Last Updated:November 30 @ 11:48 am

Barber: Culture of Death and the Batman Shooting

By Matt Barber

Clearly, what our nation needs is more “separation of church and state.” If those obnoxious, right-wing Bible thumpers would simply quit bellowing about the need for revival – a return to the deeply held Judeo-Christian principles embraced by our Founding Fathers – America would be a much better place.

Secular-humanism – that’s the ticket! We need more reliance on man and less on God.

At the time of this writing, I’m sitting just a few miles from a Century 16 theatre in Aurora, Colo., where, in the early morning hours of July 20, 2012, a deranged, fame-starved gunman shot dead at least 12 innocent people and wounded scores more at a midnight showing of “The Dark Knight Rises,” a Batman sequel.

One of the victims killed was a 3-month-old baby. Another was 6. I won’t even share the gutless dirt bag’s name because that’s exactly what he wants.

I had an entirely different column prepared for this week, but, in light of this horrific event, its subject matter seemed trivial and inappropriate.

Like most decent Americans, I am sickened today – mournful in a way words cannot describe. Please join me in the coming hours, days and weeks in, yes, praying for the victims, their families and the state of our lost union.

It’s times like this when we’re reminded that, when the smoke clears, we’re left with our relationships alone: family, friends, prayer and, most importantly, a deep, childlike need for God’s love, mercy and comfort.

Still, we shouldn’t be surprised by this mass murder. In fact, if we’re honest, we’re not surprised. We’ve become almost numb to such reports – desensitized to what only a few short decades ago would have been unimaginable. Although no one is to blame for this man’s objectively evil actions but he alone, those actions are, sadly, a dreadful sign of our desperate times.

Today, children are reared in a culture that glorifies – even worships – death and violence. But brutal crimes such as this are not the cause of our culture of death; they are merely a symptom.

In an opinion piece penned for the Telegraph in 2008, columnist Jenny McCartney used a prior Batman movie, “The Dark Knight,” to illustrate, in a cursory way, our rising death-culture problem. In many ways her words were eerily prophetic and sickly ironic.

“But the greatest surprise of all – even for me, after eight years spent working as a film critic,” she wrote, “has been the sustained level of intensely sadistic brutality throughout the film.”

McCartney went on to describe, in gory detail, the movie’s severely violent opening scene, lamenting that millions of parents would choose to expose their children to it. She concluded by chastising Hollywood for its complicity in an increasingly violent youth culture.

“Even since 2002, the public’s willingness to expose children to previously unthinkable levels of screen violence has soared,” she noted. “The poet WB Yeats once wrote, ‘In dreams begins responsibility,’ yet Hollywood will never take responsibility for its most brutal dreams so long as the paying public still flocks to the theatre of cruelty.”

I think McCartney was on to something but believe there’s plenty more responsibility to go around. I submit that our culture of death derives from somewhere far beyond just Hollywood. The “theatre of cruelty” spans from sea to shining sea.

Just one example, though a big one, is America’s ongoing capitulation to the horrific abortion violence carried out under cover of manmade law each day – an equally evil phenomenon.

Beneath the euphemistic banner of “reproductive choice,” hundreds of women elect to have their own babies slaughtered in the womb daily. Children – those who dodged the abortion bullet anyway – aren’t stupid; they’re just young. From this, they can only deduce that, according to our culture, human life is cheap and meaningless.

So why are we surprised when people like the “Batman killer” act accordingly?

Indeed, in our perverse society, a woman exercising her “right to choose” death for her innocent child represents “courage,” while the Batman shooter’s “choice” to kill innocent moviegoers represents cowardice. And it is. They are both acts of cowardice. The only relevant difference is the victims’ age.

Let me be clear: Am I comparing this incredibly wicked, illegal mass murder at Aurora’s Century Theatre to the incredibly wicked, legal mass murder committed at Planned Parenthoods across the country each day? Absolutely – and you can quote me on it.

But again, like the Batman murders, our nation’s 55-plus million abortion murders post Roe v. Wade are not the cause of our culture of death; they are merely a symptom. Ultimately, the cause stems from something much less complicated.

We as a nation – as a people – have turned our backs on God. We have rebelled against Him and have forgotten that it was He and He alone who gave us 200-plus years of prosperity, unprecedented in world history.

We have left Him, so why are we surprised He’s leaving us? We have said, “We don’t need you, leave us alone.”

And so He has.

Recently, Secretary of Agriculture Thomas Vilsack acknowledged at a White House briefing that he’s been praying for rain to alleviate the widespread drought plaguing our nation. “I get on my knees every day,” he admitted. “And I’m saying an extra prayer now.”

Predictably, godless “progressives” are up in arms over his statement. Tom Flynn, executive director of the Council for Secular Humanism, quickly pounced, saying that Vilsack’s mere mention of prayer “sends the wrong message to distraught farmers.”

“[Praying] for rain? That’s not just government entangling itself with religion, that’s government publicly practicing it, and wallowing in superstition,” he said.

Oh, please.

In the coming days and weeks, politicians, entertainers, media-types – public figures of every stripe – will call for prayer in response to the Batman shootings. But don’t expect to hear much from the aforementioned godless “progressives.” They generally know when to shut up.

Still, prayer is only the beginning. It can’t just be superficial prayer. It can’t just be an emotional response to this horrible tragedy.

For any real national healing to occur – in order to un-ring the culture-of-death bell – we must collectively surrender. We must recommit ourselves as “one nation, under God,” to the underlying culture of life that such a commitment presupposes.

If we don’t, we’re done.

2 Chronicles 7:14 gives us hope: “Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land.”

Indeed, the restoration of our land begins with you and me.

It ends with Him.

Let’s begin.


Matt Barber (@jmattbarber on Twitter) is an attorney concentrating in constitutional law. He serves as Vice President of Liberty Counsel Action. (This information is provided for identification purposes only.)  

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  1. inluminatuoComment by inluminatuo
    July 23, 2012 @ 8:03 am

    My daughter and Son in law live in Aurora and attended the midnight opening of the Batman movie.,,,luckily at another theater. It frankly sickens me to see the Liberal media substitute their failed “Fast and Furious” tactic to embarrass American gun owners ,by now pushing forth the sick images of this twisted individual who will now be the supplanted poster boy to vilify gun owners and suppress our second amendment rights to bear arms and protect our loved ones. Every time I see the images on TV of this smirking sick twisted individual I feel violated that the Press has allowed him the victory he sought over us to give him his 15 minutes of fame and validate him in any form as a human entity which he is not. As for me I think we should ban the pictures, never mention his name other than suspect number one and lock him away forever to live the un-noticed, and un-glorified meaningless existence he has earned.

    This thing is just one more secular product of a secular agenda which planted the seed of our own societal destruction in the developing minds of our children who we raised as a generation that witnessed the abortion of 50 million of their innocent sister and brother human souls ,whose once innocent minds and spirits now devalue life as just so much tissue to be disposed of as easily as a trigger pull by the new human man-God’s of secularism. This fool is just the face of the child our secular liberalism embrace has produced. Thank you democrat party, thank you President Obama and all of your kind. Your chickens have indeed come home to roost.

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  2. middlegroundComment by middleground
    July 23, 2012 @ 10:23 am

    I had not realized what was once called psychology is now called neuroscience, but when I finally figured this out I realized this shooter could simply be another graduate student with debt and one of those degrees where jobs are few and far between. You can apply to a law or medical school, but what happens if you are one of those not selected. Basically, you’ve worked hard and have nothing to show for your effort. I went to school on the GI Bill and had worked a number of menial jobs, so when I graduated and there were no jobs in my field, I still had lots of other options because I had no debt.

    I have seen reference to the shooter having joined the Black Roc anarchist arm of the Occupy Wall Street Movement and I find this possibility credible in that a person whose been treated as special through most of their life and now has finally discovered they are merely one of the herd could become unbalanced by such a discovery when it is combined with the frustration of debt and current government-mandated preference pn hiring and professional school admittance.

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    • lwessonComment by lwesson
      July 23, 2012 @ 11:31 am

      My curiosity level pegged upwards at the huge expense of his equipment, his 4 month orchestration, his bombs… . Then, the association to Occupy Wall Street has been brought out. If that is really true, there is a much bigger story going on. But will we ever get to see it? This does not fit the politically correct narrative for us Sheeple. I doubt daylight will get in.

      The politically correct story was hurled out by some Mainstream Media Professional that named the WRONG Holmes in Aurora who is in the Tea Party! Correct Narrative! Kind of like the Black Movie Director, Lee, outing the wrong Zimmerman, in the Trayvon™ case. Humm? We get to hear EVERYTHING about Zimmerman, made up or otherwise unflattering. NOW the case is CLOSED by the Court about “The Joker” Holmes.

      Further, FOX must have repeated this 40 times yesterday, that Holmes was ALONE ALONE ALONE. (neuroscience in application) Thank you FOX. Humm? Reports that someone opened the back door for Holmes to re-enter, all dressed to kill, surfaced. Cell phone call for opensesame? That should be easy to check. Really easy.

      Oh, and perfect timing for the United Nations small arms grab and Internationalist deactivation of The Bill of Rights. Surely too much Moriarty here, or maybe not.

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  3. prairelivingComment by praireliving
    July 23, 2012 @ 10:24 am

    Amen, Mr. Barber, amen.

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  4. Comment by AcadGrad81
    July 23, 2012 @ 1:59 pm

    Great article! How long has God been pushed out of public schools and public discourse? 1960? There must be data correlated somewhere that tracks when our society started making God irrelevant to increases in social ills.
    I read a great thought-provoking comment by an astute GOPUSA reader on one of the many other related articles from the Aurora shooting, expressing amazement at what all we now know about the “Batman shooter” within 48 hours. The dominant liberal media can dig like crazy on matters like this, but we still don’t know “diddly” about the man who has been squatting in the People’s House for the last 3 1/2 years.
    As for those who would shamelessly clamor for stricter gun control, tell me what difference will it make to further restrict individual liberties and encroach 2nd Amendment rights when criminals, by definition don’t obey laws in the first place! How foolish and naiive! I will allow that the purchase of a large quantity of ammunition by an individual (as the Batman shooter did) should have raised red flags somewhere, especially since he didn’t have a membership in a shooting club and wasn’t a member of a citizen militia. Whatever scheme Hillary Clinton is trying to push down our throats relative to gun control via UN sanction must be stopped NOW.

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