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Wednesday’s warning

How do we make peace after deadly unrest?

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Can anything good come out of Wednesday’s mob action in the Capitol? Only if we do our best to minimize the possibility of something far worse happening.

Thomas Jefferson turned 77 in 1820 as North and South argued about slavery and put off armed struggle through the Missouri Compromise. He wrote about slavery, “This momentous question, like a fire bell in the night, awakened and filled me with terror. I considered it at once as the knell of the Union. It is hushed indeed for the moment, but this is a reprieve only.”

Yesterday Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan wrote, “On the rioters: Find them, drag them out of their basements, and bring them to justice. Use all resources, whatever it takes, with focus and speed. We have pictures of half of them; they like to pose. They larked about taking selfies and smiling unashamed smiles as one strolled out with a House podium. They were so arrogant they were quoted by name in news reports. It is our good luck they are idiots. Capitalize on that luck.”

True. Then comes the question Abraham Lincoln asked during the Civil War: “Must I shoot a simple-minded soldier boy who deserts, while I must not touch a hair of a wily agitator who induces him to desert?”

Donald Trump is not all that wily but he definitely agitated, and we’re now seeing where his rhetoric leads. He has only 12 days left in office, so whether he is banished from the White House now is less important than whether Americans—and particularly his supporters among evangelicals—banish him from public life.

Last week pundits were still discussing whether he’d run again in 2024. The mob action that he inspired will be beneficial if that possibility disappears.

But the questions raised by Wednesday’s disaster go deeper than which individuals to blame. In 1970 I was in Washington for anti-war demonstrations followed by a day of visiting members of Congress. At 5:30, on a lark, we stopped at the office of Speaker of the House John McCormack, whose district in Massachusetts was next to mine.

I told McCormack's secretary that I was Olasky from Boston (not mentioning that my name has no apostrophe) and wanted to discuss the relation of the Irish revolution against the British to the Vietnamese revolution against the French and the Americans. She told him that and, astoundingly, returned to show us into his inner office.

McCormack—tall, rail-thin, silver-haired, 68—looked like a cadaver to 20-year-old me, but he had a twinkle in his eye as he listened to my spouting. He then explained to us the big difference between the Irish desire for freedom and Communist totalitarianism.

We didn't buy it, of course, but he was courteous and it was hard for us not to be. After half an hour he said he had enjoyed the conversation but it was time for him to have dinner with his wife, which he said he never missed doing.

Before he left, he said he wanted to show us something special. He took us into the House chamber, pointed to his large speaker's chair, and said each of us could sit in it. We did, swiveling around: revolutionaries enjoying being grandchildren. McCormack smiled and waved goodbye. We spun around a few more times under the eyes of an aide, then walked out and laughed about what a reactionary fellow McCormack was. But, although we wouldn't tell each other this, I think we were all wistful.

I later found out McCormack was telling the truth about dinners with his wife, Harriet: They had been married for 50 years and reportedly never spent a night apart. She became ill later in 1970 and had a lengthy hospital stay. He spent every night in an adjacent room until she died in 1971. McCormack retired the following month and went home to Boston. He died in 1980. By then I was sorry to hear of it.

Are my memories from 51 years ago those of an old guy reminiscing about the good old days? Maybe, except I don’t remember my days on the left being good. I and my comrades were certainly arrogant. A few of them made bombs. But with half a million protesters in Washington, the Capitol was still safe. We came to Washington, visited the Jefferson and Lincoln Memorials, and still had respect for and awe about the buildings and the people they were named after.

That respect is now gone among many both on the right and the left. Slavery is no longer the fire bell in the night, although big racial tensions obviously remain. Nothing like the Vietnam War is agitating us. So why does our republic seem much more fragile than it did a half-century ago?

My guess: miseducation via schools and media cynicism. Children growing up without dads. More belief only in whatever god we make up. A lack of belief in objective truth. One recent poll showed 77 percent of respondents 65-or-older saying the founders of the United States were heroes and only 6 percent saying they were villains. Among those under 30, though, three out of five said “villains” (31 percent), “it depends” (20 percent), or “don’t know” (10 percent).

If we don’t respect those who created today’s institutions, why not trash them? It doesn’t take long to throw away a legacy. Even Jefferson in 1820 sunk into pessimism: “I regret that I am now to die in the belief that the useless sacrifice of themselves, by the generation of ’76, to acquire self-government and happiness to their country, is to be thrown away by the unwise and unworthy passions of their sons.”

Jefferson hoped younger Americans “would pause before they would perpetrate this act of suicide on themselves and of treason against the hopes of the world.” As it turned out, 41 more years went by before at least 600,000 died as North and South battled.

The United States, I hope and pray, has many more years ahead of it. Wednesday had its own casualty count: Five dead, the Capitol overrun, our debacle supplying propaganda points for the latest Chinese Communist crackdown on Hong Kong (Look where democracy leads). But the fire next time could be far worse, unless Wednesday pushes us to reflect and pray.

Christians have a special opportunity to oppose those “unwise and unworthy passions” of which Jefferson spoke. Christians, especially when reacting to ridicule, can be swept up in the passions of others. But we belong to a faithful Savior who instructed us to turn the other cheek. We know that politics are not ultimate. If Wednesday’s events remind us of the need to cool and not inflame, maybe they’re what we needed.

Marvin Olasky

Marvin is editor in chief of WORLD and dean of World Journalism Institute. He joined WORLD in 1992 and has also been a university professor and provost. He has written more than 20 books, including Reforming Journalism.



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I would like more evidence that Trump was a wily agitator and the rioters were simple soldiers.  I know he said to be strong and that he didn't specifically say not to be violent; but did he actually incite rioting?  Should he have expected it?  It's not clear to me from what I have heard so far.


Gregory P

I agree with SS.  I found especially incendiary your sentence: "He has only 12 days left in office, so whether he is banished from the White House now is less important than whether Americans—and particularly his supporters among evangelicals—banish him from public life."  This about a President who not only has been recently considered the most popular man in America, but has a book written about 100 promises kept, and who supported and acted for many concerns of evangelicals.  And who had good foresight about the the effects of changes made before the election to affect it.  Tens of millions of people feel disaffected, and believe that their votes were diminished, in effect canceled by rigging of the election, by spreading of disinformation, withholding of relevant information, by the disobedience to the Constitution of the United States and disregard of state laws, as well as evidence of not just two or three witnesses, but hundreds of affidavits asserting irregularities, misconduct and outright fraud that may have involved hundreds of thousands of votes.  That courts and other officials refused to hear or evaluate the evidence in depth does not mean that fraud did not occur.  There may have been a lack of courage or malfeasance on the part of those officials.  

To charge President Trump with inciting to insurrection and violence seems hypocritical.  President Trump condemned political violence for months while Democrats did more to encourage it, and only when politically expedient condemned the violence and that weakly.  Furthermore, Democrat leadership praised and encouraged BLM, an organization that has been committed to Marxist ideology and terrorist activity.  Furthermore, Sen. Kamala Harris and followers encouraged paying bail for violent offenders.  Will you and Congress speak out against such offenses or the personal attacks, misconduct, and lies of apparent President elect Joe Biden?  

Is it possible that Donald Trump could still do much good in public life?  Many believe so. In his Christmas message President Donald Trump stated: "During the sacred season, Christians celebrate the greatest miracle in human history. More than 2,000 years ago, God sent his only begotten son to be with us. An angel announced the birth of our lord and savior to humble shepherds. He said, 'I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all of the people. Today in the town of David, a savior has been born to you. He is the Messiah, the Lord. You will find a baby wrapped in clothes and lying in a manger.' At Christmas, we thank God for sending us his son to bring peace to our souls and joy to the world."  Christmas declarations may be common by political leaders, and people argue over whether President Trump is a believer, but I am thankful for such a specific statement.  From the instructions of the Bible (1 Timothy 2:1-2; Romans 13:1-7) Christians should pray for President Trump and honor him with the respect he is due. 

Is our only path to peace turning a blind eye to evidence of misconduct by perpetrators of criminal action?   



 "If Wednesday’s events remind us of the need to cool and not inflame, maybe they’re what we needed." And perhaps Mr. Olasky, you would do well to practice what you preach. Listening to the President's speech did not incite anyone. He told the protesters to March peacefully and patriotically to the capitol - people were already angry about the perceived election fraud - many of us who still believe that the election process needs to be investigated- regardless of the outcome - to restore the integrity of the process.That should matter to both sides of the aisle and anyone who is interested in truth. While you and others hold the opinion that President Trump incited the violent behavior of a few, many of us do NOT. Assuming you listened to the same speech, we heard it differently. And blaming the president for this tragic debacle is your opinion, not a fact. For some on this thread, they might think your opinion was measured and reasonable; as you can tell by the varied comments, not all concur with it. Same thing with Trump's speech that day - you found it inciting- the vast majority of Trump supporters did not. Try not to be inflammatory in your opinion and practice what you preach. 

not silent

For JA, I hear your grief; and I share it.  I can't answer for Mr. Olasky; but, for what it's worth, I agree with you that there is A TRUTH, with a capital "T."  You referred to John 14:16-17.  I am going to quote John 14:6 "Jesus said to him, 'I am the way, the truth, and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me.'"

I think the problem comes when we think a human group or institution is ALSO "the TRUTH" with a capital "T." It's NOT a binary choice between "voting for the polices of the Trump presidency" and "the platform of the Democratic Party." It IS possible for someone to support SOME of the policies of the Trump presidency but not ALL of them because I DO (ie., I'm a Republican and am pro life, but I cannot support many things Mr. Trump has said and done).  I said in an earlier comment that people have tried to convince me all my life that I had to agree with them all the time on everything and never ask questions OR that meant I was choosing "the other side": but it's simply not true.  As I said, I can't support many things Mr. Trump has said and done; but I'm ALSO very concerned about what might happen in the next four years.  I have to pray all the time for God to show me how to live in this world in these difficult times.

Conservative politics offer many good things, but it is not "THE TRUTH." Jesus is.  What this means in practical terms is that ONLY GOD knows ALL truth. We know parts of it, but not all.  Jesus' disciples probably didn't agree about politics.  A Zealot like Simon the Zealot would have believed it was necessary to overthrow the Roman government by force, but Matthew literally collaborated with the Roman government.  They managed to come together for a higher purpose, but even they thought he was going to lead a military revolt against their Roman oppressors and didn't fully understand what he was doing until after his death and Resurrection.

For what it's worth, I agree with you that we as Christians should come together for mutual guidance and discernment from the Holy Spirit.  But I don't think that means any of us can assume we know all truth and expect the Holy Spirit to show everyone else we're right!  I don't think I know all truth-in fact, I know I don't-but I'm willing to go before the Lord in humble submission, to confess MY sins, and to listen to HIM. 

Tim Miller

If I believed the election had been stolen, I would not be upset at Mr. Olasky.

I would be upset at the team of lawyers that could not even get basic lawsuits filed correctly; I would be upset at Sidney Powell and Lin Wood who trafficked deranged theories that didn't stand up to even the most basic scrutiny; I would be upset at Rudy Giuliani who in federal court admitted that the Pennsylvania case was not alleging fraud; I would be upset at reputable conservative lawyer James Bopp who withdrew his cases without explanation; I would be upset at the Georgia Republican Party for not showing up to challenge signature verification during the counting process; I would be upset at the Michigan Republican Party for sending untrained poll challengers to oversee the counting process there.

The judges Trump appointed aren't all in the pockets of Chinese communists. Even our Michigan state legislature, which is far more conservative than the state, didn't accept the voter fraud theories that were pushed here.


not silent

For Cyborg, if I'm understanding your comment correctly, you view Mr. Olasky as "the enemy" because he "never" supported Mr. Trump. Is that correct?  If so, it looks like you view a fellow believer and American citizen as your enemy because he disagrees with you politically; and you are convinced that God wants you to fight to stop "enemies" like Mr. Olasky. Hopefully, you realize that Mr. Olasky is also pro life and supports many of the causes you support. Are you sure it's wise to declare people like him your enemy based on ONE THING you disagree about (i.e. support for Mr. Trump)?

I believe that God put Mr. Trump in power because he is in control of all nations and kingdoms, but there were times in the Bible when God PUT someone in power and then took them OUT of power.  King Saul was chosen by God as king of the Israelites, and he led them in battle against their enemies; but he was rejected by God because he disobeyed. After God rejected Saul, he immediately chose someone else; but Saul fought against God's choice for years and even tried to kill him. 

Is it possible that God gave the US what we asked for but that he has something else in mind that would be bettter?  In other words, how do you know for sure that Mr. Trump is STILL chosen by God instead of being used by God to fight battles just for a time?  I get that there have been Christians saying he was chosen by God, but there are alot of OTHER Christians who are saying the opposite.  How do you know who is "right"?  And is it possible that God has someone or something else in mind to help fight our battles?   

Based on your comments about Mr. Olasky, apparently you also consider me your enemy. But I don't consider you MY enemy. It's not a matter of only two choices: either you support Mr. Trump or you are "supporting the left." I'm not sure what would be gained by fighting against someone like me. You can tell yourself that people like me "support the left"; but, in reality, I have been a republican for my entire adult life, I volunteered for the largest pro life group in the country, I am a believer, and I am following God as best I can.


Not Silent- Olasky attempted to see Trump not elected and indirectly supported Hillary Clinton in 2016. He later gave lip service to seeing the light where he said some positive things about Trump and seemed to acknowledge his mistake. With this latest article, we see Olasky was really looking for an opportunity to take down Trump by using the actions of a few as an excuse to go after Trump. In other words, Olasky never really supported Trump and his overtures to Trump supporters was really a rouse but all along he was waiting to pounce, like a cat after a mouse. 

Trump was the man God selected to lead us where he has faithfully fought our battle against the radical left, who have been fighting him every step of the way. Trump, has been unabashedly against abortion and has selected judges who are like minded. He has stood up to China and  our adversaries abroad. He called out Biden and exposed him for the hypocrite that he is for allowing corruption to decide our foreign policy over the real interest of our nation. Biden’s son was put in charge of billions of Chinese dollars where he even went to China on a plane meant for government business. “No problem here” said the Silicon Valley media as well as all the other leftist media. Literally, they attempted to cover up any wrongdoing and shut down any criticism against Biden, while all along they slanted the news against Trump claiming the very worst. Olasky and World Magazine in general were very quiet during this time very rarely pointing out the propaganda war against Trump nor acknowledging the extreme one sided reporting.  Now that just a few protesters got out of hand turning to violence and attacked the Capitol building, out of the many thousands that were there, Olasky is bent on attacking Trump where he doesn’t even acknowledge the stolen election. He spouts the propaganda of the left, who are bent on destroying conservatives and the associated Christian cause, all the time seeking to justify his original opposition on Trump. He has let lose the anti-Trumpers with the goal of taking Trump down - who has valiantly fought the Christian fight.  Trump hasn’t wimped out and still fights on exposing the danger of the left with their kicking Trump off Twitter, not allowing him to fund raise and so much other extreme measures! Ironically, the left now seek to impeach Trump with the goal of keeping him out of running in 2024 and Olasky seems to support this. How outrageous!

Rather than fight for our Christian cause, Olasky has bailed on it and led many Christians astray with “Christianese” talk about unity and “nice talk”.  I have listened to this man for over 30 years and finally I will say I have had enough!

It is time to say: “Good men and women. Let us stand up and fight for our great Nation that our founding fathers produced with their blood. Let us not waiver in our love for our Father in heaven and stand resolute in our opposition to the evil sweeping America. We will not bend to their filthy evil that they seek to deploy on America and the world! I don’t deny there are some very misguided brothers and sisters who fight their own cause without knowing it, but I must stand for the truth. Is this pride? No, for God knows our hearts and the Word supports standing against evil.  It is not time to pacify our approach but to stand up like David did against Goliath. We should not wimp out but should stand for our faith with strong resolution.

And so my Christian friends, let us stand together and face the evil that will soon be unleashed.”


Sarah Clifton, you are exactly right.  The left are far more evil supporting abortion, violence against the police, tearing down statues and our history, pushing a PC world where white people need to kneel and confess their "white privilege" to black people, gender definitions that defy logic and science, economic suicide by supporting communism and socialism. destroying our Christian liberties, passing hate speech legislation meant to shut down our churches, loosening our election laws to enable the stealing of elections - just like we saw this past election, open borders allowing all kinds of injustice and so much more. The anti-Trumpers operate on the belief that their candidate has to have the integrity of a Pastor or else they should not vote for him or her at all which effectively allows the worst candidate to be elected. Now some will push back on this giving various levels that they find acceptable but the results is oftentimes the same where they find some moral imperfections and say they cannot vote for the conservative candidate effectively swinging the election over to the much worse Democratic candidate. This in my eyes is just plain stupid and doesn't glorify God. Don't get me wrong, I do believe in voting for people of character, which I typically do in the primary where we vote for the Republican candidate who will represent our party. When I vote in the general election (where we are voting Republican, Democrat, or Independents) I vote for the best candidate which is always a Republican. I never vote for Independents because they are effectively a wasted vote and you will fail to vote for the better electable candidate between Republican and Democrat. In my lifetime the better candidate has always been a Republican which I find will be unlikely to change anytime soon. The Christians who vote Democrat are either very liberal or follow the vote of their parents without any thought (or misguided thinking). For example, they may push environmentalism over abortion where they cannot distinguish the extreme evil of killing a baby compared to some poor environmental decisions (oftentimes an extreme viewpoint without scientific merit). I will probably ignite a fire here by these comments but what I say is true. Blessings to you and all here reading! 

Note: here I am talking about the election of President but nearly always it is the same for the other candidates. One time in the many years that I voted did I vote for a Democrat over a Republican. The Democrat was pro-life and the Republican was pro-abortion. 

Bill B

Thank you for your words, Mr. Olasky.  Two quotes for your consdieration from those who are much greater than I:

1.  "To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you (me)" - CS Lewis

2. "The crisis for Christians is not that we’re politically homeless but that we ever thought that we could make a home at all" - Michael Wear


R& and Sonja Bryan are not the same members. I comment as R&, but did not post this comment. How did Sonja, who I don't know, and who apparently did write this comment, post under my id? I have not posted a comment since Jan. 5, and it was in response to "Avoiding Martial Law." I will also email WORLD. (I do agree with what Sonja has written, however.)

not silent

Cyborg, respectfully, do you really consider Mr. Olasky "the enemy"?  (I'm asking because I honestly can't tell anymore when someone is just using strong rhetoric to make a point and when they truly mean what they say.)  

For what it's worth, I agree with Mr. Olasky; but I don't consider YOU the enemy.  You are entitled to your own opinions, of course; but the enemy, to me, is not brothers and sisters in the Lord who hold differing opinions (some of which may very passionate) but Satan himself.  Based on your previous comments, you are my brother or sister in the Lord; and I would really hate for Satan to divide us by using politics.

Can we agree that our nation needs help from the Lord and that we all need time spent on our knees in repentance and in seeking his wisdom and his will?



I, too, was very concerned that the election had been stolen.  And I still have no doubt that there were issues here and there of concern.  I also believe some of the changes made to the process in various states should have been challenged more vigorously by the Republican side BEFORE the election.  But it finally became clear to me, after seeing more of the evidence, and often the lack of evidence, for the most outrageous fraud claims, that there is no clear evidence-based case being put forward to seriously dispute the outcome of this election. 

Of course we don't want socialism or communism.  Of course we don't want the radical agenda of the progressive left.  Of course, the left is hugely hypocritical by supporting riots, violence, and vandalism this last summer and being outraged now.  But that does not mean that we, especially Christians, need to become worse than them in the process! 

Wake up, people.  God is bigger than this, and President Trump is not the Messiah!  And he does bear responsibility for his own words and actions that have pushed every kind of claim, many false, and helped whip people into a frenzy.  And he has allowed other supporters of his to push even more radical claims and agendas without really questioning them.  Six people have died just this past week!  Be very careful about where you put your hope and who you are really following and what the results might be!


You seem very much to be implying that Donald Trump is responsible for the riots on Wednesday.  Trump supporters do not have a history of violence.  There has been a tremendous amount of violence among BLM supporters and people who hate Trump throughout the nation all summer.  There is some evidence that Antifa infiltrated what was supposed to be a peaceful demonstration on Wednesday to make the Trump supporters look bad.  President Trump has surprised me by doing a great deal of good for our country during his presidency.  He has fought for the unborn, brought some peace to the Middle East, advocated for religious freedom, and, I think, improved a great deal in character and humility since he first took office.  He has been attacked relentlessly by the liberal media.  Believing that an election was rigged does not constitute being guilty of starting a riot.  I am afraid for our future when even Christians seem to imply that free speech is dangerous.

Sonja Bryan


It is important to note what led up to the violence - the stealing of an election.  We have had radicals burning down our cities and inciting violence all year and the Democrats have supported it. Statues have been removed by mobs without local governments resisting it. BLM, AntiFa, Democrats have been key in orchestrating much of the violence and anarchy to get their political way, which has worked out quite well for them. Why would some conservatives and Trump supporters not be tempted to do likewise? 

We need to stand up to the gross election fraud, corruption, and immorality of the left and that means fighting them politically every inch of the way. It is outrageous that Olasky would want us to in any way "banish Trump" for the actions of a few Trump supporters, when Trump pushed nonviolence. Olasky needs to be called out as the enemy when he speaks in such manner supporting the left! 

Kathryn Berry

Your opinion that Trump insighted those entering and damaging the Capital is not a fact. Apparently, some were Trump supports that chose their actions & some were not; it is still being investigated. I do not agree or support any of those who entered the Capital.  I also do not agree with World's opinion of Trump that he should not have been elected in 2016.  World has continued to reenforce this opinion since 2016. This article is another example of that bias.  Please consider your ideas.  I could be wrong but so could you all. Blessings to your efforts and obedience. Prayerfully, a long time reader 

not silent

I was dismayed and frightened by destruction and violence that occurred in association with some of the protests about racial injustice this summer.  Although I understood why people were upset, it didn't seem to me to justify destruction of property (sometimes property owned by the very people the protestors claimed to be trying to help) or other violent actions. Calls to "defund police" at a time of frightening violence and lawlessness seemed to me like a singularly ineffective way to demand change.  I believe change needs to occur; but, as I've said this in other comments, the kinds of changes that I have heard proposed, like using social workers, would actually cost MORE money, not less. 

I was even MORE horrified by the ability of a violent mob to break into the US Captitol. It may be "the people's house": but, if that was how the rioters felt, why did they break its windows, destroy mirrors and furniture, and treat it disrespectfully?  I might break a window of my house to get inside, but I wouldn't go on to break windows, smear blood on my artwork, or take selfies with my feet on pieces of antique furniture!  And I wouldn't threaten my family members by carrying zip ties or calling for them to be hanged.  

It's clear that many people question the outcome of the election. I live in Florida; and, as recently as last year, I heard someone claim that voters were "disenfranchised" in the 2000 election when Bush defeated Gore.  I was here, and we all saw that the ballots were counted numerous times. Just because voters "felt" the election was stolen and "felt" disenfranchised, does not mean they were.  Significantly, none of those voters chose to storm the US Capitol to convince Congress that the election was stolen.  

One of our sacred principles in this country is the peaceful transfer of power. There have been times when I was angry about the outcome of elections and I feared what would happen to the country, but I submitted to democratic process and clung to my faith in God and his control over all things; and I hoped and prayed for better results next time. 

There are very real problems in our nation. There is very real corruption. I doubt many people were convinced that it was necessary to "defund police" when rioters were destroying property and committing violent acts. If people were offended by violence occurring in cities far away, people were MORE offended by violence occurring in "the people's house."    

  Jesus said: "Why do you see the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your eye? Or how can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye.' when there is the log in your own eye?  You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye."  Matthew 7:3-5

He also said, "So, whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets."  Matthew 7:12

It's easy for me to forget that Jesus was talking to a group of people who had been invaded by a foreign army and were currently being oppressed by a pagan empire.  They wanted him to help them take up arms against their oppressors, but he offered a different kind of freedom.  His small group of followers spread their message with love (the Romans and others marvelled that in Christian groups rich people and poor people loved each other, that people from different races loved each other, that people from the groups they were oppressing showed loved to THEM; and they were attracted to what they saw).  The rest is history.

I need to examine my own heart first, and I am okay if others call me on my stuff. But let's not let Satan divide us.


John Kloosterman

Good words to recall in this time.


Thank you for the historical insights and the mature and measured tone.  May we be peacemakers in the name of our Lord.