Mt. Sinai and the Second Amendment
May 25, 2022 | 370 words | Politics, Philosophy
Yesterday the latest in a seemingly endless series of mass shootings occurred in a small Texas town, when 18-year-old Salvador Ramos walked into an elementary school with an AR-15 style rifle. He killed nineteen children and two teachers, and wounded seventeen others. Earlier in the day he shot his grandmother in the face, severely wounding her. He remained in the school for more than an hour before members of the U.S. Border Patrol Tactical Unit fatally shot him.
Today in response to this latest tragedy, a well-known media-friendly prelate in the Catholic Church – Cardinal Blasé J. Cupich, archbishop of Chicago – has tweeted an admonition to the nation’s politicians:
“The Second Amendment did not come down from Sinai. The right to bear arms will never be more important that human life. Our children have rights, too. And our elected officials have a moral duty to protect them.”
It may be asking too much of Congress to enact legislation that will reign in a deeply disturbed teenager, or a severely mentally ill adult. But surely doing something about the easy access to rapid-fire assault-style weapons would be a good place to start.
Cardinal Cupich is not just admonishing our politicians with his pointed remarks, he is also sending a not-so-subtle message to fellow Catholics who take pride in their “conservative” bent. His snappy tag line highlights what I consider to be the ideological Achilles heel of all such Catholics. These folks firmly believe our founding documents are a reliable update of the Judeo-Christian tradition, no questions asked. And they tend to consider the Founders themselves as not just fine upstanding Christian gentlemen, but full-fledged saints.
In other words, conservative Catholics act as though the Second Amendment, along with the Bill of Rights and the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, did come down from Mt. Sinai.
There are many mental health-related issues underlying the epidemic of mass shootings our country is suffering through, all of which fall outside the realm of “gun control.” But unwarranted reverence for every aspect of our Founding, for every detail of every document, is also a contributing factor. Uncritical support for “the right to bear arms” is helping the senseless killing to continue unabated.
Robert J. Cavanaugh, Jr
May 25, 2022