“Killing for the Greater Good”

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“Killing for the Greater Good”

It is a sentiment that, unfortunately, may be gaining traction in America.

On April 19, 1995, the worst terrorist attack on American soil (to that point) ripped apart the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City. One hundred and sixty-eight people died in the blast and almost 700 were wounded. Fifteen years later, is a larger wave of terrorism and violent civil unrest headed America’s way?

Former President Bill Clinton believes the answer is yes.

Mr. Clinton is warning that parallels between the conditions before the Oklahoma City bombing and today are many and ominous. Like a decade and a half ago, unemployment is rising, people are out of work, and uncertainty is causing anxiety. The rise of “identity politics,” the “militia movements,” “right-wing talk radio,” and most recently the blogosphere, is taking its toll on the American psyche, he warned.

In a speech given on April 15, President Clinton said the impact of political attacks could be dangerously amplified because economic upheaval has left many Americans frightened and suffering. “A lot of people are just raw,” he said. It is potentially a dangerous time. Politicians, radio personalities and political movements like the tea-partiers should take responsibility for what they say, he said.

Left-wing political commentators, such as Time columnist Joe Klein, charge that right-wing personalities such as Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck are close to being seditious—that they are instigating insurrection against the government.

Right-wing personalities claim that the government is destroying the Constitution and working to implement socialism, and that people need to stand up to protect their liberties.

America is more divided than ever. The Wall Street Journal wrote on March 8 that civil unrest was more likely than most people want to believe: “Now, contrary to what you may read in the New York Times or the Huffington Post, the ugliness could come from anywhere—the left, the center or the right. Almost everyone in America thinks they’ve been betrayed (emphasis mine throughout).

There are plenty of left-wing activists who feel let down by their people in Congress and the White House. Gitmo is still open. The public option is dead.Activist/filmmaker Michael Moore, for one, has had enough. “It’s embarrassing, it’s disgusting, and I won’t have it anymore,” he said recently, “I’m sick of them.”Many at our public universities are also unhappy. UC Berkeley is back to its glory days with protests, a building occupation and a full-blown riot.Thursday saw a national “Day of Action to Defend Public Education” in which thousands of university students—a few violently—defended their right to an education paid for by other people.On the political center and right, of course, the fire of betrayal also burns. But it’s a different kind of betrayal—they see it as Washington forsaking the values of the nation’s Founding Fathers. This is the tea party anger, the Glenn Beck anger.It’s the anger of Americans who still believe ours is a nation of property rights. They see politicians as having made it a nation of entitlements.Don’t dismiss it as some kooky extremism. This anger is much broader than even the millions who follow Rush Limbaugh or Fox News. Think tens of millions.

“What will happen?” asks the Journal’s Evan Newmark. “[T]he answer is I don’t know. Nobody does. And that makes me more than a little unsettled.”

Do you feel unsettled? Can you feel tension? Is there something different in the general feel of America today?

After Timothy McVeigh bombed the Oklahoma City Federal building, the unrepentant terrorist told journalists Lou Michel and Dan Herbeck that, “Throughout the history of mankind, people have killed for what they believed was the greater good … and it’s accepted. Sometimes killing is accepted.”

According to McVeigh, he was just killing for the “greater good.” Yet evidently, more and more people—even some who are well meaning—are beginning to feel this way.

Last week, two Trumpet readers pointed out incidents that may indicate just how pervasive this attitude may be becoming. One reader mentioned that when she was having her car fixed at the mechanic shop, one of the people in the garage started talking about how America was headed toward a revolution. This person said that he had his guns and bullets and was just waiting for it to start. The other reader related how he had hired two professional tree pruners to do some work on his acreage. Both tree pruners started talking about how this country was headed toward civil war. They too vocalized the sentiment of “bring it on.” They had their guns, and said the sooner it started the better—that way America could get back on track. Both of the professional tree pruners were older men in their 60s—not your typical reckless teenager. And they were dead serious.

America is literally sitting on tons of gunpowder.

On March 1, Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan stirred up a crowd of 20,000. During his speech he sent a message to President Obama, criticizing him for not doing enough for those who didn’t receive bank bailouts:

When we can’t feed our families what do you tell us? Thou shalt not steal? When survival is the first law of nature? What are you going to do when black people and poor people erupt in the streets of America?It’s coming! Will you use the federal troops, Mr. President, against the poor?

It is not just black-empowerment leaders like Farrakhan who don’t trust the government anymore.

A recent poll conducted by the Pew Research Center found that “By almost every conceivable measure Americans are less positive and more critical of government these days.” The center said a perfect storm of conditions was destroying faith in government. Of the series of surveys which covered more than 2,500 people, just 22 percent felt they could trust the government in Washington “almost always” or “most of the time.”

Social conditions are clearly deteriorating. But is civil war really a possibility?

Historian Niall Ferguson believes so. Last year, he made headlines by predicting extended financial hardship, even civil war, before the end of the Great Recession. He also said that “Policy makers and forecasters who see a recovery next year are probably lying to boost public confidence.” Around that time, the Trumpet wrote that America’s leaders were making a grand miscalculation. And that they were setting the country up for full-scale disillusionment. According to Ferguson:

There will be blood, in the sense that a crisis of this magnitude is bound to increase political as well as economic [conflict]. It is bound to destabilize some countries. It will cause civil wars to break out, that have been dormant. It will topple governments that were moderate and bring in governments that are extreme. These things are pretty predictable.

These are not the warnings of some unknown crackpot analyst or a doomsayer. They are the words of a world-renowned Harvard professor of history. His predictions are simply based upon years of detailed study and the resultant understanding of how the world works and has always worked.

More importantly, they align with the words of prophecy as written in your Bible. Look it up yourself. The Prophet Isaiah tells us about the terrible times headed America’s way: “Ah sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, a seed of evildoers, children that are corrupters: they have forsaken the Lord, they have provoked the Holy One of Israel unto anger, they are gone away backward. Why should ye be stricken any more? ye will revolt more and more: the whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint” (Isaiah 1:4-5). (For proof this passage is talking specifically about the United States, request a free copy of The United States and Britain in Prophecy.)

Isaiah says “the whole head is sick.” God is saying the power structure that leads America is sick! And the “whole heart [is] faint.” Neither the leaders nor their followers have the will or the strength to get to the roots of civil unrest, or terrorist attacks and solve them once and for all. Their “heart” is so weak and unhealthy that God is saying the governmental system is about to “faint,” or collapse!

“From the sole of the foot even unto the head there is no soundness in it; but wounds, and bruises, and putrifying sores: they have not been closed, neither bound up, neither mollified with ointment. Your country is desolate, your cities are burned with fire …” (verses 6-7).

This is a terrifying passage! Because of the sin these nations are laden with, and because of the weakness of our leaders, we will experience desolation and burning. In other words, this scripture warns that race riots and terrorism are here to stay, and will only get worse.

“Killing for the greater good” may result in lots of killing, but very little good.