Last night a little white cat sneaked into our yard. Our yard is large (nearly two acres) and almost all of the fence that surrounds it is covered by honey suckle vines which provide a haven for various varieties of God's little creatures. This must be why cats and rabbits sneak onto the grounds even though we have three dogs on patrol. Because the nearby forest harbors skunks, groundhogs, coyotes, foxes, and occasionally, bears, I usually check for unwanted visitors prior to letting the dogs out for their evening pre-bed caper. While they are out, I listen for any signs of confrontation. On the night of the white cat incursion, the dogs began barking frantically like they do when they have some unfortunate beast cornered, so I rushed out to investigate.

But for my intrusion, the feline trespass might have been a fatal mistake; however, through threats and bribery I persuaded the murder-minded hounds that treats for the tummy were a better deal than scratches on the nose. The cat was then safe, and we hunters went to the kitchen. Sometime in the night, the little white cat found her way out of the yard, and, I hope, back to the safety of her home. I doubt if she will return.

Speaking of fortunate interventions, it is the eve of 9-11 and I cannot help wondering why there was no similar intervention for the nearly three thousand people who lost their lives and why unnumbered thousands of friends and loved ones have had to endure empty, hollow places in their lives from that day till now. My wife and I were there when smoke still rose from the rubble. We worked in one of the Salvation Army canteens to help feed the workers who searched the wreckage for survivors. We read the letters written in agony and placed on the bulletin boards nearby. Heartbreaking! Today, I contemplate: why could not Someone have intervened to save these innocent thousands as I saved the innocent little white cat?

I cannot speak for God, but for those of us who do believe in God, this question of intervention calls for some observations. America's founding fathers believed in divine partnership in national affairs. Pertaining to the necessity of a divinely inspired national character, the following quote from John Adams, second U.S. president, well sums up the thoughts of our founders.

In 1798, Adams said, "We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Avarice, ambition, revenge, or gallantry, would break the strongest cords of our Constitution as a whale goes through a net. Our constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other." Samuel Adams, American Revolutionary leader, put it even more plainly in 1778, "Religion and good morals are the only solid foundation of public liberty and happiness."

Obviously, our founders believed in the formula, Divine Guidance begets Divine Protection. Perhaps we would see more divine protection if we allowed more divine guidance. In Jeremiah 18:6-10, God told Jeremiah that Israel was in divine hands-that Israel was clay and God the potter, underscoring the need for nations to submit to God. God both builds and destroys nations. How could a tiny rag-tag Colonial Army defeat what was then the greatest army in the world without God's intervention? The same God would be more inclined to have our backs today if we, like our founding fathers, were disposed to live by Godly principles.

If America continues treading the downward path of hateful behavior toward political opponents, of destroying innocent life, of trashing family values, of debasing our bodies, and of sanctuary lawlessness, not only will God not protect us, but we, as outlaws tend to do, will fall headlong down the slippery slope of our own demise.

As bad as 9-11 was, America the Beautiful loses many more lives yearly through turf wars, drug related activities, suicides, drunk driving, uncurbed indulgence, and hostility toward law enforcement. If America wishes to be made genuinely great again, she needs to get right with God. Safe passage is infused in the familiar statement, "In God we trust."

DeWitt Clinton is a resident of Dunbar.

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