Thursday, July 3, 2008

Here a gun, there a gun, everywhere a gun, gun...

No, it’s not a verse of Old MacDonald Had A Farm (E-I-E-I-O), it’s just something in the air of late. After the recent 5-4 decision of the U.S. Supreme Court clarifying that the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms applies to individuals as well as the forming of militias, the topic is on many people’s minds.

Over at Dr. Scot McKnight's “Jesus Creed” blog (the Jesus Creed is simply this: Love God and love others as yourself), the typical post gets twenty, thirty comments. Scot’s post of June 27th about the Court’s decision was entitled, “I don’t care if it is law, it just doesn’t seem right” and has garnered 177 comments so far. Then today, mixed in with all his other posts about Heaven, Our Reasonable Faith, Dr. Dobson and Conservative Politicians, The Gospel of Ruth, etc., is another post, a question this time, “Do You Own A Gun?”

Since I have no right to anyone else’s words but my own, I will repeat a tactic I used a few months back and show you only my own contributions to Dr. McKnight’s threads. If you want to read what others have said as well, go to for the entire exchange.

From the June 27th thread:

9. Scot, the other side of the coin that is your title (“I don’t care if it is law, it just seems so wrong”) is a line from a long-ago Christian comedy album called Tiptoe Through the Tithers: “It must be the will of the Lord ’cause it seems so right to me.” Both points of view don’t reflect much prayer having gone on regarding whatever subject is being talked about.

Jump to conclusions, that’s the ticket.

Some of the writings of the Founding Fathers indicate that the right to keep and bear arms, in addition to easing the forming of a militia, puts government leaders on notice that the populace will resist government-imposed tyranny as well.

If that is shocking, you don’t know your history.

31. Re Scot (#10): Not that the point isn’t known, but the point is that times have changed. Do you think we should bear arms to prepare ourselves to resist tyranny?

Sorry to be so long in replying. I had to run out to my local gun store...just kidding.

I do not agree that times have changed. And people haven’t changed either. Still sinful. Still struggling. Only the technology is different.

To answer your question, I think if someone doesn’t bear arms, tyranny will be encouraged at home and abroad. Look at Germany between the World Wars. It changed very suddenly. We could too. But I personally do not own a weapon. Maybe that’s being spiritual. Maybe it’s only passing the buck.

Pray for me and I’ll pray for you. Let us both pray for our country and our world.

40. Apparently the “settled understanding” of which Justice Stevens speaks wasn’t so settled.

43. It isn’t a “new constitutional right.” According to the majority opinion, it’s right there in the Second Amendment, been there all along.

119. Scot (#113), It was said during the Viet Nam era, in the days before our country had an all-volunteer military, that the U.S. government never forces anyone to kill people. What the U.S. government does is draft you into the military, give you free food and clothing, train you how to kill people, give you the equipment to kill people with, give you a free airplane ride to a country ten thousand miles away, set you down in the middle of a jungle where lots of other people are trying to kill you, and let you make your own decision.

So much for how well turning the other cheek works in the real world.

By scrunching up all my powers of observation, I gather from this post and all the comments that there is not an agreed-upon “evangelical position” on the subject, your own opinion notwithstanding.

147. RJS, what do you do with Genesis 9:5-6, “And surely your blood of your lives will I require; at the hand of every beast will I require it, and at the hand of man; at the hand of every man’s brother will I require the life of man. Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man.”

The Lord is speaking here to Noah after the flood, and seems to be specifically requiring the death penalty for killing a man, because man was made in God’s image.

161. Let us say the flooding in Iowa and Missouri are “reality.” So the local populace in towns along the rivers have decided to “fight back” the menace by stockpiling sandbags in order to be ready when the trouble comes. Are all of you nice people saying they should just let Ol’ Man River come in and destroy their towns, with possible human deaths the result, because that is what you have decided Jesus would do? After all, He told the Sea of Galilee, “Peace, be still” and we should all be acting as He acted. Right?

172. Scot (#162) and RJS (#164), Yes, my post (#161) was facetious. Well, semi-facetious. “Somewhat” tongue in cheek, as you say. But only somewhat.

And of course it isn’t an argument. Still, it makes one think.

If you don’t close off the comments soon, this topic may go on forever, because no one is likely to convince anyone else.

And from the new post, the one started today:

13. Somewhere deep inside me, a paranoid streak says that Big Brother or terrorists or some diabolical group could monitor threads like this one and decide, probably rightly, that Christians would make an easy target, defenseless as they are and all that. I know it’s crazy. Or maybe not. As the old coffee cup says, “Just because I’m paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not out to get me.”

About the guns, my dad owned a .22 rifle and a .12-gauge shotgun for hunting and a .38 pistol (handgun) for protection. Never used the pistol as far as I know, but kept it in the bedroom, loaded. My mother was petrified, and I suppose her fear was absorbed by me. I don’t own a gun and don’t want one. Dad took me hunting once; I killed a squirrel and felt terrible about it and never wanted to hunt again. I went skeet-shooting as an adult and did pretty well; it was fun for a little while, but soon got very boring. As far as I know, my two sons do not own guns. My daughter is married to a policeman; he has taken her to a firing range and taught her how to handle a pistol. I am deeply conflicted about the whole thing, because, yes, guns are dangerous. But sometimes they seem to be necessary to keep the wolf from the door.

Fortunately, most people don’t have to find their own food nowadays; we leave the slaughtering of animals to others and feel superior in our gunlessness. Of course, there’s always vegetarianism, but I suppose that is a topic for another day.

No one said any of this had to make any sense.

The new thread has 17 comments already and it’s not even 8:30 a.m. yet.

Some of you have now heard all of my thoughts on the subject of guns that you ever care to hear. But if any of you are interested in what other Christians have to say, the Jesus Creed blog awaits you.

1 comment:

  1. Interesting post, Mr. B. I don't presently have a firearm in my home, but for years I kept in a closet my dad's .22 rifle and my half-brother's "trophy of WW II" Japanese sniper rifle, which our neighbor would use from time to time when he went big game hunting.
    I was taught how to shoot a .22 when I was a teenager, but never killed anything other than a few empty cans and beer bottles at the city dump.
    At one point in my life, due to economic necessity, my husband and I lived in place that was not as "safe" as it could have been. My husband's job sometimes required him to be away from Monday morning - Friday night. During those absences, I slept with our dog on one side of the bed, and a loaded 12-gauge shotgun on the other. I would have used the shotgun in self-defense should the occasion warranted. Fortunately, I did not have to do so.