Faith and prayer nothing new to America

August 14, 2013

Katie Lentz’s mangled Mercedes

The ink on the Declaration of Independence was barely dry when General George Washington was trapped on Long Island with British forces in front and the East River at his back.

He ordered a night time tactical retreat but there were not enough boats to fully evacuate all troops before sunrise.

Yet as the sun rose that August morn, the American side had clear view while the British a thick fog. Many cite this as the first occurrence of “Divine Intervention” in the fate of the American nation.

John Adams stated: “our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people”.

Announcing the Normandy invasion in June, 1944, Franklin Delano Roosevelt took to the radio with words that were in no uncertain terms religious. Starting with “Almighty God”……..”And for us at home…help us, Almighty God, to rededicate ourselves in renewed faith in Thee in this hour of great sacrifice.”…continuing…”I ask that our people devote themselves in a continuance of prayer,,,,invoking Thy help to our efforts. “….and closing with….”And, O Lord, give us Faith……With Thy blessing, we shall prevail…Thy will be done, Almighty God….Amen.”

On Christmas Eve, 1968 the crew of Apollo 8 read the first ten verses of Genesis to millions of Americans listening back on Earth. And when John Glenn returned to the heavens on the space shuttle Discovery he noted: “To look out at this kind of creation and not believe in God is to me impossible. It just strengthens my faith.”

From this nation’s very beginning to our most current of times, we have always been a nation of faith. And on Sunday, August 4th, 19 year old Katie Lentz reminded us once again of the power of that faith.

After a head on collision on a rural Missouri highway she had been trapped for almost an hour in her mangled Mercedes. EMS was losing her and the on-site equipment was not sufficient to remove her. In spite of her own situation, she asked her rescuers to pray with her. They did. And in what seemed the very next moment, a priest appeared, anointed Katie, told all to be calm, and that their equipment would soon work. Minutes later a neighboring crew arrived, the equipment worked and Katie was put on a medi-vac helicopter.

As those on-sight looked for the mysterious priest to thank him, he had vanished as quickly as he appeared and the “miracle priest” story was born. And with it, a renewed discussion on the power of prayer and divine intervention. Said New London fire chief Raymond Reed, “It was nothing more than sheer faith and nothing short of a miracle.”

While we now know that the “angel” is mortal Rev. Patrick Dowling of the Jefferson City Diocese that does not take away from the miracle of peace and calm that happened that Sunday afternoon on a lonely stretch of Missouri highway. If anything, it re-enforces that you do not have to be a believer to realize that there are times, there are circumstances, there are events in this world that have no worldly explanation.

Ever since the first Madalyn Murray-O’Hair lawsuit in ’63 the political left has been launching one attack after another on any public acknowledgment of God in this country. And ever since, we have witnessed the decline of civility and social cohesion.

Katie’s experience reminds us that you can remove the quotes from our schools, you can kick him off the courthouse square, you can even deny his existence, but in the end God’s as much in the public eye today as he ever was. You just have to look past the fog.

(Publisher’s note: The above is the as submitted for publication version of the print column that first appeared in the August 14th edition of the Joplin Globe. The edited version can be found here.)

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