Professor Emeritus, Dr. J. Alfred Smith, Sr., Responds to Dean LeAnn Snow Flesher

Dean Flesher’s blog on the recent mass shootings in Oregon is logically lucid with cogent arguments for a widely diverse readership. In this blog Dr. Flesher appeals not to political correctness or to a theological partisan view but her appeal is to common sense and wise judgement. Therefore, every one would do well to read to carefully read her words and share them with others.

What a wonderful blog Dean Flesher has written causing us to reflect deeply on our faith in ways that address the out of control violence in our homes, schools, workplaces, churches and communities. Violence is toxic evil not only in the neighboring countries of the world but in our very social locations. This blog  carefully written  with clarity is most insightful for implementation.

The difficulty the patriotic citizens will have in being open to the reasoning  process of Dr. Flesher is due to the way the American narratives of manifest destiny and American exceptionalism have legitimized the use of violence  to remove the indigenous peoples, and build an economic system on black bodies that mattered only for profit and the militaristic westward expansion of the West  into Asia. This narrative is taught to children and youth, and they grow up seeing movies which celebrate violence.

Stokely Carmichal said violence is as American as apple pie. Americans suffer from the pride of power and the pride of virtue. Both expressions of pride contribute to the arrogance of power .The strength of this blog is the clear use of ethical arguments to appeal to the highest and the best in the idealized  core values of the American social contract.

The Utilitarian ethic of the greatest good for the greatest number espoused by John Stuart Mill  supports the ethical method of Dr. Flesher when we apply consequential ethical theory to confront the  the harmful effects of rejecting a  Frankena ethic of duty or obligation. Violence respects neither race, religion ,class, gender,  nationality, or age.  It is more pervasive in deprived  communities whose infrastructures have been dismantled by velvet glove exploiters who bow to invisible power brokers who shape public policy and politicize ethical issues with mindless aphorisms swallowed by a gullible public. For survival reasons , the have nots prey on each with drugs placed in their community by outsiders whose greed preys on the needy.

Violence puts at risk the four freedoms of America. They are:  freedom of speech , freedom of religion. Freedom from want, and freedom from fear. Students are afraid to attend school, afraid of others who differ in color, class, or gender sexual orientation, or  religion.

Flesher,in this blog,has shown no fear  in speaking up and out  against the absurdities of injustices and violence. Challenging those who  argue we are most safe when we are most armed is a holy calling  that she has accepted and she now calls each of us  in the faith community  to  be faithful to the ethics of Jesus. Let us join her in  correcting this myopic  vision of a nation trapped in its own contradictions.

Dr. J. Alfred Smith Sr.
Professor Emeritus,  A.B.S.W. 

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