After UVA Shooting, Teachers Union Issues Standard Propaganda, But One Bishop Speaks Like a Christian

By John Zmirak Published on November 15, 2022

I love to be wrong about stuff. That’s because I have a deeply pessimistic brain that instantly sees to the dark bottom of things. Worst-case scenarios, reductios ad absurdum, bleak but inexorable implications of seemingly hopeful plans … my mind produces and sheds these the way a Labrador sheds clots of fur. They pile up on the floor.

In ordinary life, I’m cheerful from day to day, and I’m easily made happy by little things like rebellious beagles and breakfast biscuits, Bach cantatas and Mike Lindell’s coffee. But my mind is something else entirely. It works like a wood-chipper, a chainsaw, and a flamethrower, all rolled into one.

Now in case you’re thinking, “That’s cool. I want to buy one!” … think again.

Okay, Here’s Why You’re Catastrophically Wrong. Please Pass the Sugar

When somebody lays out his happy, Utopian theory of how we can “all just get along” and abolish inequality or injustice, I might well nod and smile. But my brain starts doing the math. With autonomic rapidity it calculates the costs, imagines likely abuses, and figures out which crook or tyrant would actually end up in charge of that sunny scheme. Who would turn this poor sap’s Utopia into killing fields, a gulag, or an extermination camp.

And since I don’t have what some people call a “filter,” I find myself blurting all of this out. “That’s all fine and dandy,” I’ll start off winsomely. “But you’re not building the Kingdom of God on earth, just digging a worldly Hell.” And I’ll lay out why, in gruesome, explicit detail with plenty of references to solid, historical examples of tyranny and famine.

You can see why I don’t get invited to many parties. Or asked to speak at colleges.

Gutting the Biblical Worldview, Treating People Like Termites

You can also see why I expected the absolute worst from our leaders and institutions in the wake of the recent horror at the University of Virginia: the murder of three football players and wounding of two by one of their former teammates. Because, as I wrote here before, “Every Mass Shooting Is Christmas Morning for Gun Grabbers.”

I’m doing the final edits on my next book, No Second Amendment, No First: How the Biblical Picture of Man Leads to Freedom, and the Gun Rights Needed to Keep It. The first half of the book lays out how Progressive Christians undermine the biblical worldview and hollow out the vision of man that makes Christianity coherent and political freedom possible.

Unsure that God really made the world and man, Progressives smuggle in materialistic reasoning and collectivist schemes for reform. They replace the Church’s mission of preaching salvation through Jesus with … lobbying for turning over ever more power to Caesar. These people have ceased to see human beings as free, fallen, redeemed, and morally responsible. Instead they view us all as something much more like mindless termites, who live in a hive and must be controlled top-down by “wise” elites.

They See Every Crisis as an Opportunity

This hijacked worldview makes itself most obvious in times of horror and crisis, when we’re faced with appalling events. For instance, the UVA shooting. It touched us here at The Stream with special force because one of our best contributors, Timothy Furnish, has a son who plays on that team. Thanks be to God, his son was unhurt, and Tim led The Stream in a powerful prayer in the wake of the killings:

Have mercy, O Lord, on the souls of the departed: Devin, Lavel and D’Sean. In your infinite love, comfort their parents and families. And extend your healing grace to those recovering in the hospital. In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.

That is a fitting response to this kind of evil. So are realistic attempts to explore the roots of the incident, improve security, and take proportionate steps to prevent such wicked deeds succeeding in the future.

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I even wrote a model sermon, proposed to pastors, of how they might speak meaningfully to aggrieved people and communities in the wake of such monstrous horrors. It concluded:

Today as we pray for the victims and their families, and even for the conversion of the man who inflicted this evil, we must recommit ourselves to cherishing, protecting, even safeguarding the rights of every American, including the most basic right it’s even possible to imagine: the right, in the moment of danger, to defend himself and his family.

Boilerplate Demands for More Power for Caesar

But such sober reflections are not what we usually get from Progressives, inside the Church or outside it. Right on schedule, before the victims had even been granted Christian burial, we heard from the National Education Association — the leftist teachers union that helps keep our schools violent and amoral — a boilerplate demand:

[W]e challenge every politician who plans to offer thoughts and prayers instead to provide effective leadership that makes it harder for murderers to obtain and carry the weapons used in these acts of violence. We challenge elected leaders at every level across the country to no longer side with the gun lobby and instead speak up for the students and communities who are caught up in the preventable epidemic of gun violence.

Exactly what I expected. Indeed, as my new book points out (with plenty of grim examples):

[T]here’s a template, a recipe, sitting on the computers of reporters across the country, and leftist flaks, and massively funded antigun activists. Worse, a comparable document waits on the hard drives of bishops, priests, and ministers, along with MS Word’s handy “resume,” “thank you note” and “garage sale” boilerplates. They have only to plug in a few simple facts, dates, and names, and Presto!, before the blood of innocent murder victims is even dry on the pavement, their document’s finished; the interchangeable statements ready to be posted in news stories, editorials, social media posts, and parish newsletters, quoted by lazy reporters, bleated in Tweets, and touted in speeches to Congress.

Prefab, Dehumanizing Political Wish-Lists

In No Second Amendment, No First, I quote a long list of these prefab statements of outrage, from Mainline Protestant, Catholic, and even Evangelical Christian leaders and organizations, issued after different mass shootings. Like social insects, these “leaders” hum in perfect unison, as they demand we surrender our freedoms in favor of “safety.”

None of them address two core moral facts:

  1. That American freedom was predicated by our founders on an armed citizenry, which would serve as the backstop against any potentially tyrannical government. As James Madison wrote in Federalist #46, any dictator trying to oppress the American people “would be opposed [by] a militia amounting to nearly half a million citizens with arms in their hands, officered by men chosen from among themselves, fighting for their common liberties.” (Read Stephen Halbrook’s The Founders’ Second Amendment for dozens more such quotes from our founders.)
  2. The most deadly institution on earth is the modern secular State. Between just 1914 and 1990, such governments intentionally murdered some 170 million helpless citizens, not including casualties of war. From Germany to China, from Cambodia to Cuba, these victims had just one thing in common: they’d been previously disarmed by their governments.

The NEA statement after the Virginia horror didn’t surprise me. But one statement did. And here’s where I get to be proven wrong about one of my ugly expectations. (That always makes my day!)

The Local Catholic Bishop Speaks Like a … Christian

When I saw that the local Catholic bishop had issued a statement about the UVA shooting, I braced myself before opening it. I fully expected a raft of dehumanizing rhetoric about “epidemics” and “public health,” which ignored the guilt of the killers and the innocence of the victims. I looked for a call to impose still more useless restrictions on the rights of law-abiding citizens. I looked in vain. Instead I saw this:

May we be united in our prayers for the University of Virginia students killed on Sunday evening, their families and the entire UVA community. Sadly, this tragic event has resulted in the loss of innocent lives and much suffering. Pray God that all such violence within our nation will come to an end. It is my hope and prayer that we all will do our part each day to promote peace and harmony in our communities. May God watch over and protect us always.

Bishop Michael F. Burbidge, Diocese of Arlington.

I chime in often enough when one of my church’s bishops gets something wrong. Bishop Burbidge got this statement precisely right, and I’m grateful. Let us all keep praying, both for peace and for freedom.


John Zmirak is a senior editor at The Stream and author or co-author of ten books, including The Politically Incorrect Guide to Immigration and The Politically Incorrect Guide to Catholicism. He is co-author with Jason Jones of “God, Guns, & the Government.”

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