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Looking For America
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LOOKING FOR AMERICA

June 14, 2016 — Jon Foreman

AMERICA WHO ARE YOU?

 

I’m in a hotel room far from home. I’m staring at a piece of paper with a pen in my hand – speechless. I don’t know where to begin. Tears streaming down my face, I just watched a video of Christina Grimmie sing a song that I wrote about hope. And now, the TV is on with the news with more reports on the violence in Orlando.

I look around me, and I see fear on all sides. Paralyzing fear. Demonization fear. Terror is the loudest voice in the room these days, screaming like a loudmouth bully from every television set. And even though I’m not a loudmouth bully, I’ve still got something to say. 

It used to be that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself. Well, I will not be driven by fear and I refuse to remain silent. I’ve got a serious question to ask. America who are you? Are you bigoted, racist, terrorized? Or are you compassionate, strong, and honorable? I’m not alone asking this question- America who are you?

Even our national anthem has more questions than answers. 
“Oh say does that Star-Spangled Banner yet wave, over the land of the free and the home of the brave?”
It’s an honest question. Which America will my daughter grow up in? The land of the free and the home of the brave, or a nation driven by cowardice and terror?

We are a nation with a troubled past. Let our past failures illuminate the present situation. Let us remember the Jim Crow Laws, the Trail of Tears, the Battle of Wounded Knee, the Japanese internment camps, and on and on… We are a nation of honor and shame. Who is America today? Who will we become? It is in our hands everyday. We the people. You and I. 

We are all unique. We all have our differences. Who am I? I am a Caucasian male who grew up in suburban America. And yet these identifying agents do not define me. No, I will be defined by my actions. I will be defined by my compassion or lack thereof. I will be defined by the life I live. By how I treat the ones around me. 

Are you Muslim? Are you Buddhist? Are you Hispanic, African-American, Pakistani? Are you a man, woman, or child? These differences between us pale in comparison with all the commonalities that join us together. Are you Democrat? Or Republican? Or libertarian? Are you gay? Are you straight? Are you young or old? You matter. Your voice is important. I will not silence your viewpoint. We are different, you and I. And yet, you are my brother. You are my sister. You are my mother. You are my father. And I will not allow our differences or our disagreements to silence the conversation. 

This is the America I believe in:  a melting pot of contrasting beliefs. A nation of immigrants defined by creed that holds “these truths to be self evident: that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” I believe in religious freedom. Mine and yours. 

I am an American. And as such, I define America. I believe in freedom and honor and bravery in the face of fear. So that will be the America that I live out. The election is important, yes. But what about the rest of the year? How I elect to live my life is far more important than the one vote I get every so often. You cannot outsource compassion, you have to live it out.

Yes, I have my own beliefs, but I refuse to enforce my beliefs upon you. Even if I adamantly believe that you’re wrong, I will honor you with compassion, love, and kindness. Why? Because I am driven by a compassion greater than fear. I will not silence your voice. I will not retaliate with violence. I will not be driven by the loudmouth bully of fear. I want my life to be the living proof of the love that’s stronger than hatred. 

This is my answer- my definition of America. And yet, the question remains: America who are you? The land of the free, the home of the brave? Only time will tell…

 

Categories: Journal, Tour

  • Kyri

    Thanks, Jon. I needed this – I’m not American, I’m Australian, but the things you say about how to act towards others are what I believe, too. May God grant peace to our broken world, the Healer of Souls give his mercy to the hurting and lost.

  • http://wellnessmomlife.com Esther Littlefield

    YES to all of this. These situations, and the fear-based responses from so many, have been hurting my heart. Thank you for your rational and compassionate voice, once again.

  • Sarah Nodarse

    I completely agree with what you’re saying here. We as a nation are broken, warped by fear and prejudice. But I am disappointed that in mentioning Orlando, you do not also mention the LGBT community. These things are inseparable and LGBT people face the violent hands of people who fear difference every single day. Obviously you’re a caring, compassionate person and I don’t mean to call you out, I just think a nod toward the LGBT community would really fortify your argument. Peace to you!

    • Sarah Nodarse

      It means the world that you’ve edited this piece to mention the LGBT community. Thank you so much, Jon ❤️

      • Kristianne Galpin

        Thank you Jon! ❤️

        • Michael Beebe

          Agreed, thank you!

    • Joyce Towkan Makar

      Not mentioning the gay community does not make his words any less real. We need not be horrified that it was a gay bar. It was a club full of people…gay or not…no nod needed.

      • Sarah Nodarse

        I’m sorry, but it matters a huge amount. This man targeted a specifically gay club because he was homophobic. I completely agree with everything Jon is saying, but you cannot erase the LGBT community in this case. Homophobia is a disease in our country, one that causes daily violence toward LGBT people. Jon’s piece is about fear and homophobia is nothing more than a fear of difference. We must acknowledge that the cause of this tragedy is homophobia. Of course there is a larger issue of hatred in our country, fear of any and every difference, but the instance in Orlando was motivated entirely by hatred toward LGBT people. I, as a member of this community, am horrified. And so are thousands of others. And we deserve to be heard. I don’t want to argue, I just want it to be clear that LGBT people are fearful for their lives every day, and Orlando has multiplied that significantly.

        • Michael Beebe

          Well put. It matters. He edited it to be more inclusive.. Means a lot to folks like me.

          • John Trenter

            Have not heard back from you on my 3 points, and where is the evidence for the so-called edit or your interaction with Jon Foreman? I have seen no additions or edits into his original post. By the way, “pestering” someone to encourage him or her to repent and turn to Jesus from sin is in fact love. After a few interactions showing only hate and animosity, as in August’s case, I give them over to God Who says not to cast pearls before swine.

        • Me

          I’m not sure if thats the case. It may be part of it though. The man who killed those 50 people was gay himself, bu t he was also Muslim in faith, and his father was very strict. and they do not tolerate homosexuality. He pledged to ISIS and his father had ties to the taliban I believe. This was an act of terror, and lately these terrorists attack places they’ve been going to frequently. I don’t think this man hated gays (he had gay apps on his phone and made passes at other men). Its the religion that “inspired” him to not tolerate these people. Not to mention this man was bipolar too. I think honestly we are dealing with a crazed radical who was struggling with his homosexuality, not a massacre based on homophobia.

          • Sarah Nodarse

            It was stated by his family that he did not practice his faith regularly. ISIS and Islam have NOTHING to do with each other. Islam is a peaceful religion and ISIS uses it as a front for their terrorism. Please do some research; Muslims are not to blame. At all. Mateen’s family and coworkers also stated his disgust with gay people on multiple occasions. This man was (like many straight men) threatened by the fact that any male could be anything less than what he considered a man to be. He was afraid, he felt threatened, he was unhinged, and he had hatred. Islam had nothing to do with it-Jon’s blog is specifically warning us against hating people for their differences. We need to be understanding, educated, and tolerant.

          • Me

            I have done enough research on the religion and it IS factual that the quaran, the hadeth and mohammed himself mandated violence against homosexuals. Several parts of the religion are extremely violent, thus many Muslim leaders are planning to reform the religion. Please look for yourself. I’m not someone who is borderline politically correct as Jon Foreman is. I actually implore you to look into the facts: they are blatant, and not up to interpretation. This specific religion is intolerant to gay people. But, again, not all of those who practice it follow the violent beliefs given by Mohammed. This man had a mental problem as well, his friends also said he was struggling with his sexuality and trying to please his religion at the same time. I’m not blaming muslims or saying they are all terrible people, but what I’m saying originally is that this man was struggling with a mental disorder, his sexuality and what is written in his book of religion.

          • Bread Sandwich

            Go and actually read the Quran and you’ll see how peaceful Islam is. By the way, congratulations on how awesome you are, getting Jon Foreman to edit for you and everything. I bet you feel nice and placated.

          • Sarah Nodarse

            I’m just so happy that Jon is willing to admit he made an oversight and is brave enogh to actually fix it, even when such inclusion sparks the kind of debate in these comments. The LGBT community deserves recognition.

          • Bread Sandwich

            Yes, you must be overjoyed that the Agenda can finally infiltrate Christianity and its tenets, be it through Switchfoot or any other God-fearing medium. Your glee is fully palpable.

          • Sarah Nodarse

            I have no “agenda” but love. I’m sorry you are so angry.

          • Bread Sandwich

            I’m sorry you’re so stupid. You push an agenda that of which you don’t even think exists. Who says I’m angry? That would imply that I care about your outcome, or something. You support Christian acceptance of a modern-day Sodom and/or Gomorrah so quit trying to drag people like Jon into it, he’s challenged enough as to how Christian he and/or his band is.

      • Andrew

        Exactly the point I was going to make. As LGBT is a very controversial subject and has firm believers on both sides, mentioning that just sparks more division. People were murdered, and my heart hurts for their families regardless of my stance on that issue.

    • Andy Lomax

      We are Americans. That is all that should matter. We need to stop binning each other or categorizing ourselves in some subgroup. Americans. Period. Once that happens, the fear, bigotry, and hatred will subside.

    • Sam

      I couldn’t agree more. I’m glad Jon fixed the oversight. The LGBT community is all too often ignored, ousted, and met with nothing but sheer condemnation from ‘Christian’ communities. As Christians it should be our place to acknowledge this hurting community, hear out their stories, and love them unconditionally just as Christ would.. I’m still to this day praying for the victims, for their families, for my LGBT brothers and sisters, and for everyone in their community affected by these horrific events. I know God’s love will prevail past the storm..

  • Kristianne Galpin

    Your words and your music have always been a comfort to me in the hardest of times, and they are today. I wish only to have seen a mention above of the LGBT community that has been devestated by this crime. Thank you for your compassion and thank you for your songs of hope and love.

  • Pragya Tripathi

    Thank you Jon, for once again speaking the honest words. I’m not an American but the things you write is for the entire human race. Thank you for the beautiful message, your words always speak to humanity in volumes

  • https://highhatmusic.wordpress.com/ William Cook

    This man is my original hero.

  • http://jamiemoffat.com Jamie Moffat

    Thanks for your comments Jon – even in Canada we are scratching our heads and asking, “America. Who are you?” Blessings to you and your nation!!

  • Nathan Wells
  • Jorge Hernandez Garcia

    Hi, I was born and still reside in México. As ofended as I am on Donald Trump’s comments, and as disgusted as I am of the shootings in Orlando, I still have faith in american people. I believe that there are more americans who condemn racism, gender based violence and hate. Everything that we do has an impact around us, so if we do good, things will eventually get better. But as Jon says, we all have to overcome fear.

  • August Lumen

    Switchfoot has been my favorite band for years. Jon Foremans vision of hope within a fallen world has always struck a chord with me.
    I was disappointed that fans had to encourage him to include the LGBT community. As a queer transgender man of zero Christian affiliation, I have often wondered if Christian leaning bands like Switchfoot ever acknowledge or are even aware of people like me existing.
    I want to love this band wholeheartedly, but this post failed to mention the privilege Jon lives by simply being straight, white and a cisgender male. Yes we are all defined by our actions- and those with privilege need to recognize they are called in this time to be allies, not just philosophers and poets. President Obama has taken a greater stand for LGBT rights than Switchfoot. And I know they’re just a band, and they don’t have to do anything. They’re not leaders of the free world. But it’s hard to love a band that feels like it’s only somewhat aware of what the shooting in Orlando was really about. It’s not just about America being different from their past sins. It’s about the rampant homophobia and transphobia in our country, which is often encouraged by both Christian and Muslim believers.

    • John Trenter

      Many of the most vocal and screaming tyrants in our nation are in the LBGTQ community and boast of the superiority of “their way.” Well their way is directly diametrically opposite to my God’s way!

      • Matt Peters

        I don’t think they boast of the superiority of their way, just that they have a way and want to be acknowledged.

        • John Trenter

          And try to push their agenda everywhere–you have to be kidding if you think they
          “just want to be acknowledged.” It goes WAY beyond that.

          • Michael Beebe

            Hi there, John. You seem to be quite aggressive in your comments toward LGBT folks. I am a member of the LGBT Christian community, major fan of Switchfoot, and can assure you that there is no agenda we are trying to push. Just want to be recognized. I would be happy to discuss this further with you if you’d like – just reach out.

          • Sarah Nodarse

            So well put; I’d love to chat with you some time about all this!

        • John Trenter

          Are you kidding me, do you read or her news at all? Do you not see gays who try to sue people just because they do not believe the same as they do? Or try to shove their agenda on all of society and especially Christians. When Christians respond in love, gays still continue to go after them. The tyranny of the modern militant homosexual is not much different than the gay brownshirts who helped put Hitler in power, if you want to read that history it is stated by many writers but perhaps none so clearly as Erwin Lutzer in “Hitler’s Cross.” That is why for this and several other reasons I consider the gay “agenda” as unpatriotic, militant and dangerous as much so as their attacker and his accomplices were evil in the Orlando shootings

      • August Lumen

        I wonder what it’s like being so confident you think you know what an infinite God is all about.

        • John Trenter

          August–The Word of God, that is my answer. He tells us very plainly, obviously you are not hearing or seeing. I pray God will open your eyes and enable you to see through His grace.

          • August Lumen

            Enjoy your 2000 year old book that tells men to kill and silence women and to not wear various types of clothing. That’s why I left the church- I read the whole Bible. I also met several other arrogant people like you. Pffft.

          • John Trenter

            YOU SEEM BE THE ARRGANTJUDGMENTAL ONE HERE! YOU CRITICIZETHE HOLY WOD OFGOD AND AIM ARROWS AT HIM,BEST WISHES ON THAT OUTCOME.WONDER WHY THE HATE OF YOU FOR OUR GREAT SAVIOR JESUS, NO GUTS TO ADMIT SIN I SUSPECT.

          • Michael Beebe

            Wow.

      • August Lumen

        People like you are why I left the church and the faith.

    • Andy Lomax

      Stop subdividing us. We are Americans. That is all that should matter. We need to stop binning each other or categorizing ourselves in some subgroup. Americans. Period. Once that happens, the fear, bigotry, and hatred will subside.

      • Andrew

        Exactly.

      • August Lumen

        I didn’t divide anyone. You think there’s division between straight people and the LGBT community because of queer people? Think again.

    • Sarah Nodarse

      I so appreciate your comments and your voice. I’m also a member of the LGBT community and I tweeted Jon asking him to change it, along with my friend. And I completely see where you’re coming from, but I chose to give Jon the benefit of the doubt this morning. I was absolutely thrilled when he agreed to edit the piece-and followed through. How many celebrities would do that at the prompting of two fans on Twitter? I think the numbers are very slim. Jon has spoken out before on his duty not to judge LGBT people, but to love them. He knows his main audience is Christian. I think he’s choosig not to alienate these people while also making mention of a community he harbors no ill will toward. Most Christians would not do this. Reading the rest of the comments on this post has been so discouraging as people are failing to realize Orlando IS an LGBT issue. If you’d ever like to talk about this further, I’d love to. Peace and love to you!

      • August Lumen

        I think what’s hard for me to swallow is the idea that Jon doesn’t judge me for my “lifestyle” but believes it is wrong, as do many other people on here. Everyone will love and support me, but in their minds they think my being different is a sickness. That’s why I really don’t have a space in any religious community, sadly. They all secretly think my bring queer is wrong. How is that love? Tolerance feels inauthentic, honestly. I just feel like I’ve been losing connection with this band and the community who loves Switchtfoot since I came out two years ago, and that has been hard.

        • OnlyByHisGrace

          @august_lumen:disqus I don’t know anything about you and can’t have a say on anything about your life and certainly have not right to judge. But, I just wanted to say that I don’t agree with you saying that agreeing with someone is a perequisite to love them. The best example is God Himself, who’s love for humans is unconditional, yet He does not affirm our actions at certain times. Another more realistic example is family, parents, who love you but will not always agree with every decision you make. I think we are called to love on everyone, and only God can change the hearts of people, who is the only One who can reveal to us His intended plan for our lives.

        • John Trenter

          August–You have chosen this lifestyle and that is on you when you come before a holy God. I doubt you left the church because of anything other than sinful choices. it is your choice also to stay in your delusion. True love confronts sin and does not condone it. May you repent and turn back to Him Who is glorious and holy in all things!

          • August Lumen

            Lol. Why would anyone “choose this lifestyle” since it means having to listen to people write and say ridiculous and offensive things to me? If it had been possible for me to not be queer, I obviously would have made that choice. Except it’s not a choice. I marvel at your confidence that you’re completely aware of what Gods all about. If only I was as informed as you! Just think of the bigotry I could throw out at other strangers on the Internet as well.

          • Sarah Nodarse

            My favorite thing about arguments like this is people who say God’s love is unconditional and then turn around and say that if you’re queer God hates you. I’m glad you’re standing up for what’s right, August!

          • Bread Sandwich

            Your problem is with God and what He tells us to do and not to do, not the people who say that. Have you actually read the bible? There are a lot of things God hates. But I guess it’s easier for people to reinvent God to suit their tastes, make Him a pushover and keep their erroneous lives nice and cushy. You’re actually going to sit there and say God endorses homosexuality. Name one single solitary place in history or scripture where God was specifically, pointedly ok with the actual idea or act of homosexuality or said ONE single positive thing about it. I’m sure there exists the behavior of those who have been FORGIVEN in the history of humankind but excuse me as I call you out as a heretic for spreading the notion and thinking you are some kind of spokesperson for THE Almighty Himself and that He has no qualms whatsoever with the gay lifestyle. Furthermore it’s highly offensive that you and people like you are always dragging Jon Foreman into all of your nonsense. And perhaps the impressionable young people who might stumble onto your doctrine.

          • Michael Beebe

            Hi “Bread Sandwich” – no on is dragging Jon into this “nonsense”. He said some amazing things to The Advocate and also did a wonderful duet with Mary Lambert, writer of “Same Love”. http://www.advocate.com/arts-entertainment/2014/01/17/mary-lambert-teams-nonprofit-spark-dialogue-find-support?page=0,6

          • Bread Sandwich

            I know of those things he did and I would say the exact same thing about them as well

          • John Trenter

            So you have no choice? What kind of life is that when you deny you cannot even have legitimate choices. Actually you do but they are ones God condemns and I agree with God. You will carry your ludicrous irresponsible “choice” arguments when you meet your Maker?? And you will meet Him! Make a right choice and not one that brings yourself and others down. You were meant to be more than what you say you are!

          • Michael Beebe

            Hey John, your aggression is getting on my nerves. I can respect your views but you need to respect others and show grace. The implications in your statement are not showing love and respect to others you disagree with. I notice you seem to be pestering August who seems to be having a little more difficulty reconciling his faith with his orientation than myself, yet you continue to ignore me and what I have shared with you. Feel free to engage in discussion with me, but I would encourage you not to keep pestering folks who are struggling.

          • August Lumen

            Your bigotry and misunderstanding does not change who I am or who God made me to be. I am a queer transgender man and your fear does not silence me or my community. It does not change the innate beings the Universe created us to be. The only person you hurt with your anger and hatred is yourself- and hopefully not others. What happened in Orlando is an example of what happens when people like you get guns and very, very scared.

          • John Trenter

            August, I am done with tossing beautiful pearls (mainly Jesus) before you to be trampled w/blasphemy. Goodbye!

          • Michael Beebe

            Hey John. I can see you are very passionate about this specific issue. I just want to let you know that I have had a personal conversation with Jon Foreman, having shared a personal story of my experience as an LGBT Christian. I’m not going to go into detail out of respect for the band and their role in the industry, but I wouldn’t be so sure that your views are endorsed or aligned with his.

          • John Trenter

            I accept your gracious invite so will respond after a few days of prayer. Here are 3 questions to begin that conversation. Rob Gagnon, a great writer, states an overwhelming case against homosexuality being a so-called choice and why it is a wrong one. He starts with clear Biblical verses found in both testaments stating God’s eternal judgments on people who hold to your view and practice. Do you deny or refute those massive arguments? Second, do you think homosexual practices shorten the average lifespan of ACTIVE gays down to about 49 years, backed by massive stats and seen by me in some 40 years as an RN? That includes both men and women. If you agree with the clear stats, how can we as Christians be mean and hateful and not caring and compassionate in attempting to persuade people from such an unhealthy lifestyle choice that kills and destroys in accordance with the devil’s aims? And third, I am very curious how you have placed Jon Foreman in a place where I would even begin to believe a lot of what he might believe as versus what God says in His Word. I will be very honest in saying that I do not, and that the chasm between Jon and my Lord Jesus is infinitely immense. Like most regular Christians, Jon has some great things to offer and is very talented in music but as far as I know, rarely represents himself as an ambassador for Jesus (he has stated Jesus’ Name rarely in a whole “Christian” music career. Certainly he has never said that he is a theologian at least in the classical sense or the sense that Rob Gagnon is. I respect and admire Jon for a great deal, but I doubt if he would want me to critically compare his views on this subject especially with say, Rob Gagnon or John Piper or Al Mohler not to speak even of fellow Christian musicians. So please don’t pout Jon in the position of an idol, I doubt he would desire that. Let’s start with those discussion questions, keep it fairly short and civil. I appreciate your invite and opportunity to discuss with you.

        • Michael Beebe

          Hi August. I would encourage you to look up To Write Love on Her Arms, an organization that Jon is closely associated with and with whom he is close friends with the founder, another Christian who is an LGBT ally. Don’t be so sure to conclude that Jon or the band believe you are “wrong”.

        • Danika Bass

          Just don’t let other people get in the way of you loving.
          I understand where you’re coming from when you say it’s hard to feel loved by people who think what you’re doing is wrong. But think of it this way: Do you still love people who have lied to you? Do you still love people who feel jealousy? Do you still love gluttons? Yes (at least I hope so, or this isn’t going to go where I wanted it to, lol). That’s because, despite their wrongdoing, you love them enough to overlook it. It might sound slightly harsh or confusing if you don’t think about it at first, but that’s how I see it. Being a glutton is a sin, but I still love overweight people. People, even the people we look up to most, lie, but I still love them. The only reason why people should distance themselves is if you have a negative personality. Otherwise, you’re great. God made you the way He made you. He happened to make me a straight white female, but that applies to a LOT of people. Yet, I’m unique. I’m me. There’s no doubt that He loves you. There’s no doubt that Jon would get along with you – unless of course you were a jerk, but I get the impression that you’re pretty decent, haha. Best of luck on your journey of life.
          With sincere, genuine, honest love,
          Danika

    • Sam

      I think Jon knows what it is about, but if you notice at the beginning of the post he was mentioned Christina Grimmie as well. To me it looks as though he wasn’t trying to talk about this specific shooting, but more about how we are dealing with fear. It doesn’t matter who was attacked, people are people and there is an inherent value to a person. unfortunately, I am sure you have experienced a lot of hatred from many people many of whom are Christian or Muslim(I have to look no further than the comments below). I would just like to say that none of this hatred is taught by the Christian bible. Jesus said the most important rule was to love your neighbor as your self. That is a do not a do not. Christianity is all about hope within a fallen world, it is about love and grace before rules and “do not do ____”. anyone who says otherwise hasn’t paid enough attention to the new testament where Jesus repeatedly criticizes the religious people and loves the broken world. I hope you have a wonderful day!

    • Michael Beebe

      I understand, Andrew. But he edited the post to be more inclusive. I have actually shared with Jon my personal story…and trust me, he is a supportive individual.

    • Me

      August, I don’t think its safe to say Christians encourage the fear of homosexuals or even hate for them. True Christians follow Christ, and He never encouraged such a thing. However, Christ encouraged people of all kinds to follow His lifestyle and His plan and that plan, originally, was man+woman=love,romance,relationship,family,sex. Anything else-women or men morphing into the opposite sex is unnatural in the eyes of God and a rebuttal against that twists what the Bible says. But aside from that, Jesus wants us to love the LGBTQ people and point them to Him so they can have help and everlasting life. This is Jon’s voice. If he doesn’t agree with homosexuality, he doesn’t have to include 4 letters to please a certain group of people. He already stated america is a melting pot. We (as Americans) all know what that consists of. Please research other religions that encourage violence against homosexuals. Christianity is not one of them.

  • Michelle Floyd Bickers

    Every time throughout history has had it’s own fears to face and we are no exception. Famine, totalitarian leaders, black plague, vicious violence worse than ISIS between people calling themselves followers of Christ, greed, slavery, injustice, and hatred have gnawed at humanity throughout time and screamed in ears across the world, that there was no light, no hope, only doom. And yet, in the midst there is always a light in the darkness. People sparked with an idea that lead to action that caused fear to be stomped out and light to pierce the darkness.

    An important story that occured during WWII is worth recalling today. Denmark had been invaded by Hitler and lived under loose Nazi control for years. Jews remained monitored in the country, but not encamped as in other countries. However, word came that the Germans were planning the deportation of the 7,800 Jews to concentration camps. Churches and synagogs throughout the country organized overnight and began transporting Jews on fishing boats to Sweeden. Each night the fishermen would go into action, undetected by the Nazi’s. Soon the Nazi’s became curious and started to look more closely at the docks and soon brought their dogs to sniff out the boats before leaving dock. Expecting this, the fishermen were armed with hankerchiefs soaked in rabbit blood and cocaine. As the dogs boarded the ships they sniffed the hankerchiefs of the fishermen, the cocaine numbed the dogs noses and they were unable to detect the human cargo, that would soon be free. Thousands of Jews were spared. Those who were encamped Ordinary fishermen called to extra-ordinary actions. Who were they? I am sure research could yield their names, but they aren’t household names, nor are the thousands of others who acted in heoric fashion to rise up against the Nazi’s.

    I’ve thought about those heroes so many times and wondered what caused them to rise up against the fearful regime of the Nazi’s? I have to believe it was a Divine spark that gave them vision to see beyond the limited vision the darkness allowed. We each have been called for such a time as this. As we are sparked with good we can do, we must do it. We must move beyond the isolation of fear and join together for a purpose greater than our selfish distrations. There is a group I love, who’s rally cry is Together We Rise. In my opinion it is the only way we answer the question you pose so eloquently Jon. So many dire predictions for the world ahead, but they do not take into account a movement of people who says together, “Not on our watch!” May we answer the question of who we are as a country with boldness, bravery and grace that even the gates of hell cannot stand up against.

  • Reyjezur C. Pioco

    Thank you once again for the inspiration you have given us Jon. I am a Filipino but I think that this article does not just address America… but the whole world. We are now living in a world where violence echoes in most of its corners. But I do believe that the shadows just prove that there is a sunshine. In a world so divested of forgiveness, a word of love is all we need to look at the brighter side of things. Your words are a sort of a mirror of what Jesus has shown to all of us, and that is why I listen to your music every time. Adding to that, reading your articles also makes me more energized to be a blessing to the community I live in. I really thank our Good LORD for your life Jon, and for Switchfoot. You really are a blessing to the world. GOD bless you brother! 🙂

    “You cannot outsource compassion, you have to live it out.” – Jonathan Mark Foreman (Artist, Author, My Personal Hero)

  • Greg

    Jon, seriously, you challenge me. As I read this I kept thinking, yeah but . . . And the answer kept coming to me, look in the mirror. It’s easy to apply this to others and think, I really wish such-and-such group would read this. But I kept coming back to applying it to me. What about those who want to kill us? What about those who want to kill us precisely because of who we, Americans, are? I thought of John Perkins. How can you love after that? It’s hard, I’m not sure I can, but the right answer is clear.

  • http://www.316press.com Mike Huffstatler

    Jon, you have said it best in song. A line that has been heavy on my heart for some time now; Love Alone is Worth the Fight

  • Eric

    The America that I know is not what is on the news. What I see on the news is the exceptional, not the normal. The story of America is the story of millions of individuals all living out their lives, and each story is unique, but the vast majority of the stories in America are nothing like the media would have us to believe.

    I see compassion all around me, I see tolerance all around me, I see love all around me. When I stop looking around and start getting my perspective from a screen, I miss all of it.

  • sarah torres

    I believe in what jon is trying to write about, he is trying to call everybody no matter who and what you are or stand for, to be united. And my opinion is that by wanting an specific mention we are just drawing ourselves apart, because in unity nobody is left behind, but nobody is mentioned more than others. Because that is unity, that we are all human. So I believe the message is more important and the reason why it is being expressed.

    So lets just start looking at everybody as one, and not judging so easily if they mention this or that. Because we are all humans and that makes us one.

    • Joyce Towkan Makar

      Yes..exactly. people were killed..not homosexuals. No distinction necessary.

      • Michael Beebe

        Hi Joyce. This issue seems to have struck a chord with you. Does it bother you when LGBT folks are recognized?

  • Jon

    You know, I agree completely with what you’re saying about loving everyone and treating them with compassion, except for when that compassion comes at the price of our own safety. Even then we should still love, but also respond with action. God commanded us to love unconditionally, but he has not gone without commanding his people to fight. Many times, God commanded the Israelites to fight, and even kill their enemies multiple times in the Bible. David, one of the greatest men of God in history, was a fighter and a warrior. He fought for his country, for his people, and for his God. I believe that love should be our first resort in times like these, but violence should not be discarded as an option when it comes to those who will stop at nothing to kill us.
    I believe the question we face is, “Will America be a country that we will fight for at all costs to keep our liberties, or will it be a country that cowers to its enemies because we refuse to use violence whatsoever?”
    See, ISIS wants to strike fear in the hearts of Americans and make us bow to their regime, but if we are to be a truly great nation, love alone will not win this battle. One of your songs, Love Alone is Worth the Fight, means exactly what the title says. In order to save love from perishing in this lost world, we must fight for it, at any cost.
    I want nothing more than for us to have a peaceful world, where violence isn’t needed, but unfortunately, others don’t see it that way.
    Regardless, thank you Jon, for believing in love and the power it possesses. Thank you for responding to these issues with love and compassion first, rather than hate.

  • Ignacio Huizar

    AMEN !

  • Michael Manhardt

    Jon has been blessed with a distinct and clear gift of articulating the deepest human conflicts and the ability to provide solutions for each. He and the guys in Switchfoot have been courageous and bold in finding the rhythms, melodies and harmonies that help to pierce the words into our hearts, minds and souls in a way that makes the words stick.
    This very important question is critical: America, who are you?
    We can easily look back at the mistakes and atrocities committed over the past 250 or so years, and hopefully learn from them. But that’s really another critical question, isn’t it?:
    America, when will you learn?
    And I’d beg further that we are learning.
    But with all the necessary and hopefully constructive criticism, let us never forget that America is the most selfless and generous nation of people the world has ever seen. With all our flaws, and there are many, we are always the first to unite and the first to serve. We’ve gone far beyond our means to serve other nations when tragedy strikes.

    We are a F.A.M.I.L.Y. – One Nation Under God. Indivisible. With Liberty and Justice for ALL.
    F.A.M.I.L.Y. = Forget About Me I Love You
    It’s an attitude of selflessness and unconditional love.

    We need to strive forth and work hard everyday to become less selfish and more loving. We will become stronger thru these most recent, horrific actions in Orlando.
    The poor will always be with us and so will the deranged. May we walk without fear and seek to embrace and welcome others without judgment … and may we sing Switchfoot songs from the tops of our lungs!
    And May God Bless America.

  • Matt Gifford

    Thank you for your words Jon.
    Someone once said that to write is easy, you simply sit at your keyboard and open a vein. Pete Rollins says – “when you say to the songwriter sign it again for me, you are saying bleed for me again”. I thank you for the songs.
    The events of the last few days are heartbreaking and troubling in equal measure. However, I do believe that, as Rob Bell says, “history is headed somewhere.”
    I believe that, despite every contrary appearance, the tomb is empty and that after every Good Friday night there will be an Easter Sunday morning.
    Hope needs an anthem. You and the boys have been that anthem for me on many, many occasions.
    Let me reflect some of that hope back to you.
    Resurrection says that death and doubt and darkness do not have the last word. These are not the things that endure.
    Faith, Love, Joy, Comfort, Wholeness, HOPE…these are the things that endure.
    Peace.

  • John Trenter

    The ultimate question here is this: Will Jesus Christ and the Father be glorified and to what extent? Will we by fancy words demean or honor and lift up his Name and see Him as really the Way, the Truth and the Life or will we by any other means, subtle or not, demean Him?? That is the question for each of us whether we are popular, an artist, a so-called wise person, or will we bow before Him in humility and authentic worship and deed? Words mean a lot, but actions and suffering for him and being one of the persecuted for Him mean infinitely more. the wise ones of the world rarely see the true wisdom of the suffering “foolish ones for Christ.” it is easy to be wise and popular and use nice words to avoid being a true devoted follower of Christ.

  • http://daniellyle.com/ Daniel Lyle

    Wow.

  • Hannah Anikin

    The beginning of your post had me worried, I wasn’t sure which direction you would ultimately take. Lol as a Muslim living in America, these are very trying times. Whatever it is that people believe, in the end, somehow, I am responsible for both condemning and apologizing for attacks such as these, that I have nothing to do with. That’s the America that we are today. Immigrants who hate other immigrants. Afraid of someone stealing a slice of their pie. Forgetting this land was stolen from the natives, and blaming people for something they had no correlation to. That’s the truth. Thanks to the media.

  • Helen

    Wow, beautiful thoughts, again. This is an important piece. Thank you for again and again choosing compassion over bitterness, you’re moving all of us towards better things. ♡

  • Annalisa Lim

    Thank you.

  • Philemon

    Jon, I love reading your thoughts as always. But what’s troubling is the uncomfortable details surrounding this case. A more insidious and organized force of evil appears to be behind this (and other similar) events, rather than a lone wolf. There are the tell-tale signs pointing to this being the case of a patsy staging a false flag attack.

    1) Since ISIS is a Western public relations operation, a 4th generation warfare psy-op, the ISIS pledge in itself pretty much proves that the shooting was an inside job. Although, there’s no denying that misguided youths with Muslim names are used to carry out such attacks.
    2) There was more than one attacker. A couple of witnesses said someone was holding the door of the club shut while the shooting was being carried out.
    3) There is NOTHING so far that suggests this individual had anything against gays or any reason to actually target gays. In fact people who frequent the club have said that he is a frequent visitor to the club. He also had a profile on a gay dating app. It appears that the killer was actually gay. There’s nothing to indicate he was a devout Muslim.
    4) The shooter worked for a private mercenary contracting outfit G4S (the world’s largest security company by revenue) which is close to Mossad/MI5/CIA. They financially benefit from terrorism.
    5) How did the guy get in with an assault rifle in a place with bouncers at the door???
    6) Will the alleged perpetrator be interrogated to find out what he did or did not do, what his motives may have been, and who his associates were? Apparently not. Once again, we see the “perp shot dead, will never be interrogated or tried” syndrome. If international terrorism sponsored by groups like ISIS were really what it is made out to be, obviously live captures of all suspected terrorists would be the top priority, so interrogations could take place and terror networks taken down.
    7) Who benefits from this? Not Muslims as far as I can see. The entire world just spent the past week celebrating the life of Muhammad Ali – and Ali’s religion, Islam. It was the best PR week Islam ever had. What’s more, we didn’t spend the past week celebrating “house Muslim” Uncle Tom style Islam. We spent it cheering for Muhammad Ali, a Muslim fighter, a man willing to sacrifice everything for truth and justice…
    8) It’s election time. Gun control, immigrants, LGBT rights — these are all hot talking points. The ground is now well tilled for those who want to sway the public opinion one way or the other on these issues. Convenient?

    Given the connections between Mateen and his employer to terrorism, it would be wise to consider the possibility that the Orlando shooting was more than a simple lone wolf attack.

    http://awarenessact.com/6-reasons-to-question-the-official-story-of-the-orlando-shooting/

  • David Murphy

    I appreciate that you write with immediacy and from the heart on this. Your words have relevance and truth behind them. I don’t envy our position as a culture or individually as fathers. The America your daughter and my son grow up in will be vastly different than the one we grew up in. Kindness and compassion require vulnerability and sacrifice, a willingness to live a wounded life. As I write these words, I now understand the title track and the line “the wound is where the light shines through”. As my family continues to face financial challenges, I hurt and I pray for all the people I see around Portland, Maine looking into closed windows at the major intersections holding their cardboard pleas for help. Our instinct is to doubt, to judge (and the media reinforces this with stories about people confronting these types of individuals with job applications and job offers only to be refused). The only benchmark we should have is how our actions reflect our Savior’s heart. If Jesus were waiting for a green light in His chevy or ford, would he keep the window up and look straight ahead, or would he wind down the window and offer, if nothing else, words of hope, encouragement and sympathy for their situation?

  • August

    “You weren’t the gunman, but you didn’t want to see gay people kissing in public. You weren’t the gunman, but you don’t like gay characters on TV. You weren’t the gunman, but you think gay people are sinful and need saving.

    You weren’t the gunman, but you were upset when gay people gained the right to marry. You weren’t the gunman, but you use slurs for gay people. You weren’t the gunman, but you would vote against legal protections for gay people.

    You weren’t the gunman, but you’re the culture that built him. You’re the bullets in his gun.”

    You know who you are.

  • KC Clark

    Wow Jon! Thank you ??

  • Adrnik

    So much of this resonates with what’s happening in the UK as well. Our country is so divided and things have got out of hand. In addition one of our leaders was brutally murdered yesterday. Let the light sine through speaks powerfully. Thank you.

  • Aimee Irvin

    Wow Jon I was very moved by your words. Thank you for writing this blog. Finally someone can write about what has happened w love, grace, and compassion. My heart breaks for what has happened in Orlando w the mass shooting, Christina, also what happened w the little boy at Disney World as well. I feel our world is in total chaos, there are broken people everywhere. People killing people, people living in fear from all the violence, living in confusion of what is going on in our country and around the world. But our hope is in Jesus and at the end of the day God is still God. My prayers are for Christina’s family as well as the families of the mass shooting. May we come together in unity and love. May we as believers not be apart of the problem, but apart of the solution and that is to love those around us aside from their race, lifestyle, or religion. May we choose to love as Jesus loves us. God bless you Jon and Switchfoot!

  • A. Castellitto

    Hey Jon, as a fellow blogger, I truly like what you did here….. And the best part is you didn’t sell out your convictions….. You are speaking tolerance in that you are not advocating a placing of one plight over another….. At the end of the day, we live in this world where often it is sinner battling against sinner….. But the truth is that we have no rights….. It’s all an illusion. We don’t deserve mercy, grace, love, ease or even peace….. We aren’t entitled. I’m thankful and regretful for who I am and who I’ve become….. But most of all I’m blessed for I am covered by the blood of my Lord & King….. God Bless you Jon, you are legit!

  • Velvet Taylor

    Hi i read quite a few of these post…..The question is….. Are we a Jesus Christ, God the Father, Holy Spirit, Holy Bible believing Christian in a America. That is what we need to fight for….Then God the Father Of Abraham and Isaac and Jacob Will take care of the America we all Know and Love.

  • kellie steinke

    But what do YOU stand for, Jon? Love yes, but love is also being brave enough to stand up against an act or lifestyle that is wrong…so love yes, but don’t be afraid to tell a gay man you don’t accept homosexuality as OK, or to tell a Muslim about Jesus, about the God who loves, and wants, us to be reunited with Him, but through a blameless, righteous life. If you are rejected, despised, well congratulations, join the rest of us who follow Him

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