A Message Of Hope
Here is a thought that should never run through the head of any faithful person: I hope it is safe to go to service today. Yet it seems that it is an unbidden thought as hate takes hold and innocents are murdered worshipping in churches, synagogues, and mosques around the world.
April 26, 2019: One murdered and three wounded in the attack on Chabad of Poway Synagogue in California.
Easter Sunday, April 21, 2019: Suicide bombers murder nearly 300 people and injure hundreds more in attacks on three churches and three hotels in Sri Lanka.
March 15, 2019: Fifty people at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand die in a mass shooting, with at least that number wounded.
October 27, 2018: Eleven worshippers murdered, seven injured in a mass shooting at Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
November 5, 2017: At the first Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, 26 worshippers are shot to death, and another 20 injured.
June 17, 2015: Nine members of the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina are shot to death during a Bible study, three others wounded.
Who even recalls the deaths at Burnette Chapel Church of Christ in Antioch, Texas, in September of 2017, when one person died from gunfire and seven others were wounded? Who heard about the shooting at St Alphonsus Church in Fresno, California, when one person was murdered and another person injured in November of 2017?
Terrorists, whether organized or independent, have raised the bar on horror, targeting places of worship — places that, like schools, should be sites at which one never thinks, “Will I die here today?”
We are challenged to stem international terrorism; take away one crazed leader and followers take up the hateful rhetoric and actions that maim and murder hundreds in the name of a god or a twisted take on a belief system.
But of the abovementioned attacks, only one was not due to gunfire. And while seven incidents mentioned here took place in the United States, little has been done to change the culture in our country so that mass shootings or gunfire incidents of domestic abuse do not occur on the scale to which we have become accustomed.
New Zealand reacted to the mosque massacres with what many agree is a commonsense approach; their parliament voted nearly unanimously, within a month, to ban semi-automatic and military style weapons, vowing that what could be done to staunch the flow of innocent blood would be done. Jacinda Ardern, Prime Minister of New Zealand, took only days post-shooting to propose the legislation to parliament.
I hope it is safe to go to worship. I hope it is safe to go to school. I hope it is safe to go to the movies. I hope it is safe to go to the mall.
The perfect Mother’s Day gift? A message to legislators to enact laws that every mother, father, child, and family feels safe in public places and at home. We hope, we hope.