Las Vegas

This will not go away anytime soon.  Too many times we have been horrified by the war zone shootings at schools, movie theaters, stadiums, nightclubs and in the streets.  Did you notice the key word in the previous sentence was “shootings”?  These are acts of violence carried out with weapons;  not just pistols, shotguns, and rifles but heavy-duty military style automatic and semi-automatic weapons which can kill scores of people in a few short minutes.

Already the NRA & WH have commented that now in the midst of this tragedy is not the time to open a dialog about gun control.  My reply is “Why the hell not?”  There is no better time than now to confront the 2nd amendment rights people who believe their right to accumulate an arsenal of guns within their homes supersedes the rights of fellow citizens who want to live in a peaceful and safe environment in their hometowns, where they work, where they go for recreation, and most of all where they send their children to learn.

The gun rights people supported by the powerful government lobby of the NRA try to convince us that it is the people, not the guns, who create havoc and grief in our neighborhoods, workplaces, and our schools.  Guess what, gun advocates?  I don’t care anymore who or what is responsible.  I just want it to stop.

We have seen that gun shop owners and vendors at flea markets are not doing a competent job of regulating who buys their guns.  We have seen that law enforcement is ineffective in regulating gun ownership, and we have seen that the federal government is unwilling to displease one of the most powerful lobbies in the country, the NRA.

People, whether they are deranged, drug driven, violent ideologues, or religious zealots, are indeed the propellant in this epidemic of violence, but their solution of choice in carrying out their diabolical schemes and madness is the unlimited array of easily available weapons.  Your 2nd amendment right does not include the freedom to randomly kill one another in order to settle an issue which in civilized countries is resolved with dialog, mental health treatment, and gun ownership restrictions.

You and your doctrines of violence are the festering sore which won’t go away,  you are the cancer which is destroying our country, you are the scourge of a society which needs to find more avenues of peaceful coexistence.  Yes, you, those of you who proclaim, “only from my dead hands will they pry my gun.”  You are directly the cause of America’s great pain today.

Along with millions of others world-wide, I am sad and grieving over the toll in Las Vegas of 59 dead and over 500 injured.  But, I have grieved too often.  The children at Columbine and Sandy Hook, the gays at Orlando, the prayer group at Charleston, the policemen in Dallas are speaking to us now pleading to stop the insanity of the proliferation of guns in America.  The statistics of death by guns shame us, a society which claims the largest Christian population on earth.  America, where are your values and the morals which define your faith?

No, now is the time to be angry and press the gun control dialog.  If our representatives in government continue to sandbag us while pocketing NRA and munitions/arms manufacturers’ money, we must replace them with others who see the long-term necessity for a society free of weapons of mass destruction as used in Las Vegas.  2018 and 2020 elections are just around the corner.  Get to know your candidates and their position on gun control and the 2nd amendment.  Do not believe the cynics who say we don’t have the power to effect changes.  As our illustrious President Obama said, “Yes, we can.”

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ORLANDO ANGELS

 

 

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King David in Psalm 35 exhorted his Lord to send angels to drive away the enemies who persecuted him and intended harm for him.  In this passage we can visualize those angels protecting David just as our angels in Orlando protected mourners from the hateful signs and chants of a hate group from Topeka, Kansas. Their behavior does not warrant being associated with the word Christian. As with the Orlando shooter, I refuse to give them any further publicity by giving them a name. They are nameless. YouTube and Wikipedia are teeming with that information.

“Let those who plan to destroy me
    be turned back in terror.
Let them be like straw blowing in the wind,
    while the angel of the Lord drives them away.
Let their path be dark and slippery,
    while the angel of the Lord chases them.”

New International Reader’s Version (NIRV)Copyright © 1995, 1996, 1998, 2014 by Biblica, Inc.®. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

“…….is an unaffiliated Baptist church known for its hate speech, especially against LGBT people, Catholics, Muslims, Jews and politicians. The church is categorized as a hate group and is monitored as such by the Anti-Defamation League and the Southern Poverty  Law  Center  ….some protests have included WBC members stomping on the American flag and/or flying the flag upside down on a flagpole.”

Let’s face it folks.  These protestors follow Old Testament law rigidly.  They base a belief system on Leviticus 20.  Because the recipients of their brand of hate are so diverse and widespread it is obvious they have learned to read between the Biblical lines which they profess to believe.  I guess when one has a direct hot line to God, when his/her Bible is inerrant and literal, that person can substantiate any theology he/she desires.  Very few other congregations which label themselves as Baptist or Christian or Muslim or Judaic have attained this level of enlightenment.

Have you read Leviticus 20?  It is lengthy.  It is filled with death, blood, and stoning.  It depicts a time when God came to dwell with the Israelites and established his law.  Having just escaped slavery in Egypt, the tribe’s leaders (and God) eschewed anything Egyptian; customs, morals, habits, sexual mores.  If the story is indeed true, life for Jacob’s people must have been anything but “a land flowing with milk and honey” which Moses had promised.

To Jesus followers and to most Christians, adherence to Old Testament law is in itself sinful considering that the new covenant instructs us to “love God with all your heart and love your neighbor as yourself”.  Twelve easy to understand words supersede the entire book of Leviticus.  We may look to the Jewish scriptures for guidance and instruction but we are no longer bound by its law.

“If, therefore, the Son shall make you free, you shall be free indeed.” john 8:36

It’s that simple and I’m afraid the association of haters we have referred to in regard to the Orlando angels…well, I’m afraid they are mightily ticking off God almighty.

CLOSURE

 

“For on June 12, after the worst of humanity reared its evil head, I saw the best of humanity come fighting right back.  I never want to forget that night.”

Dr. Joshua Corsa M.D. EMT-P
Orlando Regional Medical Center

With those words from Dr. Corsa we must begin the healing process. Not only the immediate family, friends, and loved ones of the victims but, also America and the world must draw from this horrific act the realization that although the shooter accomplished his plan to carry from the pits of hell his hatred and ideology and inflict immeasurable suffering and pain on Orlando, he is dead. The balance of the world’s citizens who live their lives promoting compassion, tolerance, and peace have survived and we are more determined than ever that this world shall find the necessary means to eliminate hatred and terror. The words of terrorism, the thoughts of terrorism, and the acts of terrorism cannot stand in the strength of a world united in love and peace. We shall prevail.

Now, it is time to move on. Undoubtedly we shall mourn again, another city, another part of the world but, we shall be victorious because we know the forces of evil cannot survive when ‘the best of humanity come fighting right back’. We should never forget that night in Orlando because we know that darkness cannot exist in the light of an enlightened humanity.

VIGIL IN SMALLTOWN

 

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Tonight was one of those moments in life when existence takes on new meaning.  We labor under daily drudgery, shattered dreams, and worldly turmoil.  The moments which rekindle the fires that make life exciting and meaningful are to be cherished, embraced and remembered for future reference.

Tonight I participated in a prayer vigil for the Orlando victims, the 49 beautiful people who were gunned down while celebrating life and youth in a place which they considered to be a safe haven for the LGBT community.  They gathered at Pulse to dance, sing, and party with peers who came from all walks of life, all professions, all creeds.  They were murdered by a disturbed man who allegedly  shared their passion but could not reconcile his religious tradition to their lifestyle.

America’s response has been predictable.  There has been a great outpouring of sympathy and love for the friends, families and loved ones of the victims.  God bless America.  There has also been a response from radical Christian and Muslim sects cheering the deaths as the direct intervention of a vengeful God pouring his full wrath upon a sinful nation. And then there was Trump polarizing America, inciting even deeper Islamophobia among the voters.

But, tonight was a very personal directive in my life.  Those 49 victims will not have died in vain as long as I have breath in my body.  You see, almost 100 like-minded people were at that vigil.  100 people pledged to live life offering love, peace, honor, and respect to all races, all creeds, all ethnicities, all religions, and all sexual orientations.  It’s not too late; we can save mankind from self-destruction and I will be an instrument of that saving peace.  That is my personal promise to those who died too young in Orlando.  They have not died in vain.  They have inspired ordinary people at my vigil here in Smalltown, USA and vigils worldwide to stand up to the hate-mongers and the hatred they intend to spread. Our loving God of peace will prevail.  Amen.