It’s the worst mistake in the world to say gun control today can be summarized as a “policy debate.”
The epidemic of mass shootings in the United States is a moral and religious catastrophe. God weeps with the pain of these parents whose children were just executed, the pain of spouses and relatives of the staff and the whole community. But God also weeps over the moral stupidity of this country that is weakening gun laws instead of strengthening them, and buying more guns despite an epidemic of mass shootings in places like schools, movie theatres, and malls.
Don’t tell me this isn’t the time to talk about guns. Don’t even think this time you will get away with the “now’s not the time” in the face of the second deadliest school shooting in American history. Twenty-seven people were just killed in Newtown, Conn., including 20 children.
The gun lobbies, not only the National Rifle Association funds the legislators who pass more and more permissive gun laws that lead to tragedy after tragedy. But it’s not only the NRA, it’s especially the Koch-funded ALEC that has, for example, just helped the lame-duck GOP dominated right-wing legislature in Michigan pass a “carry-concealed” gun law for schools, churches, and day care centers among others.
Schools? Day-care centers? I wonder how those legislators in Michigan feel today. You might want to rethink signing that bill, Gov. Rick Snyder.
Progressive faith leaders have protested at ALEC headquarters to call attention to the moral dimension of the debate, but what is needed is immediate legislative action to ban the kinds of weapons typically used in these mass shootings. Even gun owners who hunt realize it is ridiculous for these type of weapons to be sold in this country. Who hunts with an assault rifle?
A visibly shaken President Obama seemed to disagree with his press secretary in saying that despite the politics, we as a country need to act. There have simply been too many deaths from mass shootings.
“As a country, we have been through this too many times. Whether it is an elementary school in Newtown, or a shopping mall in Oregon, or a temple in Wisconsin, or a movie theater in Aurora, or a street corner in Chicago, these neighborhoods are our neighborhoods and these children are our children. And we’re going to have to come together and take meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this, regardless of the politics.”
Amen, Mr. President. Now let’s all act.
Former president of Chicago Theological Seminary (1998-2008), the Rev. Susan Brooks Thistlewaite is professor of theology at Chicago Theological Seminary and a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress .