I’ll be honest I’m going through a faith question. The shootings of the schoolchildren in Uvalde Texas last week has actually shook me and my thoughts about things. Those things being my faith. My Christian faith to be exact.
Let me say, I am a gun owner. I have several pistols, shotgun and rifles. I am a responsible gun owner. I have a CWP permit. I believe in the second amendment. I am not a hunter, I don’t shoot skeet. I drive on my job. I go to remote areas down old dirt roads. I walk in woods in those remote areas. In 2009 a monster came across two men in a guard house in Greenville and murdered them in a manufacturing plant that was no longer in operation. A plant that I visited many times and knew those that were murdered. Protection is why I own a weapon. In a perfect world we wouldn’t need a gun but we are far from that perfect world. We are in a world where evil is everywhere. I do believe there are too many people who should not have guns, owning guns. We need stricter background checks. Where there are loopholes, close them. Uvalde should have never happened but it did and we have to keep it from happening again.
Having said that I do not or never will understand the correlation of gun ownership and Jesus. I believe Christianity is the loving, peaceful, just and generous way of life embodied in Jesus. It is characterized more by self-giving than self-defense, by preemptive peacemaking rather than preemptive violence. He told you to love your enemies. He told you to turn your cheek. He told you not to resist an evil person. He told you to be foot washers and wound binders and compassion givers. He told you to care for the least and to feed the poor and to welcome the refugee. That is what he said clearly said. I honestly do not think Jesus cares anything about our love for guns or the second amendment. I think many American Christians are serving two masters.
I have spent all of my life in a conservative and religious area of the country where many people own firearms, I never really understood how intertwined one is with the other and where Christianity even enters the picture but in this country it does. Maybe it’s because of the passage from the Book of Luke in which Jesus says, “Let the one who has no sword sell his cloak and buy one” but then then shortly after this, there is a plot twist. The high priest arrives to arrest Jesus, Peter takes out his sword and cuts off the ear of the priest’s servant. Jesus doesn’t congratulate him on his swordplay. Instead, he heals the ear and says “No more of this!” (22:47-53). In a parallel telling of the story, Jesus tells him, “Put your sword back in its place…for all who draw the sword will die by the sword” (Matt. 26:52). I’m not a theologian by any stretch. I just don’t understand the Jesus and gun connection.
Once again the unthinkable smacked America in the face. We will be smacked again because there will be other shootings, more children will lose their life and this conversation will be repeated by politicians, talking heads and more “thoughts and prayers” will be given. There will be no requirements to strengthen background checks. No initiatives to try to better identify those with mental issues who should never be allowed access to guns. The “red flags” will be ignored. The school buildings will still have doors open.
No amount of horror at Robb Elementary School, no number of dead children stacked up like cordwood is going to change a damn thing in this country.
That’s on us, because we continue to elect do-nothing politicians who publicly mourn and then quickly move on.
Same old thoughts. Same old prayers. Same old politics. Nothing will change.