Not to take away from the discussion in TGD regarding "Yet Another School Shooting", but I'd like to open up a Christian-based discussion regarding the current state of affairs in our Country, by posting this article by William J. Murray (son of infamous Madalyn Murray O'Hair), and also chairman of the Washington, D.C.-based Religious Freedom Coalition and the author of seven books including "My Life Without God," which chronicles his early life in the home of destructive atheist and Marxist leader Madalyn Murray O'Hair. Having lived the Marxist and the Ayn Rand lifestyle, he has a unique perspective on religion and politics.
SCHOOL CARNAGE: BLAME CHURCH, NOT GOD OR GUNS
Exclusive: William J. Murray reveals only way to turn society from violent, destructive path
If an individual is not afraid of the wrath of God, it is impossible to cause him to fear the justice of the state.
The killing of young children at their school will be linked by many pundits to the availability of guns. Still others will blame the violent act on some pathology or childhood trauma. Some may even blame the Hollywood culture with its disregard for humanity, on which human bodies are seen being dissected nightly on network TV. Virtually no one will call what occurred in Newtown an act of evil.
Probably not a single sermon will be preached in which the perpetrator is predicted to have begun his eternal punishment for his crime after judgment by a just and angry God. A splintered American church driven by a pew-hungry, feel-good message will offer assurances that eternal peace awaits all those who died, including the shooter. The words “hell” and “sin” will very likely not be used in any sermons associated with the massacre.
Yes, there is societal blame: Ridiculous privacy rules that allow the mentally ill to conceal their condition from schools, employers and gun-shop owners is just one. The constant esteem building in public schools teaching even low-functioning kids with anger problems to judge themselves equal to the valedictorian is yet another.
But the greatest villain is a church that has accepted the world’s view that hell does not await evildoers.
With a weak message from a weak church, there is no restraint or lessening of the violence. The shooting at Newtown was immediately followed by a shooting at a Birmingham, Ala., hospital and a Las Vegas hotel. Across the country, there are more than 16,000 murders each year. Of those, two-thirds are committed with guns. One in three murders is a very personal, vile act of evil using a knife, a blunt instrument or bare hands.
And the response of the church to this violence is “God loves you. Have a nice day.”
Adam Lanza had to shoot his way into the locked building. Public schools are not the soft targets many think they are. In more populated areas, there is virtually always an armed “safety officer” on duty because of the threat of student violence. Why?
My mother, atheist Madalyn Murray O’Hair, fought to make the public schools the armed camps they are today by removing prayer, the recognition of the authority of God. In 1962 and 1963, I was attending an all-boys public high school in downtown Baltimore, Md. The school was a magnet school before the term even existed and was intended to prepare young men for college, majoring in science and engineering. There were 1,800 teenage boys in the school, and there was not a cop in the building – ever. The doors were unlocked and often the un-air-conditioned rooms had open windows. There were no metal detectors, no picture IDs, and students went in and out the doors on the honor system.
The authority of God was present, even though I am very sure many of those young men, including myself, had some pretty vile thoughts that were not in the least way moral. The presence of the authority of God, vested in the teachers by His recognition every morning, was reinforced by the churches and the families of the students.
That high school has since merged with a girl’s school in another location, for purposes of political correctness. The last time I checked, the old building itself was the headquarters of the Baltimore City Schools Police Force, something that did not exist when Baltimore’s population was nearly double what it is now. Every kid at every school now has a photo ID. All the doors of every school are locked. All doors have metal detectors and drug-sniffing dogs roaming the corridors. I am told that every school in Baltimore has at least one armed “safety officer.”
In the vast majority of America’s public schools, the authority of God has been replaced with the authority of the iron fist of government. Morals? Without the authority of God, there are no morals, and none are taught in the public schools today. The ethics that are taught are situational, perhaps the same situational ethics that led to the logic that caused the tragic shootings in Newtown.
This condition exists in the schools and the society in general because of a failed church that is splintered and weak.
A large advertising sign near my home reads, “A church for those who don’t like church.” Translation: “No condemnation of sin here – we have coffee latte and great music.”
How about this politically incorrect sermon subject: “An angry God condemns the carnal sin of Adam Lanza, the Newton school shooter who killed 26, and he will rot in eternal torment in hell, as do all those who turn their backs on God and his goodness and continue their wicked and sinful ways.”
No way, no how in America today.
No number of gun-control laws can contain the evil that has been let loose in America. Not even black clad police with masks and automatic weapons can maintain social order in our out-of-control society. The nation needs a religious revival to steer it away from certain moral destruction. That revival will not come from feel-good, coffeehouse sermons that do not call sin what it is.
What are preachers today offering to “save” people from, if sin is never mentioned? What punishment are they being “saved” from, if hell is never mentioned?
The fear of an angry and vengeful God was far more likely to have stopped the shootings in Newtown than the warm voice of a psychologist or the soothing feeling of drugs.
Eternity in hell is a very long time.
One of the greatest revival sermons of all times was that of Jonathon Edwards – “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God.” Can you imagine even this one portion being repeated in a church in America today: “There is no want of power in God to cast wicked men into hell at any moment. Men’s hands cannot be strong when God rises up. The strongest have no power to resist him, nor can any deliver out of his hands. He is not only able to cast wicked men into hell, but he can most easily do it.”
God is not in the business of saving evil nations from themselves, but He is in the business of offering salvation to individuals. A nation is saved from ruin when enough of its people turn from their wicked ways and follow His righteous commands.
The challenge is to the churches of every denomination to preach the true Word of God, the nature of sin and the consequences of perpetrating evil. This alone can turn the society from its violent and destructive path.
An interesting perspective to say the least. I certainly understand the "feel good culture" that is pushed by too many churches, but I think the author is hitting on a few points while missing others. As such, I will speak more about the missing points than the piece itself.
As Christians, many of us often see God in Government, God in Schools, or Daily School Prayer as answers to confronting this evil that we see day to day. Yet we sometimes forget about fairness, forgiveness, and (yes, as much as many of people hate it) the separation of church and state. Look, I'm no big fan of it myself a lot of the time because it is outright abused. Now, some people could've just read the above lines and immediately shut off, but I hope that isn't the case. Yes, I know that the separation of church and state isn't in the constitution nor the declaration of independence, but the older I get, the more I see great value in it for Christians.
As James Madison, Father of the Constitution, explained, government is a necessary evil: If men were angels, no government would be necessary. Clearly, as explained by the author and by Yahweh and his scribes, men are not free from sin, as the term angels would indicate; thereby, government is necessary. So what do we do with government? Should we entangle it with the Father?
God is both perfect justice and perfect mercy. You say, "how is that so? Sending someone to hell doesn't seem like mercy to me." You make an interesting point. However, what is justice without mercy; mercy without justice? The Creator gives us our entire lives to realize that something exists greater than ourselves and acknowledge Him. He gives us the freedom to choose Him (unless you're a calvinistic/predestination, but this is a debate for another time).
On the other hand, we are neither perfect justice nor mercy. Our justice comes from our own understanding of right, wrong, and punishment. Our mercy largely comes out of a few notions of fairness we conjure up. Typically, both notions are based on the pleasure principle: people are pleasure seeking and pain avoiding. This tends to be the basis of our morals. If it evokes pleasure, it must be good. If it evokes pain, it must be bad. And this "our" I'm talking about comes from us as humans, not as Christians. (Note: the whole moral thing I'm speaking of here is also a debate for another time.)
So what am I saying with all of this. People make government, not God. Government is necessary because people behave badly. If God is suddenly mixed with government, then we are tainting the name of God and abusing His perfect justice and mercy because we do things in His name.
Now, you may say that that seems a bit harsh or out of touch, but think about it. I honestly understand the likely positive outcomes and the positive feelings we receive when we begin to think about prayer in schools and God in government, but at the end of the day, I don't want the perfect Creator getting mixed up in the necessary evil that is government. Instead, God should be outside of government so that He, and we as Christians, can serve the public in ways government cannot and should not: spiritually, ethically (more than morals), with love, and with hope.
Will fear still be involved? Yes, it's hard to overlook that at any moment I could die and if I have rejected God, I will be sent to Sheol. But that isn't God's purpose. The Lord searches us out and desires us to join Him. He doesn't want us loving and following Him out of fear, but out of love and reverence. "I am the Lord your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage;" the bondage of sin. "Stand therefore in that liberty with which The Messiah has set us free, and do not be yoked again in a yoke of bondage." (Exodus 20:2, Galatians 5:1)
Every opportunist tries to spin every tragedy to suit his agenda. I have no less disdain for it even when I generally agree with the agenda.
High-minded bedwetters really want to take a grand lesson about society, or law, or religion, or American culture, or whatever from stuff like this. The truth is, there is no high-minded grand lesson to learn. American culture is not to blame. Violent video games and movies are not to blame. Guns are not to blame. Assault weapons and high-capacity magazines are not to blame. Weak-willed preachers are not to blame. Gays and abortionists are not to blame. Atheists running God out of schools on a rail are not to blame.
Blame the shooter. Evil men do evil things. They can't always be stopped. Do the best you can to protect you and yours, and move on with your life. Well-meaning people who feel they must do something when there is nothing to be done do more harm than good.
Gun ownership wasn’t a problem 30 years ago. The culture has changed. There are no longer any social or moral taboos. Anything goes. Isn’t that what young people are taught? Governments and the libertine culture create a problem and then promise that given more authority and power they are the ones to fix it. Our nation has a deep moral problem brought on by a belligerent secular worldview. And it’s not just religious people who have seen its impact. Of course, the murderer was responsible despite what is going on in the broader culture.
The problem is, our current culture — through the educational system — is telling young people that they are animals, in some cases, less than animals.
John Naisbitt, in his book: High Tech High Touch: Technology and our Accelerated Search for Meaning, said--
“So genetically we are no different (really) from a worm, a bug, or a dandelion.”
Teach this nonsense long enough, and some people will believe and act on it.
Gun ownership wasn’t a problem 30 years ago.
Violent crime and gun relate crime rates were higher in the 70s than they are now. It was a problem then too.
And your point? There are very similar statistics in England and Wales and many other Cities and States in this country. Here's just one (from http://www.justfacts.com/guncontrol.asp)
* During the years in which the D.C. handgun ban and trigger lock law was in effect, the Washington, D.C. murder rate averaged 73% higher than it was at the outset of the law, while the U.S. murder rate averaged 11% lower.
Amid all of the ridiculous politicization of the gun angle in the wake of Sandy Hook, and even a few calls for a national discussion on mental illness (one more back door for tyrannies, many), why is there so little discussion—or even mention—of what acquaintances of Adam Lanza are calling the turning point in his life: his parents’ divorce?
The Daily Mail reports,
Family friends said Lanza’s problems started to escalate when his parents divorced in 2008 after 18 years together.
His father Peter, a wealthy executive for General Electric, who is believed to earn $1 million a year, moved out of the family home in 2006, citing ‘irreconcilable differences’. . . .
One of Lanza’s former classmates spoke of his ‘noticeable decline’ after his parents’ divorce. ‘He was a loner at school and hyper intelligent,’ he said. ‘But in recent years he disappeared off the radar.
‘The word is that he was badly affected when his parents split and that might be what pushed him over the edge.
‘He was always weird but the divorce affected him. He was arguing with his mother. He was a ticking time bomb waiting to explode.’
There is very little public discussion, awareness, or education on the effects of divorce upon the children of divorcees. There may be tons of psychological research done on it, but if so, it hardly penetrates into the public sphere.
In this particular tragedy, several news outlets even combed through the parents’ divorce papers, but missed the elephant in the room. They gleaned all kinds of factual data about the mother and father from those papers, but made no point at all about the impact of the divorce itself.
Divorce rates began to spike in the U.S. in the mid-1960s. Feminist and humanist activism in law and the courts, not to mention culture in general, infused the atheistic, marxist attack on the traditional family into family law through the National Association of Women Lawyers (NAWL) and the American Bar Association.
In 1969, NAWL wrote and pushed a “no fault divorce” law in California. It passed, and was signed by then-governor Ronald Reagan, making Cali the first no-fault divorce state. By 1985, all but one state (NY) had followed suit.
The divorce rate has since quadrupled. According to one researcher:
Married adults now divorce two-and-a-half times as often as adults did 20 years ago and four times as often as they did 50 years ago… between 40% and 60% of new marriages will eventually end in divorce. . . . Perhaps 25% of children ages 16 and under live with a stepparent. ((Brian K. Williams, Stacy C. Sawyer, Carl M. Wahlstrom, Marriages, Families & Intimate Relationships, 2005.))
Even now, as we hear that this was the turning point for Adam Lanza—the tipping point, after which he went from odd and awkward to murderous—the new reports contain absolutely no discussion of this crucial factor. Why not?
We hear no discussion at all in the media of the need for the presence of a strong and loving father. None. The concept is laughed at, tossed aside in TV shows to be replaced by the portrayal of homosexuals, independent women, single mothers, and womanizing men as healthy lifestyles.
When a husband-wife couple is portrayed, inevitably the male is a dolt, a clown, or an adolescent in a grown man’s body, while the female is the smart go-getter who keeps him in line and holds everything together.
Today we tolerate easy divorce and don’t even stop to question the effects of this on the children involved or on society in general. We have tolerated it for so long the question has been forgotten and replaced by more “progressive” social questions. We—including Christians and conservatives—are culturally desensitized to divorce. Between work and home, I drive by billboards advertising easy divorce legal services for a few hundred dollars. You can buy DIY divorce software in a box for $49.95.
The legal system used to force struggling married couples to try to work through their differences. This meant confronting personality clashes, selfishness, stubbornness, and many other failures. This is the refining, sanctifying fire of marriage. Divorce would only be granted when one party victimized the other through abuse or adultery, and the other party sued for the fault.
This was Jesus’ position, and Paul’s. Old Testament law allows the death penalty for adulterers. God is far more serious about marriage and divorce than most modern Christians and conservatives are willing to hear.
When our former legal system was replaced by no-fault divorce, couples no longer have social pressure to improve themselves and their relationships. They can quit at the slightest quibble, calling it an “irreconcilable difference.” Thus, a powerful sanctifying power is removed from society. And this means that we have society composed of many people who, when confronted with certain personal deficiencies, rather than go through much soul-searching, gave up on psychological or spiritual growth—and thus, we have adolescents in grown-up bodies. This is a much condensed account of this phenomenon, but it must be said to begin with.
It’s time we reignited the discussion of the social importance of the traditional family. This discussion must begin with Christians and in churches across America. We are up in arms over the homosexual marriage question, and rightfully so. But that issue is merely the current wave atop a deep dark raging sea of social dysfunction. The roots of the problems lie in the way Christians and churches have allowed the state to redefine marriage and family already, and have willingly broken the power of their families through various means, including tolerating easy divorce, public education, wicked media, and more.
The personal and social effects of this are enormous. I can speak from experience, as a child of divorced parents. It’s time churches and Christian leaders make this a very loud and prominent social issue.
There is of course, much more that needs to be said here. My purpose at this point is to raise the issue to the fore.
God hates divorce.
I agree in part, with Mr. Murray. Certainly the moral question and the God question needs to be raised in our society -- a society where nobody is supposed to suggest something is wrong (like divorce etc) or right (like standing against sin). We've strayed very far from Godly principles in every arena including the church.
I like this quote from Dennis Pragers in his column today:
The moral values and the conscience of nations as well as individuals seem to play almost no role in the left's understanding of human behavior.
That is why the left wants all nations, including the United States, to destroy their nuclear weapons. The problem for the left is not the moral values nations hold, it is the weapons nations hold. American nuclear weapons were just as troubling to the left as Soviet nuclear weapons during the Cold War and just as troubling as Iran having nuclear weapons today. So, too, the problem of gun violence in America is not the moral values of gun owners, it is gun ownership.
And because leftist thinking dominates American society -- from elementary through graduate school and in virtually all the print and electronic news media -- there is one view that almost never gets a hearing: that the primary reason for gun violence in America is not gun ownership, but the lack of a functioning moral conscience.
Lack of conscience is the problem both for individuals and for nations. Among nations the problem is nuclear (and all other) weapons in the hands of bad regimes. And among Americans the problem is guns in the hands of bad people.
This is so obvious that one has to be propagandized his whole life by leftism not to immediately understand it. But leftism is the religion of the west, the most dynamic religion in the world for the last century. It is as hard to reject leftism in the west as it was to reject Christianity in Europe during the Middle Ages or Islam in the Arab world today.
Does one reader of this column -- including individuals on the left -- fear being massacred by a decent person? Of course not.
Then why isn't our emphasis on character development and the teaching of right and wrong?
Why is this never mentioned on the left? Why are guns, not the conscience, the root issue for the left?
We are lead to believe after almost every massacre that the murderer "snapped" or had mental problems. Why? Because it implies that the murderer was not morally responsible for what he did. We are told, for example, that Adam Lanza, who by all accounts was a brilliant student, suffered from a form of autism. Even if true, why is that important? Statistically, I would bet that those with autism commit far fewer violent crimes than the rest of population. Autistic people, like everyone else, can be taught the difference between right and wrong. My stepson is autistic, and is not capable of attending regular school (much less honors classes) or driving a car, things that Adam Lanza did fully normally. But my stepson is keenly aware of right and wrong, and believes that God punishes people who commit evil.
I agree with Jack B: Evil men (and women) do evil things. Guns do not go off by themselves. Knives do not leap up and plunge themselves into people, on their own strength. Forks and spoons do not dive into food and then shove themselves into the mouths of unsuspecting people by their own efforts. Human hands must take hold of them, and manipulate them.
What manipulates a man's hands? His HEART.
Neither do Bibles open themselves. Scripture passages do not become hidden in someone's heart if they are not the subject of meditation and reflection(re: Psalm 119:11). Clear direction in life is not obtained by those who do not know the purpose of the written Word of God (Psalm 119:105). Knees do not get calloused by regular contact with the floor, if their owner is a couch potato, or is so busy working FOR the Lord that s/he neglects to build a relationship WITH Him (Luke 10:40-42). The Holy Spirit does not make His home in the heart of a person who doesn't first invite Him in.
It is a great thing to say evil people do evil things mostly because it is 100% true. It also has all the practical usefulness of a soup fork. Unless of course anyone is suggesting that these evil people were not born into some sort of family situation, raised in some type of community, exposed to some element of society, never worked upon by any outside influences, or even suffered from mental illness but rather were from the instant of conception, intrinsically evil.
It is foolish, however, to look at one thing or another and cry, “This is definitively the cause!” Rather it is a combination of multiple factors acting congruently. This is where the whole slippery slope concept plays out. It isn’t the infantile idea that A directly leads to A’. Rather A influences B which changes how C can be interpreted, causing doubt regarding D creating backlash against E and by the time you reach Zed, A is already understood to really mean A’.