“For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies.” (Matt. 15:19)
With murder in his heart, and a dangerous weapon in his hands, on Wednesday, February 14, 2018, Valentine’s Day, 19 year old Nicolas de Jesus Cruz went onto the campus of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. After shooting three students outside the school, Cruz entered the facilities, pulled a fire alarm, and began shooting in the chaos that followed. Within six minutes, 100 rounds of ammunition were fired claiming 17 lives.
After his killing spree ended, Nicolas was able to lay down his AR-15 semiautomatic rife and escape the carnage he had inflicted on others by blending in with the crowd of terrified evacuating students. Because his heart was as cold as ice, he was able to make two fast food stops after the school shooting. Cruz casually walked to a Walmart, where he bought a drink at the Subway inside. Then he walked to McDonald’s. About 40 minutes later, he was confronted by a police officer who recognized his description. Without any incident, Nicolas de Jesus Cruz was taken into custody. He is being held on 17 counts of murder, without bail.
In the aftermath of this most recent tragedy, national attention is focused on the question, “Why?” “Why did Nicolas do what he did?” Then, attention is turned to whether or not this tragedy could have been prevented, and what might be done to stop such a tragedy from happening in the future.
As the national news reports the pain and anguish of the students and parents, as the political pundits trot out their assault on the Second Amendment, as the Snowflakes wring their hands in hopeless despair over the slaughter of the children, there is an opportunity for the Church to speak for the Lord. Those who believe the Church has nothing to say on the matter are wrong.
There is on social media the hash tag #prayerdoesnotwork, but such skeptics are wrong. Prayer does work illustrated by many of the students spontaneously crying out to heaven in their hour of need. There is comfort in prayer. There is the comfort of knowing that, even in the carnage God is there. God’s presence helps Christians to comfort others. “Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort, 4 Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God. 5 For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ.” (2 Cor. 1:3-5) #prayerdoeswork
Beyond prayer, the Church has an opportunity to say to the nation that God has spoken on what to do about school shootings. In fact, there is not a situation in life that the Word of God, and the God of the Word, does not have counsel to give. The solution to massive school killings are based on simple, common sense, solutions. This does not mean that the solutions are simplistic, only that they are reasonable.
First, America’s national and local governments must allow teachers, who are well trained, to bear arms in order to support on campus hired professional security officers, who are also to be armed. The nation of Israel has adopted this practice and the children are secure in this area. The primary function of a just and righteous government, which has been ordained by God, is to protect the citizens. When this is done, those who protect individuals do not bear the “sword” in vain. They are ministers of righteousness. (Rom. 13:1-4) It is so foolish to have false Safe Zones. There are no Safe Zones when there is madness in the air and a person has murder in their heart. The Safe Zones become easy soft targets of opportunity.
Second, the school shooting is a call for America to repent, as a nation, for having removed the Bible and prayer from public education. Theodore Roosevelt warned America that, “To educate a man in mind and not in morals is to educate a menace to society.”
In the 18th, 19th, and early 20th centuries, it was common practice for public schools to open with a spoken prayer or Bible reading. A turning point came in 1955 when the New York Board of Regents developed a prayer recommended, but not required, for the school districts under its jurisdiction. The prayer was relatively short: “Almighty God, we acknowledge our dependence on Thee, and we beg Thy blessings upon us, our parents, our teachers, and our country.” It was correctly believed that the prayer would combat juvenile delinquency and counter the spread of Communism. Seven years went by before a Jewish man, Steven I. Engel, became upset over the practice.
As a founding member of the New York Civil Liberties Union, Engle brought actions against Union Free School District No. 9. He argued that the prayer was a violation of the First Amendment and Fourteenth Amendment. In 1962, in an 8-1 vote, the US Supreme Court made the corporate reading of the Bible and the recitation of the Lord’s Prayer unlawful in public schools. The decision in Engel v. Vitale paved for the way for the case brought by the infamous atheist, Madalyn Murray, to remove Bible reading from public schools. In Murray v. Curlett (1963), the Supreme Court banned Bible reading in public schools. And the result? Is the nation better for these Court decisions? Are people godlier, kinder, and more rational? Columbine (April 20, 1999), Sandy Hook (Dec. 12, 2012), and the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida (Feb. 14, 2018) testifies to the folly of turning away from God.
Third, the Church must consider engaging in some godly Civil Disobedience. There are not enough detention centers, or jails, to house all the Christian young people who would bring their Bibles to school, or openly engage in prayer. In other words, people say they want to do something about the slaughter of the children, but then a strong stance is not taken for common sense solutions that are rooted in Scripture. “And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” (Joshua 24:15)