Examining Christianity's Role in the Gun Debate

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I'm a Christian. I'm not a particularly good one, but I'm a Christian.

My faith is important to me, even if I'm a terrible ambassador of it. My right to keep and bear arms is also important to me.


So, when I come across something that seeks to argue that Christianity has a role in the gun debate, it piques my interest. 

Far too often of late, that role seems to be whatever the flavor du jour of the extreme left is on pretty much any political issue. Whereas Christianity was akin to right-wing thought when I was younger, it now seems more and more to be part of the left wing.

And that often means gun control.

So, with that in mind, I clicked on an article recently that seems to suggest Christianity had a role to play in the debate.

Subsequent research into Christian attitudes in the gun debate uncovered serious misconceptions in both camps, he said. “When we normally talk gun violence in America, we think of views like ‘abolish the Second Amendment’ at one extreme and unlimited rights, regardless of the cost, on the other.”

A broader reading of Scripture, Austin said, led him to lean even more into his previously held pacifist positions on gun violence more than on gun control.

Moderator Don Payne, an administrator and theology professor at Denver Seminary, noted the issue of gun violence seems to generate more passion and touch more lives than the issue of gun control.

“Gun violence is a lot broader,” Payne said, because it includes homicides by gun, defensive gun use, accidental shootings and suicide by gun. Physical injuries and psychological trauma are also significant consequences of violent firearm use.

“The issues related to gun violence don’t immediately take us to the gun control question,” he explained.


The problem, however, is that far too many people do take it right there. They trip over themselves to immediately take hold of any situation and leverage it to push for gun control, often in ways that had nothing at all to do with what happened.

I mean, just look at what Maine passed using Lewiston to justify it. Absolutely none of it had any bearing on what took place that horrific day. They just used Lewiston as a pretext.

So there's a reason we, at least, tend to immediately dig in for "the gun control question."

But I agree that it shouldn't be that way. It's a terrible way to respond to literally everything.

Payne goes on to talk about all kinds of things the church can do to help mitigate some of the issues such as reaching out to those who are depressed or lonely, thus potentially helping prevent most so-called gun deaths which are due to suicides, but I would argue might actually help prevent a number of mass shootings.

After all, mass murderers are often described as outsiders and loners. Were they loners or just lonely? 

The worst case scenario is some people end up not being so lonely, even if it doesn't prevent horrific tragedies. That's not the most terrible way to fail.

Yet Payne also said something that I vehemently disagree with.

Another helpful response could come from educational efforts around firearm safety and storage needed to protect children from gun injuries and deaths, he continued. “There are some good things we could do in the law, but broadly speaking we can do a lot as the church of Jesus Christ to reduce gun violence that doesn’t have anything to do with the public policy debates, necessarily.”

Christians also can play a vital part in addressing the hostility and polarization in American culture that leads to rampant gun violence, Austin said. “This goes to things about character formation, spiritual formation, the presence of anger and how that leads to violence. Many people point out it’s not a gun problem, it’s a sin problem. I want to argue it’s both.”


No, it's really not.

Remove the gun and the sin remains. That sin is then directed through some other instrument, such as a knife or a bat or even bare hands.

On the other hand, if you remove the sin from people's hearts, the gun is nothing. It's just a thing that sits there and does absolutely nothing.

That's why it's so hard to have a discussion with folks like Payne. On one hand, he comes right up to the brink of seeing the problem and, perhaps more importantly, seeing the solution, only to back up and repeat the same nonsense talking point that's been pushed by secular anti-gunners for decades.

For years, the left wanted Christianity as far from American politics as possible. Today, it seems they've infiltrated it and are using it for their own ends. In this case, that's gun control.

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