I believe that the epitome of hypocrisy was seen this past week when the GOP convention leaders asked Governor Kasich to waive the open carry law in Ohio so that their national convention could be gun-free. It appears that when it is their lives that are endangered by guns they suddenly become gun control advocates while denying the same protection to others. I was bemused that Kasich used their own G.O.P. position in replying that current federal law and the U.S. Constitution does not allow a governor to do so.
Their request for a ‘no-gun’ convention flies in the face of the GOP’s current legislative position, which is to not even allow debate on any bill that would curb the right to bear arms–including any type of arms or ammunition such as AR-15s and armor-piercing shells with extended magazines. It is the epitome of hypocrisy that the G.O.P. convention goers do not want to operate under the rules they have set.
The G.O.P. and the “Trumpsters” are now reaping the results of what they have been sowing the past years after they took control of the legislative branch of government. They have played the politics of fear to the hilt, they have sowed divisiveness and hatred. They have refused compromise making governing almost impossible. Now the country is reaping the results of their policies of negativity and advocacy of divisiveness.
In Donald Trump they have found a demagogue who will take their divisive and inflammatory causes to new heights and expose them to what happens. Hand in hand with the NRA they have created a gun culture that leads to what we see is happening today in our country–an explosion of mass shootings in theaters, schools, malls, and other places that call for police protection which leads to calls for mass police intervention, which leads to further killing of police officers in ambush now these past two weeks. They have “sowed the wind” and are now “reaping the whirlwind.”
After each shooting event those in power say “This must stop!!” but it doesn’t stop. And it will not stop until there is a deep cultural change in this country away from the gun culture and fear and disregard of human life to a culture that values human life–that is inclusive of all and does not scapegoat those who are different; that sees all human life as sacred; that practices respect for differences of opinion in politics and deals with difference of opinion without attacking the character of the one with whom we disagree; in short; that lives the Great Commandment to love God and neighbor as we love ourselves.
The roots of the problem in America go far deeper than race relations to human relations. If we continue to ‘sow the wind’ we will continue to “reap the whirlwind” as we are now experiencing! (Hosea 8:7)
Posted in Pastoral Concerns, Political affairs
Tagged GOP national convention, Gun control, human relations, Jesus' great commandment, Love of neighbor, mass shooting, police ambushes, politics of fear and divisiveness, race relations, Shema, Trump
“You (they) will be in my thoughts and prayers!” How often do we hear this phrase? When disaster struck in the shootings in California recently, how many congressmen did you hear say this? When the school shootings in New Jersey took place, how many in our government said this. And its not just group disasters. Those who have lost a loved one for any reason are hurting. For example, when we see the son or daughter whose mother has just died, aren’t these the words that we often say? “You’ll be in my thoughts and prayers”. It is usually said very sincerely, I’m sure (although with my cynical nature I often question that). It is usually said very piously as though we have a special line to God—this is especially true of many clergy persons.
I’m sure that most people when they say these words really think that they will do that. My question today is—-how many of us feel guilty because we don’t follow through? How many of us get busy with life and never take time for prayer and communication with God? How many of us really have a prayer life? How much do we think about what happened? If we pray, what do we pray for?
My wife has a practice that she has taught me—instead of saying the words “You will be in my thoughts and prayers, she says—-“would you like for me to pray with you now?” And she puts her arms around the person and prays for them—-for strength to bear the burdens they have, for courage, for God ‘s strength and love for them. In other words—she DOES SOMETHING
How many of our Congressmen and Senators said after the school disaster in New Jersey to the parents of children and spouses of those who died—-“my thoughts and prayers are with you” —-and then went to work the next day and voted down proposed changes to gun laws that President Obama put forward because of his obviously being touched by the massacre and the meeting with parents and spouses directly after the event?. What the President put forward might have helped avoid a future disaster. He tried to do something. It’s just “empty words” if you don”t try to do something. Those children and teachers were not in the thoughts of Republicans who voted down a change in gun laws in obedience to their masters in the NRA—-and certainly not in their prayers. These Senators and Congressmen may have a connection to God, but its only in their heads and obviously not in their hearts.
My suggestion as a pastor? Don’t say these words unless you have an active prayer life and prayer journal. It’s better to say—“Can we pray together now? It’s better to do something for the support of those who are wounded and hurting— determine what they need and just do it!
When my first wife died after a fall and being in a coma for a week—-I had a pastor friend who just sent me a booklet “Trust in God” that was written for those who had lost loved ones. He wrote a note saying, ” this helped me in the recent loss of my wife and I hope it will help you”. I went through that booklet twice- over a two month period—-and give it often to those who have lost loved ones. Those who are grieving don’t need pious promises that “I’ll pray for you.” They need prayer now. They are hurting now. They need hugs now. They need your presence with them now. They need help with their daily burdens they shared with their loved one that have now become theirs alone, now. Find out what they need and do it—now!! Please don’t ask those who are grieving what you ccan do for them—-find what need to be done yourself—and then DO IT!
God doesn’t need to hear from you! God knows what has happened! Be God’s servant and do something that will help the person and reassure the person that God is very present with them in their pain and working through you.
I don’t mean to be unkind! I know people mean well when they say “you will be in my thoughts and prayers” and that they often don’t know what else to say in the face of tragedy and death. But I would suggest that your presence and a hug and a prayer with them and doing what is needed to be done right now will always mean more than the words “you will be in my hearts and prayers.”.
Posted in Pastoral Concerns, Political affairs
Tagged "thoughts and prayers", Actions speak better than words, compassion, God's love, Gun control, Helping those who grieve, needs of the grieving, NRA, Role of government to end gun violence, Sharing God's love with the grieving, support others in their grief.