This past Sunday night, we saw the worst mass killing in our US history. 59 dead, almost 300 wounded. There has been a universal outpouring of sympathy from all over the world.
There has also been a lot of talk about gun control. Many people are calling for a renewed effort for improved legislation meant to prevent in some way, this type of tragedy from happening again. This has been a very contentious topic and no doubt the debate will continue for a while.
The bottom line is that people are frustrated with all the violence and want desperately a solution so no one else has to face the pain of grieving for victims of senseless murders.
Pat Robertson, the famous televangelist who founded the Christian Broadcasting Network and the 700 club, had a different perspective. The minister, who by some unsubstantiated estimates, is worth in excess of $30 Million, had this to say about why people were mercilessly shot like animals:
"There is disrespect now for our national anthem, disrespect for our veterans, disrespect for the institutions of our government, disrespect for the court system. All the way up and down the line, disrespect."
For what it’s worth, in my opinion, this is exactly what religion was never meant to be: judgmental, demeaning, criticizing. I have always felt that religion, especially Judaism, is supposed to facilitate spiritual growth. We’re there to give people solace in times of distress and hope in times of tragedy. To criticize people when they are at their lowest point of emotion is inexcusable.
This is my response to Pat Robertson:
So, Pat, you think that a random shooter in Las Vegas killed 59 innocent people because of disrespect for our national anthem and president? And just how do you know that? Did G-d, Himself, tell you that? Well, as one religious leader to another, I can tell you I got a different message. You see, Pat, G-d told me that humans are not exactly using that whole free will thing too wisely. He told me that it's up to people like me, and you, Pat, to inspire people to lead a righteous life. That means to aspire to be kind and just with people, accept people with and for their failings, but also to look beyond that to the goodness. He told me to facilitate hope and help people become the best they can be. That means help people grieve and mourn, feel their pain with them and help them go on with their lives, focusing on the positive. So I wonder, Pat, do you and I serve different G-ds? I think we serve the same G-d, the One, True G-d, but I think you may have been sleeping in class. Maybe you might want to go back to the seminary for a refresher course. Looks like it's been a while and you may have forgot a few things.