Mandeville, LA – Exclusive Transcript – In regards to the Newtown, Connecticut shooting, people trying to attach meaning to these things, we talked about yesterday, sometimes there is no meaning. If there is meaning, the meaning is probably obvious. They’re evil men that desire to do evil things because they haven’t either been taught or they have rejected that evil is to be avoided and evil is to be minimized, that evil is going to cost you a place at God’s table in heaven. Zmirak says here are some of the things that people blame for shootings like in Newtown, the Adam Lanza kid: lax gun control laws, lax divorce laws, violent movies, the culture of death, torture, pornography, worldliness and lack of prayer. Check out the rest in today’s transcript…
Begin Mike Church Show Transcript
Mike: Back to John Zmirak, writing at The Imaginative Conservative website, run by my friends Brad Birzer and Winston Elliott. Last week I encouraged the audience to include in your reading diet some more classical things. Some things from the middle and earlier part of the 20th century are good. The reason they are is because they occurred before the intellectual purge among academia. They were written during the progressive revolution. They were wise men that believed that they knew the way things ought to be to preserve republican, Christian order in these United States. They warned against them. They protested mightily and wrote great tracts.
I give their names out often: C.S. Lewis, Tolkien, Babbitt, Robert Nisbet, Dawson. I’m sure I’m leaving many out and Birzer is going to remind me I left many out. Russell Kirk came along later, the latter part of the 20th century. These things are great reading, number one because the writers were still classically trained. If you want to improve your vocabulary and become more of a gentlemanly scholar in your own right, read older stuff. It will force you to relearn old words, like amanuensis. You know what that means, AG? That’s a stenographer, a writer, a chronicler.
In regards to the Newtown, Connecticut shooting, people trying to attach meaning to these things, we talked about yesterday, sometimes there is no meaning. If there is meaning, the meaning is probably obvious. They’re evil men that desire to do evil things because they haven’t either been taught or they have rejected that evil is to be avoided and evil is to be minimized, that evil is going to cost you a place at God’s table in heaven. Zmirak says here are some of the things that people blame for shootings like in Newtown, the Adam Lanza kid: lax gun control laws, lax divorce laws, violent movies, the culture of death, torture, pornography, worldliness and lack of prayer. Then Zmirak writes,
I don’t know what these murders mean. I suspect that they mean nothing. By committing them, the killer struck a ferocious blow for Nothing. That is the point someone makes by killing the woman who bore him, then slaughtering random children, then killing himself: Being itself is hateful, and he wants to blot it out as much as he can. The “Anarchist” in Joseph Conrad’s The Secret Agent began by embracing violence to bring on political change, then fell in love with his means and forgot his end: He developed a spiritual fetish for mayhem, bombs, and death. Since God’s very essence is His existence, this is the most comprehensive rejection of God that is possible. Such a negation of the Good is so perverse that it doesn’t reward our thinking about it. Without good reason and solemn guidance, we shouldn’t read accounts of exorcisms, or autobiographies of serial killers—lest we open ourselves to the darkness that they contain. Because not one of us is immune. Every sin we commit is a “No” that we say to Being. A soul that is damned is one that has comprehensively preferred “No” to “Yes,” typically because saying “Yes” entails a surrender: The greatest “Yes” in human history was spoken by Mary to the angel, and the way she said it is telling: “Be it done unto me….” Every act, however great, can only be good if it follows upon a surrender to the nature of things, to the moral law, a code of honor, a greater good than one’s own. That is why those who sacrifice to save the helpless are greater, and vaster of soul, than those who wield earthly power for petty motives. Saint Maximilian Kolbe renders Hitler…ridiculous. The “glamour” of evil, when seen clearly in daylight, is a residue found in the toilet. It is squalid, and stupid, and vulgar. When we think of those killers who sought out infamy by public murders, the healthy response is not so much anguish but holy contempt. They wanted to make their names by blotting out the Good? Then their names are not worth mentioning. The very thought of them should make one want to hold one’s nose and flush.
They tried to do something. They failed. The Good survives them, and thrives—though wrapped as it always is in a crown of thorns. Let’s make that Good the subject of our prayers. Yes, let us pray for the victims, whose earthly lives were cut short, that they will be welcomed in heaven. But much more than that, let us pray for their families. How many of them will lose hope in life, lose trust in people, lose faith in God? I cannot conceive what I would say to one of these grieving people in person. I hope that none of them read this in case it seems presumptuous. But I think I know what the still, small voice of the Holy Spirit is saying to each of these battered, mourning souls: Don’t let him win. He wanted to blot out life and hope, to bring more souls into the darkness he embraced. He wanted to spread despair, to blot out God, to drag each one of you down with him. Don’t follow him.
Rabbi Emil Fackenheim is famous for answering those who cited the Holocaust as evidence for atheism: “Thou shalt not give Hitler a posthumous victory.” Every birth of a Jewish child, he said, every faithful prayer offered despite the shadows, was a blow struck against the Shoah. The good rabbi had it right. And yes, at some point much, much later, we should throw in a prayer for the murderer—that after really hideous suffering in Purgatory (and it’s okay for us to picture that, if it helps), he might save his wretched soul. At some point, that’s worth mentioning. But it’s unseemly to mention it now, as it was unseemly to put the names of the hijackers on the 9/11 memorial in Pennsylvania. Such “charitable” grandstanding is simply perverse, and can render Christianity repulsive. Prayers said for the killer should be said, but silently and discreetly. We should pray that the murderer and his Master will be frustrated even in this—in their wish to damn his soul. Grant Satan no posthumous victories.
Mike: That’s a different way to look at it, through a lens of good and evil, Christian and atheist, embracive of the good, rejection of the good, embrace of the evil at the expense of the good and the other being that starts with G, God. I think that these things are things to reflect upon and solemnly consider.
End Mike Church Show Transcript