Today is September 11, aka 9/11, a date that still resonates in infamy.  Where are we as a nation 14 years after those terrorist attacks?  We have waged two wars, more or less inspired by our anger over 9/11.  We killed Osama bin Laden and struck a strong blow against Al Qaeda, but now we have an even more monstrous enemy in ISIS.  We were brought together as a nation 14 years ago, but now we are polarized again.  In the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, artists announced that “irony is dead,” but now irony, compounded by cynicism and nihilism are ascendant again.  Postmodern relativism was also supposed to be dead in the period of moral clarity right after the attacks, but now relativism has resumed its works of demolition.

So did the terrorists win?  Or was it just our naivete that collapsed with those towers?  Or was it something more?  Or have we settled into a long war against terrorism that we realize now will not be easy and that will take a nation-wide patience?  Or what?

One of the heroes on that French train is a Lutheran

You know those three unarmed Americans who took out the armed-to-the-teeth terrorist on that French train?  One of them was a Missouri Synod Lutheran.  What difference does that make?  Not much on one level.

But surely when you heard about this, if you are from the USA, you felt a surge of connectedness that these guys were fellow Americans.  When a fellow Christian does something, the tie is even stronger, because of what the Apostle’s Creed calls “the Communion of the Saints.”  According to 1 Corinthians 12, we are all different organs of the same body, so that what happens to one member happens to all of us.  So, for me, a part of the body that writes and blogs in safety, I rejoiced at the part that had the courage to tackle a terrorist with an AK-47 who was shooting a pistol, saving who knows how many lives.  And that he shares my confession and that we commune with each other makes for a particularly close kind of unity.

So my fellow Lutherans who read this blog, as well as my fellow Christians and my fellow Americans, can all claim a connection to what happened on that train, though the heroism of those young men is all their own.

Details about Army National Guardsman Aleksander Skarlatos of St. Paul Lutheran, Roseburg, Oregon, after the jump. [Read more...]

Australia thwarts ISIL beheading plot

Islamic State jihadists planned to kidnap two random people off the street in Australia and then behead them, showing the video online as a way to demonstrate their worldwide reach.  But Australian authorities discovered the plot, arresting 15 people in the country’s largest counterterrorism operation.

Do you doubt that ISIL (I’m just going to start calling them that) would like to do something similar in the United States?  I predict that instead of the large-scale mass killings favored by al-Qaeda, the new ISIL-flavored terrorism will aim at smaller-scale attacks that are easier to carry out but that still have a maximum horrific impact.  Think, beheadings. [Read more...]

Our progress in the War on Terrorism

We felt good that we killed Osama bin Laden and seemed to have defeated al-Qaeda.  But they were nothing compared to the resurgent jihadist army of the Islamic State (formerly known as ISIS, most recently calling themselves ISIL, for “Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant”).  They are armed to the teeth with American weapons and other equipment that had been abandoned in Iraq.  And they have vast wealth from looting banks and taking over oil fields.  And their ambitions are to strike the United States and other Western countries.  That’s not much of a progress report in our War on Terrorism. [Read more...]

Terrorism by beheading and crucifixion

ISIS has reportedly slaughtered 1700 captives in Iraq, using beheadings and even crucifixions.  Experts say the goal is to ramp up the “shock value” of jihadist terrorism. [Read more...]

The legacy of 9/11?

On this anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, we’ve got to ask ourselves:  Did the terrorists win?  Or did America win?  And what did those attacks do to us?  Considerations after the jump. [Read more...]