Here we are again. Another massacre by a mentally ill person with a gun– this time, a young white supremacist so filled with hate, he wanted to start a race war. Why, oh why, do these things keep happening? And in a church of all places! Why would God allow that?
First of all, let’s not blame God for human evil and stupidity. It’s not God who allows it; we do. The Almighty has made men and women to be his representatives on earth, to govern with justice and wisdom, and when we fail in that mission, the results can be tragic.
We could say these things happen because evil is a real force in this world. Ok. We could also be more specific and say, as many are saying, that if this country has an original sin, it’s racism. Check. Then we could go further and say that plain, old-fashioned greed also plays a role (witness the inconceivable remarks of the NRA spokesperson who blamed the murdered AME pastor and church members for not carrying guns. Really. For him, as a shill for the greedy gun industry, the problem is not enough guns. He thinks the world won’t be right until every parishioner is packing heat and there’s a sharpshooter in every choir loft.).
But bottom line, these bloodbaths keep repeating themselves because deep down, at the end of the day, the vast majority of Americans are ok with it. Don’t get me wrong. Sure, we shake our heads in disbelief, clack our tongues, maybe even shed a real tear on behalf of our fellow human beings—we feel that sense of brotherhood. We even mention it from our pulpits : “Let us pray for Charleston and our brothers and sisters who have experienced such loss.” (But no sermons on racism, please; after all, we don’t want to get political.) And then we go into the voting booth in November and vote for the same clowns (of both parties) who continue to make all this mayhem possible.
Why? Because as sad as these events are, the victims are merely collateral damage in a war to preserve the status quo. That’s right. All the talk about abortion, prayer in schools and family values we hear from white Christian America is merely lip service, a smoke screen for what people really want, which is to keep things the way they are, provided they continue to profit from it. The religious coating is just a way to feel good about ourselves while we’re doing it.
I heard a Christian brother the other day say, “I don’t like it when they talk about these kind of events from the pulpit. I go to church to get peace. I don’t want to keep hearing about it.” QED (quod erat demonstrandum). As long as we continue to go to church to have our prejudices and ignorance massaged instead of blown apart, the church will never be an agent of change.
God forgive us. We have blood on our hands.