In commenting on last Wednesday’s school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, outspoken Christian and NFL player Benjamin Watson lamented on social media and national television that American culture “gravitates toward violence,” and noted that society only suffers when it removes God from the public sphere.
“In times like this, we loudly reiterate the charge to each citizen to RESPECT LIFE, yet we sanction the disintegration of our family bonds, the murder of our unborn children and the excessive incarceration of our young men,” he wrote on Friday.
Watson noted that the climate of the country is “tense and toxic” and that its citizens spew vile words—both on social media and to men’s faces—to combat those that they oppose.
“We encourage a lifestyle of relativism, free expression, and a capricious standard of morality that is based on whims rather than wisdom. We condone and sometimes celebrate violence and abuse in various forms,” he mourned.
Watson said that while 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz must face justice for his crimes, society must also examine its own ways and ponder how they contribute to ongoing tragedies like the Parkland shooting.
“These acts of violence indict the criminal as well as the society he emerged from,” he explained. “While we must address the individual incident, the perpetrator and the circumstances, we must have the willingness to unveil the myriad [of] contributing factors to the crisis we are in. Firearms legislation, security, parenting, family, rights, relativism, morality, media, conflict, violence and the wicked human heart all play a role and all must be boldly addressed.”
On Monday, Watson appeared on Fox’s “The Story” to elaborate on his comments.
“[E]very time there’s an instance like this—something really horrific—we talk about respecting life. And while that’s very important, we have to look at our culture as a whole,” he said. “We incarcerate our young men at alarming rates, we vote for things that create the disintegration of the family, we’ve murdered 60 million of our unborn since Roe v. Wade—we’re a culture that really gravitates toward violence.”
“It’s easy to say that it’s one thing or the other, that it’s guns or it’s a law that needs to be changed—and while that may be the case—on a larger aspect, we as individuals, as parents, as a community, as a culture, we need to identify where we’ve gone wrong and be willing and have the courage to fix it,” Watson declared.
He said that when God is taken out of the public sphere, society always suffers.
“I’ve been talking to my father who has seen how things have changed over the course of his lifetime. A lot of people of his generation point to the fact that when we start to remove God from the public sphere, we start to suffer the consequences,” Watson outlined.
“For me, I look at this young man (Cruz) and I say, ‘You know, there’s a lot of people like him who are suffering. How can I reach out to him? How can I show the love and hope of Christ to him?'” he added, noting that most people are so focused on their smartphones that they won’t pay attention to the hurts and pains of others.
Host Martha MacCallum had noted that Cruz was orphaned in November after his adoptive mother died of pneumonia.
Watson further observed that mankind does not love their neighbor—a sin that is seen and evidenced in a variety of ways.
“[B]ecause of who God is and because of His love for us, we [are to] respect all life, and there’s a broad spectrum there. The way you treat people is very, very important,” he explained. “Even if you look at it now—you look at how we go back and forth, we get in our different tribes, we shout, we scream, we curse at each other over social media…”
Watson also noted that society often turns to God in catastrophes, but rebels against Him the other days of the year.
“We can’t come to God as if he’s some sort of cosmic vending machine, [that] whenever we have a problem we just reach out to Him,” he exhorted. “No, we need to be submitting to Him daily in our lives. We need to be coming to Him every day, saying, ‘Lord, how can I help people? How can I reach out to people? What are the things that I can be for the person who is being maligned? What can I do for the vulnerable so they don’t have to lash out and do things like this?'”