In the last two articles, I spoke about the recent tragedies that occurred at the end of 2012. In those tragedies, guns played a major role and there have been numerous blogs, debates, and political statements about gun control.
I had chosen to not speak about it before now because, one; it wasn't the point at the time, and two, I write about religious ethics and what may tie into that. I was not sure if gun control had any relevance. However, I now believe there may indeed be some connection.
When most people here the words, ‘religion’ and ‘religious’, images of some divine, supernatural deity and traditional rituals immediately come to mind. What if though being religious did not have to mean being devoted to a god or attending a place of worship? What if being religious could be seen as being devoted to an idea, something seen as so much a part of one’s personality and culture that it achieves a quasi-spiritual meaning?
That is what owning guns means to many Americans. I say this is because of the passionate and sometimes extremely hostile responses that those Americans, who want to ban guns, often receive. I have seen very similar reactions in people of religious faith when fundamental aspects of their faith or views on society come into serious question. There is a very blunt, ‘we’re not going there and God help you if you try’ mentality. Guns are deeply connected to tradition and pride. A clear example of this was in a recent CNN interview by Piers Morgan with Alex Jones, a conservative talk show host and sponsor of a petition to get the host deported for his own outspoken gun-control views. Beyond the shouting and questioning/counter questioning, Jones makes one clear statement that almost seals the right to bear arms in a quasi-religious light:
“The Second Amendment is sacrosanct!”
I am not trying to take sides for gun control or no gun control. When passion and bias is briefly put aside, both sides bring up solid points as the reasons for their views. However, the point in this article is that the debate is not just one about who has what weapons, statistics, and the most political weight. It is about how one weapon has become so central in how America sees itself, positively and negatively, that it arguably carries as much religious fervor and weight as Christianity.