By Doug Newman
September 3, 2005
(NOT FOR PUBLICATION ON ANY OTHER SITE.)
To my Friends, Fans and Supporters in Cyberspace:
I have notified a few of you recently that I will be laying low as far as my web page goes. Herewith is a more detailed explanation.
About a week ago, I sat down to pound out another column and I realized I needed to take some time out. This is not a farewell. Indeed, I have seen people write their farewells to cyber-punditry, make a lot of people think that this is it and, in due time, make a comeback.
Like the Apostle Paul, I like to think I have fought a good fight and that I have kept the faith. However, by no means have I finished the race. Indeed, I will run this race until I draw my last breath. Time will reveal all the details.
Some people whose opinions I respect – and who have the fruit on their tree to back up their words -- have persuaded me that I need to curtail a few things temporarily so I can get a few other things in order. The opportunity cost of maintaining this web page has been deterioration in other areas of my life.
Financially, physically and spiritually, I have been in far greater crises than I am now. However, I need to make changes in each of these departments. Financially, I need to find a new job and eliminate debts that are getting uglier every month. Physically, I need to drop, oh, 25 pounds. Spiritually, I have been through some significant turmoil since last October, and I need to refocus.
Pray for me if you like, but don’t feel sorry for me. Things are happening in my life that I had sworn I would not let happen. I need to do something about them.
In the eighth round of his November 1980 boxing match with Sugar Ray Leonard, Roberto Duran waved his glove in the air, and walked toward his corner saying “No mas!” (No more!) The referee asked Duran what he was doing and Duran again proclaimed “No mas! No mas!” Leonard was declared the winner by a technical knockout.
With this in mind, I am going to proclaim No Mas! for the time being, and stop writing new columns for the next several months. No, I will not be dropping off the face of the earth. Yes, I will still answer e-mails and make a few updates to my page here and there. However, something in my life has to give. Sadly, cyber-journalism is it.
Duran would eventually come back and win two more world titles. I, too, will be back.
I probably could not have picked a worse week to make this decision. With this in mind, let me comment on the tragic aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
The devastation is far more profound than that of the September 11 attacks. On that horrific day we saw the destruction of a few buildings in Lower Manhattan and part of the Pentagon as well as a plane crash in western Pennsylvania. 3000 people perished and did so quickly.
The devastation from Hurricane Katrina covers 90,000 square miles. An NBC reporter recently returned from Iraq commented that, in a war zone, there are pockets of devastation, whereas the devastation from Katrina is uninterrupted. New Orleans, a city of almost 500,000 people became a ghost town in a few days’ time. As I write this, almost 2000 people are confirmed dead and 29,000 are missing. The estimated death toll is expected to hit 10,000. Many of these have died or will die slowly. The Big Easy -- I hate that term -- is now, to steal a phrase from college football announcer Keith Jackson, the Big Ugly.
The survivors need our prayers in a very big way.
Yes, other hurricanes have been more deadly, but none has had the economic impact. Look at the upheaval in the energy industry. Consider that now, for all intents and purposes, everyone in New Orleans is now unemployed. They are all relocating for the forseeable future. Consider their need for employment wherever they end up; consider the unpaid bills; consider the education of their children.
Also, none of these hurricanes occurred in the age of mega-government. The political nastiness has not even begun in earnest.
If anyone wants to move back to the affected area, I cannot stop them. However, do not let it happen on the taxpayers’ dime. No lender will issue a mortgage on a building without an insurance policy in place. No insurer in their right mind would issue anything less than an outrageously expensive insurance policy on anything in the area. I do not even want to speculate on the area's future.
On the Saturday before everything hit the fan, I attended a Bible prophecy conference. Everyone’s ears perked up when the last speaker, Chuck Missler, stated that America was in for some serious judgment from God. While we all knew that a hurricane was about to strike near New Orleans, none of us put two and two together on this one.
This may sound horrifically insensitive, but I cannot help thinking that the devastation left by Katrina is an example of this judgment.
Much has been made of America’s sinfulness. We abort over one million babies a year. Our nation is awash in pornography and sexual recklessness. The divorce rate is well over 50 percent even in Christian churches. We have more drug addicts, more drugs and more dangerous drugs than ever.
However, there is one sin to which we need to devote far more attention. This is the issue of America’s hubris, or excessive pride. Proverbs 16:18 tells us that “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.”
There is nothing wrong with the sort of pride that comes with, say, hitting your goal of losing 25 pounds or your daughter bringing home her first “A” in math.
Indeed, Americans ought to be proud of the form of government put in place by the Founders. There is no doubt in my mind that, because it so severely limits the scope of the federal government, it is the best form of government in human history.
Our rejection of this form of government – the key turning points were in 1861, 1913 and 1933 – has led us to have an unlimited faith in the power of government not only at home, but also abroad. The Founders wanted no part of Europe’s wars. Jefferson, for example, espoused a philosophy of “Peace, commerce and honest friendship with all nations; entangling alliances with none.”
Today, America is a socialist police state. We have the world’s highest incarceration rate. Nine of the ten policy planks of the Communist Manifesto are part of the law of our land. Abroad, we are engaged in a perpetual war for empire. We have troops in over 130 countries and assume that we can have our way with any country we choose.
Yet, we cannot even protect our own borders. Last month, the governors of Arizona and New Mexico, declared states of emergency because they were overrun by illegal immigrants.
In his classic book Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis states the following: “…power is what Pride really enjoys: there is nothing makes a man feel so superior to others as being able to move them about like toy soldiers … What is it that makes a political leader or a whole nation go on and on, demanding more and more? Pride again.”
Empires don’t last. The ancient empires of Greece, Babylon and Rome are no more. The empires of Britain and Spain are history. Portugal was once a world power. Japan got into the empire business in 1931 and got out of it on the deck of the USS Missouri in 1945. Hitler’s dream of a Thousand Year Reich came up 988 years short.
America is not immune to this. While our initial form of government, with its profoundly biblical underpinnings, may be superior to any other, we have no special status in the eyes of God. We have no right to rule the world. Read Psalm 2. God is going to deal harshly with those who amass too much worldly power.
As they say in the Navy, Matthew 24 warns of many “heavy rolls” ahead. Many of these come in the form of natural disasters. However, Matthew 24:13 and Matthew 10:22 instruct us that those of us who “endure to the end shall be saved.”
Someone in Florida e-mailed me a few weeks ago telling how he was overwhelmed with the political news in his “Inbox.” I, too, feel overwhelmed. So, while I am not leaving you, I am going to keep a low profile for the time being. And I ask you to heed the same Scripture that my friend urged me to heed:
“If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” (II Chronicles 7:14)
May God enrich your lives!
Freely Speaking: Essays by Doug Newman