What Have We Done?

What Have We Done?

From the desk of Rabbi David Lyon

I don’t have to quote Torah or Talmud to clarify how much Judaism prioritizes life and love over the murder and annihilation of innocent children. Most Jews, Christians, Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs, and secularists, alike, inherently value the life and potential of their children and grandchildren over assault weapons that have become idols of worship.

The constitution guarantees “a well-regulated militia” the “right to bear arms,” because it meant to place a limitation on the militia even when that militia’s right was “not to be infringed.” That’s why the constitution doesn’t have to guarantee that we must love our children and guarantee their safety. It’s inherent to us that above all is the “right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” How can anyone but madmen deny the same rights to their own children, but how dare they deny the same rights to yours and mine? How can we allow anyone in positions of authority and power to misunderstand the constitution’s purpose as a foundation of a civil, moral, and life-affirming society?

The 2nd amendment has become a fetishized symbol of something more important than the life of our children, and guns are the manifestation of that symbol; the bigger the better. We’ve surpassed the sin of murder, and succumbed to the slaughter of our children with insufficient horror and remorse. A senator from Connecticut, where Sandy Hook elementary students were gunned down, asked, “What are we doing?” He asked it of his fellow political leaders, but it’s a question we all must ask ourselves.  

Thoughts and prayers? Enough. Years ago, when the Jewish community gathered for a vigil outside the ERJCC, I turned to Jewish leaders and said, “Enough. Judaism is a religion of action. We pray, but not for change outside of us; we pray for change within us to mobilize against evil and evil doers.”

We must honor the innocent children and their teachers who were cut down while they gathered to learn in school. We can’t blame alternate reasons for unlimited access to guns and ammunition, unsafe guns, and untrained gun users. There is a mental health crisis in this country, but easy access to guns and ammunition is not a mental health crisis. Easy access to guns and ammunition is a legislative nightmare and a gross misinterpretation of the 2ndamendment.

In Judaism, our call to action is to advocate for policies that reflect the values we share with our interfaith community where children and grandchildren are revered for the blessings they are and should become. I have no prayer, today, except to hope that everybody will be moved to action against horrific laws that revere guns instead of children. 

May God bless the innocents;
May God comfort their parents and families;
May God move us to Choose Life.


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