"Civil courage...depends on a God who demands responsible action in a bold venture of faith, and who promises forgiveness and consolation to the man who becomes a sinner in that venture." --Dietrich Bonhoeffer

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Saturday, July 28, 2012

This Very Present Evil

Century 16
One week ago yesterday a gunman opened fire on a packed movie theater at Century 16 cinema in Aurora, Colorado leaving 12 people dead and 50 seriously wounded.

I never thought I would live to recall a shooting worse than Columbine. I was six years old when my father came home from work with a horrified look on his face. Two teenage boys had opened fire on their fellow classmates at Columbine High School killing twelve students and a teacher and wounding dozens more.

Colorado seems to be an unfortunate target for a lot of shooting sprees. There was the gunman at New Life church in Colorado Springs who shot 6 and killed 2. Six girls at Platte Canyon high school were sexually assaulted before their assailant shot one of the girls. These stories are heartbreaking and yet we continue to teach the youths in our schools that people are basically good.

In our society, evil has become a “mental disorder”. In other words, evil does not originate from the heart. It’s a Hollywood invention purposed to give the good guys something to overcome. It’s what makes a movie exciting, heart-stopping, or horrifying.

When people do evil things, sometimes our culture calls it a “mistake.” It’s hard to call it a “mistake” when someone deliberately enters a Movie Theater and murders 12 people. I think our nation (and indeed the world in general) suffers from a warped view of human nature.

People want to blame the Century 16 shooting on a lot of different things. They want to blame violent movies (like Batman itself) for encouraging violence in people. This is not the case whatsoever. Rather than “making people violent,” violent shows desensitize the public toward evil. Acts of terrorism and mass killing sprees fall into the category in our minds called “special effects.” We know that movie directors have to use special effects to portray football stadiums being blown to bit because they cannot harm the actors who participate in the filming of the movie.

People also try to blame guns for evil. Let me remind you that guns don’t kill people. People kill people. Unprotected people die because people kill people. It was a voluntary act on the part of James Holmes to plot and murder 12 people and seriously wound 50. He may plead insanity for the rest of his life; but, I am convinced that he was possessed of evil which people here in America adamantly deny.

Candlelight Memorial
The Joker really exists. What for most of those movie-goers a week ago was a make believe terror has become reality. When the Joker attacked them, Batman wasn’t there to save them. What happens when the Joker is reality and Batman is fiction? Had there been in that theater an armed citizen prepared to take a stand against evil even in the most unexpected place lives would have been saved.

I do not want to ignore the many valiant people in the theater who sacrificed their lives for others including Matt McQuinn who took three bullets to save his girlfriend’s life. There were many cases of heroism at Century 16 which merit my deep respect and I honor those who gave their lives that other might live.

Let’s not forget, however, that Batman does not go around unarmed and neither should we. Our armor may look different from his, but it does the same job. Batman does not shrink from the evil which threatens the citizens of his country. There is no reason why young men who love their family and friends and the moral principles on which our nation was founded cannot themselves assume the courage of batman in plain clothes. 

This is a call for civil courage--a call to overcome evil even against social prejudices or moral relativism. 
This is a call for the protection and preservation of life until life can no longer be sustained in our bodies. 
This is a call for truth of Christ Jesus to penetrate the darkness that surrounds the survivors and families of loved ones lost. 

"Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be glory for ever and ever.  Amen."

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