By Dr. Jim Ferguson

As I pen this essay, the rain we sorely needed continues to fall. The saying goes, be careful what you wish/pray for. However, I like rain and summer storms. There’s a wonderful and evocative piece of music by Antonio Vivaldi called “The Four Seasons.” I often think of one section of this music which magically depicts a summer storm. Go to YouTube and search Vivaldi Presto Summer.

Storms and rain refresh the earth and scrub everything clean. My eyes certainly appreciate the removal of pollen from the air, even if it is temporary.

A seldom considered benefit of showers is that mosquitoes don’t fly in the rain. These pests are carriers of many diseases including malaria, Dengue fever, Zika virus, encephalitis viruses and dog heartworms.

Becky and I deal with mosquitos because we have a large porch and like to be outside for “happy hour.” These pests are attracted to lactic acid in perspiration, if you’re a woman, and sweat, if you’re a man. Mosquitos are also attracted to carbon dioxide which humans emit as we breathe and talk. I once read that mosquitos visualize us as clouds of CO2 – almost like a cloud emitted from vaping. Obviously, if we didn’t perspire to cool our bodies, breathe or talk we might remain cloaked from these devilish insects. But, alas, this is impractical, and so we resort to counter measures, spraying ourselves with DEET, a chemical that interferes with the receptors on the antennae of mosquitos designed to detect lactic acid and CO2. Becky and I researched spraying around our home to kill mosquitoes, but we found that insecticides kill honey bees, which are already threatened in cities where people spray their lawns. So, we use common sense and DEET, as I’ve recommended to foreign travelers for decades.

We are in the midst of an American storm which, to Democrats, must seem like a perfect storm. The economy is booming, even if Nancy Pelosi is so out of touch that she denies the reality of people’s renewed confidence, record unemployment and rising GDP. The media, the ruling class and Maxine Waters have been unable to stump Trump. The illegal invasion (immigration) imbroglio, allowed to fester for decades, will be solved by the rule of law and the wall. The “deep state” has been discovered, and the abuses of the FBI and Justice Department during Obama’s presidency are being exposed daily. The projected Democrat Blue Wave is dissipating (if it ever existed) just like Robert Mueller’s credibility and his investigation which has produced nothing but vapors and a seventeen million dollar price tag. Hillary Clinton’s blame everyone book, “What Happened,” is now repeating in the minds of panicked leftists with recent stunning SCOTUS decisions and Justice Anthony Kennedy’s announced retirement. In 2013 Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid, was told that Democrats would rue the day if he played the “nuclear option” in Senate cloture rules. He did, and now only fifty Senators will be required to confirm Trump’s new Supreme Court justice – and Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is eighty-five years old.

Segregation is an ugly storm that has regained fury just like a hurricane over warm water. The American Civil War began when various southern states refused to obey Federal law. And now “sanctuary cities” defy Federal law, even though 86% of voters are opposed to the sanctuary movement and alien migrant invasion.

The slavery issue became increasingly relevant as the Civil War progressed and ultimately led to the Emancipation Proclamation and the 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments to the Constitution. You would think that we learned from the crucible of the Civil War and its aftermath, but it is harder to change a person’s heart than to pass laws, and so segregation persists even today.

Treating someone unjustly because of their race or religion is bigotry and anathema to most of us. However, a new bigotry has arisen and is as deplorable as the Jim Crow laws enacted by Southern Democrats in the 1900s. Instead of black-white animus, we now have red-blue enmity, painfully apparent in Progressive-Liberal-Democrats who throw Republicans out of restaurants, acost them in theatres and pickett their homes. Maxine Waters, the face of the New Democrat prejudice, even incites violence by telling her thralls to invade the personal space of those with whom she disagrees. This is the new racism and personal (ad hominem) attacks on anyone with an “R” beside their name. When Maxine and her modern Brown Shirts (Germany 1930s) get through with the “R people” I guess she’ll come for the “I” people, independents like me.

Everyone senses we have a problem in America. I think it goes beyond black and white or red versus blue. My diagnosis is that America has a spiritual problem. If everyone treated others by the Golden Rule there would be no reason to separate Arabs and Jews, Catholics and Protestants in Northern Ireland, Shiite and Sunni Muslims, and Democrats would tolerate Trump and Republicans. Unfortunately, humans prefer their laws to God’s law, and so we suffer the consequences of our bigotry, racism and segregation.

So, what is our responsibility as citizens? I’ll admit I’ve fostered “we versus they” thoughts, and it pains me. I wonder if I could sit down and share a meal with Maxine Waters. I’ve even begun to wonder if I can be genuinely civil in social settings or in church. However, on Holy ground I’ve been able to be kind, and in more challenging situations, I trust that the Spirit will intercede in my conscience “with groans too deep for words” (Romans 8:26) and I will be given “the right words when the time comes” (Luke 12:12).

The danger for America is that too many are substituting man’s secular law for Divine laws. Too many are what a former minister of mine labeled as functional atheists, where God is not relevant in day to day, interpersonal relationship. This, in my opinion, is where faithful and spiritual people can stand forth and be counted.

The Serenity Prayer says it well, “God grant me the serenity to change what I can, to accept what I can’t change and the wisdom to know the difference.”