Confusion and Misplaced Blame Regarding Connecticut

Confusion and Misplaced Blame Regarding Connecticut

In the wake of Friday’s slaughter of the innocent, there has been much debate and recrimination. How does one write sensitively about these issues? I am not sure it can be done. The bodies aren’t even buried. Our hearts still ache. Personally, I can still taste and feel the acid in my throat.

Just the same some things are worth saying. Who is to blame? What is at fault? It is not the presence of guns. It is not the banishment of God. It is reality of evil and the ease with which we dismiss it.

Not the presence of guns

If only we had better guns laws, greater restriction or the banishment of them all altogether. If only! I’ve been to Rwanda too many times and stood on the graves of a million people killed in one hundred days, nearly all with machetes. Anything in the hands of those who seek to do harm is a potential weapon. Gas chambers were used at Auschwitz and chemicals upon the Kurds. More than 60,000 were killed in sixty seconds at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Just a few years ago two men killed hundreds including children with a Ryder truck loaded with fertilizer anyone can buy at Home Depot. People determined to kill will kill. Banning guns won’t stop the slaughter of the innocent any more than prohibition stopped drinking.

Not the banishment of God

I will grant you times have change and the name (not person) of God once celebrated in public life has been pushed to the margins by the system. But the presence of “established” prayer will not make a school more Christian any more than a Christmas tree prominently placed in the town square will make a community Christian. Sitting in McDonald’s doesn’t make you a hamburger and sitting in a library doesn’t make you a book or intelligent. If God is who he says he is, he is ubiquitous. Being present where there is prayer does not mean God is precluded from being where prayer is not and all at the same time.

God is in Connecticut. His is the only heart breaking more than ours. If there is something to lament it would be the absence in school and elsewhere of disciples, a people of unfailing hope, and those are made by God through tribes and villages, families and individuals. Disciples fear God and not man. Where prayer is forbidden, disciples pray more and without apology and with a willingness to suffer the nation and/or culture imposed penalties. By the way, banish us more dear nation and we will flourish in the face of it. “Dear is Plato. Dearer still is Truth.”

Is the reality of evil

We are a people who have forgotten we are at war. Woe to the people who call good evil and evil good. But more woe is upon us who do not acknowledge evil. Evil is not the absence of good. It is a force with which we must contend.

Some people are evil. Some are mentally ill. Both are empowered to some degree by our unwillingness to take evil seriously.  Evil is sinister and by whatever means available it will destroy good.

Someone sees aberrant and anti-social behavior in every hour of every day. Admit it. Some people are devoid of empathy and compassion. This is evil and yet we don’t call it out until the innocent are slaughtered. It is so not PC. Our silence is a plague. Everyday someone walks away from a marriage heaping untold pain upon a spouse and children all for the ecstasy of five minutes of sexual pleasure or the teenage rush of falling in love and we have deemed it legally a “no fault divorce” or promoted it as amicable. If we cannot call selfishness selfishness, how will we call evil what it is? Denial is both terribly naïve and dangerous.

Some are mentally ill, and the evil one uses shame to prevent us from seeking help. I once pastored a young boy who was crying out for help by cutting himself. His parents would not seek help. This would be scandalous among the socially elite. They sought help only under threat of reporting the situation to government authorities. Fear God? No. Fear members of the country club and the government? Yes. This is plainly evil distorting priorities that should be obvious to anyone. Let us find the courage to say, “I am Adam Lanza’s Mother.”

Neither evil nor an obsession with it should control our lives. There is a greater power. Thanks be to God! But the denial of evil should not be a governing principle in our lives either or animate the way in which we order them. This is to live a lie. And as Scott Peck reminds us so well, people of the lie wreak havoc upon the world.

If anything, it is the reality of evil and the ease with which we dismiss it that accounts for the slaughter of the innocent.

Forget not the war!

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