by Mary K Todd
In the face of evil perpetrated by humans onto one another, a question has recently been raised:
Why does this keep happening?
President Obama quoted this question in his remarks at a memorial service in Orlando this week—a memorial for 49 people who had been tending to their own business when they were murdered by a man who felt compelled by his (heart-felt) beliefs or (culturally acquired) behavior or (thoughtfully chosen) moral code or (cold-blooded) feelings or (spiritually deranged) sense of self to judge and then end their earthly lives.
This act, like stabbing someone on the sidewalk from behind—seems so senseless, an explosion of sin, a rip in the space time love continuum…
For those who do not share this particular moral code or these culturally acquired behaviors—this act seems to provoke judgement—or something. Those among us who are Gandhian, will look upon the man one way. Those of us who are Kingian, perhaps another. How does the Dalai Lama look upon the man who rips the continuum this way? How a Democrat? A Republican? A Muslim? A Buddhist? How must a Christian look upon this man? Are we not weeping for the lost soul of the murderer? What does Jesus say to him?
This man—who might have lived a life of joy, who might have made his children happy, who might have shared love and connection and the fruits of his labors with his community and in the world—are we to pity him? Love him? Despise him? Pick up stones and Delight in his death?
Why Does This Keep Happening?!
For those who have not pondered The Big Questions, this question is a cry for the end to a sadness that is painful and even seems unbearable. This question is for children who do not understand the way of things here on the journey, the Pilgrim’s Progress, the walk through the valley of death. For those who have found the Source of faith, hope and love, this question is easy, heartbreaking to answer.
These sorts of acts will keep happening as long as man lives separated from God; that is, the Pure Light of Love consciously waiting for us in our hearts and in eternity. If you are an atheist, I do feel pity for you (life merely the flotsam and jetsam of genetic material, randomly swirling about the universe, hoping to replicate, generation after generation, through the meaningless ages, to no end…), as you will find that human beings without grace cannot build a utopia.
These sorts of acts have happened since the beginning.
And these sorts of acts have happened throughout history—sometimes the monstrous act of war, malignant beyond all words; sometimes a micro act, of terrorizing one’s own mate, or one’s very offspring; sometimes through (logically twisted) beliefs or (selfish) behavior or (sociopathic) moral codes or (lustful) feelings or a (spiritually deranged) sense of self.
Why should these acts not happen now? In the present age, our psychological research has determined the most powerful techniques to influence our children. We’ve taken this knowledge and constructed games, movies, music that allow our children to revel in destruction; attitudes and acts repeated and modeled over and over, day by day, year by year. In one country, children are at risk of losing their heads, in another, losing their minds. In one culture we teach our children to get money sex fame bling and attitude, shoes they can’t walk in and clothes that point to the naughty bits; in another we teach them to run terrified for their lives, to huddle, starving en masse in hot tents with dirty water and biting insects because their neighbors don’t want them…
We have 300 schoolgirls stolen and enslaved for YEARS while the fancy leaders wine and dine and fly about visiting. We have boys and girls and women and men sold around the globe, more slave trading than any time in human history; knives are used as rape weapons in Congo and gay men thrown blindfolded off rooftops to their death—by dictate of Law, in certain countries, fu’cryin’ out loud.
Millions around the globe apparently adhere to a belief system whose moral code demands behavior similar to that which was perpetrated so methodically upon our loved ones in Orlando who, just one week ago were celebrating music, connection, and the search for relationship.
The changes we need are changes of the spirit.
These things will keep happening until we look at the beam in our own eye…