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In the aftermath of the terrorist attacks on these United States, we have been about the business of creating some strange coalitions. In the Middle East, nations that once considered us the “great Satan” have promised to aid the war on terrorism. In Washington, partisanship has been largely banished. In Washington’s National Cathedral, the blessing of the god of Abraham, Mohammed, and Jesus has been sought. And the media elites have called upon all of us to do our part to be positive. United, they tell us, we stand.

When we seek such unity, we do so at the expense of our convictions. We set aside what divides us and are left with meager portions that unite us. Hope, peace, and kindness are among the survivors. Hope is said to be a positive thing, something all of us have in common. But while hope is one of the three great biblical virtues, without an object, it is meager indeed.

I’m sure happy ecumenists would be delighted to hear that hope fills my heart—unless they learned what I hope for. I hope to see Islam become a dead and forgotten religion. I hope to see citadels of unbelief such as the National Cathedral either overrun with literal weeds or taken over by radical fundamentalists, the Christian kind. My hope is to see all the enemies of Christ destroyed, whether they bow toward Mecca or give lip service to “a god without wrath who brought men without sin into a kingdom without judgment through the ministrations of a Christ without a cross,” as H. Richard Niebuhr put it.

That which Christians hope for does not unite us as Americans, it divides us. In fact, that which Christians hope for is the division. Christ has promised that a day is coming when all the world will be divided. The sheep will enter the reward the Shepherd earned. The goats will enter the wrath of the Shepherd. For those who are His, this thought is not one of dread but delight.

Sheep and goat alike live their lives coram Deo, before the face of God. Sheep and goat alike have hearts filled with all manner of wicked hopes. What separates us is that when God turns His gaze toward the sheep, He sees not us but the Shepherd. And so we live on, in the face of wars and rumors of wars, with a blessed hope. And those who wander uncovered have nothing but a cursed dread.

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From the May 2002 Issue
May 2002 Issue