One unblessed by guidance from a Higher Power but respectful of those who are asks with acute anguish: In shock and mourning, can we reach out to one another?
Those who defend prenatal Right to Life surely can’t believe it stops at birth. Yet, as Barack Obama once indiscreetly observed, so many Americans in bitterness “cling to guns and religion.” How can assault weapons be compatible with Life?
Now, the aftermath of Newtown torments us with how much harder it is to save lives than take them, to cherish rather than destroy human beings. Momentary pressure of a wanton finger undoes years of love, care, training and hard work that went into nurturing young lives in homes, schools and hospitals, leaving those with reverence for them bereft and helpless.
In awe we are all stunned by a sense of human frailty at what we can’t understand or control. As the numbness begins to wear off, apostles of what Dietrich Bonhoeffer called “cheap grace,” profession of piety without paying the personal price it demands, are slithering out with rationalizations: more religion, more guns in schools will ease our pain.
Yet most of us, believers or not, surely know better. Celebrating human goodness this season, we can start with what we share, a deep sense that we live in a world of unfathomable shadows beyond what we can explain in words.
For those of faith, Gary Wills offers a reminder of the sacrifices to Moloch, the pagan God of Satan’s war on humankind in Milton’s “Paradise Lost:”
First Moloch, horrid king, besmear’d with blood/Of human sacrifice, and parents’ tears,/Though for the noise of Drums and Timbrels loud/Their children’s cries unheard, that pass’d through fire/To his grim idol.
If we join in rejecting false Gods for universal belief in innocent Right to Life, how far could that concord take us when grief and the holidays begin to fade?