“Scripture teaches us the Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. We seek comfort in those words for we know that God lives in the hearts of those who grieve,” said President Donald Trump in a speech after the Las Vegas massacre. The scripture he refers to his Psalm 34:18, for which there are many translations. “The LORD is close to the brokenhearted; He rescues those whose spirits are crushed,” reads the Psalm 34:18 in the New Living Translation. Trump is quoting a Psalm that also includes:
Come, my children, and listen to me,
and I will teach you to fear the LORD.
Does anyone want to live a life
that is long and prosperous?
Then keep your tongue from speaking evil
and your lips from telling lies!
Turn away from evil and do good.
Search for peace, and work to maintain it.
That part may sound opposed to Mr. Trump’s modus operandi, but if the president’s post-tragedy words give comfort to the brokenhearted at this terrible time — then they have served their purpose well. Still, what Trump did not address in saying that the Lord is close, is gun control — and that the NRA too often seems even closer than any deity to the brokenhearted. According to Open Secrets, the NRA put $30 million behind Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and more than $50 million total in supporting GOP candidates who promised to limit gun control. Americans have a right to ask, as Jimmy Kimmel has, whether the Lord might need some help from congress in protecting them and making sure fewer are so brokenhearted. Congress’s laws, of course, were written long after the Scripture.