Is gun control a religious issue? More pointedly, it is a tenant of Christianity? Brady Campaign Against Gun Violence president Paul Helmke, Republican former mayor of Fort Wayne, Indiana, says that for him it is. Since the interview took place on PBS’s Religion & Ethics Newsweekly, a program that that I’m sure nobody in America actually watches, click here for the transcript. “[Gun control] does fit into my religious tradition,” Helmke says. “I went to a Lutheran grade school growing up. We talked about nonviolence. The story of the garden of Gethsemane is put down that sword…
… you know, is what Jesus is telling the disciple. That’s the lesson we need to learn, and it really gets into how do we relate to our fellowman? Do we live in a state of fear of everyone we’re dealing with, or do we feel that we’re a community of faith and that you respect the other, that you deal with the other, or do we bring a gun to every confrontation?
I’m tempted to dismiss Helmke’s comments due to the obvious disingenuousness of his next statement, “I’m not anti-gun. I’m not against the gun.” However, he brings up a point that must be reconciled by Christian gun owners.
The New Testament records that Jesus taught people not to defend themselves (“I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.”), that he had no interest in fighting tyranny (“Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s”), and that he was a fisherman and shepherd, not a hunter.
Jesus put his money where his mouth was by submitting to abuse, torture, and ultimately execution at the hands of a kangaroo court (i.e. the Sanhedrin) and tyrannical government. So, if you worship at the altar of the Second Amendment and profess to be a Christian, how do you square your beliefs?