Friday, January 18, 2013

Inauguration Weekend I

“Teachers should be armed!”  Kooks and Krazies from Rand Paul to the NRA are claiming that the answer to gun violence is to arm teachers.  Well, I am a teacher and I don’t want to be armed.   It is against everything I believe in as a Christian, as a Catholic, as one who is committed to the culture of life. 
From the earliest days of the faith Christians espoused a theology of non-violent resistance to the predominant culture of the day that stressed the very sort of moral decadence that right-wing extremists—including many who claim to be Christians and Catholics—are pushing on America today.  The radical individualism that denies that we are part of a social organism and have a common responsibility for each other’s welfare, the enchantments of material fortune that let us fantasize of wealth without responsibility for those who have not, and now a culture besotted by violence and bloodlust were the very evils of the ancient world condemned by the Church Fathers as incompatible with Christian discipleship.  Today’s religious right focuses its criticisms all but exclusively on sexual issues as if there were no moral issues other than those proceeding from human weakness.  Like the Pharisee in Luke’s Gospel they proclaim where all can hear them: Lord—I thank you that I am not like the rest of men—like those gay people, for example, or those women’s libbers or like that person over there who voted for Obama; I go to church, I condemn abortion…. And like the Pharisee they are justified in no one’s sight but their own. 
The moral failures of our culture are not summed up by women who can find no alternative to their distress but abortion, nor by people who want their love to be recognized and validated in the same way that the passion and commitment their neighbors have.  The moral failures of our culture run far deeper into the sinfulness of the human heart and each of us needs to examine our hearts for the roots of the violence, the rage, the hardness that poisons our relationships with our neighbors.  I am not saying that everyone should do as what pleases them and that there are no moral boundaries—far from it.  But it is far more than moral naiveté to say that we can bring an end to our satanic marriage with violence by giving kindergarten teachers sidearms.  Christians need to look to see how we can build a culture of reconciliation, mutual respect, harmony, and unity to replace the fractious and evil web of anger into which we have devolved.       

No comments:

Post a Comment