I avoided watching television this weekend. I didn’t think I’d be able to stand the stock phrases, the helpless tears, or the journalists losing track of themselves in order to grab useless interviews with traumatized 8 year olds. (I needn’t add “shame on them.” I suspect that, deep down, they’re already ashamed.)
Most of all, I couldn’t tolerate the politicians, celebrities and commentators using the slaughter of innocents to promote their pet causes. It’s not about guns: Connecticut has very tough gun laws. It’s not about the culture: Hitler enjoyed watching Disney’s Snow White. Put your ever-so-urgent issues back in your pockets and let the mourning bury their children.
When, prior to writing this, I checked on the commentators I respect, I found, with no surprise, that Charles Krauthammer, speaking on the Fox Special Report panel, had said best what little there is to say:
The first thing I think we have to say is: in trying to look at this or analyze this requires a huge amount of humility. The true factors that we do not know often — even after these events are analyzed and thought through, we really don’t know. This is the problem of evil and it’s been struggled with forever.
The problem of evil, right. Whenever my fellow Christians talk about Satan — the devil, the enemy, the adversary — I always get a little uncomfortable. Difficult enough for a cultural cove like myself to pierce the veil of sophistication in order to accept a personal God. Much harder to think of evil as having a will and consciousness of its own. But as I’ve said before, whether or not the devil exists, the world behaves exactly as if he does. And I know of only one valid response to that:
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.
Without those two commandments — and unless we see all our scriptures, all our philosophies, all our actions in the light of those commandments — our religions are worthless, our politics are meaningless, our laws are helpless, our good will means nothing.
Without those two commandments, the world belongs to the enemy.