When I say gun-control, you say prayer-in-school. Ready?

17 Dec

After a season of mourning, Americans are asking what can be done about this massacre.  But are we discussing real solutions or symbolic gestures in the wake of Newton?  I doubt that an original intent analysis of the 2nd amendment would invalidate laws that ban assault weapons.  I also doubt that such a law would do much to prevent massacres like the Newton tragedy.  I don’t doubt that such a law would make most Americans feel better.  Likewise, I doubt that an original intent analysis of the establishment clause of the 1st amendment would invalidate laws allowing non-sectarian vague deistic prayers in public schools.  I also doubt that allowing them would do much to prevent the Newton tragedy.  I don’t doubt that such prayers will make most people feel better.  It seems that after horrors like this, everyone latches on to their favorite political scapegoat in order to cope and to explain what seems inexplicable to most people.  In many ways, these reactions further indicate how political we have all become, assuming without thinking that all problems have political solutions.  My fear is that our collective attention turns to quick political “solutions” (gun-control or prayer in schools) that are more symbolic than substantive in nature, and then we end up missing the opportunity to address the more complex but real root cultural causes of evil like this, such as the disintegration of families, absentee fatherhood, indifference to the existence of a Holy God, worship of violence at an early age, the “Abolition of Man” (C.S. Lewis), and embrace of moral relativism.  But it’s far easier to just, pass a law.

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