Sunday, December 16, 2012

The Dilemma of Gun Control for the Christian

I must admit that after the disaster in Newtown, Connecticut, as a Christian I was at a loss as to what to think about “gun control”.

For years, I have been listening to the arguments on both sides.  I have a son-in-law that is adamant that everyone should be allowed to own a handgun for protection of his/her life and that of their family.  I know that most American conservatives are GOP voters and thus most so far have supported the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution that protects the right of the people to keep and bear arms, unconnected to service in the military, and to use that right for self-defense within one’s home, among other things.  On the other hand, I am aware that most Christians believe that aside from one’s involvement in an act of war against an aggressor for his/her own country or on behalf of another other, one is not to kill.

When the amendment was adopted over 221 years ago, early American settlers viewed the right to arms as critical and needed for one or more of these purposes (not in order of deemed importance):
  • deterring tyrannical government;
  • repelling invasion;
  • suppressing insurrection;
  • facilitating a natural right of self-defense;
  • participating in law enforcement;
  • enabling the people to organize a militia system.

Do any of these readily apply today?  Only two (repelling invasion – especially in one’s home -- and facilitating a natural right of self-defense) come real close at the moment.  Admittedly, the first one (deterring tyrannical government) may indeed come into play before long the way things are going and if so, the last one (enabling the people to organize a militia system) will also be valid.  The third one (suppressing insurrection) is something that may be required if and when infiltrated terrorist groups promoting intolerant Islamist Jihad start acting up more than they do now, as America and Canada allows more Muslims with that intent to enter the country.  One only has to look at what is happening in other countries where this is the case.  For up to date daily examples, one needs to check  Finally, that leaves the fifth one (participating in law enforcement) and as the need for the third one arises, so will the need for this one since more and more of our own police forces are becoming reticent to respond effectively to those that take such actions against those of us who may not support their Sharia law and other beliefs.  In short, every one of the reasons that were in the mind of early Americans when the Second Amendment was approved are alive and well and living in America (and to a certain extent Canada) today.

So, where does that leave us as Christians?  One question we may well ask is this:  What steps has the government taken to convince us that they are doing all they can to:
  • to govern us democratically and honestly
  • to stop (home, state, country) invasions
  • to suppress insurrection 
  • to facilitate our natural right of self-defense
  • to allow us to assist in enforcing the law especially where the police is not doing their job, and
  • to enable the people to organize a militia system where necessary?

I think the answer is obvious – very little.

On December 16, 2012, the news source, WND, asked the following question with respect to gun control in light of the massacre in Newtown, Connecticut two days earlier:  What if only one teacher had a gun?

Implying an answer to its own question – that is, that the gunman may well have been dead before many of his twenty-seven victims lost their lives – it asked a follow-up question: Does making schools “gun-free zones” really protect children, or make them easy targets?

In 1999, after a similar event in Israel, the country dumped its strict gun laws dating back to British rule over the area and opened the doors for concealed carry permits.  Teachers and kindergarten nurses now started to carry guns.  Parents (and often grandpas) protected schools, guarding them in voluntary shifts. No school group went on a hike or trip without armed guards.  I was there since then and I actually witnessed this on several occasions.  Word got around that this was the case and after a few attempts by the PLO at the time failed, the attacks against schools ceased because of the risk to themselves that was now involved.  And here’s the point, according to some:  Terrorists and other evildoers don’t like risks.  We seem to ignore that.

How do we ensure, as we must, that our children are safe?  As long as attackers have guns we must also arm defenders.  The argument that if you ban guns, attackers won’t have them is, in my humble opinion, totally unrealistic at best.  Our success in achieving that would be equivalent, as some have pointed out, to our success in eliminating the use of pot, meth, and crack and its availability on the street.  In a word, total failure.

Of course, the liberals say it is the teachers’ jobs to teach, not carry arms to protect their students.  Well, aside from the fact that thousands of teachers who strike regularly for their own greedy purposes need to be told that from time to time, (no, not all – there are some very dedicated and self-sacrificing teachers thank God, but more need to learn how to stand up to their unions), I do not for a moment believe that some teachers would not see the right to carry guns as a necessary evil not only to protect their charges but also to protect themselves.  Six adult educators were killed in Newtown on this occasion.  Let’s face it, schools have children, and madmen or terrorists are attracted to places where they can do the most hideous acts in order to get the greatest reaction and in so doing, will kill teachers and principals too.

According to WND, in 2008, the tiny school district in Harrold, Texas, made national news when it approved a policy change permitting employees to carry concealed firearms to deter and protect against school shootings.  When a major newspaper checked with them after the Newtown disaster four years later, the superintendent said there has not been an incident on his campus since implementing the policy and he doesn’t expect one.

There have been some other attempts in other school districts in various states to introduce such a plan, but so far to little, or no, avail.  The liberals just do not see the need, often arguing that children in Israel are more vulnerable to attack than children in America.  I have a question for them: Where have you been?  Or, should that be “what drug are you on?”

But let us get back to the issue of the Christian in all of this.  Are we not supposed to value life?  Are we not supposed to have total faith in God to protect our children and us?  Those are good questions, but they are not fairly asked by those of us who so far sit comfortably in our homes watching the grieving parents of Newtown.  They and those that have suffered like them can only ask these questions.  And I believe God would have sufficient answers for each one of them individually.

For me, the answer is clear.  Yes, I value life.  But I ask myself what I would do in the following fictional scenario:
  •  I am a Christian nurse, totally dependent on God in every aspect of my life
  • ·By some strange circumstance, I find myself working with a doctor that is about to carry out an abortion at the request of a woman who does not want her life interfered with by the responsibilities of a child
  • My country allows all of us to carry guns
  • My country (by some miracle) also has outlawed all abortions.
I asked myself, "Would I kill the abortionist?"  I was shocked that it did not take too long for me to answer.  If I could not stop him/her in any other way, I would.  And the speed with which that answer came to me, not to mention the answer itself, helped me understand why I am on the side of the right to carry guns.  Few of us will actually live in a situation like in my fictional scenario, but many of us will someday find ourselves in other situations where the need to take similar action will be necessary.

I believe there are times other than in war that God intends to use others to stop a brutal killing of someone else – be it a fetus, a child, or an older person.  It is not a matter of not being dependent on God, it is a matter of acting in the interests of God to protect life and its sanctity – especially the life you are responsible for – be it in a classroom, on your bus, or in your home.

Please note:  This is not my preferred position.  As a Christian, I would rather there be no guns at all needed, anywhere.  I would rather live in a Civil Society.  And I admit that in some respect the ability to carry guns makes everything seem more uncivil.  But let us not allow the continuation of killings of innocent children because we search for, and do anything to get, this Edenic Civil Society we all long for.  I wish that were not the case.  Deep down I believe every Christian should be a total pacifist in a totally pacifist society.  But that is not reality.  I'd love to hear your comments preferably below.

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