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Please read this if you are a gun owner.
Please read this if you believe nothing can be done to stop the mass shootings in America.
Please read this if you are afraid your child will not return from school one day.
Please read this if you have become overwhelmed by the gun debate in our country.
Please read this if you are afraid.
Please read this if you are a Christian.
The United States has a sever gun problem.
Please do not rationalize away the above stats. Guns are killing American citizens at a horrifying rate. We cannot ignore the recent back to back shootings in Las Vegas or Sutherland Springs, Texas. Thoughts and prayers are empty platitudes. As a Christian minister, I believe America needs policy changes, not prayer.
Americans are obsessed with safety. If a child falls out of a crib because of a faulty railing, every crib is recalled. Americans are obsessed with health. If we are told that pomegranates are good for us, all of a sudden our supermarkets are filled with pomegranate snacks, juice, treats, infused coffee. So why do we continue to do nothing about guns which are one of the greatest safety and health concerns of this century? Why are we the only western country that watches, inert, as our fellow citizens are slaughtered around us?
There are a number of false rationalizations & complicated rhetoric whirling around gun control, which as of late, have left our country immobile:
Renee Graham, argued in the Boston Globe (October 8, 2017) that the United States is a state sponsor of terrorism, “Our government is complicit in at least 58 murders and more than 500 injuries at a country music festival in Las Vegas. By failing to consider even common sense gun control policies after previous mass shootings, legislatures are supporting those who terrorise and kill people.”
I would take Graham’s argument further. As a follower of Jesus, I believe the American Christian Church is a sponsor of terrorism for remaining deafeningly quiet on gun control. The Christian Church has loudly declared its concerns over unborn fetuses and led a successful campaign to limit women’s access to safe and affordable abortions. I am confident that the Church could lead as a successful campaign to mandate common sense gun control, but it hasn’t. In remaining quiet, the Christian Church has made it clear that the deaths of thousands are unimportant. Domestic terrorism is acceptable. And in doing so they embraced the irony that elementary students in Sandy Hook, CT matter less than unwanted fetuses.
The common Christian response to another mass shooting, "thoughts and prayers," without the will to change policy or practice, is the very definition of "faith without works." As a progressive Christian I’m not praying anymore. As a wise clergy friend said, “...right now I don't have it in me to overwhelm this great empty space with hope-filled murmuring about God’s love and abiding presence in the midst of tragedy.” Instead, I’m acting. I’m speaking the uncomfortable things many do not want to hear. I am voting. And I am pleading with you, if you claim to follow Jesus, to join me in fighting for gun control, and at minimum common sense gun laws.
Read this again: Over the past 50 years more Americans have been killed by guns that in all the wars in our nation’s history.
As Christians, we cannot stay quiet any longer. We must mobilize, less we become the church of guns.
As citizens, we cannot remain inactive any longer. We must enact real change and policy, less we become a nation of guns.
Rev. Abigail A Henrich (ehm!) is an ordained minister who earned her stripes at Princeton Theological Seminary and Colgate University. That said, Abby is really a mother-pastor-spouse who lives in a kinetic state of chaos as she moves from her many vocations: folding laundry, preaching, returning phone calls, sorting lunch boxes, answering e-mails, and occasionally thinking deep thoughts in the shower. Unabashedly she is a progressive Christian who believes some shaking up has got to happen in the church.