God, guns, country? Maybe y’all are reading a different Bible than me…? “Thou shalt not kill.” – Exodus 20 “Blessed are the meek.” – Matthew 5 “…they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.” – Micah 4 “God is love.” – I John 4
Why do folks put guns and God – “gunsandGod” – together in the same breath like they’re somehow connected – somehow equivalent? It makes no sense to me.
Ed Mazza wrote a story in “The Huffington Post” that talked about our president’s attack on his political rival, Joe Biden – an attack that appeared to include the “guns” and “God” equivalency. Mazza relates: “Although Biden is a practicing Catholic who has for years talked openly about his faith, Trump claimed he was ‘against God,’ then launched into a rambling attack on Thursday: ‘Take away your guns, destroy your Second Amendment. No religion, no anything. Hurt the Bible. Hurt God. He’s against God. He’s against guns. He’s against energy. Our kind of energy.’
Mazza continues: “Biden later defended his faith as the ‘bedrock foundation’ of his life.’It’s provided me comfort in moments of loss and tragedy, it’s kept me grounded and humbled in times of triumph and joy,’ he said. He described Trump as ‘shameful’ for the attack. He added: ‘My faith teaches me to love my neighbor as I would myself while President Trump only seeks to divide us. My faith teaches me to care for the least among us while President Trump seems to only be concerned about his gilded friends. My faith teaches me to welcome the stranger while President Trump tears families apart. My faith teaches me to walk humbly while President Trump teargassed peaceful protesters so he could walk over to a church for a photo op’.”
Guns and God. Turnips and God makes as much sense to me. If you love God, you must love turnips, too, right? Or… if you don’t love turnips, you must not love God? Or… if you love turnips you must love guns…and God…? Eesh. Maybe it’s all too deep for me to understand.
Anyway. Here’s some of what The Bible actually says about weapons: “Wisdom is better than weapons of war.” – Ecclesiastes 9:18
“They shall beat their swords into plowshares, And their spears into pruning hooks; Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, Neither shall they learn war anymore.” -Isaiah 2:4
“Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place:for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.” – Matthew 6:25
And here’s what Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of Christian Science, has to say about “the cannon’s mouth”: “A few immortal sentences, breathing the omnipotence of divine justice, have been potent to break despotic fetters and abolish the whipping post and slave market; but oppression neither went down in blood, nor did the breath of freedom come from the cannon’s mouth. Love is the liberator.”
-Karen Molenaar Terrell
(Photo of cannons at Antietam by Karen Molenaar Terrell.)
A friend of mine – a brilliant and thoughtful young man – someone who describes himself as “conservative” – who’s currently serving in the United States Navy and dedicated to protecting our Constitution – sent me a really articulate message the other day. Because he’s someone who knows guns and has been trained to use them in service to our country, I thought he offered a valuable perspective. I asked him if I could share his thoughts. He gave me permission. (Because of his position in the military I’m going to keep his name anonymous.) Here’s what he wrote:
“Hey Karen. I know this is a scary time for all of you teachers, especially with what happened. As you know, I am more conservative, but I think you would agree with my view on gun control: the Constitution explicitly states: ‘A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.’ Most conservatives miss the important line: A WELL REGULATED MILITIA. To me, that does not mean random citizens stockpiling weapons in their garage, or people buying high-powered weapons to simply play with. It means well-organized, trained, local security groups with standardized training and security practices, and that training should be coming from standardized government entities, such as the National Guard. At least, that’s how I interpret it. So when the NRA loudly states that ‘all civilians should be able to buy guns and that they need guns if the government tries to take over their rights’ I can’t help but laugh. Because if the government even tried to do that, the military would be obligated to protect the citizenry against the government due to its oath to the constitution and the country. That is my view. Gun control solutions and mental health solutions must be pursued at the same time. There are so many mental health resources out there that schools and hospitals simply don’t take seriously or under utilize.”
Our local gunshop is a couple miles from our home, down the street from the local elementary school, in the same parking lot with the post office, and next to the pre-school. Here is what it looks like:
Yup. Those are AK-47s. I’m pretty sure. Assault rifles. Weapons made for the purpose of killing a lot of people in a very short time. Being sold in a building down the street from a school. Sharing a parking lot with a government building. Next door to a pre-school.
And… does this strike anyone else as COMPLETELY INSANE?!!!
Here’s what it says on the gun shop’s webpage: “All American Armory is offering discount pricing to persons of faith wishing to purchase firearms to protect themselves and their families. This includes Handguns, Self Defense Shotguns, and AR’s.”
Assault rifles were designed to kill mass amounts of people in a very short time. What the heck are the “faithful” people of my community preparing for?! Is there some zombie invasion here that no one has bothered to tell me about? When did my neighborhood suddenly become a war zone?
I have heard people say that teachers should be armed to protect their students from intruders. And… well… there’s an idea, for sure. Of course, shooting a gun is not like in the movies where you just point and shoot and the bad guy drops. In real life there is “collateral damage” – innocent people sometimes have an annoying tendency to get in the way of the bullets – and, in a school full of teachers armed with guns, the “collateral damage” would be school children. And even if a teacher is an expert shooter she’d have to actually have the gun on her person to be effective against an unexpected intruder, intent on murder.So, yeah – let’s make sure our teachers are walking around their classrooms with the guns holstered to their waists or shoulders for easy access. This will surely give our nation’s kindy-garteners a nice cozy feeling in their first year in school.
Of course, if the intruder is wearing body-proof armor – which is often the case – a little handgun is not going to be a very effective weapon against a man in a bullet-proof vest. So maybe we should arm our teachers with AK-47’s, also. An AK-47 might be a little bulky for a teacher to strap to her waist, but maybe she could carry her AR around in her left hand, while she holds her whiteboard marker in her right. And maybe we should wrap up all our students and teachers in bullet-proof vests like the bad guys to make it all more fair – maybe we should add bullet-proof vests to our students’ school supply lists?
Yeah. That’s the kind of world I want to live in, for sure.
In case anyone’s interested there were two more school shootings yesterday.