America on the Offensive

The world joins in prayer—and in attacking Jerry Falwell.
Between Friday's National Day of Prayer and Remembrance and Sunday's National Day of Mourning and Prayer, the newspapers are full of religion coverage. And for good reason: from all reports, churches around the country are seeing attendance levels that dwarf even Christmas and Easter figures. The New York Times reports that Willow Creek Community Church in South Barrington, Illinois, had about 6,000 more attendees than usual for its six weekend services, bringing its total to 23,000. Wednesday and Thursday services, normally attended by 6,000, saw a 50 percent increase. At Trinity Church Wall Street, which had to move its services away from its damaged structure that used to stand in the World Trade Center's shadow, vicar Samuel Johnson explains why so many are attending: "Human words are inadequate, and so we come together to turn to the word of God."

Some see the attendance as a sign of possible revival. "It strikes me that this whole country, in order to learn to stand again, is going to its knees," Alex Joseph of St. Teresa of Avila parish in Perrysville, Pennsylvania, tells the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Other media reports suggest people are turning to God not looking for solace, but for blame. "Many may be angry with God this morning," Johnson said. "That anger is all right. God can handle it. God expects it. That God would permit evil is a mystery. But evil is real. If you doubt it exists, just walk up the street."

With millions of people asking where God was on Tuesday, The Boston Globe puts the question to several local religious leaders. Their consensus is generally that God was where he always has been—it's people who've acted on their free will and turned away from God that are the problem. It's true, but it doesn't ...

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September
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