August 2006 - Volume 11, Issue 1
By Rev. Mark Connolly
Every decade in our culture the subject of violence is discussed and it is very, very easy to see what sides people take. If you look at those people who make television shows and motion pictures that really produce hideous acts of violence, they will resort to the old clichés that they themselves watched violent shows when they were youngsters and it did not do them any harm. You can quote the fact to these motion pictures producers and writers that the average child by the time he is getting out of high school has seen over 10,000 murders. This violence desensitizes him to the violence that he is experiencing in the schools and streets where he lives. [They will ask for concrete proof that this picture produces any violent impact on the impressionable mind.]
There is no doubt about it that there are children who can look at pictures of this sort and apparently not seem to be bothered. But there are a lot of children who are bothered by it. You cannot expect parents who are working two jobs just to keep a roof over their heads to constantly monitor what children are watching on television and the internet. When you look at how so many acts of pornography are now being watched by young people by way of the internet, when you see so many of these young people whose lives are so radically changed, then whether you are a producer or a consumer, you have to recognize that this kind of violence, sexual violence, physical violence, any kind of violence has a definite imprint on the mind of any impressionable child. It seems to me we talk in generalities and say "well, it does not have an impact on every child". But isn't one child too much? If you ask the producers and writers of these shows that feature violent images of pornography would they want their own sons and daughters to be subjected to this barrage of images that could sadly influence their mind? There is no question about it, our country has accepted violence as a way of life. When you read the Gospels where Christ is talking about peace when he said, "my peace I leave with you my peace I give unto you", is it possible that these same people who are producing these horrific motion pictures and internet images don't want the peace of Christ to come into the lives of their own family?
One of the tragedies of violence is that we have seen so many violent acts that often times we don't recognize how desensitized we are to violence when it comes into our own homes. The violence of our language has become so acceptable you wonder what is happening to the culture in which we live that allows children to grow up in an atmosphere where the four letter word is a common part of their vocabulary. The greatest act of violence that is taking place in our country is not the war in Iraq which is bad enough, it is that act that started January 22, 1973, when our Supreme Court said the unborn do not really have right to live and abortion became a way of life for all of us. That is plain violence. We do it to the unborn, eventually we will do it to the most vulnerable in our society.
The great St. Paul and Lord Tennyson once said, "more things are brought about by prayer than this world dreams of". I am a firm believer our country has to develop a personal ministry of prayer that each one reading this article will ask God to control any violent impulses the reader might have and to control any violent impulses people put on the internet and on our screens. We cannot just sit back and say we are helpless. Christ has said, "knock and it shall be open to you, seek and you shall find". If you want to do something for yourself and for your society, develop a prayer life that will ask God to control the violence that is coming into the places where we live.
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