I’ve been discovering again in the wake of another horrifying mass shooting how hard it is to discuss the topic of gun safety. But let me get to that further down this post.
The latest mass shooting involves a confluence of a number of issues Americans are facing. One issue is certainly terrorism. The gunman claimed an allegiance to ISIS. This is sure to bring about another round of blaming all Muslims for the horrible actions of a few.
The second issue is the hatred being shown by many towards LGBTQ people. No matter what your view on sexuality issues, there is no grounds in the Christian faith under any circumstance to hate or to discriminate against anyone. If you think so you have seriously misread the Bible and misunderstood Jesus. But it looks like for all the world like the shooter attacked this particular bar because it caters to the LGBTQI community. That is simply evil and we have to call it that. All hate is evil. The Epistle of John tells us that if we hate our brother (or sister) and yet say we love God we are lying and the truth isn’t in us. Yes, strong words from the Bible about hate.
Finally there is the issue of guns and gun safety. Right now in social media if you bring up the idea of any kind of gun restrictions for anyone for any reason you will have someone verbally attack you. Even if you only suggest criminals and terrorists shouldn’t have guns. Or if you even suggest a simple background check before buying a gun. Even if you suggest that certain weapons that we normally think of the military carrying shouldn’t be possessed by anyone or everyone on the street you may get verbally attacked.
This reminds me of people I’ve known over the years who could not discuss differences in religious faith.
When I was in seminary the popular thing to do was to sit around the cafeteria and discuss our latest theology class. But when one particular student would come to the table we would all clam up. Why? Because we learned that this student could not handle anyone disagreeing with his theology. Any disagreement about his theology was seen as an attack on his religious faith.
I am starting to wonder if some people have put such a high value on their right to possess a gun that it has not become almost their religion. In other words protecting their right to have a gun is approaching worship, maybe even idolatry for a few. I know, very strong words.
Let me say clearly that I’m not against law abiding citizens owning a gun and using it in appropriate circumstances. I’m not against anyone going hunting. I’m not even saying not to have a hand gun for self-protection in your home (though statistic show it will make you less safe and not more safe.)
But I do wonder why we cannot come together as an American people and figure out a way to make it harder for criminals and terrorists to get guns? And I wonder why we cannot discuss it without people acting as if their religion is under attack?