October 1, 2002
An Open Letter to Our President, Members of Congress, and the American People:
God works in mysterious ways, turning tragedy into blessings. From the rubble of the Twin Towers have come countless stories of faith renewed, selflessness reborn, love of country and family rekindled, broken ties reconnected, heroism rediscovered—even new life, with a new “baby boom.”
And we who call ourselves followers of Christ Jesus, the supreme tragedy of September 11 provides the supreme opportunity to do the highest of God’s work—a work so important, so central to His divine teaching, that virtually all Christian denominations, from Orthodox to Latter Day Saints, pray for it every day. A most difficult work that God’s Son Himself unequivocally emplored us to do —in equal measure as he emplored our Father in Heaven: “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.”
Mr. President, you are in my prayers and in the prayers of millions of people every day, along with your administration, members of Congress, the armed forces, and all civil authorities. We ask that God grant you the wisdom to make decisions for which generations will thank you; humility to remember that the true source of all strength comes not from man; and His divine angels to deliver His message of guidance to you.
Of all your many advisors, Mr. President, please listen most of all to the inner voice inside your heart, for that Voice is the Holy Spirit, and His guidance will never steer you wrong.
Before bombing Iraq, Mr. President and members of Congress, I ask you please to consider, just for a moment, that terrorist acts and suicide bombings are the symptoms of the disease, not the disease itself. We must not condone violence. The terrorists are without a doubt hatefilled and by their acts are hateful monsters. We must not allow the violence done to us to turn us into hateful monsters, too. Instead, we must rise above the pain and suffering to see the bigger picture, rise “above the battleground” as A Course In Miracles says, and allow God to use this tragic event to truly re-make ourselves and our world into a better, more moral, and truly safer, kinder and gentler place for all.
Assuredly I say to you, Mr. President, a preemptive strike will not bring peace; it will bring only more deaths of innocent people, more hatred, more violence. Such a choice will only broaden the ranks of the despondent, strengthen the resolve of the hopeless to martyr themselves in despair, and ultimately cause the deaths of more innocents— including, in generations to come, more Americans.
I urge our leaders to proceed with reason and not haste. Do not succumb to the temptation to strike in anger, but wait for the anger to subside. God knows how difficult it is to forgive. When asked how to do it, Christ said “forgive seven times seventy,” if necessary. However long it takes.
Treat the disease of terrorism and not just its symptoms by showing compassion for innocent children with the lifting of sanctions and feeding the hungry, by actively listening to the disenfranchised and abused and acting accordingly, by supporting the cause of human rights, and by condemning human rights abuses wherever they occur.
The only way to wage war on terrorism effectively—to truly eliminate it from the world and regain true security for all—is by going to its root. Appeal to love , not hate; seek justice for all, not revenge. Revenge is what motivated these terrorists. Let us not become like them. It is in our economic and security interests to respond to this terrible situation wisely and morally—for those alive today and for generations to come.
Perhaps never before in history has there been such an opportunity to do God’s work in a more visible and demonstrative way. Not since the Emperor Constantine legalized Christianity in the Roman Empire has a civil authority had such an opportunity to do God’s work. And certainly not since Mahatma Gandhi led thousands to turn the other cheek in South Africa in the last century has a world leader had the chance to rise so visibly to side with God.
God gave us the gift of free will. You have been given much worldly authority. I pray you remember that there is a greater Authority, the Author of Mankind, who asked us to forgive each other and pray even for our enemies—because He loves us and wants us to be free from grievances so that we may do His work in loving and caring for one another. We are all “one nation, under God,” and “In God We Trust.”
Let us all rise to the task.
Laurel A. Kashinn
p.s. I am a small business owner, freelance writer, Orthodox Christian, wife and mother of a 7 month-old daughter.