The back-and-forth fight over new gun laws extended to asking, “What Guns Would Jesus Ban?”
Religion was injected into the debate on Jan 24th, when California Senator Dianne Feinstein asked the Dean of the National Cathedral, Rev. Canon Gary Hall, to open with remarks and prayer.
Hall said, “We have come to the end of the preaching part of our work and we are moving forward today with a tangible solution to the epidemic as we stand with Senator Feinstein and with her congressional colleagues, as they introduce this assault weapons ban.”
Standing near a display of assault rifles, he said, “Now everyone in this city seems to live in terror of the gun lobby. But I believe that the gun lobby is no match for the cross lobby, especially when we stand together as people of all faiths, across the religious landscape of America. I don’t want to take away someone’s hunting rifle, but I can no longer justify a society that allows people other than military and police to own weapons like these or that permits the sale of high-capacity magazines designed with the purpose of simply killing as many people as quickly as possible.”
He concluded, “On behalf of all my interfaith colleagues, whom I stand here and represent today, as we come together around these consensual, middle-of-the-road, common sense, legal actions being proposed today, let us pray.”
The following day, David French wrote an article in National Review titled, “The Biblical and Natural Right of Self-Defense.”
French writes, “[G]un control represents not merely a limitation on a constitutional right but a limitation on a God-given right of man that has existed throughout the history of civil society. All rights — of course — are subject to some limits (the right of free speech is not unlimited, for example), and there is much room for debate on the extent of those limits, but state action against the right of self-defense is by default a violation of the natural rights of man, and the state’s political judgment about the limitations of that right should be viewed with extreme skepticism and must overcome a heavy burden of justification.”
This sparked liberal commentator Andrew Sullivan to pen his own article, called “Christianism And Violence.” In it, Sullivan says, “The whole point of Christianity, on a personal level, is a refusal to use violence even in self-defense and even when one's own life is threatened.”
Let’s examine the text.
And behold one of them which were with Jesus, stretched out his Hand, and drew a Sword, and struck a Servant of the High Priest’s, and smote off his Ear. Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy Sword into his Place; for all they that take the Sword, shall perish with the Sword. Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve Legions of Angels? But how then shall the Scripture be fulfilled, that thus it must be? - Matthew 26: 51-54
It does not follow that the use of arms is prohibited, since the phrase, “all they that take the Sword, shall perish with the Sword” cannot be understood in an absolute literal sense. Many individuals have taken up the sword and died naturally, by diseases, or old age. Nor can it rightly mean that anyone who takes up the sword will lose their souls. If anything, the verse warns people against using force to propagate the Christian religion. If the kingdom of Christ required force, then there would certainly be an invincible army of angels to carry out the task and quell all opposition, in which case a fisherman armed with a sword would be of little consequence.
Then Christ says, “Put up again thy Sword into his Place”. A total prohibition on bearing arms does not follow, as if the sword must be laid aside forever. Rather, the message being conveyed is that the sword should be put up for use against a suitable occasion. This was not a suitable occasion because it would frustrate the goal of Christ’s coming, and would prevent the fulfilling of the scriptures.
But in Luke chapter 22, we find very plainly Christ’s opinion on the necessity of self-defense:
When I sent you without Purse, and Scrip, and Shoes, lacked ye any Thing?
And they said, Nothing.
But now, he that hath a Purse, let him take it, and likewise his Scrip, and he that hath no Sword, let him sell his Garment, and buy one.
You see here that a sword is lawful, necessary, and of greater consequence than our own clothes. And while many Christians dutifully give money, they neglect the most necessary provision, the sword.
If not to be used to defend the kingdom of Christ or to force it on the people, what is the use of the sword? What better cause remains than the defense of our country, protecting our homes, and defending the helpless and the innocent?
In Luke 22:38, the disciples bring two swords. Christ says, “It is enough.”
Just as two weapons were sufficient for the disciples, so should they be adequate for each of us.