Saturday, December 15, 2012

Surely We Can Change


I’ve written about gun violence too often.  Because too many times our society has made critical allowances, made it too easy to get guns that were never meant for hunting or home protection.  In the name of the 2nd amendment, in the name of freedom - we have allowed guns into the hands of the wrong people.  Their freedom to buy guns and ammunition and bulletproof vests has superseded the freedom of innocents.




What about the freedom of the kids in Connecticut?  Of those in Aurora, Colorado?  Of those in the tent with Gabby Giffords?  

It isn’t really about freedom though, is it?  It is about a society obsessed with guns.  There are 310,000,000 non-military firearms in the US .  There are 311,591,917 people.  You do the math.  Any way you figure it, that is a lot of guns.

There is no reason to have an assault rifle.  There is no reason to be able to buy thousands of rounds of ammunition at once without sounding an alarm, or for handgun manufacturers to make and sell extended clips that hold 31 bullets.  There is no rational reason for not having a waiting period before buying a gun or not having an extremely thorough background check.

But, as Brad Warthen  points out, the horse is already out of the barn with guns.  We are hopelessly past the tipping point.  But shouldn't we at least have the conversation about reasonable gun control?  Shouldn't we be thinking about those children in Connecticut?

There is another thing that is worth talking about.  That is the “religious” right and how they have tried to further their hold on dictating beliefs and pretending to speak for God.  Some know that God allowed this to happen in Connecticut because of religious neutrality in public schools.  Does this sound like your God?

Bryan Ficher (The American Family Association) said that God chose not to protect those children because “God is not going to go where he is not wanted.”  If you don’t believe me, watch the video yourself. 

Mike Huckabee said something similar on Fox News. “Well, you know, it's an interesting thing. We ask why there is violence in our schools but we have systematically removed God from our schools. Should we be so surprised that schools would become a place of carnage?”  That is a direct quote.  

Do Mike Huckabee and Bryan Ficher think we should believe that God is pouting because He didn’t get His way; that He would accept this carnage to pay back the Supreme Court for not sponsoring Christianity in public schools?  Really? 

I am a Christian.  They don’t speak for my God. And they sure don’t speak for me.  They assume people can’t think for themselves and that will buy into their simple, self-serving views.  By saying that those innocent children’s deaths were God’s way of having a tantrum…  they diminish God and turn intelligent people away from belief in a higher being who cares for us.

We must think for ourselves.   God is love.  It is not so complicated.  God has given us the capacity to make choices, to help each other, to lift each other up.  God is peace and forgiveness.  God is about the changes we can bring about to make this crazy world a better place for our children.  What we do with our hands and or hearts is our choice.

Surely we can change.


Surely We Can Change

And the problem is this
We were bought with a kiss
But the cheek still turned
Even when it wasn’t hit

And I don’t know
What to do with a love like that
And I don’t know
How to be a love like that

When all the love in the world
Is right here among us
And hatred too
And so we must choose
What our hands will do

Where there is pain
Let there be grace
Where there is suffering
Bring serenity
For those afraid
Help them be brave
Where there is misery
Bring expectancy
And surely we can change
Surely we can change
Something

And the problem it seems
Is with you and me
Not the Love who came
To repair everything

And I don’t know
What to do with a love like that
And I don’t know
How to be a love like that

When all the love in the world
Is right here among us
And hatred too
And so we must choose
What our hands will do

Where there is pain
Let us bring grace
Where there is suffering
Bring serenity
For those afraid
Let us be brave
Where there is misery
Let us bring them relief
And surely we can change
Surely we can change
Oh surely we can change
Something

Oh, the world’s about to change
The whole world’s about to change

6 comments:

Suzanne Odell said...

I have been eagerly waiting for your post since you said you were working on this. I agree - on this issue there are some absolutes of what is NOT acceptable, NOT needed, NOT protected. And I cried more tears over the religious right's response to the tragedy than I might have over the event itself. You nailed that very clearly. An English teacher friend of mine wrote a response to God in schools that you would enjoy reading. I'll message it to Heidi on Facebook so you can read it.

Prayers continue for Heidi and you and the boys. You have blessed so many people by taking precious time to keep us all updated - sometimes hourly on her progress. Thank you for having the ability to take something so personal and share with those who love you both.

Nic said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Roselyne Thomas said...

Thanks, Tim. This was exactly what I needed to read/hear.

Over the last few years, I have watched, helplessly and in disbelief, as many devoutly Christian friends and family members have become virtual mouthpieces of the "religious" right. During recent visits "home" I listened to hours of Fox News (and Rush radio while in the car). Not by choice...but the experience did help me understand how some very caring and intelligent people might be brainwashed over time by this seemingly God-fearing propaganda.

My God loves sinners and little children. My God forgives. In all my years working in public schools, God was with me every day, helping me hold my tongue, find the right words, know what some child or adult needed most from me and how to meet that need. Often what my students needed was a venue--a personal philosophy essay or a grant proposal project--for expressing their own religious beliefs. Or simply to hold my tongue, turn the other cheek, find the right words, act like a Christian. And all of that is allowed, expected even, in our public schools.

My God is with us always. But it's up to us to decide when/whether to listen, to reach out...

Emily Whitecotton said...

That Huckabee/Religious "right" God argument doesn't make any sense to me either. If God is universal, omnipotent, etc...how is God not in schools? And how could they even attempt to speak for a God who they have defined as all-knowing when humanity isn't. People like them have defined themselves/their God into a corner so that none of their statements make much sense with what they've already said.

So, I figure, these statements can't be a matter of making sure that believers or non-believers get the info that God is annoyed. I think these statements are about fear mongering...how much more terror is necessary, really? Couldn't we just help and support each other through stuff like this?

The gun thing is a another misrepresentation issue, too. If even a fraction of that number of guns you mentioned was really about promoting freedom, I think there would be some other freedoms that the religious "right" would be in favor of...marriage equality and true religious freedom (not sponsoring Christianity in schools...really?!)... just to name a couple.

You bring up very important points, Tim. This is such a hard situation to handle just at the human level, let alone what implications it has politically. I may be naive, but I tend to think that if the human level were more apparent and respected, the political level of these arguments would be easier to resolve. We shall see...

Chris Hass said...

Harper came home from school talking about how people were wearing certain colors (green maybe?) to honor the victims and their families in Connecticut. I don't get things like this. Who cares what color someone wears to school or work in the shadow of such an event. I wonder why we focus on such meaningless sentiments rather than working to do something that might actually make a real difference for the future. All the gun statistics are baffling. The idea that schools should have teachers and administrators who are armed is frightening. The notion that someone's God could turn his back on the safety of kids in an elementary school should be enough to make those very people turn their backs on religion.

It would be far-fetched to believe any particular gun law could stop such an event from happening. However, it would be an initial step toward changing the culture that makes things such as this possible.

Robin said...

As always, well said.