Warning, long post ahead…
I have been told that the church needs to stay out of politics. That we don’t need to offend. Well. I am reminded of the line in the musical “1776” when John Adams responds to another delegate who objects to a statement in the draft of the Declaration of Independence because it may offend the British Parliament, “We’re at war, damnit, we’ve got to offend someone!” I’m afraid that that is where we are today. We are at war. We are at war with ignorance. We are at war with intolerance. We are at war with hatred, and we are at war with bigotry and racism. And it is destroying our social fabric.
This past weekend, we have experienced the horror of mass shootings in El Paso, TX, and Dayton, OH that have killed 30 people (as of the time that I write this) and wounded more than 50. It is readily apparent that the El Paso shooting is a case of Domestic Terrorism by a White Nationalist fueled by hatred that led him to travel several hours from a Dallas suburb to wreak terror inside a Wal-Mart filled with people shopping for back to school supplies. The El Paso perpetrator allegedly posted a screed against immigrants and a supposed “Hispanic invasion” on some hate-filled rhetoric website before traveling to El Paso. As far as I know, there are still no clues as to motive for the Dayton perpetrator who killed his own sister before being taken out by police, but not before causing unimaginable casualties in the brief amount of time that he was an active shooter.
In both cases, the perpetrators used weapons that are capable of causing multiple casualties in a minimal period. Weapons that have one purpose only, to kill and/or maim as many people as possible in as short a time as possible. I have never understood why these types of weapons are legally in the hands of civilians. As far as I am concerned, they should be banned. And please, don’t give me the argument that the 2nd Amendment allows them because that is unsupported by the text of the amendment itself. Define “militia” how you may, but the amendment calls for a “well regulated” militia. Therefore, the ability of the state to regulate the types of weapons that it’s citizenry can possess is, I believe, constitutionally permissible.
The typical response to this type of horror has been an overabundance of “thoughts and prayers” from politicians who are in the hip pocket of the NRA. I contend that thoughts and prayers without action are impotent. Bishop Kenneth Carder (UMC retired) goes even further by saying that thoughts and prayers without action are blasphemous. It is (past) time that people of faith stand up and say that enough is enough. As people of faith, we need to demand action by our politicians to get a handle on this gun violence and put every measure in place to stop it. And we need to threaten them with the notion that if they don’t, we will vote for people who will. This isn’t partisan, this is common sense if we want our society to survive.
Agree with me, or not, but I urge you to engage with your representatives in Washington to demand that we begin to engage solutions before our society flies apart at the seams. Our voices must be heard. Hopefully, common sense can win the day. We are better than this.
On a more hopeful note, this morning we began prayer walks through our community schools at Rossville Middle. We will continue the prayer walks at Ridgeland High and Rossville Elementary on Tuesday morning. In these prayer walks, we are praying for each classroom and special teacher by name and we are praying that each student will experience love in that building. Thanks for your overwhelming response to the backpack ministry.