Thursday, March 5, 2009

Current Events No. 1: Fear Over Change in Gun Policy

In this video D.L Hughley takes a visit to Texas and goes to a world-renowned gun shop to interview some of the customers. Hughley does this to find out why gun sales have been rising since President Obama won the election. He learned that many gun owners believe that the President is going to bring back the Assault Weapons Ban, which banned guns that could hold 10 or more bullets. It is because of this fear that items that would be banned (you know, things like magazines, ak47s and other assault rifles) have become such hot items in the gun-sales market today.

When Hughley asks why it is that these people need their guns so much, he found that the common answer was “for protection”. One man called it, “home defense”, saying that “you don’t want people breaking in and taking your stuff.”

Since the presidential race I’ve heard quite a few conversations on the subject of needing a gun to shoot someone when they break into my house, And to be honest it concerns me. One time, during the presidential race, I heard a woman raging mad yelling and screaming at her colleague (who she knew proclaimed to be a Christian) because he was going to vote for Obama.

“I just don’t know how you can be okay with killing all of those lives!” She yelled.

Leaving the conversation rather hot tempered she returned to her own group of friends and then began talking about how she isn’t going to vote for Obama, and how she certainly needs a gun so that she can shoot someone in the case they break into her house (which apparently happens a lot here in small town Murray, KY!).

Now this woman, just seconds before, was yelling at man and accusing him of murder for voting for Obama, and yet she is totally okay with shooting someone if the occasion arises.

I find this thought very inconsistent. I am all about being pro-life. But I think that we need to be consistently pro-life.

She’s not okay with murdering unborn babies, but totally fine with murdering someone who breaks into her home, and as a Christian? Something is wrong here.

I wonder on what other occasions this woman would be okay with murder.

I wonder if she knows what the Christ of whose name she bears has to say about murder.

I’m guessing she doesn’t. Or it doesn’t seem that she follows those teachings at least. This is strange, since Jesus talks about the subject on several occasions in the scriptures.

Let’s take a look:

Jesus, in what we’ve come to call His Sermon on the Mount is proclaiming what an authentic heart for God should look like. In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus is letting His followers know that as citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven you must set yourself to a higher standard than that of the world –even to a higher standard than the Scribes and the Pharisees (two groups that first century Jews believed had their act together pretty well). In His sermon Jesus goes through a series of Old Covenant laws and teaches His disciples that there is a heart issue underlying each one of them.

Speaking on murder He said:

You have heard that it was said to our ancestors, Do not murder, and whoever murders will be subject to judgment. But I tell you, everyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment. And whoever says to his brother, 'Fool!' will be subject to the Sanhedrin. But whoever says, 'You moron!' will be subject to hellfire.

--Matthew 5:21-22

You see Jesus wants us to greatly cherish all human life. Jesus is telling us that yes it is wrong and punishable to kill someone, however true murder begins with an angry spirit of resentment in the heart. If you have enough hatred in your heart that you can yell obscenities at someone it is clear that you hold no value to that person’s life. This is murder. If we are focused on harming someone’s physical life how can we possibly have any regard for their spiritual life?

Some may ask then, “well, what if someone does break into my home, am I just supposed to allow them to take everything?”

Latter in that same sermon Jesus says:

You have heard that it was said, An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. But I tell you, don't resist an evildoer. On the contrary, if anyone slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. As for the one who wants to sue you and take away your shirt, let him have your coat as well. And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two. Give to the one who asks you, and don't turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.

--Mathew 5:38-42

I believe that these are extremely powerful and challenging statements from Jesus. It sounds like the answer to that question is yes let them take what they want. It seems like if they come in after our TV we should offer them our DVD player as well. Or if someone physically assaults us, perhaps shoots us in the arm, maybe we are called to hold out the other arm for them to shoot as well.

From what I’ve read of the Christians that lived during the Roman Empire it seems like they really took these words of Jesus to heart. And for that reason the emperors didn’t have as much fun killing them (since they had already died to themselves and no longer feared loss in this physical world). In fact, the early Christians cared so much about the lives of others that they even got the reputation for going out in search of abandoned babies who had been left outside the city walls to die. It seems that they understood the radical discipleship of Jesus very well.

Reading through my Bible I find a beautiful message of life. It seams to me that Jesus wants us to hold physical life in high value as we show God’s love to others in this world, especially since we should be concerned about people’s spiritual wellbeing as well as the value of their physical life.


Simply EC said...

Brad and I have been talking about this. I think a lot of Fundamentalists feel that America is "God's Nation" and the whole thing about Fundamentalism being tied up in Gun Control resistance is that they really feel that if a leader does not represent "God" anymore they need to be able to form a militia and take down the government. It sounds totally ludicrous considering that God doesn't have a favorite nation anymore but much of Fundamentalist America really believes that the US is God's nation.
On Wednesday I actually took a picture of a truck with a two bumper stickers that appeared to conflict. One was for a Christian television program, the other read "A man with a gun is a citizen, a man without a gun is a subject".

SRG said...

A compelling read. Frankly, I believe that more people desire weapons for peace of mind than for "protection". Though others, like myself, desire them from a hobbyist perspective. If a car enthusiast can have 4 wasteful camaro's, why cant i have an RPK with a drum magazine?

Mind you, I am all for firearms...I am also all for Obama. Government is mired in sin and corruption, however, so in truth...any argument about any constituency is really a lesser or two evils scenario.