In the wake of the tragic mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton, America is once again looking for solutions. OneNewsNow spoke with several evangelical leaders who make the case that solutions won't be found in the halls of Congress.
As the shots rang out in Dayton, it was reported that people running for their lives were screaming "active shooter" as they fled. It's a relatively new addition to the American lexicon. Twenty years ago, before the Columbine shooting, most people likely wouldn't have understood what it meant. Then came Virginia Tech, Sandy Hook, Aurora Theatre, The Pulse, Las Vegas, Marjory Stoneman Douglas.
During a White House address yesterday, President Donald Trump called the weekend massacres "evil attacks" that are crimes "against all humanity" and said that unity must replace hatred in society. He urged both parties to set aside partisanship and find solutions to violence.
Southern Evangelical Seminary president Dr. Richard Land argues that solutions go "way beyond" public policy. "Gun control is way too simple an answer," he says. "That's analogous to putting a Band Aid on a severed artery."
Instead, he says, it's a sickness that lays deep in the American soul. "These mass shootings are symptoms [and] eruptions telling us that there is a subterranean river of spiritual and emotional slime running underneath our society," Land tells OneNewsNow.
America, he emphasizes, needs to have a discussion – talking to one another, not at one another – then get to the root causes. And those causes are many, says Land.
"They are problems of the heart and they are problems of the soul: fatherlessness, the failure of our inner cities, racism, identity politics, the mindless glorification of violence in our media, and the systematic disrespect and mocking of police officers," he lists.
And he says it's up to Christians and the church to lead the way.
Exposing the hostile, anti-God ideology
Bishop Council Nedd II, a board member of the Project 21 Black Leadership Network, agrees with Land.
"I think the rhetoric peaks pretty high on both sides," Nedd begins. "But the thing I've sort of been harping on is that everybody's got a bunch of entrenched positions on a lot of issues and people are upset right now – and the vitriol is at a record high. We seem to have lost our civility."
Nedd has the unique perspective of serving as constable in Pennsylvania and a rector in the Anglican Church.
"… I think a big part of the problem is we've got so many unchurched Americans who don't know certain moral underpinnings of our country," he contends. "They don't know the scriptural way that we should be treating other people who have different views than us."
Columnist Dr. Michael L. Brown concurs, saying the root of the problem is spiritual, not racial. In a column posted Monday, he categorically renounces the unbiblical notion of "white nationalism," which many critics continue to cite in the aftermath of the El Paso massacre.
He explains that "the one thing I wanted to [emphasize in the column was that] I completely repudiate white nationalism as unbiblical, as unchristian, and even as unpatriotic.
"The same white nationalist who hates people of color also hates Jews," he points out in an interview with OneNewsNow. "This is something bigger than just the matter of the color of someone's skin. This is a matter of a hostile, anti-God ideology – and it needs to be exposed as such."
Brown contends that President Trump, who has taken the heat from his critics since the shootings, has embraced a non-racist nationalism while being less than subtle with his Twitter account.
"I do understand how some of his comments have been inflammatory," he acknowledges, "[but] I think the left-wing media is at least as responsible for often misrepresenting his comments and then further fanning them into flame."
The respected columnist and Christian apologist says he desires to see a God-fearing America. "[That's] an America that is predominantly Christian with many genuine Christians in the midst of us … Christians [who] really practice their faith," he states.
That's an America, he concludes, that welcomes all faiths and colors and political beliefs, and unites rather than divides.