"What do you want from him?"
I wasn't planning on posting anything else about yesterday's gun massacre in San Bernardino beyond my quick post last night, but I do have one more thing to add.
Yesterday (and today), a huge brouhaha broke out on Twitter about people (specifically right-wing politicians and pundits) once again offering nothing but "thoughts and prayers" as a response to the massacre.
This happens every time one of these horrors occurs; it's regular as clockwork. This time, though, many left-leaning folks got tired of the tired, boilerplate "thoughts and prayers" quips being given. Many on the right-wing side are now accusing left-leaners of "mocking" prayer, religion and/or God.
Of course, this is nonsense. No one is "mocking" prayer; the point is that even sincerely-felt prayers don't really do much to actually improve the situation if they aren't also followed up by taking some sort of action. Universal background checks; allowing the CDC to research gun violence as a public health issue; denying terror suspects access to guns; there's a variety of possible moves we could try. Some may help, some might not...but right now we're doing nothing, which is simply unacceptable.
If you don't believe me on this, try the King James Bible:
James 2:14-26New King James Version (NKJV)
Faith Without Works Is Dead
14 What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, whatdoes it profit? 17 Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.
18 But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without your[a] works, and I will show you my faith by my[b] works. 19 You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble! 20 But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead?[c] 21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar?22 Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect?23 And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.”[d] And he was called the friend of God. 24 You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only.
25 Likewise, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sentthem out another way?
26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.
Oliver Willis tweeted this:
God doesn't want us to sit here passively offering up prayers. He gave us brains so we could come up with solutions and DO THINGS.
— Oliver Willis (@owillis) December 2, 2015
...which immediately brought to mind this powerful scene from an episode of The West Wing. President Bartlett, a devout Catholic, has spent the entire episode dealing with a Death Row inmate scheduled to be executed at midnight:
God--assuming you believe in God--gave us many tools to use to find our way in the world. Yes, he gave us faith and spirituality...but he also gave us intellect, science, the ability to reason and to think about how to improve the way we run our lives.
What more do we want from him?