God weeps: 27 children, staff killed in Conn. shooting

REUTERS President Obama speaks about the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., during a press briefing at … Continued

REUTERS

President Obama speaks about the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., during a press briefing at the White House.

It’s the worst mistake in the world to say gun control today can be summarized as a “policy debate.”

It’s not.

The epidemic of mass shootings in the United States is a moral and religious catastrophe. God weeps with the pain of these parents whose children were just executed, the pain of spouses and relatives of the staff and the whole community. But God also weeps over the moral stupidity of this country that is weakening gun laws instead of strengthening them, and buying more guns despite an epidemic of mass shootings in places like schools, movie theatres, and malls.

Don’t tell me this isn’t the time to talk about guns. Don’t even think this time you will get away with the “now’s not the time” in the face of the second deadliest school shooting in American history. Twenty-seven people were just killed in Newtown, Conn., including 20 children.

EPA

A parent and a child walk away from the Sandy Hook Elementary School following a shooting inside the school in Newtown, Conn.

The gun lobbies, not only the National Rifle Association funds the legislators who pass more and more permissive gun laws that lead to tragedy after tragedy. But it’s not only the NRA, it’s especially the Koch-funded ALEC that has, for example, just helped the lame-duck GOP dominated right-wing legislature in Michigan pass a “carry-concealed” gun law for schools, churches, and day care centers among others.

Schools? Day-care centers? I wonder how those legislators in Michigan feel today. You might want to rethink signing that bill, Gov. Rick Snyder.

Progressive faith leaders have protested at ALEC headquarters to call attention to the moral dimension of the debate, but what is needed is immediate legislative action to ban the kinds of weapons typically used in these mass shootings. Even gun owners who hunt realize it is ridiculous for these type of weapons to be sold in this country. Who hunts with an assault rifle?

A visibly shaken President Obama seemed to disagree with his press secretary in saying that despite the politics, we as a country need to act. There have simply been too many deaths from mass shootings.

Amen, Mr. President. Now let’s all act.

Former president of Chicago Theological Seminary (1998-2008), the Rev. Susan Brooks Thistlewaite  is professor of theology at Chicago Theological Seminary and a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress
.

About

Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite Rev. Dr. Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite is Professor of Theology and immediate past President of Chicago Theological Seminary. She is also a Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress. Her most recent books are "#OccupytheBible: What Jesus Really Said (and Did) About Money and Power" and, as contributor and editor, "Interfaith Just Peacemaking: Jewish, Christian, and Muslim Perspectives on the New Paradigm of Peace and War."
  • jburnetti

    The headline God weeps, over a picture of Barack Obama weeping, is a poor choice. This is an awful event. But my house was broken into once, while I was asleep. Any solution to this needs to take into account my right to defend myself when my back kick is no longer effective.

  • itsjustnewton

    My thoughts and prayers for those effected. Gun laws always comes up in these things. It’s a shame that parenting doesn’t, or the greed that causes a lack of parenting, or the necessity for some to have to have both parents working. So much more I guess. I really think we need to see that it’s not the guns though. If it’s the guns then we have to blame alcohol for the alcoholics and drugs for the addicts, and mini skirts for the rapists, and on and on. How about we look at personal responsibility, and communal responsibility, and governmental responsibility. People shouldn’t have to live lives that lead to all these things. We aren’t taking care of each other.

  • ral1329

    We can’t wait anymore. It’s long past time to stop the craziness.

  • Theologian

    To say that “God Weeps” under minds God’s sovereignty. This statement makes it seem that God is sitting on His throne shaking His head not knowing that this was going to happen. Granted it is hard to understand why God would allow this to happen beside the fact that in all things He is glorified. It is hard to understand this type a tragic event. We must however, understand this; That what happened today is just another example of our fallen sinful nature.

  • ccnl1

    “The earliest known United States shooting to happen on school property was the Pontiac’s Rebellion school massacre on July 26, 1764, where four Lenape American Indians entered the schoolhouse near present-day Greencastle, Pennsylvania, shot and killed schoolmaster Enoch Brown, and killed nine or ten children (reports vary). Only three children survived.[18]”

    Wikipedia has an excellet review of the topic.

    And the shootings obviously have not stopped.

    What to do?

    Background checks not only for the teachers but also their relatives.

    Added security for all schools.

    More at-home/internet education.

    School buses transportation only. No cars allowed within three miles of a school.

    No toleration of bullying or bullies.

    And instill in all global citizens, three words: DO NO HARM!!!

  • Lisa Lynn

    And then one day, inevitably, it will be a teacher or a student who disarms the teacher who loses it and takes out a classroom full of kids.. That gun will have been there because you insisted it be there. This is the most idiotic, insane, nitwit proposal I have ever seen.

  • SODDI

    “…where four Lenape American Indian Freedom Fighters entered the invaders’ structure… shot and killed known terrorist occupier Enoch Brown. Nine invader’s children were killed and are considered collateral damage. Three childen were released.”

    It all depends on who writes the history books I guess.

  • cs9243

    This country will never go for strict gun laws , not even President Obama.
    Owning a gun is almost like religion. The second Amendment is sacrosanct among republicans.” The gun lobbies will continue to fund the legislators who would pass more and more permissive gun laws.. God can weep but he cannot help if we are stupid. European countries like UK have no Second Amendment rights like the US ,these incidents are far less and by the way people are also less religious in those countries

  • Rongoklunk

    It’s time America grew up. Allowing everybody to have guns is ensuring that Americans will keep on shooting each other. Guns kill people. Tennis rackets don’t. Soccer balls don’t. Ideas don’t. Guns do. That’s what they’re for. Killing things.You want to kill something? Get a gun. It’s made for killing. Ordinarily people don’t kill people. People with guns kill people. You wanna have a country where more people kill more people? Give them more guns.

  • Secular1

    Are you telling me that there is a significant difference between the houses without guns being burglarized to the ones with guns. I beg to submit that the metrics are not statistically different. I bet the same goes as to how well a gun owner protects him/herself compared to the non-gun owners. All this bravado is just a rabid gun owners’ wet dreams. Then you discount all the accidental deaths that occur just because a gun is owned – very quickly the metrics change. Boys this isn’t wild wild west. The days of uncivilized ways are long gone. To be considered civilized, one must behave like civilized people.

  • Connie A Vaughn

    I am heartbroken over yet another gun related tragedy. So called “Gun Control” will not stop these tragedies from occuring. Taking away 2nd Amendment rights of US Citizens will not stop this from happening.

    Taking away the right to protect oneself, family, & property will only create more criminals, not make guns go away. Only criminals will have guns & all of a sudden that will include the majority of the population of this country.

    Only GOD can fix this. It is a GOD SIZED project. Without HIM we can do NOTHING. Our Nation, especially our government & YOU TOO.. MR PRESIDENT continue to PUSH GOD OUT & then we wonder why things like this happen? No God is NOT punishing us, but He is allowing us to experience what life without Him in it is.

  • Rongoklunk

    I grew up in Britain. Never saw a gun in my life. Nobody had guns. No reason to have a gun “unless everybody else had one” and nobody did. And that’s the U.S’s problem.
    It might take many years – but you have to get rid of the guns eventually, somehow. Killings like the one today will keep occurring, probably more and more often. It’s contagious.

    If there really was a God he’d probably DO something. The fact that once again he does absolutely nothing is more evidence that he exists only in the imagination. This God permitted the Holocaust. He’s either useless or imaginary.

  • Secular1

    theologian, please tell me what does a theologian specialize in? He/she gets a PhD in the interpretation of Fairy Tales, is it? Can you make anything with that PhD, besides pontificating on the make belief filthy stories by our bigoted, ignorant ancients? Can your theology help you make an omelette or a cup of coffee or even sweep a floor. My guess is NOT. All it lets you do is letout som eof that hot air from your windbag, right?

  • SODDI

    If your god is omnipresent and omnipotent, why didn’t he stop this massacre?

    For thirty-odd years, the “godliest” among you have sided exclusively with the Republican Party – which means you have been exclusively allied with the NRA whse sole gole is to allow as many guns as possible of every caliber and rate of fire to be sold in America.

    You knew what you were doing and you never raised one word of protest against those policies and platforms of the Republican Party. You did it because you wanted to rule, because you wanted your religion to be enforced, because you hated gays so much.

    Well, this is YOU christians’ party now, isn’t it? Your guns killed little kids today. You are as responsible as the NRA for the slow motion war that is going on in America.

    There is no god, there are only people. And you christians have blood on your hands.

  • flootzavut

    People who equate belief in God with wanting to have unfettered access to guns is why so many Christians who AREN’T right wing nutbags are embarrassed to publicly claim their faith.

  • flootzavut

    “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people.

    But I think the guns help.

    I just think just standing there going, “Bang!” That’s not going to kill too many people, is it?”

    - Eddie Izzard

  • jimfoxvog

    “God weeps” says the headline. Obama weeps in the picture. Maybe Obama is realizing his drone attacks kill children regularly and he is weeping in shame. God cares for children in Pakistan as much as children in the USA.

  • ccnl1

    Soddi,

    As noted, see Wikipedia’s review of school shootings.(from 1764 to present).

  • Lalande21185

    It is long past time for our nation to deal with its self-inflicted scouge of guns. Don’t wait for the government to do something about them. If you own a gun today, get rid of it immediately! Take it to your local police station and turn it in. You will be safer for this act, your family will be safer, and the people around you will be safer.

    Guns make no one safe.

    I know whereof I speak. Years ago I stared down the barrel of a gun during a armed holdup of a store I worked in. Turns out the robbers had stolen the gun from a nearby house less than an hour before pointing it at me. So much for guns in the house preventing crime!

    So don’t wait for the lawmakers to do something – get rid of that gun!

  • Lalande21185

    Typo: that should have been “scourge”.

  • amelia45

    What we have to fight is not just gun ownership, but an attitude that embraces the idea that we are always in danger and violence as a solution. As we have become “free-er” in our gun ownership, we have become more violent as a people. Look at mass shootings by disgruntled people lately. Even look at what happened to Trayvon Martin in Florida – having a gun, and feeling empowered by it, Zimmerman sought a confrontation he was told not to seek. And he may get away with it.

    There are other First World nations that have a high gun ownership but do not have the gun violence we have. We need some real studies that help us see how we feed the violence in this country and how other countries avoid it.

  • persiflage

    tell it to the religious fanatics wearing black turbans…….

  • jburnetti

    I was asleep. In my own house. If he has a gun, he should at least have some doubt in his mind that I’ve got one. Cops are no help. Sociopaths stole my cell phone. Crook used it to call his girlfriend after robbing my house and after his next job. I was able to give them the perp’s whole social network. No arrest. Next time, I at least want him to worry I might have a gun.

  • persiflage

    Good post but try leaving the assaultive Susan Thistlewhite posts alone for awhile.

  • persiflage

    ‘Guns don’t kill people; gun control kills people.’

    And just when I thought your views had reached their perverse limits. Should have known better……

  • persiflage

    oooooops! Make that Susan Thistlethwaite…..my bad.

  • Catken1

    “What was the solution to Hitler’s attempt to conquer the world for his “master race”?”

    Military intervention by whole countries. The Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, while brave, wasn’t anywhere near a threat to Hitler.

    “What was the solution to an attack by Trayvon Martin, which would almost certainly ended in George Zimmerman’s death?”

    Trayvon Martin attacked with fists out of fear, after being stalked by Zimmerman, and he was smaller than Zimmerman. Surely Zimmerman could have subdued him with fists without needing to shoot? Or better yet, he could have done as the police told him to do and stayed away from Martin, letting the professionals handle things. Then maybe no one would have died – after all, the “suspicious activity” Zimmerman was supposedly “investigating” (on his own vigilante authority) was a teenage boy going out, completely unarmed, to buy a pack of Skittles, nothing more. Surely the cops could’ve handled that? Without killing anyone?

  • Catken1

    “MR PRESIDENT continue to PUSH GOD OUT & then we wonder why things like this happen?”

    If your god can be pushed out by human activity, you’ve got a pretty pathetic god. And no, no one has pushed out any God from anywhere except the government, which must protect every citizen’s right to worship if and as they please – you are still as free to invoke, praise and worship your god as you have ever been.

    Any god who kills kindergarteners or allows them to be killed because they aren’t compelled or pressured to flatter him sufficiently in their schools is a monster, period.

    “You have no more right to subject me to your morality than I have to subject you to mine, unless there is a higher authority to which one of us may appeal. ”

    Trouble is, few of us can agree on who that higher authority is or what he wants – and plenty of people think that that higher authority sanctions their moral crimes, as long as they’re done in his name or against those they deem “heretics” or “infidels”.

    And that is why we establish a government, to ensure that the rights of all citizens are protected until and unless they infringe unduly on the lives and liberties of others. That way, you can live by your views of God’s wishes for you, and I can live by my own rationally-determined moral rules, and we will not infringe on each other’s right to live as we please.

  • Catken1

    “Why didn’t you pull out your own gun and shoot your assailants? ”

    Um, because someone pointing a gun at you can easily shoot you while you are reaching for your own? Do you think they’re just going to stand there and wait to be shot, when they have their gun aimed at you first?

  • amelia45

    I am with you, Catken1, on what happened to Trayvon Martin. He died because Zimmerman went looking for trouble after being told not to.
    .
    What I see is that we are growing more paranoid and enabling/excusing violence the more we insist on the right of more and more people to have guns. We create the reality we fear.

  • lageraVA

    I really wish that all us grieving parents gather tomorrow and silently express our grief in front of the National Rifle Association headquarters in Fairfax, VA.
    And do it again and again by the time we move the ‘weapons question’ to a national debate.

  • nancydancer

    In terms of school safety – has anyone considered a panic button where the (bulletproof) dorr quickly and automatically closes and locks – just one part of protection – as for god being removed from the schools – well, seems to me is/she is pretty much imnipotent and onmipresent – no?

  • ccnl1

    Suzy noted:

    “But God also weeps”

    No it does not!!

    Bringing Suzy T into the 21st century with a prayer:

  • ccnl1

    The Apostles’ Creed 2012: (updated by yours truly and based on the studies of historians and theologians of the past 200 years)

    Should I believe in a god whose existence cannot be proven
    and said god if he/she/it exists resides in an unproven,
    human-created, spirit state of bliss called heaven??

    I believe there was a 1st century CE, Jewish, simple,
    preacher-man who was conceived by a Jewish carpenter
    named Joseph living in Nazareth and born of a young Jewish
    girl named Mary. (Some say he was a mamzer.)

    Jesus was summarily crucified for being a temple rabble-rouser by
    the Roman troops in Jerusalem serving under Pontius Pilate,

    He was buried in an unmarked grave and still lies
    a-mouldering in the ground somewhere outside of
    Jerusalem.

    Said Jesus’ story was embellished and “mythicized” by
    many semi-fiction writers. A descent into Hell, a bodily resurrection
    and ascension stories were promulgated to compete with the
    Caesar myths. Said stories were so popular that they
    grew into a religion known today as Catholicism/Christianity
    and featuring dark-age, daily wine to blood and bread to body rituals
    called the eucharistic sacrifice of the non-atoning Jesus.

    Amen
    (references used are available upon request)

  • Catken1

    Wouldn’t do much good once the shooter was inside – indeed, would be hideously counterproductive. And how are you to know someone’s a shooter before they get in and pull out a gun?

  • ThomasBaum

    ScottinVA

    You wrote, “You have no more right to subject me to your morality than I have to subject you to mine, unless there is a higher authority to which one of us may appeal.”

    Even tho you seem to know nothing about God except for God’s Name and you seem to believe that Jesus Is God-Incarnate, Who He Is, how come God-Incarnate did NOT force Himself on us but you seem to believe that you can force God on us?

  • ThomasBaum

    Faith, weak or otherwise, has absolutely no bearing on the strength or weakness of God since faith has never created any god, gods or God,

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