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In Guns We Trust

Fear and idolatry are our real gun problem.
In Guns We Trust
Image: Lonny Garris / Shutterstock

Christianity Today published this editorial following the Columbine High School shooting in 1999.

Would Jesus carry an Uzi? Would he have packed a concealed weapon as he entered Jerusalem, moving among those who wanted to do him in? What would Jesus do with the studies showing that concealed weapons are the best deterrent to crime? How would he respond to fears that our government might one day confiscate all our guns if people were forced to register them? What would Jesus say to parents living in crime-prone neighborhoods who feel they and their children are vulnerable to violence?

And how would Jesus judge the United States, with its 15.22 firearm deaths for every 100,000 citizens (compared with .46 for England/Wales and .07 for Japan, according to Newsweek)?

What would he say to those gun owners who carelessly allow their "means of protection" to be found and used by their kids?

These questions are hard to answer. Asking, What would Jesus do? will get us only so far. This is probably why the National Association of Evangelicals has no statement on gun control. The Southern Baptist Convention last commented on the issue in 1968, encouraging President Johnson to crack down on the gun trade while reaffirming the constitutional right to bear arms. Evangelicals include both pacifists and core members of the National Rifle Association.

But just because questions are difficult does not relieve us from the responsibility to address them. We must contribute our voices to the cultural debate over guns because the stakes are so high. How?

Let's debate less and dialogue more. Most Americans, whatever their stance on gun control, want less violence, fewer family accidents, less gun-related crime. However, minds ...

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