As I write this it’s Saturday in America.
It’s Saturday and there’s been another shooting.
Once again we find ourselves here in this terribly familiar place. We are grieving again. We’re watching in disbelief again. Dozens of families are planning funerals again.
It’s Saturday and we’re seeing the death toll rise, we’re hearing the graphic details, we’re seeing the unfathomable video, we’re watching the media frenzy—and the deja vu of it all is stomach-turning.
The questions come once more:
“Why the hell are we doing this again?”
“Are we ever going to fix this?”
“How much death do people need to care?”
It’s as though we’re watching the replay of a horror film created last week or the week before or the week before that. We feel the muscle memory kick in as we reckon with the human loss anew.
It all unfolds with such putrid predictability:
The first reports of an active shooter come.
We see a location trending.
Then there is the waiting, the speculation, the questions about people we know who are close to the area.
Reports come in; shaky phone video, unconfirmed eyewitness accounts, and finally official news.
Soon, we find out the scope of the tragedy and the details of the horror.
The numbers rise and the tears come.
Suddenly the usual suspects surface to publicly grieve.
The same politicians and pastors express their sympathies while doing nothing else.
Their thoughts and prayers tweets, which could have easily been copy and pasted from last month—are once again posted, simply with new hashtags.
The President takes a good thirty seconds to tweet before returning to a golf outing or Florida vacation.
The same people scold the outraged for “politicizing a tragedy.”
They tell us again why it’s not about the guns or the hateful politics—and out how it’s too soon to ask anyway.
And come tomorrow, nothing will have changed.
Tomorrow, by the way—is Sunday.
It is a holy day here for Christians in America: a day of rest and worship and prayer.
And perhaps what is as sickening as anything—is what so many Christians will do on this Sunday after a Saturday shooting.
On Sunday, many Christians will likely fill churches and publicly lament the deaths in El Paso for an hour or so. They will light candles and sing songs and read hymns of lament and pray for comfort for grieving families—and yet they will leave the service and do almost nothing else.
They will momentarily grieve, and yet many of them will go right on applauding the vile, racist, incendiary filth this President produces, while chanting “build that wall,” hugging their guns—and saying they love Jesus, who in their minds is a white American. They will once again get drunk on FoxNews falsehoods, unhingedTrump tweets, and their own fears—while never looking in the mirror.
They won’t question the President’s rhetoric or his constant social media diatribes or his racist rally posturing.
They won’t stop to ponder how incongrouous it is to declare that they love “God and Guns.”
They won’t ask whether our Government is doing enough to stop the proliferation of weapons of rapid carnage.
They won’t consider the collateral damage of their silence at the vilification of Muslims and migrants and people of color by Christian preachers.
They won’t waste any prayers over the alliance between the Church and the NRA.
They certainly won’t consider their culpability in emboldening the white nationalism that is at the root of so many mass shootings.
No, to do any of these things would be to confront their prejudices and challenge their theology. It might cause them to examine their preferences and rethink their politics.
I really hope their hearts are burdened enough and their prayers fervent enough, that they are internally transformed and compelled to move—but I’m afraid they will do little more than whatever they do for that hour on Sunday.
And then, Tuesday will come or Thursday or Saturday—and we will watch the horrible film play once again.
And Sunday will come—and they will grieve again.
Originally Published on JohnPavlovitz.com
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