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Faith Amid Horror: How Far We Have Fallen

Updated: Jun 2, 2022

I suppose it is safe to say that if you live in the United States and probably anywhere in most of the developed world you have heard about the tragedy in Uvalde, TX on May 24th*. It can fairly be described as evil of epic proportions. Many ask, how can God allow such evil to occur. The fact is God had nothing to do with what occurred in Uvalde on that horrific day.

Almost immediately after the shooting, the internet was flooded by memes with “Thoughts and Prayers” stricken out and “Policy and Change” written below. As many will agree, the striking of prayer is a significant part of the challenge we face today. The war against religion and prayer has deeply divided our population. The civility of yesteryear has been supplanted by hatred coupled with an “anything goes” mentality. Burning down a city block and looting stores is justified as part of some warped altruistic set of self-constructed rights, while the belief that perceived injustice paves the way for almost any response.

We may indeed need to address some policy changes in the months ahead, but I see it in poor taste to politicize the issue even before many of the families knew their children’s fate. We need a time to grieve and a time to heal.

The politicization amped up as investigators continued with the grim work facing them. As divisive rhetoric continued, we learned a great deal. We learned, as is almost always the case, that there were plenty of warning signs prior to the fateful day and a significant number of errors made during the excruciating siege. Missed opportunities in a world that is so cluttered with conflict that many prospects are stifled. I suspect the teacher who apparently propped open the door to the school had done so multiple times. I further suspect that many of her coworkers had done the same in the past. I suppose it’s fair to theorize that in a small sleepy town many felt the rules in place were overbearing.

I began to reflect on the number of times in my life that I had “propped open a door”. How about you? The teacher in question deserves our sympathy and prayers. I suspect that she is plagued by her action, and while it led to an epic tragedy, propping open a door should not result in 21 deaths.

This blog is not about gun control nor is it about politics. Rather, it is about what feels like a decay in our society. The element that feels the need to politicize just about everything. One part of society does not own this degradation, we all do. Each of us in our own way tends to amp up the rhetoric when it suits us, yet most seem to be blind to it when it does not.

'75-'76 SARN - from my yearbook

Regularly, I reflect up on my youth and the meteoric changes in morality in what is a historical instant. I was born in a country that attended church and synagogues, revered the sanctity of life, and respected guns and their use. I attended a small rural high school where guns were welcome in our school and the parking lot was dotted with faculty and student pickup trucks mostly adorned with rifles or shotguns. An after-school hunt was a welcome respite from October through December in the United States of my youth.

In fact, we had a rifle team and rifles were regularly seen in the hallways. There was never a thought that a student, faculty, or other intruder would use a gun to harm others. Yes, there are documented instances of gun violence in schools tracing back to the 1700s, but they were not of this ilk. In my mind Columbine in 1999 marked the change in morality that has led to this scourge.

'75-'76 SARN - from my yearbook

How did we get here? More importantly, how do we lift ourselves up from our circumstances? I have personally experienced many miracles, and most have been the result of prayer. Faith is more important today than ever and returning to a discipline of prayer is a vital element of a program to help expedite the change we seek. Prayer for our families, our friends, our leaders, and equally important prayer for those with whom we disagree. We need to start a conversation and that conversation might well start at the dinner table. We cannot bring back those 21 lives that were so heinously cut short, but we can honor their lives through returning to the faithful principles that made this country singular.

We have fallen far as a society. If we replace the vitriol and divisiveness of today with the faith and prayerfulness of yesterday, we can regain our status as the beacon of hope shining brightly around the world and beyond. To whom much is given much is expected is a paraphrase of a Biblical scripture. No society has been given more than the United States and the expectations are great. Regardless of your religious views the principles of morality and faithfulness will win the battles day in and day out and tragedies like what we experienced on May 24th will become extinct.

- Elliott

*The tragedy in Uvalde is a developing story, and facts continue to change/develop.

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