Tuesday, January 29, 2013

How Beautiful Are the Messengers

when i looked at the front page of our local newspaper yesterday, one of the headlines announced that the legislature of a neighboring state was set to pass a bill allowing guns to be carried in houses of worship.  this state is one of a handfull that currently prohibits guns in churches, according to the newspaper.  on the same page, there was another article about a bill our district's representative has introduced in our state legislature allowing for "open" carrying of guns.  this bill would allow those who have concealed weapon permits to carry guns in exposed shoulder holsters.  in the same article, other gun bills introduced in the state legislature were discussed.  one would forbid the enforcement of any new federal laws restricting gun ownership, and another would reduce the number of hours of training needed to carry a gun.

my wife and i have watched in horror as the rash of killings in our country has caused a corresponding rash of public outcries against sensible gun laws.  a letter to the editor in our paper yesterday lambasted the president for suggesting any gun restrictions and called for the lifting of the inadequate regulations already in place.  the writer called for laws to be passed requiring all public school employees, including teachers, to be carry guns while at work.  we ask ourselves repeatedly if people in our country have gone mad, sentiments echoed by a canadian friend who has lived in this country for several years.

as we talked about the law relating to churches, i wondered how anyone considering such a law could fail to see the irony of allowing followers of the prince of peace to carry weapons into worship.  when a member of jesus' entourage struck one of those who had come to arrest jesus with a sword, jesus condemned the act and healed the injured man.  when the romans slaughtered thousands of christians, often making the killings part of entertainment in coliseums, these martyrs went to their deaths without raising their hands to defend themselves.  i thought of the contrast between the teacher who persuaded a gun-wielding student to surrender his weapon before more students were injured and the writer who called for teachers to be compelled to carry weapons into their classrooms.

how can the proponents of more and more guns fail to see that a crazed young man in new mexico was able to murder his family because guns were abundant in his home, or that a crazed young man in connecticut had easy access to guns because his mother collected them?  why is it legal for people to buy guns that have no reasonable use, guns that are clearly beyond any sporting of self-defense need?  why are individuals allowed to sell guns to other individuals with no limitations?  why are there no reasonable restrictions on sales at gun?  how can more and more guns be the answer to lessening incidents of gun violence in our country?

my prayer today is that we will pass sensible gun laws in our country and that we will say with isaiah 52:7, "How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace."  shalom.

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