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We’ll be sorting out the details of the massacre at Columbine High
School in Colorado for days and weeks to come.

Much of the reactionary spin will be familiar. We’ve got to get rid
of guns, they’ll say. As if the dead-eyed, cold-blooded teen killers in
this case had somehow legally obtained and carried their weapons to
school.

Then there will be those who blame society — the culture. Certainly
there’s something here. America has become desensitized to violence.
Certainly the entertainment media bear some responsibility. Certainly
the video games, the hideous rap music, the TV and the movies have some
effect.

Those who contribute to the pop culture need to reflect on what they
produce. Garbage in, garbage out, goes the old saying.

But this is still America. There is no place in America for
confiscating guns from law-abiding people, and there is no place for
government-imposed censorship. It doesn’t work. It’s un-American. And it
doesn’t address the real root problems — the kind that trigger
Columbine High massacres.

The real problem is that in America we have forgotten the concepts of
personal responsibility, individual rights and the sanctity of life. In
fact, it’s not a matter of forgetting. There has been a wholesale effort
to obliterate these values from the soul of our nation.

We forbid kids from praying at school. We teach them that they
evolved spontaneously from single-cell organisms in the swamp. We
immerse them in a grossly polluted moral ecosystem. We break up their
families. We tell them there are no absolutes, no right and wrong,
ultimate truth.

It’s just amazing with that recipe that there aren’t more Columbine
Highs. And, tragically, I think there will be, unless America wakes up
and recognizes how we have betrayed our children — cheated them,
deceived them, broken their hearts.

We’ll find out in the days ahead, I predict, that the perpetrators of
this ghastly slaughter had an “us-against-them” mentality. They were
part of a gang — a misunderstood, oppressed minority of cast-outs.

One of America’s strengths has been its ability to bring diverse
groups and individuals together around a creed. We were a melting pot
where people of different faiths, colors and ethnic backgrounds could
come together and share a common dream.

In recent years, our political and cultural establishments have
attacked that concept. They have shattered the idea that this is even a
worthy goal. Today, our rights don’t descend to us as individuals
created in God’s image, but rather are earned by the amount of social
pressure various groups can exert on the power structure.

This is wrong. This is not what America is about.

I wonder if anyone ever told those tortured minds that carried out
this crime that God loved them. I can’t believe they ever heard that
message. I’ll be surprised if we find out they were first in their
Sunday school classes.

The tragedy at Columbine is evidence that we’re in a war. I’m not
talking about what’s going on in Serbia. I’m talking about what’s going
on all around us — an invisible war raging in the heavens and on earth.
It’s a titanic battle of good vs. evil.

“Oh, don’t start on that religious stuff, Farah,” some will respond.

But how can anyone deny it when we are faced with this kind of stark
and chilling evidence? How else can we explain Columbine?

This is a spiritual war fought by powerful forces. That doesn’t
diminish the role of personal responsibility. Far from it. Each and
every one of us — including our children — have to decide which side
we’re on in this epic struggle. There is no middle ground. There are no
neutrals. There is no safe haven or sanctuary — it’s a war that will
affect and consume us all.

You can pretend it’s not happening, but that won’t make it go away.

In a great new movie out there now called “The Matrix,” the central
character is asked if he really wants to discover the truth about his
world. That movie is a metaphor for the raging battle I am discussing
here — the war inside our souls and the war of powers and
principalities in this world.

That’s the question each of us must ask ourselves in reflecting on
Columbine High — and a thousand other tragedies occurring in this world
every day.

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