By Craig Funston
Had I been in Roseburg a few weeks ago, there’s a good chance I would have been shot to death. Roseburg, as you know, is not in Libya, Somalia, Iran, or Yemen. That would be Roseburg, Oregon, and Oregon, as in the state below Washington.
Never saw the day coming where there would be bloodshed for being a Christian on North American soil.
You likely know the story, but let me refresh your memory. In short, an unstable, warped student in a junior college moved among his classmates, asking them one question: “Are you a Christian?” If they identified themselves as a follower of Christ, he shot them dead on the spot; if not, he shot them in the foot. By the time he was finished, nine fellow-students were dead.
Out of this Roseburg story, two public figures’ responses stood out in my my mind:
Barak Obama: His response to the massacre was “unfortunate.” (I wanted to say “disgusting,” but, though that was a more accurate word, it seemed too harsh.) He attempted to turn this national tragedy into a political issue with his gun control stance.
Earth to Obama: The guns were, in fact, legally registered, but that didn’t stop the bloodshed. From a human standpoint, nothing could have stopped the massacre. I don’t know when the powers-that-be will understand that people’s hearts must be changed, not federal laws.
On that day, had someone been allowed to carry a gun to school, the bloodshed would have been negligible. What we needed that day were more guns, not more rhetoric.
I find it offensive, even from this distance, that the president would controvert a very sad day for many Oregon families into a platform for one of America’s most divisive issues.
Ben Carson: Ben Carson is the poster boy for what’s right with America. Like millions of other blacks in America, he was raised without a father. His mother decided that no dad and no money, and that skin colour and social inequality, were not excuses for failure.
Through grunt labour, self determination, and seized opportunities, through the long, arduous road of determination, Benjamin Carson became Dr. Ben Carson, exceptional neurosurgeon. Just after the Roseburg massacre, he also made it clear that he was a Christian. (I knew that already, but he made it public by holding up a sign with the words, “I am a Christian” written on it).
Rather than make a lame political statement (like Obama) that has no basis in logic, fact, or common sense, Carson repeats the very statement that got others killed. If I were in the States, I would be very happy to have that man—and not the other one—as my president.
What a juxtaposition of responses on the part of these men! There are some uncanny similarities between these two men: Both are black, both involved in politics, both are professing Christians, and so on. There are some significant dissimilarities, too, but I’ll leave the research up to you.
Those two people contrast in their responses, though we can’t forget that there were others that day. One was an army vet who prevented further bloodshed; and the others were the martyrs themselves, especially starting with the second victim.
Sgt. Mintz: I don’t know why we’re don’t hear more about this guy than we do. He’s took a number of shots in his attempt to save others. Strange how that works: some took one shot and died; he took five and lived.
You would think that President Obama would have spent more time lauding this hero, taking the opportunity to highlight unselfish heroism, honouring this living example of what makes America great. We need heroes to inspire us, not tongue-lashings to discourage us.
The martyrs: It takes supreme courage to live for one’s faith, and just as much to die for one’s faith. The first victim didn’t know what would happen when he or she answered “Yes” to the gunman’s question. But the second student did…and the rest did. They are the unsung heroes, too, in this story.
Dr. Carson and I are quite different. You name it: profession, skin colour, citizenship, religious affiliation, and the list goes on. He has more courage than I would have after such a terrible event. But the main thing we have in common is a Bible-based faith.
Like Carson, I am a Christian. But unlike those nine martyrs in Oregon, I am still living for my faith, not dying for it..yet.