By Stephen Mattson 5-12-2016

Millions of Americans worship the gun.

They spend their hard-earned money buying them, vote for politicians who promote them, devote large amounts of time shooting them, and fight for their right to use them — even if it’s at thae expense of taking a human life.

Guns are idolized for their power, revered for their sense of protection, and adored for their legacy of defending freedom, justice, and liberty.

People bring their beloved guns to the store, work, church, and to their schools. They walk with them, drive with them, bike with them, and sleep with them.

Some guns are locked away in safes, while others simply lie out in the open. Some are registered, and some aren’t. Some are used for hunting and recreational purposes — others are used for self-defense, law-enforcement, the military, suicide, crime, or with the sole intent to murder someone.

Guns are used in a state of sobriety and drunkenness, by the young and old, the rich and poor — regardless of race, age, gender, or demographic.

Guns are sold, traded, gifted, stolen, and smuggled — but rarely destroyed. They are kept, reused, and invested in. Many increase in value over time.

They are adored and idolized for being able to wipe away someone’s existence in a matter of seconds — which is exactly what happens.

A broken business deal. A hurtful remark. A domestic dispute. A robbery attempt. A vulgar gesture. A road rage incident. A bar fight. A turf war. A breakup. A bully. An abusive relationship. An angry coworker, student, relative, friend, or stranger. A misunderstanding. A moment of fear. An overreaction. A mistake. A gun.

No matter what the conflict, its existence is lurking in the background — close, handy, and accessible. A source of indisputable power.

This is why many Americans — and Christians — trust more in the gun than they do in Christianity. Because they prefer the carnal authority of the gun more than they do the sacrificial love of Jesus.

Jesus didn’t use weapons to kill others or as a method of getting his way. Instead, Christ’s nonviolent humble love for humanity caused him to get crucified on a cross. Very un-American.

But Jesus had access to the kind of power that the gun promises — of annihilation and destruction. Jesus could’ve called upon a legion of angels to wipe out his enemies, and nobody would’ve blamed him for doing so. But he didn’t.

Instead, when Peter drew his sidearm to defend Jesus from an imminent death, instead of being hailed as a hero, a defender of the innocent or the perfect citizen utilizing his right to self-defense ... Peter is rebuked by Jesus.

And now we’ve reached a point in our society where the gun — the taker of life and instrument of slaughter — is being worshiped as a religious relic for doing what it was created to do: kill.

It killed a boy, and now that gun will be bought, valued, and treasured for being the national god that it is. In the meantime, mothers and fathers and brothers and sisters and family and friends will weep for the loved ones they’ve lost. And Jesus will weep with them.

Stephen Mattson is a writer who currently resides in the Twin Cities, Minn. You can follow him on Twitter (@mikta) or on Facebook.

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