Perish by the Sword

Sculpture of the massacre of the Holy Innocents, in the Abbey Saint-Pierre Brantôme, Brantôme (Dordogne, France). (Credit: Père Igor / Wikimedia Commons)

Sculpture of the massacre of the Holy Innocents, in the Abbey Saint-Pierre Brantôme, Brantôme (Dordogne, France). (Credit: Père Igor / Wikimedia Commons)

In the face of yet another massacre of young Americans, this time by a sick individual with guns in Oregon, some of our political leaders (Mencken’s Clown Dynasty) do not know what to do.

Others, like Pontius Pilate, are glad to wash their hands of the messy business. Jeb Bush summed up this attitude admirably the day after the shooting: “Stuff happens.”

If we are paralyzed into inactivity by the Second Amendment, by the NRA and its lobby, or by fellow Americans who worship guns and vote accordingly, perhaps we can find if not a new path, at least a new direction for a solution if we re-examine some of our premises about who we are, and remember what we claim to be.

First, President Obama presented the nation with this befuddlement in his address after the shooting: “We are the only advanced country on Earth that sees these kinds of mass shootings every few months.” The explanation for this puzzling conundrum is simple: despite our riches and our technical proficiency, we are NOT an “advanced country.” We are a nation of savages and barbarians who would rather see our children slaughtered than give up our guns. We believe in human sacrifice, and regularly offer up human victims to the natural law of the Second Amendment and to the bloody cult of the NRA. Any solution to the gun problem in this great country must begin with an acknowledgement of this sad fact.

Angel with the Purse of Judas and the Sword of St Peter, engraving on paper by Karel van Mallery. (Credit: Wikimedia Commons)

Angel with the Purse of Judas and the Sword of St Peter, engraving on paper by Karel van Mallery. (Credit: Wikimedia Commons)

Second, Republican presidential candidates were quick to point out that the answer to the spate of shootings does not reside in tougher gun laws. Recently, Pope Francis I delivered an address to Congress in which he hailed the sanctity of life; but Mike Huckabee, one of our national Protestant “Mini-Popes,” does not see that any good can come out of gun regulation: “I keep waiting for someone to tell me what new gun law can we pas[s] that would have prevented this shooting or Sandy Hook or Aurora or Charleston…. Just tell me what gun law that is because I’ve yet to have somebody tell me what that is.”

I know not a gun law but a commandment, by the Christ to whom Huckabee and so many of us pay homage. The story is well known: Judas came leading a multitude with swords and staves to arrest Jesus in Gethsemane. When the crowd laid hands on Jesus, one of his followers drew his sword and cut off an ear from a servant of the high priest. Jesus said, in full knowledge of his fate:

Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.

(Matthew 26:52)

You can talk about the nation’s Judeo-Christian beginnings. You can own an arsenal of guns. You can urge our leaders to bomb foreign countries, and send the children of the poor to die in the name of riches, oil consumption, and our so-called goddess freedom.

But a Christian you will not be until you forsake your guns, promote peace, and put your trust and safety not in the 2nd Amendment, but in the “more than twelve legions of angels” that the Lord Jesus Christ can call to account if he prays to his Father (Matthew 26:53).

OG

The Arrest of Christ (Kiss of Judas), fresco by Giotto, c. 1304-06. (Credit: Wikimedia Commons)

The Arrest of Christ (Kiss of Judas), fresco by Giotto, c. 1304-06. (Credit: Wikimedia Commons)

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