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Answers to your questions about life, religion and the Bible

Pastors get some of the most interesting questions from people they meet and people in their congregations.  Here are a few that I have gotten over the years of my ministry and via email for this column.

Dear Father Paul:  Your thoughts on the shootings at the elementary school in Connecticut? — Debbie.

Dear Debbie:  I saw the Governor of Connecticut interviewed on TV the evening of the shootings, and I think he sums up my thoughts perfectly.  He said, “Evil has visited our community today.” In my opinion, he was right on the mark.  Evil visited New Town, Conn. on Dec. 14, 2012.

As a father and a grandfather, my heart breaks for the parents and families of the murdered children as-well-as the families and loved ones of the adults who were killed

But on the subject of evil, however,  some people pooh - pooh the notion that evil is real.  But they haven’t walked in the shoes of pastors, counselors, police officers, district attorneys and the like.  Take it from us,  evil is real,  just as good is real ... and truth is, there is much, much pure evil in the world today.  Always has been, and always will be, until the “Prince of Peace” returns to the earth, as he has promised. The Bible teaches that at that time he will restore mankind to the sinless state he was in before evil entered the world through man’s sin and rebellion against God.

As we search for answers to this tragedy, however, we need to realize that we  simply can’t legislate an end to evil by legislating an end to guns or knives or poisons. Oh, if only it were that simple.  Why? Because evil resides in the hearts of men.

 I am not a member of the NRA,  and I am not a gun fanatic, however,  I do own a gun.  But to think we can stop these kind of tragedies by outlawing guns is the height of foolishness.  The simple truth is that we can’t legislate an end to guns any more than we could legislate an end to alcoholic beverages early in the last century or drugs today ... or driving too fast or cheating on our taxes. It just doesn’t work. There are today over 300 million guns in America.  

My fifty-plus years of working with people has taught me one thing, if nothing else.  Namely, that people are going to find a way to do whatever they really want to do ... period.  Outlaw guns all you want, but the crooks and crazies will still have any kind of gun they want.  Witness the murder of nearly one hundred young people by a certified “nut” at a summer camp in Norway a couple of years ago ... a country that has probably the strongest antigun laws as any country in the world.  He found a way to get lots of  guns and explosives for good measure didn’t he ... duh?

Indeed, the politicians on TV now pandering to this or that “solution” are, as always, blowing hot air at us (dumb?) citizens. They are simply responding to the cries of non thinking people who shout, “the government’s gotta do something, now.”  They are basically telling people what they want to hear, and all the time knowing that there is no real solution to the problem, which, again is evil, not guns, knives, etc.  Hitler, Mao, Stalin and Fidel prove my point I think.

Again, if some nut in his sick and twisted mind wants to kill a bunch of people, there are lots and lots of ways (too many to legislate them all) that he can find to do the deed.  That’s the simple, unpleasant truth.

Does that mean we can do nothing? Absolutely Not! It hasn’t been that long ago (within my lifetime actually) when society used to identify and lock away for good the crazies who either were or could be a  grave risk to harming innocents in our society.  Consider this — it’s important. Almost every one of the mass killings over the past thirty to forty years or so has been perpetrated by an individual prone to violence like a ticking time bomb and having concurrent severe mental illness.  But the practice of putting such people away for the safety of themselves and society was ended decades ago in the name of protecting the “rights” of these individuals.  Now, they roam the streets loose  as “the homeless” or are kept behind shuttered windows at home by well meaning but deluded parents like the young man in Connecticut.

I predict that the situation is likely to get even worse what with the crazies inflamed by grossly violent video games and movies.

Do you have a question?  I will try to answer your question in the paper.  Send your question to paulmassey@earthlink.net

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Father Paul Massey is pastor of Church of the Holy Cross Charismatic Episcopal Church in Fayetteville, Georgia.  Church of the Holy Cross is a Spirit-filled, evangelical, sacramental/liturgical church where Jesus Is Lord and the Bible is preached in a loving Christian family setting.  Information on the church, service times, directions and Father Paul’s Sunday messages are at www.holycrosschurch.wordpress.com.

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