“Self, whose district includes the site of the deadly shooting, replied: ‘Well, those are people that don’t believe in an almighty God who, who has, who is absolutely in control of our lives. I’m a Christian. I believe that he is.'”

From Amos 5:21-24:

“[God said] ‘I hate, I despise your feasts, and I take no delight in your solemn assemblies. Even though you offer me your burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them; and the peace offerings of your fattened animals, I will not look upon them. Take away from me the noise of your songs; to the melody of your harps I will not listen. But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.’

The whole chapter is a condemnation in the strongest language of those people in ancient Israel who put on religious theater but did not live out the call to love their neighbor as themselves. They technically fulfilled the law by bringing the correct offerings at the correct times to the temple, but they were actively engaged in discriminating against and taking advantage of the poor and the less powerful. These people “turned justice into poison and the fruit of righteousness into wormwood”. In this text, God is explicitly saying that “thoughts and prayers” are not enough! Not only are they not enough, but God actually despises them if they are not offered in tandem with action to bring justice and protection to the most vulnerable, to the oppressed, and to the mourning. Representative Self’s rejection of taking some sort of action to prevent gun violence in the name of “faith” directly contradicts the Bible in which he claims to believe. The Bible never separates faith/prayers/religious activity from action, from living out the ideals and rules that God sets for us. The second greatest commandment in Christianity, only slightly behind loving God, is to love all others as we love ourselves. Positions like Rep. Self’s do not fulfill that commandment. Refusing to take action and hiding behind false faith and bad laws like the 2nd amendment, in my opinion, indeed turns justice into poison and righteousness into wormwood.