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Sunday, January 24, 2010

Hugo Chavez


There have been several news items of impact in the past week or so, not the least of which was the earthquake that devastated Haiti. Our editorial today is going to come to us from that event, plus a little unknown story from another catastrophic event and tied together with Bible passages to give us a scriptural lesson to consider.

The thought ringing in my head from the earthquake in Haiti stems from a news report about the comments made by Hugo Chavez, the President of Venezuela within a couple of days after it hit. His comments were in the form of a castigation of the U.S. for sending military forces to assist in getting immediate help for the people of Haiti. In his view, it was as if they were attacking Haiti and they were an occupying force.

Nothing could be further from the truth. But the truth of the matter has never been seen to affect the statements of the Venezuelan President as yet. The military, in this case, the U.S. Marine Corps and U.S. Navy, are probably the most prepared to move and provide help on a short notice than any other entity in the world. This has been proven time and time again. On top of that they are, without a doubt, the most willing to help victimized people than anyone else. We could not have sent any better aid and comfort to Haiti than that represented by those Marines and Navy personnel.

You and I know that the truth has never been something that inhibited evil and, in my humble opinion, Hugo Chavez represents evil as well as any other example we have to look at in the world right now. But, when you think about that, it's really a simple equation. Where else would UNTRUTH come from but from evil? Christians know where TRUTH came from because John 1:17 tells us that "grace and truth came by Jesus." Evil will never produce truth.

I remember a line from a movie entitled A Few Good Men where the Colonel, played by Jack Nicholson, was testifying in court and replied to the attorney questioning him about the truth with this answer: "You can't handle the truth."  There are a whole bunch of people in this world who "can't" or "don't" handle the truth.

The Apostle Paul tells us why this is so in 2 Thess. 2:10 where we see that they don't "have a love for the truth." Yes, there are many, many people this world over who couldn't care less about the truth of something, especially if the truth conflicts with their agenda. And trust me when I tell you, Hugo Chavez's agenda is not the best interests of the United States. It's not even the best interests of Venezuela. It's himself.

Well, I'll dismount from my Hugo Chavez soapbox and direct your consideration to the other catastrophic event I mentioned earlier. To me, this event is (and probably to you too) the worst act of violence I've witnessed in my life to now. I'm referring to Sept. 11th, 2001 wherein we were attacked by a bunch of "religious" terrorists who commandeered airliners and crashed them into the World Trade Center buildings and the Pentagon. Another one would have hit the White House but for the actions of some courageous men.

I'm going to tell you a little story about that day that, to my knowledge, was never publicized. I don't know why it hasn't been, perhaps it's like so many other "good" things that our military does that doesn't seem to meet the reporting criteria of our news media. That statement also fits with our thoughts on "truth" in that the "truth" sometimes isn't convenient to the media's agenda. This story was revealed by a military Chaplain who was at the Pentagon when the airplane struck it. I have no reason to doubt its authenticity. Here is his account of an extraordinary event that adds impact to my earlier thoughts about our military and its capabilities and desire to help in times of disaster.

Within the Pentagon there was a "day-care" center near where the plane struck the building. The center had many children in it, including infants in heavy cribs. Immediately after the plane hit, the supervisor was almost in a panic in trying to figure out how to evacuate the children. You can imagine the pandemonium taking place at that time. How could they get the toddlers and the infants out to safety? There was just no time to bundle them up into carriers or strollers.

Just then a young Marine ran into the center and asked what they needed. The supervisor told him what they were trying to do and he turned and ran quickly back out the door and disappeared. The supervisor thought, "Well, we're on our own now." About 2 minutes later, the same young Marine returned with 40 other Marines. Each crib with an infant was grabbed by a Marine and the rest of them picked up the toddlers. With the supervisor and her staff assisting the rest of the children, they got out of the building and ran to a park about a quarter of a mile from the Pentagon. Once at the park the most extraordinary thing occurred.

They formed a circle with heavy cribs, sort of like the wagon trains did in the old western movies, and put the toddlers and other children inside the circle. Outside the circle of cribs the 40 Marines formed a perimeter around the children and waited for further instructions. Think about that scene for a moment. How chaotic it must have been. What had just happened? What was coming next? Who was attacking us? What other threats were we facing? What an unimaginable event this was that had just happened.

They remained there at their self-appointed posts, prepared and willing to do whatever was necessary for the children in their charge. They did not leave until all the parents had been notified and had came and picked up their children.

That's how our military acts and reacts when disastrous things occur. I'm convinced that this is the same mind set pervading them in Haiti. They are not invading nor taking over a country. In essence, they've simply "circled the wagons" and are helping a lot of unfortunate people who, at the present time, cannot help themselves.

That is the truth! It has always been the truth regarding our military. The evil people of this world speak a lot of untruth about us. Just remember one thing from this lesson - evil is not the source of "truth." As a closing thought, I'm reminded of a question asked by Pilate at the trial of Jesus. He asked "What is truth?" (Jn. 18:38) The most direct and appropriate answer to that question was made by the one on trial himself, Jesus Christ, when he said in John 17:17 "Thy word is truth."

Respectfully submitted,

Ron Covey

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