Friday, February 16, 2018

OCA jumps into gun debate

February 15, 2018 (OCA-MW) - Message from Bishop Paul regarding recent school violence

To Our Youth and their Parents in the Midwest Diocese,

Once again we have heard about another tragic mass shooting that occurred at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Parkland, Florida earlier this week.

“Police say the 19-year-old suspect, Nikolas Cruz, killed 17 people and wounded at least a dozen others in the rampage,” reports Yahoo News. “Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel told reporters that Cruz had been expelled from the school for ‘disciplinary reasons.’ Israel said that an AR-15-style weapon and ‘countless magazines’ were recovered at the scene. According to the Associated Press, Cruz purchased the weapon legally about a year ago.”

This AR-15 style weapon, according to Yahoo News, has no fully automatic mode, but it is still marketed as coming from a lineage of military-grade arms. It is modeled on the M-16 used by the US Army and Marine Corps and carried by thousands of troops around the world.

I begin this note with this information because the time has come to ban private citizens from purchasing military-grade and other kinds of semi-automatic weapons designed for use by the military for war. This would not deny a citizen’s right to purchase a simple firearm to protect his or her family and home from possible danger. But this need not include military style weapons.

Of course, the only true answer to this and the many similar tragedies that occur all too frequently is not a ban. Rather, there is a need for us to repent from acts of violence and turn to the Prince of Peace, our Lord, God, and Savior Jesus Christ, to receive forgiveness and reconciliation. As we enter into Great Lent, we need to call upon the grace of the All-Holy Spirit to give us the grace to do what is not in our fallen sinful nature to do — to forgive the troubled perpetrator from the horrible acts he committed in Parkland, Florida; and to pray for those who were slain and their family members who are suffering.

Forgiving, however, does not necessarily mean forgetting. Why can’t we learn from these tragedies? We live in a fallen world in which people do not always do what they should do. The Orthodox Church sees abortion as an act of murder and many call upon and pray for the day that Roe vs. Wade will be overturned. But these horrific mass killings in our schools are equally a Sanctity of Life issue. We need to advocate for laws to be passed to protect our students from these military style weapons. In my opinion, doing so would help significantly to make our schools safer places for our youth to attend and learn.


+Paul
Bishop of Chicago and the Midwest

31 comments:

  1. Axios. At least some take that pro-life stance seriously.

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  2. The appropriate thing to do is ban public schools. We have the right to defend ourselves, except in gun-free zones. The owners of gun-free zones should be liable- especially those who don't make serious effort to provide a defense. In this case especially, they wouldn't even let the security be armed.

    Additionally, the public school's are generally run by cultural Marxists, who try to brainwash children with observably false propaganda. This process causes bad side effects.

    Unfortunately, the bureaucracy is nearly universal, so here we have a letter focused on the gun and not the bureaucracy that failed the children.

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    1. I’ll be sure to let my wife and her church-going colleagues who teach the 1st grade in a rural KY district that they’re spreading cultural Marxism. Turn off the Alex Jones for a second there, bud.

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    2. There are stats to add to these shooting. Suicides. The suicides overwhelm the shooting, and most of these shooters intend to die, so why would you want to continue sending people into an environment like that?

      Ban public schools. Let the wife and her colleagues go private. Any never underestimate how far the bureaucratic mindset has set in. Even you, I'd bet, have been burned by a church-goer.



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  3. Based on His Grace's line of thinking, we should really do away with OCA bishops. Looking at how many they had to forcibly retire for financial mismanagement, sexual deviance, and the rest... they have a higher per capita injury rate than guns have ever had.

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    1. You've just stopped pretending you are pro-life, haven't you?

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    2. It's like the universe dropped you into my lap to think, act, and say the opposite of everything I would think, act, or say.

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    3. I wish I knew who you really were so I could buy you a drink. Heck, maybe a whole keg.

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    4. Let's all be honest: sometimes "mike" is a troll. And sometimes he's a gadfly. The Orthodox blogosphere has plenty of the former, needs more of the latter.

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    5. The foundation of his criticism is sourced from the secular world - and in that only one part of it, the "progressive" left. How does this add to an Orthodox conversation, and why would we need more of it?

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  4. As a Canadian, I can respect the idea behind the right to bear arms, well at the same time it feels very shocking at how easy it is to obtain weapons. To our cultural perspective the bishop seems very reasonable about pushing in putting limits on what types of weapons and how to obtain them. I am saddened we are in a world that we feel we should need to defend ourselves by carrying weapons. :)

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  5. Well, how knee-jerk. Let's see--since most school shooters are young male's let's ban young males.

    The overwhelming philosophical foundation for the state schools is cultural Marxism; Nihilism really.

    Many fine people and good teachers are unknowingly participating in it incrementally.

    The whole foundation of "public education" was to promote a statist society without Christ. At least according to Horace Mann.


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  6. Interestingly, in places like Brazil (indeed most central/south American countries) they ban not only military "style" weapons (to borrow the rather simplistic and frankly ignorant language/understanding of the good bishop) but also military calibers (so no .223 or 9mm). However, the gun violence/homicide rate in Brazil is almost an order of magnitude greater than the USA. I simply note this to indicate that reality is far more complex than Bishop Paul is either willing or able to grasp. Bishop Paul is simply putting forth an emotional, and frankly irrational argument that can ^safely^ be ignored.

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  7. First, when it comes to self/home/family defense I rather like have at least firepower equal to those who might be coming at me. Since the most common firearms in the hands of criminals these days include automatic handguns and 'assault' or 'military' style (if actually real assault and military) rifles, I prefer to keep my 9mm & .38 automatic pistols and my AR-15 & 30.06 rifles.

    Second, history has long proved that neither bureaucrats or tyrants can effectively legislate morality. When a society abandons all vestiges of morality in favor or whatever feels good at the moment, all hell breaks loose. I prefer to be armed when that happens. Even martyrs can go down fighting tyranny and The Evil One.

    Third, gun control laws are a joke and don't work. Criminals & tyrants care little for any laws. Look at Australia, they took away firearms from the law-abiding citizens (sheep) and crime rate have gone through the roof. Take a look at Bishop Paul's see of Chicago, with the most stringent gun control laws in the US, and what do we get: the Murder Capital of North America!

    Finally, Bishop Paul is the 'baby-bishop' among the 'ruling bishops' of the OCA synod. Some might say that 'his vestments do not yet smell of incenses.' Perhaps a few more years will impart some wisdom and discernment. In the meantime, I'll take his opinion with a great big giant Texas-sized Orthodox salt-lick!

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    1. "Second, history has long proved that neither bureaucrats or tyrants can effectively legislate morality."

      Then why to whine about abortion on this blog and pretty much everywhere else?

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    2. Because morality has nothing to do with abortion. Abortion is a crime against humanity that goes way beyond mere morality.

      But "can't legislate morality" is false. All law is a codification of any society's moral consensus.

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  8. The appropriate thing to do is not be tossed around by the waves of this world.

    Let's start Orthodox Schools and Hospitals and Orphanages and Veterans Support Homes, I could go on.


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  9. There are Orthodox schools, my parish has one, Christ the Savior Academy. It took over twenty years to come into fruition. Currently has classes K-5.

    Homeschool cooperatives with fellow Orthodox families also a good way.

    We also have a pan-Orthodox ministry to unwed mothers called The Treehouse (saving the world one diaper at a time)

    Unfortunately my brother Travis, comments such as yours make it sound like nothing is being done, nothing small is important and tends to ignore the existential realities of government intrusion into things like health care and education and care of abused, neglected and abandoned children.

    It reminds me if the old Mickey Rooney movies:. "Let's put on a show." A few days later with no money and no experience they are mounting a show equivalent of the Follies or Busby Berkley.

    The RC's have their schools and hospitals largely because of the monastic nuns who ran them and the tithing of faithful parishoners who helped fund them. Not to mention large numbers and strong Catholic communities.

    As monastic vocations declined and tithing decreased and community cohesion threatened, these schools and hospitals became and continue to become increasingly secular and struggle to survive.

    Want schools and hospitals? Support monastics, homeschoolers and ethical Orthodox medical professionals to act first locally to offer compassionate care not determined

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  10. ANAXIOS!ANAXIOS!ANAXIOS!ANAXIOS!ANAXIOS!ANAXIOS!ANAXIOS!.......

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  11. I didnt say American Orthodoxy doesnt have these ministries, there are a few accross America, but they are vary rare in comparison to the amount of Orthodox Children we have.

    Why are we concerned about what laws our pagan nation makes or doesnt make, this country is anti-orthodox what do we expect.

    We are not Conservative or liberal, Republican or Democrate. We do not support democracy but monarchy. So, let the world do what it wills. Be the patriarch of your house, build Orthodox community

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    1. Monarchism is almost as nonsensical as that Murican gun craze.

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    2. Travis, Orthodox community is the key. Community starts locally and no matter who makes the laws they have impact and help form the matrix of the larger community we are called to evangelize. We are not separtists IMO. Even if we were, the laws still effect us.

      Monarchism is certainly better than democracy but a hierarchical confederation is better and that is fundamentally the polity of the Church.

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  12. And the solution is:. Ban guns, ban the NRA, ban Jr. ROTC, ban men let women rule everything. That's the trend.

    Of course these boys kill in large part because they have absent fathers. We have absent fathers because of the lack of Christian men.

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  13. Axios. More bishops need to weigh in, whether they agree with one another or not, and regardless of how the faithful may or may not react. Epoche is not an option.

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  14. The bishops need to rightly divide the word of truth not "weigh in" with their personal opinions.

    Don't want predatory men pillaging and raping, we need to grow fathers and support the fatherless.

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    1. Potato potahto. Pious circumlocutions do little more than obfuscate the truth when it is asserted. Bishops should be bishops, and opinions - both lay and clerical - have a positive place in the conciliarity of the church.

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    2. Daniel,

      The evidence (at least that which I have) is that Bishops are at least "ok" when speaking about the normative moral tradition. For example, when speaking about abortion, which involves *what* a human being is, and their eternal value, they are ok. Thus, they can witness for good of society recognizing murder.

      With this issue, what this person did is already illegal and almost everyone (left, right, center, Christian, Buddhist, Secularist, etc. etc.) agrees it is murder.

      So what does the normative moral tradition offer? Not much, besides the obvious - don't murder your neighbor. Now, Mike and plenty of other Orthodox try to link a progressive, social reconstructive paradigm (i.e. the collection of social "fixes" that progressives want to see done by the state) that includes many many things, including "gun control" to this normative moral Tradition but even a cursory understanding of it (or even of the Gospel itself) understands that this is additive and not part of the Tradition.

      I say all this to ask you why you would want Orthodox bishops to way in on a domain of knowledge and human endeavor they really have no expertise in? What does a "cloud of opinions" add to what we already have?

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  15. Jake, I agree that there’s a generally “normative” moral tradition, but does this include the second amendment? I don’t think it does. If I’m right, then on your logic our clergy and responsible laypeople have two options: 1) Quietism or 2) to develop and articulate rational theologoumena for the purpose of extending the normative tradition into prudential moral insights. I don’t think this latter is controversial.

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    1. I don't know, Luke 22:38 is often cited as pointing to a non-progressive Jesus ;)

      Seriously, I was with you (putting aside your dichotomy - people rarely only have 2 options) right up until you claimed that these efforts are not "controversial". I see all kinds of controversy, disagreement as to relevant facts, etc. when I see the Church-as-organization wade into the finer points of governance. Indeed, the secularist often point to this (with no small amount of truth) when they mention various disasters such as the inquisition, various religiously sponsored wars, etc.

      Your right of course, we as the Faithful do sojourn through the world and bring our Faith with us and produce "moral insights". That is different however then an explicit ecclesiastical effort which carries with it a theological and "truthful" weight of dogma that we simply don't have around the details of the 2nd amendment. We however do have it when it comes to abortion/murder.

      Thanks for your response.

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