I find that I am not comforted, after the murder of 20 children and 7 adults this morning in Connecticut, by the many prayers and expressions of grief posted by Church people on Facebook, any more than I am soothed by the blather of psychiatrists paid to spout off on TV about it.
I mean, any and all expressions of sorrow by people of goodwill are welcome, and every attempt to help is a good thing. I’m just saying I’m not comforted by them, because my primary emotion isn’t sadness, it’s anger.
After Columbine, I felt sadness. Virginia Tech, Gabby Giffords in Tucson, the Sikh temple in Michigan, the mall shooting in Portland, they all broke my heart.
But this one makes me furious. Children in kindergarten?
I wrote on Facebook, “Enough with these mass shootings. Gun control now!”
A few minutes later I e-mailed President Obama, then posted a link so others could do the same. You can too, right here.
I contacted one of my Senators; the other one’s a lame duck, so I didn’t bother with him. I can’t get in touch with my Congressman until after the new session, because his website is set up to take people only from the ZIP Codes in his current (2010) district, not his new one; we got redistricted. They’re both big 2nd Amendment types anyway, but they’re exactly the ones who need to hear the nation’s disgust.
As the day wore my Facebook news feed filled up with prayers, pictures of candles, the sayings of wise people, statements of bishops, “how to talk to children after a tragedy” and every other Hallmark card we’ve come to expect. Somehow the constant use of the term “tragedy” to describe what happened drove me a little bit nuts. I felt like shouting, “It isn’t a tragedy, it’s a crime!”
Which brings me to the National Rifle Association. I heard from one of their members, who commented, “I was raised with guns, and I vote.”
I promptly told her off and unfriended her.
As far as I’m concerned the NRA might as well be a terrorist organization. And I’m sick of politicians of both parties kowtowing to terrorists.
The members of the NRA believe in moderate proposals for gun control, but the leaders of the organization take their money and plow it into opposing every tiny effort to restrict access to guns by people who shouldn’t have them.
The NRA has become a front for the most vile, right-wing, Republican Tea Party fanatics in the nation.
But there are more of us than there are of them. The difference is they are ORGANIZED – and organized interests with money trump the common good every time.
We don’t have to put up with this. If politicians are worried that the NRA will come after them, we need to make them worry about us even more.
Meanwhile, to all my Christian friends, with all their prayers and candles and Hallmark cards, I answer this: Our God is a God of justice as well as mercy.
We ought to know that, considering it’s Advent; we’re reading Isaiah these days.
Therefore the anger of the LORD was kindled against his people,
and he stretched out his hand against them and struck them;
the mountains quaked,
and their corpses were like refuse in the streets.
For all this his anger has not turned away,
and his hand is stretched out still.
Or maybe you remember this from St. Paul:
Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord.
Romans 12:19 (NIV)
(Or maybe you prefer this translation.)
Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. (KJV)
“Vengeance is mine” also means it’s not yours or mine. Now is not the time for anyone to get violent in response to violence.
But the 535 members of Congress, and the President of the United States, have everything to answer for.
Obama went a little further this afternoon in his public expression of grief than he’s done the last four years after all the other mass shootings; he made a reference to “policy.”
My view is that we must repeal and replace the 2nd Amendment. I support hunting, which is a way of life in rural areas; people feed their families by being good with a rifle or a longbow.
They do not feed their families with handguns. I say ban them all!
Sure, I know how hard repealing and replacing the 2nd Amendment will be, but we owe it to our children – specifically those 20 little kids in Newtown, Connecticut, killed today because some guy who shouldn’t have had guns had three semi-automatics, and loaded his car up with bullets, drove to their school and shot them. His own mother, too, and several other adults. But what makes me furious is that he killed 20 kids in kindergarten, bang bang bang.
I say this to every priest in my church and every Hallmark-sending friend on Facebook: I am not going to pray for his soul.
Instead I say this: May God damn him to hell forever.
That’s what hell’s for; our God is a God of justice as well as mercy. Learn this, people.++