Scripture says — Jill and I have talked about this in different contexts, in other contexts: “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.” So many crushed spirits.
So, tonight, I ask the nation to pray for them, to give the parents and siblings the strength in the darkness they feel right now.
As a nation, we have to ask: When in God’s name are we going to stand up to the gun lobby? When in God’s name will we do what we all know in our gut needs to be done?
-- President Joseph R. Biden, Jr, commenting on the Uvalde, Texas mass shooting
The invoking of the name of god has become a near-automatic part of any statement by any governmental representative when dealing with tragedies such as the mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas on Tuesday, 24 May, 2022, or that of a week earlier in Buffalo, New York. Yahweh comes into the conversation as a supposed salve, a balm to ease the hurt and cleanse the wounds and give rise to positive action to prevent future happenings.
But does it help? Not that I’ve seen. Such language has been used since long before Sandy Hook or even 9/11. Anytime we find ourselves subjected to a horrific event involving loss of life, someone at some time or other will slide in a reference to the Almighty, yet the difference made by such mention is effectively negligible. There has yet to be a deity who, being called upon to assist when the chips are down, actually appeared and announced, “Okay, gang, I heard you. Let’s roll up our sleeves and get this dealt with!” Such an event would be as remarkable as its causation was dreadful. The problem is that it’s about as likely as a day that doesn’t end in “Y.” Yet people continue to call about some form of god to deliver them from the problems they’ve created for themselves, some miraculous intervention to solve the problem and alleviate the pain and suffering and prevent its reoccurrence.
Meanwhile, as an atheist, I look at this and just shake my head in amazement. It is the Einsteinian definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over again, expecting different results (and not getting them). Part of the reason, of course, especially among Republicans, is to sound as though they care, while doing absolutely NOTHING to disturb the supporters of the Second Amendment, whose votes and money they depend upon for their continued presence in Congress. As we see above, Joe Biden invoked god as an impetus to action, though I am badly dubious that any such action will result from his appeal.
At some level, the recognition has to be made: words are being spoken to drown out the glaring lack of ACTION. The constant tattoo of verbiage is there to distract the general public from the fact that nothing constructive will be done because, to a particular segment of the population, guns and gun ownership are more important than people’s right to safety. Indeed, these people will cite their god as the granter of their right to keep and bear arms. As a result, you have an inactive, unseen god on BOTH sides of the argument, though not doing much of anything for either side.
And the stalemate continues … so why bring up a god at all?