Guns and Bibles? Really?!!

gun and bibleThis photo has been circulating in response to the Connecticut shooting. I don’t disagree that people should know how to use guns safely and read the Bible. Many American Christians think that the word “Biblical” is just a tribal category which refers to people who own guns, love America, and hate public schools. So it would be great for people like that to actually open their Bibles so they can get to know Jesus. This photo offends me because the Bible is serving as a prop. This exactly what the Third Commandment against using the Lord’s name in vain is referring to. Because it has nothing to do with God’s word. It’s a certain kind of white America using God’s word for ideological cover in order to say if we were still in charge, then our kids wouldn’t get shot in school (the slight hiccup of course being that it’s young white men using legally registered guns to do it). I don’t own a gun. I’ve got a lot of friends that do. They’re good people. But please don’t throw guns and Bibles together, because then you confirm the worst stereotype that people have about Christians: that the Bible is what we hide behind while the gun represents who we really are. Jesus deserves better, especially for Christmas.

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About Morgan Guyton

I’m the director of the NOLA Wesley Foundation, which is the United Methodist campus ministry at Tulane and Loyola University in New Orleans, LA.

  • http://gravatar.com/sherwood8028 sherwood8028

    A very loud, Amen!

  • Lorna Harris

    Amen as well!

  • http://gravatar.com/pdcsc taizegoose

    Thank you, Morgan.

  • http://derekzrishmawy.wordpress.com Derek Rishmawy

    That’s freakin’ gross.

  • http://timdedeaux.com Tim Dedeaux

    I’m pretty far from being a gun-control advocate, but I have to agree: this juxtaposition is bad at any time.

    Right now, on the very heels of such a tragedy, it’s beyond tasteless. It’s hideous, even grotesque.

  • Junly

    They should teach you in school that rather than instantly backing down when you see a gun, and freezing so you can be a clearer target, you should do something to try and save yourself or at least others. Maybe even some basic martial arts gun disarming techniques should be taught.

    • Morgan Guyton

      That makes sense to me. And actually kids do get taught how to shoot. We’ve got several kids from the rifle team in our youth group.

  • Pingback: Job in Newtown

  • http://revmarkw.wordpress.com revmarkw

    I wonder if anyone ever thinks through what would happen if the government said, “teach the Bible in school.”? Can you imagine the fights at school board meetings about how the Bible was going to be taught? It would be chaos! And you can bet the best of Christianity would show forth in those meetings (tongue firmly in cheek). Thanks Morgan for putting your thoughts out there.

  • Dan DePriest

    Morgan, the problem is emotional and spiritual immaturity and not just the flippant and opportunistic affirmation of Bibles and guns. Too much reactionary talk flows out of the tension created by conflict between opposing sides of the gun issue augmented by tragic incidents. The anti-gun rights people gleefully pounce on opportunities afforded by tragedy to further their disarmament agenda while pro-gun rights people become defensive and close-minded over encroachment upon what they see as birthrights. I’ve enjoyed your often-charitable perspective on similar conflicts. But in this case you seem to recognize illegitimacy on only one side of this conflict and it types you.

    The reverse knee jerk reaction can also be indulged in. At least as many anti-gun rights people disaffirm any connection between gun rights and the Bible (or any rights for that matter) as being like oil and water, as there are thoughtless Christians you derogate for supporting their gun ownership rights with, among other things, the Bible. I can’t say you aren’t right about the shallowness of some peoples’ ideals about biblical values especially as they relate to public policy debates.

    The fact is, this debate can’t proceed honestly until one principle is acknowledged and understood by both sides of the conflict. That principle has everything to do with the status of American citizens in our country. I won’t go into Kuyper, Knox, J. Brutus, etc but Here is the crux:

    Every nation that legitimately claims sovereignty among all other sovereign nations must have a living sovereign to uphold the claim. Geopolitical entities aren’t living things capable of declaring and defending their own sovereign jurisdictions. Humans do that. In England Queen Elizabeth is the sovereign and all other citizens of the Crown are her subjects. She is the one who reaffirms the sovereignty of her realm and commands protection of her crown. Along with her sovereignty comes the Authority of the Sword. All delegations of martial power originate with her. That’s the rightful role of the sovereign. That can’t be taken away except, perhaps, by another encroaching sovereign or by her subjects when they decide to vest sovereignty in another or (gasp) themselves.

    In America We the People established the charter of our nation after We the People declared and successfully defended its sovereignty. We the People are the sovereign(s) of America. BTW, this is why no American should ever bow to the monarch of another nation. We are each equal to Queen Elizabeth as far as our sovereign status in our nation. Americans are the only citizenry that enjoys that status—citizen status that hasn’t existed in the world since the time of the judges in ancient Israel.

    We the People possess the original Authority of the Sword. We alone declare who is to be delegated the power to wield our sword. If we allow our government to use its delegated powers to disarm the people it would be usurping the Authority of the Sword and declaring itself the sovereign.

    The founders declared our independence as the rightful cause of all people as free moral agents on the Creator’s earth. So authority, whatever it is, clearly extends from God to mankind to mankind’s appointed servants. We the People are to use the authority delegated to us from God to serve Him and our servant government is to use the authority We the People delegate to it to serve us and protect our interests, chief among which are our liberty and sovereign authority to act in the world according to our consciences on God’s behalf.

    I dare say the staunchest anti-gun folks won’t be able to acknowledge the above even if they swallow hard. They can’t accept that our status as citizens of America is different from any other “free” nation. To do so would contradict their narrative that men must be made safe and managed by the strong arm of the state.

    So, what about the scores of dead children at the hands of insane maniacs with guns? Shouldn’t we do something? Shouldn’t we respond as a society to deter availability of guns to such people? Even if we could prevent easy access of assault weapons and handguns to the insane, there is no preventing career criminals and gang types from acquiring weapons that can be modified any number of ways. Just look at the ordinary SKS rifle and look at how it can be transformed into an assault style weapon for half the cost of an AR-15. Assault firearms are nothing more than rifles with different stocks and grips and maybe a light rail and scope. Banning them would only be symbolic. You’d have to ban all rifles and confiscate all presently owned ones. That presents the problem of depriving a citizen of property without just compensation. Confiscation would mean billions in cost to taxpayers just for compensation. Never mind the program cost. Plus you’d never manage to get them all.

    Do we take a hard line on guns with legislation that just makes us feel better but doesn’t really make us safer? Or do we do it the hard way and think about how we became such a violent society and why young people are killing young people. That’s another rant.

    • Morgan Guyton

      I’m looking at this mostly on the level of evangelism. That’s what I care about the most as a pastor, not impugning the name of Christ by mixing agendas. My citizenship is in the kingdom where Christ is sovereign. I only engage the systems of the world for evangelistic reasons. I do agree that the problem is greater than legislation can resolve. However I don’t think on account of abstract concepts of sovereignty that there shouldn’t be any restriction of size on ammo clips or on the speed at which you can fire multiple rounds. Not my field of expertise of course. Thanks for your comment.

    • Junly

      “Too much reactionary talk flows out of the tension created by conflict between opposing sides of the gun issue augmented by tragic incidents.”

      That’s because our nation has been usurped by an oligarchy and the Republican is dead and the constitution treated as toilet paper. A people without political power consoles itself by pompously solving all the world’s problems at the dinner table to make themselves feel better. What else can we do? We are exiles in our own nation. Its not like the (supposedly) “elected” representative will listen to us. They never even finished counting our votes, especially in Florida.

      • Junly

        Lol, I meant Republic.

      • http://www.facebook.com/donaldhildenbrand Don Hildenbrand

        Actually, Republican works just fine. ;-)

    • Junly

      “Or do we do it the hard way and think about how we became such a violent society and why young people are killing young people.” The answer to that is “faith alone.” Why not kill each other; you’re going to heaven anyway. That lovely doctrine is behind this, and the rise in homosexuality, pre-marital sex. Whatever is bad, “faith alone” is behind it. Because although THEORETICALLY (as the good pastor will tell us after seeing this comment) the Protestant churches supposedly teach that “faith alone” doesn’t mean you should leave in sin, in practice they don’t teach that. In practice they in fact teach that “faith alone” DOES mean you should live in sin; why, if you live right, you must be trusting in your works! Oh my!

      • Junly

        Its also why atheism is on the rise. There is no real practical difference between “justification is by faith alone, so sin sin sin and you won’t go to hell” and “there is no God, so sin sin sin, and you won’t go to hell.” One is as good an incentive to immorality as the other, so the youth eventually jumps from easy-beleivist Protism to Atheism.

  • Dan DePriest

    Junly, youth do what they do because they’re young. They haven’t paid for their understanding and convictions yet with enough years of adult life struggle. Once they do and have their own families to replace them as the center of their universe they tend to come back to reason.

  • http://www.mattbrady.net Matt Brady

    I know everyone has a thought or opinion as it relates to the tragedy in CT, but it both breaks my heart and angers me that so many “Christians” are using it as an opportunity to pass judgement, condemnation, and support their own political agenda. In addition to your mention of the 3rd commandment, they are using the Lord’s name to propagate their hate and opinions.

    No words will comfort the families of those that lost loved ones, but if that was me or you, which would be more Christ like: loving them, mourning with them OR telling them the reason it happened is because God is judging America by allowing their 6 year old to be murdered in cold blood?

    • Morgan Guyton

      Totally agree. When you fear God, you don’t throw around His name like that. The fact that people do shows that they really don’t believe what they’re saying about Him because if they believed it, they would be a lot more cautious about misrepresenting Him.


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