I am writing these reflections on September 11, 2016, just 15 years after what many call the most tragic day in American history — the day in which more than 3,000 innocent civilians died at the hands of young murderous, suicidal devotees of an oppressive religion.
It is a splendid, sunny Sunday in NYC — not unlike that beautiful, tragic Tuesday, September 11, 2001 we remember so well.
I sense the amazing grace of God in the Divine powerful presence and protections and also in the wonderful beauty of this "day that the Lord has made." Yet I feel the unspeakable grief at the senseless pain and loss we are remembering. This grief we still feel in New York City, my town. It is magnified by the combination of the huge human loss, the perversion of religion, and the stunning inability of our many PC-enslaved leaders to think or speak clearly on this Islamic terrorist threat, a mortal danger to us that is still growing.
The annual 9/11 morning memorial event at the WTC, attended by many of our leaders, including both the Democratic and Republican presidential candidates, corresponds with the times of the attacks and later collapses of the Twin Towers. At that same time today I was helping lead a worship service at Immanuel Community Church, less than two miles north of WTC. The Church was full of Gospel hope this morning -- both by what was sung and said, and the presence of several very young families with their lively babies.
Our New York City and State leaders have approved, funded, and led in the reconstruction of the World Trade Center 16 acres in ways that both thoughtfully and respectfully honor the dead and their families, while also symbolizing a quiet and bold strength and hope.
When I walk through the WTC grounds I cannot help but stop at one of the two huge recessed pools that mark the locations where the giant Twin Towers had stood. I read the names of some who died, their names elegantly carved into the bronze edging around the pools. I pray for their families and friends.
In deep gratitude I think also of the many thousands of others whose names are not there, thankfully! They were men and women who through a variety of means were diverted from coming to the WTC that morning, September 11, even though their work or plans required them to be there. Each time at one of the memorial pools I also especially passionately thank God that our son heard — and obeyed — the Lord's voice specifically for him not to go to WTC that morning.
Of grave concern had been the proposed Ground Zero Mosque less than 1,000 feet from WTC grounds. Some Muslims tried to purchase an empty building where a 5-foot long airplane part had landed after the terrorist driven airplane had crashed into the South Tower. That airplane part marked the closed Burlington Coat building as part of the attack site, so some eager Muslim leaders wanted a "victory mosque" there to mark a Muslim success at death and destruction. In personal conversation with one of their two main leaders, it came out that this "victory mosque" would also teach strict Islamic Sharia Law to Americans, because America suffers from "the chaos of too many different points of view."
With tragic irony, these Muslim leaders were arguing and fighting for the religious liberty to have a Ground Zero Mosque, when they personally admitted that a purpose of the mosque was then to teach ways to suppress our precious religious liberty.
Those Muslim leaders nearly succeeded because most of our NYC leaders are tragically blinded by PC thinking. For a while the only issue to them seemed to be "religious liberty," even though there were already more than 250 mosques freely placed and operating all over NYC. When my Muslim friends accused me of intolerance, I only had to reveal that I understood the historic role of a "victory mosque," and that such an offensive Muslim gesture would be completely out of place in NYC! Or any place in America! They then immediately wanted to change the subject. End of discussion.
As I walk down the street where the Ground Zero Mosque was planned, I see that the old Burlington Coat Factory building is torn down and construction has begun for a new high-rise apartment building. No "victory mosque" in sight. Good.
I think again about the original 19 terrorists of 9/11. Their religious leaders and their scriptures had promised these young men that when they died they would immediately enter a heaven where 72 intensely beautiful virgins would be waiting for each one of them, eager to satisfy their every want. By the way, their scriptures guarantee that these "martyrs for Allah" would be permanently sexually ready for every pleasure, too. What a future! And what a despicable exploitation of those young men.
Religion does not get more twisted than this — exploiting young men's raging hormones and destroying them and thousands of other people's lives and families through the evil lies of their scriptures and religious leaders.
A few days ago, as we were fast approaching this 9/11 remembrance, I had the privilege of engaging R. James Woolsey Jr, CIA Director under President Clinton, at a dinner with a group of Jewish leaders of NYC. I learned much, including his profound concern that PC thinking has so dulled our national leaders' minds and sensibilities that they are unwilling and unable to measure the true threat of radical Islam to us all.
On this September 11, I think again about what Woolsey so recently said to us. Today I hear repeatedly "Never again." Nice. The Lord and the NYPD, NYC's finest, have kept this City safe from Islamic terrorists for 15 years. Thank you! But how much harm will our continued PC-induced-stupidity invite going forward.
May the Lord God continue to help us, by amazing grace! And may we hold our leaders to be accountable! We do not need another terrorist tragedy to remember.