Sacrosanct no more

Originally Appeared in : 9805-3/1/18

The First Commandment

I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself a graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them or serve them. It is written: “You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.”


The Catechism of the Catholic Church (2084) reads: “God makes himself known by recalling his all-powerful loving, and liberating action in the history of the one he addresses: ‘I brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.’ The first word contains the first commandment of the Law: ‘You shall fear the LORD your God; you shall serve him...You shall not go after other gods.’”


“Other gods”: Reflecting on “other gods” we recall the golden calf worshipped by the Israelites when Moses left them for 40 days and nights to ascend Mount Sinai. First mentioned in Exodus, the golden calf has become a symbol for all that humans incline to worship at the expense of loving God and neighbor. Many Christians think that the days of worshipping idols have long passed. 


It strikes me that in the United States, a new religion has formed founded on an idol many worship as powerful and worthy of a status so elevated it cannot be touched. And as pagan religions of the past, this religion accepts the sacrifice of human innocents to maintain the high status of their idol. 


As the freedom to worship is enshrined in our Constitution’s First Amendment, this new religion or cult is founded upon the Second Amendment. Indeed, the Second Amendment of the Constitution appears to be the doctrine upon which this religion is based, and the golden calf is blue steel. 


The slaughter of children is a price that must be accepted so adherents can worship the all-powerful and sacred firearm. 


While the adherents of this religion are a minority in the United States, they are passionate. They created shrines to their god and lobby political leaders to protect their status. Tithing, they shower large sums of money on candidates, so they are assured that no law comes between them and their gods. Their right to worship is more important to them than the right to life of those who are threatened by the gun-gods’ death-dealing power. 


Whenever children have been massacred in schools, these worshippers proclaim that more of their gods should be added to the community. When rage-filled men use their gods to slaughter dozens of people at concerts, movie theaters and churches, they defend their gods proclaiming that the gun-gods are benign instruments and no more dangerous than knives or cars. Characteristic of idols, the gun-gods take on whatever image and import their worshipers project upon them. They can shapeshift from tools of death to home-defenders…to raffle prizes…to Facebook profile pictures…to Christmas gifts. As it was with ancient worshippers of false religions, their gun-gods provide them with a strong sense of tribal security. 


The God of peace and love is blasphemed by these gods and the resulting slaughter they wreak.


Ironically and blasphemously, many worshippers of these gun-idols suggest that God’s absence is the reason for the horrors perpetuated by their idols. And they evoke a mantra of “thoughts and prayers” in response to each massacre. 


“Thoughts and prayers” for their sacrificial lambs, the most recent being 17 shot dead at a Florida high school. 


In response to this blasphemy and in true Biblical fashion, an unexpected source of grace is rising. 


According to the Prophet Isaiah, “the wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them.” (Isaiah 11:6) (emphasis added.) 


The sacrificial lambs have become the cornerstone of a movement that will – I believe – redeem this country and lead us out of the dark shadow of death. The traumatized youth in Florida declared #NeverAgain, and their strength, goodness and passion may be the revolution needed to create the political will necessary to end this endless slaughter. 


The horror of the deaths of 20 children and teachers at Sandy Hook left us with grieving parents who, showing tremendous resolve, diligently worked toward solutions. But their efforts fell short. 


It will be the lambs themselves, the ones whose lives were indelibly marked by violence, by the horror of witnessing friends and teachers gunned down, who will lead us to the peaceable kingdom. 


Jesus said to his apostles, “Let the children come to me.” They are coming. 


Make no mistake, the idolatry of gun worship will end in this country. And the revolution will be a peaceful one because, although wounded and outraged, the children leading the movement are, at heart, peacemakers. 


“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” (Matthew 5:9) 


Mary Hood Hart is a freelance writer and educator living in Pittsboro, NC. She can be reached at 

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