Yes, Gun Control Is A Spiritual Issue
I was tremendously proud of Royal Palm Christian Church on March 24th when 55 people gathered in our building to support the March for Our Lives rally in Parkland. And I’m proud of the Stoneman Douglas High School students in Parkland who were the force behind the march. They refused to be paralyzed by the trauma they endured on Valentine’s Day when seventeen of their classmates and teachers were shot down and still others were wounded. Instead, the tragedy mobilized them.
With courage, conviction and intelligence, the students have lifted up their voices and inspired others in a renewed effort to establish reasonable gun control laws in our country. In the last several decades, gun laws have become more and more permissive. Open carry was unheard of except in rural sections of a very few states. Conceal carry was very restrictive. People were required to provide specific justifications in order to get legal permits.
The murder rate has significantly declined in the U.S. during the last thirty years. Nevertheless, it has declined less in states with the most permissive laws and the greatest percent of gun owners. Though gun advocates claim that more guns in the hands of citizens will deter crime, the evidence points in the opposite direction. I encourage you to take a look at a brief summary of the evidence found if you click on the hyperlink here.
Those who claim better laws won’t make any difference are greatly mistaken. States that have reasonable gun laws in place, such as Massachusetts, have far less gun deaths per capita than states with virtually no gun laws, like Alaska. What is at stake in this issue is, above all, not the Second Amendment but human life. And when human life is at stake that makes the issue a moral and spiritual matter, not primarily a political one.
In some quarters Stoneman Douglas survivors have been ridiculed and demonized for being outspoken on gun control. Lies and distortions have been spread about them on “news” programs and through social media. I’ve seen shameful memes that utterly sicken me. Some of the families have actually had death threats. And for what? For wanting to outlaw assault-type weapons with large capacity magazines, and put in place a few other reasonable laws?! When the weapons the students oppose where outlawed in the past, incidents of mass shooting dramatically fell, as is pointed out here.
Jesus is the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6). And he calls us to be peacemakers (Matthew 5:9). His way of making peace is not through the proliferation of weapons but through unarmed love. In love let us support those policies and practices that will lead to less death and suffering.
Grace and Peace,