Archive for January 14th, 2011

What followed the tragedy in Tucson testifies to our nation’s loss of respect for human life.

A young man, for no sane or sensible reason, chose to coldly shoot and kill six people.  He wounded thirteen others.   The choices and behaviors that followed this tragedy are, perhaps, just as chilling.

A sheriff traditionally called upon to bring order and serve justice chose, instead, to build a platform for his own personal and political opinions.  He stepped over the boundary of his role as a servant of the people to take advantage of a tragic event.  In so doing, he diverted attention away from the dignity of human life to himself.

A national president traditionally called upon to serve the best interests of his countrymen chose, instead, to allow a  memorial service to be transformed into a rally.   In so doing, he diverted attention away from the dignity of human life to himself.

A government staff and university administration, captivated perhaps by this national moment, missed the opportunity to call a community and country to reverence and respect for human life.  Instead, multiculturalism was showcased.  The students in attendance were motivated not to silence and reflection but to “rah rah” and “hoopla.”   With the loss of respect for human life comes a loss of common decency and good manners.

I was distracted by sensational yet conflicting messages.   Then, I re-focused: What sensitivity was expressed toward the families of the dead and wounded?  The judge, shot and killed that morning in front of Safeway, was returning from Mass.  Yet, instead of a priest, a Native American professor raised his feather and called upon the “masculine” spirit from above and the “feminine” spirit from the earth.  In an odd twist, two presidential staff members read from Isaiah and Corinthians.  Jesus’ name was spoken, not by a churchman but by a statesman.

I was confused.  Upon whom fell the spotlight?  And why?  As this week comes to a close, who will be remembered?

The young intern to whom the congresswoman may owe her life spoke with humility.  He rejected the title of “hero” to instead point to many others who were willing to lay down their own lives for another. There were several who chose to, intentionally or unintentionally, honor the Creator and Redeemer of life by “loving their neighbor.”  Their selflessness is a ray of hope.

Not to us, O Lord, not to us but to Your name be the glory, because of your love and faithfulness

(Psalm 115:1)

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