I probably ought to just write an article about the new sermon series. Or I could write something about Advent coming up. But I’m not going to.
On Sunday, a church, First Baptist Church, in Sutherland Springs, Texas was attacked by a young man with a high-powered, semiautomatic, assault-style rifle. At least 26 people are dead. They were in worship, just like we were on Sunday when tragedy opened up in the form of gun violence. And what grieves me is how common this is becoming. I know the routine. Thoughts and prayers, a search for motivation, a quick bluster, and then radio silence until the next one to pop up on the national radar.
I’m done with the routine.
I want something to happen from this. I want our conversation to change. I want these attacks to stop! And until we start doing something about it, I honestly worry what our Creator makes of our prayers. The prophets are all too clear about what happens to the outwardly pious who act contrary to their holy-sounding words. That’s doubly true for Yours Truly.
Two things, I see, to be done, though I’m sure there are more. First, there is such a strong correlation between domestic abuse and acts of terror and violence, that we need to start acting like it. The shooter in Texas was discharged from the military for abusing his family. Most attackers share that kind of history. Shouldn’t we, as a society, be stopping the maturation of such deadly fruit? Harsher sentencing for abuse and a serious criminal record for abusers should be about the easiest thing to legislate.
And the second is gun control. I know: preachers shouldn’t be political. I’m not being political because these types of weapons aren’t a political issue, they’re a moral failure. A gun of the magnitude used in this attack (and the one in Las Vegas, and Orlando, and Sandy Hook, and Columbine, and…) is a machine designed to kill as many people as possible. That’s it. An assault-style rifle is not built for hunting or for home defense (the danger to everyone around you is far too high). It is meant for a battlefield. It is made for destruction. The public should not have machines mass-produced for mass-violence. We can do something about this.