Est. May 2008

07 May, 2013

Co-opting The Church

Joe Biden’s still on the gun-control warpath, folks; now, he’s arm-twisting faith leaders into keeping the heat on Congress to pass what he himself has admitted is worthless expanded-background-check gun-control legislation.

Sadly, there are some faith-leaders who are already twisting their own arms.

Both Peter and Paul tell us that the proper (God-ordained) function of government is to keep the peace and to punish wrongdoers.  As has been pointed out by others, expanding background checks will only affect those who already consider the law as something to be obeyed – it will have pretty much zero effect on lawbreakers (remember, the Newtown assassin failed his background check; he also showed that if one’s intent is to cause mayhem even the laws against murder (his own mother) and theft (his mother’s legally-owned guns) won’t deter him or her).  This law – expanding background checks – will neither keep the peace, nor will it punish wrongdoers; in fact, it will only punish law-abiding citizens who wish to purchase a firearm.

Faith-leaders – and laity – need to understand the problem before they attempt to solve it; turning it over to government – which seems neither to have the ability nor the urge – to solve is pointless. 

So what’s the problem?  IMO, it’s threefold.

First, society at large has embraced a mind-set which dehumanizes people.  Many have pointed out that it’s not the gun – or the knife, or the hammer, or the baseball bat – that kills; it’s the hand holding the weapon and the brain which says, ‘Kill’.  As I’ve indicated previously, in order to kill another human being, at least a portion of a killer’s mind must view that other human as something less than human – or, at least, as less than the killer him/herself.

What faith leaders and laity must do is return to the gospel preaching that mankind is made in the image of God, and therefore each human being carries a smidgen of (for lack of a better term) ‘God-like-ness’ within them.  This gives them (again, for lack of a better term) a place as the earthly image of God Himself, which makes each and every individual worth more than a pig or a rat or a dog.

This is why faith leaders and laity must move to the front of the crowd when it comes to fighting the forces of society which say human beings are no better – and in some cases worse – than the animals around us.  This fight is fought in the schools – elementary, secondary, and collegiate – where the tenets of humanism, materialism, and Darwinism are taught to the exclusion of every other belief.  It needs to be fought at the doorsteps of places like Kermit Gosnell’s abortuary and at the doorsteps of Planned Parenthood and their ilk – institutions which have coerced and convinced the general populace that that unborn child within the woman’s uterus isn’t, in fact, human: it’s ‘just a lump of cells’, it’s ‘just a tissue’, it’s ‘like an appendix’, it’s ‘not a person’.

Much discussion has been made regarding mental illnesses and whether those suffering them ought to be allowed to possess firearms.  In our more recent mass-shootings, each of the shooters gave psychologists and psychiatrists who were treating them enough pause for them to raise red-flags, yet those with greater authority to do something about those problems either ignored the information, dismissed it, or soft-pedaled it.

The results of this were, as we all know, deadly.

Why were these warnings dealt with in this way?  Perhaps out of an odd sense of compassion which told these authorities not to stigmatize these obviously-disturbed individuals.  They showed compassion for the disturbed by not adding to their mental problems, yet they ignored the compassion they ought to have felt for their potential victims, should these disturbed individuals snap.  Society in general has become hyper-sensitive to the idea of offense that many, many things which previously were considered bad behavior are dismissed as ‘growing pains’ or ‘just testing their boundaries’; thus, when someone really oversteps the boundaries those who could do something to stop them are fearful of causing offense, so nothing gets done.

This is where faith-leaders and laity ought to step in.  With the knowledge that all human beings are the image of God, and therefore all human beings have worth, compassion for both the disturbed and their potential victims can be balanced.

We all know that if there’s a loose dog in the neighborhood which bites, it needs to be caught and stopped before it injures any more people.  In a similar fashion, when people (psychiatrists and psychologists in particular) know they’re dealing with a ‘vicious dog’ they ought also to know that, in the name of compassion towards the people who may well be ‘bitten’ that this particular ‘dog’ needs to be restrained.

I know, people aren’t dogs, yet the analogy still works: people who show signs of being willing and capable of harming other people need to be restrained in some way, whether it’s actual restraint in an institution, restraint via medication, or restraint via some other means.  Not only is this compassion for their potential victims (you’re removing a potential threat from society), it also shows compassion for the disturbed: by acknowledging the problem and treating it, you’re keeping that person from causing mayhem and, potentially, murdering another human being.

Of course, psychiatrists and psychologists can’t go off half-cocked on this sort of thing, so they would have to document and document and document – kind of like the doctors who worked with the Newtown killer and the Virginia Tech killer.

Faith leaders and laity – particularly from the Judeo-Christian tradition – ought to know that since the Fall there will be evil in the world; it cannot be entirely eliminated this side of heaven.  But it can, to a degree, be mitigated.  Beginning with the idea that change comes first to individuals, then to society, faith leaders and laity must ‘get back to basics’: human beings are made in God’s image, and therefore have inherent value.  This idea, properly taught, will fight off the influences of materialist, humanist Darwinism, which teaches that humans are simply advanced animals with no intrinsic worth.  When people understand that all people have intrinsic worth, compassion sets in – a balanced compassion that takes in both the unfortunate and the fortunate, the disturbed and the undisturbed, and protects them both.

It all begins with the individual – change the individual, you eventually change the society.

And dealing with the individual has never been the government’s long suit.

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