Parkland Shooting Points to Larger Spiritual Problems
Last Wednesday , a grieving father stood before President Trump at the White House and with anger and rage in his voice asked, “How many children have to be shot in this country before we do something? I’m here today because my daughter has no voice. She was murdered last week, taken from us, shot nine times.” That same night, Senator Marco Rubio walked into a heated town hall gathering in Sunrise, FL where he faced the same question from parents, family, and surviving students of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Rubio was clearly rattled. How could he not be? Talking points were not going to cut it with this group.
One of the major problems in this country is binary thinking, a belief that everything is black and white. You are either for guns or you’re not. You either support the NRA or you don’t. You either believe in the Second Amendment or you don’t. You’re either a conservative or a liberal. If only life were that simple.
There are nuanced positions in life that require reason, courage, compromise, and emotional intelligence. How many innocent children have to die in their classrooms before we try a different approach? No other civilized country in the world has this kind of carnage. I thought something would surely change after Sandy Hook when six-year-olds were shot and killed. It didn’t. I thought something would surely change after Las Vegas. It didn’t.
We like to turn these things into partisan fights which reveals our tribalism and immaturity. Now, let’s be clear. Gun control is not the only issue here. This is all related to larger issues in the culture, spiritual issues, moral issues. There continues to be too much hate, anger, resentment, incivility, loneliness, fear, and rage. These are indicators of a society in spiritual crisis.
Billy Graham said over and over again, “Our nation needs a spiritual reawakening.” He was convinced of it. He spent his entire life traveling the nation and the globe to lead that charge. Graham knew all too well that emptiness and isolation is real for far too many. Change must begin in the heart.
Our purpose is found in loving God and loving each other. A spiritual reawakening takes courage, hope, and a desire to unite and not divide. Families must remain strong. Parents must recognize that their role is essential. Bullying must stop. Education must be funded. Digital devices cannot become substitutes for face to face community. Relationships remain the centerpiece. We must listen to one another, love one another, reach out to those who are hurting, build friendships with strangers, serve those in need, and learn to respect our differences.
Morality matters. Everything is not relative. We must recognize that we are all made in God’s image with intrinsic value and worth. Every human being is precious. But for the sake of these seventeen kids and coaches killed on Valentine’s Day. For the sake of the fifty-eight victims killed on the Las Vegas strip. For the sake of the fifty killed at Pulse night club in Orlando. For the sake of the twenty students and six teachers killed at Sandy Hook Elementary. For the sake of San Bernadino, Columbine, Aurora, Fort Hood, and all the others that we can list off, let’s do something to create a healthier culture and world where this does not happen.