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Vantage Point

Tragedy in Littleton

By Ken Horn

The tragic events in Littleton, Colorado, on April 20 are by now well-known visions to all Americans. The murder of 12 high school students and a teacher by methodical, deranged teen-age assassins who later took their own lives has taken a high toll on families, churches, communities and the nation. The Assemblies of God was not untouched, as you will find in the pages that follow.

Multitudes have been wrestling with the question of how this could happen. We must lay much of the responsibility at the feet of a godless society that has long been in gradual decline, not unlike that of the Roman Empire, which increasingly turned to the most shows of violence as sport — and to Christian apathy regarding that society.

The decline is picking up speed. Whom can we blame? We can blame civil liberties organizations gone haywire — purging schools of anything Christian while opening up every conceivable media outlet and merchandise point to the most vile and perverted material.

We can blame the shamelessly commercial marketplace, trampling lives to make a buck with violent video games, movies and music that increasingly desensitize the consumer and take part in the formation of young predators.

We can blame big-name performers and actors who have continued to press the envelope of respectability in order to enhance their own celebrity.

And we can blame political leaders, children of a morally bankrupt generation, that have introduced an apathy to morality from the halls of power.

What can we do? Pray, yes; but there's more. We must stop the insanity. Freedom of expression has never allowed someone to shout "fire" in a crowded auditorium. Yet we routinely let this happen under the guise of noble effort to retain free speech.

Let's rein in the violent and the vulgar — that which is shouting "fire" into the ears of impressionable youth. Marilyn Manson says he's just an entertainer. When calls to violence become entertainment, it soon produces the real thing.

To the Christian young person and adult, we must say: Please don't fall in with this morally bankrupt society by participating in it as a customer of its vices.

Yes, spiritual warfare is a necessity — but it's powerless unless there is holiness. Our lives must speak to our society. And our society must eschew its legacy of permissiveness that has led directly to such tragedies as Littleton. In doing the big things to make changes, let's not leave out the "little" changes in our own lives. Let us determine to never again imbibe the intoxicating brew of the world's distorted standards. Instead, let us determine that our lives will influence our neighborhoods, schools and places of work. A rebirth of holiness in the church can influence our society and, eventually, turn the tide of terror.


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