A Christmas prayer amid the horror

Christmas is a time of hope and blessings, a celebration of life and salvation. For families in Newtown, Connecticut, that celebration was crushed on a Friday morning earlier this month. Twenty young children, along with six teachers and staff members, went to school as usual and departed this world for the embrace of our Heavenly Father. It was a stark reminder that evil is real and that our time on this earth can be tragically fleeting.

But before the first victims had been laid to rest, the left was circling like vultures ready to exploit the tragedy in order to advance its agenda: Gun control. There have been at least eight mass shootings in the past four years in which five or more people were killed. Democrats did not raise the issue after any of those incidents or after any of the routine weekend rampages in cities like Chicago.

Why now? Timing. Obama has been reelected. He has no reason to fear the voters.

Five days after the shootings, Obama announced that a commission led by Vice President Joe Biden would draft “concrete proposals” by January, which he would “push without delay.” Here we go again with Obama’s “we can’t wait” meme.

Some on the left, like former Clinton Labor Secretary Robert Reich, are even urging Obama to use executive orders to limit our Second Amendment rights. If the left has a problem with the Second Amendment — and it does — it should launch an effort to repeal the Second Amendment. But stop trying to govern this country with emergency decrees!

The left had better tread carefully. Two recent polls clearly indicate that the American people are not interested in more limits to our freedoms. An ABC/Washington Post poll conducted after the Newtown shooting found that only 32 percent of the public supported “passing stricter gun-control laws,” while 49 percent favored “stricter enforcement of existing laws.” And 71 percent said they opposed a nationwide ban on handguns.

A Gallup survey found similar results. When asked what steps would be most effective in preventing mass shootings at schools, the most popular response was increasing the police presence on school campuses. Gun control legislation came in fourth on the list!

Let’s not learn the wrong lessons from this tragedy. A majority of respondents in the Post poll also felt that the Newtown shooting “reflected broader problems in American society.” I agree.

What is happening in our society that spawns these young, twisted men who can kill the innocent so easily? First and foremost, as a nation, we are running from God. Our Founders put Him in the most important statement of the American founding in the second paragraph of the Declaration of Independence: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Few of our children know those words. But they have been taught that our Constitution has enshrined in it a right to destroy inconvenient life. The Founders believed liberty came directly from God. With their knowledge of Scripture, they knew each child was made in the image of God. That is why everyone had dignity, value and worth.

Today’s children are taught by our culture that we are a cosmic accident. Something slithered out of the primal slime and over billions of years evolved into a human being. We are cousins, ten times removed, to the ape at the zoo eating his own excrement.

When a young man massacres innocents, we have been trained to believe that the act was due to improper levels of chemical enzymes and misfiring synapses. As we learn more about our cells, we forget more about our souls.

Were Hitler and the countless Germans who cooperated in the killing of six million Jews, and who made lamp shades out of their skin, simply the products of an inadequate German mental health system? Or should we revisit the existence of evil?

Having robbed children of any sense that their Father is in Heaven and that they are His creation, we then launched an experiment in raising them without earthly fathers too. Having neither a Father in heaven or a father in the home, many young men make gangs their families.

They try to fill the emptiness of their lives with a snort of cocaine or needle filled with heroin. Overstretched police departments can’t keep up with the wreckage. There is no government program that can make up for the meltdown of the family.

The Scriptures teach us that children are a blessing from God. That these little ones could be the victims of such violence is incomprehensible. The outpouring of support for the families and victims of the Newtown shootings is admirable. As the nation grieves and debates our collective response, as we celebrate the birth of Christ Child, it is my prayer that we might find a renewed appreciation for the fact that every life is precious and deserving of respect and protection.

Connecticut’s state motto is a Latin phrase, “Qui Transtulit Sustinet,” meaning, “He who transplanted still sustains.” The founders of the state meant God. He had transplanted them to the new land. He would sustain them in their time of troubles. He will sustain us still today, but only if we rededicate ourselves to becoming One Nation Under God.

Former presidential candidate Gary Bauer is president of American Values and chairman of the Campaign for Working Families.