The tragic events of Sept. 11 – four planes downed in three locations, New York City, Washington and rural Pennsylvania; a death toll near 7,000; the loss of innocence to the United States and the West in general – is nothing less than a wicked attack on human life. Despite what the politicians, pundits and public say, it was not America or the West or the idea of freedom or globalization that was attacked, but some thousands of innocent lives. We must never forget that. In the zeal to protect what we cherish so much, whether it be freedom, free markets, modern civilization (for what it’s worth), what was lost on Sept. 11 were actual lives. Not ideas, not something abstract, but men, women and children. Mothers and fathers, husbands and wives, friends and neighbours. We have heard of a church near New York that lost several dozen congregants, leaving behind a collective total of more than 200 children and grandchildren.
All clear-thinking, life-loving individuals condemn the callous attitude toward innocent human life demonstrated by those responsible for the terrorist attacks. Still, many of us wonder why or how it could happen. While governments consider the balance between security and liberty the post-Sept. 11 world demands, we must remember that all of this is in God’s hands. And that, in fact, is something many in society are beginning to realize. The increased references to religion and God in the public square are most welcome. Minutes after the first trade tower collapsed, a Toronto radio station announced that a Baptist church had opened its doors to those who wanted to pray; it was soon full. Church services across Canada and the U.S. were fuller in the weeks after the attacks. The Anglican cathedral in Toronto which normally has a dozen or so people at its daily service, had roughly 100 each for more than a week; St. Michael’s Cathedral was standing room only. Whether there is a full and real revival, only time will tell.