I have noticed over the past months, that every time there is a mass shooting in America, persons who identify themselves as Christians, sometimes also as evangelicals, but not always, try to steer the conversation away from our gun culture. They have pointed to other countries as greater security risks than America, or have expressed their concerns about immigration, or just flat out deny that we have a gun problem in this country. So, as a lifelong Christian, I am coming out and saying out loud, "WE HAVE A GUN PROBLEM!!! Why do some followers of the Prince of Peace think it is more important to protect the right of someone to buy an assault rifle than it is to protect the rights of people to not be shot by a stranger? Our politicians are inept and scared, and will do nothing to raise the level of debate about guns. Donald Trump, as expected, blames President Obama for the Orlando shooting. Hillary Clinton has made some gentle remarks about our problem with guns, but does anyone think she will really come out and advocate for banning assault rifles? As a Christian, I believe that the right to live free from threat of attack comes before the right of someone to buy a machine gun just because they can. The NRA and it's insane leader has convinced many Americans that any move to tighten gun laws, or even to close gun law loopholes, or even to make guns safer is an attack on the Constitution itself. Jesus was a prophet, he spoke truth to power. He advocated for the powerless and took on bullies. Try as some folks will, one cannot take his words and make them advocate for eye-for-eye killing, as the NRA means when it states, "The only remedy for a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun." How many of the victims in Orlando died in the crossfire when the good guys went after the bad guy? I don't believe the gun culture will improve in America, because the power lies with those who value the status quo. But since when was that a reason for Christians to remain silent, or worse, to join those who want the gun culture to thrive? Christianity, at its heart, calls for radical unselfishness. I may have to give up something to enhance the common good. Perhaps I need to eat less, pollute less, spend less free time watching TV and, instead, work to help others. Maybe, just maybe, in order to work to eliminate the frequency of mass murder in America I need to admit that our gun culture is not only unhealthy, but also at odds with the message of the Gospel. Why is that so hard for many Christians to do?
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