Over the last month there have been two vicious attacks in France where knives were used to kill innocent people. One was against a teacher the other was against three people inside a church. Authorities have said that the killing of the teacher was because he was discussing caricatures of Islam’s Prophet Muhammad with his students. The teacher had received death threats and the police had been contacted by a parent for the teacher’s actions. An interesting statement in the article was made by French President Emmanuel Macron. Marcon said “One of our compatriots was murdered today because he taught ... the freedom of expression, the freedom to believe or not believe.”
In the other attack three people were brutally murdered on Thursday while visiting a church to worship and had no ties to any outside organization that promoted hate against the Muslim religion. A French Prosecutor Jean-Francois Ricard said, “The three were killed “only because they were in the church at that moment.” France’s President promised to immediately increase the number of soldiers deployed to protect schools and religious sites from around 3,000 to 7,000.
But in your mind, you are saying this can never happen over here. This happened in France and they have let things get out of hand where they are having terrorist attacks all the time. We don’t have situations like that over here in the United States. Really? Have you been watching the news lately? We have cities that are burning in our country and as we get closer to this election people are preparing for the worst. Business are boarding up, police departments are starting to plan for mass riots, and we sit here and say what is happening in other countries cannot happen here.
Of course, it really depends on what news source you may be watching. There are a few out there that will tell you all that is happening in the cities are peaceful protests. When you set a building, car or any police station on fire that is not peaceful protesting. When you loot a family run business like the one in this article this is nothing but an attack against a family that has worked hard in their neighborhoods to better their community. The owner, a former school crossing guard and her brother, a former police officer quit their jobs to start their salon. The owner told reporters she “emptied my savings and checking account,” maxed out her credit cards and even sold her house to open the business.” When you watch the video, you see that in less than a minute, looters ransacked and destroyed their boutique, their livelihood only because they were in the area of the riots. So, whatever news source you are watching, do your own investigation. I just did a search on looting in Philadelphia and if this is the “City of Brotherly Love” we are starting to look a lot worse than France.
Once again you scoff at my concern. Let me remind you of two things that were said in the beginning of this document. In the first incident French President Emmanuel Macron said, “One of our compatriots was murdered today because he taught ... the freedom of expression, the freedom to believe or not believe.” Isn’t that what our churches are doing; teaching the freedom to believe in Christ or not believe? What happens when those that are causing all the hate and discontent in our streets finally get shut down by law enforcement? Do you think they are going to stop their attacks? No; they will just start looking for softer targets to hit. If your church is not preaching their views, you could be the next target. Once again say it can’t happen here. In our area we have had two attacks on churches that say it can. Back in July of 2020 we had a van drive through the front doors of a church in Ocala and the driver get out and poured 10 gallons of gasoline on the floor only to light it and drive away. Fortunately, those inside the building were not hurt but this could have been a massacre. Then in September 2020 a man went into a Tampa church and poured flammable material in the worship center and set it on fire. First responders got to the fire before it caused too much damage. In our research we are seeing more and more churches vandalized across the country but unless you are out there daily looking for it you don’t see it.
The second thing that caused me concern was that in the mass murder at the church, French Prosecutor Jean-Francois Ricard said, “The three were killed “only because they were in the church at that moment.” This speaks volumes. “Only because they were in the church at that moment”. Is the prosecutor saying that maybe they shouldn’t have been in church? Is this a pandemic plug; don’t go to church during the pandemic or you could get killed? What does that have to do with the attack? People were killed inside a church; it doesn’t matter what day of the week it is. Churches should be a safe place, period. I really don’t think he meant it that way, I am sure he meant it that they were in the wrong place at the wrong time. That doesn’t even sound right. Shouldn’t we feel safe when we are in a house of worship? But during these times, do we feel safe?
Since we have come back together inside the church, we have had two disruptive people inside our church. One wanted to argue over theology and the other wanted to argue over everything. Is this a sign of what we are going to see in the future? I don’t know but we need to be ready for what may be coming our way. I keep saying this over and over, it is only a matter of time, those that hate the current environment in our country are going to start taking out their frustrations on the church and from what I have seen, that concerns me.
But I am going to end on a more positive note. There still is good in this world. Remember the Philadelphia boutique that was destroyed? The owner of the shop, Jameelah Scurry, who co-owns the business with her brother Jamil, put out a Go-Fund-Me page to see if she could raise some money to help her and her brother rebuild their shop. She was hoping to raise around $15,000 yet as of Thursday they had received more than $27,600 from hundreds of strangers who posted outpourings of support on the site.
She went on to say, “It’s what I was telling people, like we, as a community, and people can come together, but we don’t have to just come together when there’s trauma or something bad.” “We should always stick together and help each other, not when just something bad is happening. It’s a blessing.”
In Mark 12:28-31 Jesus is in the temple and a teacher of the law comes to him and asked him “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?” “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” Here lies the answer to our problems. The question is, can we commit to both? One is hard enough for some of us and the second one seems impossible at this time in our country. But maybe if the Christian men and women would join me in a Christian Revolution, we wouldn’t have to worry about it happening here like it is in France. In fact, with the Christian Revolution I talked about we wouldn’t have to worry about it anywhere.
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Jim has many years of law enforcement experience and has run the safety team at his church for several years. TSA was formed after he realized God's calling when multiple churches reached out and asked him to present at their church.