Gun Control, The Death Penalty, and Christian Culture

I debated myself on this post. Didn’t really want to go into something this divisive, because it’s…divisive. I may talk about faith on this page and about things that I think need to be talked about (such as my post on Gender Roles), but for the most part I keep to stories and positive organizations making a difference in this world for the good of all.

I can’t stay silent on these issues, though. My heart is heavy. Many won’t agree. Maybe many will ignore me for good now. Or worse. I don’t know. However, I can’t keep from writing about these issues.

Gun Control

This is probably the hot topic right now in the media and social networks. There is no end of banter from either side.

Let me say this: Culture and history play vital and important roles in the debate. There cannot be a true understanding of either side without considering where each side starts their viewpoint.

I’m not going to dumb this down and think that anyone who reads this doesn’t know American history when it concerns access to guns. For one, it’s a rather lengthy delve into history that is beyond the scope for this little blog. In my opinion, and maybe I’m getting it wrong (that is very likely), it boils down to the right to defend yourself, your family, and your property against all adversaries to include a possibly corrupt government. That is what is at the heart of the 2nd Amendment to our constitution.

And so, when there is even the slightest threat to that right Americans become very vocal to maintain it.

I understand that. My own instinct tells me to protect what is mine and trust no other to do the job as well as I can. I don’t know the motivations of others, so how can I trust that they would not turn on me and try to take my land or my family by force? Yes, even those sworn to protect me, my family, and what is mine.

The problem is when this right of mine to protect myself with the use of guns starts allowing that freedom to those who would take what they want by force anyway. Or to alleviate the pain they feel by expression-through-violence.

I only ask these questions:

Do you think that someone – who is known to be inflicted with the inability to distinguish right and wrong because of the pain they feel or diminished capacity for any reason – should have free access (legal) to guns?

Do you think that someone – with a violent criminal past – should have free access (legal) to guns?

If you said no to either one of those (or both) – I would like you to tell me how that is NOT Gun Control. Gun Control is simply restricting legal access to guns.

If you said yes to either one of those (or both) – well, at least you’re consistent. I wonder if you’re being honest with yourself, but you’re consistent.

I think the old saying “The proof is in the pudding” is applicable to the debate. We’ve seen the statistics. We know that no, not everyone should have free access to guns. And no, I don’t want to hear that those who commit horrible acts of violence with guns would have “done the same with a knife or something else” if they didn’t have a gun. That’s a non-issue. Nor do I want to hear “Gun Control is only going to take guns away from law-abiding citizens, the criminals won’t care what the law says.” If you look at the statistics, most of the gun related violence is being perpetrated by those “law abiding citizens.” Sandy Hook. Roseburg, Oregon. Countless others. All guns obtained legally.

Yes, I believe it is a heart issue. I believe that the human heart is selfish and evil in many ways. I don’t want to make it easier for that human heart to kill me, my family, and take my things.

And if you’re worried about resisting a corrupt government and system, I only point you to people such as Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr., and many others who overcame corrupt government and social systems without violence – without guns.

Guns are not the solution to our problem. Gun Control is not the boogieman that will steal all of our rights. It’s a slippery slope argument. Just because there are conceivable points B, C, and D to follow an action of point A does not negate the need for point A to happen. We don’t know B, C, or D will happen. We only know that something needs to happen at point A and it needs to happen now.

The Death Penalty

I don’t even know where to begin with this one. I’m bothered on many levels that I’m not sure if I can adequately express, and I don’t want to make this an emotional plea. That’s a logical fallacy all on its own. However, I don’t know if I can write about this without it becoming an emotional plea.

This is an issue of justice. What is the proper justice to combat the evil we see perpetrated against humanity, against society?

My own thoughts swing like a pendulum on this issue. When I hear stories about Richard Glossip or Kelly Gissendaner in the news – I want to call out that they should live. If I hear about others that have committed unspeakable atrocities against women and children – or mass killings – I think they rightly deserve to die.

But, I’m not being consistent.

If I call out for the life of one – especially those without a voice of their own as in most pro life debates – but call for the death of others, I’m not being consistent.

Yes, the one end of the spectrum have their rights taken from them without the ability to know how to protest. The other end of the spectrum chose to take the rights away from others by exerting their own selfish choices over the very lives of people around them.

On the surface, these are two separate issues. But, are they really?

If I value life – do I not value it from beginning to end? Do I only value the lives of those I deem worthy? Or do I value all life. ALL life.

I would love to say ALL life, but I know myself better than that. I only value those I deem worthy. Those who’ve committed violent acts that have taken the lives of others have forfeited that value.

But, just because I may feel or think it doesn’t mean that it’s right.

Jesus valued ALL life. If there was anyone to say anyone had forfeited their value, it would be Jesus. The thing is, according to God’s standards, not one of us would fit into his definition of those who’ve “earned” the value of life.

And yet, He still applied that value to ALL of us. Every one of us.

We point to the Old Testament and the Mosaic Law (or pre-law if you want to get into a debate and reach back to the covenant with Noah after the flood) for our inspiration of the death penalty. We’re not very consistent with that either. There are many things that the law placed in the “punishable by death” category that we conveniently ignore these days.

And one thing we ignore most: Jesus fulfilled the law. No, he didn’t abolish it and make it go away. He FULFILLED it.

The old law had a requirement: To satisfy its justice, it required blood. Death had to be meted out in order to satisfy the high standard of justice God required. That’s because God is so perfect, so holy, that nothing can satisfy his true justice except by blood and life. He wasn’t being barbaric or sadistic when he told us this. He was simply showing that the cost for us was far too high to do it on our own.

So, he did it himself. Jesus met that blood requirement and fulfilled it. Because of Jesus’ death, the blood requirement is no longer there. It’s been met. Paid. Justice has been satisfied.

Death is no longer required to bring justice.

So, while the death penalty may be the law of the land, it is not a Biblical law. We cannot keep using that argument. It isn’t true.

And with the countless cases of those who have been sentenced to death coming to light and showing that the condemned are actually innocent – should that not be enough for us to say: Stop! Let us think this through and really make sure justice is being met.

The death penalty isn’t accomplishing all we think it should. It’s not deterring anyone from horrible criminal acts. It’s far more expensive than life-in-prison sentences. And innocent people are dying for crimes they didn’t commit.

There is a better way. We just have to be willing to listen.

Christian Culture

I’m ending this rather lengthy post on what bothers me most about either debate.

Christians are those that claim to believe in Jesus Christ as the one true savior who died on the cross to redeem a world torn apart by sin and evil and then rose again to show us that a better life awaits us and death is not the final answer.

Christianity is marked by love, grace, and mercy. Jesus said that the world would know that God really sent him if we are marked by love and unity. (John 17: 20-26)

Again, my eyes may be blinded by opinion or many other circumstances, but I don’t see this.

Instead of love, I see selfishness. I see a group that is supposed to be marked by grace and mercy calling for blood louder than any other group. A group that is supposed to be marked by meekness and gentleness telling the world that they better back-off and not touch their guns.

I see a loud and violent group in place of love. It makes me scratch my head and wonder, because I see this same group so capable of depths of love that the human mind cannot comprehend. They reach out to the marginalized and victimized with healing and warmth and devotion and it make my heart thankful and my eyes tear and I am inspired to be a better person.

So, why is there the two minds in the one body? Why reach out with love to the victim, but reach out with the sword to the aggressor? That seems pretty human to me. But, are we – as the body of Christ – called to be more?

I’m part of this group. I show all the signs that I write about here. The duality. The call for blood. The desire to protect my rights. The desire to help those who cannot help themselves. I may live this way, but I know there needs to be more.

My hand of love cannot be short. My hand of love and mercy and grace cannot be limited.

Maybe that’s the problem. I’m still reaching with my hand instead of the hand of Christ.

Maybe, if I stopped trying to do it on human strength and understanding, I could shift in my cultural mindset.

Could there be an entire cultural shift? Could we stop looking to our own rights and limited sight to reach the world who really does need love instead of condemnation?

Jesus never said what we did was all right when addressing sin. He just loved despite it. And, people changed because of it. We don’t even know what needs to change. He does.

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I apologize for such a lengthy post. Lots of emotion and mingled thoughts. Probably double talked my way through it as well. Maybe even made some logical fallacies and have gaping holes in my arguments. I know I’m all over the place and probably should have tackled one topic at a time. I needed to vent and write and get it all out there. We can discuss all of that if you want to.

I also apologize for this being a day late with my Story Monday. Fall time means trip time, even last minute ones.

I would love to hear from you. Even your opinions about the above topics. Just, be civil. You can absolutely disagree with me, just don’t be ugly about it. Talk to you soon.

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I would love to discuss this story and more with you. You can reach me via my Contact page, or join me on Facebook.

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Looking for great stories:

$RMFC6E8 You can grab a copy of my Sci-Fi short story Alien Cafe

IMG_19031 Or it’s fantastic Sci-Fi sequel Alien Cafe: The Disconti Incident.

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2 thoughts on “Gun Control, The Death Penalty, and Christian Culture

  1. As a non-Christian (well, non-religious person) I have to admire your thoughts. Only I wouldn’t be so quick to judge Christian culture. As you know, (because you are) there are plenty of Christians who are not the most vocal who live real Christian culture. Those people are just fine with me. They simply aren’t the ones getting the most media attention.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree. I think my post is more an indictment against myself than others. The duality of my mindset – where I long to live what I know is truth and then how I actually live. It’s more of a question: What do I value more, life and all I believe that Jesus showed and did, or my own personal rights. I get them confused sometimes.

      Liked by 1 person

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