The tragic events that took place in Arizona recently have shaken the nation as a whole. An assassination attempt of a public official has a way of sobering a nation. Added to this the death of a federal judge, a nine-year old girl, and personal connection with the death of one of the individuals means this story will not leave the national conversation, nor my personal thoughts, too quickly.
Currently, it seems much of the debate is centered on what societal forces led to this person’s actions. Fixing blame upon all sorts of people, parties, and propaganda. As a part of this we also hear that the man had a mental illness.
However, what I have not heard, and I’m not the only person to notice this, is much talk in moral language. What this man did was evil and it was sin. He made a personal choice to take an action that is outside the will of God. He sinned, and we should not be afraid to say as much. To attempt to somehow pass the blame from the action of the individual to some outside cause is to leave out personal accoutability.
I’m not saying that outside pressures cannot influence someone. I think Sociology teaches as much. However, people still can choose to give in to the temptation of their environment. When they choose not to, then they have sinned and we should hold that person accountable for it.
As Christians we speak in moral terms. We believe in a God who teaches us right and wrong. We know there is sin and evil in the world. What this man did was sin and evil and we should identify it as such.