"They called it the beginning of a cultural war, but really it is a spiritual war, and Manhattan is at ground zero. This great city, this city I had so loved, this city of so many wonders and good people, is in the throes of moral disintegration -- a harbinger for the rest of the nation."

So warned Prayer of the Warrior in 1993. For all our mourning, let's admit our evil. I used to live in Manhattan. I knew it in an intimate way. I know that there were occult shops that sold skulls and witches that wore their regalia on Friday night in Greenwich Village and the debauchery of pornography and advertisements in subways for abortion clinics that took credit cards.

We can all lament and we should lament and I myself lamented at a wake for a friend who died in the South Tower, but we should also see the truth and the truth is that New York was under what a prophecy we have been quoting called an "evil cloud." I don't want to say this. I don't want to hover on the negative. But it's hard not to. I saw things in New York I don't even want to write about. I saw coldness. I saw a coldness that is spreading across America.

It's not just New York. It's everywhere. People don't care about people any more. It's hard to get a human on the phone. Government agencies have become monsters with no spirit. Everything is artificial. Plastic this. Cellophane that. Throw it all away -- twist and mess up and re-create God's creation.

That's where America is at and it is epitomized as nowhere else in the cement canyons of New York. It is there we have built the modern version of great pyramids and it is there we saw that our greatest constructs can come crashing down.

An airplane could not crumble a small mountain but in an hour it could reduce two of the grandest structures in human history to twisted rubble.

There are many lessons in this. There is the lesson of bravery: so many New Yorkers showed a real caring that wasn't obvious before. They tore off the masks of defensiveness. They let go of their hard pretension. The pride was broken. If they keep on this route they'll lead us to spirituality as they have so often lead us in so many other things. 

If not, there will be more New Yorks. There will be more crumbling. There will be more destruction across the land and even there in the heart of midtown.

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