America This is Quite Serious: “Fear” by Marilynne Robinson

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The massacre of 49 people in Orlando this weekend has, once again, raised enormous questions about the current state of American life.

Photograph by Paolo Pellegrin.

This incident, more than most others perhaps, stirs discussion. Not just because it is an election year, but also because of the many existing debates into which it painfully intrudes. Rather than the usual exasperations about the great need or the totaly futility of gun control, we are also debating the shooter’s supposed faith and affiliations with ISIS; his attack on the LGBT community when he himself might have also been gay; and how we should react in our politics, our policy, or for our own protection.

Almost all of these come back to one thing: Fear. The shooter’s, and our own.

In 2015, Marilynne Robinson wrote about this fear. As usual, she speaks from the perspective of a Christian. But — also as usual — you don’t need to share her faith to make sense of what she believes. She also speaks as an American, someone who loves her country and is a student of our long and complex history.

I have read this article at least five times since it was first published. Sadly, I often have reason to pull it up after hearing about another senseless mass murder with a firearm. I am sorry to say that I found it useful again this week.

America, this is quite serious, which is why “Fear” by Marilynne Robinson is worth a read.

Read more from our election year series “America This is Quite Serious.”

-Michael Moats

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