A Christian scholar just destroyed “pro-life” conservatives for using religion to justify easy access to guns.
Eastern Kentucky University Department of Philosophy and Religion chair Michael Austin penned an op-ed for the Christian Post on Sunday arguing that Christian gun owners are misinterpreting the very Bible they use to justify their support of firearms.
Indeed, while many conservative “Christians” claim to be “pro-life,” that belief is usually cast aside after mass shootings in favor of doing nothing to prevent gun violence. “Thoughts and prayers” will be offered, but concrete action to stop the killing is frowned upon.
“Because so many people attempt to combine guns and God, Christianity and a Colt .45. I think a strong religious argument in favor of more restrictive gun laws can be made, grounded in Christian ethics.”
One particular passage in the Bible that Christian gun owners often use is found in Luke.
As Austin explains:
“I would add that it is hard to imagine Jesus, if he were present in our culture, carrying a gun. And as the exemplar for Christians, this is significant. Some deny this claim, based on a passage from chapter 22 of Luke’s gospel. Prior to his betrayal and arrest, Jesus tells the disciples ‘If you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one.’ Gun advocates interpret this as a justification for the status quo. But when they do this, they ignore the context of the passage. Later in the chapter, a follower of Jesus uses a sword against a servant of one of the religious leaders involved in the arrest. Jesus tells him, ‘No more of this!’ Moreover, the context of the passage reveals that the point of the exhortation to purchase a sword is to fulfill an Old Testament prophecy, not to use for violence against others.”
But conservatives don’t just cherry-pick the Bible in support of guns. They also continually use verses from Leviticus to justify anti-gay laws while ignoring others such as rules against shellfish.
And most conservatives ignore commands to take care of the poor and the sick all while cutting taxes for the wealthy and taking away healthcare.
Just like those hypocrisies, conservatives are being hypocrites by claiming to be “pro-life” while opposing any new laws to prevent gun violence that takes lives.
Fourteen teens were gunned down last week at their school in Parkland, Florida. Yet, no one is doing anything to prevent future shootings. To Austin, opposing gun laws is inconsistent with claiming to be “pro-life” and urged Christians to seek an end to this never-ending cycle of violence if they truly consider themselves followers of Jesus.
“For Christians who want to have a consistent pro-life ethic across all of the issues related to life and death, the status quo is unacceptable. There is much more to do than simply craft better gun laws, and there is likely no way to guarantee that such things will never happen again. However, we can certainly reduce the number of these tragic events. As followers of Jesus, we have the responsibility to try.”
Also, Austin took the time to debunk standard talking points conservatives use to justify opposition to gun laws.
For instance, gun owners seem to think that Americans need guns to defend themselves against “tyranny.”
Austin pointed out, if the government were going to become tyrannical, it already has the American people out-gunned. And he’s right. The government has nuclear weapons, tanks, fighter jets, aircraft carriers, and Predator drones, not to mention guns that are not available to the public.
If gun nuts think their little stockpile of AR-15s is going to stop that kind of firepower, they are delusional and should not have a gun in the first place.
Besides, it should be pointed out that President Donald Trump is slowly turning the United States into a tyrannical state, especially since he is chipping away at our democratic institutions and the rule of law, but they don’t seem to mind that at all.
And whenever conservatives bring up gun violence in Chicago, they conveniently leave out the fact that while Chicago has strict gun laws, people can just go to a gun store outside of the city and bring guns back. Austin correctly states that if restrictive laws are going to succeed, they need to be applied everywhere.
And that’s why we need federal gun laws. Laws are not consistent state to state and city to city. Gun laws don’t mean anything if someone can buy a gun in a state with weak gun laws and bring it back to a state that has strong gun laws.
Finally, Austin points out that the Second Amendment does not mean there can not be restrictions. After all, the First Amendment guarantees freedom of speech, but we have slander and libel laws and restrictions on hate speech, just to name a few. We have those laws and restrictions to protect people from harmful and damaging speech.
Guns should not be exempt from the restrictions that would keep people safe, especially when people are being killed every day.
Gun owners, especially conservative “Christian” gun owners, are going to have to accept this country needs stronger gun laws. Too many lives have been cut short, and mass shootings are not normal in this country no matter how much the NRA wants us all to believe this is normal.
However, as we all know, conservatives won’t listen to reason, even if it comes from the Bible, especially since they believe that the Bible tells them to get a gun even though it really doesn’t. Guns were invented many centuries after the Bible was written.
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