In a TV commercial about buying gold, former Watergate figure and current radio talk show host Gordon Liddy transfers several coins from one hand to the other and says, "That's the sound of security; that's the sound of gold!"
After the events of last week, somehow gold doesn't seem to offer the kind of security we need.
First, there was the attempted terrorist bombing in Times Square in which a recently naturalized American citizen of Pakistani descent allegedly tried to explode an SUV containing propane, fertilizer, firecrackers and a timer he apparently hoped would cause massive casualties and produce chaos in our streets and economic markets.
Next came something that did produce chaos in our markets: a 1,000-point swing in the Dow Jones Industrial Average. It was apparently triggered by a computer glitch, the exact cause of which remains a mystery.
The problem with the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico has contributed to a lack of faith by some in the security of offshore drilling, though the cause of the oil rig explosion and leak may have been beyond the control of British Petroleum, which leased the rig from owners Transocean LTD.
Amidst all of this, a group of Christians came to Washington to participate in the National Day of Prayer. They appear insecure over where the Obama administration is leading us. While their Book has a lot to say about prayer, the instructions of its Author are for a kind of prayer that has nothing to do with public displays: "And when you pray," said Jesus of Nazareth, "do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth; they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you." (Matthew 6:5-6)
That seems pretty straightforward. Public prayer can be a snare. It can make people think there is strength in numbers, when their Scripture teaches the opposite. These gatherings give many a false sense of security and present a bad example to those who do not believe as they do.
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