Secret Forces of the Church: Rome’s Foot Soldiers
By Pastor Hal Mayer
This month we have an amazing revelation to study in light of fulfilling prophecy. How is America becoming the beast that speaks as a dragon? We are going to look at what is going on behind the scenes to lead the United States to become a persecuting nation? Though I attempt to verify all information from publically available sources, for certain aspects of this study I am indebted to my friends at the Eternal Gospel Church in West Palm Beach, FL for their excellent research, some of which is incorporated into this message.
I recently read an interesting article in Zenit, the Vatican’s internet news agency concerning the first visit of President Bush with Pope Benedict XVI on Sabbath, June 9, 2007. Zenit did an interview with Ambassador Rooney, the U.S. ambassador to the Vatican prior to the President’s visit. Here is an excerpt from it.
Zenit reported that the Ambassador said that “The United States and the Holy See are going down parallel paths in many important areas…,” Those important areas mean much in light of prophecy. Revelation 13 tells us that there is a parallel path to persecution of God’s people on which the two nations are collaborating.
But before we go any further, let us bow our heads in prayer. Dear Father in Heaven, It is a great privilege to be your people in the last days. But we are so far from what you want us to be. I pray that you will today help us realize the importance of the hour in which we live. As we take a look behind the scenes in world events, I pray that you will help us sense that the end is near. May your Spirit rest on us each one. We pray in Jesus’ name amen.
Let us turn in our bibles once again to Revelation 13. Speaking of the two horned lamb-like beast the scripture says in verse 12, and “he exercises all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed.”
In order for this to happen, there has to be an alignment between the United States and the papacy. This alignment has been a long time in the making, and most of it has been secretly developed and matured in the halls of power where most common citizens do not have access. Most of the efforts of Rome to manipulate the United States into a position of alignment with her have been done without the knowledge or the consent of the American people, or for that matter, the consent of the citizens of any nation where Rome or its agents are at work. Notice too that the United States exercises all the power of the first beast, the same power that Rome had during the dark ages when she was master of Europe. America was established on vastly different principles than Rome. America doesn’t know by nature how to exercise all the same power as the Papacy. But America is in school. She is learning, and learning fast. She is taking very good notes in the lessons that she is getting. And she is putting them into practice.
Since the September 11, 2001 attacks, America has been implementing the same principles as were used in the inquisition which gave Rome enormous power and control. The only way that America can exercise the same sort of power that Rome used in the dark ages, is when she implements Rome’s principles in the land of the free. These changes we have documented on many of our sermons over the last few years. But now, we dig a little deeper. These changes could not have happened unless there was a change in the mentality of Americans toward the constitution and toward Rome. How did this happen? What was the cause of the dramatic change in perspective of the American people so that now they are prepared to allow the United States to become the beast power that will soon exercise all the power of Rome? This is dramatic and it is important.
The alignment between Rome and the United States is significant. There is so much alignment that America actually forces all peoples to worship the pope and the papacy. Notice the extent of the alignment at the end of time. Verse 15. “And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed.” America is prophesied to become a persecuting power. It is not difficult to understand in light of recent events in which prisoners – even American citizens – have been subjected to torture in secret prisons without access to attorneys for several years, and without many other constitutional protections that we have come to expect.
In 2006, we got a glimpse of something that opened my eyes to things I did not know could be documented. Condoleezza Rice, the Secretary of State, had been doing very much to undermine the U.S. Constitution, the highest law of the land, and replace it with inquisitional justice for “terrorist suspects.” In May she received an honorary law degree from Boston College, a prestigious Jesuit institution. The symbolic gesture revealed the Jesuit hatred of the U.S. Constitution. This insult to the U.S. Constitution revealed to me that there are many things going on behind the scenes of which we are unaware. Once in a while we can see a small piece of it that pops up on the surface. The hidden agenda of Rome can be seen occasionally if you are paying attention.
What is the hidden agenda of Rome? “The Roman Church is far-reaching in her plans and modes of operation,” says the book Great Controversy, page 565. “She is employing every device to extend her influence and increase her power in preparation for a fierce and determined conflict to regain control of the world, to re-establish persecution, and to undo all that Protestantism has done. Catholicism is gaining ground upon every side. See the increasing number of her churches and chapels in Protestant countries. Look at the popularity of her colleges and seminaries in America, so widely patronized by Protestants.” This prophetic testimony should be a warning to all of us that Rome’s agenda is to increase her power to the point where she can enforce her canon law on the people of the United States and any nation that is not already a Catholic nation.
The Vatican has become very important to the United States president. In discussing the upcoming meeting between Benedict XVI and President Bush, on June nine of this year, Ambassador Rooney said, “This [visit] is a tangible reflection of how important the Holy See is to the United States and to the president. The most direct and tangible way to show the interest of the president is a presidential visit…” he said. “The president has done many things that relate to the values that the Holy Father and the Holy See support and nurture.”
That is what the ambassador said about the importance of the Vatican to the United States. But note how important the United States is to the Vatican. The president has done much throughout the seven years of his presidency so far to help the Vatican gain much influence and power in the United States.
After the meeting between Benedict XVI and President Bush, we learned from CNN that the president was “awed” by the pope. “I was talking to a very smart, loving man,” Bush said of his first talks with Benedict,” said CNN. “After six-and-a-half years of being a president … I’ve been to some unusual places and met some interesting people, and I was in awe,” Bush told a joint news conference in Rome with Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi. “It was a moving experience for me.” Perhaps the ‘love’ that President Bush spoke about helped him to ignore the danger signs that should have beat in his Methodist heart when meeting with the very smart Pope. My guess is that the Vatican gained more from this meeting than did the United States by far. Remember the pope views himself as if he were above the other rulers of the world. For example, Vatican etiquette dictates that the pope wears white (and perhaps some red or scarlet) while all others wear penitent black.
The pope gave President Bush a drawing of St. Peter’s Basilica, and an official Vatican gold medal – two symbolic gifts related to the Vatican’s religious and civil nature. President Bush responded by giving the pope a “Moses walking stick” with the 10 commandments carved on them. Imagine that. The 10 commandments, including the 4th commandment carved on the pope’s new walking stick. I wonder if this is a portend of the future conflict over the true Sabbath that is coming between God’s church and the powers involved in this exchange of gifts. It is ironic that the two men desecrated God’s holy Sabbath day by meeting for political business.
We also learned that one of the items that the two men discussed was immigration in the United States. Rome wants more immigrants from Catholic nations to come into the United States as this is in her political interests. CNN reported that President Bush said that “Benedict was watching the U.S. immigration debate intently.”
President Bush has worked hard to establish an immigration law that would provide a “track to citizenship,” as he calls it, for foreigners that come into America illegally. Of course, we must understand that this means a track to Catholic votes. Rome has consistently sent Catholic immigrants into America since its beginning, knowing that this would increase Rome’s power in the United States. Now she is doing it again.
But immigration is only one area of cooperation. The President has opposed gay marriage, embryonic stem cell research, and has worked to set up a means of undoing the abortion laws in America. As a rule, he has generally opposed anything that the church does not publically want (with the notable exception of the war in Iraq) and has supported most things that the church endorses. While many of these things are good, such as his opposition to gay marriage and abortion, these are key distinctive issues that Rome champions which are greatly helping to align the Vatican and the United States. The Administration is cooperating very effectively.
The President has also very often appointed Catholics to positions of great responsibility such as when he elevated Alberto Gonzales, whose judicial philosophy is far more inquisitional than it is constitutional, to the position of Attorney General of the country; or when he elevated Roman Catholics John Roberts and Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court, which gave the court the first Catholic majority in its history; or when he elevated General Michael Hayden, a Roman Catholic from Pittsburg, to head the CIA, and many others. He regularly meets with officials of the Catholic Church, especially those in the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. He attends Catholic prayer breakfasts, opposes euthanasia, and the list goes on and on.
What is going on behind the scenes? Why is the Catholic Church gaining such enormous credibility and influence in the halls of power in the USA? Could it be that there are some things going on that we don’t know about, or to which most people aren’t paying attention?
The rather revealing statements of Ambassador Rooney, though general in nature, tell us that there is a strong cooperation between the U.S. and the Vatican especially in areas that are important to the Vatican. Revelation 13 tells us that this is inevitable prophetically in order to bring about the fulfillment of the verses that say that “all that dwell upon the earth shall worship” Rome and the dragon, who is behind Rome.
Recently, the U.S. Congress has changed hands from a republican controlled congress to a democratically controlled congress. But there is another changing of hands taking place that most people don’t see. The U.S. Congress is gradually being taken over by the Jesuits. The changeover between political parties took place on January 4, 2007. But the events surrounding it reveal the other, more powerful and very dangerous changeover taking place behind the scenes. The former republican majority leader of the House of Representatives was John Boehner, a Roman Catholic who was trained in Catholic schools and graduated from Jesuit Xavier University in 1977. Xavier University at Cincinnati, OH, according to its website, “provides a liberal arts education in the Catholic, Jesuit tradition. The University is the third-largest independent institution in Ohio, the sixth-oldest Catholic university in the nation, and one of 28 Jesuit colleges and universities nationwide,” said its website. Boehner had been the highest ranking Roman Catholic republican lawmaker in American history during his tenure as the republican majority leader. Rome loved it, and trumpeted the news saying in the National Catholic Register, that “Catholics have suddenly achieved an unprecedented level of ascendancy in Washington.” (Feb 12, 2006).
During the changeover in 2007, John Boehner, with a smile on his face handed the House gavel to Nancy Pelosi, now the democratic Speaker of the House, and a Roman Catholic from San Francisco, CA. Incidentally, she is the first female Speaker of the House in American history.
I should point out before we go further that when speaking of secret societies like the Jesuits, it is important that we document what we say, either by publically known facts for by prophetic inspiration in the Bible or the Spirit of Prophecy.
Nancy Pelosi is one of the most influential promoters of the Jesuits in the United States at the moment. Nancy was raised in strongly Catholic Maryland in a strict Roman Catholic home. As a little girl Nancy wanted to be a priest instead of a nun because “there seemed to be a little more power there,” she said years later. Nancy was trained in Roman Catholic schools around the city of Baltimore where her father was the mayor. Then she attended and earned her degree at Trinity College, now known as Trinity University, a Roman Catholic college for women, in Washington, DC. Her husband graduated from Georgetown University, the oldest Jesuit institution in America.
Nancy is no stranger to the Jesuits. She was apparently a close friend of Father Robert Drinan S.J. who served in Congress from Massachusetts for a decade (1971-1981) as the first priest to be a voting member of the U.S. Congress. While in Congress, Drinan served on a number of important committees and most prominently on the House Judiciary Committee. Until he died in January of this year he had been a law professor at Georgetown University for 26 years. Nancy Pelosi delivered the Eulogy at his funeral, and the House of Representatives had a moment of silence in his memory.
On May 10, 2006, almost a year before Drinan’s death, Pelosi, while democratic minority leader; along with Dennis Hastert, the Speaker of the House at that time, presented the Congressional Distinguished Service Award to Jesuit Robert Drinan. Within a year Nancy Pelosi would become the Speaker of the House. It is significant that these powerful people were honoring a Jesuit for distinguished service to the United States of America. Incidentally, the Speaker of the House is third in line to be the president if something should happen to the president and vice-president.
What kind of distinguished service could have been the basis of this award? The Jesuit order was established specifically to work for the “overthrow of Protestantism, and the re-establishment of the papal supremacy,” according to Great Controversy, pg. 234. That being the case, the distinguished services provided by Robert Drinan would have likely included, along with his well-known humanitarian activities, efforts to overthrow the protestant-inspired Constitution of the United States so that papal principles and papal power can be strengthened and eventually take over. The U.S. Constitution was designed to specifically prevent the rise of Roman Catholic principles in the United States. Dennis Hastert is a “protestant.” But obviously he either doesn’t understand the issues at stake, or he is in cooperation with Rome to accomplish its purposes. Nancy Pelosi is a Roman Catholic who obviously is courting Jesuit influence.
Drinan was forced by Pope John Paul II to not run for office in 1980 for a sixth term in Congress. But hasn’t Robert Drinan opened the way for Catholics to enter into the U.S. political system more effectively? After 10 years of serving in our U.S. legislature; after receiving the highest Congressional Award, after shaping the minds of many current members of Congress during his 26 years at Georgetown University and, after receiving the highest judiciary award – the American Bar Association Gold Medal, and after gaining the respect and admiration from our policy makers at the highest levels of the U.S. government, wouldn’t this greatly reduce any fears in the minds of voters or the lawmakers themselves of voting for, or working with other Catholic legislators. Incidentally, it happens that in the present Congress, 22 out of 54 Jesuit-trained members were trained at Georgetown. That is almost 41% of them. Georgetown has a huge influence on Congress. You don’t need a lot of Jesuit-trained Catholics to leaven the whole Congress, especially when 30% of Congress is already Roman Catholic and who are expected to act consistent with church teaching in formulating the laws of the land.
On January 4, 2007, just a few days before he died, Robert Drinan S.J. said a mass for Nancy Pelosi just before she was sworn in as Speaker of the House. This gesture is significant. Nancy Pelosi asked Drinan to commit her term as Speaker of the House to the church. During that mass he said, “God has great hopes for what this nation will do in the near future. We are here [at the inaugural mass for Nancy Pelosi] to ask for the courage to carry out God’s hopes and aspirations.”
What was he referring to when he said that God has great hopes for what United States will do in the near future? What near future? And how near in the future? Remember this is a Jesuit speaking. Could something very significant for the Roman Catholic Church be about to happen in the near future in relation to the United States of America? What does he know that the rest of the nation doesn’t know? We know that the coming of Jesus is in the near future, and that will be a significant event. Rome will tremble in fear. But I don’t think that is what Robert Drinan was referring to.
Revelation 13 tells us that America will deceive the whole word by miracles. Maybe Robert Drinan was referring to the miracles that America will be able to do in the sight of the beast. Here is the 14th verse. Referring to the second beast or the United States of America, it says that he “deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by the sword, and did live.”
When did the beast get a wound by the sword? That was in 1798 when French Revolution-inspired Napoleon’s general Berthier entered the Vatican and took the pope captive and sent him into exile. But Rome survived that deadly attempt at its power, and has slowly been rebuilding it all along.
Could Robert Drinan have been referring to the persecution that America will soon impose on God’s people? Here is the 15th verse and onward. “And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed. And causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand or in their foreheads: And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.”
Perhaps Robert Drinan knew what is planned for God’s people. Perhaps he was aware of that which hardly anyone, including many in God’s church realizes; that there is coming a Sunday law to force all to worship on Rome’s Sunday instead of God’s holy Sabbath day. It is when the law of the land enforces Sunday observance that Sunday worship becomes the mark of the beast.
Rome changed the Sabbath in the fourth century onward officially, and required all nations, tongues and people in the Holy Roman Empire to worship on her day, or she persecuted them wherever she could. Now tracking alongside Rome, as Rome restores the Holy Roman Empire, the United States is setting up the mirror image of the beast. Little by little, step by step, America is preparing to enforce the dogmas of the church on its citizens through the laws of the land. That is why the separation of church and state is so important to the U.S. Constitution. That is why the removal of the wall of separation of church and state is so important to the Jesuits and Rome. That is why Rome wants to get as many Roman Catholics, especially Jesuit-trained Roman Catholics into the U.S. Congress. That is why Rome is working so hard to remove the principles of liberty in the U.S. that protect freedom of religion, conscience and faith.
Rome is relentless. She keeps up her agenda for generation after generation of lawmakers. Lawmakers come and go, but the papacy continues to press her agenda. Each successive pope and each successive bishop continue to pressure lawmakers to support her principles. Most lawmakers approach congress with their political views the way they are, and they don’t see the larger agenda behind the scenes. But many Catholics and certainly the Jesuits come to it with a more complete understanding of the goal. So they can maintain the trajectory of their plans until eventually they get them passed. Each new congress is co-opted by the Jesuits and the bishops to continue the step by step process of changing America from its protestant principles to Roman Catholic ones. The more Roman Catholics in power, the more effective Rome becomes.
In her eulogy for Drinan’s funeral on February 5, Nancy Pelosi referred to Robert Drinan’s sermon at her swearing in mass a few weeks before and said that “afterwards, he sent me a letter asking that I put his words in the Congressional Record,” reported the California Catholic Daily on February 5. “And I commend his call for ‘peaceful revolution’ to all of you gathered here today.” What is meant by “peaceful revolution?” Could that have something to do with significant developments in the near future that Robert Drinan spoke about? Could that be referring to a revolution that will change the U.S. Constitution so that religious liberty is eliminated, as the Bible predicts?
What does Nancy Pelosi know that the rest of the nation doesn’t know? It is obvious that Pelosi and Drinan were working together to accomplish something. Perhaps that something is in harmony with the purposes of the Jesuits and the Catholic Church. Pelosi’s final sentence in her eulogy for Robert Drinan sounds as if she was speaking to him in heaven. “Father Drinan: your statement has been entered in the Congressional Record, and your message has been heard.” What message? Is this a message with instructions for the future? What are Jesuits advising U.S. elected officials?
Pelosi has another close friend Jesuit in the president of the University of San Francisco, another Jesuit University. He is Father Stephen A. Privett, S. J. She became acquainted with him when she attended his inauguration as president of the university. At the opening of the 110th congress, Nancy Pelosi asked him to deliver the prayer. The prayer is revealing. He said, “We pray that the new leadership of this Congress and all of its members will write into law the story of a country that measures its success by God’s standards,” reported the University of San Francisco News.
Imagine praying a prayer like that in front of the Congress of the United States. What would it mean to make the law of the land “measure its success by God’s standards?” Jesuit Privett was referring to the Ten Commandments, and specifically to the 6th commandment not to kill when he went on to refer to the “weakest and most vulnerable among us.” He was obliquely referring to abortion and was using his prayer as a way to preach to Congress on one of the most important issues to the Roman Catholic Church. Father Privett is the first Catholic priest to pray before the full session of Congress in history.
Nancy Pelosi is certainly pioneering new ground in her love of the Jesuits. This occasion provided an opportunity for her to introduce more members of Congress to the Jesuits and create friendships that will last long beyond her years in Congress. It is another opening for the Jesuits in the U.S. Pelosi is very well connected with the Jesuits and obviously collaborates with them. She continues to work in their interests.
It happens that the two men who were vying to take Nancy’s place as the democratic Majority leader were both Roman Catholics. The winner of the election among the House Democrats was Steny Hoyer. He was also trained in Jesuit schools, in particular at Georgetown University. So, let us think about this for a minute. The Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, the House Majority leader, Steny Hoyer, and the House minority leader John Boehner are all Roman Catholics. Do you think that Rome has taken over the House of Representatives in the U.S. Congress? Two of these three were trained in Jesuit Universities and all three graduated from Catholic Institutions where they were no doubt trained in Catholic political thought.
The Senate majority and minority leaders at the moment are Harry Reid (D-NV) who is a member of the Latter Day Saints church, and Mitch McConnell (R-KY) who is a Baptist. Perhaps we will one day see the same kind of developments in the Senate as we now see in the House. Time will tell.
It happens that there are quite a number of Jesuit trained members of the 110th Congress. Of the 535 members 54 of them, or more than 10 percent are graduates or alumni of Jesuit colleges and universities. This is an increase of nearly 15 percent compared to the 109th Congress which had 47. Incidentally, 29 of them have been in Congress for more than 10 years. Of them, 8 have been there more than 20 years. As Rome continues to encourage its adherents to run for public office, expect to see more and more Jesuit-trained Roman Catholics in high positions of responsibilities.
The Spirit of Prophecy tells us that the Jesuit order sets for itself the goal of influencing the laws of the land. I quote “Under various disguises the Jesuits worked their way into offices of state, climbing up to be the counselors of kings, and shaping the policy of nations.” That is from the book Great Controversy, page 235. Could it be that the United States is now very strongly influenced by the Jesuit order as they have climbed up to be the counselors of kings, presidents and monarchs the world over and especially in the United States, the land of liberty? Could the Jesuits be shaping the policies of the United States in its legislative assemblies as they have wended their way into positions of political power? Could there be those in Congress who were trained as Jesuits and though they aren’t working openly for the church, they are silently and secretly working for the purposes of the Jesuit order while posing as regular people?
Listen to this familiar statement from Great Controversy, page 581. “[Rome] is silently growing into power. Her doctrines are exerting their influence in legislative halls, in the churches, and in the hearts of men. She is piling up her lofty and massive structures in the secret recesses of which her former persecutions will be repeated. Stealthily and unsuspectedly she is strengthening her forces to further her own ends when the time shall come for her to strike. All that she desires is vantage ground, and this is already being given her. We shall soon see and shall feel what the purpose of the Roman element is. Whoever shall believe and obey the word of God will thereby incur reproach and persecution.”
Is Rome silently strengthening her forces? Is she being given vantage ground? Is she stealthily and unsuspectedly exerting her influence in legislative halls? Could the current developments in Congress be largely a result of the work of the Jesuits in the U.S. Congress just as prophecy predicts? I hope you can see that this prophecy is being fulfilled right before our unsuspecting eyes. We can catch a glimpse of it if we are paying attention. But I suspect, based on this statement, that there is much more than meets the eye behind the scenes. Is Rome creating secret recesses where she can conduct her former persecutions? Perhaps one day this will come to light too.
On November 3, 2006 Benedict XVI met with the Jesuits in Rome at the Gregorian University which is the very university that Ignatius Loyola established in 1551 near the very beginning of the Jesuit order. This university is the source and spring of all Jesuit activity. For Protestants to attend and be trained at this university is an amazing denial of their faith. Pope Benedict met with some of the Jesuits that work there in a private meeting and told them that running this particular university is “’one of the greatest services’ the Jesuits perform for the Catholic Church throughout the world,…” and that the church “wants the Gregorian to preserve its Ignatian spirit.”
The pope told the students in a public meeting that “he hoped their education would help them become people who ‘know how to perform services and fulfill offices competently in the church and, especially, to be leaven for the kingdom of God in the temporal sphere.”
These statements make it clear to anyone who understands the history of the Jesuits that the church uses the Jesuits to effect change in the world and in the churches to favor Rome. The word “leaven” is significant because all Jesuits know that one of their key responsibilities is to work in the temporal world to fulfill the objectives of the church and the Society of Jesus; to overthrow all that Protestantism has done. The Jesuits are still dedicated to the work of overcoming all opposition to Rome on every front. They are the foot-soldiers that Rome uses in its war against God’s truth, and against the last generation of God’s people in history.
Are you ready for the final conflict? We can see the marshalling of forces preparing to surprise you with their power. Your life will be in danger if you are faithful to God. Your family, your friends and acquaintances need to know of the things that are coming upon the world. There is a concerted effort to overthrow your faith in the making. You may think that you are strong now. But wait until you are threatened with death. Wait until you are threatened with torture. Then what will you do?
Jesus, the One who died for you says, “I am with you always. Even unto the end.” Matt 28:20. Do you have an experience with Jesus that will help you resist the powers of darkness that are making their assault on this earth? You cannot do it. It is impossible for human beings to overcome the powers that are intending to bear down on your person and your soul. You have two choices. You can walk with Christ now and remain loyal to Him, and He will walk with you through the furnace of affliction; or you can stand on the side of Rome and the devil and live in peace with the world, but be at war with heaven. Which will it be my friends? Which will it be?
I pray that you and your family will remain faithful to Christ. Get under his protection by asking Him to come into your life and give you overcoming power. That is the only way. You cannot survive if you don’t overcome your sins by the faith of Jesus Christ. Now is the time.
Let us remember that we have a friend in the all powerful Jesus. He can and will fulfill His promises to give you a life of victory. He can fulfill His promise to give you an eternal destiny with the angels of God in the city of light, the New Jerusalem.
Let us pray. Our heavenly Father. We see the wicked, satanic forces building up in our world in such a way that there will appear to be no hope for your people. Yet we know that that extremity is your opportunity to show your power. I pray that every person listening to this message will surrender their lives to Jesus now, so that they can prepare for the crisis and the affliction that is coming. I pray that you will open the eyes of the blind, especially among your people, that they may see the signs of the times. In Jesus name, Amen.
Take a look at what is going on behind the scenes to lead the United States to become a persecuting nation.