U.S. Evangelical Christians’ views on guns are a mind-boggling paradox. Just consider these facts: White US evangelical Christians are more likely to have a gun in their home than other white Americans in general —58% versus 41%. People living in the “Bible Belt” of the US (e.g. Dallas, TX, Atlanta, GA) give higher priority to owning guns (66%) over the control gun ownership (29%) compared to the US general population. They also oppose any discussion on tighter gun controls.
These figures are disturbing given Jesus’ unambiguous instructions about non-retaliation and the use of weapons (“turn the other cheek”, “all who live by the sword will die by the sword”).
This raises an important question:
Do US believers really trust God as their “fortress, tower, shelter & shield”? Or do they trust in their handguns and semi-automatics?
On Monday, like a ‘dejavú’, US citizens once again woke up to news of an inexplicable mass shooting. Over 50 innocent people gunned down and over 500 injured, this time in the most mundane of places, a country music concert in Las Vegas, Nevada.
And, again, US Christians either said nothing, taking the position that “this is not the time to talk about gun control,” or parroted the political position of the pro-gun NRA & Co. who insist that a legally armed citizen might have stopped the alleged gunman.
Some even came up with unthinkable theories to deflect the topic of gun control: Televangelist Pat Robertsons claimed that the Las Vegas tragedy was the result of people “disrespecting president Trump and the flag.”
Jesus Spoke Clearly about Weapons
Jesus was crystal clear on whether to respond to violence with violence and whether we should arm ourselves with swords or guns to protect ourselves from swords and guns.
Nonviolence—turning the other cheek, keeping your sword in its scabbard even under threat, loving your enemy—is a centerpiece of Jesus’ message.
Gun control shouldn’t be determined by whether it’ll be popular at church, or alienate the NRA. It’s about following Jesus, the One who left no question about how his people should respond to violence.
Jesus said we should set aside our weapons, even when our instinct is to use those weapons. Jesus said to him, “all who draw the sword will die by the sword” (Matt. 26:52). And (by extension) those who live by the gun—who look to guns for protection from guns—will die by the gun. We’ve seen this time after time recently in the US.
When will US Christians wake up and take a stand?