Sunday, June 28, 2009

In Guns We Trust

Scanning the BBC headlines today, I saw this article: US pastor opens church to guns. You will probably want to take a minute or two to read it before reading this post (click here)

For my part, I find it very difficult to justify the legal ownership of handguns by the public. There is a lot of evidence that suggests that handguns are more often used for harm than for good. A police commander in DC says "Most of the motives for homicides are arguments or robbery related and the quick pull of the trigger means somebody's life." (bbc article) The BBC also reports that there are an estimated 90 guns for every 100 US citizens, and that "firearms, including handguns, are used in two-thirds of murders and about 42% of robberies committed in the US, according to statistics from the FBI"

To be fair, there are also a lot of good arguments for the ownership of handguns, many of them having to do with either self-defense or the Second Amendment. For those who identify themselves in the church, some of these arguments seem to stand on shaky ground. Which has become more sacred to Christians in the US: the Bible and church authority, or the Constitution?

The issue here is not only gun control laws in the US, it is about the role of the chu
rch. Churches have the opportunity to make a difference in their communities and even their nation by banding together. Most Christians would agree that this ability can and should be used to help and care for their community. This is part of living in the kingdom of God.

I think it's fair to say that people could believe in gun ownership as a means of helping others. What troubles me is the stance this particular church has taken. The pastor (at right) is reported to have told the congregation: "We are wanting to send a message that there are legal, civil, intelligent and law-abiding citizens who also own guns". It seems that this church is using its status as a sort of social club to make a political point.

I could probably write at least another post on the topic of the separation of church and state. Instead I will simply close, as I often do, with a question. As churches, what are we supporting, and why? Are there things we should be advocating which we are not?

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