The second witch in Macbeth huddles over the bubbling caldron and declares, “By the pricking of my thumbs/something wicked this way comes.” That was in medieval Scotland. Here, in 21st century America we can see that it has already arrived. Something wicked walked into that Oregon classroom last week and killed nine people simply for being Christians.
Immediately the president, the mainstream media, and FaceBook erupted -- not with horror and sympathy, not with concern that Christians were targeted – but with self-righteous whining about gun control, as if evil was invented by Winchester. “We can’t let this happen again!” they lamented, as they do every time a shooting happens. For some reason bombings and beheadings don’t garner the same reaction. In the face of such myopic vision I have two points to make:
--- Laws, even gun laws, prevent nothing.
--- Where love and decency and respect are written on the hearts of the people, few laws are necessary.
Law only prevents the law-abiding from committing crimes. For the criminally-minded, laws don’t put a dent in their plans. Those psychopathically hell-bent on committing murder aren’t going to stop and think, “Murder is against the law, so I won’t do it.” They don’t say, “No. I might get caught.” Huh-uh. Only if a society has a consistent, efficient, and merciless system for doling out public punishment, will a would-be criminal take a second thought. But we don’t have such a system. In fact, our system is so overloaded it’s barely working at all, and why anyone thinks we could add to its burden the additional task of policing all guns is beyond me.
Law exists to give us opportunity to mete out punishment once a crime is committed. Law allows us, after due process, to incarcerate the guilty. Even this doesn’t prevent the criminal from committing murder, selling dope, and raping his fellow inmates. It doesn’t even keep criminal activity from leaking out into the public – huge criminal enterprises are run from prison cells. Law just provides an illusion of justice. That is all it can do.
In order to think clearly about this we have to differentiate between crime and sin. Yes, it is both a crime and a sin to murder, but merely to consider murdering someone is a sin; you have to actually kill to be guilty of a crime. The Roseburg madman thought about committing this mass murder; he’d brought six guns into a gun-free zone, thereby breaking a law before he even squeezed a trigger. The gun law didn’t stop him; neither did the one forbidding homicide. Law only has mop-up jurisdiction.
Secondly, we have a serious moral problem, a sin problem, in this society. For several generations we’ve been playing with the very fire that killed and wounded the folks at UCC. It is sin that drives people to kill.
Two hundred years ago America was closely connected to God. The vast majority of the early American settlers lived with a love of God and His commandments firmly established in their hearts. They really didn’t need to have someone else control their actions because they were willing to do it themselves. The early settlers knew that failure to follow God’s commands – to love Him, to love others, to treat each other respectfully, to avoid stealing, lying, coveting, committing adultery – would redound upon them in most unpleasant ways. Government was almost superfluous for a people so self-controlled.
But slowly over the last century this love of God has dwindled, and in the last six years nearly dried up. Our commander-in-chief can’t even be bothered to condemn the hideous behavior of ISIS, as if crucifying children and raping little girls is nothing more than an interesting cultural variation. Our president does not condemn the Roseburg shooter for killing Christians, but for owning guns, which is neither a sin nor a crime.
Speaking of Obama – he appears to be involved in all kinds of immoral and illegal behaviors, from lying more often than he tells the truth to colluding with the enemy, and yet a good chunk of our fellow citizens think he’s a great president. Bill and Hillary are up to their eyeballs in shady dealings, yet lots of people think she’d make a fine president – evidence of the moral decrepitude of this society.
Planned Parenthood is the epitome of moral decay. Everything about it stinks and yet FaceBook is flooded with misleading memes supporting this wicked institution, which is, despite their protestations, nothing but a baby-parts farm, and yet most members of Congress still back it. The Supreme Court has given its blessing to same sex marriage, homosexuality already having been embraced by the leftist, anti-God segment of our society. Now the pedophiles are claiming their time in the social approval spotlight.
As a teacher I’ve watched the moral atrophy strike our young people, for whom cheating on tests and plagiarizing papers is just another way to get a grade. The sexual immorality amongst students is mind-boggling. Try chaperoning a high school dance. Once that just meant hanging around the refreshment table to make sure no one spiked the punch. Now it’s a matter of trying to stop actual sex from happening on the dance floor and one has to watch the homosexual kids as closely as the quarterback and his cheerleader. The high school use of marijuana and heroine are at all-time highs.
Whenever I have discussions with atheists, which happens to me fairly often, I hear an indignant assertion about not needing God to be moral. Really? Then why is it that the farther back into the closet we push God, the less decent, and the more decadent we become? In fact, isn’t it one of the main reasons people reject God – because they don’t want any force greater than they are limiting their personal pleasure-seeking exploits? “Don’t try to cram your morality down my throat!” they bellow. So which is it? You can’t have it both ways.
What does immorality have to do with Roseburg? Morality is all that stands between human society and total chaos, and we are unable to hold onto morality without God for longer than a few generations. The last half of the 2nd Commandment makes it official, “For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My Commandments.”
Without God we have no purpose, so why not kill people if we want to? “ Life is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing,” said Macbeth. I suspect that most murderers would agree with him. No purpose, no sense that God loves them, no idea that there are beneficial rules to follow, basically, no hope. Happy people don’t kill. Misery does and disconnection from God is misery.
We are wallowing in something horrifyingly wicked and I’m quite sure that more is on its way.