Last Tuesday, I attended a prayer vigil in Long County that was called by Sheriff Craig Nobles and held at the courthouse in Ludowici.
The gathering had a mixture of all races, occupations, sexes, ages, Christian denominations and backgrounds. The one thing all who spoke had in common was that they professed a belief in Jesus Christ as their Savior. All of the speakers focused on unity, the importance of the family, educating our kids, supporting law enforcement and public-safety workers, and prayed to God for healing in our country. There was no talk of supporting any group, no talk of gun control or pro-gun rights, no talk of different socioeconomic classes or any talk of divisiveness — only talk of unity and the need for Jesus. It was a great night for Long County, and everyone appeared to leave with hope for the county and country.
Then on Sunday, what do we all see flash across our televisions? We see that six more police officers were ambushed and gunned down in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Three were killed and one was in critical condition, as of the writing of this column. Boom, just like that, all the good feelings, all the unity, all the hope, everything positive, was gone with one news segment.
At around 5 p.m. that day, President Barack Obama gave a news conference to the nation. As I watched the announcement, I wondered what he would say. Would he speak out in support of Black Lives Matter? Would he speak out on the need for stricter gun control? Would he talk about the need to support law enforcement? Would he politicize some issue to help elect a Democrat in the next presidential election? What would he do this time?
What our president did was the exact the same thing that former President George W. Bush did after the terrorist attack on New York on Sept. 11, 2001. Obama condemned the attack, said that there was no justifying it, offered federal support to the city, offered prayers for the victims and their families, asked politicians not to politicize the shooting and called for the country to unify. That was it, nothing more. He did what should have been done when these police attacks first began.
I will be the first to admit, I have very rarely agreed with Obama on issues, but in this case, I agree wholeheartedly.
As I’ve stated in the past, behind our faith and family, we all need to be Americans first — period. We all need to do like Long County did on Tuesday and turn away from our sin and pray to God to bless our country. We all need to support our law enforcement and respect the authority that they have been given to protect and serve us. We all need to educate our kids on the values that our country was founded on. We all need to support the family and do all we can to help keep our marriages together. We also need to invite all kinds of people to our churches. In short, we need to do what our Founding Fathers envisioned when they put our country together 240 years ago.
I pray that I am wrong, but there probably will be more unprovoked attacks on police officers. But all of us need to do everything we can to help prevent that. After 9/11, the whole country came together under Bush and prayed, even those who disagreed with him. Unfortunately that unity didn’t last.
I hope Obama continues his recent message of unity for the country and support for law enforcement until he exits office in January. His actions won’t change some minds because there will always be evil in this world until Christ comes back. But his actions and words will affect many, and they will have either a positive or negative effect on some people.
But it’s not up to only the president, it is also up to us.
Let us all pray to Jesus for guidance, and maybe we all will turn back to him in our country, our courthouses, our schools, our churches, our families and in our lives.