Saturday, April 25, 2015
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Inside Washington

What happens in the halls of national government – for better or for worse – can dictate the future course of America. Along with your fellow Prayer Team members, you are to be constantly and fervently interceding for all the men and women who serve in Congress, for your military leaders in the Pentagon, and for the President of the United States, his cabinet and administration.

“Inside Washington” will equip you to do just that … with reports on the nation’s leaders and the decisions they’re considering … or have already made. We’ll examine the implications for the nation, and call you to specific prayer for those needs.

America: A land of fear?

Inside Washington

From Tornados to Terrorists

By Holly L. Meade

“So first of all let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself—nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes the needed effort to bring about prosperity once again.”

These words from Franklin Delano Roosevelt‘s presidential inauguration speech on March 4, 1933 were his efforts to calm people during the nation’s difficult times. Yet, these words still apply as the fears of American people, both individually and corporately, have not dissipated but apparently increased.

Chapman University recently initiated the first nationwide study on what strikes fear in the hearts of Americans. The Chapman Survey on American Fears included 1,500 participants and the data was organized into four basic categories: personal fears, crime, natural disasters and fear factors.

According to this poll, the number one personal fear in America today is walking alone at night.

Regarding crime, the research team discovered findings that not only surprised them, but also professionals who work in crime fields. Despite evidence to the contrary, Americans do not feel like the United States is becoming a safer place.

“What we found when we asked a series of questions pertaining to fears of various crimes is that a majority of Americans not only fear crimes such as child abduction, gang violence, sexual assaults and others; but they also believe these crimes (and others) have increased over the past 20 years,” said Dr. Edward Day who led this research and analysis. “When we looked at statistical data from police and FBI records, it showed crime has actually decreased in America in the past 20 years.”

In the area of natural disasters, the top five most feared by Americans are tornado/hurricanes (39 percent) followed by earthquakes, floods, pandemic or major epidemics and power outages.

“Through a complex series of analyses, we were able to determine what types of people tend to fear certain things and what personal characteristics tend to be associated with most types of fear,” said Dr. Christopher Bader, who performed the analysis. Through their analysis two key factors emerged: having a lower level of education and also high frequency of television viewing were the most consistent predictors of fear.

In a recent Reuters/Ipsos online poll, more than 2,800 Americans were asked to rate how much of a threat a list of countries, organizations and individuals posed to the United States. The poll showed 34 percent of Republicans ranked President Obama as an imminent threat, ahead of Russian President Putin (25 percent) and Syrian President Assad (23 percent).

“There tends to be a lot of demonizing of the person who is in the office,” said Barry Glassner, a sociologist and author of The Culture of Fear: Why Americans Are Afraid of the Wrong Things. “The TV media here and American politics, very much trade on fears,” Glassner said.

In the Ipsos survey, 27 percent of Republicans saw the Democratic Party as an imminent threat to the United States and 22 percent of Democrats deemed Republicans to be of concern. People were most concerned about threats related to potential terror attacks. Islamic State militants were rated an imminent threat by 58 percent of respondents and al Qaeda by 43 percent. Cyber attacks were viewed as a danger by 39 percent and drug trafficking was seen as an imminent threat by a third of the respondents.

Fear is a basic survival mechanism that signals the body to respond to danger with a fight or flight response. It is an essential part of safety. However, people who live in constant fear, whether from physical dangers in their environment or threats they perceive, can become incapacitated.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” (Philippians 4:6)

Worry is anxiety and prayer is the antidote. The Creator calls His believers to commit everything to Him in prayer. Whether there is fear of the present or the future, Christians can resolve these by focusing on God’s immeasurable love and faithfulness. As a result, people will be drawn to Him and the nation can truly experience the Prince of Peace.


Holly L. Meade has over 20 years experience creating and managing content for the media. Her portfolio includes producing Campus Crusade for Christ’s (CRU) worldwide radio and television programs as well as writing for various Christian radio hosts. With a master’s degree from the University of Florida, Holly also has taught Journalism and Mass Communication classes to future journalists.

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