Dear Mr. President,
I heard the news about the horrific shooting in Newtown, Connecticut yesterday in a phone call from my wife. At that time, the details were still murky, but news reports were confirming several children had been shot by a gunmen at the Sandy Hook Elementary School. I watched the press conference in which you addressed the nation and spoke with the painful eloquence of father who happens to be our nation’s Commander-in-Chief. I was moved, and grateful, by your genuine sympathy. When you recited the places of other heinous acts of violence that have been inflicted on our nation, my heart was heavy at the remembrance. I, along with the great majority of Americans, stand with you in your call for “meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this regardless of the politics.” My fear, however, is that superficial responses will trump meaningful ones and that, despite your words, politics will indeed cause that to happen.
Mr. President, I too am a parent. I have six children and one living grandchild. The thought of anyone violently attacking them provokes all kinds of emotions in me. The thought of the parents of those twenty Sandy Hook Elementary children, and the relatives of the six adults going to their homes last night was overwhelming. Those grieving loved ones, their slaughtered family members, together with the whole Newtown community and indeed, the whole nation, deserve to have our civic leaders work for “meaningful action” that will help prevent such senseless atrocities from being carried out with frighteningly increasing regularity.
Already the press has interpreted your words to be a call for more gun control. Perhaps there may be some issues related to that should be discussed in a search for meaningful action. But there is a glaringly more obvious and vitally more important one that needs to be at the top of the list. What you and all of our civic leaders must first think about is the culture of death that has blanketed our nation over the last fifty years. Pope John Paul II meaningfully addressed this reality in his 1995 papal encyclical, Evangelium Vitae. I urge you to read that document, Mr. President. And have your cabinet and senior advisors read it, too.
The roots of Sandy Hook and Aurora and Columbine and all of the other senseless violence in our nation are not primarily related to the availability of guns. They are primarily related to the evil that lurks in every human heart because of moral and spiritual brokenness. What needs to be meaningfully considered and deeply studied is the way that official actions of our nation over the last fifty years have nurtured and cultivated those roots so that they are now blossoming more and more in the murderous actions of people—especially young people—like Adam Lanza.
There is no denying the fact that many of our civic leaders have led the way in fomenting this culture of death. Mr. President, since the Supreme Court legalized abortion on demand in 1973 our nation has witnessed the premature death of nearly fifty million unborn children. They were not killed with guns and bullets in classrooms and movie theaters. They were killed with scapels, laminaria sticks, pharmaceuticals and hormone treatments. And they were killed in what should be the safest place in all the earth for a child–his or her mother’s womb. No crazed gunmen were involved. Rather, men and women who are licensed in one of the most respected professions of our day carried out these untimely deaths. And they have done so legally. Profitably. The right to take these children’s lives has been enthusiastically defended by celebrities and politicians. Even you, Mr. President, refused to vote to protect the lives of children who, by God’s grace, survived botched abortions.
Could it be that Adam Lanza, together with a growing portion of our population who have only known abortion as legal, has been desensitized by the murder of fifty million unborn babies over the last forty years in this nation? Could it be that the culture of death that has been protected and even promoted by legislation and judicial activism is simply coming to full flower in these outbreaks of senseless violence? After all, the logic is pretty compelling. If it is permissible to take the life of an unborn child out of convenience and for profit, then why should it be impermissible to take the life of small children for spite, or thrill or whatever? The chickens, as they say, have come home to roost.
Former President George W. Bush saw this connection while still serving as Governor of Texas. In a presidential debate with Vice President Al Gore on October 3, 2000, Bush advocated a culture of life that would reject abortion and euthanasia. He said,
Surely we can fight off these laws that will encourage doctors to — to allow doctors to take the lives of our seniors.Surely we can work together to create a cultural life so some of these youngsters who feel like they can take a neighbor’s life with a gun will understand that that’s not the way America is meant to be. Surely we can find common ground to reduce the number of abortions in America.
Mr. President, if you and our other political leaders genuinely want to work toward “meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this regardless of the politics,” then you must, you must think deeply about the culture of death and the complicity of policies encouraging abortion in it. I know that if that is going to be done there will be a political price to pay. I hope that when you said, “regardless of politics,” that you really meant it and that you will be willing to pay that price.
Doing so will obviously require repentance. All of us who have either passively stood by or actively promoted our current culture of death must deal with the God of life whose laws have been so shamelessly violated in failing to protect the weak and unborn. We will all one day stand before His judgment seat. The good news is that this God sent His Son, Jesus, to pay for such sin and lawlessness. Because of His death, He is willing and able to forgive and transform all who turn from sin and trust Him as Lord.
That is my only hope. For myself. For my nation. And for you, sir, as my President.