NFL star Ben Watson on shooting: ‘When you take faith out of the public arena, people suffer’

Baltimore Ravens tight end Benjamin Watson offered insight on combating school shootings in America. For the football player, it’s less a question of policy than one of faith.

Watson told Fox News’ Martha MacCallum that Americans should “take an honest assessment of our culture in its totality,” and that tragedies like last week’s high school shooting in Parkland, Fla. arise “when you take faith out of the public arena.”

“Every time there’s an instance like this, something really horrific, we talk about respecting life,” Watson explained. “And while that’s very important, we have to look at our culture as a whole.

“We incarcerate our young men at alarming rates, vote for things that create the disintegration of the family, murder 60 million of our unborn since Roe v. Wade — we’re really a culture that gravitates toward violence.”

Watson, a Christian who spoke at the 2017 March for Life, suggested that more gun control legislation would not solve the problem of mass shootings.

Benjamin Watson. (Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images).

“So while we must hold this young man accountable, we need to step back and say: ‘Hold on. What are we as parents teaching our children. How are we as teachers dealing with kids when they have certain conflict in the classroom? All these things are very important.

“So it’s easy to say it’s one thing or the other, that it’s guns or that it’s a law that needs to be changed. While that may be the case, on a larger aspect, we need to as individuals, as parents, as a community, as a culture, identify where we’ve gone wrong and be willing to have the courage to fix it.”

 

After MacCallum recounted parts of Parkland shooting suspect Nikolas Cruz’s life, including his being an orphan and then losing both his adopted parents, Watson spoke of the importance of faith in the public square.

Parkland, Fla. shooting suspect Nikolas Cruz. (Susan Stocker/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP, Pool).

“What cries out to me the most is that people are hurting. This young man went through so much in his life. So much tragedy. People are really hurting, and when you take faith out of the public arena, when you take God out of there, people suffer. Whether you are Christian or not, those principles really carry us through.”

 

The tight end concluded with a call for Americans to reach out to those who are suffering.

Photo taken at a community vigil at Pine Trails Park for the victims of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson).

“For me, I look at this young man and know there are a lot of people like him suffering. How can I reach out to him? How can I share the love and hope of Christ to him? How can I listen to him?

“A lot of time, because of the culture we are in, we’re on our cell phones, we’re not paying attention to who is around us, we’re not willing to communicate with others, and so they feel like they’re isolated in these silos.”

Watson is far from the only professional football player to be outspoken about Christianity.

The Seahawks’ Russell Wilson regularly prays at games and routinely uses his social media to share Bible verses and faith-based messages.

The Philadelphia Eagles, who took home the Vince Lombardi Trophy at this year’s Super Bowl, have a number of openly Christian players on their roster.

The team’s wide receiver, Marcus Johnson, was famously baptized ahead of a game against the Carolina Panthers last year.

Tim Tebow, the former quarterback who now plays Major League Baseball with the New York Mets, was frequently targeted by the mainstream media for his public support of abstinence and other traditional Christian principles.

Tim Tebow. Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP).

Benjamin Watson’s remarks on faith and culture received widespread praise on Twitter.

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