Bill Murchison

The idea has built, ever since Robert Kennedy's assassination in 1968, that the will to kill is closely tied up with the means of killing. Which is likely true in a sense -- a marginal one. The will to kill, if history shows us anything, is tied up far more closely with defects of human morals and character. A properly formed will is supposed, most of the time, not to fall for enticements to wreak havoc and horror on others. It doesn't always work. There's this theological factor called sin, which militates against human perfection.

This is where churches and the nations and civilizations that gathered themselves in and around churches are supposed to come in. These are supposed to temper and smooth down human behaviors, by talking about sin and its grievous consequences.

The indispensability of churches to social peace was formerly clear to the churches themselves, which by and large took seriously their duty to speak the word of God to peoples in no small need of that word.

This was of course before the age of the property dispute -- the battle over titles and ownership; things viewed by implication as the highest Christian goods, Christianity having been merged in many minds with the politics of the moment.

Guns? Schoolhouse massacres? Sin (as the clerics call it)? Politicians and judges can take care of all that. Isn't politics the sum of everything important? Aren't the courts there to give effect to whatever it is politicians decide?

All rise! Book for book, in the eyes of the ecclesiastical bureaucrats laying legal claim to Charleston's churches, "Slominksy on Property" must rank right up there with Isaiah, Matthew and Romans. At least we finally know.

Bill Murchison

Bill Murchison is the former senior columns writer for The Dallas Morning News and author of There's More to Life Than Politics.
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