Friday, May 27, 2022

Losing One's Faith That God Is Out There

 It’s after horrors like Uvalde and Buffalo that I lose any faith I might have possessed that there is a God. Oh, I know, clerics say God instilled in us free will, a choice between good and evil. 

But really, are we to believe God is indifferent to a child’s suffering or the pain inflicted on loved ones? Are we to believe this Memorial Day weekend that the 1.3 million servicemen who died in our wars made the ultimate sacrifice so anyone could use military-style firearms to kill indiscriminately innocents going about life’s everyday chores at school, at the grocery store, at the spa, at a concert, a movie theater, at a house of worship? 

How repulsive is it that the National Rifle Association is holding its annual conference in Houston this weekend even as victims of the Uvalde massacre have yet to be buried? Sure, NRA speakers will offer prayers and condolences but they will cling to rights they believe are imprinted in the Second Amendment that cannot be infringed, including the ability to own assault rifles and large capacity ammunition magazines. 

President Joe Biden wondered why an 18-year-old would have the need for such a weapon. Age has nothing to do with need or ability. The Second Amendment cites the necessity of a “well regulated militia” for the “security of a free state.” Back when the Amendment was enacted, “every free able-bodied white male citizen” 18 to 45 were required to register for his state’s militia. Constitutional originalists would have a field day defending the Uvalde shooter’s right to bear arms.

Congress-should-do-something is a refrain in many commentaries and letters to the editor. Correct, and incorrect. Congress as a whole is not the stumbling block. Republican representatives and senators are at the national level, along with Republican state governors and Republican legislatures. 

If there were more Democrats in office, and more Republicans who have not sold their souls to the NRA, appropriate laws would be passed.

Perhaps during his speech Friday at the NRA Donald Trump will repeat what he once told the group: “If we’re going to outlaw guns, we’re gonna have to outlaw vans and trucks,” since cars can kill too.

“OK,” retorts Occupy Democrats on Facebook, “then let’s just treat guns like cars: Title and tag at each point of sale, gun training, written test, practical test, health requirements, liability insurance and renewals and inspections each year.” 

Perhaps I lack the emotional and mental strength to fathom God, given catastrophes throughout our present world, much less what survivors of the Holocaust and their families must have experienced. I’ll still attend synagogue services, recite Sabbath blessings Friday nights, fast on Yom Kippur and enjoy a Passover seder. They’re part of my being Jewish. Part of being included in a special sect, not necessarily of believers, but of survivors of a heritage that has defied extinction. 

I’m no Job. Most people aren’t. I can accept that there are deranged people out there who would wantonly kill. I cannot accept that supposedly rational public servants would not do everything in their power to prevent unspeakable tragedies. I cannot believe a God would allow such a travesty.