A lot of prayer is taking place this year. There’s also been a huge uptick in Islamic terrorism.
On June 29, I stood with thousands on the Washington State Capitol lawn to repent and pray as a part of Franklin Graham’s Decision 2016 tour of all fifty state capitals. On July 3, I had the privilege of leading my home church in the Call2Fall movement. July 10 is another day of coordinated special prayer for America.
And then comes Together 2016 on July 16 where hundreds of thousands will gather on the Washington, D.C. These calls to prayer focus on unity, repentance, and petitioning heaven to restore His protective blessings.
But did you know that after the American Great Awakening (1730s-40s) and Revolutionary War (1770s-80s)–a time of increased prayer–the threat of radical Islam actually created the US Marines?
Here’s the untold story.
I know that the crescendo of prayer now taking place in America begins with individual humility, repentance, salvation and “turning from our wicked ways.” But the final aspect of 2 Chronicles 7:14 talks about God “healing the land”–which most certainly involves His divine protection and favor.
If you have a little time and want to watch the best video on radical Islam you’ve ever seen, pause for a moment and click here. The video is called “The True Threat of Islam in Fourteen Minutes.”
Then, ponder for a moment how the prayers of the 18th century actually led to the creation of the US Marines and halted the dangers of radical Islam in the time of our Founding Fathers.
Here’s the brief story.
“At the height of the 18th century, Muslim pirates (the “Barbary Pirates”) were the terror of the Mediterranean and a large area of the North Atlantic. They attacked every ship in sight, and held the crews for exorbitant ransoms. Those taken hostage were subjected to barbaric treatment and wrote heart-breaking letters home, begging their government and family members to pay whatever their Muslim captors demanded.”
“These extortionists of the high seas represented the North African Islamic nations of Tripoli, Tunis, Morocco, and Algiers – collectively referred to as the Barbary Coast – and presented a dangerous and unprovoked threat to the new American Republic.”
“Before the Revolutionary War, U.S. merchant ships had been under the protection of Great Britain. When the U.S. declared its independence and entered into war, the ships of the United States were protected by France. However, once the war was won, America had to protect its own fleets. Thus, the birth of the U.S. Navy.”
“Beginning in 1784, 17 years before he would become president, Thomas Jefferson became America’s Minister to France. That same year, the U.S.Congress sought to appease its Muslim adversaries by following in the footsteps of European nations who paid bribes to the Barbary States rather than engaging them in war.”
“In July of 1785, Algerian pirates captured American ships, and the leader of Algiers demanded an unheard-of ransom of $60,000. It was a plain and simple case of extortion, and Thomas Jefferson was vehemently opposed to any further payments. Instead, he proposed to Congress the formation of a coalition of allied nations who together could force the Islamic states into peace. A disinterested Congress decided to pay the ransom.”
“In 1786, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams met with Tripoli’s ambassador to Great Britain to ask by what right his nation attacked American ships and enslaved American citizens, and why Muslims held so much hostility towards America, a nation with which they had no previous contacts.”
“The two future presidents reported that Ambassador Sidi Haji Abdul Rahman Adja answered that Islam “was founded on the Laws of their Prophet, that it was written in their Koran that all nations who would not acknowledge their authority were sinners, that it was their right and duty to make war upon them wherever they could be found, and to make slaves of all they could take as prisoners, and that every Muslim who was slain in Battle was sure to go to Paradise.”
“Despite this stunning admission of premeditated violence on non-Muslim nations, as well as the objections of many notable American leaders, including George Washington, who warned that caving in was both wrong and would only further embolden the enemy, for the following fifteen years the American government paid the Muslims millions of dollars for the safe passage of American ships or the return of American hostages.”
“This payment in ransom and tribute amounted to over 20 percent of the United States government annual revenues in 1800.”
“Islam, and what its Barbary followers justified doing in the name of their prophet and their god, disturbed Jefferson quite deeply. America had a tradition of religious tolerance. In fact Jefferson, himself, had co-authored the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, but fundamentalist Islam was like no other religion the world had ever seen. A religion based on supremacy, whose Koran not only condoned but mandated violence against unbelievers, was unacceptable to him.”
“Shortly after his being sworn in as the third President of the United States in 1801, the Pasha of Tripoli sent him a note demanding the immediate payment of $225,000 plus $25,000 a year for every year forthcoming. That changed everything.”
“Jefferson let the Pasha know, in no uncertain terms, what he could do with his demand. The Pasha responded by cutting down the flagpole at the American consulate and declared war on the United States. Tunis, Morocco, and Algiers immediately followed suit.”
“Jefferson, until now, had been against America raising a naval force for anything beyond coastal defense, but, having watched his nation be cowed by Islamic thuggery for long enough, decided that it was finally time to meet force with force.”
“He dispatched a squadron of frigates to the Mediterranean and taught the Muslim nations of the Barbary Coast a lesson he hoped they would never forget. Congress authorized Jefferson to empower U.S. ships to seize all vessels and goods of the Pasha of Tripoli and to ’cause to be done all other acts of precaution or hostility as the state of war would justify'”.
“When President Thomas Jefferson saw there was no negotiating with Muslims, he formed what is the now the Marines (sea going soldiers). They had been originally commissioned in 1798 by President John Adams but never used in this manner.”
These Marines were attached to U. S. Merchant vessels. When the Muslims attacked U.S. merchant vessels they were repulsed by armed soldiers. Then the Marines followed the Muslims back to their villages and killed every man, woman, and child in the village.”
“It didn’t take long for the Muslims to leave U.S. Merchant vessels alone. English and French merchant vessels started running up our flag when entering the Mediterranean to secure safe travel.”
“The bravery of the U.S. Marine Corps in these wars led to the line “to the shores of Tripoli” in the Marine Hymn, and they would forever be known as “leathernecks” for the leather collars of their uniforms, designed to prevent their heads from being cut off by the Muslim when boarding enemy ships.”
“When Algiers and Tunis, who were both accustomed to American cowardice and acquiescence, saw the newly independent United States had both the will and the right to strike back, they quickly abandoned their allegiance to Tripoli.”
“President Jefferson’s greatest fear was that someday this brand of Islam would return and pose an even greater threat to the United States.”
It’s now back-in a time period in which the Western World has turned away the God who gave them liberty.
May God hear our prayers in the 21st century, forgive our sins, and raise up a new force of brave men and women to deter and destroy evil as happened three hundred years ago.