that aired at halftime of the Super Bowl in 2012:

People are out of work and they’re hurting and they’re all wondering what they’re going to do to make a comeback and we’re all scared because this isn’t a game. . . .

This country [the United States] can’t be knocked out with one punch. We get right back up again and when we do the world’s going to hear the roar of our engines.

And as for Russia, its people have a powerful history and immense talent. To many Russians, the stability and confidence brought by Putin is leading them to a rich future.

But the caution of the Bible, in the book of James, is worth noting: “...the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.” A lot of people are praying to see clearly what to do at this point, whom to support and where to turn for hope. The Bible’s simple assurance is encouraging: “I will overturn, overturn, overturn it: and it shall be no more, until he come whose right it is; and I will give it him.” The present shaky ground will stabilize.

Putin, Trump and others may be well meaning, and they may be reading accurately the fear and anger of millions. But over and above those millions, over and above us all, is the powerful love of God.


Reader Comments (1)

"The world has always been full of thugs and murderers..."
"Putin, Trump and others may be well meaning..."

Well meaning thugs and murders? Clearly, you are confused.

January 7, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterRyan F. Mercer

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