Few crimes are more harshly forbidden in the Old Testament than sacrifice to the god Moloch (for which see Leviticus 18.21, 20.1-5). The sacrifice referred to was of living children consumed in the fires of offering to Moloch. Ever since then, worship of Moloch has been the sign of a deeply degraded culture. Ancient Romans justified the destruction of Carthage by noting that children were sacrificed to Moloch there. Milton represented Moloch as the first pagan god who joined Satan’s war on humankind:First Moloch, horrid king, besmear’d with blood Of human sacrifice, and parents’ tears, Though for the noise of Drums and Timbrels loud Their children’s cries unheard, that pass’d through fire To his grim idol. (Paradise Lost 1.392-96)
Read again those lines, with recent images seared into our brains—“besmeared with blood” and “parents’ tears.” They give the real meaning of what happened at Sandy Hook Elementary School Friday morning. That horror cannot be blamed just on one unhinged person. It was the sacrifice we as a culture made, and continually make, to our demonic god. We guarantee that crazed man after crazed man will have a flood of killing power readily supplied him. We have to make that offering, out of devotion to our Moloch, our god. The gun is our Moloch. ... excerpt from Garry Wills, NYRB 12/15/12
There have been many good responses to Wills' article. This one, from conservative Fred Regan, hits home:
I have characterized myself as a conservative for many years, and in fact may still be one. But I cannot bear to hear one more time that "guns do not kill people--people do". Or that talk of gun control is a slippery slope threatening a host of American freedoms. Or that millions of responsible gun owners must not be judged by a few lone miscreants who, it is claimed, would find a way to exact their revenge with or without firearms.
Nor can I stand to hear, in the aftermath of these now monthly massacres, about "thoughts and prayers" going out to the grieving, or of candlelight vigils or roadside shrines, or of communities coming together to begin the healing process. Increasingly, Christian sympathy crosses over into impotence; communal feeling into denial. Tears and cries to God envelop the heart of the matter in a faux-soulful gauze, masking the weakness and numb ritualization of the actual collective response.
The subject, in fact, is not cosmic unknowables, the mysteries of Man's inconsolable suffering. It is the facility with which teeming thousands of sociopaths are empowered to spray the hated American world with bullets.
My fellow conservatives have lied, made excuses, and enabled one murder spree after another for decades, and I am through listening to it.
Enough crying. More action.