It was the cheers that shook me. They echoed around in the dome of the stadium, the outpouring of more than 10,000 Liberty University students during our weekly convocation.
The school’s president, Jerry Falwell Jr., boomed from the speakers, spurring them on. He reached for his back pocket and referenced the pistol he had there. Then, he encouraged the rest of us to arm ourselves as well, in case “those Muslims,” ever showed up at our Christian college.
Some of us just stared in disbelief. As for the rest, perhaps they were excited to have someone speaking up about gun rights, a topic many conservatives feel passionate about. Perhaps they’d been waiting for an opportunity to release the pain and powerlessness over yet another attack on American soil. Perhaps they didn’t realize the exact implications of what Falwell was saying. Regardless, it turned out that their enthusiasm wasn’t limited to our Lynchburg, Virginia, campus. As Falwell’s call to arms spread in the news, I saw fellow “gun-clinging, Bible-toting American patriots” from across the country offering their support.
There are people at Liberty who believe carrying guns to protect ourselves against attack makes a statement about what our school stands for. As a Christian who values life in all circumstances, I simply cannot agree. The cheers in the stadium that morning contradict our claims to valuing every life on this earth. Applauding while someone speaks about killing anyone—even Islamic terrorists—is unacceptable when we believe that every life is valuable from the point of conception into eternity.
Even when we agree that the world is a safer place without terrorist masterminds and jihadist attackers, ...1
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