The answer to ethical questions for Christians must begin with the Scriptural teachings of Jesus.  Not necessary what would Jesus have done, but what a faithful follower of Jesus should do.  Huff Post Religion had a blog post on that this week.  It comes to the only conclusion that a faithful Christian can reach, IMHO.  But I would go further.  Jesus turned over the tables of the money changers in the temple.  It is time to turn over the tables of semi-automatic weapons in the temple of the NRA (otherwise known as Congress).  The NRA and gun manufacturers have created a systemic evil that can only be addressed by concerted action by Christians (and other people of faith) to banish it.  The time to act is now.

What Would Jesus Say to the NRA?
Posted: 12/24/2012 4:43 pm

by Shane Claiborne

….  From his birth in the manger as a homeless refugee until his brutal execution on the Roman cross, Jesus was very familiar with violence. Emmanuel means “God with us.” Jesus’ coming to earth is all about a God who leaves the comfort of heaven to join the suffering on earth. The fact that Christians throughout the world regularly identify with a victim of violence — and a nonviolent, grace-filled, forgiving victim — is perhaps one of the most fundamentally life-altering and world-changing assumptions of the Christian faith. Or it should be.

So what does that have to do with the NRA? Underneath the rhetoric of the gun-control debate this Christmas is a nagging question: Are more guns the solution to our gun problem?

Everything in Jesus’ world, just as in ours, contends that we must use violence to protect the innocent from violence, which is the very thing Jesus came to help us un-learn through his nonviolent life and death on the cross. Surely, we think, if God were to come to earth, he should at least come with a bodyguard — if not an entire entourage of armed soldiers and secret service folk. But Jesus comes unarmed. Surely, we think, if God were about to be killed he would bust out a can of butt-kicking wrath; but Jesus looks into the eyes of those about to kill him and says, “Father forgive them.” The Bible goes so far to say that the wisdom of God makes no sense to the logic of this world, in fact it may even seem like “foolishness” (or at least utopian idealism).  When soldiers come to arrest and execute Jesus, one of his closest friends defensively picks up a sword to protect him. Jesus’ response is stunning: He scolds his own disciple and heals the wounded persecutor. It was a tough and very counter-intuitive lesson: “The one who picks up the sword dies by the sword … there is another way.” …

Many Christians have begun to speak of Jesus as an interruption to the “myth of redemptive violence,” the assumption that we can use violence to get rid of violence or that we can destroy a life to save a life. The myth of redemptive violence has many ugly faces. It teaches us that we can kill those who kill to show that killing is wrong. It teaches us to live by the law of “an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth” a law that Jesus firmly spun on its head, saying, “You’ve heard it said ‘an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth … but I tell you…” There is another way. Killing to show that killing is wrong is like trying to teach holiness by fornication. The cure is as bad as the disease.

At one point Jesus even weeps over the violent world he lived in, lamenting that “they did not know the things that would lead to peace.” The fact that Jesus carried a cross rather than a sword has something relevant and redemptive to offer our violent-possessed world. After all, the Bible has a lot to say about loving enemies, and “Thou shalt not kill,” but doesn’t even mention the right to bear arms.

… What would Jesus say to our nation…:
10,000 people die from gun-related homicides each year, that’s one Sandy Hook massacre a day, every day
There are nearly 90 guns for every 100 people
There are more than 51,000 licensed gunshops (and 30,000 supermarkets)
Guns that can shoot 100 rounds a minute, and are only designed to kill, are still legal
Other than auto accidents, gun violence is the leading cause of death of young people (under 20)
$20,000 a second is spent on war

… [Jesus] consistently taught that we can disarm violence without mirroring it, and that we can rid the world of evil without becoming the evil we abhor. So let us recommit ourselves to Peace this Christmas season and new year — in honor of Jesus, and in honor of the holy innocents.

Full post:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/shane-claiborne/what-would-jesus-say-to-the-nra_b_2360543.html?view=print&comm_ref=false

Five more myths — beyond the canard that gun control doesn’t work

Five myths about gun control

In this Washington Post piece on December 21, 2012 (apocalypse past), Robert J. Spitzer — distinguished service professor and chair of the political science department at the State University of New York College at Cortland and author of four books on gun policy, including “The Politics of Gun Control”–tackles five myths about control:

  1. gun control is a losing battle for Democrats (the NRA has not been able to elect pro-gun candidates and gun control is not that salient an issue);
  2. guns are deadliest as murder weapons (no, guns facilitate far more suicides than homicides);
  3. American schools have become shooting galleries (no, schools are remarkably safe and getting safer);
  4. gun control laws are incompatible with our Western heritage (gun control laws have been around as long as guns have);                                and most significantly,
  5. the Second Amendment was adopted to allow rebellion against government (no, it was adopted to allow armed state militia to suppress insurrections!!!). 

For the full article, visit: http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/five-myths-about-gun-control/2012/12/21/6ffe0ae8-49fd-11e2-820e-17eefac2f939_print.html.  Spitzer is available at robert.spitzer@cortland.edu