By Miguel De La Torre
Oh Lord, my God, how majestic is your name throughout the earth. Your love and mercy abound and endure forever. A young innocent sparrow does not fall without your knowledge. And yet, I again find myself asking where you were while the innocent were being slaughtered?
I confess my anger that you seem to abandon those who are being crucified. Still I come to you, for you have the answers of eternal life even while in the midst of death. I have no place else to go.
Maybe it is not you who have abandoned us, but we who have decided to trust in guns rather than God. Maybe we have chosen to follow the prince of profits rather than the Prince of Peace. Maybe it is we who have reduced you to the Tebow God who is more concerned with field goals than with justice.
I believe that on Dec. 14 you shed as many tears for the 20 children who died of preventable violence as you do for the 30,000 children who die of hunger and preventable diseases every single day throughout the earth. Every child to you is precious; every single one of those preventable deaths is a testimony of our continuous commitment to sin.
Rather than seeking your reign on earth, we have created a culture of violence and fear. We fear going to a movie opening, visiting our Congresswoman in public, shopping for Christmas gifts, entering a house of worship, and now, once again, sending our children to school. We have traded the freedom from fear for the profit margins of those who make instruments of death.
Forgive, O Lord, for we, the United States, have become the major procurer of death throughout the world. We are not the city on the hill; we are the world’s grim reaper.
Most of the weapons used throughout the planet are made in the United States. Sales of these instruments of death tripled in 2011, driven by major arms sales to Persian Gulf allies. Overseas U.S. weapon sales totaled $66.3 billion, or more than three-quarters of the entire global arms market.
We have become the major exporter of lethal weapons, selling the mechanisms by which so many of the world’s innocent die. In 2012, our military spending surpassed the $711 billion mark, representing about 41 percent of the world’s total military spending, or equal to the next 14 countries combined. Your Good News simply cannot be reconciled with our global market impact.
Why then are we surprised when the chickens come home to roost? When the violence we produce and export spills over into our stores, houses of worship, movie theaters and, yes, our kindergartens?
These acts are not the result of a lone crazed assassin. Corporations who profit in making weapons of mass destruction are an accessory to this heinous crime.
Retirees who receive a return on their stock portfolio for investing in those companies are an accessory to this heinous crime.
The NRA who equates freedom with owning a killing machine is an accessory to this heinous crime.
Politicians who either sold their souls to the NRA or lack the backbone to lead the public to a saner and more civil society are an accessory to this heinous crime.
People of faith who remain silent — or worse, pervert your holy Word to justify the sin of maintaining a gun culture — are an accessory to this heinous crime.
But Lord, I confess the true tragedy. Those of us who wish to break this pattern of sin will be riled up for a time being. Pronouncements for sane gun control will be made. Politicians will shed crocodile tears and yet do nothing. But as a puff of smoke, the public will soon forget. Then within a month or two, more innocents will be slaughtered, and the cycle will repeat.
I pray, my Lord, that this vicious cycle of inactivity comes to an end. That the slaughter of the innocent breaks our callous hearts and propels us to action. That salvation may be obtained.
I pray that people of faith hold hands and demand peace on earth and goodwill to creation. I pray that we turn away from our culture of violence toward a culture of love and compassion.
I pray that those who talk and preach the gospel shut up and start living and doing the gospel. I confess that I am the first who must purge my own heart. I confess that I, too, must learn to walk in your light allowing your Word to be a guide for my feet.
You are a God who will walk with those who commit to walk with you toward justice. Teach us to walk. Teach us to love. Teach us to reject violence as the Way.
I lift these things to you, O Lord, in the name of all those who continue to be crucified today, in the name of the slaughtered innocents.
Other commentary by Miguel De La Torre: