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. (Version of Second Amendment passed by the Congress)…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. (Version of Second Amendment ratified by the States and authenticated by Thomas Jefferson, Secretary of State–From Wikipedia)
The recent shootings in Colorado, Oregon and Connecticut have brought up the thorny issue of gun control in the US of A. The Connecticut shootings of last month has pushed the White House to pass a sweeping gun control law that is bucking up against the National Rifle Association (NRA). For the first time in Lord knows how long, gun control debates-coupled with Second Amendment issues-are being waged from Capitol Hill down to the kitchen table.
Like many Americans, I too believed in the right to bear arms. Although I was never a fan of the NRA, I believed that one should have the right to protect their home, business, and person with whatever works; and if that includes a Smith & Wesson, so be it. My attitude was that it was either them or me-and I was going to be the one walking out alive. I also believed that any gun control that would get guns out of the hands of law-abiding citizens (like Yours Truly) was an infringement on our Constitutional and personal liberties. And with an overworked police community in the US thanks to decreasing budgets, keeping a firearm within easy reach provided that needed assistance in a pinch.
Plus, there are many Christians in the US who share my view. Although Jesus said to “turn the other cheek”, my attitude was that I only have two cheeks. If you go on many social media-especially Facebook-you’ll see Christians endorsing the Second Amendment and/or NRA, while slamming President Obama’s new gun law.
However, there’s the other side…the side that also keeps cropping up in me: the side of Christ that reminds me, “blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons (and daughters) of God” (Matthew 5:9). That part that tells me to “turn the other cheek”, to forgive continually, that “he that lives by the sword (or gun) shall die by the sword (or gun)”. This is the part that keeps nagging me during this debate. It’s as if Jesus is asking me how I can be his follower, yet endorse the use of firearms at the personal level-participating in our American culture of violence.
Plus, there are those Christians who endorse President Obama’s new gun law while slamming the NRA’s stranglehold on our politicians, and the Right’s religious hypocrisy in supporting the “right” to bear arms. They too hear the voice of Jesus and warn of continuing violence in our land if our “gun-fetish” (for lack of better words) is not put in check.
Heavy stuff, ain’t it gang?
In the days ahead, we’re going to hear more about the gun control debate from all sides. And it sure won’t end anytime soon. But the sides we won’t hear in the news is our personal wrestling with the issue and how it affects us as the conscience level. In spite of what sides the media broadcasts, it’s the conscience level that needs to be heard the most.
Like I said, no easy answers.