Faith and Guns

This Sunday is Pentecost Sunday, which by tradition is celebrated as the birthday of the Church. Birthdays, whether personal or institutional, offer us a chance to reflect on our heritage. Part of our heritage as Christians is a distrust of violence, a suspicion that violence is ineffective for doing God’s work here on earth. Martin Luther King expressed this suspicion exactly: “Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars.” We claim this part of our Christian heritage when we express our concerns about the easy access to the mechanisms of violence in our society.

On April 16, America watched as 46 Senators, including Wisconsin's Ron Johnson, capitulated to the presumed political power of the National Rifle Association. Their political analysis was perfectly straight forward: “If I vote in favor of even reasonable restrictions on gun ownership, the NRA will put money and a small, but motived, base against me when I run for re-election.” This kind of cold calculating cost-benefit analysis—in addition to being morally bankrupt—has a fatal flaw. It assumes that the political landscape today is what the political landscape will be when these Senators run for re-election. That will not happen. We will not forget Sandy Hook. We will not forget the more than 30,000 of our fellow citizens who die from gun violence every year in our country.

People will continue to die tragically, one by one, every day, from gun violence and, apparently, ever more frequently in mass shootings. The Senators who voted against reasonable gun regulations are betting that the NRA can protect them from the consequences of their votes. They are betting that a mass shooting or shocking incidence of gun violence will not happen in Arkansas, Montana, North Dakota or Alaska. They are betting that a mass shooting or shocking incidence of gun violence will always happen in December, not in late October. In October, when their opponents will be able to run 30-second commercials that play in an endless loop the callous, cowardly,  heartless, senseless, legally-wrong statements they made to justify their votes against lifesaving background checks. They are betting that the small group of voters promised by the NRA will not be swept away by the ninety percent of voters who favor reasonable gun regulations.

The NRA has convinced them to make a foolish bet. They are betting against the moral arc of the universe, which we know bends toward justice.

~ Jerry Hancock


Posted on May 14, 2013 at 10:35 am in Featured Content.

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