I used to attend a Reformed Episcopal Church in Amarillo, Texas. I’m not there any more and neither is the church. (It seems traditional values are somewhat out of fashion in both marriages and churches, nowadays). The former rector of the church is a close friend, and he’s moved on to “greener” pastures (Amarillo is a lot of things. Green is not one of them), where he’s now the rector of a flock in Houston. Today, he posed a rhetorical question on his blog – is carrying a gun a spiritual discipline?
I would argue that it is – but not for the reasons you might think.
You see, not to go all “God” on you, I’m a believer. It’s not important what faith, or what denomination for the purposes of this discussion. It’s enough to know that I believe in both a higher spiritual authority, and what C.S. Lewis called moral law. In other words, there is a fundamental morality that transcends our legal system.
You can break a moral law without breaking the law in civil or criminal court. You may not get slapped by Johnny Law, but you still screwed up. If you accept that premise (and I know many do not – that’s between them, their consciences, and God, should they choose to believe in Him), then it’s easy to understand – or follow – my logic.
I believe that God put us here for a purpose. Part of our purpose is to figure out why we’re here. (That God . . . what a comedian!) I believe that God wants us to be productive, and use whatever talents he gave us and build on them, making the world a better place for it. To do that, each of us must concern ourselves with our own survival, sustenance and well-being. You see, it would be hard, I think, to carry out whatever God wants us to do, if we allow ourselves to starve, die from lack or shelter, or allow some gang-banger to jack our cars and leave us dead on the side of the road.
From that perspective, defending yourself is more than just common sense. It’s a moral imperative. Because bad guys are nothing if not persistent, it’s a reasonable idea to add a gun (or two or three) to your options for self defense, since bringing a knife to a gunfight is a sure way to lose.
The Bible doesn’t say jack about guns, but it’s all about covering the moral implications of violence. (I’m just waiting for some PC pinhead to try and ban the Bible or slap an Adult Content Advisory sticker on it for violent content. And don’t get me started about all the sex in the Song of Solomon.) If you read the Ten Commandments (in something other than the King James translation, sil vous plait), we hear THOU SHALT NOT COMMIT MURDER.
[NB: it does NOT read “Thou shalt not KILL.” The confusion arose because, at one time, “kill” and “murder” were synonymous in King James-era English. If you go back to the original texts, it’s clear the “original intent” of the Commandment was a proscription against murder.]
That’s a small, but vitally important point: the Bible (and by extension, God) is anti-murder. On the other hand, God is something of an expert at this smiting stuff. (And I say that from personal experience, as well as through my keen powers of observation.) Sometime’s there’s no other choice but to kill or be killed. Or as Dennis Miller once put it, “sometimes, you just need to thin the herd.”
I don’t believe God wants us to go around shooting each other. But I do believe God would look on it as a righteous shoot, if we had our home invaded, and I shot some scumbag trying to hurt my family.
Father Sangster is a Biblical scholar, and something of an authority on a number of Christian theologians, including C.S. Lewis. He carries, even when he’s performing the Sacrement of Holy Communion.
I’ve got no problem with that. Even if you discount the statistically-improbable number of shootings in churches in the last dozen or so years, I think it’s perfectly reasonable to have access to weapons in your place of work, your car and your home. Remember – a gun sitting in a safe somewhere inaccesible to you is every bit as useful as no gun at all.
Doug jokes that by carrying a gun, he’s helping bad guys to either see the error of their ways, or to help them see God a little sooner, so they can talk it out Mano to Deity. But I think he’s right. If we are charged by God to defend ourselves, our families, and our sacred honor, how can carrying a gun in defense of those things be wrong?
Sure for some, carrying a gun is a spiritual kind of thing in a counterpoint to the same kind of logic that David Carradine used to espouse in Kung Fu regarding his affinity for the non-violent path (usually in soliloquy form, right before he beat the snot out of some bigoted bonehead, going all kung fu on them).
But I’m not talking about the love affair between man and machine. Nor am I insisting that pulling out a semi-auto is the modern-day equivalent of a Deus ex Machina solution to life’s little problems. Nope. All I’m sayin’ is that it’s a righteous thing to defend yourself, your property and your loved ones. And if the bad guys up the ante and attempt to go all Smith & Wesson on you, you better have the firepower to answer them back. Just sayin’ . . .