In the wake of Sunday’s church shooting, UVA professor Charles Marsh was quick to blame the NRA and lack of adequate gun control. Later he posted a thoughtful excerpt from a letter his father had written, and encouraged others to share. I do so to help me comprehend and process what a Christian’s position should be. These are far from my final words on the subject.
Charles: A letter written about fifteen years ago from my father, a conservative Southern Baptist preacher:
"The tragedy of gun violence is to me a manifestation of the tragedy of today's brand of USA Christianity: the refusal to acknowledge that following Jesus places the disciple in contradiction to culture. Church people are getting their signals from political ideology, NRA lobbyists, and southern heritage. I would be labeled liberal by many Christians because I believe very passionately that guns should be controlled. There is no rational connection between the 2nd Amendment and stock piling of semiautomatic rifles and ammunition.
"What is the church's role? Teach the people to take seriously the teachings of Jesus, and focus on His teachings which oppose violence! Jesus, and when He talked about refusing to be people of violence, that is what He meant. If I want what is best for my fellow beings, if I really desire to see a society of order, security, and freedom, then I should have no problem in seeing the connection between guns for all and the prevailing tragedies of war and mass killing that follow. The prophets had a vision of the kingdom where swords would be beaten into plows. I hope and I pray, that we in the church will capture that vision.”
I trust Charles did not edit the letter in order to make it say something else. I certainly agree with almost all of Bob’s statement. There is no need for a US citizen to stockpile semiautomatic rifles and ammo. Gun control laws are on the books. They just aren’t enforced.
Several re-posted a meme: “Given today’s church shooting, I’m curious about Texans’ reaction regarding gun violence and reasonable regulation.” Several posted their agreement. A friend replied “Sad that you politicize senseless murder. It's not a gun control issue. He wasn’t supposed to have the gun that he did. Rules are for people that follow them. This is a result of living in a fallen world where life has no value. It's a matter of the heart, good vs. evil. If you think gun control works, see Chicago.” Others just shouted him down. People didn’t hear a word he was saying.
I have yet to read the details of this Texas church shooting, of who the shooter was or whether he legally owned the firearms. The same cries for gun control rang out right after the massacre in Las Vegas, and it turned out the weapons involved were already banned. Authorities allowed access to individuals who should not have been.
Is this not an enforcement problem? If assault weapons are already banned, additional laws aren’t going to help. If the guns are taken away evil people will use knives, box cutters, bricks, planes, cars, and fertilizer bombs.
I do not own a gun, and really don’t want to. The only reason I would ever consider owning a gun would be because times would continue to get worse and worse. By that time I’m not sure a gun would help.