This worker is painting the trim on Broken Vessel church, undergoing restoration in the South Highlands neighborhood of Bessemer. They expect to be using the church within a few weeks.
There is beautiful and there is ugly, and sometimes the two are linked.Last night a candlelight vigil was held at UAB Commons to remember the victims of the Virginia Tech shootings. Several hundred students and staff were present, as several people spoke, including Dr. Carol Garrison, the president of UAB and Dr. Jeff Graveline, the president of the Virginia Tech Alumni Club of Greater Birmingham. Most moving were the remarks by Melissa who spoke of her friend Ryan Clark, a triple major, 4.0 student who she had known for eight years since they served together as counselors at a camp. She said media reports said Ryan died a hero coming to the aid of another student in the dorm where he was resident assistant, but she tearfully said that he was a hero long before that. She had worked her way up to assistant director and Ryan had become music director, and he was always a favorite of the campers. They became close friends even away from camp and her description of his concerns for others and the way he encouraged and helped friends who were troubled were an inspiration. She said the world was already a darker place without his light shining, yet through her words his light shines on.
Then there is the ugly.
The American Family Association has released a DVD that begins with a letter being read. “Dear God,” the letter begins, “Why didn’t you save the students at…” and then a long list of cities where school shootings have occurred is read, ending with Blacksburg, Virginia. “Signed, Concerned Student.”
“Dear Concerned Student” the voice over continues. “I am not allowed in schools. Sincerely, God.”
The narrator then goes on to describe how this came about, blaming Madeline Murray O’Hare for removing God from schools, Dr. Spock for the lack of discipline our kids recieve, the removal of corporal punishment in schools, internet child predators and the legalization of abortion, among other things. The dialogue ends with “You reap what you sow.”
Finally, the truth.
When you sow gun laws that allow the sale of automatic and semi-automatic weapons, you reap murder. When you sow ignoring requirements that certain mental health patients can not purchase guns, you reap mass murder. When you skirt federal law requiring reporting of patients who have been determined to be danger so that they will be flagged during the laughable instant background checks and prevented from buying guns, as the state of Virginia did, you get Blacksburg, VA. When you sow arming the general public, including students in classrooms, as some have proposed, you get disaster.
Let me remind you of something. Last year a man shot and killed five girls at an Amish school in Nickel Mines, PA, a location curiously left off the AFA list of "Godless schools". If God was ever present in schools, the Amish schools for sure would be filled with his presence. The Amish practice discipline in the manner the AFA suggests, and I assume the Amish do not support abortion. So God being in the schools, and disciplining children does not protect the students.
How can people who claim to be Christians overlook the facts and distort the truth to promote such views? Why don’t they focus on fixing the mental health system? Why don’t they work to promote responsible gun ownership and laws that protect the public? This is no different than Jerry Falwell blaming 9-11 on homosexuals. In my view, they lose all credibility and are more likely to drive people away from Christianity rather than attract people to it. Of course, people need to be driven from this radical Christianity, which really isn’t that much different from radical Islam, but that is a different subject for a different day.