Guns and God

The NYT reported on the outrageous promotion offered by pastor Ken Pagano to his Louisville, KY congregation of the New Bethel Church: Bring Your Gun To Church Day. This special event "will include a $1 raffle of a handgun, firearms safety lessons and a picnic." Delightful!

Says the pastor: "I don’t see any contradiction in this. Not every Christian denomination is pacifist," and "God and guns were part of the foundation of this country."

I can hardly think of a more sacrilegious act than the shooting and murder of a man inside a Kansas church, unless it was the clergyman himself who was shot. A temple is meant to be a sanctuary, where people commune with each other and with God, and learn the lessons of scripture. It is used as a political instrument in every faith, to be sure. The Times claims that the New Bethel Church promotion is part of a larger anti-Obama backlash. That may be true, but that hardly justifies the juxtaposition of the Church and a deadly instrument of violence.

I studied to obtain a firearms safety license two years ago. I wanted to be comfortable in the handling of a firearm and possibly go out and hunt. I've fired weapons, and even enjoyed it. But I am too concerned about safety to allow guns in my house. I don't want one of my four sons misusing a gun with tragic ends.

That bears restating: I am too concerned about safety to allow guns in my house. This inverts the misguided belief most gun-toting Americans have about ensuring the safety of their loved ones.

According to the BBC, the early Christian church (pre-Constantine) was strongly pacifist. Some snippets from the Bible selected by Jim Foxvog in his online article, "Christian Pacifism is the Scriptural Position," affirm this stance:

“Love your enemy and pray for those who persecute you.” ( Mt 5.44 , Lu 6.27 , Lu 6.3 ) “Do not use force against an evil man.” ( Mt 5.39 ) “Do not resist evil with evil.” “Forgive and you will be forgiven.” (Lu 6.37 ) “Do not be anxious about your life.”( Lu 12.22 ) “He who lives by the sword will perish by the sword.” ( Mat 26.52 )


Anonymous said...

It's not that outrageous. Guns are used for protection of self and family, which is a God given right. Your response to the article is slanted, implying that guns were being used to murder inside this Kansas church. You then imply it would ok if the pastor were murdered. Now that's outrageous.

Perhaps you're taking some literary latitude to try to raise emotions of your readers.

Having a gun and being trained to use it is not being aggressive. While you have found several versus that support your one sided position... there are also versus that suggest otherwise.

Enjoy your day.

igm said...

Anon, you misunderstood me. I said the *only thing* more sacrilegious than someone being killed in that church is if that someone was the clergyman. I have my Possession and Acquisition License for firearms in Canada. I don't begrudge responsible ownership and gun use. But juxtaposing Guns and God seems wrong.