Child sacrifices are one of the more gruesome practices of humankind. Genesis 22 describes a chilling scene of one that almost happened.
God tells Abraham to sacrifice his young son, Isaac. Abraham dutifully begins to obey, no questions asked and no emotion shown.
Instead, he soon packs what is needed for the task and leaves for Mt. Moriah with Isaac and two servants. It was there that Isaac would die.
When they arrive, Abraham tells the servants to wait while he and his son find a place to “worship.” He and Isaac then leave for a short hike to find God’s preferred site. Ironically, Abraham gives Isaac the wood to carry while he takes the knife and “fire.”
When they arrive at the appointed site, Abraham builds an altar, puts wood on it, binds Isaac and places him the wood. He then lifts his knife to kill him, to sacrifice his son on altar to God.
There is no indication what Isaac and Abraham were thinking and feeling as the events unfolded. Instead, it played out rather matter-of-factly—like another day, another sacrifice to make. Ho-hum.
So it seems to go in our country. Another day, another sacrifice to make. Or like yesterday, seventeen sacrifices.
Child sacrifice was common in ancient cultures. Today, we think of it as a primitive, barbaric act, something too horrific to imagine.
Unfortunately, we routinely do it as a culture. We are the primitives. We are the barbarians. We are the ones who sacrifice our children. We are the ones with blood on our hands.
We sacrifice them on altars made not of wood but of political power and zealotry. Our gods are the NRA and a particular interpretation of the 2nd Amendment.
God stayed the hand of Abraham that day, but our country does not seem to have the ability to take any meaningful steps to stay the hands of mass murderers, even in our public schools.
Admittedly, there are laws against murder and there are some restrictions on the sale of firearms.
But, there have been twenty-five fatal school shootings since Columbine. There have been over 150 mass shootings (defined as shootings where four or more have been killed by a lone shooter) since Charles Whitman climbed the University of Texas Tower on August 1, 1966 to gun down twenty-five people.
In the last twenty-four hours, the governor of Florida, attorney general of the United States and president of the United States have made statements deploring the act and vowing to end school shootings.
But, the fact is that our governments have done . . . nothing.
And, our body politic has done . . . nothing.
And, more die.
Christians believe that sin is endemic to human beings. Our task as our culture is to seek ways to curb this particular manifestation of sin.
Unfortunately, that requires a national effort and a political effort that includes both political courage and citizen revolt against these murders. To date, all these elements have been missing.
If you are one who cares, then by all means pray for the victims, witnesses and their families. Pray for the law enforcement officers and other first responders who had to see and wade through the carnage. Pray for doctors, nurses and health care personnel who cared for those who were brought in for treatment. Pray for the shooter and his family.
Then, phone, write or email your legislators at all levels of government. Give money to candidates who will change the status quo. Write letters to the editor. Rage on social media. Do anything you can to reduce the carnage.