When the media reported on the assassination plot against presidential candidate Barack Obama along with a plan to attack and kill students in a predominantly African-American high school, law enforcement officials said they were taking the threats "very seriously." As the election intensifies, increased prayer for everyone's safety can help all the candidates and ensure a peaceful election.
This isn't the first plot against Senator Obama that's been uncovered. In this case the would-be assassins said that they didn't think they would succeed but in this, their last act, "they would get killed trying." That's not very different from the attitude of suicide bombers who have wrought such havoc in the Middle East and elsewhere. And it is just as mistaken in motive.
How can we defend ourselves, the candidates, and innocent students from such actions? First, reject the belief that hatred can have power or intelligence. Hatred is an unfaithful "friend" to those who embrace it – and the only antidote is total rejection. Mary Baker Eddy made this point eloquently in an article titled "Love your enemies." She said: "Hate no one; for hatred is a plague-spot that spreads its virus and kills at last. If indulged, it masters us; brings suffering upon suffering to its possessor, throughout time and beyond the grave" ("Miscellaneous Writings 1883-1896," p. 12).
Second, believe that people really can change. Jesus' ministry was one of salvation from sin, from hatred. Certainly Jesus' triumph over the crucifixion was powerful proof that evil would never have the last word. The Christ, or spiritual nature of Jesus, continued even after Jesus' ascension, and the book of Acts provides an excellent example of its redeeming power.
Saul started out hating Jesus' followers, and he had enough connections to hunt them down and get them imprisoned or killed. Then one day on the road to Damascus – in pursuit of more Christians to terrorize – he had a vision of Jesus that literally changed his life. He saw how wrong his actions were, and within days, he was speaking out forcefully and courageously on behalf of Jesus' teachings.
This kind of redemption is the natural outcome of Christ's influence in the world and on the human heart. Christ, the voice of God to humanity, tells each of us of God's love for us specifically. It opens our eyes to the good that God is giving us all the time.
Christ is the power that can change all who hate. And it is vital for us to accept the power of Christ and its message of love for one and for all. Each time we pray with love in our hearts and with the certainty that God's government will prevail, no matter who is elected, we are cutting away the roots of hatred and are nurturing what is true – the spiritual fact that God really is Love and that He is ever present.
Third, understand the power of God to protect all His children, including the people who are involved in the presidential race. Mary Baker Eddy wrote, "Divine Love is our hope, strength, and shield. We have nothing to fear when Love is at the helm of thought, but everything to enjoy on earth and in heaven" ("Miscellaneous Writings 1883-1896," p. 113).
Divine Love is omnipotent and able to wipe out hate. Recognizing Love's ever-presence with all of us – including each candidate and the innocent children like the ones threatened by the men behind the recent plot – can be part of our prayers for everyone's safety. Love will surely "deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence," as the 91st Psalm states. It continues, "Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day."
Love's presence is here and now – with all of us at this very moment. And its transforming power can protect while also changing the hearts of those who think that hate can benefit them. The redeeming power of Christ can speak to them and change their hearts. And it can speak to us and the candidates to keep us safe.