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Don't Call It Unimaginable
The little children were probably dreaming of Christmas morning when a monster opened fire with his state-of-the-art weapons. Don’t say you’re shocked that 20 children were slaughtered — and more of us must admit that, unless something changes, we expect there will be more such massacres. Isn't it time for this nation to say, "We've had enough?"
When will people of faith awake and lead this gun-crazed country to adopt laws which make our streets and elementary schools as safe as those in other developed nations? Any gun lover who does not grieve over this tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School, and who continues to oppose any and all preventive measures to stop gun violence, serves an idol instead of the Living God.
9mm Golden Calves
BACK IN 1990, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) issued this warning: "The religious community must ... take seriously the risk of idolatry that could result from an unwarranted fascination with guns, which overlooks or ignores the social consequences of their misuse." Two decades later, about 660,000 more Americans have been killed by guns, with a million more injured.
These figures convince me that what was a risk in 1990 has become our reality today: For too many, guns have become idols. They claim divine status; make promises of safety and security they cannot keep; transform people and neighborhoods; create enemies; and require human sacrifice.
Not all gun owners have permitted their guns to become idols or absolutes. In fact, a recent poll shows most gun owners and NRA members, in contrast to public perception, believe personal freedom and public safety are complementary, not contradictory. But those few who hold the microphone at the NRA (the wealthy manufacturers and the gun zealots who do their bidding) have permitted their fascination for guns to supplant God and God's requirements for human community.
An idol's followers boldly claim divine status for it. Former NRA executive Warren Cassidy was clear when he boasted, "You would get a far better understanding [of the NRA] if you approached us as if you were approaching one of the great religions of the world." Not to be outdone, Charlton Heston, during a speech as NRA president, intoned, "Sacred stuff resides in that wooden stock and blued steel—something that gives the most common man [sic] the most uncommon of freedoms, when ordinary hands can possess such an extraordinary instrument that symbolizes the full measure of human dignity and liberty."