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Monday, September 23, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Steve Massey: Safe society is one that embraces God

By Steve Massey

It’s really not about guns.

And it saddens me that our first reaction to tragedies like that in Roseburg, or Chattanooga, or Charleston, is to debate gun control.

Surely we can think deeper thoughts.

Yes, it is arguable that we need better gun-control laws. It’s also arguable that even the absence of guns would do little to rid society of murderers disturbed enough to find guns on their own. Current drug laws come to mind.

But it is inarguable that we need better people, and in aggregate, a better society. It is time we stopped arguing about guns and started facing the consequences of editing God out of our culture and then wondering why things aren’t working out so well.

Consider the irony: we’ve swept God out of our schools, our courthouses, our politically correct discourse … the public square in general. And now we’re puzzling over why we’re soaking in a stew of … well, godlessness.

We have done this primarily as a supposed intellectual exercise; and now we stupidly stare at crime statistics, moral toddlers unable to see the obvious.

I sometimes wonder what our nation’s founders would say about some of the problems their successors – people like you and me – now face.

We can’t know that, obviously. But we can learn from some of their warnings about the success, or failure, of American culture even as it was being born.

The man credited with drafting much of the U.S. Constitution said this: “For avoiding the extremes of despotism or anarchy … the only ground of hope must be on the morals of the people.”

Those are the words of Gouverneur Morris, penman and signer of the Constitution. His opinions were not extreme relative to other founders; his views were, by and large, the norm at the time.

Keep that in mind as you consider his further remarks: “I believe that religion is the only solid base of morals and that morals are the only possible support of free governments. Therefore education should teach the precepts of religion and the duties of man towards God.”

Did you catch that last part? Morris and others were intelligent enough to posit that you and I actually have duties toward God that, when ignored, bring unwanted consequences to all of us.

Our duties before God are to believe that he is, that he has clearly communicated his ways to us, and his ways are not only right, but also assure us the best life possible. In other words, even those who thumb their noses at God and his savior, Jesus Christ, will benefit from a society whose majority honors God’s ways.

As evidence, simply consider the tandem trajectories of mass killings – and other horrors, such as abortion in America – and steps we’ve arrogantly taken to stiff-arm God.

This is hardly a new idea. And it certainly isn’t mine. It is actually God’s.

Consider his words to ancient Israel: “… what does the LORD your God require of you, but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all His ways and to love Him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to keep the commandments of the LORD… for your good?”

Friends, God’s moral law, recorded in the Bible, still serves that function for us today. It is for our good. The best life we can possibly have in this sin-stained world is a life committed to the truth of God, summarized in his moral law, personified in Jesus Christ.

Is it possible that as we mourn the latest victims of a mass murderer, as we reconsider things like gun laws and our treatment of the mentally ill, that we also need to consider our own relationship with God?

Before we consider a gun ban, shouldn’t we reconsider our ban on God from the public square?

Steve Massey is pastor of Hayden Bible Church ( He can be reached at (208) 772-2511 or

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