Sacrificing children to the altar of Molech.
It is abominable and despicable and unthinkable.
We are far too civilized to even consider such an abomination today. Thank God we’ve come past that.
When Black Lives Matter pointed out that White Lives have been elevated over Black Lives to the point that a national movement had to proclaim that Black Lives Matter TOO with their slogan…
After Michael Brown and Philando Castille and Eric Garner and more all lost their lives… and the black community lamented and mourned… while the white community remained silent.
We amended it to “All Lives Matter” and tsked about the importance of being color blind. We found ways to make the police violence “their fault,” and made sure the lines drawn put you either on the side of “Black Lives Matter” or “Backing the Blue.”
When Black Folks began kneeling for the Star Spangled Banner we shamed them for protesting. “NOT THIS WAY!”
And then we pulled out our favorite false dichotomy: What About the veterans? What about the soldiers? What about the people who fought and died for that flag?
Never mind that the flag was never supposed to symbolize ONLY the soldiers and the veterans. Never mind that the flag and the anthem were supposed to be symbols of all of us… And symbols of FREEDOM and LIBERTY and JUSTICE FOR ALL at that.
Never mind that further verses of that song literally reference black slaves upon whose broken and bleeding backs our nation was literally built upon.
Never mind that kneeling was non-violent–a quiet action in a moment that mattered.
Never mind the explanations from those kneeling about how this action had been thoughtfully chosen to show respect for those who serve while publicly stating that they grieved that justice seems to not yet be for ALL.
Again, we said it “just wasn’t civilized.”
Again we said there were better ways to “send a message.”
And then came the shootings.
Shooting after shooting after shooting.
“It’s too early to talk about why it’s happening. Let the families grieve.”
But in two weeks another would happen.
Men, Women, and Children lost… Mowed down.
And finally–or perhaps more accurately I should say–most recently: Parkland, Florida.
14 CHILDREN and 3 TEACHERS all DEAD.
When we talk about the constitution these days we tend to blow past the first amendment–the one that promises our right to freedom of religion–any religion. The one that promises our right to a free press. The one that promises our freedom to peaceably assemble.
We blow right past the first amendment and into the 2nd.
“Don’t take away our right to carry guns. Any guns. Don’t even limit the ones that we know were designed with one purpose and one purpose only–To take human lives en masse.”
“The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure…” said Thomas Jefferson.
And I recently heard a conservative friend add, “And sometimes that blood is the blood of innocents.”
Children. He meant our children.
He meant that it’s ok that 14 children with their entire lives stretched out in front of them–bursting with potential and possibility–were suddenly and viciously massacred.That’s the price we pay, he said…. For the right to bear arms.
And at that moment I remembered Molech. I remembered the children sacrificed to idols. Suddenly I understood that one’s mind could become so twisted by the visage of something we purport to support and to stand for… Of a side, a party line, a color and a symbol… Essentially, something that we worship–that we can believe it is ok for children to be slaughtered in sacrifice to that idol.
Let’s call this what it is: Idolatry. Our nation is rife with it.
Today I watched kids be villainized, demonized, and made the butt of jokes for standing up, using one of those very rights given to them in the Constitution that so many purport to believe in so strongly. These were children who took time today to stand in solidarity with other children who are grieving the loss of brothers, sisters, and friends. Children who are grieving the loss of safety and security.
Children who are doing drill after drill huddled under tables and in back rooms attached to their classrooms trying not to make a sound, trying not to even breathe…. Children who see over and over and over again that it’s not safe to be at school. That school may be a place of learning, but it can also be a place where you come to learn, but instead get shot at and die.
People criticized these kids who instead of quaking in terror dared to take time to ask the question, “What can be done so that this terror can stop?!”
We are a people of idolatry. We are a people who elevate the status of a piece of music and a piece of fabric over the value of black lives. We are a people who believe that it’s worth the blood of children to protect our “Right” to carry assault rifles.
“But we are Christians!” You tell me. “We love people. We care!” We are fighting for One Nation Under God! We are fighting to put God back in the schools! We are fighting for the unborn (and make no mistake, I believe that our inability to confront the horrors of abortion is another Molech like idol that should be laid low)!
Are we hiding behind our self-righteousness? Are we hiding behind our Pro-life stance in the abortion fight and patting ourselves on the back for protecting the innocent while ignoring other life that matters just as much?
Those children in Florida were innocent too.
They are leading us now. Leading us with dignity and honor and power.
And a people who would denigrate them and tear them down… A people who would say hateful things about them… A people who would say in veiled language or plain spoken words that “Sometimes kids gotta die so we can keep our guns,” are a people who are elevating the totems and asherah poles of the Conservative Right over the Sacred.
How have we forgotten? LIVES matter more than Anthems. Babes matter more than bullets.
Let’s call a spade a spade here, friends. This is idolatry.
This is idolatry that has blinded us. That has made us call that which is up, down. That has made us call that which is cruel, righteous.
We must stop sacrificing our children to Molech. We must start standing for the sanctity and the humanity of ALL life. By all means, fight for the lives of the unborn, but let us also stand for the life of the refugee, of the black man, the woman, and the children who just want to go to school and learn.
I thought that barbarism of sacrificing our children to an angry and capricious Molech was far in our past… but perhaps it’s not.
Perhaps we have some idolatry to reckon with. Perhaps we need to reclaim what is sacred and put down the wooden idols of party lines.
Note: I use the word “we” here because I am a white Christian in the U.S. I believe I need to reckon with my part in all of these things and to topple my own idols as I do.