Salvador Ramos had just turned 18 years old. With his whole life seemingly ahead of him, Ramos celebrated this occasion by purchasing an AR-15 assault style rifle. A weapon designed for war, these types of guns have become the "go to" weapon of choice for would be killers because of the massive casualties it can inflict in a relatively short time. A few days later, Ramos bought 375 rounds of ammunition and a few more days later, he bought another similar weapon. Am I alone in thinking that we should strive to be a society that thinks this is wrong? I want to be clear, I do not think it is a good idea for the government to be the only ones with the guns. That is not what we are talking about here though. We are talking about a society that revels in guns. That celebrates guns more than life. This week that vision of a hellscape society claimed the lives of 19 children. Do we get that? As a nation we will bury 19 children this week because there was nothing to stop Salvador Ramos from buying two weapons of war and 375 rounds of ammunition in less than a month. That is 19 families that will forever be scarred by a country that lies to them by offering thoughts and prayers instead of meaningful change. I am not suggesting the elimination of guns but maybe we can have a rational conversation about the wisdom of not even asking why a just turned 18-year-old boy is buying two weapons of war and 375 rounds of ammunition?
This devotional however is not just about this senseless tragedy but mainly about the awkward position it places the apostate church in. You see the church today is bought an sold by the Republican Party in this country. Everyone knows it. Just this past month we saw Mario Murillo claim all people who vote Democratic are going to hell and Greg Locke declare they are all actually demons. This absurd hypocrisy is not lost on those who are actually lost. While the things of God may be foolishness to them, they know full well how to spot utter carnality. So, what is the compromised church going to do? How do they stand against the 19 dead fourth graders? They can't, right? Wrong. Let's sift through the above linked article as rabid dominionist Stephen Strang uses his Charisma News platform to do the bidding of the GOP and the NRA against the CHILDREN.
'Many leaders in the faith community today are morning the loss of 19 children and two teachers who were massacred in a mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, Tuesday. Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, issued the following statement Wednesday, mourning the tragedy of the primarily Hispanic city 80 miles west of San Antonio: "Broken people break people. A young man, mentally and spiritually broken, manifested an evil, extinguishing the light of our most innocent and vulnerable," Rodriguez said. "It was not an inanimate object that took the lives of our fellow Americans. It was a young man filled with darkness. Any politicization of this tragedy can only be described as morally reprehensible. New laws will not push back darkness. Political rhetoric will not push back darkness. Divisive declarations will not push back darkness. Only light overcomes darkness. "When we call upon the name of the Lord, we turn on the light. When we repent, we turn on the light. When we seek unity and recognize the image of God in each other, we turn on the light. It's time to be light. For the sake of our children and our children's children and those whose lives were cut short in Texas, let's honor them by being the light. Because every single time light stands next to darkness, light always wins."' - Charisma News
Then you are morally reprehensible Sammy! You are the one politicizing this tragedy by lying about it! By callously misrepresenting what happened. Was Salvador Ramos broken? It sure seems that way. Did that brokenness manifest as evil? It sure seems that way. But that darkness, as you describe it, went to a store three times to purchase the inanimate objects that he would use to murder those 19 children and we did nothing to stop that! How dare you dismiss the chance of new laws changing things! If there were mandatory background checks, like 90% of this country want, would it have revealed his Facebook postings? If the background check delayed his plans could law enforcement have ferreted them out? You do not know yes or no, so stop pretending that you do! You are not being the light Sammy. You are aiding and abetting the darkness. You dishonor the memory of these children by shilling for the Republican Party and gun lobby. You dishonor these dead children Sammy by opening your mouth to lie and pretend that the "darkness" wasn't armed. It was armed and you armed it. You will stand before Christ one day and answer for it too. Until then, shut up and sit down. Your 15 minutes are up.
'Following the senseless shooting tragedy in Buffalo, New York, a couple of weeks ago, J. Drew Sheard, presiding bishop of the Church of God in Christ, said of the Uvalde incident: "Last week, we witnessed yet another horrific racial mass shooting that targeted our own. Now, we find ourselves perpetually thrown back into what seems like a never-ending sea of despair with yet another school shooting. A total of 19-plus elementary students and teachers have been snatched from their families, their community, and this world. I find myself asking two simple questions, 'When is enough going to be enough and when are we going to do something?' Hasn't America buried enough of our children? Our people? How many more mothers will have to walk behind small caskets? There have been approximately 288 school shootings in the United States since 2009. "The United States Senate/Congress should immediately send H.R. 8 to our president's desk for signature, as an overwhelming number of Americans support this bipartisan bill for background checks. We stand at the intersection of continuing calamity and the call to be courageous. We pray for the lives lost today and the families who mourn them. Enough is truly enough. It is time to act now."' - Charisma News
Kudos to Charisma for allowing a dissenting voice amidst the clamor from the apostate church leaders. Mr. Sheard is correct here. His pain can be felt through his words. How much more are we willing to tolerate? How many tiny caskets do we have to dig holes for before we decide it is enough? I am afraid of the true answer to that question because we have rapidly declined as a society into a sociopathic culture driven by sheer narcissism. We saw this during the pandemic. We all knew people who denied the existence of the virus simply because they had not known anyone who caught it. That is the textbook definition of narcissism. The inability to even believe someone else's experience because it does not apply to you. So sure, the pain is real for those living in Uvalde Texas but for the rest of the country, not so much. The cameras will go away and the reporters will soon go home. Then Uvalde will become like Buffalo before it. Like Sandy Hook. Like Orlando and Parkland. Like Columbine.
'On Twitter, evangelist Franklin Graham also responded to the ever-increasing violence across the country: "We are seeing more & more violence displayed across our nation. One day this country is going to have to come to grips with an entertainment industry that feeds a constant stream of violence to our youth. Contrary to what some want America to believe, it isn't the guns."' - Charisma News
I agree that the violence in video games is a thing but Salvador Perez did not kill 19 children this week with an old copy of Grand Theft Auto. Let me remind the NAR dominionist Graham that it was GUNS that the 18-year-old used the murder those children. Of course, it is the guns! Now I expect very little from Graham, who has been a political whore for decades now. Graham "earns" over one million dollars in salary per year for running his two "charities." A few years back he petitioned (and won) the IRS to reclassify them as "churches" so he would no longer have to disclose his income. Regardless, does anyone who actually reads the bible believe Graham and Rodriguez are representing Jesus Christ and His gospel? No matter how they try to make excuses they fall to the ground as they speak them. You want to work on mental illness? Fantastic! Let's first agree that we should be doing everything in our power to stop the mentally ill from obtaining guns! You want to work on the proliferation of violence seen by children in the media and entertainment industries? Fantastic! Let's first agree that since there is so much violence that mandatory waiting periods and background checks are crucial before handing assault weapons to random 18-year olds just because they ask for them. You see, no matter how the bought and sold church leaders try and change the subject, it starts with and ends with guns. So, go away Franklin Graham. No one is interested in your nonsense today.
'Jentezen Franklin, senior pastor of Free Chapel in Gainesville, Georgia, tweeted: "Praying for God to comfort the families today who have been affected by this senseless tragedy. 'Blessed be the God & Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies & God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.' 2 Cor. 1:3-4." Jack Hibbs, senior and founding pastor of Calvary Chapel Chino Hills in Chino Hills, California, tweeted this prayer: "Lord in heaven, we grieve the loss of these dear little ones and teachers. We pray for your supernatural peace, healing and guidance for all impacted by this act of pure evil. #PrayForTexas"' - Charisma News
Jentzen Franklin's comments are fine. Praying comfort for these families is wise and empathetic and I usually do not find myself in agreement with the apostate Franklin but credit where it is due. Jack Hibbs misses this mark. Hibbs entered the dark world of COVID denying, lawbreaking, tithe-seeking pastors who reopened their churches despite laws against it last year. So as a good little dominionist it is not surprising here that he relies upon the evil excuse, which is the fallback position for many church leaders. I have no issue with this event being chalked up to evil or even "pure evil." That evil had a name and it was Salvador Ramos. That evil had weapons and they were guns designed for soldiers in war. It is time to decide as a country if we think it was a good thing that "pure evil" was able to purchase two assault rifles and 375 rounds of ammunition without so much as anyone batting an eyelash.
'Evangelist Mario Murillo said on Facebook: "As you pray and intercede ask the Father 'How would You have me partner with You, Father to bring Heaven's redemption and healing to this situation?' There are no words to express the horror. And yet we keep our eyes on Jesus ... we weep, we mourn, we love the broken hearted, we love them with the heart of Christ ... and we invite His Holy Spirit to minister and to heal. Only Jesus can be all that is needed in this culture"and in this hour. Holy Spirit COME to this community and to this nation!"' - Charisma News
Mario Murillo is probably one of the most militant NAR dominionists out there today. We see it here in his pleas. As a response to this shooting, he is essentially calling for a theocracy, which Jesus never asked for. It is not the culture that needs Jesus but rather the people. The Holy Spirit does not indwell a nation or even a community. The pious sounding pleas are designed to once again not focus on the fact that guns killed these 19 children. At least Murillo stayed away from his usual naked partisanship where he teaches that only if you vote like him will you see heaven.
'Author Joel C. Rosenberg tweeted, "My heart is breaking again for American families in Texas, as well as in Buffalo, whose lives have been shattered yet again by sheer evil. Thank you @ShannonBream for having Pastor @GregLaurie on your program to bring a biblical perspective to such spiritual darkness & confusion." Laurie, senior pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Riverside, California, tweeted: "This is every parent's worst nightmare and our hearts are all breaking, but none are feeling the pain that those families who lost their precious loved feel. This is a moment where we all should 'Weep with those that weep' (Rom. 12:15)."'