As published in The Christian Post:
A Facebook friend of mine recently posted his support for the kids coming to Washington to take part in the March4OurLives (M4OL), a protest calling for serious gun regulation in the aftermath of the high school shooting in Parkland, Florida. Numerous people commented on the post, claiming the kids were just being used by a cynical media, probably paid by anti-Second Amendment “gun grabbers,” or their leaders were fake “crisis actors.” These accusations are all ways to suppress the voices of these young people; marginalizing them, or rendering them irrelevant in the national conversation surrounding gun violence. In other words, it’s a way to shoo them out of the center of attention.
As I watched this phenomenon unfold online—this virtual “shushing” of the Parkland children—and the denunciation of the multiple thousands of others who recently walked out of school to draw attention to the cowardly inaction of the adult world when it comes to the growing threat of mass shootings in schools and in so many other places, I thought of another such shushing. It’s recorded in Matthew 19:13-14:
“Then children were brought to him that he might lay his hands on them and pray. The disciples rebuked the people, but Jesus said, ‘Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.'”
Like so much of the Bible narrative, we tend to idealize this passage. We think of the disciples in this instance as gently moving the children out of the way so the grown-ups can get to Jesus. We often picture that they merely chided a parent for putting the child forward because after-all, Jesus had more serious things to do. This isn’t how I see it, though. In fact, I think it was a lot tougher.