GALVESTON, Texas (AP) — A massive Hurricane Ike sent white waves crashing over a seawall and tossed a disabled 584-foot freighter in rough water as it steamed toward Texas Friday, threatening to devastate coastal towns and batter America’s fourth-largest city.
Ike’s eye was forecast to strike somewhere near Galveston late Friday or early Saturday then head inland for Houston, but the massive system was already buffeting Texas and Louisiana, causing flooding along the Louisiana coast still recovering from Labor Day’s Hurricane Gustav.
The National Weather Service warned residents of smaller structures on Galveston they could “face certain death” if they ignored an order to evacuate; most had complied, along with hundreds of thousands of fellow Texans in counties up and down the coastline. But in a move designed to avoid highway gridlock as the storm closed in, most of Houston’s 2 million residents hunkered down and were ordered not to leave.
This fall, in our Sunday school class at church, we are studying a book called “Is God on America’s Side?” The book looks at the thinking that God somehow reserves his blessing for American because it is a “Christian nation.” We’ve just started it, but I think it will be a good thing to clear up some attitudes about how God’s will is not always what we think it is.
In light of that, I want to add an essay by Joe Carter, who is the managing editor for Culture11. Carter, in what he calls “an open letter to the religious right,” lays out 11 thoughts he wants to share with them about religion and politics. You may agree or disagree with his points, but his conclusion is well worth noting:
(F)inally, we must recognize that America is not a “Christian nation”, though we should aspire to be a nation where those of us who are Christians are admired as good and noble citizens. America is not a “shining city on a hill”, though we should let our light of freedom be a shining example for the entire world. America is not the “greatest blessing God gave mankind”, though it is a great nation worthy of our conditional adoration. Patriotic sentiment has its place but we mustn’t let it expand beyond its acceptable borders. We are citizens of both the City of God and the City of Man and must always be careful not to confuse the one for the other.
The History Channel’s “102 Minutes That Changed America” was hard to watch, but fascinating. I wasn’t anywhere near New York City that day, but looking at the event through the eyes of several witnesses brought to mind the confusion and utter helplessness we all felt. I think it was a powerful way for us to shaken from the fog of our American dream and the idea that we are somehow beyond the reach of pain, suffering and evil.
Below is a preview of the special as producer Nicole Rittenmeyer talks about the collection of videos and people gathered for the program.