Wednesday, December 2, 2015

San Bernadino: Mindless Platitudes and Prayer

Our prayers go out to the survivors and families of the victims of the terrorist attack in San Bernadino, CA.  And prayers ARE an appropriate response, despite the glib and pathetic front-page story of the New York Daily News released this evening in the wake of the attack.  Even as I write, the manhunt for a third suspect seems to be ongoing, though information is now a bit sketchy.  Still,  the Daily News has reacted in such a manner as to be insulting to persons of religious faith AND to persons of common sense (which is not so common among politicians and journalists/editors of major mass media outlets). This is not particularly new for those in the mass media who identify with liberal or progressive views.  It is simply more strident.

The Daily News has apparently decided to mock Republican politicians of our nation for offering prayers to victims and survivors, with the headline, "God Isn't Fixing This."  Underneath the headline it suggests that the Republican politicians pictured and quoted are "cowards who could truly end gun scourge continue to hide behind meaningless platitudes."  This is fallacious, mean-spirited and wrong on almost all counts.

First, God fixed this.  Certainly, the horrific acts of violence in our world have not ceased, but God did fix it by conquering death by death.  The sin of the world, continue as it may, will not have any lasting effect--at least for persons of faith in Jesus Christ.  Of course, this does not mean Christians should tolerate violence or any other sin. Yet sin and violence for the Christian is not to be treated by sin and violence, but by mercy, compassion, and yes, even love for the enemy.  The appropriate response includes prayer, for Christians are called to unceasing prayer, and even prayer for the life of the world.

Second, whether the quoted Republican politicians are cowards or not is certainly not demonstrated by the paper.  Advocacy or opposition to gun control is not, itself, a mark of cowardice or courage. 

Third, the quoted Republicans are credited by the Daily News as being able to "truly end gun scourge..."  This is also wrong.  They are not able to do this.  Even if these men voted to change the gun laws in this nation, the scourge of gun violence would not end.  If gun sales were prohibited today, the gun scourge would continue for quite some time.  Criminals are not knows as "law-abiding," and they have access to guns--even guns not sold to the general public such as automatic weapons.  The Daily News' hyperbole (which means exaggeration for Daily News fans) is false.

Fourth, calls to prayer, for persons of Christian faith and other traditions, are not meaningless platitudes.  Suggesting so for a cheap attack on Republicans is an insult to all persons of faith, plain and simple. I actually have not seen, but presume many pro-gun control advocates in the Democratic Party will also call for prayers...including President Obama who has done so on other, similar occasions.  It is fallacious (which means an argument with a false premise for Daily News fans) to suggest praying for victims and survivors has anything to do with advocacy or opposition to additional gun control legislation.  Either the editors of the Daily News are themselves stupid or they assume the public is. Actually, both are probably true.

Of course, the editors and author of the article (-s?) suggesting that this tragic and horrific event of terrorism (whatever the motive or demented cause, unknown at the time of writing, may be) has anything to do with gun control laws of this nation is likewise a stupid conjecture.  Even if the officially reported "long guns" (rifles) were not automatic (which would be illegal already), even the President's position is that guns used for hunting and other sport purposes (generally, "long guns")would not be made illegal; shotguns could have produced the same result in the hands of maniacs.  Reportedly, an explosive device was found at the scene; also illegal--but producing such things is not difficult and outlawing all possible ingredients is not even plausible!

The real "meaningless platitudes" that have been uttered in the wake of this tragedy are those that suggest that more gun laws would have prevented such an attack.  Here, President Obama has joined in with his opportunistic pleas for tighter gun control.  Apart from the possibility that this attack was motivated, at least in part, as part of an ideology espousing terrorism as a means to an end,  persons intent on killing people for any reason--but especially for terrorism (and this is a case where premeditated intent was obvious by the use of body armor by the gunmen)--will find a means of killing defenseless people (swords are used in the Middle East and North Africa, but knives or clubs can serve the purpose too).  And just because it might be worth mentioning to the editors of the Daily News, it is illegal to murder people, whether motivated by extremist religious views, hate, or anger.

So while politicians--of all parties and ideological concerns--will inevitably use this event for their own political gain, and citizens will be misled about the real and ultimately only solutions to the problem that breeds terrorism and mass murder (or any murder!) by persons with any number of political agendas, we should pray for those who believe mindless platitudes and distractions about gun-control in hindsight are even on point or appropriate hours after our sisters and brothers have been slaughtered.

After all, if more people were praying in earnest faith to their Lord Jesus Christ, or at least for non-Christians to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, there would be less people intent on murdering.

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