Guns and Jesus

gun bibleI grew up hunting squirrels in the woods behind my house with a .22 bolt-action rifle. I never did acquire a taste for fried squirrel but to the dogs it seemed like a delinquency. These days I am more of a fisherman than a hunter. My brothers and father are avid outdoor sportsmen. They hunt anything from black bears, dear, and turkey.

My issue with guns allowed in places of worship has nothing to do with the right to carry guns. I just believe some places should be gun free.

Last Thursday, March 7th, 2013, the Georgia House of Representatives passed a bill that would ease gun restrictions in the state. Representatives in Cherokee County voted in favor of the bill.   House Bill 512, which passed with a 117-56 vote, would allow gun owners with a valid Georgia weapons carry license to take firearms in bars, churches, some areas of colleges and universities and onto some unsecured government properties.

As a follower of Jesus, I oppose this bill primarily because carrying concealed weapons into a house of worship is at odds with the gospel. The one the church recognizes as Lord is called Prince of Peace. His way is the way of the cross. An attempt to make a law allowing concealed weapons to be carried in public places speaks to a culture of fear. If anyone is going to stand against a culture of fear it must be the church. The church must stand as the way of Jesus. A way of peace and truth in a world of fear and threat.

In the church we have a belief in a God who watches over us intensely and acts for our greatest good. God’s love for the world is so great that God sent His Son to rescue us from sin and death. Our hope rest in this God who promises to watch over us from birth to death and grant eternal life to all who believe. “The Lord is for me, so I will have no fear. What can mere people do to me” (Psalm 118:6)?Passing laws that favor bringing guns in the sanctuary weakens the witness of the church by demonstrating that our hope and protection rest on something other than Christ.

What are your thoughts? How do you see this issue?

2 thoughts on “Guns and Jesus

  1. I’m a Life Member of the National Rifle Association and I tend to agree with you. But maybe the decision should be left up to the individual churches?
    I am far more concerned by our governments unending wars of aggression, our nuclear arsenal, and support of foreign dictatorships than I am of citizens possessing small arms which are sometimes used for sport and mostly not at all. The war on the poor and middle class and the militarization of local police forces also concerns me more than my neighbor’s possessing an AR-15.
    I do believe as you that Christ is our security and our life, but just as we must labor for our food in this fallen world, we are also expected to defend ourselves and our neighbor.

  2. GA HB 512 (Committee Substitute) removes unreasonable restrictions to law abiding citizens exercising their Constitutional rights. Hunting, sport shooting, etc. is not relevant to the bill.

    As written GA HB 512 addresses and protects the Constitutional right of law abiding citizens to carry a firearm. This along with other rights guaranteed under the Constitution are not predicated upon time or place but are reserved to the people. Regardless of public sentiment or any group agenda, government at no level can act beyond the Constitution to restrict or abridge these rights. A gun free zone has no Constitutional merit in the same way that a religion or speech free zone has no Constitutional merit.

    As written GA HB 512 addresses the right of law abiding citizens to carry a firearm in public places where such carry is not prohibited by law or the decision of the property owner. Specifically a property owner including a church has the right to exclude from its property a person who is in possession of a weapon on their private property. That decision lies entirely with the property owner. Absent such a decision by the property owner, the right of the citizen is unchallenged.

    There who advocate for and support the Constitutional right to carry a firearm, etc. in private and public are no more acting in fear than those who oppose such carry are acting in ignorance and denial of reality. Advocates for concealed/open carry appreciate that there are legitimate reasons why citizens will carry firearms. Especially as pertains to crime, they choose to be proactive rather than allow themselves, their loved ones or other innocent persons to be victims dependent upon the seldom tender mercy of criminals.

    Trust in God does not preclude the use of wisdom or the exercise of common sense. The passage of a law that permits law abiding citizens to carry a firearm/weapon in a Church is not at odds with sincere Christian faith and practice. Law abiding Christians have for many years routinely carried firearms/weapons in church services. One need only think of men carrying various pocket knives in or clipped to their pockets. One need only think of policemen carrying firearms while volunteering to provide parking lot direction, serving as ushers or simply sitting in the choir or congregation sharing in praise and worship. The same is exactly true of a law abiding citizen carrying out these or other functions in the life and work of the Church.

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