In response to the recent shootings, and before the Religious Right blames it on godlessness as they have many times before, Anastasia Basil has a message for conservative Christians who love their guns a lot more than they embrace common sense regarding access to them:
Saying that bad things (like mass shootings) happen because prayer is not permitted in public schools means believing one of two things, or both: that 1) God could intervene but chooses to allow the massacre in order to send a message to people like me, people who believe in the separation of church and state, or that 2) if the shooter had been allowed to pray in school during his formative years, he might not commit acts of evil. Either way, the burden of blame, at least partially, rests with me, a Godless American.
As citizens, you openly prize two things: Jesus and the Second Amendment. Your cries for more God and more guns ring from sea to shining sea. We hear you. Believe me. But here’s the thing: As an American citizen of equal value, I can’t let you claim this country as a gun-loving Christian nation. I live a life of moral decency, as I’m sure you do too. But I do it gunless. This makes me indisputably more Christ-like than you.
In response, you will say I’m stifling your right to religion. Quite the opposite: I’m encouraging you to pick up your Bibles and live more in accordance with your religion. I’m asking you to choose between the right to bear arms and the right to quote Jesus. If you won’t give up your guns, then give up your identity as a Christian. Be disciples of Wayne LaPierre. Make your mantra “From My Cold, Dead Hands,” not “Turn the Other Cheek.”
Obviously, this article is directed at a specific kind of right-wing Christian, not all of them in general. But I agree it’s hard to makes sense of the idea that Jesus “love your neighbor” Christ would have been a fan of the Second Amendment as its interpreted today.
At one point, Basil suggests that we should just do away with the Second Amendment, an idea that will get no traction whatsoever and just alienate a lot of readers otherwise sympathetic to her arugment, but her essay boils down to a choice these Christians have to make: the NIV or the NRA. It can’t be both.
Saying violence is the answer seems to go against even the best possible interpretations of the Gospels.
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