Protecting our children, and their future, is our moral imperative
____Protecting children is sacred to all faith traditions; protecting them from harm that could come from any of the risks associated with modern living: disease, injury, violence.
______The loss of life and the post-traumatic stress from the recent shootings of Oxford High School students begs the question: How do we protect our children from themselves?
______We have endured mass shootings in schools for 30 years. Our first response is often to pray.
______As an organization that represents the faith traditions of Metropolitan Detroit, we share in the mourning and pray that society finds an answer to why a student feels compelled to do this. And we pray for an answer to how we can protect our children.
______Nolan Finley of The Detroit News addressed this dilemma in a recent column: “Protecting children is the first job of a civilization. The sad truth is we have no idea how to do that in an open society where our children venture everyday into seemingly safe environments that can erupt in an instant into deadly violence.”
_____The answer is elusive, perhaps, because it is beyond us – until we develop the collective empathy to envision ourselves as the parents of the Oxford High School students who have lost their lives, were injured, or otherwise traumatized by this incident.
_____The prevalence of hate and weapons provide fuel and tools for human destruction. But there is something dreadfully wrong in the spirit of our youth.
_____To some extent, religious institutions have failed. At a time when youth are increasingly distancing themselves from religion and spirituality, faith leaders need to leave their houses of worship and minister to youth – all youth – and offer them a future of hope, not despair.
_____Young people often grow up not knowing about a higher power that can help them through a difficult time. They feel that using tools of character assassination and weaponry will stop the pain they may be feeling. Nothing teaches them how to work through or around it, without exacting death on their peers.
_____We have allowed our children to be subjected to the terror of mayhem and trauma that is not present in most other democratic countries. We give children no reason to believe their lives are precious to us. The hypocrisy of our societal behavior is a moral crisis. We must quit claiming that our children’s physical and mental health is important to us or treat the fact that we have allowed so many to die and otherwise be harmed as a crisis of faith.
_____We have failed a generation of children who are now becoming parents themselves. Are we going to act to protect their children?
_____It is time – long past time – to see a terrible moral crisis for what it is: a crisis of faith, a moral imperative, and find the courage to solve it. Protecting our children is, indeed, the future of civilization.
--Rev. Stancy Adams, Chair, Robert Bruttell, Vice Chair, Raman Singh, President